20/09/2018

ALFREDO'S - a story in one hundred words


ALFREDO’S

There’s a secret hidden in the side streets of our town, known only to the locals. Tourists are directed to promenade restaurants with music, free entertainment and lights reflected in the night-dark sea.

On rare occasions some will venture further and discover Alfredo’s, where they will be shown to a table outside – only the kitchen is indoors – and given a carafe of local wine. There is no menu. Alfredo serves whatever his sons caught that day – sardines, swordfish, octopus – with salty potatoes, salsa picante and tomato salad.

The alley breeze keeps the diners cool, and if it rains there are Alfredo’s famous umbrellas.
...............................................................................................
This week's image - thank you, Dale Rogerson - took me straight back to Tenerife, where there is a restaurant much as I describe here. It is in Los Cristianos, called El Cine, and has been in the same family since the 1970s. We spent many a happy evening there, usually with family or friends. 
Thanks to https://rochellewisoff.com/  for hosting Friday Fictioneers. If you follow the links from her blog you can read how other writers interpreted the image.

I have been busy these past few weeks with a house move, and apart from a prodigious amount of painting still to do, we are settled in comfortably for the duration. ie - until they carry us out! See my previous post for a photo.

13/09/2018

HANS AND GRETA - a one hundred word story for Friday Fictioneers


HANS & GRETA

Every hour, on the hour, the carved doors swung open and Hans moved smoothly to meet Greta. Watched by townsfolk and tourists alike, they leaned towards each other to kiss, then danced to a foot-tapping peasant tune before parting company.

Behind those closed doors Hans and Greta lived in a comfortless world of jigsaw lights and intricate draughts, fires that never stayed lit, curtains blown frantic by every breeze, and constant chest infections.

One bitter winter day the doors opened on emptiness - relieved only by a hand-painted sign: ‘Couple wanted. Free accommodation. Must be reliable.’
..............................................................................................................
Here I am again, after a week off writing while we moved house. We are now living in an old cottage and, although I have some painting and other odd jobs still to do, we are settling in. There are twenty of them, owned by a Village Trust, and we are very lucky to have been offered one.
Must dash - I now have a garden and it's in need of some TLC  :)


30/08/2018

VANITY, THY NAME IS WOMAN

VANITY, THY NAME IS WOMAN


Sadie can’t pass a mirror without stopping to gaze at her reflection.
“You’re vain,” I tease her, but it’s more than vanity, it’s obsession.
First thing you see when you walk into her house is a full-length image of yourself. They’re everywhere – plain mirrors, ornate, large and small. No pictures, just mirrors.

Anyhow, I hadn’t seen Sadie for a week so I called round and let myself in. No sign of her, but all those mirrors spooked me.
As I opened the front door I spotted Sadie waving at me - from behind the hall mirror.
I slammed the door and ran.
..............................................................................................
My house is full of mirrors too - perhaps that's why I had to write a story despite being in the throes of moving house! The two men with a van arrive at 8.30 tomorrow morning to move our furniture 50 yards along the road, and we've spent the past few weeks renovating the new cottage. Well, not new, about 150 years old, but it's new to us! And the past few days have been spent shifting boxes of books, clothes and kitchen stuff, and all the cr*p we've accumulated in three years of living here. 
Thanks to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers - please forgive me if I fail to comment on your blog - I am by no means certain the internet will move as quickly as we will!

23/08/2018

MAYHEM - a story in ninety-five words.


MAYHEM

‘A beautiful soul’, they said, over and over, and her father agreed, forgetting the hours he had walked the streets searching, the money paid in bribes to save her from arrest, in fines when the bribes no longer worked, and the shame.

‘A dreadful loss’, they said, and her mother wept, regretting each bitter argument over stolen jewellery and housekeeping money, remembering only pudgy arms and baby kisses.

