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29.7.21

FAMILY PHOTOS


FAMILY PHOTOS

My parents only took photographs on special occasions – weddings, baptisms, visits from distant cousins, and holidays.

Each year, somewhere in England that wasn’t home, we posed around our suitcase-piled car: Mum, my brothers, and me, while Dad set the timer before running to his allotted space. Smile, wait-for-it, click.

Until one year he didn’t run fast enough and the photo was only of five. He wouldn't take another.

A month later he left us.

When Mum died I inherited the family albums and went through them. She’d cut him out of every photo. Then I felt he’d really gone.

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Thanks to Roger Bultot's photo - I like your mirror, Roger - you have a here story about an old-fashioned kind of self-portrait, the kind that my grandchildren wouldn't recognise. Neither would my grandparents, whose photographs would have been even rarer, taken in studios in stiff sepia poses. Such is progress. Today I bought a smart TV which my smart grandson had to set up for me!

To read other stories from Friday Fictioneers, follow the link from  https://rochellewisoff.com/

And if you'd like to read a longer story, I have a 500 word one on @visual_verse this month.


22.7.21

FROM HEAVEN TO HELL

 

FROM HEAVEN TO HELL

Anita thought she’d landed in Heaven when Gareth proposed.

Twelve years and two children later, with a nice home, a lovely group of friends, and a fulfilling job that paid for an au pair, she was still happy.

Until she saw Gareth’s hand on Caroline’s bum at a barbecue. The familiarity of that touch screamed ‘affair!’ like a foghorn.

Thinking back, the clues had been there – phone calls taken outside, late office hours.

Confronted, Gareth denied everything, but his eyes were guilty.

“Hell will freeze over before I believe your lies again,” Anita yelled, and filed for divorce.

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Looking at Na'ama Yehuda's photograph, my first thought was, 'I wish I was there.' It is too hot today in England - we are looking forward to the cooler weather that's on its way. Though we shouldn't grumble - Germany and China are suffering far worse than we are from the effects of climate change.

It isn't the weather to be sitting at a computer either, but my writing head has been buzzing and it's impossible to ignore. Except, that is, when engaging in minor spats on Facebook - my own fault for making contentious observations!

14.7.21

BACKS

 

BACKS

No-one designs the backs of buildings to be seen

a child with wooden blocks could do better

yet every day 

a million eyes see them from train windows.

Ageing Victorian terraces

trailing listless grey washing,

yards full of junk,

and sagging curtains

revealing glimpses of other people’s lives.

Flat brick rows of suburbia,

double glazed windows looking onto manicured gardens

and a crying child under a climbing frame.

The train goes by so fast, do they know we see them?

Perhaps it doesn’t matter

as long as the eyes that watch a moment of your life

are those of strangers.

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Thanks to J Hardy Carroll for the photo and Rochelle for hosting FF on her blog https://rochellewisoff.com/

Another poem, and again a rewrite of one I wrote earlier - this has been a hectic week. I am in the throes of the final ( I think!) edit of my latest novel, which is a sequel to Helter-Skelter published in 2018. Yes, it's been a long time coming, but my excuse is that I published four other books in the intervening period. They are all, of course, available on Amazon.

My LIVING ROCK series - A Volcanic Race: Wolf Clan: Landslide: Rock Festival.

AND a little book of poems which you can buy by clicking on the image at the top of this page.

8.7.21

WHEN A TREE FALLS


 WHEN A TREE FALLS                   

A tree is always there,
immovable,
a living, solid friend - 
backrest to the solitary reader,
a shelter from sudden rain,
the hollows of its roots
a bed for summer lovers -
perhaps a hundred years
of memories.

You don't expect
to wake one morning
and find its height reduced to length,
the secret places in its roots
indecently exposed,
and the unreachable branches
sad and defeated
under your caressing hand.

When a tree falls                                         
your whole world rocks
and the child in you
trembles.
It's like coming downstairs
in the dark night
seeking comfort
and hearing your father cry.
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I wrote this poem after the hurricane in England - a rare event that toppled thousands of trees across the country. The trees that affected me the most were a row of chestnuts on our village green, where I went with my young son to survey the damage. He was thrilled to collect a whole shopping bag of conkers - I was heart-broken by the sight of root balls bigger than a bus exposed to the air, and the vast holes slowly filling with water.
Thanks to Sandra Crook for the photo, and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers. 


30.6.21

PINK PIG

 

PINK PIG

She was rusty and filthy from her life as a chicken shed, but she was only £200. They got her engine going, fitted a small cooker, storage, and a mattress, and painted her bright pink.

 Pink Pig took them through France, picking grapes, down into Spain, then a ferry across to Tenerife. Thirty years of printing tee-shirts, selling ice-cream, building houses, before the lure of his native Ireland was too strong to resist.

 What became of Pink Pig? They sold her to an Italian couple they met on the beach – for all they know, she may still be travelling.

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My daughter and her husband did just as described above - Pink Pig even had eyelashes! After visiting them in Tenerife many times, we went to join them, though we flew rather than driving down in a pink van. Fifteen years later we returned to England, a year before they moved to Ireland.

So I can't see a battered old van without thinking of the adventures they had in Pink Pig - the people they met, the places they've been, their solar-powered showers (a plastic water container left on the roof while they picked grapes, and a gravity-fed hose with shower head attached!) their meals shared with passing tramps.

Thanks to Russell Gayer for the trip down memory lane, and to Rochelle for hosting Friday Fictioneers, which starts when the image comes out on Wednesdays, and if you leave writing your story till Friday, you've pretty much missed the boat and not many people read it!

16.6.21

PERCEPTIONS

 

PERCEPTIONS

Is this a dear little cottage or a spooky one?

It depends on your point of view.

 Another resident at Mum’s nursing home told me today that once, when she was sitting outside, her feet were so cold she couldn’t feel them.

But then they began to warm up, and she looked down to see two moles lying across her feet. They stayed there until her feet were toasty warm, then got up and walked away.

She said every time she remembers that day she feels the love.

 “That’s lovely,” I said - it’s all down to perceptions, after all.

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I have strayed today from the Friday Fictioneers' guidelines, as every word of the above is true. I have some experience of dealing with people who have dementia, and I know that logic ceases to exist for them. OF course, what the old lady told me could have been true, couldn't it?!

Thanks to Rochelle as ever for hosting FF, and to Alicia Jamtaas for the photo of that lovely wood and cottage. You can read other stories by following the frog link from  https://rochellewisoff.com/ - after you've commented on my blog first, naturally!

 


9.6.21

BIG ORANGE BALL

 

BIG ORANGE BALL

“Who gave permission for that monstrosity?” Joe asked in the bar.

“The Mayor has a new car,” Bill said.

Heads nodded sagely – it figured.

“Ten dollars to go inside – I hear it’s anti-gravity or something.”

“Someone has to try it out.”

 Mick passed the hat round for the cash, Joe drew the short straw. He waved nervously before disappearing inside the dome. There was a sucking noise.

“That sounded like a vacuum cleaner,” Bill said.

“Nah,” said Mick, “More like a drain plunger.”

They were still arguing the next day, after the orange ball had vanished.

They never saw Joe again.

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What on earth that big orange ball is for I can only imagine - which is the point of Friday Fictioneers, I suppose. So here is my interpretation of Dale Rogerson's photo. Presumably she knows?  To read other stories based on the image, follow the frog link from Rochelle's blog  https://rochellewisoff.com/