lørdag den 30. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 4

  And trying once again. Still missing: Perpendicular, Virtuous, Pedestrian, Typewriter, and Dashing
  The story continues, but the words just did not want to play. Maybe I'll have to continue the story until the words are used up or next Wednesday comes around. 

Susan awoke early next morning, She was cold, and had to go to the smelly outhouse. She pulled on her socks; and carrying her sandals she went quietly through the narrow corridor, into the living room, out into the entrance room and out trough the door. The door was not locked. It never was. Minor raised his head and looked at Susan. "Good boy, stay there!" She said quietly. At the outhouse door she stopped, the owls were no longer at the clothes line, a thin fog was lifting from the water, hiding the top of the trees.The sun was about to rise over the soft hills to the southeast, It felt as if the world was holding its breath.
  The Sun rose and shed a golden glow over the world, the treetops glowed and the birds all began singing at once. What a morning!
  Shivering from the cold Susan hurried into the outhouse, did what had to be done, and went inside the house again. She did not want to go back to the tiny guest room. The bed was uncomfortable and the room miffy. The straw mattress smelled good, but the donas were filled with lumps, mostly too heavy and either too cold or too hot. Most of the miffines came from the walls, really. Granny and Auntie G had decided that this part of the house should have its walls renewed next summer. They walls of the house were all made from timber frames, that originally were filled out with mud. The rest of the house had had the mud removed and bricks laid instead, and new windows too. But the two tiny guest rooms in the upper end were still mud walled.  Now the roof was renewed, the house would slowly dry out, and become less miffy. But this was still in the future. Susan sat down on the couch under the windows in the living room, she looked through the newspapers, nothing of interest there. She then turned around, kneeling on the couch and looked out between the rose geraniums into the garden. She was still cold. A spread, made of crocheted granny squares in bright colours covered most of the couch. she draped it around her shoulders, gradually she got warm, the birds began looking for worms in the lawns, the corn rustled as a fox passed through the tall stalks. She admired granny for growing corn. She had tried at home, with not much success, the stalks grew tall, but the ears never ripened before the frost took them.
  Granny came into the room, dressed and ready to begin the day. Susan turned around and said: "Good morning, Granny, why can't I grow corn like yours at home?"
  Granny startled, sat down upon a chair and said: "What a peculiar question. Firstly, you live up north; yes I know the distance is not that great, but there's a something, a border, a line, call it what you like. Down here we're south of that line, and where you live it's north of that line. And then it's the seeds, the planting and oh, so many other things. But this was not what I wanted to talk with you about. You've got the gift, I think."
  "Which gift?" Susan asked with surprise in her every fibre. "My birthday was a bit more than two weeks ago."
  Granny laughed softly. "The day before yesterday I told you about your great-great-grandmother, and you listened in the kitchen, as the woman from the fishing village came for me, I think you added one and one and got two."
  Susan nodded, not quite sure that she was right.
  "Yes," Granny continued, "I am, like my grandmother, a wise woman. There's not that much use for us any longer, I help the stubborn men in the fishing village, I sit by old dying people, I help out when there's strife and trouble. I also help plants to grow, sometimes. And I think you too, my little girl, has this gift. I see it in you, but it's somehow different ... changed?" Granny ended on a questioning note.
  "Yes," Susan said, "I'm like you and great-great-grandmother, and yet I'm not." I'm not good with people. I'm better with animals, and small children, those that do not say one thing and think another. I also love trees and I would like to learn more of your plant lore. But during these summer holidays my place is at The Farm."
  "I heard those capital letters," Granny said smiling. "I did not know a school was started up, I suppose the Icelandic Wise ones are behind this. They were always closer to the magic, or what you might call it." Susan nodded and opened her mouth.
  Granny put her finger to her lip: "Shush, Susan! Do not tell me any more. I smell troubled times ahead and I cannot betray what I do not know."
  Granny held Susan's chin and looked into her eyes. Now you listen, and afterwards forget most of this: "Your Mom does not have much of the Gift, only the empathy that goes with it, and that's a hard thing to be able to feel others pain and not being able to help. Auntie G has it too, but her broken heart has clouded her mind. She could do great things, but I suspect she never will. My only son has closed that door in his mind. It's not a thing for modern times and rational beings. And he's very rational and prosperous, at least in his own mind. Your aunt Dina is nice, but not Gifted. You, and probably the middle of Auntie G's girls have to carry the torch."


Susan felt very anticlimactic as she crossed the line of trees separating Unicorn Farm from the rest of the island. She had lived through so much the last two weeks, she felt like she should have grown at least a handspan. But still it was nice to be back. Her striped skirt hung at its place on the hooks, and the same did the green tunic. She quickly shed her light summer dress and pulled on her apprentice wear. She then ran down the length of the barn to join the green team on their way out into the sunlight. Today was biology day.

And this was the last post of the NaNoWriMo.
 My word count is approximately 12.200 words on Susan's story during November. 
I do not know how much you normally "have to" do, but I think this is quite a lot.

fredag den 29. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 3

The story continues ... the Words for Wednesday just did not want to be used, but I do not think this is an excuse not to post next installment in Susan's tale. Maybe tomorrow ...

Susan ate her dinner. As everything Granny cooked it was simple, delicious, and filling. When Granny came to refill the empty coffee pot, she handed Susan a tray of scones and jam. "Now, child, you carry this one into the living room for me. Auntie G is arriving, and everybody will be looking at her, telling her the news and not noticing you. Linda's more than half asleep on the couch, slip in next to her."
  Susan meekly did as she was told, She placed the laden tray on the table and sat on the couch next to Linda. Mum turned her head in her direction, but as she opened her mouth to speak, Auntie G came in, trailing a puff of crisp night air.
  "Oh, there you are, Gladys. Sit down, have a cup of coffee, and listen to the news," Mum said.
  Auntie G greeted her father and sat down.
  "You probably know about our buying and selling of land out in the old bog," Aunt Dina said. "Well if not," she said, as Auntie G shook her head no, "the story goes like this: We, that is me, Kurt, Elin and Benny, bought some land from an agency last week. It was a friend of ours who took care of the transactions. The idea was to buy these lots, and later, as they were sought after for the expansion of the town, sell them again and earn some money in the process. We already did this once, and earned some money; not much, but enough to get us hooked on the idea. That old bog is well situated, drained and prepared for building of houses. Roads have been planned, some paved and ready, some still gravel. Electricity is on its way, and water as well. It was a sure fire investment object. But something went wrong this time. It seemed likely that said friend was in cahoots with some criminals. At least that's what we thought. Because suddenly our money and papers and everything disappeared. We asked him about it, but he was not able to give any coherent explanation. We had a quarrel ... nothing but anger really came off it. And that's when Benny and Elin left.
  But this morning all the papers, and our money was handed back to us by the police. They had used him as a stooge to get to the criminals. We have apologized, he has done the same, and we're going to meet with him and the family tomorrow. I hope that you're coming along as well, Elin and Benny?" The last words were said, looking at Susan's parents, who looked at one another and then nodded.
  Susan was sitting on the couch. She tried hard to listen to the grownups going on about money and papers, but she sat in a warm, stuffy room smelling of rose geraniums, after a long day, and after having eaten Granny's delicious dinner. She did not really understand much, apart from the end result that seemed to be a return to Dina and Kurt's summerhouse, and closer to Unicorn Farm.
  But Grandma wanted to tell her something, the owls too ... Susan slept.

torsdag den 28. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 2

   For this chapter, I used 5 more of the words. I hope to carry on tomorrow. 

