Knox Box of Miscellany

Dawn Knox – A rearranger of words into something hopefully meaningful…

1st July 2014
by Dawnknox
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Would You Bring Back Bananarama?

Daffodil and the Thin Place 300dpiIf you had the opportunity to go back in time, how far would you go? And if you could bring back a musician or group of musicians, who would you bring? Yesterday, a friend posted on Facebook that he’d bring back Bananarama and it made me wonder how far I’d go back and who I’d bring. Dean Martin? Mozart? Marc Bolan? One thing’s for sure, it wouldn’t be Bananarama!

I think it would have to be the Beatles. Yes, I know Paul and Ringo don’t need bringing back at the moment (thankfully) but the Beatles I’d bring would be the young lads who had ‘Beatle haircuts’ and ‘Beatle suits’. I wasn’t so keen on the hairy, brightly dressed Sgt. Pepper’s Beatles. But when I was young, the early Beatles with their striking looks and sound were electrifying. Sadly, I never got to see them live.

In ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’, the heroine, Daffodil, goes to the Victorian times but she doesn’t get the opportunity to bring anyone or anything back. However, she does leave some items. She gives Amelia her watch, a torch and the key-shaped talisman the Grey Monk gave her. Does she get them back? You can find out here

30th June 2014
by Dawnknox
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Looking isn’t Necessarily Seeing

Stone on the remains of the chimney at St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton

Stone on the remains of the chimney at St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton

I’ve been going to St. Nicholas Church, Laindon with Dunton since 1999 and I’ve taken lots of photos both inside and outside the building, day and night in every season. So, I didn’t think there was anything I hadn’t spotted before, until last week. I was waiting for the photographer from the Basildon Echo to come up to take my photo for an article about my book, ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ and while I waited, I looked around again for something my camera hadn’t captured before.

And there it was.

On what remains of the old chimney, is a square stone, which bears the cross of St. Andrew, overlaid with a vertical sword and topped with a crown.

I’ve no idea what it is or why it’s there and I can’t believe I’ve never seen it before but it just goes to show, when you think you’ve seen everything, you very likely haven’t!

And if you haven’t seen ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’, an ebook which is set in and around the church, you can grab a copy here. At least that won’t be on your list of things you’ve never seen.

If you know anything about heraldry or engraved stones on former chimneys or if you recognise this particular stone, please get in touch…

 

29th June 2014
by Dawnknox
9 Comments

The Sweet Smell of Success

Odd socks

Odd Socks – just one of the items included in the story

What do odd socks, flipflops, a tractor, a can of hairspray, a sombrero, a fishing rod, mouldy bread, the moon, a raincoat and a bottle containing noxious liquid have in common?

Absolutely nothing.

Except that they appeared in a list of twenty-five items from which I had to choose at least ten and include them all in a story of fewer than 2,000 words. The list was the May prompt from my writing group, the Basildon Writers’ Meetup.

So, without further ado, here’s my story ‘The Sweet Smell of Success’, which contains odd socks, flipflops, a tractor… (you get the picture). So, I invite you to take a stroll through the Garden and meet the garden ornaments but just keep downwind of the toad…

The Sweet Smell of Success

by Dawn Knox

Gusty Bob made for the small gap in the back row. There was no way he could fit into such a tiny space, even with the aid of the slimy mucous that covered his ample proportions but he’d noticed that in similar situations, space seemed to magically appear and on this particular occasion, he was confident the guys would make room for him without any fuss.

At the right hand side of the gap that was Gusty Bob’s intended insertion point, Crispin, the marble elf, went rigid, shuffled to the left to fill the gap, then thought better of it as a long leg and webbed foot shot past his shoulder. He’d been too slow and the only option was to slide rapidly to the right, into Sylvester.

“Watch it!” Sylvester grunted, elbowing Crispin in the ribs. Gusty Bob slipped into the tiny gap, which had expanded when the frantic shuffling of bottoms, resulted in two people at the end of the row being forced off their toadstools. There was now sufficient room for his width, including a buffering zone on either side. As he settled down, Crispin took in a lungful of air to compensate for being winded by Sylvester and simultaneously, the stone toad lived up to his moniker – Gusty Bob. Noxious gas was ejected from both ends of his slimy amphibian body, filling the air with the fumes of decaying flies, worms and other rotting detritus.

