Good morning. I had the pleasure of answering some tricky questions from Rachael Ritchey, on account of my #BlogBattle win. I fear I bent the rules slightly with my answers but they certainly made me think! Here it is:
Time to see what is happening in Sully’s world, where things have changed beyond his own comprehension…
Sully peeled open his eyes. The room was unfamiliar and yet he felt at home. The ceiling was low and the room lit by a lantern hanging in the corner. The tiny bed, in which he lay, was too short for his stature, like an adult in a child-size bed. He sat up and swung his feet around onto a sheepskin rug and stretched out his arms with a yawn. It had been a late night celebrating but sleep had rejuvenated him. He stood and caught sight of a man reflected in the mirror. “Hello?” He scratched his head but realised that is was himself at whom he was staring. Sully gasped; he had literally grown overnight. The boy he was yesterday was gone. The mirror reflected a tall, thick-set man, with jet black hair and stubble. His sapphire eyes were the only recognisable feature from his former self. He examined his enormous hands and flexed his impressive biceps. Surely no-one would recognise him? How could they if he could not even recognise himself? His new image was however, fitting with his newly appointed title of leader. But he remained puzzled. What was going on? He picked up the boots, which stood in a pair beside the door, and slipped them on his feet. He needed some answers, he needed to find Bella.
The bedroom door creaked open and light flooded in from above, where a stained glass window depicted a battle scene and created a dancing rainbow of shapes all around. His neck tilted to allow his eyes to take in the detail of his surroundings. A circular hallway with a helter-skelter staircase rising from the depths to the very highest point, encircled him. Around the edge of the curved walls, were doors, approximately 30 of them, all identical, except, it seemed for a tiny square picture. Some were of animals or fish, leaves and plants but they were all intricately painted. The floor was shiny, polished wood, as was the banister of the impressive staircase, which he now trailed his fingers along as he descended into the unknown.
When he reached the next floor, his feet took him to a door which bore the picture of a bluebell. His closed fist knocked before his brain could make sense of where he stood. Why this door? He had no idea but none-the-less stood awaiting a reply, a reply which would not come. After a few moments, he turned and continued to follow the winding steps until he reached the very bottom. A million dust orbs floated in the atmosphere, momentarily coloured by the light escaping from the window high above.
“Ahh, Sullymore…you’re awake. And so the prediction was correct, you are morphing into the makings of a strong figure, a leader.” Joraf was sat on a wooden church-like pew, at a long table, through an open door. It appeared to be some sort of refectory, and it was as if he was waiting for his arrival. Joraf clapped his hands and immediately two figures, without the customary beard, arrived, carrying trays of hot tea and warm buttered toast. Sully’s stomach grumbled as though he had not eaten for a hundred years and he eagerly tucked in, licking his fingers clean of the dripping butter. The hot tea was nectar and he guzzled two entire pots before feeling satisfied. It was only then that he remembered his questions.
“Joraf? What’s going on? Where is Bella and how can I have grown into this body after just a few hours sleep?” His deep tone of voice surprised him. He cleared his throat.
“All in good time Sullymore. Bella will be here shortly, she will answer any questions you may have…but for now though, please take a look at this.”
A huge leather-bound book, carved with the same designs as that of the table in the great hall, was placed before him. He pushed the dirty crockery to one side and ran his fingers through the grooves. As he touched them, his ears filled with whispering. He pulled his fingers away and the whispering stopped. His forehead furrowed as he touched the grooves once more and again the whispering began, he could not make out a single word. Only yesterday he wished to hear it with his own ears, but now he was more confused than ever.
