Sunday, October 19, 2014


This week our words at The Sunday Whirl are...

...and this our picture prompt at Magpie Tales

Things not said

Every year he went. Every year he sat there beside his mother’s grave. And every year his guilt grew. For she was taken too soon and he had done nothing to prevent it. But could he have stopped it?  He knew it would happen, so surely it would have whatever action he took. Yet still he wondered if he could have pointed the finger of fate in a different direction. For he was a seer. Since childhood he had kept his gift a secret, if a gift it was. It now seemed more of a curse. He had told a school friend about it once, but his friend had told him he was crazy. Even today he could still hear his mocking laughter. He even mentioned it to his priest, but instead of simply telling him he was imagining things the priest told him that he should forever keep it a secret for it could do more harm than good. So he never mentioned it again. Not even to his wife, not to his son. He remained a martyr, a prisoner in his own mind, knowing about things before they happened but not telling a soul even when he knew he should. And with every passing year he would steel his resolve.
     Usually the things he knew about were minor matters within his family. But on one occasion he foresaw something terrible which was about to happen to a complete stranger in the street, yet he did nothing. As she passed him he saw something shine as if it was trying to catch his eye. He knew, but he just stood there as someone appeared from the shadow of a building and grabbed the stranger and ripped a diamond ring from her finger.
     It was soon after that he had his dreadful premonition about his Mother. Yet he did nothing. He warned nobody. And as he sat again at her graveside, his mind filled with remorse and self-reproach.
     In the breeze he thought he heard his name. He looked around. Nothing, nobody. Then a muffled whispering. Words. He could just make them out. ‘Son’ the distant voice murmured. ‘I know that you foresaw my fate for I share your gift. Has it ever occurred to you that you never know not what is about happen to you? That we share, for I was not aware how I would meet my end, nor that it would happen when I was so young. Right now I could warn you of something that will befall you very soon. Should I tell you? Yes, but like you I’ll keep it hidden within. Make peace with your maker while you can my son’ With that the voice drifted away.
     It happened the next day. Only one person foresaw the terrible event. His son. But his son had said nothing. 

Sunday, October 12, 2014


The picture at Magpie Tales this week is Self-portrait by Vivian Maier . Whilst my story is not a reflection of what is in her picture, it did inspire me to write this!

       The man-at-the-door

For years he had walked the wrong road. He had wandered down a rocky path.  He knew he had taken a wrong turning but he had no idea how to go back. He wiped the dust from the mirror that hung above his fireplace and stood looking at what he become for a while. He was ashamed at what he saw. Gaunt, disheveled, unrecognisable even to himself. It was time for change, no matter how difficult it might be.
    That evening he made the decision to change direction and get his life back on course. He rummaged through drawers of rubbish until he found his old Polaroid camera and a box of film. He then returned to the mirror and took a photo of himself. He sat at his  litter strewn desk, pushed aside heaps unopened envelopes He scratched and scraped with a few old biros until he found one that worked, then with pen poised above a piece of lined paper from an old exercise book he set about listing all he knew was wrong, and all he knew he had to change. In one corner he attached the photograph of the person he wished to leave behind.
     Finally he took one look in the mirror then covered it with a cloth. On it he pinned a note on which he had scribbled the date one year hence; the date on which he would look at what he had become. He threw a couple of other odd mirrors in the trash and set about the task he had to undertake. Over the next few months he would tick off the things he felt he had achieved. He avoided looking in shop windows and kept well away from anywhere there might be a mirror or reflective surface.


     A year passed. It was time to take the shroud from the mirror and look himself in the eye. He stood for a few seconds with the corner of the cloth in his shaking hand then ripped it away. The mirror crashed the floor and shattered into a thousand shiny shards. 
     There was a loud thump on the door. Then another and another. His head was spinning. He was dizzy. He staggered to the door and flung it open. There in front of him stood a fine looking man, the image of the person he hoped he had become.  He became transfixed by the man-at-the-doors’ gaze. Something about those eyes was strangely familiar. Not a word was spoken, and then the man-at-the door slowly started raising his hand. He found himself doing the same until their hands met. The man at the door led him outside. It was like a dream. They wandered across a field until they came to a lake. The water was still and reflected the clouds, the trees and the birds which flew over head. As one they both looked down at the water, and as they did so a breeze blew across its surface and a moving pattern of ripples appeared. He could just make a reflection of the two of them standing side by side. Their shapes appeared very similar. Suddenly one of the figures pushed the other into the water and it sunk deep beneath the surface. Calm returned to the water and it once again became a mirror.