Crispin coughed and spluttered. Others further away giggled and tittered, confident the evil cloud would have dissipated before it reached them.

“Order! Order!” Bartrum banged a rock with his gavel and scowled at the rows of assembled garden ornaments.

Gnomes, elves and assorted animals and birds snapped to attention as he adjusted his glasses, tugged at his beard and scowled at them all.

“This sort of behaviour is typical of your lack of commitment to the aestheticalness of this garden…”

“Ees what?” whispered Sylvester.

“I think he means the garden is a shambles,” replied Crispin.

Bartrum adjusted his hat and carried on.

“This cannot be allowed to continue. Rules will be enforced…”

Everyone groaned.

“And I will be closely watching the situation…”

“You and whose army?” muttered Sylvester.

“…assisted by my newly appointed cohort of monitors…”

The audience sat up as one, eyes swiveling, looking for anyone who might be an informer.

“…who I will now appoint,” finished Bartrum.

Suddenly, everyone seemed to find their feet completely fascinating.

“You, you and you!” said Bartrum, pointing out two hapless gnomes and a wooden robin “And you and you!” he said, indicating Gusty Bob and Crispin. The toad’s sharp intake of breath eventually had to find release but by this time, Crispin was holding his nose.

****

The gap between Gusty Bob and the two gnomes, one elf and wooden robin increased imperceptibly until Bartrum, who was issuing orders, found he was having to turn his head from side to side to keep everyone in view.

“Stop moving!”

The gap stabilised.

“Correct uniforms must be worn. With immediate effect. So far today, I’ve seen gnomes wearing raincoats, sombreros, flipflops. This will not do. Everyone needs to be in regulation uniform. And you!” he pointed at the wooden robin, “You’re wearing odd socks.”

The robin blushed, “I’m s…so sorry but I’m red-green colour blind and I sometimes get confused…”

“Ah, that explains the green bib. I was coming to that next…”

The robin looked down at his chest in horror.

“Well, just do your best…” said Bartrum, faltering slightly when he saw a fat tear roll down the stricken robin’s beak.

He turned back to the others. “You will check all equipment is in working order. Nevison’s fishing rod no longer has a hook. What’s the point of a fishing gnome who can’t catch fish? And if Perkins thinks it’s funny he’s swapped his toadstool for a toy tractor, then you need to convince him otherwise. Understood?”

The team of monitors nodded and Gusty Bob let loose a loud belch.

Bartrum winced and the gap widened once more between the toad and the other monitors.

“You have until full moon to ensure this garden is once more a place of aestheticalation.”

“Ees what?” whispered the wooden robin.

“Clean and tidy,” replied Crispin.

****

“It appears the smartening up of this garden is quite beyond you!” said Bartrum to his monitors three days later. “I see very few improvements…and I’m not happy. I’m not happy at all. Why are there still gnomes out of uniform? I’m thinking specifically of Jubbly.”

Crispin took one step forward and three sideways, away from Gusty Bob. “Well, Sir, I asked him to change back into uniform but he said he was having an identity crisis and that he had to find his inner self. Once he’d done that, he’d wear whatever was appropriate.”

“I see, well that explains the curling tongs and can of hairspray, I suppose. I have to say his feminine side seems to be winning. But that doesn’t explain the sombrero…”

“He feels he may be a Mexican trapped in the body of a woman, trapped in the body of a gnome…”

“Well, he, she or Gonzalez had better make up their mind very soon because Ofsted inspectors are due by the end of summer and you know what happens if they put you in special measures…” he paused dramatically.

They all gasped in horror. Gusty Bob’s breakfast of squashed earthworm and mouldy bread had been fermenting nicely within his batrachian intestines and the resulting methane had inflated them almost to breaking point, so a gulp of air had been most unwise. His internal gaseous pressure became critical. Something had to give…and it gave, resulting in a prolonged, thunderous blast that manifested itself as a green haze which floated upwards into the morning air.

They reconvened at the bottom of the garden, after it had been ascertained the noxious cloud was floating towards the house.

“No need to prolong this meeting,” said Bartrum, nervously eying Gusty Bob, “I have only one thing more to say. Since you seem incapable of enforcing the rules, I will bring in a troubleshooter…”

Crispin’s elation was short lived. Rather than being dismissed as he’d hoped, he found that he was now part of a disciplinary force, under the direct command of the newly appointed leader.

