Thursday, 29 May 2014

De-clutter



It’s half term and I came up with a cunning plan. 

I told the boys in advance before the holiday even began, “we are going to have a sort out! If anyone wants to buy this house we really have to clear out some of the clutter. I am not taking it with us to a new home.”

Youngest son has done quite well, admittedly he hasn’t thrown much away as yet but he has managed to sort out some of his Lego shelves, find a few missing pieces along the way and I have managed to wipe away a very thick layer of dust – yuck!

Oldest son has a large cupboard full of stuff I want him to go through – I must nag him tomorrow because he’s not even made a start yet. His half term has so far comprised of revision, going to the gym, watching tennis and writing his blog.

Meanwhile I’ve begun but not got very far, I’ve set myself quite a challenge as I have lots of rooms to go through however as I have started in the guest room where the laptop usually lives I have been distracted all too often by the lure of Twitter!!!

However I have made the momentous decision to finally chuck out ALL of my card making paraphernalia. I am going to pass some onto a friend who’s just taken it up as a hobby. 

((Never ever tell anyone you have started a new hobby or a collection you will always get inundated with stuff. It’s why I have accumulated so much in the first place!))

But I am only passing on the very best and most useful stuff; it’s not fair to give her the crap as well!

It has been surprisingly liberating to throw out and let go of scraps of paper and card I will never use! The more I threw away the easier it became; I have gathered momentum and become completely ruthless!

In a lot of ways it is easy, I have no emotional attachment to the pretty scraps torn from magazines and packaging but I need to move on next to cards I have received and kept and that could be trickier. 

You see I still have every single wedding acceptance card, every wedding and engagement card, all my 40th birthday cards and probably the largest pile of all – about a hundred condolence cards.

To be honest they don’t take up a huge amount of space, perhaps I could keep them all, but why? Do I really NEED them ALL?

It was my dad who has been the most helpful, “Just keep a few, the special ones.” He said to me the other night on the phone.

And I know that’s the right answer and they were the words I needed to hear. I’ve heard them before but coming from my dad, just at that moment was particularly timely.

I just can’t keep everything and I’m realising more and more that part of grieving is letting go and moving on and if I don’t let go I can’t move forward and I have felt stuck for far too long.

I want to sell the house but I need to prepare for the day I get a phone call that sets that chain of events in motion. I hate waiting for things to happen so much but I think it’s finally hit me there are lots of things I can do to get ready. Sitting around moping is no longer an option!

So we are making progress with the boys’ stuff, my things and some shared possessions but then we move on to the most challenging items of all – what do I do with Andrew’s belongings? The things he cherished and horded and collected.

Some items I disposed of quickly but others have been lingering as I decide my best course of action. In the back of your mind you always wonder at an objects worth, if I throw this out will I regret it in a few years’ time when I discover it is valuable!

Finally I got hold of someone to come and look at Andrew’s record collection (I made a bit of a mess trying to dispose of them before)  his opinion is that most of them are worthless on the open market. Most are too scratched and the picture sleeves are missing, like a lot of DJs Andrew filed them away in plain cases and stuck number stickers on them to keep them filed away neatly and that devalues them.

Out of six boxes he only took a handful of vinyl away to try and sell on eBay. I might make £30 from the transaction if I am lucky.

It’s not about the money, that’s irrelevant in this instance, but I need the space in my life and I can’t hold onto these things any longer. With some regret and a deep breath I think I need to take a trip to the tip. 

It’s a bold step but I need to de-clutter, get rid of objects and emotions to move on and after three and a half year I am just about ready to do that.

I know there will be comments; youngest son has started already this morning saying I shouldn’t. 

I just burst into tears but I can’t hold onto all these things any longer, they weigh my down and I want to be free.

So please DON’T judge me, DON’T tell me I am foolish and NEVER tell me I am throwing away something valuable. Once these things were pure treasure but only I know their true worth now.

Of course some I will keep, “just the special ones,” as my dad would say and feeling less burdened I am more ready to begin a new adventure…
 


Wednesday, 21 May 2014

The Mysterious Disappearance of Cardinal Richelieu (#Musketeers/Dr Who Fan Fiction)


For my second ever piece of fan fiction I decided to combine the Musketeers with Dr Who - well with Peter Capaldi leaving one show for another with very little explanation as to why the Cardinal vanished I decided it was fitting to make up my own reasons.

I hope I haven't ruined two of my favourite programmes by doing this, I had a lot of fun writing it and I hope you enjoy it too - would love to hear your comments!

