I liked this

I know I am risking over exposure of this piece because I have already put it on Facebook, but you know sometimes you struggle to write anything at all and then other times the stuff falls out of your fingers in a flurry.  Well this is one of those.  I started with a pencil and notebook and so it’s like a real poem with crossings out and corrections.  Anyway, I don’t like most of my stuff and then every now and again I read something I wrote and I smile.  This made me smile

The Queen of Heaven’s Child

Tis said the Queen of heaven’s child
Was taken by a tempest wild.
In grief her eyes cried endless tears
Which fell on earth for countless years.
And so the ocean deep and wide
Swept the globe from side to side.
And under water fathoms deep
The land of all the world did sleep,
‘cept on a mountain ten miles high
A house whose chimneys touched the sky.
And there below the moulding eaves,
Resting on a bed of leaves,
The missing babe did slumber on,
Till all the life on earth was gone.
All save the wandering Albatross,
Who flew where heaving waters toss.
And when they found the missing child,
And saved him from the waters riled,
They flew on wings of grey and white,
Up into the heavenly height,
And gave the weeping queen her son,
And told her what her tears had done.
And so she bade the Albatross
To fly the oceans right across,
And beat their wings to dry the seas
From tropic sand to polar freeze.
And they must take no time to rest,
Nor make a home, nor build a nest.
So on and on and on they fly
And not until the seas are dry
And all the land is found once more
Can they rest upon the shore.
But what, you ask is their reward
For taking babies heavenward
Well, they have no need for gold
And freedom can’t be bought or sold
And so the wind, the day and night
The moon upon their wings in flight
A curious beak and flappy feet
and all the fish that they can eat.

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The Dilemma

Just another Sunday afternoon.  It isn’t though is it? This is to be THE Sunday afternoon.

Dancing rays of dust shimmer before the window, the clock ticks quietly in the corner and from the road outside come faint sounds of life.

I glance around the room, not moving my head but taking it all in.  I love this room, this house, it’s not smart but it’s clean, the furniture is an eclectic mix and so many of the pieces have memories  seeped into them.  The sideboard that belonged to Granny, the old chair that I had used to nurse the babies, back in the days when we were young and life was golden.

The dining furniture gleams and in the air is the faint scent of polish, brought out as the wood warms under the window.

I look at Bill, his head nods, eyes already closed.  The newspaper has slipped from his hands and will soon slide to the floor as it always does.  When he wakes and stands the pages will scrunch and tear and he’ll look down in surprise.  Surprise every week, and he will tut and spend the next minutes folding and flapping but it won’t work the paper will be spoiled.

I look into my heart, at what I am about to do.  I am about to tread all over the smooth pages of our lives, crease and tear at the story of our marriage and make them irreparable.  I should speak now, before he starts snoring.  I’ve delayed long enough.  I’ve promised Jim that it will be this week.  He nagged and nagged, told me that if I really love him I won’t wait any longer, I’ll tell Bill, then I will “Go Public” with our relationship, our great sin and I will pick up and pack up and go with him into an uncertain future taking my guilt and sorrow with me.

The clock chimes quietly in the corner.  The slender gold fingers glint in the sunshine, counting off the hours, the minutes until I speak and change things forever.  Beside the clock is our wedding photograph, dated now, my sparkling lace dress looking slightly ludicrous beside the one of Susan in her heavy satin bridal gown.  Just last year, one year ago this next week, the wedding where Jim touched my fingers as he passed me a glass of wine.  The warmth in his hands burning through the thin fabric of my blue, mother of the bride suit, as we danced and his whisper, his treacherous whisper slithering into my brain.

“Meet me tomorrow.  You know I’ve always fancied you, meet me by the river – please.”  And I had met him, and we had started our shameful deception and now he wants me to go and start anew with him.

Bill settles further into his chair, the cat is on his lap already sleeping.  His hair is a little dishevelled, his sweater creasing behind his back.  He sighs, a great expellation of air.  The sun slides from behind a cloud, the sudden glow lights his face.  The brightness gentles out the wrinkles for a moment he is the man in the wedding photograph, the man who carried me from the reception in his strong arms and ran to the waiting taxi, the man who was as inexperienced as I on our wedding night.  Here is the man who held my hand through the hours of labour and let the tears of joy flow unheeded when the babies were born, pink and furious and gorgeous.  Here was the man whose arms were my arbour when my sister died and whose hands held mine in the church just hours before Jim’s words crept into my head.

How strange is life.

How hard is living.

I push to the front of the chair, lean towards him.  “Bill, Bill, are you asleep?”

“Hmm, hmm what, what’s matter?”

