Monday Motivations

After a fabulous writing weekend away, which has inspired and motivated me, I hope to do the same for you. Here are some writing prompts for you:

  • Laughter
  • Cold
  • The Future

Last week saw a single writing prompt: Spring. Here are your super creations:

Take a look at Steve Walsky‘s blog for four fantastic spring poems:

https://simplicitylane.wordpress.com/2017/02/16/thoughts-of-spring-in-february-poetry/

Jason Moody has written something a little different:

“What is it?” asked Simon.

Camille looked at him. Her features fought to display a blank expression.

“I dunno,” she whispered.

Simon edged towards it. He prodded it. It was smooth and shiny, and it was red.

“Well?” said Camille, demanding an answer.

Simon backed away, shaking his head. He screwed up his face.

“I dunno. Not seen anything like this before.”

The front door opened and Jasmine walked in. Her face lit up.

“Hello my little babies. Did you like the spring Mummy bought you?”

She picked up Camille with one hand and nuzzled her. Camille purred and purred.

Simon thought he’d give the spring one more try.

And now for a poem from Jason:

The cold has been sent
Spring, come to release us all
Time for sunglasses!

And just when you were starting to feel the warmth and joy of spring, Geoff Le Pard puts paid to that!:

A gloomy sonnet…
A Springless Future

Cold Jack, content and job well done, crept home
Allowing Spring her turn to warm the earth.
Crocus tongues pushed out through softening loam
As glass-eyed shepherds watched their flock give birth.
We, unplucked youth, prime cocked with urgent sap,
Felt the tug of Nature’s call to breed.
Like sheep, we followed Her bewitching map
To plant, in fertile earth, our febrile seed.
Yet somewhere Nature’s diverse scheme was lost;
Our black-fuelled lust seared seasons into one.
Our greed has neutered Jack; he’s become a ghost,
Sharp fingers culled by a remorseless sun.
Why would our lambs breed, given this breach of trust?
We’ve fried this once green Earth, turning it to dust.

And now for Rajiv Chopra‘s latest Mary Jane piece:

Part Twenty-Eight

A hypnotic spell seemed fill the room, and grip the three of them, as Merlin and Vivien began to dance. They seemed welded together, as they danced a dance that told the tale of centuries lived. It would ordinarily have seemed to be an odd sight to see an old man and a young woman dancing together like this. Yet, in this seeming oddness, there was a perfection and a fluency that became them. They were joined at the hip, danced in perfect synchronicity, and in perfect harmony. The ages fell away as the dance progressed. The three looked on as they were being taken through a centuries old tale of togetherness, conflict and belonging.

It was sometime before the dance stopped, and Merlin then turned to the three, smiled, and asked, “Now, what would you like to hear?”

“Your story” blurted out Poison Ivy. She had been entranced by the dance, and it seemed as if she herself had been enveloped in vines that slithered up and down her body during the duration of the dance. She shivered and hugged herself as she repeated her request.

“Ah,” said Merlin. “It was, you know, springtime when an apple is said to have fallen on a young Newton’s head, launching him into a world of exploration. It was indeed springtime, when Vivien and I first met. It was a magical day, with birds singing, flowers blooming, and the Knights resting.”

“Merlin was getting a bit tired of the Knights,” said Vivien. “Always warring, always questing, and not always living up to the principles they professed to follow. Yes, it was springtime, and it was time for a change.”

“Do you feel,” Merlin asked the Hobbits, “how springtime always seems to signify a new life, a new awakening?”

“Errrrr….. yes,” stammered Frodo.

“Yes,” replied Merlin. “It was spring when you embarked on your quest, to end the long and dark days that threatened to engulf the world.”

“Spring is for awakening. There is a freshness in everything,” said Vivien. “Winter does have its own beauty and magic. It is a dark, cold magic and life continues below the surface of the earth. Life’s forces seem to be in slumber, resting from the labours of the year. Then comes spring, and suddenly the life force seems to burst through the cold, and give birth to song, bright colours, warmth and a different kind of freshness. A new energy fills the air, and suddenly you hear the songs of the birds, and the laughter of people.”

