My First Exquisite Dress.

I love the life of your hat,

I once had a dress like that.
All grace and glamour,
The boy’s would clamour
To glimpse the off shoulder
French fancy.

And me, at sixteen,
I learned how to preen
I perfected a wiggle,
A look over my shoulder,
But under my brows.

The dress held my joi de vivre
My confidence my class.
It was in the lace,
While I hid the blush
Upon my face.

My parisienne dress
wasn’t me.
But in it, I could be,
Entertaining and sweet.
They would fall at my feet,
And I could shoo them away.

Back then, when age was nothing
But a moment in time.
Confidence plucked from air
As the flower in my hair.
It was all so fleeting,
like a clandestine meeting.

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A Seat In The Bleak.

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Thank you Sue Vincent for the photo this week and the opportunity.  Press here To join in this weeks prompt. #WritePhoto

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Bleak, some say this view is bleak, the empty to me isn’t empty. The sky speaks of things to come and hints at things just past. I gaze thoughtfully while digging deeper into my pockets dipping my chin so the zipper scratches my nose. My quiet contemplating place; perched on crag like a bird with its feathers ruffled. Hair whips my cheeks and stiffens in the biting wind. My eyes struggle to see as far as I want them to. But here, the whoosh of the sea, the lapping of water against rock and the voices on the wind … comfort me.

Hours pass with me inside my head, the imagery sharp as Italic ink on paper.  The sky darkens, reflections flicker, horses lick, their white manes they flash and curl atop the surf and I am reminded of where I am. Cleansed and at peace I raise myself, soles firmly grip into roughness of rock, gouging in to keep me from slipping as I head back.

At first barely a glimmer of light shines from the tiny house creeping between badly pulled curtains. The rusted swing squeaks in the wind; the taste of salt lingers. I open the oak door, stamp my shoes on the coconut matting and strip off the sodden outer layer. His head lifts and kind eyes take me in, his book thumps closed as he makes way for me to join him. Tom pats the cushion next the fire on the double club chair. “Come, let’s get you warm,” his eyes crinkle as they do when he looks into mine. “You look rested now, how anyone comes back from such a bleak unforgiving spot looking as you do … I will never know.” Tom rubbed my feet between his hands twisted a strand of salt encrusted hair behind my ear and said … ” I love you Eve.”

With all my worries blown into perspective, I inhale the stew I have cooking on the stove, the bread Tom has put to warm. “Shall we eat, then I will tell you a new fireside story, one brought to me on a gust of wind.” I say. We clatter to the table amidst the spitting of logs laughing at the days turn of events. Knowing tomorrow my bleak will refresh me once more.

Do you have a place? I would love to know, leave me yours in the comments.

 

Conversation With a Grandson

First, the name I answer to, when being called by five particular individuals in this world is, ‘Grandma Duck.’ Why, is a whole other story, that isn’t for now.

Grandson: ‘Grandma duck’

he said, while screwing up his ten year-old brow.

Me: ‘Yes love’

Grandson: ‘This thing, the Haemachroma thing that you have.’

Me: yes.

Grandson:

Well, Daddy said about the iron and the blood *screws fingers together in a spider-like fashion* and the … Jeans ( not typo), steps from one foot to another rapidly.

Me: Umm … Yes love, you know they aren’t jeans you put on your legs the sort that are cool and Grandmas shouldn’t wear. I pull him in under my armpit sqeeze gently and kiss the top of his ear … as Grandmas do.

Grandson:

*wipes ear and frowns* ‘I know that Grandma *sigh*.’ His brows shoot up and with staring eyes he faces me. ‘It is about science and cells and Genes, they group together, some from your Dad and some from your Mum when they are together’ … He stops for breath, pokes his top lip with his index finger and continues. ‘They made you, and both of them gave you a mutant Gene so you have two… mutants, to get the thing.’

Me:

Okay, sorry, you understand that nicely, well done. I squeeze again, just a tightening of my bicep to reinforce how proud I was of the grasp he had of a difficult subject.

Grandson:

So, now you have #Haemochromatosis. His face lit up, a smile spread like crunchy peanut butter on warm wholemeal toast. ‘Does that mean you are a real Mutant? an Alien, like from outer space?’

