To anyone but myself the shake in his hand was barely perceptible, yet, it made me edge away a little, as as he picked up the letter for the third time that morning. I knew what was coming. I just wasn't sure how long it would take.

"From prominent hotel chef to obscure, two-bit entertainer with a saucepan in his hand." That was how Roger had described it. Is that what it means to be forgotten - scraping a living out of the bottom of the foulest barrel available?

As I turned all this over in my mind, and one question repeatedly fought its way to the forefront? What was my role in all this? True, it had been Roger himself who had come up with the idea. Life at the hotel... No! Life had become hotel. That's why he threw it all in. Yes, it was his decision, but I had driven him to it. I'd not set any ultimatum. I'd not even asked him to quit. But every silence over the breakfast table cried out the same unmistakable message .

At first, he'd been full of confidence. His cuisine was world-famous. He had friends all over. There would be a universal clamour for his services. Little did he realise the power of the establishment..., and their ruthlessness to all who turned their back on them.

I got up and handed him a glass. That seemed to be the only way to calm him, now. I sat beside him and carressed his cheek. Listless eyes turned towards me. What else could I do to help him? "Open it!" I whispered. He handed me the letter, but sensing my hesitation he sighed: "Sorry!" He tore the envelope open and pushed out the official-looking notepaper. I leaned across to read it with him. As I did so the curtains went down. School meals! This was the final insult; far worse than parading in front of a TV camera for the "Forgotten Fruit and Vegetables" show. The pressure gauge flashed before my eyes, rising rapidly. Panic! Too late to avoid the inevitable explosion. But as I looked into his eyes, I saw a slight but distinct sparkle in them. Then I realised, what it meant to him. He was going to be cooking again.

Sinking feelings may not be the most pleasurable, so beware if you click here that this is what this week's Sunday Scribblings is all about.

Jamie stared at the prompt on the screen in front of him. "I get that sinking feeling..." What on earth was he to write. As an aspiring, but no longer so young writer, he was trying a number of different ways to crash himself into the writer's world, including a number of blog writing events which kept him on his toes, and his fingers on the keyboard. It's true, he thought, I get that sinking feeling every time I see one of these prompts and wonder what on earth I'm going to do with it. Sometimes, the feeling lasts just a few seconds, as inspiration comes and off he sets as reality cedes to imagination and new realities are born. But inspiration doesn't always come that easily, the size of his paper basket, being a witness to this fact. Sometimes, a lot of staring at paper is involved; at others, the ideas come relatively easily, but putting them into words provokes a lot of sweat. Indeed, he'd been staring at his screen now for some 5 minutes and was slowly but surely drifting off into the land where the unconscious takes hold of the mind; this time transporting him to the giddy heights of fame and fortune. He awoke with a start and the moment he saw the words in front of him he knew he'd found the title for his autobiography... if ever it would get written.

This Week’s Theme: Create a character in a genre you would normally avoid.

Once upon a time there was a small island off a rocky part of coastland somewhere beyond the cliffs. At one time a number of families had inhabited the island but now it was deserted save for one lonely, old man. If you could visit him in his little shack on the island, you'd probably think him a little odd. Every morning he would get up with the sun and go for a long walk along the perimeter of the island, stopping occasionally to look out into the sea. He loved the wide, open sea. Nothing thrilled him more than the sight of that vast expanse stretching itself out before him, going nowhere; nowhere he knew about, anyway. And whilst looking out at the sea he would begin a long conversation with his wife, Edna. Edna had come to him back in the days when others, too, inhabited the island. Edna was no ravishing beauty. Had she had a magic mirror in her parlour, it would not have pronounced her to be the fairest in all the land. But her husband showed her every day, in word and deed, that in his eyes, none was fairer. Slowly they had seen the people go, one after the other, until they were left alone. Twenty years they lived alone together after the last people left, their only other company coming from the seabirds all around them, and the occasional visit to the mainland to sell the sculptures the islander had chiseled out of the fallen trunks that littered the island. Finally, Edna too left, not to the mainland, but to a place where the islander hoped to rejoin her, one day. But although she was no longer there, he would talk to her every day, in the way he used to when they were together. Sometimes, back home he would put on the crackling old 78s they used to dance to when they first met, and tears would come to his eyes as in his mind's eye they danced together on the beach, over the sea, and along the rocks that covered a large part of the island.

