The world is going to end in a couple of weeks, or so some
believe, so best hide in the mountains to survive the prophesied flood or meteor
Or why not spend two weeks drunk, stuffing your face with your favourite
cakes or your preferred food of choice?
Jasmine doesn’t need no end of world hype to realise the
human race is in nose dive, what with scientific advancement bringing
mass destruction that much closer.
But hey we can have boob jobs and inject Botox, become cartoon clones, self obsessed and swallowing
whole the mass media’s drone drone drone.
Jasmine has switched off her phone, her computer, instead walks down the precinct watching the
world: the masses making their way home weighed down
with Christmas purchases they queued for in claustrophobic shops, stressed to the bone.
At least if the world ends they’ll go out on a shopaholic
high, crammed in the supermarket aisle, trolley heaped high, texting as they
Be grateful you can’t hear what this lass is saying. Burn your
ears it would and scorch your hair too. She’s forthright alright especially
when contentious matters are at hand, ones brushed under the carpet or hidden behind
Meat eating, Monsanto, consumerism, air transport, drone
wars, vivisection, genetic modification, the arms trade. Ow! My ears are red as
rashers and I’ve only been stood next to her for five minutes!
Yes, luv, I do get your drift, if it’s not an environmental
disaster that’ll see us all off then its Extra Terrestrials or robots taking over. Failing that a global-tribal genocide or nuclear
And in the meantime we’ll gonna become genetically modified clones
spending our lives micro-chipped and controlled by some Big Brother consortium
of billionaire shareholders.
needs her prescription pills. Pop over luv will you with 'em, you remember the
way don’t you to her new flat? Through the trading estate under the bypass and
over the bridge and it’s opposite the Inn.
“Watch out for those dealers with their
mean dogs. Don’t look any of them in the eye and if they give a whistle don’t
stop or hang around admiring that graffiti as I know you’re wont to do.
straight there and back and make sure she takes her medication while you’re
there, she forgets half the time...and give her these extra strong mints for
“See you in time for tea and don’t
forget I’m off out with the girls tonight, its 80s night at The Palace!” Thus spoke Little Red Riding Hood’s mum whilst doing
Having finished her texting Little Red put the pills in her bag and set
off through the trading estate, under the bypass and over the bridge.
her mother warned her was stood a leery bloke, staffie at side, peddling drugs.
He whistled to her and his dog snarled.
“Where you off to?” said he.
“I’m going to my Granny’s, taking her
her prescription.” She replied.
“How about some
more to add to the mix, these’ll be sure to give her a bigger hit than those
pills. Here luv, why not take some? They’ll put a smile on your face too, could
do with it if you don’t mind me sayin’ so.”
“No ta.” said she. “Not for me that
stuff.” She turned her back and walked away, but bloke and dog
followed, and gave her the creeps they did.
“Don’t know why you’re following me.
They won’t let you in the block of flats where Granny lives, it’s new, with
lots of security.”
The dealer clocked which block she meant
and an idea formed in his head. He called his dog.
“Oi, Fang, come ’ere, let’s be off.” And
with that they were gone.
Little Red breathed a sigh of relief and ran along,
bangles jingling, to her Granny’s flat where the site manager kindly let her in
having rung her Granny on the intercom to confirm her identity. Once up on the
first floor she knocked on the door and she heard her Granny call out in a
deep, gruff voice.
“Yes, dear, do come in, the door is
unlocked.” She must have a cold thought Little Red, so she quietly opened the
door to see her Granny lying on the settee with a duvet pulled right up to her
ears. She had a woolly hat pulled down over them and wore huge sunglasses.
“Granny you don’t half look weird. “ Red
was not one for beating about the bush. “Do you really need those shades on in
“Why yes dear, had laser surgery I did
last week to sort out me cataracts. Will be able to see you all the better next
week when the bandages are off.”
“Granny, what a strong smell of dog
there is in here.” A lump moved under the duvet and growled.
“Aaagggh yes me dear, t’is just me
belly, not been behavin’ as it should, it’s all those branflakes for breakfast
the doctor keeps recommending me, gives me right bad wind. Apologies for the
“Granny, what big hands you have and
those tattoos, I never knew you had them!”
