Cards on the table……

Continuing with my interest in Tudor history, this is my imaginging of a final conversation between Anne and Cromwell. I also wanted Anne to have the last word. Hope you enjoy.

Cards on the table...

A final conversation between Anne Boleyn and Thomas Cromwell

‘You came?’

Anne’s first words to her visitor, delivered in a level tone and with a steady breath. Looking at her, no one would guess that she was due to die in less than twenty-four hours. Cromwell finds himself admiring her poise and composure.  ‘I was not sure you would.’ Anne continues, her hands smoothing the skirt of her heavy damask dress. Richly made and looking out of place against the faded and mean tower tapestries.

Sighing deeply, Cromwell stares unwaveringly at her. The silence between them stretches and tautens as each think back over their past encounters. They had been allies once, when had that started to change, wonders Cromwell.

Anne is at peace, she knows and accepts that she is going to die. The only questions now are, how well and why? In answer to the first only time will tell, the answer to the second stands attentively before her. This is the reason behind her requesting a final interview with Cromwell, so she can fill in the final pieces of the puzzle.

SSB Nov 3 2018

She arranges her face, her dress, her whole body as Thomas Cromwell stands before her, his face impassive. That this man has been instrumental in bringing her so low, amazes her. The same man, who had tirelessly and determinedly facilitated her marriage to Henry, only to then outmanoeuvre and conquer her once Henry had grown tired. Why did she not see him coming? This silent, clever assassin, who hid behind his books, his clerks and his evidence, only to emerge right at the end?

Cromwell on the other hand, had been careful to arrange his face before entering the room. There is no hint in his demeanour or the way he holds his body that suggests victory. He is not here to gloat.

‘I thought you were owed the courtesy.’ he replies, ‘I take no pleasure in this, this is not personal.’

‘Of course, it’s personal,’ snaps Anne. ‘Can you imagine where you’d be if I had given the King a son?’

‘Why am I here?’, interrupts Cromwell cutting across the question and flying straight as an arrow to the point. He is a busy man and there is only so much courtesy that is owed Anne.

Why indeed? Wonders Anne, what possible difference can this final conversation make, now? None, absolutely, none and yet she still wants her answers. Besides she has one last piece of business for Cromwell.

So, to business first. ‘My daughter Elizabeth’, she murmurs, ‘will you do what you can for her?’

Cromwell regards the tiny woman before him, diminished by her circumstances as he considers his response. His feelings towards both Henry’s daughters are practical, pragmatic. Should anything happen to Mary, Elizabeth would doubtless be called upon in the absence of a son. Anne is a spent force, an irrelevance, but one never knows with the children. Best to keep Elizabeth safely tucked away, in case she is ever needed. So, yes for State and country he will do what he can for Elizabeth.

‘You must do your part.’ he answers, ‘No last-minute heroics or foolish declarations. Show yourself penitent and humble, so the King’s last thought of you is peaceful.’

SSB Nov 2 2018

Cromwell struggles, he feels his words might choke him as they leave his mouth, but he knows his King and knows that the Henry has already moved on. The best that can be hoped for with Elizabeth is that she is kept out of sight, out of court. Henry will need no reminders of Anne.

Anne simply bows her head in acquiescence. If she notices Cromwell’s struggle she chooses to ignore it. Now the business is concluded, she wants to talk about something else. ‘Mark Smeaton, my brother, gentle Norris, William Brereton. You spun quite a web around me Cremuel.’

Cromwell smiles at the old affectation and decides he will meet her part way. ‘I needed to be certain and I needed you to be caught fast.’

‘How long?’

A tactical question, Cromwell notes, interesting.

‘It took some weeks, months. We moved carefully, cautiously.’ He does not share, that care was needed in case the King changed his mind. He also doesn’t share that the King was fearful of her. What good, he wonders, would that do her, now?

‘It was not our intention to alert you’

‘Our?’ queries Anne.

‘My people, my clerks, my associates, trusted colleagues’

‘So, why am I dying?’ Now, it’s Anne’s turn to fly straight as an arrow to the point. This is the knowledge she wants to take with her.

