Short Story

Returned from holiday yesterday to a pile of post, including the July edition of ‘Let’s Talk’ magazine. ‘Let’s Talk’ is an East Anglian publication, mainly concerned with memories of the area, but they have an annual short story competition and feature one of the winning stories every month.

This month one of my stories was chosen!

If you would like to read the whole story, without getting a copy of the mag, click on My Creations, where lots of my stories can be found.

February 2021

A belated Happy New Year to you all.

I hope you and your families are all managing to keep busy and stay safe.

Like everyone, we have not been on any trips lately so I have had no interesting photographs to share with you. I have been trying to keep busy by getting creative. If you click on the ‘My Creations’ section of the blog you can see what I have been up to.

In December I created a lino cut of ‘Princess’, the cat of a friend of mine.

Since the beginning of the year I have written several short stories, some of which you can read here – ‘Weather the storm’, ‘The Visitor’, and ‘Gluttony – a cautionary tale’.

Looking forward to being able to add more holiday photos to my blog later this year, although there will be no foreign holidays this year!

Stay safe,

Carol

Two short stories

One of the few benefits of the situation we find ourselves in, is that I have more time to write stories.

Imagine finding something left behind by the previous owner, in a second hand book. This was the stimulus for ‘The Dead Letterbox’.

‘Major’s Army’ was inspired by a photograph of a dog standing on a chair, looking down at four kittens.

Hope you enjoy the stories,

Carol

Need a short read?

Thank you for the nice comments I have received about my blog during our holiday to Scotland. Are you now short of something to read?

Now I am back I have continued with my favourite hobbies of reading and writing. Yesterday I wrote ‘Lilian’s Last Protest’. I have added this and seven other stories I have written during Lockdown to my site. If you would like to read them click on ‘Create’ to access ‘My Creations’.

Lilian’s Final Protest

I realise that, at 88 years old, I was getting a bit long in the tooth to be protesting, especially by climbing up a ladder and spray painting the side wall of the corner shop. Fed up with the ‘black/white lives matter’ nonsense (obviously all lives matter) I was adding my own view by painting ‘Old Lives Matter’ on the wall.

Just as I was putting the finishing touches to the ‘r’ a car behind me honked its horn. I jumped, and turned round, the walker overbalanced, and here I am in the Queen Elizabeth Hospital with a broken hip and battered face. Talk about wearing gloves to stop leaving any DNA! I left plenty of blood and skin cells, and was still holding the spray can when the ambulance arrived.

It’s not all bad, though. No one is pressing charges, my hip needed replacing anyway – been on the list for months, and everyone is being very kind to me. I’m a bit of a local celebrity. Jordan, the young man who was in the car with his brother, managed to take a photo of me before Jackson hooted his horn. That photo, and one of me being stretchered into the ambulance, has been in the local paper, and on TV. I’m the ‘Old Lives Matter’ lady!

I’ve had loads of calls and gifts from well wishers. Not many visitors as it’s still ‘family only, one visitor per time slot’, but Keith drove down from Aberdeen to visit, so that was nice. Haven’t seen him in ages. I even got a card from Sir Captain Tom. Imagine that!

I’m getting out of here on Monday. They won’t let me go home as I will find it difficult to cope with the stairs until my hip is stronger. I’m going to ‘The Gables’ care home. It’s a lovely place according to the social worker. Couldn’t bear the thought of going to ‘Parklands’ where my Bill spent his last weeks.

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“Morning, Lilian. It’s another beautiful day. Did you sleep well, Lovie?”

“Not too bad, mustn’t grumble.”

“You never do, Lilian, but some of them others ….” Amy’s one of the senior carers in the home. She always has a smile on her face. So do the others. I don’t know how they do it. Caring for us old ‘uns all day long, for a pittance. The last few months have been hard for them, and I know they lost a few residents in the early days. They must have been worried sick about taking the virus back to their own families. Been Covid free for weeks now though, thank goodness. I’m quite enjoying my stay. It’s almost like staying in a very solicitous hotel, and I’m getting to know some of the others.

The hardest thing for most of the elderly people in here is that they can’t enjoy visits like they used to. Elizabeth’s husband used to visit every day and have morning coffee with her. Now he has to book a half hour slot once a week and that is cancelled if it rains as they have to meet outside. She’s worrying about the winter time. Will she ever get to see her Robert? Some of the dementia sufferers won’t remember their loved ones if they don’t see them regularly. Michael used to enjoy a daily walk with one of his family but now he’s not allowed out. I realise that it is not the fault of the managers here, but I wonder if people know what is happening in care homes around the country. Boris seems to have forgotten us.

Art and Craft class that morning gave me an idea. I asked if I could take a few sheets of paper and pens so that I could work on perfecting my still life drawing. After tea I sat with Elizabeth at a table in a quiet corner of the lounge. When I explained what I wanted to do she was delighted to lend a hand. By bedtime we had six signs ready –

Families Matter

We Need Visitors

Let us Meet

We are not prisoners

A visit a day keeps the Doctor away

Dying for a visit

Breakfast time tomorrow morning should be interesting! Hope someone has their camera/phone ready.