“And who is the troubleshooter?” Crispin asked.

Bartrum tucked his briefcase securely under his arm, glanced anxiously at Gusty Bob and rocked onto the balls of his feet as if about to take flight.

“Susan,” he said and fled.

“Susan?” asked the small gnome, “Who’s Susan?”

A shiver ran down Crispin’s spine as he realised who Bartrum meant.

The shock had been so great, it momentarily deprived him of his senses or he’d have followed Bartrum and escaped before Gusty Bob got wind of the troubleshooter’s identity and particularly before they all got wind of Gusty Bob.

Instead, he blurted out, “Oh no, he’s put Spiteful Sue in charge!”

The wooden robin’s knees gave way. “No!” he wailed, as he sank to the earth.

“What’re we going to do?” asked the small gnome.

“We’re going to run,” said Crispin, ushering everyone away from the toad, “you know what Spiteful Sue did to Gusty Bob the last time she was here.”

Thankfully, Crispin, the two gnomes and the robin made it into the begonias before Gusty Bob realised what was going on.

“No!” he yelled, venting his anger and simultaneously venting a rather large volume of methane. The green cloud floated up into the plum tree, leaving seared leaves in its wake.

****

Crispin, the two gnomes and the wooden robin met in secret by the pond that evening. They didn’t deliberately exclude Gusty Bob but then again, they didn’t try too hard to find him either.

“It’s just as well he’s not here,” said Crispin, “he gets much too agitated when the subject of Spiteful Sue comes up. I know cats have a good sense of smell and I can see why Gusty Bob might annoy her but what she did with that cork was really quite unnecessary.”

“This is all going to end in tears,” said the robin, who was fulfilling his own prophesy. He wiped his beak noisily. “As soon as Spiteful Sue turns up, Gusty Bob will be so nervous he won’t be able to control himself.”

“I hope she doesn’t arrive before that green gas-cloud disappears or she might do what she apparently threatened the last time she was here,” said the small gnome.

“What was that?” asked the robin.

“She said his aroma upset her feline sensibilities and if he couldn’t control his emissions, she’d fit him with a catalytic converter.”

“Feline sensibilities,” said Crispin thoughtfully, “Hmm, I wonder…”

 

****

Later that evening, Crispin found Gusty Bob hiding under an upturned flowerpot. They talked far into the night and finally, Crispin handed the toad a large bag. He took it, saluted gravely and shuffled off into the begonias.

****

“What d’you mean he’s gone?” squeaked the small gnome indignantly, “That’s just great! As if it’s not bad enough being ordered about by a Nazi cat, we’re now down to three men.”

“Four,” corrected the wooden robin.

“Three,” said the small gnome firmly. “No one in this garden takes a robin wearing odd socks seriously…”

“Enough!” said Crispin, “If my plan works, Spiteful Sue won’t be needed, the task force can disband and the garden can go back to normal.”

“We’re listening,” said the small gnome, elbowing the robin out of the way.

****

Bartrum banged his gavel on a rock, dislodging a snail which lost its grip and slithered back down its slime trail with a whimper.

“Congratulations,” said Bartrum shaking his head in wonder, “I don’t know how you did it, especially with Susan disgracefully deserting us.” He beamed at everyone. “You all look resplendable!”

“Re what?” asked the robin.

“He’s saying we look nice,” said Crispin.

 

****

The early morning sun was barely peeping over the top of the hedge when Crispin opened one eye. Today would be the sort of day a garden was made for he decided and turned over for another snooze. For the first time in ages, he could relax. Spiteful Sue had gone, Gusty Bob was back from his ‘holiday’ and Bartrum was off to stay with his cousin for a week.

And all it had taken was a length of rubber tubing, a bottle of water and instructions to Gusty Bob ‘to infuse the water with a unique fragrance’ and then to book a short holiday. Crispin had liberally sprinkled drops from the bottle of noxious liquid around the garden and after a hissy fit, Spiteful Susan had left.

In a hastily convened meeting, Crispin pointed out to the garden ornaments that observing Bartrum’s strict rules – just for a day or two – would be advantageous to everyone. Thankfully, everyone cooperated and even Jubbly agreed that he could explore his gnome persona for a few days and wear regulation clothes. After all, as he pointed out in a heavy Mexican accent, what he wore as underwear, was his own affair.

