The Origins of Miss Marble, Marble Juice and Galatic Dust 30/11/16
Last week’s Tale Weaver was a piece I wrote about Miss Marble and the aliens. At the end, I mentioned galactic dust and following some queries as to what the dust was I have written the following which may shed some light on where Miss Marble has come from, what Marble Juice is and the significance of the galactic dust.
The Klator people had been visiting the earth for many millennia sourcing jupjup berries. They came to earth every two years as part of their orbit through the universe. In the beginning there had been several spaceships arrive. The earth had the perfect climate for the jupjup berry and they were plentiful. For the Klator the berries provided sustenance. Their home planet was now uninhabitable and they were forced to live a nomadic life.
Their stopovers on earth were about harvesting and preserving as many berries as they could. With each visit they became aware of climatic changes on the earth. They looked for new locations to plant seeds in the hope that by the time they returned the berries would be in fruit.
As time wore on, the places the berries would grow diminished for a variety of reasons. The climate did change, some years were poorer than others in terms of rainfall, heat and cold. As the human population spread they took over fertile lands previously planted with the jupjup berry. To the humans the jupjup berry was nothing more than an inedible pest and they destroyed as much as they could.
By the time of the middle ages, with the human population spreading and growing in numbers, the habitat of the jupjup berry diminished. Farms were expanding due to the need for more produce to feed the growing population.
This was a problem to the Klator. The issue of not being able to source the berries was looming closer and closer.
When they landed they avoided all contact with the humans. They saw the humans as a dirty, disgusting race content to live in their own squalor and offering little to the Klators.
One day, they happened upon a young woman gathering herbs in the forest near where they were harvesting jupjup berries. Curious that this young lady should be gathering herbs in that particular part of the forest they watched her.
The young lady lived in a small house in a street that was long and stretched away from the main town. She had inherited the house from her mother who had passed on her practice to her daughter. They were known in those times as witches as they dealt in all sorts of potions and medicines. Most of the townsfolk feared them especially when they had cures that actually worked. Many of these women had suffered the fate of the dunking stool. In many people’s eyes it was only a matter of time before this young lady suffered the same fate.
The Klator were curious in discovering the young lady had a keen interest in chemistry. She was keen to find out the properties of the herbs she used.
Sensing an opportunity, the Klator decided to engage with the young lady. Discovery they knew was a huge risk. There had been ugly exchanges in the past and they went out of their way to avoid any reoccurrences.
In the middle of the night they paid the young lady a visit. Startled at first, the young lady found she had not much choice but listen to the tale the Klator told. Mention of the jupjup berry enthralled her. She knew of the berry and knew most people considered it a pest and tore it out at every opportunity. The Klator asked her to look at the berry and see if there was a way the berry’s secret ingredient might be made.
The young lady looked at the berries offered to her and said she would see what she could discover. For several weeks she toiled at her task before discovering an alcohol the berries contained. This explained the berry’s bitter unpalatable taste.
Knowing a little about alcohol she worked to discover its chemical composition.
It wasn’t long before she discovered a sure way to produce it and in liquid form as well. She presented it to the Klator who, upon tasting it, declared it was ideal for their purposes.
They requested she make enough for the two years they would be away. With due diligence she carried out the task producing several barrels.
The Klator asked her name were told she was called Marble.
Marble didn’t think of them again as the next two years were a time of survival for her. Times were tough, there was much sickness and the plague was ravaging the country when the Kaltor returned. Seeing them at her door heightened her already high levels of anxiety. Right at that moment she didn’t need more pressure. The community was whispering witchcraft as she struggled to produce the medicine she hoped would cure the townsfolk.
The Klator had returned with the barrels from the previous visit empty. They asked her to fill them again and what was the name of the substance she made. She mumbled “Marble Juice” for the want of a better name and thought about the manufacture of the liquid for the Klator. It would take her a week to create enough to fill the barrels but in that time her own wellbeing might come under fire. The plague was not abating, the demand for her medicine was increasing. She explained all this to the Klator who were sympathetic to her cause.
They said they would give her an extra week to help her meet their needs and those of her community.
When they returned they noticed how much Marble had aged. She had not slept well, she worked long hours and the toll was showing.
With their barrels full they were grateful for what Marble did for them and so they gave her a bag of galactic dust. Their instructions were to mix a tablespoon of the dust in a pot of water and drink a half cup each day. Their message was it would give her energy.
Marble did take as they advised and found she did have more energy and could work longer. Before long Marble realised the drink she was taking each day was giving her more than energy. She noticed around her friends and family were growing older. She could not see the same deterioration occurring in herself.
Every two years the Klator returned. They brought Marble a bag of dust and collected their Marble Juice.
As time progressed Marble found people began to build houses along the road past her house. Over the years the area became known as grimace. It was what the workers did as they walked past her house, grimaced as if fearful of giving cause to attract Marble’s attention. There were rumours she was not only a witch but a very powerful one. It was just a matter of time before Grimace Street became its official name.
The only friend Marble had in the world was her faithful hound Sal. (Short for Salivate) She shared her half cup of life elixir with Sal each morning.
As the years went by Grimace Street grew around Marble. Neighbours came and went and Marble became known as Miss Marble.
The galactic dust she knew was invaluable. In the modern age with space exploration expanding and the search for extra-terrestrials ever increasing she knew that should any of the so called ‘experts’ find out what she had, there would be no stopping them in getting their hands on the invaluable dust. So the arrival of the Klator was always at night, in secret and the galactic dust always locked away.
The Klators (Alien Visitors) 24/11/16
One thing that never surprised me was anything that happened at Miss Marble’s. Her interactions with the people in our street were well known, as was the order system that seemed to be endless from all corners of the country.
But every two years she received the strangest visitors of all.
Only I knew of them because they came across my house and landed in Miss Marble’s yard. The noise was hardly discernable just a buzz and a momentary interference with my TV reception. Miss Marble had in recent times invited me in and I always had a casserole ready for their dinner.
They were the Klators and they arrived on a biennial visit from a distant planet a little to the right of the Klatszr Constellation. The Klators were a family like every other family and this year they had an addition, a baby born several days before arriving so there was great excitement at Miss Marble’s as she loved babies especially ones with webbed feet and elongated brains.
The Klators came with a purpose. They delivered to Miss Marble galactic dust and she gave them two years supply of Marble Juice. Marble Juice was a special mixture she made for them and it had life giving qualities that if taken by humans resulted in several months in hospital and a lot of explaining as to how you happened to drink what the human authorities thought was distilled methylated spirits.
To the Kaltors Marble Juice sustained them through the periods of travel through hyperspace when the real possibility of attack from rogue civilizations was very real. There could be several months where they drifted though space with no possibility of landing for fear of attack and at those times Marble Juice was all they needed to keep their bodies and souls together.
Their visit to Miss Marble lasted a few hours as they enjoyed Miss Marble’s hospitality and she loved to hear of their adventures and places they visited. Klator senior, DZER, whom Miss Marble referred to as DZ was a most likeable fellow and loved to tell his tales in his strange high pitched whistling voice. His wife the delightful DZERA, known to Miss Marble as Mrs DZ, often brought with her a Klator version of a cake which Miss Marble loved as it sort of floated on her tongue a second or two before making a run for it down her throat and into her stomach where it did several laps of her intestine before expelling a gas which exited her body through her ears. It was always interesting watch Miss Marble eat Klator cake because the blue gas from her ears made you giggle as the gas puffed itself out of her head. Miss Marble would give a little jolt and shake her head saying that was delicious.
This year the new baby, DZERAAA, pronounced Daphne, was the centre of attention and as the Klators left Miss Marble gave the baby a small vial of liquid, its own small supply of Marble Juice. The Kaltors were ever so grateful and promised to be back same time in two earth years.
After they left Miss Marble gathered the bags of galactic dust they had delivered and dragged them to her secret locked safe for fear any government authority hear of her visitors and woe forbid the galactic dust fall into their hands as it could mean terrible things for so many. She was pleased she knew what to do with it as she locked it safely away.
Tale Weaver 25 – The Wicked Witch Visits – The First Miss Marble Tale 6/8/15
This week’s task is to weave a tale in which the wicked witch comes to visit.
The knock on the door was one of those that intimated immediately a sense of urgency in me to answer it.
I opened the door and there stood Miss Marble my aging neighbour.
In her hand she held a half-cup measure.
‘Could I borrow a half cup of sugar dear,’ she asked.
I looked once again at her hand. Her fingers were long and talon like, her nails long and curved. It was rare to see her out of her house and for the most part I considered her so reclusive as to think sometimes she wasn’t there at all.
Today she appeared at my door and I was taken aback. Her long black dress did its best to hide her aging form; her feet were bare and like her hands gave more the appearance of claws than feet.
She looked at you in the most inquisitive of ways and you thought her toothless face grotesque until she smiled and you saw a row of impeccable white teeth.
She was a lady of many aspects.
I invited her in and she wandered in behind me. I turned to see her looking at the photos on the mantelpiece.
‘Ah,’ she exclaimed. “I recall your grandparents, lovely people, we had many a quiet evening on my veranda watching the evening sunset.’
To me Miss Marble looked about 60 and any reference to my grandparents suggested she was a greater age than her looks betrayed.
I quickly gathered some sugar for her as her presence did alarm me. I was beginning to think she wanted a little more than sugar, perhaps some conversation or company but I wasn’t all that keen to entertain that thought as she did give off a rather unpleasant unwashed aroma.
‘I wonder,’ she said, “If I could bend your ear a moment dear.’
‘Yes,’ I replied still very wary of what I might be in for.
‘I’ve lived here a long time and my days I feel are numbered. As you know I keep very much to myself and I know you and most of the people in the street think of me as a little eccentric. You see being a wicked witch is no easy thing. The expectations are enormous.
The things I have had to do, would curl your hair and to let you in on the know, so to speak, it was me who killed off Mr Turner’s radishes, laid low the Smith’s ginger cat and as for the recent flood well what can I say.
As a wicked witch I had a reputation to uphold. Chaos and mayhem are my stock in trade and I have always maintained a standard to never inflict any adverse event upon you and the Westons on the other side. After all its hard to come across good neighbours don’t you think.’
By this stage I was getting more and more uneasy, all this talk of Miss Marble being a wicked witch was hearsay and part of the towns legend.
‘You see its not all my fault. If old man Turner had agreed to supply me with radishes none of it would have happened and as for the Smiths they had it coming, stupid cat kept attacking my native animal friends and one thing I wasn’t having any truck with was a feral cat harming my natives. So I put an end to it, quickly.
But my dear I am an old lady now. Time is catching up with me. My hands are arthritic, my feet swell on hot days, the inclination to concoct spells is decreasing each day and even my desire to make my life elixir is fading as I look at a world that I don’t really know and I’m not that happy to be part of.
Too much greed and too many people far wicked than I ever was. They call them ‘colourful characters’ in the news now days.
I want you my dear to take over from me.’
‘Pardon?’ I was stunned, I stood frozen, my head said it needed me to sit as the words sunk in.
‘You see my dear, I ask you for a reason. Your grandparents were my friends, your grandmother my sister, so that makes me your great aunt. No don’t try work out my age it’s a worry to me too.
