The Half Eaten Brioche – August 8, 2014

Photo Credits - Leanne Cole

Photo Credits – Leanne Cole

The Half Eaten Brioche
Sitting at the breakfast table, I took off my glasses thinking about what had happened yesterday.

Everything had seemed so normal, nothing outstanding that could have been a harbinger of future events. Just morning coffee and a brioche as usual.  I finished breakfast then walked downtown to work off some of my winter fat. Then to the bank to make some payments I didn’t want to do on-line. It was whilst I was sitting reading the paper waiting my turn, that the man came in.

He looked quite distinguished. Perhaps in his early fifties with a well kept beard and salt and pepper hair. He wore an expensive suit and his hands were well manicured. I have a weakness for hands and they’re often the first thing I spot in a man, after noting if he wears a beard or not.

He looked nervous, in fact, vaguely panicky. It wasn’t anything really up front, just an undercurrent.

The bank manager came out of his office and greeted the gentleman, solemnly. They hadn’t closed the door properly and we could all hear the rumble of their voices growing steadily louder. It seems that the gentleman couldn’t keep up the payments with his loan. He remonstrated, then cajoled the finally began to shout. Everyone looked somewhere else, embarrassed for the man who was obviously about to be financially ruined. Then, we heard a loud explosion followed by another.

We all ran towards the door, someone pulled out their iPhone and started taking pictures. There in the office lie the manager, blood on his white silk shirt. The gentleman now had a gaping wound for a face.

I sat here this morning with my brioche and coffee, reading the article of what was behind the tragedy in morning paper. The crisis … he had a construction firm and his clients, a public administration, weren’t paying the work he’d done for them. He still had to pay his workers, his suppliers and the bank though. Just another story of the economical crunch. I lost my appetite.


Note: In Italy over the past few years something similar has happened and not just once or twice.  The only difference is that the person who’s being financially ruined doesn’t take the bank manager with him. So this is based on a reality with a little fiction thrown in.

The Gothic Beauty


When Caesar my partner, who happens to be a cat and I drove up to the great brick building we saw the girl at the window and knew we were at the right place.

“Crystal Payne Spirit Investigations” I’d replied concisely when my phone had rung earlier that day.

“I’m Julian Lastranger and I need your assistance at once!” said a soave gentleman’s voice.  He seemed to have a slight Australian accent and was strangely not at all perturbed.  I’d heard his name before … it was all the news back then.  You might say he was a spook who’d become famous by exposing skeletons in famous people’s closets.  Of course, if he was calling me at this number he needed my assistance, that goes without saying, as this number is not only unlisted but nonexistent for all intents and purposes!

“Could you give me a brief outline of your problem?”

“Well, last winter I bought a house in Australia, then had it dismantled and shipped here to the United States.  All the furniture was included so I could reconstruct the building and furnish it in all it’s glorious Gothic beauty. However, it seems that now I have a ghost and she’s really very upsetting, she howls constantly! A ghost was not part of the bargain by the way.”

I wondered if he’d ever read the “Canterville Ghost” but said: “I understand sir, could you give me the address, I’ll be there in the morning.”

“Excuse me, but couldn’t you come around now.  I mean, she’s present at night but sleeps in, or whatever, in the morning.”

So, here we were in front of his “glorious Gothic beauty” and there she was at the window.

I grabbed my bag from the trunk and Caesar went boldly for the front door.  He was in a feisty mood and meowed imperiously at the front door to be let in.  I got my camomile candle lit just as the door opened.

Before us stood what looked to be an English butler right out of a Victorian novel.  You know what I mean, as rigid as though he had a pole up his backside, a dead-pan face the works!  But  looking closer, I noticed that he was a she!

“You rang? Whom may I say is calling?” she intoned in the most classic voice of a female Jeeves that I’d ever heard, a few octaves too high of her male counterpart.

“Ah let off Murphy!” shouted a voice from inside the house as we heard a tick tick ticking on the hard-wood floor coming towards the door.

The butler looked disappointed and in a broad Bronx’s accent  went off mumbling to herself.

“Hello, I’m Julian Lastranger, but you can call me Bill.” he said.

He wasn’t what I’d imagined.  He was about 5″ foot 8″ with steel-blue eyes, long straggly grey hair, very thin.  He wore a t-shirt that read “Keep abreast of the news!” across the front of it  and as I saw whilst he led us up the staircase, “Have you backed it up!” on the back.  He had a can of beer in his hands, which despite his calm demeanor shook.

OOOOOOOOOooooooooooooooooooooooooooooo! came a moaning sound from the second floor.