Dizzy (used yesterday)
Stable (used yesterday)

Susan ventured a look into the living room. Just about everybody was in there, Granddad, Mum, Dad, Linda, Auntie G's two youngest girls. Aunt Dina and Uncle Kurt were there as well. Susan wondered, what now had happened.
  Grandma called her into the kitchen: "Where have you been, Girl? We waited, and then we ate dinner. And later Dina and Kurt arrived. Now it's time for coffee."
  "I was at Auntie G's house, we made music, and then I went down to take in my dress from the line," was Susan's laconic naswer.
  Granny looke searchingly at her: "Now, in the dark? Did you meet anybody down there?"
  "Well if Minor and two hooting owls count as anybody, then yes. Did you know they lived down there?"
  "Yes, they have a nest, hole, whatever owls live in, down in the branches of the giant oaks by the water." Granny said with a small smile. "Didn't they scare you?"
  "Yes they did. I think, maybe if Minor had not been there, and I had not felt so lonely, I would have been scared witless. But  oh, we had played that stupid "find a matchbox-game. And all the others were bigger and better at it than me. In the end I just sat down even if I had not seen that darned box. And then that sneaky Lena, she asked me where the box was. She never asked any of the bigger girls. It was so unfair ... Then Auntie G took me into her kitchen, ad we made music until she'd got to go for rehersals at the theatre." Susan stopped, dried her eyes and blew her nose.
  "Yes and then?" Granny asked in a gentle voice.
  "Then I walked down here, but the kitchen was black and empty, I thought maybe I was late for dinner. I did not want to come in and have everyone looking at me. I felt lonely. Then I remembered the dress. Minor almost made me jump into the air by muzzling my hand, as I passed the outhouse, but he followed me to the clothesline, and it was almost dark, and the moon rose, and the bats came out. But Minor was there. Then I saw the clothesline, and it looked all wrong. One of the owls flew right over my head and down to the water. I was afraid, but I had Minor by my side, and he was not afraid. Then I spoke to the owl that stayed. It winked at me, I think, and then it moved further away, as if telling me I could go on and take my dress. I did it, but I think it is one of the hardest thing I've done for a long time."
  "Those owls are very big." Granny said nodding."They often sit at my clothesline when darkness falls. They are good at hunting mice and rats ... and keeping unwanted persons away. They once attacked and wounded a grown man who was here to steal something from Granddad's shed." Granny shook her head. "The owl talked to you,"  she said in a inquiring tone.
  "No, it was not talking exactly," Susan said. "But I ... I understood that it meant me no harm, and it was OK to take my dress."
  "We've got to talk later" Granny said. "Now eat your dinner. It's on the orange plate under the fly net. I've got to serve some coffee and cake for the languishing crowd."

onsdag den 27. november 2019

Susan and her Family - 1

 The Words for Wednesday are up on Elephant's Child's blog long before Wednesday comes to my little part of the world. But I wait until my Wednesday before posting. 
  Once again the words are given to us by Margaret Adamson and her friend Sue Fulcher.
  None of the words: Orange  - Dizzy - Perpendicular - Languishing - Virtuous - Theatre - Pedestrian - Laconic - Stable - Typewriter - Dashing - Branches  wanted to become part of the story. In the end I forced two of them to participate: Dizzy and Stable. The rest just have to wait. 

  For four days they were all busily at work thatching the roof.
  After work, Susan and Linda played with the two cousins and their friends. They walked Granny's dog, a collie, who was old and a bit mad. It was often trying to bite people, and once Lena, the youngest of the cousins, had bitten its tail in return. Susan loved the dog, and were almost always at good terms with it.
  Only once ... Susan was smaller then, it was winter and the streets had been frozen. She had been asked to walk Minor alone - once upon a time a cat named Major had lived with Granny too, but it was long gone. The walk had been fine, Minor had done what it was supposed to, and they were almost home when a cat ran past. Minor totally lost it and gave chase whit Susan hanging on for dear life sliding over the road and into a stone wall, until the leash broke. She went limping back to Granny, who said that it was a good thing that the leash had broken, "And if it ever happens again, just let go of him, he'll return when he gets hungry." She washed Susan's hands and legs, and sent her out to play again. But now Susan was older and heavier, she was not pulled over when Minor found something interesting, and funnily Minor never ever tried biting Susan.

  Tuesday in the late afternoon they played Find the matchbox. Susan was hot, and she was angry. She could never find the hidden matchbox. Everybody but her had seen the matchbox and sat down to tell they had found it. Susan was the last one. She was the youngest too, as Linda had made herself scarce when work was over.
  Lena hid the matchbox, and all the girls swarmed into Auntie G's living room. Susan decided that she would NOT be the last one to sit this time. But she could not find the box, no matter how much she looked. Two of the larger girls sat down, then Helen too. Susan slowly pivoted around, looking up and down, and then she too sat down. Cousin Lena called her out: "Susan, where is the matchbox?" O course Susan did not know. She had not found the box. But calling people out in this game was just not done. Susan felt ashamed of cheating, and yet she felt unfairly treated. She just sat.
  In the end Auntie G came and carried her into the kitchen. "Yes, Susan, all the girls are older than you. This just means you've got to be smarter." Susan stayed with Auntie G in the kitchen for a long time. Auntie G grabbed her guitar and started playing The Riddle Song. "Do you remember the words?" Auntie G asked.
  Susan began singing, and she remembered almost all the words of the song from the other night.
  "It is an old song." Auntie G said. "It was written more than 200 years ago, but I did nor learn it until a few weeks ago. I'll have to leave soon. Tonight is my night to go to the rehearsal and play music."
  Susan went down to Granny's house. No one was in the kitchen, darkness was falling, and Susan continued down the path, down towards the water. Today she was the one to have become wet, and her favorite dress hung on the clothes line just past the house. She felt very much alone. The happenings with the gargoyle and the werewolves could have been a dream.
  She went down the path, and the moon, gibbous now, rose over the trees down by the water. Susan felt something wet touch her hand and she sat down, dizzy with fear. Then she saw Minor, the faithful dog in the waning light. "Oh, boy, did you scare me!" Susan said, kneeling and caressing the dog. "Come, walk with me. I have to get my dress."  Together Minor and Susan walked the short distance to the clothes line, Susan's hand entwined in Minor's long hair. A bright rectangle of light fell from the window of the smelly outhouse next to the old barn, and Susan found it harder to see the ground. But the clothes line was close to the outhouse. It looked strangely foreign, misshapen in the evening light. And when Susan got closer, she saw four round eyes staring at her. Susan stared back. Eyes, here? Yellow green eyes opened and closed, and then with a penetrating hoo-hoo-hoooo! an owl alighted from the line, swooshed soundlessly over Susan's head, barely clearing the hen house, and flew off towards the river. The other owl still sat at the line.
  "Good evening, Owl!" Susan said. "Do not let me disturb you. I'd like to have my dress, but you can stay where you are, if you like. Your friend sat on my dress, you don't." The owl looked at Susan, and opened both eyes widely. Then it opened it's beak and hooted softly at her. The owl moved a bit further towards the end of the line, and Susan gathered her courage, patted Minor, and walked the two steps up to the line. Her legs felt heavy as lead, and her arms were heavy too. She slowly raised them, opened the pegs, and retrieved her dress. She bowed to the owl. "Good night and good hunting!" she said softly. The owl stretched its wings silently, folded them back together and hooted once more softly in reply. Minor slunk off to his favourite spot near the door, and Susan went into the house, from which she now heard laughter and people talking.

tirsdag den 26. november 2019

Jessetræet -- The Jesse Tree

 From the first Sunday in advent -- very soon now -- we start the journey through advent towards Christmas with the Jesse Tree. This is not a generally known thing in Denmark.  (Shower of Roses has a fine explanation).

-- 🌲 --

     I ugen op til den 1. søndag i advent, som er lige om lidt, finder vi en stor, flot gren til vores Jessetræ.
     Jessetræ?  Hvad er mon det. Det er en tradition fra den engelsktalende, katolske verden. Se for eksempel her hos Shower of Roses.

