#Writephoto ~ Summer

Many thanks to Sue Vincent for another lovely photo prompt!

 

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SUMMER

Summer holidays are meant to be fun.

A time for freedom, not a time to hear mother yelling for me to do this, do that… don’t do that… make yourself useful.

The sooner I did the jobs she wanted, the better I would be able to go out and run all the way to my favourite place, the River Thames.

To the old houseboat tied up outside the church, with its small graveyard, each headstone facing the water. The boat belonged to the vicar from the time before he wore the white collar. He knew I visited and never told me to go away.

I cleaned all the windows and brought some of mother’s old sheets from home so I could lie on the bed and dream. I would pick summer flowers from our front garden to cheer the place up. Here on my boat, I visited India and bathed in the Ganges, visited the temples, leaving flowers for Ganesh and Hanuman the monkey God.

All through the summer holidays, I would visit Greece and Rome when each place would be in full bloom. The best place of all would be the mighty Mississippi. I had the best summer on my Riverboat Queen, following in the footsteps of Huckleberry Finn…

Honesty in WorldWar2 by Chris-Jean Clarke #ContemporaryFiction/History@ChrisJeanClarke

 

WW2 through the eyes of a child: It is mid-summer, 1944 and Britain is embroiled in war.

A large percentage of city and town dwellers are being killed; homes bombed, and personal belongings destroyed. The people not only fear for their own safety, but they also realize, that even if they are fortunate enough to survive there is a slim chance their offspring will not.

They feel they have no choice but to send their children to remote country villages to be raised by strangers, in the hope they will have a better life. The only adults permitted to travel with the children are mothers with youngsters under five years old, the infirm and the elderly. Meantime, the community of Honesty Brook Dale feel it’s their duty to rally together to help the evacuees by sharing their homes and limited food and clothing supplies. 

Our Review

I was only a child during WW2 and evacuated out of London to Northampton, but probably a little too young to remember much of what was going on around me. I knew I had been taken somewhere strange, but didn’t feel alone or scared, unlike some of the children in these circumstances.

Reading this book, listening to the children as they tried to cope with being uprooted or worse, have their homes and family destroyed in front of them, must have been terrifying. Making me realise I was a lot luckier than most.

The people who took in these evacuees found themselves taking a very different role in the war effort. For most, it wasn’t easy, squeezing extra people into their lives when food was already rationed. People who must have resented being treated like lost luggage.

I loved the name of the village in this book, Honesty Brook Dale. Honesty is one of my favourite flowers and is mentioned several times, reminding me of the shiny silver seedpods I loved as a child.

I know you’re not supposed to have favourites when it comes to children, but I couldn’t help loving Cyril Blessum. A typical boy, into every mischief, desperately trying to understand everything, and not making a very good job of any of it.

“If only me Dad were able to come home, George wouldn’t have to be so tired from working long hours … and we could have fun again,” he added as new tears threatened to spill down his cheeks.

Unbeknownst to Cyril, George had been standing at their bedroom door, listening. “Nobody wants change, our kid, but we have to make the best of what we’ve got,” George said as he joined Cyril by the window.

He gently squeezed Cyril’s shoulder and continued, “Remember when we used to walk for miles over the fields. We would play by the brook and go as far as the entrance to the coalmines or walk across the fields in the opposite direction towards the cottage hospital. That’s how far I biked today looking for ya. I was real worried, our kid. I thought something bad had happened to ya … that’s why I got so mad.”

Cyril slipped his hand into George’s and said, “I am sorry, honest … but I don’t know what to do to make things right with Mam.”

 “Ya know I was thinking Cyril. Mam used to love it when we picked a few flowers for her while we were over the fields. Her favourite is honesty because she loves the delicate shades of pinks and purples. I remember she always managed to find a spare jam jar to put them in. We can pick a few at the weekend if ya want?”

 “Yeah, it will be just like old times … only without Dad.”

This heart-warming but sometimes sad story reminded me of The Railway Children, waiting for the war to end and their fathers and brothers to come home…

About the Author

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Chris-Jean Clarke grew up in the West-Midlands (UK) but now resides in South Staffordshire (UK) with her husband, Geoff and children, Nathan and Kyrsten.

Prior to giving birth to her two beautiful children, Chris-Jean worked for twenty years with people with learning and physical disabilities.

She studied the art of writing children’s stories @The Writing School, Oxford Open Learning.

Chris-Jean also donates stories & poems twice yearly to the Peacock Writers to benefit various charities. (NB She does not publish her contributions in any other form.)

November 2016, Chris-Jean was accepted as a paid reviewer for Readers’ Favorite. During this month she was also accepted as a Publishing Assistant for the Books4Kids program, South Dakota.

Early 2018, Chris-Jean transitioned from Publishing Assistant to author with the release of her educational story: To Dye For.

 

#Writephoto ~ Passage

 

Our thanks to Sue Vincent for another lovely #writephoto prompt…

 

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PASSAGE

When life is pulling at the hem of my skirt

It is time to take a walk through Ravenbrook Forest.

Passing through the tall trees either side of me

Like sentinels guarding the passage of time.

I feel my heartbeat slow my thoughts become mellow

I am at home here in the forest.

I believe the trees remember me

Maybe I have been an elf in a former life

Lived among them, calling them by name.

They talk to each other and if I am still enough

I can hear the stories they have to tell.

I sit awhile listening to the leaves as the wind passes through

There is no finer music than that of the forest

The light that shines in Ravenbrook  renews my soul

I can go home now.

Maybe one day I will write the stories I have heard

Of the many corridors, I have wandered through

While sitting with my old friends.

They will still be here when I am gone

I know each time I journey here

I leave a part of my being with them.

As I leave them behind,

I hear them whisper, “See you soon… “

#Writephoto Thursday Photo Prompt Wishes

Another lovely prompt from Sue Vincent…

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image by Sue Vincent

 

Wishes

From the dawn of time, man has looked to the heavens to scatter their wishes.

Like Stardust, the grains of sand that fall through your fingers, or the leaves that blanket the ground in autumn. All wasted.

I have tied my ribbon to the wishing tree at St. Nectan’s Glen in Cornwall, all to no avail.

But we keep on wishing, don’t we?

Have you ever noticed how many of your wishes come true when you command them assertively? Like, ‘stop that infernal noise’.

Within seconds, the noise will stop, and I roll my eyes to the sky and say thank you.

I believe that wishes must have some meaning, be heartfelt, not just lip service to something that is simply hoped for.

I have a friend who writes her wishes on a slip of paper, then buries it in the garden. She tells me that wishes are like seeds. They need to be loved and nurtured before they come back to you.

She never seems to go without the things she wants. After all, that is all wishes are.

Try this yourself and see what happens…

#Flash Fiction ‘Footsteps’ #romance

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image by Pixabay.com

 

Footsteps

My grandmother’s diary took Frank and me to Paris for the first time.

I wanted to walk on the West Bank where she had fallen in love and had that wonderful sketch done of her and my grandfather.

Hoping to get Frank to sit still long enough, I approached one of the artists, a young woman and asked if she was working today.

Surprised, she pulled a sheet of paper from her folder, handed it to me, and said, ‘I knew you would be back for this.’

The half-finished sketch showed Frank on his knees, holding an engagement ring towards me. Confused, I said this was our first time in Paris.

‘In this lifetime, maybe…’ she said, looking past me to Frank.

He had dropped to one knee and was holding out a small red box, the same box as the one in the sketch.

‘I wanted to ask you to marry me…’

I swear I heard my grandmother laugh…