Now I am writing for sound.

Our local Theatre put out a call for writers of stories. They were to be set in locations where people live in the town or surrounding villages. Stories that could be fact, fiction, historic or contemporary. The one proviso was they must invite the listener to walk the tale, like a tour you get in the grounds of a stately home, or a museum. To encourage people to take a journey to a place that may be new to them, and immerse themselves in to the experience.

I researched the historic facts for authenticity. The costume from the period it was to be set. My idea was coming together, to help me think it through, I ran myself a bath. It is a foible of mine, to soak in warm bubbly froth; to think, and probably why I am somewhat vertically challenged ( maybe I shrink).

The pen twitched in my hand, the bath grew tepid, the skin crinkled on my feet. My pen scratched for hours as a tale began to form on the page.

There was a time limit, and it had to fit with health and safety in mind. “Turn to the left and beware of traffic.” Over the next weeks it was pinched and squeezed. It was lengthened and shortened and tweaked. Next, it had to be recorded as I walked, we needed to see if It would fit in the allotted ten minute slot. Eventually I entered my piece.

My flushed, excited face spent days grinning after I was told my tale had been chosen. Things were happening, auditions for readers, music scores written and sound tracks found to enhance the world as I saw it. An artist drew a map so people could print it off and follow it as a guide. And this was done for each of the seven stories that were chosen. Please click on the link below to download any story that catches your eye.

Click here https://www.theatreroyal.org/walking-stories/

If you click but are too far away or just unable to walk the stories they are still good to listen to and follow on the individual maps.

Have you found something new? A new skill you never had before covid-19, another strand to the plait that is life? I would love to know what it is in the comments.

P.S. If you listen to any of the stories do tell me what you think.

The Water Monitor.

This is a monologue that I crafted for an exercise with the local theatre group. I have been part of the group for a while. It is called Act your age … which of course we never do.
Press here to find the workshop.

Throughout the covid-19 pandemic we continue to meet up; with the aid of Zoom. One of the things we were introduced to was writing monologues. The tale below is one of my attempts at yet another new writing firm. This, may not work as a reading piece as well as it does a listening one; because of the vernacular. The pronunciation such as words that finish with ‘ing’, were spoken but the ‘n’ was the last sound made. I hope you see a young boy of about nine years old who lived in rural Victorian England. I will attach a clip of me reading it, but bear in mind I am not either nine years old or a boy, so a modicum of imagination is required on part of the reader and listener.

The sound clip is here. https://drive.google.com/file/d/1gHPtCWbMaL60X9NZH5QLn8V26T0eRVn9/view?usp=drivesdk

The Water Monitor.

Good day, I am Walter, you can see I’m standin next to the well outside the schoolhouse. The teacher’s house. This week I am water monitor (whispers) for my sins. I slake the thirsts with my bucket, Miss tied the tin mug on a piece of string to my trousers. I am skinny after graftin all Winter, so the cup it pulls em down … my trousers that is.

This is my job now because the mister kept me too long catching the piglets, doing that made me late. These lug holes still burn where they was cuffed; look at it, it’s fat an sore …  Mr Pickles says, it will be blue the morrow.

Any way me cheeks glow under these rough trousers from Miss McCreedy’s split-cane, she is fierce is Miss … she don’t like the lateness of us urchins. Miss says it is ungrate\nfulness, that breads tardy children. She Pulls her arm high when dishin out punishment, swings harder than Mam when beatin her rug. See her arm go, with that cane. I ave hot ears, a hot backside and the rest o’ me is freezing.

The punishment of water monitor aint so nice in the cold, (Walter shivers) when you already done a day’s work before you get to the raggedy school.

I am standin , stampin my boots, tryin to get the chill off, waitin for another waif to want a drink. Then I show my strength, like a strongman at the Freak show. Liftin the lid, turnin that barrel to wind the chain, I hoist the bucket an fill the cup for thirty mouths. It is man’s work, (raises arm and flexes his muscles) specially when yer fingers is blue with cold.  I saw it once … that strongman, aint that the truth, with these very eyes I seen. In Piccadilly, Grandma took me … ‘The Harvey’s Freak show’ not many of these raggedy kids as been I know; Walter here (pokes his chest) will not forget that day.

