Tuesday, 11 June 2013

The Quiet Woman

I've entered this piece into the Mob Flash Writing Competition. It goes live on the 21st June here:

This is not a travel piece in the conventional sense. It is a journey through life.

The Quiet Woman
She rarely spoke to me.
A quiet woman.
Yet her body told a thousand stories.
Her hair
snowy-owl white, feathery, falling in wisps about her face. She’d no time for herself, always tending others: a husband, twelve children and any other strays who came her way - the homeless, the abandoned, the neglected and the orphaned; the endless stream of farmhands passing through, stopping by her kitchen table. She thought nothing of cooking up breakfast for twenty.
Her skin
weathered brown and rough like an old chamois. Lined and cracked, I’d trace each story line with my mind - a lifetime of lines, a lifetime of stories.
 Her hands
 gnarled and twisted. Hands that cradled babies, buried month old twins, wiped away tears, smacked bottoms, shook a child in anger, held a child in love. Those hands had tugged knots from hair, twisted strands into braids or tied them down in rags.
Hands that manhandled pigs, wrung the necks of turkeys, squeezed the teats of milking cows and laid orphaned lambs into the Aga to thaw.
Hands that chopped wood, baked countless cakes, kneaded dough upon dough, pulled the sour fruit from garden shrubs and trees; sliced and diced, stirred and beat, pressed and shaped and supplied endless mouths.
Hands that scythed hay, dug earthy potatoes, mucked out, hauled meal bags, wiped away sweat, wiped away tears, wiped away fear and longing and all the other emotions never expressed.
Her body
 savaged by childbirth, farm labour and domesticity. Stooped, twisted, worn down, worn out, well used, not loved enough.
Her eyes now closed, her words ran out, her heart given up. No words at all: the quiet woman.
Looking back, I wish I’d asked her about the stories; wish I’d held her more - for she was my grandmother.

Tuesday, 4 June 2013

Very Inspiring Blogger Award

To accept the award, the rules are as follows:

1) Display the Award logo.
2) Link back to the blogger(s) who nominated you.
3) State seven things about yourself.
4) Nominate 5 bloggers for the award.
5) Notify chosen bloggers.

1) See above. I have displayed the Award logo

2) I have been nominated by The cycling Scot. Colin has written a useful and inspirational blog about cycling, specifically in Scotland..

3) Seven things about me:
>I live in the great Peak District of England.
>I'm hoping to cycle to Istanbul next year.
>I once did a cross country ski marathon.
>I have climbed to above 9,000 feet in Switzerland - and would love to complete a peak over 10,000ft one day.
>I am a sucker for travel writing comps.
>I've walked the Wainwright Coast to Coast.
>I can't resist a packet of crisps.

5) I hope that you do not mind me nominating you. Your blogs are fantastic and inspirational.