Saturday, 31 December 2011

Shuffling into the new year

And there's me, drawing up a playlist of new year's resolutions to keep me going through 2012 when I suddenly have an epiphany.

Why not just put the soundtrack to my life on shuffle, and see what happens?

The prospect is rather scary. It depends on what's in you in the first place. Because when my iPod is on shuffle, I can get cool new jazz from 4 Hero followed by Ernie, the Fastest Milkman in The West, tracks by The Hives I really should erase, the sublime beauty of The Cinematic Orchestra, Faure and Vaughan Williams, a rousing fanfare from Aaron Copland, drums by Buddy Rich and then Barry White telling me I'm his first, his last, his everything.

And then Elvis saying I should return to the sender.

So, fly by the seat of my pants or be organised? A bit of both, I think. It's always worked in the past. So Happy New Year to all my readers. I did think about jacking in the blog for 2012 but now that would be stupid.

And any suggestions for the musical soundtrack to my new year and yours would be most welcome.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 28 December 2011

The calm before the storm

The seagulls are buffeted in batches as they attempt to cross the West Bay sky.
People in new hats and scarves walk around the harbour. An elderly couple wear matching reindeer jumpers. A half-breed terrier barks bravely at two huskies, wolves in eskimo clothing.  A child tears around on a toy tractor with only a small wall between him and a muddy end.
The tide is out and so are all the after-Christmas revellers, soaking up the salt air like good quality kitchen roll mops up those yuletide spills.

The Grigg household is quiet now, after a Christmas Day for waifs and strays at the Champagne-Charlies and Boxing Day with thirty eight relatives ensconced in various corners of the house, children squealing and being obliging or otherwise, people going outside for crafty fags and teenagers cursing because they couldn't send a text. In The Enchanted Village, no-one can hear your mobile phone scream. There is no signal.

Tonight we will process around the village for a safari supper. And then there's the book club party. And in houses up and down the village and across the land, outfits are being created for New Year's Eve. The countdown to 2012 is just beginning.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Wednesday, 21 December 2011

So this is Christmas - and what have you done?

I walk up to the village hall to our 'outreach' post office. We've had two sessions a week since losing our post office a couple of years ago.

'Tai chi?' says our district councillor at the door.

'Sorry, no, I've only come to post a letter.' She seems a little too eager to rope me into something I really don't want to do.

So I get in the queue to send off a very late Christmas card to an old Bridport friend now living in Australia. A dour Mr Putter is standing behind me and in a hurry but I stand my ground because I've got things to do, people to see.

And then I become aware of the relaxing, oriental music. I turn around and look across into the main body of the hall. A crowd of grey-haired onlookers are gazing wistfully at the gentle scene unfolding before them.

Six ladies are doing a tai chi demonstration, arms slowly revolving and legs-a-pointing like some very weird line-dance routine.

The music stops and the hall is buzzing, with people exchanging Christmas cards and gossip.

We may have lost our shop and pub, but this community is still thriving. We've got the Village Hall Arms coming up on Christmas Eve. And with a can-do attitude, who knows what the new year will bring?

So I wish you good tidings to you and your kin. And a selection of photos from my year.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Monday, 19 December 2011

Santa Claus is coming to town

So Mr Grigg went into Bournemouth, to take Christmas cards and presents to his colleagues.

As you know by now, he is not one to do anything by halves. He still had his Santa outfit from when he was called upon to perform a special duty at the school fair a week or so ago. So he pulled into a layby to get changed. Pity the poor driver who got an eye full of Mr Grigg’s bottom as he struggled to get into the trousers.

Once the transformation was complete, he pulled out into the traffic. There were open mouths from other drivers as they drew up parallel with Mr Grigg’s Freeloader at the traffic lights. There were double takes as pedestrians walked out on to the zebra crossing.