At school we is taught writin readin an rithmatic. Miss McCready bangs a tune with her laced boots against the wooden floor, One Two, One Two, she keeps time as we chant like the old monks in the Abbey did. The only differing thing is, we chant tables and godly sayins. Miss McCready, every day she raises her voice to say, ‘cleanliness is next to godliness, and ‘the mills of God grind slowly but they grind exceedingly far.’ Those words make us raggedy’s fearful, so we are good. We has the reverend in on Fridays. The reverend puts the fear of God into us … for us own good of course. The word of God is so loud he makes the ink dance in the wells when he shouts it. My sister Winnie got er legs caned, four strokes, for peeing with fright at him. Miss called her filth, an stood her on the desk so all could see her shame.

 We work at school to be learn-ned. One day when she is six, Winnie will be doin the chickens, wringing necks, plucking and collecting eggs. The numbers learned will be needed then. At sunup, I get old Tom ready, he is the plough horse. I feed, groom and tack him up for work, then I feed the pigs, mend the boundary fences. In winter I breaks ice off the troughs and fill them.  Harvest time I cut the hay, work all night, till my eyes pain with the dust of it. Paa does the ploughing, plantin and such. If the Mister is pleased, he lets us use our house and small oldin as wage. Teacher hates market day, cause her schoolroom is empty. So Here we lives, we works and does family proud. Years will bye and still, when I have curled bones and no teeth or hair, this well will still give ice cold water.  I am knowin, it will still stand … next to Miss McCready’s house. But some other spinster will be Mistress of the learnin. I know this for there aint none over fifty in the church yard.

the church yard is from pixabay.

Have you learnt anything new in lockdown? did you enjoy my attempt at a Monologue? I love replies they are especially needed at this time xx thank you in advance, answers in the comments and I will reply quick smart.

Having A Chin wag.

Having a chin wag means to chat, talk or gossip. I try to paint a picture of an area of an industrial town in Northern England in the 1950s. I am using a smattering of dialect to paint a picture.

My question is was it enough? Would it be better without? Looking forward to your answers in the comments. “As I am known to enjoy a bit of a *chin-wag* with you.”

There they were the two of em, hanging over the garden fence; arms folded. Florrie’s were under her tiny breasts; maybe to push them up; pretend like, making out she had more. She was long, stringy almost, she wore a pinny and a cotton square covered her hair. Mum, though she was no better than she should be … flaunting her coral lip stain and seamed stockings. What I could see of it her hair was yellow, oh and them teeth … they jiggled about as she spoke; *me mam* said it made her retch. Then Mum would.

Mavis well she was different, Gramps would say “like chalk and cheese those two” I love Granddad, Me Pops as I call him, he had lots of funny sayings. If he liked something he would slap his knees double-handed and call out “That’s champion *lass*, rite *champion*.”

Down the Ginel.

‘Anyhow, back on track, where were I, Oh yes, Mavis. Short n’ stocky with fat knees. You’d see them knees, when she cleaned the windows, dimpled like dumplings. The lads down the Ginel said they looked through letterbox last Summer, seen her naked thighs as she washed by the kitchen sink. “Like *gert* big hands of ham they were” laughed Smithy. My Mum says it isn’t often you’d see them knees … because she’s not too particular about the housework. Then Mum would, she has a sharp tongue, my Mum. Mavis has pin curls peeking from under her scarf. Tinged, more of a dirty grey colour, from the coal fire I expect. That lass is as short as she is wide, wears a fancy wrap around pinny; not many had one of them. I can’t help me sen, so I snigger at her wrinkled stockings and get a clip round the *earlug*; a backhander for doing so. Her roundness comes from having ten kids. Six were lads, all gone and grown now. We live in back to back houses, terraces with Ginels behind. On Monday Morning if School was out, I’d sit astride the sill with a book; the sun warms my skin right through the glass. Mum told us when we were kids “It’s God kissing you.” I am not so sure about that.

They, Florrie and Mavis, think I’m reading. Really I am watching, and listening, you’d be surprised what I hear; looking down at the backs. Those two, over the fence putting the world to rites … having a good old chin-wag. Got to go now, Mam’s got my Pop’s snapping ready, I’ll take it up the allotment to him, he is busy after all; digging us tea. I better have my wits about me in the Ginnel, that Smithy boy, he’d likely have his hand in my liberty-bodice if I loitered. Catch you another time tatty bye.                 

No copyright infringement intended.

This post was very different first time around. Reworked, new dialogue and a new character in Old Jack. I hope you enjoy the changes as much as I. “comment please it is fun to talk.”

*earlug* = ear, *Gert* = big, *Champion* = magnificent, *Tatty bye* = farewell, for now, *Ginel* = secreted alley, *lass*= young girl, Having a *chin-wag* = a gossip or a chat.

The Ebb Of Summer.

