What ho, a door in the forest? Looks harmless. Unless it opens to a land rife with

magical outdoor doormalodorous trolls, attacking arachnids, or hellacious cannibals. Or it could hold nothing but a peek into the lives of the inhabitants of a neighboring town, as in this case…

manor cliffThe truth about Alice Wetherby-Pimms was shrouded in obscurity since long before Horace Hornby, MHS, Ph nearly D, had been summoned to shipping magnate Roderick Pimms’ eccentric cliff top estate. Indeed, the village’s newcomer had been completely unaware of the child’s reputation for continuously causing the most dastardly of misfortunes to befall anyone who so much as graced the property with a footfall – never mind a tromp through the gardens – from the moment she’d settled into her cradle.

Judged to be an odd and persnickety fellow with respect to his footwear, and by the fact that his yet to be completed PhD degree was boldly engraved on the sign hanging outside his office,hangin sign in horticulture

the young horticulturist obsessed over the reputation he had built for himself and how it might be perceived by the indefatigable Mr. Pimms. You see, although Horace’s vast knowledge of the area’s flora had preceded him, as of late, he had become most well-known for imbibing in a mid-afternoon toes-up while on the county’s clock, something Mr. Pimms would surely deem reprehensible and void of all integrity. Smart as he was though, the lad was never able to quite figure out how his habit had come to light.

Nevertheless, duty called. Horace Hornby – holder of a Masters in Horticultural Science and incomplete PhD in the same subject – presented himself Tuesday last to Roderick Pimms. Confident Alice would keep the presumed brilliant gardener in line, Pimms put Hornby to the task of first determining, and then exterminating the plague of pests that had invaded the six-year old’s prized gherkin patch.

“You know, Sir, I love cucumbers,” said Alice, peering over Horace’s hunched shoulders as he examined the pocked and partly pilfered produce. “But even more than eating them directly off the vine, I adore choosing the perfect ones and pickling them.”

“Indeed.” Horace brushed the child aside.

“Yes.” Alice stepped forward to stand at his elbow. “Making a brine can be quite fun – first you take salt, then there’s sugar, and vinegar, and dill, and water -”

“Uh-huh.” Horace turned his back to her. Digging a hand into the rich, brown soil, he grabbed a fistful, raised it to his nose, and sniffed.

“The hardest part is waiting a whole week – ” Alice continued.


“That’s seven days.”


“It’s called transmogrification,” said Alice, jumping aside, and landing on Horace’s other  hand.

“Owwwww! You little beast,” he cried, shoving Alice into the lettuce beds.

Immediately remembering overhearing a group of mothers discussing Alice’s curious temperament whilst on a morning stroll and Nanny Pitchforth chastising them for spreading unfounded rumors about her ward, Horace reached out with both hands and pulled Alice back up onto her feet. “No. No. Not you, little one. I was talking to the garden pests – the snails, the bees, the slugs.”

Alice’s lips puckered. Her nose sniffled at the sight of muddied fingerprints on her new frock.

“Oh! And those pesky birds!” Horace reached into his pocket for a handkerchief. “It’s nothing that a fine scarecrow can’t take care of.”

Brows cinched, Alice looked up at him.

“Seven days, and your garden will be pest free.” Horace wiped the tears from Alice’s ruddy cheeks. “I guarantee it!”

One week later, it was difficult to say whether it had only been the cucumbers that transmogrified or young horticulturist Horace Hornby, MHS, Ph nearly D, too.

red:yellow scare crow

It appears Alice Whetherby-Pimms has struck out from that dusty old corner of my brain again and traveled across the pond to Cornwall. This weeks adventure was made possible when I found my muse visiting with Lucy Cooper at Red Welly/Yellow Welly. I highly suggest you pop on over and see what’s going on in her world. She is a dear for giving me permission to use the photo which inspired the direction this last week’s Daily Post Photo Challenge/Door has taken. Strangely, it’s also made me write with a British accent. Hasn’t it?

There is indeed a moral to the story, too – what do you think it might be?

About Donna Gwinnell Lambo-Weidner

I am an adventure seeking ponderer of the mysteries of the universe, writer of children's books (represented by Stephen Fraser of the Jennifer DeChiara Literary Agency), and lover of anything involving armor, archery, or swashbuckling.
This entry was posted in ADVENTURES, HUMOR, TRAVEL/PHOTO Themes, VIGNETTE and tagged , , , , , , , , , , . Bookmark the permalink.


  1. THIS IS WONDERFUL! What a voice – the characters are just popping off the page!!

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Susanne says:

    What a pickle Horace got himself into! I love the names of your characters and seriously, Alice is a terrifying young personage. What a fun foray into fiction, Donna!

    Liked by 1 person

  3. A.PROMPTreply says:

    Hah! Donna, you can make anything fun, can’t you….even pickling cukes! Another great adventure…


  4. Ruchi says:

    This was an interesting read. And some cool pictures too!


  5. Lyn says:

    I love your stories about Alice, and I hope you write a whole lot more – a book would be nice – with lots of wonderful illustrations in it. I’d buy one for each of my grandchildren – even my oldest, Emma, who turned twenty on Wednesday 🙂 I think Alice is smarter than a lot of adults around her and regardless of her supposed “abilities”, she deserves more respect. Actually, I can see her protecting children smaller than herself, and even smaller animals 😉


Leave a Reply to Lyn Cancel reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s