Coming Home part 2 – Esthers short story.

By Sharon Harvey

Hmm, I’m thinking maybe an affair on Sarah’s part….? 🤔

First Part is here

Second part 👇🏻

She looked at the front door key in her hand and closed her fist round it. She couldn’t do it. She couldn’t pluck up the courage to go in.

“Something moved! There are tigers in there,” Gemma screamed and clung to Sarah’s leg.

A black cat sauntered out of the undergrowth. He paused to look up at them with his wide green eyes, and then stuck his tail in the air before walking nonchalantly off in the opposite direction.

Sarah laughed.

“Sarah! Gemma! Abigail!”

Sarah swung round at the sound of their names. A face was beaming at them from over the fence.

“My dears, you’re back. How wonderful.”

Sarah smiled. Mrs Minchin. There was no finer neighbour than Mrs Minchin.

“Come in, come in. You must be gasping for a cup of tea and I know there’s nothing in that larder of yours. I thought you were coming back tomorrow. I’d got it all planned. Tea bags, milk, bread. You name it, it was all going to be there, lined up just so on the larder shelves. Never mind. And don’t you screw up that nose of yours, Miss Abigail, I know you don’t like tea. I’ve plenty of Ribena for you girls,” Mrs Minchin said, already half-way through her front door.

“I don’t like Ribena. Ribena is for babies,” Abigail said as Sarah ushered them in the direction of Mrs Minchin’s.

Sarah rolled her eyes up to the sky. Eight-going-on-eighteen, that was her Abigail.

“What’s Ribena?” Gemma asked.

Sarah looked at her youngest daughter. Gemma had only been three-and-a-half when they had left for Spain. Eighteen months. That was a long time to a child. Gemma couldn’t remember much about England. All she really knew was Spain. And Sarah had forced them to come back. She chewed her lip. She had been so sure she was doing the right thing. What on earth had she done?

Sarah helped Mrs Minchin with plates of biscuits, cakes and sandwiches, an enormous pot of tea and gigantic glasses of Ribena. Her mood couldn’t stay sombre for long. Mrs Minchin hadn’t changed and neither had her house, with its beautiful antique furniture and quaint knick-knacks collected over the years.

Something soggy splashed her leg. Sarah looked down.

“Amy!” she cried, bending down to hug the Westie who was ferociously licking her leg. She buried her face in the dog’s wiry white coat.

No, some things never changed. But her home had. Would it ever be the same again?

“Now, I know just what you’re going to say,” Mrs Minchin said, as they all sat down in the lounge, “you’re going to say what a state your lovely home is in.”

Sarah’s head snapped up.

“Before I start my tale about your house, how’s that Duncan? How rude of me not to ask about him,” Mrs Minchin said, handing round the biscuits.

Sarah watched two pairs of eyes hungrily hover over the delights being offered and two pairs of equally hungry hands taking those delights and filling their plates with them. At least the girls seemed happier now.

Duncan had loved Spain. He had taken to it from the moment they set foot in the country. They’d been abroad before, on holidays to Corfu, Greece, Majorca and Cyprus. But this was different. It wasn’t just for a week or two. She had hated it. She had longed for England, for her garden full of flowers, for the charm of the changing seasons, for walks in the woods, feeding the ducks at the lakes with the girls, for her job at the school. Her list was endless. Deep down, she knew the children hadn’t settled either. Perhaps Gemma had more than Abigail, but Duncan was the reason they had stayed. And then she had ruined everything.

Part three next week

Till next time Take Care everyone and Stay Safe.

Love

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A new short story from Esther.

Another short story from Esther, nice easy first part, unsure of what the rest of the journey consists of..

“I’m not going in there. Not if there are great, big, ferocious tigers,” Gemma cried.

Eight-year-old Abigail tutted at her younger sister and shook her head.

“Tigers, indeed. Of course there aren’t any tigers. It’s a garden, not a jungle,” she said, folding her arms.

