Saturday, 7 September 2013


A wave of excitement swept through the ship and everyone was suddenly caught up in a euphoric feeling of optimism. It even reached Elani, as she toiled in the greenhouses, way down in the depths of the vessel. Oyam had rushed in with the thrilling news. Lifting her up, he had spun her round , scattering the seeds she had been gathering from the ovary of the giant poppy flower, that bloomed brightly under the huge, arc lights.

" We've entered a new galaxy !" he laughed, "and all the sensors indicate that this may be 'THE ONE' !"

Elani gasped, dizzy from the spinning and breathless from Oyam's enthusiastic hug, which had almost crushed her ribs. She set down her wicker basket and looked up at Oyam's happy face; a face she had come to love. Then she smiled and, gently touching his arm, to calm him, she asked,

" Can this really be true ? After all these years of wandering ?"

It seemed as though they had been travelling for ever, in this huge ship. This ark. Travelling forever, across the universe in search of a home.

There had been three identical ships, at the start, Twenty long years ago. Elani had been just twelve years old when she was selected for the trip. She could still remember the day she said goodbye to family and friends, not realising that she would never see them again. But the planet was dying, nothing would survive. Nuclear wars and pollution had poisoned the air. All the natural resources had been, greedily, depleted. Soon the power would fail and those who were not already sick, would die of starvation and cold. A black cloud was beginning to engulf the world, blocking out the sunlight and killing every living thing. The world leaders realised, too late, the consequences of their selfish actions. There was no way the earth could be saved, so, in an attempt to salvage some of the population, huge ships had been built, but time had run out and only three were completed. A hasty 'Selection' had begun. Scientists, teachers, doctors and architects had been chosen. Builders, farmers, the strong and the fit, but most of all the young. All would be required to colonise and populate another world. Plants, crops and animals were needed too. Oxen to pull ploughs, horses for transport. Dogs for hunting and protection. Pigs, cows, goats and chickens for food and milk. All entered the giant arks. Elani had no idea how or why she was selected, but she had found herself grouped with others of her age and assigned to vessel number two .... The Elpis.

so, the three ships had left the dying planet and set off on their epic voyage to find a suitable home. On and on they travelled, searching, in vain, for somewhere that could sustain life, somewhere that had light and water and clean air. But so many planets were inhospitable, lifeless and barren.

The first ship .... The Pistis, had been destroyed when it had strayed into an asteroid belt, during the first year of the voyage. Elani and her friend, Nuulah, had clutched each other in terror as they witnessed the gigantic explosion that had threatened to engulf the Elpis, too. There had been an air of melancholy for weeks after and the whole ship was subdued. But there was no turning back, so on they went. Day after day, week after week.

Life on board the ship was, pretty much, how life must have been on their old planet, before they had been so careless with it. Everyone had jobs and tasks to perform. Children attended lessons in the large 'Education Centre'. A new world would need a well-educated population. It was here that Elani had first met Oyam. One of the brightest and best, on their home planet, he had been assigned a teaching job. Under his tutelage, Elani had blossomed and a special relationship had built up, over the years. When the third ship .... The Eos, had disappeared into a 'black hole', it had been Oyam who comforted Elani. Oyam who had held her while she cried herself to sleep. Her brother, Degan, had been on The Eos.

So, The Elpis had been left, all alone. The hopes and dreams of an entire world, contained in a single vessel. Huge as it was, it still felt very lonely as it journeyed through space.

But now, it seemed, they had a reason to rejoice,

" Come, Elani, come to the viewing deck, let us see this new galaxy !" smiled Oyam, as he took her hand and led her to the lift.

Up on the viewing deck, people were gazing out at the spectacle before them. The galaxy was, indeed, beautiful. Milky white nebula and bright moons, orbited the planets and, in turn, the planets orbited a huge sun.

" Everything is so big, it's enormous !" cried Elani and she clutched Oyam's arm in delight, " Surely there will be a suitable planet here ?"

One of the scientists, Argav Henor, joined them,

" The first couple of planets in this system have been far too cold, we could never hope to settle on them," he said, " But, fear not, this system is very similar to our own galaxy. The wily old foxes on the bridge are, even now, steering the vessel towards a promising planet. Look !! "

Elani and Oyam looked.

" There, past that huge, red planet ! Can you see it ?"

They peered and then Oyam exclaimed,

" Oh yes, yes! I see it! It is huge!"

Elani squinted out, into the black void and .... yes .... there it was!

