Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Saving Society

Some might say that the planet should be saved, not society, but we shall deal with that next week. It is probably easier to start on a small scale with your own street/farm/castle or country estate (delete as appropriate ).

To avoid trying to define society, just imagine a perfect neighbourhood and if you are ambitious, your own town or city run exactly how YOU like it. With a bit of crowd funding, quietly taking over while no one is watching because of Brexit, it should be no problem. London National Park City is launching in July, so how hard can it be to change your street?

http://www.nationalparkcity.london/

Here are some simple ideas to start with. Make it compulsory for everyone to have nice front gardens; the sort you like to walk by, green lawns, beds and tubs full of flowers, delightful scents and the happy sound of bees. If anyone complains, point out that the government has pledged to create green corridors for bees; if they complain they have nowhere to park their car refer them to idea number two.

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Abolish all private vehicles and, just until your local town becomes fully functional with solar powered moving walkways, set up a car share scheme.

Soon everyone will be happy; flowers and wild life put everyone in a good mood and those living in cramped flats with no gardens have been helping with the digging and planting.

Idea number three, take over every empty plot of land, however small and plant trees, create allotments and parks for children. While your local millionaire is away on his expensive yacht, commandeer that land where he had two houses demolished and plans to build a block of flats for rich people.

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Fourthly, all vacant buildings of any sort, shops, offices and second homes to be commandeered for the homeless and as workshops for the self employed. A little networking on the internet should bring you a team of building experts to supervise and train school leavers and the unemployed. It won’t be long before you have created a happy healthy local neighbourhood with no problems and others will be keen to take away your ideas to their own cities and countries.

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These are just a few introductory ideas, feel free to make suggestions and tell us if you have managed to create utopia where you live.

For a clue as to how humanity will save itself read the best selling book nobody is talking about…

 

 

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Friday Flash Fiction – Wander With Wanda

Is it Fiction, is it Friday? This week I share the blog of a writer introduced to me by Baz the Bad Blogger … I take no responsibility for what she may say…

WANDA ON WEDNESDAY

The Woman Who Tells It How It Is

THIS WEEK – WANDER WITH WANDA

This week H3 and I have been travelling and visiting, with all the unpleasant mingling with people that involves; and that’s just H3’s relatives.

At the inevitable motorway services we encountered that condition I am fortunate not to suffer from, ‘Indecision’. It gives me indigestion when people hover as I eat. We knew they were a posh family because the fortyish woman with long legs, tight jeans, designer boots and jacket addressed an expressionless facelift woman as ‘Mummy.’ ‘Daddy’ stood with arms dangling, slender fingers deathly white, a medical condition perhaps, certainly he did not look robust enough to cope with young grandchildren. There was a toddler in a wheeled contraption and a boy of pre-school age.

In an unusual moment of grandmotherly sympathy I said ‘Plenty of room here’ motioning to the table next to us and the pair of empty chairs at our table. H3 frowned at me.

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Yes, we are to be a grandmother, the daughter waited till the twelve week scan to break the news. I told her not to expect me to baby-sit, as with the puppy when she was nine, ‘You wanted it, you can look after it.’ Of course it’s about time, I had told her often enough not to leave it too late; she’s older than Meghan. I had even tactfully asked if there might be a problem, wouldn’t have been surprised if her so called ‘partner’ was not up to the task. H3 already has a couple of grandkids, in New Zealand thankfully.

Anyway, back to motorway services. How hard is it, in a building full of tables and chairs, to find somewhere to sit for three adults and two kids? A staff member was summoned to clean the table and Grandma steered the baby vehicle behind us. A high chair appeared and was wedged in behind H3’s chair, toddler was inserted and boy enveloped in an arm chair and given a plastic box of healthy fruit portions. His mother dashed off to the loo with the question of what to eat and drink and who was to fetch it, left in the air.

It came to me then that the whole ‘family motorway operation’ is an insurmountable problem; the unfamiliar high prices, the atmosphere of rush, the jumble of counters and tills leaves even normally functioning adults in a quandary.

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The mother returned with news of a better table spotted just as Granddad tried to move the high chair a fraction; the tray came off surprisingly easily in his frail arms and he nearly toppled backwards.

‘Come on Darling,’ mother to boy ‘we’re going to another table.’

