Friday, 15 January 2021

The Singing Horses Chapter 1

 


Neigh! Neigh! 

The Singing Horses here. We are so pleased we have been published at last. We offer our neighpologies for the virus thing which is affecting your community. We wish you all well and want to brighten your days, cheer you up and make everything feel better because that is what equine do. So, we have Lady M's permission to share the first few pages of our story for you to hoof. We know you will love us and we will neigh you where you can purchase us from at the end. 


                                      Part One 

                            Leaving ‘The Paddock’ 

“Neigh and welcome to our sweet home, ‘Alabama Paddock’.” #5, the bossy, old, grey mare, was seated by the paddock gate making daisy chains as she waited to welcome new equine into their contest home. She had been the first one to submit her manuscript; the first one Mr Jacob, the stable manager, had led into this paradise. She considered it her duty to sit there daily, welcome each new contestant and give them a daisy chain. Heaven knows why! She has welcomed over one hundred during the last two horse weeks. Anyway, I will let her tell you or rather neigh you about it. “Neigh, it’s so, so fantabulous here; you can taste the excitement. So many brilliantly talented equine authors from all around the world. We are all waiting for the contest to begin on the next horse day and we all want to win the most coveted award of ‘Best Equine Author of the Year’. We have submitted the first two chapters of our manuscripts, a small, hundred-word neighographical piece about ourselves and a pretty pic showing our best profile with horsey grin. All this material has been put online, well apart from our pretty pics. They have yet to appear. We keep looking, but there is just a blank space where our horsey grins should be. I’ve neighed Mr Jacob about this many times, but he just igneighs my question and rushes off. The contest has three rounds and a voting procedure, although the final decision is made by the publishing house’s editorial board and we are not sure how much notice will be taken of the votes, but we are determined to get them anyway. This first round lasts for sixty horse days. Then we will be told that only thirty-two of us will advance to round two. The thirtytwo will submit two more chapters for consideration and the voting continues for them. The rest of us will be given our return tickets to our home stables. Round two lasts for three horse weeks and then only ten will advance to the final round. Those lucky last ten equine standing will submit chapters five and six and have a further nerve-racking horse week waiting to hear which honourable equine will receive the award. Neigh, Mr J…” She rose and stood, in total disbelief, as Mr J approached the gate with a small brown foal; he was so young that his foal saddlebag covered most of his little body. All #5 could see was his short, black tail and mane, a small part of his brown hindquarter, his brown legs, black fetlocks and hooves and his most striking feature, a white star marking on his forehead. This young equine could not possibly be a contestant; he must be looking for his mama or papa. 16 “Ah #5, neigh. This is our last and youngest contestant. He’s from the London Equine Orphanage (LEO) and in seven. Look after him, please.” “Neigh, Mr J, of course. Have you got our pretty pics sorted yet?” “No” was his quick reneigh before making a hasty retreat and leaving #5 looking down at this young foal who was overwhelmed by what he could see. He was jet lagged, really tired, his legs ached and his back hurt from carrying all his possessions for so long. He did not know how long it was in horse hours, but it seemed like forever since he left the orphanage. He had travelled to an airport in a horse van and been told not to lose his passport. Then there had been a very long journey on a plane to Birmingham. This had confused him because the only Birmingham he knew was about a hundred horse miles from London. He had wondered why there was talk of America and why he was travelling by plane with humans, not equine. He was glad he had kept quiet or all the other orphans who were bigger than him and envious because he was escaping for an equiniday in America would have chuckled at him. He had also been neighed ‘an unaccompanied minor’. This was a new neigh. He had no idea what it meant but some human who wore a badge neighing ‘flight attendant’ had been especially nice to him because he was an ‘um’. Her name was Anna and she kept neighing with him. She accompanied him into the terminal. Humans had used a lot of neighs that he did not really understand. He intended hoofing them up in his hoofing dictionary when he reached this place called ‘The Paddock’. Once inside the terminal, Anna shook his hoof, neighed him goodbye and wished him all the best. He was sad to see her go but another human took over and led him through immigration and customs. More new neighs and humans in uniform neighing him questions. He neighed that he was going to ‘The Paddock’ to Mr Jacob because his foal story was in a contest. They had looked impressed. Next, another long journey in a horse van. He had been told to keep his saddlebag with him at all times, even when sleeping and visiting the bathroom, so his back really ached, but, at last, he was here. He could not believe it or his luck and change in fortune. He intended enjoying every horse minute; he did not expect to win the coveted award because he was too young and had much to learn. This paddock was massive, much larger than any of the London parks and he could see lots of mares and stallions all neighing about their manuscripts or hoofing them. One of those black stallions looked across, saw him and came trotting over. “Who’s this young foal?” #5 fluttered her eyelids, neighed slowly and softly, (she usually neighed abruptly and in a harsh tone), as she placed a daisy chain round his neck, “He’s a young orphan from London in seven next to you.” #6 looked down at him and neighed in disbelief, “You’ve never hoofed a manuscript. You’re too young.” Suddenly, this little, brown foal seemed to get a new lease of life and forgot about his tiredness, aches and pains. He stood to his full height of eight hands, held his head high, showed his horsey grin and proudly neighed in his little shrill voice, “Neigh, sir, I’ve hoofed a foal story. Mr J says I’ve got po…po…” He 17 stopped, his horsey grin disappeared and his head drooped down in shame; he had forgotten the neigh. “Potential?” #6 neighed. “Neigh, sir, that’s it potential.” Happiness radiated from him again; he jumped up and down with