The Glass Maker #CCC

Bottles in window

My great-grandfather had been a glass blower, like his father before him and the cottage they lived in had stayed in the family, though my father had broken that line. I hadn’t know my father that well and despite the glass making trade being gone, there was something in my heart and soul that drew me towards it.

I didn’t set out to make any money from my glass designs, it was just a hobby but then it turned out people were interested to own my pieces and before I know it, I had brought my great-grandfather’s trade back to life.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/03/13/crimsons-creative-challenge-18/ with thanks).

 

 

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The Old Place #FridayFictoneers

It had been years since I had last seen the place but it was now on route to Cory’s school. The first few times we passed the old market and deli building it didn’t register, I guess because of all those first few days nerves.

One morning, I pulled over and took a look.

‘Why we stopping here?’ Cory asked.

‘Grandpa and Ma use to own this. It’s where daddy and I meet,’ I explained.

Cory shrugged and went back to watching cartoons on the Ipad.

He was still too young but one day he would know all about his daddy.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/02/27/1-march-2019/ with thanks).

Wool #CCC

3 sheep

For generations, the men of my family had sheared the sheep and the women turned the fleece into wool skeins. The money gained allowed my great-great-grandmother to open a small factory and shop.

Despite many difficulties, the businesses survived but after the 2001 foot and mouth crisis, everything was lost. My siblings, cousins and I decided not to give up. We brought groups of sheep famous for their wool, rare sheep breeds, angora goats, angora rabbits and alpacas.

We made and sold specialist pure wool and mixes, thus building the family business back.

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/01/23/crimsons-creative-challenge-11/ with thanks).

 

 

 

Babysitting#FFAW

Rory had thought nothing of it when his sister asked him if he could babysit her two daughters. In the past, Rory had loved spending time with his nieces and not doing anything that evening, he agreed to step in after the hired sitter hadn’t turned up.

Hours later, with the house a mess and the girls hyper with sweets, Rory was regretting saying yes. With laughter ringing in his ears, his face a mass of makeup and his body aching, Rory climbed into the bedding den they had made and fell asleep.

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2019/01/21/fffaw-challenge-201st/ with thanks).

Honour #WritePhoto

I liked walking around the little cathedral on rainy afternoons mid-week day because it was the quietest time. Everyone was busy at other places and ignored the grey stone structure tucked away in between the tall office buildings. The services and practices were scheduled before and after my time slot, so often I found myself alone.

That was just what my emotional torn soul needed; the escape from everything. The healing silence and stillness of all the stone and wood. The smell of melting wax, dust, old bible pages and hint of polish filled the air.

The rain drummed on the dark stained glass windows, I knew all the religious scenes, angels and saints they displayed by heart having stood before each of them so many times. I trailed fingers on soft worn down wooden pews and looked at the memorial stones for long forgotten people on the walls.

Peacefulness wrapped around me. I was safe in these walls no matter what happened outside. I felt as comforted as if my mother was hugging me tightly, there was nothing to fear.

I walked down into the little crypt which was open to the public. It was dimly lit by wall lights and flickering candles. There were sarcophagi of people from hundreds of years ago scattered about and you could see what they looked like from their statues resting on top. There were lords and ladies laying together, with little lions and dogs at their feet and men who had been rich and powerful enough to get buried here but my favorite was the knight.

He lay alone at the back of the crypt, the statue of him extremely faded and whatever had been known about him lost to time. Perhaps, he had been a Crusader or Templar or just a noble knight to some fancy Lord.

Someone had been here recently. Approaching, I saw a red rose and a small note card resting on the statue’s stomach. Picking up the card, I held it to some light and read, ‘Thank you for giving your life so I could led mine.’ 

Oh! So someone did know who he was. His memory wasn’t lost as I believed, it was safe in somebody’s family history. My mind spun with questions; who’s family? Could I meet them? How much did they know about the knight?

I set the card back gently and calmed my thoughts, I didn’t come here think like that.

Touching the almost faded face of the statue, I reasoned with myself.

‘Some secrets are best kept in history,’ I spoke.

Turning away, I walked back through the crypt. I might never know who the knight was but someone else did and that was what truly mattered.