‘I don’t want to move’ followed by an ear piercing scream.

Perhaps he had one of those syndromes, or maybe he was just a brat. By now H3 had his impending migraine expression and I had indigestion. I leaned in to make a witty remark to cheer him up.

‘Shsh, they’re sitting behind you, they’ll hear’ he whispered.

Further conversation was impossible as the toddler, upset by her brother’s tantrum, decided to join in. H3 made a play of looking at his watch then stood up; he did not want to be rude and look as if we were escaping from them.

 

 

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H3’s relatives took us to a well known family restaurant chain which I had not visited since the days when the daughter was little and it was H1’s idea of the perfect family outing, no wonder I divorced him. At the bar for drinks, while we waited interminably for a table, we found ourselves in the middle of an old boys’ reunion. Memo to self, never attend a reunion when you get past a certain age, even if you are hale and hearty you will be cast into dark despondency by the sight of former lively colleagues with walking sticks, stoops and tremors.

‘Hello Dave mate, how are you doing?’ translation ‘Oh my God, I hardly recognised you.’

Our table was on the other side of a flimsy trellis from a children’s birthday party, could it get any worse? Yes, our very attentive waitress, did not allow the confined space to deter her from appearing like a parrot at my shoulder every ten minutes to ask if everything was all right… and all the while H3’s aunty trilled how she always came here because she liked the salad bowl.

 

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Imagine my relief at the end of the week to be alone in a First Class lounge at Heathrow Airport, or so I thought until I heard loud voices. Buying a first class ticket does not make you First Class, common was the word that sprang to mind. When an attendant brought my coffee and croissant I gestured to the couple who were now complaining to another member of staff.

‘Nouveau Riche?’ I whispered.

She stifled a giggle and nodded.

Other passengers sighed with relief when the couple’s flight was called, except for those on the same flight.

We all sat in silence with newspapers, books and lap tops, but sometimes it can be too peaceful. Mr. Important Businessman sat opposite me and methodically opened his lap top and briefcase and inserted earpieces, looking round with an expression that said Do not disturb, important e-mails to answer, vital documents to read.

Within seconds his head drooped and he was fast asleep, woken only half an hour later by the call for my flight. He sat bolt upright in alarm, then glared accusingly at his lap top screen, he managed to swallow his pride enough to ask me which flight had been called; he was on the same flight.

I gathered my belongings calmly, I had written and scheduled this blog five minutes before the call. I enjoyed imagining him arriving utterly unprepared for his meeting of world importance.

Read more flash fiction and stories of all sorts including two novellas.

Only $3.26 or £2.49. also available in paperback.

 

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Final part of Tomorrow

If you missed part one last Friday, catch up here.

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2019/05/03/friday-flash-fiction-tomorrow/

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On the news the next day the police were asking for a couple to come forward who were believed to be witnesses.

Beth was waiting for me in a café, the other side of town from the shooting. ‘I don’t even know your name, but I can tell you’re a compassionate man, you understand people.’

She was quite attractive, in a homely sort of way, but it was the sadness in her eyes that affected me and I almost felt like the man she imagined me to be. Was it possible to atone for everything I’d done. I’d never killed my wife in cold blood, like the gunman, but I had killed…

‘Are you okay? I don’t think you policeman are as tough as you like to think.’

His eyes, as if he was looking into the gates of hell… I pulled myself together, I was definitely losing it.

‘Sorry, I’m upsetting you. Tell me about your family Beth.’

She talked and I held her hand platonically. She paused.

‘I’m supposed to be meeting a friend for an early dinner, my mother’s picking the children up from school, we were going to the concert hall, but she’s ill. Are you one of those detectives who loves music?’

‘Yes’ I lied automatically.

‘You’re welcome to the other ticket, it’s Verdi’s Requiem, perhaps something deep and stirring would be good for both of us.’ She suddenly laughed. ‘Rather ironic, we were supposed to have the Day of Judgment yesterday.’

‘I’ll come with you.’

My brain was ticking over, there was lasagne verdi and wasn’t there a Verdi who wrote operas? I could nip into the gents and get on the internet with my mobile, find out more.

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I paid for dinner with my laundered money, then we rushed to the concert hall, it was starting at 7pm. While Beth was in the Ladies I bought a programme and scanned it hurriedly. Four columns of Latin, that shouldn’t take long to sing. I started reading the English translation. I had been lulled into feeling like a new man, but the words leapt off the page.

