A podcast interview with the fantastic author of Vokhtah A.C.Flory
Monthly Archives: April 2013
A couple of years ago I sat on the settee at home and offered to show Yvonne something on my laptop. I can’t remember what it was, but it may have been an email that needed answering. Apparently she thinks I must have fallen asleep whilst showing her, but carried on moving the cursor as though awake. I can’t believe I’d fall asleep like that and the only plausible explanation is that I was taken by aliens as they observed our planet, or at least our house.
I’m guessing that I must have a weakness that allows me to be taken over at whim since yesterday something very strange happened. I must point out here that since Julia’s death I’ve averaged between two and a half or three and a half hours sleep a night ( yes I know, the average between those two is three hours but each week is different). I’m therefore a little tired sometimes and that must make me vulnerable to our alien visitors.
I have a friend in Australia with whom I share daily emails . I’m very lucky since this is a talented lady and she shares her time with me. Our messages are usually one line added to a continuous message, commenting on the line before. So, she may suggest I go boil my head and I’ll remark that I need a shilling for the meter. The conversation we’d been having recently was about the sharpness of her wit due to eating razor blades, at last I’d managed a witty answer in return and been rewarded by the following.
Andrea to me……… Trust you to make it a doozy. I can tell you saved up for this one. 😀
Me to Andrea………. That’s so everyone. Hey he should reward mine for a bucker of uniforms/, > mainly it’s because he was my grabbing my lists.
Andrea to me……….Erm… huh??
That conversation alone should make you understand how I came to the conclusion that Aliens had been interfering with my synaptic pathways. How else could I have been made to send something either so unintelligible or possibly in code? We’re they reaching out to see if one of their lost race ( from a spaceship which crashed many years before) was alive, well and living in Oz? I’m afraid I wasn’t able to answer the question of “Erm, Huh”?? to her satisfaction and of course she denies that she’s one of the missing Aliens. That’s not something I’d
dare care to comment on except to point out that she’s written a book based on an alien culture and it’s all too believable. Coincidence did I hear you say? Well of course you’re no doubt right. Maybe you’d like to look at her blog http://acflory.wordpress.com/ and pay close attention not just to her writings but also to VOKHTAH, the novel(?) in question. Please bear in mind all the time the likelihood for any other explanation of my writing such gobbledegook when I is a Wordsmith of great repute. I dismiss out of hand those who suggest I may have been suffering the evils of alcohol or maybe writing in my sleep. Please take this post as a warning of the Alien presence and he possibility that they may at some time intrude in your mind. For your own safety I suggest a pocketful of drawing pins/tacks which you can place beneath you on the seat the moment you feel your eyes glaze over. That should be enough to ensure your safety.
This evening my brother came to visit me and brought my nieces Karen and Joanne with him. The point- to cheer me up, the actuality- to traumatise me for life.
My brother and I get on very well but like many brothers we rarely see each other. He works and has a family. Me, well I just skive. My nieces I see quite often but until tonight I didn’t realise just how little I know them. This experience has shaken the bedrock of my Universe and made me see my family in a whole new light.
Dil, ( my brother) had suggested last week that maybe we could enjoy an evening of cards and company. Why I didn’t listen I have no idea but foolishly I suggested a game of Balderdash of which I used tio be very fond. Maybe one of the reasons for that fondness was getting used to the way the other players used to couch their answers so you knew who’d written what. For instance it was well known that if the answer contained animals it was likely written by Ju, I was always accused of writing medical or historical ones and various friends might do mechanical or ones that involved Viking Township names. Tonight I played blind and it was scary.
For those of you who have not heard of Balderdash let me explain. It’s very similar to the TV panel game of Call my Bluff. One person reads out a word and everyone else writes an explanation ridiculous enough to be believable to try and fool the other players. That done, the reader then reads out all the answers including the real one and asks the players to choose the one they think is true. Points are scored for getting the right answer and also if your answer is chosen by someone else. In other words it’s a game for poker faced liars.
Tonight I found out just what liars my family are. We had words where the explanations given by each player were more convincing than the real answer and everyone kept a completely straight face while there’s was read out making it very difficult, nay impossible, to guess which they’d written until the time for scoring came. What an eye opener when my niece Karen can give as a definition of the word Jejunator- a Spanish Politician or Jo for the word Craquelure- a Precipitation of hailstones or my brother for Titubation- To make a mockery of. I was horrified to see just how easily they lied.