Cromwell finds he cannot face her. He pauses and looks away as he considers this question and weighs each response. Which one will he offer to Anne? The king wished it? You would never have been content to live quietly in a convent? The king fears you, believes you to be an enchantress? The king did not want another Katherine, he did not want to be tied to another troublesome and unwanted queen? He needs peace and quiet? I don’t know? He decides after a few moments that it is kinder to give Anne an explanation that she can die with.

‘Wolsey. Thomas Wolsey, my patron, my mentor. You are dying because it is the price you will pay for my old master’s death. You are dying because had you been left to your own devices you would have destroyed me and my family.’

As he offers up this explanation, something shifts within Cromwell, letting free a coldness that creeps through him. A dispassion that takes him by surprise, he thought he would have felt a little more. But this has been business, he knows with quiet certainty that had their positions been reversed, he would have been the one losing his head and not by a French swordsman either. There was no realistic scenario, that allowed them both to live. One was always going to kill the other. Henry, the King was merely the means.

Straightening her back, Anne absorbs his words and responds with, ‘Revenge, Cromwell?’

She’s still not seeing the whole picture, thinks Cromwell, noticing the switch in his name to English.

‘Not revenge Anne, never revenge. Justice and self-preservation’

‘Tell me then Cromwell, did you believe the charges against me?’

What can Cromwell say to this? At this late stage, perhaps he can afford to be magnanimous and acknowledge the ridiculous nature of the charges against her. Would he dare? He decides no. ‘Does it matter now, Anne? Tone resigned, regretful. ‘In the end, the king believed them and that is all that matters. Is there anything I can do for you now?’ He enquires as he starts to take his leave and contemplates the body before him. He has, he feels, extended his courtesies and it is time to get back to the living. For that is what Anne is to him now, a breathing body and he finds that he has no more words to say. But as he turns to take his leave, Anne has one last thing to say.

‘Be careful Cremuel, you may be next.’

Janice Taylor

https://www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk/

Word Count: 1182

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Gloria, a reluctant Guardian Angel …

Today’s story emerged from a writing exercise a few months ago, where we were encouraged to write with exaggeration and hyperbole. I think I managed it, in any case I hope you enjoy.

Gloria, a reluctant Guardian Angel…

Gloria is an infinite being, capable of existing across and within all dimensions, who has also been assigned the role of guardian angel to a group of humans on the planet earth. It is fair to say that Gloria is not entirely happy about this, as she has a bit of sass and attitude towards the humans and can think of any number of things she would rather be doing than watching over a raggle, taggle bunch of pesky humans.

Still she has been assigned, the work is there to be done and so she goes on.

Technically speaking, Gloria is as old as time itself and has no defined gender but chooses to show up on Earth, to the individuals in her group as a black, working class woman in her fifties. There is she feels an imbalance between power, gender and race, so she has determined to do her bit to redress this. There’s always a bigger picture with Gloria.

SSB June 1 2018

So, when it is necessary for Gloria to travel around on Earth, anything with an engine is preferable to constantly having to rearrange her molecules and squeeze them through interconnected dimensions. She considers this too much like hard work, much to the frustration and annoyance of her mentor Christine, who thinks that it is far too undignified for an infinite being to clamber about on Earth on a human-made machine. Especially the 1959, 250cc Simpson motorcycle that Gloria currently favours, which meets her needs and suits her tastes.

And today, Gloria is riding her red Simpson to see Rainbow. The one human from her group that challenges and tests her patience the most. And as the wind rushes through and around her, Gloria thinks back over their past encounters.

Encounter One:

‘What do you mean, I’m not your only human?’

A surprising first question, thinks Gloria as she introduces herself with the usual preliminaries. It can’t be everyday an infinite being visits you in your home. One would have thought there would have been other, more pressing questions, still perhaps it’s the shock.

Gloria takes a breath to create the space she needs to collect herself. She is after all supposed to have infinite wisdom and patience, but the question and the way it has been asked has challenged her. So, she responds with:

‘How many of us infinite beings do you think there are? Of course, we have more than one human to look after. What books have you been reading?’

‘I suppose so’, is Rainbow’s grudging response

Encounter Two:

 ‘I’m your Guardian Angel, not your fairy Godmother. I don’t do wishes. Do you see a wand, a diamond tiara?’

