Mrs Lush’s Blog

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Note from Mrs Lush:
The latest is on top. If you want to read the oldest, jump down to the bottom and that.

2 April 2019
I'm going to keep posting his weather reports and nature notes for now me ducks. So ...
(Mrs Lush)

Wind: Mainly North Westerly, but variable, force 5/6.
Precipitation: Rain followed by squalls, hail. Broken cloud
Visibility: poor to good
Temp: 3 — 7deg

On my walk in the woods the usual great and blue tits, robins, blackbirds etc., but definitely quieter this spring. Even wren reveilles are fewer and only ONE chaffinch was bowling his trundlers. How can this be? I haven’t seen a greenfinch for half a decade — and that one was tottering at the foot of the feeder on his last legs. I haven’t seen a redpoll for even longer.
As dear Mrs Lush might say: ‘What is cracking off?’

Final Blog: 10 March 2019
Ey-up me ducks!

First off …
Wind: Westerly, force 5/6.
Precipitation: Rain followed by blustery showers. Broken cloud
Visibility: good
Temp: 4 — 9deg

There this morning, standing defiant on the rocks, a Wheatear, white arse shining in the sun. Earliest ever! A linnet singing on the gorse, plumage be-ruffled by the wind, red forehead like a beacon. I found a sheltered nook and took off my coat and shirt; felt the sun warm my skin for the first time in months.

He gets worse don’t he.
Second off, this is the last of these here blogs.
Me and Dr Fagus have had a little chat and what with the light nights coming and that and you lot having had plenty of time to buy The Purple-Bellied Parrot (and if you haven’t well that’s your loss) and it can’t go on forever never mind all the stories I still have to tell including one about my old man that would make the hairs on the back of your teeth stand on end we are calling it a day.

Dr Fagus says I should carry on writing though and he’ll collect them all together and publish them as an ebook and it might make me a few quid and I says what like your book is making you the millions and he hrrumphs and looks downcast and I regret saying it. Anyway he says the metropolitan types will lap up your blog Mrs Lush, what with its candour and naïve charm and homespun wisdom, authentic they’ll call it, and I have to think for a mo’ whether he’s patronizing me and I say well you told me to write how I talk so don’t go castigating me for my naïve charm.

I’m not as green as I’m cabbage-looking let me tell you and he of all people should know that. I might even write a proper paragraph at the end of this to show you and you’ll see I used the word castigating in that sentence — for which my friend Diane says castrating which don't half make me titter.

There’s a few loose ends to tie up from last-but-one’s blog including my visit to The Ship but I have to tell you what happened this week down at the smack. If you thought last week’s blog was on the boring side then this’ll make up for it.

Sitting on the bench out front we was having our cuppa and he was having a moan at the ramblers going along the track up to the cliffs in their day-glo cagoules yacking away. Why don’t they walk along the high street or go to a café if they just want a natter he says instead of cluttering up the wild places, and I says they’ve got the same right to be here as you have you grump.

Then he sits up says shush and I says why and he says shush Mrs Lush please, and I want to take umbrage at him raising his voice at me like that but I can see he is deadly serious so we both sit there straining our lugholes. Then we hears it again. Now I can only describe the noise phonetically. Thshleck. Yes, that’s about right.

Now, you’ll need to know the layout to twig this story. At the back of the smack is a patch of grass, you could hardly call it a lawn more like something the sheep used to munch, that backs on them trees where I go for my wees. He might strim it two or three times of a summer if you’re lucky. Up the corner at the left is the famous gravy-boat closet, and down the right-hand side is a scrubby hedge that runs down from the smack to the trees. In the winter there’s a few spuggies that live in that hedge, and as you might tell from The Purple-Bellied Parrot Dr Fagus does love his spuggies. In the middle of the grass is a wrought-iron affair with birdfeeders hanging off it and thereby hangs the tale.

Last-off he keeps a lump of wood by the front door what he’s shaped himself. Picture something between a policeman’s truncheon and a pick-axe handle and right heavy it is as well, I suppose what they used to call a cudgel way back when. I asked him once why he had it and he says never can be too careful Mrs Lush. Never know who’s about.
Right, that’s my Dickens bit done and dusted so on with the story.

Thshleck! He leaps out of his chair grabs that lump of wood and sprints round the back. I’ve never seen him move so fast and I sit there gobsmacked for a bit then I thinks I’d better go see what’s cracking off and I jumps up too. I turn the corner and there’s two what we used to call youths and one of them has a gun and Dr Fagus is bearing down on them right quick. They haven’t spotted Dr Fagus yet by dint of them being busy kicking something that has just fluttered over the hedge and flopped on the ground and laughing about it. Now they clock him and one of them scarpers but the other turns to face Dr Fagus down and points what I now realise was an air rifle at him and grins. Pointy-faced he his, a camouflaged woolly hat on top of a hoodie on top of a baseball hat which takes some doing I can tell you. I’ve seen him walking about town, grey-eyed pasty-faced effort, wheeling a pushchair with his skinny-arsed girlfriend in their Primark tracky bottoms.

Anyhow, Dr Fagus ignores him and hurls his lump of wood at the runner and it tangles up with his legs and brings him down with an oof. Meanwhile pointy face has shot, Thshleck, and I know it hits Dr Fagus because by now you could hardly miss at that range but he has his big greatcoat on don’t he. Then he is on him and pointy face swings the gun at him which catches him on the shoulder and Dr Fagus kicks his shins with those big boots what he wears and pointy hops about and Dr Fagus grabs the gun and wrenches it off him gives it a good old swing and whacks him on the back of the knees.

Well as you can imagine he goes down like a sack of spuds and Dr Fagus has the barrel of the gun under his foot and he levers up the stock and bends the barrel round into a U and hurls it at him. He turns to the other one who is just getting up and he strides over picks up that cudgel and cracks him too across the back of the legs.

So that’s both of them out of commission now and he stands there for a bit breathing heavy and he rubs his chest where the pellet must have hit. He is staring at the thing they was kicking and he walks over and bends and picks up a spuggie and I see its head flop back and he looks at it for a bit then bends and places it at the foot of the hedge all gentle.

Now I can’t believe my peepers. He picks up old pointy face and hurls him into the hedge like a bit of old carpet. He slaps his cudgel against the palm of his hand as if testing it although I can’t think why and now he has it raised up and is standing over him. He says something I can’t quite hear apart from the very worst word right at the end and I sees his eyes, all glassy and blank they are like an old doll and I know he is going to do it. I picks up a clod of earth at my feet and hurl it at him and I yells out William, no! but the cudgel is already on its way down. I should do the lottery tonight because the clod fetches him right on the side of the head and explodes in a million bits but it does enough to divert that swing and it crashes into the hedge just missing and splinters of wood go everywhere.

He stands there for a bit arms slack bits of soil dropping off his drooping head then he looks up at me and his eyes are clearing and he says thank you Mrs Lush I don’t know what came over me. Thank you Mrs Lush. He picks up the gun and wanders over to a bit of wall that’s left from the lambing shed and smashes the stock into bits. He hangs the gun round pointy’s neck and wrenches the U tighter so he’ll struggle to get it off and he says go now and don’t come back. He says come along Mrs Lush and picks up the spugg and trudges back towards the front of the smack.

Old pointy face is still tangled up in the hedge trying to extricate himself his legs all akimbo. He has his head cocked on one side and I notice I still have my cup of tea in my hand only dregs but I pours it into his lughole and mash in a lump of earth to sweeten it and I yank him up by his hair and shout words in his good ear what Mary Berry would never use and I say makes you feel like a man does it shooting little dickie birds like that but reasoning with them types don’t work.

But I suppose he has to have some way of making himself feel like a man don’t he, living on that estate and that. What’s he going to do? Get a job on the tills at Tesco with his spider tattoo or at the call centre when he can hardly cobble a sentence together. There’s nowt for his sort now.

Days gone by they would have got a job down the pit or at the pipe works. Had a bit of beer money and some mates, had a little house he couldn’t be turfed out of on a whim, found himself a simple-minded missus and had a couple of sprogs what might have had a chance, a fortnight in Skeggy of a summer and retire to grow his leeks in his little garden. None of that left now. He could go zero hours at one of the big sheds I suppose, wee in a bottle and watch the bosses roll up in their black cars. That’ll give him his self-respect won’t it.

Sounds like I’m going all lily-liberal there making excuses for him and that.
Some people are just toe-rags though and don’t I know it.

Anyway, I haven’t finished the story. I’ve finished speechifying and I see movement over my shoulder and think here’s his mate coming to have a go but I look round and he’s got his phone out and is taking a photo of him with that gun wrapped round his neck.

When I gets round the front of the smack Dr Fagus is sat on the bench with the spug in his hands. Its wing is slowly flapping like it’s waving goodbye and I says can’t we put it in a shoebox with some bread and milk it might pull through. But he says no it’s a gonner poor little chap and he shows me the hole with the pellet glistening, must have been like being hit by a cannon ball, and he gets up and turns his back to me and I see his shoulders jerk and I knows he’s neckholed it and he picks up his trowel and wanders around to the sprout patch.

He comes back and I go and make another cuppa and we sit on the bench me downwind so I can have a ciggy to calm my nerves and we watch the clouds and he says are you all right Mrs Lush and I says this won’t be the end of it you know and he says he knows. He say’s I’ve had worse to face than this Mrs Lush and he turns and looks at me with that smuggler’s smile and says ‘I’ve rounded the horn lashed to the poop I’ll have you know’ and he is quiet for a bit and then he snorts and we have a little giggle and Fausto joins in from the doorway. He winces though as he laughs and I says come on let’s have a look at that chest.

As we stand up I’m thinking they won’t go to the cop-shop or owt like that them sort. They’ll be back with their mates one night and I shall fret about him now I shall, out here on his own.

We goes inside the smack nearly tripping over Fausto and he takes off his coat and there’s a little hole in his shirt and I think this don’t look so good but then there’s no blood. I stick my finger through the hole and it goes through the tee-shirt as well and he winces as I touch his flesh. So we unbuttons his shirt, Fausto watching on solemnly, and I help him hoick off his tee-shirt and we hear a little rattle and I pick the pellet up off the floor.

