This was my entry for the FFF for Easter

I can’t write about Easter

Easter I thought, Easter! Well I can’t write about Easter. I’m retired so it’s not a welcome break from the office, I have chocolate whenever I want, it’s medicinal, honestly and so what else is there. It’s not part of my belief system though I have to admit it’s a powerful story. Then I remembered last summer when I walked around a local cathedral, a tourist site, with my little grandson and tried to explain to him the stone images on the walls.

“The stations of the cross,” I said to him.

“What’s that granny?”

Now, we are in no way a typical Christian family, I come from a long line of Spiritualists and though I am more than willing to acknowledge the existence of Jesus, Buddha, Mohammed, Moses, oh all of em really and have no problem with other people building a religion around one or other I have my own thoughts and I am happy with ‘em. The grandchildren, well that’s a different matter, their mum and dad go to church for weddings and such, my son is still searching for his beliefs and I it’s not something I discuss with my daughter in law however I have been told. “Don’t you be telling em any of your mumbo jumbo!” so I don’t and here we were with pictures on the wall of incredible human suffering, passion, despair and unspeakable grief and then the “miracle” the wonder and all of that.

So, I walked around with him and simply told him what each picture was and it brought a lump to my throat. This brave and gentle man whipped and scorned and tortured, his friends and his mother, oh his poor mother and the storm in the middle of the day and the rending of the cloth in the temple, I know the story you see, well I’m a writer how could I not, it’s powerful stuff. When we came out, me and Charlie, we were both quiet and saddened at man’s inhumanity to man and the vicious cruelty that one human can inflict on another because of fear and greed and ignorance. Well that was my take on it, perhaps Charlie was wondering if there was an Xbox version!

So today, what can I write about Easter, we are still killing and fighting and destroying and in the name of the Nazarene and Mohammed and so on and we are still inhumane and we torture and scorn and ridicule and then…

I made a cup of coffee and went to sit in the garden, the bird song was wild, exuberant and joyous, the nesting Nuthatches in the dead tree stump on the patio were frantically carrying food to their babies and the Blackbird was stealing ALL our worms for his family. The apple tree is in blossom, the last of the daffodils wave like little stars in the long grass and the butterflies spin and dance in the warm breeze. It’s all happening, it’s living and renewing and replenishing and it is beautiful and though there will be no chocolate eggs, no holy observance and no roast lamb in our house there is much to write about and much to wonder at not just now, at Easter but every day in this wonderful, precious, amazing world and maybe, just maybe one day children like Charlie will think about the brave young man struggling up the hill with the wood on his back and they will say, no more – and wouldn’t that be wonderful.

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Nuthatchery News

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Today when we knew that mummy and daddy were safely away from the nesting site we sneaked over and had a look and it is now official, the eggs are hatched and the nest is full of peeping, squeeking little chicks.  We didn’t stay long because we don’t want to cause any distress but there are babies, lots and lots of babies.  We are thrilled.

It reminded me of a poem I wrote a few years ago, it was actually entitled June and referred to the solstice but it seems relevant today

 

 

Dawnlight early beaming

Birdlets cheeping, peeping

Berries, cherries greening

Roses flaming gold.

 

Solstice half year ending

Swallows looping, bending

Promised beauty now unfold

Websilk spinning, humming, singing

Earthheart overflowing with the living of it all.

 

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Sorry this is an advert.

I just wanted to say that I have recently made some of my Kindle Books into paperbacks.  You can now buy any of these from Createspace or Amazon plus of course Daisy and The Dust Angel the illustrated Children’s Book.

Now available in Paperback

Now available in Paperback

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

Now available in paperback from Createspace or Amazon

Now available in paperback from Createspace or Amazon

 

 

Now in Paperback from Amazon or Createspace

Now in Paperback from Amazon or Createspace

 

 

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Can You Hear It

My Flash Fiction for this week.  Based on the theme of “Music”  I didn’t do very well because all the others were beautiful, haunting stories about - well, about music and mine – oh well this was mine.

Can You Hear It

It was Billy that heard it first. ‘Course Billy was always a bit flakey and so none of us took that much notice. He went on about it, on and on until in the end Simon told him to shut up, “Can it Billy, none us can hear any soddin’ music.” He got up then, just got up and walked away. ‘Course he had been reading one of them mucky mags and we just thought, ya know he was going to – well I don’t need to say it. The girls sniggered a bit.