“It was spring when we met,” she continued.

“Her face gave off the radiance of youthful vigour, with a hint of darkness. The rivers ran deep in her soul, and the waters of the lake had energy below the surface stillness and calm. I saw her face and new that I had found my alter-ego, the one who could complete me.”

“I saw his face, the white hair blowing in the gentle spring breeze. The wrinkles seemed to have softened, and there was depth in his eyes, and the wisdom of ages. My other half stood there before me.”

They stood together in silence, and began to dance again. This was a dance of new beginnings, of a youthful and timeless love. A spring was in their steps, as they danced together and wove a spell that brought the others into their fold.

The two Hobbits and Poison Ivy were entranced as their souls became part of the dance, and they felt a cleansing wave pass through them.

It was time for new beginnings.

***

hale

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Yet More Music and Memories

There I was, eleven years old, glumly trudging round the shops with Mum and Dad, when I saw it – the sign. It was in the shop window of Clarks shoe shop – ‘Free with any pair of school shoes – a Top Ten Single. Exclusive to Clarks’.

It was 1983 and I’d just started listening to pop music. I didn’t have any records of my own and when I saw that sign, I knew I was going to have my very first record. Besides, I was about to go up to secondary school so I needed new school shoes anyway.

I’d never been so excited about buying a pair of shoes in my life, especially school shoes. The massive grin on my face didn’t last very long.

“I’m very sorry,” the assistant said, “we only have this pair in your size.”

I looked down at the pair of frumpy fawn-colour shoes, my face full of horror.

“It’s alright, we can go somewhere else,” Mum said, clearly thinking she was being helpful.

“No, no, no!” I cried. It was my record. My record.

“And the record offer ends today,” the assistant whined.

My head shot up. At that age, I didn’t understand the word ‘commission’, all I cared about was my vanishing record.

Five minutes later, we left the shop, me clutching the bag containing the hideous shoes, an enormous smiled plastered to my face.

“You will wear the shoes, won’t you?” Mum asked.

“Yes, I love them,” I said, my fingers crossed behind my back.

When we got home, Mum sat me down and we filled out the form to claim my record. As soon as I’d seen the sign, I knew what record I’d choose. Yes, Paul Young was No.1 with ‘Wherever I lay my Hat’, but I didn’t like his hair – or his song. I’d loved ‘Moonlight Shadow’ as soon as I first heard it, so it was no contest.

“Was that the post?” I called out. Poor Mum. I bounded down the stairs every time the letterbox went.

When the record finally arrived, I was beside myself with excitement. Dad was in charge of the family record player, but he showed me how to play the record and play it, I did. Again and again and again. Mum and Dad liked the song at first. They soon went off it after about the tenth consecutive playing.

Now, whenever I hear the song, I can’t help but smile.

“You only got the shoes so you could have that blasted record, didn’t you?” Mum asked when I moaned about the shoes not fitting properly a couple of weeks later.

She made me wear the shoes for the next two terms. But it was worth it.

***

img_4477

 

 

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Markets For Writers

Here’s an excellent flash fiction competition for you. Fish Publishing’s Annual Flash Fiction Competition is open for another two weeks. They’re looking for stories of up to 300 words. 

Prizes:

1st: €1,000

2nd: online writing course with Fish

The top ten stories will be published in the FISH ANTHOLOGY 2017

Entry Fees: €14 for the first entry, €8 for any subsequent entries

Closing date: 28th February 2017

To find out further details, visit the competition page

***

punctuation

 

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Funny Of The Week/Wacky Instructions Part Four

Now, these are my type of instructions…

wine

 

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Manic Monday Motivations

I don’t know about you, but life is a little busy at the moment. This week is already proving to be no exception, so I’m cheating (just a tiny bit) in giving you just one writing prompt this week.

