Friday Flash Fiction 440 – Stopawhile

Not as sweet as sugar, smoother than chocolate, more luscious than a peach; neither food nor drink. That is how I would describe it. There was no description on the menu; it didn’t appear on the menu at Stopawhile. Ravi told me it was the nectar of the gods when I first tried it.

‘What a perfect description’ I replied, licking my lips in satisfaction.

‘No, it IS the Nectar of the Gods’ he said simply.

You couldn’t order, only wait until it was offered.  Ravi was the only member of staff to serve the nectar; come to think of it, there were no other staff.

It was a new café, where the old hairdressers used to be; the shabby blue and white had become warm brown and orange. Inside you could slip into a cosy corner, relax on a leather settee and linger as long as you liked. There were newspapers and exotic magazines, wooden chess sets and marble solitaires. The nectar deserved to be sipped slowly.

This was an ideal place to flop down with my shopping and sneak out my notebook; recharge my batteries before going home to tackle dinner. The nectar, in its delicate pottery bowl, seemed to stimulate creativity. My writing group were impressed with my short story and urged me to send it off to the competition, I won. I began a novel.

Of course I recommended it to other people, suggested friends come with me next time they came round. Somehow no one else happened to go that way.

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On Monday afternoon I staggered off the bus with my shopping, cold, tired, with blood sugar level zero; I was looking forward to my visit to Stopawhile. But it had gone; not closed down, disappeared. I thought I must have walked past it and retraced my steps. Bank, charity shop, greengrocers; it should have been next, followed by the bakers. I stepped into the greengrocers feeling bewildered; perhaps they had bought the little café and expanded into it during the weekend.

‘What’s happened to Stopawhile?’ I asked.

I was met by blank stares.

‘You know, the café next door, it was there on Friday.’

‘You mean the one up the road?’

Flustered, I bought a bunch of bananas and stepped carefully outside. On the pavement were the usual stands full of fruit and flowers and next door was the bakers. I stepped inside the tiny shop and tried another tack.

‘Have you moved shop?’

‘Not in the last hundred years.’

‘But what’s happened to Ravi and the café next door?’

More confused expressions. ‘If you’re looking for a café, try the Cosy Teapot up the end of the high street.’

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Poppies and Politics

This is the blog I wote two years ago.

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter

The field poppy is a humble flower; most of us see them as solitary blooms by the roadside. Ironically they thrived better in the desecrated fields of the Great War than with modern farming methods, but most importantly they have no creed or politics. The paper poppies sold every November seem to have remained unchanged forever, easily lost and when they fall apart they are ideal for children to play miniature ice hockey, the black centre the puck and the stem the hockey stick. Anyone who belongs to a craft group has probably knitted or sewn longer lasting flowers, the Royal British legion also sells enamel badges and giant poppies appear on buses and lamp posts.

But the humble flower has become a symbol of political correctness and angst. From mid October onwards nobody is seen on BBC television without a poppy; given how easy it is to lose them…

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Silly Saturday Stumped

If something can go wrong it will, especially for some of us and you know who you are…

Things didn’t work long before computers came into our homes. The stapler runs out of staples with only one more bundle of papers to go and the new strip of staples will jam as soon as you press down the heel of your hand.

We had a family heirloom hand sewing machine Jones, as supplied to Her Majesty Queen Alexandra. Whether the wife of Edward VII used her sewing machine I have no idea; but ours was old and loyal, blessed with a few simple operations. I turned the handle and the needle sped up and down stitching clothes for my doll; but if the spool ran out or the threads jammed I was instantly infuriated with the machine and my father was the only one who could sort it. When we started sewing lessons at senior school we were confronted with treadles and electric machines. I never mastered the treadle action, let alone the sewing part of the procedure. I would pretend to be busy until an electric machine was available. I have sewn many things since, if my electric machine is running smoothly I can make anything (as long as it doesn’t involve button holes or fancy stitches), but if the fabric puckers or binds itself to the machine I am completely stumped.

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If asked to be the first to arrive and open up a meeting place I know for sure the key will not fit, or the door will remain shut tight. Pull, push, jiggle a half turn, but entry will only be gained when other people start to turn up and try for themselves, the door swinging open readily. Things are no better if there is a code to unlock the door. Did you remember the numbers, in the correct order, turn the knob the right way, or rather to the left not the right… the only way to conquer that door is to sneak up on it when it is not looking.

