I am going to hurry up and do a little blog so I can get on for the rest of the weekend and add to my word-count on this Nanowrimo Super-Spunk Project. (So far, don’t tell anyone, I have a pathetic number of words and only twenty days left. Eek.) I Have The Web-Badge after all, so I must Do The Work.
Barney went for a rare visit to the boat the other day. He has been looking after his mum who is in hospital, so has not been able to go to the boat often. He found that a mouse had eaten everything, shat everywhere, shat on his bed, died and decomposed. Barney’s nephew commented ‘well, that’s life really, in a nutshell.’
Barney came round to help Fred make a Wellington. It was phenomenally complicated, involving thin pancakes, smeared with mushroom pate, lining fluffy pastry, all folded over a spinach herby lemon chick-pea mixture. I don’t know why Fred undertakes these massive missions. It took three of us about four hours. Problem was, we never read the recipe in advance. We kept therefore getting caught out by instructions such as: ‘now chill the mixture for one hour.‘ We would all groan as we were hoping to eat within the next ten minutes. The kids kept coming in saying, ‘is it ready yet?’ We finally ate at ten thirty. We all agreed it wasn’t even that good, and would have been better to chuck all the ingredients in a pan and toss them about a bit.
I ran out of Synergy Plus, the disgusting green drink, about ten days ago. Have not managed to galvanise myself to get more. And I have to report: I don’t feel as good as I did. I am not bouncing around. I feel anxious and irritable. (Yoga-Lorna blames the gin. She has a point.) Karen-at-the-ponies ordered some Synergy for her and Eddie and they both feel a million dollars. Also, whereas every other year they have had at least a couple of coughs and colds by November, this year they have had none. Make what you will of this, but I am going back on it pronto. If you can’t stand the drink you can get it in pill form but be aware it is expensive. (The website is called Xynergy.) Fred did go on about it being expensive, but I pointed out that one jar which lasts four months costs the same as filling up the car once. And how many times have I had to drive to Addenbrooke’s in the past six months? Being ill is very expensive. Making every effort to avoid all forms of it makes sense.
Karen-at-the-ponies and I washed Prince, as he had horse-lice. Luckily the weather was warm and sunny. We took water butts full of hot water and soaped and scrubbed him. Then we rubbed him with ten towels which have had to be disposed of. (Don’t tell Fred, don’t tell Gwanny.) He now looks very shiny, curly and a bit swanky really for an old guy.
I just submitted the ‘story on the theme of a ghost’ to the Hockerill short story competition. Thought I might as well put it here for you so you can see I have not been truly idle. Had fun with it he he lolz. Of course I was in no way drawing on my own experiences of yoga or anything and all resemblances to people living or dead blah de blah are entirely coincidental!
DEATH BY YOGA.
Emily ran for the phone.
‘Hi, it’s Ken…from the Football Club. That slot you wanted, yeah? Friday mornings? You can ‘ave it.’
Emily gasped. ‘Really? What…about Saskia? It’s Saskia’s slot, isn’t it?’
There was a pause. ‘Nah, trust me, she don’t need it no more. Twenty five quid. Start tomorrow if you want. Pay at the bar after the class.’
Emily was thrilled. She’d hankered after that slot for years. Crazy Saskia had always nabbed it though. Everyone in town always raved about Saskia’s classes, about how genius they were. Why had she given up the slot, Emily wondered. Oh well, don’t look a gift horse in the mouth. She quickly emailed her pupils.
Emily locked her car, squinting at the sky. Purple clouds scudded over the sun, causing bars of shadow to run over the pitches. Ropes holding a marquee down snapped in the wind. Two girls in stripy leg-warmers were leaning against the wall, chatting. One turned away to stub out a cigarette. The other cackled. Emily caught the words ‘…hated anyone using her space though…’
‘You teaching Saskia’s class?’ asked the lanky one, holding one foot in her hand.
‘No,’ said Emily firmly. ‘I’m teaching my own class, but you’re welcome. Ten quid.’
Clutching her mat and blocks, she pushed open the door with her back. The girls followed her in. Emily had a look around. Shiny pale blue lino, faint smell of beer, tall smeary windows looking out on the pitches and marquee. A howling wind in the rafters. One crappy bare bulb. She put her mat down at the front of the room. ‘Hmm…chairs?’ she mused.
The lanky girl pulled open the door to a cupboard. ‘In here,’ she yawned.
Emily pulled at the stack of metal yoga chairs, upsetting a pile of blocks with a yoga book on top. It slid to the floor, front page open. Scrawled at the top was just one word in angry red felt-tip: SASKIA.
As she dragged a couple of chairs out, a rustling in the corner of the room caught her eye. She tried to focus: what was it? She went over to have a look. Just dry leaves and a dust bunny. She made a mental note to ask Ken to clean up better.
