Dear Diary

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Dear diary, spring is here but the weather doesn’t make it feel like it! The weather forecast says more smaller storms are coming and it’s going to stay cold. I guess someone should let the flowers know that!

Some crocuses and daffodils are all ready opening. This afternoon, I saw a load of snowdrops popping up on the stretches of grasses beside the road. They are hardly little things.

I’d like to do more gardening but I’m not sure I have it within me. It seems so easy to care for a plant; right soil, water, food and sunlight but something always seems to go wrong. That’s why the only plants I have are cacti and the dreaded money plant that I’m sure is immortal…

It’s hailstones again. I can hear them tapping on the window. So far it’s not been cold enough for snow and it’s been such a mild winter but I just think that’s misleading. Winter doesn’t seem over till summer arrives and snow can appear like a normal thing in the next few months.

Would the flowers survive if it did snow? I think for a little while they can do. It can be warm under snow sometimes. Flowers must know how to cope like the rest of nature.

It’ll be nice to see to the trees in leaf and the flowers in bloom again. After the gloom of winter the brightness of spring always cheers me. It’s nice being warmer and having longer days.

Though I will miss curling up under blankets, getting all warm and drinking hot chocolate. Also reading a book until I doze off and then waking up as the wind and heavy rain disturbs me.

On the other hand, I can be outside more and go to the beach and enjoy the sun. There’s so much each season can bring and I like embracing them all.

Storm Ciara

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When the news said there was an amber weather warning, I knew that Ciara wasn’t going to be friendly. She was coming over from America with the full force of a winter storm. At least, the British weather wasn’t as bad as the USA.

Ciara woke me up on Sunday morning by driving hailstone on to my window. I heaved the winter duvet and my massive Great Dane, King, off me and looked out of the window. The wind was fifty to sixty miles per hour, everything was moving violently and the surrounding bare trees were really showing how strong the wind was. Rain thundered down and the wind whipped the water into a frenzy.

I got up and sorted for the day. My bachelor mind doing it’s normal voice off about how nice it was not to have a wife or kids being noisy but also how worrying it was not to have those things.

Letting King out into the garden, the wind blew ice into my face and I was grateful that within a minute King was back inside. I dried him off, wondering how he could be so wet!

King sulked off to his massive dog bed in the converted dinning room. Dispite him being a huge dog – he came up passed my hip and I was six foot two, he could easily rest his head on tables too – King hated the cold and wet weather.

Getting a large mug of coffee and some toast, I went to my study and began working on my different writing tasks. I had a novel to complete, creative writing lectures to plan, students’ essays to mark and journal articles to finish. It might have been a Sunday but writers and teachers never stop.

Storm Ciara erupted throughout the whole day. She hit against the windows desperate to get in. She threw out everything she had; wind, hail, snow, rain, thunder and lightening. I glanced up often from my work and watched the storm from the small window.

King joined me at some point, he put his dark grey head into my lap then curled up tight under the desk. When the thunder started, he yowled and only hugs and comforting words soothed him.

I tried to take him out at lunchtime but a quick trot to the park entrance at the end of my street was it. Storm Ciara was still bad in the afternoon and darkness came early. I took King out again and we embraced the gusty wind and drenching rain together. I tugged him along, trying to convince him that a longer walk was what we were going on.

The trees above swayed violently and the branches cracked. Deep, long stretching pools of water were either covering the grass or the pathways of the park. As we passed the children’s playground, a creeping feeling crawled along my skin. The swings, roundabout and the rocking animals were moving because of the wind but for some reason I thought of ghost children at play.

The wind was whistling through the climbing frame, slide and other things, making ghastly sounds. Rain was dripping off everything and it was all so eerie, almost abandoned looking.

We hurried home and once safe inside, I got use both into a hot shower. King sit, drinking the shower spray and I enjoyed the warmth spreading on my icy skin. After, I got the fire in the living room going and feed King. I just had some soup then we both sat by the fire, watching TV.

‘What is it, King?’ I asked as he raised his head and whined.

Then I heard it, the monstrous groaning and cracking of a tree. There was almighty snap, crunch of metal and shattering of glass. I felt a tremor running through the house and King threw back his head and howled.

I rushed to the window and saw a tree had come down across the street and was laying across a number of cars.

There were bits of tree and car scattered across the road. The wind was picking up the lighter things and blowing them away. Doors of the houses opposite opened and people stepped out. I couldn’t hear them but I could see the shock on their faces and in their body language.

King pushed me out of the way and looked out of the window too. We stayed there for awhile. Watching the crowds of neighbours gather and soon a fire engine arrived. No body had been hurt but some of the cars were write offs for sure.

‘There’s not much we can do,’ I said to King, ‘looks like everything’s under control. It’s snowing again. Let’s go back to the fire.’

Settling down again, King sprawled across the sofa and myself. His head and front legs on my lap, pinning me down. I felt safe like that, even though King was a rubbish guard dog. I guess just having a massive dog and his heavy weight on me was enough comfort as storm Ciara raged outside.

