"Keep your eyes bright tonight boy there's something strange afoot, might be wolves, we can't be too careful."
The boy set off, staff in hand, to watch over the flock. He wasn't very old but he knew what to do and it wasn't long before he had found a good place to settle himself with his back against the rocks for protection and a clear view of the surrounding countryside. The sheep nudged each other nearby as an azure darkness fell across the land. It would be cold tonight and tiny, pinprick stars had already begun to puncture their way through the icy heavens. The boy watched his breath freeze in front of him...in...out...in...out...
Bedouin campfires lit a trail across the vast plane of desert before him, men and boys just like him in the business of protecting and watching over the animals in their care.
In the distance a steady stream of traffic continued even though the hour grew late. Caravans, families, solitary riders on camel, ass, donkey, relentless and weary. If he listened intently, he could hear the sound of bells coming from harness and rein. The Inns at local towns were full to capacity, yet the travellers still came in their droves looking for anywhere to rest after many days on the road. People were letting out their stables and goat sheds in order to accommodate the masses. His master declared that he would never again behold such a gathering in his lifetime.
Sometime later, one of the other boys brought him a hunk of cheese with some bread and a skin of wine. When he had finished, he pulled the rough blanket around his shoulders and rested his head on his knees. It wasn't long before his eyes grew heavy with sleep.
He awoke to the sounds of animated discussion nearby. Fearful of being discovered asleep while on watch, he quickly jumped up to see what all the excitement was about.
"Look, look at the sky!" They called in amazement.
He scrambled up the ledge of rock behind him to get a better view.
The deep Sapphire blanket of the universe had produced a new diamond of light. Like a crown it dazzled and glinted through the darkness of night, announcing, declaring it's absolute right to be present within the empyrean realm of the cosmos. Never before had the heavens brought forth such majesty, such power.
The boy stood motionless, clinging to his staff. His heart felt no fear only wonder at this beautiful sight and at that moment, despite his tender years, he somehow intrinsically knew that his world would never be the same again.
I have decided to pull the Manuscript story from the blog. Ideas for this were coming thick and fast and what had begun as an observation on a small hairdressers had somehow snowballed into a much larger project which I need to give due time and consideration to. I would like to thank those of you who have taken the time to read the posts so far and I hope to go on amusing you with other little slices of life before too long.
I paint my face white, draw black - whoops - around my eyes and plaster my lips with a shaky hand these days. My wig is old but still serves a purpose. Better get a move on or they’ll be here, little darlings. Mummy and daddy’s joy, certainly not mine.
Raucous Red, I relish the snap as I stretch your elongated neck to greet my boozy breath. Fluted tube, behave yourself or I’ll strangle you into Sausages, Poodle, Sword, maybe. One for the boys I think.
Perfect Pink your tantalizing pear shape makes my fingers tremble, cursed minx. I shall tie you up with green stem and call you Daisy!
I puff and pant intoxicated life to delight bright, expectant eyes until child’s play leads to the inevitable BANG, reducing hours of strenuous vigour to tears, theirs, not mine.
Yellow? I need another tipple before I tackle your snake fish charms my dear.
Are we really into December already? Two chocolate Advent calenders say that we are, both with the first window vandalised before breakfast and number 2 has been meddled with if I'm not very much mistaken. Another sign is that I posted my first Christmas card today. (It has a long way to go.) People are talking about what they've bought, what they haven't bought, some have finished shopping, some are all wrapped! ( What's that all about?) And some have yet to begin the dreaded trail of tears between now and the 24th.
I love this time of year and I hate it too. I hate the commercialism, the way everything becomes a 'Luxury' item and you find yourself seriously contemplating that pack of bath oils for aunt-, when you know full well that if you were in your right mind, the idea would never have entered your head. The frenzied look on peoples faces as the month progresses, Christmas cards to buy, write and then send will well meaning messages to people you will not hear from again until the next Yuletide season.
The queue on the counter at work is to the door and beyond, patience is thin on both sides of the desk and Gift Vouchers are the name of the game. It still never ceases to amaze me how a perfect stranger expects you to know what kind of production Uncle Albert would like to see because,
"He's got everything he needs and we thought he would enjoy a trip to the Theatre."
I'm sure Uncle Albert would but one persons idea of a good night out is not necessarily someone else's. I mean are we talking Lady Boys of Bangkok, or something a little more conservative?
Idid the grocery shopping this morning with our youngest sitting up front in the trolley. There was 25% of all nightwear and she was begging to have a look at some Upsy Daisey slippers which they just happened to have in her size. What do you do? Put them in the trolley with elaborate explanations as to why she cannot have them now as they need to go off to Santa so that he can sprinkle them with magical fairy dust. It works for me.
And actually it does, because by the time I had finished embellishing the tale of Christmas, the North Pole and Santa being very busy at this time of year with his elves, I began to believe it all over again myself. I saw Christmas through the glassy, innocent eyes of a child, filled with wonder and enthusiasm for decorations, the nursery Nativity, ( she's a Shepherd,) Carols, noisy dancing snowmen at £10 each... how much!; and I knew that this year, just like all the other years, I too will be looking up into the heavens just in case the sound of distant bells can be heard to herald the arrival of the one we are all waiting for and maybe Santa will put in an appearance too.