The Party (all) (Short story: 672 words)

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Jessica watched Colin as he moved the second large box into the main room of the burrow.  There were lots of cables going everywhere and it all seemed to be quite heavy.

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“What’s that?” asked Jessica.

“It’s a record player” replied Colin. “Do you like it?”

“What does it do?” asked Jessica.

“Plays records” replied Colin.  He looked at Jessica who still had a very blank look on her face. He produced a record, a flat plastic disk. “This is a record” he explained “and this plays it.”

“How?” Jessica asked.

Colin smiled.  He carefully put the record on the player, moved the arm and needle onto the disk and the music filled the room.  Jessica was dumb founded.

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“Oh Gosh!” she cried. “I know it’s coming from there, but it sounds like it’s coming from over there… and from over there and there too!”

“Yes” replied Colin, “the music is coming from these two speakers and the sound is bouncing off the walls, so it sounds like it’s all around us. Pretty amazing, isn’t it?!”

Jessica and Colin stood there until the record finished.

“Do you have any more?” asked Jessica.

“Actually, I have a few – and some are a little more lively than that! Let’s get the others, we could have a party!”

Jessica scampered off to tell all in the burrow at a speed that impressed Colin.  He hoped that he could get enough party food together, so he headed off to the kitchen to start getting the drinks and food ready.

Soon the main room of the burrow was filled.  In one corner were the drinks and nibbles and in the other….

“Colin has an amazing gadget called a Record Player” explained Jessica.  “It makes music come out of the walls!!!”

“Oooooh!” exclaimed all the rabbits.

On that introduction, Colin picked out a record, set it up and it started to play.  Everyone just stood there, amazed as the sound filled the burrow.  It sounded like it came from everywhere at once!  When the record finished, all the rabbits wanted to hear another…

And as each record ended, Colin put another record on – each faster in tempo and beat than the previous.  Eventually, the rabbits started to tap their feet, sway with the music before they got the idea and started to dance in time to the music.

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“I know” said Roger, “It’s all very good, but it could be much better if it was louder!”  He looked at the player and twiddled the dial marked Volume and everything got much louder.  It was as if the walls started to move as the beat thud, thud, thudded from them.

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“Uh Oh” said Jessica, as she felt something land on her shoulder.

Uh Oh was right.  The ceiling started to shudder, before it went KERRASH! and fell to the ground.  But it wasn’t just mud and sticks – there was something else too.

“My carrots!!!” shouted Roger. “MY CARROTS!!!”

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Well the place was upside down in an instant. Rabbits came from every which way – even from the burrows next door – each with the intention of getting their paws on some of the carrot yummi-ness that now littered the floor.  Roger did his best, but it was no good… it was now for everyone.  His friend Peter was especially keen in getting and eating as many as he could.

“Oh well” said Roger, “I was saving these for a special occasion – or for a few special occasions – but it would seem that now is one of those times.”

“Well that’s very generous of you” said Colin. “After all, you wouldn’t have been able to keep them all after you’d shown them off to everyone.  But now we will need to fix the ceiling to this room.  Everyone that’s here will help – after all, you’ve all had some of Roger’s carrots.”

“That’s fine” said Peter, laying on the floor “but I won’t be able to do a thing for a few minutes.  I may have eaten one too many of the carrots.”

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It’s got extra Megapixels! (all)

I upgraded my phone early last week.  There were a few reasons that triggered this (and Pokemon Go may or may not have been an inclusion in that list:) ) but it was apparent that one of the mobile phones in the family was no longer up to the job that it was needed for.

To be fair, this is now the “problem” with mobile phones – developers are getting better and better at making that mobile device the panacea for First World life that its technological advancements drive change almost faster than current phone contracts.  And if I was to offer a small whinge, it would be this – why do so many phone contracts limit / cap data usage??

Anyway, credit to O2 in that they made it very easy for me to upgrade early and get the new phone – a Samsung S7 Edge.  Yes, I went for the very sexy curved edge screen (even though I still can’t see that many benefits for it) – but given that the main use I have for my mobile phones is the camera functionality I was really impressed with the difference:

The image on the left is from the “old” S5; the right is the new image.  My first observation was that Standard ratio – and as many of my images end up on Instagram this wider image is much better for framing.

The second observation was how good the fill light was.  Our living room is not a bright room, it is always a little darker and a little cooler than the other rooms in the house, so the fact that the new phone countered that without having Mr Fat Fingers attempt to adjust anything was really cool.

