Baked Beans

February 18th, 2009

I am more than happy to welcome Green Monster to our midst and am even happier that Blue has seen the light regarding Revue Monsters.

You’re a cool dude Blue.

So are you Red – or should that be dudette?

Alas the character in this week’s story was possibly not.

Try and write something yourselves about disgusting food.

Baked Beans

Many years ago there was a young man who disliked baked beans. Well, “disliked” was probably a vast understatement. He felt that they were not fit to be consumed by any living creature on the earth or anywhere else in the known or unknown universe – to put it mildly.

He did however belong to a youth club. They were popular when he was about sixteen years old because the people who ran them did so because they enjoyed it and they didn’t need many weeks of training and a certificate to tell people they were competent, or for that matter, a police check to make certain they were not perverts.

The young mans club organised a weekend in a guest house in Margate. So when Friday evening came he took his small bag of clothes, toothbrush and razor and boarded the coach.

They arrived at about 7:30 pm to find their guest house was more than a mile away from the nearest places of interest, most of which were closed at that time of night. Well it was a long time ago.

The teenagers sorted themselves into rooms, dumped their bags and returned to the dinning room for dinner, where they were told they would have to spend the evening indoors. One or two were a bit unhappy but most of them didn’t seem to mind.

They settled down at the tables and soon a short plump middle aged woman bustled around taking orders for dinner, when she reached the young man she smiled and asked, ‘would you like baked beans on toast?’

‘No thank you,’ he replied politely, what else is there?’

Her smile dissolved into a worried expression, ‘Oh!’ she said, ‘there isn’t anything else I’m afraid.’

He sat very still as his mind raced through various facts and alternatives. He wasn’t allowed out to buy anything. His room was on the first floor so he couldn’t climb out later. There was nothing else to eat, he wondered if he could stomach baked beans. At last he decided to try.

When the meal was placed in front of him he wondered briefly why the woman asked him if he wanted beans on toast when there was no choice.

Watched by his friends he placed a forkful of beans and toast in his mouth and with a great deal of determination begin to chew. He tried desperately not to gag when he tasted the disgusting sauce and felt the unpleasant texture of powdered beans coating his teeth and making his taste buds scream for mercy.

When he swallowed the first mouth full a friend asked if it was all right. He shook his head and replied, ‘No, it’s revolting.’

He ate the rest slowly and in total silence because he was concentrating on not being sick.

Even today, more than forty years later his stomach still churns a little when he remembers the worst meal he ever ate.

Hot Curries

February 11th, 2009

Happiness is Blue and Red Monsters engaged in witty repartee.

However it is time for you to consider ‘Hot Curries’.

Hot Curries

Hot curries are a spicy traditional dish in many countries and are enjoyed by many millions of people who have for countless generations eaten vast quantities of different types, with many and varied levels of heat.

Some people however live in fear and trepidation of a form of sustenance which feels, to them at least, as if the skin has been torn from the roof of their mouth with a really hot wire brush. It also leaves their pallet singed and incapable of appreciating any flavours or indeed textures. It also creates a desire for ice cream and cold drinks.

For these people statements like, ‘I have prepared a nice curry for you,’ are like a long detention on Devil’s Island. That’s right, something to be avoided like the plague.

Fortunately for them they usually manage to avoid situations like that and if they can’t avoid it, they provide a certain amount of amusement for all the curry lovers at the table.

We will not even mention chilli-con-carne – oops it seems we have.

Building the Fire

February 4th, 2009

A happy outcome at last. Blue and Green are buddies, Red will be happy, the world is at one with itself and I really feel quite mellow.

In this smooth mood let us peruse ‘Building the Fire’.

Building the Fire

Building the fire, that’s easy – I often hear this sweeping statement. Always from people who never have any problem at all lighting fires.

I, on the other hand, have found that on the odd occasion it is almost impossible to get the ratty thing to ignite.

Poor old thing that I am, I carefully build the bonfire with paper and cardboard in the base, twigs and small sticks piles around it with bits of branches and scrap wood on top –perfect – apply the match and watch as the paper blazes brightly before going out and leaving just two or three twigs with a dull glow.

I dismantle the fire and start again. Maybe twice or three times before I get a bit cross and soak the whole thing in flammable liquid. Then the match is applied and after a quick check to make sure I still have eyebrows I stand back and enjoy the blaze.

However if you think that is bad then imagine how much more trouble it is to light a coal fire inside one of those pretty enclosed cast iron jobs.

On second thoughts don’t bother. It gives me a headache.

A Tale of Snowmen II

January 28th, 2009

I’m moderately pleased that Blue Monster is coming to terms with a Revue Monster and displaying a more relaxed attitude but I feel there may be a little more effort required for Green Monster.

In the meantime why not try your hand at reviewing part two of A Tale of Snowmen.