Write a story or poem on the theme spring.

Here are last week’s themes:

  • Hatred
  • Valentine’s Day
  • Chocolate

And your super writing:

Jason Moody has written a brilliant poem:

I long for you
Like a love that seems lost
I’ll find you my love
No matter the cost

When we’re together
My worries they melt
Every shared moment
So precious, heartfelt

Our love is so fleeting
Our time is so short
Walk away or Pursue you
I don’t know what I ought

This much I do know
My heart I bequeath
You’re a song for my soul
But you’re bad for my teeth.

Steve Walsky has written a great haiku using all three:

https://simplicitylane.wordpress.com/2017/02/09/heart-nutritional-animosity-haiku/

Robert Griffiths has written this stunning story:

 Black Valentine   –    1960       

Second day of term, Ashley walked slowly towards his school, a large Victorian brick three story building, standing old and tall, at the bottom of his road. He wandered past bomb  damaged houses; the post-war street was poor and shabby. His best friend Colin caught up with him and walked by his side and asked,

“Ave you heard about the new girl?”

“No, I wasn’t here yesterday, had a dentist appointment. What of it?” said Ashley.

“Well,” said Colin, “you never guess.”

“Guess what?” said Ashley.

“She’s black,” said Colin.

“Black, what do you mean?” Ashley had never seen a black person in real life.

“Her skin is black,” said Colin, all over.

Ashley picked up his pace and went through the big gate into a passageway that led up the stairs into their classroom where his teacher mister Floyd, a big barrel chested welsh man who ran his classes with harshness and loud words, was calling the register. Ashley answered to his name quickly and sat down not wanting to explain his absence. There, two desks in front of him sat the new black girl.

Ashley whispered gently towards her, “Hello.”

Her hair twisted towards him and her face came into view. Ashley was thunder struck. Her skin shone and her huge oval eyes glistened. She smiled showing a row of gleaming white teeth.

Ashley’s blue eyes gaped open. At the sight of him her smile widened and happiness radiated from her face.

“What’s your name?” she said. A grin replaced her smile.

“It’s Ashley,” he answered.

Mister Floyd called out for everybody to form a queue and bring their homework up to his desk.

Ashley waited for the new girl to line up then raced up to get behind her as near to her as he dared.

He breathed in the odour of her and thought it the most exotic and moved a fraction closer.

She turned facing him and said,

“Move away from me!”

Ashley backed away and slid back into his seat glancing towards Colin who watched him with a mocking grin. Ashley looked up towards the girl as Mister Floyd called out, “You next, Patsy!” Her name is Patsy, thought Ashley and as she walked back to her desk he suddenly no longer saw the girl, he just felt her vibrant energy. His head spun slightly. He stared at her beautiful black neck and shiny hair.

Days passed and each day he raced to school to see her. He was never able to get near her as she was constantly playing inventing games for the other children to play, always the centre of attention. After one football session, he asked Colin where she came from and Colin said that Mister Floyd had told them that she arrived from an island called Jamaica.

The following afternoon mister Floyd was asking for the class’s attention,

“It’s the school’s annual school journey if you want to come put your hand up.”

Ashley looked towards Patsy. Her arm and hand were up in the air, Ashley’s arm shot up.

At break time, he asked Colin how much is was to go on the school journey.

“Half a crown,” answered Colin, “you’re only going because she’s going.”

The weeks leading up to their departure were dragging for Ashley. He loved journeys and this one included Patsy. The day of their departure they all met at the school gate. Ashley arrived early. In his bag were several postcards his mum had slid in, stamped and addressed. ‘Just write a message telling us how you are, then post them,’ she had said. Mister Floyd was accompanied by Mrs White. Ashley liked her. She was small, neat and kind. All the children’s favourite and she organised the Christmas play and gave music lessons. A coach took them to the train station and further with the train to the port where the ferry shipped them across a small stretch of water to an island. A white granite boarding house welcomed them with rooms on one side for the girls and the boys on the other side. The breakfast and dinner were served in a salon full of white linen covered tables. They spent the days playing treasure hunt and sandcastle competitions which Colin won. Patsy was running, bubbling and hopping around the house and gardens with the girls following her. Ashley was watching her from a distance.

