Tuesday, 28 October 2014

Hilary’s Who Done It – the answer …

Note the possible murderous characters: those in the post’s story, and at the Cluedo mansion …
This could be a Cluedo mansion

The setting:  the Cluedo mansion, an estate with industrial units and a Gatehouse.

Remember death came via the possibilities within the game of Cluedo.

A gatehouse

Nine words needed to be used in the original telling of the story see link to post above

Who did do it …

Mr Marchant, the old boy from the Gatehouse, seemed to be around rather more than necessary asking the Cluedo mansion residents more questions than they felt were necessary; 

... they noticed that he too was in and out of the industrial units questioning all and sundry about Timothy’s unseemly death.

Natural causes it seemed to them ... but Mr Marchant’s nose was smelling a rat – had the Cluedo players played too much ... had reality set in?

Marchant was an unknown – he’d been to dinner parties at the Mansion, he’d appeared very erudite and interested in their goings on, while the community activities he quietly participated in ... so he knew the inhabitants, but they, so self-absorbed, had asked little about him – knew even less!

What had happened to Timothy?

Was the typography business a goner .. as had been suggested?

Was Jerome covering up for Rena, his sister, while she escaped for some ............ space?

Marchant, his unfaltering features, giving little away ... probed and probed ... the Detective leading the case began to lean on him ... DC Stevens realised lines of enquiry were being followed and Marchant was doing a fine job – leaving him, the DC, to establish other facts – or fiction .. or dare I say it lies.

Colonel Mustard in the Conservatory had the dagger tucked into his belt as always – he stirred his Moutarde de Maeaux to keep the Pommery mustard fresh .. and he was stingy – no-one was allowed to share.  His moustache was twitching just slightly – would anyone notice ... he was a jittery fellow .....

Reverend Green spent most of his time in the Library reading, researching and refuelling his brain – that most were full of envy about  it– it contained so much  ... a wealth of information.  

But the spanner ... why did he bookmark with a spanner – in this day and age? ... to keep it in his possession?  Ah – now that was a question.

Professor Plum, with his bruised and rotting plum coloured florid face, spent a great deal of time in the kitchen twiddling with his bottles and brews of sloes, damsons, plums...

... all well slobbered over - when the alcohol went in ... far too much ... but did he admit that ... no – enjoying the slurps too too much.  He kept spilling the wax from the Candlestick when he sealed the bottles – so that was forever present …

Ah ah .. the ladies – Miss Scarlett .. she would need the revolver ... she was of the ilk that made that instant – pull the trigger decision ... bang bang and you’re dead – but Timothy didn’t die that way.  

Bang bang ... she was in the billiard room – bonging the balls around ... making that dreadful unpredictable noise – buffeted between the ballroom and the hall ... a muffled sound perhaps ...

Mrs White the all pristine ex housekeeper .. who abhorred all dirt, wove her cleanly ways through life – or was she ... the rope she used was always tattered ... she unwove it to tidy away dirty things ...

Not so pristine, but I couldn't resist her

... then rewove the rope after she'd cleared that mess away; she was thrifty – but ... Marchant felt there was a ‘but’ ... she lounged a lot ... in the lounge ...

Mrs Peacock .. now there’s ‘a one’ Marchant thought ... all splutter and not much body .. certainly not a body like Miss Scarlett ... but she was a home-maker ... 

... she was always in the Dining Room setting lunch or dinner ... ready for carving whatever joint might be served .. the dagger at the ready .. ah – what dagger – Colonel Mustard had the dagger .. didn’t he?

Marchant pondered on ... Stevens too – they both checked out the Typographical business ... Rena and Jerome were distraught at their father’s sudden demise – why? ... without warning ... how?  The answers didn’t immediately come …

Joe the typesetter was a sturdy fellow ... sure in his work, Amanda the glyph modifier – now there was something indecipherable about her ... did she know more than she let on about her craft; 

.... while Andrew the art director appeared to be managing the project rather than being artistic and, dare I say it, crafty?

Various items from the Mansion were sent away for analysis ...

Marchant went into the Library with the Reverend Green and they had long and quiet discursive musings ... the Reverend getting up and bringing books to be referred to ... what were they looking into ..

