The Rockery – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Dawn M. Miller . . .

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and this is my story for this week . . .

‘You’d be better off selling this old place,’ David said, twisting to face his mother on the veranda. ‘You can’t cope with this big house now that Dad’s gone …’

Mildred was pleased her son didn’t pursue the matter of his father’s leaving. She’d known about Ralph’s affair with Doris for months and was glad to see the back of him.

‘And that huge garden … I know you said Dad built that rockery, but it’s a great eyesore and needs shifting. You can’t do that on your own.’

‘The rockery holds fond memories of your father, David, and I wouldn’t dream of shifting it. If I change my mind, my new handyman, Eric, can deal with it.’

Mildred sipped her tea, willing David to go home. Tonight Eric would join her for drinks in the garden. She’d raise her wine glass to the rockery, silently wishing her husband a peaceful night’s rest, before embarking on a bit of rough and tumble between the sheets with Eric.

Word Count: 166

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If you’d like to read other entries, click here.

Happy Families

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A couple of weeks ago I was chatting with Chioma on her blog, which is appropriately entitled lifehomeandaway. As someone who has quite recently arrived in the UK, Chioma’s focus is on creating a comfortable and caring home for her family – not an easy thing to do in a strange country where everything is different to what you were used to, and everyone you knew – including the family you grew up in – is many miles away.

One of Chioma’s main interests is in making sure her children will grow up in a happy home, so that in future years they have a store of happy memories to look back on. Having learned that I had six children, she asked me if I’d do a post to explain how I dealt will this as my children were growing up, so that is what this post is about. Of course I can only talk about the way things were in my family, and air my own opinions.

I have many happy memories from the years when my own children were young during the 1970s and 80s. How I tried to ensure they were happy is difficult to analyse but I do believe that one of the key things children need is a feeling of security. They all need to know they are loved and wanted.

Me and Tom

Me and Neil

Perhaps the best way to ensure that is by simply spending some time with them and talking to them. Yes, by all means tell them how much you love them now and then. It’s easy to assume that children know that, when perhaps they don’t. Hugs are good, too. Young children also love to be included in daily activities. Mine always loved to help me bake, perhaps roll out their own little portions of pastry or help to put the cake mixture into cases, perhaps decorate them later, too. Most of them loved to be given a duster, or – when they were a little older – iron some of the simple items, perhaps weed or hoe the garden. There are many jobs they just loved to do. I do realise how difficult this can be sometimes, especially mowadays, with both parents often out at work all day. But it doesn’t have to be for long and can often be incorporated into daily tasks.

Play is always a vital pat of any child’s life. In the 1970s and 80s kids played outdoors a lot more than they do today. There were no computer games or even DVDs to keep them glued to the spot.  They used their imaginations, invented situations or played out stories they’d read. And they ran about, enjoying the fresh air! Children’s imaginative play is a delight to watch. I’ve seen mine pretend to be all kinds of things, from strange, fantasy creatures to different characters they’ve come across. Dressing up is a great part of this, so a box of any old or cast off clothes and hats is great. (These old photos are rather blurred, but are just to illustrate my point.)

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My two youngest playing in our back garden, 1988
My second daughter (afairymind) in a oicture which displays her love of making up stories from a very early age.
Playing at hobby horses in the garden

 As they got a little older and played away from the garden, I was always careful to know where they would be, and would never let them wander a long way off, or be out for hours at a time. Traffic danger was never an issue in our village. I would always go for walks with them, go blackberry picking, feed the ducks in the park or have snowball fights in winter. I’ve ‘ve always been an outdoorsy person, so enjoyed whatever we did.

A picnic in the park in 1980
A picnic in the park in 1980

 

Days out and holidays often leave children with happy memories. But this is sensitive territory, as many families can’t afford such luxuries. I know, because we were in that position during the years when I didn’t teach. Later on, when we had two cars, we started to do holidays, just around Britain to start with., then abroad later on. Seaside holidays, or just days’ out, were always a hit.

 

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Family holiday in Norfolk in 1989. Dad with the four younger kids. The two eldest were watching the silly antics with me.
On a Norfolk beach in 1989

I have lots of photos to help us recall family times from years ago, but they would be on no interest to anyone else but us. Many are in albums, others just kept in a big box. They are old and not expertly taken, so look very poor compared to modern photos. But to me and my family, they are very precious.

One of the things Chioma stresses is that there are always compromises to be made in the process of making a home and bringing up children. In our case that was certainly true. There were a few years when I couldn’t go back to teaching, especially when the last two children were still small. So the biggest compromises were financial ones. But we chose to have six children and that was that. We also needed a rather large house, and had many years in a big, three storey Victorian house with six bedrooms. We all loved that house.

