Cheers, this round is on me, says Santa

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‘Twas the night before Christmas, when all through the ‘hood

Nobody was stirring, maybe nobody could;

The stockings were hung by the chimney with care

In hope that the brewmaster soon would be there

And the drinkers nestled all warm in their snugs

Dreaming of cask fermented suds

And me at the bar with my beer nearing empty

Wondering what next might possibly tempt me

When outside the pub there arose such a clatter

I put down my pint to see what was the matter

When what to my wandering eye should appear

But a miniature sleigh and eight tiny reindeer;

‘Twas St. Nick himself, the one and the same

And he whistled and shouted and called them by name:

“Now, Doomba! Now, Adnams! Now, Od Speckled Hen

On, Camden ! On, Meantime! On Three Wise Men!

On his back was a sack bulging with brews

All casque mark of course and CAMRA approved

And I heard him exclaim, while stuffing stockings with glee,

“Whatever your pleasure, the next round’s on me!

And he roared as the reindeer soared out of sight

“Happy Christmas to all, and to all a good night!”

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Catherine visits a wheelchair dominatrix

(Being the third of occasional excerpts from my novel)

By this time, although the beauty of her work was impressive, I find my thoughts drifting to the rattan, the business end of the product. I remember how it felt to wield it, the empowerment, the swishing sound it makes through the air. I felt suddenly aroused.13 - 1-2

“Scarlett?”

“Yes, dear.”

No turning back now. “I’ve been thinking. It might help the creative process if I sample the merchandise, after all. What do you think?” I blurt this out before I can change my mind. The truth is that at that moment I desperately wanted it.

“I was kind of wondering what took you so long.”

She wheels her chair to her work bench. “These are my most recent creations, oiled and ready to go. Choose one that you like and present it to me. It’s yours to take with you when you leave.”

Trembling with excitement, I did as she bid, selecting the one with the silver bells. As instructed I hand it to her. She flexes it carefully. I can’t take my eyes off it.

“See that cupboard over there? Behind those doors is a wooden horse clad in antique leather, the kind you probably remember from your school gymnasium. Bring it out for me, sweetie, if you please, and place it in the centre of the room.”

Barely breathing, I do as I am told, already moist with anticipation. The horse has two semi-circular rings set into the top of it about three feet apart.

“Now, remove your skirt and panties and bend over the horse between the rings.”

I feel a tremor of fear as I do so. When I am blindfolded and precisely positioned as instructed, legs slightly apart, she binds my ankles and wrists with leather restraints. I can no longer see or move. Scarlett whistles appreciatively. “That’s the prettiest I’ve seen in a long time, a worthy canvas for the master craftswoman.” Lightly, she runs her fingers over my buttocks. Her hands are soft and sensuous. Seconds pass in darkness and silence. And then I hear the sound of tiny bells…

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Two questions to ask of your lover

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(Being the second of occasional extracts from my novel)

When a-punting you go on the river

Two things you must know of your lover

Has he the arrow

To pleasure your furrow

And the wit to be quick with his quiver?

Limerick by Catherine Mallory Jones

 

I am going out with a boy from my poetry group, Ryan Donovan, who truly has the soul of a poet. This afternoon he’s taking me punting on the river and I’ve packed a lunch for us and a bottle of wine. I have plans for Ryan Donovan.

I’m wearing a cotton frock embroidered with baby blue forget-me-nots, lightly gathered beneath my breasts so I don’t need to wear a bra. I am not wearing panties either, although Nanny Burton says to always carry a pair in your purse because you never know when you might need them.

I am reclining on pillows in the prow while Ryan, standing in the stern, poles us along. Most people, tourists mostly, never venture more than a couple of hundred yards from the landing, but my boy, the would-be rowing blue, is taking us to a place less travelled, beyond the end of the towpath, past civilization as we know it, where the river meanders unnoticed through fields of poppies that nod their heads at us beneath weeping willows. Steering close to the bank, he plucks a poppy, theatrically touches its scarlet petals to his lips and gallantly presents it to me. I thread it into my hair and reward him by laying back, closing my eyes and casually allowing the hem of my frock to ride up until I can feel the sun high up on my thighs…

…We have found ourselves in a grassy clearing secluded by mulberry bushes and elm trees where we lay out our blanket, the gentle swell of the river at our feet. It feels like there is no one to disturb us for miles around. For a few blissful minutes we lie silently together staring at the high summer clouds, listening to the river and the birds singing, breathing in the fresh air and the fecund smell of the countryside.

