The Wondrous Heffelumpion


It’s that time again!

 It’s that time of week when we sharpen our wits

And try to work out a story that fits,

Just 100 words, not one more or one less

That’s what’s  required from our good leader-ess.

 She watches o’er our writing with candour and wit

Never tires of praising and commenting one bit,

Rochelle reads them all as Chief Fictioneer

For which we are grateful, let’s give her a cheer

Copyright EL Appleby

Copyright EL Appleby

The Wondrous Heffelumpion

Genre: Memoir

Word Count: 100

My grandmother knitted the wondrous Heffelumpion when I had the mumps. It was love at first sight. He went to school, university and kept me company in my first tiny flat. After much washing he went saggy, but I still loved him.

If my husband thought me odd for keeping H on my bedside table, he kept his thoughts to himself. Our children loved him, each in turn; when they had done with him I took him back.

My little granddaughter has now claimed him, taking him everywhere tucked under her arm. She calls him Mr Snuffles.

She loves him.

Some of her other smaller friends: Bagpuss & Ted

Small friends

The Lamplighter


I was very late submitting my attempt last week and Friday Fictioneers wait for no woman, or man!

My grandmother told me many tales;  some she made up, some she promised were true. In any event she should have written them down. She told me about the lamplighter and that my great grandfather liked to drink …

Rochelle Wisoff-Fields lights the path to Friday Fictioneers and we all follow as best we can. Thanks to her for the photo this week.

lamps

Genre: Memoir/Fiction

Word Count: 100

The Lamplighter

Granny told us many stories of the lamplighter. He lit the gas lamps in her town so folks could see their way home, or in her father’s case, to the alehouse.  One night her father didn’t stagger home. They found him next morning face down in the stream, his jug still clutched in his hand.

Many supportive neighbours and a few of his drinking friends attended his funeral. My great grandmother baked all night, then lit the parlour lamps and held a wake, relaxing in her new found freedom, released from toil and childbearing.

She never mentioned his name again.

For we are very lucky, with a lamp before the door,
And Leerie stops to light it as he lights so many more;
And oh! before you hurry by with ladder and with light;
O Leerie, see a little child and nod to him to-night!    

  (from The Lamplighter – Robert Louis Stevenson)

Weekly Photo Challenge – Forward


Some photos that say “Forward” to me.

The path to the beach was so inviting, I just had to walk over it. The road out of Jasper was amazing, we drove for miles and didn’t see another car.  We saw a bear and a few elks but nothing else for mile after mile; the scenery was just awesome we rode in silence for most of the journey. Our holiday to the southern region of Sardinia was very enjoyable, we explored ancient ruins which overlooked the sea, and visited the island of Sant’Antioco, where we found the deserted street.

Still Living at Bankside Farm


Another week, another photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Friday Fictioneers. The photo this week is courtesy of Janet Webb and you can see how others have interpreted the prompt here

copyright-janet-webb

Still Living at Bankside Farm

“I did find it mum, it’s a ruin though. Look. I took a photo for you.”

She smiles up at me

“I’ve found your old home, it’s a ruin.”

She takes the photo and stares

“My room looks out over the bottom meadow, towards the mill.”

I sink down beside her, taking her hand

“Mum, remember. You live here now, not Bankside Farm. You haven’t lived there for years.”

She giggles then whispers,

“I saw Jed with the cows this morning, he blew me a kiss.”

My plan didn’t work.

I look up at the face I love, and smile.

 

( I am researching my family tree, and Bankside Farm was once home to some of my ancestors. It does look a bit like place in the photo now)

 

 

Remembering the Song


Another week, another photo prompt from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for Friday Fictioneers. This amazing photo is courtesy of David Stewart and you can see how others have interpreted the prompt here

Remembering the Song

Grey haired, quietly waiting,

I make no movements now for you to marvel at,

My joints seem permanently fixed,

Not flexible or free from pain.

Nothing could help me sway to your music now

Though I remember our song, few would think there ever was one,

Or believe that here there once was joy, pleasure, movement, grace.

They see a body, stiff, unyielding, closed, and think that it was always so

And that my mind must be the same.

They raise their voices and wave their arms about

I’m not yet deaf or dumb, just old.

I scream in silence.

Always and forever


It’s Friday, well it is here in the UK, so it’s time for Friday Fictioneers. Each Wednesday Rochelle Wisoff-Fields posts a photo prompt and writers from all over the world drop everything ( almost) to write 100 words and post by Friday.  It’s a great way to meet some great people, so why not give it a try?. Here is the photo for this week, courtesy of Rennee Homan Heath.

