Sunday, 25 November 2012

Blog Holiday

    I'm having a short break from this blog for a couple of weeks due to work commitments. Meanwhile if this is your first visit please check archive material, which includes a short story over three parts.
   Next post will be on the December 11th 2012. Hope to see you all then.

Thursday, 22 November 2012

The Journey of Regret (Part 3)

Part 3 of 3  (Final)

    I feel a piercing pain in the side of my skull and I explore my right temple with my fingertips. I wince, I've found a bleeding head wound. My blood moistens my fingers and it runs down my face. I can taste the saltiness of it, as it trickles onto my lips and into my mouth. I sit still and try to orientate myself with my surroundings, but the situation I find myself in seems somewhat surreal.

    "Jemma follow me. I will take you to safety," says a woman. I'm unable to see her because of the strong light that is now shining in my face.
    Thank goodness, I feel relieved that a rescue party has arrived.  I can hear the voice of the woman clearly persuading me to follow her. I shakily get to my feet and I clamber into the aisle. I hesitate, I've remembered that my carryall is on the seat to the inside of me. I reach in and I brush my hand across the sticky, velvety pile of the upholstery. But the bag is no longer there, it must have fallen onto the floor. How on earth am I going to find it in this darkness? I sigh, there is no point in me fumbling around to try to locate it.

    The female voice continues to encourage me on, but the light is moving away from me and I have to follow. I take a step and I stumble over something. I bend down and tug at what is some kind of bag, hopefully I've found my carryall. But the item is too small to be mine, I think it may be a briefcase, or a laptop. I push the
bag aside to clear my path and it moves away from me at speed. I hear it coming to a thudding halt somewhere up ahead. 

    I can only assume that the train has been derailed, because the carriage is slightly tilted over to one side and I proceed with difficulty. I grab hold of the backs of the seats to steady myself and I follow the guiding light. I pass by my fellow passengers, some groan loudly and others cry for help. I can't understand why they don't follow the rescuer. 

    Although it seems to have taken forever, I've reached the end of the carriage and to an exit. I stop at the open doorway and look up into the cloudless December sky. The cold air blasts my face, making my cheeks go numb. I take a deep breath, a strong smell of diesel oil fills my nostrils and lungs. A multitude of twinkling stars and a full moon light up the night sky, but they fail to illuminate my surroundings. I can't see anything but the woman's light.

    Jumping down onto the track, I drop to my knees. Sharp stone chippings dig into my flesh, causing me to flinch.
    "Jemma, follow me. I will take you to safety," the woman's voice beckons.
    "Please help me," I plead. I'm still on the ground, but my plea is ignored. I lurch to my feet; the light of the rescuer is advancing and is now some distance ahead. I must gather my strength and go after her.

    I walk unsteadily along the track, my feet slide on the hard-core rock that lies between the rails. I  stagger and I nearly lose my balance. I can hear muffled voices, but they're nowhere near me. I can hear sirens, but they're in the distance. The cold bites through my whole body; I start to shake and my teeth are chattering. I have no other option but to keep following the light. With great difficulty I stifle my sobs, I feel so desperately alone and very scared.

    The light is becoming bigger and brighter, I must be nearing safety at last. My legs are weary, I'm struggling to put one foot in front of the other. My head throbs, my body aches and I want to lie down. I daren't though, because the light is within reach.

    I exhale a sigh of relief, I've reached the light and I’m now bathed in it. Its whiteness burns deep into my eyes. I try to shield them with my hand in an effort to see, but to no avail.
     "You are safe. Your pain will ease. Your wounds will heal. We will take care of you now,” says the woman.

     I drop my arm away from my face; the light no longer hurts my eyes and I can feel it penetrate deep down into my body, into my soul. I try to turn around, but I can't. It's as though I've been cemented to the spot. I turn my head and glance behind me; but there is nothing to see, only the white light.
     "I want to go back,” I beg.
     "I know Jemma, I know. But now you can only look back, because for you there is no going back. You are with us now,” the woman says.


