Almost A Family


Copyright – Bjorn Rudberg

 

Almost A Family

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

They stood facing each other in the bare, dimly lit room.

‘Do you want this?’

‘Yes, they are my family.’

He tossed the album into the box labelled ‘’Irina”.

“What about this?

He held up a grubby blue teddy bear, waving it menacingly from side to side as he walked towards her.

‘Don’t, please not again.’ The blow knocked her to the floor.

‘I would have had a family too, if you hadn’t lost him. Now you’re trying to leave. You were very careless Irina, what shall I do with you?’

He lunged for her.

And never saw the knife.

 

Read more stories here 

The dark cloud from last week has lifted – yay!  However, the photo from Bjorn reminded me of a story I read in the press a while ago, about a body being discovered in an abandoned, almost derelict house. The authorities had a very tangled web to unravel to discover what happened.  So colour me ‘dark’ again this week.

Thank you to our ever patient Chef de Mission – Rochelle Wisoff-Fields and to all the other Friday Fictioneers who write such brilliant stories each week.

 

Advertisements

Jake and the Dolphin


Thanks to Rochelle for shepherding the Friday Fictioneers throughout the year.  I have thoroughly enjoyed posting a story almost every week, and thanks to constructive comments from some very talented writers, I feel my writing has improved a great deal. The lovely photo this week is courtesy of Jean Hays – I seem to remember having another of her beautiful stained glass panes as a previous prompt.

 

Not long now until Christmas, only five sleeps as youngest son told me (he is 36).  So, may I take this opportunity, whether you celebrate Christmas or your own particular special celebration, to wish you all peace and happiness and a wonderful holiday with friends and loved ones.

 

Copyright - Jean l Hays

Copyright – Jean lL Hays

 

Genre: Fiction

Word Count: 100

Jake and the Dolphin

 

Every year Jake’s parents took him to Florida for Christmas, hoping the holiday sunshine would help him.

‘We’re going to swim with dolphins this trip.’

Jake didn’t react; that wasn’t unusual.

Late in the afternoon on Christmas Eve, as they splashed about, a dolphin appeared alongside. Gently nudging Jake, it guided him through the water. Jake held him tightly. People stopped to watch the boy with the dolphin, seemingly playing together.

When he was put to bed, Jake turned to his mother and whispered ‘Love you’

She stared momentarily, not believing her ears, then hugged him.

‘Jake, you can talk.’

 

This is based on something that happened to a friend’s son. He was diagnosed with autism, a most cruel affliction, when he was two years old. He had no speech at all and although seemingly happy in all other ways, his frustration at not being able to make himself understood, gave rise to terrible temper tantrums that affected all the family. It got so bad that at times they just couldn’t take him anywhere.

When he was nine, he went swimming with dolphins and a short time afterwards, he was able to speak.  Not fluently, but enough to make himself understood.  The medical team was very doubtful that the dolphin had anything to do with it.  His mother believed that the dolphin had helped her son and I like to think so too.
  for more stories from the Fictioneers click the little blue froggy

Just a quick note….


Topography

Image via Wikipedia

I won’t be posting anything next week, we’re taking a family holiday the first one with one of our granddaughters so I am rather excited.  We all try to get together at least once every two years to unwind and enjoy some different scenery.

This time we are going to Majorca, the weather promises to be kind to us, unlike the so-called “summer” we have had here in the UK. We are all looking forward to a relaxing break and most of all I’m looking forward to spending a whole week with the baby.

I hope you all have a great week, I look forward to catching up when I get back and will hopefully have some great photos to post.

Take care

Revisiting my Dream House


 

This morning for some reason I can’t explain, I took a detour from my usual route into work. Most days I take the same route and my journey passes almost as though the car is on auto-pilot, although I like to think I am still in charge!

Today though, I found myself driving past my dream house.

I first saw this house in the late ‘80’s. The house was everything I had dreamt would be mine one day. The rooms were generous, with high ceilings and large windows, letting  in lots of light.  There was a large lawn with flower beds and trees at the back of the house. Behind a hedge,  there was a vegetable garden and a small greenhouse in the corner with tomatoes and cucumbers growing inside. Beyond that, was a rough area with a compost heap and a huge water-butt to collect the rainwater, for use in the garden.