Is Gloria’s incredulous response to Rainbow’s written list of requirements, presented at their second meeting:

Dear Gloria

Since our first meeting, I have had a chance to consider how we might best move forward with our working relationship. I think it’s important that we establish rapport and trust, so I want to know if you can help with some or all, of my most pressing issues.

I need to have found my life partner by the time I’m 28, this will make it easier then for me to have children and continue with my career.

To enjoy a comfortable lifestyle, I do need a marketing role, £38,000 a year, this will enable me to run a reasonable car, something around 5 years old.  I also need to be able to buy my own property.

Levels of fitness, I know I need to put in some work, but if there is anything you can do?

Contacts for my career, if I’m not your only human you probably know the right people.

Smaller bum, not too small just a slight narrowing will do

With thanks and anticipation

Rainbow 😊

Rapport and trust, wonders Gloria as she reads the letter a second time and asks, ‘what is this symbol by your name?’

‘It’s a smiley face, I didn’t think we knew each other well enough for kisses.’

Rainbow is more interested in what Gloria can do to help her buy her first home, get her first job, interview well and meet Mr Right and thought it would be helpful to present this list to Gloria.

None of which is of the slightest interest to Gloria, her purpose is to build and strengthen Rainbow’s resilience and ability to withstand whatever shit, life on Earth throws at her. Or as Christine, her mentor would explain it ‘support the inner work.’

It’s up to Rainbow to sort out all the other stuff and do the outer work.

‘Then what’s the point, if you are not going to make my life easier? Why are you here? If you can’t smooth my path through life, create opportunities, open doors, make the right introductions, why bother?’

Is Rainbow’s not unreasonable reaction, finishing with ‘what does a Guardian Angel do anyway?’

SSB June 3 2018

Encounter Three:

Gloria arrives prepared with an answer to Rainbow’s last question.

‘I am here to watch over you, be with you and help you weigh your choices and options. All the other stuff is largely bullshit. My job is to help you survive and thrive in the world you live in and this is not going to happen if everything is laid out on a plate for you.’

‘I beg to differ.’ Is Rainbow’s retort. ‘Can I get a different Guardian? What if I choose not to work with you?’

At this point Gloria rolls her eyes and takes a slow and considered drag from her roll up and answers with:

‘Doesn’t work like that, it’s one of those immutable laws. You get what you are given, and in this case that’s me, though you can of course choose to ignore my counsel. But I would suggest you pay me some heed, if only to reduce the amount of willy waving and fanny flashing you might come across.’

‘The what?’

‘Oh sorry, the noise people make when they don’t have anything real to say.’

‘Oh, balls’ mutters Rainbow, as she realises that Gloria has had access to every thought and impulse she’s had since birth.

That’s just how Guardian Angels roll.

Encounter Four

‘Gloria, doesn’t quite seem like the right name for a Guardian Angel, I’d have chosen something more….’

Rainbow’s voice trails off as she becomes aware that the sunlight has disappeared, and she appears to be staring down a black hole…’

There is complete silence as Gloria, fights to retain her composure reminding herself that it’s not good form to throw one of your humans into the void.  That really would cause her mentor considerable stress. So once the impulse has passed, Gloria responds with:

‘My name has more meaning and significance than you could possibly know, and I choose it to honour all women, past and present. Besides Rainbow?’

Now that she is no longer staring into the void, Rainbow can reply with:

‘Well, yes, I suppose you have to work with what you’ve got. Changing tack, she continues with, ‘Will I ever become like you?’ as she looks critically at the DM booted, black woman standing before her.’

‘You’ll be lucky’, mutters Gloria.

The End, well for now.

Janice Taylor

http://www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Total word count: 1192

 

Elizabeth and Anne:

A conversation between daughter and mother 

Have long had a passion and interest for Tudor history, particularly, around Elizabeth I. However, thanks to Hilary Mantel I have more recently, become as intrigued by her mother, Anne Boleyn. To me it is deeply ironic that it is Elizabeth, Henry the VIII’s second daughter that reigns on her own for over forty years, when he was so preoccupied with begetting a son.

But sad, too, that Elizabeth never really knew her mother, so this is my imagining of the two women having the opportunity to talk frankly about their lives and it’s my small tribute to them, both.