Well the bruise is about where his heart is, purple as sprouting broccoli and the size of a saucer and there’s a red dot in the centre a tiny bit of blood leaking out. And he looks down at it with a coat-hanger mouth then back up at me and I says its nowt I’ve had worse during barneys with the old man. And I see the wiry hairs not all of them grey funnelling down to his belly button and the knotty muscles on his arms and shoulders and I catch his smell of soil and cinnamon.

Well I scoots off and hots up some water and puts in some TCP, finds a clean rag and I comes back and bathes it I do and that.

Well, that’s me, Mrs Lush, signing-off now. I shall keep writing these things because as his nibs has pointed out it’s like having therapy. Whether Dr Fagus ever gets around to collecting them all together into an ebook we shall have to wait and see.

For those of you have bought The Purple-Bellied Parrot well very much obliged, tell your mates and don’t forget to leave a review to give him a leg up. To those of you what haven’t bought The Purple-Bellied Parrot I raise a digit, blow a raspberry and say well that’s your loss isn’t it.

Ta-ra me ducks!
Mrs Lush
Purple-Bellied Parrot
Blog 10: 24 February 2019
Ey-up me ducks!

I know you were all pining for the weather report but I missed the The Purple-Bellied Parrot blog last week didn’t I. Can’t see it’ll make much difference anyway because as far as I can fathom there’s only about half a dozen reading it and one of them is his nibs. Probably a good job anall after last blog’s last bit.

Anyway, Peg booked a last-minute hotel and we all trooped off to the smoke for the weekend. She’s the only one who’s got any money amongst the four of us is Peg. Had a little café and got her old man well insured and she does these spur of the moment things and treats us, so it was shopping in the afternoon and a show in the evening, Mama Mia. I don’t mind a bit of Abba and at least it wasn’t We Will Rock You. I got told off by the usher for singing along to Fernando ‘there was something in the air that night’ and waving my arms about.

I used to love London me. There was a time in my life when I went a lot and it was exciting and there was a buzz about the place and you felt you were at the centre of things rather than being on the edges and I’d walk along the fat old Thames and think about them Romans what they must have thought when they saw this big river in the road and then the Normans with them helmets — worried about their noses weren’t they the Normans — and everyone else who has lived and died along its banks and boated about on it and all the big buildings leaning over and all the important people who have lived in them and made big decisions.

But this time I gets on the tube and it’s all them folks shoving and concentrating on being uninterested in their neighbours and you have to stand up breathing-in some stubble-faced effort’s halitosis and you get out and up the escalators folks shoving and tutting and sighing at the barriers when you don’t have your card ready in your mitt and they have to wait a nanosecond because everybody in London is doing something vital what they have to do that instant with their headphones on, and you gets out into the street and I bawls out to one Oi! Look who you shoving. There was a girl going up the escalator with her skirt tucked in her knickers just a bit and I pulls it out for her, well you would wouldn’t you, and I smile at her and shrug and she looks at me daggers and that has put me in a right bad mood. Then the thundering traffic and rich ruddy toffs roaring fifty yards between traffic lights in their Maseratis or whatever they are past folks living in cardboard boxes and I think, you know Pol, they can keep it.

Anyway, I think a bit of shopping will sort me. But there we were traipsing about Oxford Street and that, them all trying on things and giggling, and I ought to say here nobody likes shopping more than me — indefatigable Sheil calls me — I keep going when everybody else is out on their pegs spitting feathers and my elbows are as sharp as anybody’s at the Chrimbo sales let me tell you. Anyway you know what I was watching them all trying them clothes on squirting perfume on themselves and the music banging away and all them folks milling about and I thought you know Pol, why are you doing this.

I suddenly felt proper knackered and thought about the smack and Fausto and Dr Fagus and sitting on the bench outside with a cuppa staring at the shapes of the clouds and calling out what they look like, and I says to the girls I’m going to go for a wander and they don’t say much by dint of their knowing I’m a bit fremmit, which is another one of them words my gran and her biddies in her row said that has just popped into my head. Barb said to me the other week you’ve been getting worse since you’ve been going to that smack.

So I gets away from the banging and off the main drag and wander through the little streets for a bit which are more interesting with their old buildings and quirky shops. And then I think you know what, I fancy looking at some pictures and I head off to Trafalgar Square.

I don’t know why I like looking at paintings I really don’t but I always have. I don’t know what’s supposed to be cracking-off in half of them and why they are worth putting on the wall honestly I don’t. But I like looking at them.

Get it from my grandad I reckon. He used to take me to the City Museum and Art Gallery when I was a nipper and I remember him pinching his fag out and putting it behind his ear and we’d march past the bits of old rammel they’d fetched up out the ground and past the teapots donated by toffs and the stuffed animals and go straight upstairs to the pictures lined up along the wall and it’d be all quiet by dint of there never being anyone else in there, and he’d pick me up and say what do you reckon to that Pol and it would be some landscape or a still life with half a lemon in it or a portrait of some toff in their finery looking snotty and I don’t remember what I said if I said if anything. If it was a toff portrait he’d say something like that’s the reason I have to go crawling about in holes in the ground, to keep them sort in the lap of luxury, because he was always saying stuff like that was my grandad. They all merge into one now, but there is one picture I do remember because it wasn’t like any of the others and it was the one my grandad liked best.

The inside of a stone cottage, a flagstoned floor and there’s a bloke sank in a stick chair by the fire roaring away and it looks like he’s put in a good shift. On the mantelpiece is a vase of dried flowers and above that is a mirror and reflected in that you can just make out a table laid ready for supper. On the other side of the room is his missus and she’s a good bit younger than him with her hair in a bun and her sleeves rolled up and you can see the muscles in her arms, and she is side-on by the sink peeling spuds or something and her head is turned so you can’t quite see her face but you guess she is handsome although she could be right strong-of-face as my grandma used to say for all I know, and she is looking out of the window from which sunlight is pouring and you can just make out a bit of greenery. Hanging on to her skirts is a girl about five or six and she has her hair done up in a bonnet but bits is poking out and hanging down on her shoulders and she is holding an apple and she is looking at the man in the chair.

I often think I ought to take a trip back to see if it is still there and who it is by and what it is of. I am curious but I always decide no because I don’t want to spoil my memory of it forever. Oh gawd, I’m rambling again by liddy. So anyway the upshot of all that is I like looking at pictures but I don’t know why. Perhaps I should do a course or something to tell me what I am looking at and which ones are the good ones.

Next morning we strolled along the Thames and had coffee and cakes in a swanky café, Sheil moaning about the prices like she always does, and we comment on the sundry types walking by. They suggest we all go to Madame Tussaud’s but I draw the line at that I really do. So we found a market under the railway selling poncey food, posh sausages and bread with bits in it at three quid a loaf, and we had a wander about and even I was moaning about the prices but I tried a haloumi burger and chips and it wasn’t half bad I have to say even though they tasted nowt like the chips from Stella’s and I don’t know what haloumi is.

Anyway, now it’s time to get our train so we gets on the tube and there they are all there poking at their phones all with the mulligrubs on and I calls out Afternoon everyone! at the top of my voice. And the girls are mortified. Well there’s always one weirdo on the tube you have to look out for isn’t there and that day it was yours truly.

Well, I’ve just read that back and it’s not really up to scratch is it but then again nobody’s forcing you to read it are they and anyway Dr Fagus has mentioned about putting an end to this here blog soon. But I’ll be back as normal next week promise when there’ll be more about the smack and The Purple-Bellied Parrot and that — and a weather report!

Tara me ducks!
Mrs Lush
Purple-Bellied Parrot
Blog 9: 12 February 2019
Ey-up me ducks!
Let’s get his bit done and dusted first.

Wind: SW, force 4/5.
Precipitation: Light rain showers. Broken cloud
Visibility: good
Temp: 3 — 9deg

The first warm morning of the year and a skylark sings over the fields, wings shimmering. My heart climbs with him. What a survivor! On my walk along the cliffs, two buzzards playing on the updrafts. The male shows off and soars high, before folding his wings and plummeting in a stoop.

Sounds cheerful in that don’t he, but Dr Fagus has the mulligrubs on him so he has. Our Cynth asked me where I got mulligrubs from and I told her it was one of them words that my grandma and her biddies used to say in their row. I looked it up on the off chance and was gobsmacked to see it in the dictionary and all that time me thinking it was one of their words.

If I have to look up a word like when I’m reading I always have a gander to see if any other quirky words are on the same page and having just looked up mulligrub I spotted mugwump and I’ll definitely be using that. Just my kind of word is that. Anyway, that’s how I came up with whigmaleerie for Dr Fagus and he said oh thank you Mrs Lush and he stuck it in The Purple-Bellied Parrot just before he got it out.

I know lots of words but I never use them by dint of not wanting folks to think I’m getting above myself and that. Peremptory, for instance. That is what his nibs is like, and he don’t like it when folks don’t agree with him straight off being a right old mugwump but just because he talks like he’s got a pair of sugar tongues up his khyber don’t mean you’ve got to jump-to and say three bags full whenever he opens his yawper. Them sort say the stupidest thing but because they say it all toffee-nosed people kowtow and take it as gospel. You should hear how old Nigel talks to him in the butcher’s. Embarrassing it is. But mainly life’s about having the brass neck isn’t it.

Anyway, Dr Fagus and the mulligrubs. I turns up at the smack the other day all chirpy with an Ey-up Cocker but it’s only Fausto who pipes up teasmashin mizzizlush and there’s a note on the table with a pebble on top. Gone for a walk it says, carry on as normal. Well I must say I look forward to our cuppa on the bench and chewing the fat and that and I go over to Fausto and tickle him under the chin and have a ponder and he makes his little burble and presses up against me and I whip my hand away like I always do and he nearly falls off his perch, which is a little game what we play together, and he swings back up and we begin again. Thinking on, I might as well tell you about Fausto now by dint of having already promised you twice and if I leave it I might not have no time later.

I don’t know what sort he is, Dr Fagus did tell me once but I’ve forgot. Green as cabbage he is with a little yellow patch on his neck and about the size of a pigeon with the usual big hooter what they’ve all got. He was already here when I started and Dr Fagus says he rescued him from somewhere and he was all bald when he got him which you wouldn’t believe now on account of his feathers being all thick and glossy and that.