Yes, a disaster had been averted and it was all thanks to Crispin and now the whole garden could relax.

The frantic knock at the door told him otherwise.

It was Bartrum, his hat askew and his buttons all done up incorrectly.

“Get up! There’s no time to lose! There’s a party of Ofsted inspectors on their way…”

“I’ll be right there,” said Crispin, scooping up the bottle of noxious liquid prepared by the toad.

He had to alert everyone to best behaviour and if on his way round the garden, he just happened to drip a few drops of the concoction, well, it might just persuade the inspectors to cut short their stay.

28th June 2014
by Dawnknox
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The Final L is for Lively and Lucky – DaffodiL and the Thin Place

Mayflower Morris Men It hasn’t been a great summer for English sport so far, but here’s something we excel at – Morris dancing! The chaps on the left are the Mayflower Morris Men, from Billericay, Essex and I had the opportunity to photograph them a few days ago. Apparently, the Morris is an English traditional male ritual dance associated with the bringing of luck, with the fertility and regeneration of the soil as well as the promotion of the cycle of the seasons.

As it’s the last letter of ‘Daffodil’ today, I’ve picked two words – ‘Lively’ and ‘Lucky’. The Mayflower Morris Men are both lively and lucky! If their dances bring luck, then hopefully everyone who was there took a bit home too.

Daffodil is both lively and lucky. And it’s just as well, because when you’re alone in a graveyard with a group of grave robbers, you need to be both.

“Whether it was the thought that I was crouching amongst venomous snakes or the fact that I was a few metres from two men, one of whom had a spade and wasn’t afraid to use it, I realised my legs were now seeing sense and were listening to orders from my brain. Or perhaps they just took things into their own hands, as I’m sure my brain would have told them to wait until the men were back with the others before I ran. But my legs decided enough was enough and springing up, they carried me as fast as they could along the north wall.

I took them all by surprise, but within an amazingly short time, they’d recovered and were running after me.

“Run!” screamed Amelia.”

If you want to read more and find if Daffodil really got away, you can find the book ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ here

And if you want to see the Mayflower Morris Men for yourself, have a look here

27th June 2014
by Dawnknox
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I is for Indomitable – DaffodIl and the Thin Place

LightPainting2 That title makes it sound like my grammar has gone awry and I can’t spell Daffodil.

But it can’t be helped if I’m going to get all the way to the final L in Daffodil tomorrow. And I’m going to leave that title anyway and show indomitable spirit.

The warrior on the left looks pretty indomitable, looming out of the dark. But it’s amazing what you can do in a dark room, with a black sheet, a torch, a model of a warrior and a camera on a tripod. I did some ‘light painting’ with my torch, while the camera shutter was held open and the chap on the left is the result. It’s a fun thing to do and the results vary, depending on where you ‘paint’ the light with your torch. Check out some of the other photos I took, here.

So, where was I? Oh yes, ‘Indomitable’. That’s the word I’m using today to describe Daffodil. It’s certainly not a word that would describe her at the beginning of her story, in fact, Amelia tells her “…now I find you have as much bravery as a bowl of mashed turnip. In fact, in a fight, I think the turnip would win.”

But by the end of “Daffodil and the Thin Place”, our heroine has certainly found a reserve of indomitability she didn’t know she had. Here’s how she answers Matt, when he challenges her:

““Well?” he demanded. “What you gonna do? Chain yourself to the front door of the church? Make a ‘Save our Church’ group on the Internet?

I was silent. What could I say?

And then, suddenly, I knew exactly what I was going to do.

“No,” I said, “I’m going to summon the Grey Monk.”

His jaw dropped open.

“How?”

“I’ll go to the church at midnight tonight.”

“I bet you don’t!”

“Well, there’s only one way to find out, isn’t there? I’ll see you up at the church at ten to twelve.”

And with that, I turned and walked off.”

Did she go?   Did Matt? Find out in “Daffodil and the Thin Place” here.

26th June 2014
by Dawnknox
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The Second D is for Doubtful – DaffoDil and the Thin Place

Little boy in Tomohon, North Sulawesi

Little boy in Tomohon, North Sulawesi looks on doubtfully

A little Indonesian boy looks on doubtfully. There was no one else around, so I’m not sure what he was doing standing next to the kerb like that and he didn’t seem sure either, but he doesn’t look worried – just uncertain.