" Oh, it looks like home. It looks just like our own planet used to be, before...... "

Her voice broke, with emotion and she crumpled a little. Oyam put his arm around her,

I know, Elani, I know " he comforted her with a kiss on her cheek and whispered, " See how it glows, so blue. There must be water there!"

It seemed that the Commander shared Oyam's theory, because a decision was made. Sensor robots were sent down and reports came back. There was water, lots and lots of water. More water than they could have ever dreamed. Excitement rushed through the 10,000 souls on board The Elpis. They had found a home, at last.

On the flight deck, Commander Obavran ordered a descent. They had orbited this new world for hours now, trying to select a landing site. The sheer size of the planet and the vast expanses of water made it rather tricky but, finally, he selected a spot in the middle of a gigantic area of land.

The gravitational pull of the planet was very strong and the enormous ship glowed bright with heat and flames as they entered the atmosphere. Everyone was crowded onto the viewing decks. Their jobs abandoned, their lessons forgotten, in their eagerness to catch a glimpse of their new home. The Elpis hurtled towards the ground so rapidly that they could barely see a thing. Everything flashed by so fast, a blur of clouds; sky; blue, blue, sky and then green; green; brown and green.

Commander Obavran ordered reverse thrust and the vessel slowed and hovered a little and then was brought to rest beside, what looked like, a lake in the middle of a huge forest, of some sort. Everyone cheered and hugged each other. They were safe. Space-travellers no longer. Soon, they would tread on solid ground.

An exploratory team, of six men, was assembled. They were dressed in protective suits and helmets, because, even though the sensors had indicated that the air was pure and full of oxygen, no-one wanted to take any chances. Not now ! Carefully, they entered the airlocks and, as the outer doors swung open, the six, intrepid men, stepped out onto the planet.

All around, tall green, pole-like trees were swaying in a hurricane force wind. It was difficult to push through the trees but they cleared a way with their machetes. A little way off, they could see a flat, brown plain, leading down to the lake. Yes ! Water; vegetation; this was the perfect planet !

The hunter had been stalking the cougar for over an hour now. He was sure it had run across this patch of scrubby grass and on, beyond those rocks. He was hot, in the sun and the gentle breeze did little to cool him. He wiped the sweat from his brow and strode on, stepping over a puddle, a remnant of last night's rain. As his foot came down in the grass, he heard a sort of "Crunch". Looking down, he saw something metallic on the ground. It looked as though it had once been spherical, goodness knows what it was.

" Probably some kids toy, " he thought. Though what the heck it was doing here in the Rockies, he couldn't possibly imagine. Anyway, it was squashed flat, now .....................

You can find details, rules, regulations and, quite possibly, alien space-craft, on Matt's blog,

This week the words to be included in the story are;


Just in case you are interested, the names of the ships are;

..... Greek for Hope

Pistis .....Greek for Faith

Eos ........Greek for Dawn


The Backrgound Story

I used to be a dog-groomer, both professionally and privately. I groomed my own show dogs and pets for over 30 years and clients dogs, in my grooming salon for over 15 years.

My hands were constantly wet and covered in various shampoos and conditioners. For years I was never without either comb, brush or scissors in my hands. Add to that, a naturally delicate, dry skin and you have a recipe for disaster. I cannot work in rubber gloves; I have to 'feel' the hair; have contact with the dogs and so, my poor hands suffered.

Strangely, while I was actually, grooming everyday, I managed to keep my skin hydrated with ordinary handcreams, only suffering the occasional breakout of sore patches. However, now I have retired, a weird thing has happened. For the last couple of years, I have suffered with outbreaks of a type of eczema, or some sort of dermatitis. The areas affected have been all the places where the brushes and combs used to chafe my skin. Also, my thumb and and fingers, where the scissors rubbed, also break out in sore patches. It is as though my skin is acting like a kind of 'memory foam' and remembering old injuries.

Naturally, I have visited my GP. I have been prescribed steroid creams and, more or less, dismissed. Stress, the wrong food, washing up liquid and detergents .... all the usual suspects .... have been cited as the cause and it has all been dismissed as something unimportant.

Sometimes my hands are fine, but then, they begin to itch and the skin becomes very dry. No amount of moisturiser seems to alleviate the dryness. Then the skin cracks and becomes red, sore and, at times, extremely painful. The prescribed steroid cream has to be used so sparingly, only once a day, that it doesn't seem to help and I am left in the vicious 'itch, scratch, itch' cycle. There have been times when my fingers have been bleeding and too painful to use.

