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.
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!)
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.
Happy New Gardening Year
A trip outside the post-Christmas fug to the compost bin reveals green shoots in sodden soil: the promise of snowdrops, the loveliest of flowers. The days lengthen, the world renews itself despite our dulled perception it is otherwise.
To plant a garden is to open oneself to sweet celebration – spring tulips and forget-me-nots, summer lavender and roses – but also disappointment, failures, the need to shrug and carry on.
For whatever, after summer will come the dying days of autumn – pruning, leaf gathering, the fragrant harvest of rot and decay. Until, once more, that long deep sigh of winter.
Miranda Lewis 2017
I’m either very late to Friday Fiction or just in time to wish Friday fiction contributors and all who visit a very happy and productive new year. May your adjectives be apt and your adverbs few. Thanks as ever to our host Rochelle and to Ted Strutz for the photo.
And of course, good gardening. My resolution for 2018 – lots of flowers (always!) but more vegetables too.
Under the Clouds
The morning after my son’s graduation I noticed a small grey cloud floating somewhere above my left shoulder. Seasonal September blues? The last child all grown, yet barely grown?
Or none of these? Like the clouds my worries are more often there than not; both gather and clear to their own rhythms. But do not assume all worriers are pessimists; there are as many patches of blue as mighty storms.
In the garden, the first fat drops of rain. All futures are uncertain, all tracks unclear, sometimes in many places. My son will follow his own path whether I worry or not.
Miranda Lewis 2017
(Genre: Metaphorical memoir)
By the end of this week I will have attended a graduation, a funeral and a wedding celebration. Perhaps a little worrying and philosophical musing is understandable.
For more stories (that probably read a bit more like stories) click here.
Thanks as ever to our host Rochelle who rounds us all up and keeps us all going along that 100-word track of Friday Fiction and to Danny Boweman for the photo.
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.
I’m old enough to remember those callers to the house who have now disappeared – the knife-sharpening man, the fizzy-pop man. Mostly men it seems, though once a traveller-woman persuaded my mother to part with a lovely summer dress.
After the brooms-and-mops man had called my mother would give me the sweet little sample tins of polish and I’d buff up the miniature piano in my dolls house.
Oddly the sitting-room in my doll’s house– polished piano, too many pictures on the walls and a large clock, made out of an old watch– very much resembled my real sitting-room today.
M J Lewis 2016
Welcome to all who visit Friday Fiction and a particular thanks to those who stay to read and comment. Thanks as ever to our host, the writer and artist Rochelle and also to the Friday Fiction regular and writer, Claire Fuller who supplies the photo this week.
(Please note all Friday Fiction photos are copyright and should only be posted in conjunction with Friday Fiction or by permission of the photographer.)
The Esteemed Companie of Travelling Players, Summer 1600
Born backstage during a particularly noisy Act 2 crowd scene, my first view of the unruly audience was from between my mother’s bountiful breasts in Act 6. Not liking what I saw, I vowed to join my father in the musicians’ pit. By the age of 2 ¾ I was deemed sufficiently proficient on my chosen instrument to swell the orchestral numbers. Accompanying my father on the lute and his lumpen second-cousin on the crumhorn, I added a certain ethereal quality, tapping out tunes between scenes on variably pitched vials of sunlight, my golden curls nodding in time.
Frances/Francis du Plessey; musician to actors, kings and courtesans (The Cock and Bull, Cheapside, 1699)
All the world’s a stage and we thank Rochelle for travelling (or if she prefers traveling) to its many corners, and all on an extended Friday. And thanks also to G.L. MacMillan for the luminous photo. You have bottled the dawn!
Meanwhile in another kettle of fish entirely, down another dark psychological alleyway, Dream Girl by Miranda Lewis is available to download on Kindle in the UK and US and many other parts of the globe. If it sounds like a rose-tinted/hormone-filled love story think again. I’ll let an independently verified reviewer describe it:
Dream Girl by Miranda Lewis is a compulsive page turner. She drew me in to her strangely entangled worlds of sleepless nights and dream filled days, where the lines of reality and dreams entwine. A great read, beautifully written.