“There! She’s off again! This will go on all night long!  I can’t stand it any more!” the poor man’s voice trembled.

Caesar went straight to a door and hissed … the door flew open of course.  There in the middle of the room was an elegantly attired young woman.  She’s must have been 20 when she’d passed.

“Right,” I said, “Take these leaves into the kitchen and boil them in about a liter of water, 5 minutes I think should do it.  Then you and Murphy come back up with the pot and three cups.  By the way, are there any other people in the house?”

“No, just us.”

“Good … Well off with pop then.” I shooed him away.

Looking at the ghost I told her who I was and asked her name.

“I’m Mary-Ann Faithless. This is my house and that, that creature stole it!” she howled.

Caesar went up to her purring, the rubbed across her legs, his tail straight up like an exclamation point!

“Oh! What a sweet kitty.” she cooed and picked him up.  Caesar often had that effect on ghosts.  One of his greatest talents was to be able to sooth irate spirits..

“My heaven’s! But I’m able to hold him!” she said.  That was another of his qualities.

“Miss Faithless, could you please tell us what the problem is?”

“It’s that monster!  He’s a crass, eavesdropping, womanizing wombat … he’s a …” as the epitaphs grew so did her chagrin. “And he stole my house!  It’s been awful.  One moment I was minding my business and the next I found myself in a sort of limbo then in this, this  horrid country!”

I could completely empathize with her feelings.  It seems she’d been a quiet soul and the former owners had never known of her existence.  So technically, she’d not been part of the bargain when Lastranger had bought the house.  On the other hand, he’d never informed the former proprietors that he’d be taking the house and furniture away from Australia.

Murphy and Lastranger came into the room at that point with the tray.  I had Murphy place the tray on the table and invited all three of them to sit down and with Caesar’s assistance I drew a pentagram around where they were sitting and lit a camomile candle for each of the points of the star-like diagram. I then invited them to drink a cup of the liquid I’d had prepared.

At this point it was easy to get them to tell each other what the problem seemed to be from their point of view.  Dialogue is so important in these cases.

The conversation went on until midnight and finally they were able come to an understanding.  Lastranger apologized for his tactlessness in moving the house without informing the former proprietors, and thus Miss Faithless of his intentions. Miss Faithless, now admitted  that the climate was by far better than where the house had been in Australia and admitted that she really quite enjoyed the new setting … there was a lovely English garden around the house now whereas before there had only been scrub land.  She’d basically been put off by the sudden dislocation of her spirit during the transfer.  Murphy just drank without saying a word.  She’d never had problems with Miss Faithless’ howling anyway.

I erased the pentagram.  Miss Faithless was chattering away amiably with Lastranger as I walked out the room with Murphy, who paid my bill without a blink.

“By the way ma’am, what was that concoction you had me brew.”

“Why tea of course.  There’s nothing like a cup of that congenial beverage to create friendship.  This is my own special blend. Kukicha and Houjicha.” I gave her a bag of my special mixture as I left saying, “If there are any further problems, just make them a cuppa!”

Inspiring Quiet Thursday – Leanne Cole Photography

A Photo That Inspires – Leanne Cole – June 20, 2014

(c) Leanne Cole

(c) Leanne Cole

The Bench

Years past, bushes and undergrowth grew ever higher in the abandoned garden.  Once so full of sun-shine and summer glow, now the pathway seems to go through a mysterious forest, something you might have read about in a fantasy novel. Continue reading

The Vacation – Short Fiction

© Leanne Cole

© Leanne Cole

Walking down the pier that night, the moon shone brightly giving off a hazy glow.  Michael and Gloria looked over the water, hand in hand, thinking of the wonderful day that they’d just enjoyed.

“When do you have to return home?” he asked her.

“Next week.  School opens on the 11th.” she sighed.

Silence fell between them.  They’d just met two days before and already they had to contemplate separation.

“It’s not as though we won’t be able to talk to each other…” he said, “I’ll configure your computer with my Skype address.”

“I know, but, keeping a relationship up long distance…”

“It’s been done before.”

The days passed quickly, then came their last evening together.  The moon no longer shone over the bay.  The stars twinkled brightly that evening as they walked along the pier.  Then they embraced and a tear rolled down her cheek.  they walked back to her hotel, Micheal came up to her room and they consumed for the last time, their love for one another.

He took her to the airport the next morning.  Summer was over for Gloria.  He watched sadly as the plane took off.  Then watched as a ne plane landed.  He stood near the exit terminal.

