Sheep/Welcome Random Word Competition: Shortlist

We alternate our daily walks.

One day, we go left out of the drive and head up towards the village and the next, we turn right (Bonnie’s favourite!) and tramp across fields and a railway track.

We talk about how ‘At Some Point’ (oh, happy day), we’ll be able to extend our walk to include the pub we can see in the distance. We will sit at a table outside, regardless of the weather and drink large glasses of something very alcoholic, regardless of the hour.

Today was a village walk day and we combined it with:

1.donating to the food bank (there’s a collection box outside the vicarage)
2.looking for rocks, which are still being painted and hidden by children in the village. It’s exciting if you find one (and yes, we do wash our hands when we get home). There’s a Boris Johnson one out there somewhere and it’s my goal to find it
3. and playing the game ‘Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?’

When you’ve been with someone for many years, you assume there’s nothing new to find out but honestly, we’ve never played ‘Animal, Vegetable or Mineral?’ before today and it was a revelation.

Firstly, in case you don’t know, it’s that simple (?) guessing game, when one person chooses a thing (I chose ‘tangerine’ which counts as ‘vegetable’ even though – I know – it’s a fruit) and the other person asks 20 questions (to which the answer can only be ‘yes’ or ‘no’), in an attempt to guess what it is.

My husband interrogated me as though we were in a court of law. “Would it be reasonable to say…” (for example) “that someone might eat this fruit on a daily basis?” was one of his questions. And “Would it be fair to assume, that this is not a fruit grown in this country?”

Flipping heck! I was expecting, “Is it orange?” or “Is it round?”

He didn’t guess correctly and then I had a go and I didn’t guess his ‘mineral’ either (which was a lamp post?!!! I ask you!). So, I think that might be the last time we play that game. The excitement is too much.

So, that’s my day so far. How’s yours been?


Oh, and I almost forgot. Here, in alphabetical order by title, is the shortlist for the Random Word Competition (the stories are printed in full further down).

They have been selected anonymously from the 10 on the longlist by our esteemed Head Judge, who will be revealed – along with the winners and the judge’s report – on the next post, in a few days’ time.

* For Old Times’ Sake
* I Hate the Way you Stir Your Tea
* Jiggle-it Josie
* Through Gran’s Eyes
* Usually, it’s Good to See You…

The judging process is actually complete, so feel free to congratulate the shortlistees and/or tell us which is your favourite entry, as it won’t affect the final outcome!

Well done to all those listed below. If anyone’s ‘tuning in’ late and is wondering what the heck this is all about, the 5 words that had to be used in a 100 (max) word story or poem were: THOUSAND, SHEEP, PUZZLE, WELCOME, TEDIOUS.

FOR OLD TIMES’ SAKE – Christine Cherry
Hi, me again! Thanks for making me welcome yesterday, Edward…No idea E1 Holdings was good old Ted…
What? Did I start that? Tedious Ted…what a memory!
Schoolkids, eh? Follow like sheep, don’t they? Cruel beggars…Mine certainly are…when I see them…
Look, this opportunity for me would…
What? Did I say that? Well, maybe not thousands of other offers but…
What still puzzles you, Ted?
Not school again!
Exam papers where?
You’ve lost me…Maybe I just peaked early- ask my ex!
Wait! Honestly, I don’t want you to miss out, Ted…
For old times’ sake…?

Standing there in your aged, sheepskin slippers the spoon clinks, clinks in your mug. How long does it take to dissolve one sweetener?
You wear your vague, puzzled look; perhaps still wondering why you can’t have sugar, or biscuits, or why life has become so tedious.
I suggest new slippers, ‘But these are so warm and cosy,’ you laugh.
That was then, this is now. I stand here in the slippers you no longer need, appreciating the warmth and cosiness (you were right), and recognise how much I would welcome that clinking now, even if you stirred a thousand times.

Bit of a puzzle why Josie keeps her curtains closed all day. I ring her doorbell, ready to spring back to keep the appropriate distance. I’m not expecting a warm welcome. She’s dressed in a 1950s circle dress in a print featuring pink flamingos with a frothy powder blue petticoat. Full make-up. Red lipstick. Vintage hair-do.
She wafts a gloved hand at me.
“Sorry. Doing a webcam. Changing into the sheep dress in a mo. Tedious! Got a thousand followers now.”
She slams the door. Mesmerised by her ample cleavage, I reel home to google.

Who doesn’t love a family party?
“Sit Gran by the window,” I hear as voices whirl by. They’re all too fast for me.
Instead I watch as sheep graze on garden pansies and thousands of ladybirds climb the Monkey Puzzle Tree.
“Her legs are quite bad now. Her eyes are going too. She sees things, you know, that aren’t really there. So tedious but we’ve got her some tablets to help.”
I give a wave of welcome as a tiny soldier salutes me from the buttercups. Those tablets are under some bills back home and that’s exactly where they’ll stay.

We eventually get to our cottage in Wales, rather naughtily because strictly we’re not supposed to travel. And that night in the pub some tedious old farmer is going on about how selfish people like us are. So I told him, it’s our house, isn’t it? Next morning, very early, strange noises wake me; puzzled, I look out of the window. There must be a thousand sheep packed into our garden, so tight we couldn’t get down the path. And the farmer is at the gate with two dogs and a big grin. Welcome in the hillsides? Not just now.

The food bank collection point (Father Brown’s church in the background, if anyone watches the TV programme…?)

This entry was posted in Cotswolds, random word competition. Bookmark the permalink.

12 Responses to Sheep/Welcome Random Word Competition: Shortlist

  1. Tracy Fells says:

    I enjoyed reading all of these, but if I have to pick a favourite it would be Jiggle-it Josie (terrific title) because it made me laugh – and that;s something we all need!

    • Helen Yendall says:

      I agree that’s a great one, Tracy (they are all great, of course!!). It did make me smile too and yes, that’s always a Good Thing!

  2. Joanna Bucktrout says:

    All were very enjoyable. I also enjoyed ‘Jiggle it Josie’, it’s a smile provoker! But I have to say the poignancy of ‘I Hate the Way you Stir your Tea’ did it for me.

  3. Keith Havers says:

    I enjoyed having a go at this as usual. A tricky set of words but I always say that. I liked the Stir Your Tea one. Thanks, Helen.

  4. I really liked the hate the way you stir your tea.

    My £10 feedback crit service is FREE at the moment due to lock down. If you really feel you WANT to pay something, then visit Visit my Amazon author page for details of my books. Twitter  Facebook Writing is easy Website – 

    • Thanks, Linda! And yes, folks, if you want some feedback on a story, Linda’s offering to do it at no cost to you! What are you waiting for!?

    • Sandy Vaughan says:

      A lovely offer Linda, but I tried to send you an email with story attached and it was returned as unknown address and most of your links are broken 😦 I’ve already bought you a coffee, so how do I get my story to you?

    • Sandy Vaughan says:

      I had a really helpful critique of a story I sent to Linda, and would encourage people to take her up on her offer. Thank you so much Linda, I’ll be getting to work on the story to take on board your comments.

  5. Rosemary Reader and Writer says:

    Congratulations, Wendy.

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