Flash Fiction, with some truth in it, by @georgietennan2


Georgie is back! This time with a tale of how a Sunday can go gloriously wrong… 🙂 Don’t forget to catch up with her on her blog, and follow her on Twitter @georgietenna2

 

 

Not the Smoothest of Sundays
by Georgina Tennant

It had been the kind of Sunday that made me want to slam the church door behind me and post my resignation back through it.

It started during worship and went downhill from there. One of the more ‘quirky’ congregation members had a ‘word from the Lord’ that we should sing a song about ‘breaking dividing walls,’ holding each other’s hands and swinging them, symbolically, to ‘smash through spiritual barriers.’ The scene that followed, reminiscent of an Adrian Plass sketch, appeared to bemuse entirely the few visitors we had enticed in. Most of them exited discreetly for a toilet break, returning only when it looked safe to do so. As first impressions went, not the greatest.

Next was prayer. An old lady expressed to the Lord her heartfelt thanks for His hand on her life through the years, from the moment she – I quote – “exited her mother’s…” I’ll spare you the term, but suffice to say her scientific terminology was accurate. Eyes widened all around me and I stared hard at the floor, trying to make sure mine didn’t meet anyone else’s.

Sermon time arrived – an exhortation to yield to the holy spirit more. As I painted a picture of him as a peaceful dove, sitting on your shoulder, I realised too late the tongue-twisting potential of those words – the spoonerism was out; a memorable sermon in all the wrong ways.

Dejected and weary, I locked the church and turned to face the road home. “That,” said a kind, amused voice, emerging from the shadows with a face that matched, “was the best Sunday meeting I’ve been to in a long time.” Puzzled, I reached out to shake his hand, but he was already disappearing ahead of me, down the road, one small scar faintly visible on the palm of the hand that waved goodbye.

Tsunami – flash fiction by @lindy_greaves


Our next #flashfiction offering is from Lindy Greaves.

You can find Lindy on Instagram and Twitter @lindy_greaves and just search her name in Facebook and she’s top of the list 🙂

 

Tsunami
by Lindy Greaves

I cling on though the water is rising. My girls are with me. Tharushi and Kalpani shuddering against the surge. Tharushi won’t look at me. She knows – I think. I hang on. Kalpani, just stares wild into my face. My soul. Fear and trust searing me. Breaking me. Her hair is plastered across her tiny face and she blinks away swirling and filthy rivulets, holding her breath. My wrists are weak; my fingers brittle. I try not to see the body face-down amongst the debris that flows past. I recognise the red shirt. He is a neighbour. Was a neighbour. There is no neighbourhood now. I choke on a mouthful of silt and dread. That’s when Tharushi’s branch fractures. I snatch at her clothes with my one free hand. Grasping frail fabric. Wrapping my legs around the tree’s submerged trunk. She splutters. Holds on. To me. To the tree. Unspoken thanks in those deep wary eyes. She knows.
The water is rising. Nearby screams engulfed in the roaring. I hold on. I hold on. Tharushi is five. She knows I have to make a choice. Soon. My hands are weak. I feel my knees buckling under the tide. Leaves, limbs from trees, bits of houses churn by. A post cracks into my head. I look at Kalpani. Remember her scrunched up baby scowl. The painful pull on my breast as she sought her sustenance. Her grip is slipping. My fingers are weak. We will all die if I don’t choose. I look at Tharushi. Black eyes focused on the brown water. She knows. The choice no mother should have to make. I turn my face to heaven. And I let go.

More from me on this fine National Flash Fiction Day


Here’s another flash fiction piece from me. This one comes from my second collection of short stories, called A Sense of the Sea and other stories

Hope you’re enjoying the flash fiction today. Please let me know what you’re reading and writing today that’s flash-y 🙂

 

Finished
by Annmarie Miles

“Why don’t you drink the last mouthful of your tea?”

“Huh?” Her husband didn’t look up.

“The last mouthful, why do you always leave it?” She swilled the cup out in the sink.

“Dunno,” he said, chewing his pen.

“You never finish anything,” she said, rattling the cups in the sudsy water.

“What?” He put the crossword down.

