The Places I was in Mentally

Welcome to Sue Moorhouse today, another Authonomy Gold Medallist on our journey to publication all those years ago. Settings to our books has produced some interesting variations on the theme, and Sue is delightfully lateral in her thinking.


I’m not sure that my fairy stories for the mature have much sense of place.  The places are various, from palaces to care homes and tower blocks. I certainly can’t rival Jane’s evocative description of Kenya!  So, I thought that I’d write about the places I was in mentally, when I wrote the stories.

It had been a depressing time, working and trying to help friends, parents and parents-in-law in their final years, as they suffered from dementia and other illnesses. In each case we were left exhausted, sad and with a feeling of guilt. We had tried. Had we done the right things? Could we have done better?

It is a common situation, and for anyone going through it now, may I recommend: There are some wonderful stories here. (One of them, how did you guess, by me.)

I wrote the fairy tales, Broomstick, Walking Sticks and Zimmer Frames, as a bit of fun to cheer myself up. I was still thinking a lot about old people, so the stories are written from the point of view of the older characters; Red Riding Hood’s granny, the wicked queen blogging about avoiding wrinkles, an troll in a tower block complaining about ‘kids’ today, the witch in Hansel and Gretel, some elderly animals keen to set up a sixties pop group.  And so on.

I crossed my fingers and put the book up on the Authonomy writing site.  People seemed to like it!  It actually won a medal.  Most of all I had great fun playing the Authonomy game and made some lovely on-line writer friends. Happy times were here again.

Broomsticks was traditionally published (ie they pay me, but not much) by a small indie publisher, Ecanus.  They did a good job with kindle and paperback, though I would love to see the stories as a cartoon type book one day.

All very silly!   I am donating all royalties to the Alzheimer’s Society.

A friend did some illustrations of the characters for me, just for advertising purposes.  See what you think.

The Fairy Godmother


Magic is a talent you never lose. It’s like riding a thingie … bicycle. Not that I could ride one now.

‘You’re going to the ball in a pumpkin,’ I tell my goddaughter.

That didn’t quite come out right. Ella looks surprised.

‘I didn’t mean a pumpkin.  I meant one of those cars.  That’s it a … you know, one of those cars.’

There’s a mouse, and he lives in the wall of my room.  It’s one of those big, old houses, you see, this care home. He’ll make a lovely chau… chau … driver for the car. I just stare at him and concentrate.

‘Look out of the window,’ I tell Ella.

She gasps.  ‘Is that for me? It’s a white Rolls Royce.’

Not quite the car I meant, but it will do.  The mouse looks handsome too, sitting in the driver’s seat in a peaked cap.  I don’t know. I suppose he’ll be able to drive since I changed him into a driver.

‘You must be back by midnight,’ I tell Ella.  ‘I can only keep the spell going while I’m awake and I always drop off at midnight.  Old age – I can’t help it.’

Rapunzel – Scandal at The Towers College for Young Ladies

Every evening Miss Batt, school matron, made a last patrol of the dormitories at eleven. On that particular night she heard giggling and whispering in Room 16. She crept closer, trying not to tread too heavily and listened at the door.

There was more suspicious giggling and muffled shrieking.  Those gels had no business to be out of bed and making a noise at that time of night.


‘Rapunzel, Rapunzel,’ a voice called from somewhere outside. ‘Hurry up and let down the bloody hair, will you?’

Good Grief! It was a man’s voice.

There they were, when she entered Room 16, Punzi and her chums, dangling those long plaits of false hair out of the window. Miss Batt was across the room in two strides, thrusting her head out to see what was happening. Great Heavens! A man was halfway up the wall, climbing the plaits of hair that the girls had tied to the window frame. The blighter was trying to gain access to her girls’ dormitory!

The Planning Inspector

cartoon3Ms Bacon?  I am here on behalf of the Planning Department. I am afraid I have the unpleasant task of giving you notice to vacate this property.

You cannot simply throw up a building wherever you please — even if the building were suitable —which it is not.  Building regulations must be adhered to; dwellings must be constructed of approved materials, brick or stone being preferred.  Your house may be suitable for a Medieval Life theme park, if you will excuse my little joke, but it is inappropriate for this area or indeed any other area I can think of.  I am aware that straw is an ecologically sound insulating material, but you are required to follow proper procedures, Ms Bacon, like everyone else in the country.


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8 Responses to The Places I was in Mentally

  1. I love the sound of this book. Enjoyed the blog – a subject that touches a lot of people’s lives and emotions.

  2. Sue Harris says:

    Loved your blog, and can absolutely relate to your trials and tribulations when caring for older loved ones with cruel, life changing conditions. I remember your book on authonomy and love the added cartoons. Similarly, my own book, The Contest, was written as some ‘light relief’ after a particularly traumatic and sad phase with my own parents, I wish you the best of luck for the future.

  3. seems that fairy tales with a difference are the flavour of the month, or did I not notice before I published my new book? ?)

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