I need you to learn the spells and potions. I think the time has come for me to take down my shingle and for you to assume my mantle. I think it’s also a good time to shake off the wicked witch persona and for you to use what I show you for some good. As I said there is far too much wickedness in the world without you adding to it.’
All this time I said nothing. Miss Marble was my Aunt?
She was asking me to take on something I thought of as a curious myth within my family. My parents had made mention of a colourful family past and I never asked about it. That past was now staring me in the face.
‘Think about it my dear.’
She turned and made her way out of the house, carrying her half-cup of sugar. At the door she stopped and turned to face me. ‘Its ok you know, I responded the same way when my great aunt asked me, well over a hundred years ago. You’ll get the hang of it in time and the life elixir is such a hoot to make and a great buzz to take.’ She gave a little shudder that was more delight than horror and reached for the door.
“Drop over dear when you are ready and we’ll make a start.’
As she left a cup fell from the kitchen bench, bounced across the room and found its way into Miss Marble’s hand. In an instant she had propelled it back across the room and landed it intact on the shelf it fell from.
‘It’s a lot of fun,’ she cackled at me, closing the door behind her.
Written for: https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2015/08/06/tale-weaver-25-when-the-wicked-witch-visits/
TALE WEAVER 35 Miss Marble and Sal 15/10/15
Miss Marble had had one forgettable day.
At her feet sat her faithful hound Sal. She and Sal had been around a long time. Her life elixir worked as well on Sal as it did on her.
She had found Sal one hot afternoon behind the shopping centre. He was dehydrated and after Miss Marble had found him a drink a grateful Sal followed her home.
Miss Marble had never been a pet person but the plight of the poor dog she couldn’t ignore. Nor could she deny him as there was something in his eyes that attracted her and so Sal settled in and never left.
She called him Salivate, as he seemed to be forever dripping from his mouth. Over time and as her heart moved to love him his name evolved into the more affectionate Sal.
He had been her protector and saviour a number of times over the years. Whilst he was not a big dog, he possessed a bark and growl that demanded your attention. There were times when she wondered what her life may have been like had Sal not come along.
This particular evening she was a troubled soul. She’d lived at 46 Grimace Street for more years than she remembered. She’d seen neighbours come and go. She’d always looked out for her immediate neighbours. Most had been very respectful of her and were perfect neighbours. If it rained and your washing was on the line you’d return to find it gathered, folded and ironed in your washing basket and placed out of the elements.
Tonight however she was worried. She had new neighbours. Young folk who had an air of entitled arrogance about them. Within days of their arrival they had complained about the smells coming from Miss Marbles yard to the neighbourhood authority.
It was true that Miss Marble was responsible for a range of smells. After all her cauldron was housed in her laundry and each day it bubbled away making the potions her customers craved and sought from her.
She was aware of the smells but considered them a small price to pay for the benefits she provided. Namely good health.
It was common practice within Miss Marble’s neighbourhood to welcome new folk.
Patrice South was the first to do so.
Holding a freshly baked cake she knocked on the front door of Edward and Louise Tom.
Edward and Louise however were disdainful, rude and arrogant and refused her hospitality slamming their door in her face.
This action was not a good start for the Toms.
A day later they went to the neighbourhood authority and complained about the smells.
Their complaint was not new. Everyone knew about Miss Marble and her smells.
The Authorities solution was to educate Edward and Louise about Miss Marble.
But the Toms were having no truck with education. They demanded a stop to the smell.
One of the problems the neighbourhood authority had was that no one on the committee actually remembered Miss Marble arriving at number 46.
She had been there longer than anyone else. The Tom’s were not the first to complain.
Henry Wilson some years before and being a most disagreeable man and had raised the same concerns. Education failed on Henry. He wanted to take matters further until he was discovered a drooling mess in his back garden one day endlessly repeating: ‘The dog, it came, the dog it came.’
No one had any idea what had happened and he was taken off by men in white costs and never seen again. Since then a quick education and few free samples when the smell arose and all was good and harmonious.
But the Toms from the word go had alienated so many within the neighbourhood.
It seemed everyone in the street had an axe to grind about the Toms and the Toms them.
Miss Marble was not happy. She hated confrontation.
She knew when pushed in to a corner she could use extreme measures and such measures always placed her in danger.
Most people she knew liked order; predictability like morning following night and the sun appearing each morning in the eastern sky.
The Henry Wilson affair had stayed in the minds of the long-term residents.
Sal was for the most part a placid and well-behaved canine. Miss Marble looked down on her beloved four-legged friend.
She looked across the room to the far shelf where a small bottle, dust covered, sat minding its own business.
With the click of her fingers she did two things. The bottle flew across the room and into her claw like hand and Sal was suddenly awake and alert.
In the bottle she knew lay the solution to the Toms situation. But it was dangerous to use. If Sal was caught or suspected it could be disastrous for all concerned.
It had never failed before but Sal had been much younger and despite the life elixir he was aging, as was she.
But Miss Marble was not going to allow the street to be turned into turmoil with neighbour against neighbour. She wouldn’t allow the Toms to alienate every one.
She gave the little bottle a few little shakes and placed a few drops on Sal’s hide. She waited a minute before she led Sal outside.
Ten minutes later he was back. Another drop and he was his normal old self.
Across the back fence she heard rumblings.
Lights could be seen flashing in the Tom’s yard. Within a short time the place was quiet again.
Over the next few nights Sal would do his stuff. Each time the Toms would rush out more wide-eyed than before.
All suggestions to the other neighbours were treated with curiosity but no one heard what the Toms maintained was a raging beast that growled at their door, banged on their windows, dug holes in their garden and worst of all left a nightly deposit on their front door step requiring Edward to use a shovel and a mask such was the strong aroma.
It was time Miss Marble knew to put into play her final act. In the early hours of the morning Edward and Louise were awakened by the sensation that their house was on fire. They rushed and gathered their most cherished possessions, called for help, yelled and screamed and woke the neighbourhood.
The fire brigade roared to a stop in front of their house.
The firemen looked at the Toms and the Toms looked at them.
The Toms screamed at them to set their hoses on their blazing house.
As the neighbourhood gathered it became apparent to everyone that the Toms had lost their minds.
Their house was not on fire. In fact the daisies they had planted earlier in the week were fully in flower looking resplendent in the full moon light.
The police arrived and surveyed the mayhem.
The neighbours standing around enjoying what was fast becoming a side show with the Toms rushing about urging the firemen to douse their burning home.
The police did finally intervene when the Toms came at Miss Marble accusing her and Sal of causing the trouble.
Miss Marble of course looked anything but a troublemaker. A dear little old lady with her old dog beside her posed no threat to anyone.
The Toms were out of control so a doctor was called ahead of the men in white coats.
With the Toms finally ferried away the neighbourhood returned to its normal sleepy self.
Miss Marble and Sal wandered home and as she sat by her kitchen fire she smiled to herself thinking that in the morning she would make sure her ‘cleanse ones neighbourhood’ potion was renewed for the next person who troubled her solitude.
TALE WEAVER 39 – The Malevolent Shadow 12/11/15
Weave a tale in which your shadow or shadows play a significant role.
Imagine your shadow can communicate, decides it is sick of you and wants to leave, argues with you about life decisions, vanishes……becomes a confidante, you can discus his/her close association with you how you value him/her being there…or the conflict you experience when it develops a mind of its own.
Kate awoke as always at an early hour and immediately that feeling of dread descended upon her.
She looked around and couldn’t see anything that might upset her but she knew it was nearby, lurking in shadow disguising itself so she couldn’t organise an early morning escape or plot against it.
It was quite ludicrous that she be afraid of her own shadow but she was.
Her’s was positively evil.
It didn’t behave to any normal conventions of what a shadow should do and in actual fact it worked contrary to anything she did.
If she stepped right it stepped left, if she waved with one hand it waved with the other. And to make it worse it always walked in front of her irrespective of where the sun might be in the sky.
It was all very unnerving along with the terrible sensation she got when the shadow appeared to turn towards her at certain times and admonish her with a wagging finger.
At night the shadow would take itself off to the far side of her room and appear to sulk as the day’s light dimmed and Kate would turn out her light making it disappear completely.
It was at night Kate felt safest because she couldn’t see the shadow and she hoped it couldn’t see her, though she sometimes woke to the feeling that it was there at the end of the bed breathing its malevolence at her.
It hadn’t always been this way.
Her shadow had behaved as shadows do up until she had complained about her neighbour Miss Marble. Miss Marble was a witch and made all sorts of potions day and night, created smells and generally cussed and fussed at all hours.
Kate realised she had made a mistake in moving next door to Miss Marble but never anticipated the response Miss Marble gave to her complaint.
Kate had complained to the residents association, as was her prerogative. Several neighbours had warned her against such action but Kate thought she was justified in her complaint.
It was after a late night visit from Miss Marble that all the trouble had started. Miss Marble she thought had come round to sort out a neighbourly agreement and instead had given her a small vial and instructions to drink it at bedtime.
Kate had done so and her shadow suddenly developed a mind of its own.
It had been two weeks since it all started and Kate decided enough was enough.
She went round to Miss Marble’s house and knocked on the door.
Miss Marble showed her in and listened to her tale of the terrible time she was having with her shadow. Miss Marble could see the toll it was taking on Kate and was sympathetic to her.
‘You see it’s not your shadow,’ said Miss Marble, ‘Its mine.’
‘Yes dear your shadow has been staying with me these past few weeks and a very lovely shadow it is, would you like it back?’
“Oh please may I. No wonder I’m beside myself your shadow can be right aggressive.’
‘Yes it can when I let it out. You see my dear I needed you to come round and have a chat with me, see that I’m not the wicked witch you may think I am. In fact I prefer to get along with my neighbours rather than disagree with them. Makes for a happy street you might say.’
‘It’s the smells and noises at all hours that bother me the most.’
‘Ah yes now to fix that, at bedtime from now on I want you to put this small wreath on your bedside table, I guarantee you’ll sleep like a baby. If you have any doubts ask whatshername on the other side of me, I can never remember her name, you know the woman with grey bangs and a large woolly dog.’
‘I haven’t met her,’ said Kate, ‘so thanks for this, do I owe you anything?’
‘No my dear just your cheery smile when you see me over the fence.’
‘Well thank you Miss Marble, I’ll try this out tonight.’
As Kate stood to leave there was a shuffle in the corner as her shadow skipped across the room and joined her.
It was a very welcome reunion and Kate went home, wreath in hand full of hope for a good nights sleep safe from the prying presence of Miss Marbles shadow which she was glad to see the back of.
She woke the next morning fully rested and ready to enjoy walking with her shadow in the place it belonged.
Her shadow was rather pleased as well as Kate noticed a bit of a skip in its step as they walked along.
TALE WEAVER 39 – Snow Drops – Aunt Sally’s Garden 15/1/16
Aunt Sally grew snowdrops. And she grew them well.
She was the only person in our street who could grow such things.
It was doubly amazing as we lived at the time in tropical climes and snowdrops like and need a bit of a chill in the air.
