Shelter

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It was the only place he could find to get out of the rain. Huddling into a corner, he made himself as warm and comfy as possible. He had already checked out the place and made sure no one else was in residence. The corner he had picked was also the best one. It was a large dry spot and he had clear views of the two doorways into the house.

He looked up and watched the rain falling in. The roof had long ago tumbled in, though the attic and floor above, creating a massive hole in the middle of the house. There were bits of roof tile, bricks, plaster and rubbish scattered around. He hadn’t seen any furniture and guessed the house had been well cleared out over the years.

He rested his head down and listened to the patter of the rain. Oddly he felt like an intruder. This had been someone’s home once. A place of love and safety. It had seemed nice too, a good place to bring up a family. Where had they gone though? What had made them move out?

Trying to dispel those thoughts- what did he care?- He settled for sleep. He began counting sheep jumping over a fence as was habit. He pictured each sheep differently as an individual as his father had taught him. Something about how that helps you fall asleep better.

With the lullaby of the rain, he fell asleep and dreamed of his childhood which he hadn’t thought about in years.

Vellichor #atozchallenge

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Vellichor; the strange wistfulness of used bookstores.

What is it about used book shops? You go, you browse, you pick up a few books, you read a few pages, sometimes you buy book/s and other times you don’t. You might stay for coffee if they  have a cafe. It’s a meeting place, a talking point, a land of discovery.

You like the smells that whiffed from the shelves; old ink, yellowing pages, dusty attic, dampness and salty tang. You like running your fingers over cracked spines and flattened leather. You like pulling random books out and seeing what they are. You wonder who the previous owner/s and why they give this book up.

You enjoy a good mystery and there is always just more then the story inside to be had. You adore supernatural and horror too; ghosts give you chills and vampires have you shaking at your knees. You love adventures to far off lands or under deep seas or high in the sky. Science fiction always makes you ponder if this is what the future will really look like even though it’s your less favourite.

If you could you’d live in the used book shops. In fact, your home is slowly turning into one. Your bedroom is floor to ceiling with books! You’ve read most of them, but there are others still waiting to be read and still you go to the used book shop to see more. It’s an addiction, a terrible terrible addiction and yet, its harmless.

Dear Diary #22 : Absquatulate (Part 1) #atozchallenge

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Absquatulate; to leave without saying goodbye. 

Dear Diary,

I need to leave. It’s not a question any more it’s the only way. If I don’t leave, I’m going to do something final…

I don’t think anyone want’s that, but what else can I do?

My parents just haven’t gotten over my baby brother’s death. My mother is still spending most of her time in bed. My father waiting on her and sulking off to work when he must. They are shadows of themselves.

And me? I’m more then a shadow. I’m invisible.

I’ve tried everything I can think of and more, but none of the attention seeking or cries for help methods worked. It’s like I’m dead to them too.

That’s why I’ve to get out. I’m going to leave first thing tomorrow. Everything I want is all ready packed and I’ve a plan. I’m going to take mum’s car and drive to my new apartment on the other side of the city. I’ll be still close enough to work that way. Then I can clear my head and figure out if I’m going to move further away or out of the country.

I’m not even going to bother to say goodbye to my parents. I bet they won’t even notice I’m gone.

When You Are Alone At Home

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I hated being all by myself at home. It was too quiet and there never seemed to be anything to do. Most people would like that, I guess. They’d see it as a chance to do those odd jobs or hobbies or watch TV which they couldn’t do when parents and kids were around. Yes, I could do all that, but I didn’t feel in the mood for any of it.

Maybe it was the lack of motivation? The pressure that I must do something! I had the space, the time, the chances, so yes, I must do some kind of activity which I couldn’t do other wise.

Nothing was coming to my mind though. I listened to the ticking of the kitchen clock, the dripping of the rain outside and the cat purring around my legs. I put the TV on, but only for background noise and just to hear voices so I wouldn’t be lonely.

I wondered if this was how it was when you got old and housebound. Would I just watch TV all day and doze? Would I reflect on my past and wonder what the rest of my future would be like?

I hope I’d lived a good past.

The cat jumped up and snuggled into my lap. We’re not friends, but with my parents gone for a few days, she was attention seeking. I petted her and listened to her purring more loudly.

I’ve have to get a cat when I was old and stuck inside. It would have to be a nice cat though. One who’d sit in my lap all the time and not be so wild. An indoor cat. Maybe, one of those with a really long coat and bright blue eyes. I hope I’ll be able to brush it though….