“Well you don’t.” She kept her back to him. “The garden project, sorting out the spare room …” She slammed cutlery on the draining board. “You put that awful monstrosity in the hall. It’s been there two years, half of it sanded and the other half as mucky as ever.”

“That monstrosity was my father’s bureau.”

“And even the tea I make you – you never finish it.”

After a minute of silence, except for the dishes going back in the cupboard, he spoke.

“Leaves.”

“What?”

“Leaves,” he said. “Tea leaves. I don’t want to swallow them, so I leave them in the cup.” He would have smiled at his fabulous joke had he not still been smarting over the bureau comment.

“I don’t use tea leaves.

“I know that,” he said, with a sigh of regret. “It’s just a habit. I never ever used to drink the last mouthful at home. My mother always used real tea leaves. She taught me not to empty the cup, so I wouldn’t end up with a mouthful. It’s just an old childhood tradition.”

The mention of his mother made bile rise in her throat. She closed the cupboard and opened the fridge. “Pork chops do you for dinner?”

“I suppose they’ll have to,” he said from behind his paper.

She began peeling potatoes.

“I’m going to have a go at that bureau, since you’re getting so worried about it. I’m giving up on this,” he said, waving the paper at her.

After he left the room, she walked over to the table. She picked up the paper and read the one clue left unsolved.

12 down. The longest sentence, just for two. (1, 2)

She picked up the pen and wrote “I DO”, before going back to peeling the potatoes.

If you’d like to read some more from ‘A Sense of the Sea and other stories’, you can get it for Kindle and in paperback from Amazon.
Just click here… x

Flash Fiction from @georgietennan2


It’s the turn of Georgina Tennant to share some flash fiction.  Georgie is one of those people I felt I knew cos of the magic of social media. Meeting her f2f recently was a double blessing. I’m delighted have have her on my blog.

Later today she’ll be sharing a Sunday story, but for now we’re delving into a jam jar 🙂 You can read more of her work on her blog, and follow her on Twitter @georgietenna2

 

The Last Jar of Jam
by Georgina Tennant

It had always felt as though the jam jars had a life-cycle of their own – a perpetual circle of being: Nan would spend hours in her kitchen, humming as she stirred bubbling saucepans and filled jars by the dozen, lined up like soldiers, with matching red and white berets, on the kitchen side board.

My boys (her great-grandsons) would charm and beg more jars from her each time we visited, hastily making the desired exchange: a clanking bag of empty jars, for two fresh jars, re-filled. They craved the jars’ sticky contents on warm buttered toast, dismissing the very idea of ‘shop-bought jam’ with utterances of contempt and disgust.

“Blackcurrant, July 2018,” the label on this one reads, in Nan’s spidery handwriting. I imagine her, on the day it was created, weaving her magic in the kitchen – stirring, tasting, checking the temperature and pouring the boiling, oozing liquid into the jars to cool.

If the jam wasn’t poured into jars, it was spread thickly between fluffy layers of sponge cake, baked especially for our too-infrequent visits. There was always a cake hunt; it was always hidden in the microwave. The children knew that, but still the game was on, the hunt never got old; eyes sparkled across generations.

Gramps would pretend the cake was only for him, feigning horror when Nan offered it, with milky tea, to the boys, or suggested we take the rest home. Tea and cake consumed and laden with even more jam, we would say our goodbyes and set off home. In recent months, only one goodbye was needed, since Gramps’ days of tea-drinking and jam-filled cake-eating had come to an abrupt end.

I wonder if I would have treated the moment with more gravitas, relished it longer, if I’d have realised, that day, that it was the last time jam would pass from Great Nan to great-grandsons. But these moments don’t come with warnings to linger, do they?

And yet, time passes, stealing from us that which felt immortal, unending.

Nan can’t make jam or cake any more, now. In the care home, the staff can’t work out why she curls her lip at the packets of jam, lined up on the breakfast table, uniform and tasteless in their gaudy, plastic packaging. But we know that she remembers how it felt to pop the lid off one of those beautiful red and white-topped glass jars, to taste the fruits of her labour on bread freshly sliced, to offer it, in cake, to excited children or a weary husband.

Robbed of her speech so suddenly, she can’t tell them any of this, but we know. We tell her how much we still love her jam, which we have to take, now, from the cupboards of her empty house, and how the taste will always linger in our mouths, long after the last drop is drained from the last jar.

