Author Feature: The Sprocket Sagas by Bryan Pentelow 

Bryan Pentelow writes the Sprocket Sagas, a series of (now) seven books for children.
The stories are based in and around the North of England in a town called Batherby Bridge and more exactly at 7 and 7A Pudding Founders Lane, these are stories about Dragons, Children, Dogs and Crows with a few grownups thrown in to do the heavy lifting. As the series goes on, each book is a little longer than its predecessor. And from number six the print is smaller  – because you have now grown up a bit and with more words per page it keeps the price down.
The latest title is Sprocket and the Dragon Empress. This has the wickedest villain yet and just to be even-handed this one is female. Let’s start at the beginning…

Chapter 1

The small glowing dot on the radar screen was approaching rapidly from just above the range of mountains that surrounded the remote desert plateau.
“I think its time we went outside to watch the demonstration,” the white-coated executive opened the door of the control centre and Quin Lee Mi stepped out into the stifling heat and trained the large binoculars on the horizon panning them across to catch any sign of movement. The dragon burst from the cloud base and dropped like a stone towards the target area that was covered with wrecked vehicles and groups of shop window dummies.
“It’s very quiet.” She said turning to the executive.
“That’s because it is travelling faster than the speed of sound. The sonic boom will follow it in a few seconds,” he explained. It flashed towards them barely twenty feet above the ground then bat-like wings shot out and it swooped up shedding most of its forward momentum. As it reached the zenith the drive flame cut just as the sonic boom arrived and the ground shook with the thunderclap. The wings folded back and it swooped across the target, a jet of scintillating gas and liquid shooting from its nose. As it levelled out a blue-white flash ignited the vapour cloud which engulfed the area in ravening fire. When the smoke and flying ash cleared very little remained of the wrecked trucks and cars and there was no sign of the dummy people. There was also no sign of the dragon either.
“Satisfactory, Most satisfying.”  Qin Lee Mi clapped her small gloved hands and beamed at the executive. “My wish is that the machine would be more dragon-like to be recognised as the fabled beast. When it is deployed I want the world to know that dragons have returned.” The executive bowed and muttered that her wishes would be met as she stalked away to the waiting helicopter.   
Qin Lee Mi sat in her vast office turning her huge, black leather, swivel chair from side to side as she scanned the panoramic view through the floor to ceiling windows which formed half of the wall of the circular room. The view would have caused anyone with a fear of heights to cling to the ornate, carved wood frame which surrounded the sliding doors of the entrance to the lift which was the only access to this nerve centre of the huge Quin-T-Sential communications, cosmetics and health food empire. Lee frowned as her gaze passed over the crowds thronging the streets far below. This should all be under her control. Her family had been rulers of China and many of the surrounding lands had paid tribute to their might and the strength of their armies. Tribal chiefs had grovelled at the base of the steps leading to the Imperial Throne and lives had hung by a thread at the whim of her ancestor’s’ word. Legend had it that her forefathers had ridden the skies on the backs of dragons and rained fire and death on their enemies.

To keep reading you can find the rest of the book here.

A Bite of… Bryan Pentelow

1.     Would you rather live in this world or the one you create in your books?

Definitely the world of my books. The time difference between Human World and Dragon World means I could have lots of adventurers and still be back in time for tea. I like to travel but hate the time it takes to get there. I loathe airports with all the queuing and hoards of people. I have no patience with idiots who bring on hand luggage so large they can’t lift it into the overhead lockers. If only I could afford a private jet. I can’t, so Portals would be my ideal way to get from one place to another. Most of all, because I’m getting old I could really do with a cup of the water from the spring of the Heart of the North to rejuvenate both mind and body. Getting old is not just a pain in the posterior but an increasing number of other places.

2.     Why do you write? Money is an acceptable answer.

 I would love Money to be the answer but I have the feeling that I would need to live several lifetimes to get enough royalties for my bank manager to take notice. I wrote Sprocket one while on holiday in Mallorca, in the shade while my wife roasted in the sun and turned the same colour as well-tanned leather. I wrote it for my first granddaughter, Sophie, (Victoria) in the books and she was not impressed by an E-book. Only when it came out in paperback did she consider it to be a real book. Since then she has nagged me constantly about my inability to produce at least a new book every week. Our offspring have provided us with three more grandchildren so the pressure for more books has quadrupled. No peace for the wicked they say. I must have lead a hell of a life in a previous existence.

