20 Things You Probably Don’t Know About Me…

This is a challenge. I am to write twenty things that not many people know about me. I’m thinking really hard.

Jeeez this is REALLY hard!

Watch out those of you who know me because I am going to be paying this challenge forwards after I have completed it.

Okay, this is really hard – I’m on number 13 at the moment and starting to really struggle.

There, almost two hours later and I’ve done.


  1. I am the eldest of six children – I have four brothers and a sister.
  2. I share my middle name with at least seven generations of the eldest daughter of the eldest daughter. (Ellen)
  3. I am terrified of moths. Butterflies don’t bother me at all though.
  4. I have had several miscarriages.
  5. My paternal grandmother was Romany Gypsy
  6. I am a Reiki Master/Teacher
  7. I have two eight inch scars on my tummy.
  8. I almost died at the age of 6, from peritonitis associated with accute apendicitis.
  9. When I was five, I wanted 66 babies!
  10. I have served popcorn to Mr Blobby and made candyfloss for Noel Edmonds.
  11. When I was six, I sat next to Hank Marvin for three hours and shared a bag of crisps with him.
  12. I haved lived and worked with a travelling circus.
  13. I lived in Wales from the age of seven and learned to speak Welsh fluently.
  14. I have won four prize draws from Dream100 Radio by entering online in the last three years.
  15. I design knitwear for fun.
  16. I am allergic to horsefly bites and have to have antibiotics urgently if I get bitten.
  17. I read Tarot and use Tarot cards regularly to help me with story plots.
  18. I collect crystals, rocks and semi-precious stones.
  19. I once loaned a pair of sewing scissors to a member of the Barron Knights, to trim his nose hairs before a show.
  20. I loathe cucumber and all of the cucmber family of vegetables and firmly believe they should be wiped from the face of the earth.


In the spirit of fairness, I am now paying this forward to: Hayley Hayward, Mark Gayton, Gina Dedman, Cassie Raymer and Nos Raymer. There you go guys – follow the format above and write 20 things we probably don’t know about you.

August Prompts, Day 17…Two Little Boys

Prompt of three random words from Claire Kershaw: Coleslaw, Masters, Icecream.

Okay Claire, this is the hardest prompt so far and you have really stretched my imagination to find something to write in which I can include all of your random words. As I write this intro, I am actually still searching for a thread to follow. Sometimes the only way to find that thread is to start writing and see where it goes. Among my disorganised thoughts are the kids TV programme from the eighties – He-Man and the Masters of the Universe, a Masters Degree of course but I’m trying to avoid that one if I can, The Master of Doctor Who fame and tenuous thought abour a ship’s Master. Still struggling to find something that will hang together with those though. The link I think I may be abe to do something with is the Masters, or teachers in a boarding school. Now there we go, I think I found the beginning of the thread…


 Two Little Boys

Juno and Harry stood outside the Master’s office door, waiting. Juno felt sick. He had never been sent to the Master before. He was generally an amenable lad but this time he had reached his limit. There is only so much a chap can take, and when that bastard Harry started leaving food in among his clothes, it was never going to end well.

The first time, Harry had gone to get some socks from his chest only to find an apple in the toes. That was odd, he thought, but it wasn’t malicious. He put it down to a prank and said nothing. Often the best defence in such situations is to ignore them and that’s what he did. A few days later he found cookie crumbs all over his underwear drawer in the chest. Again, he kept schtum and carried on as normal, sweeping the crums out only when he was alone in the dorm.

Eleven-year-old boys can be the most disgusting specimines of humanity, especially when they are incarcerated at close quarters as they are in a boarding school. Let loose from the confines of family life they become ferral for a while, though the Masters usually get them back into some semblance of normality fairly quickly. Harry Spears, though, ws a particularly troublesome chap and was determined to make Juno Braithwaite’s life difficult. Juno was the smallest in his year, and as they were first years, it meant he was also the smallest in the school. His unusual name also made him stand out from the crowd, so God bless the lad, he became the butt of Harry’s pestilence from the second night after they arrived at Merrington Hall Preparatory School for Boys.