One day Mrs White called the class together in the room, behind the dining room, with a small wooden platform. She walked up on to the platform and announced,

“Saturday night I want to put on a show for us and the other guests. I have asked Patsy to select two children to organise a music and dance show. She will pick two of you to help her.”

Ashley was already stepping forward.

Patsy strode to the front.

“I pick Colin and Ashley,” she announced with control and confidence.

Ashley’s face was beaming red with joy and excitement while Colin looked calm and assured. Mrs White dismissed the class and left Patsy, Colin and Ashley to rehearse their routine. Patsy sat down to think while the boys stood and waited. Finally, she stood and went over to Colin,

“You are going to dance to ‘let yourself go’.”

 To Ashley she said,

“You are going to dance to ‘shiny ball on end of string’, be here tomorrow morning at eight, we start practise. Mrs White will be here to play piano.”

The boys drifted off to their rooms and fell on their beds. They talked about football and friends then fell fast asleep.

Next morning Ashley was up first and called out,

“Come on, Colin! We have to go and practice. Patsy will be waiting.”

“It’s Patsy you want to see not the practice,” said Colin. They both dressed and washed and went downstairs where Mrs White already sat behind the piano and Patsy stood on the platform calling out,

“Colin came up onto the platform, we are going to dance and sing,” Patsy grinned, “we start with ‘Come get together, let the dance hall feel your leather’.”

Colin strove up and stood next to Patsy.

“Do you know this song, Patsy?” asked Mrs White.

“No!” she said, “but if you sing a few lines I will remember.”

 “Come get together.”

“Let the dance hall feel your leather, let yourself go.”

Mr White carried on singing and tuned in with the piano.

With each word, Patsy directed Colin in the dance steps. He moved with confidence and joined in with Patsy’s steps, at the last word the piano stopped, so did Colin and Patsy.

“Right,” she said, “you now Ashley.”

Ashley who had only been watching Patsy walked forward with shy uncertainty.

“We are going to dance to ‘Shiny ball on end of string’,” and she started to sing.

“Shiny ball, shiny ball,

“shiny ball on end of string.”

Mrs White again picked up the tune and played along,

“Shiny ball on end of string, see it whirl, see it twirl.”

Patsy took Ashley and started to show him the steps. He faltered, stammered and looked awkward. She continued holding him and twisting him. He concentrated but dancing did not come easily to him. Patsy just carried on singing and showing him. The music stopped with a bang. Patsy stopped. Ashley stood still, rigid.

“First thing tomorrow,” said Patsy, “only one day, then the show on Saturday.”

The boys walked off the platform towards their room. In the room, Ashley spoke first.

“I felt like I had three feet and legs.”

Colin said,

“You both looked great,” then he put his hand under his bed and pulled out a bowl of chocolate, “here, eat these, and don’t worry, it will be fine.”

Ashley thought the chocolate looked like Patsy.                                       

They ate the entire bowl and fell asleep, again the next morning Ashley was up first. They went down stairs to Patsy and Mrs White and their morning practice. Seeing the boys’ progress, Patsy became very bossy. After the session of hard work, the boys retreated to the beach. Patsy stayed and continued with her practice. Mrs White helped her and they discussed Saturday night’s concert.

“You must pick your first song and dance partner,” said Mrs White.

Saturday arrived and the two boys were nervous. The children had decorated the platform and put out rows of chairs for the audience. Mrs White called the boys and Patsy together.

“Which one are you going to start with?” she asked Patsy.

