Monday, 25 February 2013

Two Fluffy White Helpers

Living by yourself can be tough, more-so because it means there is only one person available to do the gardening which is an absolute CHORE. A chore that I loathe more than any other household task.

I wont lie, I tend to leave my grass until it becomes as long as a jungle. Not because I feel the need to get in touch with my native side, but purely because I can be fairly lazy when it comes to chopping it. It actually fascinates me just how quickly it can grow - It fascinates AND irritates me all at the same time. So you can imagine the smile on my face when I pull up the road to my farm track to find two white fluffy helpers chomping away on my jungle.

As my car startles them and they turn to flee I yell "Hey don't go, there is more work for you around the back!!! stay until the job is done!!"

Sometimes these little surprises actually brighten up my day. I never thought that I'd be smiling and posting about two fluffy white sheep this morning but as I've gotten older I've definitely learnt to appreciate the small things that come into our lives. I think it's this appreciation that keeps life exciting and also keeps me sane while trying to write my Chronicles of Astoria series. 

So what's the overall point of this post I hear you thinking, I suppose I just wanted to share this insight and possibly make you aware that the small things are good - positive even. Appreciate them and I bet you will start to notice more positive things coming into your life too. 

Peace & Love

* M.R Shields *

Monday, 11 February 2013

Kelly's New Home

There is nothing quite like hitting the open road on a bright, fresh and sunny Sunday morning!

With my go-kart loaded with some of her belongings, her favourite teddy bear safely strapped into the front seat (safety is paramount in my experience) I head off from the cottage, en-route to a little place called Tynuilt, to help construct Kelly’s new flat into something more homely.

I get off to a good start, the roads are fairly clear and I have the top gun album blaring at the top of my standard speaker’s lungs! had it been a warmer morning, I may have risked my reputation by rolling down the window (yes rolling, my go-kart doesn’t not have such futuristic contraptions such as electric windows) and allowing the 80's tune to deafen the animals that I passed by, as it was, I kept the window tightly shut, my mouth on the other hand was yelling myself deeper into the danger zone!! Hell I could have made it onto X-factor but I really don’t have the ankles for it.

Perhaps an hour into my journey, the inevitable happened. Yes, you guessed it; I was overtaken by another vehicle. Now you may think, "big deal happens all the time" well perhaps it does, but to be overtaken by a Citroen C1 is just embarrassing. I could see it approaching from a good couple of hundred yards back, powering its way forward with its little French engine. I push the pedal to the floor of my little go-kart, willing it to go faster and growl like the tiger I need it to be, instead it sounds like a hoarse lawn mower, coughing its way further forward. Within a few seconds it’s upon me, and my first instinct is to naturally hide my face, save what little dignity I have left and pray this little red demon passes me quickly. Time slows down and I feel my cheeks go red with the situation. From the corner of my eye, this little red contraption begins to soar past me, thundering onwards with blistering speed and cutting back into the lane in front of me and taking off further down the road like a gazelle on steroids. The next moment happened so quickly.

From my angry, out-powered eagle eyes, I focus in on his hazard lights....THEY FLASH TWICE!!

‘HOW DARE HE!’ I said to the bear at my side, he thinks I let him past; my foot is still to the floor!!!! The red spectre from the depths of hell itself had not only humiliated me in front of the bear, but then poured salt on the wound with his flashy display!

Now you may think I would want to make this story have a happy ending, that perhaps I would pass this highly tuned, top spec race car further up the road only to see it parked in the lay-by with a couple of punctures... sadly there is no such justice for me in this world, I never set eyes on that record breaker again.

All thoughts of this tragedy were soothed away as I eventually arrived at my destination in Tynuilt. The view was absolutely stunning, with the mountains on my right, their peaks covered in snow and standing there, defiant against the landscape.

The beautiful Scottish moorland spreading all the way down to the water and a cool, brisk breeze flowing through the air, it all made me proud to be Scottish; the bear seemed to smile too!

below is a picture of the car... That's a Citroen C1 right?

