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Time Slip

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Tomorrow (Thursday) is the autumnal equinox, equal day and night, and marks the last day of summer. The days become shorter as we slip into autumn and approach the Winter Solstice in December. And for some it is a time for celebration.

In pagan mythology the equinox is called Mabon when thanks are given for summer and tribute is paid to the coming darkness. Wiccan festivals include building an altar with offerings of fruit and vegetables; druids gather at Stonehenge to watch the sun rise; the church celebrates Harvest Festival towards the end of September; the Chinese hold a Moon Festival during September; Rosh Hashanah, the Jewish New Year holiday also begins tomorrow.

However, and certainly in recent years, it seems the last days of summer are marked in another way – preparing for Christmas. Yes folks, it may only be September but it’s started already. For weeks trees, lights and decorations have been going up in garden centres, cards hit the shops ages ago, now foodie goodies are on the supermarket shelves (some with a pre Xmas ‘best by’ date); and all before we have even got to Halloween or Bonfire Night. ‘Christmas’ is well and truly out of control.

Perhaps we should move the seasons, shift an equinox or two. Do you think it’s too early to start painting and rolling eggs?

Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

Golden Clippings

Published soon….

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…a collection of short stories and poems by ThirskWriteNow in celebration of their fifth anniversary.

ThirskWriteNow is a group of enthusiastic adult writers who gather every other Tuesday in an upstairs meeting room of a former coaching inn, the Golden Fleece Hotel. These are just a few of their (and my) stories…

Yorkshire Day

NIK_9355Yorkshire Day, the first day of August, a day when Yorkshire folk wear with pride the White Rose and celebrate all things Yorkshire.

A day when Yorkshire puddings are eaten, ferrets stuffed down trousers, pigeons fancied, whippets raced, flat caps thrown in the air, rhubarb thwacked and ale quaffed with much mirth and merriment.

Nowt so queer as folk, you may think.

But as we say hereabouts:-

‘Ear all, see all, say nowt,
Eyt all, sup all, pay nowt,
And if ivver tha’ does owt fer nowt
Allus do it fer thissen

‘ave a reet good (Yorkshire) day.

This, the first omnibus of tales as told by Antony J Waller, brings together three story collections previously published individually as: A Funny Thing Happened the Other Day…, The Lady in Red Boots, and Tales From the Head. When Antony invites a reader into a story, he provides not only a sense of a companionable journey, but also delivers more than the ‘ticket’ promises; a laugh, a few tears, a sense of belonging, and more. Readers of his stories are his puppets; and, he deftly works the strings throughout Tales, The Omnibus.

Available on Amazon Kindle
Tales, The Omnibus.

The Migrant

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In the near future, in a land on the edge of Empire not far, far away….

 

The Migrant

I look into his eyes. And see nothing. No flicker of emotion. No spark of humanity. Just cold and hard, matter-of-fact. He thrusts a life jacket into my shaking hands and shoves along me after the others, a bedraggled snaking line of thirty people. We clamber down the last few slippery rain-soaked steps cut into the cliff to reach the isolated shingle beach below.  Barely visible in the early morning gloom beyond the line of breaking waves I see the outline of a fishing boat moored alongside a short stone jetty built in the lee of the rocks. This boat is taking me to a new life.

I sink ankle deep into the wet shingle and my feet crunch across the beach. The wind drops, the squally shower ceases and the steely grey light is now tinged with threads of gold. There is a sense of urgency and several figures dressed in dark clothing gesticulate towards the jetty and the boat, pushing us along.

I reach the jetty and await my turn, suddenly racked with doubt. Raised voices, an argument breaks out. An older couple lugging a heavy suitcase and another man in black with dead eyes.

“No baggage, no possessions. Space is for people. People pay. Unless you want to pay more?”

The woman screams and the suitcase is abandoned. It’s not the only one.

I take my place on a bench near the wheelhouse. The boat stinks. Reeking of diesel fumes and fish infused with stale sweat, urine and vomit. It doesn’t take any imagination to work out which catch is the most profitable these days. We are shoe-horned aboard, ropes are untied and cast off and the engine coughs and stutters into life to begin the short journey around the point.

I had been desperate to get out for ages. I’d lost my job, was unable to find another, my savings were disappearing and I could see no future in staying. Then I met this man in a pub who knew someone who could offer me a job and a fresh start. An opportunity too good to miss and soon everything was agreed. I just had to make the necessary arrangements, say goodbye to my old life and leave everything and everyone I had ever known behind. It wasn’t easy, the country had changed and these days you had to be careful. Normal channels and procedures were difficult and took time and I realised the only way was a ‘moonlight flit’. Phone calls were made, I spoke to faceless people, money changed hands, instructions were received and my journey began.

Now it is nearing an end. The stench of the boat is fading and I trudge across the firm sand searching for the boardwalk between the dunes and the spiky marram grass to lead me to a rendezvous with a man in a white van on a narrow coastal road.

I find my way. A transit van glints in the early morning sunshine, the driver leans against the side smoking a cigarette and checking his watch.  I pass an old millstone at the side of the road and read the now faded lettering.

‘Failte gu Alba’, it says, ‘Welcome to Scotland’.

I turn my back and walk away.

 

Words Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

tintiied

 

…what can you see?

Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

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“The fairies really own this house
or so the children say,
In fact, they all of them moved in
upon the self same day.” *

In the pretty village of Thorpeness on the Suffolk coast there is a house which literally towers head and shoulders above its neighbours and can be seen for miles around. Known as ‘the ‘house in the clouds’ this 70 foot 5-storey tall former water tower was originally built and clad in wood with the water tank ‘disguised’ as a house so as to blend in with the surrounding countryside and to conceal its true use. Completed in 1923 it stored 50,000 gallons of water to provide the village with a water supply. Mains water was installed in the village in 1977 and two years later the water tank was finally removed and the conversion into ‘the house in the clouds’ completed. The rooms are spread over 5 floors and there are 68 steps from top to bottom, though there are 4 landings and 5 half landings to make the climb easier. And if you like a room with a view and a holiday with a difference it is available to rent.

* Verse inspired by the House- Mrs Malcolm Mason. 1923

 

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Words and photographs Copyright © 2016 by Antony J Waller

 

 

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