I am so busy with writing my second novel, that I have not spent much time here lately. I wanted to re-blog something important to me and opted for a non-fiction piece. I went for this little post about my ‘Little black cloud’, from a few years back. It was intended to reach out to those who do not find life so easy, a little part of me – a side who few knew about. Today, the sun is shining and I feel full of light, but I still have my dark days, as do I suspect most people, it’s just that many do not share these glum feelings, they hold them safely within. They keep it secret. If you are having a dark day, searching for words to verbalise your muddy thoughts, just know that you are not alone and you will once again feel the sunshine on your face, just keep looking for the sun. :)
Originally posted on sarah colliver:
It is early morning and as I sip my coffee and wait for the day ahead of me to unfold, enjoying the peace of still sleeping children, I feel slightly apprehensive for what the week will bring and if I will be able to cope with everything. I know all of the rules we are supposed to follow about embracing the day and being thankful, but it is not always so easy is it? Funny really, because I AM grateful for my life and how privileged I am and I do try and follow the rules, but sometimes that ‘little black cloud keeps walking around with me’ (thank you Kelly Jones from The Stereophonics for that) and I find it so hard to snap myself out of it. I am a worrier you see, that I am sure is a part of it. I worry…
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Part Three of my story, The Whispering, is ready for consumption! I hope you are still enjoying the story and please don’t forget to look out for part four.
Bella pulled a wobbly Sully to his feet. He continued to shake his confused head. The bearded assembly muttered sounds of disappointment and their trust in Bella was suddenly precarious. Sully’s knees knocked together like cymbals and the room swirled into a blur. How could anyone think he would possess the capabilities of leadership? He, insignificant and fearful, Sully? He swayed and inhaled deeply, smoky air blended with hoppy ale filled his nostrils and an image flashed into his mind. A tavern, gloomy, bursting with people united in one cause. A man stood above the crowd, upon a table. Animated in his call to arms, with easy confidence he whipped up his revering audience into frenzied appreciation, until the entire tavern glowed with belief and anticipation. Sully jolted back to his present moment, but found his legs rooted firmly to the ground and his hands as steady as a rock. He felt as though he had grown inches in those few seconds and his neck extended at the top of his taut frame.
“Friends, have you forgotten how dangerous it is to judge on appearances?” The low mutterings dissipated into shamed silence. “This young man, will lead us. Just as his father once did, he will draw on his heritage, will feel the blood of strength coarse through his veins and indeed, lead us victorious against The Whisperers.” Bella turned to Sully and nodded. Before his brain could begin to think of something to say, his mouth began to move.
“Friends, I come to you today, incomplete, I understand your apprehension. I sense your doubt in me as a leader and so you should. For I am not yet a man, but with your help, I can become all that you need of me and together we can be a force to be reckoned with. But please, we don’t have a moment to waste, you must not delay. Show your support NOW, vote me in as your leader and I will prove my worth tenfold.”
Joraf, the bearded man who had opened the ornate door to them on arrival, stood and clapped slowly. His cheeks reddened but his clapping continued as one by on around the table, they joined in. Only one remained seated, his eyes fixed on Sully with suspicion. Bella again silenced the crowd with her hands and spoke, “You have made the correct choice, my friends. It would seem that only one lacks the belief in our chosen one. Mortack, why do you remain in your seat?” She turned to the one seated and awaited his reply.
“As far as I was aware, this is a choice, how we vote? You brought before us a scared and feeble child and ask for him to lead us? The Whispering has already begun; we have no time to wait the growth of this child…” Mortack spoke in a low voice of doubt.
“Indeed, The Whispering has begun and we are short on time…but just in the last few minutes, this child has grown before my very eyes, he will remember all that he should and he will follow in the long line of great leaders before him…I believe in him and I trust Bella, for when has she ever let us down?” For the second time, Joraf was leaping to Sully’s defence and around the room echoed mutterings of agreement.
Bella lightly pressed her fingers into the arch of Sully’s back, his cue to speak once again. He cleared his throat and spoke as though channelling some inner voice. “You all have the right to choose, isn’t that part of what we will fight to keep? Mortack, you are wise to think with your own mind, not to be scared of being different and to make your own decisions according to what you hear and feel in your heart.”
