Category Archives: Yarns

2204. Garden gnomes

Sadie wasn’t greatly into gardening but there was one gardening thing she couldn’t abide: gnomes.

Marilynn next door was into gnomes in a big way. She loved them, and of course Sadie to be polite would express delight upon the arrival of another new gnome in Marilynn’s garden.

Then came the moment; Marilynn gave Sadie a gnome.

“You like them so much,” said Marilyn, “that I knew you’d be delighted.”

Living next door meant there was no hiding the gnome. Sadie couldn’t install it behind the shed. The wretched monstrosity would have to sit, at least for a while, in full view.

It was a terrible, terrible shock a week later, but in some ways a relief, when Marilynn died in her sleep.

The new neighbour is into pink plastic flamingos.

2203. The lockdown

The city was about to declare another lockdown. Stephanie rushed out and bought a substantial amount of toilet paper. With three teenagers in the house, toilet paper was one thing not to run short on.

How lucky was she! She got the last packet of toilet paper in town. The shop shelves were practically empty. Stephanie felt a little triumphant!

However, her household quickly ran out of soap, and toothpaste, and kitchen detergent, and laundry detergent, and deodorant, and…

That’s when water restrictions set in.

2202. A good plumber is hard to find

Tilly had called the plumber three times. Three times apparently was not enough. The dishwasher had overflowed several times all over the kitchen floor. Tilly had to resort to doing the dishes by hand.

That’s the trouble with modern tradesmen; they don’t seem to care. They don’t seem to want to make a living. There it was in black and white in the phone book: Jeffcott and Son Ltd – You can rely on us.

Tilly had had enough. She would try them for a fourth time and if she had no luck she wouldn’t know what to do but for sure she wouldn’t be trying them again. If only there was more than one plumber in town. Not only did she phone a fourth time, but when they said they would be of no help she gave them an earful.

That’s the trouble when needing a plumber and one phones the electrician.

2201. Great Uncle Frederick’s legacy

Grover was looking forward to his great uncle dying. Great Uncle Frederick had amassed a stupendous fortune over his eighty-two years of living alone. Surely the nieces and nephews were in for a windfall.

News had come through that Great Uncle Frederick had come down with the flu. This was Grover’s opportunity to show his concern. It might be the last opportunity Grover would have to expresses his interest and care to Great Uncle Frederick. Some of the other nieces and nephews could be omitted from the will because Great Uncle Frederick’s memory was inevitably fading. It was not to be the case with Grover. Grover would remind him.

Sadly, Great Uncle Frederick recovered. There was no fortune coming Grover’s way this time, although Great Uncle Frederick did give Grover the flu.

May Grover rest in peace.

2200. I Spied: Dolly Parton

(Often on a round numbered story I deviate into non-fictional truth. What better story number than the round-figured 2200 to try a new feature? I thought for variety – at least for a time – I will each Monday introduce a famous person I have seen – albeit at a distance! Who better to start with than Dolly Parton?)

It was near Christmas in 1985. I was heading to Boston, U.S.A., to study for a Master’s degree. After a sixteen hour flight from New Zealand (including in those days a refuelling in Hawai’i) I landed in LA. I had planned several days in LA. The Travel Agency in New Zealand had told me what to do once in LA Airport. I should go out the main door and there were shuttle buses. Board such and such a bus and it will take you to your hotel.

I was clutching a fat sealed envelope from the American Embassy in Wellington, New Zealand. It contained my student visa. It was stamped with “Under no circumstances must this be opened”. Was I to be expelled before I had even arrived? Upon arrival in LA I was ushered into a small room with a counter. They took the envelope and my passport and disappeared – for three hours. I was becoming a little stressed! Someone eventually appeared, handed me my passport, and said “That’s ok”. I exited the room to a dark and almost empty airport. And… no waiting shuttle buses.

When one is younger such things don’t matter. I found a bus somewhere that took me to Anaheim. In fact, since I was the only one in the huge bus the driver took me all the way to my hotel! That was my first experience of the wonderful hospitality Americans are renowned for.

I couldn’t believe I was in a foreign country! I remember looking out the window into the night and thinking “I’m here! I’m really here!” Tired, I went to bed only to be woken by the phone ringing in my room around midnight. It was the hotel receptionist: “The women you ordered for the night has been held up and won’t be able to make it.” Pardon? “Is your name Bryce?” No, it’s Bruce. “Oh sorry.” It wasn’t to be the only time my accent caused confusion.

