Wednesday, 20 June 2012

Elsie's Guide to the Jubilee.

Let me introduce myself, I’m Elsie. Now as you can’t actually see me and just in case you’re interested, as my name would suggest I’m female. I’m comfortably padded, fair haired and fiftyish – think telly tubby in a wig. Unlike a telly tubby I do like the odd cigarette and I have been known to have a glass or two of wine; just to be polite you understand.

Normally I don’t give two hoots about being PC, but I’ll on this occasion I’ll try - considering we are going to be talking about the most powerful woman in the country. I can’t say I relish the idea of being banged up at her majesty’s pleasure. To be blunt her majesty can go get her pleasures elsewhere.

Now then, you would like me to tell you about this Jubilee malarkey.

No? Well you should.

It’s not just about sitting in the middle of the street, stuffing yourself with jelly and waving a flag you know – though a lot of people will be. If you’ve been out and bought a load of bunting, before you put it up, just think on; did you ask this woman and her family to go potterng about the country in a posh car, waving and smiling at your expense. No, I thought not.

If you’re a member of the landed gentry (which of course I’m not) things are better than they used to be. When QE1 went on progress, some poor old baron would end up almost bankrupt. Her Maj liked to be kept in the manner she was accustomed to. She’d arrive and stay for weeks on end, eating and drinking her way through the old barons stores, then she’d clambered into her carriage and wave her way on to the next rich mug.

At least now we all equally bear the burden of the costs; every citizen is forced contributing to the royal purse via Her Majesty’s Customs and Revenue.  At this point - despite what you might think - I’d just like to point out that we’re not actually citizens of a democracy; we’re subjects.
I guess, I’ll have to be a bit careful what I say; wouldn’t want to lose my head now would I. Okay, so HRH hasn’t sent anyone to the tower, nor has she ever had anyone beheaded, but hey, she could if she wanted to.

Oh . . . I’ve just been told she doesn’t have the powers to do that.

Well, that’s a relief.

I get quite angry when I think too hard about it. Damn it, she’s not even a thoroughbred English woman, why should I curtsey tug my forelock?

 Oh . . . I’ve been told I can’t say that, it’s racist. I I’ve also been told that the pure breed English person doesn’t exist anymore; apparently, throughout history, once we stopped fighting them, we interbred with the Saxons, the romans and anyone else who had the energy invade us.

I’m getting side tracked, where was I? Ah, right, yes, to sum it up the jubilee is all about celebrating an unelected, multi–millionairess and her family and hangers on, having ruled over us for the last 60 years.  We’re expected to celebrate the work she has done promoting our country; bringing in tourist; forging alliances and good will abroad. We’re expected to go out and enjoy ourselves; to eat drink and be merry and to take a day off work(with pay).

Hmm . . . actually that doesn’t sound too bad.

Well if you can’t beat them . . . “can someone pass me a sausage roll for the corgis, and flag and some jelly please please?”.

© Lindsey Chapman

Thursday, 31 May 2012

As Soon as the Lights Went Out

As soon as the lights went out there was a soft click of a door closing, followed by the sounds of shuffling, slipper clad feet.

“Martha? You there?” Gerald’s usually booming voice was nothing more than a hoarse whisper. His eyes darted left and right searching the gloom.

“Over here. “ Martha shouted.

“Ssh, Martha, for pity sake keep it down. They’ll hear us.”

“Ooh, I forgot.” Martha giggled in replied.

It took Gerald a good five minutes to cross the lawn and his breath was short by the time he reached her. He wrapped his arms around Martha and kissed her gently on the cheek. Taking her hand he guided her away from the building. Their progress was painfully slow; inwardly he cursed his once tall, muscular frame, now bent and frail. Still, he shuffled on. In his mind he was back at Goose Green, treading a careful path, avoiding the enemy. Despite his eyes not being as sharp as they had been in his youth, he had no difficulty guiding them both down the dark path to the lake.

 “Look Gerald, stars, look, stars in the water.”

A smile tickled the edges of Gerald’s lips. He remembered the first time he brought her to the lake, she had said the exact same words – in fact, she said the same thing every single night they made it to the lake.

“Oh, Gerald, it’s beautiful. How did you find this place? Can we come here again?”

 “Of course we can sweetheart.” Gerald reached out and stroked her silver grey hair, letting the fine, sparse locks slide through his fingers. He remembered her hair being thick, curly and a dazzling chestnut brown.  He felt a tear running down his cheek, he wiped it away.