Perhaps I am not the only one for whom thing go wrong. A long queue forms at the one open till with a human; the other assistants are busy trying to direct reluctant shoppers to the scan your own machines or helping them when that robotic voice says Item not recognised, unbagged item…. Computers in various forms are unavoidable.

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For a long time I had no reason to be involved with computers, but writing and social media sucked me in to this love hate relationship. Unlike staplers and sewing machines computers are sentient beings; they know when you need to send an urgent e-mail, post your blog or print an important document.

The digital world of scanners and printers was preceded in the work place by photocopiers and before that machines such as The Gestetner. I dreaded being left alone with this mystery of rolling drums, scent of chemicals and ink which printed too faintly or leaked in the wrong places. But it was still mechanical and not totally beyond comprehension.

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Computers lull you into a false sense of security, The World at your finger tips, documents easily altered, unlike the bad old days of typewriters. Then things start to go wrong. You log into Facebook, but instead of pictures of your friends and cute kittens there are only blank squares waiting to be filled in while the tiny blue circle goes round and round…. You sign into your e-mail account and see you have sixty messages, but it won’t let you into your In Box. The lay person has no idea if the problem lies with their mouse, their computer, a real rodent gnawing at the Virgin cable, or if the World Wide Web has been switched off by – let’s not blame any particular country.

It’s all magic to us. My response to these first world problems is irrational rage if I’m on my own or to yell for Cyberspouse. He does not believe that the computer bears personal malevolence towards me and remains calm in a crisis, usually solving the problem by clicking on a button I didn’t know existed.

What do you do when things go wrong, or do things always work for you?

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Friday Flash Fiction – CSI Highcliffe

‘Is that for next door?’ Eleanor asked the green man who had emerged from the yellow van.

‘No, express delivery for Ms E. Fairfax.’

‘But I haven’t ordered anything, certainly nothing as large as that, is the box heavy?’

‘No, I’ll leave it just inside the front door shall I?’

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Eleanor closed the door and rolled the box down the hall until she found the sender’s address.

EXPERIENCE OF A LIFETIME

RAINBOW WORLD LTD. OF MILTON KEYNES

She was reluctant to open the box; if she had been in one of her black humour thrillers, the box would be sure to explode. But on the other hand, any of her feisty heroines would have no hesitation. Eleanor fetched a sharp knife from the kitchen and ran it along the taped edges. On top of various packages was a rainbow envelope.

To Aunty Ellie   Happy Birthday   Love Ben

Inside was a gothic card of gold and black.

YOUR PASSPORT TO A NEW EXPERIENCE

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One of Ben’s jokes no doubt. She pulled out the largest parcel, inside were folds of white fabric…

Eleanor picked up the phone. ‘Ben? Thanks for the present, maybe I’ll wear it to my book launch.’

No, you have to wear it on your birthday when you go for your EXPERIENCE. I know how much you love those CSI programmes, I guess it will be like one of those murder mystery dinners, but without the food. Should give you inspiration for your next novel.

She put the phone down and decided to read the instructions more carefully.

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Saturday morning was bitterly cold, especially at Highcliffe. Eleanor was glad she was half an hour an hour early to warm up with a coffee in the Cliffhanger café. She planned to sneak into the Ladies to put on her forensic suit at the last moment, she looked around at the other customers wondering if any of them were there for the EXPERIENCE.

When she slipped outside she saw a van pulling up, black with gold writing

CSI HIGHCLIFFE

As two men in forensic suits got out, other white suits emerged sheepishly from parked cars. Eleanor was glad she had worn her thermal underwear, the wind was biting after the steamy warmth of the café.

Without any introduction the van driver addressed the shivering group.

‘Okay, report of a body on the beach, we need to start work before the tide comes in.’

Without further ado he strode towards the edge of the cliff and the footpath sign. Eleanor tried to read the expressions on the faces of her six companions, but straggling in single file, struggling to keep up, she had no idea if they were taking this seriously or if they were all friends of her nephew. But even Ben was unlikely to have arranged a prank on this scale.

Dodging a few boulders, they came to an abrupt halt near the water’s edge.

‘It’s so realistic’ squealed a young woman excitedly.