Then Milly and Fliss said they could hear it, just a bit and we all groaned and stuff and they just got up and followed Billy. One by one, one after the other off they went, into the woods all of em, six of ‘em.

You’ve got their names right, all their names?

In the end there was just me and Oliver, just the two of us sittin’ by the campfire feelin’ a bit stupid.

“Can you hear anything?” He asked me, I just shook me head and we sat for a bit longer.

“I wonder where the ‘ell they all are.” I was glad he spoke first, I’m glad it was his idea, that’s awful of me I suppose but I’m glad it was him that said we should go and see if we could find ‘em.

We weren’t scared, we’d been there so many times before, all summer, every weekend, we knew our way around and okay It were dark but we ‘ad torches. I ‘ad me dad’s big one and Oliver ‘ad one of them Headlight things, I thought he looked a bit of a dick but I didn’t say so and at least it meant he had two hands free and so he went first so’s he could hold the branches out of the way and stuff.

We went down the wide path, that one that leads to the river and we didn’t shout or nuthin’ not then we just walked along in the dark with the scutterin’ and scrabblin’ when we disturbed the critturs.

I saw it first, perhaps if it ‘adn’t been white I’d a missed it but there was Milly’s shirt, well blouse, just layin’ at the side of the path. It wasn’t wet, it wasn’t torn nuthin’ like that. It were just lying there beside the path and at first we didn’t realise, not until Oliver picked it up but it were still fastened, that was the first thing, well the second I suppose, findin’ it was the first but it was just so strange.

“’Ow the ‘ell did she take that off without unfastenin’ it” says Oliver. It weren’t loose you know it were skimpy, tight. Then we saw the other stuff, all of it, all the clothes, one after the other. Jeans, shirts, T’s all laying there beside the path, all with the buttons and zips still fastened, as if they’d been sucked out of ‘em, slurped up. Some of em was caught on twigs and Billy’s jeans were in a little pool, all wet and we picked em all up and carried ‘em, except for them, they were drippy so we left ‘em hanging on a tree branch.

By this time we were both freakin’ I know I felt sick and I expect Oliver did as well and when I turned to him I could see, in the light from his dorky Headlight, he was cryin’. We knew by then that something was wrong, something bad.
The stream was just up ahead, I could hear it and you could just see it glinting a bit where it tumbled over the rocks, silver white under the moon, frothin’. By now we’d started to shout a bit, calling their names, “Billy, Fliss, Chess.” Nothin’ came back though, nothin’.

I don’t know what we thought it was all about, I don’t remember trying to work it out I just wanted to find ‘em you know. I just wanted to find ‘em and then I looked at the bundle of clothes in my hands and in Oliver’s and I sort of didn’t want to find ‘em.
We climbed down the bank and then we saw the shoes. All the shoes, all lined up on the side of the stream, neat like, as if they was in a shoe shop. All the trainers and the girls little glittery ones with the beads shinin’ in the torch light.

That’s all there was just the shoes. Then Oliver grabbed me, on the arm he just grabbed me and his finger ends dug in and I tried to shake ‘im off and he says. “Can you hear it. Can you?” and I turned to ‘im and he left go of me arm and turned round.

“Where are you going, don’t go, Ollie, don’t go.” But he just walked off as if he couldn’t ‘ear me and I called to ‘im. “Come back.” but he didn’t and I was on my own with the shoes, all lined up there on the banks and the clothes, all the clothes in me ‘ands and I was so scared and I turned and I ran and ran. I whipped me face on the tree branches and I twisted me ankle and I found Oliver’s clothes but I didn’t find Oliver.

I didn’t find his shoes, I wonder where they are, I wonder what happened to Oliver’s shoes.

I don’t know where they are, I just don’t know.

Don’t leave me will you mister. Don’t leave me on my own. I don’t want to be on my own. I don’t want to hear it. I don’t want the music to come for me. Don’t leave me on my own.

 

 

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Just Going For a Cabbage.

It’s a bit of a joke in our house, when one or other goes off and is questioned about the destination “Just going for a cabbage.” is often the answer.  It comes from stories of people leaving their homes on an ordinary errand and…. this prompted a recent Flash Fiction Piece.

Just Going For  a Cabbage

When she left home Briony hadn’t meant to leave so – well  quite so permanently.  She went to the shop to buy a cabbage.  A medium sized drumhead  was what she had in mind, although in fairness there was an option for cauliflower.  Dinner was beef, already in the cooker, rich and redolent, herby and delicious.  Beef, Beef in beer for Dick and to go with it mashed potatoes and cabbage.  His favourite.

