Hi all. Continuing my 'Art plus story theme' This month we have yet another superb painting by the artist Theo Michael called 'The Sure Bet'. Along with it is my short story, my interpretation, my inspiration as I look at the painting. If you like this painting, go to Theo's website: www.artbytheomichael.com where you will find it plus many other master pieces. I hope you enjoy.
The Sure Bet
Mark Stanton is one of societies unfortunates. His disabilities, i.e. Heart disease and Lung disease from many years of smoking, has left him incapable of working for a living. He can’t do any physical work and academically he was stunted. And although he collected a small allowance from the state, it was never enough to give him the freedom he so desired.
Mark sat at his kitchen table with his cup of coffee and flicked through his newspaper. He eventually came to the sports pages and the horse racing section. A large headline caught his eye: ‘THE SURE BET’. It was a column written by a Donald Bevan and it was simply his pick of the day that in his opinion was a sure bet. Today’s horse was “RADISH” in the 2.30 at Gloucester. The odds were 2 to 1 in your favour. As far as Donald was concerned, you could do a lot worse than have a flutter on this horse.
Mark wasn’t a gambling man particularly, but this had caught his interest. “Hmm, could be a way to supplement my income”, he thought to himself. This is how gamblers are born! Mark dug deep into his pockets and fished out the princely sum of 9.25 Euros. This is all he had until his benefit arrived tomorrow. He finished his coffee and set off to his local betting shop with paper in hand. On arrival, the man at the counter helped him fill out a betting slip.
“So you want 4 Euros on RADISH to win?” he confirmed.
“Yes please,” answered Mark.
RADISH flew home giving Mark a profit of 8 Euros. He was elated!
Mark put all his trust in Donald Bevan’s ‘Sure Bets’ for a further four days and before he knew it he was 130 Euros ahead. On the fifth day Mark had decided that the whole lot was going on today’s ‘Sure Bet’ ‘HOLY SMOKE’. He had convinced himself that he would win. “After all I had nothing in the first place” he had thought. HOLY SMOKE romped home! Mark was now 500 Euros richer. That was it, a gambler was born!
Today Mark was going to Newmarket race course and he was taking his 500 Euros with him. He had never been to a race course before. He felt the atmosphere, the smells and the bustling of excited people. He stood and watched a couple of races with interest and was in awe of all around him. He got chatting to a young man that was standing by the side of him. He told him that it was his first time and that he didn’t know where to place a bet. The young man explained that he could go into the course building and bet at the counter or place a bet with one of the independent bookies around the track. Mark had come to specifically bet on Donald Bevan’s ‘Sure Bet’, the horse was called FEDORA, but he wasn’t running just yet. Mark was getting very excited at placing a bet so he asked the young man what he was betting on in this next race.
“BLUE PEARL” he answered positively. “Can’t lose!” he added.
So Mark put 250 Euros on BLUE PEARL.....it won!! Mark was now holding nearly a 1000 Euros and it was all going on FEDORA.
The young man asked Mark what he fancied in this next race, the one FEDORA was running in.
“FEDORA! It’s a sure bet” said Mark smiling.
“Yes I fancy that one too, but I’m going inside to place my bet they seem to be offering better odds” said the young man. “Want me to put yours on?” he asked Mark.
“Yeah sure, here all of it on the nose FEDORA to win” said Mark as he handed over the money.
The man disappeared into the crowd and into the building. Meanwhile the race had started and Mark watched with great anticipation and enthusiasm as FEDORA ran a full two lengths in front. The horses were approaching the finish line and as they did, a horse called DIAMOND GEEZER passed FEDORA and won by a head!
Mark was devastated! He propped himself up by leaning on the fence and held his head with both hands. He was experiencing for the first time what it felt like to lose. Suddenly he realised that the young man had not returned! “He has run off with my money”, thought Mark. A double dose of disappointment, he had lost either way. Mark slowly walked away from the track and into the crowd heading for the exit. He walked straight into the young man who was running towards him. Out of breath he stopped in front of Mark.