‘Looks like a scene from one of my books’ said Eleanor.

‘Ooh, are you a crime writer, are you on television?’

‘No, Amazon Kindle.’

A loud clearing of the leader’s throat drew their attention to the others, just as one of the men keeled over backwards. Another pushed past the two women and behind a rock to vomit.

‘Happens every time,’ laughed the leader ‘no one expects it to be a real body.’

Eleanor approached with a writer’s curiosity to see how they had created the scene. It was the smell which hit her first. A real body washed up from the sea was very different from Google research. She almost laughed to herself, Ben had been right, this was a unique opportunity and she tried to quell the rising nausea.

‘Cause of death?’ asked the leader brusquely.

‘No evidence of external injuries, due to the extent of decomposition’ Eleanor replied. ‘A post mortem will be needed to determine if the victim drowned or was already dead before he entered the water.’

‘Good, good’ said the man, as his assistant stepped forward with arms outstretched, bearing a large folded item of black vinyl. ‘Now before we put the body in the bag does anybody have back problems, it’s quite a weight to carry back up the cliff.’

‘Yes, me,’ said Eleanor ‘but shouldn’t we call the police?’

‘Not until we’ve ascertained if a crime has taken place. Now, does everybody have a car, or does anyone want a lift in the van to the morgue?’

‘Where’s the body going?’ asked the young woman.

‘In the van of course. Has everybody got their metal case labelled

Part Two, not to be used by children under sixteen.

‘Which case do you mean?’ a pale man asked.

‘The one containing a scalpel and saw.’

 

For more dark tales dip into Times and Tides

Twenty five stories starting with a blind date and ending on Xmas Eve, with no clue as to what you might expect in between. In this third collection of short stories are some real places and experiences plus much that could happen or should never happen.

At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream

 

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How long does it take to write a novel? I am going to go for 2014 as the conception of my new novel ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. The character of Tobias Elliot Channing, the holder of a degree in psychology and registration as a private investigator, first appeared in a short story ‘The Ambassadors’ in Audio Arcadia’s audio book anthology imaginatively titled Short Stories Volume One. It then appeared in a paperback edition An Eclectic Mix Volume One in 2015, with a wonderfully colourful cover. Toby’s actual birth had come about when our exercise for writers’ group was to create a detective character. The story idea came from Pete at my other writers’ group – write something inspired by the painting The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger which hangs in the National Gallery.

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In February 2014 the Valentine’s Night Storm gave me an idea for the start of A Story, but what the story would be I had no idea. Compared with other natural disasters in the world our storm in Britain was a minor event, but three people were killed. Our house shook during the night even though we are ten minutes walk from the cliff top, further along the coast, at Milford-on-Sea, a Valentine’s romantic dinner turned into a disaster movie; a ‘freak’ wave picked up shingle and smashed it through the panels that make up the front of the art deco building, the diners were eventually rescued by army vehicles.

https://metro.co.uk/2014/02/15/dream-valentines-day-meal-turns-to-nightmare-after-storm-blows-out-windows-of-beachfront-restaurant-4305491/

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The weather forecasts warned everyone to stay away from the coast the next morning; so we walked ( okay I dragged Cyberspouse, saying it would be fun to take the scenic route to the local shops ) to the cliff top to see high tide. It was exciting, no chance of being blown off the cliff as you could lean into the south westerly coming off the sea and taking your breath away. But as we clung to the low fence on the cliff top and peered over we got a shock, piles of smashed wood washed over by the waves, rows of beach huts reduced to matchwood. And that is when I had my idea; but you will have to read the novel to find out why Ellen Green was so afraid when she looked over the edge of the cliff that morning.

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Fed up with waiting for me to get on with writing the novel, Toby Channing drove his camper van into two very different novellas I was writing, which along with The Ambassadors are part of the collection ‘Someone Somewhere’ published in 2017. ‘Someone For The Weekend’ and ‘Durlswood’ became two of his strangest cases.

What has happened in the intervening two years? Lots of blogging and writing; strangely only five months pass during the novel and the passing of time makes no difference to Tobias Elliot Channing because he is firmly fixed in 2014. It is just as well this novel had a fixed starting point, because writing novels ‘in the present’ is just about impossible. How the world has changed in the past five years…

 

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Visit my Amazon Author pages here to check on all my books.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Open the novel here…

Silly Saturday in Subtitles

As the clocks go back, as night falls early, do you like to curl up with the television? What are your favourites, reality, soap operas or medical dramas?  At Chez Tidalscribe it is subtitle heaven lately; if a programme has subtitles I try and watch it.