     Jessetræet er en rejse gennem bibelhistorien, fra verdens skabelse frem til Jesu fødsel.
     Hver dag hænger man et ornament, adventspynt,  på træet, hører en bibelhistorie og leger, snakker, tegner eller noget andet. Se mere her.
     Adventstiden er forskelligt lang hvert år. Der er altid tre hele uger og så mere eller mindre af den fjerde uge. Hvis juleaften er en lørdag, er adventstiden så lang, som det er muligt, men i år er den 24. december en tirsdag, så der er brug for 4 læsninger til den sidste uge.
     Vores plan ser altså sådan her ud:

1. uge 
Søndag 1. december   Læsning nr. 1 - Jesse rod - Es 11,1
Mandag 2. december  Læsning nr. 2 - Skabelsen - 1 Mos 1,1 - 2,4
Tirsdag 3. december   Læsning nr. 3 - Syndefaldet - 1 Mos 2 og 3
Onsdag 4. december   Læsning nr. 4 - Noahs ark - 1 Mos 6-9
Torsdag 5. december  Læsning nr. 5 - Abrahams forjættelser - 1 Mos 12-18 &; 21,1-7
Fredag 6. december    Læsning nr. 6 -Melchisedek - Hebr 6,9-7,28
Lørdag 7. december   Læsning nr. 7 -Isaks offer - Mos 22,1-19
2. uge
Søndag 8. december   Læsning nr. 8 - Jakob og Esau - 1 Mos25-30
Mandag 9. december  Læsning nr. 9 - Josef, drømmetyderen - 1 Mos kap 37-45
Tirsdag 10. december Læsning nr. 10 - Den brændende busk - 2 Mos 3,1 - 8
Onsdag 11. december  Læsning nr. 11 - Ørkenvandringen - 2 Mos 4,1-17,16
Torsdag 12. december Læsning nr. 12 - De ti bud - 2 Mos 20 & 5 Mos 4
Fredag 13. december   Læsning nr. 13 - Ruth - Matt 1,1-16
Lørdag 14. december  Læsning nr. 14 - Samuel - 1 Sam 3,1 - 18
3. uge 
Søndag 15. december   Læsning nr. 15 - Kong David salves - 1 Sam 16,1 - 13
Mandag 16. december  Læsning nr. 18 - Profeten Esajas - Es 9,1-6
Tirsdag 17. december   Læsning nr. 19 - Daniel i løvekulen - Daniel kap. 1-6
Onsdag 18. december   Læsning nr. 20 - Jonas og hvalen - Jonas kap 1-4
Torsdag 19. december  Læsning nr. 22 - Zakarias - Luk 1,5-25; 57-63; 64-80
Fredag 20. december    Læsning nr. 23 - Mariæ bebudelse - Luk 1,26-38
Lørdag 21. december   Læsning nr. 24 - Johannes Døberen - Mark 1,1-15

4. uge 
Søndag 22. december   Læsning nr. 26 - Josef  - Matt 1,18-25
Mandag 23. december  Læsning nr. 27 - Hellige tre konger - Matt 2,1-12
Tirdag 24. december     Læsning nr. 28 - Jesu fødsel - Luk 2,1-21
Onsdag 25. december   Læsning nr. 29 - Guds Søn - Joh 1,1-18 & Åb 22,12-16

mandag den 25. november 2019

Genjuan Habun Contest - 2017

And finally my contrubution from 2017. Winners can be seen here.

-- はいぶん --

  I see a mountain. Tall, triangular, looming in the horizon. I don't know it. I wonder. Is this Kilinmanjaro, Matterhorn, Sagarmatha? No. At first I am confused. Then a voice whispers in my mind. "Bow your head. This is the mountain of poetry. This is Ishizuchi-san." My mind repeats the strange syllables I-chi-zu-chi-san.
  Still guided by that strange voice, I go into a park.

Reading a kuhi
Ishizuchi towering
I am in Japan.

  Then I board a train. Open waters and bustling cities pass by. I get off and on trains several times. Still guided by that voice. Cities pass by: Otsu. Kyoto. Osaka. I buy and eat an eki-ben somewhere between the two lasts stops. I get off, walk for a long time, my legs seem to know the way all by themselves, but still guided by the friendly voice.
  It is a new place. Everything looks a bit strange, the smells are unexpected. Even the Sun shines in a new way. New, yet strangely familiar. I reach a cottage by a lake.
  I wake up. It's New Year's morning.

Poetry Monday :: Windows

 Today is Monday, and Monday means Poetry. Today's theme is Windows from Diane.
 Also participating are: Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

Windows are to look through,
Both in and out
It's not nice to look in, but I think we all do. 
Oh, there's no doubt.

To look out when the sun is shining,
Or rain pours down.
This sure is a window's silver lining
 Unless we drown.

I hate to clean my windows
But must admit
That a new cleaned, shiny window
is no mean feat.

I love to open windows
for summers winds
When snow arrives, my windows
Hides behing blinds
We also open windows
Of mind and heart
And what seeps through those windows
Makes us smart.

I love my open windows
In house and heart.
 For with those open windows
Kindnes start.

May the sun shine through your windows in the coming week
Next Monday, Jenny decidedthe theme: humming - we've got to speak!

søndag den 24. november 2019

Genjuan Haibun Contest - 2013

 My contribution for 2013. Winners to be found here.

-- はいぶん --
 Summer was meant to be forever. And now I see white hairs in the mirror. I see wrinkles. My joints are stiff in the morning.
 I go for a walk in my garden. Its never changing perfection is depressing. The tick tock of the deer chaser ticking the time away. Never an awry tuft of grass to remind us of life, of what it's like to be human.
 I sit by the pond, watching the frogs jumping in. Faraway music reach my ears, someone is practising the same few stanzas over and over again. A late bee is buzzing, seeking nectar in the wilted flowers.
 Night comes.

Harvest moon hanging
turning leaves white as my hair.
Summer has ended

 My wife is calling from the open door. Tea is ready. The fire is crackling. We sit by the fire. The tea is hot and strong the heat soothing to my senses.

Haiku in my mind.
Old logs give off joy and warmth.
Bountiful autumn.

lørdag den 23. november 2019

Genjuan Haibun Contest - 2016

 Haibun for Genjuan contest 2016. Winners here.

-- はいぶん --

Thursday Night
After the procession everything is stripped bare. The flowers are carried away by whiteclad servants. Then the books, the candles, the clothing, even the ornaments and the chairs.
The crowd is watching; slightly incredulous, yet bowing to the inevitable.
Then the lamentations begin. Sometimes a voice raises over the others, the crowd joining in. But mostly there's silence in the dark.

Candles deep in prayer
Around the Lord's resting place.
Touched by red light.

fredag den 22. november 2019

Genjuan Haibun contest - 2018

  Some time ago, I received an invitation to the annual Genjuan haibun contest. I have participated for a couple of years, but as I was unable to see the literary qualities in the winning pieces, as compared to the contribitions of the non-winners, I just stopped sending in anything. As Lissa so aply writes on her blog:  
The few writing contests that I was involved in all had the one thing in common - all the winning stories are boring. I am not saying they shouldn't win, I'm saying why does the most boring story wins? Maybe these stories aren't boring, maybe they are for a more sophisticated audience so I can't understand them and that's why I think they are boring. They just seems to lack something exciting or meaningful to me. I don't know. I just don't understand it.
Now I try publishing my pieces here one at a time. Please tell me what you think.
Maybe I'm just exposing my own naiveté, then so be it.

-- はいぶん --

This was my entry for 2018. The winners and honourable menitonings can be found here.

    Finally reaching the bus stop; burden placed squarely at a conveniently placed electricity box. The few minutes until the bus arrived was best spent relaxing my arms and catching my breath.

