Saturday, February 25, 2017

The Owl

Mum has promised me a pet.
I have asked her for an owl.
She’s broken out in a cold sweat,
Her language has been most foul.

We have gone to the pet shop.
I’ve chosen the prettiest bird.
I think Mum is about to drop.
Her words are weird and slurred.

I have named my owl Tom.
Mum is not talking to me.
This is like a time bomb.
Mum wants me to set Tom free.

But if it’s such a big deal,
Why did she buy him for me?
I beg, I supplicate, I kneel.
‘He’s cute, Mum, don’t you agree?'

The story has a happy ending.
Mum says Tom can stay,
But in exchange I’ll be mending
Broken windows with no pay.

Willow. Chapter 2.

When I was twenty-two, I moved to London. It was a difficult decision. I wanted to be independent and to try to make it as a writer, but I was worried about Mum. After all, it was just the  two of us.

Mum, however, had no doubts.

‘You cannot live your life thinking about me,’ she said. ‘You need to follow your dreams.

That was my mum. Always putting others first.

So, one summer day, two years ago, I loaded my car and said bye to my village and my childhood. The sun shone and I told myself it was a good omen.

As I drove away, I saw Mum waving goodbye and for a second I thought I could see her body sparkle, but I dismissed it as a silly mirage.

The first days in London were hectic. I was staying with friends, but it was cramped and I wanted to find my own flat. I also needed a job.

The flat hunting was easier than I had expected. I found a tiny bedsit that I loved on the second day. It had just been remodeled and it was bright and airy. The rent was not too high for London, so it was a perfect combo.

Finding a job proved to be more difficult. Fortunately I had some money in the bank and I wasn’t in too much of a hurry.

After two weeks, I got my first interview. It was a job at a small newspaper I had never heard about, The East London Scandal.

That morning I agonized about what to wear for half an hour. In the end I chose a navy dress that made my red hair look even redder. Mum always said it was my best feature. I thought she was wrong, I believed my mauve eyes were the only part of my face that was really pretty. Or at least unusual.

When I got to the newspaper office, I joined a dozen other candidates in the waiting room. Seeing so many people had applied for the job somehow dashed my hopes. All of them looked older and more experienced than me.

After an hour, a sour-looking assistant in her fifties called my name. I followed her into a small room and was told to sit down. Opposite me, staring down at my resume, there was a huge man with bulging eyes.

‘So your name is Willow,’ he said without looking at me. ‘Unusual…’

I didn’t know what to say so I just waited.

‘You don’t seem to have much experience.’

‘Well, I’m still quite young.’

He finally lifted his eyes and looked at my face.

‘Unusual eyes as well… Are you a good writer?’

‘I want to think I am.’

He asked me a few more questions and told me they’d be in touch by the end of the week. I left the newspaper offices thinking I would never hear from them again. I was so depressed by that thought that I decided to go to the park for a while.

I bought myself a hot dog at a street stand and sat on a bench. I felt lonely and I missed my mum. That was what London did to you, you felt isolated even if you were surrounded by people wherever you went.

A couple of days later, while I was cooking breakfast my mobile rang.

‘Miss Foster?’

‘Yes. That’s me.’

‘I’m calling you to tell you you got the job. Could you please come by in an hour. There are certain things we need to speak about.’

‘Of course. I’ll be there at nine.’

After I hung up, I did a celebratory dance around the kitchen and then I called Mum to tell her.

Two days later, I started working for the East London Scandal. I walked to the office even though it was raining and bought a bagel and a cup of coffee on the way. It was my way of feeling like a real Londoner.

I worked from a cubicle as small as a pub booth. I was in charge of writing two tiny columns per day. Two columns that I was sure nobody ever read. They were just there to fill awkward spaces on the pages of the newspaper. The topics ranged from new poop and scoop areas to broken steps in a local church. But I didn’t complain. I was sure this was just the beginning and that one day I would be writing exciting articles for a great newspaper. Or even my own novel…

Wednesday, February 22, 2017

The Life of Charles Dickens (BBC)

Willow. Chapter 1.

Chapter 1

I’ll never forget that day. It started out like any ordinary Saturday, but every detail of that morning has been etched on my memory, probably because of what happened later.

It was late March and the sun was shining in the garden, so I decided to wrap myself warm and eat breakfast outside. I made myself a cup of tea using Mum’s pretty china teapot, the one with the blue fairies, and one of the matching mugs. I was hungry, so I peeled an apple and spread butter on two pieces of wholegrain toast.

