Dear Diary #45

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Dear Diary,

It’s the start of a new month but you wouldn’t believe it was almost summer with this weather! Last month we really had it all; snow, rain, wind and sun and May seems set to be the same! The weatherman said there was a chance of snow on high ground tonight and for ever where else heavy rain.

I’ve had to turn the heating back on, put extra blankets on the beds and make sure the children have jumpers again. Hopefully, this is the last we’ll see of winter though and we can move on to some decent sunny days. Though, this is England and we don’t get many of those as it is!

Today itself has been a quiet, overcast and a normal Tuesday. I packed the husband and kids off to work, then did some tidying up, the dishwasher and the clothes washing. I took the dog out for a walk close to lunchtime and talked to some of the neighbours; That new family at number seventy-two seem nice, Mrs Black has finally gotten her autistic son in a special school and the Summers have a new puppy. It’s a little red spaniel!

Then I made tuna pasta for lunch and watched the news. That poor baby with the brain trauma has died and there’s been more issues with immigrants trying to get into a America. Afterwards, I got my laptop out and did some more job hunting. There didn’t seem anything new up since Friday morning. There was one job that was an after school club but it was only two days a week and not much money.

Three o’clock came and it was time to go and pick up the children. Thankfully, they had both had a good day and we got back in time for the afternoon game shows to start. It started raining too.

Later, I made fish fingers for tea and hubby came home, tried and complaining about his boss. I did my caring wife bit then put the kids to bed early. We had a quiet evening of TV before going to bed ourselves.

Tomorrow, I’m meeting some old friends from the church’s new mum’s group for lunch. I’m so grateful as it’ll break up the repeating circle of weekdays that I seem to be stuck in. Perhaps, one of them can suggest some ideas for helping me out. Heaven knows I need a change of pace!

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Zenosyne #atozchallenge

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Zenosyne; the sense that time keeps going faster. 

I opened the envelope without even realising it was an early birthday card, due to being distracted by the phone call I was dealing with. I stared at the brightly coloured drawing of two half-full champagne glasses with bubbles raising around them then at the fancy pink writing above; Happy 30th Birthday! 

The phone slipped slightly away from my ear, I ignored the still speaking voice from the other end. I glanced around the office, expecting everyone to suddenly burst into singing happy birthday, shoving cards and presents at me. However, there was just the usual chatter and background noises of the office room. No one was looking at me.

I opened the card and a bunch of people had wrote short messages and signed it. I recognised a few of the names from other floors and colleagues from my old role before I’d moved into this one.

‘I’m sorry,’ I said into the phone, talking over the caller’s voice, ‘something’s just come up and I need to go. Can you email that information and I’ll get right back to you. I’m so sorry,’ I added and hung up.

I looked down at the birthday card again in wonder then I picked up the discarded envelope. There were my initials and surname at the top followed by my office floor and address on a printed label. There was no stamp, so it had been sent inside the company. Looking at the card again, I opened it and read a few names inside, just to be sure but there was no doubt that someone had found out and sent this card around.

Putting the card back into the envelope, I locked the draw in the bottom of my desk and opened it. Inside my handbag was safely tugged away. I took the birthday card and shoved into my bag then locked the draw again.

How had they found out? I had be keeping my up and coming ‘big’ birthday a secret from everyone. I pressed my lips together and looked around again, as if the answer was out there. I looked in my in-tray where I had picked the card up with the rest of the post. There were just a few opened letters and papers in there now, waiting to be dealt with.

My phone rang, starling me out of my thoughts. I grabbed for the phone and pressed it to my ear but it was just someone else from another office asking for information on a client. I sighed and went back to work.

I had forgotten about the birthday card, until I got home and was getting stuff out of my handbag. Opening the envelope again, I looked at the card closely, but there were no further clues, expect that only ten people had signed it and I thought more people would have done. I put the card on my bookcase.

‘It’s just a number,’ I muttered to myself, ‘it doesn’t matter, it doesn’t change you.’

I went to bed but couldn’t sleep. It was four days away now and I wanted time just to stop. Could I not be twenty-nine forever?

My hopes weren’t answered and four days seemed to rush by. Before I knew it, I was awaking up and it was my birthday. It was a Saturday, so thankfully no work. Throughout the day, a few people sent me happy birthday messages online and text. I opened all the cards I’d gotten and decorated my bookcase with them.