Silence deafened the room and the world held its breath. New feelings of courage and strength gushed through Sully’s body like a sink filling with water. Suppressed memories were blinking into his conscious, eventually they would rebuild his fragile nature and he would become a warrior leader, with strength, cunning and determination. Mortack pushed his chair back behind him in one movement and rose to his feet, his eyes fixed on Sully. Raptured applause and cheering resounded, as they celebrated their unanimous decision, and their new leader was lifted high above their heads in jubilation.
Today, I would like to share a short story which is based on a true event. The setting is real, the characters are too, although the names have been changed, and some of the detail in the conversations altered slightly. When my Mum spoke of this evening to me, back when I was a teenager, I was immediately intrigued, especially as this was the midwife who delivered me.
I hope you are both intrigued and moved by this remarkable story.
Out of the Darkness
It was one of those balmy summer evenings. Two ladies, the younger a mother of four and the elder, a local midwife, were relishing their post-dinner chat. They had not been together for some time and an animated discussion about the release earlier that year, of Nelson Mandela had ensued. A shared passion for this iconic man prompted a heartfelt clink of glasses, as they raised him a toast. Joy appreciated the company of this older woman and felt a strong female bond with her. After all, she had delivered all four of her children over the previous decade.
Sister Colette Lemaire, was a local celebrity. She could not walk to her car without being shouted to or vigorously waved at. It was as if she had delivered a baby for everyone. She always knew who they were and the name of their baby. Each mother lucky enough to be allocated Colette as their midwife, felt special, that was what she did.
Despite their comfortable friendship, Joy really knew little about the private life of Colette. It never seemed to crop up in conversations. On this particular evening, whether it was the Dutch courage from the large glass of Lambrusco or simply the right time, Joy felt the need to ask the question. Had she ever been married? A long pause, punctuated only by a profound sigh, deafened Joy and she immediately felt dreadful, as though she had crossed an invisible line which had never been approached before. She caught her dear friend off guard, and instinctively, reached for her shaking hand. The colour drained from Colette’s face and her eyes were bulging with stormy tears. Joy offered apologies whilst stroking her hand, but they both knew the line had been crossed and there was no ignoring the situation. Joy’s eyes began to cloud and she sniffed back her own tears, unsure how this conversation would end. If only she had kept her mouth shut!
After a few minutes, Colette managed to wipe her tears with a hanky from her pocket. She took a deep breath and regained her composure. Then she took out a battered brown wallet. It was one you would expect a man to carry. Her moves were slow, deliberate, as if she was considering every single action. Joy watched her friend, who appeared vulnerable for the first time and this unnerved her. What was she about to discover regarding about this woman? What could her secret be?
Colette began to open her wallet and tenderly ran her finger along a crumpled edge of what seemed to be a picture, safely tucked inside. She was in a long forgotten place, far from the peace and tranquillity of Joy’s garden. Fear penetrated her eyes and her shoulders shuddered as she stared at the aged picture. The wallet dropped to her lap and in her fingers, two faded black and white photographs faced Colette. Inked on the back were words that Joy could not quite make out. Joy sat back in her chair, waiting.
Colette began by turning the photographs around, but she did not let them go. Her grip was firm but she pointed to the young man, gun slung across his shoulder and told her that this was her husband, Dariel. His French name meant darling. He was her darling. Joy said nothing. She was too afraid of saying the wrong thing.
Dariel had proposed to her when she was just 16 and they married soon afterwards. Her baby was born 9 months later, to the distant sound of the approaching marching soldiers of the Wehrmacht. War was coming to their lives. Joy could see Colette shifting uncomfortably on her chair, the recollections which she was sharing were not easy for her.
Colette’s husband had already begun to prepare. It wasn’t however the way she had imagined, by stocking up on food, making safe their home or even running away. No, he was busy answering a call to arms with those who would secretly fight: the French Resistance. This terrified Colette, how would they protect their tiny child? But along with the waves of grey- uniformed, black- booted invaders came a new burning need in Colette. The sight of these monsters in her beloved country ignited a determination, to do all she could, to rid her France of them. She would fight. Dariel and Colette, together with their young son Jacques, promptly relocated to the forest area. Their documents were forgeries and they were in deep enough to know the implications of what this meant.
