Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – Short Story – The Thing Is… by Christine Campbell


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Author Christine Campbell has given me permission to browse her extensive archives dating back to March 2013. For Christine’s final post I am sharing a short story that she wrote after completing ‘A Story a Day’ challenge in 2013.. this one tickled me.

The Thing Is… by Christine Campbell

black lab 2

“Excuse me, Sir. I’m afraid dogs are not allowed in the park without a lead.” Donald pointed to the sign.

“Ah, yes! I see that, but you see, the thing is…”

“The thing is, Sir, that your dog is fouling on my grass. There’s a penalty for that.” The Park Keeper pointed to the relevant notice. “Unless, of course, you use a pooper-scooper and dispose of the offending mess appropriately, Sir.”

“Ah, yes! I see that too, but you see, the thing is…”

Donald reached into the pouch he wore across his body. “The thing is, Sir, that I have some plastic bags here for just such an occasion.” And he handed one over.

“Ah, yes! I see. Plastic bag. Yes.” Hugh looked at the bag as though it was from outer space. “And what exactly…?” He made a vague waving gesture with it.

“Never done this before, have we, Sir.”

“No, actually. Haven’t needed to really.”

“Ah! New to this area, are we?”

Hugh nodded, looking at the dog as it crouched on the grass adding to its offence.

“Thought so! Standards, Sir. It’s all about standards, if you don’t mind my saying so, Sir, good, old-fashioned standards.” He clasped his hands behind his back and rocked on his spread feet.

“Absolutely, old man, old-fashioned. Bit like myself, wife tells me. Reckons live in wrong century, she does. Me, that is, not…”

“And we like to keep our park up to a very high standard,” Donald continued. “Litter, dogs’ mess, ball-games, these are the things that bring a park down, you know.”

“Quite, yes. I can imagine.” Hugh wrinkled his nose in distaste. “Thing is, don’t you know…” He still held the plastic bag at arm’s length. A look of puzzlement crossed his face when he looked at it.

“If I may, Sir?” Donald took the bag from his grasp and walked across the grass to the offending pile. “Allow me to demonstrate the use of the plastic bag as a pooper-scooper,” and this he ably did. “One places one’s hand inside the bag, thus,” he demonstrated, “pick up the poop, thus,” he did, “turn the bag inside out, thus,” again, accomplished expertly, “thereby containing the mess within the bag, to be disposed of in the receptacle provided.” He indicated the bin at the end of the path.

“I say, well done!” Hugh applauded.

“Thank you, Sir.” Donald beamed. Hugh showed no sign of relieving the Park Keeper of the plastic bag of warm pooh, so Donald walked across to the bin and demonstrated how it should be deposited. “Thus!”

Hugh nodded his understanding. “Yes. Yes. Quite. Now, the thing is, you see…”

“And now, Sir. May I suggest you collect your dog and put it on its leash before any further mishap occurs?”

“Good idea! Yes. The thing is though…” Hugh raised his hands, displaying the lack of a dog leash.

“Ah, I see your problem now,” the Park Keeper nodded. With a smug smile, he reached into his pouch once more. “Fortunately, I carry this length of rope for just such an occasion.” He handed it to Hugh.

“Rope, yes, and I imagine you….” He held the rope out and wiggled it about a bit as though putting it through the dog’s collar.

“Exactly, Sir. Now, if you’d care to call the dog?”

“Yes, yes. See what you mean. Call the dog. Rover, don’t you know. Always called my dogs Rover. Ever since I was a boy. Got a puppy for my birthday.” Hugh smiled at the memory of waking to the warm, wet nose snuffling round his face. He’d wanted a dog so much, hadn’t dared to hope his mother would let him have one of his very own. He’d called him Rover, unable to think of a more original name. Continued to call it Rover even after realising, or, rather, being told, he was a she. “Old-fashioned now, I suppose. The name, I mean. Rover. Still, Mumsie has kept up the tradition, don’t you know.”

“Yes, Sir.”

“No matter. You see, the thing is…”

“If you’d care to call the dog, Sir?” Donald was getting edgy. This particular dog had been irritating him, on and off, for days now. Never on a leash, trotting about as if it owned the park, cocking its leg where it would, digging in the flower beds. Donald had chased it from his roses on several occasions, been tempted to raise his boot to it, but decided that was beneath his dignity. Besides, it would be typical if the owner chose that very moment to appear. He could do without the trouble that might cause.

But he had been watching out for the dog’s owner and was pleased to have the opportunity to make clear the park rules concerning animals. “If you wouldn’t mind, Sir?” The dog was perilously close to a beautiful display of azaleas. In fact he was beginning to dig around them.

Hugh looked doubtful, but reluctantly co-operated with the request. “Rover! Erm, Rover!” He called self-consciously and ineffectually.

