Thursday, November 3, 2011


Only 3 days into NaNoWriMo and Jane could feel the muscles in her writing
hand starting to seize up.  Time to switch hands.
In the spirit of helping our fellow Bettys who might be suffering from writers block, we here at TUJD offer a few prompts to kick start their imaginations: 
  • Never had the duty rota looked so impossible...
  • Lucilla Hawkins gazed into her future with something akin to horror... 
  • For a moment the room swayed dizzyingly around her...'Great,' she thought. 'Love at first sight.   I might have known I'd fall for an impossibly handsome, fabulously wealthy foreigner.'
  • With the rain sheeting down, Eugenia continued walking along, blithely ignorant of the havoc it was wreaking on her mousy locks...
  • Amabella dug frantically in her purse, but there was no denying it.  Every cent that she had painstakingly scraped together was now gone...
  • Even the shapeless theatre gowns managed to look good on him...
  • Rats.  Of course there were rats...
  • Samantha looked at her dinner plate with absolute loathing...
Your turn!  Write a prompt or finish a prompt.


  1. Word count: 6430! I'm kinda awesome.

  2. Betty van den BetsyNovember 3, 2011 at 8:46 AM

    Go, Rebekah! Go, go, go!!

  3. Betty van den BetsyNovember 3, 2011 at 8:55 AM

    Even the shapeless theatre gowns managed to look good on him, which made it doubly imperative that Claribel bring all her considerable surgical skill to bear in repairing the horrific scarring that now marred his once-handsome face. Her mousy hair restrained by her surgeon’s cap, Claribel flexed her scalpel thoughtfully. ‘I’ll fix every millimeter,’ she vowed, ‘or my name’s not Claribel Euphemia Smith-fFyfe.’ As she set to her delicate task, one corner of her mind wondered idly how this tall foreigner had come by the wounds that marked him.

  4. Yay Rebekah! You are in fact kind of awesome; I'm only at about 3500...

    Betty van den Betsy: I love it - a heroine is the surgeon for once!

  5. Wow! After 4 days of no electricity here in NJ, and what do I find at TUJD? Writing madness. Yay, everybody!

  6. Betty van den Betsy, way to make a new spin on an old classic!

    And YAY Rebekah! You're my hero.

  7. Betty van den BetsyNovember 4, 2011 at 8:53 AM

    Never had the duty rota looked so impossible as it did after the alien invasion. Three student nurses captured, the ward maid oozing slime, and Staff needing Tuesday – take-in day! – off to bury her brother, killed defending the Battersea Dogs and Cats Home. Sister Hippolyta Boadicea Araminta Darling’s glorious figure was not crowned with shining red hair for nothing, though – she rolled up her cuffs tidily and set to work.

  8. Betty van den BetsyNovember 4, 2011 at 6:02 PM

    Shoot, I forgot that Neels nurses' cuffs don't roll - they pin. Beg pardon.

  9. Samantha looked at her dinner plate with absolute loathing... pureed catfish bisque, again? She knew her fractured mandible necessitated some temporary changes to her diet, but this was beginning to be absurd. Breakfast, dinner, and supper for the past week had been the same lukewarm, rancid paste without the slightest bit of variation, and she could see no hope of escape for at least another month. She had come to realize that her caretakers (or I dare say, captors) took no thought concerning her plight. Oh, how she longed for someone that could simply understand! Someone that had experienced what she was suffering. Someone tall, handsome, and maybe a little Dutch. Someone... someone like Alex van der Stevejinck.

  10. Baron von Alex van der Stevejinck, that was lovely and just so, so sad.

  11. Betty van den BetsyNovember 7, 2011 at 5:20 AM

    I do hope Betty Debbie isn't facing charges of child abuse. We would miss her...

  12. Betty Debbie gazed into her future with something akin to horror. When would she be able to use her cordon bleu cooking techniques again? When would she be able to forgo using that thoroughly despised modern appliance, the blender? She longed to stir things in a cracked crockery bowl with a large wooden spoon. Oh well, thought she, time to open another tin of soup and give it a spin...

  13. This comment has been removed by the author.

  14. Silly internet not cooperating with me... I had to give this a try all the same!

    Rats. Of course there were rats... Still, Daisy shut the door behind her and did her best to ignore the skittering of small feet as she surveyed the rest of the room. Nothing to look at, she reflected, setting her case down on the sagging bed. Greying wallpaper, functional and yet soulless furniture, chosen certainly more on the merits of its cheapness than for comfort or beauty, and a meager kitchen space with a spigot for water and a hot-pot for heat. She'd cheer things up the best she could, of course - she had a pay packing coming to her, and she'd do her best to brighten the room. Curtains, of course, to go over the dismally dirty tiny window overlooking the back garden's dirt; flowers, maybe, if she could find a chipped dish to hold them, and her mother's quilt - the only item she had salvaged from her inheritance when Cousin Abelard had thrown her out - on the narrow bed.

    But then there were still the rats.

