Autumn Warmth

I didn’t find autumn cold like most people did. I found it warm and cosy. I loved pulling on a soft jumper, curling up on the sofa with a hot coffee or chocolate then burying myself in a thick novel.

Outside, the wind might be howling and the rain might be pouring but that just made perfect background noise to my reading. As the early darkness covered the sky and lingered by the windows, I pulled a blanket over my knees and wonder how the hero was going to escape this time.

The bubbling of stew and dumplings called to me before I could get there. It was a hearty meal with bread for soaking up the gravy at the bottom of the bowl. I felt hugged from the inside!

Sleepiness drifted like the night upon me and I took the book to a fleece lined bed and goose feather pillows. Safe from the world, I disappeared in between the words till I was dreaming I was adventuring alongside the hero.

Raspberry Picking

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On the back playing fields, growing along the far edge where the children didn’t play, the raspberries grew.

I only knew about them because once I’d had a friend who lived in the houses down the lane there which backed onto that part of the field which had been left wild. It was his parents or grandparents who told him about the wild berries growing around here and he told me one summer.

Since then, I always come back here in summer to pick the wild raspberries and taste a burst of summer sweetness.

The branches hang heavy with the plum red berries which peer out shyly from large leaves. When they are ripe they fall to the long grass and bugs delight in their feast.

I bring a basket and spend a few hours taking the ripe raspberries off the plant and collecting them. Sometimes when I pause for a few moments, I put a raspberry in my mouth and enjoy it like it’s my first ever one.

At home with my prize, I put some in the freeze to keep and others I make into pies and smoothies.

I don’t know what it is but there’s something so satisfying about picking your own food.

Salad

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It was too hot to eat anything but it still needed to happen. I made a large salad and mixed fruit and veg together for something different. I brought everything out to the garden table and we sat under the shady umbrella where it was cooler and ate.

 

Market #FridayFictioneers

For the first time in two months the market was awake once more.

People set up their stalls under a orange-yellow sky, greeting each other. Plastic and paper rustled in the breeze whilst the heavenly scent of fresh bread, cakes and pies called to be tasted. 

Harriet and her mother set up their small farm’s produce stall. There were eggs laid by their chickens. Homemade jams, marmalade and chutneys using fruit and veg from their field. Golden honey from Harriet’s beehives and goat’s cheese from mother’s goats.

The nervousness in the air was broken by the first customers arriving. Harriet let go of the breath she was holding. It felt like things were returning back to normal.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/06/24/26-june-2020/ with thanks)

Food! #FridayFictioneers

Pausing for a moment, I rested on top of blade of grass and scented the air. I could smell flowers and something else….something that sent a tingle through me and called for attention.

Setting off, I followed the scent as it grew then I found myself on something different. The land rose and fell then I came across my prize.

I half rose in the air and sent the signal out to the other workers; food here! Food here!

They came in a drove, eager to see what I had found. Then together, we carried everything back to our hill and our Queen.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2020/06/03/5-june-2020/ with thanks).

 

 

Shortage

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Everyone had gathered on the wave breaker wall, squabbling over space whilst the sea rushed across sand and shells in the background.

‘Quiet! Quiet!’ Storm screeched.

With some gibbering, the gulls hushed.

‘Right, we all know the problem; lack of food!’

‘Aye! Aye! Cor! Cor!’ the gulls cried.

‘So,’ Storm hollered, ‘we need to move inland!’

‘Aye! Cor! Cor! Aye!’

There was a squall as the gulls all spoke at once, ‘Chips, ice cream, fish! Bread, meat! Sweet fluff cloud, sticky things, chocolate!’

Storm flapped his large grey and black tipped wings and let out a massive scream to silence the chatting.

‘Right troops,’ he spoke once they were quiet enough, ‘let’s go find the humans!’

Xertz #AtoZChallenge

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Xertz – to gulp something down quickly and/or in a greedy fashion.

The picnic was spread out on the blanket thrown over the grass. He couldn’t help himself as he walked by and saw no one around. Where had the family who owned this offering of food gone too?

There was a distant call of music from behind the trees and he guessed people were gathering to the bandstand and the brass band playing there.

There was enough of the picnic to go around and he was sure they wouldn’t miss a couple of sandwiches, a slice of cake and an apple…..

The family came back, delighting over the band to find a strange man sat on their picnic blanket eating all their food.

‘I’ll have you, I will!’ the father roared.

The man stuffed the remaining food into his mouth, gulped down the last of the pink lemonade and rushed off into the trees the father chasing after him.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Wayzgoose #AtoZChallenge

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Wayzgoose – an annual summer party held by a printing house for all its employees.

It was too warm and the cocktails had gone to my head all ready. I dipped my feet into the cool outdoor swimming pool of the hotel and watched everyone else. Everyone from work I knew was here, it was a work do after all! and there were people from other departments I had never seen before.

Everyone from the printing house seemed to be here; the big cheeses, the receptions and the kids who worked in the post room. Everyone was drinking or eating, talking and enjoying themselves.

It was good to be not at work in this four star hotel for a weekend party. It was the annual tradition of the business. A reward for everyone and a celebration of last year’s best selling books and online articles.

