Bartholomew’s Adventure

‘Bartholomew? Is that you?’

pant pant

‘Bartholomew, it’s hard enough to get six babies to have a nap after Sunday School without you coming home late. This floor shook all the way through the singing. The entire ruckus has given me a headache.’

pant pant

‘When I catch my breath…pant…I’ll explain.’

‘Were you chased by the janitor?’

‘Mildred, he’s on to us again.’

‘Well it’s no wonder. Your snooping around those Sunday School classes is going to get us into trouble one of these days.’

He ignored his wife and continued. ‘I got right up close to the piano. It was awesome. They were singing Jesus loves me; my favourite. I managed to sneak in behind the young ones going into class. Mildred, their new Sunday School teacher, Miss Cooper, is delightful.’

‘I thought you were going to find us some Sunday lunch, not check out the girls.’

‘I did. Anyway, I was captivated by the way she presented the Noah’s Ark story—pictures of the ark, birds, animals, even Noah. Young Tommy asked if there were any rats on board and everyone laughed. Miss Cooper assured Tommy that if there are rats around now; they would’ve been on the ark. She spoke with enthusiasm about our Maker and His promises. Oh Mildred, you’d have loved it. It was a perfect morning.’

‘So why were you panting?’

‘I was coming to that. You see, Billy was about to leave the room with his Bible still on his chair.’

‘Again? His parents must have replaced his Bible a dozen times.’

‘I know, and I thought if I could get someone’s attention before they left, they’d see it and return it to him.’

‘So, what did you do, scare poor Miss Cooper half to death on her first morning?’

‘No, I simply marched over to the Bible and stood on it… only I didn’t see the janitor passing the door with his broom. He saw me about the same time as Billy did. Billy stood between the janitor and me so I could get away.’ He chuckled. ‘You should’ve seen me run. I slipped out the door as quick as a flash with that broom coming mighty close.’

‘OK, so where’s lunch? Maybe we can enjoy some of His gifts before the babies wake up.’

Bartholomew removed the pack from his shoulder and began to unload his findings. ‘I found a couple of potato crisps in the foyer. A gummy bear with his head removed in the cry room and a half-eaten peanut butter and jelly sandwich in the Sunday School Hall. All while they were busy singing themselves silly.’ He chuckled again.

‘Oh, this is great, Bartholomew. We won’t go to bed hungry tonight.’

‘I’LL FIND YOU, RAT!’ A voice bellowed through the walls.

Mildred began to shiver. ‘Bartholomew…’

‘Mildred, take the babies through the side door to the end of the stage. Take the underground route to Uncle Moses… and don’t stop until you get there.’

‘Bartholomew, don’t leave us. Where are you going?’

‘It’s all right. I’ll distract him and meet you at Uncle Moses’s later. I’ll be fine. GO!’

‘WHERE ARE YOU, RAT?’

Bartholomew scurried back through the hole and across the stage. His feet skidded beneath him on the varnished boards, causing him to slide sideways and crashing into a pile of electrical cables. He scanned the stage and the hall just as one of the cables hit the floor below.

‘I HAVE YOU NOW.’

As fast as his little legs could carry him, Bartholomew scampered into Miss Cooper’s classroom, raced past Noah and the ark and up the drapes on the other side of the room.

There he waited.

It was dark when Bartholomew reached Uncle Moses’ place, tired and hungry. He listened, but there was no sound. He tapped lightly before entering.

‘Bartholomew, where have you been? I’ve been worried sick. The babies wore out poor Uncle Moses. They’re all curled up with him on his bed.’

‘I’m fine. I told you I’d be fine. I know that place blindfolded. We can return in a few weeks once the exterminators have gone and the air is clear again.’

‘In the meantime, Bartholomew, you can help me with the babies. When we return home, I want you to take them to Sunday School, but no more adventures.’

‘All right, Mildred, no more adventures for me.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in:
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

PIRATES, HIDDEN TREASURE AND …

Fourteen-year-old Electra sat perched on the edge of her chair facing the small group that sat cross legged on her bed.

