Fairytales and fireflies
Illuminate the night skies
They sing, laugh and dance
Turn a story into a chance

(Cole goes) Down the sugar bowl

Chapter 2
‘Oops! I think I slipped and went head first into the sugar bowl!’ Cole says.
Like a ball she’s rolling around inside the sugar bowl at an enormous speed. Sometimes a little more straight, then going up again, followed by a free fall downwards… to the left… to the right.
Then left again.
Then right.
Straight forward.
Then left.
Then left.
Then right.
Then upside-down on her head.
‘I must be going mad!’ Cole says to herself.
‘I must try to station myself so I’m not shaken like a milkshake. But what can I hold on to?
Now let’s see, what’s inside a sugar bowl? Sugar! But nobody can hold on to sugar it’s all grains. Or perhaps the walls of the bowl, but they are very smooth and slippery. Or maybe tea? No, that can’t be. When I put sugar in my tea it melts. In that case it would all be sugar water that was inside the bowl.
And hoopla, upside down she hangs with her hair hanging straight down from her head.
‘Now what else can you find in the sugar bowl? If only there was candy, then I could ride a chocolate chip cookie or sit on a lollypop! Au!’
She suddenly bumped into an enormous sugar cane. With two hands she grabs hold of it and is now dangling from the cane as if it was an umbrella held in the air by a great wind.
‘There, now I’m going straight like a rocket. Except for a rocket goes up and I’m pretty sure I’m going down. Into the sugar bowl. But who lives inside a sugar bowl? Oh more candy! Look!’
Now that she’s falling steadily she sees that around her there are floating all sorts of candies and sweets. Chocolate, nougat, licorice, pies, tarts, muffins… She reaches out a hand and with the greatest ease a piece of apple pie lands on it. Followed by Belgian pralines and lollypops and… ‘Oh what a dream. As many candy as I want and all kinds too!’
But then the strangest thing happens. Bam! Smack! She rolls onto the ground she never saw coming. She’s standing in the middle of a great crowd and they are all singing:

ONE TWO THREE
THERE’S NO MORE CANDY THAT YOU SEE

‘No more candy?!’ Cole cries out. Whoever could be that mean?’

***

Want to read more?

Here’s a link to chapter 1 Cole in the Sugar Bowl

Cole disappears in the sugar bowl

Cole is a very sweet child. She likes a candy or two, or three. Or four. Or it doesn’t really matter how many, she loves all the sweets in the world. And pies and muffins and chocolate and gummy bears and nougat.
But her favorite, her very very favorite is white sugar. White sugar that melts on your tongue and gently disappears in your tea.

This morning she sits at the breakfast table with her father, mother and little brother Bram.
‘Some bread for Bram?’ father asks. Bram nods yes while looking in astonishment at Cole’s plate.
On her plate lies a sandwich the size of a teacup.
‘What on earth is that?’ exclaims mother.
With pride Cole looks at her own artwork and says: ‘first I put on some honey, because it’s so nice and sticky and that’s why it goes well with the second layer of marshmallows… ‘
‘Honey and marshmallows, yucky!’ Bram shouts.
‘…and then I put on some apricot jam, because that’s also sticky… ‘
‘I see you have given it some thought,’ mother says.
‘Yucky yucky yucky!’ cackles Bram.
‘…and then the next layer is barley sugar and after that chocolate spread followed by strawberry jam, of course.’
‘Nicole!’ mother and father cry out simultaneously. ‘You can’t eat that!’
‘Now all it needs is a little bit of white sugar,’ Cole says triumphantly.
Father who is still in his pyjamas scratches on his head through his uncombed hair that looks like a strong wind had been blowing in his pillow last night. ‘Cole, that is a tower of sweets, a skyscraper of toothaches, a monstrosity of sweetness!’
‘That tastes good,’ Cole anwers.
‘That’s not good for you,’ mother says.
‘That is impossible to eat,’ father says.
‘That is delightful to eat,’ Cole says.
‘That I would like to see you try,’ father challenges.
‘That I will do,’ Cole cries out.
‘That is out of the question,’ mother interrupts.
‘That… that… that is all sugar!’ Bram shouts.
Now Cole picks up the sugar bowl.
‘That will turn you into sugar!’ mother warns.
‘That would be fun,’ Cole says.
‘That you don’t mean,’ father says.
‘Sugar Cole, sugar hole, sugar bowl!’ Bram cries out.
But is she seeing this correctly? She looks deeply into the sugar bowl, very deeply.
‘Just a grain or two, three.’
And then it happens…

Cole disappears in the sugar bowl.

Sophia’s Ballet Shoes and playing with fire

Sophia lived in a very tiny house, with two tiny windows, one tiny kitchen and a very large fireplace.

In the corner of the house, right next to the kitchen made out of wooden crates and a small stove, stood a bed. This bed Sophia had to share with her 88 year old grandmother whom she lived with. Apart from the fact that her grandmother snored like a rhinoceros, it was just big enough for the two of them.

But Sophia never complained. You see, when it was winter and an ice cold stream of winter frost and snow would sneak in from underneath the door, those were the horrible moments. Her old grandmother would shudder like a jelly pudding.

Luckily the big fireplace was on the opposite side of the room, which was inevitable because their home was only one room. And if they had the luck of finding some decent wood out in the woods, they burned a lovely fire to defrost their blue toes.

In those days Nanna Maureen would sit in her green chair by the majestic fireplace and Sophia on a pillow by her feet and Nanna would tell the most wonderful stories.

She would take her to faraway lands, introduce her to giant creatures of the ocean or to heroes that could fly. No matter how cold and tired they were they were never too tired for a new adventure.

‘Now,’ Nanna said, ‘did I ever tell you about the… ‘

DING-DONG!

‘Who might that be? It is eleven o’clock in the evening. Way past your bedtime Sophia and certainly too late to call on anyone,’ Nanna cried out.

DING-DONG!

And then no more.

All was silent and returned to its normal duties. The kettle was whistling for a hot cocoa (you see milk was too expensive so they used water instead), the last bit of wood crackled on the fire and the little mouse went back to sleep.