glee neighing, “I’ve got potential. I’ve got potential.” Then he stopped, looked pensive, the white mark on his forehead seemed to shrivel up, “Sir, what’s potential?” #6 reneighed, “It means, young equine, that you have some talent when it comes to hoofing stories.” “Neigh, really?” His visage shone with happiness again. All was well in his little world. “Neigh, if you hadn’t, you wouldn’t be here, would you?” He thought for a horse second, “Neigh, no, I suppose not.” He looked up at this big black stallion; every horse inch of #6 was black from his nostrils right down to his hooves and tip of his bushy tail. He reminded this little foal of his papa and he so wanted to grow up and be like him. #5 had been very quiet during this neighing between the young foal and #6. In fact, she had almost forgotten of the new arrival’s existence because she had been too busy gazing dreamily at her hunky stallion, #6. He had only arrived a few horse days ago, but she had been smitten. It was love at first sight. This old, grey mare, who was as grey as #6 was black, was an Irish draft horse who had spent her filly days working on a farm in Ireland. She had had many exciting thrills with stallions when she had been but a young filly and done much romping in the hay, but that had all been many horse years ago before she came to live in America and decided to spend her dotage years hoofing. Now, #6 had rekindled her fire and passion. “Well, you’re #7 and I’m #6, next to this beautiful mare, #5.” He looked at #5 who fluttered her eyelids and blushed while her stomach was doing somersaults. She was head over hooves in love. #7 did not realise that he was to be known as a number. He neighed, “Sir, my name is…” “Young equine, we do not use our names. We’re all known by our stall numbers. You’re #7.” “Oh,” #7 looked puzzled. Suddenly, there was a neigh coming from their left. They all turned as another black stallion approached them, walking on his hind legs, wearing an apron and carrying a feather duster in his right hoof: “Neigh, it’s all done, all done. All spick and span. Spick and span. Who are you, young equine?” #7’s eyes widened, “Neigh, sir, I’m #7.” “Neigh, pleased to meet you, #7. I’m #Phi. I look after this paddock. Keep it spick and span.” “Neigh, #Phi? I thought we all had numbers?” “Neigh, always the exception that proves the rule,” #6 reneighed. #7 did not understand but just neighed, “Oh.” And looked perplexed. 18 “#7, I’ve just hoofed up that stall. Nice, fresh hay bed, new blankets. Dusted. All spick and span. Follow me. You can meet the rest at the campfire this horse night. Right #5, #6?” They both neighed. #7 trotted after #Phi thinking how exciting a campfire was going to be. This was all a fantastic adventure. “Neigh, here we are,” #Phi opened the stall door. #7 could not believe what he was seeing. “Neigh, sir, is all of this just for me?” At the orphanage, he had shared a stall with five other foals and it had been smaller than this one. It was wonderful. First, he looked at his bed on the righthand side of his stall: not just a small amount of hay on a cold stone floor which he had become accustomed to at the orphanage, but masses of hay on a base wooden board. “There’s two blankets, it can get a little chilly in the horse night.” #7 looked at the bottom of his bed where #Phi had placed two dark-brown, massive horse blankets. Opposite his bed was a table, chair, chest of drawers and a mirror, but what concerned him was the area at the back of his stall reached by a separate door. Did he have to share his stall, after all? “Sir, what’s that, am I sharing?” he neighed while looking at this area. “Neigh, of course not. All our stalls have private facilities. We groom in our stalls. The main bathrooms with showers and baths are at the far end of the paddock.” “Oh, thank you, sir,” #7 made an effort to stand on his hind legs, so that he could undo his saddlebag, but because he was so tired, he just fell back on to all fours. “Neigh, let me help you,” #Phi put his feather duster down and lowered himself so that he could undo #7’s saddlebag without him having to raise his little body. #7 dropped his head in shame and embarrassment. He was eight hands high; he should be able to stand on his hind legs without falling down. “Thank you, sir.” “Neigh, you unpack and rest. We’ll see you later at the campfire.” #Phi left. The first thing #7 did was investigate the ‘private facilities’. This was another new neigh to him. When he saw his own proper flushing toilet, not a hay one and wash basin, he was amazed. Awesome. Was it really just for his use? No more queuing for the bathroom or being pushed to the back of the queue because he was the smallest. It did not take him long to unpack because he did not have many possessions. He looked round his stall, yawned, fell onto his superior hay bed and slept. He was oblivious to the commotion outside when the vet arrived. #23 had not been feeling well for a couple of horse days. To every horse’s horror that filly was now in isolation with the horsepox (equine equivalent of chickenpox). Fortunately, most of the equine had already suffered this malady and were immune. #7 had not met her, so he would be safe from catching it. Some of the stallions were collecting wood for the horse nightly campfire and singsong. There was great concern among them all because their pretty pics had not yet arrived online with their chapters and neighographical details. They 19 were a vain lot and wanted the whole world to see their visages. When Mr J brought the vet in, there was no way he could make a hasty retreat; he reassured them that all their visages would be on the website in the horse morning. #5 had put herself in charge of things. She was a bossy, old mare. She thought that sixty horse days in such a confined space would lead to arguments, tension and problems. They really needed to get out and neigh people about the contest, their work and neigh them to vote. The excitement was growing as dusk fell and in five horse hours, the contest was to begin. They congregated round the campfire waiting for evening fodder. It was easy to see the later arrivals; they were still wearing daisy chains. Mr J had promised them a treat for their evening fodder; they were waiting for the pizza delivery van or rather truck considering the number of them. The aroma of pizza reached #7’s nostrils and brought him back to reality from dreamland. At first, he thought he was still dreaming as he looked at his surroundings. Where were the other orphans? Why was his hay bed so comfortable? Pizza? Then he saw his daisy chain. He was not dreaming. But just to make sure, he raised his right forehoof