A Charlatan Challenge


I have recklessly, and without any care for my reputation, signed myself up for Bonnywood Manor’s 3 Word Challenge, courtesy of Brian Lageose. Upon receipt of my 3 words (Flying, Vindictive & Crumpets), I quickly realised I don’t actually like a challenge so have delegated the task to The Lockwood Echo’s resident Misfortune-Teller ‘Madame Charlatan‘. Mme Charlatan’s thought processes and work ethic are as random as the word selection, so it seemed the ideal opportunity to nudge her for some overdue copy and give me something to print in her all too frequently blank column space. Here then is Madame Charlatan, telling Misfortunes under a fog of musk and a cloud of fag-ash…….

If you’ve visited my column before, you may know that I’m descended from a long line of mystics that can be traced back through the ages to 1973. That was when my Mother hooked up our caravan home, took leave of her senses, and me, and scuttled off to Clacton to set herself up as a professional Misfortune-Teller. She was good at it too. Naturally vindictive, she had an uncanny ability to spread misery, picking her victims clients carefully, knowing they’d be too scared or gullible to not pay for her services. Misfortune-Telling being just one of the talents she had on offer.

I was left behind, standing in the corner of Granny Charlatan’s field staring at the space where our caravan used to be. My Mother did come back to see us occasionally, but it was always a flying visit. She always had somewhere else to be or someone else to be with. I’d often take the train to Clacton though, using my time there to hone my own skills as a Misfortune-Teller and learn the trade.

My Granny Charlatan took me in and gave me a roof over my head, until I met my late husband and we made a home of our own. I loved living with my Granny and many of her quirks and traditions have stayed with me. They remind me of a time when life was easier, simpler and more comfortable (not so full of batik scarves, incense sticks and impromptu caravan parties). To this day I still have crumpets for tea every Sunday, wrap all my cutlery in newspaper, and walk round the house 3 times clockwise to rid it of evil spirits before I go to bed.

My Mother is in a Retirement Home now. Still selling misery, with a surprising amount of accuracy. Granny Charlatan has sadly long since passed. But we keep in touch. Just one advantage of my line of work.

If you’d like to read more about me, my Mother and the Caravan, it would be lovely to pick up some new readers for my column here on The Echo. It’d help keep the Editor off my back and the bailiffs from my door.

Madame Charlatan
Putting the Shame back into Shaman

MADAME CHARLATAN (here it begins)

Cross My Palm With Silver

Old Mother Charlatan

Verrucas & Vol-au-vents

Fondue & Fortune

The Aftermath

A Charlatan Christmas

The Charlatan Caravan

A Charlatan Challenge (you are here)

Granny Charlatan

A Charlatan Funeral

A Charlatan Farewell


  1. This is terrific and very clever, and I’m quite pleased that you took the time to participate. I relish discovering kindred souls on WordPress and I’m giddy that we found one another. Now, there have been quite a few submissions since the challenge started, so it might be a few days until I can properly share this lovely bit, but I promise to package it in an honorable way. Stay tuned. And thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Thankyou!!! I’m giddy too now, not only from your delicious words there, but you’ve also just got me to my 500 Likes Milestone 🙂 Kindred indeed. When I found Bonnywood, it was almost a relief, kind of Yes! This This This! I really enjoyed putting this together, even though I think I cheated a bit by using an existing ‘platform’ 😉 Can’t wait to see what others have done with their words! Once again thankYOU. This has given me a real boost 🙂 🙂 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

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