Red-brown across road,
A tabby cat closely follows.
Safety in heights.

  Suddenly, tired lungs forgotten, parcels left at the bus stop, I found myself running, clapping my hands and yelling. Of course siding with the poor squirrel confronted by ferocious claws and jaws. Wouldn't we all do the same?

  Arriving at my home stop, once again picking up my parcels. An old man stands at the bus stop looknig confused, consulting time table and wrist watch again and agin.
 "I'm suffering from de ... erm ...dem ..."
 "Dementia,"  I kindly asked. On his nodding, I proceeded to explain the time table and telling him the time. He seemed to know where and why to go, only the intricate skills of relating a time table to a watch eluded him. I was not afraid to leave him on his own.

  Finally lifting my burden, I plodded on; ignoring the yells from inside the gym: "Bloody Hell, can't you ever stop doing that?"

Squirrels and old men,
Sunshine on heavy parcels
Sorry for children.

torsdag den 21. november 2019

Words for Wednesday -- 20 November -- Part 2

As Susan, Linda and their parents were preparing to go to bed in Granny's tiny spare bedrooms, Susan asked Mom why they never slept at Auntie G's place. "She even has a real toilet, not this smelly outhouse."
"Auntie G often work night shift, so she do not like other people sleeping in her home. I also think she often brings home friends after work. She won't disturb us, or let us disturb her."
Next morning after breakfast, which they ate in the garden by the flagpole, Dad said it was time to go home.
"Oh," Granny said, "I had hoped you'd have stayed for a couple of days, we need to have the roof re-thatched, and Auntie G and her girls can't help all day. Myrtle has as you all know, started her own life, and only come visiting occasionally, The two younger cousins have both taken various jobs around here, and Auntie G has been called to work all week. It seems a lot of the staff at the hospital is either ill or on holiday."
"Roof thatching?" Mum said, "I don't know anything about it at all."  
"Actually it's quite easy," Auntie G said. "I can teach you before i have to be off for work. It's not difficult at all, just tiring, that's why we need many people to do it. You have to sit in the attic, there's not much room, but it's OK, The thatcher does all the hard stuff on the outside, he then puts a giant needle in through the reeds. Our job is to return the needle to the outside, in the right spot."
"Oh that's what all those giant rolls of reeds outside is for," Linda said. They smell so good."
Cousin Helen stood up and emptied the coffee pot at the base of the flagpole.
"Does it grow?" Susan asked.
"No, I don't think so," Helen answered. She carried a tray full of stuff inside Granny's kitchen and soon after they could see her head bobbing away over the hedge, biking off to work.
"I'm off too" the youngest of the cousins said. "I'm helping out at a lawyer's office for the summer holidays," she said to Mum and Dad,
"Well," Granny said. "The thatcher will be here shortly. I'll do the dishes, Susan could you please help me dry?"
Granny's kitchen was like herself, old, worn, practical and full of nice smells. Susan quickly and carefully dried all the thin plates and cups they had used for breakfast, then all the silverware, the pots and pans and finally the big bowl used for dough. Together Susan and Granny put away all the things. while granny cleaned out the sink, Susan shook the coffee grinder in the small bin for coffee grounds.
A knock on the door startled them and Granny hurried out. Susan stayed in the kitchen, straightening things, watering plants and listening.
It was one of the ladies from the nearby tiny fishing village, one of the men down there had had an accident. Granny grabbed her bag and left with the neighbour.

Soon after, the thatcher arrived. Auntie G took first Mum, then Dad, who was rather too big to fit into the attic, then Susan and finally Linda up and showed them how and where to return the big needle to the thatcher. As she had said, it was tiring, but not difficult. They took turns returning the needle all morning, Granny returned while Susan was up in the attic, and could follow her by looking through the rafters. Susan saw her put her bag back on the hook go into the kitchen, she heard the refrigerator door, and then Granny came out carrying a basket, which she took into the garden to harvest strawberries, salad, kale and peas for today's lunch. She called on Linda to pull some carrots, and Dad to fill the through by the pump.
The thatcher ate together with them, he was a local, and soon he, Granny and Mum were talking of people, they knew, their children, cousins, uncles and aunts. Susan and Linda slunk away when the strawberries were all eaten. Rye bread with sliced strawberries tasted good. And the freshly smoked eel, which Granny had brought back from the fisher's village was delicious.
They did not work for long after lunch, as the thatcher ran out of twine, but he promised to return with more the next day.
 Auntie G returned early, and she, Mum and Granny took Susan and Linda for a walk. They went through the white painted gate in the back of the garden, along the brook to the fishing village, passing many rickety piers and teepee-like constructions of long poles. In the village many of the inhabitants greeted Granny, Mom and Auntie G.
 They turned right into a cobbled street, passing the smokehouse with its characteristic chimney and turned right once again on the big road. They walked on, past Granny's house and the pottery, past the big memorial stone and all the way out to where the road became hemmed in by water on both sides.
 Out there Granny opened her basket. It contained coffee, mugs and pastry. It was a treat, and they all sat in the grass eating and talking.
Susan went exploring, and found a tiny graveyard almost hidden by the rushes. She went back and asked Granny why people were buried out there.
"It's the pest-cemetery," Granny explained. "Your great-great-grandmother, my maternal grandmother, is buried there as well. Long ago, when the village here was much smaller than today, and the roads worse and the water more often inundated the roads, my grandmother lived here. She was a wise woman, some might have called her a witch. She helped birthing ladies, set broken limbs, cleaned and bandaged wounds, and made herbal teas for minor illnesses. You must remember that a journey to town was long and hard for an ill person, and a visit from the doctor cost a lot of money, which the serfs and fishers here did not have. You can see the castle out there. The baron closed the gates and put out guards when the plague came here. He and his family all survived,. My granny was not so lucky. She and all the other plague victims were buried here. But all this happened long ago."

onsdag den 20. november 2019

Words for Wednesday -- November 20

 Today I have been impatiently waiting for the words, frequently updating my browser. Luckily Elephant's Child's Wednesday is earlier than mine, Already Tuesday before dinner, I had the prompts. I had already written this installment, but of course, I had to see, where the words took us ... and the words are not words, but wonderful photos by Bill Dodds. I used only one of them. The other photo will get an installment of its own.
 Lissa's comment on Grandmothers, and of course Elephant's Child's never failing inspiration had set my writing juices flowing. I continue where I left off with nothing ventured ... 
  There's not much magic in this chapter, only a hint.
"Mom, why don't we visit Grandma and grandad?" Susan asked. It was a long shot, but Susan knew that Mom would like to visit her mother, and they were very near the place where she lived.
"Oh yes," Mom sighed, "why don't we. It is such a long ride down here, and I'm sure she would be happy to see us. It would be a perfect end to this not so nice visit to my home town."

