Tuesday, August 26, 2014

The River Rother

I took these photos specially for Wordless Wednesday. They are of the River Rother at low tide where it flows in from the sea at the ancient cinque port of Rye in East Sussex UK.

Sunday, August 24, 2014

Once upon a happier time

This week's words at The Sunday Whirl  are:-
stutter, cliff, rickety, bones, cart, absence,rift, flight, longing, sustain, baffles, language

A lone figure hobbled up the grassy slope towards the edge of the white chalk cliff. A pathetic sight; thin, hunched and draped in torn, worn grubby clothes. With stick-like arms he dragged a rickety cart, almost empty, his worldly possessions. He trudged closer and closer to edge, stuttering and babbling in another language. He stopped inches from the sheer drop. Hundreds of feet below the frothing waves crashed over the rocks, beckoning him, tempting him to join them.

He sat to relieve his aching bones. All around squawking gulls swooped and dived. He watched wishing that he too had the gift of flight and was able to launch his soul skyward and look down on what he had become. Perhaps I can he thought. Perhaps I can.

He stared out across the pale blue ocean. There on the distant horizon, he could just make out the beaches of his beloved France. Pierre came here from France long long ago. In the early years he had a good life, a new family. But not a real family. And since everyone and everything that had mattered drifted away, a deep longing had grown inside him to return to the land of his fathers. But he was stubborn. For so many years he refused to mend the rift between him and his true family. They knew not why. His choice of sustained absence and isolation still baffles them.

Today, at the cliffs edge sits a little wooden cart wheel. Between the rotting spokes French marigolds grow, their golden blossoms gazing out towards the coast of France. That little wheel is all that remains of Pierre. Somebody brought it up from the rocks below, perhaps someone who knew Pierre once; once upon a happier time.

Picture Beachy Head, Eastbourne. c.keithsramblings

Footnote: I live close to Beachy Head but sadly its beauty is overshadowed by its notoriety as a venue for scores of people each year from all over the UK wishing to bid the world farewell.

a fishy tail

I wrote this for the Sunday Scribblings 2  prompt 'from the front pages'.

They used to say “Today’s news is tomorrow’s fish and chip paper”. That was of course before the worthy guardians of public health and safety decided that wrapping food in newspaper was an unhealthy practice. Something to do with eating poisonous lead from printing ink with our battered cod apparently! Paint used to have lead it too as I recall. That got banned as well, although I don’t ever remember being tempted to drink a can of white gloss myself. I digress! The thing is, what’s news one day is often forgotten by the next. It drops from the front pages into the recycling bins of our minds!
     Years ago a chap called Jeremy was tucking into a large haddock and medium chips ('Fries' I believe they are called by our friends across the pond) when something in the bottom corner of the newspaper wrapping caught his eye. Apparently, a lottery prize of several million pounds was as yet unclaimed by a ticket holder in his town. Suddenly Jeremy remembered he hadn’t checked the numbers on which he’d placed a pound the previous Saturday. Well, he rifled around in various pockets until he found it. You can probably guess what I’m going to say next, and you are absolutely right! Jeremy had in his hand a ticket to  the exclusive club of millionaires!
     The next day Jeremy was all over the front pages. As per usual his tale of luck and good fortune was soon to become the next day’s fish and chip paper.
     Mary lived the other side of the country. It was Friday, and every Friday she got herself a small hake, chips and mushy peas. She was sitting in front of the TV, just as many of us did on a Friday night with our newspaper parcel of food on our laps. She finished her meal and started to screw up the grease-stained front page of the previous days’ Daily Mirror. Something caught her eye; a photo of a familiar face. Not exactly as she remembered it, but a familiar face none the less. She saw the child in the twinkling eyes of the grinning prize winner of an over-size cheque which he proudly held for all to see. They were eyes she hadn’t seen since the war years when as a child she was separated from her brother, Jeremy. That was fifty two years ago.
      To cut a long story short, they enjoyed a happy reunion thanks to their fish and chips! Their story was emblazoned across the front pages of the national press and then ...forgotten.
       ‘How do you know all  this?’ I hear you ask. ‘It was, after all, yesterday’s news’. And the more observant among you may also have realised that newspaper used as food wrapping went out long before the national lottery came into being.  So, you are right. I made the whole yarn up. But I’d like to think that once upon a time, somewhere, something like that happened. 

