Boiling Point – FFfAW

Boiling Point

Zak’s temper boiled and finally erupted. He stomped round the room, fists striking at empty space. How could she! After the months of fun they’d had, he’d never imagined she’d betray him. All he’d asked was her support of his work – and her discretion.

Jodie claimed she was good at keeping secrets, and she’d more than benefitted from their affair. The costly gifts he’d showered on her after successful operations always made her smile – and very compliant…

His rage was rising again and he cursed. If he ever set eyes on Jodie again he wouldn’t be responsible for his actions.

‘Sit down,’ one of the burly officers snapped as they entered. ‘Chief Inspector Roberts is on the way. And don’t try any sweet talk. Roberts isn’t known for being nice.’

‘Morning Zak,’ Roberts said as she swept in, a polythene bag full of jewellery in her hand.

‘Jodie…!’ he croaked. ‘You’re a stinkin’ cop… You bitch! ’

Jodie smirked. ‘That’s me. Now, just for the tape, remind me of where this little lot came from…’

Word Count: 175

*

This is my story for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers The prompt was kindly provided by artycaptures. It’s the first flash fiction I’ve done for a while – in fact, it’s the first thing I’ve posted at all for a few weeks – so I thought it was time to change things.

FFfAW is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It involves writing a story from a given photo prompt in 100-150 words, give or take 25. If you’d like to join in, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday – Tuesday every week.

To read other stories or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:

wpimg

Paint Me Green!


Paint Me Green!

Sidney waited for the groundsman to put him down and stared at the figure ahead of him. ‘Glud…’ he croaked, confused and a little scared. ‘Where are we? ’

Glud turned and Sidney hooted. ‘Oh boy, you should see the size of your eyes! They never looked like that before they painted you.’

The green man bristled. ‘Well you should see the size of your teeth! And weren’t you listening to those blokes who painted us? They were making us look interesting so someone would buy us for their garden.’

‘Why would they do that?’

‘We’re garden ornaments, Sidney. Don’t you Earthlings know anything?  I’m green with big eyes ’cos I’m an alien, and they’re always popular. I think you’re a squirrel.’

‘Oh no! That means I’ll have to eat nuts. Yuk!’

‘We’ll soon find out. Smile nicely and these folks approaching might buy us.’

‘Don’t leave me!’ Sidney squeaked as Glud was carried away by a nice-looking family. ‘Paint me green and I’d look like an alien, too. Aliens can have big teeth…’

 

Word Count: 175


This is my story for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers. I thought I’d have a bit of fun with this great prompt, which was kindly provided by anymark66

FFfAW is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It involves writing a story from a given photo prompt in 100-150 words, give or take 25. If you’d like to join in, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday – Tuesday every week.

To read other stories or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:

wpimg

The Game of Life – FFFAW

photo-20170227154627754

The Game of Life

Max stared at the iron bars, cursing the day he’d met Sophie. He’d been happy before then, his future stretched out like an unplayed game.

To Sophie he’d been little more than a prize bull, a trophy to display to her friends. One twist of the nose ring kept him compliant throughout each humiliating display. With her shapely body close to his, he’d gaze at her beautiful face and melt all over again.

But when Sophie demanded a diamond as proof of his love, Max panicked. At nineteen, that kind of money was not to hand and robbery had been his only option…

Alarms screamed before he’d left the shop, the old jeweller’s blood dripping from his knife. No hope of evading arrest; surveillance cameras didn’t lie.

He’d stared at those bars for two years now and dreaded the next twenty-three. Early release was unlikely for taking a life…

He refocused on his lonely game of Solitaire and reached for the pills concealed in his shoe. His game of life would be ending here.

Word Count: 174

***

This is my story for Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers, a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It asks us to write a story from a given photo prompt in 100-150 words, give or  take 25. If you’d like to join in, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday – Tuesday every week.

This week’s prompt was kindly provided by MajesticGoldenRose.

Apologies for the morbid nature of my story this week. I really am feeling very down at the moment and happy thoughts seem to evade me. Perhaps I need some sunshine…or some fairy dust from Tinkerbelle. 🙂

arm-2029653_1280

***

To read other stories or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:

wpimg

They’re All The Rage – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

It’s been a couple of months since I participated in a flash fiction challenge, but this prompt brought two different stories to mind, so I decided to have a go at one of them. Unsurprisingly, this one has a historical slant.

