Eternal Childhood.

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candle wax

My birthday tumbles upon me unexpected, unplanned from amidst the recovering turmoil of trips and weddings. Tonight we will celebrate but now everyone is working and retired friends too far away for impromptu plans.
The day stands empty before me, what would I like to do? A visit to the lakes and lunch at my favourite old English pub maybe, but I have no escort and anyway its summer holidays and I’m babysitting. Then my eyes light upon the “perfect man”, only nine years old, but already a “ladies man”.
Soon enthroned among solid English beams we sit fascinated examining a waterfall of candle wax three feet wide harboring in its depths whispers of a hundred nights, telling stories of families, lovers, of love grown old and comfy. Above, blackened rafters look down from the white plastered roof, telling of wood smoke and olden day sights and sounds they witnessed.
Candles and young boys have an affinity and the waiter is indulgent. Soon we are fashioning leaves, moons and fish from softened wax.. I show him how to dip his finger tips in the molten candle to make “witches nails” reviving a hundred memories of bygone dreams of love and peace. We laugh and smile. As I swish my glass of red wine enjoying the colour and scent I realize I’m having a really good time. My young escort is the perfect host.
At last our tummies full, our hearts content we call for the bill. The staff smile, happy we enjoyed our visit, but sometimes I wonder who is really the child?

Eternal Childhood.

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My birthday tumbles upon me unexpected, unplanned from amidst the recovering turmoil of trips and weddings. Tonight we will celebrate but now everyone is working and retired friends too far away for impromptu plans.
The day stands empty before me, what would I like to do? A visit to the lakes and lunch at my favourite old English pub maybe, but I have no escort and anyway its summer holidays and I’m babysitting. Then my eyes light upon the “perfect man”, only nine years old, but already a “ladies man”.
Soon enthroned among solid English beams we sit fascinated examining a waterfall of candle wax three feet wide harboring in its depths whispers of a hundred nights, telling stories of families, lovers, of love grown old and comfy. Above, blackened rafters look down from the white plastered roof, telling of wood smoke and olden day sights and sounds they witnessed.
Candles and young boys have an affinity and the waiter is indulgent. Soon we are fashioning leaves, moons and fish from softened wax.. I show him how to dip his finger tips in the molten candle to make “witches nails” reviving a hundred memories of bygone dreams of love and peace. We laugh and smile. As I swish my glass of red wine enjoying the colour and scent I realize I’m having a really good time. My young escort is the perfect host.
At last our tummies full, our hearts content we call for the bill. The staff smile, happy we enjoyed our visit, but sometimes I wonder who is really the child?

The Wishing Tree. (Flash fiction)

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oak

An ancient oak rests among the elms and birches. Its branches  gnarled and twisted, the trunk thick and ridged. It’s very old. Children have built a platform where its trunk splits into thick limbs. A boy fashioned rope ladder dangles from a planked room housed with a tiny window. A bucket hangs on knotted rope above a flower bed nestled between roots and garlands of fresh blossoms, and vines hang from its branches. You can tell the children adore the tree and the tree for its part seems to take pleasure in the children and their games.
Long has it stood here! In ages past they used to call it “the wishing tree” and many a wish it heard whispered, long ago. The whisperers are gone now, waiting in the earth, but the tree lives on. It sees the whishes come and go. It alone has seen them manifest upon the earth, – the wish for freedom, an end to tyranny, for peace and plenty, for love, for healed bodies and hearts. The years have torn and warped its limbs; the weight of seasons brought them low, as if bending for the children to swing on.
Yet the tree lives on and with it the wishes. It sees the fulfillment and rejoices. It has learned patience these many years. The young striplings of the forest give honor to it. They listen in the wind to its stories of ancient times, echoes of a past so removed from the present. They listen and rejoice for the peace and favor that has come to the earth. As the scars on Jesus hands, the tree remains a testimony of long love and patience

So who am I anyway?

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With yet another birthday looming its shadow I feel a need for reassessment. I’ve noticed I generally hit the “about” section first when blog browsing, to give me a framework as to who I’m “talking to”, but my own is kind of nebulous, I like that but to supplement it here’s a tad more solid info.
Finding a photo other than my cat I’m tempted to choose one of those perfectly posed ones that make me look good, but is that generally how I look? No. I finally choose this “a la natural” because it’s closer to the real me.
It’s true (as per my about section) I don’t fit well in boxes (doing a personality test I found I fit in a less than 1% group – had some pretty awesome folks in it though!) but here are some basic facts.
I’m (very) soon to be 63, happily retired (though as busy as ever just with different stuff) and living in a small, old English town on the edge of London.
My original degree was in Fine art (sculpture) but I taught English abroad (mostly in S E Asia) for a good part of my life (easy income) while exploring and having adventures. I was married twice and have been single now for 10 years (I’m very independent). I enjoy company but also need lots of time alone to chill and ponder.
I take care of one of my grandsons after school till my daughter gets home (the little guy with the big grin) and am currently learning about writing, publishing and technology in general (a new field for me) with a goal of eventually self publishing a book I wrote while in China (and writing more). I’m really enjoying blogging, delving into others worlds, and the discipline of coming up with something new every day is stretching me.

dark hedges

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dark hedges

I love trees and this 18th century avenue (used in Game of Thrones) has a special atmosphere all it’s own. Would love to see it before it’s gone (the trees are slowly dying). This shot is from inesemjphotography check her site to get the history or if you just love Ireland as I do (lived there for 3 years long ago).

A Guiding Light.