“Aaaggghhh, the bloke next door,
Frankie, was a tattoo artist in his time, still does tats now and then and I always fancied a tat. Nice eh?”
“Granny, what big teeth you have, you
got some new falsies?”
“Yes, dear, and
all the better to kiss you with!”
With that Granny jumped off the settee,
threw off the hat and shades and leapt on top of Little Red. It was none other
than the dealer with his dog in tow who grabbed her ankle with his nasty sharp teeth.
Little Red screamed like never before as the dealer put his hand around her
throat and tried to force several pills down it.
Turning her head and gasping
for air she caught sight of the orange emergency cord hanging from the ceiling.
With a massive surge of strength she reached out and pulled it. A moment
later Pam the site manager was heard over the intercom. “Nancy, are you alright
dear? We’re on our way!”
The dealer froze at the sound of the
Yorkshire vowels of Pam, leapt off Red, ran over to the window and threw
himself out. There was a horrific shriek of pain as he impaled himself on the
circular washing line.
After a quick search Little Red's Granny was found
locked in the bathroom and high as a kite. A strong brew and several tots
of whiskey later she came around, quite disappointed to find she wasn’t sat in bed
with Roger Moore as she believed herself to be.
She related how a bloke she thought to
be a window cleaner had come in for a cuppa and had dropped some special
sweetener pills into her brew. The last thing she remembered was feeling like she was eighteen years old and jiving like a demon with Roger Moore, her hair back-combed and him in a sharp suit.
The dealer was driven away in an ambulance
having been resuscitated by Pam which to be honest was the last thing she
wanted to do but as site manager and trained up to the eyeballs in saving
lives, she did her duty.
And Fang the staffie? Well, the police
wanted him put down but Little Red objected so vociferously she was allowed to
keep him so long as she took him to obedience classes which was asking a lot
she thought, but they both survived the ordeal.
Little Red came out of her tussle with the dealer relatively unscathed, though the teeth marks of Fang did stay with her for the rest of her life like a tattoo around her ankle.
Sometimes I see them walking down the
street, her with her music in her ears and him pissing on posts and scavenging
chips dropped on the pavement by kids.
works down the 24 hour out-of-town massive monstrosity of a supermarket
though really she’s a musician but with all the pubs closing down gigs are
getting hard to find so she does shifts down the supermarket for some extra
cash part time. She spends several hours a day in a blue checked shirt pushing up
and down the aisles a trolley with a computer stuck to it picking shopping for customers who've
ordered their shopping online.
as her name badge reads, was talking to a customer when I saw her last week, about
how their speed was ranked compared to other workers on the same job,
the fastest picker being top of the list. If their speed was too slow a section on their
computer screen would change from green to red.
“The dreaded red, warning you to get
a move on or else!” Teresa said.
“And if your position isn’t near the top it makes you feel a
failure, that you're letting the ‘team’ down. And they tell you off.”
“Poor you having to
work under all that pressure! What ranking are you then?” asked the random customer.
“Third from bottom.”
“Can’t be arsed with the pressure to compete and be best. It’s
all a psychological game to make us work harder for no extra pay. Stuff that. I
used to think it mattered, but now I know better.”
As she said that I caught a glimpse of a manager glaring at
her from the aisle end.
“Oh there’s the boss, poor him squashed between top management and us lot. He has to try so hard, hype himself
up, it’s like a pantomime.”
With that the lady,
slightly embarrassed at Teresa’s forthrightness moved on and dropped a massive packet
of teabags into her trolley.
ends the tale of Teresa, employee and exceptional musician whose gig down The Traveller’s
Rest I’m going to this weekend and looking forward to it I am too.
other night I walked to the Traveller’s Rest pub and a biting night it was too.
Frost glistened upon rooftops and the roofs of cars sparkled, it was quite
All in all I was glad to be within the warmth nestling behind the old oak doors and to be asking for my usual brew, a golden real ale with a packet of salted nuts. And luck was with me as I gained a fireside seat: upon entering the lounge a couple on seeing me swiftly vacated their place which I put down to the damp dog smell of my scraggly mutt.
