Santa’s Treasure Hunt Blog Hop

Welcome to Santa’s Treasure Hunt blog Hop.

All you have to do, is follow Santa’s sleigh as he travels around the world.

Write down the Christmas word, given on each blog. Then click the link to get to the next stop. Please comment on the Christmas stories and poems the writers have featured especially for you.

When you’ve finished the hop, email your list of the Christmas words you have collected to kazzmoss@gmail.com.

Everyone with the correct list will go into a draw to win all the eBooks in Santa’s sack; not only are there many books, but there’s also a huge range of fiction genres for you to enjoy.

This blog is hosted by karenjmossman.com. If you get lost on your way. Just pop over to my blog where I have all Santa’s stops linked up in order.



A short story, by Paul White

Purely for your enjoyment this Christmastime 2022

©PaulWhite2022

YOU CAN’T TRUST ANYBODY

Gary was a very happy man as he waited on the Northern line underground platform for the next tube to take him home to Finchley. He could not help but grin inanely from ear to ear as he considered the rich pickings he secured over the last few hours.

Work today had gone extremely well, it was one of those rare days when everything fell neatly into place when everything went perfectly.

Maybe it was because there were a lot of new tourists in town, this being the start of the Christmas season, or maybe it was the newly laid snow, the decorations, baubles, presents, lights, and lanterns that were encouraging the masses to venture into the city? Either way, the jostling, bustling throngs of unsuspecting transient punters made it the perfect working environment for Gary.

Gary’s first dip was a gift. He was leaning on a corner of a wall, scanning the crowds for an easy mark, when a young woman stopped next to him. She was juggling with a suitcase on wheels, some carrier bags, a handbag, and a Starbucks coffee.

She was oblivious to his presence as she stood her case upright, propped the carrier bags against the case, placed her handbag on top, and rested it against the pull-along handle. Balancing her coffee on a waste bin, the woman prized the lid from the paper cup, added three tubes of sugar, and stirred her skinny latte with the small wooden stick.

By the time she sweetened her coffee and raised the cup to her lips, Gary picked up her purse, and a brown envelope from her handbag, and collected two carrier bags before disappearing into the massed throng of pedestrians.

His second theft of the day was also simple. An old couple were arguing over some irrelevant minor point, while a young boy, Gary assumed a grandchild, was running in circles around them, screaming at the top of his voice.

As he approached the arguing pair, he used the child’s misbehaviour to fain a trip, falling against the old man. After telling the old folks they should keep their child under control in the future, Gary vanished into the crowd with a thick leather wallet, full of cash, lifted from the elderly man’s jacket pocket.

Gary loved the older people, the ones who still favoured carrying large bundles of cash rather than credit cards. He could spot a ‘cash cow’ at a hundred paces.

This was the way his day went. Easy mark after mark, purse after purse, wallet after wallet. It was a bumper day. Gary’s duffel bag was now so heavy with his ill-gotten gains, he decided it was enough work for one day.

Which was why he was grinning widely as he waited on the platform at London Bridge underground station. Two minutes later his train arrived, accompanied by the usual drafts of sooty-scented air, electronic wheezing, and metallic clattering. What was not so usual was the number of passengers, or indeed the lack of them. Possibly, he thought to himself, it was because he was travelling back home far earlier than usual, missing the rush hour madness.

Gary looked around the carriage, there was a blue pin-stripe suited man, reading the Telegraph newspaper, a woman, with a tiny dog, wedged into a plaid handbag, and a girl listening to her iPad.

It was the girl who he focused on.

He wanted an iPad, and this one had a pair of Dr. Dre headphones attached. He considered how he would acquire these items. Quickly deciding he would sit opposite the girl, and then, as the train was ready to leave a station, he would grab them, jumping through the sliding doors right at the last moment. He smiled, envisaging himself standing on the platform, waving to the distraught girl as the train pulled away.

Luck was with him once more as the other passengers, the blue-suited man, and the handbag dog woman, alighted at the next station leaving Gary and the girl alone in the carriage.

As planned, he sat opposite the girl, who momentarily glanced at him, before continuing to stare blankly through the window into the darkness beyond.