QV Skincare

Last week, on Twitter, I noticed a request for people with eczema or psoriasis to test some creams and blog about the results. I messaged the Twitter account and explained my problem. I said I would be happy to try something new, I really need to find a solution, as I am becoming very depressed about the situation.

On Thursday I received a huge box of products to trial and blog about. So, I intend to post a weekly blog, a factual account of my experiences and results. I hope that some of you may find this interesting. Some of you may be suffering similar symptoms.

I used the cream for the first time, yesterday ( Friday 6th Sept.) and I was impressed to see that it moisturised my hands without leaving them greasy. Usually, hand creams soak into my thirsty skin, immediately, meaning I have to re-apply, often. However, my skin was still supple and hydrated a couple of hours later. I used the bath oil and body lotion before bed and was equally delighted with the results. I have found that I don't have to use great dollops of the creams, a little goes a long way.

So, I will continue regular use all week and report my findings in 7 days time.

The products being tested are;

1) QV Cream .... for dry skin conditions.

2) QV Intensive Ointment .... for very dry skin conditions.

3) QV Gentle Wash .... soap alternative for dry skin conditions.

4) QV Bath Oil .... for dry, itching skin conditions.

5) QV Skin Lotion .... for dry skin conditions.

All the products are non-steroidal and are free from fragrance, colour, lanolin, propylene glycol and sodium laury lsulphate.

Laguna Beach

Yeah, it was, oh, way back. You know, huh ? A good coupla years, anyway. Well, I had this job. Quite good, really, with this little Indy Computer company. They made games and stuff and every time they came up with a new video game, I had to write a caption for it. You know .... a tag line. Crazy, right ? Yeah, I know !

Man, it was cool, though. I was in this place, way down in Orange County. Er, Laguna Beach way, I think. Someplace like that ! Jeez, it was hotter 'n' hell and I spent hours on the beach. Just chillin', right ? What .... no, wait. Ah, yeah, well this time me and Jimi, yeah ? He was a life-guard ! I know, right ? What, how did we meet ? Yeah well, he was stationed just up the beach. Sort of "poised", you know ? Watching the surfers and swimmers, in case they got into any trouble ! Cool, eh ?

Haha, fat lot of good he woulda been ! I mean, yeah, right. Oh man, I wager he must have been stoned most of the time. Man, he was out of it ! Well, this one time, I was trying to come up with some smart-ass line. Some words that would grab the attention of those geeky gamers. You know ....the ones who have those pony-tails and jabber on about Linux and stuff. Yeah, I know .... right !

Well, one of those show-girls, you know .... the ones that dance in that thing down in San Diego .... er .... The Follies .... right ? Well she was larking in the surf. Skipping about, showing off her tits and ass, you know ? Making sure everyone was gawping, right. Well, she went out too far and just sort of .... went under. Man, it was crazy ! Everyone started shouting that she musta been caught by one of those rip-tides ! I dunno, right.

Anyways, Jimi wakes up from whatever he had inhaled that morning and tumbles down the ladder ! You know .... from the life-guard chair. High, it was .... man, real high. He landed right at my feet. Laugh ? Oh, jeez, we laughed ! Anyways, he sets off to rescue this little girl .... after I had pointed him in the right direction, of course. It was so funny, because he hasn't even got more than two yards , when, surprise surprise .... she comes splashing onto the shore in a huge wave ! All dazed and all, she was ! Dang me if the tide hadn't brought her in ! I know, right ?

So me and Jimi just roared and roared and I helped him back to his seat. We drank and smoked and got real friendly after that.

Anyways, what was I saying ? Oh yeah. This one time, we went down to Mexico. Jimi had a job to do, some collection and delivery job. We took a few days and, oh man, we had a ball. We drank tequila and screwed all day and lay on the beach and partied, real hard. Man, Mexico was wild ! What ? Oh, yeah, right.

Well, on the way back, we had this big old Buick. I grant you, it wasn't new, but it sure could cruise. Well, there we were, whooping it up, and the Border looming fast. We had no worries,right. Jimi said we would get through customs easy. Said monies had been paid to smooth the way, right. Said we would never be stopped and searched. I know, right ? ..... WRONG !!!

This is my offering for the Word game, this week. The game was invented by Matt and rules and examples of previous games can be found on his blog page

This week the words to be included were,