Counting sheep by Daphne Jaaback

To sleep ,perchance to dream

Sleep does need a scheme

Some  do  count the sheep

A seamless dream to reap

Another plan have I

As in bed I lie


I tab each operation

To encourage some sedation

I work from toes to head

As I lie there in my bed

While listing all of them

Sleep occurs  as REM




A slip at the gym

Put a toe out of trim

Veins  varicose

(I begin to doze)

Hips replaced

Sarcoma traced


Burst appendix

And uterus  fix

Tonsils removed

And teeth improved

A dive too close

And a broken nose.

Moving House by Zonie Williams

They say ageing is not for sissies….neither is moving house, for a second time, in two years.

“Use small boxes,” a friend advised.

“It’s easier to move around once you start unpacking.” Good advice I thought.

After a week of packing in small boxes the packers at the local grocery store had to pick up the pace of unpacking.  I needed more boxes than I ever thought possible.

Discovering long lost items when packing is one positive experience of moving house.

It doesn’t matter how well restored, looked after and polished your antique furniture is.  Scattered on the driveway, it’s  just another disorderly mess. How they ever manage to get my worldly possessions into, what looked to me, a very confined space, I’ll never know. Wonder of wonders everything was squeezed, stacked and disappeared into the bowels of the removal van.   Eventually the clumsy vehicle chugged away and the furniture arrived without scratches and damage at the destination.

Directing seven sturdily built Zimbabweans to place the furniture in the different rooms in amuch smaller area presented another problem. Muddy shoes on newly steam cleaned carpets, just  part of the fun!  At last boxes were stacked, furniture more or less placed so we could move around and were able to start unpacking.

My daughter, an organizer to be reckoned with and a “no sentimental stuff” policy, was  helping  me to create order out of chaos. As the truck pulled away we were already opening boxes and unwrapping the crockery. No time to sit down and enjoy the cuppa, a kind neighour brought over. We had to sip while we unpacked.

“Surely you don’t use this enamel plate anymore?” My trusted, unchipped blue plate, gets turned around, inspected and put on a pile to be sorted later. Sorted in this instance means discarded.

“I use that plate for the egg mixture when frying fish. It is deep and has a big base.”


“I remember this white glass vase…’ve had it forever. I haven’t seen you putting flowers in it for a long time?”

“Arums arranged in the vase will look good and I saw some in this garden.”

She just lifted her eyebrow and put it at the back of the kitchen cupboard.

Well, I saved another item.

Late afternoon, after unpacking most of the crockery, my daughter, stacking empty boxes suggested,

“Maybe we should make your bed now. Always good to know a nice warm place is waiting after all the stress of the day.”

Sleeping seemed ages away.

A loud noise from the kitchen interrupted my dreams of sleeping.

“Sorry dear, I dropped the microwave!”  I looked at the warped oven, the broken door creating a toothless smile. My husband standing with his hands at his side, helpless and contrite.

“Well, more space on the kitchen counter now.”

As I said, moving house is not for the faint hearted.

Oh, for another cup of tea.

In Pursuit of Stardom by Daphne Jaaback

Our glamorous lodger burst  into  the  room

“Turn on the TV, channel 3  and  there’s  me”

Ten stories up, she   was  there  on the screen

A dare devil stunt  to  enhance her CV


A tight rope maneuver  across the main street

“If my mother knew she’d  sure throw a fit”

“Her TV is on the blink, thank goodness for that”

Harnessed for safety, she failed to make it.


An ongoing challenge, Fear Factor its name,

“Thank goodness I failed  for the next one is worse

Eating live roaches  , that is simply bizarre

The thought turns my stomach, its utterly gross”


The whole scene inspired me to reach for the sky

I asked her advice for the way to proceed

“Ring  Stardom Talent and mention my name”

I made the decision and followed her lead.


Photo graphs taken both front and profile

Measurements all, from top to toe

Also noted   was the size  of  shoe

I felt keyed up and ready to go.



I kept my hopes alight as the months went by

Castings aplenty came my way

I followed instructions ,  performed  the parts

But few were the call backs I’m sad to say.


At last directions were given to   film   shoot

Vatican treasures were part of the theme

I was cast as a nun in habit and veil

A three legged dog was in the same scene!


When not on set instructions were clear

Extras must stay within a marked space

Beside me did sit one troubled female

As words poured forth,   I kept a straight face


I felt restrained to behave myself

A crucifix embellished my apparent role

Unable to escape this outpouring

I just stopped short of blessing this soul


Eating fruit salad for almost five hours

A restaurant scene in a film of intrigue

Denzel Washington a star, but not in my scene

My grandchildren think that I’m in the same league!


As  only an extra   it was hard to distinguish

The instant yours truly was  part of the joint

Should blinking occur, you’d miss my days work

Except for that  dog which helped to pin point.


Then photo library with multiple stills

Permission given for subsequent sale

Frequent repair of make-up and wardrobe

A  feeling  of stardom, a fairy tale.


A step up the ladder came out of the blue

From extra to ‘artiste’ for a cordial concern

Competitive ping pong was centre stage

I whacked the ball  and  money  did earn.

The Mountain Top by Corinna Turner


 I stand upon the mountain top

And gaze around me, far and wide.

The ocean mist nibbles the mountains skirts

On every other side.


Were it not that I’d been down there,

But a short while ago,

I would think of an apocalypse

Nowhere doth land and sea show.


The tourists, from far and away,

Came to see the view.

But all that they can really spy

Is frothy, billowy white, oh aye,

Hiding it from their eyes.