Nanna Maureen readjusted the blanket that covered her old knuckley knees and said: ‘where were we?’

‘But Nanna what if it’s important?’ Sophia said.

‘Important? If it’s so important they will come back tomorrow. Don’t you open that door now. I won’t have it. It’s too cold and too dangerous.’

Sophia walked to the window instead and looked out to see if she saw anyone.

‘Nanna, there are footsteps in the snow. And they are leading away from the house. That means they are gone.’

A cold wind blew underneath the door and made the fire dance. Little particles rose up the chimney.

‘Good. All the better.’

‘But can’t I open the door now? There’s nobody there and maybe they left something behind.’

‘No child. It is far too cold.’

Sophia walked towards the door that was next to the window that was next to the kitchen that was next to the bed.

The kettle blew.

‘There, let’s have some hot cocoa. That should warm our tummies. This cold is too much for my old bones, they crackle like the fire.’

And then while Nanna was in the kitchen taking the kettle of the stove Sophia slightly opened the door to a slit.

BANG! ‘Now what did I tell you about opening the door!’

‘There’s a parcel Nanna.’

Nanna Maureen looked at Sophia and thought for a minute. Then she sighed. ‘Oh all right. Move aside. You finish the cocoa while I chill my bones for a parcel dropped off by an idiot that apparently can’t tell time.’

Nanna opened the door and in one swift motion she reached out into the snow and pulled in a golden box.

They both looked astonished. It looked so fancy. They never had anything fancy. It shimmered and glimmered in the light of the fire.

‘That’s not for us. There must be a mistake,’ Nanna said.

‘But it says for Sophia. Look!’ Sophia said.

‘Indeed it does.’

On top of the shiney golden box there was a big golden bow and in that bow, inside its curls, was a tiny card that read: ‘For Sophia.’ And then nothing else. That’s all it said.

‘Oh Nanna may I open it? Please?’ cried out Sophia who was holding the big box in her hands.

They sat down by the fireplace. Sophia on the pillow with the heat of the fire on her back. First she took off the big bow and as the ribbon slipped down to the ground the box looked even more golden than it did before.

Carefully Sophia opened the box while Nanna looked down from her chair, firmly grasping her cup of cocoa, until it’s contents appeared.

They were ballet shoes!

Pink shiney ballet shoes. Truth be known, they didn’t look any different than any other ballet shoes. But for Sophia they did!

‘Nanna look! Ballet shoes! Now I can show the Stickpin! Do you think they are special? Who do you think sent them? Are they really a gift? Can I try them on?’

Nanna knew not what to say. She just stared at this unusual present that shone brightly in the fire.

***

Mist the first part? Here’s a link to chapter 1: Sophia’s Ballet Shoes and a 1000 pirouettes

The snail and the hedgehog

prickly prickly prew
hedgehog is it you?

come give me a hug
I’m as cozy as a rug

you see this jacket
it’s as tough as can be
so all those pricklies
they won’t hurt me

my old friend the snail
jippie hooray!
I’d love a hug
you just made my day

Sophia’s Ballet Shoes and a 1000 pirouettes

Ballet is not for wimps. And wimps aren’t made for ballet. It read on a very large banner above the mirror and right next to it hung a picture of a very tiny woman on a very fast ostrich and a whip she slashes in the air. It was Minerva Stickpin, the ballet teacher.

Miss Stickpin had once been an ostrich riding champion. But since that sport had become forbidden she had turned to teaching ballet, because it was the only thing where her whip might still come in handy. Her whip was all that was left of her glory days which is why she always tucked it under her arm as if it was a golden treasure.

The Ballet Dancer

‘Back straight, tummy in, but up, knee caps up and grow!’ Minerva Stickpin squeaked from the top of her lungs. ‘You will grow 6 inches during my class. If you fail to grow, you go. Is that understood?’

According to Miss Stickpin’s philosophy each child had to grow during her lesson. At the end of the class they had to be 6 inches taller than they were at the beginning.

‘Ballet dancers are gracious and tall. They stand straight and strong like a brick building,’ Miss Stickpin said.

‘I’m tall,’ a girl who went by the name of Prunella Pickle said, ‘I’m going to be the best ballerina in the world when I grow up because I’m tall and thin.’ Indeed she was, tall and thin, she was so thin her tights flapped around her legs like a flag in the wind.

‘But you are not gracious. You girls are sloppy and slow. An ostrich is more gracious than you!’ barked Stickpin.

‘But an ostrich sticks his head in the ground and his bum in the air. That’s not very gracious, is it?’ asked Frieda a small girl with red hair.

The other girls chuckled and grinned.

‘Silence! I will not tolerate stupid questions by ignorant little girls. Now chin up and start growing!’ bellowed Miss Stickpin.

They all stood immaculately still as they tried to push their heads towards the ceiling. ‘Grow! Grow!’

As Miss Stickpin checked every girl for height and perfect posture you heard a swoosh and a beng before she went on to the next girl.

It was her whip that hit the girls ballet shoes. Now ballet (or point) shoes have a very hard nose that’s made out of either clay or plastic. So the hit – if aimed correctly! – wouldn’t hurt. But it did make a terrible noise.

Swoosh! Beng! But in!

Swoosh! Beng! Toes forward!

Swoosh! Beng! Shoulders back!

The next girl didn’t have any ballet shoes.

Swoosh… luckily the whip stopped on time. Miss Stickpin looked up from the girls feet to the girls face. ‘Why are you not wearing any point shoes?’ her voice got dark and dangerous. She stood so close to the girls face she could feel her breath on her upper lip. Then Miss Stickpin sprung up.

‘This ridiculous girl thinks she can be a ballerina without ballet shoes. Ha!’ she shouted. ‘That is like being a fireman without water or a runner without legs. Absurd!’

‘But we can’t afford them,’ Sophia said.

‘No shoes, no class.’

‘But what if she’s really good,’ bellowed Bertha, ‘my dad says I can be a prima ballerina one day if I want to. And I had my shoes specially made.’

Bertha Bogtrotter was a farmers daughter who often got mistaken for one of their own cows. Her specially made point shoes looked more like soupcans than ballet shoes.

‘What is a ballerina, Bogtrotter?’

‘Gracious and tall, Miss,’ Bertha answered.

‘And there is elegance in her manner and movement, Bogtrotter. That is why she rises on her toes.’

‘But I can be on my toes,’ Sophia said boldly.

‘Yeah!’ the whole class started cheering.

‘No you can’t,’ peeped Stickpin angrily.

‘But I can.’

‘Impossible.’

But then by enormous strength and incredible willpower Sophia started rising. She rose higher and higher, her heels lifting of the floor followed by the ball of her foot and then her tiny toe until suddenly, she stood entirely on the tip of her toes with her arms in perfect position above her head.

‘Look,’ Frieda shouted, ‘she grew 6 inches.’ And the whole class started clapping.

‘Quiet! You slimy slithering slugs. None of you have done a 1000 pirouettes yet. So there is no reason for rejoicing. Ha!’ The Stickpin swayed her arms in the air as if she was trying to catch a bus.

‘That’s impossible,’ Bertha said.

‘Impossible? You’re impossible! I’ll make you spin as fast as an ostrich and they go so fast they carve new roads in the ground. Who wants to go first?’

The Ballet Technique

The 1000 pirouettes was Minerva Stickpin’s favorite part of the lesson. Absolutely impossible of course, but that didn’t stop the Stickpin.

A really good professional dancer who trains every day since he or she was a child and is taught by the very best teachers in the world might do 35 to 45 pirouettes, which is enough turns to make you spin like a washing machine, but a 1000, never!

‘Now who will do a 1000 pirouettes?’ Stickpin asked looking round the class like a hawk looking for prey.

‘I can do two,’ Prunella spattered.

‘Two is not enough.’

‘My mother says it’s really good. I practice every day and sometimes I can even do 2 and a quarter.’

‘Come to the middle,’ the Stickpin now sounded slow and dangerous. Her voice low and her eyes pinched together into two little black stripes.

Prunella walked to the middle of the room, her tights going flap-flap-flap. She stationed herself in first position with her arms in front of her and so tense it looked like she was trying to squeeze a giant ball between them.

She went from first position to second and when she was about to go from second to fourth she suddenly felt something… It was as if a serpent had just grabbed hold of her waist, wrapped itself all the way around her and was now holding her so tight she was gasping for air.

‘I can’t breath,’ she heaved.

‘Prunella Pickle,’ Miss Stickpin shouted, ‘get ready for a 1000 pirouettes.’

The entire class held their breath when they saw Minerva Stickpin pull on her whip, that was now holding Prunella’s waist in his grasp, so hard she started spinning like mad.

Round and round she went, faster and faster until it seemed like smoke was coming from the floor. It looked like she was going to pierce right through it, to the center of the earth.

Luckily one of the parents opened the classroom just at that moment and Prunella shot right out the door, onto the street and straight back home.

All the girls stood open mouthed and motionless.

‘I still got it,’ Stickpin murmured to herself.

And then she turned to Sophia and said: ‘try to do that, shoeless. And remember no shoes, no class! Now go home you measly little worms.’

***

Want to read more?

Here’s a link to chapter 2:Sophia’s Ballet Shoes and playing with fire

Or check out my other stories:

Prickly prew and the hedgehug

The Silly Wife

The twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes

Prickly has the blues

prickly prickly prew
my pricklies make me feel so blue

all I want is a hug
from a pug a bug or even a slug

hugs are so cozy
they make you feel rosy
I’d like a big one
as warm as the sun

but what am I to do
I’m so prickly prew
if they only knew
I’m warm and fuzzy too

The angry newt and the hedgehog

prickly prickly prew
go on hedgehog shoo!

hug a newt
don’t be a brute

you’re so prickly prew
you’ll pierce me through and through
so don’t you come near
or I’ll give you a sneer

you see this tail
it will make you wail
and your ears will ring
when I give you a sling!

The trick and the tree

Like sloths who spent so much time hanging upside down that green moss grows on their back, that’s how the old warty women were dangling from the branches of the old oak tree, waiting for gravity to suck the tomatoe rash out of them.

People from all over town were flocking in to see this spectacle. It was unlike the world had ever seen before. And nobody had any idea what to make of it.

‘They are warty weasels,’ a lady with a very large photo camera said.

‘No, they’re upside down squirrels,’ a man tucked in his shawl said.

‘That is the ugliest winter decoration I have ever seen,’ a father said to his son sitting on his shoulders.

The old ladies wormed and wiggled because the itch was unbearable and they screamed at the crowd:

‘We’re dying! We’re dying! Go away! Nobody can see us like this. Stop taking pictures you vile figures.’

But camera’s were flashing, people were gossiping and journalists were writing. Until suddenly a familiar figure popped out of the crowd.

‘My dear Livia. I must congratulate you! You are a masterbrain! An absolute genius! A wonderful wizard! What an excellent job you’ve done.’ It was Mr Lancaster.

‘I’m afraid I’ve overdone it a little Mr Lancaster. I used 90% water and 10% Giant Hogweed, but maybe I should have used less plant extract,’ Livia said.

‘Oh no, you’ve done it just right. It’s perfect. And this isn’t even the best part yet!’ Mr Lancaster said.

‘Really?’ Livia asked.

‘Are you sure?’ Rosie asked in a quivering tone.

‘Oh yes! You see Giant Hogweed has a little trick up his sleeve. A surprise!’

‘What surprise?’ Livia asked.

‘I wanted to tell you before but you were in such a hurry you were already out the door. You see, soon these ugly creatures, who have always terrorised the life of our friend Rosie, will go from pink to yellow to orange to red to purple! They will be a bright purple color!’

‘Oh no,’ mumbled Rosie.

‘You might call it the masterpiece! The grant finally! The moment you’ve been waiting for!’

‘But how?’ Livia asked.

‘The trick is that a Giant Hogweed rash reaches it’s peak when exposed to sunlight.’

