The Remnants of what was.

Photo by Elina Krima on

He knots his fingers and flexes his hands jerkily, leaves clean stripes on his arm and neck when he rubs hard. My lip twitches with sadness at his grimy hand trembling. Eyes down, glued to his boots, they’re good boots. He startles onlookers with his strange muttering. I’m only a step away or at least a short distance from him. My gaze wanders across his prematurely lined features and the weathered cloth of his twine tied coat. I catch the eye of my passing waitress, who nods knowingly. I wave my fingers, more chewed than she would have seen before, so quickly fist them away, out of sight. She returns with a bag for takeout. I keep watch as I settle the bill. Coffee spilt due to its weight on the wobbly-legged table. Her eyes pool as she apologises while wiping it up. She rips the cover from her note pad expertly folds it then squats to push it under the leg. I think ‘If only it could be that easy to fix everything. Her smile is kind. Blinks away the telltale tears undercover of the table. Nods once looking back towards the road. Her shoulders slump, and with a sigh, she continues to clear tables. My explanation spilt out six months ago when I first found him. Now it sits like secrets between spies ‘A nods as good as a tapped nose.’ Dad used to say when we were kids. We loved telling him it was wrong. “No, it’s a nod is as good as a wink,” We would taunt. He doesn’t joke much anymore; not one of us does.

I wipe my eyes with a paper napkin that I am twisting thoughtlessly in my fists. I hold my breath as I watch. Martin takes too much time manoeuvring unseen enemies and mined traps. I am counting his steps, speaking out loud. I am startled to silence by a mumbled word (Crackpot) coming from a suited man brushing past me. Four minutes it took for him to walk six feet of the busy pavement. The lunchbreak office staff, bankers, business people and shoppers moan and gripe as he blocks their path and swallows a moment of the hour of freedom they have. A pensioner’s rheumy eyes spot him. He nods knowingly, pats his arm and dodders on.

Martin is opposite me, with only one road to cross. But I am hopeful today, whisper > today I will be successful <. He stoops, scans the tarmac, takes an audible breath and runs as if his life depends on it weaving towards me. I stand, my face pulls the biggest of grins I feel my arms start to lift. Then a horn blasts, I see him freeze, a voice shouts obscenities at him. And just like that, he is gone. There is no point in chasing him. I learned the hard way how that goes. No, I will try again tomorrow and all the other tomorrows that no doubt there will be. With sisterly love and a heavy heart, I tip the server, straighten my back and fasten my coat. Before I leave, I pause to pass a raggedy bundle in a shop doorway the bag of food that Martin did not get. For we never know their story, we only see the remnants of what was.

Too many of our ex military, police, medics Firemen and others are left broken by the trauma they see and clear up every day. This flash fiction is a glimpse at that, a speck of what we know is on our streets, in our towns and villages. Broken discarded people #MentalHealth. Please comment leave me your thoughts below.

My Escape to A New Normal.

It’s now August, and I wonder how you are all faring. It seems that my focus during all this has changed. Writing has been the toughest. Just when I thought writing would fill every day. I took many writing and poetry workshops to try and motivate myself, wake the muse, or improve my skill set.
Like many of you, Netflix came in handy, as have audiobooks with Audible, and Marie Kondo delivered full days of sparking joy (or trying to)as I de-cluttered, sorted drawers and cupboards and drove ‘The Husband’ bonkers. We stayed home. I baked over Zoom and subsequently became more rounded. Literally, from eating homemade bread, cookies, cake and fondants. We gained the obligatory covid-19 pounds. We would clap (make noise) on Thursdays for the health workers, which meant putting clothes on, blowing horns banging pans from behind our gate.

Next the lockdown was learning a new skill. I joined a group called act your age and began learning the writing of Monologues, duologues and radio plays. I embraced it and wrote for the theatre over Zoom. I was invited to read my flash fiction and short stories on an open Mike night in America; from the UK on YouTube. Thanks to Charli at the Carrot ranch. I Loved the way my confidence grew each time I performed. The wordy skills have been quite a success, hearing actors bring my tales alive has been the best … but words are my thing, some would say too easy 🤔 but it is not easy learning a new skill.

