Tuesday, 24 December 2013


Well, I am ready!

All presents are bought and wrapped.  Meals for the next few days are planned and the turkey for tomorrow is reclining in the fridge.  The house is decorated, tree glowing, candles lit and mulled cider is sizzling.  

Dan even took the time, this morning, to ensure my bottom matches, in colour anyhow, the attire on the girl above!  He was not impressed with my rapidly escalating pre-Christmas stress levels, so he did his favourite "skin stretching" action to ensure every swat was to be remembered at least until midnight!  Bah!

So just a little giggly poem to put you in a smiley frame of mind...


by Dave Barry

With apologies to Clement C Moore and his attorney!

'Twas the night before Christmas,
Or Hannukkah or Kwanzaa, or whatever religious holiday your particular family unit celebrates at this time of year via mass retail purchases
And all through the house
Not a creature was stirring
Except Dad, who was stirring his third martini
In a losing effort to remain in a holiday mood
As he attempted to assemble a toy for his 9 year old son, Bobby
It was a highly complex toy
A toy that Dad did not even begin to grasp the purpose of
A toy that cost more than Dad's first car
A toy that was advertised relentlessly on TV with a little statement in the corner of the TV screen that said
Which was like saying that the Titanic sustained "some water damage"
Because this toy had more parts than the Space Shuttle
And speaking of space
Dad was now convinced that extraterrestrial life did indeed exist
Because the assembly instructions were clearly written by beings from another galaxy
And these beings insisted on Phillips screwdrivers
And Dad could not find his Phillips screwdriver
In fact, he was wondering who "Phillips" was
And why he needed a different kind of screwdriver than anybody else
That was the festive holiday thought that Dad was thinking as he took a slug from his martini and attempted to attach Part 3047-b to Part 3047-c
Using a steak knife
But other than that, not a creature was stirring in the house
Although Mum was definitely stirring OUT of the house
Mum was at the Toys "R" Us store 
In fact, this was the fifth Toys "R" Us store that Mom had been to that night.
In her desperate quest to find the one thing that their 
5 year old daughter, Suzy, wanted this holiday season
It was, of course, a Barbie doll
But not just ANY Barbie doll!
It had to be the new model
Abdominals Barbie
The one who came with her own little pink stomach-muscle-exercise device
It was the hottest Barbie doll of all this holiday season
Every girl age 3 through 12 in the entire United States
HAD to have it!
Or her holiday season would be RUINED
And so of course the Mattel Corporation
Which is run by evil trolls from hell
Had manufactured exactly eight units of this doll
And the very last one in the world was in this particular Toys "R" Us
Which means that the odds were against Mum
Because on this same festive night
Thousands of other frantic parents had converged on this same store
Kind of like the flesh-eating zombies in the movie
Night of the Living Dead
Only less ethical
The store was a war zone
Mom had to fight her way into the doll aisle
Where, wielding a Tonka Truck like a club
She claimed her prize
And then, trailed by a screaming mob of rival parents
She raced from the store, leaped into her car and roared out of the parking lot
Barely missing the Salvation Army person
She raced back to the house, burst through the front door and staggered into the family room
Where she found Dad
Actually she found Dad's feet
The rest of Dad was under the sofa 
A strange gurgling sound was coming from down there
Dad, now on his fifth martini
Was trying to strangle the dog
Which, Dad was convinced, had eaten Part 8675-y
And just at that very moment
Out on the lawn there arose such a clatter
That Dad let go of the dog
And he and Mum went to the window to see what was the matter
And what to their wondering eyes should appear
But Santa Claus, yelling the names of reindeer
"Now Dasher! Now, Dancer! Now, Vixen! Now...
"He already said Dancer," observed Dad
"He can't remember them all," said Mom
"I think one of them is Pluto." said Dad
"Wasn't Pluto the guy who was always fighting with Popeye?" said Mom
"You're thinking of Bluto," said Dad
"Now...Umm...Now, Flicka!" said Santa
"Flicka was a horse, that I DO know," said Mom
"Do you think the reindeer are wrecking the lawn?" said Dad
"They're going up on the roof," said Mom
"Like hell they are," said Dad, who had recently spent $875 on shingle repair
But before he could yell at St Nicholas to stop
Down the chimney the jolly elf came with a plop
He had a broad face and a round little belly
That shook when he laughed like a bowlful of jelly
Which was pretty gross
"What's so funny?" asked Dad
"You two," said St Nick. "Why are you getting all upset about toys? The holiday season isn't about material possessions!"
"Do you have kids?" asked Mum
"Well, no," said Santa
"Hah!" said Mum
"But I am beloved by children the world over," said Santa
"Well," said Dad, "you won't be beloved by our son if I can't assemble this toy."
"What seems to be the problem?" said Santa, coming over to have a look
"I'm stuck on Step 824," said Dad
"Who wrote these instructions?" asked Santa "Martians?"
"Apparently," said Dad
"I used to be pretty good with tools," said Santa
"Hand me that steak knife."
"Sure," said Dad. "Care for a martini?"
"Heck yes," said Santa
And so he went to work
And after a while Mom and Dad, exhausted, went to bed
Leaving old St Nick in the family room
He said some pretty unsaintly words
But he eventually got Bobby's toy assembled
And although he spent so much time that he was unable to visit the rest of the little boys and girls in North America
Not to mention South America, Europe, Asia and Africa
This particular household had a very happy Christmas morning indeed
When Suzy came downstairs and saw Abdominals Barbie
And Bobby came downstairs and saw his incredibly complex toy
Which he broke in under four minutes
A new holiday record
But it was still a festive Day
Especially when Mom and Dad told the fantastic story of their late night visitor
Which, at first, the kids did not believe
In fact, even Mom and Dad were not 100 per cent sure it had happened
Until Dad got out the ladder
And one by one they climbed up to the roof
And there they saw it...
As real as life...
A Holiday Miracle...
                                           Reindeer Poop!