So, without further ado I give you:

Elizabeth and Anne:

 A conversation between daughter and mother 

SSB 3 Jan 2018

It is the year 1558 and Elizabeth the newly crowned Queen of England, is finally able to retire and take a few moments for herself. It is late, and Elizabeth has already been attended to by her ladies and she is now ready to rest.

She’s enjoyed her wonderful, whirlwind of a day, full of pomp, ceremony and moments that will stay with her for the rest of her life and so she is ready now to close her eyes and dream.

Or so she thinks, as she observes through her half closed eyes a form moving silently and purposefully towards the foot of her bed.

All Elizabeth can see initially is a form, and she assumes at first that it is one of her attending ladies, ‘What now?’ she thinks irritably, ‘Surely I can rest?’

It is not until the form reaches the edge of her bed without stopping to make a bow and await permission to draw closer, that Elizabeth realises it’s not one of her attendants. As Elizabeth is about to demand identification, and cry out, the form seats itself at the foot of the bed, smooths out it’s skirts, turns to Elizabeth and says:

‘Do you not know, me Elizabeth?’

The voice is cool and imperious, belonging to someone who is also well used to commanding respect.

As Elizabeth stares, it’s the headdress, the French hood that provides her with the clue. The last time she saw this style was on a portrait, of her mother Anne Boleyn, a portrait that had been lovingly commissioned by her father Henry VIII.

It is her mother Anne, somehow real and present and she wants to talk to her daughter.

SSB Jan 1 2018

‘You have done well, Elizabeth.’

This cool assessment, of Elizabeth, delivered with just a hint of maternal and familial pride is not overly affectionate. No one would guess that within this cool exterior lay a fierce pride, deeply buried that the daughter of the ‘Goggle eyed whore’, as Anne had been known, was now on the throne of England.

However, it is this apparent coolness that stings the romantic Elizabeth into blurting out:

‘Did you truly love him?’

Elizabeth, is of course referring to her late father, King Henry VIII and she notices how the air stills and cools around the form as it appears to consider this question and then turns slowly to face her, to answer with a cold and emphatic:

‘No’

Another pause and then:

‘No, he was the king. I was a young girl, already promised to another.’

Immediately, Elizabeth has another question:

‘Why didn’t you just become his mistress?’

At this the form of Anne snorts with derision, and responds with:

‘Would you be sitting on the throne of England now, if I had done that?’

In a tone heavy with sarcasm and disbelief.

Another pause and then:

‘You would not be Queen if I had made that choice.’

Acknowledging the truth behind this, Elizabeth stares down at her hands, but a small part of her thinks, I might have had you as a mother, though, but aloud she answers  with a:

‘You paid a very high price for my throne’

‘And one I would pay again.’

Is the immediate response.

‘Can a woman really reign by herself?’, whispers Elizabeth half to herself, half to the apparition.

‘By God’s grace, you can, and you will.’

Is the stern and swift reply, from the form of Anne, as she turns again towards her daughter, eyes unfathomable and determined.

‘Though they will expect you to marry.’

Now it’s the turn of the air around Elizabeth to become still, as every muscle in her body tenses.

‘I think not.’ She enunciates carefully.

‘I may cede my person, but I will never cede my crown or my kingdom.’

At which point, the form of Anne starts to flow and lose shape like wax on a burning candle, thinks Elizabeth. And as it fades, she swears she can hear a faint:

‘That’s my girl.’

The End

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

Mr B. and the ‘Safety Chickens’…………

The story behind the story.

Inspired by the chickens my sister used to keep and the fact that she wanted three as the third was always ‘the safety chicken’. Just In case something happened to one of them.

I’m also tickled by the idea of chickens having far more intelligence than they are normally credited with.

So, without further ado, I give you:

Mr B. and the ‘Safety Chickens’…

SSB August 2017 2

This is a story about three chickens and one fox, who over a time, develop a ‘grudging’ respect for one another.

First let me introduce you to, Mr B as he likes to be known. An urban fox, well used to and well suited to life in the city.

“Hello, my name is Bernard, though I prefer to be addressed as Mr B and I am a rather clever and resourceful fox, even if I say so myself. 

 Must say I love city life, it’s so much easier, than living in the country. Moving here was certainly, one of my better decisions. Food is far more accessible and just easier to get. 