With ease she sat down on the bank and wriggled her naked toes in the warm water.

“Did you bring a picnic? I’m so hungry.” Martha looked up at him in anticipation.

“I certainly did,” he said, handing her a plastic box.

He marvelled at the dexterity of her fingers as she nimbly removed the lid of the lunch box. It took him ages to get into the damned things. He was glad it was dark; at least tonight he wouldn’t have to recount to her why one of his hands was missing. Briefly, the memory threatened to overwhelm him. He could all but hear the Argentine bombs exploding and the crack, crack, crack of small arms fire.  He’d been forty five when the SB-33 AR mine had taken his hand off. With all the strength he could muster, he pushed the thought aside.

“My favourite,” she said, spaying him with a mouthful of crumbs. When she had finished the cake, she lay with her face turned to the sky. Sitting on the ground next to her, he watched a puzzled expression cross her face.

“How old am I Gerald? I’m old aren’t I. We’re old aren’t we?”

“Yes, sweetheart, we are.” Unsure how much of reality was making its way through her Alzheimer’s, he was wary over what to say next.  “Come on sweets, let’s go home.”

He struggled to his feet, and then helped her get to hers.

By the time they got back to their daughter’s house, the place they now called home, his legs ached and his breathing was coming in painful gasps. Before he could open the door, it was opened from inside.

“Dad, why do you keep playing this game with her? She won’t even remember by the morning? Look at the state you’re in.” Jane, their daughter passed him his inhaler then helped them both up the front steps and into the house.

When Jane had settled her mother in bed, she came and sat with her father.

“Why do you do it Dad?”

“Because it lets us both escape, for a short time, from this prison of old age, disintegrating minds and bodies, and lets us recapture a time from before you were born.” There was no harshness in his voice, but he made it clear that he would brook no more discussion on the subject.

Later in his room, the inhaler having done its job, he rested against his pillow. He wondered how much longer the jailer would be setting them completely free.

© Lindsey Chapman

Saturday, 18 February 2012

Kevin, being a modern dog, had been trying his paw on facebook. He would love to hear from any readers who have enjoyed his stories. So head on over and leave him a comment.

Kevin's facebook page.

Monday, 23 January 2012


© Lindsey Chapman


I’ve just stood, barefoot, on one of Kevin’s dog biscuits. He’s got this habit of shoving his nose right into the centre of his bowl and flicking all the dry sawdust balls onto the floor. He’s after what the packet describes as, ‘moist meaty chunks’. I lift my foot and watch as a purple spot spreads to the size of a pea. Okay, it’s not a big bruise, but it bloody well hurts. Limping in dramatic Movie Diva fashion, I head to the front door. I’m met by the usual pile of leaflets and brown envelopes. I’m just wondering if the offer of a case of wine is enough of an incentive to take out life cover, when Kevin drops his bedraggled teddy at my feet. He’s developed a rather unnatural relationship with that teddy. It gets a bit embarrassing when we’ve got visitors. Why can’t he be a normal dog and hump legs. Doris nearly choked on her chocolate biscuit yesterday, when Kevin grabbed teddy and gave it a good seeing to. She’s led a sheltered life; poor soul. Anyway, he’s obviously worked out we’re going away and he wants to make sure the love of his life doesn’t get left behind. 

“Elsie, are you ready yet?” yells Hubby.

Of course I’m not ready; I’ve only had a week to pack. Warm jumpers, jeans, my best dress, bikini top, stilettos and wellies are just the bare essentials. I admit, I never get to wear the dress and stilettos. 

An hour later we’re sitting in the car thundering down the motorway. 

“In 200 yards, take the exit onto the A5, Darling,” purrs Joanna Lumley. It’s a good job she can’t hear the abuse he’s hurling at her.

“Elsie! Switch that bloody thing off!” Up until now hubby's been ignore the directions from the satnav.

I think he’s gone off Joanna. Maybe now he’ll stop watching DVD’s of the Avengers. Hey, I've cracked it, I’ve got ‘the other woman’ out of our lives. Success!

“Shit! Elsie, Kevin‘s just thrown up on the back seat.” says hubby.

I do my best. Balancing over the back of the seat, I set to work with a loo roll and a plastic bag. 

“For god’s sake, Elsie, sit down. There’s a police car.”

It’s a bit of a struggle, but I manage to be facing the right way as we pass them. I raise the bag to show the officer its contents, whilst miming that the dog’s just thrown up. He shakes his head, but he doesn’t turn on the ‘blues and twos’, so no problem.