and pinched his little chest. Neigh, he was not dreaming, but he was hungry and it was dark. He remembered being neighed about the campfire where he would meet the others. His visage lit up. This was another adventure. He was no longer tired, nor did his body ache. He was awake; he had heard about campfires but never been to one. Time for a new adventure. He was up and trotting over, or rather following his nostrils to the campfire. #6 saw him, “Neigh, here, #7. Come and get some fodder.” He neighed in that deep, sexy, husky voice that sent goose bumps down #5’s spine. #7 did not need inviting twice. An open box of ham and pineapple pizza just waiting to be devoured. This was no time for neighing; he knelt down and wolfed four pieces before he heard #6 neigh, “Manners, young equine, manners. When we eat together socially, we use our hooves, don’t we?” #7 raised his head, with pizza hanging out of his mouth and realised that all the big equine were staring at him and looking disapprovingly. He had made a very bad first impression. He dropped the pizza and tried to make things right in his foal like way, “Neigh, neighpologies. I’m so hungry, I didn’t think.” His humble effort at making amends just provoked chuckling from the assembled equine. He hung his head down in shame. How could he have been so silly? He really had intended making a good impression and it had all gone wrong. #6 continued neighing, “This is our youngest contestant. He’s hoofed a foal story. Meet #7.” There was a lot of neighing about a youngster hoofing a foal story. #7 was not sure what it all meant, but felt he needed to neigh something, “Neigh, I’m eight hands high.” Whenever he neighed this, he always arched his back, rose to his full height, stood on the tip of his hooves and held his head high in an attempt to make himself look even taller. “And Mr J neighs I have potential.” He was so pleased he had remembered that neigh and looked to #6 for approval. #6 just 20 grinned and chuckled so #7 continued neighing, “Nice to meet you all.” He thought that was the correct thing to neigh before he sat down again and carried on eating pizza correctly. It was now #5’s turn to take control of the evening’s proceedings, “Neigh, neigh, equine community. Before we have our singsong, I’ve had a neighdea. We’re here for sixty horse days and we need to neigh humans, equine and other species about our manuscripts and neigh them to vote. We can’t leave everything to Mr Jacob. We don’t even know if our pics are going to be up on the site. Some of us need to leave and gallop to other states to neigh about the contest. I suggest we leave for Tennessee at horse dawn.” This caused a lot of neighing. Some were happy to go. Others just wanted to enjoy their luxurious surroundings and free fodder. #7 was delighted. He had not thought of the fact that he would be leaving his accommodation behind, neither did he know where Tennessee was. Another adventure. He frolicked, “Neigh, neigh, #5. I’m coming.” “You’re too young. You have to stay here,” #5 neighed. He fell down to the ground, thoroughly downcast, thought and reneighed, “I’m eight hands high.” Once again, rose to his full height thinking it would make a difference. #6 and the rest of them neighed that he was too young. They then igneighed him and continued neighing the neighdea of leaving. “Neigh, I think it best if I neigh who is coming with me,” #5 neighed. #44, a brown pony, was the first to raise her hoof indicating she wished to speak. When #5 nodded at her, she rose and began her neigh, in her usual slow, monotone yet aristocratic way, ensuring that she had every equine’s attention and left them in no doubt as to who she was, “One thinks it is a first-class neighdea and One would be most pleased to be a part of it. One is #44 and British Equine Royalty in the New Forest. One is a Buckland Pony.” She had been one of the last to arrive and felt it important to indicate that she was not any ordinary horse or pony but of the equine aristocracy. “Thank you, #44. Sit down” was #5’s curt reneigh…She may only have been present for a couple of horse days, but #5 had noticed that she had designs on her stallion, #6. A mare knows these things and she was the last equine #5 wanted to take with her to Tennessee, but she dutifully and professionally hoofed #44 on her list. “Who else?” #666 and #4 neighed together; they had become firm friends and were game for anything. #5 added them to her list. Then the palominos, #3 and #83, who had been early ones into the paddock and also become great friends raised their hooves, “Neigh, we’re in.” “Neigh, so that’s five plus us, seven all together. Anymore?” It was clear that wherever #5 went, #6 would follow. A few shook their heads and neighed, “When’s the singsong starting?” But #5 had not finished; she was determined to have more than seven equine. She reneighed, “Anymore?” She looked at #3.14, #11, #13, #18 and #32 or rather glared at them. “Apart from #6, we’re all mares and fillies. I’m sure #6 would like some stallions to join him.” They neighed among themselves while 21 she added them to the list and chuckled, “Mares, we all know if you want a stallion to do something, you just neigh him, he’s doing it. Fillies learn!” All the mares and fillies chuckled because they knew #5 was right. “Neigh, for the final time. Anymore?” #1.618, #8 and #12 all thought it might be fun. #5 added them to her list. Now, she had fifteen. That was a nice manageable number. “Neigh, fifteen of us. I’ll leave this list for Mr J to find when he comes in. We’ll leave just after horse dawn, at six hundred horse hours.” “Neigh, I’ll come to the gate to hoof you off and I’ll neigh the list to Mr J,” #Phi, still with apron and feather duster, neighed. “Neigh, that’s settled then. We’ll meet at the gate. #Phi will see us off and neigh Mr J who’s gone. Now, time for our horse evening singsong before the embers die down,” #5 neighed. A singsong? Another part of the adventure. #7 was excited until, “#7, it is way passed your hay time. Off you go.” “Neigh…but I’ve been asleep all horse afternoon. I’m not tired.” “Do not contradict one of your seniors, young equine,” #6 neighed. “If #5 says it’s passed your hay time, it is passed your hay time.” “Yes, sir. Neighpologies. Goodnight. Nice to have met you all,” a subdued #7 rose, left the group and slowly walked back to his stall…thinking! They were going on an adventure. That was why he was here. He was definitely going with them despite what that bossy, old mare neighed. He repacked his saddlebag and prepared for the horse morning. He was not tired, just so, so excited at what lay ahead. What would Tennessee be like? Wherever it was." 