We kiss, at first shyly, then passionately and when I feel his hand on my breasts I close my eyes, my nipples hardening to his touch. I turn on my side while he slides his hand under my frock, stroking my thighs, moving higher, teasing the soft down of my pubic mound, settling on the plump roundness of my buttocks. I moan and move seductively beneath his splayed fingers. Hungrily, we tear off our clothes and kiss long and deeply. I can feel him hard against me and I sense he is ready to make love.

I get to my knees showering him with kisses, my mouth and tongue moving down his body. But before I reach his manhood, he sits up and whispers in my ear, words that make me catch my breath.

“Excuse me, but what did you say?”

“What I said, Catherine was, ‘Have you ever been spanked?’”

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How Cleopatra Seduced Her Masseur

images-2(Being the first of occasional excerpts from my novel)

“Better that you please me,” Cleopatra told him, matter-of-factly. “If you do not I can have you whipped?”

“If whipping me should be your pleasure, Highness,” Seth replied, “I will bring you a lash for my back.”

Cleopatra smiled inwardly. The boy has wit as well as beauty, she thought. Ra has good hands, but he is unschooled and dull to talk to. This boy, who seems mature beyond his years, might be worthy in more ways than one. She reflected bitterly that it been several months since Julius had been killed in Rome by those sons-of-bitches he thought were his friends. Forced into exile and removed from the comfort of the connubial bed, there was a void in her heart and a longing in her loins.

“If I remember history correctly, you are named for Sethikhopshjef, first born son of Ramesses 11, for I believe that is how he was called in the north of Egypt. You are from the north, are you not?”

“I am,” he replied. “I was sent south and sold into your household after my apprenticeship.”

Cleopatra moved her hips, minutely adjusting her position, and he could see the exquisite outline of her buttocks beneath the silk. His manhood began to stir.

“In ancient times, Cleopatra continued, “Seth was the god of wind and desert storms. He was said to be a dark and moody god although people worshiped him so he would grant them and their followers the strength of the storms. Are you dark and moody, Seth?”

“I think not, your Highness. I believe I reflect your Highness’s mood, which I divine at this moment to be playful, although I sense a need in you that massage alone will not satisfy.”

“Do you, indeed,” she said. She was well aware of the power she had over men and now she would test this arrogant boy. Casually she reached behind, casting aside the sheet that covered her. She settled back into position making herself comfortable, undulating her hips now elevated over the pillow.

“You may begin.”

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All Aboard, Mind The Gap

Boris's Bus 2My friend, who wishes to remain anonymous, is the founder and first minister of a new religion, which she calls transportism, or possibly transportianity, she’s not sure yet. Perhaps she is awaiting divine intervention.

Her epiphany came during a late night journey home from Pimlico to Blackheath involving the London Underground and two changes of bus. Yet despite the distance and complexity of the journey, it took just over thirty minutes door to door.

“There is a God and He works for London Transport ( it’s ok, He has a sense of humour and will understand),” she wrote in an email. “Seamless journey with no waiting time in excess of 30 seconds. Safely home!”

Clearly a Higher Authority was watching over her that night and there is no question in her mind it was a miracle.

Naturally, upon hearing this, I became a convert and, with all the zealotry of the newly faithful, wrote the Transport God’s prayer.

Let us pray.

“Our Father, which art in Blackfriars, Transport be thy name

Thy Buses run. Thy will be done in

Tooting Bec. As it is in Wapping.

Give us this day Our daily Boris

And forgive us our frailties, As we forgive those

Who tread on our toeses. And lead us not into Brixton,

But deliver us from Barking. For thine is the Timetable,

The Night Bus, the Oyster,

For ever and ever.

Ahem”

Therefore let it be known from the highest hills that newly-consecrated Off Peak Church of Transportism (whatever!) is accepting donations. And if you wish to join our joyous congregation, you may board at any door.

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‘Ain’t nothing taste like pie

LONDON – I love pie.

I eat them all, from the fanciful four-and-twenty blackbirds, to the exotic crocodile, leek and potato; from the prosaic steak and ale, to the gourmet duck and fig.

NicePie_Squirrel1 You bake it, I’ll eat it – the gamier and bushier the better.

No one makes pies like the Brits, although there is no shortage of crusty competitors.

According to the UK website Pierate (http://www.pierate.co.uk), which has rated more than 400 pies since 2009, the Langkah Syabas Hotel in Borneo makes an Aussie Meat Pie.