 

(Inspired by https://scvincent.com/2019/01/10/thursday-photo-prompt-honour-writephoto/ with thanks).

A Little Christmas Tree

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It was a freezing snowy evening the day before Christmas eve 1842, but ten year old Christabel still wanted to go outside. Her parents had gone to the theatre and with tomorrow being a busy day the servants had all gone to bed early, expect for Christabel’s Nanny and maid.

The three of them were sat before the crackling fireplace in the nursery. Nanny and maid were sewing up holes in socks and dresses, they were growing tired with the heat of the room and the darkness. Christabel had been reading a book of poetry but she was finding it difficult and her mind kept wondering.

She looked over at the window and saw in the glow of the gaslights from the street below that it was snowing again. The silent, soft balls of white were floating down lazily, brushing against the frosty glass.

‘I want to go out,’ Christabel declared, there was still a slight lingering of a french accent to her words.

Nanny looked up at her then over to the window, ‘it’s late and snowing,’ she answered.

‘I don’t care,’ Christabel declared.

Throwing her book down, she left the nursery and went to her bedroom. Christabel pulled out her red winter coat which she put on over her white evening dress then sort a hat to match.

‘I really do not think this is a good idea. It is all most bed time,’ Nanny said from the doorway.

Christabel ignored her and emptied more of the wardrobe out, scattering the clothes around with no care.

Her maid came forward and with the ease of knowing her little mistress’ wardrobe, found a suitable white hat with a red flower, black ankle walking boots and a white hand muff. She dressed the child quickly as she had down for years now, without saying a word. The maid knew her place well.

‘I want to go out,’ Christabel stated and now dressed, she left the room.

With a sign, Nanny returned to her room to get ready. The maid began tidying away all the clothes. Christabel walked down the grand staircase, the gaslights on the wall pooling light around and casting shadows on the paintings high above. The silence and stillness of the house give Christabel a slight chill but she would not show it or say anything to the servants.

Stepping into the hallway, Christabel found that only one gas lamp had been left on. The housekeeper had left it for her parents return. The stretching corridor behind her looked unfamiliar, dark, scary and she imagined it full of wild animals waiting to eat her. Christabel turned her back on it and looked at the front door.

Soon Nanny joined her and they walked out together. The snow fluttered around them and Christabel with all child wonder, looked up and around. She smiled and wanted to laugh but held it in. They walked across to the little park that stood in the middle of a square shape block of houses. There was no one else out but them.

The snow was thick and untouched on the ground, they walked down the path which could be just made out in the dim glow of the street gas lamps. Christabel breathed in the cold air, it chilled her but she felt warm enough not to complain. From between the evergreen bushes which the snow was slowly turning white, she saw something shinning.

‘What is that?’ she pointed out.

Nanny looked and replied, ‘I do not know.’

Christabel walked over and found that near the bandstand someone had put up a pine tree and decorated it. Glass coloured balls, white frill lacy, other little ornaments decorated the branches and at the top a red star. She stared in wonder, it was so beautiful and she had not seen anything like it before.

‘Oh,’ Nanny said, ‘it’s a Christmas tree.’

Christabel repeated the words to herself in a whisper.

‘It is pretty,’ Nanny added, ‘the king and queen have one. They are becoming fashionable.’

Still in silent wonder, Christabel looked at the reflection of light and snow in the glass balls. There was something magical and awing about the decorated tree that she  could not look away or think of what to say.

‘We should get back now,’ Nanny spoke after a minute or so, ‘it’s getting colder and the snow is thickening.’

‘What will happened to the tree?’ Christabel asked.

‘I…Nothing. People will come to admire it and maybe on Christmas day everyone will sing and give gifts around it.’

Christabel nodded and looked up at the star which seemed to be shinnying.

A cold wind started blowing, the snow fell faster and thicker.

Nanny took Christabel’s hand, ‘we need to go now. You can come back and see the tree again.’

‘Yes,’ Christabel answered.

Together they walked back. Nanny wanted to go quickly but the snow half-blinded them and the path was slippy as the new snow was freezing on top of the layer they had walked on. Tall trees loomed on the path, shaking in the wind and making them both feel nervous.

They reached the park gates soon enough and were back on the well light street. Stopping to get there breath, they both heard the clip clop of horses’ hoofs and the creaking of wooden wheels. Around a corner came a black handsome cab pulled by a dappled grey mare.