Rosie and Livia went silent for a moment as they were trying to imagine what the old women would look like at the end of the day when they had turned all purple.

In the background a group of small children was singing by the fence:

They’re uglier than a shoe
Covered all over with poo
Now they’re dangling from a tree
For all the world to see
They have warts on their toes
And boils on their nose
And spots on their chin
Now they’re as ugly
On the outside
As they are within

‘Piss off you poo-poo-heads,’ the old hag shouted at them.

As the hours went by they changed colors like a chameleon. As orange as an orange, as red as a tomatoe, as purple as a blueberry. Three giant blueberries with warts and spots and slimy goo.

But when the sun finally went down and the crowds had lost interest, the strangest thing happened. They turned brown.

It was almost impossible to see the difference between the tree and the old ladies. Better yet, the posh twat, the old hag and the dried up old prune had become the tree! They had turned into three of the ugliest branches ever grown on trees.

However, they did make a beautiful campfire.

And as they crackled and crumbled, Rosie, Livia and Mr Lancaster roasted some apples over them and later on some tomatoes too which they put on toast.

‘You finally have the whole house to yourself Auntie Rosie. And I can come by as much as you like,’ Livia said.

‘I am so happy,’ Rosie sighed.

‘And what marvelous veggies you grow, Rosie. My compliments,’ Mr Lancaster said, ‘excellent tomatoes!’

***

Want to read more? You can find a link to the whole story here.

The skunk and the hedgehog

prickly prickly prew
hedgehog is it true?

giving a skunk a hug
that can’t be very snug

you’re so prickly prew
I’m afraid we’ll stick like glue
and you know what happens next
every time a skunk gets vexed

I’ll spray so hard
all the trees will be charred
and all will be black
like the hairs on my back

***

See you in 2019! ♥ Immy

The rash – boils, blisters and the burps

Chapter 6

It all began with a single shriek. ‘Aaaaaahhhhh!’

‘I’m horrendous!’ cried the hag.

‘I look horrible!’ shouted the twat.

‘I’m horrific!’ yelled the old prune.

And they were, they looked absolutely ghastly; wiggling and turning and screaming in their beds while their dirty pimples were popping puss and their blisters were already sticking to their bedsheets. It looked like they had the measles, the chickenpox, the ugliest warts and scarlet fever all at once. The tomatoe-rash-pimpel-giving-potion had done it’s work, thoroughly.

‘Rosie help us,’ the old hag pleaded.

‘Yes Rosie please help us,’ the old prune begged.

‘Please Rosie, please do something. We look so horrible,’ the twat asked.

The rash seemed to not only have given them pimples and spots, but it had also given back the remembrance of Tomatoes’ real name, Rosie. It wasn’t a miracle. They were begging for help and would do anything to get rid off the tomatoe rash they had so often lied about.

‘Look at me. I have warts the size of walnuts,’ the twat said.

‘And my pimples keep popping puss,’ the old hag cried.

‘I’m so ugly I can’t look at myself,’ the posh twat said.

‘And you’re so ugly I can’t look at either of you,’ the dried up old prune said.

‘You must help us, Rosie, ‘they choired, ‘we will do anything you say.’

‘Anything?’ Rosie asked.

‘Yes, absolutely anything.’

‘Well, all right than. But it won’t be easy,’ Rosie said.

‘No matter,’ they chirped.

‘And I assure you, you won’t like it.’

‘We don’t care.’

‘Good. Good. Now listen very carefully. There is only one cure for a disaster of this magnitude and it is as weighty as the thing that needs help.’

They bent forward and looked very attentively at Rosie. ‘Go on. Tell us what it is.’

‘Or maybe I should consult a doctor first,’ Rosie said.

‘No!’ they screamed in utter panic. ‘Please don’t call a doctor. Don’t call anyone. No one may see us like this! Absolutely no one!’ They flung their arms filled with boils and blisters in the air to stop Rosie from letting anyone else in the house.

‘Not even a doctor?’

‘No! Imagine what they will say,’ the posh twat cried.

‘And what if we die,’ the dried up old prune said, ‘on our tombstone it will say: died of ugliness.’

‘You are the only one that can help us now, Rosie. What shall we do?’ the old hag said.

‘Well, for something this calamitous and with this measure of ugliness…’

‘Cure us don’t injure us,’ they yelled.

‘…there is really only one thing that is strong enough, steady enough and powerful enough.’

‘Yes, yes…’ all three murmured.

‘And that thing is gravity.’

They were silent and stared at each other. Then the old hag shrugged and said: gravity?

‘Here’s how it works. You must go outside… ‘

Immediately they staggered and were alarmed. Their red eyes grew so big they looked like sirens.

‘But we haven’t been outside for years,’ the posh twat shivered while she spoke the words.

‘We said we’ll do anything, so we will do anything! And that’s that! I don’t want to hear another peep out of you ugly thwarts,’ the old hag shouted.

Rosie could barely stop herself from laughing for she knew what was about to come.

‘And you must go to the oak tree that stands in the middle of the yard, fling your arms and legs around a strong and solid branch and wait.’

‘Wait for what?’ they asked.

‘Wait until gravity has sucked every bit of rash out of you down to the last puss popping pimple.’

Rosie had barely finished speaking when the old hag, the dried up old prune and the posh twat flung themselves out of bed and flew down the stairs, through the corridor and out the door. In their pyjamas with all their hideousness.

And there they hang, dangling from three branches like clothes hanging to dry, waiting for gravity to start pulling on them.

***

Want to read more? Here’s a link to all chapters.

The tomatoe-rash-pimpel-giving-potion

Chapter 5

Get all the pimples in England you creeps, she thought in the dark of her hiding place.

One week had passed meaning that today was salad day. It was time to put their little plan to action. All she needed to do is put the potion into the tomatoes, pluck them when she was ordered and then catch them red handed while the old hags were eating the tomatoes. Little did Tomatoes know that Livia had created a potion that would give even the biggest elephant a rash.