Srewth! Don’t tell ‘em that in Wooloomooloo.

So imagine my delight when I learned of a new entry: Wild Squirrel in Red Wine Gravy Pie, made by a company called (what else?) Nice Pie.

Can’t wait to give it a go.

Pietrate gave it a 5.89 out of 7, which ranks it in 80th place on its pie chart. Its verdict: “…the pastry was good, held together well and when eaten with the lovely moist content was a very nice meal…”

A Daily Mail cartoon had the last laugh. “May contain nuts”, it cautioned.

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One man went to war

 

 

LONDON – He was in his nineties – an old man leaning on his cane, walking slowly down the steps of the Imperial War Museum, one painful step at a time.

His clothes were shabby, but I could see as he approached and sat next to me on a bench in the sunshine to catch his breath that his eyes were shining.

“What did you do in the war?” I asked him.

He turned and smiled, looked at me, perhaps glad of someone to talk to.

“Royal Corps of Signals,” he said.

“How was it?”

He chuckled.

“I was 20, what did I know?” he said. “To me it was a Cook’s tour. Benghazi, Tripoli, Cairo, Italy, Croatia. We were all over.’”

Somewhere along the way he had been badly wounded. “Caught on the wrong side of a refinery fire,” was how he explained it. “Lost all the skin down one leg from my hip to my ankle.”

about-imperial-war-museum

He spent weeks in a military hospital, but counts himself as one of the lucky ones.

“Twice lucky, really.”

During the Blitz, before he was even old enough to be called up, the street where he lived with his parents was demolished by bombs.

“Three houses across from us were completely destroyed. They got it, but somehow our house wasn’t touched, don’t ask me why.”

I asked him if he often visited the war museum.

“Oh yes, I’ve been coming since it used to be in South Kensington. It brings back memories, not all of ‘em bad, you know.”
I had toured the exhibits, glimpsed the horror of Passchendaele, seen the corpses of young men at Vimy, trying to comprehend the unimaginable horror. You could almost smell the dead. And yet it had still seemed somehow remote.

Talking to the man from the Royal Signals Corp had brought the museum to life.

I shook his hand. There was something I wanted to say, not just to him, to all of his generation.

“Thank you, Thank you for everything that you did.”

On the Lambeth Road, In the sunshine of south east London, the words seemed trite and inadequate, but I said them anyway.

 

 

 

 

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Why Hamlet is in need of an upgrade

I am proud to report that out of hundreds of entries, I received an honourable mention in the CBC’s Shakespeare Selfie Challenge. The challenge was to write a soliloquy for a Shakespeare character set in modern times.
 But firstly, my congratulations to the winner of the contest, Ruth Daniell for her poem Ophelia, Attending a Garden on the Ground Floor of a Vancouver Apartment Building.
The judge’s verdict: “While many writers captured Shakespeare’s language to great success, I felt like this piece captured Ophelia herself while riffing on Shakespeare’s poetics.”
The judge’s thoughts on my effort were: “Just flat out funny.”
As a novelist, humorist, occasional poet and author of the erotic comedy, Spank – The Improbable Adventures of George Aloysius Brown  I’ll take “flat out funny” any day.
Now you can be the judge. Here it is:
“Hamlet Boarding a Jumbo Jet” 
By Alan Daniels
What manner of going is this
Where men of high estate may be,
Stripped of footwear, poked, prodded,
Goods and chattels untimely seized;
Herded like cattle into pestilential pens,
Assailed by voices heard, not seen?
What Hell is this that hath no name?
Randomly scriven in a devil’s tongue
Writ only in numbers and letters
Mouthed by fools and charlatans;
Terminal C, Gate 10, Row 2, Seat B;
What artifice lurks in such foul
Guise, more conducive
To the slaughter of innocents
Than to dreams of Elysian shores?
Virgin! Delta! Tango! Transat!
Sunwing! Westjet! Zip! Zoom!
No Birds of Paradise these avians be
but dragons of acrid and fiery breath
Dispatched to fetch us to the jaws of Hell!
But Hark! Here comes the Harpy
All battle-clad and red-lipped fury
Yet smiling like a cruel assassin
To challenge my very being;
2B, or not 2B, that is the question
Whether tis nobler in the mind
To take thine place upon a guilded throne
Or shuffle into the monster’s bowels
And there squat with the masses
Alas, my docket yet tells the tale
And I am cast beyond the pale;
An Upgrade! An Upgrade!
My Kingdom for an Upgrade!
For e’en if I be wrongly placed
Should I be unseated so?
Mine goblet snatch’ed from mine grasp
Hot towel sudden turned to ice;
But wait! All seems not lost
The bonds that bind me at once are loose’d.
Yonder! See? The portcullis rises
The drawbridge falls,
Arise! For England! We’ll breach these walls
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Why kinky sex is good for your health

New medical research appears to indicate that people who enjoy so-called ‘kinky sex’ may be psychologically healthier than those who don’t.