I channel flicked, but didn’t find anything worth watching. A nagging voice in my head told me to do something. ANYTHING!

Picking the cat up, I placed her on the floor. Disgruntled, she looked at me then trotted off. I went into the kitchen, though I was hungry and began looking around. Finally, I decided to do some baking.

I wasn’t that good to be honest, but at least it would kill time until the evening. Then there’d be soaps on and quiz shows and murder mystery dramas. I could get snacks and chill out, maybe the cat would come to me again?

I pulled one of my favourite cooking books off the shelf and flipped through it. What could I make? Something simple, easy and tasty. Cake? Cupcakes? Yes, that would do…chocolate cupcakes!

I set to work and found my mind better now it had something to focus on.

The Mail Eater

adorable, animal, black-and-white

He watches and awaits by the front door, listening as footsteps go up and down the street. He growls as he hears the mailman approach and a shuffling of papers. The letter flap is fluttering and it’s raining inside the house. He jumps, catching white and brown papers which he rips and throws about. He snatches the last few out of a hand he can’t see and tears the letters up.

Afterwards, he sits, tail wagging and tongue lolling, his task of defending his home and family complete.

Bridge

beneath-the-bridge

The troll had lived under the bridge for a long time, however he had finally decided it was time to move. The river was too polluted and the smell was making him sick. Every morning, the troll would sit at the edge of the river and watch rubbish floating by. Sometimes he would pull things out; a bent bike, a rusting shopping trolley, a dead dog. He would add all these things to his collections and in the afternoon he would make art.

The troll enjoyed bending metal, snapping wood and breaking other things up to constructed his sculptures. Then he would leave his art in random places so that passersby would see them. His favorite pieces were; the owl made out of wire netting and car parts. The horse made out of shopping trolleys, bikes and wood. The armless mannequin who’s dress was made out of plastic bags and coat hangers.

That morning, instead of sitting by the river and collecting things, the troll began packing. He dug out two huge suitcases he had dragged from the water and ponder what he would take with him. He emptied the broken wardrobe of his clothes, – he enjoyed being fashionable- the cupboards of his kitchen equipment, – he liked cooking tasty meals- his shelves of books, – the troll was a great reader- his chest of drawers full of trinkets, – he liked shinny things- and finally he took his paintings from the wall, – the troll enjoyed experimenting with different mediums.

Putting on his huge coat and large hat, the troll picked up the suitcases and left home. Waves of sadness washed over him as he left the bridge and sculptures behind. Of course, he hadn’t been able to take any of them with him for they were all far too big. Trying not to think any more about it, the troll walked and walked.

Hours later, he arrived at the seaside. He took in deep lungfuls of fresh salty air and decided he liked it here.

(Inspired from; https://scvincent.com/2017/02/23/thursday-photo-prompt-bridge-writephoto with thanks)

Mind Lost

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The bell on the bus rang and with a few glances in his mirrors, the bus driver pulled up smoothly at the next stop.

I looked down the aisle and saw an elderly gentleman wearing a large brown hat and in a long, light brown coat getting to his feet with the aid of a wooden walking stick. He tottered to the hissing opening doors and looked out.

‘Wrong stop,’ he announced and hobbled back to his seat.

The bus driver with a loud sigh, closed the doors, indicted and pulled off.

The old man sit down again and looked out of the window, watching the rows of houses and small patches of green grass go by.

I returned to my open book, cursing my broken headphones as I felt the first pings of my anxiety starting up. Public transport always triggered it, even if I had taken the same journey hundreds of times. There was no stopping that strange wiggly worms sensation in my stomach and the loss of concentration on my book.

The bell rang again. The bus driver slowed and pulled over, easing the bus to a stop and opening the doors.

The same old man got up and walked over. He looked out then said loudly, ‘this isn’t my stop! This isn’t where I’m going!’

‘It’s all right. Just sit down again then,’ the driver said calmly.

Over the top of my book, I watched the elderly gentleman shuffling back to his seat again. He sat down heavily and started muttering to himself.

The engine rumbled, the indicted clicked and we were off again.

Sneakily checking out the other passengers, I saw that none of them were bothered by the elderly man’s mistakes. They all seemed to be in worlds of their own. There was a business man typing away on a small laptop, another man was reading the free newspaper and a third older man was on his phone. Of the four woman, not counting myself, one was reading a library book which I couldn’t see the cover of, two were sat at the back, heads together talking softly and the fourth woman was dozing off with a sleeping baby in her arms.