(And $1,087.36 worth of shingle damage!)


(Oops!  Did I say English?  Yep!  I found out that it has its origins way back in Tudor England, where it was happily slurped before being taken overseas!) LOL!

Thursday, 19 December 2013

Christmas Meme - Ami's Version

Wrapping Paper or Gift Bag?

Wrapping paper with beautiful ribbons and bows and lots of glitter!  What a silly thing to ask an Ami!

Hardest person to buy for?

Dan!  Notoriously difficult.  But he loves gadgets!

Easiest person to buy for?

The grandchildren - I am always given firm instructions at least a month before Christmas.

Do you have a nativity scene?

Not these days, but we did when the children were little.

Mail or email Christmas cards?

Mostly mail, and the more glitter the better - both inside and out!  I do send email cards to overseas friends though as I know they will get there.

Worst Christmas gift ever received?

I always do small gifts to place on the table settings on Christmas Day, and Dan, after prompting, always gets mine.  One year he made a big mistake.  HUGE! He bought me a pot of anti-wrinkle cream!

Favourite Christmas movie?

It has to be Elf.  I just adore it and watch it every year, now accompanied by a small grandson.  I do enjoy the occasional "sloppy" Christmas film though, and can be found curled up in the corner of the sofa sniffling and blinking rapidly.

When do you start shopping for Christmas?

About a week beforehand, and I happily strangle ALL smug friends who confide they bought their gifts during the end of summer sales! 

Have you ever recycled a present?

On the odd occasion I've had something that I have taken in to our local charity shop, but it doesn't happen often as people who know me simply buy me frilly knickers, or a massage, if they are stuck for ideas!

Favourite thing to eat at Christmas?

I loved smoked salmon and we often have Eggs Benedict with smoked salmon for breakfast with Buck's Fizz.  It feels very decadent!

White or coloured lights on the tree?

Well!  I like white lights very much, and I also occasionally like coloured lights.  But they went bang last year, so I bought some inexpensive new coloured lights from a large hardware outlet.  BIG MISTAKE! They are these awful ultrabright low voltage things that flash on and off in different combinations and give me a headache!  The kids love them for their vulgarity and Dan loves them because they cost virtually nothing to run - and I hate them!

Favourite Christmas song?

Bing Crosby singing White Christmas.  Sigh.  I know, but I am such a romantic!  (But I also love the Pogues!!)

Travel or stay home at Christmas?

I love Christmas at home with blazing log fires, family, friends and silly games.  My son in law is exceptionally good at Monopoly and I always lose and then have a big sulk!

Can you name all of Santa's reindeer?

I can even sing the song!  And did you know that Mrs Claus has a couple of reindeer of her own?!  Just ask Ana!

Angel, Star or ? as tree topper?