Image 'borrowed' fromhttp://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/boarding-school-syndrome
Image ‘borrowed’ from http://www.vice.com/en_uk/read/boarding-school-syndrome

Their House-Master, James Gordon was young for a Master. This was his first post and as such, he had only his own memories of Merrington to inform his knowledge of the boys and how ugly things could get. His had been a fairly run-of-the-mill experience of school life with the off prank played but really, nothing of note to bog down his school days. Therefore, he was innocent in the ways of bullies like Spears. Not just innocent, but downright ignorant it seemed. He hadn’t a clue how to deal with it all, which is why Spears and Braithwaite were standing outside the Headmaster’s office, awaiting his judgement call on their behaviour. Gordon still wasn’t truly certain what had happened that morning, or who was the to blame. He just knew he wasn’t up to sorting it out – ‘Let the Master do it, that’s what he’s paid for,’ was his attitude.

When he had entered the dorm just a short while previously, the two boys were slugging it out with a large bucket of Coleslaw, lifted from the school kitchen. Handsful of the stuff were being flung across the dormitory by both boys so Gordon had no choice but to cuff both of them around the ear and send them to the Master. Spears had a look of murder in his eyes when the young teacher had grabbed him by the collar and frog marched him down the corridors. Braithwaite had protested his innocence of course, and insisted that Spears was the instigator – something about finding a bowl of melted ice-cream poured all over his blazer. Gordon had floundered, the whole episode outside of his personal sphere of experience. He shouted to both boys to desist and slammed the door shut to divert their attention for a moment so that he could gain control.

Control had to be a rather loose concept. Spears had stopped for a split second then reached down to the bucket for another handful. Gordon surprised himself with his own speed of reaction, in that he reached Spears before he could let fly and cuffed him. Braithwaite had stood open-mouthed, as if watching some slow motion replay before letting go with a muffled wailing sound. The teacher grabbed one boy in each hand and shook their collars.

‘Right-o you two heathens; off to the Master with you,’ and marched them out of the room. Glancing behind him as they went, he wondered who would end up cleaning the dorm. It already smelt pretty ripe.


Thanks to Claire for making me scratch my head on a Sunday morning. I was really getting into that story. As with the other work posted here in August, this is very much a ‘hot off the press’, first draft, with much work to be done to make it something you might actually want to continue to read.


All content is ©Copyright of Ruth Raymer 2014 and should not be copied or used in any other way without the written permission of the author.

August Prompt, Day 15…Krista

Today’s prompt is from Nia Harris who gave three random words: grandson, water, socks. Thank you Nia for the prompt.

I came up with around 400 words of an opening for a story.  I hope to be able to develop this one in the future. Krista is a gypsy woman who has been left with her grandson, Sam, after the death of his mother – her daughter. Her ingrate of a son-in-law has taken to beating his mother-in-law for fun so she has escaped with the baby and is living rough.


She sat in silence, watching the ripples as fish breached the surface of the lake. Beside her, sleeping, was a small child of not even a year old. He stirred, kicking off a thin blanket. Krista looked down at him and carefully wrapped his bare feet in the blanket again.  ‘It’s too cold to kick it off Sam,’ she said. ‘Grandma will find some socks for you before we go to bed.’

The splash of ducks landing on the lake brought her attention back to the water. The ducks were an unwelcome sight. They would be likely to drive the fish away from her line and if she and Sam were to eat this morning, she needed the catch. Krista and Sam had been living in the woods outside Kettleforth for almost two months now. Feeding just the two of them had not been difficult in the Spring but she knew it would get harder as the year progressed. She had laid small wire snares deeper in the wood catching rabbits and occasionally small vermin in them. The rabbits they ate; the vermin she cut up and used as bait to catch the trout and perch in the lake. It also meant there were a few less critters to invade their camp and steal the supplies she had been laying by.

The lake had become her favourite place in recent weeks. Ever since she and Sam had escaped, she had been there almost every day, either to fish for food or just to lay Sam on the quilt to let him kick his legs about. It was there he had first rolled over. Krista’s heart was in her mouth as she watched him throw his legs over and roll. It had been simple when he had been unable to move around on his own. From that point on she knew she would have to be on watch, all the time. Next he began to crawl on the quilt. That had been just a fortnight ago and Krista was now getting worn out with the constant vigilance required to make sure the infant did not get into danger. When her own children had been small, they had made an enclosure from willow so that they could play safely. There was no willow to be had nearby but Krista had tried with hazel, which was flexible, but the thinner branches were too short to be of much use.


All content Copyright of Ruth Raymer 2014 and not to be copied or used in any form without the written permission of the author.

August Prompt, Day 14… Gnomes and Idioms

This piece comes from a prompt by Sara Hemp who gave me the words: Amazing Spaces, Idioms, Gnomes.

