Georgina Finds Herself.

Georgina

It usually happens when someone distracts you. 

You’re used to a  certain routine; someone asks a question, and you put the keys in the fruit bowl instead of their usual spot. 

You don’t notice the mistake until the next day when you need to drive to an important meeting. 

The problem is easily fixed by using the spare keys; the lost keys are soon to be found.

Losing yourself is quite a different matter, as Georgina found out.

I’ll fast forward to the end and tell you that her friend Harriet was the one who found her, so now that you know it will be a happy ending, you can relax.

Georgina and Harriet had been friends since that first day at Kindergarten. 

They crashed into each other in the playground, smiled, and a lifelong friendship was born.

They shared the intimate and the mundane and found them of equal interest. They had each other’s backs and their friends called them George and Harry.

Georgina’s parents had money and were ambitions for her. Harriet’s parents lived quietly and just wanted Harriet to be happy.

The friendship storm clouds gathered when Georgina received a scholarship to study at Oxford. If she chose to go, it would separate the friends for the first time in their young lives.

It was a tough decision for Georgina but in the end, she followed her parent’s wishes and took the long flight to the other side of the world.

Of course, there were young men and parties, but Georgina also applied herself and received appropriate results. She was a voracious reader, and this is what started her ordeal.

She shared a room with a girl from one of those tiny islands in Scotland, and both girls struggled with their respective accents, but as usually happens with young people, they laughed a lot and muddled through.

Their room was on the third floor and looked out across the square to the library.

Georgina came from a country that counted it’s recent history in a mere hundred years.

The room that Georgina slept in was part of a building that was constructed more than a hundred years before her country became a country.

She liked to sit in the window on the wide timber sill and devour a book.

From where she was sitting she saw the whole thing, or to be more accurate, she saw the aftermath.

She told the authorities what she had seen and from then on things went downhill very fast indeed. 

She found herself in the middle of a controversy that would consume the college and almost everyone in it, and peace would not return to anyone’s life for many months.

Being a foreign student, suspicion fell on her. Her motives were questioned, and her character came under scrutiny. She had simply told the truth and said what she saw and now her life was in turmoil. She was not yet lost, but she was losing. Far from home and far from the strength of her friends and her family she struggled to understand what was happening.

When the situation seemed to be at its darkest, there came a knock on her door. 

She opened the door, and there stood Harriet. 

They smiled at each other as they had done all those years ago. 

Harriet gathered her up and led her out of that room and within a couple of hours the two girls were airborne on the first leg of a long flight back to their homeland. 

They had barely spoken. 

They would not be separated again by distance or circumstance.

After a short holiday by the sea, Georgina resumed her studies. 

Harriet started work at a small shop located very near to the university, and the two girls shared a house with a couple of noisy young men.

Careers and boys and husbands and babies and homes and families followed, but Georgina never again became lost. 

She didn’t exactly find herself; Harriet did it for her, but that was the next best thing.

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As we all know there are two things in life that sustain a writer……. constant praise and adulation……..and of course, coffee. I know, that’s three…… I’m a writer, not a mathematician…….. my coffee bill is enormous…… help!!

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Enjoy my work.?? Then why not buy me a coffee?

Looking For.

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I dropped it.

I didn’t mean too, it just slid off my finger.

Now, I can’t find the bloody thing.

It has to be along here somewhere.

George is sick of looking, but Harry is still with me. 

We’ve been at it for half an hour.

I can’t go home without it.

It belonged to my husband’s grandmother; she left it to his mother, and she gave it to him to give to me. 

Three generations.

It’s a beautiful ring but a bit old-fashioned, which is fair enough, it was crafted a long time ago.

I don’t think his mum thinks I am good enough for him. 

I know that she thinks it is strange that my two best friends are men.

“Women cannot be friends with men. Men only want one thing, and it isn’t friendship.”

George, Harry and I have been friends since we were kids, and they had both tried it on, back when we were teenagers.

They fumbled around, and I let them, but it didn’t feel quite right for any of us. 

“You’re dead sexy Veronica, but seriously, it’s like kissing my sister.”

Even now, I like that they ‘want me’, but don’t follow-through.