We have both and usually the angel which is smaller, goes a little further down from the star, but this year I have been forbidden to climb to the top of the step ladder (which is a big one) as Dan caught me wobbling last year and I nearly took the whole tree down with me, so this year the star is still waiting for a strong unwobbly man to put it in place.

Open presents Christmas Eve or morning?

Always on Christmas morning, and I so miss having mini tornadoes hurling themselves on our bed at 5am!

Favourite theme or ornament?

I still have some little filigree silver bells from when I was five years old and they go on the tree every year although they are now a bit the worse for wear.  I also collect Father Christmases made from tin.

Favourite for Christmas dinner?

We always have turkey and I cook it overnight very slowly, but we once had quite a lot of geese and there is nothing better tasting than a naturally and happily reared Christmas goose.

What do you want for Christmas?

To know that Dan will be with me this time next year. Good health is worth all the presents in the world.

Who is most likely to respond to this meme?

Everyone else as mad as Ronnie, Sunny and me!

Saturday, 14 December 2013

Saturday Snippets (12)

The Starsong household has started its run up to Christmas.  Advent Calendars are eagerly being opened, not just by my elder grandson, but also by his mum and dad!  Christmas cards are being written and sent off. I always put some glittery stars or sparkles in mine so that when they are opened it falls out all over the place.  My poor unsuspecting friends vow they will remember this, but they never do.

The bird feeders are in place hanging from the apple trees and yesterday we had a huge flight of Goldfinches that rose like a cloud when I opened the back door.  Most of the leaves have fallen at last and wherever we walk there is a golden carpet underfoot. My Starman has been "playing" with his new toy, a LEAF BLOWER.  He says it's easier than using a leaf rake, but I think he just loves using it!  

The days are very short as we climb towards the winter solstice.  Last night was very cold for us, and today we have a clear blue sky and the sun is brittle and bright.  By the end of the week snow is predicted, and high winds with drifting.  Ha!  They are always wrong with our weather. We'll see.  

Thought my Canadian friends might like this picture someone sent me.  Think I'd stay inside!

I hope George is reading here today.  What a photograph!

I just love this joke!

This has been our internet just recently.  Drives us bananas!  But maybe we should write letters a little more than we do.  I know I love receiving them.  It's all too easy to send an email these days.

I am in a flurry of baking and freezing.  Just wish I had not been lazy and had defrosted the freezer out in the barn.  I suppose because it lives in the barn I kept putting it off, and now I know I shall have to force myself as room in it is severely limited.  Sigh! All I ever do is procrastinate.  Such a long word when it just means I am lazy at doing things I don't enjoy.

I am including two recipes this week.  One I promised you in the last 'snippets' and I thought you might enjoy to try the other as it's alcoholic!

This is the recipe I promised you. 

Tiny Cheese, Onion and Olive Scones

(Makes about 28) (Smaller than picture above)

6oz self-raising flour        1 medium onion, diced
1 tbspn olive oil               Half a teaspoon of salt
Half a teaspoon of mustard powder
Half a teaspoon of cayenne pepper
Freshly milled black pepper
1oz butter                        1 large egg
One and a half ounces of Parmesan cheese, grated
One and a half ounces of strong Cheddar cheese, grated
Approximately 2-3 tbspns milk
6 black olives, stoned and chopped

You will need a baking sheet, lightly greased, and a one and a quarter inch plain pastry cutter.

These are simple to make and freeze superbly once cooked, provided you defrost and re-heat them in a hot oven for about 4 minutes before serving.  If you are making them on the day of serving, split them once they've cooled and spread with a little herb cheese or a creamy blue Italian cheese like Cambazola. Warm them in a hot oven just before serving.

Believe me, you won't want to stop at one - they are very moreish!

Pre-heat the oven to Gas Mark 6, 400 degrees F or 200 degrees C.

1  Fry the onion in the oil over a highish heat for about 5-6 minutes or until it's a nice brown caramel colour and darkened at the edges.  Keep it moving about so that it doesn't burn.  Now transfer it to a plate to cool.

2  While that's happening, take a large mixing bowl, sift in the flour, salt, mustard powder and cayenne and add a good grinding of black pepper (the scones need to have a piquant bite).  Now rub in the butter, toss in the cooled onion, the olives and two-thirds of the grated cheeses, forking them in evenly.  