This is the prompt, kindly provided by Priceless Joy. Image courtesy of Pixabay . . .

photo-20151214095129364. . . and this is my story:

They’re All The Rage!

Lady Penelope withdrew her hand from the marmalade pot and gaped at the grinning sixteen-year-old across the breakfast table. Her husband, Lord Geoffrey Troughton, engrossed in reading the morning news, showed no signs of having heard their son’s request.

‘What on earth do you mean Archie?’ she demanded. ‘I’ve no idea what a ‘Penny Farthing’ is, let alone where to buy you one for Christmas.’

Archie let out an exasperated sigh. ‘Surely you’ve heard of them, Mother . . . everyone’s talking about them. They’re really quite the rage.  All the chaps at school are getting them for Christmas, and I’d like one, too.’

Lord Troughton lowered his newspaper. ‘It’s another of those bicycle machines, my dear,’ he explained. ‘It has a large wheel at the front and the smaller one at the back, reminiscent of the different sized coins, the penny and the farthing. They’re remarkably fast, Archie – just right for the modern age . . .’

Penelope went back to eating her toast. She’d have no further say in the matter now.

Word Count: 175

Penny Farthing, invented 1880-82. Courtesy of Pixabay
Penny Farthing, invented 1880-82. Image courtesy of Pixabay

If you’d like to read other entries, or add a story yourself, click on the little blue frog:

No White Feather – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Etol Bagam:

wpid-photo-20151005074310397And this is my story:

No White Feather

Reg swigged back his ale and grinned at his wife, chuckling at the stand-up’s jokes. The music hall was packed, every table full.  Ale was flowing and the noise from the audience was rising rapidly.

‘I knew you’d enjoy it,’ he said, taking her hand.  Some good turns on – though I didn’t know Vesta Tilley’d be singing tonight.’

Agnes nodded. ‘I’ve heard of her. She dresses like a man to make people laugh – and to persuade men to recruit into Lord Kitchener’s Army.  Not married ones, I hope . . .’

Cheers erupted as Vesta Tilley appeared on stage, dressed in a soldier’s uniform. Her first few songs had everyone singing along. Then all fell silent as she stepped down from the stage, wandering amongst the tables singing, ‘Oh, we don’t want to lose you but we think you ought to go,’ touching men’s shoulders as she passed.

As most of the men, Reg rose and followed Vesta back to the stage. He’d fight the Hun for king and country. No white feather for him.

A single white feather close up. Author: Joao Andrade de Frietas. Uploaded by Rex Public Domain.
A single white feather close up. Author: Joao Andrade de Frietas. Uploaded by Rex Public Domain.

’Word Count: 175

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

For anyone interested, here is a some information about music halls and a few things mentioned in my story that might be unfamiliar to people:

British Music Halls were originally tavern rooms which provided entertainment in the form of music and speciality acts such as short plays, comedy sketches, acrobats, minstrels, dancers, magicians, jugglers and even trick dogs. By the middle years of the nineteenth century the first purpose-built music halls were being constructed in London. Soon there were many around the country:

The Hackney Empire, a typical Music Hall. Author: Ewan Munro from London, UK. Commons
The Hackney Empire, a typical Music Hall. Author: Ewan Munro from London, UK. Commons

In effect, they were half pub, half theatre. The large halls had a stage but in the seating areas, tables were provided so that patrons could continue their drinking and socialising (generally noisily) while the ‘acts’ were on:

The Oxford Music Hall 1875. Public Domain. Uploaded by File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske) Wikimedia Commons
The Oxford Music Hall 1875. Public Domain. Uploaded by File Upload Bot (Magnus Manske) Wikimedia Commons

The halls created a demand for new and catchy popular songs, many composed by professional song writers with their working class audiences in mind. Songs like ‘My Old man Said Follow the Van’ and ‘Waiting at the Church’ described situations which the urban poor would be familiar with.

‘Well oiled’ on cheap beer, the audience chorused songs they loved and abused acts they loathed. In some places audiences would throw things at dud acts, and the bottles carried by the waiters were chained to the trays to prevent them being used as missiles.

Music Hall’s support for the war effort is well documented – although no one can deny that owners, landlords and song writers made a lot of money out of it. By the end of 1914, 30 or more specially composed songs promoting recruitment had been written. Many music hall  performers threw themselves into the effort, including, the most popular of all the singers, Marie Lloyd . . .

