Writer of historical fiction, blogger, mum, pet lover :)


July 2015

Short Story: Sally

Sally pulled open the veranda doors and stepped out onto the balcony. She was standing at the back of the house, looking up at the magnificent snow clad fir trees that made up the border to her garden. She stood with her hands clasping the rails, as pure frozen air emitted  from her breath. She rubbed her hands against the iciness of the day. A gentle wind made itself present as the chimes at the end of the balcony tinkled under its tutelage.

She looked down onto the garden, to see the deer tracks in the snow, which looked so fresh. There was a rustling further along the corner of the house, where the trees met the now snow covered lawn. The swings and slide that were normally the play areas of the garden, were now a ghostly white.  A movement beyond the small snow covered lump that was normally the barbeque area caught her eye; and then she saw it. A huge deer was standing a little way back. She tried to focus her eyes, squinting in the pale sunlight that had decided to peer through the trees. Yes, there was a small deer stood beside the adult; a mother and doe together at the end of her garden!

They had been living in Canada for nearly six months. Sally, Jake and the boys had flown over for a holiday initially, to take in some skiing and snowboarding that they all loved. They had fallen in love with the people and culture of Canada, and had applied for residency almost immediately. And now they were here, in the heart of the ski resorts and loving every minute of it.

Lately, there had been a subtle change in her relationship with her husband. Jake had embraced his new home and all that it had offered, but these past few weeks had seen a difference in her husband. He was not so light of step, or enthusiastic about his surroundings as he had been just a few months back. His relationship with the boys had changed too; where once he would take them snowboarding on the weekends, now he fobbed them off, claiming to be tired. There always seem to be some project at work to complete instead. This had led to a distance between Sally and him too, a barrier that no amount of subtle comments, pleading looks or downright discussion had assuaged.

So, the inevitable had happened, and they’d had a blazing row. They had sent the boys to bed on a pretext that  there was a TV show on that was not suitable for them to watch, and then id started. Looking back, Sally blamed the red wine that she was knocking back as if there were no tomorrow; and perhaps she felt that there was no future for them anymore. She had become more and more tense, the more that he’d pushed her away, and she’d exploded last night.

Now, with a red wine hangover, she was feeling remorseful. Jake had left early and taken the boys up to the resort for some skiing, leaving her alone to her thoughts. They had barely spoken to each other, and she knew that is was the start of something momentous in their lives.

Where would they go from here?

Today, more than any other day, she felt that Canada was not home. She missed the atmosphere of home; the bright lights and the shopping. She felt a pang for her favourite restaurants, and for her family. They had all melded into one in her mind, and now they rose like spectres, roaring into her mind and spoiling the quiet calm of this snow clad scene in front of her.

She turned her head and walked into the living area. There was a noise outside, and she could see their family car pulling up onto the drive, and Jake and the boys spilling out. She sighed with dread. What would Jake’s mood be like after last night?

Jake and the boys walked into the room. The boys, sensing that there was some tension in the air, made themselves scarce.

‘We have to talk.’ he said. He sighed, and led her into the bedroom. She sat on the bed, and suddenly felt an impending dread.  What was he going to say?

Jake held an envelope in his hands. It looked pretty official, and one that she’d not seen before. She’d not checked their PO box at Whistler this week, so she’d not picked up the mail.

‘I know that its been a little strained for a while, but I’ve had a lot on my mind.’ he started to say. That’s an understatement, she thought, somewhat peevishly.

Jake looked at her face, and continued on quickly, sensing another row.

‘Its just that…well…they are really pleased at my work here lately. They regard me as a valuable member of the team.’ Jake paused, and swallowed a few times, nervously.

What was he going to spring on her?

‘Righto, I’ll just come out with it. They have offered me a promotion. The thing is the firm is expanding and have opened up some new offices. They want me to run them. I know how fond you are of Canada, and the boys love the skiing, and all the snow, but ….’ he paused, looking at her.

‘How do you fancy living in California?’

Sally looked up at her husband. A few seconds ago, it seemed that her world had ended. This was so unexpected, that she threw her arms around him in excitement. Jake looked perplexed.

‘I thought you loved it here, Sal. Lately though, I thought you might have been hankering for home.Could we move again, in such a small period of time?

Sally looked at her husband of fourteen years. So many things had run through her mind this morning, none of them good thoughts. Life is so fragile, it can turn on the toss of a coin. Her doubts and insecurities vanished.

‘Lets go tell the boys’ she said.


Short Story: Lucy’s garden

Lucy sat on the pine wood bench at the bottom of her small terraced garden. From this viewpoint she could just make out the edge of the woods yonder, and the M4 motorway, that wound itself across the southern part of England, finishing up in London. She smiled to herself as she remembered the last time she’d visited that capital city – it was for a theatre weekend with some of the girls from the factory. They’d had a whale of a time, trawling around the markets looking at trinkets, and visiting the historic sites such as Buckingham Palace and the Houses of Parliament. She enjoyed walking along the banks of the river Thames the best though, as they’d crossed at Chelsea Bridge, and watched the small boats chug up the river.

She sighed as she remembered lots of good weekends like that. It was when she was working that she was able to get about and social a lot more. She also had her own wages that gave her an independence. Now, she relied on a widow’s pension and a disability allowance from the government for her legs. She looked around at her newly laid patio and her pot plants placed around the edges in what she hoped was a symmetrical and pleasing pattern. She watched enough gardening shows on the telly that she felt like an expert. Her marigolds had started to wilt, and the climbing rose that trailed across her whitewashed wall had seen better days. She looked at her patio chairs. Her outdoor furniture had once been Jack’s pride and joy; now it looked faded and tattered. There was a bowl of wild flowers left on the small side table, in badly need of water ‘or to be thrown in the rubbish tip’ she thought to herself, and made a mental note to clear them in the morning..

