Exit Stage Left
I still like to look my best – my red coat with the high collar, a decent heel. It’s a smaller audience nowadays of course, but there’s the usual flutter of applause, the appreciative twitter. I bow my coiffured head in acknowledgement and reach for the rail to descend the stairs.
‘You’ve gone really pale.’
‘It’s that old crow at the end house. Says here she slipped and died in her own garden.’
‘What was she doing outside in this weather?’
‘Feeding the birds, it says. She was an understudy to the stars, there’s an old photo.’
‘Wow, what a beauty!’
Miranda Lewis 2020
Well this is a first, sending out my Friday Flash Fiction on the Wednesday…
Greetings to all those stepping out around the world and most especially to our leading lady, Rochelle who also provides the photo this week.
Thanks to all who visit and especially those who stay to comment.
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…
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?
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.
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)…
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!)
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
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…
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.
What a lovely picture.Thank you Crispina over at Crimson’s Creative Challenge #11.
In the library old men play at chess; polite handshakes, gently murmured notes of victory and defeat.
I take the long way home, darkness at five o’clock. Empty pavements, October roses, soft tread on leaves that smell of childhood. Past lighted sitting rooms, bonfire night poster tied to railings. Could be the sixties but for the old hospital newly converted; cars sit in ambulance bays, fitted kitchen where once the night nurse penned a love letter in a circle of soft light.
You never wanted to be an old man, gave up chess; never owned a dressing gown.
Well, you got your wish.
Miranda Lewis 2018
I love this time of year. The garden has (almost) been put to bed, clocks have gone back and ’tis the season for night walking and glancing into lighted windows – for the melancholic, to be fitted in between Hallowe’en and the first, way-too-cheerful Christmas trees going up.
As it’s Wednesday welcome to Friday Fiction hosted as ever by the writer Rochelle. Thanks to Jeff Arnold for the photo, to all who visit and most especially to those who stay to comment.
And if you fancy a quick melancholic read my novella, Dream Girl, is still staggeringly good value at only 99p. Who says nothing stays the same?
In a dream I strolled barefoot in a quiet garden…
Ducking beneath roses, I escaped a glittering gathering behind mullioned windows and wandered alone amongst beds peopled with purple allium. I hailed a laburnum drunk with blossom and traced a hidden path beside a buttercup bank.
In a meadow a blackbird peeped at my intrusion and cows gathered at the fence to say, ‘Nobody is allowed, except our friend the solitary gardener.’
Now he has locked his modest shed and gone. But look around and he is everywhere, in root and leaf and sky. And in his dreams does he still tramp the lawns and greet the trees he tended?
Miranda Lewis 2018
Welcome to 100-word Friday Flash Fiction, hosted each week by the talented writer Rochelle. (Get a sneak preview of here novel in progress here.) Thanks to the appropriately named Nathan Sowers for this week’s photo prompt.
Where else could I go this week, but out into the garden? But not just any garden; this dream garden is based on the real garden tended for the past decade by the Anxious Gardener. You can read his final, wistful farewell to this particular garden on his blog here, and also catch a glimpse of some beautiful photos, including that drunk laburnum.
For more tales from Friday Fictioneers stick your trowel in here.
You can even find me in the garden here on Instagram, if that’s not one click too many.
Tidying Up After
You left early, mid-sentence; grass uncut, the bird table you were attempting to mend face down on the patio. Mind you, you tidied away that last bottle to the very last drop.
Back home, I have taken to washing up teaspoons, burning old postcards, composting diaries. Don’t be alarmed; I am but a finger’s stretch closer to the shadows. I won’t say anything significant, at least until I’ve cleared this cupboard.
My partner on the other hand is accumulating wood and screws, enough to open a hardware shop. Or build an arc. Or in the event, our coffins. Now that’s tidy.
Miranda Lewis, 2018
(Genre: unreliable memoir)
Welcome readers and writers to Friday Fiction, hosted by the indefatigable, inestimable Rochelle, with thanks to Ronda Del Boccio for the photo prompt. Now you might be thinking it isn’t Friday and this isn’t really fiction, but on the other hand it is 100 words.
Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. To graze on a whole pasture of stories click here.