 I have made my own home and space carefully hidden in the same garden as three chickens. 

 Three pesky chickens

 I say pesky, because despite my best efforts, I have yet to gain access to their coop or lay a single paw on them. Not for want of trying I can tell you” 

Now let me tell you a little more about the chickens, firstly their names, Hannah, Holly and Henrietta.

Three rather special chickens, also well used to life in the city. The traffic noise, the hustle and the shenanigans of the urban foxes. And as it turns out, they are a very good match for Bernard, despite his best attempts to keep them under continual surveillance.

SSB August 2017 1

So, let’s go to them directly, to hear what they have to say….

Henrietta: – ” ‘Does he ever get bored of watching us, all the time?” 

Hannah: – “No I don’t think so, though I wonder how much he knows about what we are really doing?” 

Holly: – “Enough I think to realise that we are no ordinary chickens. he’s probably worked out that we have learnt to strengthen our coop. He barely bothers to come near it, these days.” 

“Hmmm, still we can’t take anything for granted ” – Hannah

As you can see, these three chickens are clever and resourceful matched against a seemingly clever and resourceful fox.

Each has their own distinct personality but to Bernard they are simply the ‘safety chickens’. Because he never sees just one, he never sees just two. For Bernard they are always, always in threes.

They are also always busy doing something, they are never alone and never still. In fact, half of him wonders if it is still worth trying to catch them, as over the months he’s noticed a physical change in them.

So, back to Bernard, to hear what he has to say: –

“It’s almost as if these chickens know that the fitter they are, the tougher they are going to be to catch and eat. Every day I see them they are doing something physical.

 They also seem to spend a lot of time, pecking around the humans and their machines and generally getting under their feet” 

Bernard is genuinely perplexed by the behaviour of the chickens, he has a hunch that something is going on, but can’t quite put his finger or ‘paw’ on what it is.

Unfortunately for him, he just happens to be sharing the garden with three of the leanest, meanest, most physically fit chickens he will ever come across.

They are clever and cunning and at this moment in time are quite frankly running circles around Bernard.

They are determined to avoid being caught and eaten, and so between the three of them have devised a strict regimen of physical and chicken brain training to keep them alert and one step ahead of Bernard.

So, let’s go back to our three chickens and hear what they have to say:

Holly: – ” For us, it’s all about ‘skills and drills’. We need to keep ourselves in ‘tip top’, condition so we can keep ourselves out of trouble.” 

 Henrietta: – “Absolutely, we realised a long time ago, that we couldn’t rely entirely on the humans to keep us safe. Must give Mr B, his due, out of all the foxes we’ve had to deal with over the years he has probably come the closest to breaching our defences.”

 Hannah: – ” Yes, he has, I’m even wondering if he’s finally realised how we learnt to strengthen our coop.” 

Indeed, this is true, Bernard has noticed how frequently the chickens scratch around the humans, whenever they are in the garden, appearing to do what chickens normally do.

In fact, what they are really doing, is busily learning more and more about the human machines and how to use them.

Where else would three chickens have learnt to fortify and strengthen their coop? Bernard is a pretty intelligent fox but so far, he has been unable to find any weakness, no obvious way into their coop.

It hardly seems worth the effort of checking these days……

Here’s Bernard…….

“I can’t swear to this but I’m sure I’ve seen them trying to use the human machines.

 I’m convinced that their forays towards the humans and their things are not entirely random or accidental. Those three are definitely, up to something.” 

 Poor Bernard, you almost feel sorry for him, well almost……

Our three chickens know they can’t take anything for granted, as far as Bernard is concerned. They hold the firm view that he will never give up, that is just what foxes do.

Because of this they are highly disciplined about checking the coop every day for any signs of damage. And punctilious about their daily exercise regime.

They believe that these days there’s a lot you need to learn and do to survive, as an urban chicken. It’s a tough world out there.

Luckily for them the humans quite often work outside in the garden, with their laptops and our ‘clever’ chickens have learnt to ‘google’ and cover their tracks whilst extracting the information they need.

Their motto is: –

‘Too tough to eat and too clever to be caught’ 

And for the moment this is working for the them, I guess only time will tell if this changes.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

 

 

My ‘transformational’ business………..

