Thursday, 12 March 2009

Story Time

I feel like trying something different today. The following story was published in an anthology some time ago, but naturally, I never got any feedback, so am using Blogland to supply same. I did email it to a pen pal, but that's not the same as throwing it to the winds of chance, and letting the world have a peep! So, for kiddywinks, or grown ups with Peter Pan syndrome, here it is.

The Lucky Stone

Seagulls swooped, squabbling over the remains of seafood scraps that a woman in wellingtons emptied onto a shingle bank. She stood for a moment with birds encircling her, then turned and walked slowly away to inspect the shallow lobster pool at the cliff base, where fisherman kept their catch under short lived, life sentence. She needed a couple of lobsters for today's lunches.

The indentations left by her boots quickly filled to form miniature pools in the sea-edge sand, as two small children came running up to add their imprints to hers. They had spotted her from the steps of their holiday cottage, half-built into the the cliff face on one side of the small harbour, and began laughing as they rushed towards her.

'Hello, my dear, are you coming to look at the lobsters again? Don't you ever get tired of them?' She smiled a greeting to the small, angelic faced boy with his head of bubbly curls.

'Oh, Kate, how could you think such a thing? There's nothing this exciting in our pond at home - only goldfish that hide under weeds most of the time. I could watch lobsters waving at me for hours!' Tim danced on ahead, to teeter on the pool's brink. Crouched on his haunches, he was able to cause a ripple on its surface with one gentle, but persistent, finger.

His sister Claire, three years older and therefore too grown-up to indulge in lobster baiting, however timidly, slipped a small, soft hand into Kate's large, roughened one. She gazed up at the woman's weather beaten face through clear, grey eyes, her smile revealing a row of teeth that seemed too large for her delicate, elfin-featured face, as children's second teeth often do.

'I shall miss squelching to the lobster pool every day when our holiday is over', said Claire, still holding tightly to Kate's hand, at the same time bending over to pick up a tiny stone. Her sharp eyes had spotted it was one with a hole; they were always to be treasured. For a second, the equilibrium of the unevenly matched pair was unbalanced and they both seemed in danger of toppling into the wet sand.

'Sorry, Kate!' Claire laughed apologetically, as she realised how close they had come to falling over. 'I simply had to pick up this stone - it's almost like one of those mints with a hole in the middle. Look!' and Claire held up her prize for inspection.

'So it is, my dear! Well I never! They do say it's lucky to find one with a hole right through. That one's a beauty, right enough', Kate agreed.

The children had been staying in the small fishing village for the best part of two weeks, and in that time had become firm favourites with Kate, who made a daily trek down the beach. They first met her in the garden of the tiny Public House where Kate worked. 'If it had been any closer to the beach, it would have needed to be a houseboat!', the Landlord was fond of remarking to tourists; and it was definitely true. The concrete square which served in lieu of a back garden, had only a steep drop to beach level on its seaward side and high tides regularly showered it with spray. In summer, the small area was grandly referred to as 'The Terrace.'

Here it was that Kate had served the Tennant family with crab sandwiches on the first day of their holiday. She had stood by their table, chatting for quite some time about places of local interest and recounting snippets of village folklore. So when the children had seen her on the beach the next day, they had been eager to carry on the acquaintance. Grown-ups with such a vast supply of tales to tell were rare; ones who could spare the time to tell them were even more rare.

The finding of the stone with the hole was trigger enough for Kate to launch into yet another of her stories, which held the attention of the children for the next ten minutes.

***Next instalment tomorrow, people.***


  1. Oh, I just love Kate and would like to hear one of her stories.

    Tomorrow, come soon!

  2. Can't wait for the continuation tomorrow.
    Sounds like Enid Blyton is here again.

    Love Granny

  3. WOW! Once again I must compliment you on your descriptive writing! You are a master at setting a picture before us--right down to the tiny details. How can I get as good as you?

  4. Enchanting! I'll be here tomorrow (Lord willing) for the next installment.

  5. Even your prose has poetic images. Go, Jinksy!

  6. A real cliffhanger! I'll be back tomorrow (I'm feeling alright, just coughing up all kinds of unpleasantries and I've lost my voice, which isn't a bad thing hubs will tell you ;-))

  7. I am sorry Jinksy but crab sandwiches are my all time favourite teatime treat and now that you have planted that idea in my mind it is hard to concentrate on anything else - but I look forward to the next installment.

  8. To Be Continued? You snared me with the first part, so I have no choice but to come back :-)

  9. Ooh, can't wait, la jinks, and don't listen to Suldog! That dog would be here anyway, so would we all! xox

  10. Lovely set up Jinksy! I love the way you see with an adult's eyes (the second set of teeth being too big for a little girl's face) and with a child's eyes (adults who tell stories are rare). Looking forward to tomorrow!

  11. What a lovely story, I'll be waiting for the next installment.

  12. Will be back for more, and more, since I signed up today to join the tea party. What goodies can I bring from my part of the world? Have you tried fresh blueberries gelato? It combines my Italian love for cooking with local ingredients, and the blueberries I grow right by the lake, competing with the birds and other visitors. Thank you for stoppig by and inviting me.

  13. More please! You are so unbelievably talented--okay, so not so unbelievably anymore... I'm fast learning that you just simply are. It's wonderful! jenni

  14. I'm hooked! I'll be back to read more ...

  15. I throughly enjoyed this. I will be back tomorrow for the next installment. Very good, I say!!

  16. nice set up ....loved & enjoyed it..will read second part in a bit


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