Another Planet – Week 21 of the 52 week short story challenge

1735027_w

‘I thought Millie was coming with you today.’ said  Angela as she sipped her mocha latte with two extra shots of espresso.

Selina tossed back her freshly coiffed blonde hair and flicked an imaginary speck of dust from her designer slacks. She did her best to avoid coffee fads and had a small cup of green tea cooling on the table in front of her.

‘She’s packing. She’s been packing for the past week. Every time I go into her room to talk to her she says that she’s packing.’

Angela pursed her lips. ‘Isn’t she living in halls? They don’t have that much room do they?’

Wincing as another sore point was touched, Selina concentrated her attention on her newly manicured fingernails. She had demanded that the nail technician concentrated on making her nails look as effortlessly natural as possible, and she was almost satisfied with the effect.

‘I’ve seen the university booklet and yes, the rooms are rather basic but at least she has her own en-suite. The kitchen is shared with six other students but I doubt if Millie will be doing any cooking. There is a restaurant in the same block and a laundry but I couldn’t find anything about service washes and cleaners.’

Hiding a grimace behind her coffee mug, Angela couldn’t help wondering if Millie had been totally truthful with her mother about student life.

‘Of course, I wanted her to stay home and attend Chester University. We offered to buy her a little car to make life easier but she was insistent that this was the only university that did the right course for her. It’s going to be so difficult having her living so far away.’

Selina sighed and put on the wounded mother look that she had been perfecting ever since Millie had announced her  plans for the future .

‘What is she going to be studying?’

‘Languages. Apparently this university has an excellent exchange system where she can spend her final year in France or Germany. Not quite the finishing school I would have liked for her but I understand that she could make some impressive contacts for her future career.’

‘Remind me – what does she want to do when she leaves uni?’

‘When she graduates from university Millie is looking to join Michael’s firm – her natural aptitude for languages will make her a valuable asset. Of course the other option was for her to go straight into working at the firm but Michael felt that she could do with getting more qualifications first.’

The expression on Selina’s face led Angela to believe that the decisions about Millie’s future had not been made as calmly as indicated. Angela liked Selina’s husband Michael. He was an easy-going chap who smiled at Selina’s excesses, ran a large and efficient export business, and spent much of his time travelling abroad.

‘When does Millie start? Won’t you be lonely without her?’

‘We are driving up on Saturday.’ Selina sighed and examined her nails again. ‘I wanted to go on Sunday but Millie says she needs time to settle in before lectures start. Why you should want to settle in to a student bedsit when you have a perfectly beautiful suite of rooms at home, I have no idea. I wouldn’t say that Millie is an ungrateful child but I do wonder sometimes if she really appreciates all that Michael and I do for her.’

*******

The packing excuse had worn thin and Millie knew that there was a limit to how many times she could back and repack her designer suitcases. There was an unopened box from Harrods that contained pillows, two duvets,  Egyptian cotton bedding and towels that Millie’s mother had assured her were a beautiful shade of cornflower and very soft. Millie hadn’t bothered to look in the box. She would far rather have gone to Asda or Tesco to get her bedding like the rest of the first year students. Another box contained cooking utensils, pans and crockery. Her father had intervened when Selina had been looking at bone china and Le Creuset. Unlike Selina, he had attended university and was far more practical in his outlook.

Millie loved her father. He understood her and did what he could to protect her from Selina’s extravagance.

‘She does love you sweetheart, she just doesn’t understand why you don’t have the same tastes as her.’

Millie had pulled a face. It was bad enough having your clothes bought for you, but Selina’s taste ran to expensive, elegant clothes that were more suited to a middle-aged woman than an eighteen-year old girl. Unbeknownst to Selina, Millie had been clothes shopping courtesy of a generous allowance from her father, and had arranged for her best friend Julia to put the more appropriate clothing in with her own clothes.

Selina didn’t know about Julia; didn’t know that Millie and Julia were best friends, that they were going to be on the same course together at University or that they were going to be in the same student flat. Millie had known from the first that Selina would not approve of Julia’s burgundy hair, her tattoos and piercings, her love of Steampunk and cosplay.

Michael had met Julia and thoroughly approved of her as a friend who could share freedom with his only child. He had to pull a few strings in order to get them in the same flat, and as he explained to Millie, it was a question of just not telling Selina things rather than blatantly lying about what was happening.

‘What her eye doesn’t see, her mind won’t grieve over.’ One of Michael’s oft-quoted maxims and one which defined the smooth-running of his relationship with his wife.