To carry her soul to heaven they launched floating candles, which set the forest alight – their daughter blazing a trail of mayhem even in death.
--------------------------------------------------------------------
A quick story this week again - the only piece of writing I've done in a flurry of painting walls, filling holes with Polyfilla, and a multitude of trips to the DIY shop. Yesterday I spent half an hour crouched beside the toilet. No, I had not over-indulged the night before - I was pushing filler into gaps behind pipes with my fingers because no tool would fit. The joys of moving house!
Thanks to Carla Bicomong for the photograph which is this week's Friday Fictioneers' prompt, and to Rochelle for organising us, despite her own crammed schedule, on https://rochellewisoff.com/
If you are on holiday, have a lovely time, and remember to pack a book. I have two on offer - Helter-Skelter, an historical novel which you can buy by clicking on the cover image on this page, and A Volcanic Race, a fantasy, also available on Amazon.

16/08/2018

GLAMOUR - a story in one hundred words


GLAMOUR

“Why did you even start, Nan?”
“How could I not? Smoking was glamorous in the sixties.
I remember people like Ingrid Bergman and Humphrey Bogart – a sultry film star waiting for the handsome leading man to flick his gold lighter.
We used to practise with sweet cigarettes after school, and bought packs of five Woodbines to share behind the bike sheds.
A slim case was a standard twenty-first birthday gift, filled with pastel-coloured cigarettes. You bought menthols to be ‘cool’, or Abdullahs to appear daring.
Smoking was normal – everyone did it.
Nobody ever said it could kill us.”
..........................................................................................
I'm still in the throes of renovating the cottage we are due to move into at the end of the month, so this week's story for Friday Fictioneers is the best I could come up with over this morning's cuppa. Thanks to Yvette Prior for the photo ans to https://rochellewisoff.com/ for hosting Friday Fictioneers.
To my fellow FF writers, please forgive me if yours is not one of the few I manage to comment on this month. 

08/08/2018

GRASS - a story in a hundred words


GRASS

It was strange, the way Barry disappeared.
“Buggered off with his floozy”, Pauline said, but it was the middle of summer and he was a fanatic gardener. I’d seen him out hunting slugs by torchlight, his compost heap was a fragrant delight, and he even had a machine to grind meat bones for his lawn, so him leaving just then was a mystery.
Still, Pauline did her best to keep it nice. “For when he comes back,” she said.
“That lawn is even better than he left it,” I told her, “What’s your secret?”
She smiled. “Bonemeal – lots of bonemeal.”
....................................................................................................
This week's photo prompt is thanks to Ronda del Boccio and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers on her blog at  https://rochellewisoff.com/
Again I have only just made it, thanks to Margaret buying me a glass of wine that relaxed me enough after a week of moving-related stress to be able to write! My sinister story-line owes just a little to my frame of mind this week. Mwah-ha-ha!
If you're going on holiday, don't forget to pack a book. My latest novel, HELTER-SKELTER, would make a perfect beach read, and by clicking on the cover on this page you can get your copy from Amazon.



02/08/2018

BUG HOTEL - a story in a hundred words


BUG HOTEL

After a week of unidentifiable noises from the garden shed, the hotel appeared overnight.
Word spread quickly and the bugs moved in – slugs and snails occupied the ground floor, woodlice and ants, beetles and flies took over the middle, and within days the top floor housed a burgeoning colony of bees.
They crept, scuttled and flew, mated and reproduced, and all the while Shirley lurked in the shadows, biding her time, guarding her nest.
Then her babies hatched – an instant army which spread, with inborn skill, a silken sheet over the entire structure.
The bug hotel had become a larder.
...............................................................................................................................
Last week was the first time I have missed a Friday Fictioneers prompt in several years, but I have a valid excuse - we are moving! A local Trust has offered us the tenancy of a delightful terraced cottage and, having given a month's notice on the flat we've lived in for three years, we are in the throes of bringing a 170 year old property up to a livable standard. The previous tenants did some work in it, some of which is useful and some of which is unsafe.
SO we have a lot to do in a few short weeks.
This week's prompt photograph - thank you Sandra Crook for the photo and Rochelle for hosting FF - is a great template for a smaller version I plan to install in my first garden for years, but also brought to mind what I found when I tried to read the gas meter!
Meanwhile, thank you to the seven people who have bought my book Helter-Skelter so far. I have acquired one 5* review, which is a start :)  Please click on the book cover at the top of this page to visit my Amazon page and buy your own copy - I have a cottage to furnish!