It adds a bit of spice.

I’ve got female friends, but men are easier to be friends with. 

They say what they think, and they don’t play games. 

They wear their hearts on their sleeves, and they are incredibly loyal. 

And, they can carry heavy stuff, which comes in very handy, especially on shopping expeditions around Christmas time.

My husband understands. 

He knows I’m a one man woman and I think he likes it that men find me attractive. I guess that makes me a kind of prize.

He bought me the red dress I’m wearing. He likes me in red.

It’s not my favourite colour, but it does look good on me.

We’ve been staying at a hotel close to the beach. 

I wanted the boys to come down for a couple of days, and David said he didn’t mind. He’s off doing something important in the City today. He received a mysterious phone call last night and woke me up early this morning to tell me he was catching the 5 am Milk Train back to town, but that he would be back by 11 pm. 

All very mysterious.

But, I shouldn’t be surprised, David has always been a bit like that.

When I ask him why we can afford our little cottage and be able to come down to the sea whenever we want he just tells me that it’s man’s business and it’s my job to look pretty. I usually take a swing at him when he says it, and I know he’s only kidding about the ‘looking pretty’ stuff, but even so, the money thing worries me a bit.

I’ve broached the subject with George and Harry on a few occasions, but they just roll their eyes and tell me that I don’t want to know, which just makes it worse.

If it comes down to it, I don’t know what George and Harry do for a living either.

When we were at university I read English, George read Economics and Harry did Chemistry. When I bring it up, Harry says he makes stuff, and George says he invests the profits. That’s all very well, but where does the money come from? 

“The wonders of Chemistry.”

That’s all I get, then I get sick of asking, and we go back to looking for my lost ring.

It has to be along here somewhere.  

Painting by Jack Vettriano.

If you enjoy my stories, then why not buy me a coffee?

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Enjoy my work. Then buy me a coffee?

Georgette, Harriette and the Dragon Stones.

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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

Their names might have been Georgette and Harriette, but absolutely no one called them that, not if they expected to live a long and happy life!

George and Harry, as they preferred to be called, had been friends since before they could spell ‘friends’, and that’s a long time because George has been able to spell since she could walk. Which is not as impressive as I’m making it sound; she could spell ‘cat’ not long after she started walking but cat is still a word and so is hyperbole.
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The girls were excited about a well earned holiday in Scotland.
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I say well earned because they had endured working every weekend for the past two years in a sleazy cafe on the outskirts of Melbourne. They probably could have gotten better jobs at a better cafe but they wanted to stay together and to find one job was hard enough, two jobs at the same establishment seemed a bridge too far.
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Instead of flying to Europe they went by oceangoing Freighter. [They read somewhere that this was still possible and their uncle, who worked on the docks, arranged it all for them]. The sea voyage took about two weeks as the Freighter had many stops along the way. The crew were very friendly and very protective of the girls. When they went ashore, a couple of the seamen would go with them and look out for them. Most of the seamen had families back on shore, and some even had daughters.
The girls arrived in Scotland toward the end of summer and decided to hike and camp wherever they could. This way they could save money and prolong their adventure. When the money ran out they would have to go home, so saving money meant a few more precious days of freedom.
While walking through Argyle, they stopped at a place called Gallanach, which strangely, did not appear on any of the maps.
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The town had a castle and a strange mystical atmosphere.
In the hills around Gallanach, there were large mounds of different sized rocks. The girls thought they were probably left over from some ancient religious practices but Prentice McHoan, a young man who befriended them, told them the story that his father had said to him.
A long time ago there were fierce creatures that lived in Scotland.
The scientists called them Beliocloptus Arily but really, they were Dragons.
Despite what people believe about Dragons they very rarely ate other creatures and instead they preferred plants and even small trees.
To help them digest their food they would swallow stones and even small rocks to grind up their meal.
When a Dragon became too old, it would climb onto the hill, lay down and die. With time their bodies would be absorbed into the soil and all that would be left would be the stones that they swallowed to help them digest their food.
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Generation after generation of Dragons would come to this spot and lay down to die, and the stones piled higher and higher until they formed these strange mounds.
Some people believe that the dragons died out because they chose to support the wrong side in a famous battle.
Others believe that they flew away from areas that were inhabited by people and went to find a safer place to raise their young ones, but one thing is for certain, they were once in this location for a very long time, and the stones are the remembrance of them having lived here.
Eventually, the money ran out, and George and Harry had to return to their lives in Australia. The going home took less time than the coming.
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As time went by, as time is wont to do, that haunting story told by a handsome young man stayed with them, and they told it to their children as soon as they were old enough to understand.