Saturday night, BBC4 is now showing the seventh series of Engrenages ( Spiral ), we couldn’t wait to get back to Paris with this gritty police series which has an excellent cast and interweaving story lines.

One Sunday Night and Day in Catalan started over on More4, but it turns out we have to catch the rest of the series On Demand. Not to worry, Sunday evenings on BBC1 brings a moving drama World on Fire, World War Two seen through English, Polish and German eyes.

Monday and Tuesday we are following  Dublin Murders, dark and very intriguing. Okay, so it’s in English, not  Irish (Gaeilge ) and I believe filmed in Northern Ireland, but it is set in A Nother country…

But come Thursday it’s Giri/Haji set in London and Tokyo, another crime thriller, but done with real style and humour. It is written by an English chap, but has plenty of Japanese scenes and story lines. Darting back and forth across the world and back into the past, you have to concentrate.

What is such fun about sub titles? Seeing different places, nosing into homes and lives that are different. If you only speak one language fluently people speaking other languages sound so clever. I don’t particularly want to see crime dramas, it’s just that they predominate, although Inspector Montalbano on Sicily is a lot sunnier that Scandi Noir. We have watched Icelandic comedy and the brilliant Borgen about a Danish Prime Minister.

One of the most important reasons for voting Remain and wanting to stay in the European Union was surely to make sure we don’t lose our sub titled programmes.

Guess what started last night? The Team over on More4, billed as a punchy multilingual cop show in…. English, German, Flemish, French, Danish and subtitles, what a dream! It started in Danish wetlands and we were just getting involved in the lives of an assortment of people in a remote house, when suddenly they were all murdered. Of course this necessitated the bringing together of the special officers from Germany, Denmark and Belgium who we had been briefly introduced to. And when they all arrived remarkably quickly at the scene of the crime, how did they communicate with each other – in English!

Sub titles – do you love them or hate them? Can you tune in to programmes broadcast from other countries?

Friday Flash Fiction – 660 – Dexterity

‘Now children, let’s count on our fingers, one, two, three…’

‘Ten’ chorused the little group of nursery children on the mat.

‘Twelve’ called a small voice a moment later.

Ivy, or was it Holly? Three days into the new intake I was still trying to grasp all the names; traditional, unspellable, unpronounceable, invented and reclaimed names from the nearly departed generation.

A boy at the front was still gazing in puzzlement at his hands. I knelt beside him and showed him how to bunch his fists.

‘Shall we count again?’

I uncurled one finger at a time and he got the idea, though his lips still did not move.

‘Nine, ten!’ The other children raised their open hands in the air.

‘Eleven, twelve’ came Ivy’s voice from the back.

I walked round the mat to where she was seated. She was gazing at her spread fingers, then glancing at the other hands held aloft. I felt my stomach lurch. Ivy was a sturdy child, just losing that toddler plumpness in her face and hands, she had settled in easily and not attracted any attention so far.

Ivy could count well, she could count to twelve because she had six fingers on each hand or to be precise, one thumb and five fingers on each perfectly formed hand.

We were always having seminars on celebrating difference; our nursery had children of every colour. I had a wheelchair and a cerebral palsy in my group, Gill had two skin conditions and a missing leg in her group next door. But I hadn’t been prepared for extra fingers, why hadn’t the parents told us? Ivy seemed as surprised as I was to discover she was different, perhaps it had never been mentioned at home.

When we went outside to play I watched Ivy. She adroitly did all her coat buttons up while other children were being helped, then she put on a pair of red gloves, not mittens, hand knitted gloves with six fingers. My mother is a manic knitter and we always get gloves for Christmas, but never have I heard her mention patterns for extra fingers.

At home time I was button holed by the usual anxious parents while the assistants made sure every one was collected by the right adults. I did not see Ivy leave. At home that evening I Googled hands and saw a rolling gallery of every possible variation of Polydactyly. I rang my mother who was intrigued and couldn’t wait to tell her Knit and Knatter group.