                                                      ************************

#7 here. Yes, I am that little foal and I can neigh you it was an exciting journey. We took the world by storm. I became the Singing Horses' mascot. I loved neighing with humans and having my pic taken with them. I always tried to be a good little foal but it did not work out and I often got into trouble and needed rescuing. I love chips and it was eating them at the rear of McDoodles in Munich that got me lassoed. My brethren rescued me. Then there was.... you will just have to read the book.

The Singing Horses | Book| Austin Macauley Publishers  or from your own Amazon site, Waterstones, Barnes and Noble 

Neigh to you all, 🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎🐎


Friday, 8 January 2021

Lockdown 3

 



Hello Everyone,

The Singing Horses and I would like to wish you a Happy 2021 despite these trying times. We need to keep smiling and stay positive. Okay, maybe I am getting a little repetitive but you know it makes sense. Misery, worry, anxiety leads to depression and is a downward road. Happiness will keep us going even if, and as I fear, 2021 will not be much better than 2020. It will come to an end and so will this dreaded lurgy. As I write this, we in England are back in lockdown. We are back to square one, exactly where we were last March. How many more lockdowns? I think another two and a third wave. Hopefully, I am wrong but I have been right so far. If I am right even more reason to stay cheerful. Our Boris spoke to the Nation at 8.00pm last night, Monday, and gave us this sad news, not that we were not expecting it. Our 'R' rate is above one, our NHS is struggling. Schools must close. We must stay at home apart from essential shopping, medical reasons, exercise... We have heard it all before. Holiday abroad? Forget it. All foreign travel for pleasure is banned. Boris has a reputation for tardiness but I will say this about him, he has got balls! He has been close to death after contracting Covid-19 but survived and keeps going or thriving on energy from somewhere. He has a positivity and optimism throughout and how did he conclude his address last night? We have a vaccine. We are injecting to full capacity and hope to have the top four categories inoculated by Easter thus summer should be normal. Right or wrong Boris will come through smiling and so must we!




Stay safe everyone. Lots of love, Lady M πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“

Friday, 25 December 2020

Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year





       

Hello Everyone,

Lady M still here. Admittedly, carried away by the arrival of #thesinginghorses. This Christmas is going to be very different for us all. A Covid-19 Christmas. This virus can only win if we allow it. Okay, we cannot meet up or celebrate in the usual way but maybe it is a time to reflect on the real meaning of Christmas as opposed to what it has become in recent years. 




    A MERRY CHRISTMAS AND 
                                      A HAPPY AND BETTER 2021




 "And all went to be taxed, every one into his own city. And Joseph also went up from Galilee, out of the city of Nazareth, into Judaea, unto the city of David, which is called Bethlehem; (because he was of the house and lineage of David:) to be taxed with Mary his espoused wife, being great with child. And so it was, that, while they were there, the days were accomplished that she should be delivered. And she brought forth her first born son, and wrapped him in swaddling clothes, and laid him in a manger; because there was no room for them in the inn."    (Luke Ch.2 vv3-7)




                            
                                

Friday, 18 December 2020

The Singing Horses wish you a Merry Christmas


#7 here. I am a little foal who was orphaned when I was two. I remember that sad day when Papa fell and broke his leg. I neighed with him before he went to equine heaven. Some humans took me to the London Equine Orphanage. I was unhappy but enjoyed hoofing stories. Mr J read my story, "The sad little foal" and arranged for me to travel to America and take part in a contest. I was so happy when I arrived at the Paddock and met many other talented equine who had entered the contest. #5 welcomed me into the Paddock with a daisy chain. Then I met #6, he was a new papa figure for me. We all had our own stalls in the Paddock . I could not believe my eyes when I realised that I would not have to share with other foals and that I had 'private facilities'. On the first evening I met all the other equine but embarrassed myself when I smelt and saw pizza. I forgot my manners and just grabbed a piece in my mouth instead of using my hooves. They never let me forget that. #5 had a neighdea. We should leave the Paddock and neigh the public and all other equine, in fact all species for votes for our humble hoofings. I was the first to volunteer but #5 neighed that I was too young and must stay in the Paddock. Well, I was not having that. I sneaked out and followed them. They were not pleased but I stayed with them. We travelled around the world and I am afraid and embarrassed to admit it but I got into an awful lot of trouble. I tried hard to get things right but it did not always work out. Now, our story has been published and you may read it by visiting The Singing Horses: Amazon.co.uk: Marilyn L Rice: 9781528950251: Books or The Singing Horses: Rice, Marilyn L: 9781528950251: Amazon.com: Books or The Singing Horses | Book| Austin Macauley Publishers

We were pleased and celebrated when Amazon sold out on day 1 but more are on the way so order today. Alternatively, please go straight to our publisher, Austin Macauley. They have them in stock. If you can't wait until tomorrow download us on Kindle. It is so neigh exciting.

On behalf of all the Singing Horses, I wish you a Merry Christmas and happy hoofing days. 
Love #7 🐎







Friday, 11 December 2020

The Singing Horses have arrived!

 


Hello Everyone,

Lady M here and delighted to announce that the 'Singing Horses' have galloped into town. Yes, the book has, at long last, been published. 