  It was a hot afternoon and only a thin breeze reached Queen Anne as she reclined on the sofa by the open window. Her belly had grown into a neat round bump and her baby seemed extra lively today.
    A playful smile crossed her face as she felt the shape of a foot, or was it an elbow dig into her side. She would never tire of the sensation of a new life growing inside her.
    There wasn’t much longer to wait now to see what the child looked like, which parent would he favour. Would he have his father’s twinkling eyes? The baby was certainly just as restless as he was. He would grow up to be a strong, brave man of action she just knew it. Just as she was convinced it would be a boy, an heir to the throne of France.
    At that moment the King walked in unannounced just because he was the King!
    Anne lifted her head and prepared to rise.
    “Don’t trouble yourself my love.” He took her hand and gave it the softest kiss, his lips barely skimming the surface of her skin. “How are we both today?” He spoke to the bump and giggled in his usual excited manner.
    Anne’s smile was bittersweet. Although King Louis was not the man she would have chosen she was certain he would make an excellent father. He had proved himself to be good with children when his nephew had visited and he had been so attentive since she had fallen pregnant. He indulged her every whim to make her happy and provided her with the protection of his finest Musketeers.
    “I am expecting the court physician to pay a visit shortly.”
    “There’s nothing wrong with you or the baby is there?”
    “I sincerely hope not sire. I am feeling well if a little more tired than usual. But the doctor is keeping a close watch on me as you yourself instructed.”
    “Oh yes I did,” He chuckled to himself remembering. “Well we can’t be too careful with our miracle child.” His hand rested over her stomach, hovering as if he dared not touch the precious bump.
    “But there is something wrong with you. You look troubled my Lord.”
    “I’ve been looking for the Cardinal. I’ve not seen him for days and it’s not like him to leave me to my own devices for such a long time. I almost think it’s worth doing something foolish just to see if he appears.”
    He skipped over to the window, “I could just imagine him popping out from somewhere and surprising me.” He flicked the curtain back with a flourish just to make sure the Cardinal wasn’t hiding in the queen’s chambers.
    Disappointment showed on his face when he wasn’t there, he really was beginning to miss him.
    “Perhaps you should send a message to Captain Treville, maybe he knows of his whereabouts?”
    “Now why didn’t I think of that? I shall send the Musketeers out to look for him. A grand game of hide and seek. Oh Anne you are always so wise. I hope our child will inherit your great wisdom.”
    He kissed her hand again and she blushed, not at his touch but at the thought of the Musketeers, at least one in particular and the secret kisses they had exchanged.
    “I shall send a message at once to the Captain and leave you to your rest.”
    Full of contentment King Louis left to resolve the pressing matter of Cardinal Richelieu’s disappearance.
    He had never had any doubts the child was his and the queen kept her own counsel on such matters and prayed her indiscretion would never be found out.

    Meanwhile in a quiet corner of the palace something most peculiar was happening. There was a whirring noise and an intermittent flash of blue light which cast strange and eerie shadows on the wall. Anyone watching would have sworn they’d been drinking too much wine but there was no one around to see the spectacle apart from a spider that scuttled back through a tiny hole in the brickwork.
    The Tardis arrived and out stepped Clara Oswald followed by the Doctor, a man of many faces.
    He had recently regenerated and Clara was having trouble getting used to the new man in her life. He looked much older than before, more like a father figure. Although in reality he was over a thousand years old so this made him old enough to be her great great grandfather several times over!
    “So where are we then?” she asked him.
    He took his sonic screwdriver out of his pocket and tapped the wall with it listening to the resonance of the echo.
    She eyed his actions suspiciously.
    “Seventeenth century France. Around 1630.”
    “Half past four then – time for tea?” she said brightly.
    It was his turn to look at her with a quizzical look. “Would the old me have found that funny?”
    She considered the question. “Maybe. Yes I think he would have laughed.”
    “Ha ha.” He said with little conviction and slightly distracted. “Come on this way.”
    He took long strides and Clara walked quickly to keep up.
    As they turned a corner they almost bumped into a man dressed very regally.
    “Who are you?” the Doctor enquired rather rudely.
    “King Louis the thirteenth.” He replied. “May I ask who you are wandering about the palace unannounced? I must say you do look rather familiar. Have we met somewhere before?”
    “I am the Doctor.”
    “Good. Well Anne is expecting you. And you must be…?” He looked Clara up and down, she was strangely attired for the period, showing off a slender pair of legs he noted.
    “Clara is the nursemaid.” Said the Doctor quickly.
    “Oh, very well. You’ll find the queen through there.” He waved them on as he walked away.
    “Nursemaid?” Clara hissed.
    “You’ve been a governess before and looked after children. It’s not that far removed.” The Doctor actually smiled at her.
    “So the queen is pregnant?”
    “And it would appear she is expecting a visit from the Doctor.” He knocked boldly on the door.

