Tag Archives: duke

He had Ten Thousand Men (a new take on an old nursery rhyme)

He had Ten Thousand Men…


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand men
He marched them up to the top of the hill
And he marched them down again


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand cats
They scratched their way to the top of the hill
And scratched back down – it’s a fact!


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand snails
They slithered they way to the top of the hill
And slid back on slimy trails


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand mice
They scurried right up to the top of the hill
Not once, not twice, but THRICE!


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand ants
They marched their way to the top of the hill
And marched back down, so grand


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand skunks
They smelt their way to the top of the hill
And came back down like monks?


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand fish
They swam their way to the top of the hill
And swam back down with chips


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
And when they were only half way up
They were neither up nor down


The grand old duke of York
He had ten thousand birds
They flew right over the top of the hill
Far away, but, hey, that’s birds!


And when they were up they were up
And when they were down they were down
But when they were gone, so truly gone
They were surely not up or down

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Posted by on July 7, 2014 in nursery rhymes


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Ali – Bonkers


Ali – Bonkers

It happened two days before Halloween, when Ali was at home, helping her mother to prepare the evening meal.
“Mum,” said Ali, tugging at her mother’s blouse sleeve, “mum, now that Harry Potter has finally gone, you know, I mean how all the books have been finished, I feel like I’ve somehow grown up…Does that make any sense to you?”
It does, and I’m happy to hear it, Ali,” her mother replied giving her a huge hug, “but don’t be in too much of a hurry to grow up, these are the best years of your life.”
“Argh,” Ali yelled, “why does everyone say that, when all that we kids want to do is grow up?”
calming down, getting back to her little talk, Ali continued, “I am a big girl now, mum, and I realize there is no such thing as magic or witches or anything like that. Sure, that Harry Potter was just a great big fairy tale.”
Her mum smiled lovingly at Ali.
After the meal, a light tea, Ali’s parents went down to their bedroom to get ready for their evening out – It seemed to take forever, with so many comings and goings into and out from the bathroom. Finally they were ready, and her parents came into the sitting room where Ali with her brother Paul and sister Laura were watching the television,
“Ali,” said her mother, Jean, “are you sure you will be okay, babysitting for us this evening?”
It was her first time to baby-sit, and Ali, because she needed the money, wanted to make a good impression, so she said as forcefully as she could, “Yes, I’ll be fine. We’re going to have a nice time watching The Simpson Halloween Specials five, six and eight – I think they’re the best ones.”
“If Laura and Paul get frightened, you will turn them off?”
“Yes, yes I promise,” Ali replied, crossing her fingers beneath the large cushion perched on her lap. With that the parents opened the door, got into their car – a huge Lexus – and drove down the road to the Italian restaurant.
Neither Laura or Paul were frightened by the Simpson’s Halloween Specials, they had seen them far too many times to be anyway remotely frightened by them. Happily watching the eccentric, seasonal antics of these characters, all three children relaxed munching crisps and biscuits, chewing wine gums and drinking lashings of Fizzing Fruit Juice drink – lovely.