In the evening, I meet with my family and friends for a nice restaurant meal as planned. Then I went home and to bed. Laying there, I tried not to reflected on how old I was now and what I’d not yet achieved with my life. I blamed my ninety-odd year grandma for asking again when I was going to get married and have children.

‘She broke up with her boyfriend a few months back,’ my mum had hissed at her, ‘remember? I told you. She’s single again now.’

I growled into my pillows and tossed and turned. Typical grandma and mum! It wasn’t that I didn’t want that fairy tale ending, it was just…it was a lot harder to get then the movies made it out to be! I had a flash were I missed my Ex but then I told myself he was more toad then prince and pushed him out of my mind again.

When I got to work on Monday, there were some birthday card envelopes in my in-tray. I opened them and saw that they were from a few different people; my manager, team leader, colleagues and a few other people I knew.

‘It’s you birthday today?’ a voice came behind me and making me jump.

I spun and saw one of my colleagues looking at the birthday card in my hand.

‘It was on Saturday,’ I answered.

‘Why didn’t you say?’ she asked.

I shrugged and swept all the cards into my top draw.

‘Not into celebrating, hey?’

‘Something like that….I’m sorry, I’ve got some clients to phone now,’ I said as an excuse.

The next month flew by and I was grateful for that as most people suddenly knew it had been my big three-oh birthday and had been sending my birthday cards and small presents. I wasn’t ungrateful but I’d rather it was done with now.

The rest of the year just seemed to pass so quickly. Work was busy and I got prompted for my hard work with a difficult client. In autumn, I started dating again and I met this really nice man, who definitely was more prince then toad! Then it was Halloween and soon after Christmas, I couldn’t believe how fast things were going. Time had felt slow before in the led up to my birthday but now I’d put that all behind me things were better.

Xyst #atozchallenge

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Xyst; a garden walk planted with trees. 

Escaping from the tea party, I made my way to the tree walk away. It was a place right at the back of the gardens that had been left naturally wild, once my great-great grandfather had finished having the trees planted. His original plan had been to make a wooded area for hunting in but the horses had struggled with the undergrowth and trees.

There had been so many plans over the years to clear the area and make it something else; another ordered garden, a vegetable patch for the servants, a summer house. The tree walk though was too far out to be much use for any of that, plus there’d always been the matter of the cost of it. I, though was grateful that the tree walk had been left alone and was still wild.

Leaving the neatly racked path, I stepped onto a single dirt track and disappeared into the shadows of the trees. Breathing deeply, I left the constraints of the tea party behind me. I was never very good at remembering my manners, sipping my tea and only nibbling at a sliver of cake. It was especially bad today as we had male guests and I didn’t do well when there were handsome men around!

It was best to stay away and let my mother and sisters deal with such things. Mother was determined to marry us all off before the eldest- Elizabeth now twenty three- turned twenty five. At which point, mother believed the possibility of marriage was low. I did not share that view. Perhaps it was my romantic fifteen year old nature but I wanted to believe there was going to be more to my life then marriage and children.

I let my fingers brush against the rough tree trunks and over grown grass. There was no need to be lady-like in this garden. Overhead, the birds sing of spring in a deep blue sky and the warm breeze promised summer. The scent of flowers and earth hugged the air, making me happy. Following the path, I reached the little wooden bridge over the shallow river that created a boarder to our land.

I lent over, watching the water flowing below. I liked the gentle rushing and bubbling noises. Also, it reminded me that when we had been children, we would throw sticks off the bridge and see who’s came through the other side first. This had been our secret garden; six girls just being children and escaping the pressure of adulthood.

How I wanted things to go back to those days! Being carefree and happy with only the distance shadows of a future out of our control. I sighed and wondered how much longer I could stay away. I should have pretended to have a headache or feel faint but then I would have had to go indoors. I wish I could just hide in here for the rest of my life but one can not escape one’s destiny.

I gathered the pale blue skirts of my afternoon dress and checked them for mud. Mother would not be happy if I returned unclean. Thankfully, it had been dry for a good few days now. Brushing the soft fabric off, I walked back to whatever was awaiting me.

Vobba #atozchallenge

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Vobba; trying to work from home whilst taking care of a sick child. 