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The next day I surreptitiously observed Ivy as she drew, played and washed her hands for her turn at the baking table. Her deft hands rubbed the butter into the flour with ease, a dozen fairy cakes, how appropriate. There was no doubt that all the fingers were real functioning digits with bones and joints, not mere protuberances that would have been snipped off at birth. The other children had noticed nothing different about Ivy, but Davinder pulled his floury hands out of the bowl and looked at them with concern.

‘Ivy said my finger felled off in the cake.’

I decided I must speak to her parents when they came to collect her. No nanny, granny or au pair was registered as a responsible adult, so I was sure to meet one of them. A good looking young couple aprroached me enthusiastically.

‘Ivy loves nursery, thank you for helping her settle in so well.’

The mother held out her cool, elegant, manicured hand to shake mine, I forced myself to look at her face. Ivy’s father then grasped my hand firmly with his large hand.

‘How is she getting on?’ he asked.

I was distracted by the ornate cygnet ring on his sixth finger, I averted my eyes from the twelve glossy red nails of his wife and smiled.

‘She is a delight to have, very bright, her speech is good and… she has excellent dexterity.’

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Thursday Terror Tale – Breaking News

BBC News 24   10.40 pm   Wednesday 30th October ‘The Papers’

‘With me tonight discussing tomorrow morning’s papers are the financial editor of The Guardian and a journalist with the Huffington Post. Shall we start with the rather bizarre headline in several papers that scientists have discovered the devil actually exists, James?’

‘Well this is one story my paper has missed Satan Certainty says The Sun people really do hear voices and it’s The Devil talking to them. Obviously this is going to be used by the Tories as an excuse to reduce funding for mental health services.’

‘Sarah?’

‘Or as a crafty way of diverting attention away from the Brexit Fiasco.’

‘Precisely and if it was true it would be more scary than Putin or North Korea.’

‘This is a team of highly acclaimed physicists, can we be sure it is not true?’

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BBC 1 Breakfast   7.23am   Thursday 31st October

‘…and the story breaking overnight is that a group of eminent scientists have proved that Satan is real, alive and watching us now. Joining us on the sofa we have an archbishop and a humanist. Let’s get straight to the point. Archbishop, hasn’t the church always claimed the Devil exists, so what’s new?’

‘Not as depicted in films. Evil exists, but not of course an actual devil; evil can’t be reduced to a person called Old Nick, anymore than we can perceive God Almighty as a person.’

‘Isn’t that what you claim Jesus was?’

‘Yes, yes of course, but…’

‘As a humanist I believe that people create both good and evil and these ridiculous ideas are going to harm a lot of vulnerable people…’

‘… let’s go over to the sports desk …’

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BBC Radio 4   9.am   Thursday 31st October   ‘The Life Scientific’

‘And my guest this morning is the scientist who led the team that has recently discovered, or claimed to have proved, the devil exists. Angela, when you were a child did you ever imagine you would become one of the country’s leading experts in such a field?’

‘No, no my parents were both ardent atheists and I wasn’t even allowed to go to school assembly or be in the nativity play, then one day I found a stack of Dennis Wheatley novels hidden in my parents’ wardrobe…’

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BBC 1 7pm   Thursday 31st October   ‘The One Show’

‘What do you make of today’s startling news that the devil has been discovered, or rather has at last been proved to be real. Our guest this evening claims to have met Satan. What did he actually look like?’

‘He can take many forms, that is why neither the police nor my GP believed me.’

‘So where did you meet him?’

‘On Facebook. Luckily one of my Twitter followers had also met him and Tweeted some advice, otherwise I wouldn’t be here today.’

‘I believe you had a narrow escape.’

‘Yes indeed, I nearly sold my soul to Satan…’

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BBC2 10.30pm   Thursday 31st October   ‘Newsnight’

‘It is barely twenty four hours since scientists revealed that The Devil actually exists and while some academics are already arguing whether we write his name with capital letters or even whether we can ascribe a gender, for most of the world’s population it has not yet sunk in. Our guests tonight are a representative of the Board of Deputies of British Jews and a member of JW.Org who believes some people have actually sold their soul to The Devil.’

‘We’re not sure of the numbers, it could be in the thousands.’