To begin with, the evening went surprisingly well for Ali, and she really enjoyed it. Her mother phoned up at nine, just to check, and Ali was proud to tell her that everything was fine, and not to worry. That piece of advice, however, was a mistake, a mistake that Ali was soon going to regret…
You see, at precisely nine thirty there was a loud knock on the front door, KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.
“Now who could that be?” said Ali as she got up from her wonderfully comfortable leather armchair. Unfortunately, after she opened the front door, Ali’s question remained unanswered, because there was nobody there.”
Slamming the door closed, Ali said, “Children playing silly Halloween pranks, I’d guess. Don’t they know there’s still two days to go?”
Opening another packet of crisps, an unusual variety called Blood and Bones that she guessed were made especially for Halloween, Ali popped a few of them into her mouth. “Yuk,” she cried, spitting the crisps onto the floor, “they taste awful.”
Laura and Paul laughed as Ali rushed into the kitchen to get another glassful of Fizzing fruit juice drink to wash the terrible clingy taste from her mouth. “That’s better,” she said as the wonderful fizzing drink washed away the taste of the dreadful crisps.
Looking at the unusual bottle (it was of a green/gold colour) Ali wondered just where her mother had found this wonderful, naturally fizzing drink that tasted of chocolate, mango and vanilla. There was no label on it, only the name of the drink and a palm tree logo in front of a rising sun moulded into the glass of the bottle. Deciding to leave the matter until her parents came home, Ali filled refilled her glass and then returned to her television viewing.
Laura and Paul were still laughing when Ali returned to the sitting room, but this time it was at a sticky situation that Homer Simpson had got into. Sinking onto the soft leather of the comfortable armchair Ali soon forgot all about the knock on the door.
Ten minutes later, another knock interrupted Ali’s relaxation. KNOCK, KNOCK, KNOCK.
“Grrr,” Ali complained as she pulled herself up from the chair. “I will so crucify them,” she said as she opened the door to see who was there. But, again, there was nobody outside.
Looking to the left and the right, Ali wondered what children might be playing this annoying prank, especially since her parents were out. She even walked as far as the gate, thinking they might be hiding alongside the road, but there was no one to be seen.
“When I get my hands on them, they won’t know what hit them,” Ali hissed as she stepped into the hall and closed the front door behind her.
Sitting into her armchair, Ali tried to return her attention to the Simpsons, but she found it more difficult to relax. It took the Halloween Special # eight, Ali’s favourite, to finally take her mind away from the troubling knocks on the door, and once again all three children relaxed munching crisps and biscuits, chewing wine gums and drinking even more Fizzing Fruit Juice – lovely.
“I will kill them,” Ai screamed. “I will absolutely kill them!” she shouted as she ran to open the door. She opened it. Ali opened the door so forcefully it almost came off its hinges. This time, however, there was somebody there. Standing outside, his clothes dripping wet, there was a pale skinned wearing a black suit.
“I am so sorry to be disturbing you,” the foreign accented man apologised, “but my car has broken down.”
Staring past him, out into the street, Ali saw no signs of a car broken-down or otherwise, and she asked, “Where is it?”
“It is up the road; that is why I am so wet, from having to walk so far in the pouring rain…”
“But, it isn’t raining,” a confused Ali muttered in reply.
“It is, where my car broke down,” the man insisted.
“May I possibly use your telephone, to call the garage?”
“Don’t you have a mobile phone?” Ali asked in surprise that so well dressed a person might go out without one.
“No,” the man replied, “where I come from, in my county, we don’t have such luxuries.”
Taken aback by this unusual explanation, Ali offered the use of their telephone.
Stepping into the hallway, the man said, “Where are my manners?”
“I beg your pardon?”
“I have not introduced myself,” he said. “Please allow me to introduce myself…my name, my name is T Nuoc Alucard.”
“The telephone is there, Mr Alucard,” said Ali, pointing to a small table in the hallway.
“Thank you, thank you very much,” he replied.
My Alucard picked up the handset.
Returning to the sitting room, Ali told Laura and Paul not to worry, that it was only someone who wanted to use their telephone. Being so young, her brother and sister saw nothing unusual about that, and their attention soon returned to the Simpsons. Ali, however, listened intently to the man standing on the other side of the door, speaking on the telephone, but despite her best efforts the only thing she was able to hear were faint mumbling. And even that stopped after a short while, leaving Ali wandering if he had simply walked out of the house without bothering to thank her for the hospitability.
The Simpsons Halloween special # eight finished with Laura and Paul blissfully asleep on the couch. Outside, in the hallway, the foreign man (if he was still actually there) stood in total silence.
“What is he doing?” Ali whispered, her ear stuck to the door trying to hear what was happening. But it was no use she heard nothing from the other side – no speaking, no mumblings – nada. Ali had to investigate…
Gathering courage, Ali took a deep breath and opened the sitting room door. Gasping with relief, she found the hallway empty of foreigners, with the front door tightly closed again. Ali opened it, thinking she might see the mysterious man walking away from the house, but she saw nothing.
Closing the door, Ali rambled happily into the kitchen to get the bottle of Fizzing Fruit juice drink.
“There’s only a small bit left,” she said, “so I might as well drink it.”
The green/gold bottle was still in her hand when Ali heard some sounds in the hallway. Frightened, yet trying to be brave, Ali tightly grabbed the bottle and crept out from the kitchen to investigate…
Creeping on tippy-toes, Ali searched the hallway, the bedrooms, bathroom and also the linen closet, but she was unable to find anything or anyone who could have made the noise. Breathing a sigh or relief, Ali was just about to take a swig from the bottle of juice when she hear a noise from the sitting room, a noise like a muffled cry for help.
“Hold on,” Ali screamed as she ran down the hallway. “Hold on, I’m coming,” she shouted as she burst open the sitting room door, with bottle at the ready to brain the unwelcome intruder. But inside the room it was quite, the sitting room was now deathly quiet, with Laura and Paul missing.
Panicking, screaming in sheer disbelief, Ali searched the house for her brother and sister, and this time she searched everywhere. She looked in the wardrobes, her parents en suite, under the beds – even in the huge toy boxes in Laura and Paul bedrooms, but Ali simply could not find them. She could find no trace of her brother and sister. Shrieking in fear for the safety of Laura and Paul, thinking the foreign accented man must have taken them, Ali ran to the front door yanking it open with all the strength she could muster, and then running out, Ali fell…
Everything outside of the house had vanished; there was no garden, no path and no light – nothing. Ali fell into that utter blackness, screaming and screaming and screaming ….
Landing with a small bump, Ali was surprised that it had been so soft a landing. Confused, she opened her eyes to see where she actually was. And now even more confused, Ali stared at the ceiling of her bedroom, the wind chimes by the window playing in the gentle breeze. She smiled. Ali smiled with delight, because having just fallen out of bed meant it had all been a big, bad dream. There was no foreign man, no gaping hole of blackness outside of the front door – everything was okay, everything was just perfect.
Climbing into bed, Ali looked at her digital radio/clock to see what the time was. It was only five a.m. so rolling over she tried to get another hour or two of sleep.
She was asleep; Ali was blissfully asleep when the noise woke her up. A noise, somewhere in the kitchen, had awoken her with a jolt. .
“What was that?” she said, surprised that anyone could be up so early. Ali listened. “Perhaps it’s just something slipping off a shelf,” she said, “yes, that must be it; something falling off a shelf. Sure, mum is always over packing them, isn’t she?
“There it is again,” Ali whispered ever so quietly.
“And again,” she hissed even quieter.
Slipping on her dressing gown Ali moaned, “This is ridiculous.”
Opening the bedroom door, stepping into the dark hallway, Ali set off to investigate.