“Sorry mate, I couldn’t place our bets on time, too many people. Did he win, did he win?” asked the young man.
Mark grinned from ear to ear and sighed with relief.
“No he didn’t!”
“So much for your ‘sure bet’ then, said the young man almost mocking him.
“Looks like the only sure bet is that eventually you are certain to lose!”
Mark retrieved his money from the young man and went home cured!!
Until next month, stay well and be happy. xxx
Another great painting from my friend and artist Theo Michael, and my story in VERSE!
Hope you enjoy them both.
Visit Theo's website for this and many other masterpieces: www.artbytheomichael.com
Man with bicycle
I look up at the tower rising so high
It looks like it’s touching the sky
Standing so proud putting on a show
stunting the buildings down below.
I also stand proud, bicycle in hand
‘What have they done to this beautiful land?’
Not a tree or blade of grass in sight
a concrete jungle, so contrite.
I remember cycling in the park
I would often hear the occasional Lark
Now it’s all concrete and cars
restaurants and some seedy bars.
They call it progress if you will
But it’s all just money in the till
Lining the pockets of the rich
Not even room for a tent to pitch.
You may be wondering why I care
Standing here and in despair
Well you see my reader friend
This is where I met my end!
I was cycling amongst this tangled mess
It helped to relieve my stress
Then from nowhere it did appear
The truck reversing...yes it’s how you fear.
It ran over me and my bike
The handlebars pierced me like a spike
The pain was real but over soon
as my Soul rose up to the Moon.
So once again here I stand
With my bicycle in my hand
Dreaming of a time gone by
As I let out a silent sigh....
That's it until next month folks. Stay well xx
Continuing the theme from last month, this months offering is called 'The Times Music Bar' another great painting from Theo Michael and my slant on it in story form. If you like the painting or any other of his work, you can get them here:
The Times Music Bar
“Feels hot tonight,” said Phil mumbling as he was trying to light a cigarette that was hanging from his lips.
“They are hotter!” said Les looking over Phil’s shoulder.
“They who?” asked Phil, a bit slow on the uptake.
“Behind yo...” but before Les could finish, Phil had turned around to see what the fuss was about.
“Talk about being obvious!” said Les, “You could have looked with a little finesse now they know we have clocked them!” he continued.
“So? Not against the law to look at people is it?”
“You know nothing about women do you Phil?” said Les tutting.
Phil and Les were childhood friends. From Kinder garden right through to University, they were inseparable. There was a special bond between them that went much further than just friends, they were in fact partners! Yes they were lovers! They still appreciated and respected the female of the species but were just not attracted to them physically.
The Times Music Bar was primarily a bar, but what separated it from the rest is the fact that local musicians and vocalists would congregate there and have jamming sessions or sing a song. It was always unpaid but always willingly. The clientele would enjoy a drink and perhaps a bistro type meal and be entertained by the musicians and singers it was a very relaxed and friendly atmosphere. This is where Phil and Les would come to play their game!
Les glanced over Phil’s shoulder once again.
“They are looking at us Phil,” stated Les.
“Hmm, what do you think Les, shall we?”
“Shouldn’t we wait until they go in?” asked Les.
“They might not go in!” said Phil abruptly.
“I suppose we could take them in,” suggested Les.
“What and their scooter?” said Phil frowning.
“Ok, let’s just play it by ear.” said Les as he plucked a flower from one of the planters that lined the promenade and started to walk towards the girls.
Phil and Les loved to play this game. The idea was to woo females to the point that they would give in to their whims just to prove they could. They would take it in turns to do the wooing and keep score of their successes. It was Les’s turn to try out his charms.
“Good evening ladies,” was his opening line to which he got a positive response and a smile. “Thought you should have this it matches the colour of your scooter,” continued Les as he handed the Red Carnation that he had stolen to the Brunette.
“Oh, thank you so much but it’s not my scooter, just using it as a foot rest, but I’ll keep the flower,” she said giggling.