I was too busy to take the day off, so I fixed it to work from home whilst looking after Kia. She had been ill all weekend, some bug going around the school, it would seem. I got her settled on the sofa; apple juice, snuggle blanket, teddy bear and the TV on the children’s channel. Then I went into the dinning room and set myself up. I had lots of reports to look over and some to write.

‘Mummy! Mummy!’ Kia called.

I looked up from my loading laptop, wondering what could have happened in less then five minutes.

‘What is it?’ I answered back.

‘I dropped Bobo!’

I heard her struggling to reach the bear. Getting up, I walked into the living room and saw my five year old reaching over the back of the sofa. Tutting, I went around, picked up the bear and handed it to her. Kia hugged her teddy and settled down again.

Leaving her again, I sat back down to work. I opened the first report and read through a few pages, making notes along the sides and bottom. I turned a page and heard Kia calling me again.

‘Mummy! More apple juice!’

I rolled my eyes and got up again.

‘You drank that fast,’ I said, coming into the living room.

Kia waved her cup in the air. I took it from her and went to refill it. I heard her coughing and sneezing.

‘That was a big sneeze!’ I told her coming back in.

Kia nodded and took her cup from me. I tugged the blanket around her and left again.

A few minutes later, I heard shuffling footsteps and felt warm little arms trying to hug me. I pulled Kia on to my lap and kissed her hot head. I worked little that for awhile, reading and making notes whilst she dozed against me. Then my legs went numb and I started to get pins and needles.

Gently, I carried Kia back to the sofa and left her napping there. No sooner had I sat down again though, her little voice called out to me. I pressed my lips together and ignored her. I had too much work to do!

‘Mummy!’ Kia called.

‘Working, working,’ I mutter under my breath.

‘Mummy!’

Sighing, I got up and went to her, ‘what is it? I have to work,’ I said.

‘I’m hungry!’ Kia moaned.

She hadn’t wanted anything before, perhaps it was a sign she was getting better? I agreed some toast and made it for her. Back to work again, I started writing my report then from behind my laptop I saw something move. I paused, thinking it was only a trick of the light, but there was now a small long necked green dinosaur seemingly peering around my laptop at me.

Convincing myself it had been there all along, I got back to typing. The next time I looked up though, the dinosaur had moved closer and behind it was a pale red T-Rex.

‘Kia!’ I snapped.

I heard giggling from under the table and bent down. She was hiding under there, a few other colourful dinosaurs scattered around her knees.

‘You are meant to be ill,’ I said.

‘I am!’ Kia cried back, ‘I want you.’

‘What for?’

‘Hugs!’

She reached out her arms then crawled out from the table. We hugged.

‘Now, take your dinos back into the living room and play with them there, okay? Mummy has a big report to write.’

Nodding, Kia collected the plastic models and went out of the room. I heard her clattering around and after a few minutes there was just the background noise of the TV. I tapped away on my laptop, getting some more work done finally. Though, I shouldn’t have started thinking this was how it was going to continue.

‘Mummy! Mummy!’ Kia called.

‘What?’ I replied back as I carried on typing madly.

‘Come watch this!’

‘I’m busy Kia!’

‘But I want you!’ she wailed.

‘I’ll be in a few minutes,’ I replied.

‘No!’ Kia cried and she stumbled into the dinning room.

I turned to her and she burst into tears.

‘What’s wrong?’

She waved her arms around and I had no choice but to get up and comfort her. Carrying Kia back to the sofa, I waited till she had cried herself to sleep then crept off again. No sooner had I sat back down again, Kia started crying again.

I looked at my report and just knew this wasn’t going to work. Closing my laptop, I went into the living room and spent the rest of the day looking after Kia.

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

The ice cream went down well and afterwards, Raven let Cody and Kadie go back to playing in the sea. This time though, she watched them closely. The beach was getting busier as more people came out to enjoy the sunshine. The tide was also on it’s way out and some of the waves looked fairly big.

Raven’s thoughts turned inwards and she began to think of her ex-husband. She had been doing well not dwelling on him. The seaside had seemed to wash all those thoughts and issues away but her out burst before had brought it all back. She hugged her knees and just for a moment pictured how things had been four years ago. She had been happy, busy and enjoying family life.