The empty jars sit on my windowsill, lined up like soldiers with red and white berets. I can’t yet condemn them to the recycling, can’t quite bring myself to face the truth that the perpetual cycle is broken.

“Blackcurrant, July 2018,” declares the last remnants of Nan’s handwriting, stuck to the lid. The hot tears well up in my eyes. I can’t face the thought of reaching the bottom of this particular jar. The finality aches in my throat.

I know, when I do reach it, that the final drop will not taste sweet at all.

Some micro fiction from @hortonious101 for NFFD


Please join me in welcoming Martin Horton to the blog. Later today Martin will share a bubbly story, but for now, here is some micro fiction.

If you’d like to catch up more of with Martin’s writing, you can visit his blog Hortonious101. Or follow him on Twitter @Hortonious101

Forgetting
by Martin Horton

You were six when you first came to play below my branches.
I used to be your favourite place to escape to.
You’d come here, your heart would open and tales fall out.

But you grew up and forgot.

Forgot me, in your dictionary.

I will never forget you.

Willow x

I’m back! for National Flash Fiction Day


It’s been over a month since my last post and if you read it, you’ll know I got a bit disillusioned with the whole blogging thing, mainly as yet again, I failed to complete the AtoZ Blogging Challenge. I suppose I have to come to terms with the fact that daily blogging is just not something I can do anymore. That doesn’t mean I should quit blogging, and I’m grateful to those of you who have chipped in and said I shouldn’t. I also understand the plight of those who shared that they were feeling the same as I was.

I’ve decided to keep going and amongst other musings, and news, I will be continuing my series in Isaiah. But not before we have a bit of fun with National Flash Fiction Day. I had a fabulous weekend at the ACW Odyssey Weekend and met some ACW folk I’d only known via FB and Twitter, it was also great to be reunited with some old friends. I’ll post about that weekend another time, but for today I’ll be sharing some flash fiction of my own, and some ACW flash fiction too.

Hope you enjoy it… here’s the first offering, from er… me 🙂

 

Foreclosure
by Annmarie Miles

 

Magda arrived in the middle of her story. The beginning was at the gate or down the street, not that it mattered. She struggled through the door, lifting one armful of shopping up and over, sending it ahead of herself. She followed it, bringing another bouquet of bags behind her.

“And the stupid bus driver wouldn’t accept my return ticket, so I had to pay twice.”

I eyed the bags and opened my mouth to complain but what came out was, “Cuppa?” 
“Oh yea, I’m gasping.” Magda walked past me, dropping the bags as she entered the kitchen. “There’s my girl,” she said to her daughter who was sitting in a high chair, sucking on a piece of toast.  

I tripped over a bag and followed her to the kitchen.

“Soooooo, I have something to ask you,” Magda said in her sweet voice. I grabbed a mug and resisted the urge to slam the cupboard shut. 
“I know I said I’d give you what I owe you today, but can you wait until next week?” Magda was eating the baby’s toast. “I had to get Shania a few bits, and I wanted to get stuff for her party. It just adds up. I can’t believe how much nappies cost. That guy will be banging on the door for his £35 and if I don’t give it to him tomorrow, he’s saying he’ll take the telly. So next week, definitely, alright? And I’ll give you something for having Shania again today. I know I said an hour, I can’t believe it took me two hours just to get to town and back.”
“Four,” I said, handing her a mug of tea.
“What?”
“You were gone almost four hours.”
“No way. Four hours? I can’t believe that. Time just disappears.  But wait ‘til you see what I got Shania. EVERYTHING is on sale.”
I walked back to get my tea and glanced at the bags in the hall. 

“Magda,” I said gripping my cup, “we need to talk about this.”
“Yeah, definitely. Talk about what?” Magda was playing peek-a-boo with Shania. 
“I need…”
“Hang on, my phone’s ringing.” Magda rummaged in her handbag. “Just give me a sec. Sorry. Hello? Oh yeah, hi. Really? Brilliant, I didn’t think you’d still have it. And how much? Great. When can I collect it? Definitely, I’ll see you then.” Magda threw her phone back in her bag. 
“Remember that dolls’ house I wanted for Shania?” she said, putting her coat on. “The one I saw online with the shiny red door? Well the guy still has it, but I have to pay him today. I’m going to meet him now. I can’t believe it. She is going to love it. Mammy has the best birthday present for her best girl.” She kissed Shania and ran passed me. “I’ll be an hour tops ok?”

