Weathering Our Storm


Thanks to Georgia Koch for the lovely photo for our prompt this week and to our intrepid Captain Rochelle for navigating our good ship Friday Fictioneers  through all kinds of seas.

Copyright - Georgia Koch

Copyright – Georgia Koch

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Weathering Our Storm

Will you come with me, to Venice?’

An invitation to the place where we began would once have sent my heart soaring. Dare I allow it to do so again?

‘I’ll think about it, if that’s alright?’

Oh, the care we take with one another.   I couldn’t ride out the maelstrom of his affair.  I had to scream it out, to hit back verbally against the waves of pain and sadness that engulfed and threatened to overpower me.

But somehow the storm abated, he chose to stay. How ambitious we are, how determined to keep our precious ship afloat.

‘Yes.’

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Setting The Scene


The photo reminds me of a house we once rented in France. We had a very enjoyable holiday but as we left I mentioned to the owner that she should really tell prospective holiday makers that part of the house is overlooked by the neighbours.

With a Gallic shrug she replied ‘but Madame, that means the house stays cool in the summer, why is this a problem?’  Hmm…

Copyright Jan Wayne Fields

Copyright Jan Wayne Fields

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Setting The Scene

‘Darling, the Meissen table centre.’

Not again

‘We had to sell the Meissen.’

‘Who?’

‘Mother, we had to sell it all.’

‘Sell what?  Oh poor darling, put out the Lalique the one with fairies.’

How many times will we have to do this?

‘That’s gone too. James has been ‘investing’ your money, hardly anything left.’

If I could get my hands on the bastard

She stares at me, narrowing her eyes.

‘My dinner table must look beautiful.’

We wait for imaginary dinner guests. When she sleeps, I put away the remnants of her golden days, praying she will soon forget them.

 

 

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Thanks to Rochelle for overseeing production and to Jan Wayne Fields for setting the scene. (See what I’ve done there, of course you do)

 

 

Cover Reveal – Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume II


Originally posted on Fiction Favorites:

Was pleased to support the launch and funding efforts of Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume I. It is now time to reveal the cover for Volume II.

Helena Cover Boa 4

MEMOIRS OF A DILETTANTE VOLUME TWO – COVER REVEAL!

COMING SPRING 2015 — official date TBA

Memoirs of a Dilettante Volume Two is the second collection of reminiscences, following Helena Hann-Basquiat, a self-proclaimed dilettante who will try anything just to say that she has, and her twenty-something niece, who she has dubbed the Countess Penelope of Arcadia.

Speaking of Arcadia, this volume delves into Helena’s childhood, as she revisits what she calls the Arcadia of the mind — that place that keeps us trapped and holds us back from our potential. Some of her most personal stories are included here, interspersed with hilarious stories of misadventure. It’s not a novel, really, and it’s not a memoir, by the strictest definition. But most of…

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Authors: Don’t Be a Bloody Statistic


Originally posted on Heather Hill, Author & Comedy Writer:

There are people that are writing in the hope of getting rich, and there are people that are writing for the love of the craft. I would firmly plant myself between these two extremes.

I suspect that those writers who are most disappointed are in the first category.

I love writing, have reached a point in my life where I recognise I have always loved it, yet was hampered by an inaccurate belief that making a career out of it was out of my reach and capabilities.  Today I’m ready to pursue it to the death, only with the hope in my mind that I might make a decent living out of it.

Since the moment I first began working on my book, I knew I’d never stop writing again. I know that even if I never sold another word, I couldn’t stop. I’m forty three years old; that’s how long it has…

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Starting Over


I love Chicago! Just thought I would tell you.  We went there years ago and spent a week in the city before travelling on to Utah – don’t ask…  Huge thanks to Rochelle for continuing to host Friday Fictioneers and supporting everyone who takes part.

Finally, my very best wishes to you all for a healthy and prosperous 2015

Copyright Jean L Hays

                                   Copyright Jean L Hays

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Starting Over

The bag was heavy but Molly dragged it to the station.  Her face turned towards the sun, its warmth flowed through her body, easing the pain. Cosmic pain relief, she laughed out loud at the simplicity of it.

On the train she ripped up the left-luggage receipt and gently took out the torn and crumpled letter. It had been hidden, but not well enough. Eventually she had retrieved it. Carefully, she smoothed out the creases until she could read his words.

On the platform she scanned the faces of strangers, looking for him.

He was there, as he had promised.

…………………………….

“Turn your face to the sun and the shadows fall behind you.” – Charlotte Whitton

 

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Tracking down ‘my convict’


2015 is the year I intend to devote to completing the story of the life of my ancestor, Richard Boothman. I thought it may be good to recap on how I started this journey and where I am so far, for those of you who may not have seen the earlier posts.