    The 8:00 P.M passenger train to Brighton from Victoria Station, London was derailed at 8:20 P.M yesterday evening. At present the cause is unknown, but accident investigators are on the scene.  

    Several passengers are known to be severely injured and there is one reported fatality. The deceased is believed to be 17-year-old Jemma Anders,who was said to be returning home after visiting some friends in London. Although badly injured, Miss Anders is thought to have wandered from the train following the derailment,in search for help.

    An Emergency Service spokesperson, told reporters that a rescue worker had gone to investigate, what he thought was someone waving a flashlight some distance away from the wreckage.But unfortunately he came across the body of the deceased. It is likely she died because of head injuries. A full postmortem will follow.

    Relatives, family and friends have been informed.


Sunday, 18 November 2012

The Journey of Regret (Part 2)

Part 2 of 3

    However, after two days, I was struggling with the whole living away from home thing. Sneaking into shopping mall restrooms to wash before going for an interview and drying my hair under the hand-dryer. I found it all more than a little alien and I didn't get the jobs either. The most distressing thing for me though, was that I was really missing my mom. I was yearning to hear her voice, feel her arms wrap around me, and giving me a big hug.

     I managed to stick it out for another five days and now I'm on the train, going home. I'm feeling relaxed and I'm now thinking about things constructively, rather than destructively. I managed to make a call to my mom before the train left, from a payphone. I told her I was on my way back; there were lots of tears, but she's forgiven me for my unreasonable behavior. So much so, that she's making my favorite supper tonight. She's a great cook, and I love her chili beef and garlic bread. My stomach's rumbling just thinking about it.

     It's 8.00 PM and the carriage is empty. The other occupants are all seated quite a number of rows away, so there's no one to disturb me with their coughing, sneezing, snoring, or any other bodily function that takes their fancy.

     Suddenly I feel overwhelmed and here was me telling you that I was thinking constructively. Okay I lied; I was just putting on a brave face.

     Deep breathe; I’m putting my negative thoughts in a box and into temporary storage, in a dark corner of my brain. My mind goes blank, I now only hear the noise of the carriage wheels as they roll along the steel track and a state of calmness engulfs my whole being. I close my eyes in the hope that I may be able to drift off to sleep, the state of slumber being something that hasn't been easy to do the last week. The thought of a rat nibbling my toes, or someone stealing what little money I had, kept the adrenalin pumping and the sleep at bay. 

    OMG, I've been awakened by a sudden jolt and the carriage is in darkness. I hear some of my fellow passengers moaning and there's noise of general chaos echoing all around me.

Thursday, 15 November 2012

The Journey of Regret (Part1)

    I thought I would share a short story with you over the next three posts. Hope you enjoy it.

 Part 1 of 3
The Journey of Regret


     I wish in real life there was a pause, rewind and replay button. If there was, maybe I could rectify some things that have happened in the last week, for sure. Have you ever felt that you may have something in common with the guy called Humpty Dumpty? If you remember, his wall tumbled down round about him. I did, except my world came tumbling down. I opened my eyes one day last week and I decided that things could not go on as they were. I was miserable, everything I seemed to do was wrong. I just had to get away. Anywhere, anyplace.

     Well, my septimana horribilis started last Thursday morning at around 6:30 a.m to be exact. It began with my mom, going on and on about me staying out after curfew time. A curfew time that I felt, she had unfairly imposed upon me. Bottom line is we had a terrible row, I threw my dolly out of the pram big style and I stropped out of the house.

     This row was the straw that broke the camel's back, so to speak. At school that day, I just could not concentrate. All I could think about was the cross words that my mom and I exchanged that morning. Arriving home in the evening from school, the rowing started again and I decided it was best if I went to my room; never surfacing for the rest of the night. So when I woke up on Friday morning  I made the decision to leave home.