Things are going smoothly now. I relax with a nice can of cola and a cigarette. I can see the turn off to the moorings coming up; I can also see that Joanna wants us to continue for another three miles to the next junction. I reach over and accidentally knock the Sat Nav into the foot-well before Hubby notices. Good job I succumbed to that sexy young salesman‘s offer of extended cover. You know, I got quite excited until I realised all he wanted to cover was the sat nav. 

We pass fields full of wheat and barley, the pungent smell of rapeseed flowers makes my eyes run. 

“Have you got the hay fever tablets?” I snuffle.

“There might be some in the glove box.” Hubby stretches over to press the button and the flap drops down hitting me on the knee. The car suddenly swerves and there is a scraping noise down the side of my door, as the car briefly comes into contact with the hedge. 

“Stupid bloody birds!”

“What the hell are you doing!” I screech, mopping up cola from my lap.

“Sodding pheasants! I‘ve scratched the bloody car now.”

“Well at least you didn’t hit it. Though I think I‘ve got a nice recipe for pheasant.” 

He gives me one of those looks. He would be mortified if he’d hit the bird, and my suggestion that we eat one hasn’t gone down well. 

We’ve arrived. Perfect peace, the countryside of rolling hills gently slops down to the canal. At this time of year the private road that leads to the moorings is dusty rather than muddy, which is a relief. The welcome sound of birds twittering away in the trees drowns out the sound of the distant traffic.

While I’m scrabbling about getting stuff out of the boot, Kevin is ambling along with his teddy in his mouth, no doubt looking for the most exposed spot to show his affections. Despite the moorings being private, each having it’s own gated garden, it’s still possible for someone walking along the other side of canal, on the towpath, to get an eyeful of Kevin’s promiscuity.

“Those bloody pigeons!” With that I see Hubby disappearing into the pigeon poo covered narrow boat. He comes out armed with the catapult and a bag of hazelnuts. The first shot cannons off the tree trunk and smacks Kevin right up the bum. Kevin gives Hubby the ‘Kevin Death Stare’, and then belts across the mooring, teddy still held firmly in his mouth, and dives into the safety of the boat.

I set to work with a watering can and a soft brush. If he thinks for one minute, I‘m going to do this all on my own he’s got another think coming. Halfway through cleaning the first side, looking up irritably, I see Hubby sitting under the tree, with a murderous look in his eyes. Luckily it’s not aimed at me; nor is the catapult.


The pigeon’s aim is good, a direct hit on Hubby's sleeve.


Hubby’s aim's improving. The pigeon flaps to a branch nearer the boat.


“You little bugger! I’ve just cleaned that,” I wail.

I choose a weapon of my own … my Iphone. I shuffle through the icons looking for the Bird Identification app. It’s got bird calls on it. Scrolling down, I get to the wood pigeon listing. I stare in dismay; it doesn’t have a bloody alarm call.


Oh, now that’s just taking the pee; it’s aiming at me now. Right you’re for it, you bugger. I point the phone up into the tree. 

“Ke Ke Ke Ke” 

I shoot with the call of the sparrowhawk. Silence. No frantic flapping of wings. I think he’s hiding. Probably thinks if he keeps quiet he’ll be ok. I bring out the big guns. The haunting call of the buzzard fills the air. The pigeon loses control of its bowels completely before taking off.

*Twang* another volley from hubby.

*Ke Ke Ke Ke*

I’m puzzled for a moment and look at my phone; no, that sparrowhawk call didn‘t come from there. Feathers rain down on my head. I look up to see a sparrowhawk, talons full of big, fat, lifeless pigeon hurtling vertically in my direction. With a wet thud, sparrow hawk and pigeon land on my head. The blow knocks me off balance and I stagger three steps backwards. Unfortunately, there is only room to take two steps backwards. 

The splash I make hitting the water alerts Kevin, who forsakes the love of his life and comes charging off the boat. Barking like mad, he makes a bee-line for the grounded sparrowhawk. The sparrowhawk wisely decides to look for dinner elsewhere and makes a swift exit. Kevin snatches up the dead pigeon and legs it back into the boat with Hubby in hot pursuit. I’m left to haul myself out of the green water.

I stand dripping, and hoping for some sympathy.

Hubby re-emerges a few moments later holding a carrier bag at arms length, like some brave hunter bringing meat home to the tribe. In his other hand he’s got my cookery book.

“No way! Not a chance!” He can’t possibly want me to cook the bloody thing.

