Category Archives: Kids stuff

Something Good

This is the second part of Andy’s story.

The first can be found here –  In the Corner

“That’s right, Andy, close your eyes tight and I’ll show you something good, but make sure you don’t open them until I say so, and don’t be scared this really is something good, something wonderful in fact” Amica said from her place in the picture.

Behind him Andy could hear Mrs Pincer’s voice going on and on about something but he closed his eyes and tuned out, only hearing Amica. She made him feel better about himself just from the sound of her voice. He was a little scared about what might happen as he’d never done anything magical before but closed his eyes and held his hands tight in front of him and waited.

Amica whispered in his ear that she was going to take away the bad feelings that he had because of what Mrs Pincer had done, and that very soon he would feel so much better. That they were going to have an adventure together that would make standing in the corner feel like nothing.

Andy stood very still as he listened to Amica and didn’t think anything was really happening, or that anything was really going to happen. Still little by little Mrs Pincer’s voice got smaller and smaller as he stood there, in the corner. He wanted to open his eyes but dare not do anything until Amica told him to. Gradually the noises changed and he had a strange idea where he was. He could no longer hear the sounds of the classroom, a place Andy really didn’t like. To Andy it sounded more like the sounds of a fairground, a place of fun.

“OK, Andy, open your eyes,” Amica said.

AS he heard Amica’s voice he felt someone gently put their hand in his. It felt soft and warm; the hand of a friend.

Opening his eyes Andy was amazed. Right beside him was Amica They were the same size now and she was holding his hand, but what amazed him more was what was in front and all around him. It was as if he had stepped into the picture with Amica. He was at the fairground with her, and it wasn’t just the sights that amazed him. He could smell candyfloss, hotdogs, burgers and toffee apples. He could hear the music, bells and carnies shouting out their sales pitches. Looking directly at Amica all he could say was “Wow.”

Amica squeezed his hand and whispered for him to turn round slowly.

He did exactly what Amica had said and was amazed once again. Directly in front of him now was his own face, but hundreds of sizes bigger than he was at that moment, and behind his larger self he could see Mrs Pincer writing something on the board. He was completely lost for words as he stood there staring at himself and into his classroom. All he could do was squeeze Amica’s hand and make a silent ‘O’ with his mouth.

11 - something good


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In The Corner

Andy didn’t understand why Mrs Pincer disliked him so much. She never listened to him when he spoke and would blow up at the slightest thing he did, even though the other kids mihgt do exactly the same and get away with it.

Today Andy was on his best behaviour. He had decided on the bus to school that he would try his hardest to get into Mrs Pincer’s best books, and so far everything had gone okay. Instead of putting his hand up to answer questions all the time he had sat quietly waiting to be asked, and when chosen to answer a question had given his best reply possible. all the way up to lunchtime Andy had managed to stay off Mrs Pincer’s naughty radar.

Again he was alone in the playground as he ate his packed lunch. Jenny wasn’t at school so he had no friends to eat with. All the other kids avoided him or made fun of him, which was why he often got into trouble through no fault of his own.  Spotting Mr Davis, the school caretaker, Andy waved and in return got a friendly wave back. Mr Davis was a nice man Andy had decided, not like his teacher.

After lunch the bell rang and Andy filed back into the classroom along with his classmates and went to take his seat in his usual place.  As he started to sit down, Micky walked behind him and kicked his chair away making him fall on teh floor. This made all the other kids laugh and point hilariously at Andy.

Andy stood up slowly knowing that he would be in trouble, even though it wasn’t his fault.  He peered over his desk as he stood up and saw that Mrs Pincer was looking directly at him with her arms folded and her lips closed tightly. Andy hung his head down waiting for the inevitable.

“Andrew Taylor,” Mrs Pincer growled, “Yet again you are playing the class clown and disrupting a lesson, so yet again I have to punish you. You know what to do young man.” She pointed to the far side of the classroom.

