Tuesday, October 10, 2017

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Post 1613. Tuesday October 10

Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers 136






As a child, he would sit on the towpath and wave to passing barges loaded with heaps of coal and piles of timber, dragged along by enormous plodding horses. He was fascinated by the brightly painted flowerpots and kettles scattered along their roofs, and sagging lines of washing fluttering in the breeze. How he envied the urchin children that ran around the decks without a care in the world.

He longed to become a bargee when he grew up, a grimy-faced captain with rolled up sleeves proudly guiding his boat and family along meandering narrow canals. But it wasn't to be.

Barges no longer silently ply their trade along the waterways of rural England. Now they travel the rivers, horses replaced by throbbing diesel engines belching clouds of smoke.

He still sits on the towpath, but now just holidaymakers float past oblivious to the fact that generations lived and toiled where they now enjoy their wine and fine food. He no longer waves.



Word count 163

Thank you Priceless Joy for hosting, and Barb CT for the picture.



23 comments:

  1. Hi Keith - you record well ...the changing times - and in not such a long time scale either. A hard life working the canals ... fun as kids, I guess not so much as an adult - uncertainty of trade. Cheers Hilary

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    1. As you say, the use of canals for transporting goods ceased relatively recently, more's the pity. Thanks Hilary.

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  2. It's such a shame. Laterally there has at least been a recognition that the canals should be properly maintained and regenerated. Maybe once the diesel supply runs out, the horses will be used again. I also miss the trams which Glasgow got rid of in the 1960s, a horrendous mistake in hindsight as the council now tries to get us all to not bring diesel cars into the city! Fond, wistful memories Keith.

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    1. It is great that the canals are at last being regenerated even if it is just for the benefit of tourism - I've had many a happy holiday cruising them. It's a shame that in these 'want it tomorrow' times we don't use them for transporting goods with or without geegee's! Cheers Iain.

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  3. Progress can be such a buzzkill.

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  4. The sense of loss affects us all. "brightly painted flowerpots and kettles "... so much culture, color, awe we have lost. Along with the loss of charms, this story also means a loss of the feeling of wonder with the coming of technology... Very well written.

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    1. Old culure, new culture - I know wich I prefer. Thank you so much for your thoughts FP

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  5. This generates so many thoughts at so many levels. Thanks!

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  6. It's sad to watch old arts or crafts or ways of life fade.

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    1. It's called progress though many would disagree. Cheers mimi.

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  7. The changing face of civilisation,so beautifully described .
    Modern times comes with a huge price tag, soiling even the uncontaminated carefree mind.
    You have written a classic in flash fiction.

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    1. Moon, thank you so much for your kind words.

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  8. That's a lifetime's story in 163 words. Brilliant, per usual, Keith.

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    1. You say the nicest things Varad! Thank you so much.

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  9. I never heard of bargees until I watched an episode of Call the Midwife. Sounds like quite a different lifestyle.

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    1. Haha! We learn something new every day! Cheers Denise.

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  10. Love the story and the way you ended it. Time changes things sometimes for the better and sometimes for the worse. Great story, Keith!

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    1. ...and sometimes both. Thanks once again PJ

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  11. Its so sad to see things change and life's little joys no longer present. nice one Keith

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  12. Evolution... one is that of the man's dream and other is that of the world! This time it has take them both farther than closer.
    Engaging take!
    - Anagha From Team MocktailMommies

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