Visit #TaleWeaver

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I hadn’t seen my great aunt Sophia in five years because I had been travelling the world and Sophia only had a landline phone. So, I thought it would be nice to go and spend sometime with her. She was my oldest relative and I loved hearing the stories of her life, family members and past friends.

Great aunt Sophia’s cottage hadn’t changed. There were roses, honeysuckle and jasmine growing up the house towards the thatched roof. There were loads of other flowers and plants in the front garden which reminded me of being in a gardening shop. There was actual a sign with faded words on it declaring Plants for sale on the front gate.

I walked up the path and knocked on the door with the iron knocker. How many times had I ran around this cottage, laughing and chasing butterflies? So many of my summers had been spent out here as my parents, who worked difficult, long hour jobs in London had used great aunt Sophia as a nanny.

‘Sophia? It’s me, Hattie! Are you home?’ I called out.

I tried the door and found it locked.

Dumping my heavy hiking bag, suitcase and duffel bag on the doorstep, I walked around the side of the cottage. The back garden was a huge acre lawn with large trees dotted about to give shady patches and at the sides were long flower beds containing all kinds of bright, sweet smelling blooms, wild flowers and small evergreen plants.

There was no path across the lawn, so I walked on the grass down to the bottom, where half hidden by a weeping willow was a large Victorian glass and iron greenhouse. The door was open and I stuck my head inside to call out, ‘great aunt Sophia? It’s Hattie.’

‘Who?’ a soft, old voice spoke.

I entered the greenhouse, heat wrapped around me, catching my breath and making it harder to breath. Long leaf tropical plants brushed my face and arms, making me feel like I had walked through spiderwebs. Narrow bench tables ran down in rows though here and there, a rickety table or a massive plant pot sat.

Slipping through a gap, I saw a white haired and hunched woman in her late eighties, sitting on a old wooden chair, looking around confused. Sophia was so much older then I had last seen her, there were more wrinkles, her skin was too tanned with sunlight, her eyes looked duller, her hair shorter but she was still great aunt Sophia. She was wearing a pale blue summer dress with a white lacy trim.

‘Your only grandniece, Henrietta. Hattie. Hat. We spoke on the phone this morning, auntie Sophia. Remember?’

Sophia stared at me, taking in my boy short brown hair, sun kissed skin, my too thin but muscular body, the torn jean shorts and white crop top I was wearing.

‘Ah! Hat!’ Sophia cried.

She struggled to take off the thick gardening gloves she had on.

‘Here,’ I said and helped her take them off.

‘I was just repotting these baby cacti,’ she replied.

I looked at the tray she had been working on and saw lots of new cacti in tiny brown plastic pots. There was a mix of different kinds; some looked like little tufts of fluff, others was straight and tall, there were round pin cushions, some had different colour ‘buds’ on them.

Behind the tray, more cacti grew and some were quite big having been in the greenhouse for more then forty years. I realised we were standing in cacti corner and the familiarity of it made me feel right at home.

‘You should have seen some of the cacti I saw in America! They were huge!’ I spoke.

‘Is that where you’ve been, Hat?’ Sophia asked.

I nodded, ‘I went to California, Texas, Arizona, Washington D.C, New York and Louisiana.’

‘All of those?’

‘Yes. I’ve been to other counties too. Canada, Japan, China, Australia, New Zealand and Italy.’

‘Your parents funded it?’ Sophia asked, knowing it was true.

‘Mostly. I did work in a few places. I taught English.’

Sophia patted my hands, ‘I bet they were glad to get rid of you again.’

I sighed and decided not to get into that argument. It was a part of an old family feud; parents having children and not bring them up themselves; old traditions and rich fathers.

‘It’s too hot in here,’ I said, ‘let’s go in and I’ll make us afternoon tea.’

Sophia agreed and we left the greenhouse for the coolness of the cottage. In the kitchen, I found everything I needed to make a pot of old English tea, sandwiches, and small cakes. I brought everything into the living room which was soft and cosy.