My boys were quite young then and I could see them playing in the garden with their friends; climbing the trees and running around chasing each other, having lots of fun.

I imagined entertaining our friends there too, with barbecues on lazy summer evenings, relaxing and chatting together, while our children played. There were enough bedrooms for family and friends to stay for weekends or even longer and the hall was the perfect place for the Christmas tree. I could see it, lights twinkling, baubles shining, presents stacked beneath its boughs, waiting to welcome everyone to our home for Christmas.

My husband thought the house was too big; the gardens too time consuming and the work that would be needed on the building, daunting in the least. He couldn’t begin to see the potential that I saw that first day. Yes it would take time and money, and yes we would have to employ a builder, as neither of us is much good at DIY, but it would be worth it. We would have a home we would love.

We made an offer for the house, just below the asking price. “You never give them what they ask for first time,” my husband said when I begged him to give the owners the price they wanted. I was surprised how much I wanted this house.

But this was the time of gazumping. Prices jumped not by hundreds, but in some cases by thousands of pounds. And so it was for us. Our offer was rejected, so we offered the asking price, it was rejected again. We increased our offer and had it rejected yet again. We went as far as we could and after much anger and tears on my part, we realised that the house would not be ours.

We eventually found another house we liked and we have been there ever since. It is quite old and has lots of similar features, a beautiful garden that the family enjoy, but for me it has never had that certain charm that the other house had.

Today, as I stood and looked at the house from across the road, I thought it looked tired. The windows had not been replaced and now were badly in need of a coat of paint. One of the gates had come of its’ hinges and was hanging at an awkward angle. The hedge, once so neatly trimmed, was overgrown and parts of it trailing on the pavement. It had a look of neglect about it that I found upsetting.

As I got back in my car, an elderly man came round the corner with a newspaper under his arm. He walked slowly towards the house. I watched as he stopped and stared at the gate, before going in through the front door. Surely he wasn’t the same, rather dapper professor, who had taken us round his home all those years ago, pointing out his favourite flowers and proudly showing us round his greenhouse?

He was about the right age. But if it was him, what happened 25 years ago? Why did the sale fall through? Did the owners change their mind? I’ll probably never know.

I felt quite sad for a moment, but then very annoyed with myself. I have been very lucky. I have a happy, healthy family, good friends and a very nice home. I drove off hoping that, regardless of whatever had happened all those year ago, the old professor had been happy, living in my dream house.

Another Girl!


I have been so busy these last few weeks with the birth of my second granddaughter. We were so excited to have one, but to have two girls is just so amazing. They are both coming on really well and the mums are doing fine too.

I haven’t got an answer to my question yet but I’m sure a name will emerge in a little while. Funnily enough my sons have tentatively referred to me as Grandma and Gran, as if they are trying to get used to calling me something other than mum!

I look forward to the coming months and will update the blog from time to time to let you know how they are getting on.

What do I want to be called?


This lovely cartoon is by Pamela
Perry courtesy of http://www.babyclipart.net/

I have recently become a grandmother for the first time and
will soon be a grandmother for the second time – did my sons and
wives get together and plan this? I did have a few
words about the lack of grandchildren, but that was AGES ago!! So
now, I have an adorable granddaughter and am waiting very excitedly
to see what the next baby will be. I have been more
interested in the names that are to be given to my grandchildren,
but it seems that everyone wants to know what name I am to known by
and, to be honest I haven’t got a clue. My granddaughter already
has a Grandma and I’m told that two grandmas would be confusing for
the child, unless of course we are known as Grandma A and Grandma B
which does sound silly and why use grandma again when there are so
many other names I could have. Grandmother Grannie Gran Nan Nannie
G-ma And a few foreign
ones too

  • NaiNai
  • Lola
  • Bomma
  • Grandmere
  • Meme
  • Oma
  • YaYa
  • Tutu
  • Savta
  • Nonna
  • Oba-chan
  • Halmoni
  • Busia
  • VoVo
  • Babushka
  • Abuela
  • Bube

