The Christmas Event

by Karen J Mossman

Table was set. Turkey cooking. Presents wrapped. I drank wine to celebrate.

Then I stopped. “Oh my God!” What had I done? Or rather not done.

I grab my coat, run back and grabbed my phone. Ordered Uber. Shoving my shoes in my feet, purse and phone in my shopping bag, I run outside. Coat trapped in door, I lock up as Uber rolls up.

“Where to?”

“The Trafford Centre?”

“You sure?”

Trafford Centre, Christmas Eve? He’s right. “The Mall, then.” He nodded. He drives off.

I thank him, climb out, and rush inside.  It was full of odd-balls. The four-foot man who walks with his right arm outstretched is in today. The woman with the doll in a push chair is also here. Loopy folks.

People pour around me. “Where’re am I going?” I say out loud. A man looks me oddly. I turn and collide with a mobility scooter.

“Ow! Sorry!” The owner scowls as I limp into a gift shop, dabbing blood on my  knee with tissue. What was he driving? A spiked chariot!!

“The Mall will be closing in 10 minutes. Please make your way towards the nearest till.” Says the tannoy. I groan.

I march to the counter. Sweep eyes left and right. “I’ll have one of those, one of those, that and this, please.”

“Do you want them gift wrapped?”

“Yes!” I gasp. She wraps, I wait. Anxiously I look at the door.

“Thank you so much.” Gave her a big smile and left.

Outside open the app. Uber. 5 minutes away. Your driver is Sharif.

I wait, and wait. Check phone. Glare at screen. Driving going in opposite direction. Rang him. Directed him back.

He’s ull of apologies,  “I’m new,” he explains.

“Don’t you track me? I was tracking you?”

“I was driving,” he said. Roll eyes.

Arriving home, Christmas lights on. Hubby home is back work.

“Hello darling,”he says as I fall head long through door. Parcels scatter. “One too many?”

Grr!

Presents under the Christmas tree. Smiling husband. Glass of red.

“Have we got everything now?” he asks.

“Yes,” I say.  I forgot his presents. Won’t tell him – at least not yet.

A fun short Christmas story.

Reflections of Simmondly

Simmondly is a small village in Glossop, Derbyshire, and in the early 1900s John Pedder, a retired councillor for Stretford Urban Council in Manchester, had a holiday cottage there.

Their grand daughter, Molly, now aged 98, remembers holidaying with them as a child. (Molly celebrated her 100th birthday in 2012, and is no longer with us.)

 ‘We had this great big trunk which we’d pack everything into and send it on ahead. We caught a train to Dinting and then walked to the top of Simmondley Lane, where our cottage was located. It was very rural and a different world from where we lived in Manchester. It had lovely views across Glossop and Charlesworth. You could even see Mottram Church on top of the hill.

‘The cottage didn’t have a staircase or an inside toilet, in fact it needed a lot of work doing on it,” said Molly. My Uncles, Jim, Percy, and Herbert, did a lot of work to make it nice for us. They made a staircase and put tongue and groove on the walls. It also had a big bay window where I would sit cutting apples, splitting peas and sorting grains for my mother. There was a large fireplace and Grandfather would build a roaring fire, it was really cosy.

To use the toilet, we had to go outside, cross the lane and into a field. The closet, as it was called, was beside the wall of the big house on the right of the photograph below. The house still stands today, although the land in front has been built upon.

In this picture is the original cottage, with Molly sitting on the wall, and underneath is how the area looks today. One of the windows hads been filled in, but the wall is the same one.

Molly’s uncles later built a shed outside the front door to accommodate the toilet replacing the wooden two-seater from the field. Molly chuckled at the thought of them building a toilet right outside the front door. If anythinbg, it was convenient.

Some years later, her uncle’s brother bought the big house behind, and his wife Florence Lawton, became a councillor for nearby Glossop.

‘I also remember a scandal rocking the village when a woman was murdered by being pushed down a well. It was reported in all the newspapers too.

Talking about that day, Molly said, ‘When my family took me for a ride out,’ they didn’t reveal where we were going, but as soon as I saw Motram church, I knew. It was amazing to see how much Simmondley had grown. Lots of new houses, and the place was unrecognisable. It took me a while to get my bearings. It was only when I saw the Hare and Hounds pub, I could work out where our cottage was. 