Joy questioned whether she could be that brave, had she been in her position. It is one thing to read about it and learn, but to be faced with actively fighting the Germans and the likely repercussions, sent shivers across her body. She was sat there, in her own back garden, with a woman who had delivered her four babies and never had ANY idea. It sounded like the synopsis of a book, or the outline of a film. It was truly unbelievable and her hand across her mouth and the shaking of her head, confirmed her amazement. Still, she offered her brave dear friend no words, none seemed adequate. This woman, had risked her life for her country, the pride Joy felt at being in her company was overwhelming.
Colette began to pick up where she had left off. Initially she spoke in French as her mind revisited old haunts, but realised her error as her friend gently touched her hand. Once they had become firmly rooted in the forest family, life continued at, what she could only describe as ‘adrenaline- fuelled exhaustion’. The threat which they lived under was incomprehensible to anyone who had not feared for their life every single second of every single day. Their brains were on a permanent state of alert and even sleep offered no peace; with every slight sound they awoke. Somehow they lived this way, for three years. Plotting disruptions and generally making life difficult for their enemies. This put a high price on all of their heads. Sleep did not come easily to them, but she did know that she would rather sleep for five minutes with a clear conscience, than all night as a collaborator.
Joy silently sipped her wine; there was so much to take in. These leaden memories carried around by this woman, silently weighed her down. It was astonishing that she could even function normally and yet she hid her pain so expertly. It made Joy feel ashamed. How dare she ever complain about anything in her life, when someone she loved had encountered such fear?
Their reflective silence was again broken by the soft voice of Colette, who felt the need to continue her story at her own pace. In June 1943, a small group which included Colette and Dariel, went under cover of darkness to blow up part of a small factory, which was being used to make parts for guns. When they arrived, they took up their positions and waited for the signal from Patrice, the operations leader. Instead they heard the sounds of ambush and within seconds were surrounded by Germans. It was the end for them all, they were sure and they had no choice but to throw down their weapons and raise their hands. Colette would have fought until death, but she could only think of Jacques, her beautiful blue eyed boy and seeing him again.
Colette struggled to speak, her husky voice broke. It was too hard to remember and yet impossible to forget the ingrained memories – the images burnt into her soul. Dariel, did not survive the ambush. He was shot immediately. The photograph she now held was the last one ever taken of him. She was given it after the war, by the only survivor of their group. Colette laid her precious pictures on her lap, and began carefully to unbutton her sleeve. Next she rolled it up. Joy frowned in confusion as she watched her fold the material over and over until it was above the elbow. Then she turned her arm to face Joy. It was a tattoo -of a number. Now Joy understood.
After their ambush, she had been sent to Dachau, bruises, cuts and all. It was the beginning of hell from the second they arrived at the train platform. Her head shook. She spoke through her tears, she did not want to go into details, it was too hard. Joy passed her a glass which she had re-filled and Colette sat back on her chair. Neither lady spoke. They absorbed the images which had been provoked, individually; one lady more vividly than the other.
During her time at Dachau, the Germans made sure that she would not be able to have any children of her own. As if to rub salt into her wounds, before she could even recover, she was forced to assist in the delivery of babies within the camp. Colette became a midwife, in Dachau. The tears of both ladies flowed into a pool of solidarity, together they cried. Filled with such love, Joy flung her arms around her friend and never wanted to let go. She wanted to make it all better, but it was like trying to catch a cloud.
It was Colette who pulled away first, as she picked up the second photograph of a beautiful toddler. It was Jacques, her son. Before Joy could verbalise her question, Colette had answered it. She never found out what happened to him, no one knew, he just disappeared. The picture was all she had, together with empty arms and an aching heart.