Slowly Andy walked across the room while the other kids sniggered. arriving in the corner he turned and faced the wall, knowing that he would not be allowed to move for at least the next half hour. He closed his eyes tightly trying his hardest not to cry, because if he cried that just made things ten times worse.

“Andy?” he heard a voice whisper, but kept his eyes tightly closed. He wasn’t going to fall for any of the other kids tricks.

“Andy, open your eyes,” the voice said.

Andy didn’t recognise the voice and it seemed to be coming from directly in front of him, right in the corner. He wondered who it might be that could get their voice to be in front of him like that.

Andy blinked his eyes open. To start with he didn’t see anyone, but as his vision cleared he though he saw a person in the picture just above his head move.

“Yes that’s right,” the voice said, “Up here.”

Andy looked up and sure enough there was a young girl in the picture that was talking to him. He was sure that whatever was going on would get him into trouble again and closed his eyes tight.

“I’m your friend, Andy. My name is Amica. It is so wrong that you have to spend so much time in this corner when the other kids do worse than you and don’t get punished,” the little girl said, “So I’m going to help you. We’re going to get out of this corner forever, but first you have to promise me just one thing…”

Andy didn’t want to get into trouble even more than he was, but he really wanted to get out of the corner, and forever sounded good. He opened his eyes and stared straight at Amica “What?” he whispered, hoping Mrs Pincer wouldn’t hear.

“Just close your eyes again and I will tell you,” Amica told him.

08 -In the corner


Filed under Intrigue, Kids stuff


Joanna had been wandering round the art gallery following the guide for what seemed like hours. She checked her watch only to see that there was still at least twenty minutes left of the tour. Wondering why her mum had insisted on bringing her to this boring old place to look at stuffy old paintings she sighed loudly.

Joanna’s mum had heard her daughter’s sighs but hoped that she would eventually become interested. This was after all her birthday surprise, and although Joanna didn’t know it yet it was going to be magical.  Looking down her mum smiled what she hoped was a reassuring smile and brushed Joanna’s hair out of her eyes with a loving gesture.

Joanna smiled back and took her mum’s hand in hers. Even though she was bored by the pictures she was glad to be spending time with her mum on a busy Saturday. She knew her mum had arranged to get this day off work especially for her and that all manner of treats were planned so she tried her best to tune in to what the guide was saying.

“… One of the last before the artist’s death from cholera…” the guide droned on. Joanna watched the guide as he spoke and noticed the details of his face. He may have had a boring voice but he had a very interesting face Joanna decided. To her he looked really old, at least thirty, or even forty she thought. His eyes were bright blue and every now and then he caught Joanna’s gaze and smiled at her, even winking now and then. He had a well trimmed beard and moustache, and big lips, which Joanna watched as he spoke. His hair was cut short  all over, but he had big bushy eyebrows that wriggled as he spoke and when he made faces as he described the paintings.

“And now to one of my favourites…” he said as they arrived in front of another painting. Joanna glanced at the painting quickly then back at the guide. It didn’t look very special to her. She felt her mum’s hand tighten slightly on her hand and looked up to see her smiling brightly as she looked at the painting. Joanna guessed that it was one of her mum’s favourites too. Her mum had told her about how her dad, Granddad Roger, had brought her to the very same gallery for her eighth birthday as well.

Looking back at the guide Joanna felt sure he was staring directly at her as he spoke, as if what he was saying was meant for her ears only. Some of the others in their group were looking round at the other paintings in the room, not paying attention to him at all.

The guide smiled directly at Joanna and nodded. “The devil is in the details.” he said. “This artist had an eye for magic and painted like no other.” He stopped and nodded his head in the direction of the painting.

“Look closely and you will see the important and magical details.” Joanna was sure that he was speaking directly to her now so turned to look more closely at the painting to see if she could see what he was going on about.