3  Beat the egg and pour this in, mixing first with a knife and finally with your hands, adding only enough milk to make a soft dough - it mustn't be too sticky. Turn the dough out on to a lightly floured surface, knead it gently till it's smooth, then roll it out to about three quarters of an inch thick, being careful not to roll it too thinly.

4  Next, use a one and a quarter inch plain cutter for cutting: place it lightly on the dough and give a sharp tap to stamp out the scones.  Lightly knead together and re-roll  any trimmings. Then, when all the scones are cut, brush them with milk, top them with the remaining grated cheese and bake them near the top of the oven for 10-12 minutes.  Remove them to a wire rack to cool.

And if you fancy a change from mulled wine, why not try mulled cider? Cat and I both have good recipes for this delicious and warming winter drink.

Hot Spiced Cider with Roasted Apples

(Makes 16 glasses)

A glass of something warm and spicy goes very well with warmed mince pies during the party season, especially when greeting guests who are rubbing frosty fingers and shaking snow off their boots!

4 pints still dry cider       8oz soft brown sugar
24 whole cloves             8 whole cinnamon sticks
16 allspice berries          Juice of 2 oranges
Half a whole nutmeg, grated
8 small Cox's apples (you need sharp-tasting eating apples if you can't et Cox's)
2oz butter

Pre-heat the oven to gas mark 5, 375 degrees F or 190 degrees C.

1  First, using a small sharp knife, make a small slit around the 'waist' of each apple, then rub each one with butter.  Place them on a baking sheet and bake in the oven for 20-25 minutes - they should be softened but not floppy, so test them with a skewer.  

2  Put all the other ingredients into a large saucepan and heat the mixture, stirring quite often and adding the apples halfway through.  Don't let it come right up to the boil, but serve it very hot!

3  To keep it really hot without boiling it's probably best to use a simmering mat or setting on your cooker, or even a slow cooker-crockpot.  When you are ready to serve you can always pour it into a large warmed punch bowl if you wish to be posh.  Ladle into glass beer tankards with handles (spoons in the glasses will prevent cracking).  (We use ordinary everyday wine glasses - it doesn't seem to matter!)

Finally I want to conclude with a silly seasonal story I read somewhere:

When four of Santa's elves got sick, the trainee elves did not produce toys as fast as the regular ones, and Santa began to feel the pre-Christmas pressure.

Then Mrs Claus told Santa her mother was coming to visit, which stressed Santa even more.

When he went to harness the reindeer, he found that three of them were about to give birth, and two others had jumped the fence and were out, goodness knows where.

Then when he began to load the sleigh, one of the floorboards cracked, the toy bag fell to the ground and all the toys were scattered.

Frustrated, Santa went into the house for a cup of apple cider and a shot of rum.  When he went to the cupboard, he discovered the elves had drunk all the cider and hidden the rum. In his frustration, he accidentally dropped the cider jug, and it broke into hundreds of little glass pieces all over the kitchen floor. He went to get the broom and found the mice had eaten all the straw off the end of the broom.

Just then the doorbell rang, and an irritated Santa marched to the door, yanked it open, and there stood a little angel with a great big Christmas tree.

The angel said very cheerfully, "Merry Christmas, Santa.  Isn't this a lovely day?  I have a beautiful tree for you.  Where would you like me to stick it?"

And thus began the tradition of the little angel on top of the Christmas tree.

Not very many people know this.

Thursday, 12 December 2013

My First Blogiversary!

Have you noticed that when you are in a funk, when things don't appear to be going too well, that everyone else seems to be coasting along with the wind at their backs, but you feel like you are fighting a force nine gale!

It is a year since I started blogging, so I suppose I should know how to deal with the lows as well as the highs by now. It makes me smile, looking back, about how easy I thought this would all be.

You do something - you get spanked.
You don't do it - you also get spanked.
End of story.

How naive I was. Not stupid. Just blissfully ignorant about the size and intricacy of this dynamic. After all, for most of our marriage I thought I always deferred to my Starman.  Okay, so I probably nagged his balls off along the way, but eventually I would be dragged kicking and screaming to his point of view. When I nestled into his armpit and innocently informed him a year ago that I wanted to be submissive, I had not the slightest idea of what that particular type of wine was going to taste like.

So imagine... 