She dragged the door closed behind her, waved to Mr Loveridge who was pruning the roses and picked up some litter from the path, two Coca Cola cans and a nasty fast food tray holding a glutinous and disgusting film of orange sauce now mixed with some dust and detritus from the pavement.  She lifted this using her finger ends, deposited it into the dustbin, general not recycling and then wiped her hands on an antiseptic hand wipe which came from a little plastic pouch in her handbag.  She knew that her lip was curling and made a conscious effort to force her face back into its normal, neutral expression, Dick didn’t like her pulling faces, she never pulled faces.  He disliked her crinkling her nose when there was a funny smell and he disliked her throwing her head back and opening her mouth loud in laughter.  She didn’t do that anymore either.

She turned left at the gate and stepped determinedly forward passed the Smiths, the Partridges and the Collins’.  She glanced sideways at the last garden and sniffed as she noted that they still hadn’t moved the old television box.  It had been there two weeks now.  Lazy and messy, that was what Dick called them, the Collinses were not the right sort for this neighbourhood.  They were “Chavs”.

She turned into the High Road, Mr Collins was heading towards her, his dog straining at the leash, panting and drooling.  She might mention the box, it was cardboard, it was going to rain.  She could point out that it would be more difficult to move once it was sodden and falling apart.  She painted a smile on her face.  A small smile, the sort of smile that could be taken for simple recognition if, at the end, she decided not to speak, a mediocre sort of a smile, uncommitted.

“Mornin’ luv.  Y’alright?”

“Ah, Mr Collins.  How are you?  Lovely day isn’t it?”

“Aye lovely.  You off to the shops?”

“Yes, the shops.  A cabbage.”

“Right, cabbage.”

“Ah Mr Collins, I wonder if I could just have a quick word.”  Her heart was jumping now and she could feel her hands beginning to tremble.

“A word love?”

“Erm yes, it’s a bit delicate.”

“Oh.  Now look, before we go any further, there’s no proof.  I told Marie, don’t you be goin’ an’ pokin’ yer nose in – not wivvout proof.”

“Proof?  I – erm.”

“She might have been anybody.  Okay I know it probly looks a bit odd but you know just because she were wearin’ them “F” me boots – ‘s’cuse my French and all, an’ just because she wuss getting’ out of yer hubby’s car – it don’t mean nuthin’.  I’ll give bloody Marie a talkin’ to I will.  When did she tell ya?”

“Erm, I didn’t – well she didn’t.  I mean I haven’t seen Marie.”

“Oh, oh bugger.  Oh shit – sorry – ‘s’cuse my language.  Look tek no notice.  It were probably a mistake.”

“Mr Collins. What are you saying?”

“Nuthin’ none of my business, nuthin’ to do wiv me, nothin’ to do wiv us.” And he scuttled off in the direction of his house dragging the panting, drooling dog behind him.

Briony carried on walking, calmly.  Her brain flipped into overload, her stomach roiled and her eyes flooded with tears.  So, he had been seen, Dick with his floozy, with one of his bits of fluff, he had been seen.  Well, it had to happen sometime and now it had.  His great flash car, his great flash bulk in his slick suits and his silk ties.

She had known for months, had seen them herself and had held the knowledge close.  She reached the greengrocers, she looked at the cabbage, in her mind she saw his wet, red lips curling around the dark juices of the beef casserole and around the dark nipples of the call girls.  Briony carried on walking, away, just away into forever.

 

 

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Nuthatchery – Yes!!!

It has taken a couple of days, lovely as it would be we don’t really have the luxury of sitting for hours just waiting and hoping but today we hit pure gold.

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We think he is keeping seeds in here, it doesn’t go all the way through to the second chamber but he often pops his head in and comes out with food, so I guess this is the corner shop

 

 

 

 

 

He is a smart little guy isn't he?

He is a smart little guy isn’t he?

 

 

 

 

 

 

Hello Darling I'm Home

Hello Darling I’m Home

He's a very attentive husband, back and forth with seeds but we're not sure whether he's a daddy yet or just eggspecting.

He’s a very attentive husband, back and forth with seeds but we’re not sure whether he’s a daddy yet or just eggspecting.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

And there’s not much you can say about this apart from Awwwww look. This is the lady herself.

 

So that part of the garden is pretty much out of bounds for now, fortunately it is close enough to the patio that we can see it with no problem.  I have placed some large potted plants around to give them a little privacy.

I wonder if we’ll get to the meet the children.

