Friday Fiction: I Arrived at the Garden Gate, Part 3

“So,” she said, taking a deep gulp from her mug, “where do we start?”

A soft breeze caressed the tops of the cedar tree at the end of the garden. The cuckoo called out again.

“Well, I was hoping you could tell me how you came to know Laura?” I ventured. “She never mentioned you or said anything about you so it came as quite a surprise when we discovered your phone number in her calls list.” Continue reading

Fiction Friday: I Arrived At The Garden Gate, Part 2

Well, thanks to your lovely responses to my first piece of flash fiction last Friday, I’ve decided to continue the story.  Here’s Part 2.  I’ll be continuing to post each Friday until I feel its time to stop. Enjoy!

To read Part 1, click here.

“Hello!” came a bright female voice from the greenhouse in the far corner. “Is that Mr Roberts?”

A small lady in her early seventies approached, pulling off her muddy gardening gloves and stretching out a clean hand to mine.

“Pleasure to meet you,” she said, with a wide, warm smile, her lively blue eyes immediately holding mine.  Continue reading

Friday Fiction: I Arrived at the Garden Gate, Part 1

I’m currently doing a Creative Writing course for which we get writing assignments.  I thought it’d be fun to post some of these whilst I’m doing the course and see how you like them.  If you do, I may continue to write more of the particular story.  So here’s the first.

Our assignment was to write a short piece of descriptive writing about a beautiful garden that started “I arrived at the garden gate”:

I arrived at the garden gate. It was one of those tall slatted wooden affairs set back into a thick beech hedge. There was nothing about it to catch the eye. Time and air had camouflaged the metal numbers on the gate making it barely visible.

I peered at it.

“22 – this must be it,” I thought. She had said it was easy to miss.  “Probably best if you come round the back,” she had advised on the phone.

Behind me a dog barked at a passerby crossing the old graveyard. I gathered my resolve and clicked open the gate. Continue reading

Telling ‘My Story’ to Alex James of Bereavement UK

BereavementUKLogoA few months ago, I got in touch with the charity Bereavement UK to see if they’d be interested in me writing for them in their magazine.  As it turned out, they no longer produce a magazine but offer a website with a wide range of resources and information for the bereaved or for professionals working with bereaved.  But after reading my post September: Season of Mist and Mellow Sadness, the founder and co-director, Alex James, called me up with a suggestion.  “I’d love you to come and do a podcast for us, to chat about your experience for a series we’re starting called ‘My Story’.”

So, last Tuesday I found myself driving up the A5 to do just that. Continue reading

Remembering 21 September: bereavement 31 years on

Kate & Dad's Grave9/11 is a difficult date for thousands of people around the world.  For our family, it is 21 September, today’s date.  It was 31 years ago today when tragedy struck: whilst driving the family home from a cousin’s wedding my dad suffered a minor stroke. He was on the motorway.  My 17 year old sister died, my father suffered a serious head injury, my mother injuries to her spine, my brother’s minor injuries. I first wrote about it 3 years ago in ‘September: seasons of mist and mellow sadness’. Check this out if you’re not familiar with my story.

So it’s hardly surprising this date is seared into my family’s collective memory as one to endure, mark, recoil from or simply struggle through, depending on one’s mood.  For the first 10-15 years, we did all of the above, but usually quietly: my father, having a compromised memory would often not even be aware of the date, and so we would be left wondering how much to remind him, caught between the importance of marking it as a family or diplomatically sweeping it under the carpet. Continue reading