...a dark and cold winter's day; grey clouds scudding across the sky; a frosting of snow swirling across the frozen ground chilling hearts and fingers alike. The journey across the yard to the barn is one severe enough for the most intrepid of explorers. The clang of the metal door and the damp mustiness inside. The bottles stacked along the rear wall in rows - Elderflower 1998, Blackberry 1999, Damson 2000, Grape 2003.  Each bottle with its own particular cover of dust and grime, labels partly obscured and difficult to read.  Snapshots of time captured for ever in different coloured glass.

A bottle is taken down and carried carefully back to the house and into the warmth of the kitchen, wiped down and the cork removed. There is no guarantee that this bottle will be a good one.  Who can remember whether or not that particular summer had the sunshine at the right time, or the rain when it was needed.  Who can remember whether the harvest was a good one or whether the grapes were sparse. Who can remember what happened last week, let alone a few years ago.

But I draw the cork and sniff the wine.  Does it smell okay or is it fusty? Is it clear or has the sediment made it cloudy? It doesn't matter - it is poured slowly into a small clear glass and held up to the light. The colour of this bottle is good. it smells of wine and not of vinegar. A small sip, and then a bigger mouthful, swirled around the mouth and over the back of the tongue.

A good bottle; the warmth spreads with the second glass - yes, it was a very good year, no cooking wine this, but one to be savoured and enjoyed.

It is not easy to write a blog.  Are we writing what we want to write or writing what we want others to read? How do we start to write, and how can we find the time? How can we be sure of the benefits?

Once a thought is committed to the written word, we sit and stare at it for a while, and then slowly other thoughts spring to mind. Sometimes they are not particularly helpful thoughts, but at other times a solution can appear like a starburst. So my bottle of wine becomes a whole summer of memories reaped and captured to ripen in dark cellars of the mind, awaiting the explosion of realisation in the first mouthful taken.

We are so frightened of the pain of disappointment, that we often pick at what is new and hopeful, anticipating flaws or failures, robbing ourselves of the joy that could lift our spirits.

Our journey in TTWD could be compared to the making of wine - from the initial harvesting of the fruit through to the final stages of bottling and labelling. A slice of time readily consumed echoing the years. A road followed around corners, through woods and meadows, with uphill gradients and downhill slopes. The wine uncorked and consumed - seeing present details in its depths, reminding us of other places - other times - other lives. Until we started this journey, I thought that by now I knew myself fairly well - yet now I am not so sure.

Sometimes you have to pick a road at random, you have to take your courage and hold it firmly in two hands, and stride manfully (or womanfully) forward. You can never actually know which choice would be the best, and whether you will for all time regret your lost opportunities, regret not glancing down those other roads at least momentarily. You can never actually know if the road you pick is going to be the right one, and even if it is, whether you will recognise the signposts along the way. After all, like wine, magic needs the right conditions in order to work.

Way back at the start of our journey, I wrote about walking along a personal hall of mirrors, and likened that to our journey along a road. Now I can see that everyone around here is a mirror along that way we are walking.  Each mirror is different.  Some are plain and simple, some are highly decorative, some are wood, some gilded with gold leaf, some made of drift wood plucked from the beach.

If I gaze into these mirrors for too long, they sometimes dazzle my eyes, and thus, my peering becomes counterproductive. Sometimes my eyes will selectively perceive and block everything else. Sometimes the mirrors grow dull and my vision is impeded. I am reminded of Alice in Wonderland.

"Would you tell me please, which way I ought to go from here?"

"That depends a good deal on where you want to get to," said the Cheshire Cat.

"I don't much care where -" said Alice.

"Then it doesn't matter which way you go," said the Cat.

" So long as I get somewhere," Alice added as an explanation.

"Oh, you're sure to do that," said the Cat, "if only you walk long enough."

Way back before I started my blog, I was asked a very important question, not by one, but by two people.  Why did I want to start Dd? 

The answer then was that I simply didn't know.  I don't think I am capable of a much better answer a year later.  

To the casual observer I am certain we were seen as a couple who sailed through life and marriage without a care in the world. But had that observer looked more closely, the cracks were apparent; the passing in doorways, the superficial chat, the merging of one day into the next in one long boring cycle with nothing real achieved at the end of it. 

I sniped and I cut and I chipped away.  He buried his head in the sand, ignored, immersed himself in his work.  The magic we once had was so eroded it had all but disappeared, and we were sliding rapidly into the depths.  

So perhaps when I say I couldn't answer that question a year ago I was wrong.

Because I thought to myself "You don't really need any magic. You can help yourself - you can fight back. All you've been doing is running away.  It's ridiculous. You've already got all you need - inside of you! You don't need magic to work it out for you - you can do it all on your own."