As I captured this mornings buds on the bush by the door. I was reminded of this writing from last year. After a tweak or two I repost it. A throwback Thursday; as relevant as it was back then. The last of my roses, still beautiful to me … even as they fade. Like the Ebb of Summer.

I shiver, pull my wrap tight about my shoulders. Evenings have drawn in; become sharper. Dew-laden mornings make my toes curl and the chill pinch my nose. Only two weeks ago we sat in the garden … way past ten. We sipped wine and listened to the night. We had no inclination to close the bi-fold doors, or to shut out the last of the warmth. Instead we jabbered about everything and nothing, until the light crept below the moon and purpled the sky.

As I flinch from the chill I know, my pyjama clad gardening this year has passed. Nor will we eat breakfast outside amongst the birdsong. I already miss him … reading aloud from the papers; while crunching toast. Tomorrow I will put flip-flops, sleeveless tops, shorts and sunscreens away. But today I will savour the last rays that warm my bones. The last of the peach Roses next to the door.

As the sun sits low in the morning sky; I see the Autumnal work to be done. The dust motes that dance in its lowered beam across the table, the streaks on glass that summer hadn’t seen. The Rhubarb’s last crumble waiting to be cooked. I see the rake that needs an oil before leaves hit its Tyne’s. There are beds to be made warmer. A sigh leaves my lips as I turn to go in. A season departs as I rouse another in its wake.

Thoughts of frosty mornings, warming soups, logs crackle and muddy boots. Rosy faces, knitted hats, harvest suppers, coconut mats. Shepherds pie served with peas. Suppers by the fire on cushioned knees.

Cuddles on the sofa under fluffy throws. Hear the crackle of a fire, taste hot chocolate laced with Brandy while warming our toes. Heathers pop their heads up to view Autumn’s arrival. Hedgehogs scurry past along the fence-line; like dryer balls, they roll up when the Cat flicks its tail. A memory beckons and Autumn has taken the Ebb of Summer away.

Could you taste the Autumn? Leave me a comment or two … just to please me.

All Teachers are Monsters.

Thank you Linda for this opportunity. The prompt word is ‘post’ to be used alone or as part of a word. Press RIGHT HERE to join in or read some great responses.

“Post my letter” Mother called after me. Stamping my feet with slumped shoulders I went back in the kitchen. “Give it me then, quick! you know I hate being late.” I snatched it from her hand and slammed the door. I lifted my arm pushed back the sleeve, my trusty Timex startled me.”Rob, can I bag a leg on your crossbar?” I yelled. He was a bit fly was Rob but with my prim plait, flat chest and tough shoes he was hardly seeing me as a girl; one of the lads that’s me. I closed my eyes and hung on as he weaved through the traffic; my lady parts bruised with each bump. Rob stuck the vee’s up to Mr.Light the Maths teacher as he passed in a rusted Vauxhall Viva. Embarrassed I try to hide my face in Rob’s back. So relieved I was to jump off; in front of the corner shop … Not quite like in the movies.

engagement-1718244_1280

Rob ruffled my crooked fringe, “Maths homework … you owe me.” He called as I hobbled away tidying my fringe. Waving as he wheelied off, I rub my shoe on the back of my sock to try to rid it of oil. Letter posted and Parma violets purchased I made it to class in good time. At lunch break, I would go to the phone box to phone Mum, make amends for being grumpy; I wasn’t late after all.

Mr. Wright called me over. “Cheshire,” He called. “That lad, he is a little rough … around the edges.” He stumbled his words awkwardly, “your parents, they would be displeased at you … marauding around on his crossbar. Take heed, he will end up in Borstal if he’s not careful.”

I knew he was right, they would give me chores for a month if they knew. “Sorry Sir, I didn’t want to be late.” My cheeks and neck grew warm and I just know I was scarlet. He gave me double homework and tapped the side of his nose as he handed it over. That was all I needed what with Robs lot and now this I’d be at it for hours. I sighed, pushed it into my bag and thanked him. Because good girls do not answer back, ride on crossbar’s with reprobates, and expect leniency from the teacher who received the Vee sign.

Mother, wearing her furious face; stood cross armed at the door. “To your room young lady, post-haste!” I should have guessed he would tell; all teachers are monsters but none more than Mr.Right.

Did you do something foolish that bit you back? Do tell I am waiting with Bated breath.

P.S. I love and respect teachers, this is a work of fiction, or as Mother would say damn lies. *gulp*

Forest Child.

Sue Vincent invites you to join in press here to leave your piece or read many imaginative others.

Today’s word is track.

Some say those that were born here have … the thing. The magic of the forest, sap running through veins, nooks and crannies, corners that hold secrets. A quirky look at life, grounded in soil and mulch.