“Come get together with Colin,” she answered. Ashley felt jealousy and hatred towards Colin. Mrs White went back behind her piano and started to play. Patsy grabbed Colin and led him out onto the platform. There was a few clapping hands and Ashley went and sat in the audience. Patsy and Colin span and whirled to the music in perfect timing. Ashley glared. When the dance was over the whole audience burst into loud clapping. Patsy walked to the front of the platform with drama and style and held her arm out to Ashley. He stood and tripped up onto the stage where Patsy took his hand and Mrs White started to play. Patsy started to lead Ashley, his concentration was so great that he felt he was dancing in a tunnel. Their symmetry was smooth and graceful and Mrs White got greatly encouraged and played louder with heavy passion. The dancers glided and skipped together. At the exact moment the song ended, Mrs White bashed a final at the final step. The room erupted in deafening cheers and clapping. Ashley and Patsy bowed. It was over. They were joined by Colin and even Mr Floyd joined in. They all agreed it had been an enormous triumph.

Patsy turned to Ashley.

“You can let go of my hand now,  Ash,” she whispered.

“I thought we could go for a walk along the cliff tops,” said Ashley.

Patsy and Colin agreed and they went out into the cool night air, the walk lightened by a hunter’s moon. With every step, the back of Patsy’s hand brushed against Ashley’s. They picked tiny wild flowers. Colin found small garlic bulbs. Back to the boarding house they went straight to bed. Colin put his hand on Ashley’s shoulder.

“Good, weren’t it?” he said to Ashley, “I told you it would be fine, didn’t I?”

Ashley was still thinking about the back of Patsy’s hand, brushing his.

“It was perfect, really perfect,” he said.

 “I mean the dance, not Patsy.” said Colin.

“Shut up!” said Ashley. They both went to sleep.

The next day they went home and back to school. The journey was quick and smooth. Ashley sat behind Patsy. On arrival, all the parents stood waiting outside the school gates. Ashley managed to speak to Patsy several times that week in school, everything was good until Thursday. There had been trouble in school and now Ashley was waiting for his dad to get home from work in his parents living room. As soon as the front door opened Ashley called,

“Can I speak to you, Dad?”

His father came into the room,

“What is it, something wrong?” he said.

“What’s an immigrant, Dad?” said Ashley.

“Someone who goes to another country,” answered his dad.

Ashley’s mum walked into the room.

“Because two boys were shouting at Patsy in a bad way, shouting immigrant, immigrant,” Ashley said to both of them.

“Spoken like that, it’s a bad word,” said his dad.

 Ashley stood legs apart,

“If they say it again, I will knock them down,” said Ashley.

His mum looked at his dad and said with a knowing smile,

“He means the new girl.”

 “No need to hit them, Ash, they’re just frightened little people, scared of strangers, frightened of something different, hitting makes no difference, they’re still just frightened little people, just ignore them son,” said his dad and put his paper down.

They had dinner together, then went to bed early as always. Ashley got up early and walking to school Colin joined him.

“Are you going to get her a card, Ash,” said Colin.

A card for what?” said Ashley.

“For Patsy,” said Colin.

“Why?” said Ashley, “is it her birthday?”

“No, you idiot, it’s Valentine’s day,” said Colin.

“I have no card and even if I did she would not take it from me,” Ashley said.

“I got my girlfriend Linda one,” said Colin as they went through the gate and up to their classroom.

Break time and Ashley was in the playground watching Patsy. She was bouncing tennis balls against a wall with another girl. When the game finished Patsy picked up her satchel and put the strap over her head and walked towards Ashley, as she past him the flap of her satchel opened and a white piece of paper flew out. Ashley thought, here’s my chance, and he ran and scoped up the paper. “Patsy, this is yours!” he said. She took the paper and shook her head.

“It’s just a blank paper!” she said, “I thought you were giving me a Valentine’s card so you could be my Valentine.”

She crumpled the paper and threw it away. Ashley’s hopes melted like chocolate in the hot sun.