The day of wrath, that day will dissolve the world in ashes… how great will be the terror, when the judge comes…

I closed the programme, just words, made up like an opera….

We had good seats, in the middle, a few rows back. The stage filled with a large orchestra, behind them were banked an enormous choir. Everyone was clapping and they hadn’t even played anything yet, four soloists walked on.

As they started singing I followed the Latin words as best I could, I soon realised they kept repeating every line, how long was this going to take? I tried to relax and let the music wash over me, but suddenly the orchestra were playing wildly, the choir was crying out, and I could feel the vibrations of the bass drum like a death knell. Beside me Beth clasped my hand and trembled with the thrill of the music. But I trembled with terror; at that moment I knew it was true, there would be a Day of Judgement and I would never be ready.

The programme dropped from my hands, I had no idea how much time passed, as that terrible theme was repeated. Then everyone was clapping and Beth was leading me out. She leaned up and brushed my cheek.

‘Wasn’t it wonderful, there’s no need to be ashamed, shedding a few tears. That’s strange, it shouldn’t be dark outside yet at this time of year, must be a storm coming.’

She slipped her arm through mine, I tried to blank my mind, slip back to normality, but as we stepped outside the sky was black, not the clear black of night, but dark rolling storm clouds. I looked up in abject terror as the sky rent in two, then cast my eyes down. Beth was no longer beside me.

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For more dark stories dip into this book.

Only 99 pence or $1.29

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Tomorrow

I hesitated before I answered my mobile, it was my sister again.

‘Tomorrow… perhaps’ I said curtly.

‘Andrew, you need to come now. John and I don’t care if we never see you again, but Mum would forgive you everything if you walked through that door now.’

I didn’t go the next day. I don’t like hospitals, my sister is better at that sort of thing and John has always been the reliable one. In the pub that evening no one asked how my mother was; no one there knew I had a mother.

Somehow conversation veered from sport and women to the end of the world.

‘It’s tomorrow… perhaps’ said Sean. ‘6pm according to this American bloke. I don’t know why you’re laughing Andrew. It’s not going to be the end of everything, it’s the Day of Judgement; the righteous will be taken to heaven and the wicked left in torment till the world really does end.’

‘How much have you had to drink?’

Ben had reached the maudlin state. ‘Sean’s right, I read it in the paper, not tomorrow perhaps, but soon, all the signs are there. Look at the news; every day a giant earthquake, flood, fire or volcano, we’re not even surprised any more.’

‘Not in England, the world’s not going to end here. If there was a day of judgement we’re all sinners, you two are no angels. Come on I’ll get the next round.’

They knew I’d done some bad things in my time; all my family, friends, if you could call them that, my colleagues, acquaintances and my enemies. They all thought they knew what sort of person I was, but each of them knew only a part of my life. Only I knew all the crimes and sins committed and people I’d hurt. That was the good thing about being an atheist; I was accountable only to myself. If the end of the world did come it would be by the careless hand of man and in the meantime I was going to enjoy myself. When Sean and Ben went home to their long suffering wives, both of whom had sought solace in my arms, I went to my club; the club I owned in everything but name. I needed to check if the new pole dancer was settling in.

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The next morning I did my laundry, at the bank, then strolled out into the sunshine. I contemplated visiting the hospital, but first I needed to pop back to the club to finish some paperwork while it was quiet.

My mobile rang, it was my brother.

‘I’m on my way, give me half an hour.’

‘Andrew, it’s too late.’ His coldness sent a chill even to my stony heart. ‘If you have any grain of decency left come and collect the letter mother left you.’

Before I could reply, a shot rang out. I looked up shocked; it was broad daylight and no one I knew. A man was standing over a woman lying in a pool of blood, then he noticed me, he fired a wavering shot to warn me away. An eerie silence had descended; everyone else had melted into doorways or down the subway steps; except for a young woman who had tripped or dived for cover onto the pavement, now paralysed with fear.

