The White Poppy

“Stan’s not going to join up, he says he’s a conshie.  If you ask me, he’s just a coward.” “Well, he will have to do something, either go down the mines or become a stretcher bearer.” “I don’t fancy my chances with either of those choices, I would rather have a gun in my hand.  At least I would be able to defend myself, they don’t make bullet proof stretchers.” Stan could hear the conversation between his two best friends, as he was standing the other side of the pillar in the pub.  He decided not to intervene, they were entitled to their opinions, just the same as he was. When Stan announced to his family that he wasn’t joining up, it was met with differing reactions.  His Mum was delighted “I’m so glad that you can stay at home with me.” “Don’t be so stupid woman, of course he can’t stay at home with you.  They will send him away somewhere. I’m not sure...
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Peter the Great

Carving pumpkins is a pastime we have all taken part in with our children.  The combination of very sharp knives and little fingers is scary enough, coupled with naked candle flames, but we want to add stories of ghosts and ghouls to scare the little sweethearts completely. Carving the Jack of the Lantern, according to Irish Folktales, using turnips or potatoes was to scare away evil spirits from your home, by placing them in the window, complete with a burning candle inside. The Irish, apparently took the tradition to America, but discovered that the surfeit of pumpkins around that time of year, proved a better choice to carve.  Also, apart from Pumpkin Pie or Soup both of which are pretty horrendous, nothing else could be done with the huge orange fruit. One year, we decided to grow our own pumpkin, we tended it, watered it, generally spoilt it rotten, we even gave it a chair to rest on because it was growing over...
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Classwork 18.10.2021 aka Linda

“Mrs Hester, please may I borrow your stapler?” “Why what have you done with your own?” “I took it home to upholster a chair and it unfortunately broke.” “So, I suggest you go out an buy a new one at lunch time.” “Can I have some money from the Petty Cash box, please.” “No, certainly not, you broke it, you replace it.  It’s a staple rule of the office.”   Mrs. Hester, please may I borrow your ruler.  As a rule, I wouldn’t ask, but since I have to buy a stapler at lunch time, I can’t afford a new ruler.” Taking a long deep breath, Mrs. Hester asked “So, pray tell me, why do you need a new ruler?” “Well, when I was upholstering my chair at home, I couldn’t find my staple remover thingy, so I tried to prise out a staple using my ruler and it snapped.” “Anything else you have broken?  Tell me now, before I lose all my patience.” “Well, I did block up my hole...
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43 Winks

“What does everyone want to do today?” Mum asked while carefully folding the washing in piles for each child. Chaos ensued, when each child, Judy, Matthew and Robert, argued their point without even listening to each other. “No, that’s not fair, just because there are two boys in the family, doesn’t mean we have to do boy’s stuff.” “Yeah, right” said Robert “We should all play dressing up and practice putting make up on each other.” “Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing that.” Matthew had a very sensitive nature. Finally, Mum called the chaotic meeting to order by clapping her hands together and she suggested a game to decide which child could choose the activity for the day. The children whined, but couldn’t decide which game to play.  More quarrels began, each child suggesting their own game, Judy suggested using a pack of playing cards, highest card wins.  Robert wanted to wrestle to be the decision maker, but as he was older and much stronger than everyone...
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The Big Decision

“What does everyone want to do today?” Mum asked while carefully folding the washing in piles for each child. Chaos ensued, when each child, Judy, Matthew and Robert, argued their point without even listening to each other. “No, that’s not fair, just because there are two boys in the family, doesn’t mean we have to do boy’s stuff.” “Yeah, right” said Robert “We should all play dressing up and practice putting make up on each other.” “Actually, I wouldn’t mind doing that.” Matthew had a very sensitive nature. Finally, Mum called the chaotic meeting to order by clapping her hands together and she suggested a game to decide which child could choose the activity for the day. The children whined, but couldn’t decide which game to play.  More quarrels began, each child suggesting their own game, Judy suggested using a pack of playing cards, highest card wins.  Robert wanted to wrestle to be the decision maker, but as he was older and much stronger than everyone...
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Bingley street to Penn Fields.

