The Offie

This morning I read a prompt from Oloriel at ‘We Drink Because We’re Poets’. It’s about remembering a place from your past and she said
‘This week I would like you to share with me a poem about a place – a place that was dear to you, but is no longer there. It can be a bar, a museum, a library, bookstore, your old school – anything. I invite you to tell me what changed, what got replaced and how did it make you feel. Form, length, rhyme, all is optional.’
Me, being me, read the prompt entirely wrong. Why I would read a prompt on a poetry blog and not catch on that I was supposed to write a poem I don’t now, but I’ve only just caught on. I’m posting anyway because the little memories were special for me.

The Offie

Sparkling white art deco instead of grubby cream. Now the future homes of well-heeled, aspiring middle class, first time buyers. Curved windows that will forever be a problem to curtain well, high ceilings that will keep the fuel bills high. I used to peep through those windows to see who was sitting on the curved seats inside them, all the time wondering what it would be like to sit there. By the time I was old enough to sit there, it was the last place I wanted to sit, not trendy enough for me, filled with old men and Laners have a night in the posh one instead of the Flying Horse. Me, I preferred the club scene, even if a Babycham was twice the price.
I wonder what happened to Ross, Mr Whitaker. He always had a soft spot for me and watched me grow from a toddler to an eighteen year old, who thought she was sophisticated. In the beginning it was Spangles, Maltesers or if I got lucky a big bar of Dairy Milk. Crisps were Smiths, and the salt came in a little blue paper twist, that you had to reach to the bottom of the bag to find. It was never enough to make the whole packet salty! I loved the salted peanuts as well, until a connection was made between eating them, and waking up an hour after bedtime with vomit in my hair.
The entrance was on the side, in, turn left, no dawdling to see what was up the corridor – barrels, boxes and a pay phone and then a choice of two doors side by side. I was only allowed in the first, the second was for adults. It was years before I was tall enough to lean on the tiny counter to ask for my own sweeties or bottle of fizzy pop. At weekends it was rowdy and when I stopped being a little girl, I’d get yelled at by the blokes who could see me from the other side, the dark side.
Years later I learnt that Ross and his wife had moved back to London. I felt sorry for him, she was a miserable old boot. I rarely went that way and when I did it had deteriorated badly, windows and doors boarded up and generally going to wrack and ruin. Rumours were that it was going to be demolished. Then last year, I was stuck in traffic at the bottom of the road, craning my neck I saw the dazzling white paint. The St Loyes had been converted into apartments. I wonder if there is any trace of the art deco left inside. I wonder if the beery, cidery, smoky smell has ever left the pub and if the Off Licence is someone’s bedroom.
If you’d like to check out the prompt and use it properly, it’s here.

No Small Stones

For the last two Januarys I have chosen to write a small stone for each day of the month. This year it came upon me suddenly – who knew that January was on its way? Late on New Years Day I thought about joining in and decided against it. I also looked at the idea of joining the WordPress  ‘Zero to Hero’, month but again it didn’t quite fit with my goals.

Do I even have a goal for blogging? should I have one? Blogging is addictive, I absolutely love it, the never ending surprises when I open my reader, but most of all, the connections with you my dear followers.

So, rather than commit to posting every day for a month, I’ll commit to continuing, hopefully improving my posts to Lucid Gypsy this year. I love photography, but this blog didn’t set out to be about photos, I would like to write more instead. That may be my simple poetry, it will never be poetry that takes hours to write. It will never be fiction that is honed to perfection, but I hope there will sometimes be stories, perhaps flash fiction that will make you smile, or irritate you or just feel.

I will keep looking at the world around me with  writer’s eyes because these eyes see some crazy sights, and I’ll try my best to show you what I see with or without my camera.

Thank you for sharing your time with me, every comment, like or whatever is a note in my gratitude jar.

Love and light, from Gypsy.

Weekly Writing Challenge: Snapshot

Today Erica at the Daily Post said,

At a concert. Snap. At a restaurant. Snap. Watching the sun set. Snap. These days, everything feels like a Kodak moment. What happens when you stop taking pictures, and use words to capture a moment instead?

