Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story – Chapter Five – Henry’s New Family by Sally Cronin


By special request I am sharing Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story as the next book for Sundays and I hope those of you who have not read his adventures will enjoy…

51uI0kWA+ML._UY250_ Last time we heard Henry the cat’s story of life on a farm and then on the road until he arrived in Sam’s garden.. the two hit if off immediately and they partook of the sunshine in Costa del Sam.. with pool and loungers.

Henry’s New Family

Henry would live with us for another three years and he had a wonderful life. When I was about a year old a wild black and white female cat who was only about a year old arrived in the garden.

By this time Henry was plump and healthy although he still looked as though he had been dragged through the mud and a hedge backwards.

He was obviously however a smooth operator and within a few weeks we had a new family of three kittens living in the garden and Henry made sure that despite his lady friend’s reluctance to go near the boisterous, year old, hairy monster I had become, his offspring were introduced early and became my friends too. This gave me even more opportunity to practice my Cat vocabulary and I actually became quite proficient.

Mate, you need a little more aftershave!

His mate would keep her distance from my mistress too despite Henry taking every opportunity to solicit massages and affection. However, when the kittens were about four weeks old they all developed eye infections despite the fact that my mistress had begun supplementing their mother’s milk with kitten food.

By this time Sally was working in the mornings at her business in the local town and she would get home about lunchtime. She never left me for more than three or four hours at a time and even though I am nearly ten now she still makes sure that I am never left for too long without company.

She arrived home this one day to find the three kittens on the doormat. Henry came over as usual to greet her and she could see his mate pacing back and forth on the grass by the side of the garage.

A little bemused by this turn of events she went over to the kittens and realised that all their eyes were gummed up with infection. She opened the door and went inside for a cardboard box and she scooped up the three hissing and spitting offspring and popped them inside.

In the meantime I was desperately waiting to be greeted. I was now very aware of my place in this loving home and I knew that I was not supposed to leap up and down and shout loudly when either Sally or David came home. Instead we would go into the lounge to the ‘greeting rug’ where I would get hugs and a fuss made of me. I knew that the word hello meant a greeting and although I have no voice box and I used to try and do my best to respond in kind.

Sally put the box down on the draining board in the kitchen and then came into the lounge where I was waiting impatiently. After this greeting ritual was finished we both went back into the kitchen and I sat and watched the proceedings with excited anticipation.

“Well Sammy – I think I am supposed to do something about these guys and their eyes,” she smiled down at me.

She filled a small bowl with warm water and then tipped some fine white grains into it and stirred it with a spoon.

“Stay and watch your friends Sam, I’ll be back in a moment.”

She left the room and went upstairs to her bedroom and returned a few moments later with some fluffy white stuff in her fingers.

This went into the water in the dish and she gently picked up one of the kittens out of the box.

This was its first contact with a human. I had been introduced by Henry to the new family but had not been allowed to get too close. The kitten was not impressed by being separated from the warmth of its mother and chose to express this displeasure by hissing and trying to scratch Sally’s hand. Despite this blatant display of ingratitude she gently squeezed the warm liquid across both its eyes and then wiped away the accumulated crusted infection.

She repeated this process with the other two kittens and finally satisfied that she had done as much as possible she took them out in the box to the garden and placed them next to Henry under the bush. She stroked his head and he licked her hand in thanks.

For the next three days the kittens were waiting on the mat when Sally came home. On the last day she saw the mother deposit the third one on the mat before retiring to the bush where Henry waited. By this time the infection had nearly cleared from the young cats’ eyes and the next day there was no sign of them.

Apart from Henry the family stayed away from all human contact and when the kittens had grown they like their parents would occasionally leave gifts for Sally on the doormat. Usually a large rat and my mistress wondered if they wished her to roast for them their dinner or her own. Instead she would give them extra chicken on the next supper and hope that was gratitude enough for their kind thought.

During the winter months, the four cats availed themselves of my empty kennel as their home and would wait in the flower pot outside Sally’s office when it was time for supper. When the two kittens reached 18 months old they left to find mates and territories of their own, but would sometimes return for a visit.

Henry and his mate lived happily without any further kittens for the next three years until one day when my dear friend became ill. My mistress came home from work and Henry was on the doorstep. He crawled across to her and she picked him up into her arms. Although he had never been to the vet’s she placed him on the front seat of her car and raced him to the surgery.

The vet told her that Henry only had three teeth left and was at least fourteen years old. A very good age for a domestic cat let alone one that had spent so many years running wild in a farmyard and the countryside. The good food and affection that Henry had received in the last four years had made a huge difference and I know from my friend that they had also been very happy years spent with human contact for the first time, his friendship with me and his mate who had stayed with him despite their being no further kittens.

When my mistress returned I could tell that she was very sad. She greeted me on the rug as usual but there was intensity to her hugs and her emotions that I had rarely seen. There was water coming from her eyes and it made me feel sad too. She was kneeling on the rug and I lay down and put my head across her knees. We sat there for several minutes as she fingered the fur behind my ears.

“He was so brave Sam,” she began to talk as the tears dried.

“At the end he perked up and lay in my arms purring with his eyes wide open. I felt he was trying to say something but I felt the love in him and suddenly he was gone.”

I did not understand death as I had only known life and love with my pack and my assorted friends but I understood her sadness and it made me sad too.

The next day the black and white cat was gone too as if she knew Henry would not be coming back. For many weeks I would patrol my territory and expect my old friend to pop out from under a bush and accompany me as I checked the long grass in the meadow or the hundreds of bushes and trees in the garden.

©sallycronin Sam, A Shaggy Dog Story 2009

About the authors

Sally Cronin waited until she began working for herself, and had the time to commit to the welfare of a dog. before she fulfilled a dream of having another Lassie Collie. From the moment that Sam came home at 8 weeks old they were inseparable, and travelled thousands of miles together and with her husband David, exploring Ireland, Wales, England and Europe. Finally they all ended up in a large house up a mountain to the north of Madrid.

Sam could charm the birds out of the trees and assumed that every human that he met was more interested in him than his humans that were tagging along. He developed a vocabulary and non-verbal clues as to his needs, cheese and sausages being the main ones.

They collaborated on this book, with Sam dictating his recollections and Sally correcting some of his more flamboyant claims pertaining to his adventures.

You can find out more about Sally’s books and their reviews: Sally’s Books and Recent Reviews

I hope you have enjoyed this chapter and will join us again next Sunday.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up 21st -27th June 2020 – Josh Groban, Lemon Meringue Pie, #Ireland, Book Reviews, Authors and Humour


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I hope you are all well as we peel back the layers of re-entry into the world again. Some are getting on better than others, and I can understand why the younger generation wants to dive back into the deep end of the pool.. but I think I will potter around in the shallows for a little while longer.