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A Magic Moment

Now

“Please, please, please can we buy it, please – it’s just wonderful.  Look at the view, and the garden is gorgeous.”  Mel gripped Charlie’s arm tightly as she skipped up and down on the spot.  Her blue eyes shone with excitement and, in return, Charlie beamed down at her.  This girl had made him so happy; when she agreed to marry him he just knew that his life couldn’t get any better.  Now they were house hunting, he loved the way that she had no idea at all about the property game. . If she liked a house, she said so, if she hated the wallpaper she said so, if she loved the view she said so. Now she obviously loved this one, and she was saying so loudly and, unbelievably, right in front of the estate agent.

Oh well, there was no chance that they would be able to negotiate a hard deal.  The slick agent was having a hard time keeping his face straight;he couldn’t believe his luck.  Not to worry: the price was within their budget and although the place was run down, it was just what they had been looking for.  Four bedrooms, a great kitchen, a rambling garden looking out over the hills and the sea in the distance.  Charlie shook his head in mock dismay and turned to the agent. “Well, I suppose you had better start the ball rolling, mate, we would like to make an offer.  As you can see, we are very keen.”

Everyone stood around grinning as the sun began to fall into the sea, painting the windows red and darkening the lawns and shrubbery.

1936

“Oh darling, it’s just wonderful.” Sophie clung to Charlie’s arm as they stood together in the plot that they had just bought.  They watched the sun dipping over the sea as they planned the house that they were to build together for the start of their married life.

“Come on sweetie, let’s go into town and celebrate with a slap-up afternoon tea in the hotel.. Then we’ll go and talk to the architect about where to put the bedrooms.” Charlie grinned as a blush suffused Sophie’s cheeks.

They window-shopped as they made their way to the Grand Hotel.  Although it was a little town, Millhampton had a well-appointed High Street, and the displays encouraged them to dawdle and dream about the home they would build in their house on the hill.

“Look at that.” Sophie pointed to a display of cigarette lighters in the jewellery shop.  “There, that little lighter.  It has a house engraved on the front…  I want to buy you that darling.  I will buy it for you and you will use it when you sit in front of our fireplace and light your pipe.”

Dragging him into the little shop Sophie’s gaiety was infectious, and Charlie allowed himself a moment of pure joy remembering the moment when this beautiful girl agreed to marry him.  He just knew that his life couldn’t get any better.

“Would madam like us to engrave her purchase?” the jeweller wanted to know. “There is no extra charge.  Maybe your fiancé’s initials or a little message?  Of course there isn’t a lot of space, but we could possibly fit on four or five letters, if you would like.”

“Yes please.  Put his initials CM, Charlie Meade, and oh I don’t know…  Wait, yes, yes I do, what time is it?”

“It is just four-twenty, madam.”

“That’s it then. CM and then four-twenty.”  Smiling up into his eyes, Sophie told Charlie, “On this day, at this hour, I am unbelievably happy.  It is a magical moment and we will always remember.”

Now

“Charlie look, what’s this? Caught up here in the fireplace. I can’t quite reach it but there is something in the bricks.”

“Move out of the way then, wimp, let me have a go.”  Charlie dodged the playful thump and leaned into the old chimney.  Stretching up into the sooty void he asked, “Are you sure you want to keep the fireplace?We could take it out and have a stove put in. Uuugh, I don’t know what it is but it’s wedged in hard.  Hang on; yes, it’s coming loose now.  Well good grief, it’s a cigarette lighter. That’s not going to be much use in this day and age.  Shall I just toss it?”

“No, don’t, let me see.” Mel took the scratched and scarred metal and rubbed at it with a dirty finger.  “Oh sweet, there’s a little house engraved on the front.  There’s something on the back as well, let me into the light so I can see.”  She walked to the window, stepping over the boxes piled around the walls. “You’ll never guess, Charlie but this actually has your initials on it.  Look, CM, can you believe that?  You can’t throw it away.  I think we should have it repaired and then we can always use it for lighting the barbecue or something.”

1939

 It’s hard to smile when tears are an enormous lump in the back of your throat. The trick is to stretch your lips over your teeth tightly so that it seems you are smiling, it stops them quivering. The train would pull out any time now. Sophie clung to her husband’s hand, their eyes locked, their ears deaf to the band playing rousing music.  They existed in a pain-filled void.  “I love you Sophie.  Now and always.”

“Keep safe my love, keep safe.  Write when you can and come home to me.”

The train pulled away, he was gone.