This is what happened when I didn’t snap today.

Snapped Flags

A windblown flash of colour caught my eyes. He turned, dropped a stub of fire to the ground and rubbed the heel of a Nike trainer into it, pressing the pavement like a dog leaving its scent until it was extinguished. The colour flashed again. He swept aside green fabric with a white cross emblazoned on it, the flag of Devon, revealing scruffy denim with frayed edges.

Intrigued, I looked up; two people were ahead of him as he waited to get on the bus. I stopped, fumbled for my phone camera but changed my mind, what if he saw me . . . Instead I acted as if I might just get on the bus. He was wearing a letterbox red gilet, somewhat effeminate, over a bold shirt with a large black and white check pattern, below a crown of orang-utan hair.

As he moved up the queue I took my eyes off his hair, and his garments became clearer in the light of the bus. He bent to pick up a bag, stooping from the waist down, releasing more fabric, dipping onto the damp path at the front. It looked like he had a dozen or more oblongs of bright silk attached to his middle. How? Tied to a belt? Made into a silk version of a grass skirt?

No-one else seemed to notice him; if they did they weren’t acknowledging him in any way. I was blocking the way and had to move aside and I nearly missed his ascent of the steps. Before the bus protected him, a final small gust of breeze caught him, bright as a Morris Dancer on amphetamines, blowing first a Union Jack,  next, a red flag with a star and a crescent moon, I hunted back through my memory Turkey, yes that was it, Turkey. Stripes of black, red and yellow, another blue with a small Union Jack in its corner, and a Star Spangled Banner, bold as it should be. The door closed behind him, narrowly missing blue with yellow stars in a circle, familiar of course, the EU flag.

It is a public building, but not in the centre of town, and there were no events taking place, no festival, although he wouldn’t have looked out of place at Glastonbury. Perhaps I’m just dull; I wonder how I would look in a flag skirt. Maybe if I were younger I could get away with it. I didn’t even get to see his face, but I could tell that he was middle aged and happy in his own skin. I suppressed a laugh, people never stop surprising me.

Does this seem real? well it is, I actually did see this today. What have you seen today that made you smile? You all know how hard it is for me to not take photos, how about you? If you care to share go to . . .

Crossing genres

A writing friend of mine, Rebecca Alexandra has penned the Myslexia Blog this month. It’s an excellent read in which she talks about genre and breaking a few rules. Rebecca’s first novel will be published in two months and I can’t wait to read it, click the link to find out more about Myslexia, the writing competition that helped Rebecca achieve her dream and her novel ‘The Secrets of Life and Death’.

Crossing genres.

CPW’s Picture prompt

Last week I went for a lunchtime walk with Crazy Polish Woman who complained that my blog is full of photos and not much writing these days. I explained that I have to keep my best writing for the course I’m studying, and to build up a body of work, but I do try to do the 100 word challenge most weeks, because flash fiction isn’t too trying.

Back at my desk she emailed me this picture, with the question ‘What is happening here?’


The picture, by Charles Sims is called ‘and the fairies ran away with their clothes’ . But this is what I think is happening, what do you think?

Small Saboteurs

Now my love I want you to listen carefully.

You see these pretty little creatures at my feet? Well they are my small saboteurs and they lived with me for a long time. In the beginning they smiled and told me I was a silly little girl. But gradually they started to change. They said I was stupid, a hopeless case and that I would never get anywhere in life, and I believed them and became just that, hopeless.

Next they said I was ugly, and that I was getting fat. And so I never smiled, I screwed my face into a frown, turned my mouth down and ate and ate until I thought I would burst.

Worst of all, was when they told me that no one would ever love me. So I made sure that no one would, I behaved very badly.

Still my small saboteurs told me how bad I was, they all shouted at once and gave me such a headache that I shouted back, ‘Stop it, shut up and go away,’ I was very angry. They fell silent and huddled together, so I quickly put them in my hat and locked it in my drawer.

I felt a little better right away, and the very next day I met a handsome man, who said that I had a pretty smile. I smiled at myself in the mirror, turning from side to side, and saw that I had a tiny bit of prettiness, so I smiled wider!