The man-at-the door stared at his reflection in the lake and liked what he saw. He had rid himself of the person he once was. He was reborn as the man he wanted to be.

Sunday, October 05, 2014


My sentence for Six Word Saturday this week is (drum roll) 

  Last Thursday I caught a bus

      “You don’t look old enough to have a pensioner’s bus pass” said the bus driver.
      “Oh thank you kind sir” I said.
    “Only kiddin’ mate. Actually I was wondering if you would need help stepping up from the pavement” he said without even a hint of a grin threatening to crack his stony expression. I decided to ignore him unsure if he was trying to be funny or rude. I thought “I’ll show you” and I started to skip up the stairs to the upper deck. But as often happens the driver took off very suddenly, causing me to grab the banister rails and hold on for dear life. They often do that, but I suppose it is a pretty boring job and that’s as near as they get to bit of mild amusement. Once I had regained my balance, and my dignity, I set about finding a seat. I spotted one and steadily made my way to the centre of deck. I was surrounded by a sea of elderly folk in various stages of awakedness – not sure that’s a word but you know what I mean.  It was like sea of grey hair and shiny bald patches. (if you know me, you’ll be aware that I have greyish hair myself, but I prefer to think of myself as more of a silver fox) Several were dozing with their lolling head rolling this way and that as the bus negotiated the bendy road. A couple were reading newspapers, a couple of others looking at books, and the rest gazing blankly out of the windows. The common expression was one of boredom and disdain.  Feeling very modern I whisked my modern Kindle from my modern man bag. Nobody noticed. And so I got stuck into my eBook (Exit Last by Ian Parks by the way - highly recommended although it is a bit ‘blokey’ if you know what I mean!) Well, it is a very amusing read and I suddenly came across quite the funniest thing I’ve read for a long time, and I emitted an involuntary and fairly loud dirty laugh. I was suddenly the centre of attention. All around me ashen wrinkled faces stared in my direction. It was like a scene from a horror film. “Funny book” I chirped “Really funny, ha ha!”  As one they all swiveled their heads back and got on with doing what they were doing – or not doing if you get my meaning.
       And then a breath of fresh air – fresh hair actually, because a very attractive young lady emerged from the staircase. The first thing everyone saw of course was her head, and it was magnificently topped by an immaculately coiffured bright blue hair sculpture.  She smiled to the left and smiled to the right as she sashayed along the isle before taking a seat right in the middle of the deck. There she sat, a resplendent patch of blue like a break in the grey clouds on a miserable winter’s day. She got no response other than a few tutts and a lot of disapproving whispers.
     Pleased to no longer be the centre of attention, I got back to my book. A minute later the silence was broken by the shrill sound of Bat Out of Hell coming from my mobile. Once again I was in that horror movie with ghost like faces staring at me in disgust. I ignored them.
      “Hello” I said in my most cheerful voice.”Who’s that?”
      “Hi there” said the caller “It’s Tillie”
      “Millie” I said, great to hear from you”
      “No” she said “It’s Tillie not Millie you silly billy!”
     Anyway Tillie-not-Millie and I had a lovely chat by the end of which the dour assembly had returned to their snoozing, reading and gazing out of the window. Except one person sitting right behind me who muttered to his wife “Young people today. I don’t know”. I turned, feeling that his comment more than made up from the somewhat disparaging remarks I received from the bus driver. I gave him my broadest smile. “Thank you, you’ve made my day” I said mixing a hint of sarcasm with a touch of humour.
      “I was thinking about my great grandson, not you” he snapped. I decided enough was enough and rang the bell to halt the bus at the next stop. I tottered down the steps as the bus jerked to a halt and as I got my feet back on terra firma I noticed the blue haired beauty had followed me. ‘My luck is about to change’ I thought to myself.
       “I'm glad to be off that bus, aren’t you?” I said to her. “I’m going for a coffee, fancy one?”
       “In your dreams old man” she said as she flounced off into the distance.

Sunday, September 28, 2014

Rosey and her secret admirer - or not!