The modern way of instant research via the internet seemed the most satisfactory to the industrial unit and similar inhabitants ... but to the Cluedo residents .. what on earth was going on ... 

... the Mansion did not have WiFi ... so connection could not be made … nor were they interested in all things technical …

Marchant and Stevens conferred at the Gatehouse, WiFi was available ... everyone was held in thrall .. suddenly a meeting was called to the community hall on the estate ... everyone was rounded up to attend ... all were called away – no matter how inconvenient …

How did Timothy die?

The closet was off the Hall in the Cluedo Mansion ... why had Timothy been there at all?

Stevens began by welcoming everyone – to a murder investigation ... seemed strange ... while Marchant kept a wary eye ... the DC taking everyone through the events ...  then at last introducing Marchant ... 

... as Chief Superintendent Marchant of the Metropolitan Police – everyone’s mouths dropped and their eyes widened ... now they knew ... why he knew so much, but they knew so little ..

... Marchant summarised and then quietly looking at Colonel Mustard, the man with the feathering moustache, that occasionally twitched, - could he see the dagger – ah yes! a copy from the theatre props; 

... then Marchant suggested that the lead pipe had had a slice off it ... that slice being left in the mustard over the years ... causing Timothy a slow death ... Colonel Mustard was mean ... his Meaux was not to be shared ... even on Timothy’s sandwiches ... 

... so the generous offering at Christmas was not generous ... it was a poison threat over many years ... Timothy suffered as he regularly added Moutarde de Meaux to his lunchtime sandwiches ... which Colonel Mustard so ‘generously’ offered to refill – ensuring the poisoning went on.

Where was the lead pipe?  Had it ever had a slice removed ... well, we will never know – Joe the typesetter said he’d recently been given the lead pipe by Colonel Mustard to make some replacement typefaces ... 

... and yes it was about the time Timothy kept on being unwell ... the lead pipe had been flattened in the process ...

Colonel Mustard started blustering and blabbering ... but to no avail ... he’d been caught out ... in the end in the Closet with the leadpipe ... 

Tea, drinks shortly .... still playing games

.... off with his head – as the saying goes.

Then they all went home for tea ... or a drink ... 

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 24 October 2014

Survive and Thrive blogfest: the list of bloggers and their subjects ....

I really cannot add to this great collection of warnings and stories about diseases …

I’d add peanut or nut allergies … there are a lot of serious allergies around now … always check.

Also explaining to kids and grandchildren (and others, I regret to say) re people who are disabled, have ADHD, or are in a rush, are rude etc etc … 

... the why we always need to be polite and look after others … and use our magic mouth muscles to raise a smile …

Then my recent C for Cancer post … where I addressed lots of caring words: communication, caring, compassion, courage, concern, conversation to mention a few – all creature comfort words for those who are ill, and those who are caring and concerned.

Thank you to Stephen, Michael, Diane and Alex for setting this blogfest up – so many useful and informative posts …

Survive and Thrive BlogHop – list of participants and subjects:

Sheri LarsenTeenage Depression

Stephen TrempColonoscopy

Ninja AlexProstate Cancer and early detection; eat fresh, drink water, exercise

Michael Di GesuGout … which is a form of arthritis

Diane (Spunk on a Stick's Tips) early detection; second opinions … you could be clear – but check up and check

Literary Rambles - Casey and Natalie - Breast Cancer and/or Colonoscopy awareness

Hart Johnson - check your family history for serious illnesses - eg cancers ... breast, colon, uterine, prostate ...

Dani Bertrand - Crohn's Disease

Roland Clarke - Why ignore the symptoms?  Multiple Schlerosis AND don't ignore the symptoms ... eg stomach cancer.

Mark Means - a post on the reasons for eating right and exercising ... before we're too old and before perhaps symptoms catch up with us.

DG Hudson - how to help ourselves ... and be prepared - re accident and heart attacks.