The train lurched to a sudden stop.

He was flung forward landing on his knees, his nose cracking painfully against the girl’s right kneecap. Blood erupted from his nostrils. With both hands cupping his nose, he sat back on his seat, moaning with the pain. The girl pulled a wad of tissues from her handbag, as she stood over him, concernedly, telling him to put his head between his legs; she said it was the best way to stem the flow.

“I’ll be ok,” Gary mumbled through the bundle of tissues.

The girl found some wet wipes, cleaning the blood splatter from her leg. She placed a hand on the back of his neck, guided his head down. “Keep your head down for five minutes,” she told him, “It will help stop your nose bleeding” adding, “I know, I’m a nurse”.

Gary did as she instructed, keeping his head between his knees, and the tissues pressed to his nostrils.

The train stopped at a station, he could hear passengers boarding, wondering if this was the station he would have taken the chance of stealing the iPad from the girl. It probably would have been, he was never one to miss an opportunity, unless, like this dammed nosebleed, it was something out of his control.

Soon the train was underway again.  He was certain by now his bleeding would have subsided. Gingerly he raised his head, lifting the tissues away, ready to ram them back if his blood was still flowing.

It was not. The bleed had stopped, even if the aching pain remained. Gary looked about, wanting to thank the girl for her help. But she had gone, clearly, she got off the train at the last stop.

It was a pity; he would have liked that iPad, but hey-ho not to worry, excluding his nose it had been a profitable day as the contents of his duffle bag confirmed… his duffle bag… where was his bag?

Gary abruptly stood, staring open-mouthed at where he was sitting. He looked on the floor, under the seat. His bag was gone.

With some disbelief he realised someone had stolen his bag, his day’s takings… the girl… the bitch. She had made him put his head between his legs and then stolen his bag.

It was incredulous.

You just can’t trust anybody these days.


I hope you found the hidden word in this story. Remember, everyone with the correct list will go into a draw to win all the eBooks in Santa’s sack. What fantastic PRESENTS they would make!

Now pop over to Chantal Bellehumeur’s blog and search for the next hidden word. Simply follow this blog hop link, https://author-chantal-bellehumeur.webnode.page/promotions/

Have a very merry Christmas, and may 2023 prove to be a most enjoyable year.

I hope you will find a few moments to browse my website, and even select a book or two, after all, you should treat yourself too at this time of year, you know you deserve it.

http://bit.ly/paulswebsite

Perfect for Kids & Parents

I am not one for regularly promoting subscription services, even those about books, or with an educational bent.

However, this service, Amazon Kids+ is something I feel would benefit many children while giving parents the security and peace of mind about their children using devices.

Designed for children aged between 3 and 12 years, and parents of all ages!

Amazon Parent Dashboard

Discover the books, videos, educational apps, and games kids enjoy in Amazon Kids through Parent Dashboard. Also gain access to child activity and manage settings that include adding content from your personal library, setting daily time limits, modifying web browser behaviour, pausing the device, and more.

Time Limits

Limiting your child’s screen time can be challenging without the proper tools. Amazon Kids lets parents set daily limits, or restrict certain categories – like apps and video – while leaving unlimited time for reading.

Age Filters

Amazon Kids Age Filters ensure that your child sees age-appropriate content within Amazon Kids+. Parents can also adjust Age Filter settings to tailor the experience for each child.

Learn First

With Learn First, parents can block access to games and cartoons until after educational goals are met. For devices with the Bedtime feature enabled, parents can control when Amazon Kids shuts down for the day.

Individual Profiles

Parents can create up to four individual child profiles and give each child selected access to videos, books, Audible content, and apps from their personal library. It’s like giving each kid their very own personalised tablet.

No Surprises

While in Amazon Kids+, kids don’t have access to social media and can’t make in-app purchases without parental approvals.

Endless Fun for Kids.
Peace of Mind for Parents.

Amazon Kids+ is an all-in-one subscription that gives kids access to thousands of kid-friendly books, movies, TV shows, educational apps, and games on compatible Fire, Android, iOS, and Kindle devices.