I turned my eyes back to my book and tried to get into the romantic story of an angel falling in love with a human he was banished from being with. Your typical young adult supernatural mush but I loved it. However, my mind couldn’t focus and I began to picture what would happen if the bus was suddenly to crash.

It was a reoccurring image brought on by the anxiety. I was caught up in it for a few moments, wondering what everyone would do if we became trip in the turned over bus. There’d be smoke, screaming, blood. People would die – the driver, maybe the old man and baby. Maybe even me…

I shook the thoughts away and placed down my book. My fingers still inside the closing pages. Oh, how I wished for my music! The loud beating and fast lyrics of heavy metal noise that I could fade into and forget about everything.

The bell ring and this time the man with the laptop got up. He hardly waited for the bus to stop and the doors to open, before he leaped to the pavement and hurried away.

The elderly man seemed not to have noticed the bus stopping. He was looking out of the window. He was still muttering, but I could not make out what he was saying.

The bus driver lingered for a few minutes, perhaps waiting for the old man to get off or maybe for a big enough gap in the traffic.

I looked through the open doors, feeling the cold winter breeze on my face and trying to relax. We were next to the old Jewish cemetery. The curling gates at the top of the driveway were locked but the smaller side one was half open. I could just make out the tops of the headstones. New apartments flanked both sides of the cemetery, looking out of place and making me recall an argument about the developers wanting to move the headstones and bodies to another location.

The bus doors hissed shut and with the engine sounding grumpy, the driver cut through the traffic and drove us on.

I saw the old man reach for the bell button and touch it. He got up and went to the doors as the bus pulled up only a little bit down the road. The doors opened and I really hoped, though it was so mean of me, that he was getting off this time.

‘Is this Courtly Way? No, it’s not,’ the old man began rambling, ‘I don’t know those trees there. Driver? Where are we going? You’ve taken the wrong route again! I want to go home!’

‘It’s okay,’ the driver said calmly, ‘I’ll take you home. Just go and sit down.’

The old man huffed and began hobbling back to his seat.

The bus moved off again. A car horn blaring from beside us as a car sped passed and jumped the changing traffic lights.

How could the bus driver be so calm? I wondered, surely he’s getting annoyed with all of this now?

‘Hello, Annie!’ the old man cried.

I looked and saw he was staring at me.

‘Why didn’t you tell me you were getting this bus?’ he asked.

‘I’m not Annie,’ I replied, ‘I don’t think we know each other.’

‘Of course, you’re Annie! I’d know you anywhere!’

‘No. You’ve made a mistake. My name is Eleanor.’

‘What are you taking about? We’ve been married fifty odd years, Annie!’ the old man shouted.

I shook my head, sinking back into the hard seat as my anxiety rose. My book began to tremble in my hands and my breaths started catching in my throat. Those stomach worms wiggled more, causing a dull pain to start up. Terrible thoughts came to me. The bus crashing, people dying, blood, fire, the scent of smoke, the smell of death, the whiff of leaking fumes, my book laying upwards with it’s open pages crushed against the roof as the bus land upside down.

‘Annie! Annie! What’s wrong!’ the old man was shouting, ‘Driver stop! My wife has been taken ill!’

For the first time, the bus driver slammed his brakes on at a stop. Passengers were thrown about and my head knocked into the wall of the driver’s cabin. I felt fuzzy and my ears were ringing. I shut my eyes and counted backwards as around me complaining voices rose and the baby started crying.

‘Are you alright, love? Do you want to get off?’ a new voice was asking me.

I opened my eyes and saw the bus driver looking at me.

‘He thinks I’m his wife,’ I muttered.

‘What?’ the driver asked, glancing at the old man who was hanging onto the newspaper tray.

‘He says I’m his wife,’ I repeated louder.

‘Oh. He says that to all the young pretty girls. He’s harmless,’ the bus driver added.

‘My wife?’ the old man suddenly said, ‘where is my wife?’

‘Come on now, Bert,’ the bus driver said politely, ‘sit here and be quiet now. We’re almost home.’

‘Home? Ah yes, that’s where we are going. My wife should be there. She’ll have tea on the table and wondering what’s taking so long. Get on with it, driver,’ the old man snapped and rudely waved the driver away.