SL of Pensuasion - melanoma and pancreatic cancer; consideration in looking at genetic testing, if appropriate

Clarissa Draper - JANZ syndrome - juvenile epilepsy

Beverly Stowe McClure - reminds us of these: Diabetes, Alzheimers, Kidney Failure and/or Heart Disease - to be aware of their symptoms

Kathy McKendry - wise advice from a figure skater and coach, knows her body, who visualises and keeps stress to a minimum

C Lee McKenzie - mentions "an ounce of prevention is worth a pound of cure" - all check-ups could be critical ... especially mammograms and similar

Beverley Fox - talks about blurred vision, being violently ill after a rich meal ... which meant diabetes at 27 ... it's in the family: so always check

Jay Noel - diabetes, high cholesterol ... but it's "Wheat Belly" that grabs the attention, with some serious facts

Donna at Book Lover - a social worker's perspective on prevention of childhood illnesses through immunisation

Melanie Schulz - a nurse's view (holistic take) on pneumonia and heart burn and being pregnant - not a good combination.

Morgan Katz - she describes being told (recently) she has cancer - aged 15 - a sarcoma on her head; surgeries, skin grafts ... 

Tamara Narayan - brain tumour; juvenile rheumatoid arthritis at two years old; kidney stones; ... case #4 - thankfully was all clear after mammograms ... she describes her family as a herd of zebra - I think they've seen off a few lions ... 

Julie Kemp Pick - she describes her cancer story - as a nose for trouble ... but you really should read it: Julie has a great way of bringing us laughter ... 

Eva of Life Post Brain Haemorrhage - advises us to keep our bodies healthy ... so we don't suffer a stroke - there's an infographic regarding potential signs ...

Cynthia - childhood asthma and on into adulthood

Robyn Alana Engel - the world's most common disorder: depression - an article she wrote for a local newspaper sums her knowledge up

Diane Burton - mammograms run in the family ... get your check ups

Pat Hatt - parasites and a cornucopia of diseases

Joy Campbell - The Chikungunya Virus: a mosquito borne disease in Jamaica

Birgit - Ehlers-Danlos Syndome - the genetic disease for which there is no diagnosis, or known cure ... described as bend it like a rubber chicken ... she does have a sense of humour!

Arlee Bird - healthy living; being content; having a positive mind

Shannon Lawrence - Women's Heart Attack symptoms and knowing what medications you/they are on ... and perhaps need to stay on

Michelle Wallace - mental health and keeping the brain sharp: so often forgotten in the scheme of things - but great exercising ideas here

Denise Covey - skin cancers ... melanomas

Be prepared, be positive, do not worry (that's stressful), remember others and their situations,  and be happy ...

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Monday, 20 October 2014

Happy Birthday Lenny … Where is Lenny? At home with his critters …

… or would he rather be here … this all started with a birthday present … the Natural History Museum at Tring?
Lionel Rothschild

Lenny – sorreeee …. I don’t think we can manage a few million …. but we can send amplitudes of thoughts … on this your special day …

Have a very happy 15th birthday day
lots of excuses to wear those expando pants?!
Lionel Walter Rothschild was the man behind the museum … he started collecting insects and birds aged 7.  By the time he was 10 he’d set up his first museum in the garden shed.  By the time he was 20 … his collections were bursting out of stores all over the family estate …

Galleries of  long, large, weird and wonderful -
and yes fur and claw, hand and paw
He kept an astonishing variety of animals in the grounds around the Museum and in Tring Park, his family’s home, including zebras, a tame wolf, rheas, kangaroos, kiwis, cassowaries and giant tortoises.  He even drove a team of zebras in the forecourt of Buckingham Palace – wonder what they’d say today?

A Tibetan Lynx
So what to do for his 21st?  His parents gave him some cash and some land on the estate at Tring to build a bigger museum.  This is still the museum – now owned by the Natural History Museum.

His family were an immensely wealthy banking family … for a while Walter tried his hand at banking – but his passion was with his collections.  He spent the rest of his life and most of his personal fortune building the largest zoological collection ever made by one person.

Curls and curves, prongs and points:
antelope shown here
Thousands of stuffed mammals, birds, and other creatures are on show in the galleries … the tip of the iceberg!  At its peak, his collection also contained more than two million butterflies, moths and other insects, bird skins and bird eggs …

Mantis Shrimps, Box Jelly Fish ...
and oh yes Hilary taking that photo
This eccentric man in 1937 left his collection to the Natural History section of the British Museum (now separate institutions).