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Credit must go to Iain Banks and the story contained in his book ‘The Crow Road’ as the inspiration for this ‘George and Harry’ adventure

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Photo Credit:

The Devil Went Down To George(a)

Those of you who have read “The Devil Went Down To Brunwick Street will recognise this story. I have rewritten it as a ‘George and Harry’ adventure and I will send it to my granddaughter when she is a little older. I hope you enjoy it and if you have kids that are as old as I was when I first told this story to my cousin, feel free to read it to them.
Terry

SCHOOME

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A George and Harry Adventure.

George loved his job, and how many of us can say that?

Often he would be away from home for weeks on end droving  a mob of cattle across the outback. Sometimes he would have extra help but on this occasion it was just George and his horse.

Harry’s full name was Harold William the third, at least that’s what it said on his breeder’s papers.

Harry was a thoroughbred stallion.

He cost George a lot of money.

The bidding was fierce, but George was determined to have him. A drover is nothing without a good horse.

They say that it is hard to work out where a good horse and a rider start and finish and that was how it was with George and Harry.

They had been slowly moving the herd for about a week letting them set their own pace. They had…

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When A Seagull Needs Coffee.

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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

You know how it is, you really need a coffee but you don’t have any hands.
It’s a problem that needs a solution and for George the seagull, the solution was Harry.
Harry was a human but George never held it against him, after all no one is perfect.
George had acquired a taste for coffee back when he used to hang out on the beach. Those were cool days but after a while you get sick of chips and left over burger buns and your young heart yearns for something new and exciting.
The answer was simple; take to the wing and survey the world from the air.
As soon as George saw Flinder’s Street Station he knew he had found his new home.
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Back on the beach George would occasionally find a coffee cup lying in the sand and sometimes there would be a little bit of coffee left in the bottom of the cup.
George liked the taste and he had to have more.
It had a strange effect on him. He felt lighter, brighter and more able to reason.
He once worked out how to solve the problem of not enough food for all the seagulls in the world but because he did not have arms and could not write it down he forgot what the answer was.
Obviously he needed a constant supply of coffee, but how to get it?
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George noticed that humans would go into the small room on the platform and come out with cups of this beautiful elixir.
He would follow them around and hope that they would put their cup down but in the end he knew that this was a poor solution to his problem.
George needed a human to go and get the coffee for him but how was he going to talk a human into helping him?
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He had tried talking to humans but they were obviously not very bright and they could not understand him.
But then, along came Harry.
Harry took the train to and from Flinders Street Station every weekday. He noticed that this same seagull would follow him whenever he went to get coffee but he didn’t think anymore about it until one day he thought he heard someone ask him a question.
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At the time he was sitting on a bench on the station drinking a coffee when he thought he heard someone say, “Can you get me one of those, I’m dying for a coffee?”
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When Harry turned all he could see was the seagull that had been following him around. He stared at it and it said, “Well, how about it?”
George had just about given up on humans but he thought he would give it one more try and this human looked like he knew what he was saying.
“Did you just ask me to buy you a cup of coffee bird?”
“Yes I did, can you understand me?”
“Yes, I can. What sort of coffee do you want?”
“Any sort, just not too hot.”
Harry was a little shaken by his verbal encounter but in the scheme of things this was not the weirdest thing that had happened to him so he went and bought the bird a Latte.
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When he got back George explained that even though it was Friday he would be OK for coffee until he saw Harry again on Monday because the people who used the station on the weekend left lots of cups lying around, particularly Carlton supporters.
The friendship between George and Harry, although unlikely, went on for many years and they enjoyed telling each other stories about their very different lives, which just goes to show that you never know where your next friendship will come from.
A cup of coffee, a seagull and a very special human who bothered to listen.
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PHOTO CREDIT:
For other stories in the George and Harry series click here:
The Day I met Chester
The Mouse Who Liked Cheezels.

