Tuesday, 30 August 2011

F3 - WAR IS HELL edition - "Fortunes Of War"


This week's F3 fiction challenege was to write on the theme of war.

Here's my offering, comments gratefully received!


FORTUNES OF WAR

Home seemed a long way off for Jack Bailey; like a far, forgotten country that existed only in dreams.

But this was a nightmare.

In the midst of chaos it was incongruously quiet. The relentless barrage continued from beyond the scrap of land which either side claimed but neither owned, but as Bailey slowly turned around it seemed far off and muted.

As he’d crawled back up the hill to re-join his group the unusual lack of voices, some barking orders whilst others chipped away with encouraging banter to conceal their own fear, gave him cause for concern. Lifting his head warily he peered down into the mud-filled trench that had served as their base of operations. Instead, through the swirling mist of smoke and steam he saw what he believed to be a vision of hell.

He half fell, half staggered down the slope and sank into the dark brown silt, streaked with vermilion, finally coming to rest in a squatting position still clutching his Lee Enfield to his chest as if it was a barricade between him and the carnage ahead.

The dull roar that was building in his ears was like a train rushing towards him and he realised that the impact of the last shell had deafened him. Now that imaginary train was rushing out of a tunnel and the previous quietness was shattered with an unstoppable torrent of screams underscored with shouting and the clatter of retaliatory fire, with a deep bass tremble of groaning.

Bloody carnage lay strewn around him like detritus washed up on a beach after a storm. Corrugated iron, twisted and warped, lay like metal shrouds partly concealing bodies and armaments; tin cups, the remnants of a shaving kit, gas masks with their hoses spilling out of their cases like entrails.

He paused, consumed in fascinated horror at the sight of three fingers which poked up out of the mud, detached from the rest of its limb. A ring, still intact, identified it as one of his friends; they had signed up the same day, each egging the other on to cover up their own private fears. It would all be over by Christmas, they’d said, as if it was a football match and life would return to normal all too soon.

Over by Christmas, thought Jack; but which Christmas? Weeks had stretched into months and Christmas parcels had struggled through to them for the last two years.

“You there! Don’t just bloody well stand there gawping! Get that rifle up; shoot the bloody Hun!”

The salutary reminder that the warhorse galloped on relentlessly came in the form of an officer’s bark. Jack turned to face him, a mere stripling trying to earn honours on a battlefield by urging other’s on in front of him.

Jack stood his ground. Bastards, the lot of them, with their cut-glass accents and smart new Sam Browns strapped over immaculate uniforms.

The officer hesitated, a look of consternation on his face as if he’d seen a ghost.

“Bailey? Is it you? I-I- thought I saw you dead, down there.” He gesticulated towards the pile of corpses scattered around, some submerged in the mud.

As Jack peered through the haze, his nostrils newly assaulted above the sting of cordite by the stench of opened bowels, he saw a man’s head, or what was left of it. The features were completely blown away into a bloody pulp of bone and gristle, yet his helmet had rolled away leaving a shock of auburn hair that pierced the gloom, lit up by the lightning flashes of the incoming bombardment.

Jack instinctively pushed off his own helmet and ran his fingers through his hair, a similar shade to his fallen comrade.

“Where have you been, man?” The officer’s new accusations interrupted Jack’s thoughts of what might have been his own fate. His silence aggravated the situation until he turned back to the officer, his attention drawn as the man upholstered his pistol and pointed it at Jack.

“Deserter, eh?” A superior sneer began to trace its way across the young man’s face. “No time for Court Martials!” he added as he cocked the trigger to administer swift justice.

“No, Sir,” answered Jack. “On reconnaissance. Sergeant Belvedere sent me down the road to Verches with a message for the Australian troops there.” In any other situation he would have commented on the unlikely chance that it had afforded him; the unexpected pleasure of meeting up with two of his brothers. They’d emigrated to Australia to make their fortunes, only to be sent back to fight for King and country.