*****

In order to accommodate Millie’s luggage, as well as Selina’s essentials, Michael had borrowed one of the Range Rovers from work. Selina would rather have arrived in the Rolls, but had to acknowledge that it didn’t have the required storage space. She sat, rather uncomfortably in the passenger seat, whilst Millie sat behind her, in a position to exchange swift grins with her father but protected from her mother’s endless questions by earphones and feigned sleep.

Julia had been texting her all morning, having arrived early and already unpacked. It had been agreed that Millie would let Julia know once Selina had finally left the building. It was so difficult trying to keep her excitement in but Millie had learned over her eighteen years that expressing anything other than mild interest in anything, was guaranteed to get Selina’s hackles up in opposition.

The complaints began as soon as they arrived on campus. Selina peered out of the window and disapproved of the proximity of the student bar. The halls looked rather drab and ordinary. Why wasn’t the car park closer to the entrance? Did they really have to carry Millie’s luggage up two flights of stairs and go through three security doors to get to her flat? Was there no porter to do this? Or at least a lift!

Millie and Michael stayed silent and carried the luggage upstairs whilst Selina appropriated her daughter’s only (and very inferior) office chair and sniffed at the recently bleached en-suite shower room. Refusing her mother’s offer to unpack for her, Millie looked around the little room and exchanged another covert smile with her father.

‘Let’s leave Millie to it darling, there’s a nice little restaurant I’d like to take you to but it will take us a good hour to get there.’

Torn between wanting to continue dominance over her daughter, and the desire to be taken out for a meal by her adoring husband, Selina acquiesced gracefully and after bestowing a vaguely maternal hug, went off to wait in the car.

Michael gave his daughter a much warmer hug; he was going to miss her.

‘I’ve set up a shopping account for you sweetheart, and topped up your allowance. Let me know if you need anything. If you can manage to phone your mother tomorrow, my life will be much calmer.’

‘I know Daddy. I won’t go mad but I may need to buy some ordinary stuff for the kitchen – and maybe bedding – but that can wait till tomorrow.’

‘Buy what you need and donate the other stuff to charity. I can’t see your mother wanting to spend much time in your room or the kitchen. Next time we visit she will undoubtedly want to take you out for a meal – or to shop!’

‘God forbid! Julia says we can trade in some of my clothes at the uni charity shop. Was Mum always like this Daddy?’

Michael felt that it was time to tell a few hidden truths; he hoped that Millie would understand and not judge her mother too harshly. He sat down next to her on the unmade bed.

‘Your Mum isn’t like other people. I knew that when I met her, and I knew that I would have a hard time explaining to you one day. We’ve always been honest with you about the fact that Mum and I couldn’t have children so we adopted you.’

Millie nodded. Not possessing her mother’s genes had never really been an issue.

‘Your mother – came from a different place. She had to learn how to speak, act and dress from books and magazines – quite expensive and high class magazines.’

‘Well that explains quite a few things, but where did she come from Dad?’

‘I don’t really know. I found her wandering on a beach in New Zealand when I was on a business trip. She seemed so vulnerable – and lovely. She had no paperwork, communicated through sign language, just had the clothes she stood up in. I’m afraid that I am responsible for the way she is. I pulled a few strings, got her a passport and brought her back to England. Your Aunt Jane took care of her and that’s where she lived for six months – in a cottage out in the country, reading endless copies of the Tatler and Agatha Christie novels. She learned very quickly, I fell in love with her and we married. You know the rest.’

‘That doesn’t explain about where she really came from though Dad?’

Hastened to his feet by the sound of Selina tooting the car horn, Michael kissed Millie on the top of her head.

‘She isn’t of our world sweetheart. She comes from another planet.’

309_large-thumbnail_love_on_another_planet

Advertisements

‘Quite a Good Friday – really’

 

992842_10151645636124871_1523052855_n

Ups, Downs and Mis-deliveries

The day started well, with bright sunshine.

So bright that we had the covers off the table outside and the parasols erected ready for lunch al fresco. Scoob has his own parasol.

Gap Boy had been up most of the night yakking at his US mates so he was tucked up in his bed when we arose in a leisurely fashion.

Scoob was happy because he got treats and a walk with Hub. he also liked the fact that there were no postmen and no delivery men: the bin men took him by surprise however.  He can’t and won’t like them.

I was happy because I had Hub to myself, I had indulged in a very long and very intense discussion with Uni Boy which ended in exhaustion but also with the exhilaration of knowing that we have bought both our boys up to have minds of their own – not just me and Hub clones.

Hub bought me a glass of Marsala when the conversation ended.  I needed it.

Bezzie Mate was coming to stay; I was cooking a cake to celebrate – rhubarb crumble cake with ginger –  and we were having Chinese takeaway for dinner.

All in all, a good Good Friday.