‘It happened a long time ago’, she began, ‘but it seems like yesterday—probably because I’ve told the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because it’s why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots. Oh, you think your families has roots too? Okay, let me explain what REAL ancestry means.’

Electra put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor before continuing.

‘In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captain’s cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven… its captain’s name was..’

‘Electra! Will you please stop telling that tale.’

‘Aw…Dad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with our family’s history, or your family home. And, don’t forget the reason why you were named Electra.’

Sandy, one of the girls at the pyjama party, bounced off the bed. ‘Tell us, Mr Chapman. We really want to know about your house and your family.’

The other girls joined in the pleading.

Electra stood and took the freshly made popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her chair where she had just been sitting, and motioned him to take over the narration.

‘Electra was right about the year. That’s when the house was built, but that’s where the truth of her story finishes.’ He waited for Sandy and his daughter to join the other girls on the bed. Electra passed the popcorn round before he continued.

‘Basically, my father wanted to save this house from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. He pleaded his case and renovated it. It’s been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but it’s stable.’

Sandy stared at nothing in particular. ‘You mean those rooms could be haunted?’

Electra burst out laughing. ‘You must be kidding.’

‘Please continue’, one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electra’s father and ignoring his daughter’s outburst.

‘No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. There’s no great mystery, only the history gets a bit confusing. A few generations back the family lost most of their fortune and the house was left empty for years.’

Sandy looked puzzled. ‘Is that it? Electra, I think it’s a great story. Tell us Mr Chapman how did Electra get her name.’

‘It’s not all that interesting,’ Electra commented casually, wriggled back against the bed board and stuffed popcorn into her mouth.

Her father paused and took a moment to continue. ‘Electra’s mother was beautiful. She had red hair…’

‘That explains your hair,’ Sandy teased.

Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.

‘She died in child birth’, he continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. ‘I didn’t know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock that caused her hair to frizz. Her grandmother named her. Over time her hair lost its frizz… but the name stuck. Her hair still reminds me of her mother.’

He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.

Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. ‘You’ve never told me the real story. Why wouldn’t anyone like the true story about your family and this house?’

Electra turned; her eyes glistened with tears. ‘I wish I knew my mother but I do know a lot about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I don’t get sad. I guess I didn’t realize, until today, just how sad my dad gets.’

The girls gathered around their friend for a group hug. ‘Your family sounds wonderful,’ Sandy exclaimed. ‘Your family home is beautiful. Why don’t we ask your dad to show us around?’

Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. ‘That’s sounds like a great idea. Maybe we’ll find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure’, she added with a giggle. She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Dawn

Jeremiah 1:20 – Ah Lord God! behold, thou hast made the heaven and the earth by thy great power and stretched out arm, and there is nothing too hard for thee. (KJV)

A recent visit by the coast had me reminiscing about the days spent writing my first book. As I breathed in the seaside freshness, it stimulated the desires that once beckoned me to explore the dream. Pale pink clouds caressed the sunrise like a morning hug. Birds sang praises to welcome the dawn.

My thoughts reached out as in a dream, capturing a peace within my soul. While the sun elevated slowly into a glowing sky, words surged forth like a shifting stream. My fingers moved quickly to keep up with the flow of thoughts. My heart was overwhelmed by the outpouring of phrases previously unknown. There’s something about the break of day that gives freshness to the mind and releases expression onto a page.

Immersed in my writing, I was still aware of the increasing brightness filling the sky beyond the open window, but I was also conscious of the glow within my inner being. If there is ever a place I feel in harmony with God, is in absorbed in writing. To not write would create an empty cavern in my life.

My desire is to praise Him through words inspired by creation. My hopes and dreams rest in knowing that He is the only one I need to bring joy and delight.

Father, let Your Word penetrate my soul. You are the author of my faith. Allow me, Lord, to bring joy and delight to your heart in return. May the words I write be inspired by your love and grace. Amen.

