Thursday, 30 June 2011

Tuesday, 28 June 2011

Hop across to The world from my porthole

I have just received an award from two lovely bloggers, Cheryl from Kangaroos of the Scrubby Bush (sorry Cheryl, but I'm from the Benny Hill generation and a title like that is bound to make me snigger), and Kelly Garriott Waite at Writing in the Margins, Bursting At The Seams (now that makes me think of an educated Victorian woman scribbling in stays, working hard to be noticed for her body and her prose).

Now, as well as saying thank you, I know I am meant to do something before I can accept this award.

I know you don't get anything for nothing.

But while I figure out just what it is I have to do, hop across to my other blog, The World from My Porthole, for a sweet slice of life in the Ionian as Mr Grigg and I celebrate his special birthday today in western Greece.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 23 June 2011

Only fools, horses and Mr Grigg

So it's Mr Grigg's Big Birthday. He walks into the office to find his desk covered in balloons, cards, presents and a big Happy 60th banner.

He is overwhelmed by the surprise, which includes a large box from The Bristol Cider Shop, full of bottles, a polypin and rather nice looking chutney.

A little later he goes to the gents and comes back to find two young women dressed as police officers in his office.

He sits in his chair, leans forward and rubs his hands together and says: 'OK. So get on with it then.'

His secretary, behind them, shakes her head and waves her arms. Very slowly and with exaggerated mouthing, she mimes: 'No, they really are police officers.'

Sometimes I think I am married to Del Boy Trotter.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 21 June 2011

Waking up the neighbours

The sky today is very strange.

I drop off a letter to the county council Death Star and walk to the gym, to sign up for a stone off in weight and a reduction in wobble factor.

As I walk to the gym entrance, with pictures of toned physiques and body-sculpted, weird looking people accosting me, I look up at the sky. There are two sets of clouds, one close and one distant. The close ones are whirring to the right and the distant ones are going to the left. I look away. It makes me feel dizzy.

I think this is how going to the gym on a regular basis will make me feel.

Back at the Grigg abode, I discover via Facebook that I can't have my Pelly Sheepwash fix because my friend has shingles and I haven't even had chicken pox.

Now I am not good at close contact, even with family, but I make an exception with people like Pelly (and Mrs Bancroft, Tuppence and the fragrant Mrs Putter). It's not all about me, for goodness sake, Pelly is in pain, but this reluctant hugger is a bit hacked off because I can't say a proper goodbye before going on holiday.

So I take Mr Grigg out for a very nice meal and whinge about people (our village hall neighbour included) who move to the countryside and complain about things that have been like that for years. I then listen to three farmers comparing notes about the pub cuisine around these parts.

Generally, farmers favour places that serve big portions, but this trio are a bit more discerning.They come up with the same top three as me, only they don't know I am listening. When they make disparaging comments about other places, Mr Grigg restrains me from saying 'hear, hear', reminding me my role is just to listen and observe.

We come home to The Enchanted Village, pub closed, all quiet, and just the lights on in Champagne Charlie's front room to greet us in the Square.

Mr Grigg sidles up to the neighbours' window. Through the glass we can see the TV screen flickering, Newsnight bellowing out and Champagne-Charlie in his low-slung arm chair, mouth agape. We tap on the window but he is dead to the world. Jeremy Paxman has no sway in this household, and neither do we.

So later, Mr Grigg, now in bed, tries Skyping Mrs Champagne-Charlie. She answers, takes one look at his naked chest propped up against the pillows, says a few words, mutters about a problem with the picture and then hangs up.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 18 June 2011

A countryside scene

High up on Blubell Hill, if you look out between the twin pines, a tableau is laid out before you, a tableau of green and brown with a ceiling of blue. In the distance you can see the sea, a few miles away.

Turn around back towards the hill top and you will see Mr Grigg doing his exercises. He touches his toes and a spaniel runs through his legs. He reaches down one side of his thigh and then down to the other.

This is his three-times-a-week routine, so if you ever venture up here and see a strange man stretching on the hilltop, you will know exactly who it is.

Inland, you gaze from a gateway down through the fields planted with maize, the straight lines giving perspective to this picture and pointing you in the direction of The Enchanted Village.

In the Square, the church bells are ringing for a farming wedding. You see people in their village finery, women with fascinators in blow-dried hair, little children in Sunday best and strapping young men in top hats and tails.

Tonight there will be a party in the village hall. And among the guests will be Number One Son, who is coming home to celebrate his old school friend's nuptials.