As she turned she noticed that her mum’s gaze was fixed on the painting, and that she was still smiling happily. Joanna tried to see where exactly her mum was looking and stared at exactly the same spot herself. To start with she didn’t notice anything special then all of a sudden something caught her eye. It was as if something in the painting moved. She looked even more closely and was sure she could see someone moving in the painting. She looked back at the guide who nodded even more obviously and whispered, “You see it now, don’t you?” He smiled broadly. Joanna was sure no one else had heard his words .

Joanna turned her head back to the painting at watched it closely again. Sure enough there were figures in the painting that were moving. She closed her eyes tightly and opened them again to be sure she wasn’t seeing things. The painting itself didn’t appear to change at all, but there in the details were little people going about their daily lives. It was as if there was a town within the town of the painting. The main figures and buildings appeared lifeless but if you looked really closely there was a whole town moving around the painting. Joanna felt as if  she were looking through a window from a high rise building. She was truly mesmerised and watched the scenes unfolding before her eyes.

Joanna felt her mum squeeze her hand again and looked up into her face. Her mum nodded just like the guide had nodded earlier. “How’s that for a magical birthday surprise?” she asked.

09 -details


Filed under Contemporary, Kids stuff, Oddities


Sally sat on the floor in front of the television watching her favourite programme of the moment.  The things the people did on it often made her laugh and always enchanted her. Sometimes she didn’t really understand what the grown-ups on the programme said, but that didn’t matter she knew they were her friends and anyway she loved the toys they played with.

Sally loved it when Humpty and Jemima talked to her when they were on the screen. Humpty was such a lovely thing in his checked trousers and with his big green face which was always smiling. Sally thought Jemima was beautiful too and had even got her mum to buy her some red and white striped tights just like Jemima’s.  But her favourite of the toys was Little Ted. She had one just like him and always sat him beside her when the show began.

Every day there was an interesting bit in the show that Sally always looked forward to. It was when they went through one of the windows to see something that some children were doing outdoors.  The programme was at least halfway through now and soon Sally knew it would be time to go through one of the windows and she wondered which one it would be today. Of course they didn’t really go through the window, but the camera did.

“And now boys and girls its time… it’s time to go outside and see what the children are up to, and it’s jolly exciting today, I can tell you” the funny man with long wavy hair said.

Sally moved slightly closer to the television so she wouldn’t miss a thing. She hugged her little Ted close to her

“Today we are going to go to a biscuit factory and see how biscuits are made,” the man added.

“Today, boys and girls we are going to go..” he said as the camera moved closer to the windows. “… through the square window.”

05 -Square



Filed under Contemporary, Kids stuff


Peter loved to jump in the puddles, splashing the water all around as he did so.

Walking in the rain with his dog, Barnaby, was such fun. Splash, stamp, splash, jump.

He may have been  fifty-three, but that didn’t mean his childhood had to be over.

Some called him childish, others childlike. Some said he had lost a few marbles and was living entering his second childhood.

Whatever,  for Peter none of that mattered. He just was, and had no intention of letting that spark of the child within fade.

For what is life without fun?

04 -Childhood


Filed under Contemporary, Kids stuff


Mark was so excited. Sunday was his favourite day of the week. Not only did they get to visit Granny Mabel on the train, but she always gave them a shilling to spend in the little shop round the corner. And with a shilling you could buy so many sweets by the time you ate them all your teeth could hurt.

As always Mark put on his Sunday best for this special day, smart shorts, a shirt and jumper and polished shoes with short socks. Once the whole family had had breakfast they cleaned their teeth and went off to the station. Mark so  loved the trains.  He had decided it was his favourite way to travel. Trains made a comforting rhythmic noises that made you feel warm and cozy inside. Most of the time he sat in the carriage watching the countryside whizzing past as they sped along to Granny Mabel’s. He loved it so much that he even wished Granny Mabel lived a little further away so the journey was longer. Sometimes he was allowed to open the window wide and stick his head out to see the smoke from the engine rising high in the sky, but that was only after they had passed through the two tunnels on the way. In the tunnels the lights in the carriage came on magically. In fact for Mark the whole journey on the train was magical.