I think he’s got ADHD (Fausto not Dr Fagus) because you’ve always got to be talking to him or stroking him or playing tug of war, otherwise he starts mithering, landing on top of your head and pulling at your ear and that. If he don’t get no attention he starts being naughty like hoicking the stuffing out the chair what I already told you about. Likes buttons as well he does, and if you don’t watch where you leave your coat you’ll be finding them on the floor or in his seed tray. A proper little toddler about the place he is. You can’t leave anything shiny out like a spoon or anything or he’ll pick it up and start banging it about, and as for paper bags they are the worst and he’ll get inside them and gradually rip them to bits his head poking out of holes here and there right comical until it’s all raffle tickets. But he won’t put him in no cage will Dr Fagus. Won’t have that. Notwithstanding it’s like a barn in there what with all the doors and windows open half the time.

I remember saying when I first started because I was terrified of leaving the door open and him flying off, won’t he fly away? I says. No, says Dr Fagus. He’s had his fill of the outside world Mrs Lush. And it’s true. Even on the hottest days Fausto won’t come out the smack. He’ll stand in the doorway like a doorstop and lift his head up to the sun like he’s sunbathing and you have to watch you don’t trip over him, but that’s as far as he goes.

Dr Fagus put a perch outside for him once and plonked him on it but as soon as he let go he flew straight back inside like he was on knicker elastic. He’s just got to get used to it he says, and tries again. He tries again what a dozen times, and again the next day. He gives up and takes his hat off and scratches his head and says I can’t fathom it Mrs Lush and I say perhaps he’s got agoraphobia.

When he’s at home he sticks to Dr Fagus like velcro. Perches on top of the rammel on his desk when he’s writing (not that Dr Fagus does much writing of late I might add) and follows him about the house otherwise from wonky perch to wonky perch and when he goes to bed he climbs up the rope and perches on the bunk frame and goes to sleep there. He gets the mulligrubs himself when Dr Fagus goes out, staring at the door and peering out the window till he comes back when he’s all over him pulling his hair out and tugging his ear.

He has his quiet moments as well does Fausto, sitting on his perch eyes wide open staring out the little window towards the lonely pine and sometimes he’ll cock his head like he’s just seen something, stock-still he stays until you just have to go and have a look and when you turn round he’s looking up at you as much to say got you again didn’t I. Sometimes I think he’s the deepest of the three of us.

Christmas before last when I didn’t know no better I put a little Santa hat on him and it didn’t half tickle me how he kept managing to pull it off. One of the few times I’ve ever seen Dr Fagus angry was that and we had a ding-dong for a bit followed by the usual mulligrubs till we had a glass of his posh oloroso and got a bit merry even though it’s not sweet enough for me.

Anyway, Dr Fagus and the mulligrubs. Well first off after having a chat with Fausto I goes outside and has my cuppa and a ciggy on the bench and wonder where he can be by dint of him usually going for his walk at first crack. Then I set to. I say set to, I just hoovers the bits of carpet you can still see and dusts the few bits and bobs he don’t mind me touching, pick Fausto’s poo off of the antimacassars, wash the pots in the kitchen and wipe round his shower cubicle and put his Rioja bottles in the recycling. I don’t know why he has me really — I know he’s not flush. Probably got a bit of compo put away from his boating accident. I sometimes wonder if he has me because he likes my company.

While I am working Fausto flies and perches on one of them guitar-like instruments that are on the wall and starts twanging it like he does sometimes. Music while you work eh! It’s not really a guitar being bowl-shaped and that, right mellow it sounds though and something about the tone puts me in mind of a piano my mum used to have.

Have I ever told you I never knew my mum? Popped her clogs she did a day after having me. Big haemorrhage after labour and I ended up being the last of the home births in our town. Apparently, and they never told me this till I was grown up, she died with me sucking on her tit she did. Bit of a tear-jerker is that isn’t it, but you never know if what your family tells you about days gone by is true or not. They had their secrets just like we has ours.

Anyway she was right musical my real mum, she had a piano in the house and that and before she pegged it she left some money to be spent on piano lessons for me and nothing else. You didn’t know I could play the piano did you. I think I was eight when they started me which is geriatric in Japan and I hated it but all little kids do don’t they. I blame the teacher but not in the normal way. Piano teachers have a reputation of being knuckle rappers but she was opposite. I reckon she was unlucky in love or something because she’d set me some scales the metronome tocking away and then gaze out of her bay window all wistful oblivious that I was making a pig’s ear of it.

I got to about eleven and began to enjoy it by dint of actually being able to play something by then, I could play Ode to Joy and Claire du Lune and a bit of Bach even the Can-Can which I taught myself which made even her titter and then the money ran out. I was upset at first and I still practiced a bit but my stepmum used to yell out you are giving me one of my heads what with it being such a totty house and that and all the other nippers running about and then I became a teenager and as you can imagine other things took over.

When my dad turned his toes up and they was clearing the house nobody wanted the piano, battered and out of tune it was by then and they was going to chop it up which is what they did with old pianos in them days so I said I’d have it. My old man hit the roof but I wouldn’t budge and there it sits now in my living room against the back wall away from the telly where I can’t see it.

Makes me sad it does to look at it. I haven’t played it since. Once a year I get a phone-call from Mr Spencer offering to ‘pop round to tune up my Bluthner’ the perv but I never has him. Sometimes I get the yen to play and I even lift up the lid and press down a middle C. But that’s it. You know I’m not one to navel-gaze, but that one note makes me sad. I think I was rather good when I was eleven. And then my Gracie used to play it as well and she would have knocked spots off me. My Gracie. Nothing to do with the old man was my Gracie.

Oh dear, went a bit maudlin then didn’t I and now I’ve give myself the mulligrubs. Think I’ll ring the girls see if they fancy The Ship tonight. It’s times like this I fancy a tumble in the old sack to make me feel alive. Wonder if I can rustle anything up at The Ship. Anyway, I’ll be back with something more chirpy next week — I promise!

Ta-ra me ducks and don’t’ forget about The Purple-Bellied Parrot! It’ll make your heart soar far better than that dickie-bird did for Dr Fagus!
Purple-Bellied Parrot
Blog 8: 4 February 2019
Ey-up my ducks!

Don’t forget to buy The Purple-Bellied Parrot for £2 which will have you laughing and crying and transport you away in these uncertain times!
Now then, first things first:

Wind: NNE, force 4.
Precipitation: Snow showers. Broken cloud
Visibility: good
Temp: -3 — +2deg

A few sea duck offshore. Hard weather on the continent must have brought them in. Scaup, Scoter and Long-Tailed — summer denizens of the polar bear’s domain!

Now, I told you I’d tell you this week about his toilet arrangements didn’t I. Well he hasn’t got one, not what you and I would call a nice modern lav at any rate. Thing is, he’s got mains water by dint of there once being an old lambing shed where his smack now is. But he don’t have no sewerage and that. Not even a psychic tank — which is what my mate Diane calls them. He has an earth closet, or what he calls a composting toilet Mrs Lush. It’s the way forward, he says.

Just going off at a tangent my grandad called the lav ‘the fixture.’ I’m just going off to the fixture he’d say, I might be some time and off he goes with his Daily Mirror and his pencil to do the crossword and his packet of fags. Used to dote on me did my grandad. Thought I was the bee’s knees. Come here old gal he’d say and he’d sit me on his knee and light a fag and tell me a story all the time me wondering at his pan-scourer hands and how his fingers got so brown and his nails like bits of horn and the watch on the end of a silver chain in the tiny pocket of his wescot which I’d always pull out and his eyes rimmed with coal dust and his film-star looks ruined by gimcrack false choppers.

You’re as sharp as a tack he’d say. So sharp you’ll cut yourself one day Pol. Big union man he was, even had a few books dotted about the house and if I’ve got any brains I reckon it’s down to him. Pegged it at fifty-five he did. Lungs like crepe paper and heart attack caused by a life of backbreaking work, fags and a penchant for pork pies.

gravy boat Anyway, back to the closet. It’s a bit away from the smack round the back and it’s like a shed on stilts. Well it would have to be wouldn’t it if you think about it. Built it himself he did on account of him being a dab hand at the woodwork and that. I should explain that I’ve never had to use it by dint of all the time I’ve been there not needing no number two. For a wee I always go on the quiet in the trees behind the smack.

Now I know some of you are horrified saying how could you Mrs Lush but I’m partial to a good wee in the great outdoors. Something liberating about getting the fresh air around your nethers, watching a bee buzz past while the steam is billowing up around your knees. Something a bit naughty too.

Well anyway, this week I needed a poo and I mean sharpish. I had moo shoo pork from the Dragon’s Lantern the night previous and it sounded like the pig was still objecting what with all the oinking coming from my belly. Nice food there but you always feel you are taking your life in your hands with the moo shoo. So I says to Dr Fagus I need the lav right quick and what did he suggest. I couldn’t go in the woods and dig hole I have to draw the line somewhere — and anyway I did that once and it was most disconcerting. I won’t go into detail but you never quite know when you’ve finished if you know what I mean.

Anyway he says why Mrs Lush use the earth closet that’s what it’s for. It’s perfectly hygienic, and I’m squeezing my bum cheeks together and I think any port in a storm. I’ll just make sure it’s alright he says and dashes off and is gone for a bit and I wonder what he’s up to in there.

All’s fine Mrs Lush he says when he comes back, but you mustn’t wee in it Mrs Lush because it ruins the bio culture. Mustn’t wee in it I says and how do you propose I do that. Go beforehand he says. Well you’ve got greater control over your sphincter than I have I think, once I start the number ones there’s no way I can prevent a bit of number two popping out if needs must and vice-versa and I says to him I’ve had three kids you know and hope he gets my drift.

Oh, I see says he and he stands there flummoxed for a bit then I see a light go on in his head and he goes off to rummage in his dresser and comes back with a china gravy boat, Chinese roses a gilded rim and a deco handle. My grandma’s he says, Spode, I’m sure she wouldn’t object and anyway we can rinse it out.