Mary walked through the sliding doors and when she saw Micheal a big smile came across her face.

“Oh Micheal dear, how much I’ve missed you!” she said as she threw herself into his arms, “Did you miss me too?”

“Ah Mary, life just isn’t the same without you!” he replied.

Written for: From a Photo Story Prompt #3 We Drink Because We’re Poets from a Photo by Leanne Cole.


A Birthday Poem

Local disused church – Woomelang, Australia

Local disused church – Woomelang, Australia

 Faithfully standing,
leaning and swaying a bit.

In need of a mending…
yes, a bit dilapidated,
in ruin and corrugated.

a symbol of belief,
carefully cultivated,
in a distant youth
with glorious
song and pomp!

Now just memories
in need of a
patching up
or a conversion.

Some bright new idea,
an inspiration,
would lend new energy
and purposeful meaning
to your life.

Here’s to you, my friend
who’s celebrated
your 72nd year
of life.

I wrote this poem today for Pixelventures’ thanks to Leanne Cole‘s lovely photograph of this disused church in Woomalang, Australia.

I’m not sure why an old church should remind me of a person, or vice-versa…but somehow it does.  Perhaps because this person was particularly dogmatic in his beliefs, sure in his purpose, with nary a doubt; what in Italy we call a 68er.  Best wishes in anycase.

Sunday Painting the Town Red! Saint Louis Mo U.S.A.


Today to paint the town red, I chose St. Louis Missouri.  The photo was taken during my trip to visit my sister back in September of 2010.  I took the original and processed it 4 times collaging it three on a texture that Leanne Cole had donated to Public Domain Tectures a great new blog created by Joseph Thomas to allow photographers to use the great textures that are donated to his blog to creatie new extraordinary compositions!  I took Leanne’s texture and then tinted it red and made it the background for the original collage.

Here are the two original photos:

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Sunday morning game
creating red towns for play
Leanne and Joseph, thanks!

Have a great Sunday!

Just A Note: Monday 8th of July

Hello World!


Well, to say it was a busy week would be understating the case!  There has been so many things going on that it almost seems like a year has come and gone.


This week I was nominated for the Semper Fidelus award by Petitemagique who also wrote a Haiga for me!

Here’s the award: And here is the Haiga:

georgiaThank you very much Patty!  Bastet has never looked better! 🙂

I’d like to nominate in this occasion all those glorious bloggers who have blogged through thick and thin and are still here to tell their tales!

Blogging World:

Which leads me right into the Blogging World!

There’s a new blog in the world (well probably oodles of new blogs in the world actually) and it’s been opened by The Cranky Caregiver!  She’s become a published author folks and to celebrate, she went and opened a new blog!  Poor Mrs. Gulch though, her old avatar, found herself ousted our, rather unceremoniously…well not really.  What happened is that it seems one can’t have two different avatars…so as Mrs. M.E. McMahon had to have (heaven’s forbid!) a real life photo for her more serious blog…out went Mrs. Gulch!  Here’s the story and the follow-up is on her next page…lovingly funny as always!  Her new Blog is called: A Dream Come True…by the way the second link will take you not only to her blog but to the story she dedicated to me!  😉

Over at my favorite pub, We Drink Because We’re Poets Lilith began writing her bi-weekly feature dedicated to music!  Her posts are on Tuesday and Thursday, the second being a prompt dedicated to the musical artist she introduces on Tuesday.  This week we met a Japanese artist, Miyavi whom she describes as “Guitar Samurai”  go have a look!

Yesterday I reblogged two posts that I feel are important to us all…the first is entitled:  Hello? I have posted. Is anyone out there? from my thoughts on a page…a great poem, it’s theme…well read it and you’ll quickly see, I’ll give you a hint…read the title 🙂

The second is on a different note, it’s entitled: 10 ways to tell if you are writing with confidence from Writers Write. Take a look, it’s very interesting.

Bastet and Photography:

Well…now I’ve been experimenting with what I can do with Picasa 3 ™ trying to do new things with photos.

Just let me say here, photography is not my chosen artistic medium, I like to take pictures, I like to fool around with them, I like to use them with my poems and stories, and now I try to challenge people into creating and maybe using their own photos with their work! Ergo I work with the We Drink Because We’re Poets as their “photo editor” putting out a weekly challenge and writing an article about photographers or photography.

In order to do that, as I said I’ve been experimenting.  First of all, I started using the “Gallery” option from the “Add Media”…and found that I like how the slide shows work when adding multiple photos, for example when I participate in the Daily Prompt Weekly Photo Challenge or when I do my weekly Sunday Walk.

