I’ve mentioned before that I’m somewhat addicted to the popular word puzzles, Wordle, Quordle, and the various forms of Octordle. If you haven’t come across them, there’s a blank grid and in the case of Wordle it is five across by six down and you have to guess the mystery five-letter word and you have six chances. You are given hints, so you know if you have a correct letter in a corect place, or a correct letter but mis-placed. With Octordles you end up with eight random words, and a couple of times I’ve taken the words and included them in a story. Here is one I made earlier! The included words are at the end.
I know some people have names which cause much hilarity, anything ending in ‘bottom’ for example, or names which seem ordinary until linked with another, some girl called Rose who never had any problems until she met and married Steven Bush, or perfectly ordinary names in another country which don’t translate well over here, such as Arsène… And then there are names which sound perfectly ok in some parts of the country, but due to regional pronunciation, become hilarious, rude, or just silly.
When my mum remarried, and her new-husband became my stepdad, all was well, sort of, but his name was Zona, Martin Zona. I was old enough to say I wanted to keep my dad’s name, Benet – one ‘n’, one ‘t’, but my younger brother, won over by Martin’s football prowess, became Connor Zona. He has grown up to regret that. Zandra Benet, that’s me – I honestly couldn’t have been Zandra Zona, I really would have been the last on every list, and having the initial Z. Z. would mean old people would always talk about a band called ZZ Top, pronounced Zee Zee Top. Then we moved to Bristol, and not being rude about people with a Bristol accent, but the put an ‘l’ sound on the end of every word which ends with an ‘a’, so I was Zandral, mum was Monical, and even Connor became Connal – so to have an ‘l’ on the end of Zona and become Zonal would have been just ridiculous!
I would have said I lead a pretty standard life, nothing much out of the ordinary happens, family stuff, school stuff, friends stuff, holidays, the usual. The thing which happened last year, well that was weird, in fact so weird that I’ve never really spoken about it, but then I thought maybe I should write it down.
I went to stay with Aunty Jo last summer. We get on very well together, but really I would have preferred to stay at home with my mates etc. but anyway, for various reasons I had to and stay with her in the middle of nowhere in a village straight out of Midsomer Murders, called Angle Mort. I’d been to stay with Jo loads of times, and it had been great when I was a kid, but honestly, the village has nothing going for it and I think I would have kicked up more of a fuss if there hadn’t been a murder there the year before.
I arrived in the morning and Jo asked if I’d just help here do a few things in the garden and then shall we go for a picnic, she asked. She had something interesting to show me. I have to say I don’t see the point of gardening – well, obviously I do, but what I mean is it’s a chore not a pleasure, and if I had a garden I’d just have it paved or just have grass. Jo had put some plants in and wanted me to mulch round them while she did something else. Mulch? Well, I had no clue, but it was just putting a load of mouldering leaves down around some plants, and bark chippings round others. We chatted while we finished off, and to be honest, it was quite pleasant, when she’d said she’d like me to do some gardening, I must have pulled a face because she said it wasn’t sheer slog – she says things like that, sheer slog. Maybe I’ll say that, for a laugh.
I thought we’d go out in the car, but no we were walking and she passed me a hefty back pack – I would have moaned except it was Jo, so I didn’t. It wasn’t that heavy anyway, and she had a couple of bags anyway. She lives down a small lane which doesn’t have much traffic but it’s actually in the village so it wasn’t very far to come out onto the village green. It was so Midsomer Murders, it’s a wonder they’d never filmed her, but maybe they had. the green was roughly triangular in shape, with a pub called The Hart on one side, it was quite old and I’d been in a few times for lunch with Jo but we’d never gone there in the evening; I guess she thought I was too young, well I am, I guess. She said maybe we would call in on the way back for a drink.
We went past the pub and then she turned up a narrow path between two hedges, so I thought it was going to someone’s house. It wasn’t, it led between some old thatched cottages, but it led out of the village, slightly uphill and into the countryside.
“We’re going to the horse’s grave,” Jo said.
“Is it a particular horse, I mean like a famous race-horse?” I asked.
“No, it’s just called that, Horse Grave,” she replied, and I thought it sounded slightly sinister.
Words: hefty, zonal, aunty, mulch, grave, horse, sheer, shall
The story continues tomorrow! My featured image is of a Wiltshire white horse: