Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – My Favourite Christmas Gift Ever by Paul Andruss

As always Paul Andruss heeds the call for a guest post for special occasions by producing an entertaining and in this case emotionally charged piece.. get your tissues at the ready.

My Favourite Christmas Gift Ever by Paul Andruss

When I was a youngster my dad was a merchant seaman. He travelled all over the world on everything from cargo steamers to luxury liners. This led to a bit of a falling out with a new neighbour. Seeing two kids, and no man around, the woman asked, ‘So, what does your husband do?’

“He works for Cunard,” said Mum brightly.

‘My husband works quite hard too!’ the woman answered stiffly.

Actually that is not true.

The true story is even more hilarious.

I went to a catholic junior school run by the Christian Brothers. Every month we’d to buy a magazine called The Crusade Messenger, which was full of stories, articles and jokes. The Cunard Joke was in that.

Aged 8, none of the class understood the joke. For some reason the teachers could not explain why it was funny either. It puzzled me for years, until the penny dropped at the age of 11.

That was not my best Christmas present ever.

As I said my dad was a merchant seaman. While his ship was in Spain, Dad was told to paint the forecastle, or whatever the big bit at the front with the steering wheel is called. I am not nautically minded. He was sitting on a plank, suspended between two ropes about 50 feet in the air, when a freak gust of wind sent him tumbling. He landed flat on his back on the deck.

He was lucky. He could have died. Instead he landed on crates and injured his back. At first, they thought he would not pull through. Then, he would never walk again. I was about 9. That would make Mum and Dad about 32.

Dad was in hospital for six months. In those days international travel was a luxury. Mum never got to see him. Nor, as we had no telephone, speak. She must have been out of her mind. Despite this, she kept it together and protected us kids from what was going on.

I knew dad was in an accident; fell off while painting the ship. I thought he was painting the side and hit the sea. Talking to him, years later, he told me it was just as well he hadn’t. From that height, hitting the sea like he did would have killed him stone dead. One of the things he did say was the nuns in white running the hospital fed him oranges, and beef from the bulls slaughtered in the bullring next door. I thought it very glamorous.

It was a couple of weeks before Christmas when Mum heard Dad was coming home. The shipping company not only paid for an airline ticket, but also for a return trip between Liverpool and Manchester Airport by taxi, to pick him up. At the time a 40 mile one-way taxi ride would have cost a week’s wages.

I didn’t know what was going on, except it was exciting and confusing. Actually, the long taxi rides through the night were exciting for the first 10 minutes, then uncomfortably dull. I could not understand why Mum had to stop herself crying all the time.

As a kid you accept things. Growing up I came to realise how different our lives would have been if mum was a widow with three young kids.

Best Christmas Present ever?

That’s a no-brainer.

Getting your dad back from the dead (without using the Monkey’s Paw).

©Paul Andruss 2018

About Paul Andruss

Paul Andruss is a writer whose primary focus is to take a subject, research every element thoroughly and then bring the pieces back together in a unique and thought provoking way. His desire to understand the origins of man, history, religion, politics and the minds of legends who rocked the world is inspiring. He does not hesitate to question, refute or make you rethink your own belief system and his work is always interesting and entertaining. Whilst is reluctant to talk about his own achievements he offers a warm and generous support and friendship to those he comes into contact with.

Paul Andruss is the author of 2 contrasting fantasy novels

Thomas the Rhymer – a magical fantasy for ages 11 to adult about a boy attempting to save fairy Thomas the Rhymer, while trying to rescue his brother from a selfish fairy queen

When Fairy Queen Sylvie snatches his brother, schoolboy Jack is plunged into a sinister fantasy world of illusion and deception – the realm of telepathic fairies ruled by spoilt, arrogant fairy queens.

Haunted by nightmares about his brother and pursued by a mysterious tramp (only seen by Jack and his friends) Jack fears he too will be stolen away.

The tramp is Thomas the Rhymer, who only speaks in rhyme. Lost and frightened Thomas needs Jack’s help to find his way home.

The race is on for Jack and his friends to save Thomas from the wicked Agnes Day (who wants to treat Thomas like a lab rat). And save Jack’s brother from Sylvie.
To do this they need the help of Bess – the most ancient powerful fairy queen in the land.
But there is a problem…
No one knows where Bess is… or even if she is still lives.
And even if they find her… will she let them go?

The latest review for the book

I stumbled across this book one day while reading a historical piece written by the author. He had included an image of this book cover at the bottom of his article which immediately drew my attention. This author often writes long historical dissertations so I wasn’t sure what to expect. I took a chance and purchased the Kindle edition. What a delightful surprise! I couldn’t put the book down!

What I found was a fantastic story about one of my favorite subjects, faeries! Not only was it geared to the YA genre, but it also included a fair amount of historical fact to make the story shine.

When Jack’s older brother Dan is abducted before his very eyes, he is stunned by the mysterious circumstances of his disappearance. The fact that Jack witnessed the strange abduction and doesn’t tell his parents only adds to his troubles. Jack’s mother is suffering from a chronic illness and his greatest hope is that the situation will rectify itself, and Dan will come home on his own.

One night, Jack starts receiving cell phone calls from Dan, and when he answers, there’s no one on the line. He tries to tell his parents and the police the truth about what happened, but every time he opens his mouth to speak, his throat closes up and he is unable to utter a single word. Faery glamours? Could be!

In the meantime, Jack starts seeing a dirty tramp hanging around his house who only speaks in rhyme. It becomes apparent that no one can see the tramp but Jack, so he enlists the help of his friends to help him solve the mystery behind his brother’s disappearance.

Jack and his friends are thrust into the magical world of the fey where the kids experience the light and the dark, of a failing faery kingdom. They learn about ley lines and how the fey evolved beside mankind. The story progresses with plenty of magic and suspense until you reach the satisfying end.

Let me just say, that this is one of the most creative books I have ever read about the fey. Jack’s friends are reminiscent of the characters in the Harry Potter series and I had no problem connecting with their personalities. The plot is brilliant, although I had a hard time separating fact from fiction. That’s what I call good writing!

I enjoyed this novel and will read it more than once. I feel children and adults of all ages will enjoy this book. Do you love magic and all things faery? Then, have a read because this book is reasonably priced and will keep you entertained for hours.

MY RATING: Character Believability: 5 Flow and Pace: 5  Reader Engagement: 5
Reader Enrichment: 5 Reader Enjoyment: 5 Overall Rate: 5 out of 5 Stars

Read the reviews and buy the book:

And Amazon UK:

Finn Mac Cool

Find out more and buy the book:

and Amazon UK:

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I am sure that you have enjoyed Paul’s post as much as I have and please feel free to share.. Thanks Sally


56 thoughts on “Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Christmas Guest Post – My Favourite Christmas Gift Ever by Paul Andruss

  1. What a story, Paul. I can’t imagine being separated from my husband or dad for six months with no contact and very little idea of what was going on. And a wonderful ending. I can understand why it was such a wonderful Christmas. And thanks, Sally, for sharing Colleen’s wonderful review of Thomas the Rhymer. 🙂

    Liked by 2 people

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