I’m no hero, if the man actually knew how to aim a gun I would be the next victim. A few paces and I could dive down the steps into my club; the only obstacle was the woman. The muscles I used for strong arm tactics came in handy for rescuing a fallen woman. I locked and barred the door behind us and whisked her into my office. She was too frightened to speak, but I could feel her heart thumping. Through my shirt I could also feel her warm breasts pressed against my chest, soft, not a hint of silicone. Perhaps there would be a chance of grateful sex later, but suddenly any carnal thoughts left me, I felt cold inside. I only looked the gunman in the eyes for a second, but what I saw in those eyes terrified me; he wasn’t mad, nor was he drugged up. Anyone who saw his expression would know that we are all accountable for what we do.

The woman spoke. ‘I don’t know how to thank you; it’s not just me you’ve helped, I was widowed recently, it would be unbearable for the children if they lost me as well.’

Now she’d started talking she couldn’t stop. ‘Are we trapped in here? I need to pick the children up from school. Do you think we were caught on CCTV or someone’s mobile, my mother will be frantic if she sees me on the news, I’d rather no one knew this has happened…’

I put on my best vulnerable woman approach and hugged her gently.

‘Shsh, it’s okay, I’m CID.’ Lying came naturally to me. ‘We did a raid on this place, I know another way out. I’ll put a report in, say you left without giving your name.’

Outside I found a cab for her and gave the driver cash. Then, I don’t know why, I also wrote down my ‘safe’ mobile number. She was sensible enough not to give me her number.

There are two types of women I like; the hard ones who play by the same rules as me and the vulnerable ones who I can play with. But I knew I would treat this woman with respect, if I ever saw her again, a novel feeling for me.

I went to the hospital and met my brother in the corridor; he handed me the letter, I didn’t know what to say, so I said nothing, turned on my heel and walked out. At home I put the letter on the table, I would open it tomorrow, perhaps. I watched the news; the gunman had surrendered, too scared to kill himself. My phone rang, it was her.

‘I didn’t thank you properly, or tell you my name, Beth. This has really shaken me up, I can’t talk to anyone; just say no if you don’t want to, but it would be good to meet for a coffee while the kids are at school tomorrow.’

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What will tomorrow bring? Find out next Friday.

 

Friday Flash Fiction – 800 – Dream Machine

Seth tried to hang on to the memories before he opened his eyes; a whole film in technicolour. He had dreamed a whole movie, a brilliant idea for a novel if he could recall it; write a best seller with film makers flocking to his door… that would be a dream. If only he could connect his brain to his computer, time would not be wasted sleeping, unless it was the fact that he was sleeping that produced the ideas. He jumped as his phone vibrated under his pillow and played that irritating tune. Every morning he vowed to change the tune and every evening he forgot. Whatever the melody, it didn’t alter the fact that he had to get up for work.

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The school Seth taught at bore no resemblance to the one in his dream, where young minds were nurtured and different talents exposed to produce a team of world changing teenagers with Seth sharing a little of the glory, or quite a lot as he was made Prime Minister. Who would play him in the film? He snapped out of his reverie and looked at the surly faces staring at him… and that was just the staff room. Seth put his empty coffee cup down and stood ready to face the afternoon.

‘Hey Seth, you’ve got a new kid in your English class, he’s in my form, Dad’s a scientist and polymath, seen him on television, goodness knows why he sent his son to this school, something about discovering real life.’

‘He was thrown out of his private school,’ said the head of science ‘too clever for his own good.’

Seth felt his hackles rise; they should be encouraging the clever kids, not putting them down. He strode down the corridor with an idea for the warm up pen and paper creative exercise.

The class was unusually quiet, gathered round the new boy who was talking enthusiastically, his long fingers gesticulating elegantly to illustrate his subject.

‘Without any discussion class, write for fifteen minutes imagining you could plug your brain into a computer while you slept.’

Unusually they settled down quickly. Seth sauntered casually between the desks, the new boy was scribbling furiously, words and hieroglyphics.

‘Isaac isn’t it?’

‘Yes Sir.’

At least the private school had taught him manners.

‘Named after Newton or Asimov?’

‘Both Sir.’

‘Do you enjoy writing?’

‘When it’s my favourite topic, good choice Sir, my father and I have just invented such a device. It didn’t go down too well at my last school, getting the pupils to volunteer; perhaps you would like to have a go?’

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So on Friday evening Seth found himself relaxing on a comfortable bed in a very pleasant room with electrodes attached to his head; he didn’t expect it to work, but he did have an idea for a new short story about a writer who finds himself  in the hands of mad father and son scientists. It was rather creepy being in the company of the two most intelligent people he had ever met.