    “You are not the usual physician.” Said Anne as the Doctor approached.
    “I’m a bit of a specialist and after all this is a very special baby.”
    Reaching in his pocket he pulled out his sonic screwdriver.
    Clara raised an eyebrow at him and shook her head,
    “A bit too specialist?” He whispered to her.
    “Just a tiny bit.” Replied Clara as she looked across at the queen who regarded their exchange with a bemused expression.
    Instead the Doctor rubbed his hands together, then lifting them to his lips he blew a warm breath on them. He offered a hand to Clara, “Warm enough?”
    There was a spark of lingering regeneration energy which caused a tingling like static electricity as their fingertips met.
    With a sigh she wondered about this strange new man she was travelling with. He was quirky and slightly out of place with the world. Definitely still “her” Doctor underneath this new facade.
    Smiling to herself she bounced on her feet, partly from excitement at their new adventure but also prepared to run if necessary. Because what if this ended badly and the real physician arrived? They were here in seventeenth century France, had the guillotine been invented yet? She didn’t really want to find out.
    However Anne remained regal and serene. She lay very still as the Doctor placed a hand firmly on her stomach over the top of her dress. The baby let out an almighty kick.
    “Oh my, he’s a lively little fellow isn’t he?” He smiled down at the patient.
    “Can you tell if it is a boy?” Anne craved an answer.
    “Oh most definitely! He’s a miraculous baby and will be a most marvellous king one day. Let me tell you…”
    “Spoilers!” muttered Clara under her breath.
    “Oh yes, maybe I shouldn’t have said that.” He frowned, deep lines crossing his forehead.
    “But please assure me doctor that everything is well. Your countenance just changed as if a dark cloud passed over it. There is something that concerns you greatly? In fact have we met before? That worried expression is so familiar, as if you are hiding some unpalatable truth. I will not have you keeping secrets from me.”
    “Your majesty there really is nothing you should worry about.” He bowed down low before her, taking a few steps backward as he did so. “But Clara we have to go.”
    “Are we running?”
    “Oh yes!” He said with a beaming grin.
    “So is it alien then?” asked Clara. After running down a few corridors the Doctor had stopped as if deciding where to run next.
    “What?”
    “The baby?”
    “No don’t be so ridiculous.”
    “But you said he was a miracle baby.”
    “Ah yes, you see the queen has had trouble conceiving and she has suffered a great many miscarriages over the years. There has been a concern for a long time that she would not produce an heir to King Louis’s throne.”
    “It’s not always the woman’s fault. When we met the king he did seem sort of effeminate, so maybe he has the problem. Perhaps he’s not the dad? Is there some royal scandal? These things happen even in these times.”
    The Doctor shrugged not unduly concerned by trivial earthly affairs, all the while still figuring out which way to go next, tapping on the walls again.
     “There’s something going on though.”
    “Oh yes, well unborn babies can communicate to Time Lords and we had quite a little chat.”
    “Now you’re just making things up and teasing me.”
    He looked at her with a glint in his eye. “You may never know, come on this way.” And he was off running again.
    Although Clara was totally exasperated by the man there was nothing more she wanted to do but follow.

    The Doctor wasn’t the only one concerned by strange goings on.
    “So explain this to me again,” said Captain Treville. He had his four best men in front of him and their story was unbelievable.
    He would have sworn they had spent the afternoon in the tavern rather than on duty but he couldn’t smell a drop of alcohol on their breath. Besides even when drunk Athos made more sense than this!
    “There was a party of Red Guards preventing Musketeers from entering the palace,” Athos spoke in his usual understated manner but was agitated that he had to repeat the story to the Captain once more. “They declared they had orders from the Cardinal to kill all the Musketeers who were ruining France. Then they raised their swords and fire flew from the tips. Our men fell as if shot and then their bodies disappeared in front of us. Not a trace remained.”
    “I know it sounds weird Captain but that’s exactly what happened.” Added Porthos. “The red guards saw us but their weapons seemed to only have a limited range. We were far enough away to escape.”
    Aramis nervously rolled the edge of his hat in his hands. “All this talk isn’t helping; we need to get back to check on the Queen.”
    Athos glared over at him. It was becoming far too obvious he was distressed at not being able to protect the woman he loved.
    “…and the King of course!” Aramis traded Athos’s black look with one of his own.
    “We need to work out what we are dealing with first and come up with a plan. We will be no use to anyone if we evaporate in the same way as the others. They have orders to kill the Musketeers not the Royal Family.”
    “Athos you don’t know that for certain. The King and Queen could have already…,” He struggled to find the right word, “…disappeared.”
    Just then there was a knock at the door and a messenger arrived. He handed the note to the Captain.
    Aramis couldn’t help noticing the Royal Seal and eagerly leant forward to discover more.
    “I am to wait for a reply.” The messenger said.
    “Then wait outside.” Snapped Treville, trying to make sense of things as he broke the seal and read the contents quickly.
    “It would appear from this missive written in his own hand that the King is alive and well, so we can assume this is true of the Queen. “ He looked straight at Aramis as he said this, why did that man always lust after the most inappropriate women? “ But he has an urgent task for us, to find Cardinal Richlieu. In fact he invites us to take part in a grand game of Hide and Seek.”
    “It’s some kind of trap. Richlieu is behind it controlling the Red Guards getting them to kill Musketeers with some kind of sorcery.”
    “Dangerous words Porthos, witchcraft and the church don’t mix.” Said Athos.
    “An uneasy alliance but I’ve always suspected that man to be in league with the devil!”  Porthos grinned.
    Treville ignored Porthos’s remarks. “D’Artagnan, you’ve not said much.” The youngest recruit looked thoughtful and the Captain was keen to hear his contribution.
    “Well I was thinking, the messenger got out past the guards, the Royal Family appear to be safe inside what if we went to the palace disguised as something other than Musketeers to see if we can get in and try to find out what’s really going on?”
    “It sounds like the best plan we’ve got.”

