We listen to other people or we talk with them and hear what they have to say. From those conversations, stories overheard or snatches of conversation caught as we travel about we can cobble up some tales. We may change them for dramatic effect or to save our source embarrassment but we tell the tales adding to the richness of our culture in many ways. Sometimes we gather information or impressions that help to build characters, giving us insights into human nature or a means of widening our understanding. Whatever we do with the data whether in prose or verse hopefully, we will produce something entertaining for our readers. The story below was extracted from a tale told to me recently. Names and situation are changed to protect the person involved.

A Rose Garden.

Diana always insisted on walking through the rose gardens. Ramona, following her, as usual, complained about walking up the hill to reach them. It was all right for Diana, she was fit and light on her feet and walked every day. Ramona felt her wobbling belly moving from side to side, her breasts trying to force their way out of her bra, and that uncomfortable rubbing of her thighs forcing her to waddle. She was losing weight but too slowly and the walks her friend suggested although probably doing her good were killing her. Diana insisted they walk to the shops and loaded with their bags, walk back. Normally she would take a taxi. Both ways. But she had promised and Diana; dear Diana, had taken her at her word.
“What both ways?”
“Yes, both ways and up the hills too. You can do with the exercise.”
That was the trouble with Diana, she took things seriously and there was no escape. Ramona was obese. Fat, Diana said and likely to get even fatter if she ate any more fish and chips. Which was not a nice thing to say. What clinched it for her was the rude doctor who explained that being so fat was the reason she was diabetic.
“Can I get some medicine for it?”
“We can give you something but you have to drastically reduce your weight and take some exercise. Medication will help but you have to do the rest.” The Doctor looked at her with a steady, accusing gaze and added. “If you do not, and I see here you are only forty-seven, you will not make your fiftieth birthday.”
He didn’t have to be so blunt.
And Ramona struggling now behind Diana as they climbed the slope wished it would all go away. She used to be a normal shape like Diana. Well almost. She always had large boobs and a fat bum but apart from her thighs, she was normal. They reached the top of the slope and Diana led the way into the gardens, and as usual, wandered past the bed of English roses. Ramona tried not to sniff the scent which set off her hay fever. She loved Diana who cared for her even when she had a man friend. She was always standing up for her and when Diana’s father passed away Ramona was there to comfort her. It was nice to return some of her friend’s kindness.
Panting from the effort of the climb she caught up with Diana who stood beside one of the beds.
“My Dad loved these gardens,” she said smiling.
“Yes, you always tell me that.”
“I know I do but he did love them. Best thing the council ever did, he always said.”
“Why do we always come this way?”
“So I can remember my father and you get the exercise walking up hills. You used to have to stop a lot but now you made it all the way.”
“I’m knackered.”
“Puffing and blowing yes but you’ll be all right Mona.”
Diana touched one of the blooms and then with a toss of her head moved on.
“Goodbye Daddy,” she said as they walked on.
“Why do you always say that Di?”
“I always feel my father is here,” she said.
As they plodded down the slope Ramona had a thought and asked: “Di, what did you do with your father’s ashes?”
Diana looked at her friend and smiled archly.
“Oh, quite simple. I scattered them in a place he loved,” she said.
Ramona gasped and glanced back the way they had come.