It was one year to the day after Edna had left him that the strangest thing happened. He was just putting the finishing touches to a sculpture of a dancing couple he had fashioned in honour of Edna, when he realised he was not alone. It would be difficult to say exactly what it was that had visited him. It was certainly no human, but neither was it a ghost, and as he'd never met a fairy, then he wasn't to know that that is what this strange being actually was.

"I have come to grant you three wishes. One you may ask for now, the next I shall grant this time next year, and the final wish, the true desire of your heart the year after. What is your first wish?"

A wish! What have I to wish for, thought the islander. His first thought would be to wish his wife Edna back with him. But that was selfish. She was in a far better place now than here on the island. He could wish to be allowed to rejoin her where she was. But the fairy said, the third wish would be the fondest desire of his heart, so that would have to wait. And what would be the point of wishing for all the riches of the world. What would he do with them, here on this island, where there was nothing to buy and no one to help. So he thought long and hard and finally said to the fairy, "I would like a huge tower on my island so to be able to look out far over the sea." And at the same time, he thought but didn't, to be a little closer to my Edna.

At that the fairy held out a small cloth bag containing three small pearls. She didn't say a word but the islander knew they belonged deep in the ground and he set about planting them immediately. That night he had a long, excited talk with Edna about the days happenings before falling soundly asleep. When he awoke the next day, there was a giant beanstalk in his garden, but his tower was nowhere to be seen. The next day, however, the stem of the beanstalk had turned to stone, and the large thick leaves were also beginning to harden. And by the third day, there stood the tower, exactly as he had imagined it.

Every day the islander climbed to the top to talk with Edna. He felt a lot closer to her up here, and sometimes could even feel her breath and here her whisper in the light breeze. But the breeze wasn't always light. It was sometimes hard and treacherous. Often, it would blow unsuspecting ships onto the rocks where they would break up. How many lives had been lost on those ferocious, inhuman crags. Ships that had been blown to their doom or others that had veered unsuspectingly towards them, not realising their fate until it was too late. If only something could be done to warn them! But what could he do on his own.

Life went on much the same way as before and the islander soon forgot about the fairy. But true to her promise she came back one year later, and this time he wished for a strong light to be placed on top of the tower which would rotate around the island, lighting up first one part and then the other. No sooner said, his wish was granted, the fairy adding a little extra by making the light turn on automatically, to save the islander a lot of trouble. Now every evening at dusk he would climb up his tower and stay there looking out until sleep overcame him. And eventhough he always fell asleep in his tower, he always woke up warm and snug in his very own little bed.

That year, the islander grew steadily weaker, and the weaker he grew the more he thought about that one last wish - his heart's desire - that would soon be granted him. You see, he wasn't know that fairies had no real power over matters of life and death. That is reserved for a higher power. So excitedly, he contemplated his reunion with his beloved Edna, leaving unthought all the other wishes which had often surfaced during his lifetime.

Two years to the day after the fairy's first visit the islander lay in his bed waiting excitedly for the fairy to come and take him away. All day he talked to Edna, telling her to be sure to be ready for his arrival. He was very weak now and hardly ever left his little shack beside the tower. Morning passed, followed by the afternoon and as the evening drew on he felt a keen sense of disappointment. He had been so looking forward to going to his beloved Edna. Was that really his one heartfelt desire? Was there any other obstacle in his heart preventing the fairy from keeping her promise?

Meanwhile far out at sea, a young couple were battling the waves in the small sailing boat. Oddly enough, their names were Stan and Edna and they were on their honeymoon. They had seen the island from afar and started making their way towards it when the light on top of the tower started turned itself on. Alerted by the signal, they immediately changed direction and eventually landed safely on the mainland, just as the islander closed his eyes for the last time. He was found the next day when the honeymooning couple visited the island to see with their own eyes how fate had saved them from a tragic end. In accordance with his wishes his body was to be cremated and the ashes scattered into the sea. But when they opened up the furnace, they found his heart still intact and engraved upon it were the words:

The Story of the Blackrock Lighthouse.

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Before setting off Richard steadied himself on his newly acquired, makeshift legs. His eyes fixed on the big double door at the end of the corridor, he propelled himself forward, lurching from one step to the other. Three or four steps - that was all he could muster without resting. Stop and start, like a little baby falteringly reaching out for his mother's outstretched hands, before starting all over again. Yet, there was no mother now, not even a nurse. This was his battle and he would have to wrestle with it alone.