The Park Keeper smiled and nodded his encouragement.

Hugh tried again. “I say Rover, old boy, do come over here!” He tapped the rope against his leg.

The dog, a large black Labrador, disdained to ‘come over ‘ anywhere, but began digging in earnest, putting the azaleas in serious jeopardy now.

Hugh pursed his lips and attempted to whistle, not something he was ever good at, but something he always believed he would someday be able to do. He felt it was a requirement of a dog owner and had sought to perfect the technique since being given the first puppy, also a black lab as it happened.

The sound that came from his lips was thin and frail and the dog could be excused for ignoring it.

Hugh called again. The dog dug on. The azaleas toppled in the dirt.

“Not well trained,” Donald remarked through gritted teeth, “If you don’t mind my saying so, Sir,” he said.

“No. No!” Hugh was eager to reassure the park keeper. “I don’t mind at all. Completely in agreement on that point. Has a will of his own, don’t you know.”

“Do you mind if I?” The Park Keeper indicated his willingness to help round up the dog.

“Not at all,” Hugh said earnestly. “Be my guest.” And he handed over the coiled rope.

“May I suggest, Sir, that you go round that way?” Donald indicted one side of the shrubbery. “While I advance from this direction. That way we can perhaps cut off his escape.”

“By all means,” Hugh acquiesced.

Labrador Retrievers are not, by nature, difficult dogs as a rule and Rover proved true to his breed, allowing himself to be rounded up and captured without much protest after a playful romp through the plants.

“Firmness, you see, Sir,” Donald said with due pride. “They respond to firmness. Firmness of voice. You have to let them know who’s in charge.” He pulled sharply on the rope, bringing the dog to ‘heel’.

“Yes, absolutely. Yes. I see that. Thank you. Well done. Most impressive.” Hugh knew it was true, and Mumsie had often tried to goad him into being his dog’s master rather than its playmate. The role had never suited him and none of the dogs he’d owned over the years had been fooled by any attempts on his part to play it.

The Park Keeper dusted down his much-prized uniform jacket and stood tall. “And now, Sir, if you’d be so good as to remove the animal from the vicinity.” He handed the rope to Hugh. “I’ll tidy up round the azaleas.”

“Yes. Yes. The thing is, you see…”

But the Park Keeper was no longer listening. As far as he was concerned, the matter was satisfactorily concluded. Just the garden to put in order with some urgency.

The park had won prizes for its gardens. Every season, Donald set out the appropriate plants, displaying them to perfection, creating a riot of colour in summer, a mellow glow in autumn. The freshness of spring was captured in his snowdrop glades and daffodil clusters. Even winter presented him with a challenge he met triumphantly, nurturing trees and shrubs that enjoyed the cooler days and kept some colour.

He set off to his hut to fetch his tools.

When he returned, he was surprised to find Hugh still there, sitting on a bench, the dog far off, digging again at the same spot, azaleas torn and scattered between its paws like discarded toys.

The Park Keeper took a deep breath and bore down on Hugh. This man was trying his patience almost as much as his dog had for days. Donald prided himself on his patience: patience and forbearance, these were the qualities he admired in a man of authority such as himself. Patience, forbearance and civility. He would not be provoked into any conduct contrary to his code.

“Ahem!” he coughed. “Excuse me again, Sir.”

“Oh, hello!” Hugh smiled. “Waiting,” he explained. “Waiting for my wife.” He looked at his watch. “Late!” He pulled a tolerant face.

“The dog, sir?”

“Yes, yes.” Hugh looked round, tutting at the havoc the dog was wreaking in the meticulously planted flower bed. “Bit of a rascal, isn’t he.”

“I did mention before, Sir, the necessity of a leash?”

“Absolutely!” Hugh raised his hand, still clutching the rope. “You see, the thing is… ”

The Park Keeper’s eyes followed the length of rope as it snaked across the grass all the way to the dog’s collar. “Ah, yes. I see. Not quite the spirit of the injunction, may I say, Sir?”

“Well, I must say,” Hugh said as he stood up. “It’s been very nice speaking with you, quite, you know, quite, well, quite educational, in fact.” He waved to Sandra, before turning back to Donald. “Bit of a lesson in dog-handling, don’t you know. But now, I see my wife coming. So, if you don’t mind.” He handed the rope to the Park Keeper. “You see, the thing is, at this point in time, I don’t actually have a dog!”

©Christine Campbell 2016
A selection of books by Christine Campbell.

