Mr Blue Sky Painted by an AI

The season of life I am in right now is such that it is proving to be a mountainous task to make time to write blogs. This is a sad state of affairs, because I thoroughly enjoy typing out a blog and pairing it with some painting or other that vaguely resembles what I want to say.

Speaking of paintings, there is a lovely thing you can do nowadays. You can ask an AI system to generate paintings for you based on words or phrases.

Somebody on Youtube put the lyrics to a really pretty song (to me anyway) into the generator, and the result was marvellous. Here it is below for you to see:

Argument

What do you need from the garden?

I need some… red lobsters.

In small pieces.

The smallest pieces you can find.

He sits on the garden step eating mint and contemplating as the shouting rages around his little body.

When he comes indoors, his small milk teeth are stained brown. He bares them in an enormous grin.

Mud Pies by Ludwig Knaus

The Giant Fell into the Raging Sea

Here is my contribution to the March 2022 Writing Prompt from Michelle at Putting my Feet in the Dirt.

The giant fell into the raging sea. Oh, the roaring sea. The storm went on for hours, slashing the sails, smashing against the sides, scratching holes in the wood and splintering the deck. The sailors vomited over the sides. In relief? In terror? In dread of their own deaths?

Nobody thought for a moment about the giant until it was too late. They were all slumped in various places when the storm waned. The clouds, thick and heavy and furiously black, quickly dissipated. The sky they left behind was alarmingly blue. Too cheerful, it seemed, for the carnage it left behind.

A loud sobbing sound rose from the depths of the ship. Louder than the slowly fading roar of waves. The sound grew wilder, more grief stricken.

One by one, the sailors raised their weary heads. Sunken eyes, drenched hair, damp clothes.

‘Who’s that?’ one of them muttered.

‘We’re all on deck’ another groaned.

‘Apparently not.’

The wail rose higher in pitch, until the sailors’ ears began to ring.

The captain went to see what was wrong.

When he came back up through the hatch, his face was a deathly shade of green.

‘What is it?’ he was asked, as he pushed past his men to look over the side of the ship. Pushing past them again to run across the deck and look over the other side. His breathing grew heavier as his men crowded him, looking over the edge, craning their necks.

The water was blue and glorious again. The sunshine lapped at the waves, glittering into the distance. The deck was almost entirely dry.

The wailing below was a siren. Screeching into the piercing blue around them. Raising hairs, shivering timbers. The sailors pressed closer together as the captain let out a groan of despair. His eyes were wide as saucers, his knuckles alabaster white as they gripped the handrail.

‘It’s over, lads,’ he whispered, ‘we’re finished.’

The first mate was now striding towards the hatch that led to the underbelly of the ship. The prison cell. Where they had chained the giant using the strongest iron on land. He began to descend, and the other men were quick to surround the hatch, peering warily as the first mate disappeared into the blackness below.

The captain stayed on deck, staring with unseeing eyes into the distance.

There it was. The tell-tale surge of ocean. A giant wave, hiding the monstrous giant beneath its surface. Hurtling towards the ship at breakneck speed.

The first mate emerged from the hatch soaking wet.

‘Giant hole!’ he spluttered, ‘Giant hole! All the creatures are drowning! Giant’s gone! Giant hole!’

Spring (and March)

Hello so, things are beginning to bloom. Small buds on trees. The neighbour’s daffodils. White blossom on blossom branches. Sun lingering in the garden, asking for lemonade. Coats shrugged off, then quickly pulled back on when the biting wind peers in.

I want to ramp up my writing this month.

Next month.

I want to do a March writing prompt challenge – it’s a weekly one, thank goodness, and there are four prompts. It’s run by the lovely Michelle over at Putting My Feet in the Dirt.

The next challenge is actually a twist. It’s a poetry challenge on Instagram, run by a one Savannah Brown. She calls it Escapril and it has been going on for a few years. I may do poetry, but I am much better at prose and enjoy it more, so it might be that I stick to prose. But it’s essentially a list of prompts for every day in April, and it looks like a fun challenge!

Last thing to say, it’s March, folks.

March March March!

Oh glorious March.

I was born in March.

My husband was born in March.

The first blossoms appear in March. The sun feels warmer in March, for the first time in months.

Happiness seems around the corner in March.

It’s my favourite month of the year, for many reasons.

So here is a small ode to March.