3.     You can have four guests at a dinner party. Name the four people living, dead or fictional you would most like to entertain.

I picked this question first because it had to be easy to answer. How wrong I was. Who to choose? Surely some of my author friends, but I can only have four so I’m bound to offend someone. So no friends.
Well, it had better be from the ranks of the dead at least they shouldn’t object to being resurrected for a good meal and plenty of booze of their choice. First at the table would be Terry Pratchett. His ridiculous sense of humour and sideways perspective on the human condition would be endlessly amusing. Bring to the table Isac Asimov, the man who first took me outside of the everyday and kicked my brain into coping with ‘What if?’ The complexities of his laws of robotics and the problems of human/robot relationships which we are now having to face up to.
Then Jody Taylor. Ok she, like me is not dead. Her St Marys series have whiled away many an amusing hour when I should probably have been writing. Like Terry, she has a wonderful ability to write entertaining characters and dump them into one crisis after another from which they eventually manage to arise with humour and ingenuity.
My final choice has to be Jasper Fford. The Aire Affair and its sequels have provided me with hours of enjoyment. As you can see these are, if not comedy writers, people who have fashioned an alternative view of humankind and caused their readers to think again about what surrounds us. In other words WHAT IF. So if you’re joining our gathering pour the wine, bring on the starters and prepare to be well fed up and agreeably drunk, to quote the immortal Gerard Hoffnung.

Having worked your way through my meanderings, don’t stop now. There are mountains of books out there so read on and if you have enjoyed the experience please leave us a review or two. All authors are basically attention seekers.

Bryan Pentelow was born (in Northamptonshire) grew up (now lives in Leeds) and is not dead yet. He wrote the Sprocket books with adults in mind. They are books for adults and children to read together.  Bryan hopes they are not embarrassing or too boring for grownups to plough through at bedtime. Let’s face it, it’s a pain if Mum or Dad dozes off while reading to you. You can find him on Goodreads and Facebook.

The Sprocket Sagas so far:

1.     Sprocket and the Great Northern Forest
2.     Sprocket and the Great Museum Scam
3.     Sprocket and the Poison Portal
4.     Sprocket and the Heart of the North
5.     Sprocket and the Pax Dracus
6.     Sprocket and the Time Vortex
7.     Sprocket and the Dragon Empress

All are available from Amazon in E-Book (quite inexpensive) and paperback (cost more but you don’t get moaned at for constantly staring at a screen).

EM-Drabbles – Thirty-Six

The problem Kyle found with being a necromancer, was that it ruined his love life.

It wasn’t so easy to impress the local lasses when you smelt of rotting corpses and kept zombies. He might be able to command the undead, but he could not command the love of a single living woman.

Indeed, Kyle had resigned himself to a life alone.

Until late one night, sitting by the crossroads to perform his baleful work, he saw a slender figure burying something there.

The chance encounter led to marriage.

After all, it wasn’t easy finding love as an abortionist either…

E.M. Swift-Hook

Much Dithering in Little Botheringham – 4

‘Much Dithering in Little Botheringham’ is an everyday tale of village life and vampires, from Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook.