“Are you ladies going in to the ‘Times’?” asked Les.
“No, but we could be persuaded,” answered the Blonde.
“And what does one do to persuade you?” said Les giving her a broad smile.
“You have already done it,” said the Brunette standing up and putting her arm through Les’s. Her friend followed suit by grabbing Phil’s arm.
“Oh, big muscles,” she said giving his arm a squeeze.
They had conquered!! They had a great night with plenty to drink, too much probably, but the game didn’t end until they had got the girls in question back to their apartment. This they did with ease. Phil and the Blonde known as July were sitting at one end of the large L shaped settee, and Les and the Brunette known as Linda, were at the other end. They had opened a bottle of wine and the merriment continued. Between the slapping and tickling and giggling, Linda spoke.
“I hope you have TWO bedrooms!”
Phil and Les looked at each other. Now was the time to confess.
“Er, er, we have a confession to make,” said Les.
“What?” asked July looking worried.
“You see, Phil and I are gay! We are not into women!”
There was stunned silence. The girls stood up slowly and linked arms.
“Guess what Casanovas’” said July turning to Linda and kissing her full on the lips! “We aren’t into men!!” she continued as they both bent over double with hysterical laughter.
Hope you enjoyed this months offering and until next month, keep well. xx
As it is soon Valentines day, I thought I would post this as an extra entry this month. It is a painting by Theo Michael and a story by me. I think it is very fitting for Valentines day, what do you think?
If you like the painting, you can get it here:
If you like the story, you can just tell me :)
Scent of a Rose
Have you ever met someone and been so totally in love and in awe of them it almost hurts? Marios had. He would only have to look into her big Green eyes and he swore that his heart would literally explode with love. Every move she made every sound she made just left him breathless. His every waking and sleeping thought was of Anna. He was so lucky to have found such a special person.
That was an eternity ago, and he still felt the same. Today Marios was alone sitting on the veranda of their home and staring out over the ocean in front of him and remembering their life together. He recalled her little idiosyncrasies like whenever he leant towards her to kiss her, she would also lean forward but at the last second she would stick out her tongue and lick the end of his nose with it and laugh. He remembered how he once bought her a dozen Red Roses for no reason other than that he loved her. She loved Roses. She had taken them in both hands and lifted them up to her nose and breathed in deeply savouring their strong scent. She adored them. Marios would bring her Roses for her Birthday, their Anniversary, Christmas and of course Valentines day. Valentine’s day was the day they had met for the first time all those years ago on this very beach.
Marios had been test driving the old Zundapp motorbike he had lovingly restored. The beach was pretty deserted and rarely used by the tourists. Anna had been sitting on a rock by the waters’ edge with her feet in the water. She was holding a single Rose to her nose. It was scenes like this that made Marios wish he had talent and could paint. What a picture that would have made. Marios couldn’t resist so he approached her.
“Gift from a secret admirer?” he asked.
Anna had chuckled and with her big Green eyes burrowing into his she answered.
“No, but it’s a gift from me to me, it is Valentine’s day.”
They chatted for a while but now it was time for Anna to go.
“I would love to see you again.” Marios half asked half stated.
“I go back to the UK tomorrow, but I will be back next Valentine’s day.”
“It’s a date!” said Marios, disappointed but happy all mixed together.
“But why Valentine’s day?” Marios asked as his curiosity got the better of him.
“It’s my grandfathers’ memorial day. His name was Valentino and oddly enough he died on Valentine’s day, so I come and remember him at his grave.”
“Oh, sorry about your loss.” Said Marios, not knowing what else to say.
“Oh it’s ok, he was very old.”
Anna gently slid off the rock. Marios didn’t want her to go.
“See you next year then,” she said giving Marios a smile that he is yet to forget.
“Er, er, yeah ok, I’ll be here.”
He watched as Anna walked up off the beach and disappeared into the distance.