I am delighted that my hairdresser has finished the re-opening preparations, and they rang without prompting to ask if I needed an appointment.. David has done a great job with his clippers at the back, but the front that I have attended to, looks a little ragged around the edges. You can’t do it when wearing glasses very easily so took those off… not a good move… so it was a bit hit and miss with the scissors and I think I might have accidentally removed half an eyebrow too!.

Anyway…July 7th I will have it all cut back and aim for a quick visit every six weeks… with no magazines, a cup of coffee and no chit chat behind our masks it will not be quite the relaxing treat it used to be. It will be a while before the longer appointments for colour, highlights and extensions are reinstated but thankfully I use a silver rinse once a week at home and I am done…

The weather has been a mixture of very hot days, thundery nights, and now rain for the next five days. At least the lawn and the pot plants appreciate it. I have loved sitting outside with books and music and I am hoping that after this few days summer will return… one can only hope.

In the last couple of weeks I have been a guest on some friend’s blogs and if you have time to pop over and read and share that would be amazing.

Last week I was the guest of Marjorie Mallon as part of her series on poetry and thoughts of writers in isolation. She kindly share a recent poem of mine and my views on our lives going forward, particularly those of the younger children, those waiting for treatment for life threatening diseases and the elderly. Marje will be releasing an anthology of her own stories and poetry as well as her guests thoughts on the pandemic soon.

Photo by Jordan Benton from Pexels

Sally Cronin: Lockdown #Poetry #Thoughts #Isolation #Writers

This week I was the guest of author Darlene Foster whose successful Amanda travel series has introduced children around the world to the joys of discovering new countries and cultures. I shared my experience as a ten year old, of travelling to South Africa and some of the adventures during our two year stay in Cape Town.

Special Guest, Sally Cronin: Travels as a Child

Time to get on with the posts from the week and my thanks to William Price King, Carol Taylor and Debby Gies for their contributions which are always a delight to share and clearly enjoyed. Also thanks to you for dropping by, commenting and sharing; it is much appreciated.

The Music Column with William Price King – Josh Groban – Part One

Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘L’ is for Lamb, Lavender, Lemon/ Lime Meringue Pie, Liquorice and Liver…

James the Landlord 1939

#Thriller – Five Stars – The Reckoning Squad by S. Burke

#Eagles – The Daredevil by Sally Cronin – Image Tofino Photography

Tales from the Garden Chapter Seven – Little Girl Lost

Chesebro’s weekly Tanka Challenge – #Butterfly Cinquain – Our Legacy

Letters from America 1985-1987 – #Texas weather, Suntans and Trivia Pursuit

#Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Three and Music Therapy –

Food Therapy – Make the most of Summer – Homemade Fruit Salad and Smoothies

New Author on the Shelves – #RomanticComedy – Cogrill’s Mill by Jack Lindsey

#History – Great Spirit of Yosemite: The Story of Chief Tenaya by Paul Edmondson

#Murder #Mystery – Redlined: A Novel of Boston by Richard W. Wise

#Thriller Mark Bierman, #Mystery #Romance Lizzie Chantree, #Thriller John W. Howell

#Poetry Miriam Hurdle, #Memoir #Humour Andrew Joyce, #Memoir Marian Longenecker Beaman

#Memoir – Twenty Years After “I Do” by D.G. Kaye

#Poetry Frank Prem, #Fantasy Teagan Geneviene, #Humour #Mystery Mae Clair

Meet the Authors – #Mystery Barbara Silkstone, #Mystery Janet Gogerty, #Thriller Eloise De Sousa

#BritishHistory Mike Biles, #Thriller Suzanne Burke, #Doglovers Patty Fletcher

#PsychologicalThriller Lucinda E. Clarke, #Thriller John L. DeBoer, #War #Dogs Patricia Furstenberg

#Scifi #YA Heather Kindt, #Mystery Lizzie Chantree, #Scifi Jack Eason

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – June 23rd 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines – June 25th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Smorgasbord Laughter Lines Extra – TGI Friday – host Sally Cronin

Thank you so much for dropping by and I hope you have enjoyed your visit..look forward to seeing you again next week…thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine Weekly Round Up – 14th -20th June 2020 – Outsmarting the Crows, D.G. Kaye and Relationships, USA 1985, Books, Authors, Music and Funnies.


Welcome to the round up of posts you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

I thought this week I would share some of the work we have been doing in the garden to brighten up the place. With the garden centres shut until a couple of weeks ago, I was reliant on the local Tesco for early spring plants to bring a little colour into the front of the house. I waited until this week to visit the local garden centre as I knew they would be swamped initially and I went this last Monday and had the place almost to myself. I piled my trolley high and spent two days in glorious sunshine getting all the pots out of storage and planted. The pansies from March and April are still going strong and I feel the place is looking much brighter.  Here is a small snippet.

 

We have also had an ongoing challenge with rooks from the surrounding woods who believe that the seed we put out for the birds are for them alone. They have destroyed seed holders, knocked over the bird feeder tree and mobbed the garden. I don’t begrudge any bird food at this time of year when they all have young but the sparrows, tits and other smaller birds were being scared off. So I handed the problem over to David, who has spent the last couple of weeks in the planning and development stage.  He has not adapted his design so only the smaller birds up to blackbird and starling size can get to the feed and the rooks have taken to sitting on the telephone wire opposite cackling amonst themselves and plotting their next point of attack.

It is quite entertaining to see them come down to walk around the perimeter, testing the coat hanger wire for any weakness, and doing balletic movements to reach in as far as they can. They get the odd bit of seed but their days of gorging are over. (She says with a fair bit of confidence) There is also a metre square bird bath which is in full use by all the birds and it is a wonderful place to sit and watch the entertainment.