© Chrissy Siggee First Published in 2009

Scripture Verses used are from the New International Version of the Bible

Archived in:  Christian Reads

Special Places and Great Memories #9

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Butterfly House. Coffs Harbour, New South Wales – 2019

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Penrith home. New South Wales – 2019

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Floriade. Canberra, Australian Capital Territory – 2019

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Princes Highway Taree, New South Wales – Late 2019

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Princes Highway, Cundletown, New South Wales – Late 2019

Free Sunsets Every Day

Sunset at new home. Mid North Coast, New South Wales – January 2020

Photography by Norm & Chrissy for Riverside Peace

Carla’s Big Chance

Carla answered her mobile phone after the second line of her special ringtone “Nobody Weird like Me”, Travis’s favourite song. ‘Hi, Travis. What’s up?’

‘Not much, I just wanted to see what my baby sister was up to.’

‘Oh fine, I guess. I just wish Dad would ease up on me.’

Travis chuckled. ‘Still skipping classes?’

‘You know I hate school, Travis. Why do I need an education to be in movies? It’s…’ Carla’s voice trailed off.

‘I know, Sis. You just want to hit the big time now.’

‘Yeah, as if that’s going to happen when I’m in a stupid Math class or something. What have you been up too?’

‘I had a few minutes. Just wanted see how my kid sister was doing before I ironed my uniform, polished my buckle and shine my boots. You know how it is.’

It was Carla’s turn to chuckle. ‘OK, have fun at boot camp. Don’t let them catch you with your mobile phone.’

Carla rested back on her pillows and sighed. She missed Travis; missed his loud music and after school visits with her to the youth centre to play snooker when she was supposed to be doing homework.

Her phone buzzed. ‘Hello,’ she answered without checking the caller ID.

‘Hey, Carla, you up for some fun?’

It was Toni, a girl she’d met a few weeks ago at the youth centre. Toni wanted to be a model and Carla liked her right off.

‘What kind of fun?’ Carla answered half-heartedly.

‘Remember Kevin?’

‘Yeah, he’s the nerd that was playing chess at the youth centre. Goes to that snooty school off Main Street.’

‘Yep, that’s him.’ Toni sounded excited. ‘He’s making a video for his school. Kevin’s uncle is on the school board and has heaps of money and some neat video equipment. He likes Kevin’s script and wants to enter him in a junior filmmaker’s competition in Hollywood!’

‘So, what’s that got to do with me?’

‘Kevin needs a couple of girls to do some acting for him.’

Carla sprang from her bed. ‘You’re kidding! When?’

‘We’re meeting them at the youth centre in half an hour.”

‘I’m on my way.’ Carla ended the call. This could be the break I’m looking for. If Kevin wins the competition, Toni and I could be on our way to Hollywood.

It took less than a minute for Carla to see Toni talking to Kevin near the snooker tables. They were talking to another young guy who was leaning against a soda machine. Carla smiled at the handsome young man. He reached out to shake her hand. She was mesmerized by his presence.

‘Hi Carla.’ Kevin broke the spell. ‘My uncle is waiting for us at his home. We’re doing the video there.’

Kevin’s uncle’s house was a few blocks from the youth centre. On the way Kevin explained his script. ‘It’s a film I’m doing for my photography and visual effects class. My uncle offered to help with his equipment.’ He laughed. ‘He doesn’t trust me with his precious stuff.’

They arrived at a huge two-story house surrounded by an immaculate garden. They climbed the front stairs and Kevin unlocked the door.

Carla was elated as she stepped into the impressive entry. She looked beyond an archway where two video cameras and a still life camera were set up on tripods facing a sofa… a sofa covered with cushions and satin sheets. Toni grinned at her and winked. The boys walked on past the girls and headed to one of the cameras and began to adjust some dials.

‘What’s going on, Toni? Where’s Kevin’s Uncle?’ Carla began to panic.

‘Who needs his uncle? They have the equipment and we have the opportunity of a lifetime right here.’

Steve returned to Carla’s side and skimmed his index finger down her cheek and flicked her hair. ‘Hey Carla, don’t fret. Isn’t this what you wanted? Glamour! Fame! It’s worth a hundred bucks.’