He looks like he would pee at any moment, I glance towards the front door, half expecting a dozen excited school friends armed with lazer light and nerf guns to burst through at any second, armed and ready to capture the mutant Alien Grandma.

Me:

I roll my eyes, ‘tsk’ ‘No!’ now wash your hands while I get your lunch.

Grandson:

Slaps loudly his unwilling feet on the floor, audibly sigh’s as he foams his delicate hands. With his bottom lip protruding in disappointment he tucks himself under the table.

Me:

Eat your soup then you can have a biscuit … *wink wink*

The things that children understand are I am certain much broader than when I was their age. But there is I think a special type of imagination when your almost all grown, which spans the years and defys definition.

Talk to me, what do you think, are they more grown up, knowledgable better informed … or does as I believe imagination still shine through tegardless.

Genetically Challenged.

We moved away to Somerset, we didn’t find our forever place so after four and a half years we sold up and moved back to Suffolk in the east of England in May 2017.

We threw ourselves into the refurbishing of our house. Well the truth is I didn’t actually do very much as I was exhausted The husband, who can turn his capable hands to most things  began the project working flat out to make our home warm and dry.

Eventually, we thought to find a doctor, a dentist and an optician etc. A week of changing addresses, doing paperwork, joining electoral roles and collecting information took place.

During my new Doctor consultation (I thought him very thorough), a gamut of questions were fired at me, from under an arched and knowledgeable brow. Lots of poking and prodding, weighing, measuring and listening occurred. Squeezing, knocking and the questions went on for an exceedingly long time. Next, I was given bottles and forms to both fill and present to the hospital. This is where I cut to the chase and leave my usual shaggy dog story peacefully in its dog bed.

I had been to the doctors over the last four years with, the pains in my joints, falling asleep, that we all laughed about, the getting lost and my words muddled, the misty or foggy headedness, the heartburn and the chills I had when everyone else was warm, bouts of cystitus that I just couldn’t clear up.

All the above were individually poked fun at by family and friends, none more so than by me. Silly me, getting old, winding down getting a bit quirkier than I was before. It seemed, the harder I tried to get myself fit, the slower and crappier I felt … the more often I stayed in my pyjamas the more it became an Ellen thing, to be laughed at, I stopped saying I am too exhausted to get dressed.

I had my thyroid checked several times, my blood, cholesterol and sugars, to no avail. I was told to lose weight, about 20lb was suggested for optimum fitness. At this point the doctors (I had seen a few) I felt, were beginning to think I was lazy and  wasting their time. They said, maybe it was taking early retirement, or I was depressed missing family and familiarity, but losing weight and getting fit would help. So on I struggled a sleepy, chilly, foggy headed woman who was more and more muddled, weak and in pain.

Well, I can tell you with some relief, that I am not lazy, fat or a hypochondriac, I have a genetic condition that has been very gratefully spotted by my new GP. How lucky was I to have moved  and to have seen someone who knew what he was looking at. He noticed my bronzed skin which incidently makes me look super healthy. When your looks don’t pitty you it is hard to get acknowledgement. Then listened to my account of severe tiredness and sent me for the blood tests. Six hours later he phoned the house to explain that a DNA test was required to confirm the diagnosis. After weeks of waiting it was confirmed. I have Haemachromatosis, the Celtic disease, bronze diabetes or the Viking curse. For a condition that I had never heard of there are plenty of names.

Basically, I store iron, my blood then chucks it into my organs and tissue, the brain, liver etc. This toxic stuff causes havoc where ever it lands. There is no cure … but there is a treatment for which I am very grateful. And though scared, I will suck it up and get on with it. I won’t let it win or change me, it won’t define who I am. Still I smile, with damp eyes and a fighting spirit.

Since August, I have had needles and cameras in orifices I would have preferred not to, I’ve seen pictures of a few places … even I hadn’t seen before. I have been humbled by the kindness of medical people and scared by the condition and the vast amount of knowledge that I am unable to take in, but I am loved thoroughly by those who matter.