Wednesday lunchtime meant a meeting of the committee of the Ladies’ Association and even more than the usual amount of irritatingly halfwitted ‘ideas’ to attract ‘new blood’. Em had, in the end, just vetoed the lot – which hadn’t done much for her personal popularity, but at least it headed off any of the possible complications that any sort of blood would bring to the equation.
However, the meeting had ended with a bucketload of bitchiness and backbiting, and Em actually felt tired enough that Agnes’ Parthian shot on leaving had made more impression than it would have done on a better day.
“Anyway Emmeline Vanderbilt, we aren’t quorate any more. How can we be a seven when there are only six of us? It’s been more than a year since Florence passed. And you’ve yet to do your duty.”
Em had replied with a spectacularly rude gesture she would probably regret if she thought about it. So she drove home deliberately thinking only about the dilatoriness of the council in the matter of the bats in the belfry. It was, she thought, time for a ‘gentle reminder’.
But when she got to her house there was a far more pressing problem blocking the driveway. It was her supermarket delivery. On the wrong day. At the wrong time. The delivery driver, who knew her of old, cringed as the Citroen missed the back of his van by about three centimetres.
Em leapt from the driving seat like a scalded cat. “You are here today because?”
“Because I’m delivering your groceries.” he essayed a smile that sort of slid off his face as Em placed her hands on her skinny hips.
“I can see that. But why today?”
“Somebody cocked up?” the driver hazarded.
“Indeed somebody did. And it wasn’t me.”
“I’m sure it wasn’t. Will I take this lot away then?”
“What? And have the next available delivery slot be three weeks Thursday at five am? No. Bring it in and I’ll check it off my list.”
The driver winced but began unloading. By the time he had the second box out of the van Em had in front of her incontrovertible proof he should’ve been at her house at eight am. Tomorrow. She ground her teeth and went straight for live chat. 
“You might as well put the kettle on as you are going nowhere until I get this sorted.”
The driver shrunk even further into his skin, making him look like a pissed-off tortoise, but he moved the kettle onto the hot plate before stoically carrying on with his unloading. When he finished, Em handed him a printed list.
“You want to check my delivery for me, while I explain to Morag in Edinburgh why it’s not acceptable to move my delivery slot without telling me. Oh and make a pot of tea while you are at it.”
Being aware that he wasn’t going to get away before Em was satisfied, he obliged. Once the  tea was properly brewed, he poured two mugs, handing one to his ‘hostess’ and burying his own nose in the other before getting on with checking the goods against the order.
He had just about finished his check when Em gave a satisfied chuckle. “I thought she’d see it my way in the end. Now. How much of the delivery is wrong?”
The driver indicated a neat pile at the end of the table.
“That much.”
“And how much of that is sensible replacement?”
“Ummm. About none.”
“Right, scoot it this way and grab yourself a biscuit. Brown tin on the dresser.”
He grabbed the tin and sat down, morosely eating ginger biscuits while he tried to calculate how far behind this little fracas was likely to have made him. He reckoned it’d be the best part of two hours before he escaped and his mind’s eye saw the darts match and a buxom barmaid he very much admired disappearing over the horizon. He sighed gustily and Em flicked a hand at him. He subsided into injured silence, whilst Em carried on castigating the unfortunate Morag.
Twenty-five minutes later she sat back in her chair.
“Are you still here, man?”
“Until you move your car from behind the van here is where I’ll remain.”
“Oh yes. I’d forgotten that.”
He knew she wasn’t the type of female to forget anything, but he also understood that anything other than absolute obedience wasn’t going to get him released to finish his deliveries in time to at least get a pint before last orders. This being the case he ducked his head.
“Am I taking this lot back?” He indicated the pile of incorrect goods with a thumb.
Em showed two rows of excellent teeth in a wolfish grin. “No. You’re leaving them. I’m just not paying for them. Now. Where’s my cold stuff?”
“Fridge and freezer. I don’t like to see waste.”
“Oh. Thank you.” Em looked at the unprepossessing driver whose uniform fleece and steel-toe-capped boots only served to emphasise his skinny wrinkled frame. She felt unusual stirrings of guilt and scrabbled in her handbag for a tip. She rooted out a twenty and shoved it at him. 
“Here. Get yourself a pint  and a pasty.”
She whisked out of the kitchen and was backing the Citroen out of the drive by the time he managed to gather his scattered wits…
Once he was gone, Em found herself unaccountably depressed and not even the prospect of a battle of wills with the laodicean council employee tasked with the collection of data on protected species offered any prospect of joy. She was just wondering whether or not to phone Agnes and offer an olive branch when the cheerful pipping of a car horn lifted her from her lethargy. 
It was Agnes.
Of course it was.
Agnes and a box of fresh doughnuts. Dumping the doughnuts on the table Em’s oldest friend pulled the kettle onto the hot plate.
“Sorry Em. I was bang out of order.”
“Me too. I’m just a bit out of sorts right now. And I’m not entirely sure why.”
“Me too and me neither.”
“There’s something isn’t there?”
“Yes. There is. Ruby says she has been feeling irritable in her skin ever since this vicar came to the parish. Reckons there is something not right about him.”
“What? Even more not right than being very well aware that he’s wet dream material for every impressionable female for miles around? And not above making use of it!”
“Apparently. And she is very far from being an imaginative type. If it had been Petunia…”
“Indeed.”
Em became aware of a thought that had been itching away in the back of her head for days. Maybe Erasmus would help. But she kept that thought to herself as Agnes wasn’t really a bat person. Instead of giving voice to a very nebulous idea she helped herself to a large jam doughnut and made two tall mugs of the special tea that she and her sisters used to sustain themselves.
An hour later Agnes set off home and Em felt very much better. So much so that she reached out a hand for the phone intending to sort out the council once and for all. But before she could pick it up it uttered its shrill command for her attention. Leaving it to ring five times she looked at the number and for a moment she thought it was Florence Maybush calling her from beyond the grave. Em mentally admonished herself before picking up the receiver in a not entirely steady hand.
“Em Vanderbilt speaking.”
The voice at the other end of the line was fussy and wispy and bore traces of London hidden under its careful middle-class modulation.
“Good afternoon Ms Vanderbilt, my name is Virginia Cropper and I have recently moved into Maybush Cottage.”
That explained the number and Em felt a surge of relief. She injected cautious bonhomie into her voice.
“Welcome to Little Botheringham, Mrs Cropper.”
There was a verbal buzzing noise from the phone.
“I’m sorry?”
“I said ‘Mzzz’. I’m not married. Well, not anymore and even when I was I wasn’t Mrs. Cropper that’s my… Oh well, I’m sure you aren’t interested in all that. I’m wittering. Don’t mind me.”
Em was glad she was on the phone and her smile wouldn’t show.
“Then welcome to Little Botheringham, Ms. Cropper,” she corrected.
“Oh. Thank you. It seems a beautiful place and I’m sure I’m settling in well. I was calling because I understand that you are the person to speak to about joining the Ladies’ Society.”
A small voice in Em’s head laughed sardonically at the thought of another ‘lady’ from that address, but she kept her voice neutral.
“New members are always welcome. Our next meeting is on the first of the month in the village hall at seven pm. Just pop along and I’ll be delighted to sign you up.”
“Oh. Right. Thank you.”
“We will look forward to seeing you.”
Em put the phone down and suppressed an inward sigh. This female didn’t sound a bit her sort, but the society needed new membership. Consigning the woman to the back of her mind Em geared herself up for an enjoyable verbal punch-up with the county council as represented by the dragon who woman-ed the switchboard and the lazy sods in animal protection.