The carriage stopped outside a house and the driver helped two figures get out. The horse stomped on the ground, eager to be off to a warm stable. The reins rattled loudly then the handsome’s door was banged shut and the driver snapped the reins. The mare neighed and walked on.

Nanny and Christabel crossed over and walked up the gate of the house. The figures before them had seemed to be heading this way too and as the front door opened and light was realised out, Christabel saw her parents.

‘Mama! Papa!’ she shouted.

Her parents turned on the doorstep, dressed in all their theatre finer, Christabel ran up to meet them, almost falling over.

‘Come and see what we found in the park!’ she cried.

‘Christabel what are you doing awake and out at this hour?’ Mama demanded, ‘get inside at once!’

Christabel stepped into the house, still talking as she tried to tell her parents all about the walk, the snow and the Christmas tree. Her parents did not seem to be listening to her though. They are taking off coats and hats.

Nanny helped Christabel out of her things, not saying anything though the child included her. Nanny kept her eyes down, she knew she was in trouble with the Master and wanted nothing to do with the child’s talk of the tree.

‘What are you going on about?’ Mama finally cut in.

Christabel opened then shut her mouth, realising her parents had not been listening to her. She felt a bubble of emotion and tears pricked her eyes. She held her breath and tried to keep it all in. Her parents disliked it when Christabel got hysterical and they would not give into her demands then.

‘Miss Lockwood,’ Papa spoke addressing Nanny.

‘Yes, Sir,’ the Nanny began the gushed, ‘Miss wanted to see the snow in the gas lights, how wonderful it is! We went to the park and someone has decorated a tree there like the king and queen have in the palace. It was pretty and Miss I think would like to have one of her own in the house.’

Christabel nodded looking at both her parents full of excitement as a silent crept in.

‘We will see about it tomorrow,’ Papa answered, ‘now to bed.’

‘Thank you, Papa!’ Christabel cried.

She kissed her parents, bid them goodnight and went upstairs. Nanny trailed behind, carrying everything up, glad that things had worked out.

Beneath #WritePhoto

Every Christmas, my family holiday in the Lake District. We go a day or two before Christmas Eve and stay until January second. There isn’t much to do other then walking and visiting pubs as it’s out of season. You either love the escape or you don’t.

Arriving, in the pouring rain, at one of holiday homes for eight people we rent, I park up and look at the Christmas lights flashing in the windows. Going by the cars, I was the last to arrive and that made me nervous. If I had been earlier maybe I could have made up something about my ex-husband joining us later, pretending we are still together, though the official divorce had been two months ago.

Hoping my family wouldn’t make a big deal out of it, I got out of the car. Grabbing my things, I dash to the door and let myself in. The hallway is warm and dry, the smell of burning wood, pine cones and oranges welcoming me.

From the staircase to my right comes faint voices, laughed and glasses tinkling. Glancing up, I wait to see if anyone would come down to greet me but no one does. I go towards a bedroom door on my far left, the one we normally stay in. Then I stop. This year, I had agreed, not needing a double bed now, to take a single bed and share a room with my teen aged niece, Beth. That meant I was in the room on the opposite side, the smallest one tucked under the stairs.

Turning, I go to that one and walk in. Beth had clearly taken the bed by the small window. There were clothes and items scattered about, shoes on the floor, hair dryer and curler on the small dressing table, mingled with make up products. It looked like a typical messy girl teenager’s bedroom all ready.

The second bed was neatly made and looked cosy enough to curl up in and go to sleep. I put my stuff down next to it and began unpacking. At least Beth had left me some cupboard space!

I tried to delay going upstairs as long as I could but at last I had to go. Planning for the worse, I go up, my hand sliding along the banister, below which in the railings weave fake green pine needle bushels decorated with fairy lights.

At the top, a T shaped hallway and before me glass doors leading out to a small balcony. To the left, the wooden door to a small, snug room is close. To the right, an archway through to the open plan living room, dinning room, kitchen. Above which, at the back, is a second staircase leading to an attic bedroom.

