Reunion #TaleWeaver

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He stood on the beach alone, leaning on his walking sticks and staring out to sea. For the last few days the remembrance and celebration events had been going on and he had been reunited with some old friends. Still, he couldn’t believe it had been seventy-five years since he had first walked across this beach.

He could picture everything still; first light, the cold rough waves of the sea, first against the boats then against his legs as he struggled forward with his company. The heavy weight of his gun and pack. The bundle of nerves in his stomach and the twisting thoughts of what might lay in wait for him.

The sounds of machine guns and other weapons boomed out from the cliff tops creating a noise so deafening, it had never left his ears. He had only just been able to hear the orders to run forward, to take the beach. The sound of friendly fire was even louder then then enemies’ and so close it made him feel terrified.

The first soldiers got shot. The sea foam turned red and bodies bobbed in the water face down. More fell on the beach and were left behind as their pals ran onwards. Victory must be had! There would be time later to help the dead.

More and more men fell, the sea and sand seeming to be their final resting place. Everything turned red with blood, the cries of the dying and wounded came into competition with the gun noises. Bullets zipped this way and that, zinging through the air till the hit something.

He was no longer thinking, just acting on instinct and that’s why he didn’t really remember things. Everything seemed to blur into one. There was a body, there was a fallen gun, there was the sea behind him and the boats now awaiting them. He had seen so much but no words could ever describe it.

He had been nineteen. Just a boy. A boy who had wanted to do his bit to save his country. Make his parents proud and his sweetheart love him more. His teacher had said he should sign up, become a hero. Dulce et decorum est pro patria mori.

He had never felt like a hero. Not even now.

‘The dead are the heroes!’ he had told one news reporter and he had meant it too.

 

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In memory of all those lost on D-Day.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/06/06/tale-weaver-226-reunion-june-6th/ with thanks).

Smultronstalle (Part 2) #AtoZChallenge

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Smultronstalle; ‘place of wild strawberries.’ a special place discovered, treasured, returned to for solace and relaxation a personal idyll free from stress or sadness. 

The small town of Norrtälje sits next to the Norrtäljeviken bay that leads out to the Baltic sea. There’s a large harbour here which is used by pleasure boats and opposite is a nice restaurant and ice cream parlor. In the town there’s all kinds of shops and it’s pleasant to wander around.

We go shopping first and as much as I want to walk around by myself I can’t. So, I keep my headphones on, ignore Oscar’s demands and put a few things I want into the baskets from the shops we visit. I even get some new clothes, books, stationary and snacks without having to pay for any of it myself. Hugo is generous like that and doesn’t seem to care about flashing lots of money around.

Morning of shopping done and we drive to the harbour. We are meeting Hugo’s two cousins and their families at the restaurant for lunch. There’s six of them all together- four adults, one teenage daughter and one child son. They all have blonde hair and blue eyes, nice tans and good figures.

We order food. Oscar decides he wants pancakes and nothing else. I get a burger and watch the boats till the food arrives. A mixture of English and Swedish conversations happen but I don’t join in any of them.

When the food all comes, Oscar changes his mind and kicks up a fuss. He decides he wants a burger like mine. So, Hugo has to order him one but then Oscar has to eat his pancakes as the ice cream inside of them is melting. I can only roll my eyes and feel embarrassed for mum and Hugo but they made Oscar a brat, so it’s not really my problem.

After lunch, we go onto the cousin’s yacht and go out for a ride in the bay for a few hours. It’s really nice with the water spray air and wind whipping my hair. It clears everything out of your head. Also, I really wanted to but I didn’t push Oscar overboard!

Later, we go back to one of the cousin’s house. Oscar and their son play some games outside whilst the teenage daughter and I watch TV but most of the shows are in Swedish, so I soon get bored and find some books written in English to read. We have a late tea outside in the evening light then stay until it’s really dark and Oscar gets overtired and becomes grumpy.

We go back, passing only one other car on the road on the way then we arrive home and all go to bed.

In the morning, I’m the first up. I grab some food and pack it in my bag then I head out to the clearing. Once there, I check the berries but none look ready to eat. It’s a lovely day out though, so I have breakfast then do some reading and writing till lunch time. Mum text’s me then asking where I am and if okay?

I reply back letting her know then eat my lunch. Birds are singing in the trees, there’s the noise of a tractor in the far distance and sometimes cars along the road. Once, I hear the clip-clop of horses’ hooves on the road. A dog barking for a minute or two. The wind plays through branches, bushes and leaves making gently noises but that’s it!

I lay down and relax. Feeling calm and safe here. I watch the sun shinning through the tree leaves and I shut my eyes for a nap.

I still miss England and my grandparents and the fact that my new home is miles away from anywhere! But I’m getting use to it and things are not so bad here after all.

