A River Rat #FridayFictioneers

The picture curtesy of https://fatimafakierwrites.com/ #fridayfictioneers 100 word story. Read many more stories “here

River rats we were called, no better than gypsies they would shout. I grew with a chip on my shoulder and a frown on my brow.

I came to Venice; fell for a gondolier or two. Nobody spat on my shoe, my art degree held weight … my purse too.

Some nights when the stench is thick, I hanker after our canal boat, on a canal in England;

with Mum and Dad. Me, throwing my fists, defying the world. A tear Stained face wrapped in muscled arms smelling of old spice and tobacco. I am now a river rat wrapped in Ermine.

A Suffolk Festival.

The motorhome thumped up the lane rocking and jerking over the hardened earth that shook our jaws. As the last curve was negotiated the campsite spread before us. Flags flapped against the mackerel sky. Swags and flags swirly Twizzlers rattled and spun as did novelty air filled sperm. Campers tugged miniature trailers, all polished looking their best. Unicorns flapped, bunting tangled and faces lit up and grinned.

We strolled around, caught a knowing look or two. Smiles and nods tossed our way, a greeting of strangers linked by destination and sounds. Kids and pups were happily pulled along in trailers packed with stuff for the day.

A squeal from the stage shocked our ears as the thump thump of a base backed the ‘ one two, one two’, called over the mike.

Flowers and glitter in hair and on faces caught the light as hula hoop girls spun in tiny sequined shorts. Toned bodies of aerial dancers arced and rolled precariously. Dancing under steel frames, suspended on strands of purple ribbon.

Goods displayed on trestle tables and rails spewed from the mouths of canvas shops. Old tut from dusty lofts became prized merchandise once more. Hats, bags, wigs and wings, wands and make believe; all at a price. Clothes from eras past with stories sewn into the weave. Love’s lost and consummated in the seams of an old mini skirt and psychedelic clothes. Cheese-cloth shirts and bell-bottom jeans, wait in hope as rushing winds flap at hems, like silent adverts vying for attention.

Giant robotic installations jerked and flashed to the beat. Bubbles shot across the giggling crowds and flames intermittently roared from an arm that shot skyward. Ooh’s and ahh’s join the music at each glow of the flame.

A folly watches from her view point snuggled in the trees. The festival and its entourage playing at her feet. Not so far from the days of Jousts and Jesters that took place in times gone by.

Girls danced with a freedom I long since lost. Dreadlocks and rainbow dyed hair mingled, with the French plaited girlies. Shaved heads bump and grind with hipster bearded men. Some smoke weed or swig artisan gin together. One place, one time, a shared experience. The music built up and bodies moved in unity, the youth and the aged together. All made new connections and memories alike.

Rain splashed bodies ran for shelter and kids tried to catch drops on their tongues. Even the weather became a game. Sticky and tired we turn in and watch the sun setting over Suffolk.

Until sizzling bacon awakened our taste buds then the enthusiasm bubbled up, begging us to do it once more, at a Suffolk festival.

#WhiteNoiseVwFestival #EaustonHallSuffolk

The Connection

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She sat, on a low wall three bricks high. A wall that once was tall, now a crumbled remnant beside the mainroad. Her socks, wrinkled; 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. That look, made me wince. Her eyes glassy and wide; unblinking, she looked … lost.

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 to be served 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.”

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. My eyes gazed across the flat land as hers 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. I 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 was pleased and honoured to have my work chosen. I hope you like my flash fiction as much as the judges did. Since I am reposting this story long after its first airing I thought I would add an update below.

My story touched many; or so it seemed. The tale also effected me, in a way I could not have predicted. I find myself searching for the sad, the homeless, the uncared for. I take time to sit with and make a connection. I have learnt … if we don’t walk by, ashamed, with our eyes dropped. If we look and smile give a drink or shake a hand. That connection gives back humanity. This year, 2018, I have not given presents to adults but used that money to make-up a ruck sack for a homeless person. I have so far not been able to give it out. In the past month of carrying it in the boot of my car, looking for someone in need. I have been unable to choose. How do you, at a drop in centre or a night shelter,or soup kitchen or at the Quaker house … How could I just pick one. How could I say this one is more deserving. My lips tremble and my chest aches as I write this. I have phoned the Salvation army to see if they will give it for me; my bag of hope. In the newyear The Husband and I will become volunteers because life is nothing if you can’t at least try. Merry Christmas.

Please leave your comments I would love to know if a piece of writing has altered your thinking or caused a change in you.Merry Christmas.

MicroFictionchallenge#26

Jane Dougherty challenges writers and poets amongst us with another visual prompt press 🔜 here 🔙 to join in The artist to thank for the loan of this picture is John Bauer.

Lady Godiva, wife of Leofric, Earl of Mercia is a well-known tale across the land, but the lesser known second cousin once thrice removed of that noble Lady was Stanley Kingsbury, after hearing of the famous ride it gave the down at heel blaggard an idea.