When they got to Granny Mabel’s house she always made them some orange squash to drink, while Suki, Granny Mabel’s old Labrador dog nuzzled up to them, almost making them spill their drinks. She was a lovely old softie, and so affectionate.  Depending on the time of the year they played in the garden or in Granny Mabel’s back room.

Granny Mabel’s house on Sunday’s always smelled delicious – the roast was always cooking when they arrived giving off aromas that would haunt him for years to come.  Sitting down to lunch was always a big affair, with Grandad Ern carving the roast meat ceremoniously and grandly. These would be memories Mark would treasure for ever. But his favourite bit was after lunch when Granny Mabel reached for her purse and gave out shillings to all the grandkids that were visiting that day. Then off they’d set, en-mass, through the twitten to the little sweet shop.

Opening the door to the sweet shop was like opening the door to an Aladdin’s cave for the senses. First of all the bell above the door rang, announcing their arrival. Then the sweet smells from all the jars and boxes assaulted their noses. Mark always took a deep sniff. Looking around there were so many tempting glass jars displaying so many sweets. Mark was always quick to choose, and this day was no different. He politely asked the old lady who owned the shop for a quarter of this and and eighth of that and of course a tube of palma violets. He stepped back to allow his brother and cousins to make their choices and popped a sherbet lemon into his mouth, a favourite sweet for a favourite day.

Yes Sundays truly were his favourite day.

Sweet jars on shelves in a Scottish sweetshop. Image shot 2006. Exact date unknown.


Filed under historical / fantasy, Kids stuff


Sammy stood outside the local gift shop staring in the window. It was just three days to Christmas and he loved to stand and stare at all the bright lights on the tree in the window and at the toys and presents scattered round its base. The bright lights in this shop always drew him closer as he passed by on his way to or from the daycare centre he spent time at while his mum worked.

This Christmas looking in the window of this shop would be as close as he would get to having a Christmas tree.  His mum had told him several times that they didn’t have any extra money for treats this year.  It seemed to Sammy that each year since his dad had died things got more and more difficult. He didn’t understand that if his dad had died as a hero why were they left to suffer.

Sammy’s dad had been killed in an explosion whilst he was on detail in Helmand Province, in Afghanistan. Sammy had no idea where that was but everyone had told him that his dad had been a great man and died to protect their country. All Sammy knew was that his dad was no longer around to hold him and tell him everything would be alright. It seemed to Sammy that nothing was going to be alright ever again.  After his dad had died they had moved into a smaller house away from all Sammy’s friends. Sammy’s mum had had to get a job, but Sammy knew she was not happy doing what she was doing, and she always came home from the factory smelling of the chemicals she used there, and she was always so tired.

Standing here looking in the shop window Sammy tried to forget all the sad tings in his life and pretend that Christmas was going to be wonderful again. He stared at the lights until the filled his vision, and his mind wandered to past Christmases when his dad was around and the days were full of fun. He could just about remember the first Christmas tree they had put up in their home. It had been loaded down with tinsel and decorations and covered in flashing lights of all colours. How he used to love to sit at the dinner table and stare at those lights just as he did with the lights in the toy shop now.

As he stared into the shop wishing that he was as lucky as his friends at his new school he felt a light touch on his shoulder. He hadn’t seen anyone come up behind him in the reflection of the shop window and jumped out of his skin. He turned round quickly expecting to find someone from school playing a joke on him.  Instead he saw a tall smartly dressed gentleman who was smiling down at him. In truth this stranger had been watching him for some time.

“Hello there young man,” the man said to him. “There are some wonderful things in there aren’t there? Are some of them on your Christmas list ?”