"OK," Dad said. "nobody's expecting us at home before next Monday anyway. Let's raid the baker in town, while you 'phone auntie G and tell her to inform your mother that we're passing by."
"No, no, no!" Linda said, kicking Susan's shin soundly. "I want to go home! I want to be together with my friends, and my Mario-game is out of battery yet again. I think something's the matter with it."
"Now, Linda, don't be silly." Dad said. "Mom should be allowed to see her mother too, now we're so close. And give me that dastard thing. I'll get some new batteries and look at it. I'm not an electrician for nothing, girl. And I bet you'll have fun playing with your cousins once we arrive."
Luckily Auntie G was at home and yes, they could visit. Granny and grandad were at home too, and the gooseberries were ripe. 
Granny and grandad lived on a giant plot in a still rural area not far from the bigger town. They lived in a small, old timber-framed house in the end of the plot nearest the brook. In the other end lived auntie G, Mom's older sister with her three girls, all older that Susan, in a house she had built herself. Auntie G was a strong, independent spirit. She played the violin, and almost any other musical instrument, only not wind instruments. Susan adored her, Linda did not much care for her, but the three girls were fun to play with. They liked to tease and teach their younger cousins. Their idea of fun, was to gather all the children of the small hamlet, drag them around in the gigantic garden in a blanket and throw them into the air using the same blanket and the four oldest children each holding a corner of the blanket. Together they also sailed on the brook in Grandad's boat, made things from straws, harvested apples, carrots, gooseberries and what else needed picking in granny's big garden.  Occasionally someone got wet, and Granny's clothesline was always filled up after such a day. They also played tag in the garden, Susan and Linda both remembered NOT to hold onto the nasty Devil's walking stick growing temptingly on a sharp corner, but one of the other girls were forgetful of the danger and got her hand lacerated by the many sharp thorns.
  Then it was time for gooseberry picking, many of the children from near by went home, Granny handed out bowls. But first she and the youngest of Auntie G's girls caught the rooster inside the hen house. Rasmus, as the rooster was called, was a very angry specimen, he was big and beautiful with big, sharp spurs which he liked to use.
 Susan stood at a secure distance, between the old oak trees down by the brook, and peeped between two of the giants, while Granny picked up an old broom, she kept handy for this purpose. Lena hid behind the door to the chicken coop, and as soon as granny had chased Rasmus the Rooster inside, she slammed the door and latched it. Rasmus' sad crowings could be heard wide and far while they picked all the ripe gooseberries.
  As darkness fell, Linda and the two of the thee cousins sat outside Granny's kitchen, cleaning the gooseberries, while Susan, auntie G and the middle cousin went to Auntie G's house. There Auntie G pulled out a fiddle which she handed to Helen, she strummed a guitar and gave it to Susan, then she grabbed her accordion. She placed herself so that Susan could watch her left hand: "This is A minor," she told Susan, placing her fingers on the relevant keys, "And this is C." She quickly showed Susan the most used chords. "If I play a chord you haven't seen, or do not recognize, just continue with the one you came from, until you grasp the next one. Let's try the Riddle Song." Helen placed the violin under her chin, placed the bow on the strings and counted 1, 2, 3.
The first repetition was awful, Helen forgot to sing and Auntie G shook her head. "No, Susan, that was supposed to be A minor, not E. Let's try again." Slowly Susan learned, and the fifth time around she hit the right chords every time. They played and sung all 8 verses, and applauded themselves on a job well done.
Lena came and told them that dinner was ready. They all gathered in Granny's small living room, and ate fish, gooseberry jam, fresh potatoes, carrots and corn on the cob. The dessert was apple cake, which is not a cake, but apple sauce layered with butter-and-sugar toasted breadcrumbs topped with whipped cream and with small clots of redcurrant jam inside. It tastes much better than it sounds, and all of it got eaten.

mandag den 18. november 2019

Poetry Monday :: Neighbours

 Today is Monday, and Monday means Poetry. Today's theme is Neighbours from Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey.
 Also participating are:  Diane, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

We're living on a corner, so we have many neighbours
Some loud, some not,
some young, some old
Some single and some married,
None boring - very varied.

One loves to labour
on his fences each day
one wields a sabre
like a pirate at bay
And a couple have already hung out their lights
They make all the nigths and my living room bright.
And once in a while, from "Mount Tabor"
Two ladies come visit all neigbours.

It should have been longer, but I ran out of steam. 
Next Monday, Diane says, Windows is the theme.

lørdag den 16. november 2019

Words for Wednesday -- November 13

  I'm still playing catch up, using the words from Wednesday 13th. 
  If you want to see what everybody else have written with these prompts, then go here. Elephant's Child is, as all through November, hosting the words, but they're provided by Margaret and friends. 
  This might not be the best I've ever written. But here it is.  

... Add insult to injury


Nothing ventured ...

  Nothing ventured, nothing gained could almost be the motto of my life right now, Susan thought as she looked through the car window. The fields of the quiet farmlands were slowly giving way to sprawling industrial complexes and square living blocks of the suburbs of the town. Doll houses for giants was a phrase she and Linda had coined for those dreary living commodes on a past ride. They imagined at night when people were sleeping, the giant children would arrive, pulling out one floor of the blocks like giant drawers and play with furniture and inhabitants. This had to be the reason why so many people often woke up somewhere else, with hurting bodies and not knowing how they arrived there. And also - more innocently - why people could never find car keys, umbrellas, books, glasses and so on.
  But today Susan felt angry. Their stay at Unicorn island had been cut short. Only one day had Susan been able to go to the Farm and join the lessons. Then something had happened in the world and doings of grown-ups, and now they were on their way back to Susan's home town.
  And to add insult to injury, Linda was happy they were going home! She had obviously fallen out with Beth and Wilma, just as dad with their dad. Now she sat on her end of the backseat demonstratively humming happy going home tunes.
  Susan stuffed her fingers in her ears and tried to concentrate on the book in her lap.
  But she was going to show them!
  The Unicorn Farm had a few rooms for boarders, and she had asked for permission to stay in one of these. Now she just had to find a way to get back to Unicorn Farm to use that room. She really needed to. She had so much to tell and to ask. That whole story with the Gargoyle and the werewolves. And the magic bestiary. Thousands of questions bubbled in Susan's brain.

And now I think I'll have to take a small break in my posting. I hope Wednesday's words will bring my writing mojo back.

fredag den 15. november 2019

Words for Wednesday November 6

Another Wednesday have come and gone. I'm playing catch up, and am using the words from Wednesday 6th. If you want to see what everybody else have written with these challenging words, then go here. Elephant's Child is still hosting the words, but they're provided by Margaret and friends.  




Back on Danish ground they stopped at the first bigger rest area. "We'd better phone Dina and Kurt to tell them we're coming, and ask if they need anything," Mum said.
"I'll fill up the car too, it's no fun to run out of gas in the middle of nowhere," Dad said.
Linda and Susan went off to use the bathrooms and buy some magazines, now that they finally could read them with ease again. When they returned, Dad and Mum had long since returned. Mom had placed a shopping bag with a grilled hen and some cans of asparagus under her seat, and on her lap were three packages of ready made tartlets.
"I know that the filling for these are normally made from boiled, not grilled hen, but there's no way we can boil a hen in time for a merely late dinner. As it is, it'll still be late. Dina is making the sauce as we're driving, then we can assemble it all when we arrive."
Dad drove very fast, they joked about him getting a ticket for speeding should a police car be situated near by, but none such were abroad in the balmy June night.
They arrived at Dina and Kurt's summerhouse ate the "assembled" tartelets with lots of soft drinks and a beer for Dad and Kurt. then they slept.

Next morning Kurt was in a bad temper, he had always been choleric, but this morning was bad. It was the lack of his favorite morning cereals that brought on the fit. In the end Dina drove up to the supermarket near the bridge to go shopping before breakfast.
"Now, I have something on our agenda for today uncle Kurt said." And over breakfast he and aunt Dina told of their newest investments. Land.
"They are selling plots very cheap near one of the roads. If we buy them now, we can sell them later for a profit." Kurt enthused. "We looked at some plots last Wednesday, and we'd like you to come and see them as well. The man selling them is a former pawnbroker, he has already made a minor fortune buying and selling plots."
Mom sighed: "Well I trust your discernment, but I must admit that I've been looking forward to a relaxing day and a bath."
"Oh yes," Dina added, "and I want you to try my new Carmen curlers. They are fantastic."