Colette drained her drink and placed the empty glass back on the table. Being a midwife was her way of telling the Nazis, that life is bigger than everyone and that they didn’t break her mentally. Bringing lives into the world was a beautiful thing and she needed to fill her mind with colour and life to replace the grey and bloodshed. She would ALWAYS continue with the job as long as she could breathe. The many babies she had delivered helped ease the loss of her own family and any future one she had been so brutally denied.
Joy was flattered that Colette had shared so much with her. It was clearly something which she spoke of rarely, if ever. The fact that she continued to deliver babies, despite the atrocities which she had personally suffered, was astonishing and the respect which she felt for her could not have been greater than how she felt right then. She knew, that she would never be allowed to utter a word about this incredible story, although if she had her own way, she would tell the world about the brave, inspirational woman who now shared her table. As Colette rolled down her sleeve, re-covered her tattoo and gently tucked away her photographs, she told Joy that she would still freeze at the sound of a German accent. Goosebumps would erupt all over her body and her hands would tremble, as the accent transported her back to those dark days. With her wallet safely back in her pocket, she breathed easier. Things were back where they should be.
“So, now you know my dear friend. In the darkest place of my life, where I was given a number instead of a name, I learnt how to deliver babies. They thought they would break me. But I am still here and so are many, many healthy children because of my skills. Even out of our bleakest times, something good can come.”
I began ‘The Whispering’ as a personal challenge. Today, I thought I would offer up Part Two.
I hope you enjoy it!
Sully’s eyes blinked furiously as they adjusted to the dim light of the small hallway. Flaming torches cast foreboding shadows upon the walls. He scooched in close to Bella; afraid of where she had brought him. Her skin smelt of lavender and she squeezed his hand tight as they slowly moved forward. He couldn’t quite make out who they followed, but he could hear muttering voices a way down the passage. The footsteps of their leader ceased, and they came to a halt beside a wall with no evidence of a doorway. Sully stood on tiptoe and peeped over Bella’s shoulder to see the person holding a torch. His face was now alight, his copper beard bushy and unkempt and his nose reddened (although Sully could not tell if this was a trick of the light or not. He had seen this before when his Aunt had indulged in one too many tipples and thought fleetingly that this could be the reason.) Still on aching tip-toe, Sully watched him rap a series of knocks upon the wall, just beneath a shelf, on which stood a tiny silver tinder box. How strange, that he should be knocking there of all places.
The mutterings which Sully heard, were now silenced. Goosebumps erupted on his neck and swept across his body. His legs softened to jelly but he maintained his grip on Bella, who stood tall and fearless like a warrior preparing for battle. With a jolt and a click, the paneled green wall slid to the side, opening up a doorway just big enough to climb sideways in and it was indeed through this door where Bella now pulled Sully. His back leg was only just though before it efficiently slid shut. He kept his eyes pressed closed. It wasn’t that he didn’t trust Bella. She knew the answer to everything, but he just wished she would explain things to him more often, so that he could prepare himself for whatever was in store. His hand dropped as Bella moved away from him and this forced open his fearful eyes, which widened at the sight of what lay before him.
A monumental wooden chandelier cascaded down from the cavernous ceiling above them. Branches and shoots from the heart of the tree twisted and curved to form its arms and at the end of each a bright flame flickered, without, it seemed, ever damaging or burning the very wood from which it took its form. Beneath sat an intricately carved table, with symbols and leaf patterns covering the surface and a circle of eyes, staring towards the new arrivals. The bearded man now took his place over near the roaring fire to the left and Bella pushed Sully towards an empty seat. He perched on the very edge. What was this place?