And my Monday Motivations wouldn’t be the same without Rajiv Chopra‘s latest Mary Jane instalment:

“Gandalf?” piped up a tremulous voice. “I cannot believe it…. Gandalf….. GandALF…. GANDALF….!!!” As the voices of the two Hobbits gained in strength, they almost shouted out the name in excitement.

“You know, while you know him as Gandalf, he never really took to the name,” replied The Old Man. “He much preferred to be called Mithrandir. It was him, by the way, who interceded on your behalf, and prevented you two from disappearing.”

“Who is this Mithrandir?” asked Poison Ivy.

“My dear, you don’t know Gandalf? Oh no, no, no, no…. You could not know him, but surely you know of him?”

“Nope, sorry,” replied Poison Ivy. “I really don’t explore ancient history, you know.”

“Ah, but you must!” replied The Old Man, almost dancing as he spoke. You must! I will teach you some ancient history, and then you will become much better at what you do!”

“If you aren’t Gandalf, then who are you?” demanded Sam, with suspicion rising rapidly in his eyes.

“Ah, if you want to know who I am, then you must come home,” replied The Old Man.

With a snap of his fingers, a cloud of smoke enveloped them, and when they opened their eyes again, they found themselves in a comfortable room. They were seated in comfortable, cushioned armchairs. A large oaken table, laden with fruit, was in the centre of the room. Sunlight streamed through the large windows, and when they looked out they saw that they were in a wonderful, wooded area. Small pixies and elven creatures seemed to dance amongst the plants that surrounded the place.

“Where are we?” asked Poison Ivy in shock. “What am I wearing? This is not sexy at all!”

She looked down at herself in dismay. Gone was the tight-fitting costume, to be replaced by a flowing gown that shimmered in shades of red, green and orange.

“Ah, welcome, welcome, welcome! You are in my home,” replied The Old Man. “His eyes gleamed when he looked at Poison Ivy. In her new costume, she was ravishing indeed to his old eyes.

“A rose for you, my dear? A chocolate, perhaps? Will you be my Valentino?” he asked. “A heart shaped chocolate, my dear, for you.”

“Ah, sir, it is Valentine, not Valentino,” laughed Poison Ivy.

A loud slap resounded in the room, and the chocolate and the rose fell from his hand. The Wench stood there, glaring at him, arms akimbo, fire emerging from her nostrils.

Frodo looked at her in fright, as her face turned red. Was it love he saw in her eyes, or was it hatred? “Two sides of the same coin,” he muttered to himself, and he snuggled close to Sam.

The intensity of her emotion frightened them both, and they shrank almost into the boards of the floor.

“Valentine, Valentino…. My foot,” she hissed.

“Valentine or Valentino, what difference does it make?” trilled The Old Man. “I was just making the young lady comfortable.

“Do that,” replied The Wench. “Just remember, it is I who have been your faithful companion and partner these many centuries. It is I who have stayed with you and looked after you. It is I who have made you comfortable and shielded you from prying eyes and writers. It is I who have kept your secret and your mystique alive. So, don’t you go giving chocolates, Valentines or Valentinos to any young lady.”

“Kind, sir,” piped up Frodo, his voice shaking. The atmosphere in the room had become heavy and suffocating. He sniffed the underlying love and hatred that the two felt for each other, and the yearned for the sunshine to flow through the windows again. He yearned, once again, for that unbearable lightness of being.”

“Kind sir,” he said, tentatively. “Can you please tell us who you are, and who this beautiful lady is.”

“You’re a good lad.” The Wench smiled, and she took The Old Man’s hand, as they danced a little jig around the room. The sun was shining again, and she poked The Old Man in the ribs, and kissed him on the lips. “Go on, tell them who we are.”

“Ah yes,” replied The Old Man. “Introductions are indeed in order. You may call me….. let’s see…”

He paused for effect.