The urge to question what was going on here grew but as the driver passed me I couldn’t say anything.

The bus started again and a few stops later, we slowed down and pulled up. The doors opened and the driver got out of his cabin. He walked past me and to the old man.

‘Bert, you’re home now, time to get off,’ the driver said softly.

‘Ah yes. Thank you,’ Bert replied.

The driver helped him up then off the bus. I looked out the window and saw the sign for an old people’s home in the front garden of a large building. At the bus stop, a woman dressed in dark blue trousers and a uniform looking top greeted the bus driver and Bert. I watched her link arms with Bert and take him towards the house. They were talking but I couldn’t hear the words.

The driver got back on and headed for his seat.

‘Is he okay?’ I asked.

The driver looked at me and nodded, ‘he has dementia. Some days he’s okay, other days he believes we’re in a past year and the worse days are when he forgets who he is. It’s a horrible thing and I should know! My dad had it and I had to watch him slowly forget me, everyone else and himself.’

I just nodded, not sure what to say to that.

‘Are you all right? He really didn’t mean you any harm,’ the bus driver added.

‘I’m fine…I suffer from anxiety attacks. It had nothing to do with him,’ I explained.

‘I see. You okay, now though?’ he said

I nodded, thanked him and he climbed into the driver’s cabin.

The bus started again, the seat vibrating underneath me and the voices of the disgruntled passengers muttering. My mind was far away though, reflecting on the bus driver’s words.

 

The Last Day

2016, concert, december 31

Kerry looked up from her book at the muted TV screen. A reporter, wrapped up warm clothes was talking to people in a large crowd. Despite the drizzle, everyone seemed happy to be there. The camera turned away and focused on the London Eye. The big white wheel stood out against the black sky and the city lights. Then the camera flashed back to the crowd.

Blowing her nose, Kerry balanced the open hardback on her knees then added the used tissue to the pile that was gathered around her. Coughing loudly, she settled back down on the sofa under her duvet. She read another page of her book, feeling totally distracted by the drama unfolding on the page.

The TV screen went dark and Kerry’s eyes glanced over at it. The big wheel was shown again and this time the camera stayed on it.

Kerry turned up the volume and put her book mark into the page she was on. A count down had started on the TV and people were shouting the numbers as a clock also flashed them up. Placing the book down, Kerry grabbed the small bottle of champagne. It was still cold from the fridge and there was a sheen of water around the the neck of the clear glass.

‘Zero!’ shouted the voices on the TV.

Big Ben began striking the midnight hour and London went into a frenzy.

Kerry cracked open the bottle, which wasn’t corked, but a screw top. The fizz give a little pop still and she poured it into her glass.

Fireworks suddenly went off, both on the TV and outside her apartment as music played and voices took up singing.

Kerry rose the glass in the air to give a little toast, then she sipped the champagne. It tasted acidic against her tongue. Taking a mouthful, she swallowed and placed the glass down. Her phone beeped with incoming texts. She picked it up and answered them all just as fast as they came in.

Swapping her phone out for the champagne, she took two mouthfuls then looked into the glass. The taste hadn’t improved and she’d only drunk half now. Her phone rang loudly. Kerry scrambled for it, knocking her book to the floor.

‘Hello?’ she answered it.

‘Hi. Feeling any better?’ her boyfriend’s voice came through.

‘A little,’ she replied as she sank back on to the cushions.

‘Happy New Year!’ he added.

Kerry giggled, ‘same to you.’

‘As soon as I get home we’ll celebrate properly.’

‘No. We don’t have to…’ Kerry said.

‘We’ll go out,’ he cut through her words, ‘a nice meal, a movie, drinks after. However you want to do it.’

‘No,’ Kerry said again, ‘I want to stay in. Let’s just sit on the sofa with a movie and popcorn.’

‘Well…if that’s what you want…’ he responded in a dropped tone.

‘Yes. I just want you. Us,’ Kerry explained.

‘Okay, I’ll try and get home as fast as I can then,’ her boyfriend added.

‘Good. I’ve missed you.’

‘I’ve missed you too! I should go though…I can’t see the noticeboard from here.’

‘All right. Text me soon,’ Kerry spoke.

‘Sure. Night!’

‘Night.’

Kerry hung up and looked at her phone screen. On the TV, the fireworks were coming to an end and the reporter had appeared again. From outside came the whizzing of a rocket and sound of a firework exploding into a frizzling noise.

