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.

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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.

An Educated Walk

To join Rochelle’s prompt press ‘here’

A hundred miles I walked. Stinking dirty miles, in shoes that didn’t fit. The right too tight, reminding me, squeezing too much in leaves little space to breathe.

The left, two sizes too big, rubbed raw my foot. It made me bleed until it seeped through the lace holes and rolled back the skin, but on I walked.

It taught me to say no, to leave room to be kind, so I can grow a better man.

It taught me, never to be too proud to admit, this is too big for me.

It needn’t hurt to learn that lesson just take an educated walk.

Thanks for the Photo @Sarah Potter

The bike.

Emily took her helmet and silently slid the bifolds back to reveal the garden. Her once warm face received a blast. left with pink cheeks and a pinched nose which she wiggled as she fastened the helmet neath her chin. She closed the doors, pleased to have paid extra for the silent sliders. Emily heard the first birds of the day and spied a squirrel munching below the hazel. She filled her nostrils with Autumn, felt the frost in the air; mingled with wood-smoke in the wind. Emily marched down the path to the back of the cart lodge. A light caught the handlebars, a ribbon of anticipation bubbled in her chest she smiled to herself. Her leg thrown over the saddle and fingerless gloves took the chill from the grips; she was away.

Slowly, she passed the Beech hedge its copper leaves dangled precariously from the boughs. A row of horse-chestnuts were almost naked. The huge trees ran fifty yards down the length of the beech hedging, interspersed with red Hazel. Emily could only smile on such a day as this, she knew there was something magical in the air and had always loved the first ride of the season.

Oblivious to the crunch of leaves quickening behind her, or the raggedy breath wheezing puffs of cloudy air. She meandered, gazing at the sunrise and its colours spread over the fields.

She sensed danger rather than saw him, the taste of fear on her tongue. Emily peddled faster but as speed picked up, her bike was tugged hard. Over the handlebars, she drifted slow motion it seemed. The thud was the last thing she remembered as the world spun blue and green.

With a twist of her head, pain shot up her spine as the darkness enveloped her. She didn’t know what hit her. The lining of her nose stung with the scent of bitumen and burned wood. Prone on a bed of coal she lay, tears ran freely into her hair and her ears filled. One shake of her head cleared her ears but caused spasms of pain to ricochet into her toes. All she could see were sun rays bursting through the grid, way above her head.

The photo/ prompt is Sue Vincents #writephoto to be found here. The gif is taken from a short animated Oscar-winning film called ‘Father and daughter’ to be found on youtube.

My short is open to an ending or maybe it is the beginning of what?

Reviewing ‘Not Thomas’ By Sara Gethin.

I purchased this book and had been looking forward to reading it, after twenty or so e-books that I had promised I’d read were finally finished. The books had been clogging my tablet and sitting heavily; as guilt does on my mind. Life gets in the way of promises and dreams and is oblivious to anything interrupting it. So we sold up in Somerset and relocated back once more to Suffolk, the doing of that move left things undone, books unread, friends uncalled, my blog bereft of fresh stories and my manuscript on hold.

So I purchased Not Thomas and was excited to read something fresh by a name I didn’t know. I was drawn to the cover, the boy at the window looked thoughtful the colours inviting. I had spotted the promotion popping up on Facebook and Twitter, I followed her name to see who she was on WordPress. I read it, the cover, ‘Imagine You’re Five, Alone In The House, And Someone Gets In’.

I purchased and waited for it to arrive. We are refurbishing and I may have waited, but in my head, as I say life cracks on. People are not always honest about their rituals on receiving a parcel of a book, but I read the outside of my package, stroked it a little *sigh* and removed the cardboard. Number one, I am not odd, or certifiable but I do love a book. Two, trusting my rituals to followers may make them ‘come out’, admit they have some as … diverse as mine, but hopefully won’t make them scarper. So, I now have my very own copy in my hands, I caress it with my eyes , sniff its perfume, ooh i love to smell books.

Well then things went a bit skewed the surveyor turned up and round two began, my reading time vanished with talk of bi-fold doors, dry-rot and bathrooms. To cut a story short; which really isn’t the way Ellen rocks, Thomas was put on hold. A bout of illness slowed my progress on the house as the husband put down his size nines and firmly but kindly made me stop. So amidst the dust and noise, I picked up Thomas and recovered by reading.

Firstly no spoilers! Just my thoughts and opinions.

The scariest thing is the way this five-year-old boy tells his story/nightmare as if it is normal. Although the fear is palpable there are moments of pure gold like his letters and post scripts. While you read, if you’re not careful you will need tissues both ends, because you can’t put it down even to pee.

Sara manages the language perfectly, it is simple and pure, as a child’s voice is. Most of the book is told by Tomos clearly, concisely and in an earth shattering simplistic way. The absolute horror going on around him, the neglect so casually passed over by his Mum. The attitude ofturn the other cheek the neighbour had across the street, she who looks back at him from her window. It is as if they have not a clue that it’s wrong. Mum, loves him in her way, she doesn’t allow him to reach her paraphernalia hidden in full view in the bathroom, she takes away his ladder so he doesn’t come from his high bed and see stuff or get hurt. You can feel Thomos’s love as he cwutches up with her on the sofa.