Genre – Memoir (99 words)

Path to the beach

Blue skies, warm soft air, white sand,

The days of love and longing here

Long ago, crowd my mind and bring a smile.

We are older now and unable

To run up sand dunes, or lie together

As we did back then, lost in wonder.

We walk more slowly across the sand

Still hand in hand, lovers still but not

That hectic, frantic love driven by need and lust,

A gentle touch, a smile, an embrace now speak

Our love, we will remember always those first days

When we made our pledge, one to the other,

Always and forever.

Follow the link to other stories here

Lost years


Here is the prompt for Friday Fictioneers this week from Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

Genre: Memoir (100 words)

rochelle2

He should be here, you say with that trembling voice,

Will you ask him to hurry?

Why is he taking so long?

Years ago you voiced the accusations of your doubting mind

Out loud, deceit, faithlessness, disloyalty,

He had no chance to stay your ranting onslaught,

You were frighteningly ferocious, they say.

I was too young to know him,

Too young to understand the words I may have half heard before sleep,

You are too old now to realise that he can’t come back,

But I repeat again the soothing words

There there, don’t worry you will see him soon.

 To see more stories follow the link

While I was waiting for inspiration… Starting Over


Back Camera

Sitting in front of a blank screen is quite daunting when you have things you want to say and are not quite sure where to start. It is relatively easy to follow prompts for weekly challenges on travel themes or photography but quite another matter when you are attempting a writing prompt and waiting for inspiration. I envy the seemingly free-flowing blog posts of others, they seem confident and assured whereas I seem to flounder about for ages, shall I post this, and will anyone read it? And so it goes, more or less.

I should really be working, I have a lot to get through today but my heart isn’t in it. I can only get excited about so much paperwork and having checked on the latest accounts – fine, the amount of stock we are holding – also fine, the remainder of my “To Do” list can wait a while.

I was reading recently about a writer who knew she wanted to be a writer from the age of seven. I wasn’t sure what I wanted to do right up to leaving college; I envied friends who went into banking, accounting, nursing with a natural transition. I wrote letters, sent CV’s and though I got a few interviews none of the jobs was ever going to set my pulses racing. I waited for the thunderbolt that never came and in the end I went to work for my father who had his own business developing new plastic products for the automotive and leisure industries. We made oil seals and spoons in seemingly equal numbers; the production was interrupted occasionally by something different, but this didn’t happen very often.

I learned a lot of new words like, extrusion, purging, polytetrafluoroethylene, polymers, petrochemicals, which made my new found typing job quite difficult – you must understand that this was in the days of the typewriter and if you wanted more than one copy, you used pieces of carbon paper, one mistake and you had to do the whole thing again! I quickly moved on to marketing.

As my father’s daughter, I had to work harder to gain any promotion; I had started on the bottom rung when I first joined him, making the tea for everyone, even cleaning the toilets and rest areas, running errands, filing and general office work. He wasn’t going to let anyone say I got where I was because he was my father. Although I wasn’t too happy, I understood his thinking and just got on with it. The upside was that the other employees accepted me more readily when they saw there was no favouritism.

I worked for him for about five years, until he employed “The Office Manager from Hell”. I shall call him Nerd because that’s what he looked like, a Nerd. He made my life a misery because he could, and because he knew in his own twisted way that I wouldn’t complain as that would mean raising the “favouritism” flag.

I tried to like him, tried to overlook that plain fact that I could do his job with not much effort, as I had incorporated much of the role into my job before he arrived. He was thin and weedy and I liked my men tall and strong looking, but I tried to overlook his physical failings and concentrate on being a good colleague. The final straw was when the money in the petty cash tin in the safe didn’t balance; he sighed and asked me why there was money missing. There wasn’t, he had just added it up incorrectly. He held out his hand like Moses receiving the Ten Commandments and asked me for the keys to the safe.

I left amid much family argument.

The only downside to working for my father was our ability to carry on work related issues over dinner, much to my mother’s annoyance. This stopped quite abruptly when I left as my father didn’t speak to me for a while. He said later that had I told him about my treatment by the Nerd, he would have stepped in and done something about it, but the Nerd was the son of the bank manger…

My next job was working as head cashier in a supermarket, but more of that another time.

Christmas traditions, then and now


father-christmas-and-snowman.jpg

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)

 =o=

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

http://www.jacquielawson.com/cards_christmas.asp

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