Part 5 of Much Dithering in Little Botheringham by Jane Jago and E.M. Swift-Hook, will be here next week.

A Place of Peace and Beauty

Where we sat when we were children
Dirty knees and broken shoes
Watching boats float down the river
When the sky was always blue
Where the water sang and gurgled
Where you told me of your plans
How we would be rich and famous
Marry when you were a man 
Where I sat alone yet somehow
Comforted throughout the days
When you outgrew the smiles of childhood
And the world took you away
Where I sat that summer Sunday 
With my skirts about my knees
When I heard a blackbird whistle
And my love came back to me

©️Jane Jago 2020

Weekend Wind Down – The Citadel

Aaspa and her family are to move into the Citadel. But…

The identical looks of disgust on Owl and Moonflower’s faces would have been amusing if they weren’t so deserved. The Citadel was beyond filthy. Everywhere.
“We cannot be moving into this shithole,” Owl declared vehemently.
I smiled my agreement. “Well not until it has been fumigated. Bring  as many drones as you can trust and I will assign you some fighters to ensure the lazy ones in this place shape up.”
“You mean to trust me with this undertaking?” Owl sounded amazed and a little in awe.
“I do. When we move here the household will be in your charge as it is in our present nest. I have neither the training nor the aptitude, and Moonflower will be busy acting as Papa’s hostess.”
Both females looked at me with their mouths agape.
Moonflower was the first to pull herself together. 
“Aaspa,” she said faintly, “surely you will act as The Master Hunter’s hostess.”
Before I could frame a suitable reply the sound of masculine laughter alerted me to the fact we were no longer alone. I turned my head to see my Papa and my Mate who had contained their laughter but were still grinning as if their cheeks would split. 
I put my hands on my hips. “Okay you two. What is so funny?”
Aascko took me in his arms. “You, my beloved, know precisely what is funny.”
Papa, on whom the Master Hunter’s chain of office still looked a bit like something from the imps’ dress-up box grinned unrepentantly.
“Yes Aaspa. You know as well as I do that the second civic reception you were obliged to hostess would doubtless end in a bloodbath.”
I pushed out my lip in pretended sorrow. “How can you think that of me Papa? Am I not beautiful and feminine enough to grace society. Can I not charm if I so choose?”
Both males started to look at me as if I had grown a second head, but then I spoilt the tease by laughing so hard I all but voided my bladder.
Just as I got myself together, Aascko bent his head and whispered a rude suggestion in my ear. Which got me started again. 
“See,” he said dramatically, “wholly unsuitable.”
Owl and Moonflower gave the males the stink eye, which made me laugh even more. 
“I’m a Hunter,” I said, “and not a bit inclined towards either society or domesticity. You two have the enthusiasm and the know how. And you even like talking to assorted females.”
Moonflower’s smile was a beautiful thing to behold. “You, Mate of my son, are an inspiration to us all. You understand that everyone has their strengths and have no fear of promoting those around you to best use those strengths. In addition, you have no jealousy in your heart, and no envy in your soul. If only we could all be like you.”
I felt a flush mantle my cheeks and Aascko turned me fully into his embrace. “Truly spoken Mother of mine. The huntress who holds my heart has great virtue, not least of which is her dislike of praise.”
Owl rescued us from the morass of emotion into which we were sinking.
“This is all very admirable. But it isn’t going to get this shithole of a citadel scrubbed…”
Of course she was right, and the shitadel, as Aascko dubbed it, took an enormous amount of concerted effort to get it clean enough to meet her exacting standards. Me? I helped a bit with bullying lazy and impolite drones, but other than that I just let Owl have her head. 
By the time the moon had turned once, she announced that the Citadel was clean but it now needed furnishing. My Papa gave her a bag of gold coins and told her to go to it. And, bless her steady little heart, she done just that.
From the shelter of the beloved nest we were about to be leaving, and which was now being turned upside down in Owl’s search for furnishings suitable for the Citadel, the imps and I watched in varying degrees of horror. Owlet was firmly of the opinion that Mama had run mad, as was Tiger. Puma and Silver were more tolerant of the upheaval. I mostly kept my own council only putting my head over the parapet when I though Owl and Small Cat were not taking sufficient care of their health. Small Cat was sensible when reminded, but I had to sit Owl down and talk to her very seriously about her own wellbeing and that of the imps she carried under her heart before she could be brought to slow down.