Putting the phone on the coffee table, Kerry tossed the rest of her drink back then put the empty glass beside her phone. Picking up her book, she lay down again and opened the pages. A sneeze hit her before she could start reading and she had to dig out a new tissue. Growling, she lent back and wondered how the start to the New Year could get any worse.

The December Sea

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I knew it was going to be a disaster from the start. Who goes to the seaside in December? But the girls and wife instead.

‘You do know it’s going to be freezing right? And everything will be shut?’ I stated as we sat around the dinning room table eating breakfast.

‘But we can still build sand castles,’ Sky, the oldest, cut in.

‘And get ice cream? Not all the shops will be shut,’ Charlie added.

‘Can we go crabbing too?’ Ethany, the youngest, piped up.

‘I think the fresh sea air will be great for everyone and Lexie would love the change of scenery,’ my wife, Sue, finished the conversation off with.

From the closed dinning room door came the soft yipping of Lexie, the king charles spaniel puppy. She was banished to the hallway whenever we were eating as she couldn’t be trusted and the kids liked sneaking her titbits.

I grumbled into my toast, ‘this is a bad idea.’

‘Can we take, Bob?’ Charlie asked.

From under the table came the thumping of a heavy tail. My old yellow Labrador let out a soft chuffing sound. He was allowed in because he kept my feet warm and all he did now a days was sleep.

‘Maybe not…’ my wife said, ‘he’s very old and I don’t think he’d like it much.’

‘We could put his coat on and if he get’s tried dad can take him back to the car,’ Charlie suggested.

‘I’d feel bad if we left him behind,’ Ethany added with a pout.

‘Okay,’ Sue said, ‘let’s get ready then.’

So, off to the seaside we went and you know what? I was totally right.

We found a sheltered spot in the entrance to a small cave to set up camp. The girls went running about the empty sand, shouting and playing games. Lexie ran with them and also had a couple of dips in the cold sea. The waves were pretty big as it was quite windy. I, my wife and Bob sat on the picnic blanket, huddled in our coats coming to the realisation that that this was a bad idea.

Soon enough, Ethany came running back to us crying.

‘What’s wrong?’ Sue asked.

‘There’s sand in my eyes! Sky did it!’ Ethany shouted.

‘Come here. I’ve got some wipes.’

Sue pulled Ethany into her lap and cleaned her eyes.

‘Do you want to go home?’ I asked, hoping that the answer would be yes.

‘No,’ Ethany sniffed, ‘I’m okay now.’

She hugged her mum tightly then got up and walked over to her sisters. They were building a sand castle close by and Lexie was eating seaweed.

‘Stop Lexie from eat that,’ I called after her and pointed at the puppy.

Ethany nodded and broke into a run.

I watched Ethany pulling Lexie away and fought down the urge to tell my wife that we should leave for the tenth time.

A few minutes later, a huge wave crashed on to the beach. The girls screamed. Sue and I rushed up and over. The younger girls had managed to escape, but Lexie and Sky hadn’t. I grabbed Sky first and hauled her away by the hood of her coat. My wife was yelling something Lexie, but I had to make sure my daughter was safe first.

‘You okay?’ I asked her.

Sky nodded, breathlessly. She was dripping wet.

‘Lexie!’ Charlie and Ethany were screaming over and over again.

I glanced over my shoulder and saw my wife stood ankle deep in the sea. She was half bent over, her hands in the water, searching.

‘Get back to the cave,’ I said to all the girls.

I turned and made my way towards the sea. Out of the corner of my eye, I saw Sky struggling across the sand then shepherding her sisters back to our camp.

‘I can’t find her!’ Sue hollered above the wind and the waves.

I quickly scanned around, looking for any flashes of black, white and brown in the grey-green-white topped sea.

‘Lexie! Puppy!’ my wife screamed.

‘There!’ I yelled and pointed at some shape far to the left of of us that seemed not to be a part of the sea.

I wadded into the freezing water. Feeling my thick wool socks and trousers getting soaked. The waves bashed around me as if threatening me to get out. Frantically, I kept looking then dipping my hands and arms under the waves. The cold shot through me and in seconds my fingers felt numb.

A voice at the back of my head was repeatedly saying, she’s gone, she’s gone. How can a little dog survive this?  

I had a flash image of my little girls all crying and sobbing, ‘Daddy, why didn’t you save our puppy?’