Most people didn’t take a lot of interest in Aunt Sally’s garden as it was for the most part overgrown and unruly which was in keeping with the rapid growth of most things in the tropics.
Say what you like about Aunt Sally but she could garden. I asked her once how she was able to grow the non-exotic in exotic situations.
She looked at me sideways and beckoned me closer, looked around as if expecting to be seen and said: “Me neighbour was a witch.’
Now there was never any doubt that Aunt Sally was odd.
She was a tall wizen woman with scraggily grey hair from years of not brushing and a face that most likely saw a mirror as a last resort. She wore a long black shift and always had her working boots on, all day every day. She was the loveliest person, always kind and gentle and wanting to tell you stories about family and her garden. She used to tell me there was magic in her garden and I believed it.
Anyone who could grow snow drops had to have some kind of gift.
She maintained that her neighbour had given her the plant many years ago and along with the plant a small bottle of liquid fertilizer to ‘keep it going’ as she described it to me.
As you can see from the image above she kept it going pretty well over the years.
I asked her one-day about her neighbor. When I knew Aunt Sally the houses on either side of her had been knocked down and new modern town houses were both sides of her.
“Oh,” said Aunt Sally, “She moved down south said the humidity here played havoc with her potions. One day she came in and said ‘Sally I’m moving on, down south, but I want you to have this plant to remember me.’ and that’s how I came to have the snowdrops.”
But I know Aunt Sally suspected her neighbour left her more than snowdrops. I say this as she’d sometimes say not to go to the back corner of the garden after dark as there was something unpleasant down there. The back corner was where their two properties met. I know if I went near the place the rotten smell that hit you would drive you away.
But for all I could see the corner was like every other part of the garden. Densely overgrown with shrubs and lantana vine, which grew in weed proportions in the climate.
I ventured down there one night and again the horrible smell confronted me. But determined to discover what was causing it I pushed on. I pushed my through the undergrowth all the time untangling myself from the vines to find the most amazing sight.
In the middle of the back corner where the fences met was an orchid in flower. The plant was quite large and the small flower brilliant hidden all this time by the protective smell coming from inside the plant.
I took a photo on my phone and made my way back to my Aunt’s house. I wanted to find out what it was and after some searching if discovered it was Bulbophyllum nocturnum a very rare night flowering orchid.
After I showed Aunty we surmised that her neighbour had planted it there knowing it would be protected from prying eyes by its location and smell.
Aunty had a chuckle over my discovery. It was she said so like her old neighbour to do something like that knowing the plant would be safe in her garden.
“That Miss Marble,” she said, “I must tell you about her sometime.”
FFfAW – Week of 04-05-2016- Miss Marble’s Garden 5/4/16
Miss Marble apart from being the only witch in the neighbourhood was also a very house-proud woman.
Having lived at 46 Grimace Street a long time she had been able to cultivate a beautiful garden and her spring blooms were the talk of the street.
No one else could grow flowers like Miss Marble.
Then again no one had the resources Miss Marble had either. Years of experimentation had led to the formulations she used each year to make the red redder, the yellow more yellow and the green sparkle.
Such was her pride that on spring afternoons she would sit outside and share an evening brew with her neighbour, the lady with the grey bangs, and together greet the passers by who came in their droves to view Miss Marble’s garden.
Everyone marvelled at the beauty of her garden, but never became privy to her secrets.
Sixty Plus Love Potion – Part One – 16/6/16
Miss Marble looked at the letter she had found under her front door that morning. The contents perplexed her as she had not received a latter with its request for many a long year. Miss Marble was a witch and had lived at 46 Grimace Street as long as anyone could remember. The letter had come from Agnes Mykiss at 37 Grimace Street and was a request for a love potion. There was nothing unusual about Miss Marble being asked for love potions as there were a few couples in Grimace Street who needed a bit of a boost to their love life and she was always happy to oblige and as she knew and they knew, her potions worked a whole lot different and better than Viagra. On both sexes that is to say.
Miss Marble had known Agnes a long time. Agnes was well into her sixties and as far as Miss Marble knew she was a single woman. In the letter Agnes had requested a love potion that Miss Marble knew was only effective on women over the age of sixty. It was a potion that required the use of a passion flower and at this time of year Miss Marble wasn’t sure where she might acquire one.
Her own vine which like all her plants grew profusely along her back fence but at this time of year flowers were not likely to be seen. Agnes had pointed out that there was a degree of urgency about the potion being made. She was expecting a beau to call upon her in the coming days. It had been a few years, Miss Marble thought, close on forty-five years in her estimation, as she’d never known Agnes to express any interest in any man. But Agnes like so many residents in Grimace Street has recently ventured into the new technology of the world wide web and she had Miss Marble surmised been ‘surfing the net’ as she was beginning to learn was the expression used.
There was only one-way Miss Marble knew to bring about an unseasonal flowering. She reached for a bottle of her Garden Potion, gave it three shakes, two twists and flipped it over. Then she wandered out to her vine and sprinkled a little around the roots.
The next morning the vine was blooming and Miss Marble having found her recipe for the sixties plus love potion selected six of the best looking blooms and went into her shed where her cauldrons were already doing what they did best…cooking up stuff.
Firstly, she cut the flowers into small pieces, then with her favourite mortar and pestle she ground them, rolled them with her granite roller, sprinkled them in rose water and oil of cabbage, a little known secret ingredient she had by chance once discovered did wonders to the psyche in terms of sexual libido and set the mixture to one side for it to work its magic. In a few hours it would be a hard little mass and she would then grind it into a powder before adding a little water and creating the potion Agnes was needing.
Miss Marble knew that once Agnes ingested it, though she would only need a half tea-spoon, a transformation would take place. The usually quiet and reserved Agnes Mykiss would become a sexual diva. Her status would be god like. She would captivate her visiting friend’s attention, casting a spell upon him like he had not experienced before and no matter his age it would have all his systems working. Agnes would become aware her bits and orbs were experiencing a joy like never before. It really was a win win no matter how you looked at it and Miss Marble was sure that for Agnes it would be just that.
She finally had the potion bottled and made sure to place on the label: “Strictly follow the directions.”
Sixty Plus Love Potion – Part Two – 17/6/16
Agnes Mykiss stood at her stove checking the red wine casserole she was making a dinner to be shared this evening with George Burrows a man she had acquainted in recent times.
On the shelf above her was her bottle of Miss Marble’s Love Potion.
Agnes had been a friend of Miss Marble for a long time and had spent many an evening on Miss Marble’s veranda doing what all good neighbours do, discussing the other neighbours. During their long discussions Miss Marble had revealed to Agnes the extent of her love potions so now the time had arrived for Agnes she had acquired a bottle of Miss Marble’s Love Potion for the over sixties.
She hummed away as she placed the casserole back into the oven expecting George to knock at any moment. She had found and pressed her best dress, brushed her hair and even found some old make up. It had been a long time and Agnes knew her last love Harry Simmons had died way back when she was a twenty-year-old and she had carried a torch for him all these years.
She had long given up on love. It was a past pleasant memory for her but George had done something to her in their recent exchanges that now led to him coming for dinner.
Agnes knew there would not be many more events like this one so she wanted it to be memorable.
She also knew she needed a bit of help and Miss Marble’s Love Potion she knew would do the trick.
George arrived and was as Agnes expected was his pleasant self. She knew from her mother that a good dinner was important. In shearing terms her father had always said you needed a good dinner to work on.
George devoured his dinner.
He looked very satisfied.
Agnes took her half teaspoon of Miss Marble’s potion.
She knew that it didn’t just work on her. She ran her hand across George’s neck and then the fun began. You see Miss Marble’s Love Potion transferred to whomever you were with.
Now in the grey of the coming dawn Agnes looked across at the sleeping George. He had met all her expectations and exceeded his own. She thought back to that moment when he had touched her and her own long dormant desires sprung to life. In her mind she was a teenager again, full of lust and want and George she could tell was feeling the same.
Their love making was memorable and she wondered if George would remember the night before as she did. What she thought was once lost had been resurrected in no uncertain fashion.
As George slept on Agnes looked across at her dresser and saw the bottle of love potion sitting there, ready to provide another half teaspoon.
She smiled thinking she was glad she’d bought extra eggs and bacon. A man needs a good meal to work on.
Special Delivery – Nonsense Prompt – Fossimax – 12/8/16
“Dear Mr Gumpsion,” read the note. “A kilo of your best Fine Fossimax. Please deliver without delay.” Signed Amy Marble. 46 Grimace Street.
Mr Gumpsion looked again at the note. It had been a long time since he had heard from Miss Marble. For her to be ordering fossimax meant there was a problem of some dire urgency to be dealt with.
As it was, he knew that orders from her did need to be treated as high priority. He had once been somewhat tardy in delivering her order which was not greeted with the usual smile and kindness, but with a wrath, he never knew Miss Marble to possess.
Fine Fossimax took time and labour to manufacture. It wasn’t easy. The raw materials were getting more and more scarce. Mr Gumpsion’s workers had to go further and further a field where the quality wasn’t as good as that found in the local fossimax quarries.
He scratched his head and headed to his stock room to check on the available supplies. Fine Fossimax was super grade A stuff. He knew Miss Marble would know if he tried to send her a less than grade A fossimax.
He found he had enough to supply her with the kilo she required, but it would be an all-night job to refine the fossimax into Fine Fossimax as Miss Marble demanded.
He flicked the switch, and the giant refining machine sprang into action. He fed in the raw materials checking each amount for any signs of imperfection. The machine would grind, then refine, grind again and finally deliver the desired fossimax. It was a slow and time-consuming process.
As the early morning light appeared in the eastern sky, Mr. Gumpsion took the kilo of Fine Fossimax and held it to the light. It was pure beyond doubt.
Now he faced the prospect of delivery. Only he could deliver to Miss Marble as she had told him in no uncertain way in the past that only Fine Fossimax could be delivered from his hands as she trusted no other person. Miss Marble lived on the other side of town, and Mr. Gumpsion set off on foot carrying his precious cargo.
As he walked through the early morning, he wondered as he always did what it was that Miss Marble did with his Fine Fossimax. He knew that mixed with various other elements it was capable of producing great magic. Like curing warts on the legs of elves inflicted with Swamp Wart malaise. Another time he’d heard she’d used it to help her neighbour grow bigger and better vegetables in her garden, but he’d also heard they did get out of control and her zucchinis although the talk of the street, did end up in more compost bins than on dinner plates.
Fossimax was powerful stuff Mr Gumpsion knew, but Miss Marble was one witch who seemed to have control of its considerable power.
At last, he reached Grimace Street and there at No 46 was Miss Marble standing on the veranda staring in his direction. As Mr Gumpsion approached, she took her wallet from her back pocket and had his money ready as he climbed the steps. She thanked him for the promptness of his delivery, held the bag of Fine Fossimax to the light and remarked it looked an excellent batch. Thanking him again she disappeared into her house.
Mr Gumpsion was left standing on the veranda with a fist full of money and a whole lot of questions he knew he’d never get to ask.
TALE WEAVER 54 – Fractured Fairy Tales – Beryl Saves the Day
It was a beautiful day in the Forest of Witches and Beryl; the Benevolent Witch had awoken to sunshine, birds chirping and imaginary boats bobbing on an imaginary sea. The last part was her own invention and she fancied herself as a creative type capable of not only good magic but more than bright cheerful thought.