There were honks of car horns and, best of all, looks of amazement from a school playground as word spread that Father Christmas was in a Landrover in the line of traffic outside. So the children waved and Mr Grigg waved back.

He stopped off at the florists to pick up an ordered bouquet.

‘Your name?’ the lady behind the counter said.

‘Santa?’ Mr Grigg replied.

Outside, clutching the flowers and with a sack over his shoulder, he walked up to the Landrover and just got right in, much to the amazement of passers-by on the pavement.

That’s about it.

Love Maddie x

Sunday, 11 December 2011

Step into Christmas

Caruso says a few words to declare The Enchanted Village christmas tree lights well and truly on. A switch is thrown and there is applause as the lights illuminate the village green. Applause because no-one really thought they would come on at all.

Down the road, a tree lights up above Mr and Mrs Champage-Charlie's front door, over the church shop, at Mrs Bancroft's and, last but not least, the Grigg abode. It is a relief because a few hours earlier, Mr Grigg had a plaintive phone call from Mrs Bancroft who wailed: 'My lights have come on and it's only half past three.' So the timers were all adjusted and we just hoped for the best.

We had no idea if anyone would turn up for this step into Christmas but well-wrapped-up figures come from here there and everywhere to join in the ceremony. It isn't quite Oxford Street but it's ours, and it's going well.

There is mulled wine and cider, mince pies and carols around the tree led by Tuppence. I trill like a canary, doing the descant for 'sing choirs of angels' but bottling out of the rest of the verse.

And then it is all off to the village hall arms, joyful and triumphant.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Tuesday, 6 December 2011

Santa and my little pony

The children waited patiently, the excitement mounting.

And as Mr Grigg waited in the house in his glad rags, rouge freshly applied to his cheeks by Mrs Champagne-Charlie to add to the effect, a light clip-clop could be heard coming up the road. It was just before two o'clock. His transport to the school Christmas fair had arrived.

While he adjusted the big buckle around his red tunic, the phone rang. It was Bellows, whose voice is so loud that in all honesty, he could just have easily walked outside his front door and shouted down to us.


'Skittish, is it?' Mr Grigg said, the phone six inches away from his ear as he marvelled at his profile in the hall mirror and squatted up and down to test the gusset of the Santa trousers. 'You know, I'm very good with high-spirited fillies. Don't forget I married Maddie.'


And then it arrived. Ride your pony, get on your pony and ride.
Well, perhaps not.
That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Saturday, 3 December 2011

Mr Grigg mans the community bar

I've got thousands of words to write for three essays in my classics and ancient history course, so it figures that I am blogging far more often than is reasonable.

Here's one I did earlier for my chums at the Real West Dorset website. If you want to know how Mr Grigg's latest community caper got on, take a look. If it helps, imagine him behind the bar with Movember moustache, Bret Maverick waistcoat and black stetson.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

Thursday, 1 December 2011

Chris Evans has a lot to answer for

So Movember is done and dusted and Mr Grigg still hasn't shaved off his trucker's moustache. He's getting quite attached to it.

And when he went out to play skittles with his Enchanted Village chums last night, in double denim and trainers, he looked just a little bit like a 70s porn star, minus the gold chain around his neck (ladies, never trust a man who wears a necklace). So much so, that this week his eyes lit up when a colleague, carrying a plastic carrier bag full of old videos, whispered: 'I've got something here you might like...'

Mr Grigg went out the back and had a rummage.

'And guess what they were,' he told me later. 'The entire collection of Miss Marples.'

I chuckled, not because of the image it conjured up but because he is forever putting an unnecessary 's' at the end of people's names:  Cliff Richards, Roger Moores, you get my drift, although he gets very cross when people call him Mr Griggs.

Anyway, he's now putting that comedy moustache to good use and joining it up with a little goatee he's growing as he and Chris Evans and I dare say a whole host of other people launch into Decembeard to raise money for bowel cancer charities.

And after that, Manuary.

That's about it.

Love Maddie x

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