Seeing the light

Hello, it’s great to be here early for once instead of rushing around at the last-minute. I hope you’ve all had a good week. I’m looking forward to the Bank Holiday weekend and Monday off, when I will try to catch up on some of my writing projects (she says with fingers crossed)

Thanks to Renee Heath for the photo prompt this week and a special thanks to Rochelle Wisoff-Fields for her continuing support, diplomacy and encouragement.

Copyright Renee Heath

Copyright Renee Heath

Genre: Historical Fiction

Word Count: 100

Seeing the light

Frederick watches the crowd gathered on the pavement.  They are getting restless. Some shout concerns, about their safety, loss of their livelihoods. Not many seem supportive of his demonstration.

‘You’ll blow us all to kingdom come, you mad German!’

‘It’ll never work!’

‘What about the poor candlemakers?’

His wife tightens her grip on his arm.

At 9pm the gas is turned on. Pall Mall is lit up from end to end; the crowd roars approval, some even come to shake his hand.

‘Listen to them now liebling, no need for your fears.  You should have more faith in your husband.’

Artist unknown. Courtesy of National Gas Museum

Artist unknown. Courtesy of National Gas Museum

and now for the history bit…

In 1807, Frederick Winsor, a German born entrepreneur, demonstrated the use of gas to light streets, in London’s Pall Mall. Fifteen years later almost every large town in Britain, as well as Europe and North America, had a gasworks. The company he founded – The Gas Light & Coke Company, continued to supply most of the gas in London, until the industry was nationalised in 1949.  Read more at The National Gas Museum website.

For more stories click on Mr Frog 


More on the new man, how long will it last??

Yesterday, my youngest son and his wife arrived with new daughter sleeping pecefully, and announced that they had come to take Grannie and Grandad to the park! So, I have a name at last! I was allowed to push the new pram carrying my youngest granddaughter and, like a learner driver I set off with great caution.

It was a lovely day; the sky a light, blue, without a cloud, the air crisp and clear with the promise of spring just around the corner.

We walked on; dad and grandad taking the lead, with mum and grannie bringing up the rear with the pram. I watched my son and his father walking ahead, almost shoulder to shoulder and remembered how many times we had walked this route in the past, to shout encouragement at football matches and tennis games, now we were walking with his baby daughter, well wrapped up and asleep in her new pram.

On we walked. Through the park, down by the river, along the bank then up and and across the little renovated metal bridge to the tea rooms on the other side. Lots of folk had taken advantage of the weather and were out with their dogs and bikes and children, all drawn like magnets to the tea rooms for refreshment and, in my case, a sit down!

After tea and a large slice of Victoria Sponge, (fortification for the walk home you understand) we set off back. The baby had woken and was due to be fed. So we quickened our pace. It was at this point that I somehow managed to pull a muscle in my calf. My son relieved me of pram duty and I sat for a while on a low wall, massaging my leg. The baby was very annoyed with us by this stage, so the little family walked ahead, leaving grannie and grandad to follow behind.

Lying in the bath this morning, trying to ease the pulled muscle in my leg, I became aware of a drum-drum-drum noise coming from somewhere nearby. It was similar to the noise a car makes going over ridges in the road and I wondered if perhaps our “dawn chorus” of feathered friends, at odds with losing an hour of sleep, were doing some sort of tap dance on the roof in protest! Slowly I realised it was coming from the shower room next door. My husband was cleaning the tiles after his shower and the noise was made by the squidgy blade cleaner, running over the grouting as it moved from tile to tile!

I lay back and smiled, he really has been listening.

But I wonder how long it will last.

A new man?

“What do you think of the wine?”
“Mm it’s not bad. It will be better when it’s warmed up a bit though.”
“Ah well, usually I’d agree with you, but not this time. This wine can be drunk straight after opening.”
“Well, I prefer my red wine at room temperature.”

A slight pause ensues. He is trying very hard to be nice to me. I feel annoyed with myself. This meal is a complete surprise and is very welcome. I have been attending a conference for two days; in the normal way of things I would return home, we would make a little small talk about his days and my days, I would fuss over the dog, then shower and change and make dinner. But not tonight! Tonight I am seated in a very nice restaurant, waiting for my red wine to warm up a little and recovering from the shock of his greeting, “When you are showered and changed, I am taking you out”.

My husband is not a house husband. He has told me this on many occasions so it must be true. Although he is retired now from his former high-powered job and has time to follow his hobbies, visit friends, walk the dog, watch tv, he sees no reason to add shopping, cooking or helping with the housework to his activities. My sister says that it’s an ‘age thing’. There is an age gap, but not a generation!

I watch him watching cookery programmes and see his obvious delight and appreciation in food well cooked and nicely presented. If I happen to leave the room, I am used to his shout of, ‘You need to come and see this, this looks great and not too much messing around’, as if he intends to make the dish himself some time soon.

I have thrown things at him in the past but to no avail.

When I came home a couple of weeks ago, from a meeting in London, I sat him down and told him we needed to have a serious conversation. And we did. I asked if he would please try and help more; if he noticed that we were out of bread, toilet rolls, teabags, coffee, whatever, it would be a great help if he’d go and buy what we needed when he was out next, and not leave messages on my mobile telling me what we were short of, and asking if I could collect them on my way home!

I also asked him if he remembered the times a few years ago, when he used to get home after a few stressful days away; the lovely dinner waiting for him, how he could just relax and unwind, even nod off in the chair……..

A few quiet, thoughtful days followed. Later in the week, I noticed a different type of bread left out on the work surface. I opened my mouth and closed it again very quickly. Bread is bread, more or less I decided, and perhaps he liked this brand better than the one I usually buy. I eat very little bread. I put it away and said nothing.

A few days later, a different brand of teabags appeared. I don’t drink tea, but wondered why he had chosen this brand. My curiosity got the better of me and I asked him. He told me that when he went out to buy the bread, he was amazed at all the different varieties and thought he would try something different. He gave the same reason for the choice of teabags, and also said that he fully intended buying yet another brand when these were finished.

He added that although he had listened and understood what I was getting at, he would have a problem when it came to replacing the coffee. He doesn’t drink coffee. Would it be alright if he just bought the same brand again?

I said that would be perfect.