Many peeps ask where authors get their ideas for books from. I always reply, anywhere and everywhere! This is deffo an example of that. In 2013 I and many other authors entered a writing contest on Facebook. We conversed with each other before the voting for the contest began. I had a question buzzing around my head, "Why do I feel like a horse in the paddock waiting  for the race to start?" I posted it and others started thinking along 'horse' lines. The contest continued for four months and the additional 'horse' story, which took the form of bulletins throughout those months, added a new, relaxing dimension to the contest. Some of those authors who took 'stall numbers' and became a part of the story are featured in this novel. I wish then all every success in their own hoofings as 'singing horses'. Equine... we are taking the world by storm!

So, what happened? What did these horses do? Where did they go?

The blurb:

"The uproarious saga of the singing horses begins when they leave the paddock in Alabama and travel to Memphis for votes because they all want to win The Best Equine Author of the Year contest. Although they’re competing to win, they work together in the entertainment industry as the famous singing horses’ troupe. They are widely known for their escapades throughout the United States and Europe, causing mayhem wherever they go. Each horse has a number and a special talent, such as #00, the dancing queen, #23, a ballerina and filly friend of #7 who is related to the racing legend, Red Rum. They ride on the Orient Express to Venice, where they face the paparazzi who chase them, so they go into hiding. The paparazzi put up a €10,000 reward for information on them. A McDoodles employee takes a photo of #7 eating chips and sends it to the paparazzi, forcing them to gallop away again. They flee to Moscow, on to Athens and then to the donkey sanctuary in Cyprus, all the while performing and neighing for votes.

During the long wait for the announcement of the final ten authors, they travel to New Orleans, where they enjoy numerous cocktails and much merriment. Ultimately, the announcement of the winner is a big surprise to everyone but the judges! The remaining contestants refuse to leave their lovely paddock and stage a neigh-in. Bulldozers and diggers arrive to destroy the paddock, but the paparazzi stand in protest with the equine.


The Singing Horses is a delightful story full of hilarious adventures to delight readers of all ages."

Where can you purchase it?  The Singing Horses | Book| Austin Macauley Publishers

or Amazon.

Enjoy, my friends.



Love, Lady M πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“




Friday, 4 December 2020

Covid Chronicles 7

 


Hello Everyone,

Hey, guess what? After almost two years in publication and a lot of hassle my next book has a publication date for 10th December, that's next week folks. Just thought I would share the cover pic with you so that you get used to seeing it. It is available for pre-order on Amazon.co.uk but the delivery date is late January apparently. I know, everything is slow these days except Covid which is really, really, speedy.

Okay, the situation in the UK is that we are out of our second lockdown and back in the controversial tier system. So, no change. I will share with you my scribing's for last weekend. Enjoy and have fun. Remember, nothing lasts forever and one day Covid-19 will be a distant memory.

Day 249 27th November 2020. Lockdown 2/Day 23. Black Friday.

Hey peeps, you know I have an uncanny habit of being correct about things. I am just very clever (smart arse!) or psychic. I am predicting a third wave and that 2021 is not going to be much better than 2020. We have to wait for another couple of years before we have a better new normal. The old things will have passed way, into oblivion, forgotten and not missed. I also said that I feared anarchy in our society as a result of our freedom being taken from us. It reminds me of the old days of highway robbery, (No, I am not that old but I learned all about it in that little school I loved; the one that closed in 1989.)I am thinking of Dick Turpin, “Your money or your life?” with a revolver in hand ready to fire. The 2020 version is, ‘your freedom or your life’! However, it is not society that is causing anarchy yet, but our government that is revolting. Yes, the word, ‘revolting’ is open to interpretation. Boris’s Conservative government are giving him grief over the new tier system which defies both belief and understanding. Yesterday, I said I would not explain it because it was complicated, and I just gave a general summary. Our MP’s are asking for a clear explanation as to why many areas are in top categories when the majority of the area does not have many cases. Why are Liverpool and London in 2? Why has Kent switched from 1-3? Why are 99% of the population still in a strict lockdown? Actually, I would like to know the answers. Although, I am not surprised that my area has gone to 3. We were in 2 and we do have a high number of cases. I can share with you the rules relating to tier 3 from the government website.

Tier 3: Very High alert

This is for areas with a very high or very rapidly rising level of infections, where tighter restrictions are in place.

In tier 3:

·        you must not meet socially indoors or in most outdoor places with anybody you do not live with, or who is not in your support bubble, this includes in any private garden or at most outdoor venues

·        you must not socialise in a group of more than 6 in some other outdoor public spaces, including parks, beaches, countryside accessible to the public, a public garden, grounds of a heritage site or castle, or a sports facility – this is called the ‘rule of 6’

·        hospitality settings, such as bars (including shisha venues), pubs, cafes and restaurants are closed – they are permitted to continue sales by takeaway, click-and-collect, drive-through or delivery services.

·        accommodation such as hotels, B&Bs, campsites, and guest houses must close. There are several exemptions, such as for those who use these venues as their main residence, and those requiring the venues where it is reasonably necessary for work or education and training 

·        indoor entertainment and tourist venues must close. This includes:

·        indoor play centres and areas, including trampolining parks and soft play

·        casinos

·        bingo halls

·        bowling alleys

·        skating rinks

·        amusement arcades and adult gaming centres

·        laser quests and escape rooms

·        cinemas, theatres and concert halls

·        snooker halls

·        indoor attractions at mostly outdoor entertainment venues must also close (indoor shops, through-ways and public toilets at such attractions can remain open). This includes indoor attractions within:

·        zoos, safari parks, and wildlife reserves

·        aquariums, visitor attractions at farms, and other animal attractions

·        model villages

·        museums, galleries and sculpture parks

·        botanical gardens, biomes or greenhouses

·        theme parks, circuses, fairgrounds and funfairs

·        visitor attractions at film studios, heritage sites such as castles and stately homes

