I am a member of the Inkslingers, and go to Dublin most Saturdays to enjoy the great atmosphere of the group.



It was my second visit to the Inkslingers in Parnell Square, Dublin.  What a fantastic group.  So talented, especially Pat O’Rourke and the blonde girl, I haven’t caught her name as yet.

This week the prompt was “The children are running the house for the day!”  My goodness what an eclectic mix we had.  Some of those people I would definitely not go on holiday with.

The house was perfect – clean and tidy.  All the washing up and laundry was done.  Even the windows had been washed and the floors polished.  Daddy and mummy were going out for the day. 10 year old Susan, a bright girl with long flowing locks and impossibly brown eyes, 5 year old Frank, an angelic boy with blonde curls and blue eyes, and the lovely 15 year old Rebecca, again blonde haired and blue eyed.  She was already attracting the attention of the opposite sex much to her mother’s mortification.  Rebecca was a responsible young lady, but she always had trouble controlling her siblings and getting them to keep things tidy, or even do the washing up.

“Well.  We’re off” said mum, Samantha.  “Be good” said dad, Sean.  Off they went in their red Fiat.  “Right” said Rebecca decisively. “Let’s play a game.” “Oh no” said Frank, stamping his foot already.  “I don’t like games except the X Box”.  “Well” said Susan.  “You are going to play.  You like hide and seek, let’s play that.”  “If I have to.” moaned Frank.  “You do.” commanded Rebecca.

“OK.  You two hide and I have to find you in ten minutes. If I don’t you have to come out and I have to pay a forfeit.”  “What’s the forfeit?” asked Susan.  “I have to do all the cleaning up at the end of the day.” said Rebecca.  That was silly wasn’t it?!

Off they went in different directions.  It was a big rambling old house with wooden beams, a magnificent garden (also pristine) and a beautiful newly laid lawn.  The dog was outside and the ponies in the field over the fence.  Susan loved ponies – they were hers, though Rebecca swore they were hers.  Susan’s argument was that Rebecca was too big for them. She had outgrown them.  What do they say about children and animals?  Mmmm.

Frank let himself into the conservatory and hid in the press.  The conservatory was Samantha’s pride and joy.  She just loved growing things and had very green fingers.  The conservatory was a place of relaxation and full of exotic plants. Susan went to the loft, pulling the ladder up behind her.  Rebecca called “coming ready or not.”  She scoured the house first, then the garden, and looked over the fence at the ponies.  All was quiet.  Frank suddenly decided that the press in the conservatory was too easy so when Rebecca had gone in, he snuck out and went into the ponies’ field.  He wasn’t too keen on ponies, but he thought the field would be a good place to hide.  The ponies came to say “hello”.  He put his fingers to his lips and shooed them away.

Rebecca meanwhile was searching everywhere. Susan was snuggled in a corner in the loft.  It was a bit of a squeeze at that end, right above the kitchen, and next to a barrel of creosote, left over from painting the fence.  After five minutes, Rebecca still hadn’t found them.  She had been in the conservatory, and looked in the press. Good thing Frank had decided to hide somewhere else.

The dog started barking.  Rover was a beautiful golden retriever with a long flowing golden coat.  He was Sean’s dog but the whole family loved him.  Where were the kids?  Under the bed? No.  In the bathroom cabinet? No.  The dog continued to bark, and then to howl.  He raced into the kitchen growling and snarling.  Very odd.  It was almost the last thing he did.  Susan had moved slightly and slipped off the beam she had been sitting on.  It was rotten anyway and she fell straight through the ceiling, right into the kitchen and on top of the dog, closely followed by the barrel of creosote which smashed open, and the contents split everywhere.  Susan was so shocked she somehow ended up sitting on the cooker – covered in creosote, cobwebs and dust.  She was not a pretty sight. The kitchen became something like a scene from the battle from the Somme as Rover rushed around trying to get the creosote off his previously golden coat.  He was very fastidious.  He couldn’t see properly.  He fled into the lounge and jumped all over the furniture, creosote everywhere.  Then into the music room where he wrecked the guitars and knocked over all kinds of musical instruments which daddy loved to play.  No more.  Not those ones anyway.  He dashed up the stairs, mayhem followed – into the bedrooms and bathrooms, he was determined to get this stuff off his coat.  He collided with everything on the way.

Meanwhile Frank was fed up of not being found and left the field, followed by the ponies.  He had left the gate open.  He realised and tried to shoo them away back to the field.  They galloped round thinking it was a game. The little chestnut, Digit, was so pretty… he had his tail stuck up in the air like a flag.  Skewbald  Sparky decided that the flower bed looked interesting and went to dig it up.  Frank shouted “Help, help”.  Rebecca, already traumatised by the mad dog and Susan screaming that she couldn’t see to get down from the cooker, and had already broken the cooker hood in the process, ran outside to see the carnage in the garden.  She shouted for Frank who was hiding under a rose bush.  Digit and Sparky saw Rebecca and came galloping up.  She tried to grab Digit, and missed.  The ponies fled into the house through the open French windows.  They encountered the dog and freaked out completely, smashing up the dining room – the only room in the house which had hitherto been intact.  Mummy’s ming vase was in thousands of pieces, the expensive glass table shattered, creosote all over the furniture.  Rebecca tried to restore order and failed.  Mummy and daddy came home early.  One of their friends they had gone out with was not well.  Samantha took one look at the carnage before her and burst into tears.  Sean watched in amazement, his wife never cried.

Frank came into the room, followed by Susan who had managed to get down from the cooker, smashing the glass door.  “Rebecca said she would clean up” the chimed in unison.  What spooked the dog we will never know….

This was followed with a lot of hilarity, but Pat’s was far  funnier.  We retired for the obligatory coffee and then to the pub.  I always struggle to drag myself away from this fun group and get the train back to Portadown.  Hey ho.

The next Anthology being prepared by the group will be launched in May…. my subject is Spain.. focussing on life in the village of Competa in the 1980s

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