It's true.  It's no use saying you can't! There's no such bloody word!

I honestly don't know if am I remotely submissive or not.  Perhaps I may be a little. Usually I continue to fight it tooth and nail.  I think I may even hate the word, and truthfully dominant/submissive scenes are not for us - I laugh too much.  Okay, so every now and then a little flame is ignited and a new connection is  made.  But my problem is that I am the Queen of the Groundhog Day.

So instead of feeling sorry for myself and moaning about this recurrence, I determined to do something about it and not rely on any sources of magic. I needed to prevent this happening again, and I could feel this particular bottle of wine fizzing and about to push that fusty old cork clean out and across the kitchen.  

I was determined to to ask, or persuade or infer.  Not this time.  If women could have the equivalent of blue balls, then that is what I would have to put up with. I am strong and I am sparky, but I am too flipping pushy.  Not this time. I have done my best this time to really listen to advice and to block up one of my ears so it goes in one and is unable to come out of the other!  I resolved to sit it out and not direct the proceedings regardless of how tempting it was.

And strangely, the advice I had been doing my best to ignore, came home like a clutch of chickens.

"I reckon it must be spanky day today."

My amazement knew no bounds. I choked into my coffee, had to have my back slapped and managed to dribble coffee down my nose. (Yes, I realise I am grotesque.)

And then he said in a moany sort of a man-voice "My stomach doesn't feel too good.  Must've been the supper I had at the pub with the boys, before the match."  (soccer)

I was in a mad rush to get up and showered because I was dashing out to do some Christmas shopping and I had a million little things to get done first.  But I stayed there and thought, I must say something to feed into this.

"I'm taken aback, Dan.  Really chuffed you didn't need me to remind you. I was determined not to say anything and you've really surprised me."

Dan simply moaned again. "Don't feel good" he whimpered.

We then had a ten minute discussion about the fact that nine times out of ten his stomach plays up when he eats at this particular pub with the boys. Too much chilli in everything! In hamburgers, in sausage and mash, in shepherds' pie, in fact in everything! The cook must be besotted with chilli!

"It's all right, darling" I assured him. "I'm in such a rush today. You just lie back and snooze a bit longer. We can do it tomorrow instead."

Secretly I thought that by tomorrow he would have totally either forgotten about it or totally gone off the boil. So I didn't allow myself any illusions, we've been there too many times before. I wasn't going to remind him either. Yet when the next morning came, and the upset stomach was a thing of the past, Dan remembered! 

"Go get the implements!"

He didn't ask. He ordered me.

However, in this I am well trained, and I offered him a choice of three. This is a reasonably new thing started a few weeks ago, and there again I have listened to someone's advice that you can get too fond of, and used to, the same implement, and therefore it loses its effect.  (Good grief! What bottle of wine had she been at to give me that advice?!  And she called it good advice!)

I soon realised that this time things seemed to be a tad different. Dan positioned a fat pillow over his lap and helped me into position.  It prevented me feeling him beneath me. I hurriedly grabbed a pillow to sink my face into. I am not good with pain and am very vociferous. I am, however, very good at chewing the corner of a pillow.

I remained fairly quiet initially, not wanting to ruin what I thought was going to be a good thing. Dan's warm-ups are amusing to say the least. He has tired of bongos and now prefers to play "Guess the tune" so we progressed through Three Blind Mice, Baa Baa Black Sheep and Half a Pound of Tuppenny Rice.  I relaxed into the feel and rhythm of his palms snapping against my cheeks.  

Then suddenly whack and a streak of fire exploded on my right buttock.  Then another on the left. I yelped loudly and tried to evade the source of that awful flame. Yet as soon as it began it stopped and he went back to using his palms, so I wasn't exactly sure what he had used. But now I was on high alert.

Then four very hard, very fierce whacks in a row, which caused me to yell and kick like a mule, and at one point I felt my foot connect with something. I craned my neck round to try to see what it was, but he wasn't having any of that. He pressed down hard on my back, secured my legs and I was ordered to stop kicking.

Just those few hard spanks had made my eyes water and I wasn't happy to be told not to kick as I didn't think I could prevent myself.

He went back to using his hand, and then I felt the Rose Paddle, and once more relaxed. Stupid me.