Extreme doubt must be overwhelming. If nothing is certain, how can you make a decision? How can you move forward or escape whatever it is you’re uncertain about?

At the opposite end of the continuum, absence of doubt must also be a problem. If you are sure of everything, why stop and think before you act? Why weigh up your position? It must be easy to blunder into all sorts of undesirable situations.

As with most things, moderation is the key. A bit of doubt encourages thought and reason. Although it doesn’t ensure we all make the right decision!

Daffodil finds herself in a situation where Amelia’s life is in jeopardy. Her sketchy knowledge of chloroform alerts her to the danger and she tells the voice – but she’s not sure…

“…I don’t trust that doctor. We’ve got to find some way to keep that chloroform away from you.”

“The what?”

“The medicine.”

“Have you taken leave of your senses? That medicine may be my only chance. I forbid you to do anything!”

“I can’t explain now, there’s no time, but I think that medicine is more likely to keep you unconscious than wake you up.”

“Don’t you dare interfere. How would you know anyway? You’re just a girl.”

“I do know. Please trust me. I saw the name of the medicine, and it’s something that’s used to make people unconscious, not to cure them.”

The voice was quiet again, not sure whether to believe me.

“Sometimes like cures like,” it whispered.

“Rubbish!” I said.

But despite sounding confident, the truth was that I just wasn’t sure. Perhaps the chloroform would cure her.

Until a few hours ago, I’d been a hundred years away with no more knowledge of chloroform than the next twenty-first century teenager. Before the voice had said anything, I’d been so sure the medicine was harmful.

But now? Well, one thing was for sure. If I wasn’t one hundred percent certain, I’d no right to do anything that might risk a girl’s life.

“And yet,” continued the voice, “perhaps you are right. There is something hard and calculating about Dr. Pursey…or am I just imagining it?”

It was enough for me that Amelia had also spotted the “good” doctor wasn’t all he seemed.

“You truly believe the medicine is harmful?” the voice asked.

“I do,” I said with more confidence than I really felt.

“Then, my life is in your hands…”

If you want to find out if Daffodil was right, check out ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ here

25th June 2014
by Dawnknox
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O is for Outsider – DaffOdil and the Thin Place

0804Cairo 066_edited-1It looks like she’s locked in but in fact, it was me on the inside and the little girl, was actually outside. I was part of a band of tourists who were visiting the Sphinx in Cairo and she was trying to make a living through the bars. It must have been hard for her to have seen so many wealthy people just a few feet away but to have been kept from them. Being an outsider is hard – especially in your own city.

Many teenagers feel like outsiders. The popular ones are thought of as the elite and the rest think they fall short somehow. I often think it would be great if all those who don’t consider themselves as ‘popular’ banded together and became the majority. Or even better, realised they are valuable people, no matter what anyone else says.

Daffodil started out as an outsider but by the end of her story, she found she no longer cared and because of that, she suddenly became more popular.

“I’d been hanging around the Popular Girls at break last week while they were planning their weekend.

“…an’ after that, we’ll go an’ see a film,” said Marion.

“Ooh, yes,” said the girls enthusiastically.

“You comin’?” she asked me.

The others stared at her for a second, checking they hadn’t misunderstood, and then to my amazement, they all nodded.

I couldn’t believe my luck. I’d been invited out by the Popular Girls. Yay! And then the nightmare began …

“You can’t come out with us because you have to do…what?” asked Marion as if I’d just told her I’d rather stay home doing extra maths homework.

“Go to a wedding,” I whispered.

“My aunt got married in a hot air balloon,” said one of the girls. “Where’s your wedding?”

All eyes swivelled back to me.

I could’ve lied. I could’ve told them my cousin was going to get married while bungee jumping or that I’d be flying off to the Caribbean for a cool, beach wedding. But what was the point? On Monday, they’d be sure to ask awkward questions like, why didn’t I have a suntan? Better to be thought of as boring than as a liar.

“St. Nicholas Church,” I whispered.

“What? That old ruin on the hill?”

I nodded miserably but no one noticed. Was it was too late to lie? Apparently it was. The Popular Girls had already turned away.