Sarah tried not to laugh. Despite her bravado, Abigail didn’t exactly look keen to set forth into the garden and lead the way.

She sighed. But then, neither did she. She looked from the overgrown garden to the house. Each time she looked at the building, she noticed something else wrong. First she had spotted the chipped paintwork. Then she noticed a tile had fallen from the roof and been left smashed to smithereens on the path. And now she could see that the number two on the door was hanging listlessly, as if it were making up its mind whether to stay put or to leap into the tangled mass of moss, earth, weeds and grass beyond.

Sarah pushed at her eyes with the back of her hand. The tears weren’t going to come. She wouldn’t let them. But it wasn’t supposed to be like this.

“I want to go home to Spain. It’s cold here and there isn’t a swimming pool. I want to go home,” Gemma said, stamping her feet.

“This is home,” Sarah said, feeling the anguish building inside, “this is our house. We lived here before we went to Spain. Our house has been looked after while we were away and now we’re back home.”

“Well, whoever looked after it hasn’t done a very good job,” Abigail moaned.

Sarah shook her head. She couldn’t argue with that. She closed her eyes and eighteen months fell away.

The four of them were standing there: Sarah, Abigail, Gemma and Duncan. Oh, how she needed Duncan now, right now. They were looking up at the house – the house they had cared for and loved for the past ten years. It was perfect. They had worked so hard to get it just as they wanted. And there they were leaving it behind.

“Are you sure about this?” Duncan had said, wrapping his arms around Sarah.

She had looked into her husband’s eyes. She hadn’t been. No, she hadn’t been sure at all when he’d first come home from work and told her he was being transferred to the Spanish office.

But she had seen the fire in his eyes, the passion and the love for his work. She didn’t want to stand in his way. And she loved him. She couldn’t imagine being anywhere other than by his side. She had smiled that day, standing there, staring up at the house.

“It’s only for two years. Then we’ll be back home. Our home. It’ll be just as we left it, you’ll see,” Duncan assured her.

But it wasn’t. Not at all. And she hadn’t even been inside yet. Goodness knows what state that would be in.

She knew they shouldn’t have agreed to let it. She should have stayed here. Everything would be all right if they hadn’t gone to Spain.

Part 2 next week.

Enjoy the read

Thanks for your company

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Beautiful love story by Murray Clarke

By Sharon Harvey

 

I’m doing things a little different this time. Instead of putting a link in to take you to the short story, for something different, I am just going to place it right here

This is from a gentleman called Murray, I havent been able to ask his permission to post it so I’m just going to put his name as credit.

Its a beautiful story for Valentines Day and a standalone love story. Enjoy the read, I did.

****

Roses are Red

By

Murray Clarke

Violet, ninety-six, stared thoughtfully out of the window, a tear in her eye. The other senior citizens in the room were either asleep, reading or watching television. It may have been Valentine’s Day, but there wasn’t a card in sight. It had been a long time since the residents of the care home had received a romantic card from anyone.

Memories came flooding back of the happy times enjoyed when she was young. She smiled to herself. Those were the days. World War Two. Food rationing was the order of the day, but everyone rallied around and supported each other. Violet was just twenty years old – her whole life spread out in front of her like uncharted territory. She was so pretty, long blonde hair flowing down to her waist. Sapphire blue eyes. Full of fun and vitality. Always laughing.

Oh yes! Violet smiled again – she’d had her fair share of admirers . . . and Valentine’s cards; many of them handmade. Tall handsome men declared their undying love for her. Bunches of flowers, chocolates, jewellery – even silk stockings from the American G.I.s. Some of the Valentine cards were signed only with a kiss; smitten young men too bashful to reveal their names!

Boyfriends came and went. But no serious relationships . . . until the day she met Jacko in late 1944 — Squadron Leader Jack Gibson. She remembered how dashing the young pilot had looked in his smartly pressed dark blue RAF uniform. Every bit an officer and a gentleman. She fell madly in love with him from the moment she saw him.