Image Credit

Some Questions I Had Today

What causes the sensation of an itch?

Do actors ever feel silly doing what they do?

If we should stop the production of soy to save the planet, why are vegan alternative meats full of soy?

Why was JK Rowling excluded from the Harry Potter reunion?

And finally; Whose idea was it to drop that atomic bomb on Hiroshima? And then Nagasaki?

On Bakewell Tarts

I think I am growing old. Folks, I ate a bakewell tart and did not gag. That is a sure sign of my advancement in age.

It means my tastebuds are mellowing, or falling off, or whatever tastebuds do when they get old. Where you begin to enjoy the taste of things that used to revolt you in your youth.

Olives? Can’t get enough of them.

Marzipan? Used to detest it and now I quite like it washed down with a mug of solid builder’s tea.

And now bakewell tarts.

Horrid tasting things, bit like those cinnamon chewing gums that Halls makes.

But I had just finished a mammoth cleaning session, was sweaty and tired, bit shaky because I realised that while my kids were happy and fed, I had forgotten to feed myself. Went rummaging in the cupboards for something quick to eat, shot of energy so to say.

And I saw those Kipling’s bakewell tarts looking back at me with their one-eyed innocence. The one eye being the glacé cherry on top.

And I picked one up and popped it into my mouth…. and it was SO BLOODY GOOD. My mouth immediately watered for more. So I had a cup of tea and two more!

SO GOOD.

What foods did you hate but grew to enjoy?

This is what a Bakewell tart looks like. The base layer is shortcrust pastry, and then there is jam, followed by frangipane. On top is icing and a glacé cherry. life

Stone Cold Silent Still

It is different this year.

I can feel it and smell it and taste it.

There are more lights.

Twinkling through the night.

Signalling the happiness that seems to lie beyond reach but… oh hey, hullo, what is that softness I feel in my fingers as they graze the icy air? Could it be…?

Entire streets in my town are lit up. Santas climbing through windows and peering down chimneys and knocking on doors, carrying sacks of what we can only assume is hope. Desperate hope.

And people who never made an effort are making one.

It’s a bit like the American movies.

We take little one out for a small walk before dinner, when it’s pitch black under the heavy drapes of the winter sky at night. And all the houses are decked for conquest. Each competing with the other.

So eerie, if you stand still and let the breath cloud away in front of your face. Stone cold silent still, twinkling lights in the darkness. Sometimes faint bells ring and sometimes a disjointed jingle sears through the thickness of cold.

But then a pair of bright eyes meet yours from down somewhere by your knees, and tiny little fingers grasp your solid warm ones, and little feet stamp stamp stamp excitedly, and it’s not eerie after all. It’s joy. We all need a sprinkling of joy.

I see a light at the end of the tunnel. I am so so scared, but so hopeful too!

What are your plans for the holiday season this year, folks? Can you see and taste and smell it yet?

Lockdown for me

Fireflies and blossoms dying and grass growing from seed carefully sprinkled on freshly raked topsoil. Every single day things grow. New shoots poke out from between the cracks in stone tiles, and lilies shoot up so high they are a shock to see on sunny, summery mornings.

Hunger sitting in a belly, for hours and hours, gnawing and gurgling until it is satiated with a plate of spaghetti tossed in olive oil, garlic, chilli flakes and lemon rind.

Small brown paws explore fresh compost, putting it into empty buckets and down little shirts, tumbling over soft baby skin and fat cheeks streaked with the remnants of what a baby has had for lunch.

Exploring waits for no man. Exploring does not even wait for a face to be washed.

Diggers and dumper trucks work hard at removing rubble from an ancient building site, the old Victorian signage toppling down under the sheer brute force of heavy metal machinery. Large brown eyes stare in wonder as the dust rises around high-vis  jackets and yellow hats reflecting the glare of a May sun.

Lilacs dying and being replaced by masses of large round yellow roses, their lemony scent overpowering and sailing with the breeze down a deserted road.

Broken images and a clamour of familiar voices from a computer screen, then silence and the thumping of little feet from room to room, carrying objects from one end of the house to the other.

Shrubs miraculously turning into trees, and the incessant watering of lupins lest they shrivel their purple blossoms up and wilt.

Daily bursts of motivation following slumps of deep exhaustion, and days blurring into a sludge of minor events following each other like dominos.

What is lockdown like for you?