‘Our initial aim is to discover if brain waves will translate into images or words or perhaps both’ said Isaac’s father.

Seth drifted off quickly. He was on board the International Space Station with  Isaac and his father and the attractive married science teacher he fancied; also bizarrely his mother and the middle aged lady who worked on the till at the Co Op. They had a fantastic plan for saving the Earth from climate change, if only he could remember what the plan was… he woke up with a start.

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‘Great, we’ve got some images already.’

Seth looked at the screen as he sipped a welcome cup of tea. A beautiful view of the earth, a view inside the space station, well anybody could get those images off the internet… but not pictures of his mother and everyone in his dream, the lady still in her Co Op uniform, the science teacher in a very short skirt and low cut blouse, floating around showing her figure to full effect. Isaac chuckled.

‘Hey Sir, you fancy Mrs Greening.’

Seth ignored the remark. ‘But we’re not talking, I’m not sure if we spoke in the dream, but we had a plan…’ he rubbed his temples ‘to save the earth.’

‘Let’s try the word document then’ said Isaac’s father.

Seth thrilled when he saw words come up on the screen, he’d written a book in his sleep, he peered closer, something was wrong…

I Captain odf the mosat brillainteam o severs sent up my mother fopr got to,mask me to get milkat the shops mrs greening saya her husband is dead so its okayforhet come up herthees the moonnt asbigasithoughtihave togobalc toearth itstime forscgool wonder if the shuttle is working todayknoitdoesb’tworkanymore ohohmyspacesuitdoesn;t fit ishallppbably implode otrisitsexplode ionspace………….

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For more stories, have a look in the book.

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Game of Thrones

Today I am delighted to welcome back Baz The Bad Blogger to talk about his new novel and the YouTube video he has created to launch the series.

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‘Have you always wanted to write fantasy Baz?’

No, but if that chap can make all that money out of Game of Thrones I thought how hard can it be to write about dragons?

‘Have you watched all the series of Game of Thrones?’

No, have you?

‘No, but I imagine you must have had to come up with some very original story lines to compete with GoT and all the other fantasy novels.’

My dragon is set in the real world of the 21st Century; he comes from a lost island somewhere in the Pacific, but loses his way home and ends up at Bognor Regis. Notflex are going to love it.

‘That explains the scene where he nearly collides with the coastguard helicopter…’

But there is still the traditional castle setting… I can’t tell you any more, you’ll have to buy the book.

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Friday Flash Fiction – Notre Dame

The Easter break from university was handy, Lucas had booked a flight before he could change his mind, but he was looking forward to the trip to Paris by himself; no rushing round sightseeing with friends or the pressure of creating the perfect romantic break for your girlfriend. Once he had found the Airbnb he would keep his promise to his grandmother then he would be free to wander at leisure around the city.

They had only had one family trip to Paris, his twelve year old self grumbling and bored, not taking much notice of Grand-maman retelling the stories of her youth. He and his father had opted for a bateau on the Seine while his grandparents, mother and sisters made the pilgrimage to Notre Dame. There had been other trips to Paris, but never all together again. He had preferred Eurodisney with the school, but now he would pay his first visit to Notre Dame and light a candle for his grandmother.

As Lucas emerged from the Metro station he sensed immediately something was wrong; a red glow in the sky, an ancient scent in the air and a strange silence.  It couldn’t be happening, but somehow he was standing with the crowds looking across the water at Notre Dame burning, gazing up at the fiery spire as it toppled. His throat was tight with shock as the crowd gasped and wept. Thank God his grandmere never lived to see this day. Lucas fumbled with his phone, he must tell his mother. He snapped a picture, it seemed almost indecent, but plenty of others had their phones high above their heads. What words to follow the picture?

‘Mum?’

Lucas? I know, we just saw it on the news, thank God you’re okay.

A bubble of hysteria formed in his throat, had his mother feared he had started the conflagration by lighting his candle?

‘Of course I’m okay, but Notre Dame… Grand-maman…’

His mother was crying.

Now, surrounded by Parisians, he understood for the first time what Notre Dame had meant to his Grandmere. He sent up a prayer, the god he didn’t believe in was surely listening this evening and Grand-maman did not need a candle; centuries of incense infused wood were sending holy smoke up to Heaven.