Postcard print of Marie Lloyd. Author Louis Saul Langfier (1859-1916). Public Domain
Postcard print of Marie Lloyd. Author Louis Saul Langfier (1859-1916). Public Domain

. . . and the singer most famous for her army recruitment success, Vesta Tilley:

Vesta Tilley had sung in music halls since she was 5 and generally dressed in men’s clothes (although during the day she took care to dress in her usual women’s wear to emphasise her femininity). One of her most popular songs was about a young swell,  ‘Burlington Bertie‘. During the early years of WW1, along with many other music hall performers, she helped in the recruitment of thousands of men.. She dressed as a soldier and sang patriotic songs, including Jolly Good Luck to the Girl Who Loves a Soldier and The Army of Today’s All Right. She was given the nickname of ‘Britain’s best recruiting sergeant’.

Vesta Tilley in her role as Burlington Bertie. Public Domain
Vesta Tilley in her role as Burlington Bertie. Public Domain

In 1914 Lord Kitchener introduced voluntary enlistment to increase British forces. It helped to create Britain’s first mass citizen army. Kitchener was one of the few British leaders to believe that this war would be long and difficult, and not ‘over by Christmas’. Within a year it became obvious that it was not possible to continue fighting by relying on voluntary recruits. Conscription was introduced in March 1916.

Kitchener's First World War Recruitment Poster. Public Domain. Author Alfred Leete, 1882-1993
Kitchener’s First World War Recruitment Poster. Public Domain. Author Alfred Leete, 1882-1993 Wikimedia Commons

The name ‘Hun’ was a derogatory term for German soldiers. It resulted from a remark made by Kaiser Wilhelm of Germany in 1900, when he sent his armies to deal with the Boxer Rebellion in China. He told his troops to show no mercy – just as the Huns, 1000 years earlier, had exhibited wanton destruction as they swept through Europe.

The White Feather has been a traditional symbol of cowardice, used within the British Army and countries associated with the British Empire  since the 18th century. It aimed to humiliate men who were not soldiers.

The White Feather Movement was a propaganda campaign in England during WWI to encourage men to enlist in the army. White feathers were distributed by women of the Order of the White Feather to any man they deemed capable of joining the army who was out of uniform. They aimed to make men realise that women viewed them as cowards. Other men would therefore be so afraid of receiving a feather they would join the army. Conscientious objectors were seen as cowards and received white feathers if their stance became known.

This poster was not one printed for this movement, but a part of the Parliamentary campaign:

May 1915 poster by E.V. Kealey from Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. Public Domain
May 1915 poster by E.V. Kealey from Parliamentary Recruiting Committee. Public Domain. Wikipedia Commons

*****

Leaving Rheged – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Louise:

wpid-photo-20150928070236744

And this is my story – which is very late this week:

Leaving Rheged

A low mist hung over the lake, the small craft moored along the bank materialising only as she crept closer. In the pre-dawn gloom the lakeside village still slept. By the time her people rose, Brietta would have long since gone.

She feared her trembling legs would betray her, that she’d collapse before she reached the boat. Yet she must reach the man she loved…

But Cynric was Prince of the hated Bernicians, and her unforgiving father, King Urien of Rheged, would kill them both if he knew.

A dark shape suddenly loomed and panic struck.

‘It’s only me,’ Owain whispered, hugging her tight. ‘Don’t worry, sister. I’ll make up some story about where you’ve gone to delay anyone searching for you.’

Brietta choked back a sob of gratitude. ‘I’ll come back to see you once –’

‘Once Father is dead and can’t make you marry the loathsome Hueil. I know. Go! Cynric’s waiting.’

Cynric rowed out into the mist-shrouded lake, the pain of Brietta’s loss diminished by being with the man she loved.

Word Count: 174

 

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

Just a note:

Rheged was one of the ancient Celtic kingdoms of Britain, located in the area of present day Cumbria (Lake District area, where Louise took the prompt photo) and spreading out quite extensively to both north and south.  It survived until the beginning of the 8th century when it was assimilated into the Angle kingdom of Northumbria.

Bernicia – where I have Cynric coming from – was one of two earlier, independent Angle kingdoms (the other being Deira) which became part of Northumbria in the 7th century, well before Rheged was was also ‘consumed’.

I have set my story during the reign of King Urien (c 530-590) when Bernicia and Deira were still kingdoms in their own right. Needless to say, the Celtic kingdoms fought hard against the invading Angles, Saxons and Jutes, as the stories about King Arthur well illustrate. King Urien and his son, Owain, are included in some of those tales.