Her sister who had been born with the bad gene was so wicked as to defy all description so I shall refrain from such descriptions so as not to offend the sensitive readers that I know you are.
Needless to say the sister Esme (ugh see below) was infamous, reported in every fairy tale known to man and lived audaciously in a house of gingerbread, which as every one knew was nothing more than a lure for poor ignorant lost children. One day Beryl the Benevolent Witch knew her evil sister Esme (ugh, see below) would receive her well-deserved comeuppance.
Beryl lived in a house made from golden spun plaster board, with silver lined shingles and furniture that simply caused you to gasp in amazement should you be so fortunate as to enter her humble abode.
Now Beryl went about doing good works and on occasion’s good things. Like baking for the local Witches Families in Need Guild, sewing for the Witches Sock and Garter drive for Witches serving in the Military and she was a tireless worker on the Spells New and Old Stall at the Witches Fete held annually in her own backyard.
On this day Beryl had heard a whisper that the little girl known as Snow White was soon to be discovered by her evil sister, Esme. It was not a name spoken too loud anywhere in the Forest of Witches. (Saying the name is enough to put a bad taste in your mouth, go on say it out loud, spit and have a long drink of Witches Mouth Wash, the only way known to witch to rid oneself of the taste.)
Esme (ugh bad taste, bad taste) worked on commission for the evil stepmother over at the castle on the edge of the Forest of Witches. It was a lucrative job keeping all the stepmothers stepchildren under spells or asleep, whatever curse she favoured at the time.
But Snow White had done a runner and Esme (ugh, bad taste bad taste) had been on a mission to find her.
Beryl knew all about Snow White and had secreted her in the home of the seven dwarfs. She had gone to great lengths to warn her about accepting fruit baskets from anyone.
Beryl decided today was a call to arms and above average attention to detail. She disguised herself as a tree outside the seven dwarfs home.
The disguise was perfect as each of the dwarf’s small dogs gave testament to as they trudged off to work singing their favourite and only song, ‘Hi Ho, Hi Ho Its down the drain we go….’
Snow White was left to wash up the breakfast dishes as she did every morning. Beryl was watching, aware that an itch was beginning to form under her bark, just to the left of a favourite knot hole…at the same time she noticed movement and around the bend came a little old lady, pushing her walking frame on which was perched, you guessed it, a fruit basket.
The old lady went to the door, knocked as Beryl was frantically trying to scratch and remember the incantation to get her out of the tree.
By the time she did so Snow White had munched half the apple and was looking decidedly more peaky by the second.
There was just enough time to send an exiling spell the way of the old lady whom Beryl knew was Esme (ugh, bad taste, bad taste) before Snow White fell to the floor and drifted into a long sleep.
Drats thought Beryl who gathered up the sleeping Snow White and knew there and then that another tale was going to have to be thought of to get Snow White out of this pickle.
As she carried her off she thought of what it could be, Snow White Sleeps the Long Night? ‘No! What’s a long night,’ she thought, ‘can’t go scaring children can you.’
She’d always wanted to call a tale ‘Beryl Saves the Day’ but she was smart enough to know no one would read any tale with her name in it.
She knew she’d think of something as she flew over Prince Charming’s castle pondering what name she might give this Sleeping Beauty.
TALE WEAVER 40 – Snow White Stop Kissing That Frog
While Hansel and Gretel struggled with the wicked witch in the gingerbread house across the way and down a few streets lived the gingerbread house witches sister Marge.
Now Marge had made it her mission in life to do most things the opposite to her sister. After all the gingerbread house took an awful lot of maintenance what with hungry children, mice and the hordes of ants that seemed to favour gingerbread over most other substances.
Marge lived in a small house made entirely of old tyres. There was something about the smell of rubber that did things to her and she lived in splendid isolation inside her rubber house.
Marge was also a rather clever magician and travelled a lot on her broom, a Cleansweeper 85, top of its range with an air speed that meant she had to tie her hat on very securely.
Marge did conjuring tricks, levitation tricks and scams of a variety of forms that no one ever seemed to cotton on to until she was well out of ear shot.
What worked so well for Marge was that she always appeared to be well dressed, refined and always courteous to all and anyone who came in contact with her.
She had a tendency to lull you into a false sense of security right before fleecing you of whatever money you might have had in your wallet. Her favourite scam was selling cockatoo urine, or as she marketed it as, Cocky’s Cure.
Cocky’s Cure could cure anything. One teaspoon of the vile tasting stuff was said to be enough to cure everything from the common cold to cancer to warts.
Cocky’s Cure was her own invention and being a witch meant she knew just the stuff to put in it to send you off into a lather of perspiration which lasted a good twenty-four hours before you realised you’d been duped.
By the time you woke up with a hangover to beat all past hangovers Marge was well away and lining up her next village of suckers.
It was in the village of False Teeth that she met her match. Here in this tiny hamlet lived another witch but a benevolent one called Hilda the Sower. Now Marge didn’t know about Hilda as Hilda never featured in the Wicked Witch Weekly and so meeting her came as an unpleasant surprise to her.
Hilda made things, sewed and knitted things such as jumpers for the poor, baby bonnets and booties, scarves and beanies for the workers and generally was much loved and revered.
When Marge set up and started espousing the virtues of her Cocky’s Cure Hilda happened to be in the crowd and volunteered to try the Cure out for herself.
Now Hilda was a cunning and wise old witch and she could spot a shyster a mile off and she saw immediately that Marge was as dodgy as they come. Hilda had a few tricks of her own and took a good gulp of her all-purpose anti rat potion before she sampled Marges brew.
The two concoctions mixed together in Hilda’s gut, the town’s folk stood back as Hilda’s rotund girth, gurgled and growled, hicked and then it hupped, contracted then expanded and finally a very large and totally unlady like burp erupted and the most unpleasant of breath spewed out of her mouth.
Everyone dived for cover, or rather fresh air including Marge who was not all impressed with what she had just witnessed.
‘It’s poison,’ shouted Hilda, ‘don’t go near it, this witch is out to rip you off, take your money and leave you more penniless than you already are.’
Immediately the town’s folk backed away, not one was game to try Marge’s Cocky’s Cure. Marge was furious and was about to throw a paralysing spell at Hilda when she felt her arm go limp, her knees buckle and her eyes water over.
Hilda had used one of her own crippling spells, one she hadn’t used in years but was pleased she still remember the formula.
Marge lay on the ground helpless as the townsfolk gathered round. There were calls for her head, the stocks and variety of other punishments that surprised Hilda in there apparent brutality.
So Hilda summoned Marge’s broom, revved it up with a warm knitted broom handle cover and gave it instructions to return Marge to her rubber tyre house forthwith.
Marge was never the same again. Word spread that she had received her comeuppance in False Teeth and was never really seen again.
As one town wit expressed the air had been well and truly let out of her tyres.
The Book of Durfur 10/5/18
Grimace Street was awash with rumour that Miss Marble, of 46 Grimace Street was ill and generally unwell.
Miss Marble was a witch and as long as anyone could remember she had administered to the sick in the street and had never to anyone’s recollection been sick herself.
Her long time neighbour Mansour Stigglefod was at a loss to explain the phenomenon to all and any who asked.
Miss Marble she reported was confined to bed. She was mostly sleeping and had asked to be left alone save for one request that Mansur bring her the Book of Durfur, a Beginners Guide, from her cauldron room and leave it by her bed.
Mansur had done so and had promised Miss Marble that she would look in on her later in the day.
Miss Marble had only known the sensation of being ill once in her life. It was way back when Grimace Street was in its fledgling days and shortly after her mother had passed away. The Batter Sisters, witches from across the other side of the village had expected to take over the witching duties for the village and expected that the young Miss Marble would acquiesce to their demands.
But Miss Marble had been taught well by her mother who prepared her for the real possibility that the Batter Sisters, who were excellent makers of potion, but lacking in ethics, might try to muscle in on Miss Marble’s turf.
Miss Marble in keeping with the tradition of offering foodstuffs upon the passing of a family member had accepted such gifts as a matter of course. One gift was a casserole from of the Batter sisters, and Miss Marble who was deep into her grieving took little notice and ate a portion that evening.
The next morning she felt violently ill such that she stayed in bed, unable to eat and unwilling to seek help. She lay there all day before a neighbour stopped by and saw her condition. All Miss Marble could do at the time was point to the Book of Durfur and indicate the remedy on page forty-eight. Thankfully for Miss Marble, the neighbour was canny enough to read the recipe and prepare the mixture that eventually set her on a path to recovery.
Now she was in need of it again. This time though she had the strength to get out of bed and mix the potion. She was glad she always kept the ingredients on hand, even though she hadn’t needed them in such a long time, she had constantly reminded herself that she needed to keep a supply on hand.
They weren’t the most inviting of ingredients, she knew it would taste vile, and it did, after all, pond scum, ground beech bark and whole dried witchetty grub no matter how you sweetened it, would never pass as an easy to take potion. And that was the point, you couldn’t sweeten it, you held your nose and downed the vile concoction and hoped you didn’t throw it up.
Once down Miss Marble closed the book, ever grateful her mother had insisted she always keep her copy handy and went back to bed.
By the time Mansur Stigglefod return just on sunset Miss Marble was feeling much better and asked Mansur to return the book from where she found it. Mansur ever curious tried to take a peek inside the book, but it refused to open.
“Interesting book Miss Marble,” she stated upon her return.
“Yes,” said Miss Marble reclining peacefully, “it has a locking spell on it, so nosy people can’t take a peek.”
“Oh I see,” said a flushing Mansur Stigglefod.
The Everyday on Grimace Street 26/4/18
It was garbage night on Grimace Street, and all the bins were lined up in front of their respective houses in anticipation of being emptied the next morning.
Miss Marble, of 46 Grimace Street and resident witch, was also busy. To her garbage night, as necessary as it was, was also danger night.
As many of the residents benefited from her assistance in the form of various potions and what have you, there was always the danger of one of her potion bottles ending up in the wrong hands, and she couldn’t afford that to occur.
As it was social media was a threat in that it only took some careless remark from a resident about her and she imagined all sorts of trouble could eventuate.
She took from box in her workroom a tiny butterfly type creature and set it loose.
This creature was a Finder Flyer, and it flew the length of Grimace Street searching each bin as it passed over for any items that Miss Marble would not want in them.
For any bin discovered to contain what Miss Marble referred to as undesirable, the Flyer would deposit a drop of saliva that Miss Marble could identify and search the bin to recover what should not be there.
Most weeks everything was fine as the residents adhered to her request to return their empties to her.
Tonight she registered that Mr Fatswalter, at 6 Grimace Street, had put a potion bottle in his bin. He had done this before, the last time because Miss Marble had rebuked him about his carelessness in showing the potion to a non-resident.
Plus Mr Fatswalter was getting a bit senile and forgetful, and so Miss Marble had decided he could only receive his potion directly from her. Despite his age, he was a bit precious about his hair, and so she’d given him a hair-restoring potion, and he was proud of his head and hair.