We did a minor shopping trip – too big for a handbasket, too small for a big trolley so the small trolley was just right – bit like Goldilocks and the Three Bears meets Tesco really. Even the checkout man was in a good mood.  the sun seemed to have brought out the best in everyone.

Lunch in the sun on the patio.  Scoob was slathering after our bread and cheese.  Depending on his posture, he was either sitting in a pool of drool or wearing an unattractive soggy patch down his curly black frontage.

Hub very kindly laid out the ingredients for the cake and whilst I didn’t exactly do a Jon Richardson and pretend that I was on a cooking programme, it made the whole process more amenable having an array of bowls, spoons and other implements all ready for my use.

The cake went in the oven and Hub very obliging hoovered the lawn and the front room (misnomer really as neither machine used was actually a Hoover).

I was in contact with BM throughout his journey North, and we were actually on the phone when a large white delivery van pulled up outside – much to Scooby’s consternation.

Hub placated Scoob, I dispatched GB outside to fetch the parcel and busied myself between making sure GB’s mince didn’t burn and trying to turn my cooled cake out on to a rack – oh how Mary Berry am I!

GB returned, grumbling and clutching a card. He informed me that the delivery man had delivered my parcel to a different house and that he said it was up to us to go and collect it.

Boom! Ballistic me!

So GB gave the card to his father to go and collect the  parcel from the wrong house that it had been delivered to.

Unhappy Hub. He had been sitting contentedly reading his ‘Which’ magazine and like me, waiting for BM to arrive.  BM meanwhile was on the phone listening to me rant about the delivery man, and giggling.

Hub went off to collect the parcel.  GB had forgotten to tell him though, that the people who had my parcel had now gone out – which is why the delivery man had told us we would have to collect the parcel later.

I picked up the phone and complained to the company from whence came the parcel; no names, no pack drill but they share their name with a very long river.

The young lady I spoke to was very apologetic and very helpful, so my anger subsided. It takes a very good customer service person to calm me down.  She was extremely good.

BM arrived in the midst of the furore and was much amused by my transition from Mrs Angry to Mrs Placated.

Hub, BM and I had planned to pop down to the local tavern for a small cider and to watch the sun set, so I wrote a suitably nice note to the person who had my parcel and included my phone number so that they could contact us when it was convenient to come and collect.

As we were turning into the road, a white van came hurtling out and missed us by inches.  I knocked on the door of the wrong delivery house and was told that the delivery driver had just collected my parcel.

So we went back home again; the parcel had been received by GB, and I had a conciliatory email from the company requesting the outcome.

Off to the tavern; a tad chilly now but the sight of the sun setting behind the power station was one to behold.  The cider was pretty good too.

Chinese takeaway ordered, collected and eaten.  A pleasant evening  filled with wine, good conversation and more dog slather than you can throw a stick at.

Hub has now gone to bed (early shift tomorrow), GB is out on his motorbike, BM is watching ‘The Bourne Supremacy‘ and I am tappetty-tapping to beat my midnight deadline.

It has been a pretty Good Friday and we all have Easter eggs to look forward to – and rhubarb and ginger crumble cake.

 

‘Stop Press! Monday Moan turns into a Happy Monday’

Today marks the seventh day of trying to write something fresh every day of April.

Until today I had a good idea each night of what I wanted to write the next day and duly jotted notes in the little book given to me by a thoughtful friend for just such a purpose.

Last night. Nothing. This morning. Nothing.

I turned to my Hub for inspiration having been deserted by my muse.  Hub reminded me of Jon Richardson’s experience of not being able to write  – so he wrote about not being able to write and turned into a very funny and successful part of his stand up act. Love Jon Richardson. Love Hub.

It occurred to me that perhaps the reason why I couldn’t write anything was because I’m having too good a time of it.

In fact, this weekend we’ve all been having a good time of it really and it looks as if the fun isn’t going to stop there.

Saturday was a day of comings and goings, of a front room further obstacle-coursed by camouflaged clothing, bags of armoury, the giant paintball suitcase and a confused dog. I admit that the floor is already cluttered by my boxes of stuff and piles of paper but that is the normal status of the room.

The delayed but extremely welcome arrival of Bezzie Mate led to a very late night chatting and chortling over ”The Big Bang Theory‘.  So good to have friends who laugh at the same things as you do.

Three hours sleep later and I am up with Hub, who is taking two friends off to a scrapyard paintball game in Doncaster.  Hub is waved off at 0615, the Scoob has watered the Hebe bush and I am free to blog till 0700 when I have to wake Gap Boy so he can gather up his guns, boots and flak jacket for a day of shooting people with BBs. His lift is late and I have to spend three-quarters of an hour mollifying him and fending off his anxiety insults.  BM was warned to stay in his room until I texted him to sound the all clear.  An anxious GB does not make for good company.