 

According to the Huffington Post, a study published in the Journal of Sexual Medicine surveyed 902 people who practice BDSM and 434 people who do not.  All were volunteers so the results may not be representative of the general population.

Participants were asked about their relationships, personalities, wellbeing and sensitivity to rejection.  None of them knew the purpose of the study.

The BDSM group scored better on certain indicators of mental health than the others group.According to the Huffington Post report they were found to be less neurotic, more open, more aware of and sensitive to rejection, more secure in their relationships and have better overall well-being.

Nobody asked the opinion of George Aloysius Brown, hero of my novel Spank, but perhaps they   should have. Readers will recall that George was a municipal civil servant, the quintessential    English gentleman and the epitome of respectability.

Q: Do you spank your wife?

A:  Absolutely. She loves to be spanked.  Under the circumstances, I’d be crazy not to.

Q: As a couple would you describe yourselves as ‘secure in your relationship?’

A: Let’s put it this way: we’ve never had a reason to call security.

Q: Sometimes she must reject your advances. How sensitive are you to rejection?  

A: She will say no first thing in the morning if she is already late for work.

Q: And you accept that?

A: Of course. But like all rational people, we are willing to think about it, discuss it, and consider all options. Invariably, during the course of our conversation, we jointly conclude that the matter at hand should be dealt with without further delay.

Q: Well, that fits in with the survey conclusion that couples who enjoy kinky sex tend to be more communicative.

A: Really? I can’t wait to tell my wife.’

 

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Sorry mate, the Jesus guy got the toast

COSTA RICA – The reporter in me is constantly challenged by Twitter’s 140-character format. I feel like a limbo dancer as  the pole gets lower and lower.

How much can be said in so few words? For example: can you write a travelog in fewer words than appear on a jar of marmalade?

Let’s give it a try.

During my visit to Costa Rica,I posted daily tweets that attempted to distill the essence of what excites and delights me here.

Three examples:

MANUEL ANTONIO, Costa Rica – There is no energy to the surf today. The waves unfold gently, deferentially.  Horses walk the tideline.

MANUEL ANTONIO, Costa Rica – The tropical jungle has its own way. Trees walk. White-faced capuchin, a leap away, show you their teeth.

MANUEL ANTONIO – Fallen blossoms float on the pool. An iguana circles the perimeter. From the hillside, the chilling roar of howler monkeys

Okay, you be the judge. Travelog or twitter trash?

Unrestrained by the  140-character limit, I sent a postcard to a friend:

I am having breakfast with a Jesus Christ lizard – the one that can walk on water. It  is 10-feet away trying to choke down a piece of toast. I consider this a good omen for my next novel.

The hotel cafe/bar is just behind the beach.  I can here sit here half the day and watch the surf roll in.  Sometimes, in the hills behind you can hear howler monkeys, which bark and scream in unison like football fans.  I don’t know what it does to their enemies  but it  scares the hell out of me.

The two-toed sloth is even slower and  lazier than I am – there was one in a tree in the parking lot yesterday,  you don’t have to venture far to see the wildlife here.  Apparently sloths only stir themselves once a week when they climb down from their tree, have a poop, and climb back up again.

Memo to self: achieve more.

Oops, now an iguana, two-feet long has arrived. Sorry mate, you’re too late, the Jesus guy got the toast. It wolfs down a big yellow seed from some plant or other. It is at my feet and keeps a wary eye on me. I may say the feeling is mutual.

Costa Rice is a zoo. There was a tropical downpour the other night and in the morning  while the ground was soaked, Halloween crabs, which are  red and yellow with huge blue pincers,  emerged from their burrows. Flooded out, I suppose.

In Manuel Antonio State Park, butterflies the size of dinner plates flash wings of iridescent blue. For some reason they follow the trails like tourists. Trees walk. Nothing is ordinary here.

I could go on, but I am feeling particularly slothful today.

 

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