     Mom and I didn't say much over breakfast, but we never did anyway. She thought I was heading for school as usual. But of course, I wasn't. To run away from home I knew I was going to need some money. Luckily, for me Dad had given me some money on his last visit and if I watched what I was doing, I would be able to get by on that until I got a job. One of my school friends had left home, she had gotten a job as a waitress, and that's exactly what I was going to do. I would be working long hours, but Emily, she’s my friend, said that the tips were great. 

     I checked the train timetable on my PC and I saw that there was an early train into Victoria. Instead of my schoolbooks, I packed what I could in the way of clothing, toiletries, and a couple of things that had some sentimental value into my carryall. I wrote a quick note explaining my reasons for going, and that I regretted that it had ever come to this. Dressed in my school clothes I set off as normal. Mom had no reason to suspect anything; we had disagreed a million times before. So what was knew?

     I arrived at the station feeling sick as a dog; I had never been away from home on my own before. I received a message on my cell phone from Emily just as my train was pulling out of the station, she said that she had to work. But all going well she would still be able to meet up with me first thing at Victoria station. But when my train turned up an hour and a half late, all my plans were thrown up in the air, adding to my anxiety. Eventually we did meet up and she took me back to her squat. The folks she’s sharing with were very accommodating; they were happy for me to move in and even happier when I offered to contribute something towards the communal living expenses.

to be contd: Monday19th November.

Monday, 12 November 2012

For Whom the Bell Tolls

    I swivel around on my chair, away from my desk and I take a long hard look at the bookcase before me. Dictionary after dictionary, thesaurus after thesaurus, take pride of place. English, American  English, Australian English, urban, slang, Spanish and French, line my shelves. Some of these treasured editions I've had since my schooldays, and I can tell you that those days are a hazy memory.

    Why am I giving you a running commentary of my workplace surroundings? Well, Macmillan Publisher, sounded the death knell for the print version of their English dictionary and I'm feeling somewhat sad about it.

    I lift down one of my early acquisitions and flicking through the leaves I look with fond memory at the dog-eared pages.  A sudden wisp of air catches hold of one of the loose leaves and I manage to clutch it before it floats to the floor. Emm, page 142, should not be inserted before page 268, but that's where it has spent years, not causing any kind of disquiet. The merging of the pages starting with the word garble and the word potbelly has been a happy one.

    You could argue that there are good reasons for print editions of the dictionary being phased out. After all, in the English language alone new words continually evolve, as our English-speaking world becomes an ever-growing melting pot. Meaning that a new edition has to be printed every four, or five years. Macmillan also points out that it's now online and free, no purchase necessary, which is a big plus.

    However, that's okay if you're online, you have access to the Internet, a computer, an eBook, or an android; never mind an electricity supply. When I write I try to stay offline, therefore if I want to search for meanings, synonyms, or antonyms, I don't want to go back online to do so. I favor my old, crumpled and beloved dictionaries. Therefore I feel a sadness at Macmillan's decision to end the printed version of the dictionary.

    How do you feel? Will it make ant difference to you?

Thursday, 8 November 2012

Standing Proud

     Although I'm not American, it was very hard this week not to be caught up in the pomp and circumstance of the Election 2012.

     Twitter buzzed with excitement, and encouragement. TV, newspapers and blogs were crammed full with photographs of the people waiting in line, in the various allocated centers for voting. Some of the prospective voters chatted with friends; others settled down and just read a good book, whiling away the time until it was their turn.

     I was encouraged by the lengths that people were willing to go to, to cast their vote. Especially on the east coast, which still hasn't recovered completely from the effects of Hurricane Sandy. When living in a democracy, a vote is an entitlement we expect on attaining legal age.

     But it hasn't always been so; for women in the UK for instance, voting didn't come about until February 6 1918, and that was only open to women over the age of 30 years. Eventually in 1928, the age was reduced to 21 years of age; nevertheless, it's hard to take in that the right for females to vote only came to fruition here, 94 years ago.

     The Women's Suffrage Movement and women such as Emmeline Pankhurst campaigned for years throughout the world, Britain, America and Australia to name but a few countries. Their fight for social equality for women and the right to vote was finally achieved.