“Friends, as you all know, The Whispering has begun.” Worried faces gasped in horror, unified in their fear, facially they all looked the same, only their clothes and colour of their beards differed. Bella silenced the assembly with her hands, “We must make haste, we must formulate a plan and we must act NOW!” She banged her fist, as though in rage, on the table and Sully jumped, for Bella was such a gentle creature. He wrung his hands together and felt a trickle of sweat on his forehead. “I promised I would bring you a leader,” Bella’s finger swept the semi-circle of anticipating faces, their eyes now wide. “My friends, I give to you…” Sully could not take his eyes from Bella, she was mesmerizing and a born leader. “I give you, Sullymore Beech.” All eyes turned to Sully, and for a moment, his brain could not register what had just been said. After a moment, his thoughts caught up with the reality of the moment, and he shook his head and frowned at Bella. What was she doing? Surely she was going mad? Judging by the looks from the rest of the congregation, he was not alone in these thoughts.
I am delighted to be voted the winner of the #Blogbattle for this week. Thanks to Rachael Ritchey for all the hard work she puts in to make it happen. A big thank you also to all those who voted for me. Here it is, Part one of THE WHISPERING:
“Can you hear them whispering? Most dismiss it as the wind through the trees, but not I. I know it’s them.” Her light steps skimmed the earth as though she were walking on air. Her hair flayed behind as if engaged in a dance of its own and her fingers conducted an orchestra of birdsong. She deftly moved between trees and bushes beneath the canopy of emerald. This was her playground and it was engrained within her, part of her essence.
Sully ran to keep up with her, his legs were not yet fully grown and only half the length of her slender pins, casting the illusion that he was indeed chasing her. His impish ears failed to catch any whispering, but with all his heart he wished that he could hear them, whoever they were. “Please slow down Bella…I can’t keep up!” His whiny words trailed behind him and Bella remained oblivious to his pleas.
Once they passed the lily-pond, where the frogs belched out their chorus of love, Bella darted out of sight around an enormous oak. Sully wanted to stop and look at the frogs, maybe even paddle his sore feet in the calm water but instead he soldiered on. As he turned the corner he tripped over a root, trying to avoid Bella who now stood patiently, awaiting an answer to her knock on the door. The shiny red door was ornately decorated with swirled metal hinges and a matching knocker. It seemed to be the entrance into a great and ancient oak, how was this possible? Who would live here, within a tree? There were so many things he did not yet understand.
Sully stood and brushed the forest from his ragged clothes. His knee was grazed and his hand peppered with thorns, which he proceeded to pick out one by one as they waited. With a creak and a moan the heavy door opened to a crack, “Yes, who is it?” said the tiny voice within.
“It’s Bella, please you must let us in. The whispering has begun and we need to warn the others…” Her voice echoed urgency but remained as sweet as a nightingale. The door swung open and she took Sully’s hand, “Come on, we must get inside, we have work to do.”
Thank you to Rachael Ritchey for again inspiring me to write SOMETHING, as I am lost somewhere,on my writing path at the moment and seem to be busy pulling far away from words! Here is a small contribution to her fabulous BLOGBATTLE which I am delighted to be involved with! Thank you Rachael!
Granny’s Current Buns
Primrose’s knarred hands kneaded the elastic dough and her mind wandered off to days long ago. It took her to those halcyon days when the sun shone longer than she was allowed to stay up. This was when she first learnt the art of baking. Her father, and his father, had owned a bakery, tucked neatly onto the side of a country road. It stood next to their cottage, where wisteria cascaded from roof to floor and this was where their family lived for generations. The sweet scent of baking bread was the smell of her childhood and the early mornings meant her father in later years, slept in the afternoons, in the chair by the back door with his empty pipe and a daily newspaper across his lap. Her mother would check him regularly, in between her chores and with a finger to her lips in front of a loving smile, gently warn her not to wake him. Her busy hands continued to wash and tidy as she stole adoring glances at her weary husband. That was an image of true love, the look on her mother’s face when she looked at her father.