She suddenly felt depressed and lonely. A sharp wind had unexpectedly blown up the alley and left her with goose bumps. She pulled her cardigan over her shoulders, and tucked a rug over her knees. The thought of going back indoors just yet left her feeling anxious – there was no one at home since her Jack had passed away some years back, and the children had long grown up and gone.

Suddenly, she heard a car pull up to the side of the house. She heard doors opening and then slamming, and the sounds of a mum soothing her child. There was the sound of footsteps coming from the alleyway at the bottom of her garden, and the gate that sat next to the shed started to rattle. The persistent caller  managed to undo the clasp and a small body flew into the garden. He had a blue anorak on, and a yellow jumper poking out from under it. His Postman Pat wellies squeaked as he ran up the path and shouted, ‘Gran, here we are, we’ve come to visit you! ‘

Lucy’s depression lifted immediately, and she grinned, opening her arms out for a bear hug. 🙂

Coffee and cake

I have spent the whole weekend at the shops. My daughter Jessica is now 13 years old, and is into shoes, jewellery (especially piercings) and shoes in a BIG way. We went to an open air market place which has designer clothes reduced, on Friday, where I bought myself a pair of leather boots. Saturday, was  spent wearing said boots to ‘break them in’ for Melbourne in a few weeks time. Well, results came back – and the boots did not hurt, not one little bit. Jessica is trying to persuade me to buy her heeled boots now, but so far I am not capitulating, no siree! She had to content herself with a new top.

Sunday, same time same place, we went back to the lovely humungous shops down the road – Robina, yay! This time, it was a jewellery day. Jess had some ‘ear cuffs’ which sound painful, but were surprisingly sophisticated on her ears. I had a pair, so we are now looking more like twins everyday ( I wish ).

We spent hours at a new warehouse type of store, that sells everything for the home. This is my other love – home furnishings. I bought beautiful large purple flowers and a clear cut vase to go with it, and they are resplendent on my side board.

The second week Jess’s holidays start tomorrow. We went to the cinema last night to see a sweet film entitled ‘Inside Out.’ Last week it was ‘Jurassic World’ and I could not BELIEVE how good the effects were (have I mentioned this before? They were awesome!).

Bubbles the budgie goes back home tomorrow. He has been a joy to have and chirps away cheerfully all day. Billy my jealous terrier, looks up at him and growls incessantly, but Bubbles does not seem to notice…he’s so sweet.

BTW We had a lovely vanilla slice to go with our coffees… there was enough cake for us to share, and it had superb icing on top…scrumptious.

More news next week….over and out. 🙂 🙂

Short story: Josie’s day

Josie pulled back the flower patterned curtains and looked around her bedroom. She was in her childhood home,and her mother had not got around to decorating the room. The familiar pink and grey striped wallpaper still adorned one wall, alongside the plain pink painted walls that were covered with her favourite posters. Robbie Williams in his ‘Let me entertain you’ pose, strutted his stuff alongside a poster of the hip and seriously pouty faces of the members of Oasis. Wow, she remembered the excitement she’d felt when she had concert tickets through the post for the Oasis gig. She remembered shivering with excitement on the day of the concert, and what she’d worn. Julie had picked her up so early, in her new skinny tight jeans and her Doc Martins. Julie’s mother had allowed her to wear lipstick for just that day, and she had brought some over for Josie to use. They’d caught a train up to London; two sixteen year olds with the world at their feet.

‘Come on, lovey! We’re going to be late otherwise, get a move on.’ Josie’s dad called up the stairs. Jack was now in his early seventies, but was still able to run around the block every morning, and had kept himself slim and fit. Josie could hear a movement next store, and the handsome face of her son James, peeped around the door.

‘Hi mum! Did you hear Grandpa calling us?’ her son inquired.

‘I think the undead must have heard him!’ James giggled at her attempt at a joke. She needed to lighten her mood to prepare for the days’ events. Her heart sank as she thought about why they were even there, back in the town of her childhood. She rarely visited anymore, and had only started to make more regular appearances to help out her dad. He was an independent old soul, though, who’d insisted on caring for himself as much as possible, especially since mum’s illness. He had insisted that she spend this milestone day at her home.

Josie sighed, and looked at herself in the mirror, before adjusting her fascinator. She looked across the room, to her old childhood dressing table, still full of her pictures, jewellery and nick knacks that she’d treasured once, but now seemed so obsolete to her. A picture of her mum took pride of place on the dresser. It was a photo taken on a sunny day when Josie was still James’ age. Her and her mum were squinting at the sun, sitting in a filed of cornflowers, enjoying a picnic. Josie remembered her dad taking the pic, all those years ago.

Just then, James made another appearance, and held out the crook of his arm to her.

‘You look lovely, mum. Dad will be blown away. Come on, let’s go we can’t keep him waiting or he may change his mind! Blown out on your wedding day. imagine that!’

Josie gave her son a nudge. ‘Cheeky thing!’ she answered, looking at her 15 year old, who stood nearly as tall as her, in her high heels. ‘I’m ready to go! You and grandpa are ganging up on me!’ she gave him a push out of her bedroom door.

Her mother’s face smiled over to her as if encouraging her to go and embrace the day.’ I so wish you could have been here mum,’ she murmured to herself. Suddenly her mood lifted and she smiled, anticipating her day.

As she closed the bedroom door, the light from the sun outside shone down on the picture, as if in approval.

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