“I just wanted to..  I needed to…”

“What’s the matter, why are you crying?”

“I just wanted to say Bill, I love you.  I love you.”

“And I love you too you silly kipper.  Oh look at the paper, look what happened.”  He glances up at me.  “Are you alright Steph? Is there something wrong?”

“No love, nothing’s wrong.  Shall I put the kettle on.”

“Yeah, go on.  I’ll just sort this paper and then later shall we walk round to Susan’s see if she’ll give her old mum and dad tea.”

“Yes, let’s, let’s do that.”

The pain is gone.  I will call Jim tomorrow and tell him, tell him that our story, Bills and mine isn’t finished yet.  I’ll tell him that I’m going to smooth out the creases.  He won’t understand but it doesn’t matter, it will stay our secret, locked away out of sight where it belongs in the darkness.

 

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Ghost Written is Kindled.

Although this hasn’t had the best reviews on Authonomy etc it is one of my favourite stories and so, taking full advantage of modern life, which means that we can publish if we believe in something the novella, Ghost Written is now available on Kindle.

Free from tomorrow for three days

Ghost Written

Amazon.com link

The cover is a picture of my father in laws squadron during the Second World War.  The book is not about him.

 

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The Anniversary

Afterwards chapter 10

This sky isn’t blue, blue is just a colour this is more than a colour. This is an emotion. Through the window, in the distance far, far over the swell of ocean just on the edge of seeing are the mountains. Midnight against the blue that is more than blue.

Sipping cool sparkling wine is like drinking stardust. Silk slides against my skin as it warms in anticipation releasing the perfume of exotic flowers. Lilies and Jasmine.
The door opens with a click and I turn from the window, he is there. His hair wet from the shower his eyes dark jewels in the dim room. The shape of him, the deeps and shadows of muscle and form fill my eyes. I cross to him in a few steps.

He leans to me, his lips brush down, across my hair, tiny nips over the skin of my cheek and then fully on my mouth. His lips warm and sensuous tasting, teasing, tempting.

His hands move from where they have rested on my arms slowly they slide, towards my breasts. His fingers brush nipples already taught, tingling with desire. Warm need lights deep in my gut as he moans out my name, Pamela. Melting muscles and moulding flesh, skin on skin, warm and pulsing with life and wanting. Again he whispers my name, Pamela, happy anniversary darling.

It’s hard to breathe, hard to cling to the last vestiges of reality. Pamela.

“Yes, yes.”

“Pamela you silly cow, stop daydreaming. I’m talking to you – do you want to go the Harvester again for our anniversary or shall we go to Café Rouge?

“What, what’s the matter now. Oh for Pete’s sake Pamela, what did I do now?”

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Aw look

I think he’s called Columbus and he’s really sorry he headbutted the window.  In case you’re wondering he flew away shortly after these were taken and he was fine.  I always think the day has got to be good when you get to cuddle wildlife.

Oh yes as an aside, I didn’t know Hares could climb.  The baby one who is living in the garden at the moment spent yesterday evening sitting atop a wall around the patio.  Hmmm

robin with logo

 

cropped Robin with logo1

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Just for a laugh – No Offence Meant

12 Commandments??

“So have you nearly finished?”

“Yes Lord.”

“Is it looking good?”

“Erm, yup it’s pretty good.”

“Pretty good?”

“Well, yeah.  It’s looking great.”

“Mo””

“What?”

“Do you acknowledge that I am your one true God?”

“Yeah, we’ve discussed this before God, you know I do.  I worship you, well you know that.”

“Do you acknowledge my child that I am all seeing, all powerful?”

“Aw come on, don’t let’s go over all that again.  It’s getting late and the others are waiting for me innit.”

“Mo, is it looking good?”

“Yeah, I said.”

“Read them back to me.”

“What all of ‘em?”

“Yes.  Please.”

“Erm, well the thing is…”

“Yes.”

“Well you know how you said Times New Roman twelve point with half inch margins.”

“Yes.”

“Erm, well I thought you know, that was a bit – like – boring.”

“BORING.”

“Yeah, yeah but not in a yawn, yawn more instructions sort of way.  More in a plain sort of way.”

“And.”

“Well I kinda went for something more visually pleasing.”

“How.”

“Well I used – like bigger margins.”

“Why?”

“Well I thought I could put some grape vines and stuff on there, and a couple of cherubs at the bottom.  Plus I thought you know if I did some little images, you know like little demons and stuff It’d help in a visual prompt thingy.”

“Right, and is there anything else.”

“Weeeeeell.”

“Mo?”

“I did go for Comic Sans, and I made it a bit bigger, some of the oldies have problems with little fonts you know.  I was just trying to use my knowledge, you know think outside the box a bit.”