We had time for three games before they left. Three games in which I was shocked to think they may go back home now and lie just as easily and convincingly there. I confess the only saving feature of the night was that I won two of the games so saved them from themselves. A noble sacrifice but one I was willing to make.
Jejunator. A person who goes on a fast.
Craquelure. The crazed marks in the glaze of a painting.
Titubation. Staggering or reeling.
In my post on April 11th I mentioned how difficult I’ve been finding it to locate certain things. I was starting to wonder if Ju was sending me a message. For instance, when we cleared the garage , Yvonne, Ugo and I created piles for me, the Hospice Charity shops and for Muriel/John ( hereinafter called MuJo). When MuJo came I took them round to the garage, we’d found literally boxes of Ju’s horse figurines and I wanted her to have her choice. I’d put some watercolour paintings to one side for John as I know he likes them, but could they be found? Not a cat in hell’s chance. Either they’d evaporated or some wild rats have discerning taste in nest decor.
Whenever Christmas rolled around Ju would clear the decks to make way for the decorations. My collections on display would disappear and I’d be told they’d be back when the decorations were packed away. That never seemed to happen just as last years tree never seemed to re-appear. The loft ( please God I don’t have to clear that out ) must be full of Christmas trees and collections of old inkwells etc. But, the thing that had most puzzled me was Julia’s laptop bag. It and it’s contents had faded into thin air. I’d torn clumps of hair from my rapidly receding widow’s peak trying to find them. I tried to follow Ju’s logic as to where it would be since it wasn’t actually with the laptop which naturally enough was tucked down beside the settee. OK, I had to admit defeat as women’s logic was always beyond me. But in wanting to give things to the family to remember Ju I have a niece who crafts and that bag contained lots of crafting DVD’s.
On Thursday when Yvonne was with me I’d gone to the pantry and a flash of yellow had caught my eye. I visit the pantry multiple times daily for the accoutrements to cooking or to deposit rubbish in the bin and before Thursday- Nada, but there it was, the flash of yellow. Reaching through the accumulated brushes, ancient hoovers, pan stands and a lightbulb collection that would do a lighthouse justice, I grasped the object in question and out came the upside down laptop bag complete with the DVD’s I wanted. Checking through there was no sign of the also missing tablet bought some months ago. Back to the pantry I went and soon had it in hand. I’m not sure if it still works, or how it works and will have to rely on my nephew’s expertise. He’ll tell me if it’s a toy I need or whether someone else can use it better. The DVD’s will now be able to go to a good home too. But PLEASE someone, explain to me the logic behind having a laptop bag, upside down in a pantry of all places and why it chose to reveal itself at that moment. At some stage I may have to explain to someone why I didn’t decide to look in there purposely as they wearily tap their feet and say, “Huh, s’obvious innit?”.
Yesterday, Friday 12 th was the day of the funeral and our last goodbye to Julia. Many people may not understand-or agree- with our decision to honour her request for a religion free service. It was beautiful. Julia had a wonderful sense of humour and so my arrangements with the undertaker may have raised a few eyebrows but with the agreement of all the major players, Yvonne, Karen and Joanne we went ahead. I prepared the order of service which would be given out yesterday.
The hearse and the family car collected us at about 11.20 . The flowers reading ‘MUM’ from Yvonne and a large horseshoe from me were place aboard the coffin along with other family flowers. We were all wearing some token black but under my frockcoat I wore a silver waistcoat (vest) and a silver, flower patterned tie. Yvonne, my nieces and I got in the family car and the undertaker started walking in front of the hearse to guide it into traffic on the main road. We set off at a sedate pace and maintained it the whole journey. For anyone who’s journey was delayed because of us I apologise
We arrived at the crematorium at 11.40 and had a few minutes to wait while the previous mourners departed. At a beckoning motion from the funeral director someone opened the car doors and we were ready to go in. Julia had expected perhaps a dozen mourners or celebrants but I could see at least sixty people there. We entered to the strains of Hello Muddah, Hello Faddah by Alan Sherman and I’m sure Ju was laughing. The Reverend spoke for a few minutes to say we were there to celebrate the life of Julia before inviting Yvonne and my niece Karen up to speak. Yvonne spoke movingly about her beloved mother and described her as both mother and friends. Some things were so difficult she had to pause to regain control and the congregation had tears in their eyes. I know I cried as did Julia’s sister Muriel behind me who was so close to Julia in many ways. Karen read Julia’s poem which it turns out she helped to write. She also choked and her audience followed suit.