·        landmarks including observation decks and viewing platforms

·        leisure and sports facilities may continue to stay open, but group exercise classes (including fitness and dance) should not go ahead. Saunas and steam rooms should close

·        there should be no public attendance at spectator sport or indoor performances and large business events should not be taking place. Elite sport events may continue to take place without spectators

·        large outdoor events (performances and shows) should not take place, with the exception of drive-in events

·        places of worship remain open, but you must not attend with or socialise with  anyone outside of your household or support bubble while you are there, unless a legal exemption applies

·        weddings and funerals can go ahead with restrictions on the number of attendees – 15 people can attend wedding ceremonies, wedding receptions are not allowed, 30 people can attend funeral ceremonies, 15 people can attend linked commemorative events

·        organised outdoor sport, and physical activity and exercise classes can continue, however higher-risk contact activity should not take place

·        organised indoor sport, physical activity and exercise classes cannot take place indoors. There are exceptions for indoor disability sport, sport for educational purposes and supervised sport and physical activity for under-18s

·        you can continue to travel to venues or amenities which are open, but should aim to reduce the number of journeys you make where possible

·        avoid travelling to other parts of the UK, including for overnight stays other than where necessary, such as for work, education, youth services, to receive medical treatment, or because of caring responsibilities. You can travel through other areas as part of a longer journey

·        for international travel see the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office travel advice for your destination and the travel corridors list

 

I think it is lockdown! There’s nowhere to go cos most places are closed.  Presumably I can’t travel abroad. All travel abroad for pleasure as opposed to business is banned until December 2nd. That’s interesting. Our lockdown was for a month, but it looks like Boris’s month is 27 days.

The Covid-19 data has passed the 60,000,000 mark and that, in September, was my second estimate for Christmas. Germany has passed the 1,000,000-mark making it the twelfth country with more than a million cases.

 

Other news today? Diego Maradona’s funeral has taken place in Buenos Aries. Brexit talks are continuing, and it really is Black Friday!

Okay, peeps I am off to be happy because I choose to be, and give myself festive cheer decorating two more Christmas trees and putting up other dΓ©cor. Then, because the world looks better through rose coloured glasses, I will open another bottle of rosΓ© wine before I settle down with fajitas for dinner and the goggle box. Goodnight all.

 

Day 250 Saturday, 28th November, Lockdown 2/Day 24 Another weekend!

Good morning peeps! No, I do not have a hangover. In fact, I am quite happy because I choose to be and wait for it…peeps! I have just been onto Amazon and discovered that my next book is already on it with the facility to pre-order it. The publication date is December 10th, but you may check it out now, “The Singing Horses”. Wow!! Je suis content!

I have not completed adorning my abode yet. I shall do a little more later. A brown envelope has dropped onto my doormat. Oh dear. My friends we all know I am soixante-neuf and that another milestone is approaching. Trust the DVLA to remind me of the inevitable; they have sent me the reminder to renew my driving licence. Have I really had it for almost half a century? Some of you will remember that I renewed it only yesterday, or three months ago to be precise. Yes, over the years the rules have changed. I had one stolen in August 2000 and consequently purchased a new one. In the UK they only last for ten years before renewal and must be renewed at the age of 70 regardless. From then on, I think it is every three years. Memory alert. I remember my first car, a white mini. VJV 654K. I loved that little car and I remember the first time I drove on the road by myself. It was February 7th, 1975 and I drove out of the school gate (I was a teacher!), turned right, drove down to the junction. Turned right again, to the island. Round the island. Parked. Went into the bank. Then drove back to work. What an achievement. Happy day!

Okay, it is second cuppa time and time to make my daily phone call. Today, it is my number one fan’s birthday. I could tell you her age, but I won’t. (She reads everything I write!) I dial. No reply. I redial. No reply. Er, where is she? No one is allowed out. We are in lockdown. Try later.

What is newsworthy? Restrictions during the five days freedom during Christmas. No board games. No singing. No dancing. Do not sit opposite people. Be careful about handling cutlery. If possible, have a different toilet for the different family bubbles. So, if we cannot experience a traditional Christmas why are we having the five days of permitted travel and seeing families? I guess kissing under the mistletoe is verboten. Our Asian brethren have had Eid after Ramadan and Diwali. Those two are the main times of celebration in the Islamic and Sikh religions. There were no concessions for those. Does this mean that we will have anarchy from our Sikhs and Muslims because they were not allowed to celebrate in their customary way when Christians are permitted gatherings for the Christmas period? Covid and chaos rule in harmony.

Anti-lockdown protests are taking place in London again and Arcadia are in administration. Apparently, that is the company that own Topshop, Dorothy Perkins, Miss Selfridge, Wallis, Burton and… actually, I thought that one had already gone under. Must be confusing it with another company because there are so many of them. Enough. Time to try the birthday girl again.

Ring. Ring. Answer. “Happy birthday to you, happy birthday to you…” She sounded pleased to hear from me. She had been out to meet a friend earlier, but they practised social distancing, so I do not have to report her to the authorities. I told her that she was lucky to have me as a friend. What surprised me was that she agreed. We had a nice chat about numerous different things, but I won’t bore you peeps because I am going to do a little more decorating and then watch an afternoon film, “Nativity”. After that it will be dinner time and another quiet night in.

Goodnight my friends. Stay safe and choose to be happy.

 

Day 251, November 29th, Lockdown 2/Day 25 First Sunday in Advent

I looked out of the window this morning as usual and looked for Tesco’s across the road. Alas, it was so drab, foggy, and miserable I could not see the sign. Keep curtains closed today.