I hated it. I loathed shifting through the paper and online submissions. I grimaced at simple spelling mistakes and rolled my eyes at grammar errors. For years, I had read other peoples’ writings whilst mine had slipped away like shells out to sea.

‘So, I heard you’d handed in your notice….’

I looked up at the sound of the voice, frowning and scrunching my face up because the sun was too bright. It was Naz though, no doubt about it.

He sat down next to me and dipped his bare feet into the water. He was wet from a swim and there was a towel around his shoulders.

‘This isn’t a pool party,’ I joked.

Naz laughed and shook his wet dark hair, ‘everyone’s too drunk to care!’

I pressed my lips together and kicked my feet under the water. He was right, everyone no one cared and the drinks were flowing too much. Not even the Christmas party ended up like this.

‘So, is it true? You are leaving me?’ Naz uttered.

‘Yes. How did you find out?’ I asked.

Naz tapped his nose and laughed.

‘I leave at the end of next month.’

‘So you got on that journalism course then?’

‘University at the age of thirty-one here I come!’ I cried and swung my arms up.

A few people glanced at me then got back on with their conversations or nibbles.

‘Go get ’em girl,’ Naz said, ‘fancy a drink to celebrate?’

‘No, I’ve had too much.’

‘Come on!’ Naz half shouted and got up splashing me with pool water.

I watched him go over to the bar and a part of me wanted to get up and go, make Naz come back with two drinks and discovery himself alone. I couldn’t though, we had known each other too long.

He came back soon enough with tall glasses and something pink and fizz inside. I sipped it through a paper straw and found it fruity and sweet. We didn’t talk for a few minutes, just sat and watched a group of men try and push each other in the pool. Someone give at last and splashed in, followed by another man he had snatched the arm of as he fell.

Laughter and shouting rose up as people swamped the pool. The men got up and everyone distributed lured by the music coming from the marque on the lawn.

‘Party’s kicking off now,’ Naz pointed out.

I rubbed my head, feeling the growth of a headache. I should get something to eat and then maybe slip off back to my room. I wasn’t in the mood for dancing, having my bum and boobs grabbed at. Also, I didn’t want to end up in someone else’s bed tonight like a lot of these people would do.

I turned to Naz and saw him waving at someone, ‘Cherry in accounting, Let’s go say hi.’

‘You go. I’ll see you at the buffet table,’ I replied.

Naz nodded and hurried off.

I got my wrinkled feet out of the pool, back into my red flat shoes that matched my red cocktail dress and went to get something to eat.

There wasn’t a queue though there was enough people getting food to bump elbows with. Most people had gone off dancing. I got a paper plate and selected a few things, not really fussy over the trays of food.

I found a table outside and ate slowly, enjoying the setting sun and the lights coming on in the gardens. Noise echoed around me, the booming of the disco music, the shouting of the people. A woman was screaming somewhere- I guessed in delight as she was chased by a suitor? Or maybe a murderer? I didn’t care.

I finished eating and went back to the buffet table. I gathered some sandwiches, fruit, mini blueberry muffins and a few other things to eat in my room. Then acting like I was looking for somewhere to eat or perhaps the friends I had left a few minutes ago, I sneaked back inside the hotel.

It was a long way to my room and I was grateful not to meet anyone. Either the whole hotel had been booked for the company or the other guests were sticking in their bedrooms. I took the elevator and walked along the corridors until I made to my door.

Once in, I put the food on the desk next to the gathering of bottled water and fizzy drinks I had brought with me. A few packets of sweets and chocolates were there too. That had been my plan for night; far from the party and by myself.

I sat on the bed and turned the TV on. I nibbled on a sandwich and sipped some water.

What a way to spend my last work’s summer party.

(Inspired by; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com)

Golden Dragon

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There was a buzz in city. The streets smelt of Chinese spice and stir fry vegetables as cookers worked over gas burners in little marquees. Red paper lanterns were strung up and gold steamers waved above the crowds.

Music echoed, drums beating and cymbals crashing. Gasps rose from the people and they parted like a breaking wave as along the road came a golden dragon. He was rising and falling with the beat of the music. Bells that decorated his flashing scales tinkled and his yellow mane blew in the breeze.

He fixed his large eyes onto the crowd then downwards as a child darted before him. The dragon regarded her slowly then he opened his mouth wide. The child placed a red envelope on his tongue and the dragon clamped his teeth shut.

A joyous cry roared through the crowd. The dragon shook his head and started to dance once more, welcoming the Chinese new year in.

The Real Thing #CCC

It was the same old thing and Dan had had enough. He threw his spoon into the bowl of artificial milk and porridge then declared to his family, ‘we are going to get some real food!’

‘Where from?’ his wife laughed, ‘everything is made in a factory. There is no ‘real’ to anything, not even our children!’

Dan huffed, didn’t reply and instead bundled everyone into the car.

They drove for hours, far from the city then they spotted a sign; Proper milk, eggs and beef. 

‘There!’ cried Dan, ‘real food at last!’

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2019/12/11/crimsons-creative-challenge-57/ with thanks).