My friend Rosey and I met at the Bicycle Inn the other evening. Just a quiet drink, a nibble to eat and a quick catch up kinda' thing. Somebody, a woman we didn't recognise walked in holding a bunch of flowers and went to the bar.  She asked if there was a Rosemary in the pub. Julie who was in the middle of pouring a pint said that there was a Rosey sitting in the window seat and nodded her head in our direction. Rosey as usual was listening to what was going on; she’s always more interested in other peoples conversations than ours! I stopped what I was saying as I was clearly wasting my breath. Rosey who had a fork with a foot or two of dangling sauce-laden spaghetti en-route to her open mouth stopped. I really mean stopped, like she was frozen in time. The spaghetti however decided not to take part in Rosey’s game of statues and slid from the fork and down the front of her crisp white blouse.
      The mystery lady walked over to us.
      ‘Hi, my name is Joy’.
      ‘Hi’ said Rosey.
      ‘Hi’ said I.
      ‘Five’ said the joker at the next table as he raised an open palm in our direction. 
       We ignored him. She sat herself down and apologised for interrupting our meal.
      ‘I’m actually called Rosey’ said Rosey. ‘But I seem to remember the vicar at my christening calling me Rosemary as he flung freezing water all over me’. 
       ‘How do you remember that?’ I asked. 
       ‘Well’ she said ‘It was cold. You’d remember it too’
       ‘No, not the water’ I said ‘how do you remember your christening?’ 
       ‘I was seven’ she said ‘and Mummy and Daddy wanted me to go to a church school so I had to be…done’. 
       ‘OK I get it’ I said. ‘Now Joy, what do you want with Rosey?’
       'I thought you were expecting me' she said 'but it matters not' She then started blurting on about a bloke who was infatuated with ‘Rosemary’. She aimed the flowers in Rosey’s direction. ‘He wants me to give you these; he really likes you a lot’.
       ‘A posey for Rosey’ said the joker at the next table. Once again we ignored him.
      ’He’s smitten with you Rosema…..Rosey, in love in fact. Flames of passion are burning in his soul. The memory of your first meeting forever sticks in his mind and will forever more’ She had suddenly become a full blown actress, her hands held to her heart as she gazed skyward. 
      ‘Whoever he is, he obviously likes you a lot’ I said as I gave Joy a polite hand-clap. ‘So, who is he?’ Rosey looked in my direction and gave me one of her quizzical frowns. ‘It’s not me ‘I spluttered ‘I’m old enough to be your Dad!’
       ‘And that would stop you?’ she said. Then she started listing some of my previous infatuations counting on her fingers as she did. 
    ‘No, no’ said Joy ‘I can’t reveal his identity as he fears rejection. I need to exercise discrimination. All I can say is that he is a handsome and noble creature who sent me to test the temperature and pave his way so to speak’. I got back to eating my ham egg and chips. Rosey nudged me as she felt eating was inappropriate at that moment. Her sudden action sent a fork full of my chips hurtling over to the next table. 
       ‘Can I have some salt for these’ chuckled the joker. We took no notice.
      ‘I have to go and report to your admirer. I can tell that you will just be perfect together’ said Joy as she got to her feet ‘and in a few minutes your beau will be here to introduce himself to you formally’ With that she bustled out.
       ‘Weird’ I said.
       ‘Weird ‘said Rosey.
       ‘Weird’ said the joker.
      As Joy walked out another lady walked in. She went straight over to the bar where Julie was pouring another pint. ‘Hello’ she said. ‘My name is Rosemary. I’m here to meet someone called Joy but I’m a bit late’
      ‘I think we ought to go - now’ I said. Rosey agreed.
      ‘Any chance I can have the rest of your spag boll Rosey babe?’ asked the joker. I just managed to stop her pouring it over his head!

If you would like to read more stories about My Friend Rosey they can be found all together right HERE

Natures' coat of many colours

It's Wordless Wednesday time again and there is an autumnal theme over at Magpie Tales 

Painting:Autumn in Madeira by Jacek Yerka 

Apparently the wonderful display of autumn tints we see all around us at this time of year is something to do with photosynthesis, glucose and chlorophyll. 

But I don’t want to know about that! As far as I’m concerned, it’s about now that dear old Mother Nature waves her wand and performs a kind of magic. It’s now she starts painting the countryside from her palette of enchanting colours. I’d like to think it’s her way of giving us a little treat before she takes off for her winter holidays, and leaves the landscape to take a well-earned rest for a few months! 

I took these pictures at Sheffield Park, East Sussex, UK

Thursday, September 25, 2014


The theme at the Poetry Jam this week is Clouds

Playing hide 'n seek with the sun.
Now you see it, now you don't, then it's back again.

Puffy pillows of white and grey
Drifting silently amid a sky of brightest blue.
So tall, so majestic, so mystical.

A sign of rain to come.
Or snow or wind or light or shade.
Or swords of lightning that slash the ground.