Well as you might tell I’m not the type who gets embarrassed by bodily doings and that but I can feel my face flush and I grabs it off him and rush out the door and scampers round the back. Up the steps I clomp and creak open the door which is fastened by a little latch what he’s made himself and I expect the stink to hit me but it smells as sweet as a nut in there, a couple flies buzzing about that’s all. There’s even toilet paper which I was not expecting. An old J-cloth and a bucket to rinse it out in is more his line what with his recycling.

Anyway, in front of me is a bench with a big hole in it, that’s as sophisticated as it gets and I shuts the door and backs up to it by dint of not wanting to get no glimpse of what is lurking down there and I plonk myself down trying not to think how high it’s piled up and that my bum might touch something soft and pointy. By my feet is a bucket with sawdust in it and for a second I think I hope I’m not supposed to go in that and then chuck it down the hole, but I know this must be right.

It’s all gloomy in there now the door is shut but there’s cracks in the planks which let in a bit of light and I peep out. I can just see Dr Fagus who’s come and is pretending to inspect his sprouts but I know he is loitering and he calls out give me a shout if you need me Mrs Lush. If I need him! I ask you.

The moment of truth. I ooch myself up and shove the gravy boat between my legs spout first and let fly. Well the gravy boat works a treat. That spout is a right old boon I can tell you and collects the wee right as ninepence. But something has gone wrong the other end. I’ll be as delicate as I can but how can I put it.

There’s this Jack Nicholson film, I don’t remember what it’s called but I remember he’s trapped in a sewer or something or am I getting mixed up with Shawshank but anyway he hears this rushing noise and of a sudden he is clobbered by a wall of liquid which shoots him out the end of the pipe. I think I’ve got that right. Anyway, it’s not like that, which after all was what I was expecting by dint of the moo shoo. It’s the opposite, and I sit there a good bit waiting for something to appear and wishing I had a ciggy and I have this thought that I’ll tell you about in a bit. I looks out the crack and Dr Fagus is still pottering about and he calls out everything all right Mrs Lush and I think how could he.

And then it all kicks off and I’m mortified. It don’t make the usual noise, and I must say I weren’t ready for it. It thunks. And it’s a loud thunk, like somebody has hung out the bedroom window and dropped a 2lb bag of sugar onto an old wardrobe. Must have been the shed amplifying it and that. And Dr Fagus calls out don’t forget to use the sawdust Mrs Lush. I forgot to tell you that. Cover it up with the sawdust Mrs Lush.

How could he! And I yell out can’t a woman have some privacy what’s wrong with you and he slinks back round the front and I heard him muttering I just wanted to make sure you were alright Mrs Lush. And to top it all the toilet paper is that cheap stuff you shove your fingers through if you are not careful.

So I goes back round and washes my hands and rinses out the Spode under the tap him pretending to feed Fausto and I says Oi and gives it back to him. And he looks at me under his brows and the corner of his mouth curls up and I know he’s going to give me that smuggler’s smile he always does that’s always a bucket of water on my gander and I’m thinking yes I bet you used that on a few sundry ladies dotted around the world and I can tell we are both thinking about the thunk.

And I try not to, I try with all my might, but when he takes the Spode off me and it kind of sticks in my hand I feel my lips curl too and then his shoulders start going up and down and before you know it we are both holding our stomachs having hysterics him leaning against the back of the chair his hat falling off and me knock-kneed by the table almost sliding to the floor and he says you are awful Mrs Lush and I say me? We’re just about getting a grip of ourselves when Fausto joins in cackling and head bobbing and that sets us off again.
You can’t beat a good laugh can you. Makes up for a lot it does.

Now then that thought I had when I was on the lav. I have these queer thoughts come into my brain what I never tell no one about on account of them thinking I’m loony. My sister Dot, I don’t know if I’ve ever told you I’m the youngest of six — well there was never anything good on the telly in them days was there — always said I was the queer one of the family. My dad always used to say to me now don’t be too clever Pol which I always thought was an odd thing to say. He never used to say now don’t be too good at washing up or doing the ironing. My step-mum was another story. But anyway I’ll tell you lot this thought.
It’s about human evolution and that.

Now, If you ask me it’s not growing a big brain or walking about on two feet or making tools what made us human, nor being able to fall in love or sit back and enjoy a nice sunset with a snowball. What made us human was some homo erectus or Neanderthal bod (I had to look them up on the internet) ughing one day to his missus, you know what I’m sick of walking about with this crusty bum all day long with all them flies buzzing round it and being all sticky and that. Enough is enough. I’m going to wipe my bottom after I’ve had a poo. And off he goes and picks himself a nice big leaf, a dock or something if they existed then, or some furry rat or something else that he just neckholed. A mole — now that would be soft and absorbent I reckon as long as you watch out for them teeth. Now then, don’t that demonstrate self-awareness? A big milestone in human evolution was that, the bum wiping. And of course all his mates thought him doolally and took the mick walking about with his clean bum all lardy-dah. But I bet it soon caught on.

Now, I hope I haven’t been to vulgar for you all with this one. All part of life’s rich tapestry eh? I was going to tell you about Fausto but time’s run out so I’ll tell you next week.
Ta-ra me ducks!
Purple-Bellied Parrot
Blog 7: 27 January 2019
Ey-up me ducks!

Got my Jazz through its MOT I did (I’m sure you’ve all been sitting on the edges of your seats …). Bloke in the garage said that knocking was a ball joint Love and he leered at me when he said it the perv. £180 it was plus the MOT. They’ve got you over a barrel though haven’t they.

Anyway, that job. I knew the money’d be rubbish and it’d be filthy but it would help me get the cash to sort the knocking. I still have a bit put away from the club money on my old man’s accident but I don’t want to dip into that.

Anyway, that job. You sign on the dotted, no time to read the small print and anyway it’s only for a week to ten days at the most. Eight till half-past four the hours was supposed to be, with half an hour for your snap. Anyway I gets up to leave after signing and this manager, lardy-haired dough-faced type, sort of face you could push your finger into and it wouldn’t spring back too quick, bum-fluff beard what with beards being all the rage nowadays, says to me well I’ll see you at quarter to eight on Monday then Mrs Lush and I says you what and he says if you read your contract Mrs Lush you see you have to be on the premises by 7:45 to give you time to put on your overalls (which I have to supply myself or have them docked off my wages) receive your instructions for the day and collect your cleaning materials and by the way you’ll be leaving at 4:45 and do I have a problem with that. Well I do but it’s only for a week to ten days and I need the money for the Jazz so I keeps it zipped. But that’s two and-a-half hours they’ll be thieving off me. I’ve heard they try this sort of thing nowadays so can’t say I’m surprised.

So I gets there Monday on the dot, it’s one of them big grey sheds off the bypass, and shows my pass and says good morning bright as you like to the bloke on the desk and he looks at me gone out and grunts through there and jerks his thumb. I go in a little room and there’s four others, all half a lifetime younger than me, all scrawny-a***ed in them leggings, all thumbing their phones and all got the mulligrubs on them by the looks. Don’t even glance up they don’t and I try a good morning again and gets a couple of grunts back but I reckon they don’t speak English too good.

Anyway, I gets togged up and that and bum-fluff comes in wearing a hairnet and ticks us off his list and takes us off to the new packing room what the builders have just finished in. Spick and span it’s got to be by the end of the week, he says and finishes off with I mean that. I’ll be inspecting and I can be a bit of a b***d if I need to be. He’s trying to put the frighteners on us but I’ve come across his sort before. Tiny Ten-a-penny types they are.

Anyway, it’s hard work but I don’t mind that and some of the others cheer up and we try and have a little chat but bum-fluff comes in and catches us and tells us we are here to work not natter and anyone who doesn’t like it can collect their things an account of their being plenty others out there.

About eleven I need to go for a poo. I come back and bum-fluff says where have you been skiving Mrs Lush and I tells him and he says toilet breaks are to be no more the 2 minutes and only four a-day maximum and I ask him if he is joking and he says no you take a s*** on your own time here and he tries to stare me down.

Well, you can imagine how that gets my gander up and I want to say I don’t suppose you ever go for a poo because you’re too busy talking out of you’re a*** but I keep it zipped because I need this money and anyway it’s only for a week ten days. But I stare him down. He can’t hold my eye because deep-down he knows how pitiful he is and anyway he’s no more than a boy himself and he don’t know no better.

Turns out he’s one of the bosses’ sons and he didn’t do too well at his posh school so they are making him work his way up.

On the toilet topic I has to say that later in the week I was cleaning in another part of the factory and I goes round the corner of this packing case and there’s this forklift driver having a pee in a plastic bottle and he looks at me all sheepish.

Anyway I gets home that night and the bath water looks like I’ve done a shift down the pit and I light a couple of candles and fall asleep during Corra which is unusual for me I can tell you.

Just to finish the story before I get back to the blog proper, Thursday we’re done and the packing room looks as right as ninepence, you could eat your dinner off the floor. Bum-fluff comes in and licks his middle finger and swipes it across the top of the door frame. Black of the ace of spades it is and he starts tutting. Who was responsible for cleaning this he says holding his finger up looking at the five of us. I want to laugh on account of it being right comical to be so pompous when you are wearing a hairnet and a bum-fluff beard and have got your middle digit pointing at the sky. Anyway this little Polish lass Eva, no meat on her and you can see she is just showing pregnant, starts shuffling about and that and I see she is ready to own up so I pipes up it was me. Can’t reach that bit I says by dint of being so small.

His mouth drops open and I know he is trying to figure out what by dint means and why the likes of me is using it. He comes back to himself and says so you are incapable of using step ladders are you Mrs Lush. I’m capable of using them I says but you haven’t give me no health and safety training on them have you. Working at Height they calls it. Well I’ve got him there because I knows health and safety is all the rage these days and he blushes and blusters and eventually says this’ll come off you wages, as it says in the contract under Remedial Work. And I know that by dint of having read that bit. He finishes off by saying I’ll have other duties for you tomorrow Mrs Lush all portentous-like but it’s water off a ducks back.

