Non-Fiction Update – Missing Stories

 

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Hi all,

I just wanted to write this brief update to say I have finally caught up with some days which were missing stories so please look back though June and July to catch up on those.

I’ve been really lucky that I’ve still not had the corona virus but having to stay at home shielding has really effected my mental health. I’ve been suffering with an anxiety for awhile now and I’ve had in the past bouts of depression. Well these two things are really bad for me right now.

I’m anxiety about when things will go back to normal and if it will ever be safe for me. I’m depressed because I feel like I’ve had to put many things on hold and I’m stuck at home not able to have much freedom or inspiration in the outside world. I’ve also have insomnia which is part triggered by the other two but it means I don’t sleep much and then don’t feel like doing much during the day.

This has had a big effect on writing the stories for this blog and I think for the first time since starting to write way back in August 2014, I’ve let my writing slide so much. I hope to try and get back into writing as much as possible again soon. I’ve some longer short stories I’ve been working on and I’d like to share them.

It can be hard to find motivation when I’m feeling like this and everything that’s happening in the world, but I’m trying to get through. I hope you can carry on reading and enjoying my stories because I don’t want to stop writing even though I’m finding things tough right now.

Thank you for your support,

Hayley.

Steps #Writephoto

My granny use to say, ‘if these steps could talk what stories they’d tell!’

I’d laugh and say ‘tell me a story then.’

She would whilst we sat on those steps outside her house with the summer sun on our faces and people waving as they went by.

Granny would spin truth and fiction together, making her simple life exciting for my childhood self. There’d be stories of her dancing the night away with my granddad, long days working in the cotton factory down the road and her adventures as a nanny in London.

My favourite stories were the ones set in the war. Granny was a teenager and whilst her brothers, baby sister and mother moved away to the Devon to live with cousins, granny stayed in Manchester and worked in a factory making uniforms and other clothes for the soldiers.

There was something that fascinated me about that time. It seemed a different world with secrets still unknown.

Years and years later, the sad time arrived and granny’s house was for sale. My parents lived in Devon and though I had stayed in the Manchester for work, I had my own place. I did debate having my granny’s house but too much work needed to be done and I couldn’t offered that. It was easier to sell the place and try to move on.

‘Is there anything else you want to take?’ one of the moving men I had hired asked.

I looked back at the house and saw the front steps. I nodded and said, ‘I want those steps.’

The man was confused and I realised it did sound little silly.

‘I think that’s slightly above me,’ the man replied slowly.

Argument bubbled on my tongue but I swallowed and told him to go get the others and I’d help.

After, with the worn stone steps heaved into the moving van, the man told me that was properly one of the oddest things he’d had to shift.

My granny’s steps are outside my front door now. I sit on them with my own children and tell them all kinds of stories.

Some true and some not quite.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/07/30/thursday-photo-prompt-worn-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Books

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Some books were normal and others where not. Those books took you to places you could never come back from.

Non-Fiction Announcement; Merry Christmas!

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Hi everyone, December is finally here and soon another year will be over!

Merry Christmas to you all and thank you for supporting my writing this year.

My goal for 2020 is to reach 1,000 followers.

I currently have over 700, so I know it’s achievable. Please help me by sharing my blog so I can reach as many new followers as possible. This achievement would make me so happy. Thank you for your help in advice.

On a side note; please don’t worry if some days are missing short stories. December of course is a busy month for everyone!

Also, I still have an eye infection from last month and I’m currently starting with a cold. I have a weak immune system and I’m on a immune suppressant medication. So some days, I’m just too ill to write, so please bear with me during those days.

I do have a few other goals for 2020 but only one of them is blog related; I want to launch a new blog about my long term health condition. I have put this off for years because it’s one of those ’embarrassing’ conditions and I’ve never been sure about how I feel about sharing things but I really want to do it as I think it’ll help myself and other people. I’ll be posting links when I launch it in the new year.

One of my other goals is not to buy any books and put that money and some more into saving for my wedding. – I buy books like other women buy clothes, shoes, handbags etc! I have a huge reading pile that will see me through 2020 if not 2021! So no more books for now. Going to be so hard but I need to save for my wedding and that’s super important.

I won’t bore you with the other goals and this post is too long all ready!

I hope you have a great December and continue to enjoy my stories.

Thanks again, Hayley .R. Hardman.

Photos Speak Louder #FridayFictioneers

Photos have always drawn me in. I’m no good at taking them and I’m not interested in photography. I like to think about why someone took a photo, the landscape and people in them. The capturing of the moment, the memory.

There are some that believe photos capture the soul. I’ve not come across anything like that, just a lot of nameless faces and changed places.

What I believe is that each photo holds a story within. It’s my destiny to uncover these stories, no matter what they might be.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/10/09/4-october-2019/ with thanks).