Here is the joke, you knew there would be one … I have a needle phobia, always have had and the treatment, the only treatment is Venesection. Blood letting, phlebotomy, removal of my toxic blood. Before we left for the first treatment the husband thought he would … relax me, he wore a wicked grin when he searched You Tube and had to wipe his eyes for the thirty minutes he played me Handcocks Half Hour, a comedy radio skit from 1961, where Tony Handcock donates blood.

One Venesection down and I didn’t disgrace myself, I am sucking it up! What the hell else can I do? So I guess right now, according to Tony Handcock I have an empty arm ‘Tah Dah boom!’

Every seven days a pint has to be removed until numbers drop and stabilise (how long is a piece of vein/ string). Then the gaps will widen to monthly and in a few months or years, maybe I can get down to four times a year with monthly blood tests. For now my toxic blood can’t be used and gets poured away. Once I am in maintenence it will be used and my donations will eventually help others.  But basically … ‘If you want to live and be healthy, you got to bleed … forever.

The husband, he suggested leeches, we have a well in the garden so it could be an option. Someone actually said ‘You must wish you could self-harm.’ Then some people are sick! I became upset when a family member said ‘So what, it’s not a biggie,’ easy to say when it’s not you, said from that place of comfort. Another writer/ bloggy person unbeknown to him gave me an idea.

An advert!

Wanted! A Gentle Male Vampire with sharp teeth.

The successful applicant would be required to come to my home under his own steam. To be dressed in traditional uniform and to specifically partake of dinner twice a month, until further notice.

Wages will be in the form of warm B rhesus negative

Iron enriched the oxygenated blood.

Conversation will not be necessary,

Though good oral hygiene is a must.

The applicant/ Sanguineoue being, will not be permitted, in fact, will be forbidden to partake of any other beverage from any source whilst in my employ, or my home.

Once the task has been completed he will depart the way he arrived, leaving no sign that he ever attended.

If interested in this position please reply by email/ sonar or echolocation … at your soonest opportunity. Only experienced thirsty practitioners need reply.

P.s. no sympathy required I am lucky, I at least can be helped. Sometimes I can’t focus enough to grab my words and writing or talking coherently is not happening. It hopefully will improve and I will be back, talking, writing and reading  and laughing regularly.

P.S. When the specialist said, “You’ll see, we will get you back feeling normal, it will take time; we will improve things.” He was looking into my eyes holding my hand. That’s when The husband laughed aloud and said: “That will be novel, nobody’s accused Ellen of normality in years.” Both men were in hysterics, I think that says it all. I have always risen to a challenge and Genetically challenged will be no different.

Hemochromotosis the most common genetic condition that is also the most undiagnosed and least talked about there is.

As a writer, a teller of stories I get through with my tongue firmly i my cheek.

The Empty

Sue Vincent’s  picture prompt once again challenges us… press here to join in or to read some fabulous responses..

Remnants of yesterdays bonfire smolder on the bank, barbed wire posts too damp to burn are propped at angles like skeletons legs. The wind whips my hair across pinkend cheeks, wipes drops from moist eyes as I trudge aimlessly across the empty landscape. A gnawing in my abdomen makes me tremble; my hands shake as I recognise my own emptiness.

An hour passes me by, legs heavy and joints begin to ache as I work my way home. Lifting my foot to plant it firmly in the kissing gate where we stopped and kissed last night; the irony of it makes my lips twitch and my chest tight. In the emptiness I succumb to tears; self indulging, long overdue by my reckoning.

Last night around the fire we had talked, loved and hoped. We hoped that three weeks late was a sign, we had held each other tight, talked until wishes were invisible to the moon.

This morning I woke to his whistles as he cycled to work. A fleeting smile at my lips soon vanished as the dull drag in my gut became apparent. Tonight I will have to tell him we were wrong. Smoothing my palm over my cheeks I take a deep breath, kick off my boots and straighten my back. Today will go so quickly here in the empty.

Love After Love

 

The time will come

when, with elation,

you will greet yourself arriving

at your own door, in your own mirror,

and each will smile at the other’s welcome,

and say, sit here. Eat.

You will love again the stranger who was your self.