Stanley had himself seven daughters and one beautiful dapple grey stallion. Stanley’s daughters were begotten via three sisters none of which he had been betrothed…  early that year they gifted him his daughters and fled to some say sunnier climes in the hope of finding husbands while unchattled by the presence of their loose morals. They together persuaded Stanley that once settled they would call for the girls as ladies maids and staff, that way they would live openly under the wing of their birthmothers but hidden from the smear of wrongdoing.

Meanwhile, Stanley poor as a church mouse decided to replicate Godiva’s ride with all his daughters on the one horse. He paraded the girls in hope of suitors,  through the streets far and wide they rode.  Alas, each time the townsfolk were alerted to the coming of an ungodly scoundrel and ordered to “keep within Doors and from their Windows, on pain of Death” Subsequently the girls were handed over to their grandmother and Stanley could be seen from the four corners of Mercia mounted on Pikes.

  • Any likeness to any living or dead person or persons is entirely coincidental.

City Travel.

 

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Your always alone in a city,
on a tube a street or a bus.
No one wants to notice,
Give a glance or make a fuss.

Can you smell the stench of travel
As it seeps from Eccrine glands
Of bodies pressed close together
with no place to wash their hands.

Finally the noise is over,

Bodies fly out the doors.

No one makes eye contact,

As all eyes are on the floors.

A Place that stirred my Very soul.

The Lotus temple is my favorite building, the one above all others that has come to be the beginning of a new me; a second chance.
Whilst working in India I had the chance to visit this amazing marble clad structure. My visit was the most ethereal moving experience I have encountered.
I was doing a whistle stop, sightseeing, must do on your last day bus tour – not the way I like to do things, but people had presented me with the ticket, and they were so proud of their country and my gift there could only be  graciousness with my acceptance.
I may at another time elaborate on this extrordinary day, but for the moment I will introduce the building in all its spiritual beauty.

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This picture  for which i am very greatful is from pixaby link below.
https://pixabay.com/en/photos/

Now for Facts.

Lotus temple is open to people from all religions. It is one of the houses of Bahai Worship.

2. Bahai law emphasizes the universality of all religions. It states that House of Worship is a gathering place for people of all religions.

3. The law further states that only the holy scriptures of Bahai faith and other religions can be read or chanted inside in any language.

4. The readings and prayers can be set to music by choirs as per the law specified by Bahai religion.

5. No musical instruments can be played inside the house of God according to the followers of Bahai religion.

6. Furthermore, no sermons can be delivered. Hence, there is no place for practice of ritualistic ceremonies within this religious community.

7. Like other Bahai Houses of Worship, the Lotus Temple shares certain architectural elements. Some of these are specified in the Bahai scripture.

8. Abhui-Baha is the son of the founder of this religion. He had stipulated that the essential architectural character of a House of Worship should have a nine-sided shape.

9. All the Houses of Worship built by the Bahai community have dome in the central structure. However, the Lotus Temple does not have this characteristic architectural element.

10. There is no place for pictures, photos, statues or images in Bahai religion.

Source: http://www.buzzoop.com/travel/10…

“My Story Can Now Begin.”

The bus pulled up, it was  the middle of monsoon season and every surface glistened  from the rains of the morning. There were racks to leave your shoes and lockers to put your belongings,camera’s, phones, water, food.
I had a purse on a long leather strap across my body under my dupatta,  which is a shawl to cover my shoulders or head; necessary in some of the places I had to visit that day. My purse carried my medication some money and my Id, like the other visitors I had, no shoes,no bags, no camera, just space and myself.

Some of the people were guided outside around the perimeter, and a few inside, so that the space was uncompramised. At first the vastness is overwhelming the silence was unexplainable. I lay as others did on a marble pew or structure, where you looked into the centre of the lotus flower high above me. My breath and occasional rustling as people settled were the only sounds. I lay for maybe fifteen minutes time dissipated, it was as if I was waiting for something; then it came.

A small bird fluttered around the beams and rested as high as he could get, he threw back his head and sang; the notes reverberated off every surface magnifying each note. I realised I’d been holding my breath, as i gasped he disappeared just as quickly as he appeared. My moment will stay forever 2009 in many ways marked a turning point a new life for me, with this experience at the top.
I hope you liked my memory and would love to know if a place holds something special for you all comments are welcomed and answered promptly.
This post was provoked out of me by Niki touch this to see her post please like or comment

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For The Love Of An Anti Selfie

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Just the other day it hit me, I can not compete let alone compute with the “selfie” brigade. Each time I look, a new one is posted, a pout, a bat of an eye, a sideways, forward leaning, hide the wrinkles, suck in the chin type of one *Gasp*.
So today, I changed my gravitar to what my husband calls the bag lady selfie, strictly speaking he took it so it probably doesn’t qualify as a Kim Kardashian style Selfie at all. But no one in their right mind would want a photograph of themselves looking (as my Dad god rest him would have said) ‘like a bugger’… would they?