“Okay.  Let’s cut to the chase.  You made the margins bigger, you put pictures on there – pictures for heaven’s sake, and you used a bigger font.  Am I getting this right?”

“Yup.”

“And?”

“Erm.”

“Moses?”

“Well I left off the last one.”

“WHAT”

“Well to be honest God, and with like respect and stuff I just didn’t get it.  The eleventh one, the one about making sure you have clean underwear on somehow didn’t quite fit with the others, it’s important yeah, in case you have an accident and that but it seems a bit – well insignificant beside the murder and stealing and respecting and so on but I put that in, didn’t want to be too presumptuous and so on.  I did wonder though if maybe you’d gone off the boil a bit if you don’t mind me sayin’ and it overran what with the bigger font and then I really wanted to put in the extra couple of squirls on the bottom corners and well I mean you’ve already covered so much, it’s great it really is and I think we can do some good work with it, in a guidance and “rules to live by” sort of a way.  It was just that, If I can be frank, I just thought that last one made the tablet look a bit – well crowded and it spoilt the balance and really, to be honest I’m not sure how many people do that, well not with our camels?”

 

 

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Eddie’s Legs

This is an old story that someone has just reminded me about.  Coming up to Halloween and all I thought – Oh well why not.

Eddie’s Legs

That old hospital started life as a workhouse.  Over time it had been refurbished until it wasn’t possible to make it work as a modern hospital any more. MRI rooms, CAT scans, radiation therapy suites, they’re all so specialised there comes a time when it’s cheaper to rebuild.

They’d carried on for a bit here and there, the geriatrics had given them one or two problems rehousing the old codgers or waiting for em to pop off.  They used the outpatient’s clinics until it became too spooky and people started asking if they could wait until the new hospital opened.  That screwed up their waiting times for a bit. In the end all that was left were empty rooms and corridors with bits of old equipment, and the memories, hundreds of years of tragedy, misery, sickness, birth, probably the odd miracle and of course death.

I’ve always believed buildings hold on to the echo of what’s happened in them.  I reckon the energy has to go somewhere and so why shouldn’t it just seep into the walls and the foundations like a soup of all there is in humanity, the good, the bad and the downright evil.  Some buildings feel good and some don’t.  This one, well it felt like what it was, a great gathering place of living and dying.

Once the main buildings were emptied they reduced the crew, cost cutting.  That was the reason only me and Eddie were working in the basement in the theatres. Me and Eddie we’d done funeral parlours, old haunted houses and once a disused section of the London Tube with a closed station.  That was a bit spooky but this place was just rooms and corridors, old and empty.

Eddie went off to do a bit on his own and we said we’d meet up for our break.  Health and Safety would have had a field day with us but you can’t mess about, time is money and you just have to get on.  Anyway we did what we did and now I have to live with it don’t I?  He was my best mate Eddie, known him since school and we’d worked together every day for years.  It was odd when he didn’t come back when it was time for his break.  A great one for his break was old Eddie, “Coffee and a Kit Kat best bit of the day,” he used to say.

I got out the flasks and made a place for us to sit on the scaffold and I waited.  It was quiet, the wireless wouldn’t work properly down there below ground level and all the aerials and stuff had been taken down long since.  All I could hear was the creaking and the odd drip from the drains.

After a bit it started to get to me, I can’t say why, it was no different from the other old places but the air felt thick somehow like there was too much for the room to hold and it was squashing in on me and it felt damp and claggy.  The hair on the back of my neck prickled and I got Goosebumps up and down my arms.  I felt nervy and on edge and so I decided to go and find Eddie.

Out in the corridor was dim.  We had a gennie running but the bulbs had lost about half their power.  That big gloomy corridor, well, I couldn’t see to the end just the grimy tiled walls leading off to a black hole.  I heard a door then, swish and thud.

“Eddie,” I shouted “Is that you? You daft bugger come and get your break.”  Then I heard the wheels, rattling metal and footsteps, running footsteps.  More than just one, more than just Eddie.  Then the door swished again and I heard the scream.

I was scared I don’t deny it, there wasn’t supposed to be nobody there ‘cept me and Eddie.   I grabbed the lump hammer and went off down that bloody corridor.  I could hear people, I was sure of it, talking and running and the doors and then I heard the sobbing.  I can hear that noise every night when I try to get to sleep, heartbroken it was, great gulping sobs.  I’ve never heard such a hopeless noise. I was bricking it by then I can tell you.

Down the corridor I could see lights in one of the theatres, yellow flickering light like candles or gas mantles it were.  I was shaking.  All I could hear was the sobbing on and on and on.  When I got near to the door I could see behind it there were people, nurses in old-fashioned uniforms moving about, the glass was filthy and it was dark but I swear that’s what I could see and there was still that bloody sobbing louder and louder.