Give wine. Give bread. Give back your heart

to itself, to the stranger who has loved you
all your life, whom you ignored

for another, who knows you by heart.

Take down the love letters from the bookshelf,
the photographs, the desperate notes,

peel your own image from the mirror.

Sit. Feast on your life.

By Derek Walcot. R.I.P. 17th March 2017 #WorldPoetryDay  couldn’t pass by without a bow or a curtsie to the painter, playwright, poet, English professor and nobel prize winner amongst his many accolades. He missed this day by four days so I would like to honour him in some small way. 

A Rosy Pairing

press to join in. Sue Vincent’s  picture prompt.

Here is this weeks photo. All.entries to be in by March 22nd.

Stalactites hung like chandeliers from the roof of our cave, the formation split it into two rooms. Since his leaving I had made it welcoming, sweeping the animal waste in a pile,  hanging a lantern from a  root that pierced the ceiling. The rosy welcoming glow was encouraged by the minerals in the rock that cast a sunset; perfect for this night. Animal skins shone silver on the vine that provided cover.

My heart bounced in my chest, as his shadow fell on the ridge. I trembled and perspired at the shape of him. Picking up the mewing bundle I stood at the entrance and thrust it towards his broad chest and said… “Your  gift” With his huge hands he twisted the neck, a crack of splintering bone was heard. A gasp left my throat and I wiped my eyes with trembling fingers. With swift strokes he skinned and gutted it, throwing the debris aside. Taking me roughly in his arms to the inner chamber he reminded me what we were together for.The calf spat and cooked on the fire  as we writhed on its soft skin. Now I was his, I had successfully filled his needs and his belly .
I remember my son asking what it was like when we lived in caves. Though I am not quite old enough for that, I think maybe my story would have fit.I bet you thought that bundle was something else… leave me a comment I am dying to know  😀 😄 😮

The Connection

wall

She sat, on a low wall three bricks high. A wall that once was tall, now it’s a crumbled remnant beside the main road. She wore wrinkled long socks, one higher than the other. They offered no protection against the easterly wind; that bitter December day. Her ditsy floral skirt flicked against the already chaffed skin leaving pink welts. A grey knitted cardi hung from her shoulders, the sleeves clenched tight in her hands as she waited. Flat barren fields of East Anglia solid from the morning frost were inviting her gaze, eyes glassy and wide, unblinking.

I noticed her many times as we flashed by on the way to Norwich. Each time we’d go I would see her, with pain in her shape; a stillness about her. Once we stopped at the village shop, while I waited I asked her story. The postmistress said, ” She’s about forty a local she is… not been herself since her daughter… some says she were taken and others say different.” Slowly she shook her head as she stamped my letters. “Only six she was, her girl. Where she sits, it’s where she waited that day and every one since, for the school bus to bring her; she never came home.”

On one occasion I stopped, pulled the car into the lay-by. I walked over and took a space on the rough wall alongside her, leaving a gap of two bricks between us. A respectful gap I thought. I gazed across the flat land as she did. “Hello, are you… Are you okay?” I felt a tug, a connection, fleeting though it was. She sat unmoved, undaunted by my presence. I felt the cold from her, saw the fogged breath, I could taste her sadness. An overwhelming urge to reach her enveloped me. Determinedly I unzipped my parka, putting it beside her I untied my wool scarf and wriggled my fingers free of the gloves. “Please, your skin is blue, take these, they’re for you.” I shouted, as the wind whistled by my ears and bit the end of my nose. The pile almost touched her chest; I began to tremble, a feeling of despair, soaked into me. Her eyes flickered as I put the clothes in her lap. “I don’t need them, can you hear me?” A pat to reinforce the point made her flinch, and with a straight back but without a second glance I returned to the car. She hadn’t moved as we passed her, the bundle propped on her lap, her glassy eyes staring forward. Alone, she sat.

That day, the clouds gathered so swiftly that everyone around the conference table stared at the snow. The CEO said “Due to the change of weather we will take a working lunch. The sooner I get you home the better.” I remember hoping she had put the clothes on and wondered if anyone could relieve her… because of the weather. I couldn’t get her out my mind, her eyes, the liquid that refused to drop but puddled in her lids as if scared to fall. Her forlorn image haunted me.