 

(Inspired by current events; https://www.telegraph.co.uk/news/2020/02/11/storm-ciara-commuters-warned-snow-ice-across-parts-britain/)

Choice #WritePhoto

I don’t know what had driven me outside in this weather. Maybe, the argument with my wife was to blame? Still, it was the choice I had made and now I was paying for it.

Laying on the hillside just above the small river, I tried to get a grip on things. Pain was shooting through my left leg in only the way a broken bone can do. Somehow I had slipped on the wet grass, tumbled down the slope and hit some rocks. My head hummed with confusion and the pain was also making it hard for me to think.

I took in some deep breaths and contracted on the flow of the water. The small river seemed so loud as it bumped and splashed against the moss covered rocks. It was higher then normal because the bad weather and the snow from the higher land.

A few minutes later, my head cleared and I got on to the emergency services. Search and Rescue were on their way. It took them over an hour and whilst I waited, I watched the river and the wind in the trees. I was cold and wet, though my waterproof and winter hiking clothes helped.

I thought about how things might have been different. What if I had died out here?

I phoned my wife and told her. She flew into a panic and it took me an age to calm her down.

‘I’m fine. Everything is going to be okay,’ I spoke, ‘I’m sorry for what I said. I didn’t mean it, you know that. I love you.’

Through the sobbing, I heard her reply, ‘I love you too.’

‘The rescue team is here now. I see the search dog!’ I cried out then added, ‘Darling, meet me at the hospital as soon as you can.’

‘Yes, yes,’ she burbled into the phone, ‘see you soon.’

 

(Inspired by; https://scvincent.com/2020/02/06/thursday-photo-prompt-choice-writephoto/ with thanks.)

Stormy Day

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I could feel the damp coldness on the window and hear the gale force wind driving the rain. Sighing, I pressed my fevered forehead to the glass. I had wanted to go out today, get some fresh air and pick up a few things. Instead, an open window and rummage through the kitchen cupboards would have to do.

Something warm and furry brushed my fingers then a cool wet tongue licked my hand. My guide dog, Hope, had come to my side. I could hear her tail wagging as I reached out and stroked her head and ears.

‘Looks like another day inside for me,’ I said, ‘though Bob should be around soon to take you out.’

Bob was my next door neighbour, he had a guide dog also and another Labrador. He was only blind in one eye but did have some blurred vision in his left. He liked walks and use to do a lot of hiking.

With having the flu, I had asked him to take Hope out for me. She enjoyed being with the other dogs and having some down time from her job of guiding me places.

I crossed the living room and Hope followed at my side.

‘Alexa,’ I called to the device, ‘what’s the weather like today?’

‘Currently it’s forty degrees, heavy rain, strong winds and cloudy. Tonight, there will be more rain.’

‘Alexa, what’s the weather like tomorrow?’

‘Tomorrow it will be forty-three degrees, scattered showers and heavy clouds.’

‘Thanks. I’ll try and go out tomorrow.’

There was a knocking on the door. Hope barked and guided me over, though I knew well enough were my front door was.

‘Kat, it’s Bob,’ he called through the door.

I unlocked things and let him in.

‘Hi,’ I said, ‘is the weather as bad as it seems?’

‘Yes,’ Bob replied, ‘I’m in my waterproofs and wellies. Hello Hope. How’s the flu doing?’

‘Bit better. I wanted to go shopping but might be best if I don’t.’

‘Oh? I can go and get you somethings. I climbed mountains so this weather doesn’t bother me!’ Bob replied and laughed.

‘No, it’s okay. I’ll try later,’ I answered.

‘Well, if you can’t, I really don’t mind.’

‘I know but it’s fine honest. Here’s Hope’s lead. Have fun, girl.’

We said goodbye and I went back into my apartment and to the window again. I opened the window and felt the almost freezing air on my face and arms. The wind was strong and water droplets hit my face.

I was glad Bob was heading outside instead of me, it sure felt horrible out there today.

 

 

 

Fall Arrives

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Strong winds blew summer away, everything became colder and darker but colour bloomed in the changing leaves which danced to the ground.

Waves

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Everyone flocked to the yellow sands and blue waters as the sun blazed in the sky and the air became stifled with heat. Being in the waves cooled people and pets off whilst giving them a break from normal life. Tomorrow, everything would be back to normal as rain arrived once again.

Summer Storm #FridayFictioneers

Jayne looked out of the window and shook her head. Everything had been set for her son, Kit’s tenth birthday party in the backyard. The marque was up, the BBQ ready and the swimming pool full. Everyone had been excited and now the party was a total wash out.

A summer storm had rolled in; rain lashed down, wind whipped around, the thunder rumbled and lightening cracked.  They had all rushed and huddled inside, the children crying and the parents uncertain what to do.

‘I’ll put a movie on,’ Jayne spoke, ‘and get some pizzas in the oven. We’ll have a sleep over instead.’

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/08/14/16-august-2019/ with thanks).

Comfort Food

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It was crazy, Petra knew but the flu was gripping her hard and the only thing she want was a nice bowl of stew….In the middle of August!

Though, today looked more like autumn, Petra thought as she looked out of the steaming up kitchen window. Gale force winds and heavy rain were blowing the full leave trees and bushes about as if a God was constantly sneezing on them.