The Day I Met Chester.

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This story is now published as part of the anthology ‘Loyal and True’.

He was proud of his ancestry, or at least his owners were.

It seems that he was in a direct line from Pavlov’s dog, the famous one who used to drool all over the place whenever the professor would sound his bell.

Now, when I say Pavlov you must not misunderstand, as I don’t mean Alexei Pavlov, the Russian mathematician who specialises in nonlinear output regulation theory, and not even Ilya Pavlov the Bulgarian businessman. I’m talking about Ivan Petrovich Pavlov, the bloke who won the Nobel Prize in 1904 for his work on the digestive system.

But I can see how easily you could make that mistake.

Popular wisdom has it that the dog used in the experiment was just a mutt, but nothing could be further from the truth.

Boris was a pure bred Russian Pavolich, a noble breed with a long heritage.

Chester was very lucky to be here at all for it seems that the professor was very handy with the knife, and Boris was one of the few dogs that survived Pavlov’s experiments.

My friends and I had had enough.

We had tried for years to stop it from happening, but no one wanted to listen. We did it by the book for a very long time. But over time even water will wear away a rock, and as young people we did not have the patience of a rock.

George and Harry came up with the plan.

It was going to be risky.

We all had a lot to lose if we got caught. But that didn’t seem to matter any more.

We just wanted it to stop.

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It was our job to watch out for the guards while the girls unlocked the cages. We knew that it had to go quickly or we were in deep trouble. George was supposed to be a whiz with alarms, but I guess he missed one. I didn’t see the big guy come up behind me. But I did feel him. He grabbed me just as a stampeding herd of previously caged dogs came rushing by.

My friends had their own problems so I knew that I was going to have to get free on my own. It was not going to be easy; this bloke knew his business and he had me cold.

As it often does in these situations, time seemed to slow down. I could see my friends heading for the exits, and I could see the dogs doing the same thing.

Harry looked back and saw that I was in trouble. I screamed at him to keep going. He seemed to stand there for the longest time. I could tell that he was thinking about coming back, but that was the last thing I wanted, we all knew the risks, and we all vowed to keep going if anything went wrong.

Harry went against our ‘every man for him self’ rule, and turned to come back, but Chester beat him to it.

Chester had been heading for the exit with all the others when he must have heard me call out. Maybe he thought it was a game, I guess I will never really know. He turned and slid along the polished floor for several metres before he got his feet under him again, then he got up a bit of speed and launched his considerable bulk at the two struggling humans.

All three of us went flying in three different directions! I felt as if I’d been hit by a small elephant.

The guard got the worst of it though.

Chester didn’t hang around to see how I was getting on. He headed for the exit again. Maybe he thought that that was all there was to this game.

I didn’t hang around either. I figured that I had only a few seconds before the guard remembered what day it was, so I had it on my toes, as the English might say.

I used to see Chester quite a bit after that. One of my neighbours adopted him. As with all dogs, he was extremely happy to be alive, and he cherished every moment of every day.

I could learn a lot from Chester.

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This is one in a series of stories that I am writing to continue the ‘George and Harry’ tradition. A long time ago, when my sons were young I would sometimes make up bedtime stories and often they would feature two characters; George and Harry. Sometimes they would be human and sometimes they would be animals and in that beautiful way that children have, it did not seem to matter. 

At the time I did not write any of the stories down but now that my eldest son has a young family I thought that I would continue the tradition and put together a few stories for the time when they are old enough for me to send them along (they live a long way away).

I wrote this story a few years back and I found it again the other day. It probably needs a third act but for the moment here it is.

P.S. The George and Harry saga actually surfaced in real life. We had chickens when we first moved into this house but they were attacked one night when I forgot to close the gate. We rescued a few fertilised eggs and the boys borrowed an incubator. Only two eggs hatched out and naturally they named them George and Harry even though they were hens not roosters; again it did not seem to matter.

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