    A little while later a cart entered the palace gates. They were stopped by the Red Guards who scanned them quizzically their heads moved mechanically from side to side never uttering a word.
    “We are the Royal Vintners.” Said d’Artagnan, who was driving. He tried to look the guard in the eye but failed to catch his gaze.  “We have a delivery of wine for the King.”
    Satisfied the guards stepped aside allowing them to pass and they proceeded along the track to the kitchen entrance.
    “They are not human.” Said Porthos letting out a breath he hadn’t realised he was holding. He was certain he could hear his own heartbeat like the ticking of a clock but as they moved further from the guards the noise subsided, drowned out by birdsong. D’Artagnan had to agree there was something incredibly strange going on.
    When they stopped at the palace, Athos and Aramis jumped out from the back of the cart.
    “That wine is a good vintage.” Athos remarked.
    “Well maybe if we rescue the King he will let you have some when this is all over.” Said Aramis.
    Athos barely smiled and instead led his men through the back door and into the kitchen. It was hot and steamy, with the heady scent of a royal feast, succulent venison, aromatic herbs and mouth-watering fresh fruit.
    “Oi you can’t just leave your cart there! Aren’t you going to unload it?”
    Ignoring the commotion they were causing Athos walked on determined, but Aramis picked a strawberry from the top of a cake as he passed and popped it whole in his mouth.
    “Delicious!” He exclaimed, crimson juice dribbling into his beard.
    “That’s for the queen that is!” said one of the cooks with her hands on her hips, “You can’t just walk in here and take that.”
    He raised his hat at the girl, “Oh Monsieur Aramis, I didn’t recognise you out of uniform.” She bobbed as if to curtsey while her hand unconsciously reached for a strand of hair that had escaped from her hat and twisted it about her finger.
    “Shush!” he said with his own finger raised to his lips and then he blew her a kiss. She blushed profusely, her face as red as the strawberry he had stolen.
    “Come on!” said Porthos, shaking his head at his friend’s antics.
    D’Artagnan tried his luck as he passed but as he went to grab a strawberry the girl slapped his hand.
    “Gentlemen please remember why we here. And remember we are supposed to be in disguise.” Admonished Athos as they left the heat and noise of the kitchen behind them. “Now we all stick together. If those Red Guards attack we need to keep our wits about us. This will be no ordinary fight.”
    “And we start by checking on the Queen.” Said Aramis defiantly, heading for the grand staircase and taking them two steps at a time, knowing the others would have to follow.