She ran to the front door and as she closed it behind her shouted, “Thanks Mam, I owe you.”

Flogging :(


Flogging – my own term for ‘failing to blog’.

For the second year in a row, I failed to complete the A to Z Blogging Challenge. It frustrates me that I didn’t finish the challenge. I have always loved the challenge but I don’t think I will try it again next year, unless my life is less hectic.

It has made me think about blogging in general. I wonder should I give it up. There’s lots of talk about ‘the end of blogging.’ How anything longer than a Facebook post is pointless, because no one reads online. So I’m wondering… do I continue blogging, or do I throw in the towel? I’m not looking for you to answer that question. I’m just pondering the value of what I do online.

So… I may disappear for while… to work on editing 3 different projects I have on the go.

If you’re a blogger and or a reader of blogs, I’d love you to hear your thoughts on the whole blogging thing. Is it done? Or am I just done with it?

If you want to catch up on Facebook or Twitter, come find me by searching for amowriting 🙂

Q is for Questions


When I was writing the first draft of my book, I asked ‘social media’ for questions. Mainly to help me think of elements of weight loss that I hadn’t thought of. I got more than I bargained for, and I believe they’ve really added to the book. Here is just a small sample of the questions, and my rough answers.

 

How many times did you fail before you succeeded?

I joined Unislim for the first time when I was about 12 I think, maybe 14, but over 30 years ago. I’ve been on and off diets to different degrees all of that time, but how many times I actually properly tried to lose weight???? Let’s see…

In the mid 90s I lost somewhere between 2-3 stone. Got down to just over 17 stone.

Started again in 2001. I was 20 stone, I lost 3 stone.

Started again in 2008, I was 21 stone. Lost just under 3 stone.

Started again in 2012, I was just under 24 stone. Faffed about for a year and a half. Was down 1.5 stone at one point.

Started again in 2015, I was just over 23 stone, as I write I have lost 5 stone and 2lb. My first goal is to get back to where I was in the mid 90s. Just over 17 stone.

So tried and failed 4 times, before succeeding this time.

 

What was the one thing that kept you going?

I’m not one for sticking pictures of ‘fat me’ on the fridge, there was however a photo that shocked me. It was of a particular special moment and I was horrified when I saw it. It was fully side on and I had no idea that I was so big. Really, I didn’t realise. I hadn’t looked at myself for a long time. I tried to crop it, I tried to edit it, I wanted to delete it. It was a precious moment in my life and a significant memory, but all I wanted to do was delete it. Forever.

It has become the photo that keeps me going. But I don’t need to see it. The image is imprinted in my brain. I can’t ever let that happen again. Even if I put on weight again, I can’t shut the door to the discussion. It must be something I can always address if I need to.

What made you decide to lose weight, to begin with? Health?

This time around, it was health, but not because I was ill.  I was worried about dying, but only because I didn’t want to leave Richard alone to do the work he is doing. I believe what the Bible says, that to live is Christ and to die is gain – were I to die, I’d be with Jesus. But I felt that I had more to do, and I wanted to be able to do more. I wanted to be able to support Richard practically and work with him; I knew I couldn’t in the state I was in. I’ve never had trouble with blood sugar or blood pressure. It was only going to be a matter of time though. I’m not sure how I got away with being as healthy as I am, after carrying so much weight for so long.

How do you feel about people who are not overweight but constantly complain that they need to lose weight?

I used to want to throw something at people, who I felt, didn’t need to lose weight. Over time I have come to think a bit differently about that. Mainly because I thought if they weren’t my size, then they didn’t need to lose weight at all. That they were just trying to point out how skinny they were, and compare little old them to big old me.

