Once a Teacher…

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Once a Teacher…

After more than thirty years of teaching – passing on the intricacies of arithmetic, explaining the wonders of algebra, illuminating the paradoxical properties of polygons – I am ready for a restful retirement. I have loved teaching, but it’s a tough job that needs courage and commitment.

At the kitchen window I sip my tea. In the Autumn sunshine birds are singing fit to burst, but somewhere out there I know towns are flooding, forests are burning. We are at war with our own world. And war needs courage – education, love, courage and commitment. We can’t ignore it.

Always a teacher…

Miranda 2019

It’s Friday already so I’m rocking up late at Friday Fiction. (It’s difficult to explain I know…) And as seems to happen these days the real world has intruded and I am all out of fiction.

Thanks to Roger Bultot for the strange and wonderful photo in which I immediately saw a polygon with all its external angles beautifully illuminated. You can take the teacher out of the school….I do still see Maths everywhere (and I do love a polygon!) but I also see other things outside my window these days and they feel more urgent.

Thanks as ever to Rochelle and to all the Friday crew.

Devils or Angels?

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Devils or Angels?

There are devils everywhere, stirring up trouble, turning young minds and compelling them to acts of disruption and stupidity. The old are infected also, and mothers whose instincts should be to nurture not alarm. Their fuel is anger, jealousy, resentment of your ordered lives. Guard your pride, lock your doors and windows, check your own children are safe inside.

There are angels in the streets. Their feathers are sometimes ruffled and their flight not always true. But look into their eyes, if you dare, and feel their fierce love. Be curious, be bold, be afraid because maybe you are an angel too.

Miranda Lewis 2019

Welcome to Friday Fiction hosted by our own angel, Rochelle who also provides the photo this week.

The streets of London have been disrupted these past two weeks by the noise and confusion of climate crisis protests. This time last week I walked those beautiful car-free streets and strolled through a peaceful park full of tents to see for myself. Devils or angels? I know what I believe.

Thanks to all who visit and especially to those who stay and comment. Visit other fictioneers here.

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Steam Trains and Bunting

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Steam Trains and Bunting, Red Flannel Petticoats and Buns for Tea

The 1970 film of the Railway Children (with the lovely Jenny Agutter as teenage Bobby/Roberta) transported me to the Edwardian countryside for a spiffing adventure of mild peril and temporary muddles.

Thirty years later Jenny Agutter played the mother in a television version. Are you enjoying it? I asked my small son. Yes, but Bobby is being very silly and pretending to be the mum. Confusing!

One day maybe, I’ll stoke up the old video player and chug off on a nostalgic journey with my grandchildren. And for Bobby’s famous line – Daddy, my Daddy! – it will be hankies all round once again.

Miranda Lewis 2019

(Genre: unreliable memoir)

Welcome to Friday Flash Fiction! (Yes I do know it’s still Thursday and I am aware this isn’t really fiction.) A big brass-band-and-bunting thanks to our host Rochelle and a wave from the platform to Sandra Crook who supplied the photographic inspiration.

Steam trains will always conjure up E. Nesbit’s The Railway Children for me: girls in white pinafores and ribbons, boys in britches and caps; happy endings and of course those buns for tea.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially to those who stay to comment. For a world of other stories step aboard here.

Spoiler alert, this is that famous tear-jerker of a scene form the 1970 film (Jenny Agutter as Bobby)…

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=xkHTT3dJL9E

And actually I won’t even need to preserve my old video of the 2000 TV version because it’s here in its entirety. An hour and a half well spent I’d say! (Confusingly Jenny Agutter as the Mum!)

https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=h3zO0zm5FTU

 

Notes for Writers of Historical 1960s British Fiction

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Notes for Writers of Historical 1960s British Fiction

1.1 Telephonic communication

In the sixties to locate a person you phoned their home; if they were out you rang later. (Location privacy presents obvious plot opportunities for writers of crime and romantic fiction.)

Red phone boxes (found on most street corners) contained a book listing the names, addresses and phone numbers of absolutely everyone. (Huge potential here.)

Whilst sheltering from the perpetual rain, sixties teenagers enjoyed making prank calls from phone boxes. The false-alarm, reversed-charge call to fraught parents was popular.

All spies and boy scouts were taught to make unlimited free calls from phone boxes, using a crocodile clip and the reverse-dialling method.

Miranda Lewis 2019

It’s Friday already so I’m a bit late phoning in my copy to the Friday fiction party.

All hail to Rochelle who keeps us going through all weathers. And thanks to Susan Eames for the photo.

By the way, all of the above is true and my Dad (a boy scout, not as far as I know a spy) did explain the secret of how to reverse dial with a crocodile clip. (It exploited the fact that emergency calls were free from phone boxes.) However, he was such an upright honest person he only explained once dial phones were obsolete.

PS Did anyone else have a telephone table/bench in their house? Ours was under the open-plan 1960s staircase, with a place to sit, a shelf for the phone and space for phone books.

My Life in a Nutshell

 

piano-anshuMy life in a Nutshell

My mother was a nut – a walnut. When my beautiful, polished form first adorned the drawing room I was joined by matching walnut bureau and piano stool. Alas, my mistress was consumptive and my master broke.

After the bailiff’s visit I adjourned to the pub, a lowering of status compensated by variety. Contemplative days followed by evenings of carousing and company. One penniless student of composition spoiled me forever with his sweet sad caresses.

Nowadays it’s just me, the woodlice and a tickling of marigold roots. I’ll not complain; we all return to the good earth one way or another.

Miranda Lewis 2019

It’s Friday, it’s five o’clock and it’s time for Friday Flash Fiction hosted by the esteemed Rochelle and this week adorned with a photo by Anshu Bhojnagarwala.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially to those who stay to comment.

 

Since ewe asked…

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Since ewe asked…

How’s it going? Pretty well, thank you. But then I’ve never been one for dairy, well not in a while anyway. It’s easy peasy actually – very few decisions, even less washing up and lots and lots of lovely relaxing chewing. Munch, munch and munch; regurgitate and munch all over again.

Lots of greens obviously. And when greens are a bit scarce, dried greens. So basically, your greens and your browns. And just look at me! Bright eyes, beautiful woolly coat. What’s not to like @veganuary!

PS Just don’t ask me about dry January.

Miranda 2019

What a lovely picture.Thank you Crispina over at Crimson’s Creative Challenge #11.

That Wood beside the Road

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That Wood Beside the Road

I still wake at dawn’s grey light – cocooned in soft sadness, your warmth beside me – and take my worn spirit to that wood. The one beside the road, the sign beside the stile, the name that always slips my mind.

Steep climb through trees to a high plateau held beneath a winter’s sky, edged with low sunlight and cut by an ice road the children pretend to skate. Their voices ringing in chilled air.

Then our descent back down, steps quickening through sudden thrilling dusk and, to cap it all, owls calling to and fro across the valley, to claim the coming night.

A perfect day. Do you remember too, that wood beside the road, the sign beside the stile, the name that always slips my mind?

M J Lewis 2019

Have just learned about this challenge from gahlearner who says, ‘I learned about this challenge only a week ago. What a great idea. You get a picture and reply to it, either with another picture, or a flash fiction, a poem, comic, you name it, but it must be yours, not someone else’s.’ I’m a bit late this week, but the open nature of this challenge really appealed on this blue Monday morning!

Here is the link to Crimson’s creative challenge, number 10