I pushed the door.  There was a swoosh of air, knocked me flat.  There was a big noise, a roar like thunder in the distance.  I was dizzy but I crawled back up and went into the room.  That’s when I saw the trolley, an old thing made of steel but knackered and bashed and on the top there was a sheet.  I could see there was something under the sheet.  I wanted to run, I wish I’d run but a course I didn’t.

When I touched it that old sheet was papery and thin like it’d been there for years and years and I pulled it back and there he was.  I’ve seen Mummies in the museums you know and I’ve seen films but there was this old thing, not much more than a skeleton with skin, yellow stretched skin and the clothes was all raggedy but I knew, I knew straight away.  I pulled it back more and I got to half way down and that’s when I realised, when I saw there wasn’t as much as there should be.  I didn’t faint I don’t think but the next thing I remember was running and yelling and trying to get out and more scared than I’ve ever been.  They reckon I was pretty well delirious, who wouldn’t be, I ask you that who wouldn’t be?

They did tests and stuff, DNA to make sure but I already knew.   His legs though, now why did they go and do that, why did they take Eddie’s legs?

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Autumn

it was a glorious misty October morning, everything was silvered and moist.

I love Autumn I really do.  If you click on these images they will blow you away.  Oh he wasn’t terribly particular in the middle bits, seem to have lost the thread (he haw he haw snigger)  – the rest of them are awesome though


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IMG_1209

IMG_1210

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A Blot on the Pane – You can be a bit too fussy when it comes to cleaning.

It was a tiny spot really, just a smear of grease. Possibly it was the remains of a little squashed fly, snuffed out in the middle of its existence, hmm, maybe. I tried to ignore it, I turned away but each time I passed it was there and it called to me, mocking me. Huh – you think you’re perfect well look you left a smear, you left the innards of a tiny creature daubed across the glass, spread over the shiny, newly cleaned window.

Well in the end I gave in, I had always known that I would and if I’d done it right away – well who knows maybe the outcome would have been different. Of course me being me I chose the most inconvenient time to let it get to me, just as I was waiting for the girls to arrive, that was it of course, pride, my downfall just as my grandmother always said it would be. I knew that the car would be turning into the road any moment, no time to fetch the bucket and the squeegee, no time to bring the steps up from the basement.

I thought that if I just used the spray cleaner and a piece of kitchen towel, I could wipe it away, the stain on my beautiful glass. I sprayed the fluid onto the tissue, I climbed on the stool. Now, it might have been okay if I had used the chair but the chair was by the table the stool was by the window.

It wasn’t quite high enough but I thought that if I put the little box, the one that I keep my candles in, on top then I would be able to reach. It’s solid wood, I forgot about the warping on the base from that time when the room flooded when I left the window open, yes the same window as it happens. Huh.

If I had tested it for steadiness before I climbed maybe I would have noticed but I could see the car turning the corner. I clambered up and balanced on the lid of the box, I rubbed the window with the paper towel, the stain was sticky and it didn’t dissolve, not at first, it just spread and so I had to reach further over towards the doorway. If I had just held onto the window frame I might have got away with it but I had just had my nails done, scarlet, a slutty colour my granny always said, she would have said trying to clean one little bit of window instead of doing the job properly was slutty as well.

I leaned just a tad too far, the shift in weight wobbled the box, I tried to regain my balance but jerked too hard the other way, the box rocked, the rocking box shifted the stool, the movement of the stool caused one of the legs to slip on the polished floor. I grabbed out, I think I screamed, I probably screamed. The stool shot from under the box, the box crashed to the floor and for one endless silent moment I was suspended, the world slowed, time crawled by, treacled reality until I hit the glass.

It should have been safety glass, if the builders hadn’t cut costs it would have been. As my head hit the window time regained its normal momentum, there wasn’t any pain, not then anyway. I felt my head smash through as if it wasn’t really a part of me, just a delusion. Then I felt my body thud and bump as I careened downwards and outwards bouncing on the window sill and the fancy coving. If we had taken the apartment on the ground floor I might have got away with it but I wanted the view, to be above the heads of passers by.

The air was cold, shockingly, it is raining slightly.

I can see the girls now, Melanie is leaning beside me, I think she is holding my hand. Carol is screaming into her mobile phone, and the others are just milling around. I’m really sorry to have upset them like this, I really am but I don’t think it really matters much any more because they are drifting away now or is it me, oh yes I think it’s me.

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Paragliders.

paragliders

Well I guess it’s raining men!!

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