Empaths and Spiritual Communication through Energy

The Colour of Life – The Shop and Bakery – Family 1840s -1940s by Geoff Cronin

Tales from the Garden Chapter Six – Trouble in Paradise – Part Two

Letters from America 1985-1987 – May 1985 – Las Vegas, Hoover Dam and Los Angeles

The Cruel Romance: A Novel of Love and War by Marina Osipova

Songs from the Movies – The Windmills of Your Mind, The Thomas Crown Affair

Project 101 – Resilience – Acidity/Alkalinity pH Balance for Health Part Two and Music Therapy –

#Children’s Snowlilie’s Brother by Victoria Zigler

#Childrens Franky the Fearless Flamingo: A ‘Using Your Strength for Good’ Hero Story (Franky the Flamingo Book 4) by Wanda Luthman

#Crime Virtually Gone: A Mended Souls Novel (High-Tech Crime Solvers Book 6) by Jacquie Biggar

#FamilySaga Judith Barrow, #History Mike Biles, #PsychologicalThriller Lucinda E. Clarke

#Family James J. Cudney, #Thriller Sue Coletta, #Prehistoric Jacqui Murray

#Psychologicalthriller S. Burke, #Paranormal S.A. Harris, #ParanormalRomance Linda G. Hill

Share an Extract from a Previous Book – #Memoir – No One Comes Close by J. A. Newman

#Children’s – Amanda in Holland: Missing in Action by Darlene Foster

#Crime #Mystery – Secrets of the Galapagos by Sharon Marchisello

#Children’s Annika Perry, #Mystery Amy M. Reade, #Afghanistan Mary Smith

#Fantasy Jemima Pett, #Children’s Janice Spina, #Fantasy Charles E. Yallowitz

#Fantasy C.S. Boyack, #Romance Christine Campbell, #Sci-Fi A.C. Flory

#Memoir #Africa Ann Patras, #Romance P.C. Zick, #Fantasy Lorinda J. Taylor

Poetry Balroop Singh, #Family Christa Polkinhorn, #Poetry Colleen M. Chesebro

Food Therapy – Walnuts – Not just any nut…

Laughter Lines – June 16th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

Laughter Lines – June 18th 2020 – Hosts Debby Gies and Sally Cronin

More Humour from the Senior Team

Thank you for dropping in today and for all your support during the week… I hope you have enjoyed.. thanks Sally.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – March 29th – April 4th 2020 – Musique Mechanaique, Finger Limes, Letters from America and all that Jazz


Welcome to the weekly round up with posts that you might have missed during the week here on Smorgasbord.

I doubt that there are many of you who are not in some form of self-isolation at the moment and I hope that you have everything you need to keep your spirits up. It is saving our lives and I must admit that even going out once a week for my fresh vegetables and fruit does have me spooked as I try to avoid the invisible serial killer roaming the aisles. Thankfully, the majority of people here are very good about self-distancing and being respectful. Some are wearing masks or scarves as I do, and latex gloves.

The supermarkets are taped for distancing and the checkout staff are behind perspex. Everyone is doing their bit and again, they and the healthcare sector are heroes for turning up each day.

I thought you might like to share a special moment. For the last couple of years, my lucky black ceramic cat has sat next to the front door looking out on the world. One morning just after I placed it there, a black cat came to visit. He still does from time to time, but as you can see he is observing social distancing. I have no idea why he keeps coming back as he gets no response from our cat, but I guess he might be determined to do so one day.

Stay safe and as I have previously offered, if you are struggling and would like to chat online then please email me at sally.cronin@moyhill.com.

And in the spirit of getting together and having a little fun, despite the circumstances, there is a party going on over Easter weekend 11th and 12th April. There are still some spots available and I hope you will participate…

This Easter most of us will be in isolation from family and friends and I know how tough that can be. However, as planned the Easter Parade will go ahead and I hope that you will join me over the two days.

Apart from an opportunity to share your blog and books, it is also a chance to meet others who will be featured or who drop in.

There will be food provided as always and something to drink as well as a bit of music. Since the theme is ‘Flashback’ – the music will be from the 1960s – 1980s.  All I need from you is a photograph taken any time in that time period along with a favourite song of the era.

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Easter Parade Blog Party April 11th/12th 2020 – #Flashback Photos, food and music

William Price King -Carla Bley – American jazz composer, pianist, organist and bandleader

Carol Taylor – A – Z of Food – ‘F’ for Figs, Finger limes, Flambe, Fenugreek, Fruit Pectin,Fugu

The two final stories of this collection.

Yves – Be careful what you wish for

Zoe – Looking into the future

FamilySaga – Under a Dark Cloud by Mary Crowley

I wrote this piece about the dreaded driving test that we had to take to enable us to buy a car and get insured. We both had full licences from the UK but had to give this up and obtain a Texas licence…

Letters from America 1985-1987 – Adventures in the USA – The Driving Test Texas Style

Tanka Tuesday #Poetry Challenge – #ButterflyCinquain -The Air

Smorgasbord Health Column – Food Therapy – The Banana – Pre-Wrapped nutrient boost on the go

Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore Special -Pre-order for May 5th – Anthology – The Road to Liberation – Trials and Triumphs of World War II

Shortstory Jonah: The hardest demons to face are internal by Jan Sikes

Mystery James J. Cudney, Family Mary Crowley, Cyberpunk C.S. Boyack

Poetry M.J. Mallon, #Mystery Sharon Marchisello, #Paranormal Marcia Meara

#Dystopian Teri Polen, #Poetry Frank Prem, #Horror Vashti Quiroz Vega

medieval stabbur in norway

#Travel – Numedal Valley in #Norway – Amanda McLaughlin of Forestwood Folk Art

Image result for bizet's carmen

SoCS 2019.09.20 – Two Unwrapped Gifts by Miriam Hurdle

Melancholy – Confusion by Apple Gidley

Life 16 Things We Can Do in Our 50’s that We Couldn’t in Our 20’s by Cheryl Oreglia

Bookreview by Kevin Cooper – Fallout by Harmony Kent

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More seclusion humour from the senior team

 

Thank you for taking the time to visit today and during the week. It means a great deal…stay safe and I hope you will join me again next week for more fun and games…Sally.

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? Zoe – Looking to the Future by Sally Cronin


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Zoe – Looking to the Future

Madame Zoe looked at the screen in front of her and watched the teenage girl in the waiting room. She was her next client and looked nervous; as many did who came to consult the renowned fortune teller, in her little oasis in the back streets of the town.

These few minutes observing her next client were important before meeting them for the first time. Were they nervous, excited, and worried? That gave her some clues as to what direction their consultation might go. Added to the extensive report that her assistant Marjorie had compiled, this allowed Madame Zoe to tailor her reading to each specific client needs with outstanding results.

For example the young woman waiting for her fortune and fate to be revealed was called Sandra Johnson, and was twenty years old. She worked at a solicitor’s office in the main street, and was currently in a relationship with a young mechanic called Steve. Unfortunately this union of three years was going through a tough patch, as Steve had been fooling around with Tracy; one of Sandra’s closest friends.

Since her 18th birthday, the girl had been trying to find her birth mother. Unfortunately, it would appear that the official agency were finding it difficult to track her down, to get consent to reveal her whereabouts, to her long lost daughter. All that the girl had to go on was her mother’s name, which was Linda Watkins, and that she had been 16 years old at the time of her birth. Sandra had been adopted very soon after this and was brought up by her new parents in a village a few miles away. Seemingly this had been a very happy arrangement, but unfortunately her adoptive mother had died recently; obviously caused much sadness. And probably prompting Sandra’s search for her birth mother.

