Summer Storm

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I hummed to myself as I planted the new flowers I had just brought from the garden centre. I loved digging in the soil and watching the plants grow. My gloves were dark with soil, my old jeans sprinkled with loose earth and the sun was warm on my back.

There were two trays left to plant when I felt a chill along my arms. I looked up and saw the sun being covered by dark clouds. The weather forecast had said there was a low chance of rain.

Rising my trowel, I went to dig some more holes and heard a rumbling. My head turned up to the sky and my eyes searched the heavens. The clouds were heavy with more of a downpour then a gentle summer shower. Plus, something else seemed be brewing up there.

I got back to digging and hurried to plant the rest of the flowers. A few drops of rain landed around me. Plopping down and staining the soil. The last few plants went in and as I covered them with compost, the thunder rumbled once more.

Gathering my things, I went to the open back door and got inside just in time. The clouds erupted and rain lashed down like a massive waterfall. Thunder roared and lightening flashed across. I saw the end tail of a jagged fork of white light and my breath hitched. The storm was right above me!

Shutting the door, I took off my gardening boots, gloves and jeans. I left them in the little back porch area and went into the kitchen where I put on clean jeans and a jumper. It was dark like it was evening time and I turned on the light then watched from the window next to the kitchen sink as the storm continued.

Grow

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‘What did you grow during lock down?’

‘Herbs, tomatoes and flowers.’

‘I managed peas, lettuce, radishes and carrots.’

‘We could put a salad together!’

Minikin #AtoZChallenge

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Minikin – small.

I was gardening and humming along to the radio when I saw a flash of orange. Frowning and wondering what it was, I peered closely under a small bush and saw a tiny kitten.

Crying out, I dropped my trowel and carefully picked up the limb body. Was it dead?

Hurrying into the house, I wrapped the kitten in a tea towel and took my gardening gloves off. I rubbed the towel over the kitten, not wanting the poor think to be dead.

There was a weak mew and small wiggle of movement. I peeked into the wrapped towel and saw a little white paw moving.

Straight a way, I thought of one of my neighbours who fostered abandoned kittens. She would know what to do.

I took the tiny kitten to her and got her to help. It was touch and go because the kitten was only a week or so old and was so weak.

Everyday, I went to see the kitten, prepared for the bad news but the kitten hung on and got well and strong.

I named her Mini and as soon as she was well enough, I brought her home to live with me.

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

Greenhouse #CCC

The Victorian greenhouse in the middle of the park had probably seen a lot in it’s time. Lovers coming and going, children wowing over the growing pineapples, gardeners complaining about the weather and waves of visitors to smell the exotic flowers.

Now, the whole building was rusted brown and most of the windows smashed. The council wanted to demolish the greenhouse, claiming it was too expensive to renovate.It seemed dooms day had arrived but there was an uproar from the people and fund raising and projects began to save the greenhouse.

 

(Inspired by; https://crispinakemp.com/2020/01/08/crimsons-creative-challenge-61/ with thanks).

Leaf Pile

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Raking leaves should have been my son’s job, just as it was mine as a kid. However, my son is gone and has been for twenty-three years. He had been ten years old, a boy full of life which had been cut short.

I pause in my raking, leaning on the smooth wooden pole as I get my breath back. Looking up at the left front window of my house, I see my wife standing there. She is stroking her short white hair, her mouth moving as she speaks but her eyes are not watching me, they are staring into the distance.

The dementia has her mind in a tight grip of late and some days she doesn’t know who she is. In my heart I know she doesn’t have much longer to live but I can’t let her go. I wave at her and get no response back. She carries on playing with her hair and speaking either to herself or to someone she thinks is there but has long since passed away.

Getting back to work, I pull the dry leaves together into a pile, freeing the grass from the quilt blanket the leaves create. I wouldn’t burn them but put them on the composed heap to be used in planting my show flowers in the spring. Garden is the only thing I have left to enjoy now.

The front door opens and I hear my wife shouting. Her words are garble and it’s hard to pick out what she’s trying to say. She pulls at her hair and dress as she comes down the path.

‘What is it, Olive?’ I call.

She ignores me, trapped in a world of her own.

I go over and leaving the rake against the side of the house. She’s clearly in distress but there is no way she can tell me what’s wrong. It could be she believes she is in a different time and some moment there has triggered the upset.

I talk to her softly, calming her though she seems unaware of me, ‘it’s fine, whatever it is. I can help. You are okay. I’m here.’

I reach for her but she waves my hands away and carries on shouting out what seems to be just random words, ‘not here! Gone! Come back! Where is he? Don’t know what to do! Alex! Alex! Frog in the hallway. Frog, frog, frog! Gone! Gone!’

It’s hard when she gets like this. I want to get her back inside and sat down but she would fight me all the way and last time she pushed me down and I almost broke my arm. I know I’m too old to deal with her now and leaving her care to a specialist would be best. I can’t though. I can’t let her go….

I pick up a stray leaf and press it into her hands.

‘Look Olive, isn’t it pretty? Listen to the sound it makes,’ I say.

She crunches the leaf, tears it up and lets the bits fall from her hand. She stares in fascination.

I give her another and another. She crunches them in her fist and tosses the leaf pieces to the wind. They blow around in the breeze and she watches them go.

I take her hand and led her to the pile of raked up leaves.

‘Where is Alex?’ she asks.

‘At school, my love,’ I reply.

I can’t explain that he’s been dead for years because she won’t understand and though it hurts, it’s easier to lie.

‘School?’ she repeats as she picks up leaves and plays with them, ‘he never comes home. Never. I miss him….When will he come? When, when?’ she cries with desperation.

‘Soon, dear, soon,’ I reply gently, ‘come back inside now. It’s cold out here and you are not wearing a coat.’

I take her arm and guide her away. She starts muttering to herself again, words I can’t catch or understand.

Once inside, I get her in front of the TV, feet up and wrapped in a blanket. Her eyes are distant. She isn’t here, she’s off in the past, some place I might not remember or don’t want to recall.

I stay with her until she is settled enough to be left again. The news is on the TV but she’s not watching it but the sounds of the voices help her to feel not alone.

‘I’m going out again but I’ll be there if you need me. It’s getting dark and I want to finish,’ I say.

She says something which is lost on me.

I get up, go to the front door and on the mat is a crumbled brown leaf. I pick it up and take it outside, feeling a pain my heart that never goes.

Dear Diary #22

 

Dear Diary,

It’s too quiet in the office. I forgot it was half-term and nearly everyone has booked today off. It’s strange seeing so many empty desks, it’s like the staff have all got up and fled as the Doom chime sounded.

Sitting at the front desk is even worse. At least though the phone sometimes rings and someone walks through the door. Ah, the postman is here. I’m not nosy, but sometimes I just get drawn in wondering about people’s correspondence with each other. It’s poor pickings this morning. There’s a small gardening magazine, a letter for someone who left a few months ago and a leaving card for someone who’s moving to another department next week.

Nothing worth pondering over. Also, today is one of those days were I don’t have much work to do. That’s why I’m sat here, writing this down and looking out of the window at the coming rain. It was meant to be nice today, but it’s clouded over so fast now it looks like a cold grey sea hanging ¬†above the buildings.

There’s a slight rattling in the back and running water. It’s only the cleaners finishing up. Seems like they were on a late start this morning. I can hear them talking, passing on some gossip about someone’s affairs. They come to the front desk, saying cheery goodbyes before heading into the now drizzling weather.

I watch them walking away, chin resting on my hand and a small smile on my face. Then I’m back to daydreaming when I can escape into the stormy sea scape of the day.