The story behind the story.

It’s been just over a year since I started blogging my stories, so it seems appropriate to go back to my very first story, ‘The woman who turned her husband into a dog’ and see how things have turned out for her.

So, without further ado I give you:

My ‘transformational’ business ……..

ssb-march-2-2017

“Hello, it’s been at least three years now since I first shared my story and things have certainly moved on quite a bit since then.

‘My husband’ is doing very well, all things considered.  I keep very good care of him and I believe he’s a lot happier – with less responsibility and lots of regular walks.

However, as he was the main earner in our little household – I had another problem. I needed to find a way to supplement our income, dog food, vets bills and doggy treats, don’t come cheap. Particularly as I too want to enjoy some of the finer things in life.

Over time it had dawned on me that if I could turn one human into a much loved pet – perhaps I could do it with a few more.

Clearly I would need to refine my technique, package and brand my service. Then perhaps, just perhaps I could build a  business, with a real future.

So, dear reader that is precisely what I have been quietly doing these past year or so, working on my brand, my marketing and identifying my ideal client.

As, it had occurred to me that there must be other women, perhaps some men too – who would find it, how can I say, more ‘convenient‘ to have their spouse/partner ‘transformed‘. At the right ‘price point‘ – my service would be far cheaper than divorce and not as ‘permanent‘ as murder.

So, it has been with infinite care, circumspection and discretion, that I have launched my ‘transformational‘ business and achieved enough success for clients to start finding me.

With my website and a few carefully worded tweets – potential clients are starting to find me and the transformations have been successful and well received so far.

Of course I need to be very careful with my contracting and agreements. Don’t want to find someone changing their mind – once the transformation has been completed. There is no ‘going back’ with this, though I may well develop this ‘option‘ in the future.

I conduct careful and in depth interviews to be very sure that each client fully understands the consequences of what I do. That they fully understand, the change is irreversible.

Currently I am limited to dogs – but I can see a lot of potential for my business. Especially as a few enquirers are starting to ask about other animals. Cats, pigs and goats, I have even had someone ask about a chicken . It’s all about ‘innovation‘and ‘development‘.

I’m even wondering whether I can franchise this out  and train others to do what I do and branch out that way…

The  sky’s the limit I say…………”

Until next time……….

Janice Taylor

http://www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

Operation Christmas………………

The Story behind the story…..

Today’s story is to celebrate our tattered and somewhat worn Christmas tree, which is at least 15 years old and our ever-growing collection of tree decorations. Every year I feel compelled to add a few more much to the annoyance of my husband and the amusement of our daughter.

So, without further ado, I give you

Operation Christmas………………….

renewyou-xmas-2016-2

Here we go” – muttered Snow as he felt himself lifted from the tin and carried across to the tree.

What’s it going to be like this year?” he wondered as he surreptitiously glanced around and watched as the rest of the ‘gang‘ were pulled out and placed at different parts of the tree.

Of, course ‘their owners‘ had no idea that the Christmas decorations were in anyway sentient. It had been a long 11 months, 15 days, 4 hours and thirty mins stuck in a tin with a bunch of disgruntled and squished decorative personalities.

So, it was a real relief to be ‘out and about’, dangling from the tree. Snow knew from experience that wherever anyone was placed initially, would change. It was the same every year, no one was ever entirely happy with their first branch and every year he had to remind everyone to leave it a few days before moving to a different branch. He was convinced that they would get caught out one day.

It would also be nice one year to get a real tree. However, Snow was a realist and after ten years or so he had given up on this idea.

As Snow looked about he noticed the reindeer, stretching their legs and Father Christmas stifling a yawn. ‘Honestly’ thought Snow, ‘How much sleep does he need?’ He stiffened as he strained to hear what he knew to be the ‘tinkling’ of the bells as they tested out their notes to check they were still in good working order.

ssb-dec-2016

He would feel better once the tin was completely empty and he could do a full ‘roll call’. – last year they had had a lot of fun hurling themselves from the tree onto the pile of presents below, trying to guess their contents.

They’d been lucky not to have damaged or torn any of the wrapping paper and they’d almost been caught when someone had come downstairs to go into the kitchen.