This book is by far one of the best reads I have had in five years, the writer is the most exciting new thing to come out of Wales since the Severn Bridge. If you read nothing else this year you simply have to read ‘Not Thomas’.

P.S. I see another book ready to spring from the ending.

It is the day after I finished reading the book but I am not ready to let him go just yet. So Not Thomas joins me for breakfast, a feast I would have fed Tomos if I could.

My review I know is a little different from the norm but I hope you enjoyed it, I am not known for writing book reviews on my blog which must tell you how passionate I am about this one, and hope you will be too. #LoveTomos

Please leave me a comment below.

I’m Only Human After All

I called, but your name lodged below my voice box and like a bubble, it floated until it popped.  Slowly I turned back the bed, cotton sheets now held the smell of stale lovemaking sweat and perfume. Bare feet kissed the wooden floors leaving a mist; an impression of where I walked. Across the room down to the utility with my arms full. Once loaded I glanced down, my nose curled, my mouth sticky and memories flooded back. I peeled my dishevelled stained night shirt from my aching self and it joined the sheets. My mind was busy trying not to think as I scrubbed and soothed my flesh, steam covered the pointless tracks on my cheeks as Rag n Bone man’s lyrics pounded over the sound of the shower ‘I’m only human after all. I dropped a pill, swigged stale coffee left on the drainer and sat wrapped in a towel. The dusk alerted the back of my mind it snook in to disturb my … nothing, my emptiness.

This was ridiculous I am a grown woman Out loud I said ‘pull yourself together’. For the next week or so I was working on auto, walking to work doing my admin answering when I had no choice, until  Friday night backpack on ready for home I felt him watching. A damp trickle formed between my breasts as I scanned left to right, I knew he was there somewhere. Head down, my shoes slapped against the damp tarmac, three, four, slap slap, counting, walking determined not to be startled. ‘Hi toots, I thought it was you, fancy a drink’? His voice I was ready for I let a smile touch my lips. ‘No thanks, busy busy’ I strode on. Almost jogging now alongside me breathlessly he stopped me with  ‘Hey hey what’s the hurry, come on we can continue where we left off,’ he twisted a strand of hair by my cheek as he bent at the knees to peer into my face. ‘I said I am busy now please just’ I snatched my shoulder from his grasp and carried on. I didn’t look back, slow down or think about him I just allowed my feet to pound the pavement slap, slap, slap. Ashamed that’s what I was, ashamed and regretful and I couldn’t accept what it was I had done. Weeks had passed since he met me from work but I still felt uneasy, he hadn’t called or text or poked me on Facebook, but still, I was wary. Maybe he didn’t know my name either, I couldn’t remember him using it.

Angie and Jack had been arranged for months dinner with friends that would get some normality back. I tousled my hair and dressed casual but nice, I pouted in the mirror checking my lippy, that was the most relaxed I had been for a month or more. After fajitas, we had tequila and chilli chocolate buns with mallow topping her food amazing as always. Ange and I laughed and reminisced about school, Jack cleared up and Angie and I began to talk freely. ‘What’s doing girly? You have been somewhere else for a while, I thought we trusted each other, told every grizzly detail like we always have’. Jack called through, he was walking to the pub leaving us to our stuff while he indulged in a lairy game of pool. Ange followed for a kiss she grinned and mouthed thanks as she closed the door. ‘Well … I’m listening’. She did that thing, that glaring eye staring folding arm thing that she does when she’s mad.

‘Nothing to say really, I just, well I was stupid, a slut and I, I am ashamed. After Todd and I finished I felt lost, God that is so clichĂŠ, but I didn’t feel attractive or wanted…’ I dropped my head in my hands roughly rubbed my cropped hair and grunted.’ Ange plopped on the edge of the chair with me rubbed my shoulders as I released a  yowl so guttural  I startled myself. ‘C’mon you’ll feel better, I won’t judge you-you know me better than that’.  I scrubbed my face with my palms and wiped them down my thighs. ‘I went to that club on the corner the one with the tattooed bouncer the cut gay guy… I had some jagger bombs and I … began to dance winding myself round guys legs rubbing up behind them. They didn’t know me nor me them, it was sort of a freedom a liberating sexy I know, a slutty thing to do. The bouncer Jason pulled some guy off me for stuffing his hand up my skirt, he tried to call a cab but I wasn’t having any of that. In my head, I was showing Todd even though he wasn’t there. Next thing I know is I take this guy Marks mouth in mine and he mouthed a wafer under my tongue… don’t get me wrong I wanted, I was reckless. I’ve been having flashes come back to me of the stuff we did, the table the kitchen outside the front door for god’s sake. He met me from work one night a week or so later it freaked me out, how could I be so stupid, it was fine he just wanted … more he hasn’t been back. I’ve been petrified, I took him home, the things we did, don’t say anything I can’t cope with your disgust too.’ We sat for a while with a box of tissues between us Ange crying for and with me, me crying out of self-pity and shame. ‘I went to the clinic on Duke Street and had tests… well you just don’t know, do you. I find out in a fortnight but so far several are back and I’m clean just waiting on Hepatitis and HIV. I would not hold it against you if you never spoke to me again.’