I was born of this place, in the cottage hospital on the edge of Savernake forest. An ancient wood 2750 acres of mystery and as you would expect history. As a child, I once was found sleeping at the foot of the Great Bellied Oak.

Fred liked to walk with his girls through the forest, when time allowed,The youngest would no doubt need carrying before the track had stopped its meandering. The day was sunny and all was lush, branches flicked light this way and that, birdsong was full-throated all in all he thought, its a good day for a walk.

Me, the three-year-old, me, loved to walk the most, but my chubby legs would not always keep up with the want to finish. That was when Daddy’s arms helped out and shoulder high I would grab his ears to hold on and soak in the atmosphere. Shafts of light threw colours or that was what Dad said, I knew it was something special. My sisters four and six didn’t really want to walk but we all loved Daddy and his treats. The story goes that I had held daddy’s hand until we stopped to share a picnic; a bag of Smiths crisps with a twist of salt and a bottle of Orangina. Three straws he pulled from his handkerchief pocket we sat on Dads tweed Jacket three little bums; eyes as big as saucers. Once the feast was over we stood so he could shake his Jacket. Like a magician, he pulled a white paper bag stuffed with soft Pontefract cakes from his cap. I remember how we oohed and ahhed, how he did the Dad magic, producing a perfect round Pontefract coin from behind our ears.

This is where our stories differ, (Dad’s version) the sisters playing chase ran off the track, I couldn’t keep up my legs were far to short for his turn of foot. So he told me to wait and not move from the spot and he’d return as quickly as he could. (My recollection) My feet could not go fast enough as I was swept behind a frightened Dad through the forest, my hands wet from licking the liquorice from my fingers slipped free, and I fell with a bump. When I woke Dad was not there, I was laying on a bed of moss at the foot of the Giant oak. A voice whispered as I sat up; ‘do not be afraid child, we forest folk always look after our own.’ I looked around but could not see anything more than a wisp of colour flash by my head. Daddy, with one sister under each arm, was struggling to walk and calling my name. I told a very cross face that he wasn’t to worry his head, the forest folk took great care of me, when you were gone.

Our stories have like Chinese whispers altered with the years, but last week was the first time I returned to that spot. Now a road is next to the Old Big Bellied Oak, and the A346 south of Caudley trundles caravans and cars by oblivious to the magic.

Were you born somewhere magical? Or have you visited such a magical place? leave me a comment I love to converse.

Cheers.

Here Linda Hills stream of concious Saturday prompt. Press to join in or read

We heard the cheers through the trees,

The music carried on an evenings breeze.

Painted faces and flowered hair,

Dogs and children nap in wheeled chairs.

We raised our glasses nodded our heads.

Unspoken memories we shared in bed.

An earthy voice was the last we heard,

Interupted by the late night trill of a lowley bird.

A nightingale threw back its head

We listened lying in the motorhome bed.

The festival stopped with resounding cheers

But the nightingale stayed with us for many years.

Photograph taken by me at #RedRoosterFestival JUNE 2018 Held at Euston Hall Suffolk.

A VERY QUICK #SoCS

Have you been to a gig or festival recently? Do let me know in the comments😇

The Escape. #ShortStory

We trundled off in the motor home towards Dorset. A week in the West Country was just the ticket. Easy Rider belted out, Born to be Wild became the anthem of our trip. Four days in Dorset, parked at a clifftop campsite with wonderful views,

We caught up with the husband’s twin brother and wife; sharing food and stories. Laughs came thick and fast with our niece and her partner, we built new memories to last a lifetime. The sun beat down, dragon flies whizzed as stick insects sunned themselves in the bay tree; idyllic.

We Sat under the sunshade together reminiscing as we stuffed our faces, laughed and dozed. A woodpecker hid inside the hollowed Apple tree.

The days passed with a gusto we didn’t want to end.

We packed up and drove on to Salcombe Regis, on Devon’s beautiful coast. You couldn’t ask for a better spot, sunny, green, clean and friendly, a few miles from Sidmouth. We arrived the day of the ‘underwear revolution’ in Colyton (see link). A news worthy story that made us smile for the rest of the week.

https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2018/06/12/town-rallies-around-mother-told-not-hang-washing-launching-laundry/

Off to Sidmouth on the local hopper, it was so civilized and easy. We enjoyed wandering around the picturesque Regency seaside town.

Back at the motor home, we familiarised ourselves with the layout, checked out the shower and toilet blocks, putting green and shop. There was a vigorous but pleasant stroll to the view of Salcombe hill and the sea.