A big, yellow dog came lolloping in, and brought a halt to the conversation. "Oh Hi. Rusty, old boy," Dina said and patted the big, fawning dog "Now mind that tail of yours."
Linda jumped. "Rusty! Then Wilma and Beth are here as well. May I leave the table." Mom nodded and Linda rushed out.
"Well Susan, I don't suppose you're keen to go plot-hunting with Dad, Uncle Kurt and Wilma and Beth's dad either, are you?" Mom asked.
"Oh, no," Susan answered, "I think I'll go visit the magician's family."
"Fine, then Aunt Dina and I'll have a girl's day in peace and quiet," mom said.
Susan ate slowly, and when the men had left, returned for a ruler, and left again, Aunt Dina turned on the radio. Harry Belafonte's voice filled the room:
Down the way
Where the nights are gay
And the sun shines daily on the mountaintop
I took a trip on a sailing ship
And when I reached Jamaica I made a stop ...
     Susan started singing together with him:
Down at the market you can hear
Ladies cry out while on their heads they bear
Ackee, rice, saltfish are nice
And the rum is fine any time o' year
But I'm sad to say I'm on my way
Won't be back for many a day
My heart is down
My head is turning around
I had to leave a little girl in Kingston town.
"I wonder what it is these crying ladies are carrying on their heads," Susan wondered. "The way he articulates the words are very charming, but not easy to understand. I'll have to ask my music teacher when summer holidays are done. Maybe he knows. Or my English teacher, she's younger, she'll be more understanding. And she loves funny words. I remember when she gave us a text containing anosmia. None of us knew what it meant, and we had the craziest guesses. Yes. I'll ask her."

Susan carried her plates to the sink and waved goodbye to Mum and Aunt Dina.

torsdag den 14. november 2019

Words for Wednesday 30 October

In my long, meandering tale I have now reached the words for October 30. If you're curious as to what other participants have done with them, please go and visit Elephant's Child.


 After a long, but totally uneventful day on the German motorways Susan and her family arrived at the port. Susan had slept most of the day, she did not normally sleep very much during a ride, the world was much too exiting, but yesterday night had been taxing in many ways.  She was still plagued with a mild uncertainty whenever she thought about Cerina. Maybe she should have brought the small gargoyle home with her after all. But then again, she would have been lonely, out of place and without any function, as Susan was sure, there were no werewolves in Denmark.
"We have lots of time before the ferry leaves," Dad came back and told them. "The first one is sold out, and there's over 4 hours til the next departure."
"We'll be home late then," Mom said. "Maybe we should visit Dina and Kurt in their summer house, I'm sure they are already there. It is Friday after all."  
"Oh, let's go and see the new mystery movie, while we're waiting," Linda said. "I've heard lots about it. And I saw posters in the big city we just passed."
"I'd like a haircut," Susan said. "I had planned a consultation with the hairdresser tomorrow, but we won't be hone in time for that, and my bangs are killing me. They are into my eyes all the time."
"OK," Dad said "Who wants to see the movie?" Only Linda raised her hand,
"Then Linda and I'll go and watch the movie," Dad said, "Susan you can probably find a hairdresser somewhere near the cinema, What about you, Elin?" Dad asked.
"Oh, I'll be fine, Mom said, I'll find a nice café, have a coffee and a cake and maybe go shopping for some cakes and candy. German sweet stuff is so good!"

They went back to the city they had passed on their way to the ferry, and easily found a place to park near the cinema. Mom and Susan walked a bit further up the main street, where mom found an Italian ice café. Susan easily found a hairdresser, as dad had foreseen. She was lucky because it  had been closed for a long time due to problems with their light fixtures, and had lost almost all their costumers, so they had an open slot immediately. Susan and the hairdresser quickly reached an agreement on the price of a haircut, and to Susan's joy, she was quick, efficient and not too talkative.
They all met back at the car, and drove away to the ferry.
On the ferry Linda told enthusiastically about the movie. "It was very scary, and that violin solo! It made my hair stand on ends. And the heroine ... her freckles were so cute, but she died. Horribly."
 Susan did her best to understand what Linda was saying as they stood on the windblown deck. looking at the setting sun reflecting in the sea's dancing surface. But she was unable to concentrate for long. It was a beautiful evening, and she looked forward to a stay on Unicorn Isle. 

onsdag den 13. november 2019

Susan in Paris 9

Cooper and Teiko were the first to return. They carried between them a creature mangled beyond recognition. It had a head, and some fur could be seen, but what was up and down in the bloody mound, they placed on the floor was not to be determined. Susan watched in horrid fascination. Then the lumps of flesh and bones started moving. Susan felt sick. but before she was overwhelmed, Granny stood at her side.
"Fill this dipper from the cauldron, and bring it to me. Careful. Do not touch the substance, before it has touched the monster there."
Susan did as she was asked, and she returned with a dipper full to the brim. Granny took it from her, and poured the grey green liquid all over the crawling mound of flesh and bone.  Suddenly the bones knit, and the flesh knew where to go. Once again they looked, transfixed as the shape turned more and more human.
"You," Granny whispered. " You're the miller of this town. Do you even know what you are, or rather were, until tonight."
"I know it not," the man whispered, "but I suspected it. I always got drunk, and hid in the cellar at the full moon, but this time I forgot. It was that dance."
"Well that dance, and a gargoyle, and a potion out of my cauldron also cured you. You are no more a skin turner or a lycantrope. What are you going to do now."
"I am cured? I will help build up what I have ruined, and marry the sweet Elsbeth of the swirling shirts. I'll spend two days a week to build and help the citizens of the town for free. Sundays I'll go to church, and on the remaining four, I'll build a new life for Elsbeth and me. And I'll help and recompense you in any way you'll deem necessary."
"I'll hold you to your promises," Granny said. "Now leave!"
Susan turned to the door, where Kensuke, Ella and  Liam came carrying one more wolf-human pile of meat and bones in a sheet. She left the house with Cooper and Teiko, hoping that there were no more of these not quite dead bodies around, or at last hoping she would not be the one to find it.

In all five werewolves were found and cleansed. They were all normal citizens, all having had a suspicion, but deeming werewolves superstition, they had tried to explain their illness under many other names.
None of them saw one another, or were told who they were, only that there were more of them. All pledged to live decent, helpful lives from now on, and Susan and the Mountaineers were sure Granny would hold them to their promises.

"And now, Granny said, as the last of the weres were found and cleansed, "It's time for us all to depart. It's almost midnight. you should all be at he hotel. I cannot thank you enough for your help tonight." She hugged them all soundly, blessing them and then she raised her spoon and chanted something that sounded like a lullaby. Suddenly they drifted trough the air, landing at the parking site in front of the inn.
They piled inside, and as Teiko, the last of them, crossed the threshold, the bell began tolling the midnight hour.
"We'll meet again in Denmark. We'll have to leave early tomorrow."  The Lion dancers said to Susan, and they all hugged one another.
"Gengonai!" Kensuke whispered, swishing his drum stick wand and suddenly Teiko's chirping sounded once again totally unintelligible in Susan's ears.
"Sayonara!" she said, one of the really few Japanese words Susan had learned.
Susan slept as soon as her head hit the pillow, and she dreamt of nothing at all during the night. Next morning she woke very late, and she was sure Granny had done something about this, as she had feared sleeping after seeing the werewolves changing shape.