I fall asleep with a smile on my face. Bill would be so proud of me.

‘Tracker’

Here it is! The novella I wrote in 30 days is available FREE on Amazon Kindle for 5 days. Download by Friday 10th July.

‘Lockdown 2020, the world is relying on tracking and tracing to slow down the spread of the virus. Jack, a young app designer, has developed an app that unexpectedly gives him the power to control people’s movements. What will be the consequences?’

Free for 5 days

I hope you enjoy it

Stay safe

Carol

Write a novella in 30 days

One good thing about Lockdown (the only good thing?) is that I have had more time to write. At the beginning of June I came across Maria Frankland, an author who teaches creative writing. She had put some of her courses online including ‘Write a novella in 30 days’. There was a Youtube clip to watch each day with support and advice. I took up the challenge and, 30 days later, have completed my novella!

It is called ‘Tracker’ and is set in autumn 2020. Like my first novella, ‘Memories’, it features an app, and although it refers to the Corona Virus and the situation we find ourselves in, like ‘Memories’ it is really about relationships.

It is shorter than my previous novella, which took nearly 3 years to write.

I intend to self publish shortly on Amazon Kindle and like last time I will be able to offer it free for the first 5 days. It will then be 99p. I will post when it becomes available.

If you enjoyed reading ‘Memories’ I hope you will enjoy ‘Tracker’ too. If you haven’t read ‘Memories’ it is available on Amazon for 99p.

Exciting news!

This enforced lockdown has encouraged me to finish editing and publish my first novella, ‘Memories’.

It is a light read about families and relationships with a bit of technology and crime thrown in.

It is available FREE on Amazon Kindle until midnight of Sunday 26th April.

I hope you download and enjoy it.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Memories-Carol-Barton-ebook/dp/B087B3J2KQ/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=Carol+Barton+memories&qid=1587485314&sr=8-1

Heroes

We hear lots of talk about all the heroes who are working so hard to get us through this crisis, I thought I would write a (very) short story with that title.

Heroes

Dan lifted the net curtain,

“There they are again. Silly buggers! There’s three of them. I bet they’re not all from the same household.”

“Sit down and have your cup of tea,” encouraged Jane. “They’re not doing us any harm.”

“No, but they may live with grandparents,” Stan insisted. “Backwards and forwards they go. That’s the third time I’ve seen them this morning. No ‘one hour a day’ exercise for them. They must be in and out of that supermarket all day.  Bloody teenagers.  If this was 1939 they’d be out there fighting for our country. Can you imagine that? Can’t even stay inside to save us.” He took the mug of tea.

Dan was getting depressed. He knew he shouldn’t complain. They had it easy, compared to some. He had his garden and Jane had her crochet. He missed his grandchildren, though, and he worried about his daughter, who was a care assistant. The children seemed happy, being ‘home schooled’ by their dad. Dan looked forward to seeing their smiling faces every Sunday in their family ‘Zoom’ chat. What would they do without technology?

After he’d had his tea he took a dining chair and took up his position by the window. There was a wren hopping about in his front garden, and a sparrow hanging on the bird feeder. The weather had been kind and the garden was looking beautiful.

There they were again, the three yobs! What did they think they were doing? Suddenly one of the boys caught his eye and waved. He dropped the curtain quickly. The cheek of it!

After lunch he sat back in the chair again, to ‘watch the birds’. It wasn’t long before the boys were back, walking in the other direction this time. They waved again, but he pretended not to see them.

Later he went into the kitchen, it must be nearly time for another cuppa. Jane was leaning against the sink, struggling to breathe.

“Inhaler,” she managed to wheeze. Dan went upstairs as fast as his arthritis would let him and rummaged in Jane’s drawer. There it was. Jane suffered from seasonal asthma, brought on by an allergic reaction to tree pollen, but he’d never seen her this bad. Jane shook it and tried to use it but it was empty. She slid to the floor, requiring all her strength to breathe.

What should he do? He couldn’t go out. Caz was at work, Will had the children. He dashed to the front door.

“Hey, there, Grandpa,” said one of the boys. What excellent timing. Dan explained the situation and they told him to phone Jane’s doctor and arrange a prescription, while they set off for the chemist’s. They’d be back in no time.

Soon Jane was resting comfortably, and Dan was thanking the boys for their quick, calm response. Apparently they were brothers who did all the shopping for their elderly or ill neighbours. Not all heroes wear capes.

A story for you

Unfortunately, as we are all not allowed to travel, there has not been much for me to post about. By now I would probably have been to the Wirral and to Gorleston-on-sea in Norfolk. Our planned trip to the Isle of Man next month is not going to happen but I have my fingers crossed for our trip to the Shetlands at the end of August.

However, it does mean we all have more time for hobbies and one of mine is writing. I have written a children’s fairy tale for these unusual times, based on Red Riding Hood. I hope you enjoy it.

Click on the menu – ‘My Creations’