Morning arrived, overcast and breezy as Hurricane Hector’s tail whipped through. We chose to get ready and catch a later hopper, giving the weather time to calm. Off I strode to the nearest block.

Most people had long gone, jumped on the bus for their day out; despite the weather ( as we Brits do). I however had choices to make, a wet room or single shower, a cubicle block, toilets with basins and even a bath. The facilities were superb, spotlessly clean, the water hot and it was … empty.

Armed with bubbles and potions I chose the best space and I have to admit to feeling a tiniest bit smug.

(See Giffy image below🔽)

This was where I found myself in a difficult situation. To bypass any visual parts of my ablutions … I sum up by saying, my bag was dropped in a cubicle and I rested my cheeks to porcelain; next door.

On the way in, I noticed the lock turned a couple of times before the latch closed. I ignored the fact that the lever dropped free and rocked as I released it. Both of the above should have made me aware that something was amiss. After a short sitting time, I used the beautifully scented hand foam and checked out the attractive smile of the older woman in the mirror; before moving on to the shower room.

My hand wrapped around the lever and turned … around and around it went, my finger twisted & it spun the lever as if it was a feather. My sports strap alerted me to the rise in my resting heartbeat. My breath gasped, my hands became clammy and a pulse rapidly tapped in my neck.

The bumbag that hung over my hip contained my meds, a phone, a change purse with a debit card and a hair grip. After a few seconds I shook myself and delved into the zips. Phone extracted I tried to call the husband; fifty yards away in the motor home. I stood on the seat with my four-foot eleven stature stretched to the extreme, trying to find a signal. No such luck, finding a phone signal in the countryside is hit or miss at the best of times. Inside a toilet block, in the most rural of spots in the west country is nigh on impossible.

Now serious stuff came into play! With all the prowess of an Enid Blyton famous five character I thrashed out a plan.

I set the WiFi to search on my smart phone. Soon it offered to sell me WiFi from the campsite. With the debit card extracted the purchase of WiFi complete, I sighed with relief. I sent a text to a friend via Facebook’s messenger. HELP. LOCKED IN LOO. Phone Jay urgently PLEASE. I pressed send as the light in the lavatory timed out.

Back up plan fell into place; “Enid Blyton I love you.”

Clutching a hair grip between my thumb and index finger, I poked as I twisted the lever, I shoved, rammed and scraped about in the vicinity of the latch by the light of my phone; which was clasped in my mouth. I had been incarcerated for fifty minutes! My sport’s strap vibrated and fireworks went off, it obviously believed me to be vigorously exercising. With the battery on my phone now showing five percent I had to move fast. Logged on to Face book I found the campsite page friended the site and sent a private message. Help! Plot 153 locked in toilet. Send! Help. Next I emailed my brother-in-law. Please. Help. Phone Jay. Trapped in the loo. The screen went off just after I pressed send, the room was in complete darkness now; my battery flat.

A second blind (pardon the pun) attempt with the hair grip eventually bore fruit. By now I had been in the loo for an hour! My bladder was swollen, my cheeks damp and my grip ruined as I rushed out and towards the motor home. I thought to sympathy and maybe a touch of pride at my ingenuity.

I heard the ringtone on my approach, then the unnecessary laugher. Soon I looked into the eyes of a very jovial husband. One who pressed his Samsung closer to his ear as I passed him. Relieved to be relieved of the contents of my bladder in the safety of the motor home … with my foot used as a lock on the door. Only the music emanating from the other side of the door was to puncture the relief I felt.

Standing tall (as tall as a four-foot eleven woman can) I walked past ‘The Husband,’ I pushed the charger into my phone. Bleep bleep! My friend answered with ‘are you free yet?

Ring ring!

My brother-in-law howled in unison with his wife on speaker phone.

All the time … ‘The Husband’ sang along to, “Oh dear what can the matter be, three old ladies were locked in the lavatory” whilst wrapping his arms around his aching ribs and wearing the most ridiculous grin.

Once composed, I walked to the reception, reported a faulty toilet lock. Numerous apologies later and the promise of fresh croissants to soften the edges of ‘The Escape.’ I found my own funny. Shhhh! *whispers* We won’t let on at least for a while *Huge grin*.

All photographs are mine taken on location … except the Gif from . https://giphy.com/explore/images

The news link from the telegraph UK. (the link in above text).

The Enid Blyton vintage first edition cover lifted kindly from the internet.

Have you ever used a book you read as a child, for such a good reason as I … ? Leave me something to smile at in the comments, I just love to chat.