Parents also receive access to easy-to-use parental controls that allow them to find the right balance between education and entertainment. Parents can personalise screen time limits, set educational goals, filter age-appropriate content, and also manage web browsing and content usage based on their preferences.

Starting at £3.99/month after the one-month free trial, Amazon Kids+ gives kids unlimited access to a world of content to explore and parents the confidence that all content is age-appropriate.

Click this link to see and read more, https://amzn.to/3bRQ76J

Why would you even bother reading a book?

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    Believe it or not this was said to me today in a general conversation. Needless to say that the person who spoke these particular words did not know I was an author; I did not enlighten them either!

    However, for my part these simple few words started a chain of thought that, as the day progressed, continued to reoccur in various forms. This post is the result of some of the fleeting impressions these musings have left me.

    By the way I am solely writing with regards to reading fictional books, as this was the original topic of discussion this morning.

    For those techno-loving geeky types, I am not separating e-books from their paper counterparts as they were not distinguished as separate entities during the debate.

So on with the post…….Firstly, why read a book when we are surrounded by a plethora of various media platforms, allowing access to just about every form of entertainment available by a simple click of a mouse, a push of a button, or a touch of a screen?

My answer to this is that all forms of moving picture media leaves very little exercise for the mind.

Once again I will say ALL forms, whether it is a chick-flick or shoot-um-up film, a drama, play, soap opera, or another genre.

Each and every one spoon feeds the viewer the information required and therefore leaves very little, if anything for the imagination to create.

However involved the viewer may become in the plot of the programme he or she is watching, their mind is purely focused on the screen, watching antics and listening to the words of the actors alone.

Do not get me wrong, I enjoy a good film as much as the next man; I love watching plays and intriguing dramas, and yet no matter how well directed, produced, or acted they may be, such simply cannot begin to compete with a well written book.

What is so special about reading is that it can do something that no other form of entertainment can possibly achieve.fit-girl-working-out-fgp9n

A book can give your mind a ruddy good workout, a neuron enhancing, cognitive improving gym session like no other.

Allow me to explain……When you watch something on a screen you are seeing a story through the eyes of the director, via a screen writers interpretation of a story that has most probably been adapted from another medium, possibly that well written book I mentioned a short while ago.

Therefore what you are seeing is actually a director’s vision, of a third of fourth hand edited version of an original work. Doesn’t seem so good now does it?

Another downside to watching a screenplay is when one of the characters, (which will be the actors portrayal of the watered down interpretation of the directors version of that original piece of work), walks across the car park and drives away in a dark shiny car, you will see exactly from which direction the actor enters the car park, see how the parking lot is lit, know what model car he climbs into, and just how fast he drives away.

That is okay, but it is hardly fascinating, is it?

However, within those magic pages of a book all that action is yours, and yours alone. No one else will ever see the same man walk through the same car park and slide behind the wheel of that car. Only you know how the parking lot smells, which lights were dim and flickering. Only you can sense the suppleness of the leather seats and watch through the windshield as he drives, tyres squealing, up the ramp and out into the….daylight / darkness of a rainy night?

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Now you are beginning to see why I love reading.

Everything conjured up by the words on the page are designed to stimulate your mind, not only by guiding you through the storyline, the plot, sub-plots and twists to bring you to a conclusion, but to excite every cerebral nerve in your mind to create entire worlds where you can escape to for hours on end.

It is your personal world, an exclusive world, where every drop of rain, each blade of grass, the people who inhabit it, the scents, the very texture of material are all yours, and yours alone. A semi-mystical fantasy world where love, hate, lust, passion, jealousy and forgiveness can be experienced without fear.

There is no other form of entertainment that can even come anywhere close to that which can be delivered by a good book.

As I have said above, I love reading, I enjoy the escapism it provides. Which is also why I enjoy writing; when I write I hope to give my readers the same experience, the same satisfaction that I get when I’m deeply lost, in my own netherworld, following the storyline of a Novel.

Even if you do not read one of my books, please buy one, even two of somebody else’s and start reading straight away. I know you will enjoy.

Thanks for reading this!

Paul.