 

New Year’s Resolution

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Noah had all ways wanted to learn how to sail. He wasn’t sure where the dream had come from, but this year he was finally going to do it.

Gull Crash #3LineTales

three line tales, week 148: gulls over a stormy sea

The stormy sea was throwing up all kinds of things and the gulls were going crazy for the fish that were being tossed up in the crashing white crested waves.

It was a sign to get off the ocean to return safely to harbour, the fishing was over for another season and all the boats were making their way back, the last catch secured below decks like a glittering treasure.

On the land, twinkling fairy lights and the sweet smell of food welcomed them back, it was almost time for the end of year celebrations, their families had been working hard to prepare for and now with the additional fish the town would survive through the winter months to come.

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2018/11/29/three-line-tales-week-148/ with thanks).

Retirement #FridayFictioneers

He hadn’t wanted to retire, he didn’t like having nothing to do and his wife was happier without him getting in her away at home. Luckily, he had taken that walk down by the docks that day and seen the sign for volunteers at a boat repair shop.

He’d always liked boats and working with his hands. He decided to go it ago and see what happened.

Now, he spends days outside, enduring rain and sun, fixing up boats and painting them. He couldn’t think of anything else he’d rather be spending time doing and he felt useful once again.

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2018/06/20/22-june-2018/ with thanks).

Mellifluous (Part 2) #atozchallenge

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Mellifluous; sweet and smoothly flowing sound.

I nudged the white headphones with the tip of my walking boot and tried to figure out why someone might have left them on the footpath. They looked new, but perhaps they were broken. Not wanting to crush them, I picked them up and inspected them.

My dogs were off playing somewhere and I could hear distant voices. The canal pathway was empty though. The sounds of the water lapping against moored boats and the birds singing made for a pleasant background sound track.

I half wondered if that was why someone had abandoned their headphones. Had they suddenly decided that the song of nature was much more interesting then whatever they had been listening too?

That was a fleeting thought though. Why would anyone do that? Maybe the headphones had been stolen or just dropped?

I looked around, searching the rough ground that edged the canal path and the line of short trees that led off into the woods. There seemed to be nothing more.

I placed the headphones back down. Leaving them for someone else to find. My thoughts lingered though and I couldn’t help but think of someone taking the headphones off, dropping them and embracing the sweet sounds of nature.

Boats

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She liked to sit on the shore and watch the boats on the water. No matter how hard she tried though, she couldn’t step on to one, even a tiny row boat. The fear of her father’s death was still raw even after all these years. Every time her eyes shut, she could see him tumbling from the over crowded dingy and into the deep sea. Vanishing before anyone could help him under the large waves.

She had screamed and screamed, till her voice went. Strangers had tried to comfort her but she didn’t want to know. When they finally arrived, she collapsed on the beach and lay there until someone had picked her up.

She couldn’t recall much afterwards, just a sense of so much loss and the question, how could the smugglers have promised a new beginning, safe from war, when really they were tearing families further a part?

 

(Prompt from: https://wordpress.com/read/blogs/49410752/posts/1536 with thanks.)

Jogging

The lake water shimmers in the early morning sunlight. I glance at it and take a deep breath of fresh air. Fixing my eyes ahead, I let my feet carry on pounding the pavement. There is no one around and nature is the only sound. For me this is the perfect time of day. I can be alone and feel like I’m witnessing everything for the first time.

Along the shore of the lake, boats bob on the waves adding to the picturesque scene unfolding before me. The water ripples and moves the reflected images of the trees and surrounding peaks. For a few moments I’m one with nature and then civilisation appears in the form of an ice cream hut.

It’s quickly followed by a car park and a host of other buildings. I want to turn around and run away from all of this. The pull of connecting with nature once more is calling me back, but I fight it down. Every day I do this, but soon I’ll give into my urges and not stop. I pick up my pace and speed past the first of the boats for hire shops.

Boating is one of the main businesses around here and the tourists never seem to get enough of it. I guess if my job was to drive boats about all day that would have more appeal. Granted, I’ve never been good on open water, I prefer to have my feet on the ground. I guess it wouldn’t take long to get use to it though. Being out there, stopping the engine in the middle of the lake, taking in all the nature, what could be more relaxing?

I run past my actual job. The large blue flag declaring boats for sale flutters in the breeze. The white and blue striped building is flanked by speed boats on either side. The office and show room are still shut and the car park next door is empty. I don’t dread returning back here in less than two hours, that job is all I know and it has let me live the life I want. It just doesn’t give the complete freedom I crave.

I’ve loved running all my life and in college I wanted to make it my career, but life decided that it wasn’t to be my calling. So, the only running I do now is at this time, just as the world is wake to another day. There are no people or car traffic to get in the way this early. If I do happen to chance upon someone, it’s the milkman, postman or a dog walker. I ignore them, even if I know them. I have to keep running.

