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Showing posts from October, 2014

Gardener Fred's Monster

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Scariness level: beginner
Posting my Halloween Story early this year... it is a full story with beginning, middle and end, and in the conventional order too. The ending is left open, and if you are an imaginative sort you might like to supply a scenario for the sequel. Writing (boo hoo) can be a lonely sport, so a bit of holiday collaboration will be greatly appreciated.


[With thanks to Mary Shelly and her Monster]



Gardener Fred’s Monster
Gardener Fred had ideas. Ideas and dreams. Ideas, dreams and ambitions. Ideas, dreams and ambitions that he worked for; he dug for them, he weeded for them, he pruned and raked and was out in all weathers for them. 
In his house he had a trophy cabinet chockablock with shining cups. 
He grew the biggest sunflowers, bloomed the brightest roses. His carrots were the envy of the village, his marrows almost canoe sized. Strawberries, cabbages, orchids and cucumbers, he grew them all with great success. His shed was neat. He had a potting bench, stacks of fl…

The Fae Field Inspiration

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Vocal are the geese at their interruption.
They are not easily flapped, these birds.
They are the same birds that sat watchfully unruffled in a cropped field, while Dog and I ran by, one energetic, lightly misted cross-country morning.
Under the overhead honking is the whir of a blade wielding tractor: not a goose killer, a hedge cutter. It is cutting the hedge in the field we had hoped to be picking rosehips in. Huff.
It is the sort of greyish dampish day best fitted to introspective thoughts, not suitable for noise or interruption. We drag our heels and then an off the usual track open gate to an undisturbed field is what we find.
Like an answer when you weren’t sure of what your question needed to be.
Here the overgrown hedge reaches out, it hands us a bag of ripe red hips and a pocketful of dark sloeberries. Dog runs routes circular, angular and out of the field flees three deer, two rabbits, one fox. There are so many pheasants Dog can’t fit them all into her schedule, some must…

This Collective Cleans And Ponders

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We open the door, drop our jaw. A curtain of rain hides the world. 
We must swap the faux suede for rubber boots: me, my hands, my feet, for reasons as yet unfathomed I feel like a collective today.
A theory promptly appears that it may be the result of an uncharacteristic cleaning spree. It is unfamiliar work and yet hands, feet, brain all pull together. A combination of the unknown and the known makes one reappraise how a being is collected together, perhaps. Like an identity crisis only pleasant.
Hands, feet and brain have done well, although the discovery of damp in the living room corner is a vexment. Contrariness over not using the word vexation is a distraction technique. The landlord’s phone is answered by a voice saying service unavailable, try again later. Further distractions involve looking for the culprit who put bird poo on the mantelpiece (Mr suggests it might be bat in origin) and venturing out to borrow a vacuum cleaner. In this: this sheer face of precipitation.
On …

Tenacious Jocosity

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Outside there is a storm: if you put your hands over your ears and hear the blood inside rush, it sounds like this storm. Wheel spray splays like the tails of white peacocks, every car wings by. From the car to the house several unexpected steps sidewards explain the wind strength.
The tenacity of things is considered.
How many tempests will the deadwood in the ash tree survive, for example, and how if one builds a wall there is some knowledge available that will give guidelines to its longevity. This is why we use bricks or stone not straw, not sand.
These thoughts proceed to enquire how we can know what material our words are made of? All this writing that may or may not endure? But it does not matter. One should link words oblivious, obsessed, absorbed, delirious, tempestuous.
It is Friday, the evening.
A glass of wine arrives and sits next to the Dettol which is a testament to the bad manners of our elderly cat. Outside the wind roars as though laughing.
Oblivious, obsessed, …

Falling Asleep Whilst Reading

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Limbs are flung, indenting squishy underlay.
A bed of cushions, to defeat gravity.
A cradle from which to dream: escaping in a soft coracle.
Nothing to flee but weariness, but the weight of one’s own limbs.
A book halfway read represents another path unwinding, the mind absconding on its own.
Sometimes it likes to be alone.
In space, can one lie on the air (the not-air?)
Questions pop out of scenarios, not entirely formed, not entirely awake.
Dog huffs from her sprawl, recalling perhaps some moment when a previous sprawl had been interrupted.
A fine steam rises from a glazed mug. Off-white with a flower painted and the scuffs of frequent usage.
Steam is made of dots, of impermanent ink. A metaphor.





Autumn Begins To Chill

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This year’s tenth month is filled with wanderings.
We add a string of small village names and the town of Dartmouth to our October map. Here we wallow in the last of summer’s residual warmth: it is dark, we are standing at the harbour edge observing small fish crowd submerged steps. All the boats have duplicates. It is impossible to understand that the water could be cold. We are outside the restaurant, hot with digesting. All the night is filled with human noise.
At home the heat disperses into storms, is spilt and lost in precipitation. Foxes yip: the young ones are sounding out new territories. We see them often, walking intent at the roadside.
One last thunder roll shakes the river valley and the rain pools deepen.
(When not wandering this writer squints and squints over print proofs until her headaches drown out the thunder and the weather complains at the disruption.)




Night Weather

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The moon was broad and nestled in a circle of cloud. The other half of the sky flicked up a sheet of lightening. Such fascination, like a pin through a moth. Another strike illuminated the castle, another backlit the tree tunnel. A fox-face, vivid orange, retreated into a verge; an owl’s belly, ghost white, brushed over the windscreen.

(Not until the next afternoon do we hear thunder. It rolls out of pure summer blue, turns the sky flat silver. Raindrops like crystals split the light into shining arcs.)

A perfect round, the moon returns. All the sky is velvet. Voices are raised in the car park, tempers that rush and exhaust themselves to a truce. The storm wind halts. A man walks slowly back to his car, shoulders hunched. The car alarm starts up. He stops and looks at the moon: looks at the moon and glances at his car door as he pushes the key into the lock. The alarm stops. The perfect round moon, the cessation of anxious noise, it seems connected.




A Short Tae Kwon-Do Holiday

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Saturday too early the alarm is beeping. Sleep on, the inner voice whispers, all cozy and snoozy and compelling but we get up anyway. Rain falls and falls. Hot water tumbles from a tap. A short bath of bliss and ease before the plug is pulled and a coffee pot bubbles and somehow in the car we are sitting, dressed, hair wet. Fingers warm on an industrial mug. Watch the sky bleach. Rain falls and falls.
Where are we going?
Swindon.
Ah, yes. Home of the roundabout.

Mr slats the car into a space. We have yellow shirts on, much brighter than the weather. Into the arena we take our flasks of coffee and the usual game plan. The job of a Welfare Officer is to safeguard children and vulnerable adults. The opportunity of a Welfare Officer is to bring a sense of resilience. We say: ‘Let me see… One nose, two eyes, that seems right: is that normal for you?’ They rub their bumped faces. Some giggle, some make the face of You Are Not Funny You Know. They see the fight through and get to be proud …

October Haze

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All the molecules of a storm swarm the sky. While they misconfigure the sun shines a bar of heat. Down in the cut field Dog herds pheasants into squawks. Rosehips are plucked, rubies of the hedge, though the shield beetles wave legs like angry curators.

The polytunnel echoes where the tomatoes stood: a tub on a windowsill indoors is full of ripening. Potted chilli plants are spread across the gap. So content in this stretched out warmth, the lime tree blossoms petals of solid white, densely fragranced. One medium frog squiggles from under a melon leaf. It blinks as though newly woken and its legs, uncomfortably, ungainly, follow the chartreuse body back into shade.

Night shimmers in, in layers and pieces. Storm winds peak and trough. Leaves fall, pave the roads in a mulch of gold.