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A freezing wind was blowing across the small town of Dinard on this day in March. The rain had been shooting sideways and found it’s way under my eyelids; it was cold.  Just before the photo shoot… We were in an open topped car looking for a super march`e. I was being facetious about driving around in the cold and possibly dying in the attempt to purchase the gubbins required to make an impromptu picnic lunch; so added layer upon layer of clothing while we went along, still maintaining my temperature to be around the nose dropping off frostbite levels. Eventually we spotted a small store with a flickering light on the sqeaking sign. I lept from the car in haste, forgetting or not caring how I looked and entered. Our shed at home would be bigger than the store, but I managed to find ham, pat`e, bread, wine and grapes, as you would in France. After packing my bag I stood by a lamppost waiting  to be picked up. Around and around the fountain he drove taking photo’s, while he grinned and waved, but the crosser I got the more he drove around.
“Click” job done, the cross patch baglady was born. Now I pop it on my gravitar to say,” Hey” so what, it’s me in my ordinariness; if anyone thinks the word “ordinary” is the correct terminology for a loon.
Have you an anti selfie? Is your other half holding it hostage dangling it as a threat? If so why care, just put it up, we can call it “Anti Selfie Day”.

Incase you’re wondering… The only place the photo described is left, is on my gravitar here, a virus wiped out a huge amount of pictures on John’s computer and as yet I haven’t found a way to retrieve it.

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Welcome To The Airport. ..

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(photo copied from photo note with thanks)

Gatwick…

The first thing for me to say is, it isn’t Gatwick it is airports, and my
reaction to them. Soulless places designed to make you spend. As if you haven’t  spent enough on your flight, extra leg room, priority boarding, insurance, car hire blah de blah. Ok I can hear you saying ‘ If you dont want to shop then don’t  shop’.

We arrive after a five hour journey frought with average speed checks, irate impatient travellers, road works, accidents, road diversions and rain. We checked in on line and determined to be chilled about everything ;after all I am (we are) so looking forward to the end result, the reason for taking a long haul flight with no promise (or suggestion) of sun. We dropped our bag had our searches and walked through to… Fluorescent lighting and shops!

An attractive lady steps forward hastily brandishing an atomiser, she glances at me but focusses on my husband ‘Try a little, smells great’ she said flashing her ultra white smile and blinking rapidly. He raised his hand and smiled sleepily ‘not for me thanks’. At this she squirted the air before us and we both walked in to the mist of fruity notes coughing as we went,. Thimbles of liquor, pieces of chocolate on cocktail sticks and raffle tickets for a car, all did their best to tempt and lure us; It was exhausting ‘but we didn’t crack’.

At last we know which gate to go to, swallowing the last of my tea i went to use the facilities. Queuing for six toilets were twenty or so ladies, all patient calm and silent , only the mighty whoosh of hand blade dryers could be heard;  hence not bothering to try and speak. ‘Why do I have to be the one to get a warm clammy seat that hasn’t had time to lose the imprint of the previous persons bottom.?’ to top it off I believe she must have been a nervous flyer… Holding my nose I peed , anti bac gelled my hands, wiped the seat flushed and  vacated. Chore completed i went in search of my tired but uncomplaining husband. A mile or so walk to gate 22 proved tiring,  if only because the queue was out of the lounge and forty deep ; people were rattled. I asked ‘what was the point of priority boarding ?’… When I figure it out I will tell you.

My husband is a large man (compared to my four foot eleven ) So leg room was important  and paid for along with the flights.  But what you gain in leg room you loose in width, a compromise I hadn’t  thought of. This extra leg space so generously afforded me was also where passengers chose to queue for you the facilities. The stretched sleeping torso of my husband obviously didn’t warrent stamping on, unlike me who took the punishment for having such space as Brits tend to… apologetically.  Mr uncomplaining , slept his way over sea’s, Rekyavic, and Greenland, waking only to eat and drink or wriggle his torso. Meanwhile he is comfortably dropping his arm and shoulder over the arm rest, making my space narrower. He had a long drive  to come at the other end so I leave him sleeping.
I was excited at take off, and turbulence and landing, while watching two movies and reading a paperback. ‘Apparently excited was weird ‘ the air hostess or cabin crew were efficient polite but not so discreet when they chortled at my excitement and my squashed position.

On landing we were hearded like cattle between a maize of nylon barriers that took you slowly around the airport, they had been laid out (no doubt with great thought). Back and forth we went , we were being controlled as the average speed checks or as smart motorways do vehicles. The penning in or herding as I called it was so security could get us at a drizzle, and not a marauding lump of foreign visitors. Tired fed up dying to find a warm clammy seat… We were on our way, what we wanted at this point was a hot cup of tea a toilet and somewhere to purchase a sim card. One out of the three would suffice. My point is do we really need to have designer perfume, watches, sun glasses, clothes, shoes, caviar bars etc… or do we just need comfortable inexpensive places to rest and feed us between travels, help with directions to hire car companies taxis and the like? Answers and opinions welcomed, unlike airports I am not selling a thing.

Welcome to Vancouver pleased as we are to welcome our visitors, shouted a voice from above, i thought it a nice touch until someone called security to shut him up.