Convict in my tree – part 1

I started researching my family tree almost ten years ago and today, like thousands of other people across the world, I am still trying to find my story; where I came from and what shaped me.  I started where all good ancestry researchers should, with my living relatives.  From them I got a lot of basic, necessary information like dates and places of birth and names of spouses etc which was a great place to start.

As I built my family tree, with more and more information gleaned from various sources, not least of which was ancestry.co.uk a story from my childhood kept coming back and niggling at the back of my mind.  My paternal grandmother was a great storyteller; I used to sit at her feet enthralled, listening to stories ranging from fairies at the bottom of my grandfather’s allotment to the tale of the man who, being wrongfully accused of a very, very bad crime, was sent far, far away from his family and friends to a desolate place across the sea, never to return.  I remember my sister and I having very bad dreams about him and my mother telling us not to fret as it was only a story and not true.

Over the years my research dragged on.  Then one day, I got a letter from my aunt, in response to a plea for help with the seemingly endless list of children borne to my great grandparents.  She listed all the children that she knew of and then, at the bottom of the last page, mentioned just how bad life had been for some people in those days and gave as an example,  the visits made to Lancaster Castle by female members of my great great grandmother’s family.  She had been told the stories as a little girl, about women walking miles to visit a male relative imprisoned in the jail there.

This must be the man in my grandmother’s story.  He was real!  I knew then that I wouldn’t rest until I had found out all I could, I just had to know who this man was and if indeed he was one of my ancestors…………….(to be continued)

Convict in my tree – part 2

The story of the convict stayed with me and I spent many nights on the computer, searching the family history sites trying to find out anything I could.  I decided to write to the librarian in Colne, explain what information I had and see if they had any documents that could throw some light on the story my aunt had told me.

I eventually had a reply, telling me there was only one man from the town who seemed to fit the bill.  His name was Richard Boothman and, at a riot in Colne on 10 August 1840 he killed a policeman.

I went onto the Lancaster prison website and typed his name into the database, nothing. There were long lists of prisoners who had stolen bread, horses, murdered their neighbours, husbands and wives, but no mention of Richard Boothman. Then one morning, whilst trying to sort out all the papers and folders I had on my family tree, I came across a package at the bottom of the box.  It contained an old book, all about the history of Colne, that had belonged to my great grandmother and had been given to me when my grandmother died.  It was written by a local historian in 1878.  I had scanned it briefly when I received it, but the writing style was very staid and after a while, just plain boring, so I had not got very far and had stopped not long after the bit about a supposed Roman settlement!

I picked it up again, wondering if there could possibly be anything in it about this case.  I sat on the floor of the study, slowly turning the thin, dry pages of small print until, towards the back of the book, in a chapter entitled “Guilty or Not Guilty” I found the story of Richard Boothman, weaver and murderer.

Since then I have spent hours trying to piece together his story and I am still working on it.  I have transcripts of letters he wrote from prison to his father, who never got over the shock of what happened to his son.  I read of him protesting his innocence and begging his father to find townspeople who would speak on his behalf at his trial and in one letter telling his father that ” the Assizes commence the 20th March” and could he please have a new pair of shoes.  Later, in February, he tells his father that he is” preparing to meet his fate with fortitude and courage”.  Some townspeople do make the long journey to speak for him at his trial, but he is found “guilty of  wilful murder”.

However, very strenuous efforts were made on his behalf for many believed in his innocence, and on 7 April 1841 there was success of a kind as a reprieve was issued.  But any hope was dashed on 14 April as he was served with an order for transportation for life.  Shortly after that he was taken from Lancaster prison to the prison hulks at Woolwich. He and the other prisoners were kept in squalid conditions and sent ashore to work across the river, unloading cargoes at the docks.  He worked there until he was transferred in shackles to the Barossa which set sail for Van Diemen’s Land (Tasmania) and arrived in Hobart on 13 January 1842.

The National Archive in Hobart  were very helpful and I obtained a lot of information from them, including reports that he served his sentence at Impression Bay, Westbury, Quamby, Peth and Launceston; that he was considered a good worker; that in January 1844 his original term of probation expired and on 5 February 1850 he was granted his “Ticket of Leave”. Finally on 7 June 1853 his conditional pardon was approved.  He married another prisoner, Mary Brown who had left London on the convict ship St Vincent and it seems he settled in Launceston where he farmed until his death in 1877.  He is buried just outside Launceston.

The times he lived in were incredibly hard, he was a weaver at the time of the Chartist riots, a period of great unrest and yes, he probably did fight to defend his livelihood. I am glad that he survived transportation when so many convicts perished; I believe in his innocence and feel sad that the punishment he received was so harsh and that he never saw his family again.