The year passed very slowly for Marios, but it eventually passed. Marios was beside himself with excitement, he had bought a bunch of Red Roses for Anna. He couldn’t wait to see her. He got on his Zundapp and slowly drove towards the rock and yes, there she was sitting on it with her feet kicking in the water. Marios couldn’t get there soon enough.
“Hi!” he said excitedly as he dismounted the bike and let it fall to the sand. He held out the bunch of Roses and handed them to Anna.
“Happy Valentines!” he said grinning from ear to ear.
“Oh they are lovely, thank you so much. I have something for you too I thought it would look great on your motorbike.”
Anna leant back and pulled out an oblong box from behind her and handed it to Marios.
“What is it?”
“Open it and see.”
Marios hurriedly opened the box and inside was a number plate. Not an ordinary number plate, a custom one. It read ‘FEB 14’
“Wow must have cost a fortune!” said Marios as he admired the plate.
“Not really. Originally it was ‘FE – 814, but I had the ‘8’ moved closer to the’ E’ so now at a glance it looks like ‘FEB 14’ “
Marios stood in silence for a moment then he blurted it out.
“Will you marry me?” He had no idea where that had come from he just knew he couldn’t be without her.
“I thought you would never ask!” she screamed with laughter.
They were married within the week.
That was 55 years ago. Marios was grateful that they had grown old together but he wished he had gone first. Anna had passed away 5 years ago now and he still missed her like crazy. For 5 years now every Valentine’s day Marios would buy a dozen Red Roses and take them to the rock where they had met. He would lay them down at the base of the rock and talk to Anna as if she was still sat on it. The fact that a stray cat was always there made him feel less foolish about talking to an empty space. As he talked to Anna he stroked the cat that would always plonk itself down on top of the Roses. The cat would smell them first one at a time then just sit on them. It had been there every year. Marios picked up the cat and looked into its eyes. They were huge and Green, just like Annas’. He held the cat closer to his chest. The cat lifted its head and looked up at Marios. It then did something very strange it stuck its tongue out and licked the tip of Marios nose......
See you soon xx
I’m very excited about my blog entries for the next few months. A local artist and friend, Theo Michael, is putting a book together of his paintings, and to accompany each painting there will be a short story. There are several contributors for the stories, including Theo himself and of course myself. So for the next several months, I will be putting up one of Theo’s paintings and MY relevant short story. You can see Theo’s work and more stories under his blog section, ‘Every wall needs a story’, here:
This month’s entry is called: ‘Balcony with a view’. I hope you enjoy both the painting and the story. Your comments are welcome.
Balcony with a view
As we stand here on the balcony, I am thinking what a breath taking view this is. I am so happy that they have renovated this beautiful Hotel. A lot of buildings were lost and badly damaged during the short war on this amazing Mediterranean island. It was a disastrous thing to happen here as the island depended heavily on the financial income from the tourists. This Hotel had always been popular, not just for its location, but when you asked for a room with a view, you got that and more.
Some good did come of the war, I met Victor! Let me tell you about it, it is a proper love story, a romance with all the trimmings.
I had been working at this very Hotel as a receptionist when the war broke out. Of course when the first bombs were dropped, the tourists all went home and the Hotels became deserted, but they were put to good use. A couple were commandeered and used for accommodation and headquarters for the soldiers, and this one as a makeshift Hospital for the wounded. That’s when I first met Victor. No he wasn’t a wounded soldier like most war time romances in films would have you believe, no he was a newspaper reporter who was covering the war for an English newspaper. I had become a general dogs’ body running around fetching this and fetching that for the Doctors. On the day Victor and I met, I was trying to sweep the Hotel lobby, when he walked in via the big glass sliding doors at the entrance of the Hotel. Our eyes locked immediately! My heart was skipping every other beat, and my broom was sweeping on the same spot over and over again. He was, as they say, tall, dark and handsome. He wore a dark suit topped with a hat which had a White band around it, the one he is wearing now. Between the band and the hat was a small ticket which read “PRESS”.
“Hi!” he said in a deep, dark, Velvety voice.