It was already dark and the moon shone brightly on the leaves when Tomatoes snuck out into the garden. In one hand she held the bottle and in the other a needle she had taken from the medicine cabinet from the old ladies who always suffered many complains, though nothing serious was ever the matter with them.

She sought out all the tomatoes that were ripe for plucking, meaning the ones that were firm but not hard; and gave them all a good pinch of the potion.

‘That should give them the tomatoe rash!’ she said to herself and went back to bed.

‘Tomatoes!’

Tomatoes had barely woken up.

‘Tomatoes! We need you.’

Apparently the ladies were very eager to eat her tomatoes that day.

‘Tomatoes! Come over here at once!’ all three of them yelled.

‘Good,’ thought Tomatoes, ‘the plan is working.’ Clever Tomatoes knew exactly what they would ask next.

‘Tomatoes! Remove your tomatoes this instance!’ ordered the old hag.

‘We can’t bear the sight of them,’ the dried up old prune said.

‘Even seeing those tomatoes gives me a rash,’ snorled the posh twat who was still have asleep.

‘And an itch,’ the old hag said.

‘And a scratch,’ the dried up old prune said.

‘As you wish,’ replied Tomatoes who already held the scissors in her hand to cut off the poisoned tomatoes so this time those vile vicious freaks would really get a rash! A homegrown cleverly constructed fake tomatoe rash given by the tomatoe-rash-pimpel-giving-potion.

She laid the tomatoes in a wicker basket in the kitchen, but instead of leaving the house this time she hid herself in the kitchen cabinet leaving the door open just enough so she could see the old hag butcher her precious but poisoned tomatoes into the salad.

Rap rap rap went the knife on the cutting board. Only this time it didn’t hurt Tomatoes one bit. Get all the pimples in England you creeps, she thought in the dark of her hiding place.

And then, just as the old hag was about to walk back to the living room holding the salad bowl in one hand and three plates in the other, she stopped. With an immediate and abrupt stop she stood in the middle of the kitchen looking at the cabinet as if something was wrong with it. She tilted her head. Let out a hmm. And then with a firm and decisive step she walked towards Tomatoes’s hiding place. Two arms stretched forward. Reaching for the door. Bam! Smack! In her usual rude manner she closed the door. Tomatoes just heard her utter: careless Tomatoes. Foof, she thought and let out a silent sigh of relief.

All still according to plan, she texted Livia who was secretly reading her messages in class.

Very carefully she now climbed out of the cabinet and opened the door to the living room, making sure nobody could hear her.

‘Oh this is so yummy,’ she heard the twat say.

‘What a treat,’ the old hag said.

‘I like tomatoes,’ growled the dried up old prune.

They were gobling down the poisoned tomatoes like candy.

They are eating the tomatoe-rash-pimpel-giving-potion, texted Tomatoes to Livia.

And just when the old hag burped after she had finished the last piece, Tomatoes stormed into the room and yelled: ‘how dare you eat my tomatoes!’

At first they were startled, then shocked and then frightened out of their wits. They quickly wiped all of the tomatoe juice from their chins and tried to hide their plates, but it was too late. Tomatoes was staring at them like an approaching thunderstorm.

‘It’s not what you think,’ uttered the twat.

‘It’s… it’s… it’s…’ stammered the old prune.

‘It’s a miracle!’ cried the hag suddenly.

‘Yes, it is,’ cheered the others.

‘We are cured!’ they all shouted.

‘I don’t buy that,’ Tomatoes said firmly holding her ground.

‘Oh but it is,’ continued the hag, ‘you see we weren’t eating your tomatoes.’

‘No, we weren’t,’ agreed the others not knowing what they were saying.

‘We were only testing them.’ Tomatoes took a good look at the old hag and suddenly she seemed like a very large very ugly very thin rat trying to weasel her way out of the gutter.

There is no way out, thought Tomatoes to herself, you’ve already eaten the poisoned tomatoes.

‘You see,’ the old hag continued, ‘ ‘allergies can sometimes go away. Sometimes you can suddenly, quite out of nowhere, get allergic to something; but an allergy can also disappear, quite suddenly.’

‘So you have no more tomatoe allergy?’ Tomatoes asked.

‘No,’ they all shook their heads in agreement.

‘No more pimples and itches?’

‘No.’

‘Absolutely none?’

‘None at all,’ all three said.

‘Absolutely certain?’

‘Yes, absolutely. No more pimples and spots and anything else. We are cured!’

But the next morning when they woke up in their beds they were covered in red spots, pimples and horrendous blisters from head to toe.

The scream that emerged from their bedroom after they caught sight of each other travelled so far that Livia knew her plan had been a success.

***

Want to read more?

Here’s a link to chapter 1 the twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes

Or chapter 6 The rash – boils, blisters and the burps

The plan – getting even with the misses grumpus

Chapter 4

When Livia heard the three old ladies had secretly been eating from her Auntie Rosie’s homegrown tomatoes, her young brain almost immediately mustered up a brilliant plan to teach those mean grumpusses a little lesson. On a piece of paper she wrote the following:

  • Needles
  • Auntie Rosie’s delicious homegrown tomatoes
  • The world’s most poisonous plants

Especially the last point was of the utmost importance to let her plan work. And there was only one place where she could get them: Mr Lancaster.

‘Now listen to me,’ said Mr Lancaster blocking the door to the greenhouse that stood in his garden, ‘my greenhouse is my most sacred and most important place in the whole world. And you know I have traveled and seen the whole world, so that is a lot. This is where I grow rare and exotic flowers that don’t grow anywhere else in England, and fruits you have never tasted nor even seen before, but (while he said this he raised one finger in the air) in this greenhouse I also grow the world’s most poisonous plants! One brush could be fatal, finito, final. So no snooping around, no touching and no tasting. Understood?’

Livia nodded yes in all earnest.

Up until now no one had ever set foot in Mr Lancaster’s greenhouse. He opened the door with a large key and carefully stepped inside. ‘No touching,’ he said, ‘and don’t knock anything over.’