We  drove into the car park and I was able to look around. I couldn’t believe the pub was still standing after all of these years.

I’d been back once when my husband, Colin, was alive. In fact, it was just before we got married in the 1930s. We sat on a grassy bank and he took out his sketch pad and drew a farm.’ She couldn’t remember the name of the farm , but when we located it, the sign sign on the gate said Wayside Farm.

‘It was a lovely afternoon and I was delighted to see Simmondley again. I think grandfather would be surprised, if he could see how it was now.’

Learning Draft2Digital

This site seems to have gone from strength to strength recently. Uploading your book is fairly straight forward, but the magic begins when your book is published..

All books now have their own page, and by clicking on the title in the main dashboard brings up this.

In here you can see that your book as fully published and where at. On the bottom left, you can download a copy or a sample of your book.

The view above is the Ebook tab, and you can make any adjusts to your book here including changing the price when you want to do a promotion.

The next tab, the orange print book allows you to download a PDF copy and even select what book size you want. We had an email recently saying that D2D will be doing print books in the future. That will be a great addition. For the moment, you can download your print ready book to use somewhere like Amazon’s KDP.

The red tab is to turn your book into an audio. I haven’t used this option yet, and would be interested to hear from anyone who has.

Finally, the promotion tab. This is where it gets interesting and clever. Firstly, we will visit the book tab, shown in as pale blue in the centre of the photo above.

This is the books landing pag and you can edit this page. The pink bit where it says Get it Now will scrolls to reveal your books description.

The carousel in the centre, which shows my books, can be changed to reveal all your books, or some of them. Then further down, about the author is your bio.

Switch to edit mode, which you will see is at the top of the page.  The Get it Now in the middle has a little black tab on it, click on it to see the options.

There is a drop down box above the carousel. Have a look at that and make a selection..

Now we got to the Edit UBL the green tab underneth the pale blue one in the centre. This tab is does lots of things.

Straight away you can see how many people have clicked your link. On the left hand side, where it says link tools, you can change the name of your link to that of your book. Your book is link is under the image and I have already changed mine. At the bottom it says affiliate links, you can copy and paste a code in here, again something I haven’t used and don’t know where to find them. If you have, please let me know, so I can includer it.

These are all the links it has found by scanning or automatically publishing to them. You can rescan at any time for links by using the button on the left column.

D2D doesn’t publish to Smashwords or Google Play Books, so if you have books there, or in another place, you can copy and paste the link into here.

So any places you have books, you will only need the one link.

Profile and Bio

Go to your Account and select Contributer Profiles. Here you can fill in your bio and that will appear on your book pages. I suggest you look at each of the options in this selection.

Another Useful Place

When you are on your book page and select Visit Book Tab, you will see see Back to Dashboard on the top left.

Open it and you will see this:

It is a complete list of all your books with a report on how many people have clicked on the link. You can also go to each of your books tabs from here.

There are still things I have yet to learn and this is what I have found so far. As I discover new things, I will add it here to help you too.

Drawings from the Past

My husband’s late aunt  was a hoarder and never threw things away. Sh kept all her mothers thing’s including letters and photographs.

I found this little gem of an album when we were looking through her drawers.

Annie, known as Nan was born in 1886. I believe children often kept this albums and got family and friends to sign them, much like an autograph. She kept her album, although in her thirties by then. Perhaps she gave it to her daughter, Molly who had her family, friends and neighbours to fill it.

The Darling Child write a letter to it’s Pa.

(As it is on the opposite page to the one below, it is likely to have been penned by C.C.L. I would also hazard a guess that the surname is Lawton, as Annie’s sister was married to a Percy Lawton and the family were all close.

C.C.L. 20.07.1917 with apologies to a well known author.

W. F. Barber 1919

W.F. Barber lived next door to Annie. I think he may have been an artist Aunt Molly had a gold framed oil painting by him, which, she said was a picture of his wife.

W. F Barber 1919

George H Broomfield

29.6/1917 H. W. Inch
It is easy enough to be pleasent
When life follows along like a song,
But the man worth while is the one who will smile
When everything goes dead wrong

W. A Stainsby 1931

Olive Coulthurst 8/9/1917
All for Him.
“I know what he’ll say!’
‘Gee this some hat’

W. M. Simpson Oct 1934

F.W Inch, 29/06/1917
Somewhere I have another drawing by this person. I shall look for it and add it on the bottom.

