Monthly Archives: April 2018

Coffee And Caramel Shortcake (flash fiction)

coffee and caramel shortcake

For such a beautiful Spring afternoon, the coffee shop was surprisingly quiet and she had no problem securing her favourite small window table. With her usual order placed, she turned her attention to her kindle and resumed reading.

 Hooking his sunglasses into the neck of his black t-shirt, he glanced round the unfamiliar coffee shop looking for a table. He spotted a small table over by the window and headed for it. Within moments a waitress was at his side with the menu. He only wanted a coffee so politely declined the menu and requested a large latte. 

When the waitress returned, she had two coffees on the tray and a piece of caramel. The sight of it was making him regret ordering just a coffee. Carefully, the young waitress set his large mug down then delivered the other smaller mug and the caramel shortcake to the adjacent table.

 As the woman looked up from her e-book to watch the waitress, she became aware of a pair of eyes watching her.

 The man and the woman made eye contact.

 She found herself spiralling into his brilliant blue eyes. Within them was a kaleidoscope of music, of lights, of songs, of guitars, of travelling, of hotel rooms, of restaurants and bars, of exhaustion, of jet lag, of loneliness.

 He found himself drowning in two still liquid pools of molten chocolate. Within them was a sea of contentment filled with calm thoughts of books, of writing, of scented candles, of soft music, of home cooked meals, of wine enjoyed out on a sea front terrace, of relaxation, of unbroken sleep, of loneliness.

 In that split second, the two strangers silently exchanged their worlds.

 She looked away first.

 A cloud fell over his world as he stared down into the milky depths of his coffee cup.

 “Excuse me,” said a honey soft voice beside him. “I don’t normally do things like this but you look like you need this more than I do.”

She offered him the slice of caramel shortcake.

“It’s medicinal,” she added with a smile that lit up his dark world.

“Thank you,” he said, his voice still husky from singing too many shows over too few nights. “How about you join me and we share it?”

Still smiling, she moved to sit down opposite him and cut the chocolate square neatly in half.

“You choose.”

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)

 

 

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Measures of Spring

Those who follow this blog will already know that I like to escape from the salt mine during my lunch hour and go for a wander.

Some days it is a leisurely stroll, with gentle music and a mind full of daydreams (NO, I’m not sharing them with you  hee hee)

Some days its is a stomp, with loud heavy metal  music on full blast and a mind full of the frustrations of the morning. (No, I’m not sharing those either.)

Being a creature of habit, I have a tendency to walk the same route most days. Very quickly you become aware of the surroundings and the changes in them. You can track the changes in the season by them.

Spring sees one of the most dramatic changes over quite a short period of time. For the past few weeks I’ve been trying to capture one photo per week from roughly the same spot (bit of a hit or miss with that) to try to highlight this.

Last week I was on holiday from work and in my absence  a dramatic transformation took place!

Wondering what on earth I’m talking about now?  I’m talking daffodils!

Here, see for yourself.

spring 1spring 2spring 3

Next stop summer!!  🙂

 

 

Eeny Meeny Miny Moe…….

For the past few weeks there’s been a small bundle of clean laundry that hasn’t found a home each Sunday when I put the ironing away. It has sat on top of my chest of drawers patiently waiting….

I knew in my heart of hearts that the time had come…..again! In preparation, I invested in a plastic storage box, a bigger one than the last one I bought.

Last night another shirt was added to the pile….. Yes, you’ve guessed it – the drawer where I store my band T-shirts  was full…again!

As I opened it, and several made a bid to escape, I began to wonder how many I have actually bought in recent years? ( I don’t want to contemplate the amount of money I’ve spent on them!)

The question hung in the air as I emptied the drawer. I also retrieved the first small storage box from the wardrobe and decided to lay them all out on the bed.

After a few minutes I came to the conclusion that I need a bigger bed!

Tshirts2018

I’ll admit there are actually a couple missing – not too sure where they are hiding. Also, all my “old”  pre-children gig shirts are MIA. I suspect they may be safely stored in a holdall in Boy Child’s cupboard.

As I laid out each shirt, I smiled as I remembered the show or a specific moment in the show or the people I was that night.

Each and every one of them hold precious musical memories.

Sorting through them wasn’t easy. How do you decide which ones go in the box and which ones go back in the drawer?

It reminded me of the scene from Toy Story where Woody got “shelved.”

Tshirt collage 2018

Maybe I needed an extra set of drawers as well as a bigger bed? Common sense prevailed- rather than an emergency trip to IKEA, I sorted through them, leaving room in the larger of the two storage boxes to store more in future.

Tshirt boxed 2018

 

I also left space in the drawer for new additions….. well, 2018 is shaping up to be a great year for gigs! 😉

 

Oh, and if you were wondering, I counted 80 shirts give or take one or two (OK, I lost count!)

 

 

And Why’s He Still There, Mummy?…….