Carla’s heart raced and her breathing quickened. With one sudden movement, she turned and ducked through the still open front door. She raced up the path and onto the street turning her head to see the three of them standing outside. They were laughing at her. Carla gasped and began to run.

When Carla was sure she hadn’t been followed, she slowed her pace. Tears and sweat streamed down her face. She drew in deep breaths and swallowed repeatedly trying to regain control before returning home. Maybe I should wait a few years before I think about Hollywood. She wiped her brow with the sleeve of her sweater and wished for some big brother advice.

‘I’m home,’ Carla called from the front room. ‘I’ve got an assignment due. I’ll be in my room.’

‘OK,’ her mother called back. ‘We’ll be eating at seven. I’m running late.’

Carla entered her bedroom and closed the door. She took her mobile phone from her pocket and hit Travis’s speed-dial. Taking a deep breath she struggled to fight back more tears.

‘Hey Sis, you just caught me. What’s up?’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

 

Garden Flourishing

I’ve never had any success with strawberries in the past.
Almost hidden on one side by the yellow tomatoes growing in veggie plot 1.
I love tomatoes but they don’t like me and Norm just doesn’t eat them unless they’re cooked and mixed in with other ingredients. These are small oval yellow tomatoes with a very low acidic level. I can eat them fresh with a salad or cook them. They cook well when they are green too.
Spinach, lettuce and capsicum are also in good supply. More photos soon.

Archived in: I’m in the Garden

Mathematics and the Cheese Board

While we were visiting Timbertown a few weeks ago, Norm and I spent some time looking at items made by a local wood craftsman. I mentioned to Norm that I would love a large cheese board but we found nothing that I liked or big enough. Norm said he could try and make one. This seemed a good idea because now that he’s retired he is often looking for something to do but this was not one of his academic projects. We were given the phone number of the suppler who invited us to his property to view his huge shed full of all his wood. Well, I fell in love with some beautiful pieces but they were much too big. We were able to take one home to see if would work but we returned it because it was too much work for Norm who had never attempted anything like this. As you can see all his measurements and calculations went out the window.

This was the piece we finally settled on. So, why the post title you ask? The cheese board measurements went out the window. (sorry it’s slightly out of focus. I had to almost go through the window to fit it all of it in the camera frame)
His first job was to make sure it fitted from the sink to the end of the bench perfectly, then fill the natural knots and crevices with liquid glass. This took several days. We had considered replacing the whole bench top but the price of a new kitchen wasn’t an option and to remove the original bench would be difficult because it was connected to the steel frame in the wall.
Then it was sanded and lacquered on both sides. This took another four days. In the meantime, Norm cooked meals outside on the BBQ or in the pizza oven.
From the living room side of bench you will see it has the natural edge. While waiting for it to dry completely we went to Coffs Harbour
The final look.

Not bad for an academic’s first handyman project except I still need a cheese board.

Archived in: Retirement

Tommy’s Lesson

Tommy entered the kitchen; his head bent forward to watch his feet as he walked. His hair skimmed the underside of the kitchen counter as he cut the corner.

‘Grandpa, can you help me tie my shoelaces please?’

‘Sure. Up we go.’ He lifted his grandson onto a high kitchen chair.

‘Grandpa, why is it so hard to learn how to tie shoelaces?’

‘That’s a good question. Everything we learn in life can be hard.’

‘Why?’

‘Because it’s part of learning.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, if everything was easy to learn in life there wouldn’t be any strength to our character.’

‘Huh!’

Grandpa slowly looped a shoelace as Tommy watched. ‘Let me put it this way,’ Grandpa continued as he twisted one end of the lace around the loop. ‘Do you remember when your daddy and I took you fishing last summer?’

‘Yes.’ Tommy’s face screwed up. ‘It was so hard to get the worms to stay on the hook and get the fish to bite them.’

‘That’s right. Do you remember how many times you had to practise to get it right?’

‘Lots.’ The little boy nodded once and continued to study his grandfather’s hands.

‘By the end of the weekend you had it just right and you caught the biggest fish for supper.’

Tommy’s face beamed and revealed a toothy grin. He let his foot drop and held up the other one.