A Tale of Snowmen II

While sensible adults went to work or shopping or just stayed in the warm, the children and a few of their friends continued crafting ever more complicated snowmen with the help of a plastic kitchen spatula. They were saddened when a snowball attack perpetrated by rival snowmen builders from a few houses away decapitated the largest snowman in the family they had built. However they rallied and replaced the damaged head although they had to construct a system of scaffolding to hold it in place. It’s amazing how useful a handful of sticks can be. Then they had to cover the repairs with a scarf.

The ultimate piece of sculpture came in the form of a baby snowman called ‘Ice-a-belle’ which was held in the arms of one of the large snowmen, or perhaps in this case snow-women.

Providing that it’s not a sexist comment.

At about that point some of their friends indicated that they would like the snowmen in their own gardens to join the family. The children considered the problem of moving snowmen and came up with a plan. They used a piece of wire to cut the figures from the ground before easing them onto the red plastic sledge and transporting them to the waiting snowman family.

Much or indeed most of this happened without the knowledge of most of the parents who were not greatly involved anyway.

In fact the father of the siblings did not discover most of the details for more than 10 years, maybe 15.

Although his wife had told him that some people had taken photographs he was amazed to learn that his children had taken to selling ice tokens to allow people, usually teenagers, to be towed around the relatively small front garden in a red plastic sledge pulled by his daughter.

The tokens were created by squashing small snowballs between their hands until an ice disc was produced. These were then sold for the princely sum of 10 or 20 pence to the patrons by the young brother and the young girl from the house next door. They had their own ticket office located beneath the rhododendron bush and dispersed tokens through the fence.

The children enjoyed themselves and even earned a small amount of cash. But the father was stunned to learn that on one occasion his garden had been visited by a small group of six or seven Japanese tourists who had happily taken photographs. This information was finally imparted by his daughter many years later. She also believed that one of these tourists was tempted onto the sledge for the grand tour.

Apparently she never learned about the display of snowmen or why they had taken the time or trouble to visit.

She did not worry about it. She just enjoyed the look of dismay on her father’s face when she related the tale.

A Tale of Snowmen

January 21st, 2009

Blue Monster, relax my friend, it’s not the end of the world. Just because a Revue Monster is in the wings there’s no reason to get upset. While I see your point of view I think you should try to see mine. He may give all of us a positive and beneficial review.

Let’s see how he gets along with this week’s offering, ‘A Tale of Snowmen’.

A Tale of Snowmen

It was winter in Hornchurch, Essex. Hornchurch is now in the Greater London Borough of Havering. A great pity that the evil ones responsible didn’t bother to consult the residence first.

But enough of politics, we shall continue with the tale.

It had snowed and the young brother and sister wanted to build a snowman in the front garden. They began by trying to scrape together the snow on the lawn. It was difficult and after some time they had achieved only a small heap.

Then the front door opened and the well meaning but sadly long suffering father stepped out, just to see how they were getting along.

‘Dad,’ said the girl, after exchanging a brief look with her brother, ‘we haven’t got enough snow.’

‘Ah,’ said the father, ‘there is plenty around on the waste ground behind the houses.’ He pointed to the house at the end of the road.

‘How can we get it?’ said the boy.

‘You have a sledge,’ replied the father.

‘They tried but there is a limit to the amount of snow two children can load into a red plastic sledge and tow back. They finally resorted to asking their dad if he could help.

At last the dad, clad in coat, woolly hat and gloves, came out with a resigned expression, grabbed an empty plastic bin which he placed in the sledge and made his way behind the houses. He kept up a more or less one sided conversation with his children as he filled the bin with virgin snow dug from the small snowdrift. Of course he was the one who had to tow it back.

Back in the garden the dustbin was tipped upside down and a bin sized column of snow was deposited in the centre, more or less.

The children spent some time applying snow to the top of the column before they placed the head on top. They used stones for the eyes.

They spent the next few days collecting snow in the sledge and creating smaller snowmen as well as fattening up the larger one. Then they asked their father if he would help to build a taller snowman. He was of the opinion that it might not work too well, but agreed to try.

To build a bigger snowman required the dad to put one bin full of snow in the garden and then collect another one which he placed on the top of the first. He also got the job of placing the large snowball on top for the head. Then he slipped quietly indoors for a hot coffee and a biscuit or two. After all was said and done the snowman was taller than him…

To be continued next week as it is getting a bit long!

Chocolate Teapot

January 14th, 2009

I am deeply saddened that Blue Monster has taken such a negative stance about the introduction of a Revue Monster. I personally am willing to give said Monster the chance to write something pleasant about us before I comment further.

Now please review the chocolate teapot yourselves.

Chocolate Teapot

The man got off the underground train at Gloucester Road tube station. He was carrying a carrier bag with some bits and pieces for his daughter.