Information about this Celtic kingdom can be found at The Rheged Discovery Centre at Penrith. We went when it first opened in 2000, and were quite disappointed with what was on offer, but I believe it’s quite different today. However, reviews are still very mixed.

Entrance to the Rheged Discovery Centre, Penrith, Cumbria. Named after the ancient nation of Rheged, it is built in a disused limestone quarry. Author: R. Hawarth. Public Domain
Entrance to the Rheged Discovery Centre, Penrith, Cumbria. Named after the ancient nation of Rheged, it is built in a disused limestone quarry. Author: R. Hawarth. Wikimedia Commons. Public Domain

For anyone interested, I have written a post about The Lake District to accompany this one. It can can be found here.

Sticky Pink Peonies – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Graham Lawrence:

wpid-photo-20150922070218865

And this is my story:

Sticky Pink Peonies

Jessie bobbed a curtsy. ‘’Scuse me ma’am, but the master asked whether you’d be attending the dinner party this evening.’

Lady Howarth wrinkled her nose and wiped her paintbrush down her long skirts. ‘It depends on how long my friends keep me talking, Jessie: they’re awfully chatty. If I am busy, he must carry on without me.  Mrs. Williams can be hostess instead.’

Jessie stifled a giggle at the thought of the crusty housekeeper chatting with influential people whilst the mistress entertained her imaginary ‘friends’ in the garden.

Lady Howarth swirled her paintbrush around a sticky pink blob on her canvas, intended to resemble a delicate peony on the nearby bush. ‘Monsieur Monet tells me that even Queen Victoria likes my work …’

A year had passed since the carriage had overturned, leaving Lady Howarth with the mind of a child. After the meeting tonight, the mistress would be admitted to the asylum – rendering the wealthy Lord Howarth quite free: as Jessie had planned the day she removed the pin from the carriage wheel.

Word Count: 175

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

Some ‘extra’ information, for anyone interested:

The lovely garden in Graham’s prompt reminded me of the walled gardens in the grounds of the many English stately homes that I’ve visited. Consequently, I set my story in Victorian times. I haven’t the time this week for much of an ‘Extra bit’ to accompany my story, but here’s a little snippet about walled gardens:

Perhaps one of the most famous walled gardens in literature features in the novel, ‘The Secret Garden’.  I read this story many years ago and can remember little about it – so perhaps a re-read is due. But I do remember the main character: a young girl (a child) finding her way into an abandoned and totally overgrown walled garden and tending to it – and it completely changed her life, easing the misery of her loveless upbringing.

The Secret Garden (cover) by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1849-1924. Public Domain.
The Secret Garden (cover) by Frances Hodgson Burnett, 1849-1924. Public Domain.

Essentially, the walled garden was something that many big and affluent houses had, mostly for growing fruit and vegetables for the use of the family living there. Some we’ve visited still grow really old varieties no longer heard of the shops or markets of today. It’s interesting to see how some of these old varieties differ to the modern ones. Sections of the gardens were generally devoted to flower growing too, to adorn the halls and stately rooms and impress the important guests.

Here’s a definition of a walled garden from Wikipedia:

“A walled garden is a garden enclosed by high walls for horticultural rather than security purposes, although originally all gardens may have been enclosed for protection from animal or human intruders. In temperate climates the essential function of the walls surrounding a walled garden is to shelter the garden from wind and frost,  though they may also serve a decorative purpose”.

Azealeas blooming inside the walled garden at Sunbury. Author: Colin bSmith. geograph.org.uk. Commons
Azealeas blooming inside the walled garden at Sunbury. Author: Colin Smith. geograph.org.uk. Commons

The walls were very important, some even having built-in heating systems:

Walled Garden 'hypocaust' system, (Hollow wall). Author: Rosser. Public Domain.
Walled Garden ‘hypocaust’ system, (Hollow wall). Author: Rosser. Public Domain.

The hollow wall idea involves a hollow wall with openings in the stonework on the side facing the garden. Fires could be lit inside the wall to provide heat to protect the fruit growing against the wall, such as espaliers. Heat would escape into the garden through these openings. Smoke from the fires would be directed upwards through chimneys or flues.

This is what an espaliered fruit tree looks like:

Espaliered fruit tree at Gaaskeek. Author: KVDB. Public Domain
Espaliered fruit tree at Gaaskeek. Author: KVDB. Public Domain

I would have liked to have written about the dreadful asylums, which were still in existence until the 1960s, or even later. Perhaps I’ll do that another time . . .