‘Your turn,’ Grandpa encouraged.

Tommy wriggled his foot onto his other leg and concentrated on the shoelace. It took a few minutes but eventually he made the final turn and pulled the loop through.

‘There will be other things in life you will need to learn and they won’t be easy either.’

Tommy sat looking at his shoes while he listened. ‘Like what?’

‘Oh, all sorts of things, like how to know the difference between right and wrong, when to make an important decision and how to choose which decision to make.’

‘Why?’

‘Because that’s life and we need to learn lots of things like tying shoelaces and how to fish. Making a decision when choosing what kind of friends we should have can be a tough one.’

‘That sounds really hard. Will I have to learn how to talk to grandsons too?’

The old man laughed. ‘Yes, but not for a while yet; that’s a grown-up’s lesson. You can wait for that.’

‘Look, Grandpa. We tie shoelaces the same. Maybe you practised lots too.’

‘Yep, I practised lots too but some life lessons took longer to learn than others.’

‘Grandpa, can you teach me how to learn other life lessons?’

‘I certainly can but right now… why don’t we have some ice-cream?’

Tommy giggled and his eyes brightened. ‘I guess we don’t have to learn how to eat ice-cream.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Hope in the City

DELIVERED  – A Peculiar People Collaboration

Amongst the group of writers I can claim to have written just one chapter but yes, I wrote Chapter four.

320_4654160An immigrant and her young daughter, struggling to reach their dream…a special needs child, searching for hope…a newly released ex-con, seeking forgiveness. They have one thing in common—they’re about to be touched by God in a way they never imagined. All through a simple postcard. Brought up in a strict Muslim home in London, Sulafa has recently experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Now, despite fear of discovery and its consequences, she knows she has to spread the good news. In an act of bravery, she sends out postcards with a single message: Let me pray for you. Her simple request impacts lives and brings hope in the midst of hopelessness.

The second of many anticipated books from Peculiar People, Delivered is a collection of short stories that intertwine to deliver a single message. It is the work of twenty-five authors with one united voice, proclaiming the power of God to transform lives and His ability to do the miraculous in the most ordinary of circumstances.

Amongst the group of writers I can claim to have written just one chapter but yes, I wrote Chapter four.

Chapter Four

Hope in the City – by Chrissy Siggee

Seventeen year old Sarah stepped down from the train and looked around. Haunted eyes stared out from a gaunt face. She looked around to gather her bearings. Commuters pushed and shoved their way past, almost causing her to stumble under the heaviness of her backpack. The warped wheels of her worn suitcase flip flopped behind her as she followed the crowd. She’d come to Sydney for a new life. No one here knew of her former years, which she wanted to forget…

from the book:  DELIVERED  – A Peculiar People Collaboration

 Available now from Amazon

Three days in Coffs Harbour

We took a few days away to visit some of our favourite places and new places too. One of our favourites is the Butterfly House.

We have never seen so many chrysalises at one time.
These are just some of the butterflies we encountered.
Another favourite is The Clog Barn and the miniature Dutch village.
Clogs are made and sold on the premises. I couldn’t resist the photo with the eastern water dragon that likes to sunbathe or take a shot cuts over the houses.
Day 2 we drove up to the sky pier that gives a panoramic view of Coffs Harbour.
As you can see, Norm had charge of the camera. We were the only ones on the sky pier. We then headed for the break water.
At the end of the breakwater we decided to continue the 2 kilometer/ approximately 1 1/4 miles UP 40 metres/ approx 130 feet above sea level to the to of Muttonbird Island.
Views from half way point. Zoomed in of course.
Taken at the top. I made it. 3 years ago I would not have thought I could walk that far.
Yes, way up there is where we went.
While walking the break wall we booked a table for lunch. I had a fresh tuna steak with an amazing salad and Norm had roast duck. We both decided on this Mango cheese cake for dessert. It’s so good for a gluten free dessert.
Day 3 we visited the botanical gardens.
We walked several paths and board walks during the hour we were there.

My apologies if the photos are out of a alignment. I haven’t got these new WordPress changes worked out yet.

Archived in: Retirement