This Summer, I have been trying my hand, or tablet, at digital drawing. This one task is a challenge as drawing anything, I find, is impossible 🥺 but it’s all in the learning, not in being perfect at it. I am enjoying how to use a drawing app and produce some naive pictures. I know I am not artistically bent. I will never become a great illustrator. Learning a new skill or trying to wake new synapses in your brain can offer some protection against dementia, so trying anything is a no-brainer; pardon the pun.

Under the mask, pandemic fears still linger. I take tiny steps towards freedom, two forward, four back. I am not mask-less yet. Palpitations are a new thing for me when people get too close or group together. My hands tremble, perspiration wells up like tears to an infant. I protest a semblance of sanity as I swear there is a herd of wild horses galloping in my chest. There are days where I stay in my writing uniform (pyjamas) and when being a recluse still feels safe. I am not enjoying the trepidation around me or my lack of confidence in the community. I hope I am not alone in this and that these feelings are how we are to arrive at that place, ‘The New Normal.’ At the end of this pandemic, I want to escape unscathed and just maybe I will have a superpower as a ‘ Survivor of a world Pandemic, stronger, braver and obviously wearing a Cape. I look forward to it all fading into history.

Have you found your way around the new normal? Have you learnt new skills on the way? Let me know in the comments.

The Monologue Of An Old Mirror.

A mirror.

Just below in the next block is a link to the whole post being read. Turn up the volume and play 🔊

Tap here to listen to me reading this.

Here she is! That’s right … Drag your fingers through your hair that’ll work; NOT. When will you learn? Four hours is not enough sleep to fix this! Good lord don’t put that back in your mouth.” If only you could hear me.” you need a tongue scraper for that. Really! water on your finger, that will not clean your teeth and breathing on your hand can not come close to letting you sniff the stench of overnight breath. Uhoh, she has slumped on the side of the bathtub now that is not a good sign.. What’s that … water pooling in her lower lids > sigh < No no no, not today please. I am all for the occasional blubber, a silent weep to clear the emotions, but when you bury your face in your palms and silently shudder … That clouds me, makes me feel unhappy the whole day.

Photo by Alex Green on

Today is her special day, I often like to reminisce. When there were lots of smiling faces popping in an out, music bouncing from room to room trickling up the stairs. It made me dream of being on the other side; joining in. People wearing flowers and rainbows winking and pouting straight at me. Then came the dabbing on rituals, bits of colour from little pots, the sprays of delicate fragrance, secreted in minuscule purses on golden chains > sigh < You my lady were bouncy and twirly, your eyes reflected the light. You shared your sparkles with everyone who came near you; it made my day.

Courtesy of pixels

Where is she, that glorious woman? She is in there somewhere I know. Ahh, that old trick, steaming me up with the shower. I will have you know … it blurs the look in, but not the look out. No wonder you cry so, look how hard you scrub; it must hurt. That heat can not be good for you. Your skin is raw from the bristles of the body-brush; are you hoping to melt, or dissolve, why do I torture myself with pointless questions, I will never know or be told the answers to. Thank goodness a warm fluffy towel and soothing lotion. You will feel better in no time. Come closer, just a bit nearer > sniffs < Ahh! that is delicious, that’s right keep on, gently smooth it in.

My lady, come back … let me see the flowers and rainbows … please. She won’t, she never does. Maybe, just maybe one morning she will. She will look into herself through me and see what others see.

Please let me know what you thought of this, what do you think your mirror would say? I can’t wait to read and reply to your comments.

It Was An Express Delivery.

One, two, three Argggh! > Pant pant pant whhphoooo <. The Midwife passed a glass of ice and a cloth to cool her fevered brow. Furrows crease his handsome face. His eyes bright with disbelief, from glass to cloth he looks and snaps shut his gaping maw.

Nonchalantly he raises his body from the chair, hands his wife the cloth stoops to kiss 💋 the air. The pain swung in she pushes hard and fierce, Scowling Mama puffs and blows; a roar disturbs his peace. Midwife now between her legs sits on her swivel stool, tells her it is far to late to use the birthing pool.