“Mum and dad are fast asleep, as per usual,” she said as she peeked into their room.
Leaving her parents at rest, Ali glanced through the cracks in Paul and Laura’s bedroom doors. “Sleeping like babies,” she whispered.
Feeling the cold, Ali pulled her dressing gown tighter around her.
“Now what can that be?” she hissed again as she turned the kitchen door handle.
The door creaked open. Smiling with relief, Ali saw the cause of the noise – Duke; their ever so friendly Labrador dog was in the kitchen.
“Did mum leave you in?” Ali asked as she approached the family pet. It snarled, Duke snarled at Ali. “Why are you doing that, why are you snarling at me?” she asked. “It’s only me, you know?”
The dog snarled even louder, the thick saliva dripping from its long fangs.
Seeing the patio door open, Ali said, “How did that get open open? Duke, did you open it?”
The dog snarled even more ferociously, its eyes glowing red, as the red saliva dripping from its sharp fangs.
“Red saliva?” said Ali, her fears rising by the second. “That can only mean one thing – blood.” Ali screamed and screamed and screamed…
Turning round, Duke suddenly bolted for the exit disappearing into the darkness.
“Mum, dad,” Ali screamed as she ran down the hallway and burst into their bedroom, “Duke…Duke – he’s dripping blood.”
No one heard. There was nobody there. The room, it was empty.
“Where are you? Mum? Dad?” Ali called out, in fear that her nightmare might still not be over.
Bursting into Paul’s room, Ali screamed, “Paul?” but he also is missing.
“Laura?” Laura’s room was as empty as Paul’s.
Where is everyone?” she screamed, “WHERE IS EVERYONE?”
Then remembering the open, patio door, Ali knew that she must shut it. She knew that she must keep Duke out of the house.
Returning to the kitchen, Ali carefully, ever so carefully crept over to the patio doors, which she closed, securing the lock. Then glancing out into the garden, hoping that she might see Duke in a friendlier mood, Ali saw something that put the fear of god into her. Strewn across the wide expanse of lawn, directly in front of the patio doors, were hundreds and hundreds of bones still dripping wet with blood.
Ali was frozen in fright; she was shocked to the core that their dog, their friendly dog, could have done so foul a deed.
BANG! Jake pounded the doors with the full force of his heavy body, his bloody teeth grinding the glass in a ferocious attempt to get some more bones.
BANG. Jake smashed against the doors, he had no intention of stopping.
BANG. Like a dog possessed, like a dog with only thing on its mind, Jake smashed into the doors over and over and over again trying to get more juicy bones.
Pulling a curtain across the patio doors, trying to erase from her mind the terrible change in their dog’s behaviour, Ali hoped the worst might be over. She hoped that the bones, all those bones still dripping wet with blood were from animals and not from her family.
Deciding the give her aunt, Breda, a ring on the phone, to tell her about all the terrible things that were happening and, hopefully, get some help, Ali picked up the handset and began dialling.
“BANG. The handset flew out from Ali’s small hand as the dog – Jake – knocked her flying, pinning her to the floor.
“Hello,” a voice on the other end of the handset said, “can I help you?”
Trying to fight off Jake, Ali pulled at the curtain with all of her might. It and the pole came tumbling down in a muffled thump. Then using the curtain to protect her from the sharp, pointed teeth, Ali tried to fend off the mad dog.
Retaliating ferociously, having to intention of being beaten by a curtain, Jake’s thrashing legs drew it up, around and over Ali.
It was dark under that curtain, and Ali fought with the heavy material for fear she might never get out from beneath it.
A chink, a chink of light crept under the material. Struggling, pulling it back, Ali saw the sun; she saw the morning sun shining in through her bedroom window. And the curtain, sure, it wasn’t a curtain at all; it was really the quilt from her bed.
“Another dream,” Ali said, smiling with relief, “that turned into a nightmare.”
Looking out through the window,, Ali was so happy to see the sun shining in the clear blue sky. Then running into her parent’s room, she shouted with joy, “Good morning to you both, and what a wonderful morning it is, to be alive…”
Yawning, wiping the sleep from their heavy eyes, Ali’s mum and dad stared at her like she had gone stark raving bonkers.
“That’s our Ali,” they said, “ALI – BONKERS!” And with that, Ali laughed. She laughed and she laughed and she laughed.

THE END – or is it?



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