     Although these campaigns focused on women’s rights and attaining them a vote; voting is just part of the big picture. These activists helped create a free and progressive society for all, within a democratic society.

     The American’s who voted should be proud, because this is what the campaigners of the past, fought to achieve.

Monday, 5 November 2012

Our Unsung Heroes

     The last two weeks have been a living nightmare for thousands of people. Losing loved ones, close friends, homes and belongings.

     October the 22nd, was when a tropical depression formed off the Southern Caribbean and she started her journey leaving devastation in her path.

     Initially the winds were not the problem, but the deluge of rain that washed through the island of Hispaniola, turned many lives’ there, upside down. Making things even tougher for Haitians, as their country hasn't completely recovered since the earthquake there in 2010.

     The storm continued to brew and the birth of Hurricane Sandy was announced. By October 26, she was making her way across Jamaica, Cuba and the Bahamas. There was no stopping her.

     She continued to travel and made landfall on the east coast of America. She was now stronger than before and punished all, in her way. Carrying on into Canada still causing mayhem and tragedy.

     It will be easier for some to pick up the pieces of their lives where they left off, than others will. Many lives have changed forever and will need all the help they can get.

     For those who will need help, the Red Cross is a savior. Over 100 years ago, Swiss Henry Dunant set the wheels in motion in Europe to help others in times of life changing events.

     As did nurse and humanitarian, Clara Barton, during the American Civil War when she founded the American Red Cross.

     There will be so many stories to be told, but so many of our unsung heroes that we will never know about. The Red Cross I believe is one such unsung hero and unsung heroes save lives. : America Red Cross  : European Red Cross : InternationalFederation of Red Cross and Red Crescent

Thursday, 1 November 2012

Tweeting Needn't Be A Halloween Experience

    Social networking is an integral part of marketing ourselves as authors, a hard fact. However, it's not something that I initially felt comfortable with. The thought of blogging and tweeting filled me with angst. Not because I'm an unsociable person; that I can deny categorically. Because I was scared of ...? Who knows what I was scared of. But, it's strange how we try to avoid the things we're afraid of.  

    Gritting my teeth, I prepared myself to venture into unfamiliar territory. For my blog, I tried out both Wordpress and Blogger sites, before finally deciding to go with Blogger. There's probably very little difference between the sites, although I'm sure some of you may be able to tell me otherwise. For me it came down to which site I felt at ease navigating myself around. Nothing more, nothing less. I didn't care if my site, could sing, dance, or had bells on. I just needed to build my confidence in the usage of networking sites.
The Tweets

    My blog was set up and I had posted my first post; it was time to tackle Twitter. I'm not going to bore you with me setting up my account. Because, hey, how could I ever have believed it would be some kind of Halloween experience.
The Followers
    This is where I  introduce the feathery guys in the pictures. These are some of my little feathered friends; I'm lucky enough to have them live and roam my garden 365 days a year. Favorite, is a male robin, he has been networking with me, for six years now. He was scared at first, but gradually we built up an understanding and a great mutual trust.

    The Tweets, are Favorites' kids. They're three, of this year's brood of eight. As a dad, it's up to Favorite to teach the kids, how to survive in the wild. But Favorite is a clever guy, and he knows that there are times that he needs a little help from humans.  That's when he introduced the family to me, one by one, including Mrs. Favorite. Initially the Tweets and mum, were slightly apprehensive of me, but eventually they accepted me and as you can see are perfectly at ease in my company.

    The Followers, are house sparrows and they followed the lead of, Favorite, too. That means that they have thrown caution to the wind and they too happily feed whilst I'm around.

    The thing is I don't believe that my experience with social networking sites, is so different, from the interaction I have with, Favorite and company. Because it takes time to build mutual trust in order to interact with each other. It also takes time to build up followers, and similar to the birds a little vigilance is always needed. That's why I'm going to keep on tweeting.

    How do you feel about social networking?