I made myself comfortable and the mutt sniffed around for old crisps on the
floral carpet and I glanced across to the window seat and espied a couple of
They were in fact conversing upon the subject of how
to better themselves as they both worked down the local 24 hour supermarket,
one in the warehouse unloading lorries and the other on tills. They debated a
move to Spain to work in better climes abroad in the bars of the Costas. I thus engaged them upon the subject and this story
unfolded as told by the one with stubble and a mobile which regularly shivered
and lit up beside his half drunk pint.
They said a mate of theirs worked for a while on a
farm in Glamorganshire for a couple called Rowli Pugh and Catti Jones who were
known to have bad luck. Their wheat was always patchy, their lambs sickly, their
Landrover kept breaking down and their tractor had permanently unresolved
hydraulic problems. On top of this Catti was depressed and thus rendered
incapable of doing a moment’s work.
day Rowli was sat upon the wall of his yard contemplating the drastic step of
selling up in order to improve their lot by emigrating to Spain where property
was cheaper and they could find some work, surely. And all that sunshine! While he was mulling over his woes an old man turned
up, shepherd’s crook in hand, and asked why it was Rowli had such a gloomy
countenance. Rowli was about to pour out his problems when the old bloke piped
“Don’t worry mate, hold yer tongue for I know more
about you than you know and you’re going nowhere, I’ll make sure that your life
becomes one of contentment right here. Tell the missus to leave a candle
burning tonight when she goes to bed and every night henceforth.”
With that the old man or Ellyll as he in fact was,
that is to say Fairy in more modern parlance, upped and offed.
turned the conversation over in his mind and concluded that yes, he would tell
his wife Catti Jones that an old man had said she must light a candle each
night before bedtime and their luck’d change. And Catti would probably laugh
her head off at such an idea. But what had they to lose? So that’s the angle he
took and that’s the angle that got Catti to dig out the candles and light one
having put the cat out and brushed her teeth.
And it’s a fact that from the next day onwards their
life did change. When they went down in the morning to put the kettle on for a
cuppa the previous day’s washing up was washed and put away. There was a
freshly baked loaf on the table, croissants and a fat chocolate cake. The dirty
washing was drying on the line clean and crease free and the bathroom was immaculate.
And their home brew was bottled and ready to be enjoyed.
Each night Catti would light a candle before bedtime
and by morning the baking, brewing and washing was all done. Rowli now always
had clean clothes and bed sheets, tasty bread and well brewed beer and it made
him feel like a new man, and he worked like one.
For Catti it was the make-over
she’d always needed and she set up a business from home selling scented candles.
Their farm prospered, the grain grew thick and strong, the pigs were the
fattest at the market and the lambs too. They had a conservatory built and a
gravel drive snaked up to the farmhouse where an eight grand Aga sat in the
kitchen and double glazing kept the Welsh weather out.
Thus their life continued thus for a full three
years until Catti could contain her curiosity no more. When Rowli
was snoring one night she sneaked down the stairs and opened the kitchen door a
she saw the Fairy Folk busily making bread and beer and dancing and laughing as
they did so. Catti was so bemused by the sight she burst out laughing and in an
instant they scattered in a whirl of fairy dust and the kitchen was silent.
and Catti’s luck stayed with them however which is often not the case when the Fairy
Folk are spied upon.
The blokes in The Traveller’s Rest confided to me
they were hoping for a similar chain of events by sitting on the car park wall by
their block of flats that night looking miserable as hell in the hope an Ellyll
would appear. Slurring his words the stubbled one said they were off down the
supermarket right now for some candles to light each night they were so desperate
to escape their dead end jobs, overdrafts and singledom.
Though the thought did cross my mind that hanging
around a car park late at night was asking for trouble, not from Otherworldly
Folk but from the police. But I kept my mouth shut. Anyway, all said, good luck to ye lads, I hope the
It’s not just the housework: scrubbing scum from the bath
and scraping food from the sink so the mice don’t get fat, but the whole task
of living that makes her irate. The repetitive letters spewed out by government
computers threatening her with a court case, a fine, imprisonment,
transportation to Tasmania (mmm...maybe not a bad thing) for missing a payment.