With each pause, his eyes lignered over the maze of doors that littered the corridor on both sides. So many anonymous fates were being played out away from his subtle gaze. And somewhere was Sonya. He knew he should... but his courage failed him.

He struggled on, his eyes riveted to the doors in front of him. He was going to make it. He had to make it. Just a few more steps now, and as he struggled forward, the ward doors transformed themselves into the doors of that magic wardrobe, the one he had so often read about as a child - the doors to a wonderfully magical world. He straightened himself up, his step quickened and he thrust himself through the doors. Yet, the world he was entering was something far removed from the magical world of Narnia. It was the harsh world of reality that had sent him to the clinic in the first place.

Okay, so you want to buy me. Now let me tell you right away that I'm really choosey about who I want as my new proprietor. Looks, personal hygiene and all that sort of stuff don't interest me in the least. But, I do need regular exercise, so only come here if you plan on using me for at least one hour solid walking every day.

What's that? Oh, you think if I'm used that often, then I'll soon wear down. Man, you've no idea. I'm not like some ordinary pair of sneakers. I'm a top-athlete's sneakers. Which means the more I train and the more I compete, the fitter and better I am. I've already competed in over ten marathons on two different continents. I even started an Olympic Games 50 kilomentre walk, and we would have got a medal too, but my owner got too eager as he was about to enter the stand and got disqualified for a running movement. Fame transformed to shame! My toe caps still blush red whenever anyone tells me about it.

So, as I was saying I'm not looking for any old person to buy me. You have to be a true sportsman, and in the old amateur tradition at that. I know only too well, what it's like with the professionals. My dasidda used to carry one of the world's best cross-country runners. But after his first world-championship victory he turned professional and signed a lot advertising contracts with all these famous sportswear firms. And he was out on his ear, or rather his heels. Very painful it was, but worse was the effect it had on his morale. For a month or two things weren't that bad, but when he slowly began to realise that he would never run seriously again, he got really depressive. First, he hit the shoe polish, and a number of times I saw in a more than inebriated state running circles around himself. He was shouting and screaming like one of those television commentators during a race. After that, things were never quite the same and within the month, he hung himself up by his laces. And I'm not talking about retirement either.
So I don't want any professionals. You don't have to be a champion. I'll make you that once you slip inside me. But you do have to run for the love of it.

Tempted? Good! Let's go out for a run, and I'll try and size you up. See, if you can really work together. Pardon! Neglected! Who are you calling neglected. Listen, if you'tre going to talk like that, then we can split up before we even get together. I'm just not having. You wouldn't talk to a trainer like that, so why do it to me?

Ooh, that's what the web site described me as. Neglected sneakers! Oh yes, well there's a simple answer to that one. You see they don't mean I'm neglected. Far from it. I'm one of the most sought after sneakers in this country. What they mean is that I am best bought by neglected runners. You know, those runners who nobody has ever heard of and no club wants. I'm ideal for that type of runner. After one month with me, they become one of the most sought-after runners on the track. No, no. I don't mean all the girls will be running after them. Let a girl in my sight and I'll run like the blazes in the other direction. Don't want any of that stuff going on in my presence.

No, I'll help you become such a great runner, that everybody will be talking about your exploits. Not that it's fair, mind you. But it's the one thing we great people all have in common. Take Sherlock Holmes, for instance. He was one of the greatest detectives in the land. But it was the Scotland Yard inspector who always got the fame, and Dr. Watson who got the fortune. Holmes went home empty-handed. Well, so do I, but at least I'm not empty-footed.

Dear Diary...

A diary can be more than just a book to write in. It can be a friend and a confidant. It can also be a person to discuss things with. I've often debated different questions with my diary before coming to a decision. But what if my diary were to give me an answer...?

Dear Diary,

Can you remember Jayne? Well, it was a long time ago so I can't blame you if you don't. But surely you remember that exchange trip to Germany. I consecrated a whole volume to you on that trip. Three weeks we were there and I wrote several times a day. Ah, I see from your blush, you do remember. And no wonder you blush. That was quite an eventful trip. I'll never forget how I managed to get off that boat. Three young men, first time away from home. I may have been the smallest but I had my passport to prove to the duty-free man that I was 17. A whole bottle of whisky and it almost all ended up inside me. At least, that experience cured me from drinking the stuff for a lifetime.