He strode along the road until he reached the halls of residence where his daughter dwelt. He had to use his ancient and rather battered mobile phone to tell her he was there. The doors were always locked against intruders.

He waited for some time before the door was opened and his daughter hobbled to one side. She was on crutches; her ankle was badly swollen. The girl had been on a field trip in Spain with the Geology class of Imperial College. She had successfully avoided being injured on the dangerous bit where there had been fatalities in the past but had twisted her ankle on the flat bit.

She and another girl had been running to catch up to the group. Torn ligaments are very nasty, not to mention painful. However she maintained the worst part wasn’t the five hour long wait in a dry river valley but being carried out by a lecturer.

The man entered the building and they climbed slowly to her room where she told him she would cook him some dinner which they would share with her friend.

He looked at the girl trying to balance on the crutches and asked, ‘Just as a matter of interest what are you intending to cook?’

‘I was thinking stir fry,’ she said as she lurched unsteadily to one side.

‘Right,’ he replied, ‘do you need a hand?’

‘Er, yes please.’ She didn’t smile. She just looked embarrassed.

They left the room and entered the kitchen. The man looked around, ‘Where’s your wok?’

‘Er, there,’ she said, indicating a pile of washing up.

‘Oh so it is,’ he replied. The irony in his tone was a little on the heavy side his daughter thought.

‘I guess I’ll just give it a bit of a wash then,’ he sighed theatrically as he emptied the sink and ran a bowl of hot water. ‘You got any clean plates?’ he asked innocently.

‘Er, no,’ she answered.

He looked at the pile of crockery waiting to be washed, ‘Ah I see them. I think I may wash a few knives and forks too,’ he murmured.

‘Thanks dad,’ she said as she hobbled out.

A short time later the girl and her friend entered the kitchen with the ingredients for the promised stir fry.

‘There you go,’ he said, happily indicating the clean wok and plates with the fork he was drying.

‘That’s great dad,’ she said as her friend put the food alongside the wok.

He watched his daughter as she stood in the middle of the kitchen looking lost and pathetic. ‘Are you going to be able to cook?’ he asked.

‘Erm, um, well… yes. It’s just that I’ve got these blisters on my hands. You know from using the crutches. Look…’ She held up a hand for inspection.

He looked at the blisters which appeared to be sore and painful. Then he looked at the worried expression on her face and finally gave in and reached for the wok. He shook his head slowly with a certain amount of resignation.

‘You,’ he said quietly, ‘are not only as daft as a box of lights but you’re about as much use as a chocolate teapot.’

A Box of Lights

January 7th, 2009

Sadly I foresee problems ahead. Red is encouraging Green Monster to write and Blue has declared that there should be a limit to the number of monsters who should be allowed to write a blog.

It seems we may be living in turbulent times.

A box of lights

I must confess that I do not recall the content of the statement that caused me to say that my daughter was as daft as a box of lights. Probably because it was so silly that I dismissed it from my thoughts instantly.

However, that simple and much used phrase caused her husband to state, with a deadpan expression and innocent eyes, “There’s nothing daft about a box of lights.”

I smiled kindly at him and explained that if you put lights in a box you can’t use them to light your way in the dark. Therefore a box of lights is daft.

He countered by explaining that the only way to transport lights safely is in a box.

I replied that if they are in a box you can’t use them.

He said the best way to store lights was in a box.

I said if they are in a box you won’t get any light.

He said if they are being stored you don’t need to use them.

He said if you want to carry them about you should always put them in a box.

All of this was a couple of years ago but if I say someone or something is as daft as a box of light the conversation carries on and on.

The Wax Beehive

December 31st, 2008

Poor old Blue. He doesn’t seem to understand that we all really enjoy his work. Deep down.

Take yesterday’s masterpiece of literary genius. Profound, that’s what I call it. As Blue says, perhaps we should all try it.

For today’s writing topic find some strange or unusual object in your house that is shorter than 7cm spend 5 minutes just jotting down ideas about the object, what it looks like, how it smells etc… And then spend 10 minutes writing non-stop about it. Do not worry overly about spelling and grammar as you can edit that later, the important thing is to just keep the pen moving.

Wax Bee Hives

I was staying with my daughter when she made a statement that caused me what is commonly referred to as a double take.

“Hey dad, Al’s aunt bought Jean a wax beehive.”

As you can imagine I was a little taken aback. My thought process clicked into overdrive, then switched on the super charger.

I knew my daughter was thinking about becoming a beekeeper, but Jean was only two and a half. But hold on, beehives aren’t made of wax. Well they’re not, are they?

If they were then the bees would make them themselves. But how weather proof would such a hive be and how would you get the honeycomb out – and surely beehives are made of wood? Of course it can’t be real or it would melt on a hot summer’s day. If we ever get one.