Madame Zoe adjusted her turban and creamed her hands with Shea butter; one of her little indulgences. When you are holding the hands of others, in an attempt to read their futures, it was important that your own looked their best. Sandra had booked a half-hour appointment. This length of time warranted the assistance of the crystal ball, currently residing on its gold trestle beneath a blue silk square.

What the client would not be able to see however, was the discreet screen resting on Madame Zoe’s knees, with all the relevant information that she needed to provide a satisfying and remarkable experience for this young woman.

At the tinkle of the bell over the inner door, Marjorie, who had been wafting incense across the waiting room, crossed over to Sandra and offered her hand. The girl stood and looked around nervously, as if about to bolt for the street door, but at Marjorie’s insistence she followed her through into the inner sanctum. There she was invited to take the chair across from Madame Zoe, whose hands stretched across the blue velvet cloth, palms upward in welcome.

‘Hello my dear,’ the gentle and soothing tones caused Sandra to straighten up in her chair. Zoe extended her well-buttered hand; taking the girl’s thin and cold palm in hers.

‘I understand that you seek some answers to very important questions today, but I would like to spend a few minutes sharing the thoughts and feelings that I am receiving from you.’ She paused for effect and waited for the girl to respond.

‘Okay, if you feel that is what we should do first.’ Sandra was visibly shaking, and for just a moment, the fortune teller felt a smidgeon of remorse for the scam she was pulling. But business was business and she had her reputation for accuracy to uphold.

‘My dear, I feel that you are going through a difficult time in your love life, and I see the letter S seems to be on your mind. Do you know someone with a name that begins with S?’

Sandra gasped and nodded her head in bemused agreement.

‘Sadly, I feel that this person has behaved very badly, and that the relationship has come to an end. Would I be right about that?’

Again the girl nodded and Zoe smiled sweetly as she stroked the back of her hand.

For a moment or two Madame Zoe stared intently into Sandra’s palm and then groaned theatrically.

‘Ah, yes I see that you have been betrayed by a friend whose name begins with a J… No wait… I am wrong it is a T.

There was a satisfying gasp at the mention of the letter T and it was clear that there was another relationship that was over.

‘I also feel that you work in a place that might be involved in legal matters,’ she held up one finger of her free hand to prevent any interruption.

‘Perhaps a police station, no don’t tell me… I think it might be a solicitor’s office, am I correct?’

By this time Sandra was hooked and it was now time to reveal most important element of today’s reading.

Claiming back her hand from the girl, Zoe lifted the blue silk square to reveal the glass orb beneath. Sandra’s eyes were riveted on this piece of fortune telling magic that she had been told about by some of her girlfriends. They had assured her that Madame Zoe seemed to have a window into their lives and had seen many things that they had only confided in to friends. They had assured her they always left their appointments safe in the knowledge that love would find them, and fortune was theirs for the taking..

After a few minutes of silence as Madame Zoe sought to pad out the half hour, she raised a solemn face to stare into the wide-eyed Sandra’s face.

Now confident that she had the girls complete attention, she delivered her next question in a fateful tone.

‘My dear child, I sense that you seek another, who is not a man but a family member long lost to you.’ You could have heard a pin drop. She continued.

‘There is someone from your past that you have barely met, but you are desperate to reconnect to.’ Both of her hands cradled the crystal ball in front of her as she searched its depths.

‘You look for your mother.’ With that Sandra clasped a hand over her mouth; tears filling her eyes. Absolutely stunned she stared at the exotic creature in front of her.

‘I have her name on the tip of my tongue… Now let me see it begins with an L…Yes that’s right, her name is Linda, is that correct my dear? Sandra nodded eagerly and waited with bated breath for the next pronouncement.

‘I see that this woman has changed her surname more than once, and I see her living in Manchester, in a house with the number 15.’

With this Madame Zoe appeared to go into a trance. Sandra looked on in concern as she desperately waited for the woman to resume her revelations. She was about to interrupt, but Zoe raised her hand in a gesture to remain silent.

Sandra couldn’t see that the mystic in front of her was consulting her hidden screen; waiting while Marjorie typed further information into the computer behind the reception desk.

Finally the silence was broken and with a smile of relief, Madame Zoe announced with a flourish.

‘Your mother’s surname is Baxter and she is looking forward to meeting you very much.’ With that she collapsed against the back of the chair, and smiling weakly at her now very emotional client, waved her away from the table.

Sandra didn’t know whether to hug or kiss this strange looking, all-seeing woman, but sensing that it would be unwelcome, she retreated through the door into the reception area. Marjorie was waiting behind the desk and while Sandra wiped her eyes and composed herself, the assistant prepared the bill for this momentous session.

Without looking at the cost, which was nearly a week’s wages, Sandra handed over her credit card and gratefully tapped in her pin number.

‘Please thank Madame Zoe for me, she is amazing, and I will pass on her information to all my friends… Thank you, thank you.’ With that the smiling girl opened the door to the shop and headed off into her future.

After making sure that Sandra had gone, Marjorie locked the door and put the closed sign up for lunch and headed back into the consulting room. There she found Zoe divested of both turban and wig with her feet up on one of the velvet chairs.

‘Well done Marjorie… all that Facebook chit chat between her and her mates was gold dust, but that was a stroke of genius hacking into the adoption agency. What a coincidence that the girl’s mother had been in touch after their letters finally reached her. The girl should get their message informing her of her mother’s name and address tomorrow and that will really seal the deal.’

Marjorie put two plates down on the table and settled herself into the vacated client’s chair. ‘It will soon be time to put our charges up Mum,’ she smiled across the table as she helped herself to a ham and cheese sandwich.

‘Once the word gets around on Facebook about this latest prediction we are going to be overrun… Tenerife here we come.’

‘Her mother laughed and then shook her head… No… I don’t think so pet… I see Hawaii in our futures.’

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK

Amazon US $4.53Amazon US

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – Yves – Be careful what you wish for! by Sally Cronin


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Yves – Be careful what you wish for!

Yves Bertrand spoke English impeccably with a sexy French accent. When romancing a beautiful woman he used anything and everything in his arsenal. He was now in his late thirties, and had spent the last twenty years acquiring an encyclopedic knowledge of the trivia of the world. The vast majority of middle-aged women that he honoured with his attention were delighted at his acerbic wit and ability to name the world’s most influential fashion designers. Not to mention his knowledge of the latest season’s ‘must have’ shoes and handbags.

The majority of the women were divorcees or widows with time on their hands and money in their accounts. Their generosity had financed his activities and allowed him to buy a spectacular villa in the Greek islands. Along with a substantial amount tucked away in off shore accounts, Yves had sufficient to fund his early retirement; which he had decided would be at the age of forty.