She quickly found the said bottle and returned home, put the Finder Flyer back into its box, this time with a healthy reward of six fireflies, Finder Flyers loved fireflies. In fact, if they were any bigger than the palm of your hand, they would be quite scary.
With the street now sound asleep she retired to own bed confident the garbage collection would hold no surprises for the residents but more importantly the collectors.
Miss Marble’s Neighbour, Mansur Stigglefod 23/4/18
This week’s words: Rinse Steer Rathole Desuetude (n.)) a state of disuse) Hatpin Decompress Crematorium Spruce Insipid (adj.)) lacking flavor, weak or tasteless, lacking vigor or interest) Stench Debauchery Becoming
Miss Marble who was a witch and who lived at 46 Grimace Street was in no mood for discussing nor considering the debauchery she saw happening around her. Well, maybe not debauchery but certainly behaviour bordering on the despicable.
Her friend and neighbour Mansur Stigglefod had gone home the night before and had put a rinse through her hair as she had complained about the grey and silver beginning to dominate her pate. Now, thought Miss Marble, she had a head not unlike that of a carrot.
In a way Miss Marble felt to a degree responsible as only the day before when they had come home from the crematorium after the funeral of Bert McGroganzez, who lived at 22 Grimace Street, a lovely man who grew amazing blood red roses in his front yard, had Mansur begun wishing her life had not been as it was and that she was in need of a good sprucing up.
It was clear to Miss Marble that the middle age was catching up with Mansur and her immediate thought was to stick a hatpin into her to wake her up to reality.
She decided to steer clear of that thought as she realised Mansur was in need of some decompressing as Miss Marble knew Mansur could at times become quite depressed at the thought of her life descending into a state of desuetude.
Mansur went on about the rathole of a house she lived in, unable to afford to renovate and the stench of dead mice under the floorboards only emphasised her point.
It was all so depressing thought Miss Marble for whom a roof over her head had always been enough. Mansur was sounding and behaving is such an insipid manner that Miss Marble thought it best to give Mansur a sleeping potion, believing a good nights rest might put out of her head all the notions she was having of sprucing herself up.
My goodness thought Miss Marble when Mansur fronted her the next morning. Not only had she coloured her hair with a ginger rinse but she was wearing an orange swimming suit and was holding a drink of some sort in a very unsteady hand. She’d even attempted a tattoo on her thigh, “Still perky and looking” using a permanent marker.
Poor Mansur thought Miss Marble; she’s thoroughly achieved a state of desuetude in the most insipid of ways.
So taken aback was she all she could think to say was: “Cup of tea, Mansur?”
Miss Marble’s Wooden Spoons 9/3/18
If you ventured into Miss Marble’s kitchen, you would find an array of terracotta containers each holding a variety of wooden spoons.
She had an attachment to each and every one. They were very useful implements, and she used them daily both in her kitchen and her outside shed where her cauldrons worked around the clock preparing the potions she was always in demand for.
Miss Marble was a witch and had lived at 46 Grimace Street for a very long time.
She had spoons her mother had given to her, and she knew the magical qualities of each one.
The spoons working her cauldrons were very large spoons.
Today they were hard at work stirring the necessary ingredients for a hair restoring potion, a forget-me-not potion and one, which she was always in demand for, a garden-loving potion.
Miss Marble was aware that the potion she painted onto the spoons was not long lasting as like everything else they suffered wear and tear. So over the years, she had recognised the symptoms of fatigue. A flagging spoon did no one any good, least of all the potion at hand.
Miss Marble had discovered that once a spoon had been painted it only required her to stand the spoon in the potion for twenty-four hours, which was enough to replenish it.
A replenished spoon was often quite agitated; it wanted to work and would jump about in the terracotta container making its intentions clear.
It didn’t surprise her when one afternoon her neighbour Mansur Stigglefod, wandered into her kitchen only to be hit by a flying spoon and then spent the next few minutes ducking and weaving as she made her escape.
When the dishevelled Mansur returned to Miss Marble, she related her encounter to which Miss Marble said she had plans to mix up some stew for dinner that night and she’d made the mistake of mentioning it to her dog Sal who immediately began salivating at the prospect. Salivating was something Sal did a lot, hence his name.
So Miss Marble enlisted Mansur’s help to cut the vegetables and meat for the stew. Mansur was a bit unsure about going back into the kitchen, but Miss Marble assured her all would be well.
All the while she was cutting out of the corner of her eye she could see the spoons jostling with each other and Miss Marble in her soothing voice quietening them down.
With everything cut and in the pot she whistled, and a spoon leapt from its resting place and plunged itself in to mix. With slow circular motions, the stew was stirred while in the background two other spoons jumped about in anticipation.
“Cake,” announced Miss Marble and soon another spoon was happy mixing.
The last spoon was put to work making an apple slice which required finer work, but it seemed as long as there was something to do they were all happy.
Mansur stood back and marvelled at the scene, spoons mixing and spoons clicking as if singing to each other.
“They like to do that,” said Miss Marble, “ a side effect of the potion I’m afraid, don’t know why that happened but they’re happy, and that’s all that matters.”
At their feet, Sal wagged his tail in anticipation.
The Beauty in Nature 2/3/18
It was on their morning walk that Miss Marble and her friend and neighbour Mansur Stigglefod saw a sight in the Grimace Street pond that was somewhat alarming. While the pond was a haven for all sorts of wildlife the number of turtles they saw was not what they expected. Crowded onto the fallen log the turtles were bustling for position, some falling into the water, others fighting to maintain their position.
The pond had been one of Miss Marble’s projects, and over the years she had nurtured it to provide a safe place for both the creatures that inhabited it and the people of the neighbour to find a quiet respite from the rigours of life.
Miss Marble had long marvelled at the beauty of nature and had helped to propagate as many different varieties of plant, shrub and tree as was possible around the perimeter of the pond. For Miss Marble it different matter if the varieties were both native and tropical, if she liked the look of them then in they went.
She and Mansur would often sit on the seat beside the pond and chat about one thing and another, all the while watching the goings on in the pond. Mansur loved frogs and would shout out in glee when one surfaced or jumped by as they sat there shaded by a massive weeping willow.
But today there appeared a problem with the turtles. Too many at any one time created a problem, Miss Marble knew a lot about the ecological balance needed in nature and any sort of excess was a reason to be alarmed.
She reached down and picked up one of the more pushy turtles and turning it over examined its underbelly. The two women looked intently at the upturned turtle.
“Pond rash,” stated Miss Marble, “they get this rash on their underbelly, and it makes them all frisky, and so they breed more like rabbits than turtles.”
“You’ve something for that?” asked Mansur.
“Oh yes, there’s always something for most problems,” announced Miss Marble. “I’ll go home and make up some turtle talc, a light dusting and things should go back to normal, and the turtles will be relieved I am sure as mating for them is an exhausting business on any day, the poor things must be worn out, no wonder they are all so agitated.”
So later that day Miss Marble and Mansur Stigglefod returned to the pond and gathering up the turtles they dusted them with turtle talc which Mansur observed had an immediate effect with the turtles looking far happier than they did earlier in the day.
Miss Marble and Chamomile 26/2/18
This week’s words: Cancer Fairy Sideways Farfetched Chamomile Bleach Assure Granite Supression Layogenic- A person who appears attractive from a distance but not up close Transparent Autophobia- also called monophobia, isolophobia, or eremophobia, is the specific phobia of isolation; a morbid fear of being egotistical, or a dread of being alone or isolated. Sufferers need not be physically alone, but just to believe that they are being ignored or unloved.
Miss Marble of 46 Grimace Street woke to the sound of frantic knocking on her back door. Immediately alerted, she knew there was only one being who knocked on her back door at this ungodly hour.
Sure enough upon opening the door stood Chamomile the Garden Fairy from the other side of town.
Like all fairies the further you stood away from Chamomile, the better she looked, and she was always careful to stand an arm’s length from her so as the delay the layogenic effect of looking at her too closely.
Seeing Miss Marble triggered Chamomile’s tongue and this time it was a farfetched story of autophobia. This was Chamomile’s default story to Miss Marble. Chamomile had a morbid fear of waking up one morning and discovering she was alone.
Previously she had come in a panic believing all the fairy population had a cancer that would wipe them all out. Another time it was about a chemical the farmers were using close to their village, and it was having a bleaching effect on all and everything with an anticipated similar result.
Miss Marble knew with a mere sideways glance at the trembling fairy that it was her job to assure Chamomile that no such thing was happening.
All this was built around the fairy belief that as gregarious folk being the last was a death sentence in itself.
To suppress this fear, Miss Marble has developed a special potion of crushed and pebbled granite, which she would administer to Chamomile once she had managed to settle her down and reassure her that all was well.
Chamomile happily took the potion and after a momentary set of spasms and shudders looked lovingly at Miss Marble.
The potion had the effect of making everything appear transparent, and Chamomile as she had done on the many occasions she had been to Miss Marble looked embarrassed by her behaviour.
Her autophobia now treated Chamomile apologised for bothering Miss Marble and flew out the door and back to her garden on the other side of town accompanied by a whole new transparent view on life.
Miss Marble patted her dog Sal on the head and ambled back to bed.
Vera’s Enchantment 2/2/18
Vera Schnid was an enchanting woman and sadly for her enchanted.
When she presented herself at the front door of Miss Marble at 46 Grimace Street, she looked the forlorn character she in fact was. She presented a letter from Adolphus Grind, a wizard of renown, asking if Miss Marble had anyway of helping Vera.
It was a case of Vera being in the wrong place at the wrong time.
On a walk one morning through the Green Forest she veered left instead of right and so when she approached The Swamp of a Thousand Frogs a frog enchantment attached itself to her.
Enchantments, I should point out will not attached to just anyone, but on this day the enchantment recognised something in Vera it liked and she was done for. It wrapped itself around her and added a whole new dimension to her character.
Fettered to Vera was a frog enchantment and, one, which was a novelty to begin with. Vera found herself searching the swamp for frogs, which she would kiss.
At first it was fun but the enchantment was more a compulsion and the more frogs she kissed the more she felt compelled to find and kiss.
It got so she was in the swamp morning till night.
The novelty of kissing frogs wore off but Vera was unable to stop. Eventually the local Herpetologist, Froggy Hoppman, raised the issue of the frogs in the swamp becoming sterile and if Vera was causing this. Experiments were set up and sure enough it was all Vera’s doing.
Froggy Hoppman raised the problem at a town meeting pointing out the problem to the swamp eco-system if the frogs disappeared. Something had to be done, and Vera was in the firing line. She was banned from the swamp but she started to sneak back in under cover of night.
It was then Adolphus Grind was called in, but he had no answers, and was more concerned about what might happen to Vera if she ran out of frogs. In desperation he sent her on the long journey to see Miss Marble.
Miss Marble listened to Vera’s story and noticed a sign of desperation about the poor woman who kept looking around and out into Miss Marble’s garden as if seeking out a frog to kiss.
It was a powerful enchantment, Miss Marble had to agree, but there is always hope she said, it would take her a day or two to find something to help.
Miss Marble had plenty of alternate enchantments, some involving kissing but to break Vera’s enchantment she had to engage with the enchantment itself.