One or two more ridiculous thoughts roared through my brain. Rather like: how thick would the walls and floor have to be? All these thoughts plus a few more were neatly squeezed into 1.24 seconds.

I closed my mouth quickly and tried not to look surprised when she held up the three centimetre tall candle, shaped like a domed beehive, with a small amber coloured plastic bee attached to the side. It was made of beeswax of course.

“That’s really nice,” I muttered guiltily.

My daughter stared at me in a puzzled fashion. “You didn’t think it was a full sized one with real bees did you?” she asked.

“Absolutely not,” I replied innocently, “just how silly do you think I am?”

Pen Thieves

December 24th, 2008

At last peace and tranquillity have descended upon the monster writing world. Nice isn’t it? Cosy too. It’s also restful. 🙂

And with that, this week’s writing exercise is to write about the frustrations of actually sitting down and writing. You should do this for 15 minutes – off you go!

Pen Thieves

In quiet moments of which there are precious few, I am given to ponder some of life’s great mysteries. Like why can I never lay my hands on a pen. At home I do my best to always put the things back in the same place whenever I use them. I have even, on occasions, secreted a second pen in a convenient drawer or perhaps on a shelf.

Imagine my despair when I reach for the pen that I put carefully in the usual place the previous day and discover nothing but fresh air.

“Has anyone seen my pen?” I ask with little hope or indeed no hope of a positive answer i.e.: “No.”, “I haven’t touched it.”, “Nothing to do with me.”, “You lost your pen again?” or my personal favourite, “You must have put it somewhere else.”

I take a deep calm breath and retreat to look in the secret place where I keep my spare pen. Hell’s teeth! It’s as empty as my wallet.

I choke off an angry expletive and begin a frantic search for anything to write with and after fifteen minutes I am in possession of a large permanent marker (you know, for writing on cardboard boxes in really big letters) and the stub of a pencil with no point. I sharpen the pencil with a penknife because my pencil sharpener is also missing.

At last I sit down to write but find I have forgotten what it was that I wanted to say.

Sadly it doesn’t stop there. When I worked in an office someone would always borrow my pen and could not remember where they left it. Or in the delivery office the lorry driver would forget to return my pen after signing for the load. Someone, and I never learned who, would frequently appropriate the spare pen from my desk drawer. When I worked in a supermarket I found that the manager would borrow my pen and glibly tell me he must have left it on the shelf in the warehouse.

I try not to let it get me down. But my wife always borrows my pen and only returns one out of every twenty. My daughter borrows my pen when I am staying with her and runs out nineteen out of twenty. My son rarely borrows my pen but never returns any.

I have come to the inevitable conclusion that either my pens have been spirited to the great stationery cupboard in the sky for all eternity or I am surrounded by merciless pen thieves.

Pink Fluffy Dice

December 17th, 2008

I am sad that Blue Monster thinks that Red Monster and I are ganging against him. So I thought I should say something nice about his story.

It’s really enjoyable and even more interesting. If you like being depressed.

Red Monster’s appreciation of the dangers posed by supposedly inanimate objects makes compelling reading.

I wonder what Blue will have to say about pink fluffy dice and their place in a civilized society, talking of which that is this weeks writing stimuli.

Pink Fluffy Dice

A careworn, hard-done-by old father and his daughter, who was a bit chirpy, were crossing a car park on their way back to his car. He paused in front of a lime green car that was pretending to be a mini.

“Ye gods!” he muttered in a disgusted tone of voice, “Look at that!”

The girl glanced at the car, “Oooh look it’s got pink fluffy dice.”

The man’s shoulders sagged a little and he shook his head sadly. “Good grief,” he croaked, “as if it wasn’t bad enough that a vehicle the size of a pantechnican has mini written on it and is painted the colour of a bramley apple, some…” he searched for a suitable word to describe the owner. Then he raised his hands in a gesture of defeat, “…person,” he spat the word, “has hung pink fluffy dice from the mirror.”

“I think they’re cute,” said his daughter with a grin.

“Cute?” he snarled, “Who in their right mind would hang dopey looking fluffy dice on their rear view mirror? Especially pink ones. The only thing they’re good for is hiding innocent pedestrians on pedestrian crossings from hit and run drivers.”

“But they’re fluffy,” said the daughter with a bigger grin, “There’s no harm in them is there?”

The man paused for a moment, as if momentarily lost for words. Then with a superior sniff he straightened his shoulders and announced, “It’s an MOT failure.”

The girl opened her mouth and then closed it. She shook her head as if to clear her thoughts. “Are you sure?” she asked with a hint of disbelief in her voice.

The father stared back with his annoyingly superior expression. “Absolutely,” he confirmed. Then with a touch of doubt in his voice, “At least it was where I took my car for testing.”