Over the next several days I had a fabulous time. I went to Disneyland. There was hardly anyone there and I went on every ride and everything else without once having to wait in line. In fact I went around “It’s a Small World” seven times! My favourite bit of all Disneyland was to be greeted at the entrance by the Queen of Hearts. She warmly shook my hand and then wiped her hand on her dress in utter disgust. I thought it was hilarious, and it set the tone for a brilliant day.

I visited the Spruce Goose and the Queen Mary. They were in Long Beach back in those days.

I took a tour in a Tourist Bus to Hollywood and Beverly Hills – including the Studio. Most of the names I didn’t recognize because I’m not a great celebrity person. “And there to our right is the courthouse,” said the guide. “Goodness! That’s Dolly Parton on the courthouse steps!”

And indeed it was! Our bus moved on. But I have seen that fabulously talented and generous woman…

Dolly Parton!

2199. Joyce’s pet cat

“There’s no doubt that my pet cat rules the roost,” declared Joyce from Kentucky.

“He certainly is something to crow about,” answered Maisie Fina’fi’fau’u’fi’ from Hawai’i.

“Your cat’s not chicken when it comes to sorting out who’s in charge,” expounded Angelica Angelico from Luxembourg.

“I don’t think a cat is a paltry thing,” joked Norma from Nigeria.

“It’s not only fun, but it’s so educational being on Facebook,” wrote Sheila Plonk from New South Wales.

2198. An ornate mailbox

Ruth knew exactly what to get husband Roland for Christmas: an ornate mailbox for the front gate. It would need to match all the bylaws and stipulations for local mail delivery. A flyer had arrived in the mail advertising designs. Ruth chose the mailbox shaped like a log cabin. It was quite expensive, but Roland would love it.

Roland knew exactly what to get wife Ruth for Christmas: an ornate mailbox for the front gate. It would need to match all the bylaws and stipulations for local mail delivery. A flyer had arrived in the mail advertising designs. Roland chose the mailbox shaped like a log cabin. It was quite expensive, but Ruth would love it.

2197. The treehouse

It wasn’t much fun being the only boy in a family with seven girls. For starters, the house had only one bathroom. You’d think after twelve years that Chad would be used to it. He wasn’t.

Chad decided to build himself a treehouse in an old sycamore at the back of the property. That way he could escape with his friends and have his own space.

What a magnificent treehouse it was! It could be accessed only by climbing a rope. That was something some of his sisters wouldn’t be seen dead doing.

One day he came home with two of his friends from school and there was a ladder propped up against the tree. Inside the treehouse was a pink plastic tea set.

Even though Chad had been taught at school that there was no difference these days between girls and boys, the treehouse trapdoor soon had a padlock on it

2196. Organic gardening

Esther was beside herself with excitement. Her garden had been chosen by a panel of judges to be one of only fourteen gardens in the city included in the Annual Organic Garden Tour. One of only fourteen!

The Annual Organic Garden Tour was staged every early summer. Entry to each garden was by gold coin. Esther had all of spring to prepare. She had planted all sorts of spectacular things. What a picture they were going to be! At present they were just beginning to poke their heads above the earth. Welcome to the world, O hundreds of plants!

If there was one thing that riled Esther it was her gravel driveway. It was full of weeds.

“Look,” she said to her husband Darren, “they might want organic gardens but the weeds in the gravel are a shocking sight. Can you get up early, before anyone is about, and under cover of darkness spray with weed killer? If we’re careful no one will know it’s not organic.”

“I’ve done it!” declared Darren one morning. “Those weeds will frizzle up and die. While I was at it, I sprayed all those weeds in the gardens as well. That should save you a lot of time.”

2195. I plead innocence

Sometimes, Your Honour, one gets up in the morning and one has no idea of the dramatic events that will unfold even before one has a mid-morning coffee.

Honestly, I had no idea when I got out of bed on that Thursday that I would stab my wife to death with the kitchen carving knife even before we had breakfast. Usually we do the dishes in the evening after dinner, but on this occasion the dishes weren’t done. We had had a little disagreement the night before and my wife had stormed off to the sitting room to watch some facile television program which is what she usually does. I went to the computer and looked up things about nothing. If we hadn’t had the disagreement we wouldn’t have been doing the dishes the next morning and I wouldn’t have been drying the carving knife and spontaneously plunging it into her bosom.

I’m not telling you this to get off the charge that my wife is dead, but I have no idea why such an event happened. I was going to spend the morning in the garden. She was going to town to buy a knitting pattern to make gloves for the grandchildren. And suddenly, WHAM, I had stabbed her. So it wasn’t at all premeditated. It is an unexplainable action for which I would plead leniency.

I believe the claims made by the detectives are false. Someone must have planted something. I certainly wouldn’t have typed into the search engine: What is the most effective place to stab someone dead with a carving knife?