With only a year to go before his income would be reliant on bank interest rates; Yves decided that this summer on the French Riviera would have to be exceptionally profitable. He consulted with the various concierges of the top hotels who were on his payroll. It was money well spent and within days, Yves received a coded text message to his burner phone, indicating that there was a big fish ready to be reeled in.

A lesser man would have felt guilty about the methods used to part vulnerable older women from their cash, but Yves believed in giving value for money and his conquests seldom went away without happy memories. He had to admit however that it was becoming more difficult to play the role of amorous partner without some form of enhancement, and there were days when he wished he might retire sooner than the end of the season.

He received this particular text from the concierge at a luxuriously appointed hotel owned by a Saudi Prince, newly opened and a magnet for this season’s divorcees. The penthouse suite had been rented for a month by a mysterious guest who would be occupying the opulent accommodations on her own. This was indeed promising and Yves selected his most recent acquisition from his wardrobe; congratulating himself on his foresight in buying the expensive but eye-catching dinner jacket. An hour later and dressed to kill, Yves walked casually into the hotel’s garden restaurant and slipped the manager a suitably high valued bank note. He was whisked elegantly between the tables and the guests dipping into their caviar and duck breasts, and was seated at a table opposite a woman eating alone.

Surreptitiously, Yves peered over and around his menu at his target. She was stunning he had to admit. In her mid-forties perhaps; but possibly a little older. He would need to inspect her skin more closely to find the tell-tale signs of any cosmetic surgery. Long dark hair cascaded around her shoulders and her lightly tanned arms rested gently on the table in front of her. A waiter arrived and placed a covered plate in front of the attractive diner, and with a flourish, lifted the lid to reveal a whole lobster with a salad garnish. Delicately the woman picked up her fork and began to eat the white and succulent flesh. Yves found it very seductive and smiled to himself. Perhaps this summer was going to be more enjoyable than he had anticipated.

At that moment the woman looked up from her lobster and stared right back at Yves with stunningly green eyes, penetrating deep into his soul. He fought against the wave of desire that swept through him with devastating effect. But he was already lost, and for the first time in his life, Yves Bertrand was in love with someone other than himself.

As a waiter hovered at his shoulder to take his order, the woman lifted her hand and beckoned Yves across to join her. He rose from his chair and arriving by her side, picked up the elegantly outstretched hand, kissing the jasmine scented skin at the base of the wrist. The woman smiled at him knowingly and he pulled out the chair beside her and sat down.

He barely remembered ordering the same dish as his new conquest. He was too busy thanking his lucky stars that this last summer was going to be the most delectable of his professional career.

Three weeks later as Yves and Christina lay side by side in the palatial king-sized bed in her suite, he reflected on his good fortune. He turned his head to watch her as she slept, exhausted by his amorous skills of last night. He smiled to himself and began formulating his new plan in his head. He had discovered that Christina was the 45 year old widow of a multi-billionaire who had collapsed suddenly at the age of seventy on the golf course. Although there had been three other wives and numerous children, he had left his newly acquired wife over fifty million along with a wonderful home in Monaco. She had been devastated to lose this wonderful man after only eighteen months of marriage and she had sobbed in Yves arms as she recounted her unspeakable loss on the second night of their acquaintance.

Yves in turn had admitted to owning a stunning villa in Greece. He still felt unwilling to admit to the magnitude of his bank holdings, but hinted at a generous income from a family trust fund. This had reassured Christina that she was in the company of a man of substance; unlike some of the admirers she had encountered in the last few months. She had relaxed into a sensual and delightful relationship that she hoped would last longer than the original month she had planned on staying.

Two days before her departure back to Monaco, Yves asked Christina a question that he had sworn would not pass his lips. Her acceptance, accompanied by tears and a substantial amount of kissing, elevated his emotions to previously unimagined heights. A hurried wedding was planned, and it was decided that Christina would sell her Monaco home and they would live in the villa in Greece, until such time as they could buy a more opulent property together.

Yves could not believe his good fortune. Not only had he found a beautiful companion for his retirement, but she was bringing with her a fortune that far outstripped his own few millions.

The sun shone as the two of them left the registry office with their witnesses trailing behind. Two passing tourists had been well paid for their services and had been only too happy to accept the invitation. The jubilant couple returned to the hotel and picked up Christina’s several pieces of luggage. Within hours they were on their way to Greece and the love nest that waited for them.

Yves new wife suggested that it might be prudent for her to make a will to ensure that there be no challenge from her step-children should the unthinkable happen to her, and a local lawyer complied with her wishes. The document, leaving everything to Yves was signed and witnessed and placed in the safe of the villa. Yves at this point felt that he should of course reciprocate and detailed all his various bank accounts in his own will, leaving everything to his beautiful wife. She was grateful for his consideration, and told him how happy she was that they were so fortunate to have found each other.

The next six months were spent in blissful indolence and even the thought of selling the villa and buying another was temporarily shelved. They loved their home’s cool marble interior and the sloping garden that went down to the beach and sunlit sea. Their happiness was complete.

Then out of the blue tragedy struck. Yves was enjoying his morning swim a few hundred feet from the beach, when he felt a gripping pain in his chest and found himself unable to breathe. He lifted his hand to try and get the attention of Christina as she sat on the sand reading a book waiting for him to finish his swim. For a moment before he slipped beneath the waves, he thought he saw her smile and lift her hand to wave at him, but those images, like his last breath, were gone within seconds.

A year later when all the paperwork had been completed, Christina sat at the table on the terrace where she and Yves had enjoyed their breakfasts in the sunshine. In a metal waste bin sat a neat stack of shredded paper. Striking a match, Christina dropped it into the pile, watching it catch light. As she observed her old life go up in flames, she stroked the file of new documents in her name that gave her ownership of the villa, and the small fortune in the off shore bank accounts.

She had been down to her last 100,000 dollars when she had booked that hotel suite. But with her looks beginning to fade she knew this was probably the last summer of her professional career. There had been no husband, just a succession of much older men that she had nursed in the last years of their lives. Some had been more than generous in their wills to their devoted nurse; little knowing that their end had been hastened by rejuvenating potions. Over the years she would find new victims by spending the summer in one of the less expensive hotels along this stretch of the coast, but dining at the more luxurious accommodations. Like Yves she had paid the concierges well for their information. Most knew of Yves and his activities and suspected that he had earned substantially on the basis of their information. They also rather resented his success with the ladies and they were looking forward to him receiving some of his own medicine. And at the end of the day, a beautiful woman’s money bought a little more loyalty than his.

However, Christina regretted that the handsome and attentive Yves had to pay the ultimate price for their love. But she could not afford for him to find out that her house in Monaco and her fifty million was fictitious. He had begun to suggest that they sell this villa and go to live in tax exile in Monaco. The final nail in his coffin was his announcement two days before he died, that he had booked flights leaving in a week so that they could check out properties.