Stirring the pot, she peered in, decided that was fine and put the lid on. Petra set the timer for a few hours, not a thing she’d normally do but she couldn’t smell so she couldn’t relay on that to tell her when it was done.

Back in bed, she snuggled down and tried to get an afternoon nap in. She dozed and thought of the tasty, warm, comforting stew bubbling in the pot. Soon, she told her stomach, we can eat and everything will feel better again. Lovely, stew…. 

A Day In Blackpool

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I smell the salty sea. I hear seagulls crying and the distant voices of excited children. Opening my eyes, I stay laying in the cloud like bed. At the half open window, the breeze moves the netted curtain back and forth as if it’s breathing. There is a waft of frying bacon.

I have eggs, bacon and toast then set off from the bed and breakfast. All day I walk around Blackpool. The morning is a little dull; heavy clouds fight with the sun, the sea waves over the dark sand of the beach. There is a handful of people about; dog walkers, families, old couples, a mini bus of school children.

I walk on the promenade. Going past all the shops selling tourist things; postcards, sticks of rock, magnets and beach toys. The cafes where breakfast is in full swing and their windows are dripping condensation. The arcades and casinos with their doors shut, locked until lunchtime. Ice cream stands, sweet treat stalls and fast food vans at every few steps trying to tempted me.

I walk on the piers. The damp wooden planks creaking underneath me. The sea crashing below trying to erode the iron supports away. The benches with their green iron frames awaiting weary bodies. The rusting memory plaques of people long gone who once loved this spot.

Just opening fairground game stalls with harsh looking aged men hanging up cheaply made soft toys. A closed beach shop, a closed arcade, a closed cafe and music hall. Near the end of the pier is a small collection of children’s theme park rides still hidden their covers. All these places will open in the afternoon when they make the better business.

Here, yet more food stalls; a white trailer selling burgers and hot dogs, a drinks bar, a sweet stand. There pink and blue candy floss swing in bags and giant ‘dummy’ suckers on red ribbon necklaces dangle next to them. In trays lay pick ‘a’ mix sweets, boxes of chocolate and fudge, mint hum bugs in jars with labels saying ‘A gift for you from Blackpool.’ Sticks of rock in all sizes stand out with their brightly coloured strips.

I buy a few sticks of rock and go to the end of the pier. I unwrap one and stand looking out to sea, sucking on the minty sweet. The waves are far out, blending with the grey sky. There are no boats or people in the water. Birds hover looking for fish. I think about being out there, surrounded by the waves.

Finishing the stick of rock, I walk back and go down a sand covered boat slipway. It sinks into the beach. I walk across the drying sand, noticing old bits of things the sea has left behind; seaweed, sticks, food wraps, drink cans, plastic bags, dead crabs, broken shells.

Close by, sad looking donkeys huddle together, their little bells chiming, their hoof prints deep in the sand. A middle aged woman in a high visible jacket gives the donkeys buckets of water and hay.

I walk pass them. The woman looks over her shoulder, sees I’m not a customer and ignores me. She pats one of the donkeys’ shoulders, muttering something to it.

I get off the beach via a long staircase which takes me back to the far side of promenade. I turn and look back. Over everything the Blackpool tower rises; a monster of iron.

It starts to drizzle. I feel the specks of rain on my face and hands. There’s only open space here, so I walk for the nearest buildings but the arcade isn’t open yet and the fish and chip shop has no seating inside.

Further on is a cafe but it’s closed, a few shops then a restaurant but going in would mean having to buy something. I cross the road and go into the shelter of rows and rows of buildings that are either eating places, shops, arcades and casinos. The rain gets heavier, the sky gets darker, I weave in and out of these places.

I realise I’m going in the direction of my B&B. I pause by a food van and get a greasy burger and a can of coke. I put them in my pockets and hurry back to my room. The front door is open, nobody at the small welcome desk. There is noise from deeper inside; a vacuum cleaner, distant voices.

In my room, I drag a chair to the window, open it and sit there. I eat the cool burger. Not enjoying it but it solves my hunger. I drink some of coke then leave the rest. I get changed out of the wet clothes and into something drier and warmer. I go back to sitting by the window. The rain is really coming down now. It sweeps across in sheets, pounding over everything.

I take another stick of rock and suck on it to get the bad tasting burger out of my mouth. I carry on watching the rain and I think about the people out there, the donkeys on the beach, the distant and constant sea.       

Waiting #FridayFictioners

A female voice came over the speaks, ‘we regret to inform you that due to extreme weather conditions all flights have grounded.’

A loud groan rose from the thousands of people packed into the airport. Eyes went to the windows where outside hurricane force winds were lashing heavy rain against everything. Thunder rumbled and forked lightening light up the black sky.

‘I’d rather be here then up there,’ an old woman uttered.

A babies started crying, children began complaining, teenagers rolled their eyes and buried themselves back in their phones and the adults prepared for a nightmare of waiting.

 

(Inspired by; https://rochellewisoff.com/2019/06/19/21-june-2019/ with thanks).