I did my first collage this week too with Picasa 3 ™ … and wrote a post showing each passage I did to get the end photo…not an exceptional work of art, but it has an interesting potential for future use I think…

I learned about Haiga from Sahm King from the Arkside of Thought…he loves this form of art and has tried his hand at it from time to time with pretty awesome results. This is one of the things he liked about the photographic element over at We Drink.  On Saturday, I made my first attempts at Haiga…I posted my first attempt called Haiga: Embrace asking for feedback from the readers and some actually gave me that needed feedback!  Permitting me to make a second and finally third Haiga, until I came up with the two final posts: Haiga: Water Lily  and Haiga: Wisteria. I’ve discovered I’ve mixed feelings about Haiga, you need a particular sort of photo in order to come up with something really awesome…so I’m thinking I won’t be doing too much of that sort of thing, unless I find something really inspiring, one should never burns bridges!  I don’t mind pictures with my Haiku and Senryu (another term learnt from Sahm King) but I’m not sure I want them superimposed…

Now apart from the results…which do not completely satisfy me, as I think you gathered, another thing popped up…I discovered that I want to learn more about the WordPress editor…for this particular experiment it would have been a good thing to be able to use the “poll option” for example.

Bastet also published her first Trilogy…shades of Tolkien here, people!  It is a series of three poem to three different elaborations of a photo I did last week while experimenting (hell I’m using that word a lot recently!).  I called it:  The Desert Water Lily Pond!

I also published an article about the great and only Leanne Cole…I can’t say that I really wrote it as most of the stuff in the article are things she herself wrote and permitted me to publish on the We Drink blog…let’s say I retooled and edited it with some of my own comments thrown in for good measure… 🙂

Stats and all that Jazz:

A couple of weeks ago…I got 202 views, that was in my 21st week of blogging and that week I received 901 views from 297 visitors…wow I said…and then the views plummeted or so it seemed.  In fact, the next week, I was away from home and Sekhmet (my main computer) alas, my daily views dropped down from that 202 top to 50.  I couldn’t post very often and I couldn’t comment my reader.

Bastet and Sekhmet now has over 430 followers…but readers…ah, there’s the rub says the Bard…there are about maybe less than 30 regular daily readers, they are the “Semper Fidelus” to whom I referred to above.  Many have never said a word to me…they just read and like what Bastet does.  Others comment and give encouragement.  They’re all great people and I love to see them in whatever way they choose to visit!

We WordPress bloggers have a thing for stats…it can become a really painful experience if we’re writing for stats.  Bastet’s opinion is:  don’t get caught up in the stat’s game…it does nothing for your blogging nor does it do much for self-esteem.  Mirrors are a fine thing…but I think you should take them in small doses…expecially at my age!  Just do what you do to the best of your ability…and be happy and serene knowing that you’ve done a great job.


On this note…hopefully uplifting and wise coming as it does from the Akashic library…you all have a wonderful week and keep on blogging!
/ \

hmmm…i’m a bit fragmented here…

Free Verse: A Ladder to the Sky

Leanne Cole in her post yesterday, had a delightful suggestion: “After my post last week quite a few suggested the idea of doing some fairy tales, or writing short stories to go with the images.  I am also open to the idea of poems as well.  I know that a lot of writers follow my blog, so how about you go through the photos that I have posted from the bluestone that belongs to Deaf Children Australia and write something in response to what you see?”

So I thought I’d have a go this morning with a short poem that came to mind when I saw this photograph…I hope you and she enjoy it!  (I’d like to try a story in the near future…these photos are really a treasure trove of inspiration!)

A ladder to the Sky

Once upon a dreary life

I walked among the forest deep

Not knowing what to seek

Not knowing where to look

Lost by the call of Lorelei…

Then came to me a dream of light

A ladder to the sky

And swelled then in my heart a thought

Of where I should have been.

So left I then the weary path

To seek a different view

Came then I upon a special day…

Of sun and brilliant yellow hue.

And found I there a ladder, but noted

A barrier there seemed to be

A hatch impossible to open

But then I found the key,  and the key was me.

Of sunny days and darkest night

All paths we travel differently

Each one to choose sometimes with delight

Sometimes with terror sometimes with fright.

No path is ever better

No path is ever perfect

Each child of Earth must wander

Each one of us must search

Until we find our intended goal

And what we should have learned.

Then, when we come to journey’s end

I wish that we might say with a happy sigh

I walked upon this Earth my friends

Oh what a delight it was.