Monday, 30 May 2016

Sometimes the pigeon, sometimes the statue

Eurgh.  The wind whipped up suddenly, curling an empty crisp packet around Sarah's ankle.  She hugged her jacket around her but it was inadequate for the job.  

The rush hour crowd surged down St Martin's Lane, everyone thinking of dinner, children, the journey ahead, that nasty thing the boss just said - oblivious to what was around them.  A Big Issue seller stood, like an island in the middle of the flow, silently offering his wares to unseeing eyes.

Sarah looked irritably at her phone.  He was 15 minutes late and counting.  She scanned the crowd again for his face.  Nothing.  Idly, she stabbed the blue Facebook app on her iPhone.    Cats...food...babies...has anyone seen the pigeons...  Disinterestedly, she scrolled back.  'Has anyone seen the pigeons?  Is it just me or are they getting bigger?  Lolz'.  She sighed.

Where was he?  It wasn't like Sean to be so late.  Five minutes maybe but 15?  

She perused the crowd again.  A shuffle in the corner of her eye caught her attention and she glanced down the alley to her right.  A pigeon was pecking at a discarded sandwich.  As she stared at it idly, it raised its head and met her eye.

Friday, 27 May 2016

Begging for more

I noticed him the moment he entered the carriage.  It wasn't the fact that he looked like he'd suffered severe burns on the face that drew my eye.  It wasn't even the fact that his right leg was amputated below the knee.  It was the large & very dirty squirrel slipper on his good foot that first caught my attention.  

His presence seemed to fill the carriage...  His proud bearing and worn black clothes made me think of an old soldier from the Napoleonic wars.

He approached a timid tiny woman to my left, who was draining the last dregs of coffee from a Pret cup.  

"Can I have your cup please?"

His rough, gravelly, Scottish tones cut through the silence.

"Err, yeah."  

Nervously she handed the cup over.

Cackling, he took it from her, discarding the plastic lid on the floor.  He reached into his pocket and withdrew a battered Starbucks cup which was full of loose change, tipped the money into his new acquisition and threw the old cup onto the floor.  

Chivalrously tipping the faux black leather hat on his head to the woman, he then spun abruptly to the posh city gent on the right, rapping him officiously on the shoulder with his walking stick.  

"Spare any change?"  He shook the coffee coated money.

Wednesday, 25 May 2016

Anastasia, Anastasia

Another of my Open University writing fiction exercises.  Again all feedback gratefully received.


*

Her handbag wriggled.

'Shh...  We're nearly there'.  The little Pekinese looked up and her heart melted at the sight of the dog's trusting eyes.  

Since Frank had passed away, there were days when she felt as if Anastasia, her Peke, was the only thing on her side, the only one who didn't judge her.  It wasn't her fault that Frank's affairs had been in a bit of a state.  

'Byefield Road'. The metallic tones of the bus announcement jarred.  She was sure the driver had had a Caribbean accent so why did the announcement make him sound so bland and automated?  There was so much about modern life she didn't understand.  

The bright red bow on the dog's head shifted slightly giving her a jaunty look.  Lillian pushed it gently back into place.  They'd worn red, her and Anastasia.  Red always made her feel brave, confident and goodness knows she needed it today.  She could already hear Elaine's sneering, judgemental tones.  Elaine was revelling in the fact that she, the sister who had always had money, who'd always lived the high life, was now living in very reduced circumstances.

'Tutchener Road'.  She swallowed hard and stood up.  She could do this.  

Monday, 23 May 2016

Memories of home

'I remember when all this was fields'.  He paused dramatically.  

'Mate.  This hasn't been fields for about a thousand years.  It's Covent Garden'.

'HA!  No flies on you then.  I knew you were a clever one the moment I set eyes on you.'

'Ok, I'm clever.  I still need you to return the tray of sushi that you stole'.  The security guard sighed wearily.

'Sushi?  I don't have any sushi.'

'Mate!  I can see it under your jacket'.

'I don't have no sushi.  I hate sushi.  All that raw fish... Eurgh'.  His grey, sallow face became animated.

'There it is.'  The guard pointed to Ned's grubby denim jacket.  

'What!'  Ned looked at the plastic tray protruding from his jacket.  'I swear, I don't know how that got there!'  He lifted his right arm abruptly and the pack of sushi fell to the ground.  'Evil stuff that raw fish.  It sticks to you when you're not looking'.