“A convenient excuse,” replied the officer, “but there’s no time…” The officer slumped forwards, his pistol still tightly clutched in his hand as he slithered on the mud and fell, dead before he reached the floor.

A tiny wisp of smoke trailed from the end of Jack’s rifle, rising up and mingling to be lost in the issue from countless other discharged ordnance.

A rustling from the other side of the small ridge announced the arrival of four other soldiers, in uniforms of a different army. They crossed over to where Jack stood, one involuntarily voiding the contents of his stomach as he took in the sight of hell strewn all around.

The leading Corporal looked at the prone body of the officer, the pistol still held in his death grasp pointing at Jack. He took in the immediate scene then slowly eased the barrel of Jack’s rifle downward. An unspoken understanding passed between the men. What had happened would remain their secret. Brother’s in arms, brothers in fact; they knew it was a 'kill or be killed' situation.

“S’trweth, mate,” marvelled one of the others as he looked out across the darkened sky. “ It’s like bloody hell on earth!”

No it isn’t, thought Jack. It’s not like it at all.

“Got any ciggies?” he asked. Even an Aussie smoke would be better than nothing, he thought, as he shouldered his rifle, noting the shake in his hands as one of the soldiers searched his pockets and handed one over.

The five men made their way down into the depths of the precincts of hell that had formerly been the quarters of Jack’s brigade. He nodded thanks at the young lad from Woolagong and took a drag on the cigarette as they made their way through the bodies and broken armaments, giving what little aid and comfort they could to the few survivors.

Jack mused on the quirk of fortune that had seen him despatched from what surely could have been his death, straight into the surreal scene of meeting his brothers. He’d heard stories of miracles; one day he’d have a fine tale to tell his children and his grandchildren.

Home still seemed a long way off, somewhere on the other side of this battle, or the next. For now, a warm summer evening in June 1916, at least he was in the company of heroes as they scrambled in this muddy battlefield near a place called Fromelles.


Some of this story is based on fact. Companies of Australian forces were indeed involved in the battle of Fromelles in the the summer of 1916.

Jack Bailey represents my own Grandfather, Joe Beattie, who actually met up with his brothers serving in the Australian army while given special leave of absence to leave his post and travel to a nearby billet where the Australian forces were stationed.

On his return, he discovered that a German shell had exploded in his trench killing several of his fellow soldiers. One of the survivors turned as white as a sheet as he saw my Grandfather return - he'd been posted as killed, when a faceless body had been identified as him, solely from the shade and colouring of his auburn hair.

What were the chances? If he'd stayed at his post, I might not even exist today!

Monday, 29 August 2011

Sun, Sea, Sand, Skates and .....Seth!





Just got back from a lovely time on the south coast - visiting family, taking in a spectacular ice show (imagine a grand piano on an ice rink and the guy skating around it does leaps and backflips and then manages to slide over and play a virtuoso piece as part of his 'routine'!) and the big treat of the day was an open-air Seth Lakeman concert on the sea-front!

Well, I can't find a clip of the ice spectacular, but here's Mr Lakeman performing a 'signature' piece - 'Kitty Jay'. How he manages to play a fiddle and sing at the same time amazes me!

Enjoy!

Friday, 26 August 2011

A New Beginning.....and a new story!


After a brief semi-hiatus, when my previous laptop decided to shuffle off it's binary-code coil and fall to bytes, I'm at last back in the land of blogging!

So I thought a shiny new laptop deserves a shiny fresh blog-page. Out with the old and in with the new - a change in wallpaper; move the 'pictures' around; add a few features (take a few away!); and hopefully sort out the clutter!

A lot of the content will stay the same - this is my 'original' blog; the other offshoots have specific functions but this is where I intend to keep the bulk of my interest in fiction (writing and reading) and the various comments on life in general.

The usual regular 'Thursday @ 3' slot will remain but there may be other weekly/monthly items - those projects are largely still on a back-burner, so keep your eyes peeled.

