The Clearout

To raise some funds to buy even more clothes, I've decided to sell the old, outgrown and out of fashion things I have on FleaBay. Mum said it was OK so long as I ask before I put anything up for auction, so I began sorting through my clothes, deciding what I wanted to keep and what I might sell. Mum wouldn't let me sell a few items that I really wanted to get rid of, but for the most part, she was happy. Now the work begins. Not only do I have to photograph every item, I have to create the listings and write the descriptions, and getting this right will determine if something sells or not. I'd done a lot of reading about successful FleaBay selling and according to the interweb, clothes sell better if they're photographed being worn rather than on a hanger or laid flat. The more images the better, so front, side, back, close-up details and the label should be included. I modelled the first batch and Mum took the photographs... but they were all a bit crappy. If they weren't blurred they were wonky, which means I’d have to spend ages straightening and cropping the images on my laptop. Mum blamed the camera and I blamed her, before asking my brother to help. His photos looked OK on the small camera screen, but “Oh Peter you're as bad as Mum.” I whined as I looked at them on my large laptop screen. “Can't you hold the camera still for one millisecond?!”

“I was.” he claimed, before blaming the camera.

I picked up the camera, told him to stand where I'd been standing and took a couple of pictures of him. Then I viewed them on the large laptop screen and showed him the difference between my 'steady' photographs and his shaky ones. We started again and whilst some of his pictures were perfectly sharp, too many weren't. “This is going to take forever.” I sighed.

“Sorry, sis... I'm trying my best.” Peter claimed. “Why don't you put the camera on your dresser and use the timer?”

“Because that'd take forever... I'd be waiting 30 seconds for each picture.”

“Yeah, true.” he sighed. “Well... I wish I could help but, if I can't take a decent photograph there's not much I can do.” He began to make his exit.


The possibility of moving to another town had been on the cards for months. Peter's dad works for a logistics company which has been planning to relocate their head office to a more central location and when the office moves, so will Peter, his sister Kate and his Mum & Dad. When the news finally came, things began to move much quicker than they'd anticipated. No sooner had they broke
up for the summer holidays, their parents informed them that they'd be moving up to Butterworth, a small town somewhere in the Midlands. “It's in the middle of nowhere!” Kate whined as Dad pinpointed the town on Google Maps. “Why are we moving there?”

“Because the company's moving there.” their dad replied. “They're relocating the depot...” he pointed out a large industrial estate near the small town and explained that its close to the M1 and M6.

“And miles away from all my friends.” Kate moaned.

“Mine too.” Peter added.

“You'll make new friends, and you can keep in touch with your old ones.” their mum claimed. “They do have the internet in the Midlands you know. You can still keep in touch on Messenger or VideoChat.” she reminded her children.

“But what about school?” Kate asked. “I'm about to start Year 11.”

“I know, and it's not ideal.” she's told. “...but you'll be moving to a much better school with an 'excellent' Ofsted rating.”

Dressed Under Duress

The images have been 'borrowed' from Daphnie's Secret Garden on Deviant Art.
The story was supposed to be a single captioned image, but it got a bit too big.
Sorry about the terrible title, I couldn't think of anything better. Please advise!

Unwanted Gifts

Since I intended my last story for Xmas day, but posted it 10 days early... I decided to quickly pen another festive fantasy. It hasn't been proof read so could be full of errors. It doesn't even have a proper ending so could be continued at a later date... but I hope you enjoy it.

Happy Christmas!


As is the norm, my sister and I try to guess what each of our gifts might be before removing the wrapping paper. As she passed her gift to me, I instantly guessed that it was some vinyl. It was obvious because I'd bought myself a vinyl player with the money I'd got in Xmas tips from my milk round. But is I took hold of the brightly wrapped parcel; approximately twelve inches square and a quarter of an inch thick, I quickly realised that it was too light to be what I'd initially guessed. “A calendar?” I guessed, since it's light in weight and slightly floppy. My sister smiled and shook her head. I ran my hands over the paper, feeling for clues as to what's inside. It's mostly flat, slightly lumpy here and there. “Wall art?” I guessed. She shook her head. I couldn't guess so turned it over and pulled open the snowman clad paper. Inside I found a square sheet of brown corrugated cardboard which I grabbed and turned over. My heart jumped into my mouth. I gasped. I gulped. I looked at my sister. A smug smile covered her face. “You bitch!” I spat.

“Peter!” my dad snapped.

“You promised!” I growled.

“So did you.” she dryly replied. “Now you won't have to go sneaking into my things.”

“What is it?” Mum asked.

Dolls and Dresses

To celebrate this blog getting one million page views, I'll publish my Christmas story a week early. But first of all, I'd like to say thank you to all my readers. THANK YOU!!!

This story isn't my best, but it is festive. Inspired by an excellent cartoon by RocketXpert (find him on Deviant Art)... set around Christmas 1983... somewhere in England.