    “Hello again.” Said Clara as she and the Doctor turned a corner and almost crashed into King Louis. Then remembering he was the King she curtseyed with her birdlike legs clumsily crossing beneath her.
    “It’s the Doctor isn’t it? How was the Queen?”
    “Doing very well your majesty,” answered the Doctor. ”But you look as if you’ve lost something.”
    “Someone actually. I’m looking for Cardinal Richlieu, he’s about your height with a similar build, wears black leather robes. Usually struts around the palace telling me what to do but he’s gone missing.”
    “And when did this happen?”
    “Well thinking about it now I didn’t see him at all yesterday but it was quite fun not being told what to do, being a maverick for a day. Sometimes being King is so boring. But I feel a bit lost without him now and wish he would come back.”
    “Cardinal Richelieu is now complete and no longer in the service of the King.” A mechanical voice came out of the ether and suddenly the Doctor and his companions were surrounded by the rogue Red Guards.
    “Where did you come from?” Asked the King looking round puzzled by their unexpected appearance.
    “That is not important!”
    “Doctor do those soldiers have clockwork faces?” Clara whispered.
    “Yes beautiful faces.” Agreed the Doctor getting closer to inspect. “A work of art. Now I’ve seen something like this before just can’t quite remember in which lifetime.”
    “But the King hasn’t noticed anything odd about them.”
     “Very low level perception filter, all too often you humans see exactly what you want to see, what you expect, but,” the Doctor knocked off the helmet of the nearest guard and it clattered to the floor.
    The King let out a shriek of surprise when suddenly confronted with the thing in front of him. It had the body of a Red Guard but an elongated glass head with ticking clogs inside.
    “What strange creature is this?” The King eventually asked.
    “Alien, from another planet, from another time.”  The Doctor was still fascinated by the intricate workings of the clockwork head in front of him. “Now if only I could remember where I’ve seen you lot before I could remember how to deal with you. That’s the problem with regenerating some of my memories get a bit muddled up in the process and they haven’t all caught up with themselves. A bit like Twitter downloading notifications that go missing on your timeline!”
    “And what business do you have here?” Demanded the King ignoring the Doctor’s incomprehensible ramblings.
    “We are looking for Musketeers.” Came the measured reply.
    “Well we are not Musketeers merely travellers in time and space. And he is the King of France,” said the Doctor indicating towards King Louis standing beside him. “What do you want the Musketeers for anyway?”
    “They will be the ruin of France. We have orders from Cardinal Richelieu that they should be destroyed.”
    “Cardinal Richelieu has no authority to destroy my Musketeers.” The King stamped his foot at this like a petulant child; he was standing for no more nonsense from these clockwork soldiers. “Just where is the Cardinal? Do you know where he is? Take me to him now!”
    At the King’s command the corridor they were standing in seemed to disappear and the three companions found themselves in the centre of a spaceship. Not the most elegant part of the craft but the engine room, the unseen nerve centre where everything came together for the smooth running of the vessel.
    “Oh it’s coming back to me now.  I have seen this before, all I needed was a bit of teleporting to help trigger off my memories. Rose, can you smell roses? No not roses,” He clicked his fingers, “Roast dinner, that smell in the air, rich meaty cooking smell.” The Doctor twirled about as he rambled, it was all utter drivel to Clara but she could almost see his brain ticking in the same way the clockwork soldiers’ inner workings could be seen. Piece by piece it was clicking into place, cogs spinning, wheels revolving, springs wound tight until…
    Suddenly he stopped turning, “No, not roast dinner at all, human flesh burnt into your circuits. You are a fifty-first century space ship linked to France and I’ve just realised where I’ve seen your sort before. Tell me just what is your fascination with the French aristocracy? First this happens to Madame de Pompadour and now Cardinal Richelieu.”
    “Our ship is the SS Cardinal Richelieu, Madame de Pompadour is our sister ship.”
    “Madame de Pompadour?” The King repeated to himself with glee liking the sound of her name on his tongue. “She sounds delightful, can I meet her?”
    “No you’d really better not your majesty, could be slightly complicated.”
    “Spoilers?” asked Clara.
    “You could say that Madame de Pompadour is the mistress of King Louis’s grandson!”
    “Awkward!” agreed Clara with a grin, time travel had opened up such endless possibilities to her but she wasn’t sure the King could handle such knowledge. Although to be fair apart from screaming like a girl when the Doctor revealed the soldiers to be clockwork he seemed to have kept a cool head.
    “So obviously you have used the real Cardinal Richelieu as spare parts to fix your ailing craft, that is his brain in there I take it?” The Doctor pointed to gelatinous mound of red goo wired into the circuits. Clara wrinkled her nose and didn’t venture any closer. “So you could just fly away, there is nothing wrong with the ship.”
    “That is correct we are now complete but we have a new mission – to rid France of the Musketeers. We have access to the Cardinal’s thoughts and it is his express wish that the Musketeers must be terminated or France will be ruined.”

    Aramis barged into the queen’s chamber without even knocking.
    “Aramis.” Queen Anne was delighted to see him if a little surprised. Her eyes sparkled and her cheeks coloured behind her fan.
    In only a few strides he reached her but the arrival of Athos, Portos and d’Artagnan immediately behind him prevented him from taking her in his arms as he desired to do.
    Instead he bowed low, drinking in the wondrous sight before him, “Your majesty, there have been some strange goings on and we have come to protect you.”
    “It has been quiet here all day but I am always glad to see all of you Musketeers and I feel especially safe in your presence.” She tried not to look directly at Aramis as she spoke but found it hard to do so when his eyes were fixed on her.

    At the mere mention of the name Musketeers within the palace walls the drones surrounding the Doctor, Clara and the King relocated, teleporting straight into the Queen’s chamber.
    “Where did they go?” The King looked around puzzled at their absence.
    Then they heard a woman scream.
    “That’s Anne. Someone’s attacking the queen!”
    “Doctor how do we get back?” Asked Clara. “Can we teleport?”
    The Doctor flicked a few switches on a console. “Not without those clockwork soldiers with us. We are going to have to find a time portal, there’s a physical link somewhere between the space ship and the palace. We just have follow the noise of the screaming and that will be the way between our world and this one. I just hope I don’t have to smash a mirror this time, made a right mess before and I have no horse. Arthur, oh I miss Arthur but Rose wouldn’t let me keep him.” He said cryptically before turning to Louis with a sweeping bow, “Your majesty I believe it is time to run!”
    In other circumstances the King was sure this fellow would be fun to keep around court. He was fond of talking in riddles and he could probably liven up any gathering. But for now he was concerned for his Queen and perhaps more importantly his future heir she was carrying.