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *

Saturday, 2 February 2013

The Man in the Field


It would seem to me, that regardless of the temperament of the person, they would always stand their ground defiantly when faced with aggression on their own doorstep. Their natural born instincts to defend their home would always supersede any simple notions of common sense. I say this mostly because I too, felt threatened and was forced to present a strong front in the face of certain danger!
The morning air was fresh and the sun’s rays were casting long lancing rays in through my bedroom window, a very welcoming site compared with the white glare of relentless snow that had been slowly destroying my business, day by day, with its insistence on blocking the roads.
Feeling vibrant and fresh (or as fresh as a man could that had slept in a bed that hadn't had its sheets changed in a fortnight) I hopped up and made my way to the kitchen to make myself a cup of warm brew. I was dressed in simple white jogging bottoms and a t-shirt, had I worn my Spiderman pyjamas’, I am fairly confident this incident would never have occurred, the man in question would have surely “up sticks” and left for fear of retaliation. As it was, the only fear I was striking into anyone was the loud padding of feet that I was creating as I marched around my kitchen in my oversized, angry dog slippers.

The kettle boiled, the brew poured, I then opened the back door and took a few steps out into the fresh morning light, inhaling a deep lungful of the crisp, Scottish, country air. With my cup of brew in one hand, the gentle breeze flowing through my fingers in the other, I gazed around my beautiful view, reminding myself just how lucky I was to live where I do.
Taking a large slurp of my brew, I pan my head from left to right, my eyes darting casually from each point of interest to the next. I could see the sheep in the next field over, chewing happily away on their grass. There was an old tree in the field divider, swaying in the wind and desperately fighting a losing battle that gravity would eventually win, but probably not for a few more seasons yet. I could see the young farmer lad working on his knees, hammering away at some post that was set mid way through the field to my left, and I could also see his assistant standing broadly next to him, watching him as he worked.
I took another slurp of my warm brew and continued to enjoy the moment, knowing full well that life was fairly tranquil for me out here. That was, until the broad, square shouldered assistant took an interest in me, that changed everything.
I could feel my irritation slowly start to rise as he continued to stare at me, showing no interest whatsoever to his colleague working at his feet. I half expected a small wave, some gesture of common courtesy, anything that would relieve the tension that was slowly building in the space that occupied the expanse between where I stood and his location. My grip tightened on my mug and from the corner of my eye I could see that my knuckles had turned white from the exertion.
Just what was this guy’s problem? My irritation grew further as I started to play out the entire event in my head, my inner monologue dramatising the situation beyond any sensible solution. Here was THIS guy, ruining my perfectly relaxing morning with his childish need to flex his masculinity. I smirked as I began to wear my game face, knowing deep down that this guy had bitten off more than he could chew here, and I certainly wasn't going to back down.
Feeling the need to demonstrate a little show of muscle myself, I let the cup of brew drop from my hands, tumbling end over end to the hard ground below and smashing into tiny pieces of ceramic mess. I hold my his gaze, he didn't even so much as flinch, as the noise echoed off the walls of my cottage and cascaded over the fields around. The young farmer lifted his head, catching my eyes he smiled and gave me a short wave. I had no beef with him; he is a good lad, so I wave back, but my eyes never leave the square one, never giving an ounce of ground in this battle.
A part of me wanted to walk over there, to hop the fence and clamber through the muddy, freshly sowed field, wearing only my growling dog slippers, and make my way up to where he stood, take the fight to him as it were. Had it not been for the farmer finishing his task, standing up, and making his way toward me, then I might just as well have.
It took the lad barely a minutes’ walk, trudging through the mud in his green willies, to reach my cottage, the other guy still stood there, immobile and staring at me, I continued to stare back.
“Morning mate” the young farmer said a smile on his face as always. I wanted to return the smile but didn’t want to give any ground in my contest with my macho nemesis. Perhaps if I convinced the guy I was incapable of smiling, that I slept on a bed of nails and that I used sandpaper for toilet roll, and then perhaps he would give up this stupid contest and look away. I chose to remain stoic, bolstered to my brutish stance.

“Morning” I said bluntly.
Now one thing I will always pride myself on, is how fast and adaptable I am to situations. My mood can change as and when required, and for it not for this unique talent I have, I may have looked as stupid as I FELT, when I heard the next words that left the farmers lips.
“Aye lad, it’s been a busy one for me, been up all morning putting up these scarecrows, don’t want the birds eating the seed you see”

I felt stupid, OK worse, I felt BLOODY stupid! Here was me, all fired up and ready for a rumble, dressed in my joggy bottoms and fluffy puppy slippers, all around me there is pieces of broken cup from a brew I was clearly too clumsy to hang on to. I did what any self respecting chap would do, I did what I HAD to do, I muttered seven little words that were as much of a lie as my bed of nails with sandpaper. As the warm morning breeze flowed through my hair I said
“Oh its cold, I'm heading back in”

Peace & Love 

* M.R Shields *