    At least, Daisy thought, putting the worn basket on the table and opening it, the difficulty of transporting Felix on the four buses it took to reach this bedsitter from her lovely country home (now in Cousin Abelard's tight hands, of course) had been worth it. Felix, though old, had surely been something of a ratter in his day...

  15. "Felix, though old, had surely been something of a ratter in his day..."


  16. Staff Nurse Lucilla Hawkins heaved the rather large Mrs. Mills up and adjusted her pillows to a nicety in preparation for her post-operative exam with Professor van Houben-Linjkstra. The old dear was more cantankerous than usual; nattering on about her ill treatment at the hands of the staff at St. Columba’s and demanding to know how she was expected to “keep body and soul together” with the “bits and pieces” she was offered at mealtimes. She was asking for the hundredth time in her strident tones when she might be allowed to go home when Lucilla, readying the patient’s notes and X-rays, was saved by the sound of the ward doors opening.

    Looking up, she saw Professor van Houben-Linjkstra advancing along the aisle with his registrar, Harry Beales. She marvelled again at his handsomeness – tall and well built with sandy fair hair shot through with silver, a craggy, handsome face with beaky nose, firm lips and piercing blue eyes under sleepy lids. The crisp, white drill coat over the elegant Savile Row suit and silk tie completed the picture of the successful surgeon. Poor Harry - small of stature and be-spectacled to boot, paled to insignificance next to his chief.

    She smiled at her scowling patient and turned toward the two men who now stood opposite. The smile died abruptly at the coldness in the blue eyes and brusqueness of his manner. After a curt “Nurse Hawkins” and a nod in her general direction, the Professor thrust out an impatient but well kept hand. “ May we see the notes and X-rays for Mrs. Mills, Nurse? I have a heavy list this afternoon.” For all the world as though I’ve deliberately set out to delay him! Hateful man! She thought as she hastened to do his bidding. Nina van Buele was welcome to him and may she plague his heart when they married.

    She grew suddenly still as the realization dawned that she, Lucilla and no one else should be his wife and the certainty that the lovely but selfish Nina would make him miserable. Why, oh why must she make this discovery now? Surely to goodness she wasn’t fool enough to fall in love with this rude, arrogant man – she, a plain mouse of a girl earning he daily bread as a nurse and he, an eminent surgeon at the top of his profession; rich, handsome and engaged into the bargain. They didn’t even breathe the same air! Why, she always managed to annoy him somehow or other. Of course he had been rather kind in his defence of her to sister Crabb over old Mrs. Pettibone’s spilt specimen and what of his brave rescue of the bedraggled kitten, George from the pond that rainy afternoon in the park.

    It was no use - arrogant, kind or an exasperating blend of both, she knew in her heart she was destined to love him forever. Lucilla gazed into her future with something akin to horror and knew without a doubt that to stay on at St. Columba’s and see him married to the awful Nina would be more than she could bear. She knew he divided his time between Holland and England and had done for years. She resolved there and then to obtain a copy of the Nursing Times when she came off duty that evening and look for situations abroad. Hadn’t she heard somewhere that skilled nursing was sought in the remote mountain villages of the Andes, or was it the Himilayas? There was nothing else to be done – she would just have to conquer her silly fear of heights….

    “ Nurse Hawkins!” She was brought down to the present with a bump and looked into the annoyed face of the Professor. “ If it won’t pain you to interrupt your musings, would you be so kind as to prepare the patient to be examined?” he asked nastily. Lucilla sighed, her face growing pink. “Yes, sir” she mumbled. If she didn’t love him so much, at that moment she could cheerfully have boxed his ears for him and bending, she whisked back the covers to expose the patients plump limbs. “ And now Mrs. Mills,” he murmured in his most soothing manner, “let us have a look at that knee…..”

  17. Oh my gosh, this is brilliant! I love it so much.

    The fact that my K-8 school was St. Columba's merely contributes to the love. Hurrah!

  18. Betty Barbara here--

    Araminta Smythe was annoyed, her evening off cut short by the emergency: all staff needed to cope with the unfortunate victims of the latest bomb. And to make matters worse, Dr. Carruthers, head of the department, was away on holiday, and no one knew the foreign doctor who was taking his place.
    Into the controlled chaos strode the tall, ruggedly handsome doctor. Could this be 'Crabby' Carruthers' replacement, Professor Baron Marc vander ter Salis de Friesdijkstra?
    For a moment the room swayed dizzyingly around her...'Great,' she thought. 'Love at first sight. I might have known I'd fall for an impossibly handsome, fabulously wealthy foreigner.'
    On the other hand, she had eaten a hurried supper with Nick (the houseman) at the local Chinese restaurant. Perhaps the shrimp fried rice was responsible for the symptoms.
    But she had no time to worry about all that. Those poor dears must be tended to.

  19. These posts are brilliant!! I wish that I could read these as completed novels. It feels like a little bit of Neels is being channeled and would go a long way to fill the void that her parting left and help us better cope with life after Betty....

  20. If anyone cares to pen a short story (long ones would be better), we'd gladly post it in installments...(hint, hint)

  21. Amabella dug frantically in her purse, but there was no denying it. Every cent that she had painstakingly scraped together was now gone. She opened the purse and looked again as though the packet of notes would magically reappear. A sick feeling of horror came over her and she grasped blindly for the nearby wrought iron fence as a wave of dizziness overtook her.