When Susan and Linda climbed into the car, Susan looked up. And there, at the highest point of the house, where the eaves met, a grey green Gargoyle glistened in the early sun. Susan left the car and looked up. Very slowly one of the eyes closed, and opened again. It was Cerina. 

tirsdag den 12. november 2019

Susan in Paris 8

"And now we clean and brew!" Ella's Grandma commanded. Ella and Teiko cleaned the cauldron, careful not to touch the last drops in it. The other Lion dancers meticulously cleaned their tools, while Susan once again grated large amounts of the purple root. Granny gave Cooper another piece of wood for his grater, if possible even harder, but this time grey. "Wood from the Petrified forest. It's very hard indeed, drummer boy," she said with a loving smile and a pat on his head.   Liam was given another batch of crystals, grey and green for his mortar and pestle. And she handed Teiko and Kensuke something that looked like a snake's or a shark's skin, but Granny said it was from a small dragon.
 The distant howls got closer and closer all the time, urging them to work with speed and care. But as Granny once again stirred the cauldron, adding the shredded, grated or pulverized ingredients, the threatening howls of hunting, hungry wolves turned into the yelping sounds of hurt animals. And then it sounded as if all hell broke loose over the tiny hut. Snarls, roars, yelps, hooting and crashing, flailing falling, terrifying sounds resounded in the clearing in front of the house. Susan jumped to the window, and tried to peek through the shutters, but they were a perfect fit, not a single crack to see through. Ella and Liam was beside her, but Granny came over and gently steered them away from the window. "Dear children, you have done what can be done, trust the little one and the magic of my cauldron." They gathered around the fireplace.
"The second draught is ready," Granny said, "When all is quiet, we'll use it on Gargoyle and weres alike." She turned to Susan and looked her in the eyes: "That book is a treasure beyond compare. Could you let me have it for a while. I'll send it back, or even better yet send Ella and the Mountaineers up to you with the book when I'm done writing a copy for myself." 
Susan looked at Granny, drew a deep breath and answered: "Yes, you can. My wizarding school is still establishing itself, we can wait. And a visit from the Lion dancers would be a treat in my part of the world."

The sounds died off, not gradually, but as if cut by a giant knife, only a soft whimpering could be heard. And then a scratching at the door. Susan ran to the door, but she could not open it. "Careful my child, Granny said,. " Your heart is big, but the world is a dangerous place." She touched her giant spoon to the door - her wand Susan realized - and a small round hole, like a knot, opened. Granny put an eye to the hole, and looked out. "Yes. It's Cerina!" She announced, smiling from ear to ear and opened the door.
Cerina the gargoyle came through the door. She was wounded and had shrunk again, but she looked defiant and triumphant. "I did it," she said in a small voice. "All the werewolves are mortally wounded. You can dose them without danger."
"Susan, you take care of Cerina,   all the rest of you come here. Susan picked up the tiny gargoyle, and asked her what she needed.
"Wash me in pure water first, and then dip me in the cauldron." The potion in it removes almost all the magic from me again, I will become a normal gargoyle for a long time again. But I have my reward. One of the Weres had been attacked by one like me. He - the other gargoyle - is at the red, white and blue hotel next to the one you stay in."
"Do you want to stay here?" Susan asked, feeling a chill to her heart.
"Yes, gentle girl. "It would make me most happy not to be alone, to be able to defend this small town when the werewolves gathers again and maybe even rise a family."
What do I have to do, my pretty one?" Susan asked.
"Dunk me in the cauldron, and let me fly away before the potion takes full effect. We'll meet again." 
Susan did as the gargoyle had told her, and while she carried the little one to the door, she noticed the colours on wings and chest became more muted, grey green and stone- like. Crying she held the gargoyle up to her face on both palms, kissed the stone grey snout and whispered: "Thank you Celina, live long and prosper." The Gargoyle wept with Susan, two grey, round tears fell as marbles. "Keep my tears, they will be of help to you one day, Cerina said, and flew away, Susan stood as rooted, until her lithe silhouette was swallowed in the distance.

mandag den 11. november 2019

Poetry Monday :: Glasses

 A small break in my tale of Susan in Paris. 
 You'll have to dangle for a day, because today is Monday, and Monday means Poetry. 
 Today's theme is Glasses directly from Diane.   
 Also raking their brains writing poetry are: Jenny at Procrastinating Donkey, Mimi, and Merry Mae.

I wear a pair of eyeglasses, have done for many years.
It was a thing I did not like, it brought me many tears
For I was young and did not think those glasses were for me,
But then again the world is big, and I would like to see.
So I wear my glasses ev'ry day, it's the first thing I put on
and it's the last thing I take off whene'er my day is done.

But sunglasses are not for me, I like to see my town 
in red and yellow, blue and green and not in shades of brown.

An hourglass on the other hand is handy when I cook.
It tells me by the minute just how long it took,
Until my cake is brown and done, and when my meat is roast.
And finally, I'll raise my glass and then propose a toast
For glasses and for poetry, and for our gentle host. 

And a kangaroo photo for whomever need it. Just because I kan-garoo!

Kangaroos by SeanMack

 And next Monday's theme is Neighbours directly from Jenny.

søndag den 10. november 2019

Susan in Paris 7

Ella's grandmother was the archetypal witch from the story book, small tidy, grey hair in  a bun, jars and a big pot in the kitchen of a cozy house. Even down to the checkered apron and hooked nose. She was very kind, and heard the Lion dancers story with almost no interruptions. She bade Susan unpack the Gargoyle and clicked her tongue appreciatively as she saw it. "What a fine specimen! We'll have her back to life in a jiffy," she said.
"Her?" Susan and Ella said as one. "Oh yes, gargoyles can be female as well. How do you imagine small gargoyles are made?"
"Ohh" Susan said, getting a bit red in the face.
"Well, I spy many young helpers, Ella's grandmother said. What I need to do is rather time-consuming, and time is what we do not have." She took the book, handed out strange roots, fruits, gems, and pieces of wood with as many different tools and instructions. Susan peeled and grated a ginormous purple root, while Teiko and Kensuke chopped something looking like  cross between beans and sparrows' eggs. Ella stirred the big pot with a wooden spoon, watching over the wasters with an ease, that told the others that she might not herself be a witch, but she was sure used to helping granny in her magic workings. Cooper grated a black square of wood, very slowly. "Take good care now, drummer boy, you do not want your fingers grated along with the wood. It's old, seasoned Ironwood from our local Black forest!" Granny said. 
Liam finely pounded a bowl of blue and yellow crystals.

While they all worked, each as concentrated as could be, they once again heard the werewolves howling. The distant howl, was answered by yet another from down by the river, and then a shiver ran down their spines, for the next howl cam from close up, on the other side of the hut.
Granny assured them, that the werewolf was farther off, than is sounded, and that they had time for their job, if they worked diligently. And work they did.
When all was ready. Granny added the ingredients one by one to the boiling cauldron, all the time chanting and stirring the pot in complicated patterns. The steam rising from the pot changed colour with each ingredient, in the end looking like a twisted rainbow hanging over the pot. She carefully took the Gargoyle from the kitchen table, and dunked it into the bubbling, multicoloured brew.
As she pulled it up again, the figuring was dripping coloured drops. Granny put it back on the velvet square on the table. The gargoyle shook itself ever so slightly, and the colours shimmered and shifted. Fascinated, Susan and the Lion dancers watched as all the green, blue white, golden and brown colours went to the wings, the eyes, claws and beak, and in the end a perfect living gargoyle sat on the table in front of them.
"Good evening little one," Granny said.
The gargoyle flapped her perfect, green wings, opened and closed the shiny beak and ... answered: "Good evening. I'm  Cerina, the last of my kind. And I'm happy to be here tonight. I can smell the werewolves in the air. This is not a night for people to be out in."
"Not even ..." Susan said.
"No, gentle girl, not even witches and wizards. You all stay here, and prepare a cauldron full of the recipe on the next page. Leave the werewolves to me." The little gargoyle flew to the rim of the cauldron, drank down the contents, and then walked to the door. On the way out she nudged Susan's hand. Susan ran her hand over her eye ridges, down the perfectly curved horns, and caressed the pointy ears. "Oh, you're so pretty, Cerina. Take good care of yourself." They went together to the door, Susan's hand resting on the horns of the Gargoyle. When Susan reached the door, her hand were further away from the floor, than it had been.
"You're growing!" Susan exclaimed.
"Yes, you brewed a very potent potion for me tonight. Stay inside and brew me another one."
Cerina neared her face to Susan's and put her snout to her face, in something reminding of a kiss.
Susan opened the door, and once outside the quickly growing gargoyle shook herself and alighted in a whirl of dust and colours. She circled once over the house and took off in the direction of the river, where the savage howling of the werewolves could be heard coming ever closer. 