A Deadly Game – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, kindly provided by Louise:

wpid-photo-20150830113902812

And this is my story:

A Deadly Game

Dusk was falling when Nicole heard the first, distant toot of the 7.15 from Edinburgh. The September air was chill and she hugged her slender frame to stop herself from shivering. The station was deserted, and few people ever alighted the train at this remote spot.  She was grateful for that…

The great engine heaved to a halt, a proud warhorse engulfed in billowing steam, its huge brakes screaming displeasure of the controlling rein.

Gripped by fierce determination, Nicole waited for the face to appear at an opened carriage window. Lancasters roared overhead, heading for mainland Europe. Would this cursed war never end?

‘Nicole,’ the man’s voice called.  ‘Be quick, before the whistle blows.  What you got for us?’

The gun with its silencer felt reassuring as she pulled it from her bag and fired, straight at that detested brow. She’d spent months, working undercover for MI6, to gain this traitor’s trust. Passing him false information was a deadly game.

This traitor would betray his country no more…

Word Count: 168

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

I hate to say it, but I’m very much in danger of becoming a ‘Steam Engine Geek’. I’ve spent a lot of time in recent years visiting heritage railways and museums, mostly to satisfy grandson, Kieran. Between us in the familiy, we have hundreds of train photos. Louise has visited many of these sites too, but her interest lies mostly in photographing the engines for photography’s sake. She’s also very clever at editing photos, and I love what she’d done with this one. I couldn’t help writing something historical for it. The woman on the station is my eldest daughter, Nicola – with somewhat ‘edited’ clothing! Now, she is definitely not a train geek. She always stands with folded arms when she’s bored to tears!

I’ve done my ‘extra information’ as a separate post this week, as it somehow ended up being a bit too long to put here. For anyone interested, you can find it here.

A Treasured Friend – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

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

wpid-photo-20150823123622187

And this is my story, which is a little more ‘outside the box’ than usual this week:

A Treasured Friend

We were born opposites, you and I: you, the cosseted only child of an affluent family, and I, a simple labourer’s son. I often saw you as we grew, though never with friends of your own. I caught the look of longing in your eyes as you passed my happy group on our way to the local comprehensive. You were tucked inside your chauffeur-driven Rolls, en route to that costly private school. On Saturdays, I’d occasionally see you with your fur-clad mother, heading into those expensive boutiques. How glum you looked…

But you smiled at me sometimes, generating a radiance that lit up my world. I often wondered what it was like to be so rich, and yet so alone … cut off from the company and friendship of others. We were miles apart, you and I, with no means of spanning the distance between.

Attending the same university afforded the bridge across which our two worlds could meet. That bridge has been our treasured friend these past fifty years.

Word Count: 170

*

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below:

*

As this week’s prompt has a bridge as one of its prominent features, I thought I’d do something historical about bridges. I decided just to focus on one!

So, for anyone interested, here’s some information about one of the U.K’s most famous bridges: the Iron Bridge. This is a photo we took a few years ago:

DSCF0316

The Iron Bridge crosses the River Severn in Shropshire, England …

800px-Shropshire_UK_location_map.svg
Shropshire, UK, location map. Source: Ordnance Survey OpenData. Author: Nilfanion. Commons

… and was the first arch bridge in the world to be made of cast iron. It has become Britain’s best-known industrial monument, giving its name to the wooded gorge which was once an industrial powerhouse and has become known as the birthplace of the Industrial Revolution:

Downstream of the Iron Bridge. Author: Jon M. Commons.
Downstream of the Iron Bridge. Author: Jon M. Commons.
The Iron Bridge (aerial) by James Humphreys - Salopian James. Commons
The Iron Bridge (aerial) by James Humphreys – Salopian James. Commons

Construction on the bridge began in 1779 and it was opened in 1781. In 1934 it was designated a Scheduled Ancient Monument and was closed to all vehicles. Tolls for pedestrians were collected until 1950:

The brick tollhouse at one end of the bridge. Author: John M. geograph.org.uk. Commons
The brick tollhouse at one end of the bridge. Author: John M. geograph.org.uk. Commons
Ironbridge Tolls by Rodhulandemu. Commons
Ironbridge Tolls by Rodhulandemu. Commons

At the beginning of the 18th century, Abraham Darby I pioneered the process of using coke made from local coal to smelt local iron ore. But industrial expansion was hindered by the lack of a bridge across the Severn – which had to be a single span to allow for barge traffic. An iron bridge was first suggested by Thomas Pritchard, who designed a single bridge of 30 metres long, but died just as work began. The project was taken over by Abraham Darby III (grandson of Abraham Darby I) and the bridge was cast in his Coalbrookdale foundry. It used 378 tons of iron and cost £6,000.