A bumble-bee flew in through the cottage window and cheerfully buzzed towards the jug of flowers picked from the garden. She watched it settle as her hands still worked the dough. The current buns were Poppy’s favourite and she would be visiting in a few hours. Her lined face curled into a smile, at the thought. How lovely to think her family still carried on the tradition of naming the girls after flowers. Her mother was Violet, her daughter Lilly and now there was Poppy. Poppy was training to be a chef and Primrose loved her visits on her way home from work, dressed in her whites. Pride would prick at her eyes each time, “Let me look at you Poppy, don’t you look fine?” she would say as Poppy indulged her Gran with a twirl and a curtsey. It was Granny who first taught Poppy how to bake, who ignited the spark of the kitchen within her heart. Poppy was proud of her family heritage.
Primrose damped her cloth, covered the bowl and popped the dough in the warming oven at the bottom of her Aga. She would have them freshly baked for Poppy’s arrival, along with a pot of tea. She wiped her stiff hands on her floral ‘pinny’ and sunk onto her rocking chair. The rhythmic movements made her eyes heavy and before long slumber engulfed her. She was whizzing through the grass, passed the sweet-smelling wildflowers trailing behind her a red kite. The exhilaration of youth flooded her veins and squeals of delight escaped her lips as the kite finally soared high up above her, to the applause of her parents. Both stood by the back door and when the applause finished they walked towards her, their hands firmly entwined and faces alight with happiness.
When Poppy arrived to see Granny, she came through the back door, but instead of her usual fussy greeting, was surprised to see her sleeping in the chair. The familiar waft of currant buns tickled her nose and she filled the teapot with boiling water from the kettle on the stove before gently kissing Granny’s weary hands, with fondness. Tears clouded her eyes as she looked upon her slumbering Granny, as her mind chased away the reality of her frailness. When the chair began to rock, and Primrose’s eyes blinked open, her hand reached and wiped away the tears which streamed down Poppy’s cheeks.
“Well I must have fallen asleep my love – Let me look at you! Oh come on now, no tears, let’s get that tea poured. Those currant buns have been baked with love just for you Poppy!” Poppy took a tissue from her pocket and wiped her nose before pouring the tea. She took a bite out of the warm delicious bun and her mouth watered. There would never be a better tasting one than the those which Gran made her, and she relished every last crumb as though it were her last. These moments, sat in the warmth of Granny’s kitchen were also to be savoured because one day she would have to make her own currant buns, and no matter how accomplished as a chef she would become, Granny’s would always be the best.
TODAY, is my two year blog anniversary!
I was shocked to receive my message informing me, as I thought that I had been blogging intermittently for far longer than two years! Anyway, I may be irregular with my posts and they may not fall into one particular category either, but I only post when I feel compelled. Whether that be in a photographic way or expression through words.
I thought I would re-blog my very first post, from 7th May 2013, but alas, it would not let me. I wanted to share it however, as it seems fitting as I am still a striving writer, two years on!
Thank you to all who take time to comment, read and enjoy my photographs and writing. This has, and still proves to be a wonderful way to connect with people. I have enjoyed viewing and reading so many on here over the last two years.
My first ever post looked something like this:
“Write – because you will explode if you don’t. Your brain will expand with words, like a balloon filling with air.”— Sarah Colliver
She trod the lonely path homewards, as the day drew to a dismal close. Heavy clouds threatened a downpour but she remained determined to beat the rain home. Her slow pace, weary with shopping, suddenly picked up speed as the first drops plopped onto her silvered hair. She turned the key in the door and the clouds finally burst and delivered their chilly load to all which lay beneath. It felt like a tiny victory and a smile crept across her face. The shopping bags dropped onto the flagstone floor and she examined the temporary red welts left by the evil plastic handles. She blew on her hands and flicked on the kettle.
The warm fluid gently revived her parched throat as she deposited items into the cupboards. The house was silent, and she stopped to listen. Only the ticking of the clock, which once belonged to her Grandmother, sounded and she looked at her watch. Where were they all? They should be home by now. Her stomach churned and she swallowed hard…perhaps something had happened? But she quickly pushed away the dark thoughts which loomed, just as the clouds had all the way home, and continued working through her daily routine.
