What Have I Done? By Chris Leckonby

I was seven years old. My mother was unpacking the grocery order and discovered a packet of tea to be missing. “Christine,” she shrieked, “they’ve fiddled us of a quarter of tea, go to the shop and ask for it.” Very politely I went and said “Please Mrs Kirby, Mum says may we have the packet of tea you fiddled us of”. In front of a shopful of customers. Mother always said my mouth would get me into trouble one day.

Unwanted guests, husband’s rellies, had just left…all except one, who caught me in mid-sigh-of-relief. She’d come back to use the loo and heard me exclaim ‘Phew, that’s got rid of that lot!’

The Mouth again.

After a school staff meeting I couldn’t find my car keys. Not in desk, pigeonhole, handbag… retrace steps…I knew they weren’t in the car as I’d had them for other purposes since. Ring husband at work for help. Irate husband leaves meeting to rescue. Pick up French horn case…hear rattle, rattle…open case and there…!

After my last book launch, I was invited out to lunch by friends who’d attended. Mid-lunch, I remembered my three passengers who were waiting anxiously, wearing puzzled and irritated frowns, back at the venue…

Then there was the time when someone lent me a Pierre Cardin scarf, present from her husband, to dress up an outfit for a wedding - on Scotland’s windy coast. Husband and I went outside for some fresh air. Back inside, he paled visibly. ‘Where’s your scarf?’ he said. As one we shot outside and went opposite ways, scouring Peterhead. After half an hour or so, there it was, trapped under a rock, right on the cliff edge. We never told a soul until now.


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Raised in UK, married farmer, emigrated to Australia with family, now grown up, became science teacher, now writing again and travelling lots in retirement. The whole story takes 150,000 words!

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