Underneath the Chestnut Tree

 

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Underneath the Chestnut Tree

(Genre: historical fiction)

Amy arrived at the barn flustered, cheeks flaming almost to the colour of her hair. The lambing man’s face in contrast was grey with exhaustion.

For once her words were bold, urgent.

‘The meadow, courting corner; ewe caught in the hawthorn hedge.’

His thoughts were muddy with lack of sleep.

‘Courting, caught?’

‘Under the old Chestnut. She’s birthing a lamb.’

It was the word lamb that did it. He rose, shaking himself to wakefulness.

‘Pass me them sacks,’ he said.

He took her hand and pulled her with him into the yard.

‘You’ve the hands of a midwife at any rate.’

Miranda Lewis 2017

Welcome to Friday Fiction and hello again after a bit of a hiatus. Thanks as always to our host, the writer Rochelle, whose own story can be found here, along with all the rules of play and Friday Fictioneers from around the globe. Thanks to Sandra Crook for the photo. (Realised I could have put a crook in the story, Sandra! Take the shepherd’s crook as read.)

(Please respect photographer’s and writers’ copyright. Join in, read and comment on other stories, but please do not use the photo for any other purpose than Friday Fiction.)

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Camping for the Bourgeoisie

 

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Camping for the Bourgeoisie

The first year we bedded down in a tiny tent, the baby nestled between us.

Ten years later we’ve acquired:  three more children; a huge canvas castle; tables and chairs; three-ring gas cooker and ‘compact’ fridge; bikes and sand toys; tablets, board games and teddies. Fairy lights and bunting are inessential but fun. A bubble machine, bat detector and barbecue inspire admiration and envy in equal measure.

One day we’ll pack two mugs, a good knife and a hammock and head for the hills. In the meantime, I just have this load of washing to finish and a groundsheet to air.

(Genre; unreliable memoir)

Miranda Lewis, 2017

It’s been a while since I took part in Friday Fiction. Being under canvas when this week’s photo (copyright Jan Wayne Fields) was posted by our esteemed host, Rochelle, I couldn’t resist.

Camping is a strange beast. Once a cheap option for the shy, the adventurous, the lover of nature it has become a huge industry. It’s also a great way to people watch – on a busy campsite you can see almost everything that usually goes on behind closed doors (and probably hear everything you can’t see.)

To go right inside all those yurts, tepees, wigwams and tents of the world click here.

Here’s a comment form my friend Natalie who linked in from my facebook page. (Aren’t I just the social media butterfly!) This made me laugh: ‘Your story could be about my family. We started with all four of us in a little 2 man tent for a night in Poole. Ten years later we had a trailer tent with double mattresses, electricity, a fold out sofa, gas BBQ, fridge, gazebo…the works!’

Sheep Walks into a Diner (two)

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Sheep Walks into a Diner (again)

A play for three characters: Squirrel, Sheep, Waitress

(100 words of dialogue)

Setting: A diner.

Squirrel: Two sheeps?

Sheep: Two sleeps, not sheeps. Anyway the plural is sheep.

Squirrel: I know that.

Sheep: And you thought I didn’t? Shh! It’s that waitress again, the one who looks at us funny.

Waitress: What can I get you?

Squirrel: The nut-burger please.

Sheep: Is the mango smoothie vegan?

Waitress: Sure.

Sheep: Anyway this article said two periods of sleep, not one long one, used to be much more common and even today some folks are probably programmed for more than one sleep.

Squirrel: And?

Sheep: Well it all makes sense, only I’m programmed for…

Squirrel: Four or five sleeps.

Sheep: There speaks the guy who dozes away half the winter.

Miranda Lewis (2017)

It’s been a while, but here we are back at Friday Fiction, hosted by the writer, diplomat, cat-herder and generally delightful purple-clad Rochelle.