Lucas felt at home among the crowd, not the angry gilet jaune protests he had been looking forward to watching, but united and dignified. Brexit was off the agenda here, irrelevant, but he felt a stab as he recalled how the last few years had made Grand-maman sad, Lucas’ mother irrationally angry at his poor father just because his own father had voted Brexit.

The next morning Lucas was up early along with many others as they marvelled at walls and towers still standing. He was glad now his grandmother and mother had nagged him to practice his conversational French. In the evening he joined in the singing.

On Wednesday evening he was still finding himself drawn there and thrilled to hear bells pealing out all over the city. He vowed to visit the great lady every day of Holy Week.

Thursday evening found Lucas, with new French friends he had acquired, gathering outside Hotel de Ville to pay tribute to the fire fighters.

Now it was Good Friday and perhaps it was time to step inside a church as some of his new friends would be doing.

To The Big House

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Nearly a year had passed since we last visited Jane Austen’s house, a year in which we had failed to return with our tickets that lasted a year; I hoped she wouldn’t be offended. As I forgot to actually bring the tickets, at least she would know our visit was genuine.

The weather was greyer and mistier than last time, but at least it wasn’t raining. With two nights away we had all day and this time we were determined to see The Big House properly.

Because Jane’s parents were fortuitous in giving away one of their sons to childless rich relatives ( and what parent wouldn’t be tempted, I wonder if they chose the naughtiest? ) it came about that Jane’s brother Edward Austen Knight inherited Chawton House and was able to provide Jane, sister Cassandra, their friend and their widowed mother a home on the estate for the rest of their lives. Cassandra and the friend ran the household so Jane could concentrate on her writing and this was the happiest and most productive period of her life, sadly cut short by her early death.

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We strolled around the village first on this damp morning, being nosey of course and admiring the lovely cottages brightened with spring flowers. At the house there were few visitors yet and I was fascinated with a very jolly, well spoken family; granddad with three generations of women who all seemed to have impossibly long slender legs. You may recall last year we met Jeremy Knight, third great grandson of Edward who now volunteers as a guide at Jane’s. My ears pricked when I heard the grandmother of the family ask another volunteer ‘Is Jeremy in?’ He’s just gone for coffee. ‘I’m his first cousin.’ Oh, did you want to go in the office for coffee? ‘ What, with the staff? I haven’t seen him for years.’

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When we did arrive at Chawton House and went first to the kitchen where they serve light refreshments, Jeremy’s relatives were there having coffee, I wonder if they did meet up with him that day?

You can walk up to the house as Jane would have done. You ring the doorbell and get a friendly welcome. We bought tickets that will last a year. The house is a study centre for women’s literature and you can also see the books Jane herself enjoyed reading or did not enjoy…

I was intrigued to dip into a copy of this book; certainly heavy going, but now I understand this scene…

‘Sermons to Young Women in Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice

Mr Collins chooses Sermons to Young Women to read aloud to the Bennet sisters on the first evening that he spends with the family (I. 14). This is an important clue to Mr Collins’s character, since by the time Jane Austen wrote Pride and Prejudice, Fordyce’s views were outdated and restrictive. Lydia Bennet is particularly unimpressed by Mr Collins’s choice of reading material: ‘Lydia gaped as he opened the volume, and before he had, with very monotonous solemnity, read three pages, she interrupted him …’.’

https://www.bl.uk/collection-items/sermons-to-young-women

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There is plenty to enjoy looking round the house even if you don’t pause to read. Imagine the family in the dining room, or gazing out at the views. Take time to wander the gardens as well. The primroses were out and we walked through ‘the wilderness’ and to the church close by where the family worshipped and Cassandra and her mother are buried. Jane  Austen’s last few weeks were spent in Winchester, where her family hoped  for a cure. She is buried there.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Chawton_House

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See more pictures at my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – 600 – Nom de Plume

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Busy weekend away helping Sally’s aunt and uncle move house; we stopped for dinner at the motorway services on the way back. I still hadn’t written a word for my new writers’ group on Monday evening. Sally just laughed.

‘Rob, it’s not school, just tell them you didn’t have time, though you could write a whole book about this weekend.’

‘Yes… and if it got published would your aunt and uncle recognise themselves?’