Have a wonderful 15th Birthday Lenny … with lots of fun at home and with friends around the blogosphere …

Now we’ve found you – we’ll hang on to you once again … now I know you’re in with the critters I’ll be looking out for you … which gallery though?  Fur and fangs, barks and bites, or Fancy birds but no flight, or Hop, hang, slither and swim, or Hall of horns, or Stripes stacked and packed, or one of the others ... flying with the beautiful birds dreaming, dre-e-a-a-m-i-n-g wonderful stories and poems .... 

... with a critterly hug or two … from GrandBlogMom ... to a very special lad - Lenny Lee.

Hilary Melton-Butcher

Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Friday, 17 October 2014

Who Dunnit? A Cluedo Style Mystery ...

This was part of a creative challenge a few years ago … we were given nine words to be included into a ‘story’ of 100 words … I ended up writing a mystery – and then as is the way – the other participants asked Who had done it?

I hadn’t set out to do this … but this is what happened … obviously the detective will need some time to work out who dun it!! … and so that post will appear in a week to ten days … as there are a couple of other posts to get up first.

The words to be used were …

            • Timothy; Rena and Jerome
            • A Fly
            • Magnitude
            • Typography
            • Death
            • Closet
            • Swell

No Miss Scarlett is alive and well - nor
was the revolver used and we know Timothy
died in the Closet (the new room)

Cluedo (Clue in North America) is a murder mystery board game for 3 – 6 players … many of you will have heard of it, played it and at least probably know the characters.

6 suspects: 
        • Miss Scarlett
        • Professor Plum
        • Mrs Peacock
        • Reverent Green
        • Colonel Mustard
        • Mrs White


    • Candlestick
    • Dagger/Knife
    • Lead Pipe
    • Revolver
    • Rope
    • Spanner/Wrench

Rooms in the mansion where the murder can take place:  and, of course, I see the image I selected doesn't match the names we use in the British version of the game - sorreee!

  • Kitchen
  • Ballroom
  • Conservatory
  • Billiard Room
  • Library
  • Study
  • Lounge
  • Hall
  • Dining Room
  • “Cellar” – where the cards are hidden with the answer

The deck of cards … one of each type is selected and hidden – the aim is to deduce the details of the murder … by rolling the dice and having the opportunity to collect clues …. there are apparently 324 possibilities …

My version follows along similar lines – the setting gives you the idea – with a ‘new room’: 

A Cluedo Mystery … Who Done It?

The fly buzzed around Timothy, death was not far away; the swell of the closet curtains in the evening breeze showed the air circulating, keeping it fresh for now.

Rena and Jerome worked happily on with their typography, the magnitude of their father’s project keeping them fully involved – forgetting about his ‘temporary’ absence.

Joe, the typesetter, Amanda, the glyph modifier, Andrew, the art director, worked nearby. Cluedo has a new room, new death and new murderer. Who murdered Timothy in the closet with a typesetter’s lead-based alloy?

Looks pretty real to me - but I sure hope not!
One of the characters murdered Timothy, but how and with what … we know it happened in a ‘new room’ … but the story idea is based on Cluedo – though there’s a Hilary twist (there is a clue though) …

So none of the story characters actually killed Timothy, who died in the Closet ... one of the Cluedo characters using one of the weapons contain the key ... 

Well we know it's not the dining room, nor
the revolver ... the dice is not a weapon ...
This took me out of my comfort zone … but I enjoyed the experience of writing the 94 word plot, devising a story around the nine word prompts … others participated – but I can’t find the blog posts any more … 

... and thought I’d like to get it onto my blog … with the story answer to follow shortly ... 

Any ideas??

The few of you who read this just over four years ago .... pretty please don't tell!!  Thank you.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories

Saturday, 11 October 2014

Peterborough, Bakewell, Malvern, Barnsley …

… these are some of my favourite things found as Jenny and I journeyed around middle England.  We also visited three other cousins of my mother’s vintage … which I enjoyed as it gave me a chance to catch up … and being the family chauffeur to Jenny helped her, as her home is in Vancouver Island.
Peterborough Cathedral

First stop Peterborough … an amazing place … we stayed in the old coaching inn – on the main road to the north, and where Henry VIII’s first wife, Catherine of Aragon, is buried …

The Abbey escaped Henry’s Dissolution to transform into one of the ‘new’ Cathedrals … probably because Catherine was buried there.