Exciting news for me when I checked messages. A dear friend has pre-ordered my book. That must be my first order from Amazon. Yea, you are all free to rush off and add to the pre-order figures.

It is the first Sunday in Advent and our BBC are paying homage by putting on a special church service at 10.30. These services used to last an hour but now curtesy of Covid-19, they only last 30 minutes. I was downstairs with candles lit and brekky when it started. There was singing but the choristers were all socially distancing, and some music had been recorded prior to restrictions. It ended with “Guide me O thou Great Jehovah”. I sang along because I love that hymn. For those unaware of Advent, it means the coming of Christ and it continues for four Sundays leading up to Christmas Day.

An hour later, it was second cuppa time and “Songs of Praise”. This was a programme well away from the original ones. It was the semi finals of the male choristers’ contest or something and five young men sang a song each. I found it a little disappointing but then I am a traditionalist. Sorry, can’t help it.

This afternoon I finished all the decorations and now my humble home feels warmer and seems to glow. Also, I won’t have to dust until I take them down and the last items may well be when Antonio visits again because then it will be summertime! Guess, I’ll have to write the cards next.

What to do now? Work, rest and play until the end of the day.

News? The peasants are still revolting. Sorry, got confused. Meant to say ‘government’. Boris has his hands full. Romain Grosjean, (never heard of him. Sorry. VIP Formula 1 driver apparently) has survived a crash which split his car in half before bursting into flames. He walked away from it. Miraculous. The doctor who was treating Diego Maradona is under scrutiny regarding the footballer’s death. He denies any misappropriation and claims he is being made a scapegoat for the man’s death. President Trump has given his first interview since he lost the election. Anyone else notice he’s been quiet recently? Sore loser! Wow! Apparently, we have signed an agreement with France regarding the migrants crossing our channel. Another miracle. We are on the last stage of Brexit talks after four years. Okay, better make it quick to get a deal cos it is all over in 31 days! Enough for today.

 

Perhaps just one last thing Data! I know you want to know, and I do not like to disappoint. The global figure is 63,036,138. Last Sunday it was 58,815,000. So that is 4,000,000+ which means that it is stabilising as opposed to increasing. Good news and we need good news. Will it stay stable after Christmas? The USA has 13,731,720 cases at present but after Thanksgiving and Christmas what will it be? What is my estimate for Christmas in a month’s time now? 75,000,000 and my first estimate was 50,000,000 so that is a 50% increase. If only all peeps had used their common sense.

Off for dinner, chicken with mushrooms, potatoes and petite pois with vino and ice cream to follow.

Goodnight my friends. Stay safe.

Love to you all, Lady M πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“

 













Friday, 27 November 2020

Covid Chronicles 6

     

Memories! Flowers given to me in Cyprus! Happy days!

Hello Everyone,

I hope you are all safe and well as we approach December, the last month of this horrendous year. At the moment it is sun shining and mild for the time of year which is uplifting for the spirit. I popped outside earlier to feed my pesky pigeons and it felt more like spring, no need for a coat. Vaccines are looming on the horizon which brings hope for many. Will you have one? I am still not sure. I think they have been produced quickly in an attempt to eradicate the lurgy but the lurgy is not in a hurry to leave us. Peeps are looking forward to a better 2021, looking on the bright side it cannot be much worse. Remember, my friends, the glass is always half full!


     And the world looks better through rose coloured glasses. Hence my love of rose wine. Okay, I will share with you my postings for last weekend. Please enjoy!

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    Day 242 Friday, 20 November 2020. Lockdown 2/Day16

Good morning and happy 73rd wedding anniversary to our lovely Queen and Prince Philip. Wow! They have been married for my entire lifetime and more. They are spending the day together in isolation at Windsor.

Okay I am off out now. Be back later.

Late afternoon. I am back after an exciting day. I have been shopping, my usual weekly trip out to McColl’s for the essential item, a tv mag plus a few other things. It was drab and drizzly out there. Shops closed. Traffic and empty buses. Park with ease. Hassle. Into the store. Collect items. Pay. Leave.

But before that my morning was really exciting. Life is what you make it even in lockdown. I met friends and colleagues in Bristol. Bristol, a beautiful city with such memories of times gone by, in particular the wine fair. It was somewhere my husband and I enjoyed visiting. It is a two hour drive down the motorway. Lockdown? Who cares? I knew my little car needed a good run and would enjoy the journey. We would have a good ride down and admire the sites, the Clifton Suspension Bridge, the harbour and cathedral, the old city, and its streets. Shops closed. Never mind. So, mush history and so much to enjoy when we get there.

Dreaming! It took me less than a minute to walk into my library and set up Zoom for a Society of Authors Meet-up with eh Bristol area. Yes, once again, my friends I gate-crashed a party. There were only five of us this morning and the others were from Bristol. It was interesting to learn of what others are doing during this trying time and to share experiences. One lady has written astrology books. I wanna know about that.

A friend phoned me today which was nice. Then, hey presto it was after 3.00, time for lunch and return to computer to talk to you lovely peeps. The rest of the day? Ancestry. Play games. Dinner. Soaps and celebs!

What is newsworthy? There is a ‘Wags War’ going on and it has reached the first stage in court in a libel case. This one is between two footballer’s wives, Rebekah Vardy, and Coleen Rooney. This is something to do with Rebekah allegedly leaking info from Coleen’s Instagram account to the press. The press is giving the score as 1-0 to Rebekah at the moment as Coleen must prove it was Rebekah who stole the info from her account. Also, there is an on-going court case with Meghan Markle, the Duchess of Sussex suing the press over publishing a private letter to her father. Haven’t these peeps got better things to do with heir lives? Or too much money? It costs a small fortune for a libel case.