Around me spring is in full bloom. The trees are over crowed with green leaves, there are flowers everywhere and the warm air smells sweet. And that can only mean one thing around here- the height of the tourist season. As I enter my home village, posters displaying holiday homes to let appear in many windows. A handful of Bed and Breakfast signs seem to crowd the space above my head.

I can’t help but study the buildings around me. Some are so old that they fit with the shape of the street so perfectly. Others still have a new look about them as they’ve been freshly painted. The houses are mostly terraces, with a very small cottages squashed in-between. There are flower boxes and pots outside, adding even more summer to the place. I spot one or two shops nested into a corner and then the road twists up.

I turn the corner and face the last part of my morning run. The pavement turns into a tan coloured tarmac and I enter the park. Flowers dance around my ankles, tree trunks wiz by and the short grass lies like a carpet on either side of me. I don’t stop to admire the view, though my muscles are now burning. The flowers and trees drop behind me and the path weaves its way through an area marked as the recreational ground.

There is a golf course on my left. Yellow flags mark the holes almost hidden in the grass. A double tennis court sits behind it. I’ve played both here a few times, but I’ve never been taken with another sport. Once you decided on one, you wanted to get to the top, so spend all your time practising and not doing much else. Thinking about it, if I didn’t run I’m not sure what I would do. I probably would’ve taken up tennis or football. A sport that was physically demanding not metantally.

On my right is the crazy golf and an adventure playground. I remember playing on both as a kid and nothing seems to have changed. The crazy golf course looks so tried with all the paint peeling and the obstacles look smaller now. When was the last time I played that? I can’t recall, it’s been too long. As for the playground, I’ve a handful of memories of that and they all involve running in some form.

Ahead is a bowling lawn, spaces for table tennis and a giant chess set behind that. These are new and I watch them building it three or so years back. It was hard to tell what they are doing at first as this area use to be more flower beds. Then as they laid down the turf and added a boarder, you could tell by the shape. There is also a patio space behind the chess set and this connects with the building stretches itself across the end of the path with many arches hiding doorways.

This building isn’t new, it use to be the grand entrance to the park. Now it houses; a cafe, toilets, an ice cream shop, the paying desk for the golf and storage for the recreational activities. I remember the arches best though because I use to run around them with my parents trying to catch me.

I turn my head back and find my focus again. Running always makes these memories come as my mind has very little to think about. Thinking of other things will only last so long and then my thoughts will drift again. That’s not a bad thing, as I once wrote a proposal about advertising a special deal on an over stocked boat brand we had in. I sold more boats then anyone else that month!

A figure dressed in white rounds the corner of the building. My breath catches in my throat. It’s her again! She’s been jogging on my patch and keeps appearing. I try to slow my pace down, but I’m going too fast. For a split second my mind thinks that she is running towards me, but then I see that she’s jogging on the other side of the path.

Our eyes meet and I swear that time slowly down. I see her short blonde hair flying around her face. Is that the hint of a smile on her pink lips? Her hear the sound of her gasping breathe and her trainers slamming the path hard. Is the same thought going through her head at the same time as it is mine? I smile. Does she notice? And then she’s gone just like that, running down the other path way and I’m left with a fleeting glimpse of her behind.

I’ve no idea who she is. I only started noticing her about two weeks ago and each time I’ve told myself that she’s just a tourist and tomorrow I won’t see her. I’ve been hoping I was wrong and as the days go by, it seems I might have been. I want to get to know her, see if we’d be good together. We have jogging in common already, wouldn’t that make a good starting point?

Tomorrow, I’m going to stop and speak to her….tomorrow I’m going to do it!

I jog off the path, along the building and around it. Once more my mind wonders at why no one has fenced this edge of the park when all the others have been done. The grass at my feet turns to pavement and I am on the corner of the high street. The closes shops are still closed, but I can see their bright and pretty window displays. I run up the pavement and before me is the impressive structure of the village church.

It’s been there since medieval times, but it’s now surround to its Victorian revamp. Going through the gate, the path divides. One leads to the graveyard and back to the park and the second leads around the church and to the other side of the village. This is the path I take. My old primary school appears on my left. It’s now been turned into a cinema and there are posters hung on the walls declaring the latest movies being shown. I hardly remember my time there anyways. I run through a side gate and up a twisting hill lined with terrace houses.

Turning at the top, the pavement disappears and I have to run on the road for two meters until a sprawling drive way joins it. A tall wall and a hedge line the way up and at the top as my medium detached house. It is white wood built on red bricks and the large bay windows face out across the lake and surrounding peaks. I race up the steps and stop in the door’s alcove. Bending over, I try to catch my breath and as I shut my eyes I see her face before me.