Of course, when I say three young men I should have added... and eleven young girls for the picking. That's where I met Jayne. It was far from a case of love (or should I say emphatuation) at first sight. Maybe, it really was love?

Jayne wasn't one to get herself noticed. Indeed, if we hadn't ended up in the same car on our way to that football match, we might never have even met properly. Quite small she was, impish like. And that's what her some of her friends called her. But she didn't like that. As we were the only English speakers in the car, we talked together all the way there and all the way back. In fact, I was supposed to return in one of the other cars, but I deliberately got lost, just so I could go back with Jayne. I wouldn't admit to myself, of course, but I must have been smitten with her already. And by the end of the trip, the others knew what we still didn't.

So we went our separate ways. We lived some 20 miles from each other so there was little chance of our seeing each other before the Germans' return trip some three months later. I did go Wenham once during those three months. I attended a careers conference at the local college of education and even posted myself outside her school one day in the hope of seeing leave. But it was not to be. Little did I know then that the train ran right by her house affording a magnificent view into her garden.

Well, when the Germans came over to visit us, we got together again. And this time, it was plain for all to see. I remember the first time she invited me to join her family for that trip to the Longleat Safari Park. I was so high, I hardly slept a wink all night. But of course, you know all that. It's been laid down for posterity in your precious pages.

Anyway, enough of that you know it all already. What I wanted to say was that I met Jayne again yesterday. No, she's not here in France. I met her on the internet. I logged on to one of those find your old schoolfriends sites. I recognised her the moment I saw her. And I'd love tog get in touch with her again. Should I or shouldn't I? Would she be pleased or annoyed? Maybe she's married, or maybe she's just as lonely as I am? I just don't know what to do. I know diaries do not normally give advice to their writers, but couldn't you make an exception just this once? I'm going to bed now and with any luck I'll have your answer when I wake up in the morning.


"Dear Diary..." is this week's Sunday Scribblers prompt. (Avid diary readers can find more here.)

This Week’s Theme: Drinks chocolate milk when (s)he has a bad day

Joe turned the key over and over in his between his fingers, trying to drum up the courage to open the drawer. He didn’t know what made him hesitate. It certainly wasn’t fear. It was akin to what archaeologists must feel before they penetrate into the heart of some ancient shrine; a mixture of fearful reverence and excitement.

Susan had found the key in mum’s jewel box. This draw which had been the subject of so much youthful speculation. They knew it must be special for Mum had always kept it locked. Now that she was gone, was it fair to give light of day to its secrets?

He heard a noise behind him and saw Susan with the vacuum cleaner in her hand.

“There’s only here to finish now. Well, what have you found?”

“I haven’t opened it yet. I…”

“Well, what are you waiting for?” she exclaimed bending down to open the draw. She looked up at him in expectation on finding it still locked.

Joe sighed, bent down and fitted the key into the lock. Still he hesitated. It was only Susan’s impatience that gave him the necessary resolve.

They opened the draw and took out a large ring binder full to the rim with handwritten papers. It was no longer possible to close it properly, so much was crammed into it.

And then, there was a smaller notebook which they recognised immediately. It was exactly the same as the numerous other notebooks they had found on the library shelves. Ever since Dad had died, Mum had been using them to write up a daily account of her doings and feelings. Susan and Joe had spent hours the night before reading various extracts to each other, just as Mum used to do when they were still at home.

“This must be the last volume,” said Joe, tears coming to his eyes. “The last words of Mrs. Elizabeth Stanley…”

“Yes!” exclaimed Susan excitedly. “And look here! All these names – they correspond exactly. All those mysterious titles in coloured pen; they all correspond to one of the sheets in this binder. They are all recipes for some kind of chocolate drink.”

Joe glared absentmindedly at her. There had been hundreds of coloured entries in Mum’s journal. Each as cryptic as the other. At times, there were just one or two per week. Lately, there was several each day. Now he understood. How often had he seen Mum creep out of the kitchen, glass in hand.

Joe snatched the binder out of Susan’s hands. He would take care of things. He would bury the evidence deep beneath the earth where no one would ever find it. No one must discover the truth that Mum had been a chocoholic all her life.