Cafe Stories #FridayFictioneers

Penny had taken shifts at the cafe to help pay off her bills. She wasn’t that interested in the work but the people who came to her tables kept her going.

She would hear all kinds of stories as she served food and drinks. There was gossip about neighbours, family members and friends, reviews of books, music and movies, discussions of sports and memories of the past.

Penny loved seeing love bloom as couples dated, the growth of families, the harmony and discord of life. It was all here to see in the cafe.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/08/21/23-august-2019/ with thanks).

The Grave Digger’s Cottage

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Alice said goodbye to her friends and started to run home. Now eleven, her parents let her walk alone but she was only allowed a certain distance. To school a few streets away, the park next door and the corner shop.

She laughed loudly, excitement spilling out as she went. School was over for another day but also for summer. There was a whole two months of playtime and adventures waiting for her.

Alice lived behind the village church and across the graveyard. Her house sat on the back edge of the cemetery, over shadowed by a massive weeping willow tree. It was a small cottage with a yellow thatched roof, red brick chimney, small frosty windows and set apart from all the others in the village. It was called the Grave Digger’s Cottage.

There many routes she could have taken home, but Alice took the quickest. Cutting across church grounds and the straight path that ran down the centre of the graveyard. Opening the gate of her front garden, she skipped up the gravel path, lined with bright summer flowers then opened the front door.

‘Hello, grandpa!’ she shouted.

‘Hello, Al!’ the distant echoing voice of her grandpa called back.

Giggling, Alice took off her shoes and left them with her schoolbag in the hallway. Downstairs there were only three rooms; the front parlour, living room and kitchen/dinner. Upstairs there were also three rooms; a small bathroom, her parents bedroom and her grandpa’s room. Another staircase led to the attic which was Alice’s bedroom.

Alice went down the hallway, through the kitchen to the back door and stepped out into blazing sunshine once again.

Her grandpa was in the back garden, sitting on a stool next to a low table and he was putting together flower bunches. His skin was tanned a deep brown from days spent outside and his figure was stooped from years of being bent over digging. He had a thin cloud of white wispy hair and rough outline of a white beard. His eyes were blue like the colour of the sea lit by the sun.

Alice had been told she looked like him but she had never been able to see it. Yes, they had the same colour eyes and once grandpa’s hair had been chestnut brown like her’s was now. Alice’s skin though was paler and definitely not wrinkly!

‘School is finally over!’ Alice cried.

‘Is it really?’ grandpa questioned.

Alice nodded, ‘are mum and dad home yet?’

Grandpa shook his head, ‘your dad’s watching over an evening exam at the university and your mum had a late meeting to go to in the city. It’s just you and me till bedtime.’

Alice smiled, spending time alone with grandpa was the best. He told awesome stories, let her do want she wanted and allowed her to stay up late.

‘Would you like a hand, grandpa?’ Alice asked.

‘I’m almost done,’ he replied.

Alice sat down on another stool and watched him wrapping green garden twine around the bunches of mixed flowers. Alice knew he had grown them himself and when the flowers were ready, grandpa would cut them and put them together.

‘There we go. Right, would you like to come with me, Al?’ Grandpa asked.

‘Yes, please!’ Alice said.

Grandpa give her some of the flowers to carry and he took the rest. Together they went out into the cemetery. At a handful of headstones, they placed the flowers into the vases and grandpa did some cleaning and weeding if needed.

Countless times they had done this and Alice knew the stories of all of the headstones they visited plus many of the other ones in the graveyard. Grandpa had known a lot of people buried here because they had come from the village and the graves they visited were of family and friends. Grandpa had also buried some of them.

Alice looked back their cottage, the roof could just be seen through the trees and wild growth. Alice sat down on one of the tombs, the stone was cold against her bare legs but she didn’t mind.

‘Grandpa, tell me the story of our house again.’

He looked up from pulling weeds out from around a Second World war grave of his uncle.

He smiled and began chatting away, ‘when the new church was built in the eighteen hundreds after the old one burnt down, they also built a cottage for a grounds keeper to leave in. The man and his son who first lived there were also grave diggers and that’s how the cottage got it’s name.’

Alice nodded.

‘From that day on, every man who lived in the cottage – expect your father- was a grave digger and also church grounds keeper. We had to make sure that nature didn’t take over and the paths clear for visiting people. We had to help plot out the cemetery, decided where to bury people and dig those graves. Then when the headstones arrived we had to plant them in the ground over the right grave.’

‘And what else, grandpa?’ Alice demanded.

‘And we were night watchmen too! Back in time, grave robbers would come and dig up fresh bodies to sell to doctors for science. People would also try to do cheap burials by doing it themselves and we had to stop them! Then there’s tramps and teenagers who muck around and make place untidy. We had to get them out by dawn so visitors wouldn’t see ’em and get a scare!’

