The Day Declines and I Quote Kipling

It was all going too well. I made lunch (which included Ryvita crispbreads instead of ordinary bread), I washed up and I cooked the evening mal ready for when Julia returns. It’s panhaggerty, though I’m not going to melt the cheese on top – too much fat, too many calories….

This proved to be the high point of the day.

First, as I opened the fridge door a pyrex plate slid out and smashed on the floor. There were two cold sausages on it, so I invoked the ten second rule and threw them into a pan of hot fat to kill any bacteria from the floor. That meant I had to have  a sausage sandwich. So, smashed plate, glass all over the place and my diet gone for a Burton.

As I made the sausage sandwich  I looked down on the work surface and realised that I’d left the second layer of bacon out of the panhaggerty. I had to prod it down without disturbing the layers too much. Then, forgetting that I was only wearing socks, I walked across the badly swept area where the plate had smashed. Fortunately the bits I found were only small and they didn’t do any damage, just gave me a bit of a surprise.

Next, it was over to check emails as I ate the sandwich. Part of the sausage fell out o0nto the carpet. I really have been pushing the ten second rule to its limit.

I had two replies from editors. I always think that a quick reply indicates a rejection so I ate the sandwich first. No point in spoiling a good sandwich. The first on was an acceptance, though I sent off ten haiku and three haibun and only had one haiku accepted. It’s not great, but as I spent two years trying to get into the magazine, I’m happy to have had anything accepted at all.

The second one was from my nemesis, the editor who has never accepted anything I’ve ever sent him at either of the magazines he’s been editing when I’ve tried. In a way it’s a comfort to know that in a n ever changing Covid epidemic he still won’t accept any of my work. He did send a few pointers, which is always useful, and always a good sign when an editor takes the time to do it.

The only problem is that I left room for the reader to interpret, as we are advised to do, and he seems to have interpreted it in a way that I didn’t intend. Not quite sure what this means, but I’m left with the impression that my lack of clarity means I’m an even worse writer than mere rejection suggests. I spent several downcast minutes wondering whether to laugh or cry. Then I started laughing and made a cup of tea.

If you can dream—and not make dreams your master;   
If you can think—and not make thoughts your aim;
If you can meet with Triumph and Disaster
And treat those two impostors just the same;

Kipling might be old-fashioned and politically suspect, but he can still hit the nail on the head when it counts.



24 thoughts on “The Day Declines and I Quote Kipling

  1. derrickjknight

    Panhaggerty without the cheese looks just the job for me. Congratulations on the acceptance. With the prospect of quoting Kipling I wondered if this might be a variation on The Scone Chronicles

  2. Beth

    What a day you have had… I will admit, I smiled at the lunchtime woes. It something that would happen in this house…more than likely actually.

    Congratulations on the acceptance. 🙂

  3. tootlepedal

    I heard an eminent doctor talking about the ten second rule, which he thought was a three second rule anyway. He thought that as a rule it equated with sipping cyanide but I am with you on the whole.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Three seconds? I can’t bend that fast! I think a bit of dirt and natural immunity doesn’t do any harm. My kids don’t have allergies.

      I asked a doctor about serving freshly pressed apple juice to children and the residents of care homes – the Americans have fits about it due to the likelihood of faecal contamination of the skins (even after washing). He said that as long as we pressed it and drank it soon after, the germs would not have had time to multiply.

      I know there’s a chance of picking up something deadly but I feel I’m more likely to get it while eating out than when I’m at home.

      1. tootlepedal

        I was on supply when I I asked a class of primary children if it was essential to be really clean all the time. The headteacher was not pleased with what I said next but I was right.

    1. quercuscommunity Post author

      Yes. There was a time when the submissions mainly just bounced back, so this is a step forward. Haibun editors are, to be fair, generally quite helpful and more likely to give advice than other sorts of editor.

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