'Yeah, yeah.'  The security guard bent down to pick up the tray.  'If you come in here again, I'm calling the police.  You're barred, mate'.

'I'M F... YOU'RE GONNA BAR A HUNGRY PERSON FROM EATING?'  Two red spots flared suddenly under Ned's unhealthy skin.  

'Out now!'  A second security guard appeared in the background.

'WHAT DIFFERENCE DOES IT MAKE TO TESCOS IF I TAKE SOME FOOD?  GREEDY BASTARDS'.

'Can you ring the police?'  The second security guard nodded.

'OK!  OK!  I'M GOING.  HOW DO YOU SLEEP AT NIGHT?'

Ned paused outside the store, his heart pounding.  An image of his mother - his law abiding, honest mother - in her Marks & Spencers dresses suddenly sprung to mind and he swayed slightly, fighting back nausea.  

'I don't care.  I'm hungry.'  A hipster couple glanced at him nervously.  He knew he was starting to slur but he was unable to stop himself.  The familiar need was starting to burn like a wildfire within him.

He started down Bedford Street, swaying slightly from side to side - the elegant old buildings, the tourists, the construction workers passing unseen. 

Hello

I know, I know.  I've said this often but I really am back.  Really.

So many reasons as to why I haven't been posting.  Work.  Work.  More work.  One of the more exciting reasons, though, is because I'm in the middle of an Open University course, on how to write fiction which I'm loving.  It's quite time consuming but definitely worth it.  

We have many exercises to do and I've decided that I'm going to post those exercises here because I'd really value people's opinions, positive or negative.  These aren't full stories but rather observations.  I'll post one per day so that it doesn't become overwhelming.

Tuesday, 23 February 2016

Reasons to be grateful, one to five.

I'm struggling to get back into the blogging vibe so I thought I'd make a list of things I'm grateful for this week.  A reminder of how lucky I am, if you like.

The first thing I'm thankful for is the fact that I'm still working.  I know that sounds a bit strange but let me explain... 

Last week I was doing a corporate job in one of London's grand hotels.  There were major problems with the job, (someone had misread the plans, we were running behind etc) so everyone was under pressure.  It was horrible, tempers were frayed.  By the end of the rig day, I just wanted to go and find another job.  But you know what?  Everything was ok in the end.  The job went off fine, the client was pleased and I'm happy to accept more work.  The moral of the story is - it's never as bad as it seems. 



The second thing I'm grateful for follows on from the first.  It's my job.  It's creative, it's practical and it allows me to see sides of London, of the world which I wouldn't have under normal circumstances.  Recently, I was on a coach driving through west London, gazing out the window, as you do, and I realised that, through the years, I'd done jobs in an awful lot of places along the route, ranging from car parks to office blocks to theatres.  I'm met some fascinating people too - celebrities, remand prisoners, royalty, refugees.  The job drives me mad at times but it's a calling and I wouldn't have it any other way.

The third thing I'm thankful for is my naughty little cat.  She keeps me company, demands food when I'm trying to take important phone calls and is an ace at chasing rolled up paper balls.  I love her.  If that makes me a crazy cat lady, so be it.

Not my actual cat.  Image via http://www.bandofcats.com

 
Fourthly, we're off to Spain soon!!  I can't wait.  We're going to Seville and Valencia.  Any suggestions about things to do, places to eat, etc would be very gratefully received.

Finally, I'm bloody glad that it seems to have stopped raining!  It's nice that popping out to Sainsbury's doesn't have to feel like you're on a North Sea trawler battling the elements. 

Sunday, 21 February 2016

The one where I return

Well, it has been a very long time - about six months or so since I wrote anything on here.  Boo!

I think I've sorted out the log on problems which I mentioned previously, so fingers crossed that I'll be able to post more often now.  If I'm completely honest though, part of the problem was, that I just got out of the habit of writing regularly.  Anyway, I do miss it and I want to carry on.

So what's been happening?  Well, the long and the short of it is, I've been very busy work-wise which is both good and bad.  Good because, you know... money and bad because everything else goes by the wayside.  I've been doing a lot of corporate work which does pay well but isn't always the most creative.  I had to turn down Fashion Week jobs this year because I already had stuff booked in.  It was a shame but that's freelancing for you.

So, what's going to happen on the blog this year?  I know no one really cares everyone's waiting with bated breath to find out.  More beauty product reviews - I'm a beauty junkie.  More fashion pieces.  More musings on life. 

I bet you can't wait.

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