It took her two days of research to find the answer. Once she hit on a cure she stoked up her cauldron to mix the ingredients, which in themselves were an effort, as she had to find frogspawn and that meant distracting Vera who was by now getting very edgy.
With the potion cooling Miss Marble called Vera in and outlined that in order for the potion to work Vera had to return to the Swamp where the enchantment originated and drink the potion standing ankle deep in the swamp.
Vera listened carefully as she was very keen to be rid of the cursed enchantment so she could return to some kind of normalcy.
Miss Marble present the potion to her in a silver box and repeated the instructions before Vera set off on her return trip.
A month later Miss Marble received a thank you note from Vera. The potion had worked and she was free of the enchantment. The only thing now was a compunction to seek out Princes, but she was working on that, as Princes were few and far between.
Jammshup (Nonsense prompt) 18/1/18
Miss Marble looked at the note in front of her and was immediately concerned.
It had been a long time since she received a request for jammshup. She was concerned because she remembered well what jammshup was and it was not a potion to trifle with.
In Medieval times it was used as a truth serum. It was very effective as one drop on your tongue sent your mind into such a spin that you were more than willing to answer any question as truthfully as you could to spare yourself another drop of the potion.
But time and sensibilities had changed. The potion, which she always thought was barbaric, had been outlawed by the Assembly Of Covens and although the recipe still existed it was never used beyond the 1600s.
But the name on the order bothered her as well. Delorus Mountpony, Miss Marble thought was long dead. She had been a form of inquisitor back when inquisitors were a penny a dozen.
Below the name was a mobile telephone number and Miss Marble was surprised to hear Delorus’ voice when she rang the number.
Delorus it turned out was up to her old tricks, contracted by the Pony Road Gang, a hideous group of thugs from the other side of the tracks, she had need of the potion to help out an old friend, as she put it.
Miss Marble knew the dangers of the potion and refused to consider the order, especially for Delorus Mountpony, and told her so.
When Miss Marble refused you even Delorus knew better than to threaten or try to cajole you. Delorus and her friends would have to make use of more conventional methods to extract whatever truth they needed.
As for Miss Marble the thought of making the potion, of digging the worms she needed from her garden and boiling them in rats faeces was not a smell she wanted lingering in her kitchen. It was little wonder victims in the past had given up all and every secret, as she knew how horrible it was to smell let alone have to taste.
She shuddered as she screwed up Delorus’ note and cast it into the kitchen fire.
The Witch Marble 12/1/18
There was a time in days past when Prince’s Charming roamed about their kingdoms seeking out maidens in distress which gave rise to maidens creating more and more ingenious ways to attract the attention their respective Prince Charming.
The village Seamstress had one such daughter, a vain girl who when she wasn’t learning the skills of the seamstress spent all her time looking at herself and trying various ways to look more and more beautiful.
The daughter, Lizzie Needlepoint, for that, was their more than befitting name, was, in fact, a beautiful girl, tall and thin, her long blonde hair cascaded down her back and her eyes and smile were more than alluring.
But Lizzie was never satisfied and when the announcement was made of a Ball to be held at the King’s Palace for all the villagers to attend Lizzie saw it as her great opportunity to impress the Prince and win his hand. After all, in Lizzie’s opinion, there was no one else in the Kingdom to match her natural beauty.
So the planning began, her mother set to work on making her a new and beautiful dress, Lizzie practised day and night her curtsy and bowing, discussed her hair with friends and set in motion a plan.
Part of the plan was to get a little extra help by consulting The Witch Marble who lived out on Grim’s Mace on the edge of the village. Like all witches of the time The Witch Marble was known to possess the skill to create magic potions and Lizzie under cover of night went to The Witch Marble’s place to ask her for a potion to allure the Prince to her beauty.
The Witch Marble was a young witch and humble in the business she did with the village. She saw immediately the vanity of Lizzie and worried over what the girl might expect.
But she did have such a potion as Lizzie desired but did warn her that it might not work if the Prince possessed a magic of his own.
Lizzie not wanting to hear anything that might be negative and took the potion and applied it readily to her good self the night of the ball.
In her new dress, her hair beautifully coiffured and the magic potion in place she approached the castle sure she was going to be a hit.
She stood in the ballroom and waited for the Prince to be lured to her. Across the room, she saw him approaching and readied herself.
To her amazement, he walked by her barely giving her a look. Lizzie was furious. She tried several times during the night to draw his attention, but it was as if she wasn’t there.
She stormed out of the castle and headed for the home of The Witch Marble determined to take it out on her as her humiliation in from of the King, and everyone present was more than she could bear.
The Witch Marble was in the process of mixing a potion to calm nerves when frayed as Lizzie burst through the door and delivered a tirade of abuse.
The Witch Marble listened to the angry girl then when she had finished invited her to sit down.
“The Prince, my dear Lizzie, possesses a power enabling him to see the inner beauty in every person and object he encounters. Your external beauty was stunning, there is no doubt, but you possess no inner beauty as you are too tired up in what people see of you on the outside. It’s your inner beauty that will win over any potential lover and husband.”
Lizzie was not impressed at all with The Witch Marble’s explanation and promised to spread the word that she was nothing more than a charlatan.
Understanding her indignation, The Witch Marble offered Lizzie a small vial of her calming potion saying it would enable Lizzie to sleep and feel better in the morning.
Lizzie snatched it from her and marched away telling herself the vengeance she had in store for The Witch Marble would bring about her end.
That night unable to talk to her mother she took herself to her bed, gulped down the potion and fell asleep.
The next morning Lizzie awoke and felt wonderfully calm. She walked out to find her mother already at work and proclaimed, “ Oh Mother, but you are looking so well this morning.”
New Year on Grimace Street 5/1/18
When the New Year arrived the annual New Year’s bash took place on Grimace Street.
So often it was about leaving the past behind and moving on with the new.
Alice Hopkins had had a poor year. She was getting old and her age was catching up with her.
“Its me legs,” she say to anyone bothered to listen, “they don’t hold me like they used to. Got to sit down more often than I want to and things just don’t get done.”
She looked around her and anyone who had known Alice over the years knew she was a great gardener and her yard was always a picture of care and health. Today it was overgrown and her scrubs were in need a good pruning and now cascaded over the front fence and across her front path.
Miss Marble the street’s resident witch knew enough these days not to interfere too much in the ways of nature. She had great affection for Alice, many was the hour the two had sat together of an evening mulling over the ways of the world and the health of the street.
There came a time, Miss Marble knew, when death visited and you had to allow it to do what it did best, collect the soul and leave the body behind for the living to grieve.
Miss Marble knew Alice’s days were numbered and even though she was generous in giving Alice some potions to help her sleep and to act against any pain she knew well enough not to stop nature having its way.
So this New Year, Miss Marble met with her neighbours and brought in the New Year. Some made resolutions, some didn’t and most had more to drink than they should have.
Alice she noted sat to the side and watched the festivities. Miss Marble sat with her as the clock struck the start of the New Year and held her hand.
The two women didn’t need to say much, they both knew this would be Alice’s last New Year and Alice was accepting of that.
As the neighbours danced around in celebration, Alice placed a hand over Miss Marble’s and said, “ Thanks dear friend, you’ve been good to me.”
“It’s what friends do,” replied Miss Marble, wishing her friend well.
Morning Tea with Mansur Stigglefod 24/11/17
Like most days when Miss Marble awoke she had the feeling today was going to be one of those days like most days in her life where something interesting would happen.
Only yesterday she opened her door to a young couple on a religious evangelical crusade to save her from the fires of everlasting torment should she not renounce her evil ways and embrace their version of happiness. She listened as she did every time someone came to her door, often in the hope that she might learn something or make a new friend.
But this couple she determined where destined to not provide her with anything of that kind.
When such times occurred she reached behind her door for a small vial and sprinkled the dust from it over the relentless young couple.
It stopped them in their tracks and their faces lost their stern scolding look and were replaced by the smiles of happy contented young couple whom Miss Marble knew in about thirty seconds would find a new and exciting love for each other which would take them far from Grimace Street. And so they skipped off down the path, hand in hand, not knowing just how attractive they were to each other.
So this morning it was about organising her day and looking at her calendar to see what was in store.
Her aging Swedish neighbour, Mansur Stigglefod, broke her revere. Mansur was a small lady with an aging face and the most becoming grey bangs. As normal for Mansur, she hobbled in and sat herself at the kitchen table asking Miss Marble how she was and in the same sentence telling her of her increasing aches and pains.
She was having trouble with her teeth. They kept falling out and it was making life difficult when it came to eating as Mansur wasn’t all that keen about living on a liquid diet.
Miss Marble loved Mansur, as a neighbour she was the best she’d ever had and as a morning companion such delightful company.
So she put the kettle on, grabbed their favourite cups and made the best cup of tea Mansur ever tasted.
The tea was of Miss Marble’s own making and always contained a pinch of joy designed to make you feel better even on your worst day. It worked well on Mansur even if the payoff was a more vociferous neighbour who suddenly had the answer to the world’s ills.
By ten o’clock their morning came to an end with Miss Marble suggesting Mansur go home for a nap. Mansur looked at her watch, jumped up and said her farewells and was off out the door.
For Miss Marble it was a lovely way to start the day, the interactions with Mansur always filled her with joy and lay the foundation for a satisfying day.
Miss Marble to Albus Dumbledore 6/11/17
The Task: write a letter to a character from a book or movie as if they were a real person.
Miss Amelia Marble
46 Grimace Street
Professor Albus Dumbledore,
Hogwarts School of Witchcraft and Wizardry.
My Dear Albus,
I’m so pleased to hear that all the troubles you have been having have been resolved and life is back to normal at Hogwarts.
It is with great pleasure that I accept your invitation to once again address the annual Witches and Wizards Spells and Potions Open Day.
I am so pleased to be asked for as you know I have been a great fan and supporter of Hogwarts School.
This year I shall speak on ‘Living Successfully in a Muggle World’.
As you know Grimace Street is a wonderful place to live and even though I do vet the people who come to live here every so often there is one or two troublesome Muggles give me cause for concern. Hence, I believe in the old saying: “Life is like a box of chocolates, you never know what you are going to get.” For as we have all learned over the years, what’s on the outside may not be the same on the inside. Sadly too many of them are cursed, I’m sure that is what it is, with greed and therefore so very self-centred.
I do have one request as far as accommodation goes. I would like very much not to be housed in Slytherin House as I found them to be a tiresome lot of tricksters. Finding my shower cubicle, a snake pit, is not the way any witch would like to end her day and finding slimy slithering things in my bed, frankly does not go well for restful repose.
Neither would I like to be in Gryffindor as I find most of the young ones are believing they are future Harry Potters or Hermione Grangers. Such pretentious children do get wearisome. I thought maybe Ravenclaw would be more suitable, they are very stayed and laid back folk, with little reason to be above themselves as others seem to be.
So, my Dear Albus, I shall be on the 9.24.5 from Central leaving that beautiful Platform 9 3/4. Looking forward to seeing you on the 33rd.
Yours in all things magical
Amelia Marble, Miss.