The Reverend introduced the song Hey Ho by the Lumineers which had become a firm favourite by Julia recently after hearing it on an advert. The words ‘I belong to you, you belong to me, Be mine Sweetheart’ brought on the eyeball sweats again. The tissue manufacturers saw their share prices rise accordingly. As the song ended I was called along with Ugo to speak. Many of you won’t know that I stutter badly when faced with strangers and so I kept my head down as I laid a single lily in remembrance on the coffin and for the whole time I spoke about Julia and her kindness, her being my rock and making me wheeze by introducing rats, degus and anything else to the house .( I confess, I love them all). I had to stop three or four times to regain my composure and kick myself for not buying shares in tissues before I left. I finished with a poem by E.E.Cummings called I hold you in my heart. Ugo followed me and made sure everyone knew what a privilege it was to know Julia and be welcomed into the family by so caring a person who never judged. Even my stoic son in law needed my comfort up there when he choked and the audience choked with him. There was such sadness and yet such Joy at having known her.
The Reverend started the committal with some nice words and to the music of Fun with We are Young, Julia’s casket was borne away and the curtains closed. The Reverend gave a nice speech about Julia, including how wrong the comedian Les Dawson had been about Mothers -in-law and how Julia had been many different things to many different people, Julia Prosser the mother, Julia Prosser the wife the aunt, the friend. Julia Prosser, Lady of Bouldnor, the fundraiser for good causes, Julia Prosser the mother in law and the lover of animals. Yet while being all these people she was ONE PERSON in one body all the time. Thinking about it that must be true of all of us that different people see us in different ways in different roles. I hope we’re nice in all of them.
We then stood for the closing as we were told to stay strong for Ju and she was wished a safe journey to follow her belief of meeting up with her parents again until it’s time for us to be together again. I have no doubt she’s with them and enjoying a lot of pain free rides on all the horses in the sunlight. We walked out of the crematorium to the strains of Talk Talk and their record Life’s What You Make It.
Back out in the daylight we met all those who had come to pay their respects. Ugo’s family who’d travelled from London and Birmingham ( not Alabama), My sister-in-law’s daughter ( yes, a long winded way of saying my niece) Hayley, who had also driven from London that morning, friends from the cafes I wrote of in the books that she so loved visiting, friends of Yvonne’s who had met her and loved her and her friends from the two stables she used. Llanfynydd RDA with their wonderful staff, especially Di who helped her so much and Carl and Storm from Pennant Park which now has it’s indoor arena ( we still need a hoist though- subtle hint). I took the canvas of Julia that had been on the coffin and we repaired to the pub where glasses and cups were raised to her picture on the mantlepiece as she watched us enjoy her day. She will never be forgotten.
During this time you can imagine the number of bright spots have been few. Perhaps things will improve after the funeral tomorrow. One thing that did happen though is that Julia had left a poem with my niece which was to be given to Yvonne and myself when she was no longer with us. I’d like to share that with you if I may.
I’d also like to share a photograph taken which shows Ju’s hand holding Yvonne’s which I find very moving. I placed the poem on the picture to produce something to accompany the Order of Service tomorrow.
Today we went to register the death of my beloved wife. How things have changed. As well as issuing permission for the funeral directors to go ahead they also deal with cancelling passports driving licences, blue badges ( parking for disabled drivers) and with notifying local councils and benefit agencies of the death so monies can be stopped. It seems they’re a One-Stop-Shop nowadays. It seemed to take an interminable length of time and I was truly glad to get out of there.
The funeral can go ahead. It will be at 11.45 on Friday April 12th at Mochdre Crematorium. Some people will want to bring flowers and I have no objection to that if i’s their way of showing love and respect. Others may prefer to donate and we’re happy with that too.
What we suggest are donations either to Cancer Research or to the Hospice Ju was looked after so well in.
http://www.stkentigernhospice.org.uk/fundraising St. Kentigern’s Hospice.
http://www.pcrf.org.uk/ Pancreatic cancer research fund.
If anyone feels able or willing to donate then please do and you have my thanks.
Something else that happened this week has been a piece published about Julia’s courage. Here is he link. It would be nice if you felt able to comment as her friends even if you didn’t know her well.
Thank you to all my friends who’ve offered great support. I will let everyone know how the funeral goes.
Regards and Hugs