I step in, get spotted by the four adults standing in the kitchen and I’m welcomed happily into the folds of my family. Someone gives me a glass of red wine, some else offers me food, a few questions are asked then the talk goes back to the conversation before.

The evening passes quickly, as it does in good company, with nice food and wine. I go to bed early, tried by a day’s work, the two hour drive and full of warmth. Beth had gone to the pub with cousins. I don’t know when she got back, I never heard her but she was asleep in her bed with I woke up in the morning.

Being the first to get up, I made coffee and tea. I had cereal and toast for breakfast. The weather had cleared and though the sky looked grey the rain had stopped. I decided to go for a walk.

Dressing warmly, I left and without planning where to go, I just start walking. I knew most of the area well and wasn’t afraid to get lost, that was a part of the fun anyway! I walk away from the holiday homes, following a little track underneath some trees. That opened into fields which a wide river ran through and a yellow path went along beside.

Birds were still singing morning song, a few cars were traveling on the single road above and sheep were dotting the hills. I just walked, taking it all in, letting go of everything that was bothering me. Nature is a good healer.

Arriving at a small lake, I take a break on a cold wooden bench. The wind playing with the bare tree branches and across the water, making waves which lap the rocky shore. I look at the reflection in the lake’s surface; the small hills, the tree, the cloudy sky. For some reason, I’m reminded of the Arthurian legend of The Lady of the Lake. 

A thin, white, female hand with fingers decorated with shinny rings, raising from the still clear water and holding aloft the bejeweled hilt of Excalibur. The sliver blade itself, glowing in the sun, water drops dripping off it, the magic waiting for King Arthur to claim it.

They were stories I loved as a child and I had been hoping to tell them my children. It was never to be now. The miscarriage in the spring had seen to that. In the summer, the divorce had began. We just couldn’t bear each other anymore, our family was gone, our hearts broken and we couldn’t come back from it. Easier to be a part then together, loveless and angry.

I feel tears come to my eyes and I let them fall. I keep saying, I wouldn’t cry anymore, but it’s still hard not too. There’s this imagine stuck in my mind of me standing before a Christmas tree, holding a baby and my husband beside me. It’s just a dream, like everything else now feels like.

It starts to rain, little drops hitting the lake, the bench, my hair. I get up and dig through my pockets for my coin purse. I take out a penny and walk to the edge of the lake. Ripples grow across the surface of the water as the rain comes down faster and bigger.

I rub the penny, make a wish; a wish that everything could go back to before the pregnancy and that it didn’t happen, my husband is still here and we are happy. I throw the penny into the lake and watch it disappear beneath.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2018/12/13/thursday-photo-prompt-beneath-writephoto/ with thanks).

Could It Be? #FFfAW

It was a week and four days till Christmas, I had taken the kids shopping to buy presents for mummy and we were now driving home. The kids were dozing in the back, full of pizza, their excitement finally worn out. The sun had almost set and darkness had settled in.

‘Daddy, what’s that?’ Darla asked.

‘Where?’

‘In the sky. Is it Santa?’

I looked but couldn’t see anything, ‘it’s probably a plane.’

‘Doesn’t look it,’ Adam spoke up.

‘I don’t see it, but it’s too early for Santa.’

‘Maybe, he’s having a practice flight?’ Kim suggested.

I smiled, ‘perhaps he is!’

 

(Inspired by; https://flashfictionforaspiringwriters.wordpress.com/2018/12/10/fffaw-challenge-195th/ with thanks).

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).

Postcard #52

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Dear Santa,

This year I’ve tried to be good but sometimes it’s been too hard like when my brother pulls my hair or Mummy says my way of helping is the opposite. I know I should be trying harder in school but its been tough as I’ve had to be on the same table as Rebecca Bentwood and we really hate each other. I hope she’s on the naughty list this year!

I’m trying super hard to be good and helpful now that your elf has appeared to watch me. He has been sitting on my bookcase for the last few nights now and each morning he has left me a chocolate to count the days down with. I have started my list which I hope to send to you soon, this is just a postcard to remind you about me and wish you well.

Mummy said it would be a good idea as you get lots of letters every year asking for presents but not many children ask how you are. Daddy said it was a nice thing to do. I drew you a picture too of your reindeer getting ready to help you.

Hope you are well, all the best,

Sophia Locke