The Owl and the Pussycat – the Cat’s Story

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The Owl and the Pussycat – the Cat’s Story

Granted my husband sang sweetly enough, but what the rhyme doesn’t even mention is his fowl temper. That and the regurgitation.  And that pea-green vessel? My beautiful face was pea-green maybe, under my tabby stripes.

Moonlight, a wide sweep of sand, a small guitar – it was all very seductive, but it wasn’t long before fur and feathers flew.  So it was twit twoo, toodle-oo and he flitted with a fiver and the runcible spoon – the latter all my invention incidentally.

No use crying over spilt milk; plenty more fish in the sea. And I can always invite the registrar over for dinner.

M J Lewis 2016

Must be the silly season – still in holiday mood and enjoying the last of the summer days as September approaches.

Thanks to all who visit and to our Friday Fiction host, writer and artist Rochelle whose productivity is an inspiration. To sail away, for considerably less than a year and a day, to a land where the Story Tree grows click here. Thanks also to Georgia Koch for the photo.

And I’ve also added this link to Edward Lear’s poem and illustrations.

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How to Cross a Bridge

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How to Cross a Bridge

(historical fiction)

At pitch of night? With a tiny chance of arousing huge suspicion – a flame-haired girl in Sunday-best coat and a hired man.

Far better, on market morn in the chaos of cattle and carts and cabbages, hair greyed with ash, an old shawl, scuffed boots. And the hired man in deep conversation with a herdsman as to the possibilities of late summer work, over West way.

Before doubling back – we hope – to where his lover waits in the darkening copse, listening to the soft rustling of leaves, the low notes of roosting pigeons and the secret flutterings of her own belly.

M J Lewis 2016

Arriving late to Friday Fiction (what, on a Friday?!) after a visit to Shetland to help celebrate a family wedding. Crossed various bridges between some of the many islands of that northern archipelago (love that word!), but this is not set in Shetland – would have definitely been sheep on the bridge if it had been and my poor heroine would have had to hide in a rocky outcrop, sheltering from the wind, there being much wind, multitudes of sheep and few trees. Quite tricky to get to, but well worth a visit for any lovers of nature, history and hospitality.

To travel with ease to a virtual land of stories click here. With thanks to artist and author Rochelle who keeps us all from straying too far, even in these summer months and to Adam Ickes for the photo.

The Lambing Barn

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The Lambing Barn

Placental blood and ewe’s milk: but she was used to the smell by now. Head down, pouring cider from the heavy flagon, the girl ignored the remarks of the hired men.

He was at the far end, one hand braced on the floor, one inside the ewe. She stood silently, watching. A pause, a long pulling together of anticipation and with a rush of liquid and an almost human bleat from the animal the sac slid onto the straw. The lamb was tiny, but alive.

He looked up. ‘She’s two more already – this one’ll need mothering.’

‘You mean  me?’

M J Lewis 2016

Here we are at Friday Fiction and it’s already Sunday. Thanks to our host the writer and artist Rochelle and, for the photo, thanks to Sandra Crook, a regular at Friday Fiction (and often the first to post).

What I know about lambing could be written on the back of a postage stamp – remember those? – but we’re all mammals, so based this on my own experience. Any sheep farmers out there are welcome to put me right on the details!

 

The Whole Wide World

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The Whole Wide World

She loved the big atlas in the dusty corner of the schoolroom. Her tiny fingers paddling across the mighty oceans, she visited the whiskered Chinaman and the black-skirted lady outside her little white house.

At playtime she tipped her chin to the sky, opening her arms to embrace it all and turning round and round as she pictured the people – North, South, East and West – living their strange lives beyond the stamped earth of the schoolyard.

Miss James sighed. At least that funny little mouse was a quiet one; but really, what was the point of educating farm labourers’ children?

M J Lewis 2016

Welcome to Friday Fiction, hosted by writer and artist Rochelle Wissoff-Fields. Thanks also to Jan Marler Morrill who provided this week’s photo prompt. To visit more 100 word stories from around the whole wide world click here.

Here in the UK – don’t shout it too loud – summer finally seems to be arriving. No rain so far this week of Wimbledon, that resilient Scott Andy Murray through to the next round (although wouldn’t have minded if the lovely Tsonga had won through) and the Welsh football team playing Portugal as I write this.

Hope all is well with you and yours in these uncertain and troubling times.

Miranda

The Soft Young Down of Her

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The Soft Young Down of Her

The days were short and the trees bare by the time he returned to the village in the valley. Twelve long months away, living hand to mouth: working the land, birthing lambs – whatever he could get.

He’d thought of her all year like no other – the soft down of her arms, her budding breasts, her spirit bright and nervous as a newly fledged Dunnock. But so young – and what had he to offer?

Now her face told it all: frosted ice over deep water. In his absence someone had taken what he hadn’t dared to touch. He was a fool.

M J Lewis

Arrived very late last week at Friday Fiction and apologies for doing hardly any visiting and commenting.

Thanks to Rochelle for all her hard work keeping us in order week after week and for also providing the photo this week.  To visit more stories inspired by this photo prompt click here.

The title of my piece is a line taken from The Farmer’s Bride by Charlotte Mew.

Go or Stay?

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Go or Stay?

Two am: one last time, you ask the hollow-eyed girl in the mirror that simple question: Go or stay?

If you could follow it back, hand over hand, when did it go wrong? Was it one day, one hour, one moment when doubt crept in? Or was it built layer upon layer, the whole sad, human edifice of seemingly insignificant details?

Don’t come to the airport, I might die of sadness, I said.

Meaning: Come to the airport, I’m already dying.

He sleeps on; scrumpled face, mouth slightly open. Sweet, vulnerable. But then love was always the easy bit.

M J Lewis 2016

Flying in very late to Friday Fiction, hosted by the writer Rochelle Wissoff -Fields at Addicted to Purple, with photo prompt from Rich Voza.

This post is not an allegory, a metaphor, a whatever – it’s just a piece of fiction. On the other hand, I did go to bed Thursday night here in London, UK, Europe and woke up in Little England. Frankly, still stunned!

America – watch and learn. Donald and Boris? Don’t even think it, only now I have.

 

Visit this lush natural garden in the heart of Wiltshire

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Visit this Lush Natural Garden in the Heart of Wiltshire

Great-Aunt Mabel: ninety-two, wheelchair-bound, avid armchair gardener, royal pain in the nether regions. And it’s my luck to be pushing her around this blooming garden.

‘Closer, child. Just smell those roses.’

‘You know, I’ve read about this garden.’

Aunt Mabel snorts.

‘Onward! The colour of that lavender!’

Two sturdy brown legs emerge from behind the delphiniums.  He’s not, is he? Yep, just the boots and gardening gloves. Mabel can’t help but stare – filched lavender cutting held aloft between bony forefinger and thumb.

‘You can admire all you like madam, but please don’t pinch what isn’t yours.’

Told you this garden was famous.

M J Lewis©2016

Actually, the famous naked gardener of Abbey House Gardens of Malmesbury in Wiltshire also used to wear a rather fetching tool belt, but that would have pushed me beyond the Friday Fiction 100 words.

And apparently you folks in the US also have a long history of poetry, gardening and nudity, via Walt Whitman.

Don’t have a clip of Walt, but here’s a very British (clothed) interviewer on Country File visiting Abbey House Gardens. Sadly I think it’s clothes-on every day now at Malmesbury and the famous clothes-optional visiting days are no more. Think I’ll just take up naked bathing, in my own bathroom.

Many thanks to our gracious host Rochelle,to John Nixon for the strange photo prompt (which it has to be said has produced some very weird stories, mine included) and to all who visit.