Livia looked about her in this secret and magical place. It looked like a jungle! Everywhere were enormous plants that reached up to the ceiling, and flowers in all colors and shapes you can imagine, trumpets, clocks, bells, eyes, balls with spikes in them or rockets; and some of them even seemed to move. On the floor crept branches with furry looking leaves and over her head they spiraled and intertwined like an enormous puzzle.

Mr Lancaster was skipping about like a kid in a playground. He brushed some leaves with a brush, he watered some flowers with a pipette and he pocked his finger in the dirt to see if it was damp enough.

‘Perfect,’ he said, ‘now my dear little neighbor let me show you something. This is the monkshood. It has been used as poison in bullets and also in arrows in ancient Greece. Just a stroke could kill you so stay away.’ He gestured wildly.

‘And this beauty I once took as a single branch from in India. And look at it now. It’s called the suicide tree. No need to explain what it’s used for.’

‘Maybe not what I’m looking for,’ thought Livia to herself.

‘And here is the belladonna also known as the deadly nightshade, it will make you fall over like a drunkard. And stinkweed, which will make you absolutely crazy. Or giddee giddee will make you all giddy, and the windflower stimulates a big bang of a fart, and the tailflower gives you an enormous tail, oh and don’t forget the gympie gympie who stings like a bee. And here…’

He stopped for a moment to reach out to the highest shelf. He stood on his toes, stretched out his arms and grabbed one of the largest pots that was on the shelf and took down a rather ordinary looking green plant with pointy leaves and white little flowers that grew in groups.

Livia took one step closer to the table where Mr Lancaster had set down the plant.

‘Oh now don’t be deceived by it’s looks. It might look like any other plant but it certainly is not. I took it with me all the way from New Zealand, which is on the other side of the earth, but it also occasionally grows right here in England. It is called Giant Hogweed.’

‘What does it do Mr Lancaster?’ Livia asked.

‘What does it do? It makes you ugly, very very ugly,’ Mr Lancaster said.

‘How exactly?’ Livia asked who was all ear now.

‘Oh dear me, it will make you as red as a tomatoe, give you a terrible itch all over beside the boils and blisters and in the end it will make you as purple as a blueberry.’

‘Perfect!’ shouted Livia who quite forgot herself for a minute, which in turn made Mr Lancaster even more excited than he already was. He danced and skipped through the room with the plant in his gloved hands. So without noticing it he dropped a few leaves and flowers on the floor, which Livia very carefully picked up with the sleeve of her sweater, making sure it would not touch her skin.

‘I am very impressed,’ she said as she put the plant in her pocket.

‘But remember don’t touch! Be careful!’ said Mr Lancaster.

‘Oh I will be Mr Lancaster. I promise. I will write it all down in my school project. I must go home before I forget. Thank you so much. Until next time Mr Lancaster!’ And she dashed out of the greenhouse and onto her bike.

‘But wait, there is something you must know about the Giant Hogweed,’ too late. Livia was riding away in the distance with a pocket full of the perilous poisonous Giant Hogweed.

She ran home. Ran to the kitchen. And immediately set to work.

Armed in her yellow rainsuit, her blue rubber boots, her father’s welding mask and a pair of rubber gloves she found under the sink, she put a giant pan on the stove and steamed, boiled and ground all the poison out of the Giant Hogweed.

‘And for the final part of my plan,’ she said to herself, ‘I will need Auntie Rosie. She’s going to love this!’

***

Want to read more? Here’s the link to

Chapter 4 The tomatoe-rash-pimpel-giving-potion

Chapter 3 The Sneezer Salad

Chapter 2 The tomatoe rash

Chapter 1 The twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes

The Sneezer Salad

Chapter 3

Two times this salad had been blessed with a well proportioned sneeze, hatsjoe! It looked like it had stood out in the rain until wet and dirty, and it was about to be served to three of the meanest and ugliest old ladies in England.

Livia had given specific instructions to Tomatoes that she should leave the salad out of the fridge to rest so all the bacteria a sneeze contains (which is about a 100.000) could mingle and nest on that lovely homemade salad.

‘I’m out to get some groceries,’ said Tomatoes to the old couch slouchers who looked like three withered statues. They merely responded by staring out the window as they always did, all day long.

‘Bye,’ and off she went.

But no sooner had Tomatoes left the house and the mean hag wiggled her skimpy butt out of the couch. Erecting herself while she squeaked and squealed, she turned round, and went straight for the kitchen.

There she took the salad bowl, removed the lid and smelt this wicked bowl of good food. And then she picked up a knife.

‘There is a moistness to the salad that I have never seen before. It looks like she sprinkled it with thousands of little diamonds,’ she informed the two who had remained on the couch.

Then she picked up one of Tomatoes’s homegrown tomatoes which she had just plucked from the garden because the old women had ordered her to.

‘It shimmers and shines like dewdrops on a meadow in the bright morning sun,’ the hag said.

But then she put the knife in the tomatoe.

‘I believe,’ she added, ‘this will be the best salad she has created till so far.’ The other two clapped their hands in good cheer from the living room.

Finally, without shame or worry she chopped up the tomatoes and tossed them into the Sneezer Salad as if she had never even heard of the tomatoe rash! Those vile vicious frumious freaks!

They had been faking it all along. They were not allergic to tomatoes at all! In fact, they absolutely loved Tomatoes’s tomatoes. It was the highlight of their week. The one thing they looked forward to most.

Every week they would secretly add them to the salad. And Tomatoes grew them so well that they came in abundance. Those few they stole, she would never miss.

Tomatoes herself of course had no idea. She was riding her bike with the wind in her hair and her mind was solely occupied by jarred pickles, red beets and brown bread. But then she remembered something. She had left her wallet on the small cabinet in the hall.

Tomatoes had to go back home to get it!

Unaware of Tomatoes’s plans, the old prune, the posh twat and the mean hag were devouring her tomatoes like hungry wolves.

‘Absolutely delicious,’ said the twat.

‘And so moist, which gives it the perfect freshness,’ said the prune.

‘It’s like eating a light drizzle on a sunny day. I don’t know how she does it,’ cried out the hag.