Amelia Marble’s Apprenticeship 2/11/17
The first thing Amelia heard upon awakening was the sound of her mother in the kitchen preparing for the day ahead. Amelia’s first thought was, “Oh great it starts today.’
Today her mother, Tolly, had told her daughter she would begin teaching her the art of being a witch.
Ever since she could walk Amelia had followed her mother around the place watching her gather the herbs first thing of a morning, cut them up, dry them out, mix them with this and that, deal with customers who came for relief from one ailment or another.
She particularly liked it when her mother worked with the cauldrons. They were housed in a separate room behind their house, which was several miles from the nearest house.
People in those times gave great respect to the witch and at the same time were wary of her as she had powers they didn’t understand.
But today was Amelia’s first day of officially learning the art of witchcraft.
As she entered the kitchen her mother handed her the bucket and Amelia knew that meant a trip to the well to fetch a pail of water. There was always water to be gathered and so she trekked down the well-worn track to the well at the bottom of the garden.
Her mother had spoken to her before about becoming an apprentice and that it meant learning all the tiresome mundane jobs, gathering the herbs each day, the preparation of them and the mixing and boiling that could take the best part of the day.
By the time this day had arrived Amelia was well aware that witchery was a lot more than spells and potions.
Her mother was also very aware that her daughter had an innate sense and enthusiasm for why things worked as they did. So it was going to be as much a learning curve for her as it was for her daughter.
On the first day of her apprenticeship Amelia learned that collecting the herbs and storing them was an exacting task. Some herbs could not be stored with others, some herbs looked innocent until you squeezed the juice out of them and they took on a whole new outlook.
Preparation her mother told her was paramount in the success of becoming a witch.
It took Amelia many years at her mother’s side to learn the ins and outs of witchcraft. There was always something new to learn and every now and then they discovered a new use of an herb they had not known of before.
Amelia in her own time was often experimenting with one herb or another. Often nothing happened and sometimes the pop of a clash of chemicals made her sit up and try and understand why.
Over time as customers came and went Amelia would slip a customer a different combination and see if there was any reaction. Every time she made a note in the concoction book as her mother called it. If a customer reported a failure, which was often a bad gastric reaction, Amelia would amend the book with a note to discontinue that idea or if the reaction was good then a note to say it had worked well on the village blacksmith’s bunions.
The concoction book was a growing tome that sat upon the shelf in the kitchen. It was placed there as Tolly pointed out it needed to be ready at hand as she received her customers in her kitchen.
Amelia as part of her apprenticeship began her own and over time it too grew into a sizeable volume. By the time she was twenty she had started a new one, as the first was so big and heavy.
It took Amelia many years before her mother introduced her to the cauldrons. Amelia had always been there with her mother as she stoked the fires and prepared for the ‘boiling’ as her mother called it. This was where the potions and the sometimes magic occurred. Here anything could happen and often did.
The young Amelia studied hard, she developed her own spells and potions, she attracted customers, and she also attracted the naysayers who saw her as evil and a danger.
She countered all opposition by always helping the villagers when in danger or when there was the threat of plague.
It was when she saved the life of Constance Goodwoman, a renowned anti-witch advocate in the town that the attitudes to Amelia changed and she was treated from then on with reluctant respect.
Amelia Marble grew into the witch she is today, the same Miss Marble at 46 Grimace Street.
Miss Marbles Birthday 19/10/17
Miss Marble didn’t know when her actual birthdate was, but she had decided that October 18th would be a suitable day as it was mid-spring and she liked the spring. Her garden took on a new life, the flowers bloomed, and the scrubs scrubbed everything was fine thanks to her home-made liquid fertilizer.
As she had lived a long time and concocted a lot of potions in her time, she had over the course of time developed a potion which she considered completely self-indulgent but something she enjoyed once a year on her birthday.
It was a “Pleasure Potion” and even though when she looked in the mirror and saw a woman the other side of middle age the spark for a bit of pleasure was always there. In her younger days, she had caused no end of mayhem by using the potion far more often than she should.
It got to a point where her neighbours, particularly the wives would lock up their husbands to keep them safe from the stimulated Miss Marble wandering the street looking for a man. A potential crisis was averted by Miss Marble pledging to not use it as she had but to put it away for personal use only.
She did make the mistake once of offering some to Mabel and Walter Harris at No 27 Grimace Street only to be alerted in the night by their neighbours complaining about all the noise coming from their place and that Miss Marble was responsible. She arrived to find Mabel and Walter stark naked on the roof of their house, aroused as she’d never seen before. She had to coax them down and then change their minds to think Walter was to Mabel an all-day sucker and left them in their living room knowing the potion would soon wear off. Eventually.
But tonight, was Miss Marble’s birthday and she made herself some potion. She’d discovered fresh potion worked a lot better than stored potion, she had once tried that with the most disappointing results. Gathering her ingredients, she set to work and before long what she needed was ready.
She seated herself in her favourite chair and began sipping on the potion.
The effect was almost simultaneous with her lips against the bottle. Her mind began to drift away as her body lit up in delight as every nerve in her body and in the important places came alight and literally began dancing. Miss Marble had too reliable ‘girl friends’ as she called them, Miss Pink and Miss Purple. They were the only ‘guests’ on her birthday, and she was pleased modern technology had availed her of these invaluable friends.
Birthday parties take on a life of their own in so many ways, and for Miss Marble, hers was an all-night affair.
Invariably she would wake up, refreshed and reinvigorated, sated and ready to take on another year. Her ‘girlfriends’ would return home, and life would carry on as normal, well as normal as life was on Grimace Street. She knew that later in the morning her neighbour with the grey bangs would come over for morning tea, take one look at her and remark that Miss Marble looked as though she had another good birthday.
“You can’t train them you know,” said Miss Marble to Miss Monty. “They are more than a horse with a horn on its head. Despite what mythology tells you Miss Monty unicorns are the most contrary of creatures.”
The youthful Miss Monty beamed enthusiasm at Miss Marble. She had come to see Miss Marble full of ideas about unicorns and having one in her back yard.
Miss Monty was a new arrival on Grimace Street, and as Miss Marble was the longest living resident in the street, she had a lot to say about who did or didn’t move into the street. Miss Marble thought Miss Monty would add an air of youthfulness to the street, as many of the occupants were getting older and added to that, Miss Marble saw Miss Monty as potentially producing a child, and it had been a long time since anyone had heard a child cry on Grimace Street.
“But Miss Marble,” pleaded Miss Monty, “it’s there in the yard now and its so beautiful surely you must know something about caring for unicorns.”
“Well,” said Miss Marble, “they are tricky creatures that much I do know. My Aunt Mara had one and had no end of trouble getting it to get along with the other animals on her farm. It had a nasty habit of hunting down the cats and eating them. Has your unicorn shown any such tendencies?”
“No. Not for cats that I’ve noticed but it does lick its lips every time a dog wanders by.”
“Feed it lemon grass is what I suggest,” said Miss Marble taking a large plant from off her shelf and handing it to Miss Monty. “This stuff will give its mind nothing else to think about but getting the taste out of its mouth and at the same time develop a craving for lemon grass.”
A week later Miss Monty reappeared at Miss Marble’s door. Her face showed no enthusiasm at all, in fact, she looked quite worn out.
“Oh Miss Marble,” she blurted out, “the unicorn has gone crazy I’m sure. It’s running in circles, snorting, swinging about his head, its already skewered Miss Mans’ pet rabbit and Mr Fanggo’s pet rat. I’m afraid to go near it as I could end up impaled as well.”
“Goodness,” said Miss Marble, “have you been feeding it the lemon grass?
“Yes just as you said but I can’t control what else it eats can I?”
“What else has it been eating?”
“I did notice it was eating the tomato bushes I had just planted. Poor things hardly get a go on, and the unicorn helps itself and goes all crazy.”
“Ugh,” retorted Miss Marble, “tomato bushes are the worst things for a unicorn. Whatever possessed you to grow them?”
“I like tomatoes,” wailed Miss Monty, “Miss Marble what can I do.”
At that Miss Marble dragged a huge book from one of her shelves and began pouring through the pages.
“Ah ha,” she announced and immediately went to her store of ingredients and began taking down bottles and mixing a teaspoon of this with a teaspoon of that until a thin vapour began to rise from the mixture.
“When I say turn round, you turn round right?” said Miss Marble eyes focused on what she was making.
“Pardon?” asked a querulous Miss Monty.
“It’s a potion that only works if you have your back turned, now turn round.”
The two women then turned their backs, and behind them, they could hear the sounds of something happening. This went on for several moments until a rather obscene expletive was heard and Miss Marble announced the potion was ready.
“Take it home and mix it in the drinking water, a day or two should see everything settle down,” instructed Miss Marble.
“Ok,” said Miss Monty taking the sealed vial in her hand. “What’s that book called?” she asked.
“My Aunt Mara’s Eastern book of magic cures for all things great and small,” replied Miss Marble replacing it on its shelf. “The small one beside it is Aunt Mara’s Western book of magic cures for all things large and horrific. But thankfully I don’t get much call to take it down and use it. Not much large and horrific around these parts. But back on the farm, Aunt Mara had to deal with no end of the horrific. Terrible times they were, large hairy beasts, small hairy beasts and hairy beasts that sometimes were large and sometimes small. Each one intent on doing you harm. Thankfully those days are past. Now you run on home Miss Monty and let me know how the potion works.”
“Thank you, Miss Marble, I’m sure it will,” said a somewhat relieved Miss Monty and off she went to administer her unicorn with Miss Marble’s potion.
After she had gone Miss Marble sat and pondered the wisdom of allowing Miss Monty to come and live on Grimace Street. For if she was seeing unicorns and everyone knew unicorns didn’t exist what might she come up with next.
At least the potion would make her sleep.
Shopping With Miss Marble 24/8/17
It was Friday evening, and Miss Marble sat at her kitchen table pencil in hand, her writing pad before her and her mind on what needed to be bought the next day on her weekly shopping trip.
She disliked domestic shopping. It was tedious in her mind, and nothing more than a means to an end. She much preferred spending her time in her back room stoking the fires under her cauldrons and creating a potion that might do the trick for some neighbour in need.
Miss Marble was a witch who lived at 46 Grimace Street and had done so for a very long time. People came and went on Grimace Street, but Miss Marble had stayed.
On the wall was an order from Dulcie Greenhorn at 6 Grimace Street for a cleaning potion. Dulcie was getting on a bit these days and was in need of some help around the house, and Miss Marble had once mentioned to her that when the time came, a cleaning potion might be useful when Dulcie started to feel she couldn’t do it like she used to.
Tonight, she’d start on the potion as she’d not long received an order of elbow grease and along with a generous helping of bicarbonate of soda, she knew just the amounts to mix together to make all the difference when it came to cleaning.
Miss Marble let her mind wander as she thought of the effect the cleaning potion would have on Dulcie. As Dulcie was a simple down to earth sort of woman she knew Dulcie would get a kick out of what the potion would do for her. Sprinkle a bit on your mop or broom and watch the little darling do the job for you. Though in these modern times Miss Marble did warn against sprinkling any on your vacuum cleaner as the potion and electrics didn’t appear to be compatible with each other.
