Snow Story – Friday Fictioneers 16 February 2018

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

Snow Story

“Shriek! Squeal!! Look! Mum!!”

“It’s snowed!” Sadie’s excited high pitched voice was soaked up and dampened by the effect of the snow as she danced on the spot under the porch.

“I want to be the first to make footprints!” she squealed, dashing back indoors to grab her wellies.

It rarely snowed where she lived and she’d prayed for weeks on end for a snowfall before winter disappeared again.

Unbeknownst to her, Garby loved snow too and was equally intent on investigating the white stuff.

As she opened the door, Garby came charging out, his paws christening the snow!

“Garby!!”

Friday Fictioneers

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Weekend: Poetry Pot Luck

Task: So: this weekend, share with us a poem that you love (by someone who isn’t you, please). You can quote a particularly striking line (or two) in a new message in the Commons, or drop a link to the whole piece. Most importantly: tell us, in a sentence or two, what about it moves you.

This poem has followed me since my schooldays. I love sheep, chickens and cows. They ooze calmness and serenity and most of the time sheer contentment. Being ‘present’, ‘in the moment’ with these animals, which is how they live, rubs off on me almost instantly.

And yes, I am well practiced in communicating with them moooo!

Enjoy …

Cows, by James Reeves

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

“Nice weather,” said the brown cow.
“Ah,” said the white.
“Grass is very tasty.”
“Grass is all right.”

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

“Rain coming,” said the brown cow.
“Ah,” said the white.
“Flies is very tiresome.”
“Flies bite.”

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

“Time to go,” said the brown cow.
“Ah,”’ said the white.
“Nice chat,” “Very pleasant.”
“Night.””Night.”

Half the time they munched the grass, and all the time they lay
Down in the water-meadows, the lazy month of May,
A-chewing,
A-mooing,
To pass the hours away.

Damned Differentiation

Three pages to complete one sum to you and me.

I wasn’t that bad at maths but differentiation?… I could not make any sense of it. It took up half the school exercise book and usually ended up at least 3 pages to answer just one question.

Now if someone had told me why we would use such a confusion calculation I may have taken more interest. I have a vague recollection of someone telling me that I could use it in mechanical engineering.

But at the time, I hated it. I feared it.

The O’Level examinations were looming fast and I just couldn’t get anywhere with grasping my understanding of it.

We were regularly sitting mock tests and I was expected to pass the exam. I can remember being told not to worry about it as the previous year they had a paper on the dreaded subject so we wouldn’t be getting it again that year.

Haha. No kidding. You’ve guessed it!

We had one full paper totally on the dddreaded dddifferentiation. And guess what?

Yep. I failed!

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Land of Confusion.”

JOURNEY – Physical and Emotional with a Profound Effect

In response to The Daily Post’s writing prompt: “Journey.”

When I was child of about 3, we lived in a tiny village that had only one shop. It seemed miles from anywhere but my cousin, she lived just around the corner and around the next bend on the same country lane lived Grandma and Grandad. For some reason I wasn’t over keen on Grandad, but I adored my Grandma. She was such a loving person and I really enjoyed being with her. I was allowed to ride my tricycle along the pavement, all on my own to visit them.

It was a delightful place to live, surrounded by wildlife, farms and an abundance of greenery. We took regular walks thoroughly indulging in the effect of the changing seasons. To this day I have a similar passion for nature, the countryside and the seasons.

We would watch the butterflies dance from flower to flower, noting which one it was and if we weren’t sure, we’d look it up in a book when we returned home. We’d breathe in the scents of the blossoms on the hedgerows, trees and the wild flowers in the grass verges. I was renowned for sticking my nose into flowers.

There was always something riveting to watch or exciting to explore. Many of the fields roundabout had small ponds in them. Here we would sit for hours just watching the dragonflies dance from reed to reed, or watch the pond skater insects whizzing over the water’s surface or catch newts with our nets, putting them into a jar so that we could get a better look at them. We would always put them back into the pond before going home. Other times we would keep a watch out for calves or lambs being born, watch the farmer plough a field or bale hay.

Big cousins would come to visit quite regularly, cycling all the way from their village miles away and we would ride our bikes or play ball games and drink cordial, something that was only available when visitors came. We were rarely indoors and my selective memory can only recall rain in April, though we must have had days when it poured.

Then one day, which for me seemed quite out of the blue, we were moving. A giant green lorry with a cavernous space at the back was taking all our belongings and we were going to live somewhere else. I can only remember horror. All the things I would be leaving behind. My Grandma would be miles away, how I would miss my dear loving Grandma. And my cousins, I would have no friends to play with.

