Tag Archives: dreams

Word Bohemia September Writing Challenge – Day 11

Out of order again but I love this photograph


She had finally made it. Venice lay before her.  True, she couldn’t see very much with all the mist swirling about but the important thing was she was here. How long had she been planning this?  All her life, it seemed to her.  Waiting at the bottom of the age-worn steps of the hotel, her gondola and gondolier.  Not quite the dashing Italian she had imagined in her twenties, admittedly,  more like Mario.  She ran briskly down, tripping on the last step, almost catapulting herself into the boat.

‘Senora, you leave your zaino, your packback here.  It will be quite safe.’

‘Thank you, no,’ she said firmly.  ‘I will keep it with me.’

Day 11
© David Vale

She wasn’t going to let Ruskin out of her sight.   Safely stowed in the rucksack was an annotated copy of ‘The Stones of Venice’ by John Ruskin.  She had marked all the features she most wanted to see.  Her special guide to the city.

As Mario poled the gondola away from the quayside, she sat back, not without some discomfort, because of Ruskin.  It was a large book and heavy, more than she had realised.  Charles, chief architect of the practice, had given it to her when she’d had to leave to look after her mother during her terminal illness. She’d envisaged going back to work but Aunt Ida needed her and then her father became so frail she’d returned to look after him.  With a faint smile she recalled Charles’ inscription on the flyleaf: ‘It should have been a fortnight’s holiday but ….’.  She sighed, there was a time when she had thought she and Charles ….

‘Senora, Senora.  We are here, we have arrived.’

With a start she realised ‘Mario’ had been trying to attract her attention for some time.  She lurched to her feet, the gondola swaying with her sudden movement, and stumbled towards the side of the boat.  Flustered, she moved too quickly, the boat tipped,  her foot failed to find purchase and she plunged over the edge into the murky waters of the canal.  She could see nothing through the mud-coloured water.  She clamped her mouth shut and screwed up her eyes trying not to think of what else might be floating in the vortex whirling round her.  Her feet had landed in a soft ooze into which she sank further as she circled her arms wildly.  Bubbles of air escaped from her mouth and her lungs gasped for oxygen. Briefly she considered giving up.  Then her innate Scottish upbringing kicked in.

‘What, you’ve spent all that money, not even seen the city?  Get rid of Ruskin, he’s dragging you down.’

Dropping her backpack to sink into the mud, she shot upwards and surfaced gasping, to be pulled out of the canal by a crowd of voluble Italians issuing contradictory statements of advice.  Wrapped in a blanket with a cup of coffee in one hand and a glass of wine in the other, she waited for the taxi to take her back to her hotel, by land, this time.  She could always buy another copy of ‘The Stones of Venice’.


Word Bohemia September Challenge – Days 12, 13, 14

Falling very far behind, for various reasons.  So here are three days in one, just  a haiku and a couple of cinquains.

Day 12


© Sharon Woodcock
© Sharon Woodcock



Doomed, decayed it stands
cross-barred, dressed in stone, forgotten,
green-shadowed, mystic.




Day 13 (particularly for those living in or near Edinburgh)
© David Vale
© David Vale


Turn on the lights,
ring the bell, close the doors,
crank up the gears and turn the wheel,
a tram!


Day 14
© David Vale
© David Vale


Greek Hesperos
brilliant star of nightfall
enchant all the star-crossed lovers


Word Bohemia September Writing Challenge – Day 9

You may have noticed I have skipped Day 8.   Still thinking about it, have an idea but not come together yet.  I am also cheating today as I have some accounts to prepare for a meeting.  So this is a story I prepared earlier, but it seemed to fit in well with the cupcakes.

Time for Cake

Today is the last Thursday of the month. It’s the day we get together for crafty activities.  We used to meet in Megan’s front room but we needed somewhere with more privacy, so now we rent the room above The Rose and Crown.   Picking up my needlework I make for the front door.  I can hear the roar of a football crowd coming from the TV.   I put my head round the door.   Trevor is sitting in his usual chair, head in hands.  His team must have missed a goal.  Another roar from the crowd and he looks up.

