Sunday, January 14

Sunday's Short Story...Writer's group prompt.

Vicky said we should see how many times we could sing, "Rock around the clock". It was the end of the 1950s and we were in the domestic science rooms at school in Belfast.
There's a thought. Domestic.....were they planning that we should only end up as housewives?
Was learning to wash lettuce and make porridge really a science that our mothers hadn't already invited us to participate in?
My mother had regularly invited me into the kitchen for one science or another.  Washing up was well on it's way to a degree, if not an MSc by the time Vicky suggested this latest idea.
Elvis was hot news in 1956. Not that he or his music were played in my home nor I suspected...Vicky's.
Ungodly I think would have been the comment from my brother... older than me.
Anyway, I don't think I could have wound up my parent's gramaphone fast enough to keep a record playing long enough to be able to dance....that is the end of the song.
Can you remember the words? o'clock, two o'clock, three o'clock...oh you remember.
I was nervous. It was always difficult to say no to Vicky.
She wasn't exactly a bully, but let's just say extremely persuasive.  And I wanted to stay in with her as she also led the little gang of teenagers who gathered on the beach near where we both had family caravans.
Oh my...there's another tale to be told. The caravan.
Anyway I seccumbed to her hissing persuasion and chanted "Rock around the clock" quietly under my breath. My hesitancy was not only fear of being heard in the class...but also because I had already been in trouble with the headmistress.
Looking back now it seems ridiculous, but the wrong v-necked sweater from the wrong shop, the tilt of a beret on the back of the head rather than pulled well over the ears, or the length of hair touching the collar of the blazer, could get you hauled into her office for another lecture on "Unacceptable uniform".
I 've forgotten how many times we sang though Elvis's rock anthem. I would think Vicky with her uncanny ability to miss out on the lash of "miss's" whip like tongue, kept going the whole hour of the lesson. Then the bell would have brought me blessed relief.
The hour is imprinted deep in my memory bank. A bank that seems to have deposited some memories deep in a vault slammed the door and gone and lost the key.
Elvis's music and his Lemur-like hip gyrations were a turning point for a whole generation that was moving rapidly away from all the deprivations that period of our history brought with it.
And as the alternative in Ireland was either "Diddley da" music or Irish style country and western with those singing... slurring over both the words and melodies...Elvis and all that followed were a breath of fresh air.

Saturday, December 16

misty day in penketh

I met the oldest grandgirl for lunch at The Harefield cafe up the road.
The day was misty and mysterious.
We had a table by the window and watched the alpacas in the field....lovely time....good food.

Keep warm... 

Friday, December 15

gingerbread houses and neviepie

Every year for quite a few now my daughter makes gingerbread houses as part of her business.
Natasha Collins..Neviepiecakes...designer.
I can't bear to eat these amazing pieces of art and so they sit atop my glass cupboard for me to see and love.
Yes they are gingerbread...but the amount of work and art involved makes them so much more than something to eat.
You might be able to see this year's model in Fortnum and Mason in London.....if you are quick!

This Dutch inspired one is my favourite at the moment.

Monday, December 11

A Poem for Thursday...Driving to Donegal

Driving to Donegal

River Bann in flood  cattle on the bank
cloud and blue patches in an Ulster sky
red barn roofs curved and corrugated
Enniskillen          Omagh              Derry
on the green road sign.   Driving west.
Telegraph wires strung out on drumlins
measuring the miles and the messages
ancient gaelic town lands   anglish form
politics noted in the colour of a flag
politics  black    green     blue     red
and white  with a bloody hand
woven together like fine Sunday linen.
Fecundity found in every hedge and tree
mother Ireland at her most fertile her
green hills swelling as ample breasts
each rowan     ash     willow and oak
hazelnuts beechnuts and acorns with
meadowsweet  knapweed  fireweed and
net fences twined about with red rosebuds
over   under   around the edges of gardens.

Geraldine Snape

Tuesday, December 5

A Poem for Thursday...The Fall

The Fall

Watched rusty leaves turn brown
bend over in the autumn winds
hang on a little longer then fall
and lie in all their glorious
shades now safe from any
sudden squall that might
blow unexpectedly and hit
the birch trees. Old trees 
in the grove. Too tall for
this small garden.

Watched chestnut and oak trees
 against the end wall where 
conkers fall and squirrels
scurry to hide them all in
shallow holes for springtime feasts.
And acorns where striped wasps 
once flirted, laid eggs and changed
the cupped balls to magic creatures
we foolishly name galls. 

All this
from a saggy chair, through blue
painted doors, an autumn shawl flung
lightly round old shoulders. Recalling
the shout of children in the field
once young, now tall with lives
uninterrupted by the thwack of ball 
on bat or cry of yield.

Ahead of the's only Tuesday.

Sunday, December 3

Lost.....and found.

I have a green cardboard folder full of my writing from the Thursday morning group at The Gateway in Warrington.
Until Friday evening when I suddenly realised I had no idea where it was just my Thursday folder...albeit packed full of years of flash fiction, short stories and quick poetry.
Then yesterday it dawned on me that I must have left it on the bus I took to get home from town.
The potter's mobile wasn't picking up so no lift.......then get on a bus.
But my pensioner's card is out of date..I know I should get it renewed and I only had a £10 note...embarrassing.
I felt ashamed...but thought that the driver could probably see that I was no spring chicken...definitely over 60!
After Cafe at The Oaks Community today we went to the bus station fearing for the worst.....but lo and the angels said...there was the precious folder still in it's linen shopping bag.

I just hadn't realised how precious those written words were to me.

It was my prompt on Thursday and I took a handful of old snaps to inspire everyone to write a five minute "flash fiction" with each one.
Fun all the way.
Here is my very..Flash...fiction of a poem....

She loved them all
But which to choose?
They lingered near
She made no fuss.
He threw his arm 
around her shoulder
She liked him
As he was a wee bit older.
But Stan on the end

Had money and house
And Bert was strong
Tho' feart as a mouse.
She turned them down
And lived alone
With ten feral cats
And a dog with a bone.

The best I could do in five minutes.

Sunday, November 26

Ruskin's Library ... Brantwood..


This  for me is the most interesting room in Ruskin's home at Brantwood on the banks of the Coniston Water.
We were given the prompt by Geraldine Green to write about several of the curiousities in the cabinets.
I like a cabinet or shelf of curiousities...I have quite a few...the family would say.

Ruskin's Library

The moths are dead and lie under a protective glass dome
no danger to the carpets now         a wasps nest is empty
and the buzzing occupants have fled       to a foreign field
though the hover fly hovers no more              in my mind
I still hear his song of summer       by the specimen chest
it's closed drawers                         and locked cupboards
invite  illicit exploration                or maybe the bookcase
dusted and locked securely                  against the moths
will  reveal the truth              truth about the Turner copy
did the grand man know the artist            was he thrilled
to be chosen to reside in Ruskin's library               where
the Madonna still comforts her holy crying child
now fixed in stone         colour glazed       Liverpool style
over the fireplace            at a window seat there is space
enough     to hide       behind a long green velvet curtain
instructions tell me                I must not touch or horror
of horrors play                with the Armillary sphere     or
woe betide me     if            I  use the ornate writing tray
with its inks to pen my  inktober poems           better far
to find my own curled leaf   out      in the gardens where
freedom  reigns                        and rain brings freedom.

A Shelf of Curiousities with the potter's ceramic clown at the front.

A Box of Vanitas....Broken Bird's Eggs found in the field

Venus of the Bay...vanitas

Have fun this week everyone. x