“Er, hi”, I managed to splutter.
The weeks passed quickly as did the time we would snatch from our duties to be together. Our love was effortless, just as it is now.
This room with this balcony was allocated to Victor and I as we were now thought of as a couple, which we certainly are. My own apartment had been destroyed by a bomb, and Victor coming from London, had no particular place to stay, so it was perfect. After our days duties we would eventually meet in room 406, our room, this room, a room with a balcony with a view.
Allow me to tell you dear reader, about a very special night. I had finished my days work and I had come up to this room. Victor was already home. He had laid the table for two with candles in the middle and a single Red Rose in a small vase, and I could smell food. He is so romantic. He came out of the bedroom and he had a Red dress hanging over his arm, this Red dress that I’m wearing now.
“Here, put this on,” he said handing me the dress.
I did and it fits perfectly, don’t you think? Victor had remembered that it was my birthday. We wined and dined and then held each other as we stood on the balcony just looking out over the ocean and thinking what a wonderful world this is. Of course it all looked very different then, most buildings were in ruins, and there were craters in the road, not like now....
My last real memory as we stood on our balcony was hearing a high pitched whistling noise that got louder and louder until it finally stopped when it hit our balcony and us.
That was 75 years ago, but we still come once a year to visit our balcony with a view!
Till next month, be well.
A new month and a new year. What will it bring? Hopefully better things. I haven’t made a new year’s resolution, I rarely do, but I do have a new attitude. I’m going for my ‘glass is half full’ as opposed to my ‘glass is half empty’ outlook. I am pleased to report that I am feeling a lot more positive about what may lie ahead. They say that if you give off negative vibes you will receive negativity, so hopefully this applies to giving out positive vibes. I’ve taken a long hard look at myself and although times have been difficult of late, there are people out there that are suffering so much more than I. Let’s have a ‘stock take’.
Ok, so I’m not in the best of health, but I’m alive and all is under control thanks to some great doctors.
Well I’m retired and that’s a pretty enviable place to be.
I chose to close down for November and December but I am now open for guests again and wow! Fully booked January, into February and bookings as far ahead as May! I think I’m in for a bumper year.
Couldn’t be busier. I have two books on the go. One is a fiction action/thriller, no title yet, and it is all based in Larnaca Cyprus where I live. The other is a book I wasn’t going to write, but the first two are still selling very well so I would be daft not to. It is the third in the ‘Only in Cyprus’ series. It will be called something like ‘Yiayias Myths and Legends’, another tongue in cheek look at real Cypriot life.
As well as my books, I am writing for a local artist and friend of mine, Theo Michael, (www.artbytheomichael.com ). He is putting a book together of his paintings and each painting will have a short story attached. For an example of this, go to his website and look under his blog, ‘Every wall needs a story’ also see some of his superb work.
Here is something Theo recently put together. His painting my words.
So, there you have it, a busy time ahead and everything to be positive about....
Just need to meet a nice lady J
Till next time
Be well xx
The last blog of the year, and what a shite year it has been. In fact, about 3 shite years in a row. Sorry but it’s true.
I know there are much bigger problems and suffering in the World, but please allow me to indulge myself in a little self pity.
I’ve written a little poem which gives you an idea of how I’m feeling THIS Christmas.
Well it’s come round again
And happiness I cannot feign
Christmas time, a time of glee
Christmas time? No, not for me.
I’ll say it wasn’t always so
Turn back the years, a while ago
Christmas morning, kids running amuck
Tearing paper to see their luck.
Eating, drinking and singing too
Loved one standing next to you
Warm and happy a time to love
Look up and thank the one above.
Thanks be for all you have
Surrounded by the ones you love
But not this year, no not for me
I’ve cancelled Christmas don’t you see.
The one I loved has gone away
Won’t be here on Christmas day
Nothing left to rejoice
Alone I’ll be, but that’s my choice.
Don’t get me wrong it’s not all tears
I’ll brush away all my fears
I will survive come what may
I’ll live to fight another day.