One of the recent reviews for A Mountain of Memories

Part history lesson, part mystery, part romance with a dose of psychology, A Mountain of Memories is captivating from the moment the reader meets Caitlin. Through a series of twists and turns in present time, to flashbacks of terrifying events, and a view into early 20th century rural Scotland, the author tells a story that begs to be read in a single setting.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

Read more reviews and follow Christine on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7126731.Christine_Campbell

About Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell lives in a small village outside of Edinburgh with her husband, whatever assortment of children and grandchildren happen to be visiting at the time, and awaiting her first great-granddaughter. How exciting is that?

When she has a moment of peace, and is not distracted by the varied wildlife currently taking up residence in her garden and the field beyond, Christine writes novels or posts on her blog at cicampbellblog.wordpress.com as well as producing occasional videos about her writing on her Facebook page and YouTube.

So busy, busy, busy writing for your pleasure and hers – because, let’s face it, writing is fun!

Connect to Christine

Blog : http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/WriteWhereYouAre
Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/Cic1947
Twitter : https://twitter.com/Campbama
Instagram : https://instagram.com/christine_writes/

My thanks to Christine for permitting me to browse her archives and I hope you will head over to her blog and do some browsing of your own..

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #PotLuck – #Poetry – Summer Sunshine by Christine Campbell


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Author Christine Campbell has given me permission to browse her extensive archives dating back to March 2013. This week I am sharing a poem and an image that hopefully those of us enjoying wet and stormy weather can look forward to. And also a reminder to smile at the next person that you pass by….

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Summer Sunshine by Christine Campbell

Summer sunshine
Peace and laughter
Happiness
Is all I’m after.

If you see me
Stop and wonder
Don’t pass by
Face like thunder.

To hold you up
Is not my plot
Stop and look
At what I’ve got.

A wond’rous view
A pretty flower
Perhaps even
A meteor shower.

The point I’m making
Is not so hard
Relax and rest
Let down your guard.

Summer sunshine
A wond’rous view
Happiness
Can be for you.

©Christine Campbell 2014

A selection of books by Christine Campbell.

One of the recent reviews for A Mountain of Memories

Part history lesson, part mystery, part romance with a dose of psychology, A Mountain of Memories is captivating from the moment the reader meets Caitlin. Through a series of twists and turns in present time, to flashbacks of terrifying events, and a view into early 20th century rural Scotland, the author tells a story that begs to be read in a single setting.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

Read more reviews and follow Christine on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7126731.Christine_Campbell

About Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell lives in a small village outside of Edinburgh with her husband, whatever assortment of children and grandchildren happen to be visiting at the time, and awaiting her first great-granddaughter. How exciting is that?

When she has a moment of peace, and is not distracted by the varied wildlife currently taking up residence in her garden and the field beyond, Christine writes novels or posts on her blog at cicampbellblog.wordpress.com as well as producing occasional videos about her writing on her Facebook page and YouTube.

So busy, busy, busy writing for your pleasure and hers – because, let’s face it, writing is fun!

Connect to Christine

Blog : http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/WriteWhereYouAre
Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/Cic1947
Twitter : https://twitter.com/Campbama
Instagram : https://instagram.com/christine_writes/

My thanks to Christine for permitting me to browse her archives and I hope you will head over to her blog and do some browsing of your own..

Smorgasbord Posts from Your Archives – #Crafting Memories by Christine Campbell.


Welcome to the series of Posts from Your Archives, where bloggers put their trust in me. In this series, I dive into a blogger’s archives and select four posts to share here to my audience.

If you would like to know how it works here is the original post: https://smorgasbordinvitation.wordpress.com/2019/04/28/smorgasbord-posts-from-your-archives-newseries-pot-luck-and-do-you-trust-me/

Author Christine Campbell has given me permission to browse her extensive archives dating back to March 2013… and the first post I have selected is from May 2013… and is about crafting, and in particular those delicate handkerchiefs that have been usurped by the paper tissue in many of our homes….

Crafting Memories by Christine Campbell.

When I was a wee girl…as opposed to the wee wuman I am now…I loved playing ‘shops’, like most wee girls, I suppose. I particularly liked playing at ‘department store’, ‘shoe department’ being one favourite. We didn’t have a lot of toys back then. Let’s face it, we didn’t have a lot of anything in the late forties: the post WW2 era. Family & friends used to keep any old shoe boxes they came across and they would be my ‘toys’. I loved stacking them up and my imaginary customers always seemed to need the bottom box opened. I became very skilled at sliding that box out from under the stack, leaving the perilous pile standing undisturbed.

No such things as Kleenex back then, we used real cotton handkerchiefs: monogrammed for the more fortunate gentlemen, prettily embroidered or lace-edged for the lucky ladies. Beautiful boxed sets of ladies hankies became THE gift for every occasion. These boxes of handkerchiefs were my absolute favourite things in all the world! The best handkerchiefs were not to be used. That would be sacrilege! How could one possibly blow a snotty nose on fine lace or delicate embroidery? And the boxes! Oh! The boxes! Perfect, uniform, flat, square boxes: eminently stackable! I hoarded them, squirrel-like under my bed, to be pulled out and played with when graceful retreat from trouble was the expedient thing to manoeuvre: I was constantly in trouble, usually inadvertently.