When we arrived at our new house, it was on a straight main road and it felt as if it were on another continent. Being a new house it didn’t have the old established gardens around it so it felt barren. The whole place felt empty, the whole area felt empty. Where was the greenery?

There was a big hedge over on the other side of the road and there were some big trees but the cosseted feeling of the old village which just oozed greenery, was non-existent in this strange place.

I was told not to make a fuss, I would make friends. There was a girl next door that I was encouraged to play with, but a part of me didn’t like the feel of her. I started school and began to make some friends but somehow they never felt like the deep comradeship I had had with my cousins. My only saving grace from living in that very empty feeling place was that at the weekends my dad and I would go for long walks along the riverbank or the canal and we would observe all the bounty that nature had to offer. Those days were like heaven on earth.

One of the things that sticks in my mind was the feeling of isolation, I felt as if I was ‘out on my own’ and despite having moved from a verdant green village, I felt separated most strongly from my beloved sea. Now we didn’t live by the sea but we were probably only a couple of miles from the sea as the crow flies and less than an hour away by train in those days and whilst I have no recollection of being at the seaside when the sun went down, I can clearly remember sitting in my bedroom with my head poking through the curtains, watching the sun going down behind the hedgerow across the road and wondering just how many miles away the sea was and how I yearned to be near it. This has stayed with me ever since and must have had such a profound effect on me that I now live right by the sea and would have it no other way.

Writing 101 DAY 19 – Don’t Stop the Rockin’ – A Little Bit of Me

Today is a free writing day. Write at least four-hundred words, and once you start typing, don’t stop. No self-editing, no trash-talking, and no second guessing: just go. Bonus points if you tackle an idea you’ve been playing with but think is too silly to post about.

Writing. A writer. Just testing out the feel of the words. I always wanted to write. No, I actually ‘fancied’ being a writer. When I was much younger I used to write things down. I was always making up poems or songs. Then one day I experienced a much larger bout of criticism from my mother. I stopped writing. One day after much frustration I decided I did want to write down the things that were flying through my head. So I got a piece of chalk and in my old toy cupboard was a small wooden piano. On the back of the piano I unscrewed the three legs and on the area left available to me I wrote in chalk all the words from my head. Now I did have to keep rubbing it out to make room for the next inflow of words. This was safe. I could write all I wanted and she would never know what I had written. Thing was, neither did I. I would love to have had a book of all the things I used to write about.

Later on in life I began following correspondence courses in writing and using it as a way to deal with childhood stuff. But again I came up against criticism. What I wrote wasn’t really marketable. Too off the wall. I fancied being a journalist at one point and began teaching myself shorthand. But when I was told I needed to embellish the story I went right off the idea. I wanted to relate fact not fiction. It seemed wrong to be leading people to believe something was different to how it ‘actually’ was.

Years later I came back to writing verse. I had been ill and was in a recovery group working through the same stuff, childhood. As each person left the group I would have a verse in my head that was poignant for them. So I would write it on a card and give it to them as a leaving gift.

When I have written things about my life, thoughts, etc, I have found it quite liberating. It seems to disengage a part of my mind that needs to be in control. As that gets out of the way, it leaves room for all sorts of philosophical stuff to ooze out. It also can connect me to another realm, a place where everything just is, a state of beingness. So if that’s the case, I ask myself why the hell is it still so difficult to sit down begin. Begin. Anagram of Being. There must be something in this.

Writing 101 DAY 18 – Hone Your Point of View – Charlie’s World

The neighbourhood has seen better days, but Mrs. Pauley has lived there since before anyone can remember. She raised a family of six boys, who’ve all grown up and moved away. Since Mr. Pauley died three months ago, she’d had no income. She’s fallen behind in the rent. The landlord, accompanied by the police, have come to evict Mrs. Pauley from the house she’s lived in for forty years.

Today’s prompt: write this story in first person, told by the twelve-year-old sitting on the stoop across the street.

Today’s twist: For those of you who want an extra challenge, think about more than simply writing in first-person point of view — build this twelve-year-old as a character. Reveal at least one personality quirk, for example, either through spoken dialogue or inner monologue.

I wonder, what am I going to do today? Pete’s gone to watch football with his dad. I hate football. All that running around, and what for, nothing. I don’t mind running around in a field of grass chasing dragonflies, now that’s fun.

“Ouch! Damn scabs!”

I thought they’d have fallen off by now; it’s over a week since I crashed my bike on Back Lane and got half the road stuck in my skin. Mrs Pauley told me not to pick it when she walked past yesterday. Said it would leave holes. Can’t see no holes.

“Ouch!”

She’s nice, Mrs Pauley, lets me cut her grass in the summer for some extra pocket money. Said I did a nice job, as good as old Mr Pauley. Liked him too, was always tinkering in his shed. Mending something or oiling something else. He showed me how to grease me bike chain. Right nice he was. Shame he died. Feels kind of dead around here now and Mrs Pauley looks so sad.