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stars

(Sci-fi flash fiction)

It shone, a light in the darkness, the guiding star. All around blackness consumed them as their vessel spun in the endless spirals of the vortex. All eyes focused on the tiny glimmer of light as they reeled to and fro caught up in the stream of space flow.
Sheana grasped the manual control bar positioned around her seat like a massive gyroscope. It was up to her. She must stay focused, her entire being caught up in the struggle. The far off star marked their exit point, loose sight of it and they were lost.
All around hung silence deep as the grave prepared before them. Enemy ships had driven them to this desperate ploy, no escape, no option but to go down fighting. The commander, fought his inner battles. It had been his decision. Surrender meant enslavement, better to take their chances. It had never been done before; they were the first to try. Now all rested of the slender shoulders grappling with the controls. He sensed the stress in her frame; saw the beads of perspiration on her brow as they reeled at hyper speed toward the light.
Suddenly they were free, their eyes dazzled by a million stars. Cries of jubilation shattered the clinging silence. Sheana collapsed back in her seat tears streaming. Computer screens flashed back into action absorbing, analyzing the sky around them. Maps appeared seeking to chart the stars and planets in their vicinity. But where were they?
Andromeda was gone, as were all their former landmarks. They gazed in wonder at the surrounding hemisphere of unknown pinpoints of light. It had been theorized that the vortex led to another part of the galaxy, but this was totally unknown. They gazed awestruck as the stars began to move, converging around them. Then they realized, they were not stars at all but shimmering beings much like themselves.
“Welcome!” The voice beamed itself within the vessel. “Do not be afraid for I am with you”. It was the voice of the guiding star.

Shattered.

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crystal

Julie looked at the shattered pieces of crystal in her hand. It once had been a bird; wings spread soaring the heavens. Now it lay in jagged shards, like the remnants of their love, too beautiful and fragile a thing to survive the impacts of life. Her fingers closed tightly around the pieces, as if trying to weld it together, but they merely cut into her hands.
It had been a wedding gift, on a day of sunshine and light, of soaring updrafts and smiles. Now black clouds loomed ever closer. Wings that had lifted her heart were crushed never to find the sun.
How had it ended? The forces of earth exerted pressures the fragile thing had been unable to bare. It had no flexibility, she understood that now. Unable to bend, to forgive his flirtation, she had exploded in a torrent of unforgivable words that shattered the beauty of their love.
It was just crystal, not a diamond she realized, diamonds do not shatter, but diamonds are formed, in the depths and pressures of the earth, they don’t just happen.
A sound at the door startled her from her revelry, a key turning for the last time. He was here to get his things. She brushed her eyes – too late.
“What’s wrong?” the voice was tinged with concern.
“The bird it broke… like us…” She unfolded fingers revealing shattered remains.
“It doesn’t need to be this way. It was your choice, not mine.” There was an edge of bitterness, sharp as the shards. “I told you, it was nothing, just a stupid mistake. I still love you. Life is messy sometimes…”
She looked down at the shards, though broken they still reflected light, perhaps more so. It could never be as before, but perhaps all was not lost, though the illusion of perfection was shattered forever, looking at the pool of fractured rainbows in her hand she searched his eyes glimpsing a faint glimmer of hope.
Pouring the shards into a wine glass she placed them on the shelf where the bird had been. They would remind her.

The Good the Bad and the Beaches.

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(Impressions of Mexico – off the tourist track.)
Wandering around ruins of ancient, less frequented pyramids I gave thanks for the girl who insisted I needed extra strong bug spray, for my broad brimmed sun hat and techniques of bag clutching gleaned from my Far East travels. It was, I surmised, a land of saints and sinners, the wonderful friends helping at my daughter’s wedding and those “other folks” who seemed intent to steal, cheat and con at every opportunity. Could I blame them? Probably not.
Seeing ancients trying to make a living washing windscreens or playing guitar at beach tables, their skin a sea of wrinkles from long hours in the sun, wrung my heart, along with the young girl whose mother enforced dubious tactics to cajole my daughter to buy a cheap toy. I saw the fear and humiliation in her eyes.
We found a guy knocking on windows saying his wife just died of cancer and he had no way to get home to his daughters. Was he telling the truth? I don’t know. The tears at least were genuine as were the shaking shoulders as he broke down in my daughter’s arms. Whatever the truth of his story he was desperate. We each gave him the usual 10 pesos (it’s only 50 pence, if it were a con we wouldn’t miss it).
I saw a lot of the seamier side of life, but then I was looking. We were to their eyes “rich foreigners” who could afford to give and they lined up to sell us something. Even China was not like that. I began to understand why they swamp the US borders. As generally is the case, underlying corruption seemed the base of the problem.
Then there was the good. The smiling friendly faces, honest folks who had opportunity to cheat me (due to my ignorance) but chose not to, friends and co-workers of my German son in law who worked to bring the wedding to pass, his brother who took over the bar when the waiters and barman proved totally hopeless, the inclusiveness of the crowd, dragging everyone up to dance, the fun and freedom as folks doffed their wedding gear to plunge in the pool and escape the heat.
Later I discovered the beaches, cool, fabulous, blue sky edged with pale soft sand and waves just cool enough to refresh, a solace to the soul. We passed the best afternoon at one such place discovering a “pearl of great price” an honest restaurant with a waiter who could juggle all our bills and requests with ease, shady umbrellas and deck chairs with the surf a few yards away (we left a hefty tip.)
Now I’m home enjoying gentle English summer and shopping in streets guarded by police that keep law and order instead of seeking bribes. I give thanks for my heritage for not all enjoy it and I know it was dearly bought.