    When Anne screamed Aramis drew his sword in a fluid action. As he raised it to defend the Queen he knocked the arm of the Red Guard and a flash of fire emitted from its tip just missing Athos’s ear.
    “Remember Aramis these soldiers carry strange weapons. “ He said as he jabbed his own sword to meet the solid chest of the soldier he was facing. “They appear to be covered in armour as well.”
    “They must have a weak spot somewhere.” Said Porthos as he deflected another blow.
    “They don’t move so well.”
    The Guards moved in such a slow methodical fashion that they had all realised there was some advantage to be gained. They were definitely more agile than their opponents and fit from their daily training sessions.
    It was d’Artagnan who used his efforts to strike one about the head and as he did so the helmet flew off. Suddenly they were all aware that what they were facing was certainly not human.
    Just for a second time seemed to stop even though a sound like a hundred ticking clocks filled the air, a countdown to the imminent destruction of the Musketeers.
    “What are these strange creatures?” Asked Porthos filled with curiosity.
    “Never mind what they are or where they are from, they are trying to kill us and we have to stop them.” Athos replied.
    Anne whimpered curling herself up as tight as she could on the sofa with her arms protectively about her bump. Aramis caught sight of her from the corner of his eye as he ducked to avoid a fatal shot. His emotions were torn he needed to draw them away from her but longed to stay close. She shouldn’t be here in this battle. Had they placed her in mortal danger?
    Athos meanwhile thought he had found a slight chink in the armour where the neck and head joined, he deftly sidestepped the next attack and forced his sword upwards into the gap. There was a grating sound of metal on metal as the blade ripped apart the cogs. He twisted his weapon to inflict maximum damage and the clockwork soldier wound down slowly unable to fight back.
    “Go for just under the neck.” He screamed his advice to the others. “That’s the weak spot.”
    The fight got more intense after that as they dodged the alien weapons that shot sparks of flame. They knew only too well what would happen if they were hit, they would disappear forever like the Musketeers they had seen earlier.
    Porthos suddenly found himself near the open window as he moved to avoid a shot he leant backwards and toppled through.
    “Porthos!” D’Artagnan cried but as he looked down below his brother in arms had vanished.

    There was a smell like burnt flesh, I’ve landed in hell, Porthos thought, for this surely isn’t heaven. His artificial surroundings were made from metal and it was unlike anything he had even encountered before in his travels. He hit the wall with his sword producing a clanging echo all around.
    Far in the distance he could hear the fighting still taking place without him. There was no time for sentiment in battle, he knew his friends would fight valiantly on without him but he hoped they would raise a glass to him at the tavern later in his memory.
    It saddened him to think he would never see his friends again, loyal Athos with his stern looks, mischievous Aramis and his wild wicked ways and d’Artagnan, still so young but learning fast.
    It had been a good life really, he mused but his reminiscences were cut short when he heard the sound of footsteps running towards him.
    “Porthos!”
    “You majesty.” He bowed before his King. “Are you dead too?”
    “No, I don’t think so. Am I dead Doctor?”
    “No, no one is dead, not today. Did you come through this way?” He indicated to a red velvet curtain fluttering in the breeze.
    “I don’t know, it was all a blur. Where am I?”
“This is a spaceship,“ explained the young girl who accompanied the strange man and the King, “It flies through time and space among the stars.” Her voice was bright and pretty. To Porthos she was an angel.
    “Well sort of, something like that.” Said the Doctor. “Now Allons-y! I always liked saying that, kind of appropriate now don’t you think?” And with that he held the curtain to one side and they all walked through, with Clara grabbing hold of Portos’s hand leading him back to the world he had come from.