I know that there’s still much to explore on this phone, but as a start I am really impressed with the camera… and that I now have a mobile phone with twice the megapixels of my DSLR in a fraction of the size is just incredible.

Oh, and yes, the new phone does play Pokemon Go.  As did the S5 – but, hey, megapixels baby!

Who you gonna call? (all)

At London’s Waterloo Station, ahead of the release of the film Ghostbusters, the Stay Puft Marshmallow Man made his presence felt.  So I built my version in Lego…

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Ahh!

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Rising from the Station

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Looks as cool from this angle too!

You’re my Number One fan (all)

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The Best Picture in the Burrow (Short Story: 663 words)(all)

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“It’s quite dark in here” said Jessica. “Even when the sun is high up, the tunnel from the entrance is always dark.  I know that Rory isn’t a scary monster, but I’m still scared and  worry until I’m in one of the rooms.”

“What do you suggest then?” asked Colin.

“Well, we could put mirrors in the hall, that would reflect the light.”

“True” replied Colin, “but remember that some of the older rabbits have trouble with their eyesight – they might think it’s a way out!”

They sat there for a moment, picturing old rabbits running straight into mirrors.  They’d probably apologise to themselves in the mirrors too.  Then Colin held up a paw.

“What about a painting competition? We could hang the pictures in frames so the older rabbits wouldn’t get confused, and if the paintings are bright enough they will reflect some light – it will make the hallway look nice too!”

Jessica thought that was a brilliant idea and scampered off down to see Roger, where she told him about the competition.  Roger also thought it was a great idea.

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“Can I take part too?” asked Rory the Monster.  Roger quickly responded,

“Let’s make it Rory and me and you and….?”

“Fiona – my friend from the other burrow!”

So Jessica, Rory and Roger went back to Colin and they agreed the competition. Colin made the frames for the rabbits and handed them over along with paints and paper.  Jessica and Fiona then set to.

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Roger and Rory however, had a different plan.  They hung a large sheet on the wall and fixed a sign that said “Keep Out. Secrt” on it.

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“It’s supposed to say ‘Secret’ ” explained Roger to Rory. “But I ran out of space.”

“Don’t worry” replied Rory. “I’ll use my Monster Powers to listen out for anyone coming.”

For the next day, the three bunnies and Rory worked hard until it was finally time for unveiling. Roger suggested that Jessica and Fiona went first – so he knew what he would have to beat.

Jessica took the small sheet off her picture.

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“It’s my view of the world – I thought it would work like a window frame.  See, we even included a small spider!”

Colin looked very carefully at the picture.

“It is lovely Jessica and Fiona.  You worked very hard on this and I like the results.  In fact, I think we will keep this picture on the wall as it is – if that’s okay with you Fiona; I know that you live in the other burrow.”

Before Fiona could speak, Jessica interrupted, saying

“Actually, we made two – so there’s another one hanging up in their burrow as well!”

Fiona nodded and Colin smiled.

“That’s good use of time” he said “and it’s good to know that we’ve helped elsewhere.  Well done, you too.  Now, let’s see Roger and Rory’s picture.”

The two unveiled their picture.  Everyone was astounded.  Roger spoke.

“It’s the view outside.”

“I can see that” said Colin.  “It’s very good – very realistic.  And you did this?”

“Yes, we both worked hard at it.”

“It’s very detailed – I didn’t realise you were such an artist!”

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Jessica walked away with Fiona.  It was a very good picture, and much better than hers…

Inside the burrow, everyone was looking at the picture.  Roger had warned them about getting too close as some of the paint hadn’t dried, when..

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“Why is there a hole in the wall?” asked Jessica.

“I think we all know why” replied Colin.  Roger’s cheeks blushed.  “What have you got to say for yourself?”

Before Roger could speak, one of the old rabbits spoke.

“It reminds me of a time, not so long ago” he said, “when a small rabbit called Colin did something similar.  So whilst we all go for dinner, Roger Rory AND Colin can patch up the wall.  But well done everyone, I did like the pictures.”

Jessica peered through the picture.

“Well, at least it lets light into the hallway.”

 

It’s not for kids! (all)

There’s a lovely line in “The Lego Movie” where the dad tries to explain to his son that Lego (as he uses it) isn’t a children’s toy and the son points out that it was bought in a toy shop.

This week I was in one of my favourite London shops, Forbidden Planet,  when I saw this highly articulated figure (he stands at about 3 inches or 7.5cm) – perfect for those toy photography opportunities.  What made me smile though was the message on the back:

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“This is not a toy. This product is intended for adult collectors and not for children under 14 years of age”.