Gets in next morning and he takes us to the room where they neckhole the chickens which is up for a deep clean over the weekend. Well you’ve never seen nowt like it you can imagine. I’m not soppy about animals — they’d all be eating us if they was big enough — but it turned my stomach and we are told we have to get the worst of it off before the deep cleaners come in. I begin to say I didn’t sign on to do this but bum-fluff is all primed and ready with his little contract and other duties as-and-when-required speech.

So hoses and scrapers and steam cleaners and wellies it is, and I tell you one thing them overalls went in the bin as soon as I got home.

So come half-past ten we’ve got the worst of it off and bum-fluff says right ladies you can all go home now. And that’s it. Us done for the week. So there’s some grumbling as kicks off and they all look at me. I don’t know why. So I pipes up as politely as I can I assume we are being paid for the afternoon and of course he is ready again with his if you’d read your contract Mrs Lush spiel, and he finishes off with I can see you’re a troublemaker Mrs Lush and I can assure you that (he says the name of the company) will not be requiring your services in the future and there’s plenty as would be grateful for this work.
They’ve got you over a barrel haven’t they.

So that was me, getting up at the crack of dawn, 20 minutes in the car there and back, my morning all used up and coming back looking like the first morning on the Somme, for what'll be £14. £14! I ask you. What is going off? But at least I’ll have the money for my Jazz. They make you wait till the end of the month though. Don’t know where I’d be without my little Jazz. My Zumba’d be up the spout for starters!

I’ll tell you one last thing about the whole sorry business. Bum-fluff drives one of them German cars, black it is with them s*d-off-out-of-my-way headlights they’ve all got nowadays. Dad must have bought it for him. Shoved a banana up the exhaust pipe I did.

Anyway, was glad to be at the smack this week.
Dr Fagus even texted me! Looking forward to seeing you Mrs Lush! he texted, which is a right old chore for him. You should see him trying to text, poking away at it with his index finger. Pitiful it is.

Didn’t get much work done neither. I says Ey-up Cocker and Fausto says Ey-up Cocker teasmashinmizzizLush and Dr Fagus says let’s stay outside and have our cup of tea Mrs Lush, it’s such a lovely morning. So we sits on the bench with our eyes screwed up against the sun and have our cuppas and a couple of Tunnocks he’s bought and he points up to a flock of geese honking over in a vee and says isn’t that marvellous Mrs Lush. Then we have a good old chinwag and that and I tell him all about the job, Fausto watching us from the doorway like he does.

He listens right to the end he does (Dr Fagus, not Fausto, although he could have), whereas normally when I talk to him he nods away and says yes Mrs Lush I can see him drift off and his eyes fix on something in the distance. And when I finish I think he is going to say something wise, cos he is a dab hand at the old pithy ditty so he is. But he just leans back and sighs and says I’m so sorry Mrs Lush, and I swear there was a tear in his eye, which I thought was a bit OTT and I thought he was going to squeeze my arm but he don’t.

Anyway, the blog proper! His nibs’ll be havin a fit at me having an enema again!

Wind: NNW, gusting force 5.
Precipitation: sleet showers. Broken cloud
Visibility: good
Temp: -2 — +3deg

On my walk along the cliffs this morning, two kestrels hanging on the breeze with barely a wingbeat, coverts riffling like loose shingles on an old roof. Out to sea, gannets plunging into a sea of beaten silver.

Bit purple that isn’t it. I’ve told him about it before. If it weren’t for me you’d macheting your way through a jungle of adjectives and adverbs in The Purple-Bellied Parrot, which you won’t by the way by dint of me telling him to be ruthless.

Anyway to finish off about the smack. I told you about his desk and his books and his tools and his instruments and they take up most of the room. He has his stove which he drags his chair over to of an evening, but he don’t have no telly — won’t have one. If I wanted to be spoon-fed pap he says I’d be up at the old-folks home. So he has his radio and his music, oh yes, he’s got a right pile of old cds in no particular order and it’s usually it’s some old black chap moaning and twanging an out-or-tune guitar of banjo. But he likes his silence too does Dr Fagus. I like listening to the weather, he says.

There’s an old two-seater sofa by the stove too, and that looks like it was quality once but it’s all knackered now. Try sitting on it and you’ll soon get a spring up your bum. It’s for visitors to sit on Mrs Lush he says. Visitors you don’t want to stay too long. But I’ve never known him have any visitors apart from his nibs, and he keeps him outside.

Beyond that, at the end of the smack is a dresser he built himself. He’s a dab hand at the old woodwork, always hammering and banging away at something or other. But you can hardly see it what with all the rammel. Open a draw and it’s all nuts and bolts and nails and old batteries and stopped watches and old fifty-pences, broken pencils and run-out pens and keys and old diaries with nowt in them. Some medals in there too he got from some relative I suppose.

He sleeps on a big double bunk he’s knocked up out of second-hand timber and he has a rope dangling from the keel to hoist himself in and out of it like Tarzan. He’s waxed it up and that and it’s quaint in its way and looks right comfy and there’s little nooks for his nick-nacks, but the average woman would run a mile. Not that he seems interested in that them shenanigans. Underneath the bunk is a big old chest he keeps locked I’ve never seen the inside of.

It’s gloomy in the smack, but he has the windows and doors open all the time and I have to wear my cardy when I’m there. He loves his fresh air – probably goes back to when he was on the boat.

What else can I say. Oh yes, he’s got an old gate-leg oak table you could just about sit two at on the pub chairs he rescued from The Ship when it was having its refurb. The top is all warped though and you’d have to be careful where you put your glass of vino. And they’re all in front of a little screened-off kitchenette with the usual bits and bobs in it. No room to swing a cat though and it’d drive me round the bend.

No washing machine neither. He either washes his smalls in the sink or takes a load to the launderette in town. And you’re probably thinking Dr Fagus is a smelly middle-aged bloke who’s let himself go. But you’d be wrong. He does have his smell, and it’s not aftershave or underarm — never seen any about the place. Hard to put your finger on really. A bit like potatoes with the earth still on them, a pinch of cinnamon thrown in.

You’ll notice I haven’t mentioned any toilet facilities and that. Well that’s a whole other story and I’ll give you the gory details next time. And I’ll tell you a bit about Fausto too who is a character all to himself.
Please don’t forget to give The Purple-Bellied Parrot a good review!

Ta-ra me ducks!
Purple-Bellied Parrot
Blog 6: 19 January 2019
Ey-up me ducks!

I’m a bit late with this one by dint of me having a full-time job this week and coming home all knackered. The MOT’s up on my Jazz soon and there’s a knocking noise coming from the left side when I go round a bend sharpish and I’m a bit strapped. Anyway, this job came up at the chicken factory, cleaning on account of them having the builders in and that. Dr Fagus was crestfallen when I told him he’d have to do without me for a week but there it is. Needs must when the Devil drives. Anyway, I won’t bore your with the gory details now, suffice to say that job turned out to be a right old palaver.

Now, I know I swore on my granny’s grave last week that it’d all be about Dr Fagus this week but I have to tell you this before I start the blog proper and anyway it is apropos.

I bumped into his nibs. Coming out of Nigel’s I was having cashed in my coupon on a bit of haslet and half-a-dozen chipolatas, him striding by with his nose in the air and his scarf knotted round his chicken neck and his Sherlock Holmes hat with the flaps tied over his ears. He don’t know what to make of me don’t his nibs. He can’t use his hoity-toity manner on account of it not cutting any ice and me chopping him off at the knees any chance I get.

Anyway I can tell there’s something he wants to get off his chest by dint of his face being all red and him huffing. He starts off with the usual soft soap, my dear Mrs Lush, how are you and how is dear William, his eyes darting this way and that because he can’t look at me directly like I do him me not having the usual deferential manner he’s used to. Anyway, that gets my goat right off, him assuming he is on first-name terms with Dr Fagus, but I bide my time. Then he gets to the nub.

I read your blog Mrs Lush (he’s probably the only one as does!). Fascinating he says, ingenuous, has a naïve charm. It must be very therapeutic for you my dear. He bungs words like ingenuous in because he thinks I won’t know what they mean. But forgive me Mrs Lush, he goes on, his eyes suddenly captivated by the spouting on Nigel’s shop, but I thought the rationale behind the blog was to publicize William’s website rather than the personal enema you believe it to be. There he goes again, rationale and enema.

I must admit, I have to think for a minute what enema is but then it comes to me. I had one done at the hospital once and it wasn’t too pleasant let me tell you. Good job they put down them rubber sheets. Anyway he stands there a bit, like he’s admiring the cut of his evanescent (see I know big words too) words as they float off out of his yawper, and this smug look comes on his face and finally he looks down his nose at me and I look steadily back up at him till his eyes flip back to the spouting.

Anyway, I opens my mouth to let him have both barrels by liddy but it’s like somebody’s propped my gob open with a clothes peg and now my brain is shoving in and putting its ten penneth’ in, not that I’m known to listen to it in these situations, but it’s saying you have to admit it Pol he’s got a point, and I stand there catching flies and he gets up the courage to look down at me again. Anyway I stare up those hairy nostrils and seen a bogey-dangle and it snaps me out of it and I say I wonder why Dr Fagus didn’t ask you to write the blog what with you having all them letters after your name and you having so much time on your hands after your ‘procedure’ and not having to go to work and that, have you ever thought about that, why did he ask me?

Well his bottom lip starts flapping about like a wet kipper and he stammers out something about his monograph and the constant worry of his mother and how he is under strict medical instructions not to exert himself after his operation, and I say yes how is the old grommet. Honestly, some people live the life of Riley and don’t have the gumption to see it.

Anyway now his mouth is opening and closing like a goldfish turfed out onto the carpet but nothing is coming out but a tiny quacking noise like he’s got a duckling stuck in his throat (I knows you spotted the mixed similes there but tough titty). He whips out a handkerchief and clasps it to his nose and he squeaks-out well Mrs Lush and turns on his heels, and I call after him yes your mother will be wanting her feet rubbing about now, which was a bit OTT I admit and I regret saying it now.

One thing I’ve learned from all my rows over the years is you’ve got to keep the moral high ground. In any case, he’s no match for me despite all his education and I shouldn’t play with him like that.

So I told you it was apropos and now I’ll start the blog proper.

