We’d love to thank Paula Nicolson from Scotland, for her story ‘I’m Sure Jesus Liked Cheese’, a sweet story about jet lag and childhood games, based on true events.
Paula Nicolson lives near Lockerbie, Scotland, with her family and is a mum to a teenage daughter, two grown-up stepchildren, and an overly chatty cat. She enjoys laughing, eating cake, and writing with Lockerbie Writers; preferably all at the same time. She worked as a scientist for 22 years in England, but now works as a librarian in a Scottish town where there’s more sheep than books (she made that fact up, but seriously, there are lots of sheep up there). She’s a published poet, short story, and a prize-winning flash fiction writer. She’s also a judge for BBC Radio 2’s 500 words and Castle Loch Trust’s children’s writing competitions.
You can check out Paula’s blog HERE
Photo by Alexander Maasch on Unsplash
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I’m Sure Jesus Liked Cheese
Have you ever tried playing Hangman with a five-year-old that has only just learned to spell?
We’d just returned from a family Christmas holiday in California to our home in Portsmouth, Hampshire. We’d met every Disney princess going (and there was a lot), ate cinnamon pretzels until we too were twisted and smelt of apple pie, and had exhausted our replies to, ‘Have a nice day!’. But the after-effects of an eight-hour time difference was taking its revenge on our bodies: I was ready for my dinner at 3am and my bed at 6am. Not helpful if you wanted to get your body back to the UK industrial revolution clock.
To alleviate the insomnia, my husband and I took to watching the US series: The Walking Dead (a horror story of life after a zombie apocalypse). Yeah, hindsight is a wonderful thing; probably not the best method to lull yourself off to sleepy-sheepy land. But we already had a steam cleaner and didn’t need a zirconium ring from the shopping channel, and so we became hooked. I even sympathized with the zombies as I too felt like chewing someone’s arm off at night with hunger, and shuffling around the daylight hours groaning.
One night, I’d managed to fall asleep at 11pm only to be awoken by my husband at 1am striking up a conversation with me about cars (WT−), and then at 2am by our daughter with a request to play Hangman; a pink felt tip and scribbling paper tucked tightly into her armpit.
Yes, why not, I thought. Eyes don’t need to be fully in focus – tick; she’s already brought the materials – tick; we don’t have to get out of bed – tick. This will be easy.
However, after 10 minutes of running through a few letters, and drawing our one but last limb, we were seconds from being hung. How could we not get this three-letter word? It was G?T, after all.
‘I give up,’ I shouted, hurling my hands above my head and waving them in the air.
‘It’s “get” Mummy, you know G … I … T!’ she said.
I will say at this point, that I’m from the Eastend of London and my husband is from Scotland and we often wondered what sort of accent she would develop. However, we needn’t have worried as we’d just been delivered evidence that her own homegrown Portsmouth accent had finally come shining through. I imagined my mother at this point, squirming, for she was always a stickler for knocking any regional accent out of me. However, with my husband and I trying not to laugh (too much), I corrected her spelling politely and gently with, I should say, no mention of what ‘git’ meant.
We decided to have one more game before, ‘We really have to try and get some sleep,’ but the hangman’s noose was beckoning, again. Why couldn’t we guess ‘??EES?S’. We asked her for a clue.
‘He was born at Christmas and came down to Earth to tell us to be nice to one another,’ she said.
‘But that’s spelt–‘
‘C … H …E … E … S … O … S! I’m good at spelling, aren’t I?’
‘Yes darling, you are,’ I said hugging her. And if Jesus loved cheese, which I’m sure he did, he would have hugged her too.
We did, eventually, go back to sleeping in line with the UK. Our daughter’s spelling improved and we are still fans of The Walking Dead.
But my husband continues to talk to me about cars, late at night; some things never change.
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