“I’m not supposed to talk to strangers,” Sammy replied feeling a little silly.

“Well let me introduce myself. Then we shan’t be strangers any more. My name is Nicholas, but you may call me Nick and I must say I am delighted to meet you, ” The man held out his hand for a handshake.

Sammy put his hand in the Nick’s large hand and shook as he told him his name.

“So Sammy, which of those toys would you like most?” Nick asked him.

“I’m just looking,” Sammy replied revealing no more for a moment. “But, ….. If I had the money I’d buy that one there for my mum,” he said pointing to an electric massager, “She’s always tired and that might make her feel better.”

“I’m sure it would. There sure area  lot of nice things in there, aren’t there? And such wonderful lights.”  Nick peered through the window with the same kind of awe as Sammy.

“I guess.” Sammy dug his hands in his pockets and stared into the window too. He wished he really could chose some of the things inside.

“What would you like most in the whole wide world?” Nick asked him.

Sammy didn’t need to think about this one. “To have my dad back and for my mum to be happy again. I’d like to make Christmas special for her again,” he said. Tears brimmed in his eyes for a second or two until he blinked them away hoping Nick didn’t see them He didn’t want him to think he was a baby.

“That’s a mighty fine wish, my friend,” Nick told him.

Sammy wondered why Nick didn’t ask more about where his dad was and why his mum was unhappy, but he guessed he just didn’t wan to be nosy.  He looked up at Nick and for a moment thought that he half-recognised him. When Nick looked down he smiled and looked away shyly.

“Well young man, it has been a delight to talk to you, but I’ve much to do over the next few days before I can rest awhile,” NIck told him as he started to turn away from the window, “…but I’d like to wish you a very Merry Christmas.”

“Thank you, You too,” Sammy replied smiling back.

Nick held his hand out for a shake, telling Sammy to keep wishing and who knows what dreams might come true. Sammy shook his hand and returned to looking in the shop for a second or two more before he went home. Looking in the shop window Nick appeared to have disappeared just as oddly as he had appeared.

When Sammy got home his mum was already home preparing dinner. He didn’t tell her about Nick because he thought she might be angry with him for talking to a stranger, even though Nick had seemed really nice.  However, over the next couple of days Sammy thought about Nick a lot and how much he had surprised him appearing as if out of nowhere.

On Christmas Eve his mum didn’t work and they went for a look around the town and even had a cup of tea and a bun in one of the little cafes. Returning home that evening both Sammy and his mum were a little sad. Sammy’s mum was sad because she knew it wouldn’t be a wonderful Christmas for Sammy again. Sammy was sad because he knew his mum was sad and wanted so much to make her  happy again. That night they watched the television until late then went to bed, neither of them really looking forward to the coming day.

At about seven o’clock the next morning Sammy was woken by shouts from his mum.

“Sammy, quick. come on down here, quick,” his mum shouted up the stairs.

Sammy guessed that she was trying to make the day a little more exciting for him by pretending to be excited herself. He slowly got out of bed and put on his dressing gown and one step after the other slowly went downstairs. As he got closer to the bottom step he could smell something different. It smelt like a Christmas tree but they hadn’t got one this year. Then he thought that he could see lights flashing as he rounded the bottom landing on the stairs.  He wondered what on earth his mum must be doing.

Pushing the living room door open he stepped inside to see the most magnificent of trees in the corner next to the television. It was covered in wonderful decorations and the most amazing display of flashing lights. “What?” he said quietly.  Under the tree was a pile of exquisitely wrapped presents, and to top it all beside the television a huge tin of ‘Quality Street’ chocolates.

“It seems Santa really does exist,” his mum said to him with tears in her eyes. “Who else could have done all this for us. And what’s more there’s already a turkey in the oven and vegetables on the stove. Good old Saint Nick.” she continued, laughing.

“Saint Nick,” Sammy said wiping away his own tears, “Saint Nick.”


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