Begged, borrowed but never stolen, my hoard grew. The shoe boxes became houses, wardrobes, beds and tables for my doll. The handkerchief boxes, the dream stock for the shop she browsed in. Most precious of all were the boxes that still contained their precious pearls: handkerchiefs deemed useless by dint of their frills and frippery. Aunts and cousins, neighbours and friends threw their unwanted gifts my way. Unwanted! Unwanted! Never by me. I tenderly took out the pins that pinioned the handkerchiefs in place in intricate pattern in the box, washed them in the bathroom sink, cajoled Mum into ironing them for me, then refolded them as I desired. They were handled and fondled, held and admired on a daily basis, and they tenderly mopped up many silent tears as I licked my emotional wounds.

When I married, the boxes didn’t make it to my new home. The handkerchiefs did. For many years, they rested in a drawer; shown to children and grandchildren very occasionally, still loved by me. I don’t recall what gave me the idea to mount a few of them in collage form. I had made a few collages of other craft materials and bits and pieces of lace and ribbon and hung them in my room.

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When I realised how much pleasure it gave me to see my handiwork each time I entered my room, something clicked. My childhood treasure could give me pleasure that way too. It had brought me comfort through painful years, perhaps it could bring me joy through the remaining ones. I didn’t use all the treasured store. I might yet, but, at the moment, I lack the wall space…and I doubt they’d seem appropriate among the decor in other rooms. They belong in mine. Once more, I washed the handkerchiefs, this time it was I who ironed them, and folded and refolded till I found displays that pleased me.

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I make no claim to being artistically gifted: these treasures may not be displayed to best advantage. But, what they represent is history: a glimpse of my history, my comfort.

I share because I trust you to be kind…and we all need to know we can leave a little of ourselves behind.

©Christine Campbell 2013

Here is the latest release by Christine CampbellA Mountain of Memories.

About A Mountain of Memories

A childhood trip from Edinburgh to explore Caitlin’s family’s history results in tragedy on a mountainside above the village of Kinlochleven.

As an adult she is still affected by the events that took place there, though most of her memories of that day were lost as a result of its trauma.

Over a century earlier, Caitlin’s great-great grandmother, Mhairi, watched the village of Kinlochleven being born, suffering through its birth pangs. Caitlin and Mhairi’s lives are linked by their common heritage, and as their stories become intertwined, Caitlin is drawn back to the question that has haunted her for eleven years.

What really happened on that mountainside?

A historic story folded into a contemporary story, the two linked by family, location and events.

One of the early reviews for A Mountain of Memories

Part history lesson, part mystery, part romance with a dose of psychology, A Mountain of Memories is captivating from the moment the reader meets Caitlin. Through a series of twists and turns in present time, to flashbacks of terrifying events, and a view into early 20th century rural Scotland, the author tells a story that begs to be read in a single setting.

Head over and buy the book: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Mountain-Memories-Christine-Campbell-ebook/dp/B07PJ1JFYF

And on Amazon US: https://www.amazon.com/gp/product/B07PJ1JFYF

A selection of other books by Christine Campbell.

Read all the reviews and buy the books: https://www.amazon.com/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

And Amazon UK: https://www.amazon.co.uk/Christine-Campbell/e/B00BRGC0C2

Read more reviews and follow Christine on Goodreads: http://www.goodreads.com/author/show/7126731.Christine_Campbell

About Christine Campbell

Christine Campbell lives in a small village outside of Edinburgh with her husband, whatever assortment of children and grandchildren happen to be visiting at the time, and awaiting her first great-granddaughter. How exciting is that?

When she has a moment of peace, and is not distracted by the varied wildlife currently taking up residence in her garden and the field beyond, Christine writes novels or posts on her blog at cicampbellblog.wordpress.com as well as producing occasional videos about her writing on her Facebook page and YouTube.

She is currently working on her ninth novel, Gold Plated, as well as researching for her tenth. So busy, busy, busy writing for your pleasure and hers – because, let’s face it, writing is fun!

You can find all her novels, in paperback or ebook, here on Amazon.

Connect to Christine

Blog : http://cicampbellblog.wordpress.com
Facebook : https://www.facebook.com/WriteWhereYouAre
Goodreads : https://www.goodreads.com/Cic1947
Twitter : https://twitter.com/Campbama
Instagram : https://instagram.com/christine_writes/

Have you got some treasures from your past that you have kept and displayed?…

My thanks to Christine for allowing me to share hers, and more from her next week.