‘Better not give her compliments,’ added the prune, ‘compliments are rotten tomatoes for the brain.’ And the two fully agreed.

Meanwhile Tomatoes whistled her way home singing old MacDonald had a farm which is an old American song.

But on entering the house she abruptly stopped whistling.

The tomatoe juice was dripping from their chins, bits and pieces were sticking from the corners of their mouths and even their hair was adorned with tomatoe seeds.

She wanted to scream. She wanted to shout. She wanted to cry her beautiful brown eyes out. But she didn’t.

‘They are eating my tomatoes. They have no tomatoe rash. Ohh those horrible mean women. I want to… I want to… But I won’t!’ said Tomatoes to herself.

Tomatoes had already formed a plan in her head.

***

Want to read more? Here’s a link to

Chapter 4: The plan

Chapter 2: the tomatoe rash

Chapter 1: the twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes

De zee en ik / The sea and I

ik zie de zee

de zee ziet mij

hé zee

wat kijk je blij

ik heb de zon

zegt de zee

doe je schoenen uit

en doe ook mee

***

I see the sea

the sea sees me

hello sea

you look so happy

I have the sun

says the sea

take off your shoes

and join the party

The tomatoe rash

Chapter 2

‘Auntie Rosie?’

‘Tomatoes!’

‘Auntie Rosie?’

‘Tomatoes!’

‘Auntie Rosie… Do they still call you Tomatoes, Auntie Rosie?’

A little sprout of hair appeared above the window sill followed by a pair of hazelnut brown eyes who peared curiously into the kitchen of Tomatoes. The head that accompanied the two brown eyes and sprout of hair belonged to an eight year old girl. She came to see her friend.

‘Well if it isn’t my favorite little neighbor. Hello Livia, how nice of you to come and see me,’ said Tomatoes.

Clever as she was Livia immediately observed that her friend was making a fresh salad from her own garden.

‘That looks yummy. May I smell it?’ Livia slyly asked.

Tomatoes picked up the bowl with the fresh salad in it and presented it to her friend. Who then took a deep breath and before she could do anything about it the little girl had sneezed all over her lovely salad.

‘There,’ she said contented, ‘that is for calling you Tomatoes. Although I do think it is still missing one ingredient,’ she added.

Tomatoes looked surprised. She couldn’t possibly imagine what else her salad needed. She had dressed it so carefully and put everything in it she always used for this old family recipe. ‘What?’ she asked.

‘Tomatoes!’

‘Oh you know I can’t do that. They’re allergic to tomatoes.’

‘No they’re not, Auntie Rosie. They’re just being mean. I don’t believe them at all.’

‘Tomatoes!’ another voice from the couch in the living room shouted. ‘Tomatoes! Your immediate assistance is required.’ It was the old prune with her high pitched squeaky voice.

‘Yes, Tomatoes. You must come over here at once,’ yelled the mean hag after her. The twat merely snored, she would much rather sleep all day than bother herself to talk at all.

‘What is it?’ Rosie inquired.

‘Tomatoes! Your tomatoes,’ said the old prune.

‘We can see your tomatoes,’ said the hag.

‘But they can do you no harm when they are outside in the garden,’ said Tomatoes.

‘We can see them and that is enough,’ said the old prune, ‘just looking at them gives us the rash.’

‘You know how horrible the tomatoe rash is,’ the hag said very seriously.

‘What does it do?’ Tomatoes asked to amuse Livia.

‘What does it do? It gives you pimples all over your body. That’s what it does,’ shouted the old prune.

‘Yes and spots too like a dalmatian,’ cried the hag.

And even the twat now woke up from her drowsy state and said: ‘and blisters and bumps and bristles and the burps. Oh it’s absolutely horrible the tomatoe rash.’

‘I can feel it coming already,’ said the hag while she wiggled her scrawny bottom.

Livia was shaking no. Her young and quick mind thought it all sounded a little too grotesque.

‘It is an awful thing you should grow your tomatoes in front of our window,’ said the old prune. And by our window they meant the window they were sitting in front of. Because these mean old ladies never left their couch that happened to be standing by the window overlooking Tomatoes’s tomatoe garden.

‘Now TomAAtoes, what are you going to do about your tomAAtoes?’ said the mean hag.

‘Oh Auntie Rosie, those vile vicious old women. You must sneeze on their salad too!’ And she stamped her foot on the pile of stones she was standing on.

‘It is only because I pronounce it tomAAtoes like all Americans do. They say it sounds vulgar. But I can’t help it I was born and raised in America,’ said Tomatoes in a sad tone.

‘You grow your own tomatoes and that is something very clever. You should be able to call your own tomatoes whatever you want. And I like tomAAtoes much better. And now you must sneeze on their salad.’

‘You are very sweet Livia, but you know I can’t sneeze on the salad.’

‘Yes you can.’ She picked up a tiny bit of pepper and blew it into Tomatoes’s face. Hatsjoe! She went all over the freshly chopped and deliciously made salad.

Tomatoes couldn’t help it and burst out in laughter till her cheeks started gleaming.

‘It does give a bit of extra moistness to it, doesn’t it. Look how it shimmers,’ she said.

‘We will call it The Sneezer Salad,’ said Livia.

‘Tomatoes! You must remove those dreadful tomatoes of yours immediately,’ cried all three of them.

‘I will see to it,’ Tomatoes replied and then to Livia she said: ‘I will see to it that they will eat this Sneezer Salad. It will be our secret,’ and she put a finger to her lips.

‘Our secret,’ said Livia as she repeated the gesture.

***

Want to read more?

You can find the link to chapter 1 here: the twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes

And chapter 3 here: The Sneezer Salad

The twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes

Chapter 1

It’s a strange thing when people get old. For no apparent reason at all they start to shrivel up like a dried up old prune. One day their teeth will fall out and so will their hair and everything else that remains or does not come out, come down or starts to fumble up like a piece of paper, starts drooping.

Their eyes will start drooping, their cheeks will start drooping, their chin will droop so terribly it will look as if they have a permanent napkin hanging at the bottom of their faces. Yes, even the arms and chest will be drooping. Until one day they look into the mirror and say: ‘you my dear old friend look like a bulldog.’