This story technically starts back on 18th March after I returned from my trip to Birmingham. Stupidly, I commented to my Moana-loving Girl Child that I’d seen a toy Hei Hei (the dopey chicken from the film) reduced in the Disney Store in the Bull Ring shopping centre. With a petted lip she asked why Hei Hei was still there. Calmly, I explained in my best mummy voice that Hei Hei wouldn’t have fitted in my overnight bag.

hei hei

She sulked….

 

Move forward in time to last Saturday. The Big Green Gummi Bear and I were preparing to leave for an overnight trip to Manchester and were saying our goodbyes to Girl Child and her Dotty Gran in Tesco’s café. Girl Child tried to pick her blue fluffy bunny up by the ear and the poor creature’s ear came off in her hand. Her wee face crumpled. She loves that blue fluffy bunny! I did wonder for a split second if she was about to cry. The Big Green Gummi bear swiftly snatched the ear from her little hand, declared it to be his “lucky bunny ear” for his race (yes, I know that it should be lucky rabbit’s foot) and stuffed it into his jacket pocket.

 

A couple of hours later and many miles down the motorway, we stopped at a service station in the Lake District for lunch. As is my want, we had a wander through the shop before getting back in the car. In the toy section, we found a display of over priced and overly fluffy toy chickens and birds and critters. The Big Green Gummi Bear quickly pulled the bunny ear from his pocket and posed it on top of one of pink fluffy chicken things, suggesting I take a photo and send it to Girl Child. I did.

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Her response a while later was “Hope you bought that.”

When I replied that we hadn’t, her immediate disappointment was expressed.

It was Hei Hei all over again….

The mummy in me knew we had to find one of those pink fluffy birds on the return journey or I’d never hear the end of this, especially so soon after not buying Hei Hei!

 On the way back north on Sunday afternoon we delayed our potty stop/coffee stop by 22 miles to reach the service station on the M6 where we hoped we stood the best chance of sourcing a pink fluffy chicken.

At Tebay services, we were in luck. They had one. He was duly purchased and carried unceremoniously by the legs out to the car. (Turns out it’s a female ostrich and not a chicken)

And so Not Hei Hei came to stay.

 

When we arrived home a couple of hours later, Girl Child was thrilled to meet Not Hei Hei and promptly sat at the dinner table with him beside her.

The blue fluffy bunny ear, which turned out to be quite a lucky bunny ear as the The Big Green Gummi Bear survived his marathon debut and ran a time he is content with, was returned to our baby girl.

With her big blue eyes wide and pleading, she asked me to fix her bunny.

So, for the first time in many years, I have just performed toy surgery and re-attached her blue bunny’s long floppy ear.

20180409_190356

 

Cue one happy Girl Child….. one 18year old happy Girl Child!

 

 

And the moral of this story is…. Never lose sight of your inner child 😉

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Silently Watching At Eostre – part eight

dark angel

Spring was perhaps the dark angel’s favourite time of year. There were plenty of young animals in the fields to provide easy succulent meals for her. If she was careful, she could disguise her lamb kills as dog attacks, easily diverting attention towards any number of local pets who were allowed to roam off their leads. While the fresh lamb’s blood was a delicacy, it didn’t satiate her hunger the way that human blood did.

Meals since the Winter Solstice had been lean. She had risked only one human kill. During a January gale, she had snatched an unsuspecting passenger from the deck of the ferry that traversed the river every hour.  Now, after months of rabbits, deer and, more recently, lambs, she was truly ravenous.

At this time of year, she preferred to seek young blood to rejuvenate her. It had crossed her mind many times over the years to snatch a child but, even in her transformed state, that was a moral step too far. When she had been reborn over two hundred years earlier, her creator had laid down three basic rules to survival.  

1 Never kill a child prior to it reaching sexual maturity

2 Never kill an expectant mother

3 Never drink from the bloodline of your creator. 

The first rule remained the only one unbroken. 

She ran her tongue over her broken fang and allowed her thoughts to linger on the runner. Oh, what she’d give to be able to savour that exotic, rich, ferrous blood of his! If she closed her eyes, she could see him in her mind’s eye and still taste him. Forbidden fruit indeed but what was she to do with him?

 

After a large family dinner to celebrate Easter and several stolen pieces of his children’s chocolate Easter eggs, he knew he needed to set off for a long run to burn off the calories. Time was marching on. Easter already! ..and he was  acutely aware that he hadn’t been following his desired training schedule. The Bank Holiday Monday offered the ideal opportunity to set out for a longer run. Not wanting to miss out on too much quality family time, he’d set his alarm early, leaving the house just before seven as the sun rose over the horizon.

With open countryside surrounding him and his favourite playlist playing in his ears, he ran at a respectable pace towards the local reservoirs. At such an early hour, he passed no one. Everywhere was still. The birds were singing in the hedgerows and trees. The water of the reservoirs was glassy still. It was an idyllic setting for his morning run.