Like all kids, Timothy is eagerly anticipating Christmas Day and all the gifts it brings. This year he's set his heart on adding an InterCity 125 train to his model railway layout, and goes to sleep each and every chilly December night dreaming of unwrapping this:

Meanwhile, Timothy's mother is having second thoughts about Christmas. In the background, the radio blasts out yet another festive pop song: ...he sees you when you're sleeping, he knows when you're awake, he knows if you've been bad or good so be good for goodness sake... She sighs and wonders if her son really deserves the Christmas gifts he's hoping for.


When I was four years old, my mother took me to a ballet class and I really enjoyed it. I stuck with it for years but as I got older, I began getting teased by the kids on the street and at school. By the age of eleven I decided to give it up, in spite of the fact I'd just reached grade 4 and was really proud of myself. I gave it up for several reasons; it's not cool, I’d found new hobbies and beyond grade 4 it gets really hard and really intense. I don't go to ballet any more but I still get teased for it occasionally and still get called 'Billy' by a handful of kids. This often leads to the tiresome 'why did he call you Billy' conversation. Even some of the girls think it's a bit weird when they learn that I used to do ballet, and all have to ask if I wore a tutu. “Nooo.” I groan. “Boys wear shorts and a T-shirt, like Billy Elliot did.”

My mother understood my reasons for wanting to quit, but told me that I shouldn't worry about what other people say. It wasn't just because I was being teased that I decided to quit my twice weekly ballet classes. It was taking up too much of my time and I felt like I was just growing out of it. Plus, taking it beyond Grade 4 is something only prospective professionals tend to do... and my waning interest no longer justified the time, effort or expense of continuing. I'd also found new interests that I enjoyed more, such as playing cricket, making model kids, going karting and playing video games.

One afternoon at school, Miss York, my English teacher asked if I'd stay behind after class. Initially I thought that I must be in trouble for something, so waited nervously whilst the other kids filtered out. Miss York is also the school's Head of Drama. She tells me that she's looking for cast members for the big play that's performed at the end of the academic year, and asks if I do ballet. “No.” I reply. “Not any more.” I added, informing her that I gave it up a year-and-a-half ago.

Shopping With Mother

Mum and I would visit the city every month or two. She likes the much bigger choice of clothes shops and bargain stores whilst I enjoy the gadget and media stores and visiting the museums. Mum likes galleries which can be tedious, depending on the exhibition... but the same can be said for the museums. This time, there's a new indoor market she wants to visit. It's set on three floors of some big old warehouse, so each floor is huge, filled with seemingly hundreds of little stores selling games and gadgets, records, furniture, junk, posters, vintage, modern and even military fashions... all sorts of stuff. There's almost nothing to buy but plenty to look at. It's almost a museum or art gallery in its own right.

Conditions of Inheritance

When I was little, I was convinced the house was haunted. Even in bright sunshine it was an imposing structure. We'd visit several times a year for a few days and I always looked forward to leaving. The joists creaked throughout the night and the nearby trees cast skeletal shadows across the moonlit walls. I always mistook the hoot of an owl for the mutterings of a ghost or ghoul... and in the mornings we had to endure Aunt Agatha and her housekeeper Bernice. Agatha's husband, Uncle Quentin was always away on business until he was lost at sea many years ago. With no children of her own, Agatha's approach to youngsters wasn't ideal. Seen and not heard was the way she saw it.

When I was young I felt it was just myself and my elder sister Mabel that she despised. But as I got a little older, I came to believe that she disliked pretty much everybody. Aunt Agatha was a cantankerous old bag. I don't think a single member of the family liked her either, but the various strands had a tendency to visit her two or three times a year. She's rich... stinking rich. She's also a childless widow and her various nephews, nieces and distant cousins were only interested in one thing: getting their hands on a chunk of her wealth. Agatha has already disinherited Uncle Albert because she didn't approve of his second marriage and often claimed she'd leave everything to charity since her own family are so unworthy of inheriting her wealth.

That didn't stop them from visiting and sucking up to her, trying to find favour and secure a place on her final Will and Testament. After Bernice passed away, Agatha managed to piss off the entire family when she took in one of my cousins as Bernice's replacement. It wasn't the fact that she had a new maid and housekeeper that pissed my mother and the rest of Agatha's nephews and nieces off... but the fact that she'd changed her Will to benefit Uncle Rupert and Aunt Beryl only... my mother and Agatha's other nieces and nephews would receive nothing, nilch, yada, zilch. 

Some strands of the family turned their back on Agatha since they now have nothing to gain, but my mother and a handful of others continued to visit, sucking up and feigning friendship in the vain hope she'll leave them a portion of her wealth in her final Will & Testament.

A Birthday to Forget

My sister and I are twins. We're fraternal twins, not identical twins, but the number of people who ask if we are identical is beyond belief! The fact that we don't look identical should be a clue but no, people have to ask. Being twins, our birthday celebrations have always been a joint affair. Last year I suggested we go paint-balling and Sally thought it was a great idea. I invited two of my friends and she invited two of hers and all six of us donned the camouflage and took up arms before taking part in battles, skirmishes, campaigns and missions. The photograph was taken before the first battle. It didn't take long for our outfits to be covered in numerous splats of red, yellow, green and blue paint. We all had a great time and talked about it for weeks afterwards.