 

At last – a cool reason to be a grown up.  I can buy toys and say “But no, they’re not toys.”

The Biggest Carrot in the World! (short story: 808 words)(all)

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Roger ran into the room.  Jessica was laying on the floor, reading her book and Roger nearly stood on her.

“Jessica! Come and see what I’ve found!”

“What is it, Roger?”

“It’s the biggest carrot in the world!”

Jessica looked up. Roger was clearly excited about this find and she knew that there would be no peace in the burrow if she didn’t go with him.  So she put the book down and followed him out. He led her down the field, through a couple of hedges to the corner of a very green field.  In the corner stood one plant, well away from all the others.  The leaves and stalks stood high and proud and where much bigger than the rabbits.

“See!?” said Roger. “It’s the biggest carrot in the world and it’s all mine!”

Jessica looked.  It did resemble the top of a carrot and if there was a carrot attached underneath then Roger’s claim would certainly be true. But…

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“Roger, are you sure it’s a carrot? Has one of the older rabbits just made fun of you?”

Roger looked at Jessica. He wanted to believe that he had found the biggest carrot in the world – it was huge – but that little doubt started to creep in.  Jessica saw his face and knew what was going on in his mind, so quickly added,

“Let’s get Colin to have a look.  He’ll know. And if it is the biggest carrot in the world, we will need his help to get it out, won’t we?”

Roger agreed.  That would seem to be the best approach and he hadn’t really thought about how he would get the carrot out of the ground.  So they went back and found Colin.

“Colin” said Jessica “Roger has found the biggest carrot in the world and we need your help.”

Colin looked at Roger and Jessica.  Were they playing a joke on him?  He decided that he had time to play along.

“Where is this carrot?” he asked.  Jessica quickly responded

“Down the field, through a couple of hedges and it’s at the end of a very green field”.

Colin thought about it.  It wasn’t anywhere he was familiar with, so he decided it was worth checking out.

“Show me” he said.  The three rabbits then left the burrow.

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Colin looked at the leaves sticking out of the ground.  He wasn’t sure what it actually was, but he knew it wasn’t a carrot.  But rather than just tell Roger directly, he said,

“Have you checked that there is a carrot under this?”

Roger said no, he hadn’t.  Colin then suggested

“We’ll wait here whilst you check; if it is the biggest carrot in the world, then we’re going to need to help you dig it out!”
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So Roger started to dig.  His paws dug and dug until he made his way to where there carrot should be, but there was nothing there!

“Perhaps it isn’t going downward” said Colin. “Some plants will grow at funny angles if something got in their way.”

So Roger started to dig down again, this time from another spot a little way round the carrot.

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As his back legs disappeared into the ground, Jessica quietly asked Colin,

“Do you think it’s a carrot?”

Colin thought for a moment and replied with a smile,

“It doesn’t really matter what I think it is; if Roger does find the biggest carrot in the world how brilliant will that be!?”

Roger’s head appeared once more.

“Do you think it may have gone off in another direction?” he asked.

“Possibly” replied Colin, “Try digging over there.”

“Are you going to help?” asked Roger. “I’m sure we’ll find out quicker if we all help.”

“You are right, Roger” said Colin. “But I think you should find it first.”

Roger smiled and agreed.  Finding the biggest carrot in the world would be a brilliant thing to be able to say he did.  So, he found another spot and started digging again.

The oddest thing happened.  Suddenly, Roger’s head appeared out of another hole!

“Weren’t you digging over there?” asked Jessica.

“Yes” replied Roger “I seemed to have joined up the tunnels!”  He climbed out and walked over to Jessica and Colin.

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“You were both right” he said, a little sadly. “It isn’t the biggest carrot in the world after all.”

“That’s true” said Colin.  “But what you have now found is the most impressive first burrow that any one rabbit has built for themselves!”

Roger looked. He realised that there were now a number of entrances, exits and underneath the leaves he knew that many now joined up!  He had built a burrow!  He and Jessica (with help from Colin) made the tunnels better and stronger, before Colin said

“We had better be going back now; it must be time for tea.  Carrot, anyone?”

Cannonball! (all)

2016-06-23 09.07.54

Railway station(all)

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Station signs, “Briksy” and police man by firestartoys.com

It was that bad (teen+)

All I will say on this is:
1. Yes, it was that bad
2. No, it wasn’t the dog.

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