I really want this space to be a little more organised - but I can do 'haphazard' as and when the occasion demands and if the writing bug really bites I may be gone for days....... ;-p

As the previous laptop 'died' halfway through the 'August Break' daily feature I've abandoned that for this year - but I hope to be ready for it in 2012.

In the meantime, to start off the new-improved blog here's a story! I was going to keep this for something else, but it has sat patiently in the wings (well, the 'virtual' filing cabinet, anyway) for a wee while - let's dust it off and give it an airing! (As always, I'd value your comments!)



SIX DEGREES OF REPENTENCE


He always thought back to the first one.

After 43 years none of the details had slipped his mind. The memories were neither tarnished with age nor distorted by time. He remembered as accurately as if it had happened yesterday. Every day. His waking thoughts might jostle for position but sooner or later the spectre would emerge from the wings reminding him; that look of horror etched upon her face as she slipped beneath the wheels.

He hadn’t known her, never even heard her voice, except in that last, fatal gasp. She had just become surplus to requirements, an untidy loose end that needed tying off. Over the years, he’d become very good at tidying up; at silencing unwanted voices.

Pelham Burne looked at the clock, watching as the minute hand edged closer to the hour. Aside from the music and the assembled throng he was alone with his thoughts.

Alone?

No, never alone.

Always, he was accompanied by the deceit he had hidden from so many, so carefully concealed behind the lies that covered other lies.

He looked down at his hands. The dark, pigmented liver-spots and wrinkles that bore testimony to his age were like a veil that partially obscured what he saw, what he remembered. The same hands that had taken life, extinguished the flame and then covered up the deed.

So far, he had managed to suppress any inkling of his former occupation, but now it seemed time was catching up with him. Truth had a strange way of leaking out into the open, no matter how hard one tried to supress it.

Closing his eyes, he recalled the faces indelibly printed on his brain. He heard again their pleading voices, the screams, the looks of betrayal as one by one his victims stepped from the dark shadows of his mind to accuse him afresh.

When he opened his eyes the music had stopped and a hushed silence had fallen around him. He stood wearily and climbed the steps to the podium aware of the eyes upon him. Perhaps, he thought, it was only his conscience getting the better of him. He was a different man now. Things had changed since then and he’d taken on a new life, a new identity. He had repented, long ago – but, had he?

He considered the five degrees of repentance that had been instilled into him – admission, remorse, apology, restitution, and turning away.

Yes, he had admitted his past, even if only to someone who could never repeat those admissions. Remorse had followed, a great weight of sorrow that had engulfed him, denying any chance of peace. The apologies had been made, along with some endeavour of restitution, but always anonymously. Turning away had, surprisingly, been the easiest of the degrees to accomplish – perhaps the sickening stench of death that seemed to follow him was incentive to close that particular door on his life.

Now, as Burne returned his thoughts to the present, a sixth degree presented itself: forgiveness. By others, by himself. It would have been so easy to carry on living the lie but peace still eluded him because he could not seek the forgiveness that would allow him to be fully free of the past.

He rubbed his eyes and hesitated, a slight ripple of unease began within the seats before him. He thought back to the deaths he had brought about; the judicious rifle shots, the hand in the small of the back that had pushed victims to their deaths, the automobile accidents that had never been fully explained and the blood money that had been his reward.

It was almost a lifetime away and he began to argue back against himself justifying his present position. He called to mind all the good he had since been able to achieve; the homeless shelters he’d set up, the programmes to get kids off the streets and out of petty crime, the potential suicides he’d averted. It was an atonement of sorts, wasn’t it?

But was it enough?

His heart thudded in his chest as hard as if he’d been violently punched, almost knocking the breath out of him. He opened his mouth to gasp, to draw in air but his lungs refused to fill. The pressure in his chest continued; a pain that surged upwards into his shoulder racing along his left arm and he knew it was time. As his legs began to buckle beneath him he heard the consternation of the crowd, though mercifully his fading vision robbed him of their anxious faces.