Back row: Jordan, Mark, Peter (me).
Front row: Kirsten, Sally (my sister), Mollie.
This year, I suggested we have another paint-ball party, but Sally wasn't keen for two reasons. One; doing the same thing again is boring and unimaginative. Two; it's her turn to think of something. Fair enough, I thought. Although she didn't have any firm ideas beyond going to the cinema or maybe the bowling alley. Sally finally decided that she wanted a 'traditional' party at home with a few friends, a birthday buffet and plenty of party games. I thought it sounded boring and unimaginative (and a little bit childish) but it's her turn to choose so... whatever!

May Day

It was a few weeks before Easter when the Cubs and Brownies began their rehearsals for the May Pole dance. It was definitely more of a girl thing than a boy thing; skipping around with garlands of flowers and long lengths of ribbon. It was also the time of year when the Brownies would be getting giddy about who would be chosen as this year’s May Queen. The only difference this year is the fact that Brown Owl had made a radical suggestion for updating the selection system and for the first year ever, both girls and boys could be nominated.

Initially we weren't worried because no boy would ever nominate himself nor be chosen over a girl. It was nothing more than an exercise in equality, balancing boy's rights with women's rights, my mother claimed. But during the May Pole dance class one Thursday evening, Brown Owl announced that the eight nominees for this year's May Queen had been chosen. “...and I'm delighted to inform you that we have five girls and three boys!”

We all gasped. The Cubs began nervously grumbling amongst themselves whilst the Brownies began whispering and giggling behind cupped hands. “I hope Roger Fletcher's one of them!” one of the Brownies giggled. Roger countered and suggested one of the younger Cubs. Other names were suggested until the Cub Scout Leader quietened us down. Once we were attentive, Brown Owl stepped forward and began to read a list of names. “Jane Cleaver, Brian Preston...”

A host of gasps and giggles erupted and somewhere in the background noise, one could just make out Brian meekly mutter “Oh no.”

Brown Owl continued. “Paula Baxter, Claire Woolford, Andrew Preston...” more giggles and sniggers erupted. I looked over at Andrew who hung his head. “Amanda Barton, Peter Jackson and Wendy Miles.”

It took a moment for it to sink in. Initially I thought I’d misheard but the sniggers and giggles and all the eyes glancing at me confirmed that I was on the list. “What!?” I blurted. “How can I be on the list? ...I didn't even nominate myself!”.

My Brother's a Greaser!

My brother's a greaser! His hair is far too long and tatty, he rarely seems to wash and spends every day wearing the same Harley Davidson T shirt, a smelly old leather jacket, tattered jeans and his trusty old pair of baseball boots... and he thinks he looks 'cool'. He looks like a reject from a rock festival and I completely understand our mother's embarrassment every time he leaves the house. He could wear a pair of 'nice' jeans but no... he prefers the ones with a hole in the knee, frayed hems and greasy marks on the lap. What the neighbours must think I'll never know. It wouldn't be so bad if he brushed his hair once in a while... or even washed it! I'd post a picture of him if I'd bothered taking one. He's not what one would call photogenic so it never crossed my mind. Saying that, he used to be cute when he was younger, we've got plenty of old photos from before he grew his hair and wore what he was told rather than what he wanted.

Dreams or Nightmares?

“Don't look so worried Peter.” my mother said. “I'm sure he's done this hundreds of times before.”

“Well maybe not hundreds....” the doctor said. “...but you've nothing to worry about.” he assured.

'Nothing to worry about'... that's easy for them to say. All I recall from last night's dream was looking at myself in the mirror, clad in feminine underwear and being told that the bra I wore was a 'special' training bra for boys. 'Special' because it's designed in such a way that it cannot be removed by the wearer. It's not the sort of dream that I want to recall, either consciously or subconsciously. I seldom seem to have 'normal' dreams, just weird ones where I'm somehow forced or encouraged to wear girl's clothes and more often than not, I wake in a cold sweat and struggle to get back to sleep.

“Pay attention Peter... the doctor's speaking to you.” my mother said as my mind visibly wondered.

“Sorry.” I gulped. “You were saying?”

“I was saying that after a little dream analysis... we'll hopefully get to the bottom of why you're not sleeping too well.” the doctor reiterated.

“Hopefully.” I gulped.

“Now, if you'll just concentrate on the watch, and try to clear your mind of all other thoughts....”

The watch swung like a pendulum. I followed it as best I could and tried to clear my mind whilst the doctor calmly recited a repetitive string of hypno-clich├ęs; relax, clear your mind, concentrate on the watch, your eyelids are heavy, you're feeling drowsy, empty your mind, follow the watch, blah blah, blah.

“Right well thank you... we won't keep you any longer Doctor.” my mother said. “Come on Peter... let's get you home.”