Coffee Lovers

Inspiration for Friday Fictioneers  from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields this week, is this photo by the artist Jean Hays. The lovely stained glass window is her work.

My sister had a coffee shop years ago, this photo made me think of it and the times I used to help out  – and people watch.

Photo Jean L Hays

Photo Jean L Hays

The smell of freshly roasted coffee wafts out into the street.

Jess sets out the freshly baked pastries, homemade chocolates, packs of ground coffee and waits.

First as usual, ‘Ms Skinny Latte with an Extra Shot’ and ‘Mr Double Espresso with a Cinnamon Bun’, (they’re getting closer). Then later, ‘Mrs Cappuccino’ and ‘Mrs No Coffee for Me’ who eats almond Danish like they are going out of fashion.

After the morning rush, she realises that two regulars were missing – ‘Mr Macchiato’ and ‘Mrs Flat White’…

Jess smiles, it was only a matter of time.


Christmas traditions, then and now


There are lots of Christmas traditions and I came across a few interesting facts on some of them –

Why do we eat turkey?

Long ago, it was the smell of roast goose or the head of a boar that filled the Christmas air in Britain. Then in 1526, a trader named William Strickland imported six turkeys from the US and sold them in Bristol, for tuppence each. The birds were popular because they were tasty, and practical. Cows were more useful alive, chicken was more expensive than it is now, and other meats were not as popular.

……….. And why mince pies?

Mince pies are the modern descendant of the Christmas Pye, a large dish filled with shredded pigeon, hare, pheasant, rabbit, ox, lamb, or mutton, mixed with fruits and sugar. It had an oblong shape, said to resemble Jesus’s cradle. After 1660, they became more like the pies we eat now.

What about Christmas cards?

The first person ever to think of selling Christmas cards was a civil servant named Henry Cole, who had worked on the introduction of the first postage stamp, the Penny Black, in 1840. He was too busy that year to write to all his friends, so he commissioned a designer named John C. Horsley, of Torquay, to design a card with the words “A Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year To You”. In 1843, the year that Charles Dickens wrote A Christmas Carol, Cole went a step further, by commissioning 1,000 cards. He used some, and put an advertisement in the press offering the others for sale at 6d each. One card from that batch was sold in December 2005 for £8,500.

( from “What’s Behind Christmas Traditions?” by Andy McSmith, 2008 Independent)


Each year I tell myself that I will be more organised and not leave things to the last minute and each year I do exactly the same as the year before.  I think that for me, all the rush and bustle involved in the run up to Christmas is part of my “tradition”.

I love the carols played in the shops, the fact that people seem more friendly toward each other, the last minute present wrapping, the food that we wouldn’t buy any other time of year, the board games, the falling asleep after lunch, the old films on tv, the presents from relatives who seem to forget our age and size, the list could go on.  But most of all I love spending time with my family and friends, I just love Christmas.

I want to share this card with you, it’s by the brilliant Jacquie Lawson and sums up my memories of happy childhood Christmases

I wish you all a very Merry Christmas and a Happy and Healthy 2013


The Visitor


Arthur senses he is being watched. He stands very still, tensing his muscles, ready for flight.

He stares straight ahead, waiting, watching.

She walks round the table, noticing all the clutter. What a mess. She remembers the tidy, spotless kitchen of her childhood, no mess or spills allowed. She remembers the cupboard under the stairs.

Dark, cold, silent.

Arthur tries a high-pitched meow but it gets no response.

She stares at the cat. She has always disliked cats. Now it doesn’t matter.

Now she can see him, but he can’t see her.


Thanks to Rochelle for continuing Friday Fictioneers and to Scott Vannatter for the photo this week

Weekly Photo Challenge – Delicate

Some interpretations of ‘Delicate’

Festoons for fiesta in Valldemossa

Christmas decoration in the Burlington Arcade

Intricate sandcastle on the beach in Pollensa

Quince flowers in bud in my garden


 I have been thinking too at this sad time, how delicate the balance is between life and death.

I pray that the families who lost loved ones in the heartbreaking, senseless massacre at the school in Newtown can find some peace, can take some small solace from the knowledge that so many thousands of people are sending them their sympathy and heartfelt condolences.


‘Tis the season to be jolly….

I have managed to get my story in early for once. Thanks go to Rochelle for picking up the baton of Friday Fictioneers and to Rich Voza who supplied the photo prompt for this week. You can read more Friday Fictioneers if you follow this link

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I know my way around.

The door I need is at the end of the corridor.

I get a call whenever he’s in town, although he only ever wants to see me in the afternoon.  He is a nice guy and I am used to odd requests.

There is the usual glass of champagne and a beautifully wrapped gift waiting for me; the dress he has chosen is laid out across the back of the chair. I change quickly.

I drink my champagne, put his gift in my bag then walk through the doorway to ‘Santa’s Grotto’.