On the return journey we stopped next to the wall. I remember the wipers swished, the flakes came hard and fast, but she wasn’t there. Pleased to think her in the warm I began to feel better.

In the spring my job took me once more to Norwich. We stopped at the place, next the road. Amongst the grass which grew in the crumbled brick, wedged between the cracks was bunch of brown withered flowers tied with a bright woollen scarf. The connection had forever made its mark, imprinted forever in my heart.

This was entered into the bloggers bash competition 2017. I am thrilled to say my story was the winner. I am both pleased and honoured to have my work chosen.

Being able to meet everybody in real life (opposed to virtually) at the #BloggersBash2017 in Westminster London. An award ceremony organised and attended by a superb bunch of brilliant bloggers (I couldn’t resist a good alliteration).

I hope you like my flash fiction as much as the judges did.

 

The Rendezvous.

Join in by February 22nd  #writephoto here Thank you Sue Vincent, your prompts always inspire.

 

 

At sunset, the summer-house looked beautiful.  Scared to be first in case she was stood up, Rebecca held herself tight to the trunk of the aged oak. She watched the darkness and waited while trying to control her breath and her thoughts that made her tremble. Out of the shadow, a figure appeared moving with urgency until it vanished inside.

“Breathe just breathe,” She whispered as she shook her fingers and straightened her back. Heat burned her throat and bile filled her mouth, bent at the waist she spat into the undergrowth. Found a mint in her pocket and placed it on her tongue. Once composed she tugged the hem of her skirt and walked forward.

It took a moment for her eyes to adjust but she instinctively knew where her lover was. “You came then, I was scared you wouldn’t,” fingers tangled with hers and felt like sparks shooting up her arm, this couldn’t be wrong it felt so beautiful. She didn’t speak just let things silently take over.

After, when tangled in the blanket on the floor, breasts glistened and chests heaved as they shuddered in unison. Watching the sky alter from gold to deepest mauve Rebecca spoke. “It is so beautiful, everything is perfect, I will never forget this” Tears glistened on her lashes as they squeezed each other’s hands and pledged undying love.

“I know, first times are meant to be perfect and it is. I thought you were struck dumb, that I was destined not to hear your voice tonight.” Rebecca’s laugh tinkled and she covered her face with the blanket wiggling her feet.

As the sky darkened they gathered themselves, collected the evidence, leaving the summer-house as it was found, without signs of their rendezvous. Hand in hand they walked to the clearing one last kiss before they reluctantly parted. “I’ll call you tomorrow,” said Rebecca walking backwards twisting a curl around her finger as she went. “I can’t wait whispered Sarah” both wearing grins big enough to shame a Cheshire cat.

 

 

I hope in this day and age we all understand love and kindness come in many guises. My question today is “Do you remember the first flutter of love and was it in a secret place?” please leave your answer or observations in the comments… I will come back to read them soon.

Seeing The Wood For The Trees.

February 9, 2017 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story about a rainbow in a puddle. Is it a silver lining of sorts or a false reflection? Think about what it might mean or convey. Simple science? Hope? Or the doom of humankind? Create action or character reflection. Go where the prompt leads you.

Respond by February 14, 2017 to be included in the compilation (published February 15). Rules are here. All writers are welcome!   Press to join in🔜here🔙

Sandy, her  boots splashed, hat pulled low, frowning with lips pursed, determinedly marched on. “Keep walking the same path Sand; (she heard in her head)  you’ll fall down the same hole”. “Okay dad enough!” She roared wiping her face “Avoid the wood; you’ll miss the trees”.  ” just leap shall”?  She cried.  Jumping she landed smack in the puddle, hiccoughed as tears cleaned mud from her cheeks.

Robert on seeing her, threw a leg over the stile and ran. “Don’t tell me … there was a rainbow at the bottom.” He smiled, his strong arms gathered her and Sandy saw the rainbow.

Thank you Charlie Mills, Cheesy … maybe but today is Valentines.

Did you see the rainbow? Where was yours? Answers welcomed and responded to with relish.