Butter Cross - now Guildhall
The Parliamentary soldiers in the Civil War in 1643 ransacked the cathedral, destroying the high altar and choir stalls, as well as the medieval decoration and documents.

This lovely building is the Butter Cross, on the site of the old Market Cross, now known as the Guildhall and was built from public subscription in 1669.

Coat of Arms with
interesting clock face

As we’d been late arriving due to motorway snarl ups and encouraging (yes for the gardens, not for us) rainstorms!  We’d missed opening hours … so Sunday morning before we went on …

… we took ourselves off to have a quick squizz inside the Cathedral and listen to Choral Matins … wonderful acoustics … I’d have loved to seen more – but another day …

Bakewell Church and village -
even in the snow it looks lovely

Our next non-family setting was the beautiful Derbyshire Dales … except it was raining heavily with low-hanging clouds … so once again we have to return.

We did try Bakewell pudding the original precursor to our more modern Bakewell tart – that I love, when I dare eat it!!

Bakewell Pudding according
to old recipe
This was created when the cook wasn't concentration and muddled up the ingredients ... still that one mistake has stood the test of time!

1837 Recipe for Bakewell pudding

Also after Jane Austen had visited the village – she rewrote certain of her scenes, using the vistas of the Dales that Elizabeth Bennet described in Pride and Prejudice.

Thankfully we took Jenny’s route … I’d wanted to travel the lanes – but the newsagent had said to me if you go down to the woods today you will meet very large puddles and floods – and he would have been very right! There were local floods we found out later.

Abbey Hotel covered in Virginia Creeper
Next stop was Malvern … the Malvern of Elgar, the composer of “Land of Hope and Glory”, and ‘taking the waters’ … that was not funny!  Desperate times I suspect … still Jenny and I noticed how incredibly soft the water is … de-soaping took some doing.

Malvern Hills

We drove round the Malvern Hills … just stunning countryside and definitely a return visit is due …

Next stop Jenny’s publishers just outside Stroud, at a port – another interesting historical snippet; that was successful – putting Jenny’s mind at rest over one new book, with a second likely.

The courtyard garden at the pub

Then on again towards Oxford … but some lunch first … why I waited I’ve no idea … but suddenly there was a village pub (The Village Pub) and in we turned to park.

Twice-baked Cheese Souffle
What a successful choice – very upmarket granted – but really delightful … and what a menu … Jenny had the twice-baked cheese soufflĂ©, while I had the Cornish Fish Soup – can’t resist the Cornish bit … with some lovely home-made bread …

Cornish Fish Soup with
Saffron Mayonnaise and garlic toasts
We then walked up to the Church … before journeying on to Oxford … and our last night.  Jenny was meeting the archivist for the Bodleian/Rhodes Library to make some final arrangements re handing over most of Emily Hobhouse’s (1860 – 1926) papers for research purposes: another successful accomplishment.

Jenny went to London by train as she is now in Germany visiting Berlin and Leipzig before coming back via London on her way home to Vancouver Island.

Abbey Gatehouse with
Museum above
 We had a very happy trip … no satellite navigation … but the brain works just as well!  Lots of food … with some very enjoyable chats about all manner of subjects – mostly historical …

Frankly Jenny puts me into the shade … after two weeks in Iberia on a coach tour; over to England, down to Cornwall, as that’s where Jenny’s Hobhouse relatives come from, as do our mother’s.

Barnsley Church -
Back via relatives, before we embarked on our round middle England trip – then as I mentioned she’s now over in Germany – as Emily was involved in setting up The Save the Children Fund … and is researching other details.

There’s a lot to tell you … but I’m wilting after just six days of travelling around … but Jenny was very happy having me as a chauffeur-chatterer-historian …

I’ve been to parts of England I’d never visited and by checking up things on the ipad we both learnt lots … now to return to a degree of normality … though I could happily repeat the experience!!

Panorama of Malvern Hills with
Little Malvern Priory taking centre stage

I sent a thank you letter up to our relatives in Newark, one of the sisters is in hospital after a stroke, and her niece and sister visited today – and read parts of the letter out … it engaged the patient, I’m pleased to say.  Interaction is the key with elderlies and especially those who are sick.

Hilary Melton-Butcher
Positive Letters Inspirational Stories