Whack! I bucked and did my best to move forwards, backwards, in fact anywhere I could go to get away. This wasn't in the contract!

"That's the boy!" Dan stated quietly. "He's the one!" And then he chuckled.  He went and chuckled! There I was with my nose boring a hole through the pillow, howling and gasping and kicking and lurching around, and he was chuckling!

The explosions of burning pain continued, (Most of you have been there, and have frequently given me advice to which I only half listened to.  Not any more. I promise I will listen to everything!) and continued, and I gave in. There was nothing else I could do. I wasn't going anywhere, the hand on my back and his leg across mine was preventing that, and oh it hurt so much I didn't want to be there.

Then it stopped. Everything was quiet and still, except for me having a darn good cry. Which, of course, was the point.

Dan rubbed my bottom and it felt like he was rubbing me with hot coals. When I checked in the mirror later, it looked like glowing embers, never mind hot coals! 

When I pushed myself up after a suitable interval he sat there stoking the bath brush

"That's the boy!" he repeated. "Didn't go numb that time did you? That advice someone gave you about needing to change implements certainly worked.  You must remember to thank them for me."

I couldn't reply.  I was still sniffing and studying my poor rear in the mirror.

"It's a good job I don't bruise like I used to do in the beginning isn't it?

"Come back to bed. We don't have to get up just yet."

Dan started to play.

"I wonder why being spanked makes my body so much more sensitive than it's ever been?"

"No idea.  I wish I'd known about it years ago."

I sat up.

"Did you just say what I thought you said?"

He pulled me back down.

"You ought to ask your friends if the same thing happens to them."

"I couldn't do that."

"Yes you could. You want to ask them if a good, swift, hard spanking turns them into raging sex maniacs."


"Well, it's true, woman."


The next morning I was in for yet another surprise. I had showered and run along the landing and into Dan's bathroom to drag the scales out from under the bath where they are kept, in order to weigh myself.

Horrors! I had put on two pounds.  I groaned.

I glumly exited the bathroom.  

Then suddenly I was being hoicked into the small spare bedroom Dan uses as a dressing room and bent over the bed there. What the heck?! Dan loosed a rapid volley on my bottom.  I was speechless with surprise and only managed one or two quick squeaks.  
"Go get the paddle."

I think I giggled with excitement.  I ran quickly back into our room and retrieved the paddle from the drawer and dashed back again and resumed my position.

Then I wondered why I had giggled!

Dan began re-igniting the flames from the previous day. This time he focussed mostly on one cheek.  He knows I hate this and it soon had me shrieking my protests.

Then he attacked my sit spots which he also only discovered not so very long ago.  

"On your toes" he said sternly.

This was not turning out as I had hoped.

"On your toes!"

There was no need for him to say that - I was already on my toes!  I am very glad that rose paddle is so well made. I know it is flexible and can't damage me, but oh when he splats right dead centre (if you know what I mean) it really does hurt.

"There you are" I was told when I had calmed down and was still having my post spanking hug, "a top up."

All that day my bottom wasn't exactly sore, but uncomfortable, and the redness changed to light bruising.  My jeans rubbed, and there was an inner discomfort that lasted a day or two.

I now know that Dan has learned to think on his own, so no more reminders unless absolutely necessary. He's told me that he is resolved to use more than one implement in future unless we are just playing and that we will think of this as Top Up Spanking and he will administer these when he deems necessary in order to avoid any further Groundhog Days.  (He didn't call them that, he was much less polite!)

We discussed that these are not punishment spankings. He still won't do those; yet he is happy to "whale away with a bath brush" when necessary. He doesn't like the name or connotations. But these are certainly not fun, I can vouch for that.

I thought I was on the bottom of a lake with thick ice on top.  Every time I tried to surface I just bumped into the ice and rebounded back down. Now Dan has chipped away at the ice and created a hole. I wonder if another year from now he will have cracked through the entire surface, so that it won't matter where I come up.

I wonder whether surrender is born in the shadows, if we must move into darker places if we are to find what we so desperately need. Perhaps we must be willing and able to exclude nothing of ourselves and to lay ourselves open to the truth.  To be stretched far beyond where we thought we could or wanted to go. To be willing to accept what we cannot change or control, in order to see revealed what is most hard to know about ourselves.

The sap has gone down, the vine is resting once more until spring - sleeping soundly, roots reaching out into the sparse soil now moist with autumnal rain.

My friends, we will share another bottle....