‘But isn’t it a scandal that these people were not helped sooner, before it was too late…’

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BBC News 24   11.40pm   Tuesday 31st October ‘The Papers’

‘Since last night’s breaking news, more and more people are coming forward to say they have met The Devil. To discuss tomorrow’s first editions we have a journalist from The Times and the cultural editor from The Sun.’

‘Our readers are saying why didn’t they come forward before, but the obvious answer is that nobody would have believed them.’

‘…and the sad fact is that they are still not fully believed, that they have sold their souls to Satan.’

‘Our editorial is taking this matter seriously, but we must realise there is a big difference between people in powerful positions, who have got there by selling their souls and vulnerable people who have been under Satanic influence.’

‘The Mirror has the most graphic front page with the headline

Satan to collect souls at midnight.’

‘Yes, midnight on Halloween, All Hallows’ Eve just before All Souls Day.’

‘…but that’s in ten minutes time…’

‘… er hmm… Stay with us here on News 24 with the headlines coming up at midnight.’

 

For tales of good and evil dip into Hallows and Heretics

 

Retro Blog Australia 1964

Read last week’s blog about our arrival  in Australia here.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/10/23/retro-blog-1964/

After a week in Perth, Western Australia, Mum and Dad had found a house to rent, but the blinds were down when they viewed it. When we moved in and the blinds were open it was very gloomy and not too clean – certainly not to my mother’s standards – but we did not realise that the aim of Australian houses was to keep the sun out and the house cool in summer. The other thing less visible, but soon revealed was the presence of fleas. They only liked Mum and my sister, so perhaps it was just as well that she was too young to go to school, as the teachers might have got the wrong impression when faced with a flea bitten pommie child.

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The wonderful thing about our new street was it had a library. With no television and only what we had brought in our suitcases, books were vital. We had no other possessions because our packing cases were still at Southampton Docks. Dad had made all our packing cases with rough planks from the timber yard; they were sent on ahead for their six week voyage, but there was a strike at the docks so they didn’t move. Mum and Dad had to eat into their capital to buy five of everything, bedding, plates etc. This was when we discovered peanut paste. Hard though it is to imagine a world without peanut butter, we had never tasted it in England and thought it was something exotic Americans had. In Perth it was called paste and came in jars that were actually drinking glasses; we had to eat our way quickly through five jars, lucky we loved our new treat.

The neighbours didn’t talk to Mum, except for a Dutch lady who introduced her dog.

He’s a Kelpie ( Australian sheep dog ) but mit the ears floppin down instead of mit the ears stickin up. Ever after, that was our term of reference for describing dogs.

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The summer term was well under way in Australian schools. Children started at six years old, so though my five year old sister had already started school in England she could not go. She was so bored Mum kept sending  her to the corner shop to buy one item at a time.

My seven year old brother could fit in with the right age group. I had already started at grammar school in England that September, now I had to go back to primary school. As Australian children started high school at twelve I could have ended up having to start another year of primary in January. Luckily I was put in Grade Seven and the teacher, Mr. Wooldridge, was excellent. He said it would be a disaster for me to be kept behind so determined that I would pass all the end of year tests. The maths setting out seemed to be back to front and upside down to what I was used to and of course I had no idea about Australian geography or history, but I got through. There are teachers who teach the work and teachers who talk to you about life and you always remember them. He told the dark World War Two story that I borrowed for Jennifer’s teacher in my novel, Quarter Acre Block.

The school was very different from my little Church of England junior school. No uniform, no school dinners; we just sat outside with our sandwiches, peanut past of course. The only other difference was the girls were a year older, more grown up and just liked sitting talking at break time instead of belting round the playground, but they were friendly.

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We were still going down by the river, but I hadn’t learned to swim yet. The school summer outing was to Yanchep Park – everybody went on outings to Yanchep Park, about 30 miles from Perth; a very large nature reserve with a lake and caves. There was also a swimming pool and I had not told my class mates I couldn’t swim. Everyone was jumping in and I figured I could drop in and catch hold of the bar on my way down and cling on. I just went straight under, but luckily came up again, only to hear some snooty girl saying people who couldn’t swim shouldn’t be in the pool. I suppose it would have been even more embarrassing not to have surfaced.

School broke up before Christmas and we had six weeks holiday ahead. Dad’s search for a job and a house to buy was still on and the packing cases had not yet arrived.

Read the story of the Palmer family for 99 pence or $1.27