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A History of Taxis by Jan Collet

The title took me by surprise. So, it was my first question when I recently met up with Jan Collet on a brief stopover from Paris. Why would such a renowned storyteller and author take on the subject of taxis and their history? Her answer caught me off guard.
“I’ve been a taxi driver all my life. I love taxis. I owe everything to taxis. Every one of my stories began life as an adventure in my taxi.”

Proof of this love quietly permeates every single page of the book. It’s not a boastful, loudmouth love but one that nonetheless makes its mark page after page the author recounts her adventures behind the wheel.

Enter the second surprise! What kind of book is this? It’s far from being the academic study hinted at in the title. It can best be described as an autobiography in 35 word pictures, as the author recounts some of the true-life experiences which have entered her life via the door of her taxi. There’s everything here from the romantic to the comic to the terrifying.

We see her during the 1995 riots tearing through the streets of Paris in a burning taxi and ditching it in the Seine just before it explodes and blowing her and her passengers to smithereens. We experience her amazement at the sight of the bombed out taxi now repainted and neatly spruced up taking pride of place in front of an African capital’s airport – a pointless exercise in public relations to impress an unbelieving assembly of dignitaries. We also see the agony aunt at work, as client after client pours out their troubles whilst being chauffeured along the streets of various European capitals, an aspect of her work Ms. Collet puts down to her confiding nature.

Those who know her work will definitely recognise the sources for some of her stories here. But, if you’re like me, you may well find that truth is stranger than fiction.


Friedlinde woke up with a start. She was sure she heard a noise. She listened to the silence which answered back in customary fashion. Then a small shufffle of feet and heart lept. She reached across to her husband - no one, there. Relief overwhelmed her. It was only Dieter. He must be having another of those bad nights. She closed her eyes and the longed for sleep started to slowly creep over her. Hopeful, it would not be one of those stop-start fretful nights. She often had them when Dieter was away. A W A Y !!! She sat right up her heart pounding. Everything was quiet now. But she was convinced, she had heard a noise and no matter how often she told herself it was only imagination, she knew there was someone in the flat.

She got up, put on her dressing gown and armed with a fairly ineffectual candlestick opened the door to her bedroom. A light was on in the lounge. A shadow fell through the glass doorpanes. If only she could get into their study without the intruder noticing, she could phone 999. If she breathed heavily enough into the phone, maybe the police would become suspicious and send someone round. Three times she lifted her foot, she even saw it lifting itself off the ground, and yet she remained firmly rooted to the spot. Then the shadow got larger and suddenly the door opened. Friedlinde let out a piercing scream and threw the candlestick with all her might, before falling limply to the floor.

There was laughter all round the next morning as Friedlinde shared a welcome breakfast with Dieter and her son, Matthew. He had come home the night before. It was a flying visit for her 50th birthday. As usual he had taken the milk train down through the borders and let himself in with his key. He had gone into the lounge to prepare a birthday surprise for his mother and was just about to turn in when all hell was let loose.

That was what they were laughing over now. Dieter had come home from the night shift a half hour earlier and brought fresh rolls and croissants. Slowly, the colour was beginning to come back to his wife's cheeks. With a smirk on his face he placed his present in her lap.
"I thought we needed some new ones. Obviously, you agree."

Intrigued, Friedlinde unwrapped a pair of beautiful candlesticks, the tears rolling down her face.

This weeks Sunday Scribblings prompt was goosebumps. You'll find more things going bump in the night here.

The Oscar

This weeks Fiction Friday prompt challenges us to use as many words out of a list of 25 as possible. To see the list and the other contributions go here.


I scarcely took in the thunderous applause that flared up around me as I stepped out onto the floor and made my way to the podium under the harsh theatre lights. This was no ordinary achievement and it was one we deserved. We would go down in cinematic folklore as the first documentary film ever to be awarded a Best Film academy award.

But then “The Unicorn” was no ordinary film. It had become a major part of my life. Three years on the drawing board, 12 months researching and preparing, 18 months of filming… But from the moment the announcement was made that a genuine unicorn lair had been found somewhere in the Ukrainian steppes I knew this was the one film I had to make. The unicorn was the mythical creature par excellence. Yet, throughout the centuries zoologists had given over their lives to proving its existence. Now that they had done so, documentary evidence would be needed and I would be the one to provide that evidence.