By 0900 Scoobs and I are dozing on the sofa.  I put ‘Mythbusters‘ on to distract GB whilst he was waiting then fell asleep when he left.

BM emerges from his room and we celebrate the day with a breakfast of Marmite toast and experiments with my Pingu coffeemaker – not as leisurely as the cafetière but the pods provide an enormous variety and frothy milk.  As always we chat and chat and the morning passes before we know it.  I managed to get tickets for the three of us to see Rich Hall next month whilst we were chilling though.
We go shopping together, have a lovely shared lunch, do more silly shopping then hurry home in the rain  to await the weary warriors – and Uni Boy who has travelled to Doncaster to meet his dad and come home for the night.

GB bursts through the patio doors – his camo gear unsullied and his gorgeous hairdo barely ruffled.

“I shot loads of people.  A couple in the face and one in the b*****s.  They shouldn’t have got in the way!”

BM, Scoob and I exchange covert grins.  We listen attentively to GB’s shoutiness, knowing that  he will quieten down soon.  Supplied with fizzy drink and crackers, he stomps off to his room to shout at his computer.

An hour later the battle-scarred paintballer returns with a happy but tired UB.  Hub has a post-paintball unwinding routine of putting things away and washing the mucky stuff. GB subscribes to the ‘dump it on the floor where people will trip over it.  They can move it if they are annoyed by it and I can get annoyed with them if it isn’t where I left it next time I need it‘ school of thought (Does he actually think?). Love him, squeeze him, throttle him.

Takeaway time – curry for four of us and Chinese for UB who doesn’t do curry (Sorry Dad).  BM and I volunteer to be the hunter-gatherers as Hub is flagging and home delivery takes hours.  Our local shopping square is peaceful and almost pretty in the red light of the setting sun.  From the Spar shop to the Chinese chippy and finally the Indian takeaway, we return with our spoils.  UB retires to his room to eat and GB to his, leaving BM, Hub and me to eat, talk and enjoy each other’s company.  Scoob waits expectantly and is eventually rewarded with the leftover pappadum bits.  Happy dog.  Happy me. I have four of my favourite people (and Scoob) back in my nest.

The end of the night sees us all outside waving BM off on his journey home after much hugging and manly handshakes.  Scoob pees against the gate and sniffs the night air for cats. They are sensibly indoors.

GB decides to go out for a blat on his bike now that the roads are quieter and darker.  Being the worrywart that I am, I sit up until he is home safely and so is BM. Although BM has a longer journey, his is less eventful than GB’s.  My boy bursts in through the patio doors again, blathering about the idiots on the road and how his mirrors keep turning round.

I am so ready for my bed.

118950093

So, my moaning about a lack of inspiration has been turned into the happiness engendered by my nearest and dearest.  We are taking UB back to York today; a leisurely road  trip, mammoth supermarket shop and dinner out  at the wonderful www.redchillirestaurant.co.uk/york_gallery.asp . before Hub and I complete the day with a companionable drive home singing along loudly to the radio.

Next weekend Hub and I are going back home to the seaside for a big birthday party; to see family, visit old haunts and enjoy hotel breakfasting together.  GB and UB are dog sitting and partying (not in our house I hasten to add!).

We have a good seven days ahead of us. Happy Monday!

 

The sun will come out Toe-morrow, things will be brighter then …..

Morning all!

TOO exhausted to post yesterday – hell of a day.

Early appointment at the podiatrist – third one we’ve seen now – why can’t they be more gentle with me? I feel violated.

Despite feeling bleary-eyed and dopey, the PAM, the other half and I got to our appointment in time.  Freed from the customised boot of choice; I was disrobed and examined minutely for signs of anything nasty.

I appear to be infection free. I don’t appear to have osteoarthritis – the nasty aches and pains are due to residual bruising and will probably continue for some months yet – lovely.

The bit that cut me to the core is that there is also no sign of a toenail.  It has been two months since that crate dropped on me and it seems that in addition to severing my toenail and causing a HUGE bruise all over me, it killed my toenail completely.  There has been no new growth over the past two months so it is unlikely to happen now.

So the PAM and I have months of not being able to  wear appropriate footwear whilst the nailbed gets tough and uncompromising – and there is always a further risk of infection in the meantime.

Thank you crate – you great ugly lethal lump of moulded plastic just waiting to cause damage to unwary workers.  I hope someone smashes you and you end your days as a recycled dog poo bin  – or worse.