Then her world had come crashing down. She still didn’t have the full picture of what happened, just like a jigsaw puzzle missing pieces. She could hardly remember what Dave had said, just that he was leaving her over and over again. She begged him not to go, told him they could fix whatever it was but all along he was sharing his bed with another woman.

And she had only found out two years later after the divorce when the kids had told her about daddy’s girlfriend. Then the story had come out; how they had met on a business trip and tried not to fall in love but then had given in. How Dave had tried just to say it was a fling, how they had broken up but Dave hadn’t been able to let her go. How Dave decided he needed to be with her and not even his responsibilities family could stop him.

Raven dropped her head and shut her eyes. She took a few deep breaths and just listened to the sea. The sound of the waves rushing back and forth along the shore. The children laughing, dogs barking, music playing.

I want to move here, Raven thought, I need to start over.

She opened her eyes, she felt more determined that she had in awhile. Grabbing her handbag and making sure, she had all her personal items, she took off her sandals. Raven got up and walked on the cool sand. Avoiding a sand castle, she reached the edge of the water and let a small wave tickle her toes.

Kadie pointed her out to Cody and Raven watched as her daughter and son splashed their way over to them.

‘I don’t want to leave!’ Kadie moaned.

‘Just a few more minutes!’ Cody put in, ‘we just saw a fish!’

‘It’s okay,’ Raven said with a small laugh, ‘we can stay as long as you like. I just wanted to see what it was like.’

‘It’s cold but you get use to it,’ Kadie pointed out with glee and held out her hand.

Raven took Kadie’s hand and let her daughter led into the sea. The waves lapped stronger around her and the spray flew up, dappling her shorts and t-shirt. Raven took Cody’s other hand and they jumped a few of the waves, laughing loudly.

Raven forgot her heartbreak and nightmare again, letting the sea take it away on the waves. It was just her and her children and that was all that mattered right now.

Spoondrift #atozchallenge (Part 1)

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Spoondrift; a showery sprinkling of sea-water or fine spray swept from the tops of the waves. 

Raven peered over her sunglasses and book at her two children playing in the sea. They were laughing and throwing buckets of water at each other. She smiled and looked up at the clear blue sky from which bright and warm sunlight was pouring from. Breathing the sea air deeply, Raven felt grateful that she was here. This was just the get away moment she needed.

Last week, she had laughed when she’s heard the weather forecast. How can we have a mini heat wave in the the middle of April? It was snowing two weeks ago! she had wondered. The weather presenter had insisted though and deciding to throw caution to the wind, she had booked a short break in Blackpool.

Leaving the kids, who were old enough to look after themselves for a bit, to carry on playing, Raven got back to her book. She was re-reading some classic novels and Frankenstein was her current mission. It was hard to disappear into the words though.

The beach was busy, other people having decided to chance the weather too. There were other children playing noisily, dogs barking and further up donkeys giving rides. Behind her came the noise from the Blackpool Pleasure Beach theme park; the echos of the roller coasters, the screams and the shouts. Music was playing from one of the restaurants or arcade places on the promenade. Further along the beach, noise was also drifted from the south pier; tinkling of music from the tea room and the rowdiness of fairground games.

‘Mum! Mum!’ a child shouted.

Raven looked up and saw her nine year old daughter, Kadie, running towards her across the sand. Raven put her book down, frowning and trying to see what was wrong.

‘He got water in my eyes!’ Kadie cried.

Raven snatched up a towel and as Kadie fell at her feet, she scrubbed her daughter’s face with the towel.

‘You’ll be all right,’ Raven said as Kadie started sobbing.

Raven looked up as her thirteen year old son, Cody, joined them. He was holding two buckets and looking flushed with the heat.

‘I didn’t mean it!’ Cody said as water dripped off him.

Raven handed him another towel, ‘I’m sure you didn’t.’

The buckets hit the sand and Cody dried off then sit down next to them on the picnic blankets Raven had laid down.

‘You okay now, Kadie?’ Raven asked.

The girl nodded and Kadie wrapped the towel around her. Kadie was sniffing and looked tearful still.

Raven pulled the cool bag over and took out two bottles of juice. She give one to each child. Whilst they drink, Raven found the bottle of water she had started and took a few sips of that.

‘Can we go crabbing later?’ Cody asked.