There are some great names there, but I still haven’t chosen mine.
I thought there was no urgency as it will be a while before
either of the babies calls me anything, the parents however, demand
a name! So if any kind person would like to help me with
this, I really would be very grateful

How to cheat……. and get away with it


 

Roast Beef

With some friends, who are acknowledged “foodies” coming for Sunday lunch, I decided to stay safe and cook my signature Sunday lunch dish – roast beef with Yorkshire puddings and all the trimmings. My butcher carefully selected a lovely piece of beef for me, a large piece as I think that the larger the joint, the better it cooks and tastes. He also put some fat on top “makes the gravy taste better”. He always does this and I always throw it away, thinking heart attack, cholesterol levels etc., see, I do pay attention to medical information.

Having completed my shopping the previous day or so I thought, straight after breakfast I started to prepare the vegetables. I got the beef ready for the oven, nicely sprinkled with freshly ground black pepper, in it went. I then had a coffee and a quick scan of the Sunday papers, before deciding it was time to make the Yorkshire pudding batter. In my store cupboard are quite a few types of flour, but horror of horrors, there was no plain flour in sight.

Now, I have been foolish enough to attempt to make Yorkshire puddings with self raising flour in the past, the results have been something entirely inedible and could be used for Frisbee practice! So I asked my son if he would be my saviour, pop down to the village shop and get me some plain flour so I could make the Yorkshires.

I was out in the garden when he got back, he shouted that Mrs Williams hadn’t any plain flour in the shop, but had given him some of Aunt Bessie’s. With that he was off to his rugby match, I heard the front door slam as I rushed into the kitchen.

What I feared was there, on the kitchen table, two packets of frozen Yorkshire puddings courtesy of Aunt Bessie, whoever she may be! There was no time to go anywhere for plain flour, indeed, there wasn’t anywhere to go to, well not and be back in time for lunch. With the smell of roast beef wafting through the kitchen, I stared at the frozen offerings. I couldn’t serve these to the foodies, could I?

 I opened one packet and took out the frozen puddings. Hmm they seemed the same diameter as my small bun tins. I carefully took one pudding out of its’ tinfoil, there was a small amount of grease in the bottom but not much. So I took some fat from the roasting tin, put a very small amount in the bottom of each of the twelve spaces of the bun tin and put the tin in the oven. When the fat was hot, I placed a frozen pudding in each one. Then, with fingers crossed, into the hot oven they went.

They were perfect; the foodies showered me with compliments on the lunch and asked how on earth I managed to make such tasty Yorkshire puddings? As my son had not yet got back from his rugby match, I just smiled and said nothing.

Aunt Bessie's Yorkshire Puddings

A morning in the attic – up to my knees in memories


This all came about because my OH couldn’t find the black luggage label.  The label is one of two we purchased in a little shop in Jasper, three years ago; it is made of black leather, with a cut out of the first letter of our surname in a contrasting pink leather – sounds a bit OTT, but trust me, it looks very smart when attached to one end of a piece of luggage. And different. I have never seen any more like them anywhere. I found the other one, the pink one with the black letter, but there was no way he was going to take that one with him on his trip!

I thought perhaps it had got inside one of the other bags and said as much, which was a mistake and  resulted in an attic search on Saturday.  Our attic, like most I guess, is the respository for things that don’t quite fit anywhere else, or you can’t quite bring yourself to throw out. Like luggage which takes up far too much room to be stored anywhere else; an old artificial Christmas tree, which gets a revamp every year and placed in the porch and all the decorations that adorn the “real” tree when it comes, various tins, boxes, bags, records, my old hockey stick, a pair of crutches (??) the list goes on. 

So, rather begrudgingly, I took myself off to the attic, armed with a couple of bags for sorting the rubbish and my phone in case there was an emergency and I was needed (please) and the thought I would catch up with my twitter friends if I got bored!  That worked out well,  until I realised I was spending a little too much time tweeting and not enough time sorting!

I checked the luggage and found the black tag, yes! That is when I should have stopped and gone downstairs triumphantly with the find, but I didn’t because underneath the oldest of the bags, was a pile of photographs.  And so I started going through them. Big mistake, huge.