Another moon of turmoil – and some tantrums – saw us about ready to move into the forbidding grey pile of the Citadel. A dull misty morning found Aascko and I following Owl from room to room. I will admit that it all looked splendid – if not precisely homely. When we finished the tour of the grand public rooms my mate looked at our nest sister and frowned a little. 
“You have worked wonders. But I won’t be living in anything this cold and perfect.”
Owl grinned her cheekiest grin, and for a moment she looked almost pretty.
“No. Nobody has to live in this bit, it’s for public consumption. Come with me.”
She led us down a wide staircase at the bottom of which was a long corridor. It had doors on one side and a wall of windows the other. 
“This is the family wing. I’ll show you all of it later. If you are interested. But for now.” She almost ran ahead of us throwing open the penultimate pair of doors. “Me and Cat’s workplace, with sewing place and office.” She didn’t stop there, though. Throwing us a smile over her shoulder she opened the huge deeply carved doors at the end of the corridor. “Aascko and Aaspa’s new nest.”
It seemed for a moment as if we had been transported back to our  old nest except this was all on one level with huge glass doors opening into a high-walled garden. I threw my arms around Owl and gave her a huge hug.
“You are a clever girl.”
“When I saw these rooms they seemed ideal to me. Even if they do seem to me to have some sort of a bad reputation.”
“What sort of a ‘bad reputation’? Aascko was obviously intrigued.
“This was used to be something called a seraglio.” Owl’s little face crumpled with confusion. “Cat and me think it has something to do with mating, because of all the nudging and winking that went on among the older drones and the guardsmen, but we never asked. Because…” her voice trailed off.
“Because you were embarrassed,” Aascko gave her his kindest smile. “A seraglio, little mother, is the place where a ruling despot keeps his whores.”
“Whores? But the only people living here was some very old males. Though they didn’t seem like full males to me and Cat.”
Aascko spread his hands in a gesture of defeat and I took over. “Males can be whores too. Especially those who are neutered.”
Owl looked at me in dawning comprehension. “Oh,” she said and sat down plump on the floor. “Oh. Have I done a bad thing by assigning us these rooms?”
Aascko laughed. “Not by my way of thinking. The rooms are suitable so.”
“And no ladders to hinder Silver’s progress. You have done a good thing here, my sister, never think anything else.”
Owl leapt up and threw herself into my arms. “I so love you Aaspa,” she sobbed. “Nobody never had a better nest sister.”
I gave her a hug and a little shake. “I love you too. But for now how about we get moved in before the imps become impossible to handle.”
Aascko growled and Branwen arrived, almost as if it had been awaiting this signal. It carried Silver on one narrow shoulder and Owl, Tiger and Puma trailed a little nervously in its wake. 
Predictably it was Owl who summed up the situation. “Mother,” he said in his gruffest tones as he came to lean against my leg. “We was worried about moving here. But is just like Home. Only not got ladders.”
I bent to pick him up. “It is Home now. And I’m sure we will all live happily here.”
Puma stood in the middle of the entrance space turning slow circles as she surveyed her new home. After the third turn she smiled lighting her delicate fairylike features with impish glee.
“Owl says true,” she declared. “Me likes.”
Tiger absentmindedly scratched at his itching wing buds and regarded his new home from beneath the beginnings of brow ridges. “Me likes too,” he declared in as deep a voice as he could manage.
Puma slapped his wrist. “Not scratch. Might damage wings.”
Sensing an imminent sibling fight I opened the door behind which common sense dictated the eating place would be. I was right, so I cocked my head at the rest of the family who followed me in – including Branwen, who looked a bit shy but was being inexorably dragged along by a determined Puma.
Inside the eating place a veritable feast awaited us, as did Small Cat, Papa, and my motley selection of brothers. 
Once the imps were provided with brimming plates of unsuitable delicacies the rest of us stood around eating snacks and drinking fermented fruit juice. 