Bingley street Carol and my growing up Blonde and curly Sweet face 14/15 yoa. She had a friend I had Dave Spragg we both had bikes Safety in numbers First kiss behind cenotaph St Peter’s Church W/Ton Lived too far away was my excuse Went off me was reason. Tina had a pony tail And a bosom ( small but definitely there.) Bliss. She was at the youth club and jived Heaven She had an Alsatian With ears that were horizontal. We did a lot of walking and kissing Then she lost interest I started cycling in earnest Almost became a monk but something – don’t know what was missing Reasons to be joyful...😊,2,3. Growing awareness, curly blond fairness, Pretty-faced Carol smiled at me. Just fourteen, had to brag Has she a friend asked my mate, Dave Spragg. Carol and Her friend were churchies Couldn't miss opportunities; Sunday evenings St Peters, middle of town First kiss behind the cenotaph Mind erupting shooting stars lightning bolts screaming lights, senses off the graph. Asked me to meet her Tuesday at the park; But the park...
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The Washing Line

The damp, miserable weather didn’t deter the two middle-aged ladies from leaning against their fences, exchanging local gossip and scandals. Both women were wearing their house coats, hair in curlers wrapped up in a scarf, tied in a floppy bow on top of their heads. “You know Alf, from number 64?” “Do you mean May’s old man?” “Yes, well, you will never believe this.  Ethel saw him leaving number 62 at 6.30 in the morning.  What do you make of that then?” “I was wondering what Ethel was doing looking out of her window at that time in the morning.” “Don’t worry about that, but that tart at number 62 has been eyeing up my other half as well.  Hussy!” “She must be desperate, Alf’s not much to write home about and your old man isn’t much better.” “There’s no need to get nasty, he’s had an ‘ard life.” The two women clammed up shut and both watched Susie from number 62 come out into her garden.  She put...
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Hidden qualities

“OK settle down now, class.  Turn to page 56 in your books.  Whose turn is it to continue reading?” A deafening silence was heard around the room, where everyone tried to sink lower into their seats. Finally, a tentative hand went up, Lesley, known as Piglet, because of her diminutive size and quiet voice, admitted to being the next in line. We all had nicknames from Winnie the Pooh, in the sixth form, Tigger being the loudest and the bounciest, Pooh being the soppiest and Eeyore the most miserable and glum.  But Lesley aka Piglet was the epitome of her character, timid and quite anxious, even her stuttering reinforced the similarities. Lesley looked around the classroom fearfully, dreading the moment Mr. Dawes would tell her to start.  She prayed that her stutter wouldn’t be too obvious and that she could read the words in her book, as she had forgotten to bring her glasses that day. “Come on then Lesley, don’t keep us all waiting.” Lesley...
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Petty Cash

With all the above advice in my head, I began my first day working as a Financial Officer at my local council. My boss, the Town Clerk, was an elderly lady with silver hair and a beautiful, sophisticated dress sense.  She was a real pussy cat, easily persuaded by the local councillors.  Any meetings which were held, I had to attend and keep minutes.  This enabled me to find out, first hand, what was going on in the council offices. I quickly realised that the local councillors were a mixture of good intentions blended together seamlessly with their desire for personal gain.  Most local councillors also had delusions of grandeur, believing that their power was endless and no rules could prevent them from getting their own way. One of my less enjoyable jobs, was to ensure that our car park ticket machines were emptied on a regular basis.  A lovely elderly gentleman had the job of then bringing me the coins, which I...
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Lies, damn lies and statistics

Using gentle persuasion, demonstrations and protestations, with varying degrees of intensity. Failing that, the use of blackmail, dishonesty or simple threats, maybe useful. Get the best speakers you can afford, they don’t necessarily need to believe in your plan, they will be able to persuade their listeners anything without conviction. Use social media to swamp the internet with information/mis-information, just get the issue out and being discussed everywhere by everyone, don’t forget the usefulness of the hashtag#. Use facts, statistics, conjecture and opinions as proof, whether it has any truth is neither here nor there. Encourage discussion on the topic at every opportunity, standing at a bus stop, in church, at the Doctor’s surgery.  Engage your target with passion, creativity and a feeling of guilt, if they don’t agree. Speak badly of your opponents, truth if possible, or rumours or maybe even just downright lies.  Some of what is heard will stick, so don’t be afraid to criticise your adversaries. Use humour to entertain, educate and influence...
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