Wednesday, August 20, 2014


This is my first visit to Poetry Jam. This week we write poems on the theme of 'Path' 

She sits and stares
Unfocused eyes swimming to the horizon
Gazing into infinity

No sign of tears
Her expressionless face an empty canvas
A sea of pallor

I look into her eyes
I see nothing but a swirling mist of grey
That sparkle gone

I try to ask  why
But a cloud of despair envelopes her
She hears me not

But I will wait
I’ll stay by her side for as long as it takes
for her to return

But for now
she wanders a path  of her own
Somewhere. Alone

I know not where

Picture : misty night by sanzoukyou at deviantART

Tuesday, August 19, 2014

Sea legs

A little bit of nonsense for THE MAG!

Mind over matter. I won’t be sick, I won’t be sick, I won’t –wooo – be siiiick!

Just hold the rail. That’s right. The rail’s moving – ooooh – no it’s not it's  me-ee-ee

Hold tight. Nearly there, nearly there. Ooo,ooo, ooo!  

That’s better, not rolling soooo much nowwwww! 

Weeee!  Bluuuuh………


Airbourne 2014

For Wordless Wednesday

Eastbourne International Airshow

Monday, August 18, 2014


For The Sunday Whirl. This week's words are demimonde, asylum grey, oranges, candle, grand, rites, reborn, Africa and transgression.I used all but one.

Many of the grand and wealthy landowners in that part of Africa employed the services of a demimonde. But those from the lower orders took advantage of the vulnerable. The rites of the weak and defenseless women in the villages seemed non-existent; for them, there was no asylum. A grey undercurrent rippled unheeded below the surface. The transgressions of the selfish few went unnoticed or ignored. This short story tells the tale of a samaritan who held a candle for one such poor soul; a story of hope reborn.


There were not many people at Gerald’s funeral. A couple of neighbours, three or four folk from his church and his health visitor. He had lived alone for years and although everyone around him did what they could for him, he never really seemed grateful.
       There was however one person at the chapel whom nobody had seen before. Tall, expensively suited and with a skin the colour of polished mahogany . His gentle smile lit up the miserable grey walls and the leaden sky which peered through the chapel windows.
       Thirty or so years ago , Gerald had been a manager at a gold mine in Africa . There, the local men toiled and laboured taking home a meager wage, day in day out, year after miserable year . One evening after Gerald had finished his shift he was wandering back though an orange grove to his hut when he witnessed the appalling sight of a man raping a local girl. Had she not been wearing a bright yellow coloured garment he might never have noticed her. He was however too late to prevent the ghastly crime, and the guilt he felt for not being there minutes earlier haunted him for many a long month .
       As a result the girl had conceived and in the following spring gave birth to a healthy baby boy. So moved was Gerald that he made a promise to see that the mother and child were supported both physically and financially for as long as he lived. Months later he returned to England and never saw them again. His attempts to contact the girl and her baby were unfruitful, but still he ensured that the financial help he had promised continued even though he realised that the aid he was sending could well be falling into the wrong hands .
        A couple of weeks ago Gerald was lying in a hospital bed. He had few visitors and those did sit at his bedside never felt that he was in any way grateful for their visits. Then one afternoon a handsome young man strode up to his bedside. He was tall, expensively suited and had skin the colour of polished mahogany. His smile lit up the gloomy hospital ward and softened the leaden sky which peered through the windows. Gerald knew at once who the young man was, but was too weak to utter a single word.
       ‘My name is Gerald too’ said the visitor. ‘My Mother and I owe you a debt we can never repay. You have given us everything, for which we will be forever grateful. Yet I ask for one thing more. I simply ask that I be permitted to call you Father. Gerald’s feeble smile was all the confirmation the young man required. 
       At the graveside the gathered few scattered soil on Gerald’s coffin as it was lowered into the ground. The young man cast in a piece of bright yellow fabric. ‘Rest in peace Father’ he said.