“Honestly, you can’t win, can you?” said Marion with a shrug, “You try to be nice to a Nobody and look what happens.”

It was as if I didn’t exist, and of course now, in their eyes, I didn’t. In the space of five minutes, I’d unexpectedly become a Somebody and then been shoved back into the world of Nobodies. And it had all been the fault of the stupid wedding.”

To continue the story, why not check out the book here

24th June 2014
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on The Second F is for Foreign – DafFodil and the Thin Place

The Second F is for Foreign – DafFodil and the Thin Place

CaciToday, I’m thinking about the fourth letter of DAFFODIL, the second F. And this F is for Foreign.

The chap on the left is rather foreign – well, he is to me. To the lady behind the drum on the right of the photo, I was the foreign one. He’s actually a Caci dancer up in the hills of Flores, Indonesia and is just about to start his warrior dance. Not the sort of thing you see everyday in England.

So, is Daffodil foreign? Well, no, not really. She’s a teenager from Basildon, Essex although being a teenager from anywhere, may, in some people’s eyes, qualify her as being foreign. But it’s more what she claimed to be, than what she is. During her first encounter with Mr. Hornsby, the schoolmaster, she has to explain away her twentieth century clothes and as they are slightly gypsy-like. She starts to tell him she’s a gypsy, when the voice, who Mr. Hornsby can’t hear, warns her not to…

““Er, my mother’s foreign, and these are the sort of clothes she wears.

“Foreign, you say?”

Looking down at my clothes, I had a mad flash of inspiration.

“She’s a gy—”

“Don’t mention gypsies,” warned the voice.

“Well, actually, she’s a Roma—”

“No!” whispered the voice insistently.

“Not Romany, I hope,” Mr. Hornsby bellowed. “I will not tolerate those people here, with their spells and curses!”

How was I going to get out of this? It would be difficult to explain why I was dressed gypsy-style if I wasn’t a gypsy. It was lucky I hadn’t worn a short skirt and t-shirt. How would I have explained that?

I needed to invent a believable story or at least one that he wouldn’t be able to prove one way or the other.

I stood up straight, took a deep breath to steady my nerves and said the first thing that came into my mind, “My mother comes from a tiny region in Russia and belongs to a group of people called the Romaneros.””

If you want to know how Daffodil becoming a Romanero, (if only in the eyes of a few) changes her outlook on life, you can find out here in ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’

23rd June 2014
by Dawnknox
Comments Off on F is for Fearful – DaFfodil and the Thin Place

F is for Fearful – DaFfodil and the Thin Place

Scary, sky high stunts at Goodwood Festival of Speed

Scary, sky high stunts at Goodwood Festival of Speed. The only fearful ones were the onlookers.

Being fearful isn’t such a bad thing. I bet the parents of the boys on the left wished their sons were a bit more fearful and wanted to keep both feet and wheels on the ground. But its a problem if fear gets in the way of doing something you’d really like to do.

Daffodil draws on inner strengths to overcome her fear. The voice recognises Daffodil’s fearlessness before she knows it herself and they have the following conversation:

“But that’s not how I thought life in the future would be at all! You sound like a shadow,” said the voice.

“What d’you mean?”

“It sounds like you’re only half alive.”

I thought about it and had to admit she was right.

“If you’re different from everyone else at school, then you get picked on. You can either stand out and get bullied or become invisible.”

“You are not behaving as though you are invisible here. You stood up to Josiah with much courage. I fear I rather misjudged you earlier when I compared you to mashed turnip. My first instincts at the wedding were right. You are strong.”

I’ll tell you on of the things that helped Daffodil to become more courageous next time or you can read it for yourself in ‘Daffodil and the Thin Place’ here

22nd June 2014
by Dawnknox
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Daffodil – A is for Apprehensive

St. Nicholas Church

St. Nicholas Church

It’s natural to be apprehensive when you find yourself in new situations. And discovering you’ve arrived back in time, years before you were born could easily be considered one such occasion. Knowing you have a voice trapped in your stomach might be another.

Poor Daffodil finds herself in the churchyard after hearing the voice inside her:

I stood nervously with my back against the knobbly stones of the church wall, imagination in overdrive – heart thumping and eyes swivelling back and forth, searching the silent graveyard for…well, I didn’t know what I was looking for, but if I saw it, I was ready to run…