Painting of the bridge by William Williams, artist. Public Domain.
Painting of the bridge by William Williams, artist. Public Domain.

Today, the Iron Bridge is a great place for starting a tour of the Gorge’s many museums and attractions. The area is now far from industrial: the factories have long-since gone and the Gorge has been restored to its natural beauty. It is now a maze of footpaths, bridleways and country lanes. One of my favourite places to visit in this area is Blists Hill Victorian Town – an authentic reproduction of a Victorian town, complete with shops, public houses and a bank.

The Ironbridge Gorge, together with the town of Ironbridge and the Iron Bridge is now a World Heritage Site.

Pedestrians crossing the Iron bridge with Ironbridge in the background. Author: Boerkevitz at nl.wikipedia. Commons.
Pedestrians crossing the Iron bridge with Ironbridge in the background. Author: Boerkevitz at nl.wikipedia. Commons.

References: Wikipedia, English Heritage, Virtual Shropshire.

*

A Nice Pair of Coconuts – Flash Fiction for Aspiring Writers

Flash Fiction for for Aspiring Writers is a writing challenge hosted by Priceless Joy. It 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 us to comment, constructively, on other entries, so supporting each other’s writing. If you’d like to join in with this challenge, follow the above link to see what to do. The challenge runs from Tuesday to Tuesday every week.

Here is this week’s prompt, courtesy of Pixabay:

wpid-photo-20150816175959521

And this is my story, for which I’ve resurrected the pair of incorrigible rogues, Fred and Harry, who haven’t made an appearance in my flash fiction for a while now. I’ve added a note about the Yorkshire dailect below:

*

Harry Hobson squinted at the many colourful stalls and gave a loud belch.

‘Grand fair,’ he said, glancing at his equally inebriated drinking buddy. ‘I think I’ll get one of them there balloons t’ tek home ter missus. Might stop ’er rantin’ about me bein’ in pub too long.’

Fred pulled a face. ‘Yer’ve tried that tactic afore, mate. An’ look where it got yer … sleepin’ on sofa for a week.’

‘Can’t blame me fer tryin’, Fred. Anyways, I like balloons meself. Might buy a couple … yer know: ‘His an’ Hers’. Women go all gooey over that kind o’ stuff.’

‘Your Nora goes ‘gooey’ ’bout nowt, Harry, except mebbe Bingo on Wednesday nights wi’ my Doreen.’

‘A man’s got t’ try ter be a good ’usband,’ Harry replied, fishing his wallet out of his pocket and scowling at its meagre contents. ‘P’raps I’ll leave the balloon buyin’ ’til next week, Fred. I need me last few quid ter have a go on that coconut shy yonder…

‘Nora’d like a nice pair o’ coconuts…’

Word Count: 175

*

For anyone not familiar with the Yorkshire dialect, here’s a note about it:

1. Many words have either the first or last letter missing – a form of lazy speech:

Her has the first letter dropped (e.g. ‘look at ’er’) as does the word about (e.g. ‘It’s ’bout time, too!’) Sleeping has the last letter dropped (e.g. sleepin’) as do the words being (e.g. bein’) and ranting (rantin’.)

 2. Some words have more than one letter missing:

‘Come with me’ becomes ‘Come wi’ me’. Perhaps becomes ‘p’raps’.

To is often written just as a t (e.g. ‘Fish ‘n’ chips t’ tek away, please.’ In that sentence the and is also reduced to just the middle letter n.

3. Completely missed out words are often open to guesswork:

‘Lets’ go fer a walk in woods’ – instead of ‘a walk in the woods’.  And ‘I’m off to the pub’ becomes ‘Im off t’ pub.’

4. Some words are simply down to Northern pronunciation:

For becomes fer. (e.g. ‘It’s a present fer Nora.’) To becomes ter (e.g. ‘I’ll give the balloon ter Nora.’) Nothing becomes nowt. ( e.g. ‘It’s nowt to do wi’ me!’) Take becomes tek. Before becomes afore. Maybe becomes mebbe.

*

My ‘extra information’ was again too long to attach to this post, so I’ve made it into a post of its own. For anyone interested, it can be found here.

*

If you’d like to view other entries, click the little blue frog below: