I Challenge You To…

This week’s challenge is to write a story, limerick or poem on the subject of:

The Pub

Last week’s theme was Diets. Here are some of the entertaining pieces you sent in:

Keith Channing always sends a clever limerick:

“You know,” I said, loading my platter,
“I don’t think I could stand to be fatter.”
She said, “Why don’t you diet,
eat less food, just try it.
Okay now, stop crying – it don’t matter.”

Please visit Lady Leemanila‘s blog for her piece:

https://ladyleemanilablog.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/ive-got-to-do-it/

And Annette Rochelle Aben‘s for her’s:

https://esthernewtonblog.wordpress.com/2018/07/05/i-challenge-you-to-22/

Val fish‘s is very funny:

I’m forever trying to diet

But frequently ‘dying to try it’

When a cream cake cries ‘Eat me!’

Temptation defeats me

Resolve crushed, I just have to buy it.

Martin Strike has written something a little more sombre this time:

On a Diet

The thing she feared most was happening. The garden was getting ever harder for her to manage and now seemed to be exerting its own spiteful will and taking over. The hedges were encroaching from each side, the brambles creeping insidiously through the phlox and sedums in the herbaceous border whilst the rhododendron by the house now grew thick and dark, stealing the light that had brightened her favourite back room window for so many years. The grass, which Stan, her late husband  had tended so carefully since they were first married over four decades ago, was now so long she could not see the pond that they had dug together all those years ago.

 She looked at her hands, an old woman’s hands that had once been so capable and vital but were somehow now gnarled and vaguely translucent, a tube map of raised veins, its stations marked by liver spots and ruby red bruises, lingering on from innocuous knocks of weeks ago.

She blessed her godfathers under her breath at the frustration of the garden which had been her and Stan’s joy, along with their son Jamie when he was young, but how they had both become brash and ungrateful, resentful even, after all they had done for them.  Basingstoke was only twenty miles or so away, but Jamie had only visited once since his father had died three years ago. Yes, he was a successful businessman, or so he said, he never told her what he actually did and that was no excuse for not visiting or even ringing from time to time. He hadn’t even seen her at Christmas, and last came in February, turning up unexpectedly for an hour on his way to a conference, or so he said. 

‘Blimey, Mum, you on a diet?’ he had asked and she turned to look in the long hall mirror. Always petite, she was shocked to see she had lost pounds if not stones without even realising.

‘A diet? no, don’t be silly,’ she had answered, but for all her pent up anger towards her son she could not think of anything more to say, for she was shocked by the reflection of a woman she barely recognised – frail, almost brittle. How had she become this, this old person?

Peter first called on her unannounced in April. Said he was new to the area after his divorce and that he was a gardener and was knocking on local doors, hoping to build up a business. Before she could say no, he added that he was very cheap, only £10 per hour and that the first hour was free – on approval if she liked. She was reluctant to invite a stranger, even a gardener, maybe especially a gardener into her tangled carbuncle of a garden, but he had a lovely smile and a warmness about him that she immediately trusted. So she agreed for him to come back the next day to work the first hour, plus two more at £10 each if he was doing a good job.

He thanked her profusely and arrived on time as agreed the next morning. She had made a list of jobs: Mow the lawn, trim back the monstrous rhododendron by a third and to cut back the hedge.

She was aware, of course, that she would lose this year’s flowers from the rhododendron, but she considered it worthwhile to reduce the gloom through her back window. She knew would never get it all done in a meagre three hours but watched him transfixed as he worked so hard, cutting then mowing so fast, barely taking time to breathe let alone ask for a cup of tea. He got an amazing amount done.

‘There you go, Mrs Butler, I’m sorry I didn’t quite finish the hedge.’ 

‘You did wonderfully, and it looks lovely! I can see our pond again,’ and she smiled the brightest smile she had given in, well possibly since before Stan became ill.  ‘I’d like to pay you more, but £20 is all I can afford I’m afraid.’

‘No, one hour free and £10 per hour thereafter, that’s what we agreed. Now, how about a slice of cake?’ 

‘Oh dear, I’m afraid I don’t have any cake in. Somehow I never feel like eating much these days.’ 

‘Oh dear, you on a diet? Hey, I’ve got some in the van; I did my shopping on the way over’.

‘No, I couldn’t possibly…’ But he insisted. 

It was Battenberg – the same as her and Stan used to eat at tea time as they sat exactly where she sat now; by the back window garden admiring the garden. Even Peter couldn’t do miracles in just three hours, but she felt so much better to see it looking less threating and the thought that there was now a possibility it could be clawed back to something like it once was. She justified having another slice of cake with ‘why not? I’m not on a diet you know’. 

The following week Peter accepted one hour’s pay but worked for three. She felt embarrassed and asked why he would do such a thing, he just said that his business was still building up and in the meantime he preferred to be working than being at home, and anyway, he could tell what a lovely garden it must have been and was only too delighted to help recover its past glories. She glowed in this stranger’s kindness. By lunchtime the back hedge was finished, the roses had been untangled, weeds on the path removed and the reinvigorated lawn mown again. She smiled her ‘Peter’ smile as she brought out the Battenberg she had added to her otherwise modest shopping list. After he had left she walked around the garden with her favourite photograph of Stan, showing him the newly tended beds. It was the first time she had felt able to go into the garden for months. 

They ate cake after each of his next few visits and she showed Peter her photos of the garden at its peak. She was very conscious of boring him, but he never seemed to mind, nor did he accept more than £10, or get any other customers, which seemed strange considering how good he was. By now she was walking around the garden every day, and was adding other past favourites such as fruit buns or Digestives to her shopping list, her feeling so much more like eating somehow. 

Then towards the end of summer, with the garden now looking pristine, Jamie made an unexpected visit. ‘Hi, Mum, sorry I’ve not been around for a few weeks.’

‘Months,’ she corrected him. 

‘Ok, months, sorry – work has been manic.’ She wasn’t impressed. He walked through into the back room. ‘Wow, Mum – garden’s looking better – and so are you. Off your diet now then? You got a new man or something?’ 

‘Maybe I have,’ she smarted. 

‘I must say it’s great to see you looking so well, he must be doing you good, whatever his name is.’ 

‘If you must know, his name is Peter.’

‘Peter? Mum, you really have got a new man – I was joking.’ 

She told her son all about Peter, how he came every Wednesday, worked three hours but only expected payment for one. How he would stay (unlike her son) and they’d chat and eat cake.  ‘Oh and that flower bed to the right of the pond, that’s called Stan’s bed.’ He looked at the brilliant swathe of colour, not that he knew the name a single plant of course. ‘It’s all your dad’s favourites – it was Peter’s idea. Beautiful isn’t it’. 

‘This Peter seems almost too good to be true.’ 

‘Hmm.’ She didn’t rise to that one. ‘Look Jamie, I’ve something to tell you. You won’t like it, but it’s done and that’s that.’ 

‘Mum?’  

‘I’ve changed my will.’ 

‘What do you mean, changed it?’ 

‘You’ll still get your father’s old Jaguar, but the house and garden – that’s going to Peter. There, I’ve said it.’ 

‘What?  Peter the bloody cake eater! You can’t – the house is mine – by rights it’s mine. I’m your son for god’s sake!’ 

‘Oh can’t I? Son you say? I don’t see you from one year to the next; you didn’t even go to your own father’s funeral. Peter has been more of a son to me these last six months than you have in ten years.  As for your rights, you lost those when your father died.’ 

‘But, Mum – it was me who got Peter to call on you that day and it’s me that pays him the full whack every week. I knew how much the garden meant to you – that it was making you ill and that you were too pig-headed to get a gardener yourself.’ 

‘Don’t think I don’t KNOW that, Jamie! I’ve known from the second week when he called me Mrs Butler – I’d not told him my name – oh and to have a Battenberg of all things with him. You just paid him so you wouldn’t have the guilt of not visiting me. See I’m not as stupid as you think.’ 

‘You can’t be serious, you vindictive old crone.’ 

‘Oh, I’m serious. Now, I think you’d better go. I don’t want to keep you from your precious work any longer.

———————————————————————————————————————————
 

‘Hello?’ 

‘Peter, it’s Jamie.’ 

‘Hi, mate. How did it go with your old girl today then?’ 

‘It worked a treat – the old goat’s made her will out to you.’ 

‘Ha – you said she would.’ 

‘Yeah, I told you she was predictable… and stupid. Now when she pegs it the house goes to you and none of my creditors see a penny, except for a few lousy grand for that cruddy Jag.’

‘And I get my five grand now and the other ten when she’s dead and I sell the house and pay the money into that hooky bank account of yours.’ 

‘Hooky? Spanish you mean! That’s right, my friend, see, I told you she was a pushover.’ 

‘Yeah, I’ll just keep her sweet with all those cakes – even though I hate bloody Battenberg.’ 

‘Ninety-three she is. She’ll cop it soon enough. All those cakes won’t be doing her diabetes any good either!’

***

And here’s a late one on the previous theme of shopping from Doctor, Who is the Rhyme Lord?

I once went window-shopping
it was a pane
one day I’m going again.
I don’t need windows,
buying the last one was rash;
but, it had a lovely frame
and a cute little sash.

***

drinking

Photo credit: pinterest.com

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13 Responses to I Challenge You To…

  1. Reblogged this on ladyleemanila and commented:
    diet round-up 🙂

  2. Pingback: I Challenge You To… The Pub – Ladyleemanila

  3. Reblogged this on Keith Kreates! and commented:
    Esther’s weekly challenge

  4. Folk think that my uncle’s a loser
    He spends so much time in the boozer
    He isn’t a dypso
    He just loves calypso
    Like many a Caribbean cruiser

  5. Pingback: Challenge accepted/ I Challenge You | Mws R Writings

  6. Anne Copeland says:

    The Pub

    I have been engaging in a study in Britain of its ruins and its archaeology and history and spirituality of late, and I think it is giving me a feel for the cultural value of a pub, though in reality I have never been in one before.

    Pubs seem to be a wonderful place for people of all cultures to gather together in a spirit that transcends people’s culture, their race, their religious and political beliefs, or any other thing that normally provides barriers for people just enjoying each other. We need more of this in our country (and I am in the U.S.) and likely in all countries.

    Pubs remind me of another thing that seems to bring people together. I have attended swap meets, farmers’ markets, garage sales, and many similar events, and all of them have the same character – people of all cultures, etc. gathering to sit and eat together in the shade, laughing at each other’s children’s antics, and generally enjoying the sense of camaraderie. It is truly a kind of magic I hope will never leave us. Wouldn’t it be wonderful if we could find this in any part of the world?

    Anne Copeland

    Anne Copeland Criminal Justice Graduate/Paralegal Studies Archaeology Graduate/Forensics Studies Professional Author/Editor/Artist

    On Thu, Jul 12, 2018 at 6:34 AM, estherchiltonblog wrote:

    > Esther Chilton posted: “This week’s challenge is to write a story, > limerick or poem on the subject of: The Pub Last week’s theme was Diets. > Here are some of the entertaining pieces you sent in: Keith Channing always > sends a clever limerick: “You know,” I said, load” >

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