So there you are. I will take this opportunity to wish you all a very Happy Christmas and a great New Year.
Until next time xx
As the title said, this month an update on my progress with Airbnb.
My first guest arrived in May this year, and since then the response has been phenomenal! Within a month or two of registering my listing on Airbnb website I was booked right up to the end of October!
It has been an eye opening and fantastic experience and it came at the right time for me as I was/am going through a lot of personal problems and it has helped keep me sane.
I have met people from all over the World. Russia, Hungary, Germany, France, U.S.A., UK, China and many more, so no time to get lonely. Apart from meeting all these people, it has given me a much needed financial injection.
I decided to ‘snooze’ my listing on Airbnb until January 2018. This will allow me to do some major works in the flat which I have dreamed of for ages, like replacing my old bath new Laminate flooring throughout and a few other things. Without Airbnb this would have been impossible. Also, I am going to squeeze a short visit to the UK (see mum).
I have already got my first booking for January, from China, and I am looking forward to a bumper 2018, I’ll let you know.
This is the link to my listing if you want to have a peak:
The photos will be updated when the work is finished in December.
Until next time xx
Over 30 years ago, I had an illegitimate child!
Those that have been close to me will already be aware of this, those that were not, well you will be now. You can judge me how you like, I really don’t care, I am not ashamed, but regret the pain I and her mother have probably caused her because of our selfishness.
To call her illegitimate doesn’t quite feel right because she was actually planned. Those details will remain private for now. Apart from maybe the first 4 years of her life, I have had nothing to do with her welfare and upbringing. We have had no contact, until....
Yes, just over a month ago I received an email from a very nervous young lady, my daughter!
It must have taken a lot of guts, but I am so glad she sent that email. It’s early days yet, but we are slowly finding out about each other, and it is making me very happy, but also sad that I missed out on what sounds like a very intelligent young lady who is full of energy for life. Obviously for her protection her name and other details will remain unknown for now, or until I have her permission. I think a picture of us from when she was very young should be ok.
I think she is very happy to learn that she has 5 siblings, including a sister! She has already met my two eldest sons and spoken to my two younger sons, and is in touch with Lucy her sister via email.
I am hoping that in the not too distant future we will meet face to face, and I will be able to tell her that she had never left my heart.
Until next time
Be well xxx
Every now and then you come across an artist that captures your interest and imagination. Recently I was fortunate enough to meet such an artist. I had seen some of his amazing work adorning the walls of my sisters’ house and so enquired about him. She was good enough to take me to the Gallery that he and his wife Anja operate from. Theo was born in Cyprus but was brought up and lived in London for most of his life, and now he is back in Cyprus not a stones throw away from the Hospital he was born in.
Theo’s subject matter is broad. He is highly influenced by the Film Noir genre. From my personal favourite ‘The Blue Door’ to ‘Landscapes’, to’ Romance’. In my opinion he has a unique outlook to his work that is addictive. Once you have one of his creations you will be back for more, I know I will be.
I highly recommend that if you are in Cyprus, Larnaca specifically, to visit his gallery. The very least you will leave with is a smile. If you can’t come to Cyprus, have no fear, Theo and Anja ship Worldwide. To find out where the gallery is exactly, and to see his creations, a visit to his website is a must and well worth a look. I found it easy to navigate and spent a lot of time exploring it. In fact I often pop back in case I missed anything.
There is a bit in the ‘About us’ section that made me chuckle.
It said meet the Art by Theo Michael Team.
Theo Michael : The Painter.
Anja Michael: Receptionist, Customer liaison, Order processor, Website Maintenance, Social Networker, Chauffeur, Studio Display Organizer, Stock Controller, Studio Cleaner, Supplies Organizer, Tea, Coffee and Food Provider, Accounts Clerk.
Seems evenly balanced to me J
Please do visit the gallery if you can, if not, definitely the website. You won’t be disappointed.
Till next Month xxx
Well you know I'm an Author, so you keep reading, and I will keep writing :)