Thanks be to…#fridayflash

It was exactly a year ago that Lovely Husband pointed out the existence of an on-line writing community called #fridayflash. I’d been blogging a few months trying to find other writers to talk to without much success. All that changed when I posted my first #fridayflash on New Year’s Day. Within minutes I had a warm welcome and great responses to my work which have continued all year.

It’s very easy to be a member of #fridayflash. All you have to do is write up to 1,000 words, log it on the collector here and let the world know via your twitter page. As soon as you do, people come to visit, and always leave a word of encouragement. I’ve met some great folks, felt completely supported in my writing and more important, the discipline of writing 1,000 words a week has been the best writing class I’ve ever attended.

#fridayflash has been a bright spot in a very difficult year, so I’d like to raise a glass this New Year’s Eve to the very fine writers I have met over the last twelve months. I’m sure I’ve missed people out, but the list includes Lou Freshwater, Cathy Oliffe, Icy Sedgewick, Simon/Skycycler, Mark Nash, Mazzz in Leeds, Laura Eno, Laurita Miller, David Masters,Tony Noland, GP Ching, John Wiswell and most importantly Jon Strother who came up with the idea and makes it happen week after week.

Thanks to the #fridayflash crowd for a lot of fun, your wonderful stories and the helpful comments you’ve left me here.

Happy New Year to you all!

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#festivefridayflash – White Christmas

“A White Christmas? When do we ever get a White Christmas?”  He shook his head at the snow falling in ever increasing flakes.
“Never,dear.” His wife, anticipating a tirade, did not look up from her stitching.
“I mean, I know it’s supposed to be seasonal…” he paced up and down the wooden floor.
“Yes,dear.”
“…but how often has it happened in the last ten years? The last twenty?” A floorboard creaked under the weight of his fretful feet.
“Hardly ever,dear.” Her needle skimmed up and down, patching holes with consummate skill.
“It’s freezing out there.”
“You’ll be warm enough.”
“I’d rather stay at home.” He sat back down on the sofa, stretching his large black-booted feet on her lap, forcing her to put down her needlework.
“You say that every year.” She pushed him off and picked the sewing up again.
“It’s going to be murder travelling.”
“I’m sure it will be fine.”
“I’m worried about the suspension…”
“You’ve just had a service.”
“…and the brakes in this ice…”
“Will work perfectly, I’m sure.”
“Perhaps I shouldn’t go this year.” He looked at her hopefully.
“After I’ve spent the last two hours mending?” She handed him his jacket. “Besides, they’ll be expecting you.”
“I suppose you’re right.” He took it from her and pulled it over his large frame.
“You know I am.” She gave him a firm kiss on the lips.
“Here I go again.” He stood up.
“Don’t forget your hat!”
“Do I have to?”
“It’s traditional.”
“All right then…” With a sigh, he pulled the red and white hat over his curly white hair, “I look ridiculous.”
“You look gorgeous.” She rewarded him with a fuller kiss. “Now get to work.”
“Don’t wait up.”
“I never do.”
He stomped outside to his workshop where a small elf was placing the last present on top of a packed sleigh.
“I’ve oiled the runners sir, the reindeer are fed and watered, and the sat nav programmed,” the chief elf beamed with pride.
“Then I’d better be on my way.”
He jumped into the sleigh and with a crack of the whip headed East towards the first stroke of midnight. It was going to be a busy night.

Waiting for the Thaw – #fridayflash

“The path needs doing again.”

“Uh,huh.” He looked out of the window at the snow flakes falling from the darkening grey sky, obliterating the track that sloped down to the road, where even the four by fours were struggling to keep moving. It was only an hour since he’d last cleared it, but already another two inches had fallen. The snow drifts on the lawn  had risen to seven or eight inches and were so densely packed that they were almost reaching the  bottom window panes.

“I said the path needs doing again.” This time her voice was edged with insistence.

He did not look up from force of habit, but simply turned over the page of the paper he was reading, “It’s Someone Else’s Turn.”

She rose from her seat and walked, back erect, with deliberately paced steps to the door.”I won’t repeat myself. I have supper to cook.” She departed down the stone-flagged corridor for the kitchen.

He sighed, put down his paper and followed her into the dark hallway where the heat of the radiators barely penetrated. His Barbour jacket was still damp from his last outing, his boots were icy when he put them on. He picked up the spade he’d left by the front door, and went outside.

The job took longer than expected. His back and knees were not what they were, stabbing him with pain each time he bent over.The snow fell almost as fast as he could clear it. Large wet flakes splattered his eyes, blinding him, so he had to stop and wipe them every couple of minutes. It was frustrating work, but the dread of being snowed in was enough to keep him at it. He dug and scraped until the path was clear. Though by the time he’d stood at the door for a couple of minutes to shake the snow from his boots, the path was white again.

****************************************
She heard the metal scraping the pathway as she busied herself around the kitchen. At least he was getting that job done. The weekly shop had not been done that morning, and they’d not be able to get out tomorrow. She probably had enough for a couple of decent meals. After that…well it would have to be soup and dry crackers.Tonight, at least, there were two lamb cutlets to use up, and enough potatoes and peas to make it feel like a proper supper. They’d run out gravy, but that couldn’t be helped.
She heard the clang of the spade against the wall as he closed the front door.

“Supper will be five minutes,” she called.

“Uh, huh.”

“I said, “Supper will be five minutes.” Her yell had more insistence in it.

“I heard you the first time. I’m just changing my trousers.”

Thud, thud, thud – he climbed the stairs, as she took the cutlets out of the oven and put them on the plates. She sieved the steaming potatoes, and dabbed them with butter, watching it melt into yellow liquid running down through the pan. Typically, he was still not down when she put the peas on the plates. She put the food back in the oven till she heard his thudding descent.

As he entered the room, she placed the plates back on the table, and they both sat down.

“There’s no gravy,” he said

“Someone didn’t go to the shops.”

He said nothing more, and they ate in their usual silence. The only sounds were his masticating jaws, the clink of cutlery, and, outside, the snow-muffled engines of the last cars to make into the village tonight.

The food was delicious as always, though’d  he never say. When he’d finished his final mouthful, he pushed away the plate, rose from the table and disappeared to watch the news. She cleared the table, as was her custom, and began to wash up.

Clink, splash, wipe, clink, splash, wipe. There was something soothing about washing up at the end of the day.  Outside the snow kept on falling. The sky was black.

“They say this is going to last till Thursday at least,” he called from the living room.

“Uh, huh,” she said, looking at the ice that was beginning to form on the steaming window.

It would be a long time till the thaw.