Susan stood looking after the flying shape until Granny came and pulled her inside.
"Our work is not yet done," she said. "You heard her just as well as I did.
"She was such a wonderful, wonderful sight," Susan said. I'm afraid what the werewolves are going to do to her.
"You'd be better off worrying what she will do to the werewolves." Granny said sharply. "Those horns, claws and beak was not made for decorative purposes. And the werewolves were human once. Never forget that."
Granny closed the door and with a sharp word of command she closed the shutters on all windows and doors.

... to be continued.

lørdag den 9. november 2019

Susan in Paris 6

Liam had ordered a tea with lots of edibles among those the famous Schwarzwälder Kirschtorte, for all of them when Susan returned to the table. For some time the only words were food related, everyone was hungry. But slowly everybody had sated their hunger, Kensuke told the story of how he and Teiko had started up with the Lion dance in Australia, and how they had come to Germany and set up a branch here.
"We wanted to re-name it," Teiko said, "Prosperous Mountain is far away, but we still need a new name."  
"Yet so far Ella is our only native acquisition," Cooper said smiling, " We need more locals to join us."

Teiko poured fresh tea, and without talking they all filled up a plate with tidbits and asked the waitress to clear the table, The sun had set, the terrace was emptying with the onset of the colder night. Susan placed the wrapped gargoyle in the middle of the table. She then proceeded to unwrap the red linen and the black velvet cloths from the figurine.
"Wow, he's a beaut." Liam exclaimed.
"I dare bet he is one of the good gargoyles defenders of humanity and such," Teiko said, tracing the slender, gracefully curved claws.
"Yes," Susan said, "but I did not tell you the whole truth. This one is alive. I saw it wink at me at the flea market, and not only once, but twice."
"Lend me your book," Ella said with a small laugh. "I'm sure there's some clues in it, and I am able to read the old German print, no probs."
Susan handed Ella the old book, and as she began reading, the others sat watching the moon rise over the forest behind the river. The moon was big, full and reddish. As it cleared the topmost branches of the trees, a howl sounded from afar.
"Are there wolves in Germany?" Teiko asked.
Ella looked up from the bestiary: "No, not this far west, there might be some behind the Iron curtain. News from there are sparse, but this side, no. And before you ask, no there's no Zoo around here either."

Teiko looked at Kensuke, but he was looking at the moon.
"It's full," Teiko said.
"Could it be .. werewolves?" Kensuke said in a dead voice.
"Werewolves?" Cooper said. "Do they exist outside of horror movies and swords and sorcery books?"
"Oh yes they do," Teiko said, "and they're a dangerous lot. And they have it in for Lion dancers and wizards, I don't know why."
"Can we do anything." Susan asked "I mean I'm a witch as well. What about you, Teiko?"
"Yes, but ..." Teiko said, "I only just began in school, I'm not very skilled."
Ella interrupted: "But this book, it's full of magic. I can't do magic, but my grandma sure can. And here's a chapter on bringing gargoyles, golems and such to life. I'm sure she could do it."
They looked at Ella with renewed respect. In the silence more howls, and closer now, were heard from the woods.
Liam spoke up for the first time since werewolves got mentioned: "Time to visit your granny, then. Where does she live?"
"Very close. Let's get going!"
Susan carefully swaddled the Gargoyle figuring and put it in her bag. "Hey, Liam, hold my bag, please, and Ella, just a sec, Gotta tell my parents, I'm off."

"Visit Ella's Granny?" Mom asked, "now? And to show her the Gargoyle, Strange lot those lion dancers, but OK. You're home before the reception closes at midnight."
"Yes, mom, thanks!" Susan said and ran back down the stairs.
They were ready to leave, and Ella led them to a perfect miniature house in a clearing in the forest east of the town.

fredag den 8. november 2019

Susan in Paris 5

 When finally the drummers and dancers stopped, the Sun was almost at the horizon.
Susan looked around, walked back and forth from the place, where they has stood, but Mum, Dad and Linda were nowhere to be seen. She looked once more for good measure, even walking to the opposite end of the square. Nope, they were gone, she was lost.
"Well," she thought to herself, "the hotel lies at the river, I'll just follow it back, It's not as if I was in the middle of Paris. And if I get totally lost, I bet my German is good enough to ask for my way to a green and white hotel."
 She started to walk through the throngs on the square, many people were still standing, talking, drinking beer or eating grilled chicken in larger or smaller groups. She reached the end of the park, and there were the two lions, pulling off their big masks and stretching their backs.
 "G'day, mate" one of the Lions said in funny sounding English. "I'm sorry I surprised you. I did not hurt you now, did I?"
 Susan recognized the Lion who had bitten her arm: "No, you did not hurt me, but I did not see you coning close to me. How did you do that?"
 "How did I do what?" he asked.
 "Sneak upon me like that. You're not exactly invisible in that big mask. But I did not see you near me, until suddenly you bit me? Some kind of magic, I suppose, was it the drums or the words from that black clad boy?"
 "Huh," the  Lion said, "you got me there mate. It's Kensuke. He's the magician here. And I'm Liam. The girl drummer is Ella, and the boy drummer is Cooper. The other Lion is a girl, Teiko, very Japanese. Do you care for a cuppa?"
"I'm Susan from Denmark. Do I care for what, sorry?"
"A cuppa - some tea?"
"Yes please. I'm lost anyway, a cup of tea sounds nice."
"Lost?" Liam asked. "What do you mean?"
"I arrived in town earlier today with my family, we went here together, but after your performance the rest of my family, Mom, Dad and a sister, was nowhere to be seen. But I'll find my way back to the hotel we stay in. It's by the river."
 Liam turned to the rest of the Prosperous Mountaineers and shot a stream of strange sounding syllables at them. Teiko answered with a shot affirmative sound, Cooper just looked blankly at him, and Kensuke answered with an equally long sentence. Susan thought it to be Japanese. She had never heard anything like it.
"Kensuke asks about the colour of your hotel, and admits to enchanting you. Teiko also thinks tea is a good idea." Liam said, very staccato.
 Kensuke slowly said: "This is dumb. Over here all."
 They gathered around him, he took a drumstick, moved it in a pattern, Susan recognized from the language spell and said: "Gengo!"
"Hello everyone, I'm Susan from Denmark." Susan said. "I live in a green and white hotel near the river and I'm happy to meet you!"
"A hotel where everything is white and green?" Teiko asked. "Like a castle. We live there too."
"Let's get all the gear into the Ute," Liam said. " We can drink our tea on the big terrace by the water."
Everybody helped get drums, lion masks and costumes stored in the back of the pick up, and they all piled into the five seats, Susan on  top of Liam.
"Hey! That bag is heavy. Do you carry bricks in there?" Cooper asked, as he handed her the bag.
"Nope, it's a gargoyle." Susan answered.  And interrupted by questions from the Mountaineers she told the story of the old book, their stay in Paris and the winking gargoyle at the market.  
 Meanwhile Ella drove the pickup through the crowded, narrow streets of the small German town. Susan ended her tale as she deftly parked it near the Hotel's riverside terrace.
 Mom, Dad and Linda sat near the doorway to the hall.
"Where did yo go?" Susan asked them.
"We told you, we'd go back," Mom said. "We were hungry and that Lion dance was boring. You seemed to enjoy it, though. Did you not hear us?"
"No, I did not, I think the drums were too loud. I met the band on my way home, they're nice, and they also live here. We drove back together. Is it OK if I eat with them?"
"Yes, do," Mum answered. "We have already eaten."

... to be continued.