I fell in love with the idea of writing as much of a story as possible using only idioms, coupled with a constraint. I used my dictionary of idioms and chose one from page 1 and then every following tenth page, so page 11, 21, 31 etc., without looking and planning, just going with whatever appeared on the page.  This is the result….


A family of gnomes who believed themselves to be above suspicion had an axe to grind againt a neighbouring family. Their actions were truly below the belt whereas the first family were not the sort to rock the boat.

One fine day, the first family – the Glawps, decided to call the bluff of the second – the Duffs. The Glawps had broad shoulders, but they were not cast in the same mould as the Duffs. Mamma Glawp knew she had to cut her coat acording to her cloth and could often be seen sitting chewing the cud of an evening, though it was often between the devil and the deep blue sea as to what she should do next. You could hear a pin drop, as it is the exception that proves the rule in many things… you could have knocked [Pappa Glawp] down with a feather when Mother Duff started to follow suit.

Mother Duff went against the grain and stood her ground, taking a hard line with the Brothers Duff. It warmed the cockles of her heart when her youngest son decided to make an honest woman of his girl. She really had hit the jackpot with that one. The other lad was a proper ladies man and would do his level best to stay as drunk as a lord day in, day out. He often made a meal of his work and could spend money like water. Father Duff said the marriage would be a nine days’ wonder and proceeded to drink one for the road as he and Mother Duff were like ships that pass in the night as he left to go back to the fields.

When Father Duff did some thinking, it was a plain as a pikestaff that Mamma Glawp was behind all of this. She had to be the prime mover. Father Duff decided it was time to read the riot act and sell [those Glawps] down the river. To rub salt in the wounds, he found out that Duff the Younger had set his cap at that Glawp girl! Mother Duff tried to convince him that silence is golden, and that after all, the girl was nowhere near as pure as the driven snow herself. It would be like trying to lock the stable door after the horse has bolted, she said to him.

This proved to be the straw that broke the camel’s back. Pappa Glawp found out that the Sword of Damacles was hanging over his family’s head. He set a thief to catch a thief and sent out his son to meet with Duff the Elder but with all that toing and froing going on all of the Duffs had decided to turn over a new leaf and wash their hands of all the trouble from the past and with the best will in the world never put another foot wrong.

Many thanks to Sara Hemp for the prompt and apologies for not using ‘Amazing Spaces’

All content Copyright Ruth Raymer and not to be used in any form without written consent of the author.

August Prompt, Day 12… Moonlight

Today’s offering comes from a prompt by Chris Wright, who suggested: Rainstorm, Barn, Rope

This has resulted in the opening 400 words of a short story. Who knows where it might lead.  Many thanks for the random words Chris.



Sasha crept through the shadows across the farmyard. She tried to keep her breathing steady but every step made that more difficult. She couldn’t hear him yet but she was pretty certain he was close. He had followed her out of the house a few minutes earlier.

The moon was enveloped in dark clouds so it gave little light on the situation, for which she was actually quite grateful. If the night had been brighter it would be doubtful she could reach safety before he caught up with her. Her heart beat like a steam piston in her chest. She had to contain the panic, rising right through her. If she made one wrong move now, that would be the end of it.

A twig snapped, somewhere behind her. It sounded close. She fought the urge to gasp. Driven by the desire to live she managed to keep moving forward. He would not get her. She would not let him make her scream in fear; she would not let him catch her. Not tonight. Not ever.

An owl flew out of the barn across the yard, giving Sasha an idea. If she could only manage to reach the barn, there would be many places she could secrete herself out of his view. If she could just reach the barn…


Looking up into the night sky, there didn’t appear to be any breaks in the cloud cover, so the moon should remain hidden, she hoped. She would still need to keep in the shadows of the other buildings and the farm’s machinery if she were to make it. Thoughts raced through her mind, barely staying long enough to register; yet still she was rooted to the spot. ‘Deep breaths, very deep breaths, then go for it,’ she said to herself. She listened, straining to receive any noise, no matter how feint. Still not certain she could hear nothing, Sasha decided that it was as good a time as any and put one foot in front of the other. The effort required for this most simple of tasks was immense. She felt as though the slight sheen of mud on the yard was a layer a foot deep. Every step was just as difficult yet somehow; she made it to the shadows of the barn door. Now she only had to get through the door unheard, unseen. She reached for the rope handle…

random thoughts from a woman searching for the meaning of life

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