    Her mind raced back through her morning and the various errands she had run for Lady Emery taking the bus from the village into the large nearby town to shop for the particulars required by her fussy employer. This had entailed catching several busses around the sprawling town in order to get the gourmet jams, sweets and silk embroidery thread that her ladyship favoured and be back in the time allotted. The bus! Of course! The money must have been stolen from her purse by the pasty-faced youth sporting a leather jacket and purple spiked hair that had boarded the bus she was last on and taken the seat next to her. He must have whisked it from her purse when she had turned briefly to assist an elderly lady to the seat on her other side. He had gotten hastily off at the next stop with all the money she had in the world. Money earned on very hard terms.

    Two years of scraping, saving and sacrifice! Two years of Lady Emery! She thought of the many slights, snubs and humiliations, the pettiness and penny-pinching and the never-ending criticism and veiled threats meted out by her employer. The numerous trips up and downstairs for a book, a shawl or a box of sweets, the endless picking of botched embroidery, the many walks with Nelson, Lady Emery’s pug, in rain, sleet and snow. The tinkling of the bell by her ladyship’s bed during the night to have pillows adjusted, her neck massaged or to be read to and the unpleasant chore of washing silk and satin smalls which were anything but small!

    In all that time, the only thing that had curbed her tongue and kept her going was the thought of her own tea shop in the village where she had been born and raised. She had been as close to the dream as paying over the money today to Mr. Trigg for the lease of a small shop with a tiny attached flat in the High Street. She had calculated to the cent what would be required and planned to sew curtains and cushions, paint second-hand tables and chairs and do all her own baking. Now her dream was gone. The chance of recovering the money were slim.

    She swallowed back tears as she thought of returning to Lady Emery’s and this time with no dream to bolster her spirit. Through the fog of her misery she heard her name and looked up to see Sir William Cavanaugh, Lady Emery’s nephew who had drawn up to the curb in his silver Bentley. Oh, no! She thought. Why him and why now? The thought of having to make conversation with the likes of Sir William after the events of the morning nearly made her turn and flee. She found him rude and arrogant and she suspected he thought her plain person rather dull and amusing - he and his supercilious girlfriend, Gloria Soames.

    “Have you gone deaf, Miss Chatworth?” He barked through the open window, “ I have called your name three times!”

    Amabella swallowed hard and forced a smile. “I’m sorry Sir William, I’m afraid I was daydreaming.” She said.

    “May I offer you a lift anywhere?” he asked impatiently, “It’s starting to rain.”

    She hadn’t even noticed. She moved dully forward and got in beside him. He took her few parcels and stowed them on the back seat.

    “You look rather done in, Miss Chatworth. Is my Aunt being more difficult than usual?” he was regarding her intently.

    Suddenly, it was too much and the tears she had fought spilled over and she began to cry in earnest. Sir William look startled for a moment then offered an immaculate white handkerchief and placed a comforting arm about her while she sniffed and sobbed.

    “ Feel better? Good. Now you will tell me exactly what has reduced you to a watering pot and perhaps I may be of assistance…”

  22. Alex,
    Good one. Good to hear from you.

    Brava! Bravissima!
    Brilliant, all of them!!! And would you please continue? If you can, all of them. The last was soooooo super Neelsian, could you at least continue that one? Pretty please?
    Betty Anonymous

  23. Betty Suzanne, I don't think I've ever read a Neels with a knighted Englishman as the hero. Is that original?

    Betty Barbara, you have a flair for Dutch last names. What wonder what the Dutch think of us on this blog, sporting with their names?

  24. These are all very good, bravo.

    Suzanne, very entertaining. Carry please, can't wait for the travails of Annabel Chatworth, Lady Emery and Sir William. If not, will feel the love anyway ;-)

    Lulu - there has definitely been a Sir William before, I think Betty liked those royally favoured surgeons.
    Betty AnHK

  25. Suzanne from Victoria, BC

    Betty Lulu,

    No, I can't claim this as original, Dearest Mary Jane, 1994, has a Sir Thomas Latimer, an eminent Orthopaedic Surgeon who will fall for Mary Jane, ironically the proprietess of a struggling tea shop in the High street of the village where she was raised. This is where I got my idea for the tea shop combined with another Neel's where the heroine is scraping and saving for a catering business and has her money stolen from the basket of her bike? Can't recall the name of that one, (help anyone?) but I know it's in a box of Neel's books somewhere in my closet! There may be one or two others with knighted english heroes and certainly ones where they hint that he will be knighted for his service to medicine - I will have to research...I have been reading Neels for 35 years and but for a dozen or so, cannot recall the titles easily! Seriously, read Dearest Mary Jane, that is one I NEVER forget and re-read regularly - I simply love it!

  26. There is also Sir William from A Gentle Awakening and Sir Paul from The Right Kind of Girl - both good reads. I'm with Betty Suzanne - Dearest Mary Jane is awesome.