Friday 16 December 2016

Day 16: The Dandelion Bed

  1. What gave you the idea for your Baubles story?
The Day Sussex Died (based on a true story)
It was only after my grandfather's death (at the age of 96!) that I researched the Battle of Boars Head, France, in which he fought as a young man in June 1916, just prior to the Battle of the Somme. Crippled by a wound to his leg, it is amazing to think that, had his colleague not saved him, none of my family would exist. Whilst walking my dog one day, I found myself enchanted by fluffy white baubles of cloud and a huge eagle-like bird which kept circling us. The bird (now called Grandfather!) subsequently became a familiar companion on those walks and inspired me to write a little more of this story each time I encountered it.
The Dandelion Bed
There is a beautiful meadow close to where we live which regularly transforms into a moonscape of Dandelion Puff-balls. This inspired me to write this story for the Baubles theme and allowed me to illustrate my belief that the deceased sometimes watch over us.

  1. How would you describe your normal style of writing?
My normal style of writing is descriptive, with a dark edge to it.

  1. Have you published other material?
I've been fortunate to have had short stories included in several Bridgehouse anthologies now and poems and flash fiction stories published by Early Works Press. This year two short stories were taken by a publishing company in LA and just recently a short story has been selected for publication soon in Graffitti magazine for their theme 'temptation'.

  1. Do you have a writing routine?
Life doesn't seem to allow for a routine for writing so I have to grab opportunities when they arise.

     5. Do you have a favourite place for writing?
I don't have a favourite place for writing, but inspiration pours in from country walks.
    6. Tell something quirky about you.
I believe in angels.

An extract from The Dandelion Bed 


As her car pulled up at the Old Rectory, the Wisteria tangled frontage hadn’t changed since she was a child. The huge wooden door towered above her, gnarled and thirsty for paint. She struggled with the old lock, leaning all her weight on the door until it groaned open. Vaguely aware of it closing behind her, Alison stood listening to the creaking house and imagined her mother appearing from the kitchen wearing a floral apron. She remembered her brother careering down the lengthy banister in a pillowcase and the tall fir tree which reached right up to the gallery, heavily hung with colourful baubles. Joyfully she’d pat the angel at the top as she drifted off to bed, and it always seemed to smile back at her.

Matthew had persuaded her to come here to supervise the redecoration ready for sale, to pay for their mother’s care home fees. She’d told him it would be the worst possible place for her go; but he pointed out that her own house had become a shrine since John died fourteen months ago and she needed to get away.
There was a muffled barking… she’d forgotten the dog was in the car again; yet another example of how she wasn’t quite with-it these days. Despite her years, the hefty Labrador jumped agilely down and ran eagerly to the front door wagging her tail excitedly. Once inside she began sniffing elatedly and as Alison opened the sitting room door, Millie rushed in. The room hadn’t changed in over 30 years; it was as though time had stood still. She carefully touched the long soft velvet drapes which now looked faded and sad whereas the old brown leather Chesterfields seem to have improved with age. She fondly patted her father’s sturdy walnut writing desk, picturing him there peering through his horn-rimmed spectacles at one of his sketches. She was glad to see his, now slightly faded, water colour collection still hung above the fire place. The dust covered chandelier was missing several bulbs and a delicate layer of powder had formed a fluffy white tablecloth on top of the maple coffee table.

The dog trotted behind Alison as she made her way back to the hallway and then entered the large but very ancient kitchen, where her mother had spent many hours slaving over the range. Wiping the grime from the kitchen window she could see that the gardener had recently scythed the lawn into a long shag-pile carpet. As the ancient plumbing rebelled at the filling of the kettle, Millie sighed and flopped at Alison’s feet.



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