Lunch consumed, ear buds removed, he finishes a last slurp of wine. Strolls across to hold her hand and whisper in her ear. “I forgot desert … have I time? She glares and said “shall I make it clear!” A push, a scream, the cord is cut, an express delivery is done. Together they smile, and greet a bouncing baby son.

July 17th / 31st. use the prompt above to make, craft, write, paint or cook something inspired by the picture. Thank you for prompt #1 Esme Slabs of #SIPB Facebook group.

Presshere to read and join in.

A tongue in cheek delivery, do you know of one to tell? Answers in the comments please … I can’t wait to read.

The Journey to Enlightenment #BlogBattle

The Master, Sagar, sat atop of the tallest mountain to watch. He gazed upon the hoards of people risking everything to stand at his feet to feel his presence. Soon he would see those that were not true believers, just adventurers or voyeurs wasting his time. Gaps began to widen between groups, some turned back, with no stamina for this pilgrimage. Throwing his head up, he sucked in hard and began to blow. His breath of frigid glacial winds swirled the snow and rocked the mountain. He summoned Thundersnow to test those on the treacherous slopes. Only the strong-willed, committed and brave would be able to traverse the terrain and reach their goal. He was not about to make their task easy.

Only four People had stayed on the trail. There were two bearded men; of undistinguishable age who arrived first. Behind them were Luna and Aaron. Aaron had promised to help her, guide her to the top. He was relieved they were almost there. It took Persistence, endurance, willpower and a lot of strength to get her to this point. Luna had trusted Aaron and had followed his training to the letter, knowing how brutal the trek would be. The two men ignored Aaron’s advice and pitched their tent with the wind behind it. Luna worked through her fatigue, stamping a flat surface into the snow while Aaron cut bricks to build a snow wall around the tent.

Luna, exhausted and weak she shivered. Her teeth rattled as a solitary tear plopped into her hand a second froze where it dangled like a precious stone to her lashes. She pushed her face into her palms and silently sobbed. Aaron worried for Luna. He wrapped his hands around a flask of freshly warmed and sweetened Yak’s milk. “Here, drink this. It will do wonders for you. Sort your socks and gloves out. We can then sleep.” She flinched at his voice, having not heard much for the last three day’s other than the roar of the weather. Luna shuffled a few inches and pointed to space beside her “Thanks, sit here,” she nodded, her eyelids drooped as she lifted the cup to her lips and drank hungrily. Her eyes twinkled when she passed it back. “You too, it was brutal today. Are we short of rations?” Aaron gulped back his half, wiped his hand across his mouth and said. “We could be here for some time, by the sound of it out there. Let’s say if we’re careful we’ll manage, but yes rations are tight.”

The pair snuggled together, exchanging body heat, giving each other comfort. That night the storm grew to whip at the tent’s structure, screaming like a thousand warriors. Noise filled every space in the couple’s world. The whiteout somehow was somehow darker, more sinister than the black of night. The other tent, though only feet from theirs, was obscured. The storm raged on for two more days and nights. Twice Aaron tried to reach the other men, but it was too dangerous visibility was nil. Only his childhood skill for climbing like a mountain goat stopped him from being cast from the face of the mountain.

In the days that followed, Luna read aloud from ‘The Book Of Awe.’ She had found the book wrapped in a tan and white fleece inside a red Mahogany box, hidden beneath her mother’s bed. It was a Tome, full of Peruvian Myths and legends. There were photographs of her and Luna threaded between the pages. A tail feather of the Tunki bird she had pressed like a wildflower, the bird it was said to bring luck and prosperity. A talon from the Andanean Condor had been polished and hung from a leather thong. She found a lock of her mother’s hair haphazardly gathered in a strand of Alpaca wool. For weeks after her death, she had sat with her knees under her chin, reading. Sometimes Luna cried and wondered about this part of her. The Tome is where she read of The mountain and Khuno. He is said to be a high altitude storm God. She read to Aaron. “it says those who successfully reach the top to camp at his feet will get their wishes. People wrote of enlightenment and of having a new ethereal beauty and inner peace.