I watch as he walks over to the dustbin and deposits both my cookery book and the remains of the dead pigeon into it. 

“He’s eaten some of it.” Hubby’s matter-of-fact tone is betrayed by the ashen colour of his cheeks.

I tentatively poke my head through the doorway and try to assess the mess Kevin has made with the pigeon. There is a trail of blood and feathers leading up to a rather dejected looking teddy. I close my eyes and edge my way past the mess.

By the time I have finished cleaning up me and the boat it’s well past dinner time. 

“So much for having a break.”

“Get your glad rags on, Elsie.”

Half an hour later I’ve managed to convince Kevin that Teddy will be faithful until we get back and I’m tottering down the towpath, wearing totally inappropriate footwear, in the direction of the pub. Hubby’s walking behind chuckling.

There's a sign, dogs are allowed only in the garden. The pub garden is idyllic, ducks gently dabbling, swans gliding up and down. Mothers stand with children, feeding the ducks stale bits of bread. Young lovers whisper sweet nothings to each other across tables that are heaving under the weight of empty glasses, plates and overflowing ashtrays. I grab the menu from the table. I’m contented; my mouth’s watering at the thought of a juicy steak and chocolate gateau to follow.

“What do you want to eat? I need to go to the loo, so I’ll go up and order.” 

After a quick visit to the Ladies, I teeter up the stairs to the bar and place our order.

“Where are you sitting?” asks the hunk behind the bar. 

“In the garden,” I reply, in the silkiest voice I can muster.

“We’re a bit short staffed; you wouldn’t mind waiting and taking it down with you, would you?” 

He’s got such a gorgeous sexy smile. The thought of spending fifteen minutes being chatted up rather appeals, so I say yes and order a drink. The hunk strides off into the kitchen with my order. I knew this dress and the stilettos were a must bring outfit. I might be a bit overdressed, but there are a few people in their Sunday best. These canal side pubs attract a wide variety of people, some are wearing suit and tie, accompanied by women in posh dresses, whilst others are in jeans and T-shirts. I’ve just made myself comfortable and am giving my best sexy pout, when this hussy, in a skirt that looks more like a belt, enters the bars.

“Jason,” she shouts “some bloody idiot’s let their dog off in the garden. It’s walking round with a duck in its gob. For Christ Sake, go and tell them to piss off!”

I slide less than gracefully off my stool. Before I have the chance to make my getaway, a black and white missile hurtles into the bar.

With his tail wagging so hard it knocks a full pint glass from a table, Kevin skids to halt in front of me. His face looks the picture of innocence, only betrayed by the duck held gently but securely in his mouth. The duck is quacking and flapping furiously.


Kevin gives his, ‘what’s the matter, Mum’, look and releases the duck. The duck is seriously unhappy, it starts beating its wings and flying around the room. In the commotion glasses are knocked over, spilling beer, and an assortment of other cooling beverages, over the shocked drinkers. At least two plates of Duck a l'Orange end up in diner's laps.

The ‘Belt for a Skirt Hussy’ starts shrieking. The hunk from behind the bar leaps into action, causing the duck to get even more upset. They’re going to have a hard time getting that out of the carpet.

In my haste to reach the garden, I jump down the last four steps. The stilettos give up any pretence of wanting to hold my weight and the left heel snaps off.

When I reach the garden, Hubby nearly knocks me to the ground in his rush through the gate. Kevin, his tail wagging, jumps up and plants a big wet dog kiss on Hubby’s shocked face.

“Why did you let him off!”

“I didn’t. He’s been on his lead the whole time.”

“So how the hell did he catch a duck!”

“The stupid bloody thing came waddling right up to him. It happened so quickly. I had to let go of the lead to try and get him to drop the duck.”

We both turn and look up as the duck sails over our heads, followed by a stream of bad language, and lands with a splash on the canal. Quacking indignantly it sets to work rearranging its feathers, before tucking into a sandwich dropped by a child who started screaming when she saw the duck being bundled out of the upstairs window.

It’s a relief to arrive back at the boat, I am hungry and thirsty.

“Elsie. I’m glad you’re back. Did you enjoy your walk?” Harriett from the next mooring waves over the fence. “I saw you arrive, but I was busy cooking. I’ve done enough food for four. Come and have supper and a drink with us?”

“That’s really kind of you, Harriett, but I don’t want to leave Kevin on his own.”

“Not a problem, bring him with you, we can sit outside and eat.” 

“I’ll just go and change my shoes. Snapped the heel off. I’ll feed Kevin before we come too.”