Wind: n-easterly, force 3.
Precipitation: sleet. Heavy cloud
Visibility: fair
Temp: -1 - 3deg
A pair of siskins on my feeder brightened this gloomy January morning. Later, a scrabble of bramblings rootled the rimey grass. Hard weather afoot!

He overdid the alliteration there a bit if you want my opinion.
Now then, the author of The Purple-Bellied Parrot’s writing environment (at last!!!).

Where to start, now I told you it is like the wreck of the Hesperus in there, what with all the books and tools and musical instruments all over the shop.

His desk. Well it’s slap bang in the middle of the smack and looks like it’s been cobbled together out of a load of old junk. What he’s done is he’s plonked two chests of drawers on the floor with the top drawers cut off because they was too tall. On top of these he’s shoved two great long lumps of wood leaving a gap for his knees. He told me they was the benches out of an old school chemistry lab what they was chucking out. About two inches thick they are, all stained with goodness knows what and with burns on them off them Bunsen burners and that.

It’s teak! he says, dragged out of the jungles of Burma by mahout-mounted elephants. Imagine that Mrs Lush. You couldn’t buy them today. Well teak it might be, not that you can see much of it on account of it being all piled with rammel, books and papers and that, and it don’t look nothing like the teak in that fitment I got from Argos to put my bits of Clarice Cliff on.

His chair, well that’s another story. It was probably pricey in the year dot, but it looks like it come out of the ark and was what old Noah did his reckoning-up on. Burgundy leather it is, with them buttons in it what make umbrellas in reverse and gets full of biscuit crumbs. Again, not that you can see much leather. It’s all ripped what with being ancient and Fausto having a go at it by dint of him hating leather and all the stuffing tumbling out and being repaired with sticky tape and that. So he’s covered it with an old blanket he’s picked up on his travels, Valparaiso I think he said, nice it is, all geometric designs, though never go in my house, but it’s been no stranger to the moth. I’ll tell you one thing though, when he’s out I sit in that chair and it’s not-half comfy. It’s a wonder he gets any work done in it. Has me nodding in a jiffy.

Anyway, back to his desk. So he has all his books and papers piled up, and he’s forever shouting Mrs Lush have you seen …, and it could be a book or a usb stick or his favourite pen which he only knows the location of about 1% of the time, implying that I’ve tidied the whatever-it-is away somewhere even though he knows I never touch any of his papers and that, and he has his computer screen and his keyboard in between. Like he’s sitting between the horns of a great thick horseshoe made of books and papers is the best way I can describe it and if he’s leaning forward you can only just see the top of his hat because he wears his hat he does in the smack on account of it being like a barn in there what with the door and windows always open and in any case he lives sitting on his bench outside the front door most of the time, binoculars and banjo always handy. So you wouldn’t know he was there half the time if it wasn’t for the constant cursing at his cack-handed typing and his hat waving about.

Sometimes he goes all quiet and his hat disappears and you think he might have popped his clogs or something. But he’ll be having one of his meditative moments like I mentioned last time, slumped back in his chair staring at the ceiling or out the tiny window the other side where you can see the lonely Scots pine what he leaves a gap for, and woe betide you if you interrupt one of them.

Oh, and now here’s a little quirk he’s got that you lot might be interested in: he blocks up the kneehole at the front. Got a bit of old plywood nailed across it he has like he wants to stop anything getting in. I asked him once why he did it and all he said was Never can be too careful Mrs Lush. He’s like that is Dr Fagus. He likes to say these mysterious sentences, make out he’s all enigmatic. And he is. I’ve never been able to get to the bottom of him.

Anyway, there’s more to say about the inside of the smack and Fausto and I’ll tell you all about that next week.
Wish me luck with my MOT!

Ta-ra me ducks!
Mrs Lush

Purple-Bellied Parrot
Blog 5: 7 January 2019
Ey-up me ducks!
Let’s get this bit done and dusted:

Wind: easterly, force 1.
Precipitation: none, heavy cloud
Visibility: poor
Temp: 0-3deg
As I took my dawn walk this morning (him not me), I heard the quicksilver song of the Robin — what an optimist this grey January morning!

And I might be going off at a tangent in a bit so, don’t forget to tell your mates about The Purple-Bellied Parrot, and if you’ve read it and liked it (and if you don’t there’s something wrong with you) then leave a review which helps the bots.

Now then.
You know I said I was going down The Ship New Year’s Eve with Sheila and Barb (don’t call her ‘Babs’ whatever you do) and Peggy. Well I only got chatted-up didn’t I. Now I have to say and I’m not blowing my own trumpet here this isn’t an unknown happening when I go out. I’m no spring chicken but I look after myself what with the Zumba and that and if I scrubs up and trowels on a bit of slap I can still turn the odd head or two.

Anyway, us four are all chin-wagging when this chap comes toddling over slopping his pint on the floor. Nigel, has the butchers shop in the village and he looks like one too, comb-over, round face the colour of one of his steaks and a shiny bottom lip that wobbles about as he talks. Makes his own pies and faggots and sausages and that, and by the looks of him not too many make it onto the shelf.

So he stands there for a bit asking me How are you Mrs Lush and how the sight of my gorgeous face in his shop always brightens up his day and have I noticed how he always sorts me out a bit with no gristle in it. Well, talk about flannel.

All the time he’s talking his eyes are darting up and down trying to steal a peek down my top which I have to say is not that low-cut me not being no floosie and that. But while it’s all going south now, if I puts on a decent bra and hoick it all up I might not be endangering nobody’s eyesight but it’s still a decent enough bosom. Then he follows up with this wink.

I can feel my gander getting up so I nudge Sheil and whisper hey watch this and accidentally knock a beer mat on the floor and lean forward to pick it up and when I lean up I sees his eyes shoot away like butter wouldn’t melt. But I tell you this, that bottom lip of his is a whole lot shinier.

Sheila whispers ‘Oh you are incorrigible’ and giggles and goes back yacking to Barb and Peg. Anyway, the next thing I know, he’s only gone and squeezed himself in next to me and there we are sitting thigh to thigh what with there being no room by dint of it being New Year’s and that.

He starts saying what a fine woman you are Mrs Lush, and how he’s always admired me from afar. He leans in and says any man would be proud to have you Mrs Lush, proud, and on the word ‘have’, as if to underline it, he puts his hand on my knee and gives it a squeeze. Well I’m not having that by liddy and I shove it off, but with a dearth of anyone else to talk to and being hemmed in and that I ask him how the butchery trade is going to change the mood.

Well it’s like winding up a clockwork train and giving it a nudge and he stares into his pint and off he goes rambling on about how the supermarkets are killing him and wholesale prices and how he’s not allowed to slaughter on the premises no more what with Europe. So as you can imagine I tune out.

Folks are funny aren’t they. My mate Diane, love her to bits, but she can’t half talk the hind legs off a donkey. So I tune out and do something else. I can sort my whole day, write a shopping list, get my bills ready to pay, make us a cup of tea and some toast and marmite, and all the time she don’t pay me two hoots, happy as Larry she is as long as I say yes and no and nod now and again. When she finishes I haven’t the foggiest what she’s been talking about.

So I’m doing that now with Nigel, and I think about how Sheila said ‘incorrigible’ which is unusual for her by dint of her not reading no books and that and it puts me in mind of Dr Fagus and I wonder how he is spending New Year’s. I imagine he’s plonking away on his banjo. He’ll have a glass of rioja and Fausto will be on his shoulder joining in and they make this right old cacophony and it’s a good job they haven’t got no neighbours.

Or he’ll be writing. If he gets an idea he has to get it down, ‘Before the Muse leaves me Mrs Lush,’ no matter what he’s in the middle of. I seen it happen when he was doing us some beans on toast. He goes all quiet and stops stirring and this glazed look comes into his eyes and he goes deaf to anything I say (no change there!). Then he rushes off like he’s in a trance and starts jabbing away at his keyboard and the beans start to smoke and are ruined. Yes, he might be writing if he’s got the Muse on him.

Or he’ll be sat in the nook in front of his stove, on his old leather chair with the stuffing coming out, Fausto sitting on the arm, reading a book (Dr Fagus not Fausto, although sometimes I wouldn’t put it past him) or listening to his music or the Radio. Probably have a few candles going and a bowl of cornflakes. It can get right cosy in that smack I can tell you.

Of a sudden The Ship seems very noisy, everyone yawping and shouting as we get near midnight. Nigel is talking about brisket and Brexit, so I nudge Sheila and tell her I’m going out for a breath of air and squeeze past Nigel which I bet makes his night.

I light a ciggy and blow smoke at the moon. I’m no navel-gazer me and I can’t abide folks feeling sorry for themselves, but I start thinking about life and of all the mistakes I’ve made and how I can set things to rights. New Year has that effect don’t it. A car goes past, music booming and some yobbo leans out and I think he is going to give me a mouthful but he yells ‘Happy New Year,’ and blows down a little hooter, and then Barb is at the door shouting ‘Come on Pol! It’s nearly time!’ and I goes back in and it’s ‘Five … Four …’ and I spot Nigel’s lip flopping ‘Three … Two …’ and Peg plants a smacker on my cheek ‘One!’ and we all start cheering like twerps and hugging each other and shaking hands with total strangers and somebody strikes up Auld Lang Syne and we link arms and begin to sing but nobody really knows the words so it sputters out and we start the kissing and the hugging again and out the corner of my eye I see Nigel tottering towards me.

Before I know it he has planted that blubbery bottom lip onto mine and is holding on like a randy puppy and has his hand on the back of my neck so I can’t pull away. He smells of beer and minced beef.

That gets my gander I can tell you. He’s taken enough liberties tonight so I give him the old knee in the nuts, not hard, just enough to let him know I means business, and he staggers away clutching himself and bumps into the bar making all the glasses clink and all his leery mates turn and laugh and he looks at me all reproachful and for a moment I feels sorry for him.

Then the crowd closes in and somebody shouts, ‘Fireworks!’ and we all shove outside and watch the colours popping above the rooftops, Sheila, Barb, Peg and me all squeezing each other’s arms, our breaths steaming into the night.