    Just who was most surprised by their appearance in the Queen’s chambers from behind the curtain is hard to say. It was the very same curtain Louis had looked behind earlier in the day when searching for the Cardinal unaware at the time of its great significance.
    Now he had seen enough to make a stand and it was he who addressed the clockwork aliens. This would be his finest hour although sadly the history books do not record it.
    “If I understand this correctly, your ship that sails through the stars is now captained by Cardinal Richelieu. But it appears to me we are still in France and the Cardinal still takes his orders from me. I am the King and I forbid this folly to persist any longer. Your ship is mended and able to fly. So I order you to go. Leave my Musketeers alone, leave France, leave this world in peace by my royal command.”
    Louis spoke with such authority that the rogue Red Guards disappeared at once. There was a slight shaking in the palace as the SS Cardinal Richelieu severed all links with 1630 and left for good.
    “Louis it seems to have worked,” the queen rushed to her husband’s side and warmly hugged him. “You were so brave to face such beasts,” she was overcome with admiration at his courage.
    Such displays of public affection were rare and the Musketeers all turned their heads out of respect looking away discretely, all except one who seethed furiously under his hat!
    “Oh Anne I would do anything to protect you and our baby.” He held her close as she collapsed into him feeling his arms embrace her more assured and confident than ever before.
    He stroked her hair tenderly, “It must have been so frightening for you. Come and sit down my love.” Leading her back to the sofa he helped her get settled. “Someone fetch the Queen some water.”
    By chance Aramis was closest to the table and he lifted the jug shaking with rage as he watched the devoted couple before him knowing there was nothing he could do but wishing more than anything else that he was the one comforting his beloved.
    Clara watched as water splashed haphazardly over the edge of the glass and came alongside him to steady his hand.
    “Let me take that.” She said with a pleasant smile. Their fingers touched and as their eyes met she was sure she saw a teardrop just about to fall but then he regained his composure and conjured up smile in return accompanied with a heartfelt sigh. It was for the best he didn’t let his emotions show, Athos was watching after all!
    “I think it is time we all left the King and Queen to have some rest. Doctor’s orders.” The Doctor lifted his arms like a mother hen gathering everyone up and shooing them from the room.
    As his dark coat fell open the King caught sight of the red lining and he imagined another man stood there swishing a red cloak in exactly the same manner.
     “I’ve got it, I know who you look like. If you grew a beard and moustache you would look just like Cardinal Richelieu!”
    “A beard? A moustache? Hmm, I suppose I could grow them.” He rubbed his face with his hand pondering his features.
    “No, don’t change again so soon, I’m just getting used to you like this.” Said Clara as she slipped her arm in his and they walked out of the room following the four Musketeers.




 (Now I could have ended the story here, the alien threat has diminished and all is right with the world but there is one last scene I want to write and it would be such a shame having Clara here in this time and space and not give her a bit of romance… after all Musketeers have a habit of falling for impossible girls!)


    “Alright where and when would you like to travel to next?” asked the Doctor once they had returned to the Tardis.
    “We don’t have to leave right now do we?”
    “Why? Do you have other plans?”
    “Actually I have a date.”
    “Oh.” The Doctor raised an eyebrow.
    “What do I have to ask your permission now, like you’re my dad or something?”
    “No,” he answered huffily and started flicking indiscriminate switches on the control panel.
    She disappeared into the heart of the Tardis and returned a few minutes later wearing a different dress with a fresh coat of lip gloss. As she walked towards the door, the Doctor looked up from his tinkering.
    “He does have honourable intentions I assume?”
    “Aren’t Musketeers always honourable? It’s just a date, a picnic under the stars. You really are like my dad now aren’t you?” She kissed his cheek and skipped off. “Don’t wait up!”

    “I’ve never been taken on a date on horseback before!” said Clara as Porthos helped her down. “First day I met the Doctor we went on a motorbike.”
    “Mademoiselle Clara, you do say the strangest of things. Explain the word date to me and motorbike and the Doctor.”
    Clara giggled, “I don’t believe anyone could ever explain the Doctor!”
    Porthos shook his head maybe there were some things a man from the seventeenth century shouldn’t know. Instead he led her to a quiet clearing in the wood where they could picnic and watch the stars. “All I’m interested in really is to know more about you. And I want to eat!”
    She sat down beside him and watched as he tucked into a chicken leg with obvious relish.
    “Oh this is so good. I really thought I had died.”
    “Oh I know, when we first saw you, you looked as white as the moon above!”
    He roared at that, a big hearty laugh of a man glad to just be alive.
    “Every day is like that for you isn’t it?”
    “Some days are quieter than others,” Clara confessed. “But I love the adventure and the running.” Her eyes sparkled as she remembered her adventures. “You could always come with us.”
    “Might get a bit crowded in that blue box of yours. I’m a big man, I need my space.”
    “You need your friends too.” It was half a question, half a statement.
    He nodded.  “The thought of not seeing their ugly faces again… well they are my family and you don’t run out on family do you. Just like you and the Doctor really. I think we both know something about being different, trying to fit in and find our place in the world. Now tell me about the stars.” He lay down looking up the sky. “Show me where you’ve been.”
    She lay down close beside him and pointed, it didn’t really matter which one she pointed to she reasoned, somewhere up there were all her adventures. Pinpricks of sparkle in the night sky. The same in seventeenth century France as they were back home.
    “Here I want to give you a present.” Clara said when they arrived back outside the Tardis, “Something to remember me by.”
    “Oh I don’t think I could ever forget you. Every time I look up at the stars I will remember.”
    Clara fiddled with her ear and handed over one of her earrings. “They’re not real diamonds or anything special but I thought you might like it.”
    Porthos put the earring in his own ear, “how does it look?”
    “Just like a twinkling star in the sky.”
    He hugged her close to say thank you; she could feel his heartbeat speed up a little. It was always hard to say goodbye but she had another man who needed her, at least she hoped he still did…

    “You had a good time?” The Doctor asked without looking up.
    “Yes thank you. Have you been tinkering all evening? Boys and their toys.” She sighed with a laugh.
    “No I went and helped deliver the royal baby. All the excitement brought on the labour. Mother and baby are doing well and I discovered King Louis is quite fond of gas and air, makes him even more giggly.”
    “Isn’t that modern pain relief?”
    “Technically yes but after the day they’ve all had it was only fair.”
    “So go on then tell me, is it a boy or a girl?”
    “I already told you it was a boy.”
    “Just checking!” She paused almost wondering if she should ask her next question. “It’s Aramis isn’t it. The baby’s father. I watched the way he looked at her.”
    “Oh Clara you can’t expect me to answer that one.” He said. “Spoilers dear girl! Now would you like to do the honours?” He pointed to a large switch on the Tardis console.
    Her eyes widened, he nodded, she flicked the switch and the Tardis whirred back into life off on a new adventure.