Had he done enough, he fleetingly thought? Perhaps it was now too late. Perhaps, after all, being a hitman for the mob was just too much to be forgiven.

As darkness beckoned, one final question still meandered in the ebbing electrical impulses of his brain.

Would his congregation forgive him, Monsignor Pelham Burne, as readily as the God he had professed to serve?


Thursday, 25 August 2011

On the horizon.....




.....I'm hoping 'normal' service will be resumed fairly soon - I think I've spotted the laptop/package I want, but thinking it over before I rush out and part with hard-earned cash!

As for returning to 'normal' - well that, too, may be something of a misnomer. I'm considering tacking into a different 'breeze' with a slight change of direction and emphasis.....it will be interesting to see how that pans out, if only in terms of 'followers'!

So, as soon as things are back up and running, you'll be the first to know!

In the meantime, here's a small 'filler' for the interlude:
;-)

Wednesday, 17 August 2011

Interruption of service


There may be an interruption to my blogging - my laptop is being very 'difficult' (it may actually be in its death throes) so I may have to resort to the old (virtually hand-cranked!) PC for further communication! If I can't get laptop sorted I will have to raid the piggy bank -

- but, I'LL BE BACK!!!!

:-)

Tuesday, 16 August 2011

F3 - Cycle 44 - "TEMPEST FUGITIVES"




This weeks F3 challenge is inspired by the 'unrest' we are experiencing in the world today - be that social or economic.

This story was sparked off by the recent unrest and rioting in the UK.

TEMPEST FUGITIVES

How much longer? That’s all I can think of; surely this has to end some time?

The looting started soon after it became apparent that there wouldn’t be enough food to go around. Pretty soon people were raiding shops for any other ‘tradable’ items to barter for bread and milk. Gangs broke into warehouses and ‘appropriated’ food, fuel, anything that could have a price in the days to come. It didn’t take long for society to falter. Food supplies finally ran out as the transport system ground to a halt, crops rotted in the fields and in the land of canned goods, the man with a tin opener was king.

The motorways became graveyards where vehicles littered the carriageways as a frightened population tried to flee the anarchy in the streets. Some died in their cars through thirst or hunger, scared to escape the congestion on foot; others died trying to protect what little they’d managed to take with them. Ransacked wagons with their doors ripped open lay like huge dead animals, the remnants of their cargoes spilling out into the breeze, carrion to be picked over by both the opportunist and the desperate.

It’s been six months now. The night curfew echoes with cries and shots and with no power to transmit or receive, the Great British Public no longer sit watching the TV to live vicariously through 'Big Brother' or 'Britain’s Got Talent' or any of the interminable ‘soaps’ and dramas. Until the power ran out the TV networks were swamped with news reports and when the internet was still alive the constant chatter on social networks meant fact became far more curious than fiction.

With the breakdown in society and police backed into submission the army had been called in to deal with the situation. They managed to create enclaves where it was possible to survive but the vast majority of us are on our own in this. Ingenuity and lessons from a time before microchips may be all we can rely on as we all learn to ‘make do and mend’.

A few months have knocked our civilisation back into the dark ages, where it’s every man for himself, jealously guarding the pitiful scrap of territory they believe to be their own. The ‘have’s’ and ‘have not’s’ fought it out and we became a nation of ‘I will take’s’.

Cynically, I think how much we probably deserve this ‘payback’ from a society as smashed and broken as those shop windows; we wanted a better life for the next generation, they wanted rights without responsibilities and now they are biting off the hand that feeds them.

What good, now, the politicians’ posturing and promoting initiatives and treating the ‘symptoms’ of a sick society rather than dealing with the root cause of the canker that has sapped all sense of pride and self-worth? Too late, the horse has bolted and a 'free for all' has become a 'free for none'.