Do you fancy driving an electric car or maybe you already do? It has just been announced that from 2030 all new cars will be electric. This has been put forward by a decade. Memory alert. I remember when I put 2* petrol in my tank. My first Honda Civic ran on low octane fuel which was a bonus as many cars ran on 3 or 4* petrol and that was more expensive. In those days, the 1970’s and 80’s peeps would pay to convert to diesel because it was cheaper. Then, petrol changed to leaded and unleaded…then unleaded and diesel… soon no petrol at all.

President Trump still thinks he will serve another term. What planet is he on?

Finally, today the data. Mexico has passed the 1,000,000-case mark and are eleventh in the global league table. USA has passed 12,000,000. Total is 58,000,000. Here, in the UK, we have seen over 500 deaths most days this week and daily case figures are 20,000+. Grim. All hope lies on vaccine. Apparently, our government has ordered enough for all our population and are expecting to start vaccinating at the end of this month. Will it be mandatory, or do we have the ‘decline’ option? Also, it only has immunity for 6-12 months. What happens next winter?

Enough for one day. Food and tv are calling. ΞšΞ±Ξ»Ξ·Ξ½ΟΟ‡Ο„Ξ± as they say in Cyprus!

Day 243, Saturday November 21st, Another weekend! Lockdown 2/Day 17

Every day is Christmas Day from now until whenever! I can say that because our government has changed lockdown restrictions enabling Christmas Tree Farms to open from today. They are now essential retail establishments.

It’s a pottering day for me with nothing particularly exciting to look forward to. In fact, after yesterday’s trip to Bristol it is a bit of an anti-climax. However, I choose to be happy. (Bus alert… empty red bus heading for the station).

I have been outside, fed those pesky pigeons and added some items to the blue recycling bin. Is this as exciting as it gets? I only go outside to feed pigeons and put waste in bins. No Antonio, no ice cream, no warm sunshine, no leaves on the trees. Next, it is washing up and a wash load on before work and play.

 Many peeps have followed my trend. I always said I was a trendsetter. They have put Christmas decorations up early to make the drab days more cheerful. I shall be putting the rest of mine up next weekend and I am looking forward to opening my advent calendars in nine days-time. There is still much talk of what restrictions there will be over the Christmas period. We are told that when we come out of lockdown, which legally must be December 2nd according to the laws which passed it, it may only last for a month, we are returning to the three tier system with more areas in tier 3. So, no change really. Most of the country will be in tier 3 which is just a new name for lockdown. It also tells me that despite what Boris said the number of cases and deaths will not have decreased. SAGE have warned that for every day of easing restrictions over the festive period we will need two of tighter restrictions afterwards.

Vaccine(s) seems to be the ‘in’ word now. Many seem to see it as the panacea for the dreaded lurgy and all will be back to normal in a few months-time. Well, I am all for optimism and positivity, but I am also a realist. I still say look out for a third wave and it will be a new normal when this is over but that will not be in 2021.

Brexit? What is happening on that front? Not a lot. In fact, I think it is panic stations for the UK. We leave finally in 39 days and talks with the EU have ceased due to someone having to self-isolate and it is still stalemate! Chaos. It is 4 and ½ years since the Referendum when we were told that we could save a few thousand pounds each week for the cash-starved NHS. What about the billions of pounds spent in the escape route?

In the States Trump is still trying to get the ‘swing’ States to overturn the outcome in his favour declaring that the election was fraudulent. Georgia and Michigan have checked their results and declared no fraudulent activity could be found. President Trump has lost his lawsuits.

The G20 Summit has gone ahead virtually and is hosted by Saudi Arabia. Where would we be without the virtual world?

At home Priti Patel, our Home Secretary, has been a naughty girl and has broken the Ministerial Code by using bullying tactics with her staff. Boris says she may keep her job. He said that about Dominic Cummings after he had been a naughty boy, but he didn’t last long, did he?

Also, here I feel we are approaching anarchy. There have been anti-lockdown protests in Bournemouth, London, and Liverpool. Peeps are congregating and shouting ‘freedom’ as they march through city centres. So, we have a choice, freedom, or death from the lurgy. All those who want freedom, walk towards the ports and board ships to sail to wherever you wanna go and enjoy your freedom. Personally, I would rather accept a temporary lockdown as opposed to death. The problem is that lockdowns become more extensive as a result of protestors wanting freedom without facing reality. Northern Ireland and Scotland are in tougher lockdowns after short reprieves and the numbers are growing. Covid-19 is in control and our only hope is to obey the restriction rules.

Day 244 Sunday November 22nd, Lockdown 2/Day 18

Morning Peeps,

Temperature? Outside freezing. Mine 35.9̊.

It is “Songs of Praise” day. Very important. Alas, it has been put back by an hour due to a football match. I am sure all fans will be delighted. Football is an institution. Memory alert. My father and grandfather were Nottingham Forest supporters. I remember the year they won the cup, 1959. My father was ecstatic and there was the grand ride of honour through Nottingham. But… but… but… I am appalled that matches are continuing through this pandemic. Football is a contact sport which spells danger. Okay, there are no audiences present, they are played behind closed doors, but it doesn’t stop fans congregating elsewhere and celebrating wins in traditional style of hugging. Have you noticed the teams when they win? They hug each other. What kind of example does that set to the fans? As for Covid-19. It is like an open invitation.

What is the total score on Covid-19 front this weekend? How many more cases in the last seven days? 58,815,000. Last Sunday 54,621,689. An increase of 4,193,311. And people are protesting about restrictions! Okay, let’s be fair it is about 100,000 down on the week before figure but…

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   Wishing you all a safe week ahead. All my love, Lady MπŸ’“πŸ’“πŸ’“