Moving on – because we have to – having been swabbed and redressed in a totally over the top bandage, we embark edon a short shopping trip to stock up on food. Whilst the other half is on late shifts, we are somewhat housebound all afternoon and evening – which is nice – well for me but not necessarily for the PAM.  She should be studying for her next essay, revising for the exam from hell and reading up on important paperwork but gets a little stir crazy when the walls start closing in.

She is far too easily seduced however, by FB and silly games, Twitter and comments that range from serious to satire to plain silly.  Her Kindle is also a bad influence;  it is no use her telling people that she has reference books on it, she also has Coin Hover and Mahjong – hah! Blown!

She did actually do some studying yesterday – and there was a rather blissful bout of dozing during the morning to make up for the early start.  There was far too much procrastination however.

To be fair – she did take off the hideously unflattering dressing that the pod had applied, put me into a chic little indoor number and for the benefit of our lovely EEEEE, gave me a snowman face and took a picture for FB.

Another high point was that the pod also said that I will be able to enjoy the sun and heated swimming pool waiting for us in Lanzarote.  I may need to wear a slinky little dressing to prevent any nasties creeping into my crevices and take some antibiotics with us – just in case.  So me and the other nine toes will be able to wiggle in the sand a little and forget about bureaucratic bungling and and the autocratic arses that inflict it on us – controversial – better back off before the PAM notices.

It has been alleged that I am a bad influence on the PAM.  This may be so but  – nothing has been proved.

Time to wake up the other half for another shopping trip.  We are cooking pasta tonight and have to get all the bits. Mozzarella balls and grated Grana Padano anyone?

Arrivederci!

Oh and EEEEE – don’t ever stop bothering xxxxx

Equal Rights for Toes!

Okay – so this is my first blog – it doesn’t look that difficult and the person attached to me (to be known as PAM from now on) is so knackered she has no idea that I have taken over temporarily.

This has been a horrible day from a toe point of view.

The shower this morning was fine; then she had to ruin it all by sticking me in a plastic container full of salty water to wash off the nice smelling shower gel (Snowfairy from Lush if you must know).  I don’t care what the podiatrist says – salt water STINGS!

She was quite gentle drying me and as a consequence I held still whilst she took ANOTHER photograph of me with her Blackberry. I am SO photogenic.

Then comes the bit I hate the most – the dressing.

It is SO boring!  We have two sorts of dressing – white indoors and white outdoors.  Boring.  Boring.  Boring.  Her other half used to put smiley faces on me but there hasn’t been much to smile about lately.

I know she’s bought these willie warmers for me – but where are they? Christmas post bah!

The other day I rebelled against the dressing and caused an allergic reaction to the adhesive  – I made a HUGE blister on my back.  She used her ingenuity with some non-allergic tape though and the blister disappeared.  I had another trick to play on her today though; I’ve been sending aches down to the place where I join the foot – that’ll teach her to drop things on me.

I wanted to stay in the warm today; propped up on my cushion with the occasional hobble to the loo or the kitchen and the possibility of a proper lie-down on the bed after lunch – some chance.

As soon as she started putting the finger bandage over the top of the indoor dressing this morning I knew we were in for some – exercise.

I don’t mind going out in the car. PAM doesn’t drive and her other half always puts the heater on so I am nice and warm on the journey (she has the heated seat on but  that never reaches me). We usually have to get out of the car at some point though and that’s the bit I hate.

We parked up in the wet and draughty multi-storey car park.  I got slightly damp on the way to the lifts and the stinging began.

We walked to a shop full of glasses and up some stairs – loads of stairs – I hate stairs.  Then a woman puffed air in PAM’s eyes and she sat down to wait.  Then a man put drops in her eyes and she sat back down again and waited some more.  Back to the eye puffing stuff then into another room where the man looked in her eyes with a bright light and accidentally bumped into me.  HEY!  I am the prominent white toe sticking out of this black suede boot!  Use your eyes you optician man you!  He apologised to her and sent her back downstairs so that another woman could take pictures of her eyes.  What about me then?  Does anyone give a damn about all this getting up and down I’m having to do?

They brought me home again then – after a trudge through the shopping mall (horrible hard floor), back into the lifts and across the wet car park.  The bliss of the car heater but the sudden change from cold and wet to warm makes the stinging even worse.

She went for a lie down when we got in.  I was looking forward to a nice rest but she attached this electrical gadget onto her foot.  She dozed off whilst this thing sent electrical pulses through me, kept me awake and made me feel quite numb. We’ll have to put a stop to that then.

So I have rebelled. I have taken over her blog. From now on it will be the world according to Vee-Toe.  Look on my works ye mighty and despair. 🙂