“You may call me Merlin,” he said. “You may call my beautiful lady, Vivien.”

***

cheese

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Guest Writer Spot

It’s Friday and time for my Guest Writer Spot, which gives writers the opportunity for their  work to be seen and read by others. I accept stories, poems, articles – in fact, anything and everything. All you have to do is make sure your prose is no longer than 2000 words and your poems no more than 40 lines. If you would like some of your writing to be featured on my blog, please contact me here or by e-mail: esthernewton@virginmedia.com

This week, I’m pleased to welcome back Gopika N with another atmospheric poem:

Here’s a little bit about Gopika in the writer’s own words:

“Myself Gopika.N and I am from Kerala, the southern tip of the largest democracy in the world-India. I am, right now, 17 and am a science student. Though least interested in learning science, I am forced to complete the basic education. I have been writing short poems since my childhood. All the emotions brimming in me is reflected in most of my poems. Besides creating poems, I am also addicted to reading fiction as well as writing articles.”

A FEW WORDS

By

Gopkia N

Walking through the deep dark woods,

Meadows underneath and starlit skies beyond.

Betwixt the twinkling stars, I found you

But then you did recede apace.

As I wandered all around,

Madly hunting your course,

You favored me with mere setbacks.

I lost my path as my quest for you thrived,

In the pervasive depths of the beryl

And in the ceaseless empyrean azure.

You fluttered but I never did perceive.

My endeavors to bag you were just futile.

Years fell of alike wilted leaves and melted crystals.

Soon did I skip your thoughts obtusely.

As I rushed behind your bogus glints,

Never once did I notice the radiant crescent,

Who waited thirstily amidst the burning pang.

In the long run, did I realize the flakes and freckles

Of your mind, muddled and baffled was I.

You lost your gleam, you lost your gallantry,

You were no more the blood stained words.

I walked solely in the memoirs of the great compatriot.

Tears did never spurt, my amour remained unsaid.

Still there was the crescent of beauty,

Waiting eagerly to express the final words of the beau.

***

jewell

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Yet More Memories and Music: Chiquitita

It was the spring of 1993. I was a student at college and lived at home with Mum and Dad. I’d just passed my driving test (after two attempts). I’ll always remember the date I passed – 25th April. It was Mum’s birthday. I hadn’t told her I was taking the test as I wanted it to be a special birthday present for her. Besides I wasn’t entirely sure I’d pass after my last efforts (the tester wasn’t too impressed by my hitting the kerb and coming to a standstill on the pavement). But I passed and Mum said it made her day.

Soon after, I bought my very first car. It was a second-hand Renault 5, with a black body and brilliant orange seats and, as I was to find out later, when it rained, its own in-board shower. Mum and Dad were so excited when I said I’d take them for a spin. Dad raced Mum to the car and bagged the front seat. It was when Mum sat in the back and found her feet immersed in a foot of water that we realised there was a problem. Strangely enough, Mum and Dad weren’t so keen to get in the car after that. I didn’t ever find out where the leak was coming from but for the bargain price of £75, I couldn’t complain.

And I loved my car – even if Mum and Dad didn’t. I wouldn’t have trusted her to take me further than about 20 miles but she was a perfect first car.

Reggie, as I affectionately called her, even had a working tape deck. Abba Gold was my favourite album of the time and the song, Chiquitta in particular. I don’t know what it was about that song. It’s the only song I’ve ever sung out loud to (I’m completely tone deaf) and I always sang it with all my heart. When the song was over, I’d rewind the tape to listen to it again and again.

Now, whenever I hear it, it reminds me of those wondrous carefree days when I had no responsibilities or anything in particular to worry about. I still sing along to Chiquitita (though in my head to spare my family’s suffering) and when the song has finished, I think fondly of Reggie, and of poor Mum’s wet feet. Dear Reggie was a steal at £75 – I even made a profit when I sold her, to a policeman, for £100!    

***

img_4447

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