It got Miss Marble thinking that she should be able to create a potion to solve her dislike of shopping. After all, it was just a matter of a potion to get the shopping trolley going at the supermarket, a list that saw what it needed and away it went. Payment she thought was a different nowadays. The barter system had long gone, and Miss Marble needed money, real money to purchase things at the local Woolworths.
It was something to think about as she jotted down on her list the basic requirements for the next week. She shuddered as she thought of the crowds she’d encounter, the nosy ones who looked at her trolley, who’d whisper to each other as she always passed in her black skirt and pointy hat. After all, Miss Marble reasoned she’d been around a long time, several hundred years in fact and had therefore earned her hat. You couldn’t buy them anymore, and so she wore her’s with pride.
Knowing her list was complete she retired to the back room where on one wall was stored the jars of elbow grease and on the other the bi-carb soda. It was never a good idea to store either ingredient in close proximity to the other. She learned that early on as she grew tired of replacing the walls.
So, with spatula in hand, she stoked up the fire under number three cauldron and set to work. Dulcie, she knew would be around before she left for the shops.
Swedish National Pasta Sucking Day 4/8/17
Miss Marble of No 46 Grimace Street, woke up not feeling Fresh so ordered Fresh out of her bed and into the garden to do what it did best. She didn’t feel much like Stale either who occupied the attic for obvious reasons. She was somewhere in between when she heard her front door being rattled.
Dragging herself out of her bed, she threw on her dressing gown and grumbling to herself about being disturbed so early, made her way to the door.
There stood her Swedish Neighbour, Mans Mikeinsop, from No 3 Grimace Street, tears streaming down his face and generally looking not his usual cheerful self.
Two nights before Miss Marble has been to Mans’ place for dinner and watched him prepare the most delicious chilli con carne. She marvelled at his ability as he literally threw the ingredients together in true Swedish chef style with lots of “hedidoodeheywoowoodidoodywhohheddoooetydy” while the pasta flew in all directions and the chilli did as chill does.
She found it an education and warmed to Mans as a person and as a chef.
Right now, though she was confronted by a crying Swedish neighbour. The moment she asked Mans what the problem was she knew it was not the right question.
“Hedihedihidehiseeishhedididehi Marbell,” cried the emotional Mans.
Miss Marble raised her hand and the by now sobbing Mans Mikeinsop stopped.
“Now Mans,” said Miss Marble, “slow down and tell me your problem. I may well be the best witch you’ve ever known, but I need to hear you, to know, what to do for you. Now slowly, what is the problem?”
“Oh, Miss Marbell,” he sighed, “I have forgotten that today is the Swedish National Pasta Sucking Day and my pasta maker has sucked the grub. And I always celebrate our national days. My mother home in Malmo, Sweden, will be expecting photos and a video of me sucking the pasta. My mother is a big one for the slurp Miss Marbell.”
“Can’t you use pasta from the shop?” asked Miss Marble trying to find a quick, easy solution.
“No,” wailed Mans Mikeinsop, “it has to be freshly made, by your own hands.” At that Mans went into the panic one sees in people who don’t see alternative solutions. There was a lot more of the “Hedihedihidehiwoowoohisishhedididehi” before Miss Marble raised her hand to him again.
“Here now,” said Miss Marble feeling all sympathetic, “you Scandinavians have some odd celebratory days don’t you. Borrow my pasta maker I won’t be using it today. Here take it and go suck that pasta up.”
She handed Mans her pasta maker, and he was ever so grateful as he made his way down her front steps and headed off in the direction of his place at No 3 Grimace Street.
Content that she had sent Mans away to do with her pasta maker as he needed to she settled herself down in her kitchen, kettle on and the prospect of a hearty breakfast.
Within the house, she could hear Stale in the attic, cursing the new day and his confined quarters, normal for him and out in the garden Fresh was speaking to the plants and shrubs encouraging them as Fresh always did. All was good in the world until her phone rang. It was Mans, the pasta maker was working better than Mans expected. It was out of control; the pasta was wrapping itself around the unsuspecting Swede. Soon she heard him utter he’d be covered from head to toe. “The slurping,” she heard him cry as his voice became more and more indistinguishable until there was nothing but a gurgling sound in her ear.
Goodness thought Miss Marble and then suddenly remembered the pasta machine she had infused with a binding spell, and she’d forgotten to unbind it.
Grabbing her rolling pin and kitchen shears, she set off at a pace to Mans’ place.
The Swedish National Pasta Sucking Day might have to wait this year she thought as she hurried along.
Casey Visits Miss Marble 27/7/17
Miss Marble was surprised to find Casey Longbottom from No 28 Grimace Street standing at her front door so early in the morning.
Casey lived a few houses down from Miss Marble at No 46 Grimace Street.
Casey and her new husband Steve had not long moved into the street. They were newlyweds and had been welcomed into Grimace Street by neighbours so pleased to see new blood amongst them.
But this morning Casey was clearly upset. There were tears streaming down her face as she looked in on Miss Marble who showed alarm and concern for the young lady.
It appeared after Miss Marble settled her down, that Casey and Steve had had a disagreement such that they had slept in separate rooms and when Casey awoke she found that Steve had already packed his bag and gone off to work without a good bye or departing kiss.
Casey and Steve had always promised to never leave their house without kissing each other goodbye. This was the first time it had happened, and Casey thought their disagreement was bad enough, but no kiss goodbye was a devastating blow to her.
Casey had heard that Miss Marble was a wonderful old lady to go and talk your problems over with.
As their conversation progressed, Miss Marble discovered that Casey and Steve had been having a few problems for some time. Steve had been coming home from work, tired out and the romance and affection he showed in the first few months of their marriage was beginning to wane.
Casey confided that she loved Steve. She loved his affection to her, she loved his kissing her, and she wanted so much to shower him with kisses as well.
The magic had gone and what was she to do?
Miss Marble in her usual way listened attentively to Casey before pouring her another cup of tea. She patted Casey on the hand and told her to sip her tea while she went out to her workshop in the back.
Miss Marble returned with a small blue phial. Her instructions to Casey were to place one drop in Steve’s dinner and one drop on his pillow before he went to bed.
Miss Marble embraced Casey as she left telling her all would be fine.
Later that night Miss Marble happened to be walking past No 28 Grimace Street just as Casey and Steve were retiring. The drop in his dinner had resulted in his finding great attraction to Casey. It was so strong he had not been able to leave her alone, instead had wanted nothing more than to kiss her in every possible way.
Miss Marble smiled to herself as she listened to Steve and Casey taking to their bed. There was nothing better than a good old fashioned kissing potion she thought to herself. As it was Casey had enough for a good two weeks, and in that time, she was sure their mutual attraction to each other would cement their relationship, if not they’d have mighty sore lips.
But from what Miss Marble heard as she wandered away, it wasn’t sore lips they might be feeling in the morning.
Making Sense of Nonsense – Grartor – 9/8/18
Grimace Street was awash with excitement as it was that time of the year when Miss Marble held her grartor party.
It was an event she held every two years and this year it promised to be as good a party as ever.
The point of the grartor party was to bring the street together and celebrate everything that was Grimace Street. After all, not every street had a witch living in it as Grimace Street did with Miss Marble at No 46.
Every resident in the street was invited and expected to attend. The GRARTOR was a potion Miss Marble prepared and one which every resident looked forward to.
Once they were all congregated in the street Miss Marble brought out the grartor and each person took the small vial offered them and drank it.
The effect was very individual. This was so because the potion acted on what was each person’s thing for having fun. Some danced, some sang, some sat and chatted, some went out of their way to be nice to neighbours they might normally to pleasant to.
While this was happening Miss Marble provided an assortment of foods, from Marble sandwiches to Marble cakes each designed to enhance whatever experience a person was having.
She was particularly pleased to see Barney Plunkett and Myrtle Overson sharing a cake or two. In normal times Barney and Myrtle were residents but very shy each preferring to live their own separate and lonely lives. A dose of grartor and the two were inseparable. It became known at grartor time that Barney and Myrtle would be shown to one of the tents Miss Marble erected in her front garden for such eventualities.
They weren’t the only ones as there were several couples who engaged in a little swinging and as far as Miss Marble was concerned if they were hurting anyone then the point of the grartor was being met.
As for Miss Marble she retired to her front veranda and there with her faithful hound Sal by her feet watched the goings on waiting for the sun to set so she could fill the sky with fireworks which was her thing at grartor party time. She had a love of fireworks and usually put on a spectacular show for one and all.
At the end of the night her neighbour and friend Mansur Stigglefod would join her on the veranda and the two women, both aging gracefully would watch over the street as the effects of the grartor wore off and people realised the party was coming to a halt. The tent occupants would re-enter the street, by now looking pleased and at the same time a tad sheepish wondering who might have noticed them coming out with their clothing slightly dishevelled but with an uncharacteristic spring in their step.
As the last resident retired to their respective homes Miss Marble would wave her hand over the street and everything would return to normal.
Mansur would rise from her seat and wish Miss Marble goodnight as she’d traipse down Miss Marble’s front steps, wondering if she’d be around for the next one in two years.
Frau Marmor – 20th August 2018
This week’s words: Hemmablind ((adj.) To become so accustomed to the flaws in one’s own home as to no longer notice them even if those flaws require certain adaptations to be made. (Does this word exist in English?)
Pinfeather Decorous ((adj.) characterized by dignified propriety in conduct, manners, appearance, character, etc.) Final Able Underwater Marigold Pester Token Falsify Draw Crutch
Miss Marble received word that her cousin Frau Marmor was coming to visit. Frau Marmor lived in Munich and was what Miss Marble referred to as a hemmeblind woman. Frau Marmor insisted in speaking German whenever she visited, which was not very often, and Miss Marble worried about her place as over the years it had taken on a character that not many houses possessed and Frau Marmor was always quick to point out the error of Miss Marble’s ways.
Miss Marble decided to be as decorous as possible in order to show Frau Marmor she was not a woman to be criticized. And as we knew Miss Marble was not a woman to be trifled with. Frau Marmor was not the witch Miss Marble was and was able to pull out the required spell when required to put Frau Marmor into a deep sleep thereby affording Miss Marble some relief from her tiresome cousin.
Frau Marmor arrived to her own fanfare and immediately took to the garden as Miss Marble had quite a considerable garden. The marigolds were out in flower, and Frau Marmor took it upon herself to pester Miss Marble as to the final time she might be able to pick them.
Miss Marble distracted her cousin by suggesting they go in search of pinfeathers as there were new born birds in the nests in her garden and pinfeathers were more than useful in sleeping potions.
Frau Marmor as with many people as they age was starting to mellow and as a token of her esteem for her cousin she drew her a plan of the garden pointing out where improvements might be made and so as to not falsify anything made her drawing to perfect scale.
That night it rained, and the garden floor was soon underwater drowning many of Miss Marble’s precious plants.
Frau Marmor not to be taken aback used one of Miss Marble’s crutches, she kept for emergencies, to find her way to the marigolds and rescue as many as she could. There were yellow blooms all through Miss Marble’s house, wet soggy ones. Miss Marble drew in a long breath and wondered when her cousin might be going home.