The swing doors banged open. Lauren bounded in, black hair pinned into a bun, rosy cheeks. ‘It’s like so windy out there,’ she laughed. She flipped her pink mat onto the floor near the back of the room. Mike bowled in, looking trim and half of his seventy years: ‘Hi there! Morning!’ He unloaded his rucksack near the front.
Light from the sun breaking through clouds suddenly bathed the room, fading just as fast. The shadow lurking amongst the dry leaves scurried across and hid in the folds of Lauren’s blanket.
The doors crashed open. A gust of wind rippled the blinds. Daisy and Yvonne staggered in, giggling, dropping belts and blocks. ‘Sorry, Emily! Got a bit held up.’ Daisy threw her mat on the floor in front of Lauren and got straight into dog pose head down, her red curls brushing the floor. The shadow scuttled from Lauren’s blanket to nestle in Daisy’s locks.
Emily sat on two blocks, palms together, head bowed. Karen crept in, dwarfed by her massive holdall. She put a finger to her lips, widened her eyes at the others. She yanked off her shoes, pulled off her socks, unrolled her mat.
Daisy lifted her head and came out of dog pose to sit on her blocks. The dark shape scurried into her abandoned jumper. Daisy rubbed her upper arms briskly and looked behind her, pursing her lips.
‘OMMMM,’ chanted Emily quietly.
‘OMMMM,’ echoed the class.
Emily stood up. The class followed suit. Their teacher stood very still and upright, shoulders back, belly button back to spine.
The shadow shivered across the room from Daisy’s jumper into Karen’s balled socks. Karen shuddered at goose bumps rising around her neck. Emily said ‘Arms out to the sides, stretch into the fingertips, shoulders down.’ She stepped neatly out of her pose, turning her back to adjust the thermostat on the wall. The shadow shot forward, lingered in the creases of Mike’s rucksack and from there caused a little flurry in the pages of Emily’s notebook.
‘Chilly, isn’t it?’ The teacher smiled a broad, mellow smile. ‘Ok, feet three feet apart, turn your right leg out. Trikanasana. Reach out, rest your hand on your block…left hand on waist…. turn the waist.’
Her sideways head smiled brightly at the class. ‘Standing poses today, ladies….and gentleman,’ she said, winking at Mike. ‘For strength and stamina.’
A metal bucket went clattering across the car park. Shafts of sunlight again moved quickly over the floor. The shadow left the notebook, seeped along a crack in the lino, slipped along the edge of Emily’s mat and ran up her arm.
The teacher stretched into her perfect triangle. Her body was tingling. Her eyes opened wider, forming shiny black pools. The single bare bulb swung above her, casting shadows through the beams. ‘Turn the waist, the waist,’ she spat with sudden scary intensity. ‘Left hand up to the ceiling, stretch it, stretch, more, Lauren, MORE!‘
Daisy wheezed. Yvonne groaned. Lauren’s bun came undone, tumbling black tresses to the floor. Mike’s limbs were shaking. Karen felt a great weakness wash over her.
‘Block in your right hand. Right hand, Mike! Stretch it forward….place it one foot away from your big toe, now…hop forward with your left foot, lean on your block, left leg up, lift it, lift it, now look up!’ Emily was shrieking, the cords in her neck standing out with the strain.
She propelled them through Adhamukavirasana, Virabadrasana 1, Virabadrasana 2, Salutation to the Sun, with ever-mounting intensity. ‘Knee BACK, don’t forget to BREATHE, and RELAX! RELAX! This is YOGA!‘ she screamed, her eyes popping with fury.
Only the stripy-leg-warmer girls, recognising deep in their souls the psychotic tones of their old teacher, exchanged petrified glances. The rest of the class were transfixed. ‘Now, Savasana,’ breathed Emily at last, with reverence. ‘The Corpse Pose.’ Her eyes shone a glassy silver. ‘Lie down on your mats. Lay yourselves out. Really get into the pose.‘
Although seized by a strange terror, they obeyed. Emily padded about. Lethal threads of dark smoke streamed from her cold fingers into each empty forehead. Her hand stroked their eyes shut.
Emily sat back down. She placed her palms together. A low ‘OMMMM’ reverberated from her throat. There was no echo, just a deathly silence. She slowly raised her head and surveyed the seven bodies lying so still. She gathered up her things and batted her way through the doors, out towards her car.
‘Oy,’ shouted Ken from the side door. ‘You gotta pay up! And you can’t leave ’em all lyin’ there! Them bloody yoga freaks gotta be outta here by eleven!’
Emily pushed some notes into his hand. ‘What happened to Saskia?’ she asked.
‘You ‘avin a larf? Doncha know? She died….last week. Ha, you don’t think there’s any other way you’d’ve have got her slot! Or didn’t you know her?!’ He turned away, honking with laughter.