‘No. You know I don’t like it,’ Raven said.

‘Dad would let us,’ Cody muttered under his breath.

‘Yes, well,’ Raven snapped, ‘he’s too busy! Off with that whats her name, living the life of Riley, not caring about anything!’

Cody pulled a face and drink more juice. Kadie buried her face in her towel.

Raven sighed, ‘I’m sorry, I shouldn’t take it out on you.’

She pulled them both into a hug. Cody struggled against her and pushed his way out but Kadie snuggled closer. Raven breathed in the sea salt and sand in her hair.

‘Who wants ice cream?’ Raven said suddenly.

‘Yeah!’ shouted Kadie and Cody.

Laughing, Raven dug around for her purse.

To Be Continued…

Runnel #atozchallenge

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Runnel; a small stream. 

The largepainting had always hung in the guest bedroom of my adopted grandparents house. The girl in the frilly red dress was their ten year old daughter, who had died a two years later. She was playing in a runnel which ran through an spring dappled woods.

‘She’s catching fairies,’ gran said, ‘she always loved doing that.’

That use to fascinate me as a child and when I couldn’t sleep, I would study the painting for the fairies. I never saw any though. As an adult the painting still interested me and I guess that’s why my grandparents left it to me when they passed.

Potterphile #atozchallenge

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Potterphile; a person who loves the Harry Potter books and films. 

I came down to breakfast, feeling like my brain was still in bed. Sitting at the table, I pulled the box of cereal over to me, grunting a reply back to mum who had just said, ‘good morning,’ to me.

Opening the box, I poured some cornflakes into the already waiting bowl. Placing the box back again, I glanced over at my little sister. All I could see was her violent red hair over the top of a thick book.

I wonder for a moment what she was reading. She was a total bookworm and hardly had her face out of a book. I lost count of how much she had read and most of the time I only half recognised some of the titles from school.

I splashed some milk on top of the bowl and started eating. I wasn’t even hungry but the wrath of mum wasn’t worth it. I glanced up at her as she put some toast down and fussed over a few things. Mum buttered the toast and nibbled on a slice. She looked tried and frustrated. Her hair which was the same color as my sister’s, was super fizzy as if it had been electrocuted.

If I could manged the words, I’d ask her how work last night was. She’d told us things were tough at the nursing home at the moment. Most of the old people had flu and they were dropping like flies. For the past two weeks, someone had died every second or third night. There seemed to be no end in sight for it clearing up.

I couldn’t get everything out of my mouth just yet, so I shoveled in some more wet cornflakes. Then I drank some orange juice, hoping that would wake me up. I felt like a zombie with a headache who was hungover.

‘Time for school,’ mum cut in.

She hurried up from the table and began clearing away. She was eager to go to bed and get some sleep. I wished I could do the same. Instead though, my day was going to be full of boring lessons and detention for not doing my science project.

I abandoned the rest of my breakfast and went to get my things. Behind me, I heard mum telling my sister to put Harry Potter down and get her stuff. Ah, that’s what she was reading! Shaking my head, I finished off getting ready then went downstairs again.

‘Here’s you lunch,’ mum said, handing me my plastic lunch box.

She reached up and tried to flatten down my hair which was doing it’s normal just out of bed sticking up everywhere look. I had red hair too, only it was much lighter then theirs, which I was thankfully for.

‘Thanks,’ I muttered and tried to shove the box into my bag whilst attempting to avoid her hands.

‘Lily! Come on!’ mum called upstairs.

My sister appeared, school bag on her back and that huge book hugged to her chest.

‘Lunch,’ mum said and handed her a pink fabric bag with a unicorn flying over a rainbow on it.

‘Did you put the fairy cakes in?’ Lily asked.

‘No, you know the school doesn’t like unhealthy food. You can eat them when you get back. Have a good day,’ mum added.

She kissed Lily’s forehead, opened the door and pushed us both out. The door rattled shut behind us. We started walking, it was a strangely bright sunny day and it felt like spring had finally arrived. In the front gardens of neighbors, flowers were starting to grow.

Lily fell behind and I reached the bus stop first. There were a few other people waiting there; two younger girls from my high school, a postman, a man in a high visibility vest and an harassed like young mum with three kids one of whom was in a pushchair. I glanced back for Lily and saw her walking slowly over, her face buried in her book.