In In preparation for her task, Luna folded many paper birds. Each had a wish or a question that she inscribed in her best handwriting as the book requested. She will release the birds on the breath of Khuno, where they would be taken by the wind out to the universe. Luna stroked the picture of her mother, gently tied the lock of hair to the Tunki feather and fastened them to the paper birds. Aaron placed the thong inside her coat, pushed her offerings into a shoulder bag and held her close for the last time. ” I will walk you as near as I can. I will wait for you.” The wind had dropped, the fresh snow began to crunch beneath them as they made the final steps to the plateau.

If you were to be allowed to find the Book of Awe, You would read a tale of young lovers who beat all the odds to reach the feet of such a God. They climbed the mountain, overcame adversity, faced ferocious storms and the wrath of Khuno. Luna, a sun goddess and Aaron, whose Andanean name means mountain of strength, walk the realms of greatness with ancient Inca Gods together for eternity.

What myth or legend or old wife’s tale do you believe? answers please in the comments I can’t wait to read them.

A Morning With Flo.

This is a Monologue written by me for the Theatre during lockdown. This is read by an actor.

Synopsis, a wanna be model called Flo goes into a new upmarket coffee bar alone.

On loan From pixels

PRESS To Listen

Borrowed from pixels

An otherwise ordinary day at the library.

Ilminster Library.

In a small market town in Somerset where most buildings are made from Jurassic Hamstone. The public library being one such building sits solid in the ground. Drawn as I was to it, not just because I am to anywhere that books live, the building looked as old as a gnarly tree (Ancient buildings often do) it caught my attention. I was welcomed by a sign outside saying ‘libraries love readers, step inside and read.’ So I did.

This sign I took literally, so with a huge smile, for such a miserable day … I marched right in. Reading stories and making them up has always been my thing. I have been spilling tales from my mouth uncontrollably since I could speak . I have been known (since this day) to fold myself into the children’s corner like a master of yoga and read aloud. Like a character from a Grimm’s fairy-tale or a strong magnet, people would be drawn to me … mostly small ones.

This specific day I did just that. Once I crossed my legs, I pushed my sit bones in to a cushion and began. Parents and children sat and stood around me, eyes wide, mouths open, as they sat in silence. This silence made the voices I gave the characters more pronounced and my face more animated as I read. I elaborated, asked for their input, both big and little people joined in, calling out questions and might have beens. I warmed to the twinkles in their eyes and dimpled smiles, they were the best moments. At the end I was clapped, which pinked my cheeks. I recall a moment of surprise washed over me; chased by a hot shade of embarrassment.

At that very moment a bespectacled gentleman of the Library; the custodian I believe he called himself, shushed me forcibly. So forcibly in fact I would swear his teeth rattled as If they would be blown clean from his mouth. A kind librarian stopped to ask If I would like a regular spot. We all I suspect had a lovely interlude, to an otherwise ordinary day.

Photo by cottonbro on

What tale do you find your mind wanders to if a child asks you to tell them a story? Do you fabricate one, or prefer to read from a book? Do let me know in the comments.

This is a photo of the first present my husband gave me after our wedding. We had been married about eight weeks when he came back from the shops with the groceries a newspaper and a bottle of Fizz.

After he unpacked everything onto the work top he plunged his hand into his trouser pocket and handed me this. Yes a potato, a heart shaped potato and said. “I couldn’t leave it in the greengrocers  once I found it. it just reminded me of you.” We laughed at his words and joked that I looked like a potato, but honestly it was bloody romantic the most romantic my husband could get.

He is not a man of big romantic presentations, he could not gush if he tried. The husband, as I refer to him on my Blog is spontaneous, some might say impulsive, I say he is just simply kind. He said, he did not think a potato could label him romantic. That he would never be accused of being soppy or a sap but this gift though long since gone rotten and recycled to a better place in the compost, will always be first in my memory for the gift that needed no reason. The gift that meant the whole world, it didn’t cost him a penny but took guts to ask for it, and courage to give it to me.

My man has few words of the romantic kind, neither a poem, sonnet or rhyme, would ever pause on his tongue. No love letters will be received but my heart shaped potato is the most significant measure of his love for me.

What a pair.

Have you ever had an extraordinarily odd but perfect gift? Leave your answer in the comments I am dying to see what it is.

The most romantic gestures arrive from the simplest of moments.