After the clock in the hall struck 6, and the table was laid but still empty, she began to pace. Something was amiss…it was odd…but she couldn’t quite put her finger on it. She rubbed her forehead with her fingertips as though trying to access some long forgotten detail, but nothing sprung to her rescue. ‘They should all be home,’ she thought as she wandered to the French doors and stared out at the lush green grass, which was enjoying a soak. A plump robin appeared and sat on the edge of the stone bird bath. There was a pair who regularly visited for a splash and snack, but this day he was alone, like her. He froze for a minute before fluttering to the feeder and whizzing off, perhaps to share his bounty. A charcoal smell penetrated her nose, “Oh hell!” She muttered, grabbing the oven gloves and pulling out the crisp blackened lasagna. Perhaps I could scrape off the burnt pieces? But as the layers congealed resolutely, she realised it was a lost cause and with a sigh scraped the meal into the food waste.
The thud of the cat-flap made her jump and her hand flew to her mouth. “You scared me to death, you silly thing! I suppose at least someone has come home for tea…eh? Come on then, let’s get you fed.” The tortoiseshell cat meowed and pushed his head against her leg, the bell on his collar jingled as he moved. “Where are they all – eh?” She forked the cat meat into a bowl and placed it on the mat next to his water bowl. Perhaps they had broken down or maybe Simon had lost his keys and was busy looking for them. She wandered through the hallway and noticed a light flashing…what was that? A large yellow post it note displayed the words in capital letters: PRESS ME! So she did.
“You have one new message.” Followed by: “Hi Mum! Hope you’ve had a good day. Remember that Dad is at work this evening and will not be back until eight. I will come and see you tomorrow, when my shift finishes. Sit tight and if you need anything call Maggie, the number is next to this machine.” Her eyes flicked to the large sheet, containing names and numbers in bold printed text. Her heart double jumped and the corners of her mouth turned down. A light flicked on in her mind as she remembered a word. Her legs wobbled but she threw herself up the stairs towards the bedroom of her daughters. She anticipated pink walls, fluffy teddy bears and a floor littered with Sindy and Barbie dolls but as she opened the door, she gasped. The walls were cream and a double bed adorned with a quilted throw filled the sanded wooden floor. There were no posters upon the walls, or toys strewn along the floor. Dirty clothes were not scattered amongst the clean and this was not the room belonging to two little girls. A photograph frame, displayed proudly, two pictures of beautiful young women and her. They were wearing caps and gowns and smiles emanated from the essence of the pictures. She knew, that these were her little girls. She understood for that moment, that they were not coming home for dinner, because they no longer lived with her. And she remembered the really important word which the doctor had spoken. Dementia. She crumpled to the floor and sobbed, sobbed for all of the precious memories she had lost and for the emptiness which filled her mind more and more.
She wiped her nose with a tissue from the box beside the bed and straightened her skirt. She looked at her watch. Simon would be back in ten minutes, so she wandered down the stairs.
The table was set for four and the only evidence of the disastrous meal was the smell of charcoal in the air. What would she cook them for dinner now? Where were they anyway? Shouldn’t they be home by now? She wandered over to the French windows, to see if the robin was there, but the garden was deserted. The rain was busy washing the world clean as she wondered when her family would be home for dinner.
This story was inspired by my Mother in Law, who passed away last year. It got me thinking about things and looking at different perspectives. I cannot imagine how hard it must be in those moments of clarity to understand what is happening and it moved me beyond words. But being a writer I wanted to try and find some words, to attempt to create a window into how this might feel. All I hope for this piece, is that it is provoking. Thank you for reading it.
photo credit: <a href=”http://www.flickr.com/photos/94471921@N00/376121027″>Calender</a> via <a href=”http://photopin.com”>photopin</a> <a href=”https://creativecommons.org/licenses/by/2.0/”>(license)</a>