Anyway, as a little epilogue, there I am the next day with my lasagne in my lap watching World’s Strongest Man, my gob gaping, thinking, blokes — what is going off, when I hear the letterbox clack. Can’t be the postie what with it being so late and anyway it’s New Year’s so I goes and has a look. An envelope is on the matt with Mrs Lush on it underlined and I hear a car rev up and drive off.

Inside there’s a picture of a bear wearing a straw boater and he has his toes turned in and his knees knocked together and he gazes out from under big brows looking sheepish. In his paws he holds a curlicued sign with ‘Sorry!’ on it. I open the card and a square bit of paper flutters to the floor which I leave for the moment. He’s written, ‘Dear Mrs Lush, Please forgive me for my inexcusable behaviour last night. Respectfully yours, Nigel.’ Respectfully is underlined.

Now I know Dr Fagus would take issue with that message. ‘If it’s inexcusable it can’t be forgiven,’ he’d say. But it’s no time for splitting hairs and it don’t matter anyway because I already have. People do strange things New Year’s and what with him losing his Wend them few months since. Anyway I bends down and picks up the scrap of paper. It’s a coupon, value of £5.00 to spend in his shop.
Every cloud eh?

I told you I might fly off at a tangent didn't I! But the thing about this writing lark is it gets things off your chest and I don’t know any of you lot and you’ll never meet me so it don’t matter what you think and in any case there might be nobody out there reading this stuff anyway.

Anyway, there’ll be more next week and I promise, cross my heart, there’ll be more about Dr Fagus and his writing habits which is after all what this here blog is supposed to be all about and his marvellous book The Purple-Bellied Parrot.
Ta-ra me ducks!
Purple-Bellied Parrot

Blog 4: 31 December 2018
Ey-up me ducks, and Happy New Year!

Let’s get this bit out the way first:
Wind: from the west, bit breezy.
Patchy cloud with blue bits. Dry.
Visibility: fair to middling. Temp: about 6 deg. (??)
When I woke up this morning there were a couple of blue tits in the garden going backwards and forwards to the feeder like they was on elastic.

You’ll notice that weather report don’t quite have the same style as Dr Fagus’s by dint of me not having bumped into him this week. (I heard ‘by dint’ on the telly this week and it reminded me how good it was and I think I’ll start using it.) Anyway, I left you last week saying that I would pop down to the smack on Christmas Day to see how he was getting on after our ding-dong and him going all wobbly and that.

Well, I trundled down there Christmas morning around eleven and he wasn’t in was he. I knocks on the door and shouts ‘Ey up Cocker’ but it’s quiet as the grave. A couple of pairs of his pants is dripping on the line and his bike is outside the door so he had probably gone for one of his tramps along the cliffs, not that he would have seen much what with all the mist and not being able to see more than a spit. But at least his nibs wouldn’t be out in all that muck what with his chest. Anyway, I sits in the Jazz and gives him ten minutes watching the dots of drizzle fill up the windscreen thinking he won’t stay out long in this, but he never shows his mug.

So I goes back to the smack and peers through the window and there’s Fausto asleep on his perch with his head under his wing and I leaves them their presents outside the door. Only a bottle of rioja for Dr Fagus but I paid a bit more for this one on account of it being wrapped in gold chicken wire so it must be a good one. I got some chocolate Brazils for Fausto. Dr Fagus will chew on about it — but it’s only once a year isn’t it.

Well I goes back home and there’s only a present sitting on my step isn’t there. He must have walked over the fields while I was driving down the track. Good hour and a half that is there and back. I knows who it’s from straight away by dint of it having the appearance of being wrapped up by someone using his two left feet, sellotape all over the shop and bits of paper poking up and that. Anyway, I goes inside and tears it open and it’s a pottery parrot and there’s a little card. It’s a nativity scene from a famous painting what I’ve forgotten the name of, but Mary is there in the stable all dressed in blue with the chubby baby and the three kings and Joseph and a donkey and a couple of angels floating about. Inside he’s written:

Merry Christmas Mrs Lush! This is a little token to say thank you for all your help with the Purple-Bellied Parrot this year. You’ve been a real brick! Best wishes, William.

Well I’ve been called worse things I suppose and I have another look at the little parrot. Emerald green with a scarlet patch on his head and a big gold beak and a chubby face looking up all wistful and a little window of light in his eye. Abomination it is, and I knows my pottery what with my few bits of Clarice Cliff. I sometime wonder if Dr Fagus knows anything about me or listens to a word I say and knows anything about my taste in the knick-knack department. Anyway, it’s the thought that counts I suppose and I go up and put it on the ledge in the spare room with its face looking out the window. The card I put on the mantelpiece next to my stuffed Santa that when you squeeze it goes ‘Yo-ho-ho’ which don’t half tickle me.

Now then. All this isn’t getting me very far with publicizing the Purple-Bellied Parrot which is very good and you should all buy it and what this here blog is supposed to be all about. So peeping through the window at Fausto all asleep gave me the idea for this next bit. I remember him saying before I started (Dr Fagus not Fausto), ‘Tell them about my writing environment Mrs Lush, the garret of the aspiring author. They’ll love all that.’ So, I’ll just tell you a bit as a teaser, then you’ll have the rest and that next week.

Like the wreck of the Hesperus it is inside the smack. I don’t know why he has me, the place is so full of clobber. Books, musical instruments and tools. Tools! I ask you, who has tools hanging on the walls and perched on shelves like they was ornaments? Big chisels there is and a great big hammer and old wood planes and a rusty old push-me pull-you saw hanging there with two handles. I don’t know what is going off, I really don’t. Me, I like it minimalist so you can see where you’ve been with the duster. And old guitars and things what look like guitars but I don’t know the name of and a couple of banjos are shoved up there as well.

I told you he plays the banjo does Dr Fagus. Well, he sits with it in his lap and twiddles at it rocking and jerking about like he’s got St Vitus Dance or something and this noise comes out of it but whether it’s music or not I’m not educated enough to say. Sounds like somebody twanging on a load of old knicker elastic to me. Sometimes he sings as well, and his voice, well how can I describe it …

I’ve had a good think over a cuppa and, you know those old iron stoves with the crooked chimney out the top? We had one in the scullery when I was a nipper and we all sat round it on winters’ mornings (they don’t have sculleries anymore do they). The posh ones have a handle at the bottom you have to shove backwards and forwards to make the bars of the grate move to riddle out the ash and cinders and that into the ash-pan. All rusty metal grinding and clinkers crunching. Well it sounds like that.

Anyway, that’s me done for now!
I’m off for a little tipple down at The Ship later with the girls. There’ll be more of this exciting stuff next year. In the meantime don’t forget to buy The Purple Bellied Parrot which is very good and that.

Ta-ra me ducks!
Blue-Bellied Parrot

Blog 3: 24 December 2018
Ey-up me Ducks.
I won’t be writing much this time on account of it being Christmas and that and you lot having better things to do than listen to my rabbitings. And, I’ve been so fuming lately I’ve been hardly able to type.

He only went and published it didn’t he — without telling me. Our Cynth rang me up and says, ‘Ere, ain’t this the book what you helped to write?’ And she says she’s on the internet and she’s looking at it and it’s got a nice cover and that. Well I gets on the web and there it is in all its glory and I say words that I don’t normally say except when I’m driving.

You know, I knew there was something cracking off. He kept ringing me up last week and reading the same bits to me over and over again and saying ‘Are you sure that is ok Mrs Lush,’ like he suddenly had his doubts. And I has to mollycoddle him and tell him no it’s as good as ever, which anyway is no lie. And now it was out there, up for sale without him telling me. Me — what is has done so much for him and the little chap.

So I jumps in my Jazz and shoots over there and I bump along that track of his at top speed, lord knows what it is doing to my shocks, and there he is sitting outside his door on his bench playing his banjo in his Steptoe gloves like butter wouldn’t melt. He sees me and jumps up and dodges inside like that is going to save him and he tries to close the door but Fausto is in the way. I jumps out and shouts ‘Oi you! I want a word,’ and he says something lily-livered like ‘Oh Mrs Lush — what a pleasant surprise. Cup of tea?’ Like I’m going to go inside for a chit-chat.

So we stands outside the smack and I let him have both barrels and we have a good old ding-dong for a bit and he juts his chin out and says he doesn’t have to keep me informed of all his doings which only makes me more angry. And then, you know what? His bottom lip starts wobbling and I sees tears in his eyes and before I know what is happening he is slumped back on his bench blubbering with his head in his hands. Now tears don’t normally cut no ice with me. Folks can turn them off and on at will. But this is the first time I have seen Dr Fagus like this and he’s not normally no cry baby.

It’s taken so long, he says, so many years, and I’m saying goodbye to them all. And now, now it’s like I’ve dropped my trousers in public, he says, and I’m not wearing any pants. And I didn’t want you to see me with my trousers round my ankles Mrs Lush, with no pants on.

And that brings me up short, like somebody has put a wet teacloth on a chip-pan fire. And I stands there a bit wondering what to say and that — which as you know is not like me. In the end I tell him to stop feeling sorry for himself and that he knows it’s good, and that he’s just got to get people to find it, and that’s why I’m doing my bit by writing this here blog. And he says he is sorry Mrs Lush, and he croffles inside the smack and comes out with a tray and a bottle of Harvey’s and a couple of glasses. And we sit on the bench all quiet and sip our sherry and look at the sky which is grey and soft and patched with blue and that.

Anyway, that was today, Christmas Eve 2018. Christmas has a knack of bringing out the emotions don’t it. I’m on my own tomorrow. It’s Cynth’s turn to go to Dave’s folks and John is at his girlfriend’s. He says he’ll pop in but I won’t set no store by that. I don’t mind being on my own and you can believe that or not, no skin off my nose. I’ll put some Elvis on and bop around a bit. I will pop down to the smack for five minutes though just to see how Dr Fagus is getting on.

So as you know (before me!), The Purple Bellied Parrot is out. It’s only £2 and in my opinion for what it’s worth it’s worth ten-times more than that. I’m off now to watch a bit of telly but I’ll be back next week with another blog and promise it’ll be a bit more cheery!

Ta-ra me ducks!

PS. Oh ruddy-hell. I forgot the weather report! You'll get a double dose next time.
Purple-Bellied Parrot

Blog 2: 15 December 2018
Ey-up me ducks.