It would take some time now for everyone to be assembled and placed on the tree, so Snow thought he may as well relax and enjoy the view. He would get a chance to sort out swops and generally check up on everyone much later in the evening.

It was a few days later, after the usual settling in period, present guessing and general messing around that Snow suddenly became aware of the ‘hooded figure‘ in the room. He knew the house should have been empty, they had listened to all the commotion as their owners left.

He knew that this person should not have been in the house, let alone gathering up the presents and putting them in a bag.

Snow could sense Santa’s dismay and fear, but regardless, now was the time to act. So, signalling to Santa, Snow gently started to sway backwards and forwards. Santa looked at him with some surprise, but luckily decided to join in. It wasn’t long before all the other decorations were doing the same and the whole tree looked as if it were moving, tinkling and glowing.

It took a few seconds for the intruder to notice what was going on and he might well have ignored the ‘tree’ and its commotion had not Snow given the final signal for every decoration to launch themselves at the intruder’s bagful of stolen presents.

This was the final straw and with a yelp, the intruder dropped the bag and ran out of the house. Whatever was going on with this tree and this house, he wanted no part of it.

So, it was that ‘Operation Christmas’ as it came to be called was debated, discussed and celebrated by Snow and all the other decorations, for years to come.

Their owners on returning home, realised just how lucky they’d been not to have lost all their presents just before Christmas and resolved never to leave everything out again.

And of course they would never know the full story …..

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk

 

 

A letter to Norfolk ………..

The story behind the story…………..

Going back to my historical roots this month, as I await the arrival of the third and final instalment of the Hilary Mantel series, recounting the rise and fall of Thomas Cromwell in the court of Henry VIII.

I am excited to see how she will portray his downfall and impending doom.

So this month’s story is how I imagine Thomas’s growing sense of peril, the stage at which he starts to realise that his life, ‘to all intents and purposes’ is over and that the only thing left for him to do is to throw himself on the King’s mercy so he can protect his family and household.

Am also intrigued by his relationship, with Anne Boleyn’s, ‘Uncle Norfolk’ as he is ‘affectionately’ named by Cromwell and his household in the Hilary Mantel’s series. A relationship that seems to be based on mutual fear, some respect, loathing and necessity in equal measure.

So without further ado I give you ….

A letter to Norfolk ………..

SSB Feb 2016 1

It is dark and quiet in the nook where Thomas Cromwell sits and contemplates his ‘bleak’ future. It has been some weeks since the kings humiliating, ‘annulment’ from Anne of Cleves, the ‘Flanders Mare’ as he so dismissively referred to her.

At least now, things are settled, Anne very sensibly accepted the position of ‘King’s Sister’ and the ‘friendship’ between her and the King has been cemented with ‘fond’ exchanges of gifts and letters.

But even with all this Thomas is still very much aware of the Kings wrath and anger and senses that his time is coming. It is perhaps too late to save his own person, but he must of course do what he can for his family.

The king may still show mercy and a kindly face to his loyal subject.

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So it is with all this in mind that Thomas Cromwell, one of the most powerful men in the land picks up his quill and slowly and thoughtfully begins to write:

My Lord, Norfolk

These are desperate times.

I see I have miscalculated, I have too many enemies and know too many secrets, for me to survive the King’s wrath.

We have oft over the years not seen ‘eye to eye’, but I think in these ‘times’ we might be able to do a little business. I turn to you now, as a long standing associate and man of influence, as I believe we understand each other and our King.

My request is simple, to do what you can for my family, they are completely without blame and the King’s righteous wrath when it falls, must fall on me alone.

I only ask that my household is left to live a peaceful and comfortable life, quietly and away from court if necessary.

Whilst I, will throw myself on the mercy of our dear King. I remain now and ever more his most faithful and ever dutiful servant. Undeserving of his grace and mercy.

Yours

Thomas Cromwell

As he signs his name, Cromwell sighs and carefully seals the document, he will ensure it is sent tonight. He must act now with all haste, have everything ready and in place. There are other letters to be dispatched, but this one must go first.

Things may yet turn out for the best, he knows that Norfolk would happily see him hang, that much is abundantly clear but perhaps he will look more favourably on his family and household.

Only time will tell.

Until next time

Janice Taylor

www.blueskycareerconsulting.co.uk