Sophia was dozing in a large armchair and I took the other one. The windows were open and I could hear bees buzzing and smell the flowers outside.

I poured the tea and give Sophia a cup.

‘How are you?’ I asked, ‘have you been trying to go out?

Sophia glanced at the windows, ‘no,’ she replied.

I clutched my saucer and cup, wondering how to carry on this conversation. Great aunt Sophia had agoraphobia. No one knew for how many years she had suffered with it, she had had lots of treatment but nothing worked for long.

Now, it was so easy to blame it on her old age; she struggled walking and standing, she had bouts of confusion and she didn’t have many local family and friends to visit anymore.

‘And why would I want to?’ Sophia picked up, ‘the world is a bad place. I’m safe here and anyway my plants need me.’

I sighed and sipped my tea.

‘You must have seen the badness in your travels. I worried about you. I got all your postcards…’ Sophia trailed off and got up to go to the fireplace where there was a stack of postcards resting against the wall.

‘I saw lots of good and amazing things too. I got photographs to give you,’ I replied, ‘and I’m glad you got my postcards.’

Sophia sit down again, postcards in hand, she shuffled through them, looking at the imagines of all the different places.

‘Do you like them?’ I asked.

‘Yes. Very nice,’ Sophia replied, ‘where are you going to go next?’

‘Nowhere.’

‘You’re staying at home?’

‘I’m going to stay here and look after you,’ I said.

Sophia smiled but said, ‘I don’t need looking after, child!’

You do, I thought, instead I replied, ‘I meant help you out and stuff, like I did before.’

‘Right then. Those cacti still need potting. Off you go!’

I rolled my eyes, grabbed a cake and left the cottage for the greenhouse.

Somethings never change but I was happy to be back again.

 

(Inspired by; https://mindlovemiserysmenagerie.wordpress.com/2019/07/18/tale-weaver-232-july-18th-visit/ with thanks).

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Moon Landing #3LineTales

Buzz Aldrin on the Moon, photo taken by Neil Armstrong

Neil smiled within the helmet and thought, everything’s going to plan perfectly, it all seems so easy! 

He looked around, still unable to believe he was walking on the surface of the moon, it was too dream like then something caught his eye, a little movement at the edge of one of the craters.

Neil focused on it, he saw three green tentacles with eyes watching him, shocked he walked over but by the time he got there whatever it was had gone, it’s just lack of oxygen or something… shaking his head, Neil walked back to the shuttle.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/07/18/three-line-tales-week-181/ with thanks).

Hidden Face #FridayFictioneers

The mall guard, Stan, made his nightly rounds. Outside in the courtyard, he came to a pause next to the new statue instalment. It was a massive female head with her hands covering her eyes done in white plaster cast.

Stan lifted his cap and scratched his head, I don’t get these new age art pieces, she’s pretty, I guess, but why is she hiding? Maybe, she’s seen something horrible or maybe she’s upset? 

Stan let his cap fall back and strolled away. He hummed softly and decided his job was guard the place not be an art critic.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/07/17/19-july-2019/ with thanks).

Ahoy #CCC

Richard was obsessed with maritime objects. He turned his house into a museum and charged the tourists, visiting the seaside village, to view his collection. With the extra money, he brought more things and opened a repair workshop.

Finally, Richard ran out of room and decided to open a shop. He found it hard to part with some of his collection but then he saw how happy people were buying the maritime items and that made him pleased.

In his will, Richard left his collection to the village, saying that the maritime museum had to remain open. Tourism in the sleepy seaside area boomed.

 

(Inspired by; https://crimsonprose.wordpress.com/2019/07/17/crimsons-creative-challenge-36/ with thanks).

The Pen #TwitteringTales

The lawyer set himself up, clicked on his pen and began to write as his client talked. Suddenly, he noticed that his words were disappearing on the page. Frowning, he looked at the pen, it seemed normal enough but it wasn’t, it was filled with invisible ink and his client’s demands had vanished.