Several colleagues had tried to warn me off. It might ruin my career. It probably would have, had it not been for the support I received from Lord Hare, the world-famous Arts patron. It was due to his flair for talent that I managed to gather my team around me in record time, a rare occurrence in the cinematic world. I could promise nothing but hard work and discomfort. We would live on barges and in tents with no modern comforts. Our fare would be simple, barely sustaining. We would come home exhausted, sore, and never wanting to go on location again.

What I didn’t promise them, what I couldn’t promise them, was this evening. Here, at last, was recognition for our feat. My heart soared as I looked out into the appreciative audience. I had been completely taken aback when I heard we’d got the nomination. So much so I never even read the citation. What did it matter? No one knew better than I the value of the film we had made together. As the applause gradually died down, I took out my speech. It had been prepared for all eventualities. But it seemed so inadequate now. I neatly tore the paper in two. On this most marvellous night of my life, I wanted to speak from my heart. I listened to the booming voice of the presenter reading out the words of the citation:

“Nominated for the most convincing depiction of a mythical being in cinematic history…”

I turned to where the voice came from. Had I heard correctly? It couldn’t be true. And as the scorn rose within me, I began to realise the full irony of our have been awarded the Best Film award.

Noah's Ark

As soon as I got home from work yesterday, I sat down to write something but my fingers yielded nothing more than a few disparate words despite my determined mumblings to myself that I would, for once, post on Wednesday. Visions of pyjamas and bed finally got the better of me, so you won't actually get to read this until Thursday. If you want to read what inspired me for this piece, you'll find it here.
"Sarah dear! Sarah."
"Eeeeeeeeuuuuuuuuuuuuh! What is it?"
"Are you awake? It's almost eight o'oclock."
"What! I thought today was our day off. We were supposed to be catching up on all that beauty sleep we've been missing out on."
"It is, dear. But I just want you to do something for me. Will you please go to the window and look outside for me."
"What on earth are you talking about? Why don't you go yourself?"
"I've already been, and I daren't look again."
"What is all this nonsense. You're the Prime Minister of the United Kingdom and you're afraid to look out of your bedroom window. This is ridiculous!"
"But Sarah, it's not so much what I might see, but what I might not see. You see, when I looked out a few minutes ago, I thought I saw..., well, ...Noah's ark. And if it's not there now, well, you know what that might mean. After all, I had suggested that a holiday in the English countryside right now, might not be such a good idea."
"Nonsense, Gordon. Foot and mouth disease does not effect humans. It's the pressure of work that's your problem. If you saw Noah's ark out there, then there must be a perfectly rational reason for it. After all a large part of our countryside was flooded last month. Maybe one of the local farmers wanted to protect his yields by building a floating barn. I'll go and look anyway."

"Well, if it's any assurance to you, you're not going mad. Noah's ark is out there, together with Mabel. You remember Mabel."
"You mean that dumb cow those crazy children were lobbying me to save."
"You may say that now. But last Friday you were quite impressed by them. Never seen such articulate and determined children, that's what you said. Even if it didn't make you change your mind. Now get your pyjamas on and get me that cup of tea you promised."
"But there's no milk left."
"No milk. What difference does that make? We've a cow in the front garden and all he can say is there's no milk."
"But we can't drink Mabel's milk. Think of what the press would say. It would cause a scandal. We could only do that if I pardoned her."
Smiling to herself Sarah wondered if it always took men so long to grasp what you were trying to get at.

Sorry that this scribbling is somewhat late this week. I was away over the weekend. This post is inspired by a walk my wife and I took on Saturday afternoon among the vineyards of the Neckar valley near her home. As we rounded a bend we could see two people picknicking in front of us on an inacesible plateau (at least, only acessible from the bottom of the valley by climbing up). On our way back we heard that wonderful old hit by the Seekers "Another You." These two things got my imagination to work with the following result... And when you've finished, you can check out on other Scribblers decisions here.


Jonathan helped Anna up over the ridge. She climbed to her feet and they embraced, each lost in thoughts of twenty-two years ago and their first visit to this very special place. They looked out into the valley which spread itself before them. The Neckar river as its snaked its way through the gorge; the benevolent mediaeval castle taking pride of place opposite them; the flourishing, ripe vineyards laden with temptation. They were lost in their own little kingdom; a plateau measuring a meagre 5x6 metres, just a few steps away from the rest of the world, yet only accessible by a 25 metre climb up the steep cliffside.