She could remain in this beautiful villa now, living in luxury for the rest of her life. She would miss Yves but knew that there were plenty of young men who would find her mature beauty alluring and possibly lucrative. She might have retired from her professional life as a nurse and murderer, but there was plenty of scope for some innocent fun.

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK

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Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – Xenia – Beloved by Sally Cronin


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Xenia – Beloved

Your name is Xenia, after your Greek grandmother, whose wrinkled complexion smelt of roses and almond oil. I remember the hot summers of our visits as we played on the rocks beneath her stone house; working up an appetite for the platters of goat’s cheese, olives and warm bread. The loaves were taken straight from the wood stove; handled carefully with well-worn hessian rags, and served up on the rough wooden table in her wild garden. I remember being fascinated by her hands as they sliced thick warm chunks with an ancient serrated bread knife. They were blackened from nearly 80 years in the sun, with dark-rimmed nails from digging into the soil for home grown vegetables.

She was still a beautiful woman, who loved to have her long black and grey hair gently brushed in the twilight; sipping delicately from her glass of rose pink wine. Happy sighs filled the scented air; encouraging continued effort. We dreaded her tears as we left to catch the ferry at the end of summer, with her whispered goodbyes and pleas for us to return again the next year, remaining in our minds for weeks afterwards.

But one summer only my father made the journey, to stay just a week to bury his beloved mother, with her silver backed hair brush and a small bottle of almond oil resting in her hands.
That was ten years ago and I have been saving up her name to give to you, my first child.

From the moment I knew that I was carrying you in my womb, I felt certain that you would be a girl and worthy of this much loved name. As the months passed, and I felt that first movement beneath my hand, I began to talk to you of your name and the woman who owned it with such grace. Sometimes when I listened to music playing softly in the background, I would feel a flutter, as if you were dancing in time to the tune. I would imagine Xenia, swaying and clapping her hands in delight, lost in the gentle songs that my father played on his guitar after our evening meal. I knew she would be so happy that I had named you after her.

My time with my grandmother was too short, but I had saved up the stories to tell you, as well as photographs we took during those summers. I would tell you those tales as we rocked, still joined together, in the chair in the newly painted nursery. I promised to show you the embarrassing snaps of your mother when a girl, dressed in her bathing suit with face filled with sticky baklava. I imagined taking you back to Greece to see where you came from, and to visit Xenia’s grave to lay some blossom, and to show her how beautiful you are. I was certain that your hair would be raven black and that you would love almonds.

Your father laughed at me as I waddled around the house in search of more feta cheese and pickled onions. He said that there must be two of you, or that you were really a big bouncing boy; destined to be a rugby player. He would lay his head on my stomach and listen to your heartbeat; loving it when you kicked against his hand. We had chosen not to know the gender of our baby. I already knew it was a girl to be called Xenia, and your father just wanted a baby who was healthy that we would love.

I knew the moment you had gone. All was still where you had been so active. I thought you must be sleeping, and lay in the hospital bed resting, waiting for that kick and ripple, telling me you wanted my attention. But the cold gel, and pressure of the machine in a doctor’s hand, broke the spell. Your father and I held each other as we cried at our loss.

The love I feel for you will not diminish or change throughout my life. It comforts me to imagine you holding the hand of your great-grandmother, as you twirl to the music of a guitar. I see you eating baklava with sticky fingers, and her washing your hands and face lovingly, with rose scented water. I know that you are safe now, and that one day, we will meet face to face, and I will recognise you as the child of my heart. One day the three of us will sit in that wild garden, and laugh in the sunshine.

My two beloved Xenias…..

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK

Amazon US $4.53: Amazon US

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – Walter – Lost and Alone by Sally Cronin


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Walter – Lost and Alone

Somebody mentioned that they had heard that his name was Walter. He was a funny old duck who said little, giving you a discouraging look if you passed the time of day, or suggested sitting with him in the pub. He would nurse his pint of beer, the only one he would have for the two hours he visited The Crown each Friday, and he spent that time staring at the door as if waiting for someone he knew.

With his scruffy appearance and lack of hygiene it was difficult to determine Walter’s age. Some said he was in his 80s but others thought he might be even older than that. He didn’t bother anyone, although the landlord would have liked a little more custom from him over the two hours. However it would not be good for business to be seen ejecting a frail old man; despite his musty odour. That was until he ambled in one day with his stick in one hand and a filthy mongrel on a lead in the other.

Bill, who had run The Crown for twenty years, didn’t have a problem with dogs coming into the public bar, but this one felt the need to cock his leg against the first table leg he came across, marking his territory. Diplomacy was required, and being the summer months, Bill suggested that Walter and his new companion take their business outside to the beer garden, where there was a very nice table facing the back door to the pub.

Walter gave Bill one of his looks and led the scruffy mongrel outside and parked himself; indicating that he required his usual pint to be brought to him. Resigned but happy that this matter had been resolved peacefully, Bill brought out the pint and commented that it was on the house. He received a curt nod in return and shaking his head in exasperation he returned to the bar where his staff were mopping up the offending yellow puddle with some bleach.

Bill was a good man and he made enquiries of other locals as to where Walter lived, and if they knew of his circumstances. It was thought that he rented a small terrace house two streets over, and some commented that they had seen him in the corner shop and post office from time to time, collecting his pension and buying a few staples such as bread and jam.

Thankfully the weather was dry for the next few weeks and Walter and his new friend would now enter the beer garden from the side; sitting at their table waiting for the requisite pint to be delivered. The old man would carefully count out some silver and copper coins to the exact amount of the pint, to indicate that he was intent on not accepting it for free.

Bill noticed a slight difference in Walter’s appearance, and in fact the dog looked a little more nourished and cleaner than during his first visits. He wondered who was having a good influence over whom in this partnership; suspecting the dog was responsible. The pub had a thriving food business and there were always scraps left after lunch. Bill began taking out a bowl of these bits of meat and vegetables; putting them down under the table much to the delight of the dog who dived right in. Walter said nothing but he did offer a brief nod before Bill returned inside to the bar.

The weather began to turn into autumn and Bill knew that it was going to start getting too cold for the old man to sit outside. And sure enough the following Friday Walter walked into the bar with his dog and sat down at his usual table. This time the dog behaved itself and lay down by his owner’s feet. By now there had been a marked improvement in the scruffiness of both man and beast and Bill resigned himself to their presence in the bar. He smiled to himself as he pulled the pint of beer, thinking that the old boy was to be admired for his tenacity and spirit.