My short term goal is to lose 6 stone. I’m on my way to that. My goal after that is to lose another 4 stone. I would be 13 stone at that stage. If I did that I would be over the moon. I mean jumping up and down (cos I’d be able to) with great joy and delight.  But I know people who are 13 stone who are desperate to lose weight. Absolutely out of their minds with worry about it. Stressed and feeling fat! At 13 stone I’d be dancing, others are mourning. So, just as much as I would like people to understand where I’m coming from; how hard it is for me… I need to understand where others are at too.

Food became my enemy and my comforter. I still struggle with this at times. I am learning to have a healthy relationship with food. I would love for you to talk about that in the book. What is a healthy relationship with food?

I think it might be slightly different for different people. To use the analogy of an alcoholic – having a bottle of wine in my house wouldn’t cost me a thought, but it would be tempting to an alcoholic and so they should not have it in their homes. I’d be the same with donuts or Haribo candies. I’m best not having them in my home. I can’t resist them.

I treat food now like someone I love but don’t really trust. I ‘eye’ some food with suspicion. Will it do me any good? Will it lead me into temptation? If I can’t only have one of those, I’d be better having none. I wonder if the only way I’ll stay on track will be to maintain a dysfunctional relationship with food. 😊

In short, know your enemy. If you know your downfall is ice cream, don’t buy the big tub that is on offer, then try to kid yourself you’ll be able to have only a teensy bit at a time. If you want to, buy a small one serving tub and enjoy every spoonful. Be honest with yourself, be prepared for the hungry moments and make every meal & snack a choice that you are in control of, then go and enjoy every mouthful of it, guilt free.

Did you believe that you could do it?

For a long time, no. When I started this time, I decided to believe I could. I could choose the next meal. Choose to go for a walk. I decided to make every next choice a good one. I didn’t really believe in much more than that. It was too difficult to see beyond the next choice. There’s not many silver linings to being almost 24 stone, but one was that I saw a lot of change quite quickly. Now that it has slowed down, I have to remind myself that I can do it.

O is for that ‘orrible word


The word obesity is one of the most upsetting words for me to hear, say or write. When I started my weight loss journey, I was off the standard BMI charts. Having lost 5 stone, I’m still well within the morbidly obese category. I will have to lose another 6 stone! to just be obese, and a further 2 stone after that, to be considered ‘normal’.

When the obesity crisis is discussed on TV it makes me cringe. I’m not saying it’s untrue, or unimportant, it just reminds me that it’s partly my fault. For a long time, I ate hurriedly in private because of the shame I felt. At times, I still feel guilty when I’m eating. To be fat, is the new smoking. The attitude to obesity reinforces all of that for me.

I firmly believe that extremely overweight people are not getting enough help. My obsession with food is unnatural and unhealthy and I hold my hands up and say that I did little to help myself for many years, but when I see the issue discussed in the media, I feel overeaters get more judgement than support.

It can be quite expensive to eat properly, which is another thing that needs to change. I’m not sure how effective the sugar tax will be. Rather than make the bad stuff dearer, how about making the good stuff cheaper. Fresh produce, healthy meats and particularly fresh fish can be very expensive. Bags of frozen processed food are still much cheaper and last longer.

I don’t know what to do to change any of that. I just feel the word obesity has changed from a description to a label – and it causes me great discomfort. Officially I’ll be in that category for some time, when I look at how I’ve changed, I do everything I can to shake it off. 🙂

N is for Nuts


After a busy week, I’m still playing catch up on my AtoZ posts on the theme of being a Clumsy Carb Cutter .

Nuts are one of my favourite things to eat. I have to be very careful of them as I find it really easy to over indulge. In a moderate amount, they are a great low carb snack. My world would be a sad place if I developed an intolerance to nuts, the way I have with lactose.

As I mentioned before, I use ground almonds for baking. I bought peanut flour by mistake a few weeks ago, so I’ve been using that mixed with almond flour in some of the cookies. It has a few more carbs per 100g, but really tasty, if you love the peanut taste.

I buy bags of mixed raw nuts from Lidl as they are the best value. On the rare occasion I eat cereal, I always throw some in, or I just eat them on their own for a snack. As I mentioned, moderation is key in eating nuts. They are great for the low carb/high fat diet. They are high in fibre and contain a wide variety of nutrients, but also high in calories. So to get the best benefit from them,  just a handful/half a cup at a time.   🙂