You remember those pre-digital days, when we took snaps on rolls of film we bought at the chemist or supermarket, wound carefully onto the spool in the camera, away from bright light in case we damaged it?  Then when we had finished the roll, it rewound, if you had the latest camera; or you had to rewind by hand, turning for ever until the film was wound back into its’ case. Then you took it out and handed it in to be developed.  You waited with bated breath, hoping that the photograph you had taken of your grandmother’s 80th birthday party, with all those relatives you had never met before, turn out OK as they all want a copy as a keepsake.  Well, there were envelopes full of photos like that!

Photos of my children on their first bikes,  at the beach, on a slide, running in the egg and spoon race; a birthday party with a cake in the shape of a fire engine all red icing with white ladders on the top; school outings and new uniform days,  the first day of “big school” all wide-eyed and anxious; scrubbed within an inch of their lives, ready for whatever was coming their way.

There were photos taken at friends weddings – why did I ever think I would look good in an outift like that? It is the clothes that date the photographs more so than the people, who somehow manage to stay more or less looking like they always have. Then the babies started to come along and there are piles of photos of them.  Then, from somewhere at the bottom of the pile I found photos of my parents.  They have both gone now, but looking at them, laughing into the camera lens, on holiday in Ibiza, the Yorkshire Dales or the Scottish highlands brought tears to my eyes and I remember them more clearly seeing the photographs, than  I ever do just thinking about them.

I spent a long time in the attic. My knees were sore and I only had a small pile of rubbish to show for my morning’s work, but there were lots of happy memories

Thinking about comfort food


The winter has been unusually cold here, as a result I found I have been making more dishes that can only be described as comfort food.

Chilli con Carne – wonderfully warming

Bangers and mash – the best way to eat potatoes

Fish Pie – big chunks of tasty fish, creamy sauce and mashed potatoes again

Shepherd’s Pie – spicy tasty mince beef,  oh and mashed potatoes..

Macaroni Cheese – lovely pasta and tangy cheese

Lasagne – layers of creamy pasta and melted cheese

Sticky Toffee Pudding – my all time favourite pud especially with custard

My mouth is watering just writing about them

What are your favourites?

2010 – not trying to be superwoman!


I am back in the office today after the holiday and, as usual after a break, after a couple of hours it feels as though I have never been away!  I tidied my desk before I left on Christmas Eve, no mean feat given the amount of paperwork that had landed on it during the previous few days, but I knew how good I would feel when I unlocked my door and saw the vast expanse of mellow, polished wood, bare except for my pc, filing trays, pen holders and telephone.  And I did! I also patted myself on the back for getting the Christmas present buying and wrapping all done and dusted with seven shopping days to spare! 

This is so unlike me.  I accepted years ago that I am one of those “last minuters”, one of the group of people who make organised folk hold up their hands in horror.  I could have a mountain of work to do or very little and either way, it will be finished with about five minutes to spare – there is always something else that needs doing, that seems more interesting.

I have been trying hard to understand why I changed, why my Christmas was more organised this year and why I was so determined to have a clear desk on my return to work.

I know I have driven my family mad on occasions, such as we are about to embark on a holiday and I have to go back because I have forgotten to pack something – toothbrushes usually.  Why was I not more organised? (Duet from husband and father here)  Of course I always resolved to change, but sadly it never happened. I always seemed to have so much to do though it all got done in the end.

My sister sent me a book recently, all about making more time for yourself. I read it and, as with most books of this type, thought how it would fit into my life.  I don’t come home from the office, after delegating goodness knows what, to goodness knows who, to find that the vegetables had been peeled and are waiting in water, or that a bath had been drawn and candles lit all around the sides!  But, the idea of more time for me, did stay with me longer than most.  Perhaps  my sub-conscious swung into action and, without realising why, I got the shopping out of the way, the house cleaned ready for guests and my office desk cleared for my return in the New Year.

Perhaps, also, I am my own worst enemy.  Maybe I have to accept that I can’t do everything,  that I am not Superwoman, but am instead a wife, mother and business woman who is just good enough!