Regulars to the bar began stopping to talk to the dog who responded politely whilst leaning back against Walter’s legs. Soon patrons were slipping the odd piece of steak or chicken to the animal who took the offered tidbit daintily, licking the proffered fingers. Although Walter had tidied himself up considerably, he still looked too scrawny, and Bill came up with a plan. As Walter was getting up to leave he handed him a carrier bag with some cartons inside.

‘Something for the old dog over the weekend Walter,’ he smiled at the stony face in front of him. ‘Just some leftovers from lunch that will only go to waste.’

With a quick nod, Walter took the bag and with the dog eagerly nosing the plastic, they walked out the door and into the wintery weather.

On the following Friday, Bill’s mother, a spritely 85 year old arrived for her annual two weekly visit. Ethel had left the town some twenty years ago to live with her sister in Margate, but she loved coming back to the pub she and her husband had run for 40 years, taking it over from her parents when they retired. The place held happy memories and apart from Bill, she had brought up four other children in the small flat above the bar. They were all dispersed around the country, but they would all take the opportunity to visit whilst she was here to have a family party.

Ethel had been born in the main bedroom upstairs along with a twin brother. He had not wanted to stay in the town or follow his father into the family business. He had chosen to leave instead. Joining the army in 1952 and being deployed to Korea shortly afterwards. As she sat on the edge of the bed in that same bedroom, she ran her fingers over the black and white photograph of the two of them sitting at a table in the back garden. Her brother Donald had a pint in front of him and his arms around her shoulders. They were laughing and playing around for the camera, a gift to their father for his birthday. That was the last time she had seen Donald. They had a few letters during the next year but they revealed little but basic daily life in the army. After the war ended in 1953 they waited to hear about his next leave but nothing arrived.

Eventually Ethel’s father contacted his regiment only to discover that Donald had received a medical discharge three months before and that they had no forwarding address.

The family had searched for him everywhere and even got a private detective involved. Eventually, after two years, they found out that he had immigrated to Australia where all efforts to find him proved futile. It broke their hearts and they spent the rest of their lives wondering what had happened to him.

Ethel sighed as she remembered those tough days. Of course so much more was known about PTSD these days, and the doctors she had spoken to felt that was probably the reason for him shunning his family. Sorrowfully she placed the photograph back on the dresser and prepared to go and greet some of the old regulars who were coming in to join her in a drink.

Sure enough, when she arrived in the bar, there was a warm welcome from her old friends. Bill looked on smiling as he saw his mother embracing the people she had grown up with and served for all those years. The door opened and in walked Walter and his dog, clearly unsettled by the crowd of people gathered in their path and the noisy celebrations going on. He looked like he was about to turn around and leave, but Bill knew that both he and the dog would probably go hungry over the weekend without their normal leftovers. He stepped out from behind the bar and circled around the group greeting his mother; clearing the path to Walter’s usual table. Hesitantly the man and dog navigated their way across the room and sat down warily; the dog leaning protectively against Walter’s leg.

At that moment the crowd parted and Bill saw his mother smiling across at the three of them. Then she grabbed the arm of one of the people next to her and looked as if she was about to faint. Bill rushed across and grabbed a bar stool for her to sit on.

‘Mum, whatever’s the matter, don’t you feel well?’ He put his arm around Ethel’s shoulders, but she pushed him gently away and pointed across the bar.

‘That’s Walter and his dog Mum, you don’t know him. He has only been coming in for the last few months.’ He followed Ethel’s gaze and was amazed to see Walter on his feet, tears pouring down his face into his newly trimmed beard.

As the crowd of people moved back, the old man with his dog at his side, walked slowly across the carpet to stand before Bill and his mother.

‘I came to see you but you had gone and I thought you were dead.’ The regulars looked at each other in astonishment at the first complete sentence they had heard from Walter.

Ethel moved away from the protective arms of her son, and reaching out a trembling hand, she gently touched the front of Walter’s wrinkled jacket.

‘Oh Donald, you have come home love, you have come home.’

©sally cronin

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK

Amazon US $4.53Amazon US

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine – Weekly Round Up – March 15th – 21st 2020 – Friendships, Sidney Bechet, Kenny Rogers, Irish Soda Bread, Reviews, books and funnies


Welcome to the weekly round up of posts that you might have missed this week on Smorgasbord.

There cannot be anyone left in the world, unless they live in remote areas without access to the Internet, that has not read all the news this week on the global pandemic.

There have been inspiring stories of those putting themselves in the path of the disease such as healthcare workers and those keeping groceries and medicines available… and the also stories of the panic buying and behaviour by some who feel their need should be put above others.

So, I am not going to comment on any of it further than to say that I hope that you are all safe, and if isolated you have family and friends who are buying your groceries and keeping in touch by phone, video links and email.

I know that it must be very challenging to have children at home full of energy, with the prospect for some of them to be off school until the end of the summer. I can recommend for the younger ones that you tune into Jennie Fitzkee’s stories on the Aqua Room channel on Youtube for some wonderful chapter books.

You can read more about it : A Jennie Story on Youtube

And here is the link to The Aqua Room where you will find Jennie’s stories plus other activities for younger children: The Aqua Room

As I mentioned here, if you are on your own or would like to chat then my email is sally.cronin@moyhill.com – Don’t feel that you are completely shut off from the world, as our community here on WordPress and social media is a way to keep connected.

Apart from writing my next books and the blog, I have been baking this week… I don’t want to take the bread off the shelves when it is in such high demand and it is only time that prevented me from making my own in the last few months.  I make Irish soda bread (also a great mix to make scones as well).. No yeast required and very easy to make, I have just updated my recipe. Irish Soda Bread or Scones

This week’s batch that will keep us going for a week at least.

I would also like to remind any authors in the Cafe and Bookstore that whilst your physical book launches are on hold, you can still have a new book promotions here and that will usually be shared by many other authors across their own networks.

All the details can be found here:Smorgasbord Cafe and Bookstore – Free Author Promotion

On a sad note the wonderful Kenny Rogers has died at age 81, of natural causes, after a full life. His songs have always been on my top ten list of country music hits and I love his collaboration with Dolly Parton for Islands in the Stream…So R.I.P Kenny, keep singing.

As always I am very grateful for those who take the time to write articles for the blog and also to you for dropping by and commenting and sharing…

This month D.G. Kaye, Debby Gies explores the complex area of friendships and how to keep them healthy.

D.G. Kaye – The Realm of Relationships – Keeping Friendships Healthy

William Price King – Sidney Bechet (1897 – 1959) – American jazz saxophonist, clarinetist, and composer

Family Saga The Memory by Judith Barrow

Two more stories from the collection

Usher – Taking things for granted.

Vanessa in a dilemma

This week for Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry No 169 – Photoprompt we are treated to an image from Padre’s Ramblings to explore..I have written a Mirror Cinquain this week.