Indeed until not that long ago she'd read they transported folk to Van Diemen’s
Land for poaching a rabbit, cutting down a tree without
permission or spending a month in the company of travellers. Beware those of no
Mind you, thought she, the past was a bloodthirsty place
with twenty thousand day-trippers flocking to public hangings to view in the
flesh (no internet back then) those unfortunate enough to be tagged deviant and hung from the scaffold.
Picture the crowd scoffing their picnics dressed in
their best for this much discussed social event hyped up by cheap pamphlets detailing
the ‘final words’ and grimaces of those lawfully murdered.
And if the powers that be today had their way she’s sure
they’d reintroduce such measures of population control to keep at bay all those
benefit fraudsters and ne’er-do-wells. And media entrepreneurs would publish
blogs detailing the last gurgles of the publically murdered, share
pictures and tags. Oh how the ‘likes’ would multiply and all that revenue from
Thus is the turn of her mind whilst doing
the washing up. Makes her go Ggggrrrrr!!!!!!!!!!!
White rabbits are the deftest darting under the shed, the decking or into the garage mess. Why ever did she get a rabbit? To save it
from a cooped up pet shop cage and as a symbolic gesture
for all those rabbits experimented upon in barbaric labs, chemicals rubbed in
their eyes, their brains opened up.
Thus she lives on edge having liberated this fiend of
fleetness that eats her French marigolds and taunts her terrier that shakes
like a leaf at one whiff of rabbit smell: terriers have been honed down the centuries to
be ratters and rabbiters extraordinaire, the poacher’s dream on a moonless
night. But in suburbia he’s another white test of the nerves as he lunges for
the liberated rabbit disappearing behind the barbeque, rediscovering her wild
rabbit ancestry in this modern world.
Tho recently the fleet beast did disappear for a few nights...off
after a mate or tastier dandelions on the other side of the fence? She even
suspected the fat ginger tom down the road had finished her off. But white
rabbit reappeared munching nonchalantly a couple of days ago.
Maybe in the end a neighbour will flatten her one night with
his four wheel drive on the smooth tarmac of the cul-de -sac or an urban fox
will commit the final act. Not a nice end for the twitchy red-eyed madam bringing
all these thoughts of death...
So she prays she long continues her escapade and
doesn’t get caught on CCTV eating the neighbour’s much lauded sweet peas.
She’s been hearing birds recently, even above the growling traffic of the urban grey. It must be something to
do with spring and the blackbirds at dawn and dusk, the prehistoric shriek of
the gulls scavenging bins and the chit chat of sparrows on branches as she makes her way to
In fact she’s begun imagining herself to have wings that lift her up over
the streetlights and tarmac to blue skies, away from the rush hour fumes and angst,
all those creased faces who’d give anything to be on holiday or under the duvet
Her wings stretch six foot to each side and she’s climbing high.
If you happen to be in Cornwall you may see on a map the word Fougou and wonder what it’s all about. A Fougou is a dome-like chamber and tunnel built underground where fluorescent green moss thrives and which was used for anything from rituals, wild parties, a grain store, a stash place for smugglers or travelling fair folk, and as a place for witches to meet to make magic in the depths of the night. The word Fougou is derived from the Cornish word for cave, fogo, and they can be dated back to Neolithic folk.
At Trove near Land’s End a tunnel leads from a Fougou all the way to the local manor and the Bucca-boo, the Devil Himself, has often been heard playing his pipes under the parlour where he parties with witches who have travelled in the form of hares through the Fougou to dance to his music. Sometimes they brought their familiar, a black cat, adding delightful meows when their tails singed in the fire.
Even by day many locals were afraid to enter a Fougou as they believed Spriggans lived there guarding treasure, which is still buried there to this day if you care to dig a hole and risk their wrath.
In fact Fougous have long been feared as being places rife with evil spirits so it’d be wise not to take a spade with you, or metal detector for that matter.
Back in the old days women would say to their squawking babies they would leave them down the Fougou for the Bucca-boo to whisk them away to the Otherworld if they didn't hush up. It tended to do the trick.
At Pendeen near Land’s End a Fougou called the Vow stretches from the nearby manor to Pendeen Cove. A spirit in the form of a beautiful lady dressed in white with a red rose in her mouth appears there at dawn on Christmas Day over the turquoise ocean to warn of death, and is known as the Spirit of the Vow.