Clearing the dinner debris and emptying the dishwasher although together, it was completed in silence. We made coffee and Jack came in the front door pink-faced, smiling and relaxed, he pulled a face pouted his bottom lip and said ‘I am going up bye then’ and he gently closed the door. Red-eyed and nervous I said ‘I can not cope without your friendship please don’t hate me’. I held both her hands and stared into her face. ‘For the last time I will not ever hate you, but I am hurt, hurt because I was too busy to see the effect Todd’s affair had on you because  you felt you couldn’t come to me, I  let you down and you put yourself at risk’. Sometimes we do stupid things, sometimes it is no one’s fault but our own… and sometimes we are lucky enough to walk away unscathed. I Jane Masters, head of finance, single thirtysomething female, should have known better but I won’t get it wrong twice, but as the song says … I’m only human after all.

Flower photo borrowed /thieved temporarily from Geoff LePard I thank you, Geoff. Press here to visit the master🔜 here🔚

A new venture into a different genre yet again inspired by the magnificent  Rag n Bone man song I hope you enjoyed both the song and the story I look forward to your comments *waves*.

The Arrogance Of Eleanore

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Her hair she brushed / one hundred strokes

Until it shone of gold, / having suffered for her beauty.

She tied it with a strand of silk/ Eleanor preened half the night

Creamed her skin with Mother’s milk/ in preparation of her duty.

Her eyes were of the brightest hue/yet a smile false and tight

Not a glimmer of desire /no kindness did it show

As cold as cinder in the fire/as a torch without its amber glow.

Just in case it is new to you : How to read a Cleave. Read it vertically left, or bold in my case, then vertically right, or in italics, finally read the poem horizontally as a whole.

Jane Dougherty posted a poem called a ‘Cleave’ not having heard of a poem which is constructed in two halves but read as three pieces I just had to give it a crack… pardon the pun. Press Here to read Jane’s far superior Cleave and let her know what you think.

“How did I do?”

“Are you familiar with this form?”

Please comment I will respond soonest.

(if any one knows who to credit for this picture please let me know. )

NEW DINING EXPERIENCE (A YouTube Video) …

One bit of technology I wouldn’t object to in a restaurant, watch and enjoy.
Thank you re blogged from christhereadingape .

Plaese go to chris’s page and leave a comment.

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

This is simply just too cool!

The French restaurant “Le Petit Chef (Little Chef)” came up with an original way to entertain guests while waiting for their order by using an overhead projector on the ceiling.

The animation appears on the table and your plate.

There is a small chef who appears on your plate,… watch what he does

Bon Appetite’!!

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All in a lunch stop.

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Having a break my best half (pardon the pun) and me, Motorhome travel, the Norfolk coastline, sun, sea, boats and all interspersed  with family visiting.
We had moved on from Wells next the Sea, and pulled over for a stretch and a cup of tea , somewhere near Mumford where a huge wooden Stag stands on the edge of the forests. That was when the  four wheel drive towing a horsebox pulled in.
A crunch of gravel announced their arrival and a lady mirroring our earler stretching  and the sounds that go with it climbed out. She had undone the box door, and as I watched, soothed and stroked the neck of her animal. Alert as i am, I grasped my pencil… “well you just never know” She proceeded to take him out, I presume her thinking was, if I need a stretch then so does he. Hooking the hay net on to the back then tying him up behind the box while she was gently crooning and patting his neck. Now I am very used to being around horse flesh, (my Father was a jockey) the love a child has for her pony, a competitor for their steed, the rider for his mount, they all have strong connections with their animal. But the unadulterated affection was palpable, she could have been feeding her child or presenting her husband with the most delectable of treats.
I being me, wandered over and asked to photograph him, Jill as I now know her name , was happy to chat and spend a few moments with us; not that I gave her much choice. Her self and her Welsh cob Majic were on their way through the forest; to an Arboretum in Norfolk, I learned  that she hadn’t  had him long, and had a task ahead as he wanted to gallop full pelt the moment hooves met grass; so hopefully the forest slowed him down. The whole time we spoke she watched him chew, and when he shook his head and whinnied she told him she was still near. I took several photo’s  but… he was pleased to see me! Or stressed as Jill laughingly said, so I popped on this head shot, and hoped you would like him too.
Just a lunch stop with a little Majic,  we made a friend, and plan to catch up with her next month as she visits her beach hut in Lyme Regis , (25 min from our home) a huge coincidence  in a small world..
People never stop amazing me, I thought my moment watching the love care and compassion, needed to be shared. In a world that is quick to write of hate , conflict and death. “Jill if you’re reading this, it was a pleasure to meet you both and thank you .
Reader, Maybe you have had an unusual unsuspected lunch break and captured a moment, (as long as it’s clean ) share it with me… I’d  love to read it.
P.s.  the cob won’t be accompanying  Jill when we next meet.