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/07/16/twittering-tales-145-16-july-2019/ with thanks).

Hindsight #1linerwed

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He had adopted the deer as a baby and since setting her free, she had lived in his backyard.

 

(Inspired by; https://lindaghill.com/2019/07/17/one-liner-wednesday-hindsight/ with thanks).

Castle #WritePhoto

The lake waves lapped at the shore of the island, making the stones on the pebble beach wet. Against a stone grey sky, the dark castle rose up, the towers almost disappearing into the clouds.

The children had been looking for a boat or another way to get across the lake to the castle but they hadn’t found anything. Dipping their bare feet into the cold water, they thought about swimming across.

The oldest three would have no problems, even though it would take them almost an hour to make it. The middle two would have struggled but with help they could have done it. The youngest one though – only seven years old, could not have done it and since none of them wanted to stay behind, swimming was ruled out.

As the boys skipped stones, the girls looked at the castle on the island and wondered what could be in there. A sleeping princess? A handsome knight? Perhaps, treasure guarded by a dragon?

‘There’s nothing in there,’ the oldest boy announced, ‘I went in there last summer and it’s empty.’

The imagination bubble popped, the girls stopped daydream and debated what to do next. The youngest was hungry and wanted to go home, her brother didn’t want to as the boys were building a den in the woods. The girls not interested in this, decided to pick wild fruit and nuts.

By the time they all meet on the lake shore again a faint drizzle had started. They looked over at the castle but could barely see it in the dim light and low clouds which had come down like fog. It seemed the castle had become ghost like with just a faint outline left behind.

‘We should go,’ the oldest girl spoke.

‘Fine, take my sister with you. We are going to swim across and spend the night in the castle,’ the oldest boy replied.

‘That’s not a good idea.’

The oldest boy shrugged, ‘I’ve done it before.’

‘And what if….’ the oldest girl trailed off.

‘You are all chickens!’ one of the other boys shouted.

A brief argument started then the girls stormed off and left three boys to swim across the lake.

 

Days later, police entered the castle looking for the missing boys. Inside, just as the oldest boy had claimed, the castle was empty. The police searched the lake and the woods but the boys were never seen again.

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2019/07/11/thursday-photo-prompt-castle-writephoto/ with thanks).

The Sky’s The Limit #3LineTales

three line tales, week 180: Patrouille de France in the sky

There was nothing like the thrill of flying and as Nick climbed into the cockpit of his Red Arrow plane, he tried to calm his excitement.

Today, all the hard work was going to pay off as they preformed at the festival, wowing the crowed below and turning the sky multi-coloured with the planes’ dyed smoke.

Nick took a deep breath and started the plane’s engine, the vibrations rushed through him, relighting the excitement, the voices of the other pilots came through his headset, everything was ready, they were clear for take off.

 

(Inspired by; https://only100words.xyz/2019/07/11/three-line-tales-week-180/ with thanks).

Port #WhatPegmanSaw

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They sat on the pebble shore, reflecting on what they had seen in the museum. It had been a shock to see the half section of the Mary Rose which their distant ancestor had sailed upon, looking so well persevered.

The wooden hull of the ship had dripped the protective water being sprayed a upon, making it easier to imagine the Mary Rose riding the sea waves.

They had seen items that their ancestor might have used on board and learned about the life he’d lead. They felt closer to him now then they did before.

 

(Inspired by; https://whatpegmansaw.com/2019/07/06/portsmouth-hampshire-uk/ with thanks).

 

 

The Party #TwitteringTales

The engagement party was in full swing and Ren couldn’t be happier. She grabbed a bottle of wine, popped it up and poured the thick, red liquid into a glass.

‘Stop!’ her sister cried.

‘That’s the rare vintage from great-great-grandpa’s vineyard!’

‘Oh! Too late…’

 

(Inspired by; https://katmyrman.com/2019/07/09/twittering-tales-144-9-july-2019/ with thanks).