Down below, the underside,

Creates a gloom like a stormy sky,

Whilst way up here, on the mountain top,

The early sun shines orange,

Bathing all with a soft edged, golden glow.


The dassies don’t seem to mind.



It’s really quite ridiculous. Here I am, retired, and finding myself without a second to even sneeze. Busy, busy, busy. Friends phone me up to arrange a coffee date, and we find ourselves one or two weeks hence  into our diaries … because its ten days before I have a free slot – crazy! Anybody would think I was a top flight executive. Any day now I’ll need a Social Secretary to manage my diary. People often say “You keep yourself so busy!” either in tones of admiration or condemnation (delete inapplicable).  Not so. I’m not deliberately  trying to keep busy.  It’s just that there are so many interesting things to do or see. Plus there are my weekly addictive sessions with Mah Jongg and Scrabble. Not giving those up!



And then there’s the theory that as you age, time speeds up in an inverse ratio to your age – or something – I’ve never grasped that. I know I should, but I haven’t.  I remember, when I was about 5 or 6 years old, how it took FOREVER for Christmas and your birthday to come around again, whereas nowadays I’m clutching my forehead and gasping, only another 62 days until Christmas – where did the year go??   Never mind the Christmas juggernaut rolling towards us – lately I wake up in the morning, and find that its Friday again,! Dammit, we just had  Friday! Where on earth did the week get to? I’m definitely running out of time.


Recently a psychic told me I have another 20 years left to me before I depart this mortal plane. Yes, well, no fine … On the one hand I was immensely cheered because it means I now have time to finish my Fantasy novels. And it may take that long. I felt as if I’d been given a gift: another twenty years! Wow!  But on the bad days, it doesn’t seem like such a bonanza. There’s an old saying “Man proposes, God disposes”. Perhaps the best thing to do is live each day as best we can. An old song had the line  yesterday is history, tomorrow still a mystery  and all we really have is NOW, just this moment, as the Buddhists would say. And this moment. And this moment.  That old American hippie, Ram Dass, once wrote a book titled “Be Here Now”. Pretty good advice.

Returned To Life by Bob McMahon



The cry was barely audible. Hungry, abandoned and waiting to die.


What goes through the mind – too young to understand, desperate for help, that haunting cry – a last grasp at life?


I found her – cold, wet and almost beyond hope – deep in the foliage clinging to what time she had left.


Enemies surrounding her – death nearby.


Food, water, warmth – the essentials. I had to force life-giving energy back into her.


Tender care, comfort and shelter. For a time totally dependant on me.


No greater feeling when, strength returned, my feathered friend flew off back to nature where she belonged.

Selfish Shellfish by Liz Ceruti



There lies an island called Mauritius it has beautiful white sandy beaches. It is a volcanic Island, so the mountains there are black  rock.


The rock pools which are found in the shallows of the beautiful turquoise water are alive with little sea creatures all trying to survive and grow into adults. It  was in one of these little pools that there lived a little family of Hermit crabs.  Their home was under a rock shelf, the shelf was formed by many tiny living creatures all clinging to each other called coral.


The little family of Hermit crabs consisted of their Daddy, who often left the pool to go and seek food for the Mommy crab and their baby crabs.  Sometimes he was successful and brought back pieces of crayfish which he dragged home for the family to feast on.


Little Freddy was so happy when he saw his Dad return from the deep waters bringing with him a piece of crayfish firmly held in his nippers.  Crayfish was his favourite dish.


Early one afternoon Freddy and his siblings were playing hide and seek, when he heard a whistling sound. He decided to investigate. Freddy quickly scrambled sideways (as all crabs do), he was soon out of sight behind some seagrass.  He found himself alone, he waited and listened, then he heard the whistling again. Freddy set off in the direction of the sound, and there it was.  Curled up on a rock was a silver eel who was blowing bubbles and every few minutes he would whistle like a referee.

It was then Freddy looked up and saw the fight. There was an octopus and a jellyfish each clinging to a piece of crayfish.  The octopus had his tentacles curled around the crayfish and the Jellyfish had his tendrils wrapped around the crayfish, both were pulling and tugging away each trying to pull the crayfish away from the other.


Freddy watched this scene with wide eyes, he thought to himself  “Gee there is enough crayfish to share, so why are they fighting?

The tug of war just continued between the Octopus and the Jellyfish for some while.  Suddenly a sand shark appeared, heading in their direction.  The Octopus and the Jellyfish took fright, they both let go of their prey.  The sand shark flipped his tail, catching the two creatures  by surprise by slapping them both sideways; they scuttled off each in the opposite direction.


Freddy scrambled forward, grabbed the piece of crayfish meat and ran sideways as fast as his legs could scurry.  Freddy was on his way back to share his find with his family. Then he started thinking.  He had such a big family if he shared the crayfish, they would each  get only a tiny morsel.  The more he thought about it, it seemed a better idea to keep it all for himself. He would hide it, then return and feast on it for a few days.


Freddy dragged his tasty meal into a little shelley cove, where he pushed the crayfish onto a ledge, covering it with some kelp. Then he scuttled off back to his siblings who were still busy playing hide and seek. He intended to return later and gorge on his tasty meal.


The sly eel in the meantime followed Freddy, at a distance, and saw his hiding place.  As soon as Freddy was out of sight he swam in, sank his teeth in and dragged the crayfish out!  Away he swam to feed his family.


Moral:  If the Jellyfish and the Octopus had shared, they would each have had a meal.  If Freddy took it home and shared with his family, they would all have enjoyed a meal.  Now the eel just took it all.  It doesn`t pay to be SELFISH.

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