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BRIEF ENCOUNTERS OF THE THIRD KIND and
QUARTER ACRE BLOCK
PLUS SHORT STORIES TO READ
Vivienne put the last book back, vowing to look at the collection more often; seven months of Covid lockdown and she had only just got around to emptying the family heirloom bookcase and giving everything a good dust. The motivation had been to find questions for the quiz and the bookcase certainly held an eclectic selection, from her father’s favourite books to the colourful educational books they had bought for James and Julia. When her son popped in at lunchtime he had remarked that all knowledge could be found on the internet, with a lot less dusting involved. Vivienne retorted that the internet did not make the words of wisdom in books defunct at which point James had picked up the book that had been his favourite when he was ten. Fun Facts From the Future. Few of the predictions of thirty five years ago had come true; Vivienne had not gone to see her cousin in Australia on a three hour flight in Concorde Mark Three, nor were her grandchildren living in an Eden Project style plastic bubble on the Moon. The only bubbles being lived in were Covid bubbles.
Sitting with a much needed cup of tea Vivienne pondered on her family’s lives. James had worked hard leading the plans to get some staff back to work at MPJ, only to have Boris telling everyone on Monday to stay at home again. Her son’s second project had at least resulted in him moving out, though not to the respectable sort of town flat she imagined divorced men in their forties aspired to. To prove that adapting empty office buildings for the homeless was a viable proposition, he had moved into the MPJ building himself.
Julia, worried her mother would feel lonely without James clumping around had invited Vivienne to join in the Saturday evening Zoom Quiz she ran for her friends. Vivienne found it more fun than she expected and wondered why she had not been invited earlier, though it was easy to guess that Julia did not want her brother joining in and getting top scores. The two quiz evenings so far had been an eye opener; Julia’s friends teased and said things to her that Vivienne would never dare, but they seemed to be a nice bunch. They were also clever, but the simple format meant no one saw or heard your wrong or silly answers. There were no technical challenges, you just wrote your answers down on paper, it was all done on trust. Vivienne was totally honest, though she did give herself the odd point when she could picture perfectly the famous person, it was just the names that escaped her brain.
She had never intended to take a turn at quizmaster and was not sure how that happened, but she was pleased with the five varied rounds of ten questions she was planning.
On Saturday evening Vivienne was linked in or logged on, whatever you called it and the chatter was lively, so lively she wondered when they were going to get started.
How many flowers can you find in an English country garden?... no that’s not the question, that’s the title of Round 1. What is the proper name for snapdragons, make sure you spell it correctly to score the point…
Round 2 Classic Fifties television programmes…
Round 3 Happy 250th Birthday Beethoven…
During the ten minute break the chat was lively.
‘Has your mother been on Mastermind Julia?’
Why are we celebrating now if his birthday’s not till December?
‘I know he wrote nine symphonies, but who on earth would know how many piano sonatas he wrote…
Round 4 is easier, general knowledge
What is the smallest island in the world that is still a sovereign state?
I thought you would find the general knowledge easy. Never mind, Round 5 is just a bit of fun… Predictions of the future that never came true…
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