‘Not if you changed the names.’

She continued leafing through some free magazine she had picked up, then pushed it to my side of the table.

‘Look, there’s a short story at the back, maybe you will get one of your short stories in a magazine one day.’

‘I am hoping to aim a little higher than some rubbish free magazine.’

I flicked back through the pages; there was actually an article written by a dog, looking for forever homes for his pals.

Lots of licks, Barney.

‘Oh please, spare me… ‘

‘Read the story Rob, maybe it’s good.’

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Protest

by Angelique Dubarry

 It started with a bumble bee and ended with the saving of a whale; thousands of signatures on the petition protesting to Sea Worlds in the USA for keeping Killer Whales in captivity. Saving The World from my computer was simple and addictive, till the day the door bell rang…

Hmm, it was quite a good story, our topic was The Internet – Good or Evil? Sally was busy playing with her phone, I slipped the magazine into my man bag. Nobody in my writers’ group would lower themselves to read this trashy magazine. What did Sally say about changing the names? No one would possibly know I had borrowed the story.

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On Monday evening there was a good turn out and it was a while before my turn. I read clearly and confidently, I was enjoying myself.

…till the day the door bell rang. I thought they were Mormons, two smart young men in suits.

‘Good morning Ma’am… Mrs Katherine Jones?… how are you today?’

I was taken aback they knew my name, but they were so polite and so American I stepped back and they stepped forward, into my house. On closer inspection their black badges did not mention Latter Day Saints and what they were saying did not make sense. ‘… home security…’

I thought they were selling burglar alarms; then they homed in to the extension where we keep the computer. Now their slick talking seemed to include the words ‘national security’.

I realised, when it was too late, I should not have offered them a cup of tea. When I was at the sink filling the kettle they disappeared, with the computer…

I looked up, the room was eerily silent, either they were totally absorbed, or they did not like my story. I stuttered, but managed to get to the end.

  ‘…but I don’t understand sergeant, what I have done wrong?’ I stammered.

 ‘Let’s hope your ‘38 degree’ friends can get you a good solicitor, one who will explain the extradition process.’

The tight lipped silence continued, I noticed the retired lady’s face reddening.

‘It’s okay Ruth, I’ll handle this’ said Giles, self appointed leader of the group. ‘Is this your own work Rob, or have you some explaining to do?’

How was I to know that Ruth Brown used Angelique Dubarry as her nom de plume? How was I to know that everybody recognised the story, because it had been short listed for the prestigious local arts festival competition last year.

 

 

 

 

 

Silly Saturday – Baz Fixes Brexit

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Few of you will remember Baz the Bad Blogger, most of his blogs sink without trace, his words not mine, I would not be so rude to a guest. His winning of the Unread Bloggers Award gave him a boost in confidence and perhaps drew the attention of the powers that be.  Today I am thrilled to be first to interview Baz since his sudden rise to fame. Let Baz tell his own story.

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Hello Baz, happy Saturday. Did you always have political aspirations?

Well I do sweat a lot.

Had you met members of the Royal Family before?

No thank goodness.

Would you call yourself a republican?

I do like a drink, real ale.

You don’t have to answer this question, but did you vote Leave or Remain in the 2016 referendum?

I didn’t bother voting, I had no idea what it was all about, still don’t.

So being neutral, neither Remainer nor Leaver, makes you the perfect candidate for the new position.

If you say so.

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I think we are all keen to hear how it came about that, after Her Majesty the Queen dissolved Parliament late on Sunday night, you became a member of the new parliament and were quickly appointed a minister by His Royal Highness, The Prince of Wales.

Oh Charles you mean. I have to be modest here. Members of Parliament were to be chosen from among bloggers with the most Likes, but most of them didn’t want the job.

But to be chosen for The Cabinet as well, that was a surprise.

Not when Charles heard my Big Idea, Baz’s Big Idea he called it, wondered why no one had thought of it before.

Can you reveal it?

Weelll, do many people read this blog?

No, hardly any.

Okay then; this is my plan to please everybody. We leave the European Union as soon as possible, tomorrow… Leavers are happy. Then on Monday morning Europe joins us and Remainers are happy, not only are we still part of Europe, even better, Europe is part of us. The European Union will become part of the United Kingdom, The United Kingdom of Europe.

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