Colleen Chesebro Tanka Tuesday Poetry No 169 – Photoprompt

A re-run of my Letters from America from two years ago – 1985 and we go to Houston for two years. I wrote home every week during our stay and after my father’s death we found a file with all the letters kept safely, with a note for me to publish..

Letters From America 1985/1987 Arrival in Houston

Smorgasbord Food Therapy – Aubergines – Don’t forget to eat your purples

The Memory by Judith Barrow on Pre-Order

Mystery In Search of McDoogal by Mae Clair

#SteamPunk – The Sensaurum and the Lexis.: A Steampunk adventure. (The Orphan Detectives Book 1) by Richard Dee

Shortstory #Horses Satin and Cinders by Jan Sikes

Coming of Age Bette A. Stevens, Writing Jane Sturgeon, Post Apocalyptic Terry Tyler

Romance P.C. Zick, Fantasy D. Wallace Peach, Dog Lovers Sue Vincent

Historical Apple Gidley, Fantasy Jack Eason, Africa Ann Patras

30 Days Wild

The Garden Watch with Jemima Pett

The delayed rewards of teaching by Pete Springer

Old English Potted Cheese

Recipe Old English Potted Cheese by The Frugal Hausfrau

Ghana 1970s aerogram with additional stamp

Long lost friends – Brendan and the Shared House by Tasker Dunham

Memoir ‘Fire!’ and separate tables! by Joy Lennick

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

More funnies from D. G. Kaye and some new material from Sally

Thank you again for dropping in when you have so much more to occupy your minds and days right now. I hope you will join me again next week… Stay Save  Sally ♥

Smorgasbord Short Stories – What’s in a Name? – Vanessa – In a Dilemma by Sally Cronin


There are names that have been passed down through thousands of years which have powerful and deep-rooted meaning to their bearers. Other names have been adopted from other languages, cultures and from the big screen. They all have one thing in common. They are with us from birth until the grave and they are how we are known to everyone that we meet.

Vanessa – In a Dilemma

Vanessa cradled the cooling mug of tea between her hands and debated getting up and putting the central heating on early. It was just after six o’clock, and having had a sleepless night, she was feeling colder than this spring morning warranted.

She was waiting for the national bulletin to finish and the local report to come on. The images from the top news story last night were still playing in her mind; as they had done as she tried to fall asleep in the early hours. She usually lay awake waiting for her son Jack to get home, but even when she heard him open the front door and creep up the stairs, she had failed to find comfort in his safe return.

The local news report began and she turned up the volume on the remote just a fraction, as she didn’t want to wake Jack yet. The announcer repeated the basic facts about the assault and murder of a fifteen year old girl; now named as Tracy Martin two nights ago. A photograph of a young beautiful girl with long blonde hair, smiling happily into the camera, flashed up on screen.

They also replayed the CCTV footage from last night of the victim in the company of a group of young people, walking through the precinct two hours before her body had been found.

This was followed by additional footage they had just received; captured an hour afterwards, showing Tracy walking arm in arm with a young male. The couple had disappeared into an alley behind a restaurant. The camera had picked up the man leaving twenty minutes later but no sign of his companion. It was impossible to see his features as his grey hoodie was pulled up over his head, but as the cameras tracked his progress along the main street, it was clear that he had a slight limp as he favoured his left leg.

As a mother she could only imagine how this young girl’s devastated parents must be feeling this morning. Since Jack’s father died ten years ago she had felt the weight of being a single parent, and the responsibility of being both mother and father. He was an only child, and she had tried to make sure that he was not spoilt, and that he understood the value of the important things in life, such as hard work, kindness and responsibility.

She felt she had done a pretty good job, and the thought of losing him was unthinkable. She played back in her mind the events of the last year, and how she had felt Jack pulling away from her. At first she had accepted that it was normal for a young man to want to distance himself from his mum, and make a life for himself with friends. But now, as she contemplated the devastating loss that this young girl’s family were facing, she knew that she had to take action.

As the report finished, with a request from the police for any witnesses to come forward with information to a dedicated incident telephone number, Vanessa put down her now cold tea, heading into the hall and up the stairs.

She pushed open the door as quietly as possible to her son’s bedroom. She could hear his steady breathing as she crossed over to stand by his bedside. At nearly twenty he still retained his boyish face, and with his blonde hair across his forehead and long eyelashes, he looked young and vulnerable. The sweet natured boy she loved so much. She sat on the chair against the wall and watched her son as he slept; seemingly oblivious to the world and its potential evil.

How many nights had the parents of Tracy Martin sat and watched their daughter sleep in an attempt to keep her safe from that same evil? She wiped the tears from her cheeks as she imagined their sorrow and anger at what had happened to their child.

Slowly she stood and crossed to the laundry basket filled to the brim with her son’s washing. She picked up his discarded sweatshirt thrown casually on the top of the other clothes and held it close to her chest inhaling his familiar scent. She replaced it on top of the basket and carried it carefully through the door; pulling it closed behind her. Satisfied that she had not woken her son, Vanessa headed downstairs, placing the washing in the hall next to Jack’s sneakers, which he had kicked off before creeping upstairs.

It was now nearly seven, and it would not be long before the houses in the street would be filled with light, as families prepared breakfast before heading out to school and to jobs. She went into the kitchen and pulled the door shut behind her; reaching for her mobile phone on the counter. She dialled the number that she had written down an hour ago, and waited for an answer at the other end.

She clung to the phone desperately and tried to find the courage that she knew she would need for the outcome of this conversation. She had been gifted this night with her son, and that was something that Tracy’s parents had not been given.

She relived the moment when she had recognised her son in the grainy video they had broadcast last night, as he had walked at the edge of the group in the precinct. She had intended to ask him about it when he woke up this morning, and to break the news to him that one of his young friends was dead.

But that was before she saw the second video of Tracy and her companion this morning, entering the alley, and then the footage of the man leaving alone and limping along the street. A limp caused by a broken leg from falling out of a tree seven years ago. An indistinct figure of a man that only a mother would recognise.

In the dark Jack had clearly not realised that his grey hoodie had several strands of long blonde hair attached to it when he threw it in the laundry basket that night, nor that his sneakers by the front door, had what looked like drops of blood across the laces.

With tears rolling down her cheeks, she realised that a man was talking to her at the other end of the line.

‘Hello, is anyone there?’

‘Yes, I have some information about the attack on Tracy Martin two nights ago.’

©Sally Cronin 2015

I hope that you have enjoyed this story and as always look forward to your feedback. Thanks Sally

You can find recent reviews for my latest release and other books: Sally’s books and reviews 2019/2020

Amazon £3.50 :Amazon UK

Amazon US $4.53: Amazon US