#WritePhoto ‘The Chess Game’ #FlashFiction #300Words

The Chess Game

“This year we’re having a different Christmas,” my grandmother said as she moved her pawn to the side, capturing mine.

“Why did you do that?” I asked.

She pushed her glasses up and raised her eyebrows. “I had to, didn’t I?”

“You could have ignored it.” I sulked.

She chuckled. “And let you capture mine?”

“Why not? I’m only nine. Most of my friends can’t even play chess.”

“You’ll never learn if I let you win all the time. Anyway, it’s only a pawn.”

She was right, but I didn’t like being little. The grown-ups were all smarter than I was, and it really annoyed me.

“Come on, Tom, it’s your turn.”

I moved my knight. “So what’s new about this Christmas?” My grandmother always came up with great ideas for games and outings.

She showed me a picture of green fields and snow-covered hills. “I’m renting a cottage right here, for the weekend.”

My jaw dropped. It was in the middle of nowhere. “Are we all going?”

She moved her queen. “Of course! It’s Christmas. There’s a real log fire and plenty of hiking trails, and board games to play in the evenings!”

My parents would never agree to staying at such an isolated place. They were always working or going out with friends.

“What’s wrong?” she asked. “Don’t you like the idea?”

It would be nice to spend a few days alone with my parents and grandmother. That hadn’t happened in ages. “I think it’s a great idea, Granny!” I said as I captured her pawn with my knight.

“Pay attention!” she said as she captured my knight with her queen.

I sighed hoping she’d be as good at convincing my parents to stay at the cottage as she was at playing chess.

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This piece of flash fiction was written in response to Sue Vincent’s weekly photo prompt. Join in or read other entries here!

Ariel, coloured by my granddaughter, Elsa.

 

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction ‘A Thousand Paper Cranes’ #99Words #SundayBlogShare

This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly #99 word Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to include ‘the charisma of cranes’ in the story. Check out other entries or take part yourself!

Miss Martinelli’s Present

We’ve come to see Miss Martinelli,’ said Sally.

‘I’m afraid, my daughter isn’t receiving visitors,’ Mrs Martinelli said, wiping her eyes.

Sally pointed to a group of children holding a chain made of coloured paper. ‘We’ve brought her a present.’

‘I don’t understand.’

‘Miss Martinelli is our art teacher. She taught us origami, so we’ve made a thousand paper cranes to decorate her room.’

‘How beautiful, but why?’

‘She told us about an ancient Japanese legend which says if you make a thousand paper cranes, the Gods will grant you a wish. We all wish her to come back.’

****

I’m afraid I know nothing about cranes, so I looked them up, and the ancient Japanese legend inspired this sentimental flash. I know there are great teachers out there and fabulous students too.

More about this legend here.

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A summary of my conversation with my grandson who is very intrigued about these stories I have to write every Sunday!

‘So, granny, what’s our story about this week?’ My grandson asked me.

‘Cranes’ I replied and his face lit up.

‘Like the ones on my truck?’

He has various mechanical cranes, with and without trucks which he loves to play with.

‘No. A crane is also a type of bird.’

So I showed him some pictures on google images. We have lots of fun searching for information and pictures on google!

‘I know why he’s called a crane.’ Miguel nodded sagely.

“Really? Why?’ I asked him.

‘He stretches his neck, like a crane.’

I can’t fault his logic!

So here are two pictures I printed out for him to colour this week. The one below is his sister’s watercolour fish, painted a couple of weeks ago, but I love it.

#TANKA TUESDAY #POETRY CHALLENGE ‘Cute Dandelions’

This Tanka is for Colleen Chesebro’s challenge. This week’s challenge is to include #Synonymsonly of Sing and Celebrate. I’ve used ‘humming’ and ‘saluting’

Dandelions

Cute dandelions,

The loveliest wild flowers,

Humming in the breeze,

Swaying with daisies and blades

Of grass, saluting the sun.

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These photos were taken this morning while I went out for a walk with my grandson.

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Would you like to take part? The rules are simple.

Use synonyms of Colleen’s two-word prompt, this week, joy and fury, write blog post using one of the following poetic forms: haiku, tanka, Haibun, cinquaine or senryu. 

Add a picture if you like. Pingback to Colleen’s blog post.

 

 

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction ‘Passing on the Spear’ #99Words

This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly #99 word Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to include a fishing tale in the story. Check out other entries or take part yourself!

Passing on the Spear

After Ernest Hemingway’s novella ‘The Old Man and the Sea’

Manolin pounded his fists on the weathered door. “Santiago, I’ve brought you coffee!”

The old man had spent the last weeks chasing a giant marlin and fighting off sharks with a simple knife on his way back home. The boy admired him as the best fisherman.

“Get dressed, Santiago! We need to go out to sea again. There are plenty more marlins to catch!”

Santiago looked up, his eyes shining and beads of sweat dripping down his brow. “You go. Here, I give you my spear.”

“But you must teach me!”

“Not anymore. Now I must join the lions.”

****

This flash is a reinterpretation of the final scene of The Old Man and the Sea, where the Old man (Santiago) hands his spear over to his apprentice, the boy (Manolin) and closes his eyes dreaming of the lions he saw in his youth.

Santiago, believes his life has come to an end, after his final, exhausting and futile battle against the marlin and the sharks. He managed to return home, but the sharks ate his trophy, the marlin, which was strapped to the side of his ship, so he only had its carcass to show, and considers himself defeated.

The old man accepts his fate and the natural order of the cycle of life, according to which all creatures are both predator and prey. He has reached the end of his cycle and can no longer help his apprentice, Manolin. The old man gives the boy his spear, symbolically passing on his skill and encourages him to continue his own journey as fisherman. Meanwhile Santiago, dreams of the lions he saw in Africa when he was a young man.