There was no point in telling her to put it down. She was into nearly all books but there was something about the Harry Potter ones that really made her addicted. She must have read each one a hundred times and watched the movies just as much.

Lily came to a stop close to me, the book totally blocking out her face. Her fingers were wrapped so tightly around the thick spine that her knuckles were turning white. It must be hurting her little hands to carry something so big like that. I saw the page turn.

‘Which one’s that?’ I asked her.

‘The fifth,’ she spoke, ‘The Order Of The Phoenix.’

I pulled a face as if trying to remember which one that was. Lily had dragged mum and I to all of the movies and she must have made me watch each one a few times at home too.

‘Where you up to?’ I uttered.

Lily was quiet for a few seconds then she said, ‘they are at the starting feast.’

‘Here’s the bus. Stop reading whilst you get on,’ I added.

Lily had a habit of tripping up and down stairs and over things whilst she walked with her head in some fictional world. With a sigh and a nudge from me, she lowered the book and got on the bus behind everyone else.

The bus was packed as normal and I pushed Lily into a seat before the young mum could get one of her kids into it. I lent against the plastic panel leading up to the stairs, looming over Lily like an evil step-brother. Lily pulled up the book again and turned to her marked page.

‘What is about those books?’ I spoke loud without meaning too.

Lily glanced at me, ‘they are good,’ she replied.

‘So are many others,’ I put in.

She shot me a dirty look, ‘and what would you know? You hate books.’

The lady next to Lily throw me a disgruntled look then stare down at her Kindle again. Another woman behind her peered at me in horror before turning to the window. A few other people had raised their eyes too and I felt like Lily had just said a swear word.

‘I don’t’ I muttered.

Lily shot me a smug look then put Harry Potter between us. I pressed my lips together before turning away from her. The rest of the bus drive felt like it took forever but finally we made it to the stop outside of the high school and we got off in a crowd of people.

I had to drop Lily off at her primary school around the corner first. I took her arm, not caring that she cried out and almost drop her book.

‘We’re late!’ I snapped and broke into a jog, dragging her behind me.

‘Let go!’ Lily shouted.

She tried to wiggle free but I was too strong and was able to force her onwards. Only when we got to the gates and I pushed her inside, did I let go. She looked disheveled and grumpy.

I turned to go then remembered. I grabbed her shoulder, spinning her towards me then lowered my face to her’s and whispered, ‘wait for me in the library, okay?’

Her eyes got wide, ‘you got detention again?’ she asked then giggled.

‘Just do it,’ I growled and stalked off.

I was late to home room and the excuse of having to drop Lily off wasn’t working anymore. School was as dull as I thought it was going to be. Time seemed to have slowed too and the droning of the teacher’s voices remind me of bees buzzing in the summer heat.

At lunchtime after I had eaten, I crept off to one of my favorite hiding places; the English teachers’ stockroom. There in a back corner, hidden behind all the towering shelves filled with fiction and text books, I sat down. From the bottom shelf next to me I pulled out one of books; Harry Potter and The Order Of The Phoenix. 

Smiling, I turned to the page I’d marked last time. I was far ahead of Lily. But I wasn’t about to tell her or anyone else that.

Mangata #atozchallenge (Part 2)

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Mangata; the trail of light left by the moon’s reflection on the sea, ‘the moon road’. 

Someone was calling my name in the distance, I could hear them over the sounds of the waves and the rocking of the little boat.

‘Susy! Susy!’

I opened my eyes and stretched, my body stiff from leaning over. Looking around in a daze, I realised I’d fallen asleep! Luckily though the sea had carried me ashore and the little boat was wedged on the beach. Checking my watch, I saw it was now close to two in the morning.

‘Susy!’ a voice yelled.

It was my older sister, Aura! I looked madly about and thought I saw a blob of flickering light, coming over to me. I looked at the electrical lantern balanced at the head of the boat. It was letting off a good amount of light still. I picked it up and climbed out of the boat.

‘Over here, Aura!’ I yelled and waved the lantern.

‘Susy! she shouted back, ‘are you okay?’

‘Yes,’ I hollered.

I ran along the shore to met her. The surf splashed up against my boat and the wet sand slide underneath me. We almost collided as we were both closer then we thought. Laughing, Aura hugged me tightly, her lantern hitting my back, her wild blonde hair tickling my face.