Jane Jago

You can read the full adventures of Aaspa and her imps in Aaspa’s Eyes and Aaspa’s Imps.

Granny’s Life Hacks – Parenting

Saddle up your ears Yummies and Daddies. Granny has wisdom to impart.

And before you pull your mouth into the shape of a cat’s arsehole you might just take a moment to think about which of us has grandsons who come and take her to the pub most Saturday nights.

So then, given that somewhere in the back of that cesspool of middle-class inspirational quotes that you laughingly call a brain you want to raise reasonable human beings who actually like you, shut up and listen.

Number one. The name. Do. Not. Saddle. The. Poor. Little. Git. With. A. Stupid. Name. Nobody deserves to be called Avocado, Pinot Grigio, Venice, Perpendicular, or any other meaningless collection of syllables you think may be ‘different’. Kids don’t want to be different. It’s bad enough that you bring them to school on a tandem without labelling them as wankers as well. Give the poor little sod a sensible name and stop being precious.

Number two. Social media. Stop posting pictures of your kids. It’s unkind. It’s boring. And those pictures will follow them throughout their lives. What may be cute when you are three is just fucking embarrassing when you’re forty.

Number three. The birthday party. Do not make strange brown poo-textured food.  Do not think it would be cute to lead an expedition into the woods to find the Bear (a poorly disguised Daddy). And do not put rice cakes and miso in the party bags. Take them to MaccyD’s (other fast food outlets are available) and buy party bags from your local cheapo shop. 

And if your little treasure is invited to a party Do Not, send him or her with a list of the things they are not allowed to eat. Accept that they will chow down on something foully synthetic. It isn’t every day so get over it.

Number four. Friends. You cannot choose your children’s mates for them. They don’t want to be friends with four vegetarians and a refugee. The want to be best mates with the big bully so he don’t bully them, and they really, really like the kid with nits who swears like a stormtrooper. Get used to it.

And finally. If their little friend comes to tea (or supper if you are a poncey bitch), do sausages and chips with tomato ketchup. No. Not quinoa and tofu salad with brown pitta (aka warm cardboard). Sausages (can be veggie at a pinch), and chips. Bury your prejudices for the sake of your kid not getting the crap kicked out of them tomorrow at school… 

There you have it. Attempt not to embarrass your brats any more than you can help. After all you’ll be old and incontinent one day and you really don’t want your ass wiped with a pan scourer.

Jane Jago’s Drabbles – Four Hundred and Forty

Ella was angry. More angry than she had ever been in her life. How dare they? How dare her mother and her ugly-minded friends come here bearing rumour and spite? 

She pummelled the bread dough with her small work-roughened hands and slowly regained her composure.

By the time the black door opened, the house was full of good smells and Ella was just lifting a pastry lid onto a deep dish of apples and cinnamon.

Tom came and nuzzled the back of her neck. He looked at the evidence of an afternoon’s baking.

“Your mam been here again?”

©️jj 2020

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