And a bulldog although he is a very friendly animal has not one, not two but often has three cheeks that flap about like a flag in the wind whenever he shakes his head from left to right and back. Drool flies around like confetti and the slapping of the cheeks makes the funniest noise. Flap, flap, smack. That is the bulldog.

You can imagine that growing old is no pleasure, for some.

The strong people might laugh and say: ‘I have as many wrinkles on my face as there are waves in the ocean, but they all tell their own story. My face is like a storybook. You pick a line and I will tell you what it has to say.’

People who are a little more feeble might cry and say: ‘my beauty, my beauty, where has it gone. Where are the days… (and so on).’

And then there’s the passionate people who cry out: ‘doctor help me at once; pull up, cut out and tuck away this bulldog and turn me into a poodle for she is a much prettier animal.’

Some say it’s wisdom, others call it faith, still others will blame it all on something that is called gravity.

Now gravity is a very interesting trick of nature. You see, without gravity we would all be floating around like a bunch of balloons. We might bump into each other in the air or worse, might float off into space and never come back.

That’s because gravity works like a magnet.

It holds us down on planet earth. So we can walk, climb stairs or even take an elevator without breaking through the roof and flying off to the moon.

It is a wonderful thing if you ask me. Except for when you get old. Because it seems that for some reason when you get older you start getting allergic to gravity. And I don’t mean literally allergic as if it would give you bumps or red spots or anything, but gravity starts pulling at you harder and harder until finally it brings down those underarms and chins and it will all start hanging.

Four such old people lived in a tiny house in England. The twat, the hag, the old prune and Tomatoes. Tomatoes? I hear you wonder. Yes, Tomatoes. It is a person and I will tell you all about it later.

Now the posh twat, the old hag and the dried up old prune spent their days on one and the same couch, all squashed in together like pickles in a jar. And they would never leave it. Not for the pot of gold at the end of the rainbow nor for the best pie in the world.

‘We’re too old to get up,’ they’d say.

‘The rain will melt us,’ was another one of their excuses.

‘I’m so scrawny the wind will surely pick me up and blow me away, ‘ the old hag would say.

Or: ‘the sun will devour us like a wild beast. We are staying in!’

And so they spent all their days on their couch in front of their window overlooking Tomatoes’s garden.

And this particular garden was the most beautiful garden in all of Europe. With roses and daisies and apple trees and cherry trees and all sorts of vegetables growing in it. And right in the middle of the garden stood an old oak tree. It was grand, it was magnificent and it was very, very old. If all of it’s lines could speak they would tell you a zillion stories.

Of course these three old women had nothing to do with the garden except for looking at it from their couch. It was all Tomatoes’s doing. Poor Tomatoes who had to live with three of the ugliest and meanest women gravity holds down.

‘Tomatoes! Get me my slippers, not the pink fluffy ones but the blue ones with the diamonds on them,’ the posh twat would yell at her.

‘Tomatoes! I want tea! Immediately!’ the old prune would scream.

‘Tomatoes! Cut my toenails! They’ve grown so long they’re sticking right through my slippers!’ the old hag would say.

For this reason her garden turned into her consolation. It was where she was happiest. Away from the mean old women and into a world of bloom and magic where a tiny little seed the size of a pea could grow into an entire tree, the size of a house!

And at the end of the day she would take her freshly grown fruits and greens and take them to her second favorite place, the kitchen. That’s where apples turned into delicious pies and berry’s into granola with yoghurt and cherrys into dessert and greens into salads and soups and fantastic dinners.

But there is another reason why Tomatoes loves the kitchen so much. Because at this kitchen, right below the window there is something that makes her very very happy.

And that something is called Livia.

***

Want to read more?

You can find the link to chapter 2 here: the tomatoe rash

Winky Stinky and the art of the fart

Winky Stinky
bent over deep
as she let another one peep
out of her buttocks
for that was her way
‘to fart is an art’
she always did say

Winky Stinky
her trousers were torn
right by the spleen
where a fart was born

Winky Stinky
puffed everyone away
with her godless noises
which resounded all bloody day

Winky Stinky
stank so bad
rats were hanging themselves
in the shed

Winky Stinky
was so ugly and thin
even a fish bone looked better
than the tip of her chin

Winky Stinky
when she bents over deep
she opens her buttocks
to let another one peep
out and away
‘to fart is an art’
I’m afraid
she always will say

*

This is a character I’m developing. She’s a little nasty I’m afraid. What do you think?

The hyena leader

I am the leader

said mother hyena

one day

all spots follow

me and together

we’ll stay

*

With spotted hyenas it’s the female who’s the leader of the pack. 💪

Snorry and Purry went insane

Purry and Snorry

went looking for Dory

who was a fish

caught in a bowl

she hated it there

she thought it was very dull

so when Purry and Snorry

came to catch Dory

she jumped out of the bowl

and into the drain

now she swims free in the ocean

and Snorry and Purry went insane

Blue footed booby

I like to dance

on my very blue feet

when I see a girl

that I want to meet

*

Blue footed booby’s like to show off their blue feet in a dance to try to impress the lady.

The fingerprint of the whale shark

my spots are unique

unlike any other whale

they’re like fingerprints

except with a tail

*

In fact, their spot patterns are so unique scientists can even recognize each separate whale shark using satellites from space. Wow! (by the way, whale sharks are categorized as sharks)

The toad who lost his warts

prickly prickly prew
are you the hedgehog I once knew?

oh toad my friend
perhaps a hug you will lent?

last time we hugged
you prickly prew
my warts got the fear
and off they blew

a toad without warts
that ain’t no prince
no hugs for me
I’ve been naked ever since

Shark play

I ate a carcass
that was floating around
me some fish
sleeping safe and sound

haven’t we worked hard
to clean the ocean today?
I’d say we have
now shall we play?

*

Sharks are excellent ocean cleaners. They like to nibble on a corps here or a dead fish there. Without them the ocean would soon be pretty messy.