Grandpa clawed his hands and made swatting movements in the air. He growled low like a bear before coming over and tickling Alice, who broke into giggles. Then he sat on the tomb next to her and they looked out over the cemetery.

‘Did you ever see a ghost, grandpa?’ Alice asked.

‘Plenty!’ grandpa cried, ‘I saw the ghost of little girl once, way younger then you, and she was running along the path just there. There’s the woman in blue who walks around the church, crying for her lost lover. A black dog with red eyes that’s spotted in the bushes and shadows of the trees. He’s said to guide souls away.’

‘And there’s also the headless man!’ Alice shouted.

Grandpa laughed and spoke, ‘that’s one of your favourites, Al.’

Spots of rain began to fall.

Grandpa pointed out a large bank of grey cloud coming over to them and declared it time to go home.

‘But you will tell me, won’t you, grandpa? The story of the headless man,’ Alice questioned.

Grandpa helped her down from the tomb. Hand in hand they walked back towards The Grave Digger’s Cottage.

‘Of course, I will! As long as you promise not to lose your head with fright!’ Grandpa replied.

Alice laughed and shadows grew long on the ground.

Old Stables #CCC

Outbuildings at Hethel

Perhaps once famous horses had lived in the old stable and maybe a maid had fallen in love with a groom there and they had romanced in the hayloft.

I daydream too much but I really wish to know what had happened in the stables throughout their history. All those stories were lost to time and it’s such a shame.

For years, no horses’ hoofs had echoed the whitewashed walls, no boys had run in and out, nature hadn’t been cut back but this was all about to change. I was bring the stables back to life and soon the walls would have stories to tell once again.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/05/22/crimsons-creative-challenge-28/ with thanks).

April Announcement; A To Z Challenge 2019

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Hi everyone, I just wanted to let you know that I’m taking part in the A-Z Challenge again this year. Sorry, my for the late notice but I’m currently ill and struggling with lots of things, including mental health problems.

As of yet, I’ve not put anything together for the challenge but my plan will be like that of the last few years of taking part. I’ll search out words of different kinds that I’ve never heard of before and use them to base a story around. Some stories might also include inspiration from other imagine or writing prompts which I shall note.

The link to the challenge is here; http://www.a-to-zchallenge.com/ there’s still time to sign up and get involved.

Thank you for all the support and inspiration I receive from all you comments and likes. They do help to keep me going when I’m struggling to write. Here’s to many more short stories!

Happy 3rd Anniversary to The Story Files!

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Hi everyone,

WordPress has just told me that today is The Story Files’ 3rd anniversary even though I started writing this blog in the middle of 2014. I don’t know how the dates and times work out, I’ve a disability in maths. I’m also dyslexic, so how I ended up with a love of reading and writing, I’ll never know, but I’m thankful for it.

Writing stories has been my escape and stress relief since I was a child, despite the challenges I’ve had with letters, words and grammar! I’ve always found that novels- the ones I read and the ones I write, were there for me when no one else really was. Luckily, things are different for me today but I still finding writing good for dealing with my problems.

I started writing this blog soon after a graduated from a Masters degree in Creative Writing. I had serious depression and was feeling at a lost as to what to do with my life. In doing this blog, I forced myself to write a story a day, thus giving me an active thing to do each day no matter what. This and also rediscovering a love for crafts, helped me get over the depression.

Now though, I’m in the habit of writing stories for this blog. I enjoy it and I know for an hour or so each day I can escape into writing. if I can’t make time for it, I work it into whatever I’m doing during the day; I’ll write at lunch and my breaks, sometimes even when I’m meant to be working! Sometimes though, I don’t write a story everyday because I might be away for a weekend etc and it’s good at that time to give my mind a small break. In that case, I’ll write the number of stories needed on other days and that helped to mix things up for me and allows the creativity to grew further.

Originally, I started this blog to give myself some space. I didn’t care who read it or liked or commented because that wasn’t important to me. Over the years, that has changed and now I love feedback in anyway. It’s important to help my writing improve and I feel so happy every time someone lets me know they’ve liked a story and or they take the time to comment to tell me so.

I don’t know what the future is for this blog or my stories. I hope to continue as long as possible. Perhaps, one day I’ll make an anthology, or work on some stories to publish or maybe even write another novel – been awhile since my last one! Whatever happens, I just want to say a big thank you to everyone who follows, likes, comments and shares my blog. I appreciate you all so much and you help inspire me to keep writing.

If you’d like to know more about me and also read the book reviews I write please check out my other blog;¬†https://hailscrazyblog.blogspot.co.uk/

Thank you again!

Hayley.