“Fancy Meeting You”
W. F. Barber – 1919

G.H Broomfield 1924

This made an imprint on the opposite page.

13.07.1921
Laugh and the world laughs with you
Weep and you weep alone.
For all of us could have been handsome
For all of us wear fine clothes
But a smile is not expensive and covers a world of woes.

Those are probably initials underneath, but I can’t work out what they are exactly.

A pretty girl who gets a kiss,
And goes and tells her mother,
Deserves to have her cur off,
And never have another.

“Kind Hearts are more that coronets.”

Charlie, 18/9/18

I like work, it fascinates me; I can sit and look at it for hours. The idea of getting rid of it nearly breaks my heart. JKU

Arnold Lawton 1917

Nan’s sister was married to a Percy Laweton, so Arnold is likely to be a relation.

This shows the size of the album.

I Was Only Dreaming!

by Karen J Mossman

When I wake in the morning, I often remember my dreams and the fun part is trying to think what sparked it in the first place.

 Take, for example, the last two nights. I love the bizarre quirkiness of dreams. Things make little sense or are just wisps of emotions you can’t put into words.

I am always the main character, yet strangely it’s not me, it’s just my conciousness.

Sitting outside a room with no door, I was fiercely protective of the man inside. It was painful to watch him and his demons wrestle each other. He babbled, he wept, and he fell on his knees. Sometimes he even raged at me.

I took everything he threw in my direction without response or recrimination.. He didn’t mean it. It was like watching a stranger. This man had lost his mind.. He wasn’t the man I knew. He was there somewhere, and I would wait patiently until he emerged again.

We’d met outside a premises, in which he and his buddies wanted admittance. I was door staff, a trainee. We wore a uniform and were unsmiling as we, my mentor and I questioned any one who wanted to enter. My man’s companions were just as famous as he was, and although I didn’t show it, I felt privileged to have spoken to them.

My man, was macho and handsome, standing tall in his leather jacket, his chiselled features gained him many fan and I acted like I was unimpressed.

Now I was here outside the doorless room, as he was having a melt down. No one else would stand by the monster he had become. He was a far cry from the super hero everyone loved. The dream was full of strong emotion and loyalty.

When I awoke, it took me a moment before I realised where the whole sequence had come from.

Chicago PD. An American police series about an elite team of detectives led by the charismatic Hank Voight.

One of the team, Antonio Dawson, played by Jon Seda was hooked on pain killers. When he couldn’t get more, he resorted to street dealers. His team knew there was something wrong, as did Voight, but Dawson was too ashamed to admit anything.

 Voight, played by Jason Beghe, confronted him. Dawson broke down. Voight comforted him. It was a scene usually reserved for a man and woman, except it was Dawson crying on his boss’s shoulder before pulling himself together in a macho sort of way.

It was beautifully acted as this hard man showed his vulnerable side and Voight, the tough guy, showed him compassion. It moved me, and silently I applauded the actors. Then I forgot about it.

That was when my subconscious took over, weaving a tale of its own.

 Then, last night, I dreamt I was driving in a car with my husband when we pulled up near some road workers. Hubby beckoned them to the car window. This particular guy was dressed in typical workman’s dirty jeans and work boots. He also wore a white vest stretched over his chest hinting at the six pack below. The muscles on his arms bulged showing how much manual work he had done.

By complete contrast, he had bleached blonde hair, slightly frizzed, cut in a bob just below his ears. His face was fully made up complete with rosy cheeks and false eyelashes. As he put his big hands on the wound down window, I saw he was wearing dark nail varnish.

Hubby snapped his photograph with his phone, then using his finger swiped it onto another photo showing two other men who all looked similar. He held up the phone to show the guy and the other workman. They were all very impressed. The guy with the make up was particularly was flattered.

When I awoke, I knew exactly where it came from, and laughed. It was a ten second segment on a programme called Blind Date as it advertised next week’s episode.

A man wearing a dress, heels, and full make up, strode into the blind date restaurant and sat on a stool at the bar to await his date – a woman– 10 seconds! I forgot about it, but my sub conscious hadn’t.

It’s a fun game matching my dreams to their origin, you should try it, too!