I got told off.

‘An Acquaintance’ (I think he’s read too many Edwardian romances) apparently told Dr Fagus — because he would never read it himself — that instead of writing about Dr Fagus and The Purple-Bellied Parrot, which is what the whole thing is supposed to be about, there I was going on rabbiting about myself for nine-tenths of the blog.

‘Young people will read this,’ Dr Fagus said, ‘and they don’t want to hear the ins-and-outs of your domestic strife.’

Well, that got my blood boiling I tell you and we had a right-old ding-dong for a bit and I ended up saying, ‘Well, if you don’t like what I’m bleepin writing then, by liddy, you can write the bleepin thing yourself,’ and telling him he can shove it up his Khyber pass. Well, that shut him up, because that, he don’t want to have to do.

Well we both bumped about the smack in a huff for a bit and then I went out and poked about in the garden and that, and of course I realised he had a point. It is supposed to be about him and the little chap, and let me tell you, when he finally gets his finger out and gets it published, you are in for a treat. And I’m not set to make no money out of it.

Anyway it starts drizzling and I goes back in and he cries, ‘Tea’s mashing Mrs Lush,’ and Fausto squawks ‘Teasmashin mizzizlush,’ and we both looks at each other sideways and have a little giggle and I say he’s right and he says I’m right and we have a cup of tea. Then we have a nice little chat and that and he says that he will be content if The Purple-Bellied Parrot is mentioned once in the blog, how about that, and I say of course Dr Fagus.

And then there’s another thing, he says. It has to start off with the day’s weather. Like on the shipping forecast. Says it’ll place the blog, give it atmosphere. Like we are living somewhere remote. And then there’s one more thing, I have to say something about ‘what is happening in the world of nature.’ He’ll tell me what to put and that. Well, I keeps it zipped after what’s just cracked off. But I ask you.

Anyway: Wind is in the north-west, force five or six. Cloud. Drizzle. Visibility: poor. Temp: 7 deg.
As I lay awake last night (him not me) I heard the calls of redwings ‘tsweep-tsweep.’

There. That’s going to pull the punters in isn’t it.
I might have to jazz it up a bit.

Dr Fagus also reckons I ought to give you all some idea of what I look like, which all seems a bit pointless to me because I could be making it all up and you’d never know and this whole thing is supposed to be about him and The Purple-Bellied Parrot and I’ve just been told off about going on about myself, but anyway.

I’m petite, my granddad used to call me a short a*s* and my grandma used to call me a dotchel. I don’t know if that’s the correct spelling of that word because it don’t appear in no dictionary, and my grandma and a couple of the other biddies in her row were the only ones I ever heard use it. They had other words as well that won’t come to mind at the mo’. It was like their own private lingo. Oh, and two have just come to mind: ‘croffle’ and ‘rammel.’ Croffle is a verb, and it means how old people move about. Let me think of an example … ‘he croffled into the room and flopped wheezing into the chair.’ Yes, that’ll do. Rammel is clobber. Anyway I’m flying off at a tangent again.

I have mousy wavy hair that’s always been a pain in the backside which is why I’ve been blonde and short for as long as I can remember. I keep myself trim, what with all the line-dancing and the Zumba and that, but it’s a constant battle when you get to our time of life and I’ve put on a few pounds the last few years. I’m no tonka though, not like some as you see today. On telly the other night there was some bloke who had things living in the folds of his flab. What is going off? Anyway, to finish this bit, there’s some as says I look a bit like Lulu, but I’ve never seen it myself, although like me she’s got better looking as she’s got older. Bet Lulu wouldn’t be seen dead doing no cleaning.

Anyway, hark at me! Look at the time. At least I mentioned The Purple-Bellied Parrot and that this time, and I promise there’ll be more about it - and Dr Fagus’s foibles - next blog.
Ta-ra me ducks!
Blue-Bellied Parrot
Blog 1: 8 December 2018
Apparently it‘s muggins here who’ll be writing this here blog to publicize The Purple-Bellied Parrot on account of Dr Fagus not having the time (truth be told, can’t be a**ed) and not wanting to be doing with no trollies or trekkies or whatever it is they calls these people, so first things first I’d better introduce myself.

My name is Mrs Pauline Lush (widow), and I am Dr Fagus’s cleaning lady stroke help but now it seems like I’m his general factotum. I must say I was mortally offended when he first called me that because I heard ‘fat totem’ and we had a good old bust-up for a bit till the misunderstanding was cleared up. I also does a bit of care work for the oldies here and there but I won’t wipe no botties. All that don’t mean you should be be putting me in no pigeonholes mind, which you probably already are doing on account of them first few sentences. I’m not as green as I’m cabbage-looking let me tell you.

First off, Dr Fagus told me to ‘write how I speak.’
‘They’ll eat that up,’ he said, because I must say I was a bit daunted when he asked me to take on this job, but he said it would make it easier – the writing how I’m speaking. This don’t mean to say I don’t know how to write proper English nor anything and where to put my commas and apostrophe’s or nothing like that. I came top in English at school, but I bet even now you’re having a little snigger at where I put that apostrophe, you are aren’t you, and I know about them double negatives in that first paragraph. But this is me, like me or lump me. If not, well it’s tough titty.

One reason Dr Fagus asked me to write this here blog is because I can type and that. As well as coming top in English I did a course at college and got to RSA 2 but I never got no cistifercates nor nothing as my mate Diane calls them on account of having fallen pregnant with our Cynth. Dr Fagus, though he insists on persevering, can’t type for toffee. You should see his drafts, full of nad’s and hte’s and htere’s. I should know, I’ve corrected enough of them. Anyway, after that I was housewife and mother for donkey’s years, before I got a job stacking in Woolworths till it shut down and then I started taking on little cleaning jobs for a bit of pin money. My old man had snuffed it by then and there was a bit of club on him so that helps keep the wolf from the door.

This is the last time you’ll hear me mention him. He used to knock me about something rotten but nobody took no notice in them days. Not that I was no punch bag nor nothing. I gave as good as I got and sometimes we had right old ding-dongs. I remember clouting him on the side of the head with a frying-pan once. You should have heard the ‘clong.’ But when he was in that state it was like a fly had landed on him. Anyway, the best thing I can say about him is that he knocked me up and gave me my two beautiful children, Cynthia and our John. John got in with a bad crowd and went off the straight and narrow for a bit but he’s all settled now.

Anyway, hark at me going on about myself and that when this should be about Dr Fagus. ‘This isn’t relevant!’ I can hear him roaring. So, I’ll say one last thing about myself because it is relevant for the writing of this here blog: I reads a lot of books. Always been my escape. And I know what you are thinking, Cookson, Sheldon, Heyer, Steel, Collins, McCullough, and you’d be right and I don’t say no sorries for it. Never liked that one though with all the make-up who looked like Mrs Haversham. And I like my whodunnits too, read all of Agatha Christie’s, and what’s that Scottish lesbian woman called. She’s good too.

But I love my Austen, Bronte, Mrs Gaskell on account of Cranford being on the telly, even though I have to be in the mood and I have to read them slowly, and it’s like having a bath in words. Dickens, well what can I say. Nobody paints a picture like he does do they, but I have to listen to him on tape because you can tune out during the boring bits. Dickens should have had Dr Fagus there yelling ‘This isn’t relevant!’

I’ve had even had me dabble with Shakespeare. I can see you smirking. I’ve seen some plays when we’ve been to Stratford on a day-trip. The plays don’t half go on and most of it goes in one lughole and out the other and the ‘comedies’ are a bit low on laughs but every now and then there’s something beautiful and deep that jumps out and smacks you between the ears. I think with him, like many of them classics, somebody has to tell you first why it is good and then you look out for them bits. I’ve got to admit though he has got a good turn of phrase and that.

I’ve just started reading the Poldark novels again on account of them being on the telly. I read them first time around when Robin whats-is-name was in it. Truth be told though I prefer the modern one with the pecs.

Anyway, enough about me! What about Dr William Fagus.

He said first I should tell you all how he arranges his writing days as a (soon-to-be-famous) author. ‘Readers like that sort of thing,’ he says. Well, he works part-time two days a week, so I’ll discount them days. I won’t tell you where because he’s embarrassed by it and he’d be mortified. One of the first things he says he’ll do if he makes any money out of this here book is pack in the bleepin job although he’s not sweary like me who he calls a ‘right old potty mouth,’ although I never say the two really bad words except when I’m driving. Why are headlights so bright these days? I mean, what is going off?

Well anyway, his writing days. I knows he gets up very early. He’s always at his desk tip-tapping away, cursing his ham-fistedness, when I pops my head round the door at 8 o’clock of a morning and say, ‘Ey up cocker!’ I suppose he might leap into the chair when he hears me parking up my Jazz. But why would he? I’ve got a feeling he’s a bit of an insomniac.

Anyway, first thing he says is ‘Tea’s mashing Mrs Lush.’ Says it every morning without fail. Well I go in three mornings a week, so I shouldn’t think he says it when I’m not there but you never know with Dr Fagus. Anyway, Fausto squarks it anall, ‘Teasmashin mizzizlush,’ then we has a cuppa together, Fausto anall, me sat by the window so I can blow my smoke out, him sat at his desk with the chair swizzelled round, and he always reads me something what he’s just wrote. ‘What do you think of this Mrs Lush,’ he’ll cry and launch off in that accent that I can never place. Like a mixture of Midlands and North with something exotic thrown in.

You have to say this about Dr Fagus, he’s a dab hand at this writing malarkey and it’s always something that makes me laugh or go phooaarh. Something he wrote once even made me cry and that. But he probably only reads me the best bits.

Ruddy hell! You know what, I’ve just looked at my watch and it’s time for my Zumba at the Institute. Anyway, that was a not as bad as I was expecting. Thought I’d be sitting in front of the keyboard with me thumbs twiddling about for half an hour. Dr Fagus, he would use a word like cathartic or something.

Now then, just so as you knows, I have to update this here blog once a week, so there’ll be more from me next week and I hope I haven’t put you off too much.
Ta-ra me ducks!
Mrs Lush

PS. The Purple-Bellied Parrot is very good and you should all read it when it comes out and that.
Blue-Bellied Parrot