    Meanwhile Porthos stood outside watching in awe, he felt a sharp cold breeze on his face as the blue box disappeared. He shook his head, turned on his heel and walked away resigned to a Musketeer’s life without love but with honour.
    In his ear the diamond earring sparkled, forever a reminder of the girl he could have loved. The girl who travelled amongst the stars.



If you enjoyed this story and want to read another click on title for my first #Musketeers Fan Fic Treville's Secret 

Sunday, 18 May 2014

The land of make believe where the little blue birds tweet…



I admitted a while back that been extra distracted of late and my mood has altered very little since. I’m still here in a house I can’t sell feeling stuck, thinking my life will never change for the better!

To that end I’ve been avoiding the real world, hiding my paperwork and trying to escape the overwhelming grief that is so stubborn it won’t go! 

However I know from past experience that my moods are subject to change very quickly and this can’t last much longer can it? 

And while I wait for some excitement in my life there is always Twitter, my latest favourite waste of time!

Only a few months ago I decided to give up Twitter altogether just because I was getting bored with it and couldn’t see the point of following the people I did.

My timeline then was filled mostly with two sorts of people

·         Writers promoting their latest blogs posts/ books/stories and I don’t feel like a “writer” anymore. Was I ever? Isn’t it all just hype spinning out of control?

·         And Christians expounding lots of wisdom that I didn’t always want to hear. God may have a plan for me but he is keeping it so secret I am totally frustrated to the point of falling out with him on a daily basis!

In the end I didn’t delete my account, somehow I knew I’d have a change of heart and in the last few months I have added a third group of people I follow and who follow me - my #Musketeer friends. 

And I hold my hands up and admit I now spend so much time on Twitter my best friend has to tweet me to get my attention because I don’t always answer her texts!

It all started with conversations about which musketeer/actor we fancied most – we are like a bunch of giggly schoolgirls sometimes and it is so good to laugh and daydream – I’ve reverted to being a teenager again!

It’s crazy to think they would be too old for me if I were still a teenager and they are far too young now I am somewhere in my forties (let’s just leave my exact age out of this - I've told you before anyway!)

But over the last few weeks I’ve discovered something else new to me on Twitter that I never knew existed – Role Play.

Some people have special Role Play accounts and pretend to actually be the Musketeers and other assorted historical characters.

Now one of my friends sternly raises her eyebrows at this, concerned that I am chatting to the wrong kind of men! She always has been suspicious whereas I am probably too na├»ve and trusting.  

I promise her I will be careful and not get carried away…too far! It’s a bit of harmless flirting and quite honestly I could use the practice! Most are university students, some are older and a few have admitted being single but you never know for sure what's true and what's not (inside or outside the brackets)!

It is fun, reading Musketeer storylines played out, the writing is usually excellent and has you on the edge of your seat as you wait for the next tweet to appear.  Meanwhile another thread weaves in and out of the timeline made up of those of us reading and making comments.

Sometimes us “real” people even get to join in and it gets confusing, it’s sad, it’s funny, sometimes poignant and often very sexy *blushes* - I am learning lots. 

I’m not sure I can explain it all very well without if sounding, well just a bit strange to the uninitiated. My real life friends shake their heads at my new found hobby but they know only too well it will probably be another passing phase, another step along my grief journey perhaps, another way I try to mend my broken heart or at least fill in the gaps.

Consequently I have become a part of yet another on line community who at this moment in time are encouraging me, supporting me and mostly making me smile. That’s got to be a good thing.

In return hopefully I am being as encouraging and giving out as much as I receive because as people open up you can see underneath we are all the same - aching, hurting, needing - and Twitter is such a great way to communicate succinctly, dispensing positive thoughts like drops of April showers.

And I’ve found it easy to just drop into a conversation that I will pray about something. It’s not a glib comment I truly mean it and if people want to ask me more about my Christianity they can. Yes my faith is a little shaky at the present time but it’s still there under pinning everything, it always will be.

I think carefully about what I tweet and try not to get myself into controversial situations I feel uncomfortable with.

So now my Twitter timeline is made up of Musketeer fans, who make me smile, Christians who regularly challenge me and writers who remind me that once I wanted to write too and even if my words only fill 140 characters I think it’s good to remember that that is still writing!