Violet remembered their first proper date, just before Christmas 1944. Jacko had arranged to meet at a dance in the local village hall. He walked in, a beaming smile on his kindly face. In his hand he grasped a huge bunch of the finest red roses Violet had ever seen. ‘For a lovely lady,’ Jacko said, gallantly. No man had ever given her red roses before!

And, later, when he bent down to kiss her, his neatly trimmed moustache tickled her face and made her squeal with girlish delight. Violet recalled the fun she’d had dancing the night away in his arms. Happy, happy memories!

‘Jacko, you were my only true love,’ Violet said out loud.

‘Did you say something, Violet, my dear?’ A carer was walking past and shook her head: talking to herself again!

Violet and Jacko enjoyed a blissful few weeks in each other’s company, and then one morning, the following February, he took off in his single-engine aeroplane on a flight to France . . . And disappeared. Violet was heartbroken and prayed that Jacko, one day, would return to her loving arms. But he never did, and she remained a spinster for the rest of her life.

Violet let out a long loud sigh, remembering what might have been. It was at that moment that she happened to glance down. She gasped. Lying on the small wooden coffee table beside her, she saw a beautiful bouquet of red roses. A handwritten card was pinned to them. Violet bent down and read the message: “To Violet. Love you always, my darling. Jacko xx”

A tear came into her eye. ‘Oh, Jacko, you’ve not forgotten me,’ she whispered.

‘Everything okay, Violet?’ The carer had returned.

‘It’s Jack – he’s remembered me on Valentine’s Day,’ she replied with glee, and pointed towards the coffee table.

The carer, Linda, looked, a blank expression on her face.

‘Don’t you see – the red roses?’ insisted Violet.

Linda rested her hand lightly on Violet’s shoulder. ‘There’s nothing there, my dear. Now, why don’t you come and sit over there with the others? There’s a romantic World War Two film about to start. I think you’ll enjoy it.’

***

POSTSCRIPT: AN INTERNAL MEMO, CIRCULATED LATER, STATED: SQUADRON LEADER JACK (JACKO) GIBSON HAD TAKEN OFF FROM AN AIRFIELD IN DORSET ON A SECRET RECONNAISANCE MISSION TO FRANCE. HIS SPITFIRE WAS SHOT DOWN BY ENEMY FIRE SOMEWHERE OVER THE ENGLISH CHANNEL. HIS BODY WAS NEVER RECOVERED.

DATE: 14th. FEBRUARY 1945. VALENTINE’S DAY.

I thought this was an absolutely beautiful love story, a standalone love story if its not Valentine’s Day. I thought the story in itself was beautiful till I read the Postscript which I felt was the icing on the cake

Hope you enjoyed the read as much as I did.

Till next time, Take Care

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Zombies by Esther Chiltern.

By Sharon Harvey

Esther has done a few short stories as we all know, stories that pull on the emotions, this was no different – this pulled on the humour emotion.

This made me laugh though, I mean who can admit to relating to it? I know I can! I think we are all guilty of this of being so engrossed in some horror on the TV that when someone speaks or touches us we jump through the roof! 😂

An absolutely funny story this one, a much needed laugh in these awful strange times. 5⭐️ for me.

To read Esther’s latest story, click here

(Ps watch for those zombies – and anyone who may speak or touch you! 🤦🏻‍♀️🤷🏻‍♀️)

xx

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Another first for me! 😃

By Sharon Harvey

A while ago I noticed on my writers Bureau website a guest blogger section. I actually thought it was for the tutors only. Well that was till I noticed a fellow student mentioning on her twitter page that she had had an article accepted to appear on the page.

Urged on by my curiosity I decided to research further and asked the student how she had gone about it. She gave me all the information I needed and I then proceeded to email the Director of Student Services Diana to see if I could also be involved as a guest blogger.

Sure enough, Diana was quite happy for me to be involved and gave me some rules to follow which I happily did, all that left me with was to think of an excellent article to write which hadn’t already been on my website (had to be exclusive to the WB site only).