And it would seem (possibly to some bemusement) we are back in the diner with my good friends Sheep and Squirrel. To those of you not acquainted they are just your average inter-species couple trying to get along in a world that is not always kind.

Thanks to all who visit and most especially those who stay to comment. For more stories try here. Thanks to Dale Rogerson for the photo. (Please do not use the photo for any other purpose than an entry to Friday Fiction.)

Life and Other Distractions

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Life and Other Distractions

My daughter once built magical cities from wooden IKEA blocks and now studies Architecture. My son pestered his patient teacher with ‘why’ questions: Why did they vote for Hitler in the first place? This month he takes his History finals.

In my empty nest I finally had time to write, but when spring came I stuffed my unfinished manuscript inside a tree trunk. (Who am I kidding, delusional fool – it was barely started!) Instead I meandered for miles by a river, tended a flower garden, volunteered on a farm and trained as a children’s mentor.

Wonder what I’ll do when I grow up?

(Genre: unreliable memoir, 100 words, or so)

Miranda Lewis 2017

Welcome to Friday Flash Fiction, hosted by the talented writer Rochelle and with a photo this week from Sandra Crook. Thanks to all who drop by and especially those who stay to comment.

Please respect the copyright of the author and the photographer.

Here is a link to my daughter’s Instagram of her beautiful final pieces for this year.

A Death in the Family

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A Death in the Family

Strangely death and beauty are often companions. Closed lids hid the milky cataracts of his decayed old age. Pearl-pink pads decorated delicately curled feet. I placed a cheek on his curved back and felt the last of his fur-wrapped warmth.

The grave my husband dug on that dark January night made criminals of us all. No, not my granny, I quipped to a neighbour. Tears flowed freely as we said goodbye and buried the box, securing the lid against foxes.

Alone at last; silent house. I open the freezer, reach deep for the wrapped package and cradle the frozen form in aching arms.

M J Lewis 2017

Welcome to the world of Friday Flash Fiction, hosted by the talented writer Rochelle. Thanks as ever to our seemingly tireless host and also to Liz Young for the photo.

The above is partly true – I’ll leave you to decide what is fiction and what is imagination! Thanks to all who visit and especially those who stay and comment.

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A Fair Wind

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A Fair Wind

The seventh of seven daughters, and all my sisters married, I was promised to a merchant of Moorish extraction in exchange for a cargo of Madeira.

The wine – sweet and rich, the colour of menstrual blood – restored my father’s fortune and I insisted on a male tutor, fair skinned but well-travelled. I mastered algebra and anatomy; the constellations and the continents; theology and food storage.

When my ship comes in I will not be locked in any fine palace, tending a full womb. There will be but two courses to navigate: to sail by my husband’s side or escape.

M J Lewis 2017

It’s Friday and so I’m late for Friday Fiction. I can only plead fantastic gardening weather. All hail to Rochelle, our indefatigable host, and to Fatima Fakier Deria for the nautical photo.

Thanks to all who visit and a huge thank you to those who stay and chat.

I dedicate this piece to all those (children and adults – you know who you are!) who have questioned the part algebra has to play in a well-rounded education.

The Jewelled Locust

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The Jewelled Locust

The room was almost unbearably hot. A ceiling fan stirred the soupy air listlessly.

My grandmother’s face when she turned to me was yellow, skin taught over sharp cheek bones, eye sockets deep pools of purple.

She indicated the box of jewels. ‘For you and you alone. The very best.’

All I saw was the blood and toil of others, wealth won with deception and malice.

Outside, I opened the lid and handed a brooch to the child who guarded the decaying lobby. Fake emeralds, nevertheless valuable.

Unknown to my grandmother my half-sister and I still speak: different box, same lies.

M J Lewis 2017

Very late to the Friday Feast of Fiction this week, but such a stunning photo, thanks to Shaktiki Sharma. Thanks also, of course, to our esteemed host, Rochelle, and thanks to all who visit, especially those who stay to comment.