Harriett gives me a knowing smile, “You will make sure he doesn’t bring his teddy though, won’t you?” 

The smells drifting from her boat tell me it’s going to be a feast. I can even detect the aroma of chocolate pudding.

The wine flows freely. Two empty bottles are standing on the table when Harriet carries out plates, laden with new potatoes, fresh vegetables and homemade pie.

“Harriett, this is delicious. What’s in it? Can I have the recipe?”

“Of course you can. It’s Grannie’s Game Pie. It‘s got duck, pigeon and pheasant in it.”

Hubby starts coughing and spluttering. 

“I wish you had told me that before I started eating it,” he said with tears streaming down his face. “I’d have asked for a bigger helping.”

I stare at Hubby in disbelief. Harriett’s stern voice stops me from launching into a tirade. I take in what she’s saying, and look in horror towards the grass in front of her boat.

“Kevin, stop that!” 

He has his jaws clamped firmly into Harriett’s best flock covered cushions, being utterly unfaithful to teddy.

I grab Kevin by the collar and drag him back to our boat. 

Totally unfazed by the whole day, he thrusts his nose into his bowl throwing sawdust balls all over the galley floor. I kick my shoes off and head for the bedroom. Yep, you’re right. I put my foot on a dog biscuit. I’m too tired and irritable to do my Diva act; I just want to go to bed. I throw my clothes on the end of the bed and snuggle under the quilt. My foot brushes against something wet and feathery.


Wednesday, 22 June 2011

Dear Diary (revised)

Dear Diary

1st January, 1991
Dear Diary, welcome to my life.

2nd January, 1991
Dear Diary, Crap day. Boss was an arse. Had me typing up a report all morning, then he decided to change it. Had to work my lunch break. Checked bank account, overdrawn and payday 10 days away. Wish I didn’t have an overdraft.

3rd January, 1991
Dear Diary, bank’s withdrawn my overdraft! Why can’t my account be in credit with lots of zeros on the end. Asked boss for sub till payday. Have to work overtime every day for the next fortnight to pay it back. I’m so tired. Wish I didn’t have to go to work. Would be nice to get up in the morning when I’m ready, sit and read a book all day, or just go for a walk.

4th January, 1991
Dear Diary, why is it that every time I write in you, something bad happens. Been made redundant. The boss is getting a golden handshake. Bastard! I get a measly £2000 redundancy money. I need another job.

5th January, 1991
Dear Diary, guess I’m was just paranoid, of course writing in a diary can’t make things happen. Didn’t turn out too bad after all. Boss is up on a fraud charge, they’ve confiscated all his assets. I got a job in the local cafĂ©. I walked in just as they put the notice in the window. I start in the morning. I hope I don’t spill drinks on anyone.

6th January,, 1991
Dear Diary, new job not going as well as I’d hoped. I didn’t spill drinks, but I did drop egg and beans in a customers lap, nothing to do with you is it? LOL. New boss cross, but the customer was ok about it. He had a napkin covering his lap, so it didn’t mark. I hope he comes in again tomorrow.

7th January, 1991
Dear Diary, Samuel, the customer I dropped beans on yesterday, came in again today. He gave me a big tip. I guess he was grateful I didn’t drop food on him again. I wish he would ask me out.

30th March, 1991
Dear Diary, sorry I’ve been neglecting you. Samuel has asked me to marry him. He’s is such a gentleman. He’s insisting that we wait ‘til after we get married before we . . .  you know. I can’t wait, I’m sure the earth will move.

30th May 1991
Dear Diary, yes, the earth moved last night. We had an earth quake. It’s no fun spending your wedding night standing in the street waiting for the buildings to stop shaking. Now behave yourself and leave  me alone.

16th December 1991
Dear Diary, I hate you. Samuel died last night. I miss him so much. We were so happy. Even planned for three children.

31st December, 1991
Dear Diary, the triplets doing well. The prison psychiatrist says I can have supervised access as soon as I accept it was me who killed Samuel, not you.

© Lindsey Chapman

Friday, 4 March 2011


Gleaming white teeth tore flesh from bone. Blood covered the beasts muzzle. Intent on sating its hunger, but still wary, its ears flicked back and forth listening for danger.

A low growl caused the large dog to raise his head. His eyes rolled upwards in their sockets, revealing a white band beneath them. With lips curled back, showing a maw of sharp teeth, powered by the immense muscles in his cheeks, he watched the intruder getting closer.

“My kill. My food.” The dog’s guttural voice warned the approaching bitch.