After a few miles, something off to the left in one of the fields caught his eye. Several crows were gathered round it and, as he slowed his pace to focus his vision on it, he realised that it was two dead lambs, their throats freshly ripped out. Initially, he thought that they must have met their deaths at the fangs of a dog but, as he ran on, he wondered……

Subconsciously his hand went to his neck, touching the very spot where those deadly fangs had pierced his skin. He hadn’t allowed himself to think about the dark angel for a while. In fact, he’d gone out of his way to avoid her and avoided even driving through the village, opting instead whenever possible to take the narrow country road out onto the main dual carriageway. She fascinated him but terrified him at the same time. The thought that she still wanted to talk with him made his blood run cold. “Forbidden fruit,” she had said to him the last time their paths had crossed. He knew she intended to talk to him at some point but he wasn’t convinced it was a conversation he wanted to be party to.

 

Warm spring sunshine was bathing the still graveyard but the angel sat in the cool of the shadows, picking pieces of sinew from between her teeth with her long, pointed fingernails. Lamb for breakfast had been fine but she still craved human blood.

A familiar scent on the air caught her attention before she heard the rhythmic thud, thud, thud of the runner’s feet as he ran hard up the steep hill past the church. Soundlessly, she got to her feet, crossed the small cemetery and stepped out into the road at precisely the same moment that the runner reached the rusty gates at the entrance.

“Good morning, son of Perran,” she said with a smile.

“Hey,” he gasped breathlessly.

“Come,” she instructed, beckoning him to follow her into the cemetery. “Time to talk.”

“I don’t have much time,” he replied, desperately trying to think of something to stall her.

“You have sufficient time. Come!”

Obediently, he followed her up the stone steps then left along the gravel path towards a bench that remained in the shade.

“Sit,” she commanded bluntly as she herself sat carefully on the wooden bench, mindful of her majestic wings.

Choosing a spot as far along the seat from her as possible, he sat down.

“I need to tell you a story,” she began quietly. “No need to look so scared. You’re perfectly safe from me….well… for now.”

“I am?”

“Yes. We share the same bloodline,” revealed the angel, gazing into his dark eyes as if searching for his very soul. “If I were to try to drink from you, I’d die within a few hours. One of the golden rules. Never drink from the bloodline of your creator or his descendants.  You, son of Perran, are a descendant of the man who made me who I am.”

“I am?”

The dark angel nodded, “The wound I inflicted on your neck proved that. Those few delicious drops of blood poisoned me. Were nearly enough to end it all but, as you can see, I am quite recovered. Well almost.”

She bared her fangs to him. Immediately, he noted the broken tip of one of them.

“The tip is embedded in your neck,” explained the angel, reaching out to touch the spot.

His neck had begun to throb as soon as he had approached the church and the toothache had returned when the stone walls of the cemetery had come into sight. Now, for the first time in weeks, he felt warm, fresh blood trickling down his neck.

“How? Why?”

“How? Because I attempted to drink from you. Those few poisonous drops were divine,” she replied, savouring the bittersweet memory. “Why? That’s what I am trying to figure out. Minor injuries like a broken tooth usually regenerate and heal within a day or so. This has been over nine months and there is nothing I can do to heal it.”

“The place on my neck won’t heal either,” he acknowledged, reaching up to wipe away the fresh blood.

“In over two hundred years, I’ve never experienced this,” she stated looking almost insulted. “However, it means we are connected by more than bloodline. So, I’m going to offer you a choice.”

“A choice?” he echoed a little anxiously, edging forward on the seat ready to escape if need be.

“Yes. A choice,” she repeated, her green eyes boring into him. “The choice to either become like me or the choice to kill me.”

“Why?”

Smiling at his puzzled expression, the angel said, “To kill me would end the loneliness, the suffering, save the lives of the innocent. To become like me, then…. well, who knows what our futures would hold, son of Perran.”

“Why would I want to live a life like yours?”

“You wouldn’t have to live as I choose to,” she countered calmly. “There can be a partial transformation first. You can live your life as normal, watch your family grow up and grow old. You, however, will age at a far slower rate. You will remain fit and healthy. Able to run for more years than you would otherwise. Then, once your family are gone, together we can seek answers to why we’ve been bound together like this.”

He stared at her, struggling to comprehend what she was saying.

Effortlessly, the angel got to her feet, spread her wings and prepared to depart.

“So, I wouldn’t need the wings if I can live my normal life?” Once spoken the question sounded ridiculous and he flushed in embarrassment.

“Reach a decision first, son of Perran, then we can discuss the finer points,” she suggested with a mischievous smile. “Its not a decision to be taken lightly. Not one to be rushed.”

He looked up but the mid-morning sun was shining straight into his eyes. He blinked and looked again.

The angel was gone.

A single black, purple tipped feather lay on the ground at his feet.

 

(image sourced via Google – credits to the owner)