I have helped others find a place in their family tree for Richard Boothman and also fill in a few gaps in the lists of the convict ships, but as much as I would dearly love to find a place for him in my family tree, I can’t yet .  I know that some of my great great grandmother’s family lived in the same street as the Boothmans, could it be that the story that has come down to me, is one of  the women of the street coming together to support the family in a time of great need?  Could it be that the women who walked those long, long miles to Lancaster prison with food and clothing for Richard were his sisters and their close friends from the street?  Perhaps I’ll never know, perhaps we are not related, but I know I will go on looking

Extract from ‘Chartist Ancestors’

Richard Boothman: A Lancashire weaver, Boothman was convicted of killing a policeman (named Joseph Halstead) in a riot at Colne on 10 August 1840. George Rude argues that Boothman’s Chartist credentials are not necessarily clear, but that the circumstances of the incident suggest a “better than even” chance of a political motive. Boothman maintained his innocence, but after his original sentence of death was commuted to transportation for life, sailed for Tasmania on the Barossa, arriving in Hobart on 13 January 1842. After two years at Impression Bay, Boothman went to work at in the north of the island. He continued to deny responsibility for the crime and to ask relatives to petition for his return in letters home, but was to die in Launceston, Tasmania, in 1877.

 

The Lost Chord


One more sleep…

Thanks to Rochelle for shepherding us through another year of Friday Fictioneers. Thanks also to Bjorn for supplying the photo for the prompt this week .

Copyright Bjorn Rudberg

Copyright Bjorn Rudberg

Genre – Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Lost Chord

Hugo loved music, but whenever he sang people ran covering their ears. He played several musical instruments reasonably badly, only the piano had escaped his attentions. The Outdoor Piano Festival would change all that.

For months he cycled over to see Aunt Matilda and hammered out his versions of the classics on her yellowing ivories.

On the day of the Festival, Hugo was eager. Clutching his music he mounted the steps and played his piece to a stunned audience. He heard someone mutter ‘unbelievable’ and ‘he lost a chord.’

Pleasure turned to embarrassment as he dived to retrieve it.

————————

I wrote this a while ago for a prompt I missed; it has been dusted off and suitably amended. May I take this opportunity to wish my fellow Friday Fictioneers and all my friends and followers a Happy Holiday, however you celebrate it, and a healthy and prosperous 2015.

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In The Shed


I have been AWOL from Friday Fictioneers for too long; hopefully the reduction in workload will allow me to resume my writing which I have really missed, along with the interaction with my FF friends. Thanks as always to our ever supportive leader  Rochelle and thanks too this week to Doug MacIlroy for supplying the photo prompt.

Copyright - Douglas MacIlroy

Copyright – Douglas MacIlroy

Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 100

In The Shed

It’s in the shed, go and find it.’

Mum, I don’t like going in the shed, come with me?’

‘I thought you would have forgotten that little scare by now. Old Sam died two years ago. He was only seeking shelter from the snow after all.’

I wish I could forget the dirty old man I found lying on sacks in the corner. I was only five and with the curiosity and innocence of childhood had smiled and asked him his name.

The memory of his rough hands on me and the smell in the shed will haunt me forever.

 

Photography 101 – Glass


My photograph for today is of Dale Chihuly’s glass sculpture which stands in the reception area of the Atlantis Hotel in Dubai.  I was lucky enough to see this earlier in the year.  You can see it below, along with a close up of the detail that makes up this 18metre high work of art.

Chihuly sculpture

Chihuly sculpture detail

We Get a Garage


I have been away from FF for too long. I haven’t changed allegiance, or gone off the rails, I’ve just been hibernating, recharging my batteries, call it what you will. Thanks as always to the indomitable Rochelle, who never fails to put out a prompt each week to tease our creativity, memory, humour.  Write 100 words, that’s all you need to do to join this very supportive band of writers.

The prompt this week spoke to me of my childhood and memories of actually getting a garage of our own, something only people with cars had, and when I was a child, they were very few and far between.

Copyright Claire Fuller

Copyright Claire Fuller

Word count: 100

Genre: Memoir

We Get a Garage

At the end of our street was a piece of waste ground.  We made our dens there and played during school holidays; summers were long and warm in my memories of childhood

‘I’ve managed to buy the land, Vern,’ said our next door neighbour, unfolding plans on our kitchen table.

‘Will you help me build the garages… you can have one rent free?’

My father frowned, thinking.

‘Ken, you have a deal’, he said and they shook hands, smiling.

Years ago the planners bulldozed the garages, replacing them with little town boxes.

My old street is still there though, this is what it looks like today – lots of cars and not a garage in sight…

My street as it looks today

 

 

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