‘O brave new world,’ Shakespeare’s Miranda breathed, ‘that has such people in it’. Even with my sparse education I recall she marvelled at a world unknown to her. Now our world will need to be more than brave if we are to survive this current tempest.

Another volley of shots. More shouting. A disquieting litany as I pull the blanket tighter. I can’t remember what it’s like to settle down to sleep without fear. Surely it must end soon?

But then I remember – it’s 2012. Perhaps those doom-prophecies were right after all, foretelling the demise of civilisation and rise of anarchy as the harbingers of Armageddon.

The saying goes: tempus fugit, time flies. Is time really running out and are we merely fugitives from the tempest?

Is this just the beginning of the end?

The August Break 2011 - Day 16


Went to get something from the shed - confronted with an unwelcome 'guest' from next door neighbour's garden. It's like the 'Day of the Triffids'! :-o

Monday, 15 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 14


Now this is what I call multi-tasking! ;-)

The blog I was catching up on is called in so many words... - well worth a look if you have five minutes!

As for the knitting - you'll have to check out my other blog The Knitting Assassin to check out progress!

Saturday, 13 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 13


Missed yesterday's pic - but here's daughter's cat, in a very superior position!

Don't jump, kitty!!!

Thursday, 11 August 2011

Thursday @ 3 - "Upping the Ante"




OK - the last couple of weeks I've been pre-occupied with 'life' in general and DIY in particular, so you've had 'recycled' stories in this 'Thursday@3' slot.

Today, however, I'm striving to get back on track and thanks to writer Adrian Magson, who 'Tweeted' me the opening words by way of inspiration, here's this week's offering! (New readers may benefit from reading through 'A DIRTY JOB' for the initial appearance on these pages of the main character)

Like the earlier story, I've overshot the usual 300-word limit, but again it comes in at exactly 333, so it still fits the criteria - sort of!

So, with Mr Magson's words in italics, here you go! (and comments will be gratefully received if you find yourself disposed so to do!)


UPPING THE ANTE

This bloke came in and said I was to pick up the van from the warehouse. I swear I didn’t know about no guns.”

Strachan watched the live feed on his phone. The grainy image did not conceal the sweat and tears mingling into random cerise lines coursing down McGarrick’s face. Some of his wounds were a result of the high-speed chase, or rather the culmination of it, through the backstreets of Camden. The rest were what might best be described as ‘inducements’ to talk.

A voice called for him to go back to the beginning. McGarrick’s initial tardiness was rewarded with further ‘encouragement’, described in the guttural sounds emanating from behind his pursed lips.

Strachan’s fist involuntarily clenched in response. McGarrick coughed up more blood and slightly lifted his head, his one good eye staring towards the camera while the other lay sheathed behind the swollen folds of skin that once used to form an eyelid.

“I’ll ‘ave the lot of you,” he stuttered in mock defiance. “Bloody police brutality, that’s what this is!”

Strachan lifted the phone to speak.

“Another hour, then finish it,” he said quietly. He paused, taking one last look at McGarrick, in character to the end, then shut off his phone. Pulling the SIM card out, he ground it under his boot before turning back to rest on the railings of Vauxhall Bridge. He looked like any tourist taking in the view of Thames House, the ‘public’ face of MI5, as he toyed with the phone, then casually let it slip from his fingers and plunge into the murky depths.

The newspaper hoardings were full of yesterday’s assassination in Downing Street and before long they’d be announcing the demise of one of the ringleaders, but the lads in the cells had no idea what they were dealing with; just following orders. Like McGarrick.

Counter intelligence had a way of screwing up people’s lives and not for the first time Strachan wondered just whose side he was actually on.

The August Break 2011 - Day 11


The slugs and snails got the peas - let's see them try to get at these 'aerial' tomatoes, in a hanging basket! ;-p

Wednesday, 10 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 10


Ok - bit of a cheat here! 10 pictures, but all contained within 1 'new' one ;-)

These are just some of the family pictures I've unearthed discovering our family tree going back several generations - the oldest we believe to be the one at the very bottom, of my 2xGreat-Grandparents, taken somewhere around 1870.