And woe betide the man who lives over the road from the hall should he decide to make a countryside scene and complain about the noise. This farming family is known far and wide. They're the Ewings of Lush Places. He might just find himself up a hayrick without a ladder.

And quite right too.

That's about it.

Love Maddie

Tuesday, 14 June 2011

All the fun of the fun day

The mist clouds encircled The Enchanted Village either side of Fun Day and scarecrow festival weekend, as the international bunting flapped against a backdrop of an ominous grey sky.

My global village scarecrow fell apart three times, his straw innards billowing out in protest at the indignity of it all. He was meant to be a French onion seller but a distinct lack of onions in the Grigg household called for a sign proclaiming an EC onion shortage due to the E.coli crisis.

This led to Monty Chocs-Away putting up a competing notice that pointed people to E.coli-free onions 200 yards away, where a much superior French onion seller scarecrow was on display outside his mansion.

As the parade roared around the village toward the opening ceremony, like a boy racer in search of a speed trap, Ding Dong Daddy and his merry men and women tried to keep pace with thestandard bearer from the Royal British Legion.

Up on the village green, the gastropods in the snail race were refusing to come out to play because it was so cold. They slithered around in circles before bundling up on the middle of the race track, desperate to get warm.

A tramp stopped by for free tea and biscuits, the chocolate fountain solidified and a man with strange eyes jangled coins in his trouser pockets (at least we think it was coins) when the shivering and straw-boatered Pelly Sheepwash supplied him with just one cornetto, the only ice cream sale of the day.

The Russian skittles did the polka and Randy Munchkin tried to keep score.

The takings from the Human Fruit Machine went missing, only to be found later in the pushchair of Mrs Bancroft's newborn grandson.

But do you know what? It didn't rain. And everyone agreed, it was the best fun day weekend yet. Until next year, when we have the Queen's Diamond Jubilee to look forward to.

Here's a clip of The Village Band's last number:

Sorry for the abrubt ending. The cold also had fun with my camera.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Friday, 10 June 2011

A world party - or will it rain on our parade?

There's a bishop's mitre in the hallway, a Greek urn on the bed. There's a pair of Gladiator sandals on the cushion and an old sheet about to be transformed into a gown for an Athenian goddess.

The Lidl bags are full of cider, little beers and dozens of fruit shots. And there's a handful of kids' colouring books from the pound shop, ready for unwrapping to be used as prizes on the wheel spinner.

In Champagne-Charlie's garden next door, a frame hangs like a crucifix waiting to be dressed. In the Grigg household, there are a few props and an idea ready to explode if only I had the inclination to feel creative. Across the way at the Bancrofts, they haven't even started to think about what they're going to make.

And as the village fete, parade of banners and scarecrow festival gets nearer by the hour, there are curses from garages as chicken wire is stuffed into trousers, straw into old checked shirts. A limb here, a limb there, a headless torso, a head without a body. We are all getting too old for this. This is meant to be fun.

And then one of the main organisers - due to be on the plate smashing stall with Mr Grigg tomorrow - breaks his thumb and will have to direct things, like Zeus from Mount Olympus, in toga and bandage.

The bagpiper is double booked and the face painter is unwell.

And, as Bubbles tests out her ping pong balls next door (it's not a rude game, believe me), Tuppence shimmies into her grass skirt for the hula hooping competition and Pelly Sheepwash puts on an Italian accent to take orders at the ice cream stall.

Mr Loggins is excused fancy dress after a nasty little operation while Darling strings a garland of flowers together for the Hawaiian coconut shy. Manual is trying on his French maid's outfit for the snail race and tickling Mrs Regal Bird with a feather duster. Mr Putter is growing a pigtail for the Chinese tombola.

Nobby Odd Job will have corks around his hat for the Aussie barbie while Lady Friend will be performing Annie Get Your Gun behind the Wild West bar. Mrs Mabel Lucie-Attwell is Native American and the fragrant Mrs Putter will be something exotic, like a sweet smelling lotus blossom.

The skittles have been painted as Russian dolls and will be manned by a team led by Randy Munchkin, with deep pockets full of vodka.

Caruso and his singers are practising their Hungarian rhapsodies while Ding Dong Daddy and his genuinely international band of musicians limber up for the limbo.

This year, you see, the fete has 'global village' as its theme. And this is how the after fete party might go:

But then again, it could pour down.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

A horror film for Halloween

On Halloween, I head out under the cover of darkness, a tub of sweets by the front door for young trick or treaters on the prowl with their ...