I had got a few ideas, but then I had to work it so it was within the guidelines and the required wordage. At first I sat with a blank face and screen and scratched my head a few times and tried all ways to get words to work to the required number and often failing miserably. I tried another article, but then I had the same problem but also I was updating a previous article with fresh information – and whilst it was fresh information, it was for an article that I had already published on my website – here. That was a no go. It wasn’t allowed. It had to be fresh to the WB site only.

I went back to the original idea and looked at it again from a fresh angle. Something had to look different, sound different and then it would work…..I edited a few things, added a few things….and hey presto – I had an article and more importantly with the desired amount or word! I had finally managed it and completed it! i was so happy and excited.

I’m learning, when my mind goes blank to go away, do something else, and then go back, and think outside of the box with a fresh mind and angle. Once you start its amazing what you can come up with, and writing that, its given me an idea of another article I can write about! See, its working again!

Anyway, without further ado, I will invite you to read my very first guest article – it’s another first for me (I’m racking them up 😃) and I managed once again to include my wonderful late Mum, the encourager of my writing, who I’m sure will be looking down on me, and clapping her hands and saying ‘Well done you (my nickname which I am not revealing here, though no doubt she would ask why!)’ and then giving me a virtual hug and kiss as if she was with me. She wouldn’t want the credit, but she’s getting it!

Another one for you Mum…and for me, I hope you are so proud of me, like I am hoping you are.

To read my article please click here

I would be grateful, as ever, for any feedback and do let me know if the article helped you in any way 😃

Thanks for reading as always.

Until next time, Take Care and Stay Safe 😷

Love

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A wonderfully funny article from Writers Bureau tutor and Writing Magazine columnist Lorraine Mace

By Sharon Harvey

Every month Writers Bureau tutor Lorraine Mace (Twitter: @lomace Instagram: mace_lorraine) has a column in The Writing Magazie ‘Notes in the Margin’ where she writes some superb articles and this month was no different. In fact I found this one hilariously funny especially when she asked her husband if the ‘something soon’ could be her running naked outside singing the national anthem and he replied ‘could be’ whilst looking at his phone 😂 (Sorry Lorraine!) Question I would like to know is has your hubby forgiven you yet for all your nervousness?

Great article though 👏🏻

Lorraine’s ‘Notes from the Margin’ article.

Enjoy the read everyone.

Take Care and Stay Safe 😷

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A New Friend Part One (Esthers new short story)

By Sharon Harvey

Once again Esther has surpassed herself again with the first part of this story….which way is it going to go….? Let’s find out next week!

First part here – Enjoy!

Stay Safe and Well 😷

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The End Part 2 by Esther Chiltern.

By Sharon Harvey

Here’s part 2  Of Esthers story.

A reminder of part 1 here

Enjoy, and stay safe everyone! 😷

Sharon xx

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Esthers new story – The End Part One

By Sharon Harvey: 31/12/20

Here we go again! 🤧 Esthers new short story part one….

Heres an excerpt the rest can be read here

His mummy was dying. He stared at her face, usually so beautiful and serene now sweat-soaked and puckered as the pain finally claimed her.

‘Mummy, don’t leave me, Mummy!’ he said, his voice trembling with sobs.

‘Craig,’ she reached out, her warm hands patting his flyaway hair. ‘I have to go.’

Granny interrupted, ‘There, there, Rose. It’s all right, it won’t be long until the end now.’

The end. His mummy was near the end. She couldn’t be. He needed her. He was only six. He needed his mummy.

‘Granny will look after you. I’ve got to go to the hospital now,’ Mummy tried to get to her feet, but pain tore through her and she slumped against the chair.”

As with her other stories, Esther has reached out to the emotions…some have turned out quite unexpectedly- lets see where this one takes us.

Enjoy the read (Don’t forget the tissues though!)

Sharon xx

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Memories of Christmas.

By Sharon Harvey : 24th December 2020

Nowadays Christmas is too commercialised its all about money.

Christmas is a time for families to enjoy, my late Mum and I certainly did.

