Double-edged sword


“Father would want us to carry on, Philomena. You know he would.” I rolled up my sleeves as I spoke, adjusting the black armband. We had no money for full mourning outfits.

“You are a cold-hearted fish – shame on you!”

“The field will not plough itself. Father and Jem are – gone. We have to survive on our own now.”

We faced each other, hands on hips, both insistent that we were right. Stubborn as Father, I thought.

Major whickered impatiently in the background. He wanted to work too, and the brassware and buckles jangled as he strained his harness against the weight of the plough. I pictured Jem rubbing Major’s nose softly on the day he and Father left. It had been a lifetime ago, or so it seemed.

“Philomena! Louisa! Please read this, for I cannot!”

We both turned, our impasse forgotten. Mother was running across the field, hair falling loose from its pins, skirts held high above the mud. She waved a piece of paper, shining white against the grey sky.



It’s been a while, but I thought I should pop my head around the door of Alistair’s Sunday Photo Fiction and get creative in a non-poetic way. The story came to my head quite quickly, once again inspired by family history talk last weekend. There were lots of agricultural labourers in my family background before the industrial revolution took hold. Yes, there was a lucky incident of being the victim of double-booking on third class passage on the Titanic.  A very lucky escape indeed…

Do take part if you have time, or just pop over and read the other entries!

Blueprint – Friday Fictioneers

Here is my late entry into the weekly challenge brought to us by the lovely Rochelle Wisoff-Fields.

Here are the rules: Use the photo as inspiration, write a hundred(ish) words – and share! Here goes my offering for this week – and I welcome your comments again!


Copyright – Rochelle!

– Blueprint –

Of course, they thought of it as a cruel and unusual punishment, something in which they had delighted since 1933.

Hire a Jewish architect to draw up the plans, engage a firm of Jewish builders, take on Jewish craftsmen. Everyone knew the purpose behind the building – it was the Nazi regime’s pride and joy.

The HQ of the Third Reich’s railway system was a grand affair. The hub of their efficient cargo transportation across the continent of Europe, Poland a special destination.

The workers were just grey, miserable, expendable creatures. The grill pattern in the stairwell, their final, finishing touch…


Click on the blue froggy below to read others’ offerings!

Hidden in Plane Sight – Alastair’s Photo Fiction

Here is my offering for Alastair’s Photo Fiction this week, inspired by the photo below.  Why not take part? And why not visit his photography and writing blog to take a look at his other photos…?



– Hidden in Plane Sight –

“Look here, Givens, you need to paint the camouflage in properly! Here, give me your brush, for Pete’s sake.”

Archie Givens nodded, pretending to listen and pay attention as the uniformed NCO swirled the grey-green paint over the canvas in front of him.

“See? That’s the way! Make it count, boy! Now get your finger out!”

Archie took the paintbrush and started again, feigning concentration.  Satisfied at last, the military man strode away, making a beeline for the cafeteria.

Archie dropped his brush into the paint tin and shook his head at his best mate Johnny, who was curled up on the ground laughing silently, tears running down his cheeks.

“He don’t half get me goat! I’ll bloody swing for him! It’s not as if the Jerry pilots’ll be checking my artwork on these decoys from thousands of feet up!”

Johnny sniggered, then picked up the brush and daubed out a female pin-up, complete with nipped in waist, large breasts and a come-hither pout.

“Just in case, eh ? One last moment of joy for ‘em before our ack ack girls shoot ’em down!”


This is my tribute to the many artists, builders, engineers and visionaries who worked on the K, Q and Starfish decoy sites in the UK during World War II, not forgetting the women of the ATS who risked their lives manning anti-aircraft guns.