Older branches of the family 'tree' dip back considerably further, to the earliest (documented) person, one John Hounam, born 1651! He was my 7xGreat-Grandfather.

A lot of my folks were cattle rustlers and sheep-thieves - also known as the Border Reivers! One of them even had a 'run-in' with Bonnie Prince Charlie!

On another branch, my Great-Grandfather was one of a hand-picked crew sent, in 1863, to escort Princess Alexandra to England for her marriage to the Prince of Wales, later King Edward V11, son of Queen Victoria.

There are also stone-masons, miners and the ubiquitous 'Ag Labs' - agricultural labourers, even a tea dealer in one lineage.

Best of all, one of them was a writer! :-)

(maybe there's hope for me yet!)

Tuesday, 9 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 9


I missed 'Day #8' - because quite frankly I was horrified by the images on UK television of feral youths on the rampage in our cities.

Today, hubby and I celebrate our 31st wedding anniversary and had a trip out to the Imperial War Museum, Duxford. Poignantly, I offer today's picture of a WW2 'Spitfire' from the Battle of Britain. In Winston Churchill's words: 'Never was so much owed by so many, to so few'.

Clearly, with the on-going unrest we're watching in horrified fascination on our TV screens, today is a bitter legacy for those brave airmen (some of them younger than the thugs rampaging London's boroughs!).

Other words fail me.



Sunday, 7 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 7


Hacking back an invasive Buddleia I discovered this stem of Crocosmia, hidden in the mini 'jungle' by the shed and obscured by ornamental grasses. Now, I recall, there was quite a clump of it once upon a time - nice to see it's still hanging in there (just about!), so I shall have to do a little judicious pruning of the grasses and other shrubs and let this little gem shine!

Saturday, 6 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 6


Saturday morning treat for daughter and I.

(Although we 'defected' to Costa Coffee from our usual sojourn to Cafe Nero! Shhhhhh - don't tell on us!)

Friday, 5 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 5


Tea and a good book - bliss!

...and the Liebster Award goes to......




My blog-friend Jenny, over at The Modest Peacock, has passed on an award to me which I am very happy to accept - thanks, Jenny!

The rules of the award are:

1. Thank the giver and link back to the blogger who gave it to you.
2. Pick 5 awesome blogs to pass it on to and let them know by leaving a comment on their blog.
3. Copy and paste the award on your blog.
4. Have faith that your followers will spread the love to other bloggers.
5. And most of all - have bloggity-blog fun!


Now to select 5 awesome blogs......ah, that's the hard part, choosing just five!

Well, after some consideration (and going back to cross certain contenders off my list as I've discovered they've also been given the award by someone else!) here are my five (in no particular order of merit - they're all fabulous!):

1. Arlee Bird's 'Tossing it out' - thanks to Arlee hosting the April A-Z 2011, Jenny's path and mine first crossed.

2. Rachel at Go Placidly - nepotism, I know, but her blog is full of all sorts of down to earth stuff!

3. Paul Gzregorzek at PAUL GRZEGORZEK'S THRILLER AND CRIME FICTION WORLD - a literary giant in the making! (that should be good enough for a free, signed copy of the novel when it comes out!)

4. Hege at Cloudberry - a recent acquaintance, but I'm loving her mix of crafts and books.

5. Yvette at in so many words... - a lady whose blog is a feast for the eyes!


Please do go and look in at each of their blogs - you will not be disappointed!

Thursday, 4 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 4




A change from 'vegetation' - in other words, I didn't fancy wandering around in the wet! (It has been raining all day - not really heavy, just enough to make you feel soggy. We could do with a good thunderstorm to clear the humidity away!)

Anyway, this shot more or less sums up hubby and me - beer and books! He works for CAMRA, and I used to work in a library!

(This is just part of our collection.....!)