It was the first time they had revisited the spot in twenty-two years. That day Jonathan had climbed the face, hauled up their hamper and returned to help Anna. It was only her third ever climb. Today, not only had she climbed alone, but for the first time ever, actually beat Jonathan to the top. They spread their picnic out before them, each one reliving that special day when they had first made the climb. Jonathan's hand even found its way into his pocket and he was almost surprised to find it empty. The small box he had carried in it had long since diappeared but its contents were visible to all - tangible evidence of the irrevocable decision they had made that wondrous day so long ago. As Anna busied herself spreading out the feast she had lovingly prepared, he opened the box and the moment he caught her eye, blurted out:
"I would like to..."
"So would I!" burst out Anna before he could say another word, as if afraid that any delay might break the magic of the moment.

Now, twenty-two years, two grown-up children and numerous arguments later, had they ever regretted that decision? Jonathan knew he'd not been easy to deal with. And there were times when Anna seemed so exasperating. But he knew there could be no one else.
"I want to..." he said fixing her with his gaze.
Without reply she reached her arms around him and brought her lips to his mouth.


I suppose I should be careful with this post as I'm probably in the minority amongst those doing this meme. But the moment I saw the word gray as part of this week's prompt, I succumbed to temptation. This extemely serious piece of journalism forms part of the the 3 Word Wednesday writing prompt. This week we have to use the words Memphis, gray and fathom.

"Distinguished Professor's Spectacular Discovery"

April, 5470. Professor James Hurley, leading researcher at the Second Universal University has rocked the foundation of the academic world with a spectacular find which has turned thinking on the origins of the ancient Lish-Eng language upside down. Professor Hurley, a specialist in the language and culture of now obsolete civilisations, was accompanying some of the world's most renowed archeologists on their dig at the ancient site of Ricame which now forms part of the vast mid-western Atlantic wastelands. As one of the party explains:

"A small group of searchers had just begun a new seam somewhat to the south of the main dig. We had reached a depth of some six fathoms when we unearthed a sizeable metal container. At first, it seemed unlikely that it it would be anything important so close to the surface. It wasn't until we recognised an airtight container that we solicited Professor Hurley's help."

What Professor Hurley had, in fact, found were three leather-bound written documents, at least three thousand years old, and vaguely resembling an early invention used for the communication of ideas. Some early samples of these books, as they were apparantly called, were found a few years ago on an island off the shores of the mid-western atlantic landmass.

The dig immediately began concentrating on this new seam, and in just a few weeks several similar objects were unearthed, all written in the Kee-Yan dialect of the now defunct Lish-Eng language. Meanwhile, Professor Hurley retired to the university's research centre, spending many months pouring over these documents and attempting to fathom the complex coding system in al its intricacies. His findings have yet to be made public but a source, close to the professor has informed "The Daily Take" that they will revolutionise our thinking on how our own language of universality should be coded and pronounced. Words like gray are but a deviant of what should actually be. Most speakers of the time coded them in the fashion of the islanders using the screechy e instead of the more refined a of the mid-western landmass. The same holds true for the snakelike s which, according to Professor Hurely, is in fact a much older and more widespread usage than the substantial z.

If they stand up to the daily cut and thrust of academic debate, Professor Hurley's findings will not prove popular, as they will radically alter our own language usage. Schoolteachers all over will fear the consequences of yet another code reform, whilst our overloaded Information Filter Technicians are predicting chaos for the vast majority of outdated computer systems. Only those computers built within the last three days have the capacity to adapt to these new findings. Meanwhile, Professor David Surly, whose lazer laser information disk on the origins of formal Universalese has already been discredited, is said to be on the verge of a nervous breakdown. Understandably, Professor Surly was not available for comment this morning.

This is not the first time the controversial dig has hit the headlines. Last year a civic hostel was unearthed bearing the inscription "Welcome to Memphis." This led some Ancient Near Easternologists to believe that the cradle of civilisation may, in fact, be in the Atlantic wastelands rather than in the glorious, longstanding Egyptian city bearing that name. Other finds brought to light by the dig include several pelvic like statues of an ancient deity and some screechy recordings of mass-hysteria during a worship service dedicated to this mysterious figure.

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