We would decorate the room first with those balloons and those paper bells (Remember those?!) hanging from the ceiling and other decorative Christmas stuff. Then it was time for the Christmas tree, the same love and attention went into that that went into the rest of the room, the only time it went wrong, was when I decided to try and be brave and offered to get up the ladders and do the ceiling decorations. Mum knew of my fear of heights and so was slightly concerned of why I offered but she relented and up I went up the ladder to continue where she had left off. Only it wasnt that simple was it? No, to my utter horror, I froze and I said

“Mum?’

“Yes?’

“I cant move!’

I couldn’t obviously see my Mums face but she tried to coax me down but to no avail, I was willing to go, my body not so much!

Eventually, though goodness knows how, I managed to get down and back up went Mum to finish off her job that she had started.

Anyway, we got on with the Christmas tree although my little incident didnt go without a couple of mentions – that was us, and lots of giggles and head shakes followed!

After all that had been completed we started on the baking. We baked cakes, mince pies etc Mum told me we had to make more Mince Pies as Santa loved them, which i found out when I left one out for him when I went to bed Christmas Eve night to wake up Christmas Morning and it had gone.

Talking of which, I had gone to bed to await Santa’s visit and the next morning when I woke up, my eyes widened at al the presents at the end of my bed.  I would tear the paper off of them and then run downstairs and be astounded at the amount of presents awaiting for me under the tree, thinking what had had been up on my bed.

Over the years our custom continued, the decorating of the room (though I never offered to get up the ladder again, quite possibly to everyone’s relief!), the Christmas tree and the baking. Once again, more mince pies were baked though it did then occur too me that I had realised Mum loved Mince pies….

‘Those mince pies were never for Santa were they, they were for you!’ I turned to say to her.

Her reply? A smirk.

Since her collapse and then death over Christmas, I had really mixed feelings about it. Do I still enjoy it and remember the fun times we had or remember what had been cruelly ripped from me?

I did hate it for a while but after I thought about it, whilst I think she would probably have ‘allowed’ me to feel upset over Christmas because of her death, I think she would have then said ‘ok come on, now start enjoying it for me, for us for what it meant to us and our enjoyment of the time’

I decided to do an article on my memories and sent it into the guardian and happily they liked it enough to publish it and attach it here 👇🏻

My article on My Christmas with My Mum

 

 

 

 

 

 

Another memory of Christmas for me is also Carol Singing as a child.

Who remembers Carol singing as a kid? Who remembers getting excited at the prospect of going around the local houses, knocking on someone’s door and singing your heart out to Christmas carols, waiting for the homeowner to open it and see you singing and smile a huge smile at the thoughtfulness and singing. And then the added bonus of a few pennies for us trying to put a smile on their face?

Then onto the next house and the next…till it was time to stop and count what we had earned. It amounted to only a couple of pounds but back then that was an awful lot of money and so it was lovely to think we had been rewarded for singing out our hearts for Christmas and for putting a smile on people’s faces with it.

But where has those times gone? It was only the other year when plenty of children came trick or treating that it occurred to me, the days of Carol singing had somewhere disappeared along the way, but where I had no idea, but it was sad to realise 

There ware no carol singers at our door anymore (I was far too old for that, though I did have a go at singing when carol singers sang at local shopping centres etc, though I’m not entirely sure I was welcomed to sing with my tone deaf singing!

It’s sad these traditions have seemingly died off but at least like with my My memories of my Christmases with Mum, they are just that – happy memories.

And now with the current situation we face, we can’t just sit there and think our Christmas has been ruined, sure we can’t be with Grandparents/parents but we have modern technology so we can see them that way, but don’t let this year take any more away from us, let’s make Christmas still special.

So my question to you all, is it worth letting this year spoil a very special occasion? The answer for me is, I havent let my Mum’s untimely death spoil it so I’m not going to let this spoil it either.

And with that in mind all it leaves for me to say is:

Happy Christmas and hope you all have a much better New year.

Take Care & Stay Safe.

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