****

This weekend I was lucky enough to have my grandchildren again. They asked me what my friend wanted me to write a story about and I said a fish. They both decided to draw a mermaid!

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction ‘Forest Bathing’ #99Words #MondayBlogs

This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly #99 word Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to write a story about forest bathing. You can use the Japanese term, Shinrin Yoku. Check out other entries or take part yourself!

Inspirational Walks

The Verger at Rochester Cathedral heard the author’s cane tapping the cobbled streets below his window. He must be on his way back from his daily, inspirational walk from Gad’s Hill.

Mr. Miles stepped out to greet his old friend. Turk trotted by his master’s side biting a dry branch collected in the woods.

‘A cup of tea, Mr. Dickens?’

‘Not today, Mr. Miles. The seventh instalment of Edwin Drood awaits.’

Miles sighed, watching him trudge up the hill, stopping to peer at the little graveyard under the castle wall where he had expressed his desire to be buried.

****

Unfortunately, Charles Dickens died of a stroke before The Mystery of Edwin Drood was finished. Only six instalments were published. Dickens died in June and the seventh, unfinished instalment, would have been published in October 1870.

Neither was he buried at the cemetery at Rochester Cathedral, as had been his wish. Instead, he was buried at Poet’s Corner in Westminster Abbey, due to the pressure of Arthur Stanley, the Dean, who was searching for a famous writer to boost the prestige of the Abbey.

Turk was his favourite dog, but he died five years before him, so Turk wouldn’t have accompanied Dickens on his last walks.

According to his biographer, Peter Ackroyd, Charles Dickens walked for twelve miles a day, either along the London streets or in the countryside in Rochester, Kent, where he lived. He was usually accompanied by one or more of his many dogs.

He either walked on fact-finding missions for his novels, or for inspiration and tranquility.

Gad’s Hill, where he lived for the last years of his life, is a forty-minute walk from Rochester. Dickens preferred to walk alone because his purpose was to think and create. More information on Dickens walks here.

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I find walking in nature, is invigorating and inspiring, so I do it as often as possible. I often post pictures and poems or thoughts after my #SundayWalks, as I did yesterday, for example.

I’m fortunate enough to live in the country, and like Dickens, the town centre is about a 40 minute walk.

I used to walk with my dogs, but they’ve both passed away. I often walk with my grandchildren and children or my husband. I enjoy walking alone, but I don’t mind being accompanied. Even when I’m chatting with someone, I feel inspired and always take a notebook with me to jot down ideas.

Here’s a picture of a path I often take for my walks.

Here’s recent walk with my grandson, who loves inventing stories on our walks. On this occasion, some sheep had been put out to pasture that afternoon.

Does walking leisurely in a forest or the countryside open your senses and inspire you, too?

Carrot Ranch #FlashFiction ‘Bats’ #99Words #SundayBlogShare

This post was written in response to Charli Mills at Carrot Ranch’s weekly #99 word Flash Fiction Challenge. This week’s prompt is to include a bat in the story. Check out other entries or take part yourself!

Bats

‘Granny, what do bats eat?’

I sighed wishing my daughter was here to answer her son’s question. ‘I have no idea, Jimmy.’

‘We need to find out.’

‘Why is that, sweetie?’

‘We’re doing a class project about what animals eat and I got the bat.’

‘Let’s ask google.’

‘Who’s that?’

‘Someone who knows everything.’

‘Everything?’

I nodded and tapped the microphone. ‘Ask your question.’

‘What do bats eat?’ Jimmy asked.

A woman’s voice replied. ‘Most bats eat insects and are called insectivores…’

Mrs Google is a really clever lady, granny. Can we ask her when mummy is coming back?’

****

This weekend I was lucky enough to have my grandchildren visit. While we were busy doing some arts and crafts, I told my grandson I had to write a story about a bat. He was horrified at first and begged me to choose another animal, so I told him it had to be a bat, because Charli, was the boss and said it had to be a bat. He insisted they were black and ugly, so I suggested drawing a ‘cute’ bat.

This what he finally came up with. And he was wearing his batman sweatshirt!

While he was colouring his cute and colourful bat, I started jotting down some ideas and I asked him to help me write the bat story.

‘Shall we include a cave in the story?’ I asked him and he shook his head violently. ‘I want to know what bats eat.’ he said and so we asked Google and found out a few things about bats. He was relieved that they ate mostly insects!

We had a great time chatting about bats and colouring. His little sister joined us in the fun and his mum, my daughter, popped in now and again to check on our progress and chat. It was a lovely way to spend the evening, so I’m puzzled as to why my story took such a sad turn.

I suppose I was thinking how lucky we all are to have each other and how important siblings, parents and grandparents are for children. Sometimes we forget to value what we have, until we no longer have it. I certainly hope he never has to miss anyone in his family.

When we’d both finished our tasks, he said he’d like to send Charli the picture, so Charli, here’s the prettiest bat you’ll ever see! Thanks so much for the prompt and for hosting the weekly challenge.

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#SixWordSaturday Getting Ready for #Christmas Family Reunions

Christmas Tree outside the shopping centre.

Close up of the Christmas tree.

Inside the Christmas tree!

November’s a longish, coldish month.

Today, while doing my weekly food shopping, I noticed a Christmas Tree in the square outside the shopping centre, and plenty of Christmas decorations inside the shop.

I didn’t buy anything, not yet, but it reminded me about the family reunions ahead.

This year I’m looking forward to having all my children and grandchildren at home for a few special days.

Have you seen any Christmas trees yet?