Then my numb fingers hit something; wet fur. I clutched hold tightly and like a fisherman wrestling with a big fish, I yanked the king charles puppy from the raging sea. Holding her by her collar and scruff of her neck, I trudged back to the shore.

‘Oh my God! Lexie! Dave!’ my wife gasped.

She rushed over, out of the sea herself and joined me on the wet sand. She took the puppy from me and held it close to her chest like one of her babies. Tears were streaming down her face and her cheeks were flushed a deep red.

I watched her, struggling to steady my breathing and waiting to feel my body again. She checked the puppy over. Lexie was alive, but only just.

‘We must get her warm,’ Sue was saying.

She jogged across the beach and I saw the children rushing to meet her.

I walked back. My feet sinking into the sand, sea water dripping off me. When I reached the cave, my wife had wrapped Lexie in a towel and put the puppy inside her in coat. The girls were crowded around her, demanding to know that Lexie was okay. Bob was standing up, wagging his tail in greeting and wondering what all the fuss was about.

‘We need to go home now!’ my wife declared loudly.

Finally!

‘Yes, of course. Right away!’ I said, ‘girls help pack up.’

Quickly, we packed everything away and gathered things up. My wife stood holding Lexie in her coat and giving a few instructions. I held my tongue still even though the words I told you so and this was a bad idea were on my tongue.

‘Ready? Let’s go,’ I said and went to step outside.

The sky which had always been dull grey had now turned darker and from it was falling snowflakes and sleet.

‘It’s snowing!’ Charlie declared.

‘So it is. Come on,’ Sue cut in and strolled out.

We followed after her, trying to hurry across the sand. Reaching the car, everything and everyone bungled in. I started on the engine and my wife turned up the heater.

‘Everyone okay?’ I called.

A choir of female voices answered, ‘yes.’

Nodding, I drove us home and the snow began to fall more heavily. An hour later, I pulled into the driveway and turned off the engine.

‘How’s Lexie?’ Sky asked for what felt like the millionth time.

‘Better now,’ Sue replied.

‘Do we still have to take her to the vets?’ Charlie questioned.

‘I don’t think so…but we’ll see how she is within a hour,’ Sue replied.

We all got out the car and unpacked. Once in the warmth, dry space of home, everyone got themselves sorted. I got in the shower afterwards, when the girls, wife and dogs were okay. The hot water swept the remaining coldness from me and I felt cleaner too.

Going into the living room afterwards, I saw Lexie and Bob curled up together on the big dog bed in the corner. All my girls were snuggled on the sofa under a blanket and there was a Disney Princess movie on the telly. It all seemed so normal.

‘Let’s think twice before we go to the seaside again,’ I spoke out as I sank into the armchair.

 

(Inspired from: https://scvincent.com/2016/12/08/thursday-photo-prompt-smoke-writephoto/ with thanks. Click to read other people’s stories or to create one yourself.)

There’s Always Someone

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There’s always that one person you forget to buy a Christmas present for. No matter how carefully you write lists and confirm with other people, someone slips your mind. Perhaps, it’s your child’s teacher? A neighbour who’s been super kind to you this year? A long lost relative who’s appeared out of the blue?

Whoever it ends up being, it always comes to you at the last moment. You could be sat wrapping up presents and suddenly a name will pop into your head. You’ll check and see that yes, you’ve missed that person. Or you’ll be talking to someone and they will say that so and so has been in touch and suggested they would like… and you will gasp and says you’ve forgotten to get them something! Or even worse, said person will turn up at your front door, weighed down by gifts and with their family shouting, ‘happy holidays.’

There’s always that scramble, isn’t there? That rush around the house and into the cupboards to dig out something to give them. Don’t try to deny it. We all have that one place were things brought in the sales and unwanted gifts live in case that last minute present is needed. You’ll pull something out; a forgotten bathroom wash kit, a feet care set or a child’s blonde haired doll.

You’ll wrap it in a hurry and hand it over, hoping that it wasn’t actually a present they gave you last year. You’ll smile and make it seem like you’ve had that present for weeks and you didn’t forget at all. You’ll accept the gifts given to you but still you will question who you got that particular bathroom spa set or where you brought that bubble bath from.

In the Christmas madness, these thoughts will fade and vanish. You’ll be distracted trying to get the turkey lunch finished, the children crying over a wrong present, granddad snoring during the Queen’s speech. You’ll fall into the enjoyment of Christmas once more, that niggle feeling of forgetting someone gone.