Wonder where all the kids she had are? Mum said she’d got six of them and hasn’t seen them in years.

Suppose I’d better go and do what mum said – ‘go and see if there’s anything she needs help with’.

Ah well, going to have to find some other way of subbing my pocket money. Mum says Mrs Pauley’s had no money since Mr Pauley died. Wonder what she’s been having to eat then?

Charlie wanders across the road, hands thrust deep into the pockets of his long shorts.

The grass is looking a bit longer, than yesterday, must’ve warmed up and made it grow quicker. That’s what Mr Pauley used to say.

As he was waiting for Mrs Pauley to answer the door, a car pulled up and a man got out wearing crumpled brown suit.

Who’s he, doesn’t look very friendly. Aye aye, and now plod. What do they want down here? You never see them down here with their black uniforms. Don’t want to either they look like they’re looking for trouble.

“Now then son, off you go, on your way. You shouldn’t be hanging around other peoples doors.”

At that moment the door opened and Mrs Pauley, seeing Charlie, smiled at the boy and said,

“Hello Charlie, were you coming to see me love?”

Phew thought old plod was going to arrest me then. They make me feel bad even when I haven’t done anything.

“I said on your way son.”

“I’ve got to leave Charlie. Maybe the next person who lives here will need you to cut the grass for them.”

Leaving? To go where? She’s always been here.
And why are they here, where are they taking her?
Are you alright Mrs Pauley, I can go and get me mum if you want me to.

“It’s alright Charlie, I’ll be alright. Always remember love that when one door closes you can be sure that another one always opens.”

Writing 101 DAY 13 – Serially Found – My Dad is Back

On day four, you wrote a post about losing something. Today’s Prompt: write about finding something.

Tell us about the time you retrieved your favorite t-shirt from your ex. Or when you accidentally stumbled upon your fifth-grade journal in your parents’ attic. Or how about the moment you found out the truth about a person whose history or real nature you thought you’d figured out. Interpret this theme of “finding something” however you see fit.

Today’s twist: if you wrote day four’s post as the first in a series, use this one as the second installment — loosely defined.

There were moments over the next 20 years when I glimpsed the dad I adored as a young child. Moments when shared interests collided with a time created opportunity.

He was always helping someone else. But on occasion I would tag along. I got involved in building a shed for a friend of his, a greenhouse for an uncle, church hall renovations and the one I loved most – helping out, with my dad, on the veg stall at the Annual Christmas Fair. I can smell the old wooden hall now, just thinking about it. A smell of old dry, warm wood, mingled with a hint of musty old fabric.

Funny how those old wooden buildings had such a nurturing atmosphere. The original wooden building has now been replaced with a brick one and fewer people use it. Where I live now, we still have an ancient wooden village hall; they call it a community hall here. It smells very similar to the ones of childhood. Everyone appreciates it and its unique aromas create an ambiance that seems to attract a list of regular events going on there.

Other times I would help with watering the plants. This meant filling up a large bucket and a metal watering can with water from the kitchen sink tap and staggering down the garden one in each hand, trying not to spill any. He used to do this twice a day in the summer months.

If there was a drought we would save all the washing up water and whenever anyone had a bath, we had to scoop out as much water as possible to water to fill the buckets and stagger gingerly down the stairs, through the house and down the garden path to water the thirsty plants.

I learned how to take cuttings, dibble out young seedlings and look after the growing crops. These moments of joy, cherished memories, I have come to appreciate more as I have shared them with my own son.

But it took over 20 years before I felt the unconditional love of my dad again.

It took the death of my mother.

I never got on with her, she was a narcissist through and through. It wasn’t long after she died that my dad seemed more open – as if a barrier had been removed, or a veil been lifted.

I could see him, really see him again. I could feel love pour from him. Even his eyes were more alive. He was much more fun and loved to play with my young son. His sense of humour was priceless.

Up until then I had not realised just how much my mother’s presence had supressed my dad. She was so devious and manipulating he must have been under an immense pressure most of the time. No wonder he spent his spare time down the garden, out of sight, involved in an important project or helping out other folk. He missed her of course. Who wouldn’t, they had been together over 30 years.

But the change in my dad was remarkable. We spent more time together, he shared memories of his past, little snippets of his life I wasn’t aware existed before. He actively encouraged family get-togethers, times when we all reminisced indulgently.

As I watched his loving actions and sense of fun during the times spent with my son, it triggered the odd happy memory of early childhood. This was the dad that had been missing all these years and I indulged in the joy of having my dad back again, for now, and being able to share him with my son.