I’m really not sure whether this is what Chioma wanted but, as I said, I can only speak from my own experiences. Just being together worked really well for us.

all of us

Word of the Week (WOW) – Jardinere

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Word of the Week (WOW) is a weekly challenge created by Heena Rathore P. It’s a fun way to improve vocabulary by learning new words every week.

To participate, simply do a post with your word and leave the link as a comment on Heena’s WOW post for this week (above link). It’s a nice post to do and will give you some practice with a dictionary, of which there are several online. Illustrations are by no means necessary, but it’s up to you.

Here is my WOW for this week:

jardiniere Word:  jardinière

Pronunciation:  jahr-dn-eer  [zhahr-dn-yair] [ʒɑːdɪˈnjɛə]

Part of Speech:

Noun

Meaning:

 1. a.  an ornamental stand for plants or flowers 

     b.  a large usually ceramic flowerpot holder

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2. a garnish of fresh vegetables, cooked, diced, and served around a dish of meat

[Click here for illustrations of jardinière of vegetables]

Synonyms: 

Plant pot, flower pot, plant holder, planter, pot

Antonyms:

None

Word Origin:  1835-45 < French, feminine of jardinièr gardener, equivalent to Old French jardin -garden + ier

Use in a sentence: 

1. On the low wall along the driveway to the Old Hall, stood a number of impressive jardinières.

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2. While we were at the garden centre, I bought an amusing watermelon jardinière.

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If you’d like to check out more interesting words then visit Heena’s page:

Word Treasure

Salesman’s Talk – Friday Fictioneers

Friday Fictioneers is a flash fiction challenge which asks that we write a story in no more than 100 words from the photo prompt kindly provided by the host, Rochelle Wisoff Fields. To join in with the challenge, or find out more about it, just follow the link on the challenge title above.

Here is this week’s prompt . . .

Copyright: Lauren Moscato
Copyright: Lauren Moscato

 

and this is my story . . .

The greasy owner from the off-licence below gestured round the dingy flat. ‘Bargain at fifty quid a week: nice and compact. Good-sized bedroom too … for a lad your age,’ he added, winking.

I wasn’t convinced, but needed my own pad; my parents were driving me insane.

‘Meter for lecky and gas … fully furnished,’ he enthused, as I stared at the boarded-up door.

‘Ah, we don’t use that door. Last tenant fell right out. Drunken fool killed himself. His ghost pops round occasionally.’

I smiled at his silly grin. The idea of ghost-hunting parties and séances clinched the deal.

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Word Count: 99

If you’d like to read other entries, click on the little blue fellow below:

 

Book Promotion!

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This is definitely the shortest post I’m likely to make for a while. I just wanted to let people know that Book 1 of my Sons of Kings trilogy, Shadow of the Raven will be free on Amazon for three days, starting on April 3.

Anyone who enjoys a Viking adventure tale may be interested in this book. I had another great review on the Amazon.com site only yesterday. The review was headed by the phrase. ‘Well written historical fiction from a rising star.’ I owe huge thanks to that person, whoever it is. It’s no one I know, from WordPress or anywhere else.

Reviews are so important to writers, not just to inflate their egos. They help the writer see what they are doing right, or wrong, as well as helping to get their books noticed. Needless to say, if anyone out there downloads my book this weekend, a review would be soooo much appreciated! Of course, it’s certainly not obligatory. Just downloading it would be of enormous help to me.

Well, that’s it from me for the moment. I’d better get back to writing Book 3 …

Shadow of the Raven (Medium)

The Best Clown Ever – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge, kindly hosted by Priceless Joy. The challenge asks us to write a piece of fiction from the photo prompt provided in around 100- 150 words – give or take 25 words. It encourages participants to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the link in the title of PJ’s, blog: Beautiful Words to see what to do. The challenge runs from Wednesday to Wednesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt . . .

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. . . and this is my story:

Marvin stared at the mirror, considering his hollow cheeks, the deep lines about his sunken eyes. Gambling had brought him to this: a sad excuse for a man.

Jobless and penniless, scorned by his long-suffering wife, Marvin had taken the only job to come along. The Circus had come to town.

‘On in twenty, Marv, after the sea lions,’ the stable lad called, rapping at the caravan door.

Marvin applied foundation to brighten his skin, topped by vivid lines of coloured paint and a red horn nose. His ginger wig, chequered suit and oversized shoes completed the look.

His act had the audience enthralled. He juggled and cavorted and honked his big red nose. He laughed and applauded as much as they …

As he left the Big Top, a woman and two small boys stepped into his path. ‘I’m proud of you, Marvin,’ Susan said. ‘You make the best clown ever.’

Rivulets of tears streaked Marvin’s carefully painted face. But then he smiled.

‘Yes, I do, don’t I?’

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If you’d like to view other entries, click here.