“Your kill. My food,”  she snarled back at him.

The smell of her, stirred his desire, but the need to defend his meal from being taken was stronger. The hackles on his back rose. He positioned himself between her and his kill.

“Know your place, bitch. You can eat when I‘ve finished.”

“My need is greater than yours.” Her nails scrapped on the hard ground beneath her feet. The scent glands in her feet marking the territory that she considered her own.

He could tell by the odour of her that she had recently pupped; some of his aggression waned. Knowing she was proven fertile, his interest in her became more intense. The food behind him now less important.

Reading the change in his stance, she drew nearer to his kill. For reasons he did not understand he drew back and let her take what remained of his skilful hunt. It took but a fleeting moment for her to fasten her jaws around the half eaten rabbit, then she was racing away. The scent of her leaving a trail on the ground that he knew he could easily follow.

He thrust his nose to the ground, slavering as he took in the smell of her. He didn’t know how long it would be before she was in season again, but he would easily recognise her scent when she was.

A piercing sound rent the air. It made the insides of his ears itch. Something came crashing through the bushes. A chemical smell assailed his nostrils, it drowned out the perfume of the bitch he had conversed with.

“I’ve got him, Emily .” The voice was familiar, as was its owners scent.

 Before he had the chance to escape a noose encircled his throat.

“I thought I’d lost you,” came the gentle voice of the elderly figure who now stood next to him.

A trembling hand smoothed the hairs along his spine. He moved swiftly to one side avoiding the metal pole, that swung carelessly near his head.  He felt a profound desire to protect and please this human. His human, his family. Thoughts of the beautiful, strong bitch started to fade. He submitted to the harness his human slipped over his head and fastened under his belly.

Slowly he lead his blind owner back to the path. He knew which way to go and confidently he walked them both back to the comfort of their home.

© Lindsey Chapman -

First Day

“Settle down sweetheart,”  said Helen, sliding onto the bus seat next to her daughter.

Jane shifted uncomfortably; the rough fabric of the seat pricked the back of her knees.

“I don’t want to go, Mummy.”

“You’ll enjoy it when you get there, Jane,” her mother soothed.

“But I want to play with Maggie.”

“Maggie, will still be at home when you get back. You can play with her then.”

“No, she won’t,” said Jane sullenly.

“Of course she will.” Not giving Jane the chance to reply, Helen said, “Now, have you got everything?”

Jane nodded.

Helen felt a little hurt that her daughter would miss Maggie more than her.

With her school bag clutched tightly to her chest, Jane settled and sat quietly looking out of the window. At last the bus juddered to a halt in front of the school yard.

Helen’s eyes brimmed with tears as she kissed her daughter goodbye. She watched as her little girl strode across the playground and disappeared through the door of the classroom. Tissue in hand Helen wiped her eyes, retreated from the gate and walked the few steps back to the bus stop.

The scream that came from behind her shook her rigid. The heel of her shoe snagged on the uneven pavement, as in panic, she turned seeking out the source of the scream. She was shocked to see Jane, her little legs pounding away the space across the school yard. The little girl collided with her mother, small arms wrapping round Helen’s legs.

“Sweetheart, what’s the matter?” Helen bent down and scooped the crying child into her arms.

“They are all horrible,” sobbed Jane.

“Why are they horrible?” A turmoil of feelings swept through Helen. Despite not wanting to see her child in such a distressed state, she was relieved that Jane was now clearly showing she wanted to be with her mother. The relief was short lived.

“They want to kill Maggie,” squealed Jane.

“Of course they don’t want to kill Maggie.”

“They do! They do!”

Helen, carried Jane back towards the classroom. As she approached the door, she could hear crying, screaming and a heavy thumping sound. Her mind raced, ‘what was happening in there?’.

Barging through the doorway, Helen was greeted with the scene of children standing on desks and the school mistress huddled in a corner, beating the ground with a long board ruler. In front of the school mistress sat Maggie. She seemed completely at home, totally unfazed by the noise that surrounded her. Her little cheeks looked fit to burst as she crammed in yet more food from an open lunch box on the floor.

“See, Mummy, see,  Miss is trying to kill her.”

“How did she get here,” wailed Helen, bending down to gently pick up Maggie Mouse.

“I brought her in my bag,” snivelled Jane.

The tears that fell from Helen’s eyes as she travelled home were of laughter. She carefully held the small box on her knee. Maggie replete with sandwich and cake slept blissfully unaware of the chaos she had caused.

© Lindsey Chapman -