Thursday @ 3 - 'Reprise - or Déjà-vu?'



As I suspected, time has once again gotten the better of me - coupled with some intensive DIY! Besides, after a week of being cooped up in a room in stifling weather accompanied by paint fumes, it's perhaps a good idea that I don't let my inventive imagination run riot!

Anyway, I had another pick through the 'virtual filling cabinet' and selected another three 'shorts'! Last week I forgot to mention that these 100-word (or less!) stories were inspired by Lily Child's weekly prediction series where she randomly selects three words as prompts and invites contributors to weave a tale to beguile and entertain. Apologies, Lily, for the oversight ;-)

This week, I'll show the three words for each story in bold - just so you can see what I was up against!

So, without further ado, three more for your perusal - you may have seen them before......or is it a case of déjà-vu? Enjoy!



EX LIBRIS


Nestled right up next to a heavy tome entitled ‘Purist Hypothesis and Postulations’ I found what I was looking for: ‘Evington’s Encyclopaedia of Parable, Metaphor and Fable’.

It had a nice feeling of weight to it as a struggled it down from the shelf.

Manoeuvring it onto the edge of the balustrade I waited for Professor Burgess to make his daily progress across the main concourse several floors below. A judicious nudge and with any luck he’d expire from the sudden shock of the mighty volume crashing down from above, if not from a direct hit.

Mark me down, indeed!


-oOo-



DELAYED IN TRANSIT


Stumbling through coach-class was a nightmare. With evidence and body parts strewn around, as if a whirling dervish had been first on the scene rather than my team of air accident inspectors, it was clear that this would be no picnic.

The main fuselage of the Aer Lingus jet was largely intact even if its occupants weren’t, but there was part of a wing section floating on the incoming tide.

I looked down at the severed head at my feet and notice her staring back up at me, not with fear but surprise, and her Irish eyes were smiling.


-oOo-



...and finally - I couldn't resist this one, given that I'm currently a 'beer-widow', as my hubby is working in London's Earls Court for CAMRA's Great British Beer Festival! (yes, you could say he gets paid to go to beer festivals!)


THE BODY IN THE BREWERY


Drunk.

Dead drunk.

Well, dead anyway. The massive cavity in the back of his skull and the half-brick lying nearby gave a whole new meaning to the term ‘stoned’.

The pungent air was laced with malt and yeast as husks of stray hops blew idly in the breeze like miniature tumbleweed.

As I walked around the yard that formed this micro-brewery pondering the reason for this crime, my rubber-soled shoes slapped on the sticky residue of spilled beer.

Could be a story in this – ‘The Body in the Brewery’.

Sounds like a 'Miss Marple'.

No, wait – that was the library.

Wednesday, 3 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 3


Why should the flowers have all the fun - this fern is one of my favourites plants! I love to watch each Spring as the fronds slowly uncurl and form this amazing plant. And I never planted it in the first place - it just 'arrived'! I'd been given a rhubarb plant which had died down over the winter; in fact it just died! In it's place, 'Fernie' arrived and took up residence (actually, there are four of them - a whole fern-family!) and has grown bigger and more profuse each year.

I miss the thought of the home-grown rhubarb, but I do love my ferns!

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 2




More flowers today - an early morning wander around the garden brought me the delights of these fuschias. They always remind me of ballerinas!

Monday, 1 August 2011

The August Break 2011 - Day 1




So, first time I've done this - I understand I have to produce a picture per day. Well, I had some interesting pictures from my DIY activities redecorating earlier,but I don't think you all want to watch paint drying, do you?

Instead - I chose one of the lilies in my garden (see above).

I've never grown them from bulb before but I bought six and gave them a go. Funny thing is, four of them grew tall and graceful, and two were puny little runts, size-wise - however, they have all produced beautiful and differently coloured flowers. The tall ones kept toppling over in their pots, so the other day I stood them in amongst other plantings and they look great, don't you think!


See who else is participting here