Now

“Are you sure the commute isn’t too much for you, Charlie?It’s a lot of time out of your day, two hours on the train.  Why don’t you ask about moving to an office nearer to home?”

“It’s fine love, honestly, and the best projects are in the London office.  Once the baby arrives, we’ll need the extra cash.  You have a good day and take it easy.”

The train pulled away, he was gone.

1941

 The noise was horrendous..  The tank crew couldn’t hear their own words. Charlie crouched in the confined space, simply concentrating on getting the great war machine and the men inside it down the narrow French road, without being blown to smithereens by the German barrage.  They hit a pot hole and were thrown from side to side as the tank tilted sickeningly.  Scrambling about in the semi-darkness, they scraped and bumped against each other and the metal walls around them.  Banging against his leg, he could feel a small metal object.  He picked up the little lighter, it had been with him through all the horror as a reminder of life in Millhampton.  There was no smell of spilt fuel, and they needed some light, so he flicked the little wheel and held the feeble flame to his watch.  Four-twenty.

He was gripped by a feeling.  Not panic, that didn’t describe it, it was a knowledge, a foreknowing.  He screamed to the others, “Get out, get out now!”  They flung open the turret and scrambled hell for leather over the sides of the vehicle.  Every one of them leapt to the road and ran.  They didn’t know why, he didn’t know why; but they ran and as they did the world around them exploded.  Flying pieces of shrapnel screamed through the air.  The tank was destroyed: a mass of twisted meta.  Having taken a direct hit from the German bomb, it no longer existed.

Now

 The office was busy and Charlie felt drained. He didn’t really mind the commute, but at times like this the thought of his home overlooking the sea was almost torture.  As he imagined the cosy rooms and Mel sitting with her feet up in front of the fire he fingered the lighter on his desk.  He kept it as a reminder of life in Millhampton.  Suddenly the lights dimmed and then blacked out completely.  Everyone groaned as the computers crashed and people cursed as they collided with desks and chairs in the dark.  They needed some light so he flicked the little wheel and held the feeble flame to his watch.  Four-twenty.

He was gripped by a feeling.  Not panic, that didn’t describe it; it was a knowledge, a foreknowing.  “Get out, get out now!”  They ran for the fire escapes and the main staircase.  They flung open the doors and scrambled hell for leather out into the street.  Every one of them ran to the road.  They didn’t know why, he didn’t know why; but they ran and as they did the world around them exploded.  Flying pieces of glass and concrete screamed through the air.  The building was destroyed: a mass of twisted metal and concrete. Having taken a direct hit from the terrorist bomb, it no longer existed.

 

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There’s just no telling with birds

So a few years ago we bought a cute little bird house.  “They’ll love it” we said, “we’ll put it by the feeder” we said, “now they’ll soon move in” we said.  Nope.  One or two had a look and someone! chewed the little perch until all there was left was a nub but nobody moved in.  We sighed a bit and promised ourselves that we’d do something.  ‘Course we never did and then last year it fell down and became truly soggy and waterlogged.

We rescued it from the long grass and stood it on the wall to give it a chance to dry out.  Guess what – yup!!! It’s standing on the wall totally unfixed, right in the front of the basement door where we are in and out and in and out all day and a little pair or Blue Tits has snatched it up, “needs slight attention” they said, “could do with a paint job” they said but “We’ll take it.” 

A nice little fixer upper!!!

A nice little fixer upper!!!

 

When Richard and Ian were clearing out some of the woodland last summer they cut out a dead tree and when chopping it up found that it had at some stage been a little home, possibly for a woodpecker but we don’t know.  Because it was interesting and actually rather nice to look at we left it on the patio.  Guess what – Yup, right in the busy part of the patio where I usually walk to fill the bird feeders etc, a pair of Nuthatches have snatched it up, “needs slight attention” they said, “could do with a paint job” they said but “We’ll take it”.

Needs slight attention

Needs slight attention

 

 

 

 

Close to all amenities

Close to all amenities

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

I will keep an eye on things and with a lot of luck and patience I may even be able to snap some action shots, course that might mean sitting outside for hours at a time with only a glass of wine for company but for you dear readers it is no sacrifice!!!!.  :-)

 

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Fat Fairy – Publicity for Indie authors

A site for promoting indie authors.

There is a competitiony thing going on and http://www.fatfairyfantastic.com/

Fat Fairy PDF Issue 1 (2) (1)

 

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Blots and Pride and Falls and so on.

A blot on the pane.

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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