‘Come on, come on, pass the ball man, pass the ball.  Bloody idiot!  Pass, man, pass!’

‘I’m just off now,’ I say.

‘What? Oh right, bye dear, have a nice time.’

‘We’re having an orgy tonight,’ I tell him.  ‘We’re going to dance naked round a bonfire.’

‘That’s nice dear,’ he says, eyes glued to the screen.  ‘Shoot now, moron.  Shoot!’

Running up the stairs at the Rose and Crown, I fling open the door.   The room is cosy with its wood panelling and the heat from the log fire warms my frosted cheeks.  I see I’m the last to arrive.   The others are seated already and the table is colourful with silks, wools and pieces of canvas.  Megan, Sybil, Elinor, Rosie and our latest member, Hilary.

Something about her makes the hairs on my arm stand up.  I can’t understand why Megan has allowed her to join the group.  We’re careful about new members and she doesn’t seem our type at all.

Megan takes the roll of canvas from the top of the cupboard and says we should work on our communal project.   With Sybil’s help, she unrolls it on the long trestle table.  Hilary’s eyes nearly pop out of her head.  She opens her mouth, closes it and has another look.  When she does speak, her voice is croaky.

‘It’s very …,’ she’s lost for words, ‘…explicit, isn’t it?   Is that a …?’ and her voice tails away.

‘Oh!’ says Megan, glancing up, ‘Yes, that’s exactly what you think it is.  Would you like to finish stitching that bit or would you rather help with the flames?’

Hilary quickly says she will carry on with her small bookmark.   She doesn’t speak for the next half an hour while we stitch and chatter, catching up with all the news.

Then Megan stretches her arms gracefully in front of her and stands up.

© Cassie Tillett

‘Time for refreshments,’ she says.   ‘Time for … cake, girls.’

We glance at each other and Megan catches me looking at Hilary.

‘Don’t fret,’ she says under her breath, ‘ I’ve got it sorted.’

She comes back carrying a white china plate with six iced cupcakes in their paper cases.   We stand up, take one each, except for Hilary who says she doesn’t eat sweet things.  Sybil picks up Hilary’s cake and holds it out with a warm smile.

‘I know it seems silly, but it’s one of our traditions.   We all take a bite at the same time.  Do try just one mouthful.  They are so delicious I’m sure you won’t be able to resist it.’

We sink our teeth into the moist spice of the cake.   I have my eye on Hilary.  Megan must have added something mega special because I can see the intensity hits her like a sledgehammer.  She stuffs the remainder of the cake into her mouth as if her life depends on it.  Megan takes hold of Hilary’s right arm and Sybil takes her left and we all join hands.  Then it begins.  The adrenaline rush, our heightened perception as the walls of the room become opaque.  We whirl through the night, constellations rotating crazily above us.  The wood smoke from the bonfire curls around, invading us with its fragrance.  The flames silhouetting the gyrating figures light up the headland as we approach. The drums beat out their primitive rhythm and wildly we plunge into the celebrations.   I catch sight of Hilary, pursued by one or two of our unattached satyrs but she doesn’t seem to be trying very hard to get away.

When I come to, as usual, I am the last one, and everyone else is already seated round the table, a little dishevelled.   All except Hilary, who is slumped over and doesn’t look as if she is moving. Sybil is bending over her, feeling for a pulse. She shakes her head.

‘Megan’s gone to phone for the ambulance and the police.’

When Megan comes back into the room, she tells us the police are on their way.

‘I was right,’ she said.   Hilary had been sent to investigate the rumours.  Robbie confirmed it when I spoke to him just now.   He’ll be along shortly with the police pathologist.’

Then I know it is going to be OK.  Robbie was with me tonight and the pathologist was with Sybil.