The handsome man was always kind to me, and before I knew it, he said that he loved me and wanted me to be his wife. I was so happy that I forgot all about the small saboteurs, and then along you came.

So I want you to know that if ever a saboteur speaks to you, they speak untruths, and you must never believe them. I’ve taken these creatures out of the drawer and I’m going to drop them in the old well one by one, never to be seen or heard again.





100 Word Challenge forGrown Ups Week# 63

100WCGU (7)


Julia has gone for a seasonal prompt this week with ‘and winter will bring . . .’

I didn’t think I would make it, but as I’m babysitting this evening, the late night is an opportunity, so here is

Winter’s Gifts

And winter will bring enduring moon

regal rotund shining for hours through the six a.m. alarm

through sharp ice sky rolling to the west

as  dawn ripples from the east.

And winter will bring ice

crunching crystals on grass shooting veneer onto pond

silvered birch a forest of icycled chandeliers.

And winter will bring

spiralling north wind on street corners

whipping around limbs and petrifying ears.

And winter will bring light precious from low sky sun

concentrated through window an illusion of warmth

no substance and stunted shadows.

And winter will bring thrust from the underworld

Galanthus to herald the spring.

Join in with Julia at

100 Word Challenge for Grown Ups Week# 59

Julia has chosen this picture for her challenge this week. A photo I have seen before and wondered, whatever would make someone walk to the edge, never mind sit there? How would you get back up again?

So I think it would have to be a very desperate reason.

Long Drop

That morning he’d found her cowering in the barn, her face turned eggplant purple, and an ugly gash to the back of her head. His brother-in-law had stirred when Ray took the gun from his belt, and pulled a blade, as he used the hay bales to push himself up. He crumpled instantly, blood sprayed from his mouth, it took just one of his own bullets, shot from Ray’s steady hand.

He listened until he had heard both a heavy thud and an empty metallic clatter. That’s taken care of it. I’ve covered my tracks and she’ll come to no harm again. 

We Go Out After Dark

I’m finally having a go at Maggie Elizabeth’ prompt, this week she said it could be  a photo, art, writing or a song. 

So I’m using a photo you may have seen before  and have just scrawled this to go with it. You may need to live in Britain to get it, I don’t know?

We go out after dark

Freshness of face hidden

Under identical masks

Displaying our individuality

Our dress sense unique

Only five thousand made

For a top shops 440 branches

Glittered American nails

Rhinestoned sweep of lashes

Scaffolding to access

Gold heeled sparkling platforms

Break our legs on Jagerbombs

When we go out after dark

Very rare huntresses

Maggie would be thrilled to see you if you would like to join in!

Friday Fictioneers: Hollow Debt

I couldn’t get anywhere when I looked at Madison’s photo prompt for the fictioneers and was going to give it a miss. One more look tonight and suddenly I’d done in in ten minutes. What do you make of the photo? there’s still time to enter, photo by Lura Helmstree

Twenty years since I last saw it and I still clean jumped out of my skin. It had decayed and sunk into the hollow, looking for all the world like some strange mystic fungus. I could still picture how it was back then, each week the flesh got blacker and the rancid stench warned me I was close. He was supposed to be a devil worshipper, so I always wore a cross, and carried garlic when I went to pay the debt for mom. Then one time mom, Aunt May and Aunt Wilma went together and he was never seen again.

100 Word Challenge For Grown Ups Week# 53

Julia has given us ‘would seven prove to be too much’ and another hundred words to play with for her challenge this week. Will you join in this time? It’s fun and a good way to see how briefly you can tell a story. Try here,  and now for my entry.

Fiacre’s Seven Seeds

‘Will I be able to look after them all?’ Fiacre counted the seeds in his hand.

‘Ah, would seven prove to be too much? That’s the question I asked myself when I was your size’

‘What if they grow too big for my vegetable plot grandfather?

‘Let’s leave your little garden for a moment child, come, look to the east.’ A vast cultivated valley spread a green carpet as far as the boy could see. ‘The great creator gave my grandfathers grandfather seven seeds. Tell me, are these crops too much, too much too feed our people?

‘Grandfather, will seven seeds be enough?’