‘We were worried!’ she gushed, ‘We thought you’d got lost! Father and mother have gone to the cove and to the rocky pools. They thought the tide might have carried you there.’

‘No,’ I replied, I was close enough to shore. I didn’t realise the time.’

Aura let me go and we walked over to the boat.

‘Did you get it?’ she asked, excitement bubbling in her voice.

I nodded and answered, ‘yes and some more things too.’

We hurried over and I grabbed the hiking bag to show her.

Aura grabbed my hand before I could start pulling things out, ‘wait,’ she said.

I looked at her, her face glowing in the lantern lit.

‘We should find father and mother, they are so worried.’

‘Fine,’ I said and flipped the hiking bag closed again.

I heaved it onto my back then we both pulled the boat up the beach. As we neared the low stone wall, two moving lights appeared and we heard running footsteps. Aura, held out her hand and we both stopped. Ducking into the shadows of the wall, we hide our lanterns behind us and waited to see who was coming.

Heavy feet hit the sand, followed by softer ones and the swishing of cloaks. I saw in the gloom, two lanterns holding magical balls of blue and green dancing lights. So, it could only be…

‘Mother! Father!’ Aura cried and she rushed over to them, ‘I found her! Susy! She’s fine!’

I stepped from the wall’s shelter and hurried over. My mother hugged me, repeatedly saying my name, asking if I was okay and that I had worried them all.

‘What happened?’ my father finally cut in.

‘Nothing…I…It was just so nice out there and I caught some stars too. I didn’t know the time had gone,’ I replied.

I couldn’t tell them I had fallen asleep, it’d be awhile before they let me out again by myself.

‘I got The Moon Reflection Essence!’ I cried and struggled to take my hiking bag off to show them all.

My mother stopped me, her hands pulling the straps back on, ‘later,’ she said.

Father collected the boat, heaving it up and and carrying it back. We walked off the beach, breaking the quietness with a little conversation. A sandy path let back to the village. Ours was the first house on the little cliff that looked out over the sea. As we got closer, I saw that all the windows had lights shinning out of them, so it seemed like a beacon. There was a tail of smoke coming out of the small chimney too.

Arriving, we took our boots off then Mother hurried me into the living room, where the fire dully burnt. She threw some more logs on then began helping me out of my damp clothes. In the background, I heard father lowering the boat against the house and coming in with my sister. They joined us and started to get dry too.

Standing in my under dress, I emptied my hiking bag and removed all the jars. Mother inspected them as I did so, nodding and muttering her approval. Lastly, I handed in the biggest jar and watched her face closely.

The Moon Reflection Essence glowed brightly in the living room, casting a pool of light around mother. Her smile grew as she turned the jar to see the light from the reflection of the moon from all sides.

‘It’s perfect,’ she said, proudly.

‘At a girl, Susy,’ father spoke.

‘Wow, it’s so bright!’ Aura awed.

‘Well done,’ mother added and drew me into a hug.

A wave of sleep hit me and I rubbed my eyes as I rested against her shoulder. The warm of the fire, the safety of home and the tiredness of my trip building together.

‘It’s bedtime.’

I agreed with a yawn.

Once in bed, I could see the moonlight dancing on top of the waves before me. I could feel myself drifting away, those waves carrying me out to sea.

‘You’re going to make a great witch, Susy,’ Aura’s voice said.

‘Huh-huh,’ I uttered.

‘We both will do…One day. Next time will you show me how you get the moon essence?’

‘Sure,’ I muttered then let the dream sea carry me away.

Easter Eggs

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I was too old for chocolate Easter eggs. It was so hard resisting though when the shops were full of them. There was too much choice and that’s what put me off; do you go for plain and cheap? Fancy and expensive? Or something totally different like not chocolate but a egg made out of cheese!

I had to buy some for the grandchildren, there were six of them now. It wouldn’t be right them coming over and granny not having had a visit from the Bunny. It was always better to go for the Easter eggs that were cheapest choice or on a good deal. I got them last minute as I always did so I wouldn’t be tempted to eat them myself! This year, I went with a deal; three eggs for five pounds. They were good large ones too!

And I might have brought one for me….Well, you need to treat yourself more often when you are almost ninety!