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Flash Fiction Competition - 300 word story

That Old Familiar Smile

By David Higham

Marigold Greensward was happy to admit that she did not fit in. No, she had never wanted to marry, she was happy with her own company. Her cottage was set back from the rest of the village, just inside the fringe of the forest.

No-one came to visit her for the pleasure of her company but they did come when they needed something. A cure for warts or a broken heart perhaps. They did not like it when Marigold seemed to consult her cat before administering a potion. But still they came, blushing girls seeking a love potion or more practical help when the potion had worked too well.

Sometimes they asked for a misfortune to befall a neighbour after a quarrel.

"Can we do that?" Marigold would ask the cat.

To the visitor, the cat seemed mute but Marigold answered for it, "Sorry Lovey, can't help with that."

Too good for her own good was Marigold. Asked if she was a witch, Marigold always said. "I just help people when they need it. Not for you to know how I do it."

That didn't help Marigold when they came for her. Her accusers were never in the business of listening, they knew a witch when they wanted to see one. And when they saw one they wanted to burn one.

They came for her in the night and locked her in a cell - with the cat - just to be sure. In the morning, the stake was already nicely surrounded with wood when they opened the cell door to find it empty of all but the fading smile of Marigold’s old familiar.


David Higham is a retired submariner and lawyer. Having had some professional writing published, David has taken up more creative writing in retirement. He quickly discovered that he does not have a novel in him. He enjoys travel writing (some published) and creating flash fiction. He also coxes 32ft Cornish Pilot Gigs on the Solent, where he lives.

 

 

Poetry Writing Competition on the theme Celebration

Celebration
For M and M on their Wedding Day

by Sheila Johnston

Love
is you and you
standing here together;

And love
is us and you
here together with you,

For love
is all of us
here together bound,

A love
that starts with us
and shines from us.

A love
to heal this place
must start with us

For love
is never going back
to yesterday

And love
is all our hope
for your tomorrows.

Sheila JohnstonInspiration behind this poem
This poem was written for two people whom I love dearly. I lived my entire adult life through the Troubles in Northern Ireland and these two people who were getting married were from opposite communities. He is Protestant and she is Catholic. They are a deeply Christian pair who fell in love. Their wedding took place in a chapel deep inside a sectarian area, a few years after the Good Friday Agreement brought relative peace. The service was unforgettable and moving. They asked me to write a poem to be put on their Order of Service. This is it.

Sheila Johnston. I am the daughter of a Methodist minister and thereby experienced many years of travelling around different parts of Ireland, wherever my father was stationed. My education was mainly in Belfast, including four years at Queen’s University. I have had many short stories published and have written for local and national periodicals. My poetry was greatly influenced by the Troubles, as indeed has much of my outlook on life. Now more involved with fiction projects, I am the author of Maker of Footprints, a contemporary novel of selfishness, love and the consequences when these two emotions conflict.

Recipe Writing Competition

 

Summer Magic Fool.

Summer Fool by Amanda Jane DaviesIngredients.

450g of Blackberries.

450g of Blueberries.

275g of Greek Style Plain Yoghurt.

2 Tablespoons of Local Honey.

1-2 Teaspoons of Cinnamon

7 Biscuits of your choice.

Method.

  1. Soak the blackberries overnight to ensure any little bugs are eliminated. Wash the blueberries and return to the fridge until ready to make the fool.

  2. Heat the honey in a saucepan with the cinnamon, rinse the blackberries in fresh water and add them to the honey, cooking them until they become soft and their juice bubbles.

  3. Whilst warm strain the blackberries reserving both the juice and the pulp. Allow to cool fully.

  4. Split the yoghurt into two bowls and stir gently with a dessert spoon.

  5. Crush most of the blueberries then mix gently into one of the bowls of yoghurt and return to the fridge. Mix half of the blackberry pulp with the other bowl of yoghurt.

  6. Work quickly to fill six wine glasses with the remaining blackberry pulp. Adding a little of the reserved juice.

  7. Next add a layer of the blackberry yoghurt. Use the back of a teaspoon to make the layers even.

  8. Follow this with adding a layer of crushed biscuits and then another of the chilled blueberry yoghurt.

  9. Finally decorate each glass with a few of the leftover blueberries, a little crushed biscuit and a swirl of blackberry juice.

This is my all-time favourite summer pudding recipe because it evokes old and new memories. Bygone days as a child gathering blackberries with my mum and brothers, walking the country lanes of home. All three of us kids trying to avoid the stinging nettles and thorns; Mum laughing when we didn't.  Later the smell of blackberry and apple crumble baking in the oven.

Now new memories of taking my step-granddaughter out to do the same. But being more health conscious, swapping sweet crumble and custard for something light and fresh. Her taking my hand, urging me to run to show grandad how much fruit she has collected. Then her raiding our garden to gather blueberries from the bushes. She tells me "We can make a strawberry and raspberry one next time." And she's right we can. Because, all I need to make this pud is a bit of summer magic.

 

Amanda Jane DaviesAmanda Jane Davies was born in St David’s the UK’s smallest city. She now resides in South Pembrokeshire.

She is passionate about writing, learning and nature. She currently writes online articles for Richard Jackson’s Garden and Thompson and Morgan Seed Specialists.

Amanda hopes to eventually publish a fictional novel inspired by what she has learned from both her studies with the Writers Bureau and by what she has learned from growing tomatoes! You can read her published work by following her on Twitter using https://twitter.com/AmandaRake2Bake

 


 

Sarah Plater Writers Bureau's Writer of the Year 2017

“I’m currently working on my fourth book, have been paid for my writing by at least 15 different magazines, and now earn half my income from writing – all thanks to The Writers Bureau’s course."

Sarah Plater - Writers Bureau Writer of the Year 2017

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