I put everything on a flowery tray and took it out to the porch. I sat on my favourite wicker chair and looked around. The flower beds were spectacular. A bee buzzed near me and sat on the rim of my mug.

It was then that I heard the phone ringing. I stood up, wondering who it could be so early on a Saturday.


‘Willow, darling…’

‘Aunt Lucy? What’s wrong? Why are you crying?’

‘There’s been an accident. Your mum… You have to come to Harper’s Wood immediately.’

The phone fell off my hand. I was in shock. At first I didn’t move. I just stood there, wondering what to do next. But after a few minutes, I realized I had to come out of my trance and get ready to go.

I went up to my room and put on my clothes. I didn’t even bother to comb my hair. I just got my keys and my handbag and ran downstairs.

I got into my battered little Mini and reversed out of the drive. It took me just fifty minutes to get to the hospital in Harper’s Wood. I parked near the entrance and walked inside like a woman possessed.

‘I need to see my mum,’ I said to the receptionist.

‘What’s her name?’

‘Linda Foster.’

The hospital in Harper’s Wood is very small. The receptionist had a computer, but she didn’t even have to look at the screen.

She seemed to remember the name and she paled, or maybe I imagined it.

‘She’s still in surgery. Please go to the waiting room on the second floor.’

I did as she told me. When I got there, Aunt Lucy got up to hug me.

‘Any news?’ I asked.

‘No, not yet.’

We didn’t talk much. Sometimes I paced the room and sometimes I sat next to Aunt Lucy. She held my hand to try to reassure me and I smiled at her sadly. I couldn’t imagine life without my mum. She was still too young and I loved her, I needed her. My mum was a special woman. She was full of life. Always helping people, always busy with one project or another.

After an hour or so, the doctor walked in. I didn’t have to wait for him to speak. His face said it all.

‘I’m so sorry. We did our best, but the damage was too extensive…’

He continued speaking, but I didn’t hear any more. I got my handbag and left the room. I had to get out of there.

To Be Continued... Maybe.

Saturday, February 18, 2017


Tickle my nose,
Little dandelion!
Make me sneeze
If you dare.

We’re so close,
You and me.
I can see 
Your little petals.

But no matter
How close I get,
I cannot smell
Your perfume.

You are pretty
To look at,
But you lack
Something important.

A flower 
With no scent 
Is like a dog 
With no fur.

Planet Bimbo

Tim was very excited about his new mission. Both his best friend, Mike, and he had been chosen to colonize a new planet.

The training had been exhausting. There had been all kinds of tests and they had learnt lots of new stuff. There had also been meetings with the President and his Cabinet.

And now the day had come…

‘It’s finally happening,’ Tim said.

Mike smiled at him and didn’t answer. Mike didn’t talk much.

They were due to leave a six thirty and the whole country would be watching on television.

Tim had been polishing his suit for the last hour. He didn’t know what else to do to make time go past more quickly.

Mike simply sat on a chair and looked at his friend. He just didn’t get what all the fuss was about.

At five, a presidential car came to pick them up. Tim and Mike got on the car and the chauffeur drove them to the launching pad.

There were crowds waiting for them. They cheered them on as they walked past. Tim waved happily, but Mike just looked down.

‘Are you embarrassed, Mike?’ his friend asked. ‘You should be proud of yourself. We are about to embark on a great mission. We will go down in history as the colonizers of planet  Bimbo.’

Mike just kept on walking. They finally reached their spaceship and boarded it.

‘Here I come, Bimbo!’ Tim shouted.

Just then a voice from behind him said, ‘Time for lunch, Tim!’

Little Tim wanted to play more, but he didn’t want to disobey his mum so he got out of his cardboard spaceship, picked up his teddy and walked towards the house.

‘Have you had fun? Were you playing spaceships again? Oh, look! See how dirty you’ve made Mike,’ his mum said looking at the little bear.

Tim just groaned. He wished he was a real astronaut.

The Brilliant Bronte Sisters

To Walk Invisible. The Bronte Sisters: Preview

Write a haiku about the city. See instructions and example in the post.

My example:
smoke in air above
puny trees in lonely park
grey city, my love

Write a haiku concerning the city. 
-17 syllables or less 
-two grammatically interconnected lines of concrete imagery 
-a satori (moment of insight either in line 1 or 3) 
-personification allowed 

Wednesday, February 15, 2017

The Day The Moon Talked To Me

One day, not long ago, the Moon talked to me.

I was in my room, lying down in bed and reading one of my favorite Goosebumps stories before going to bed, when I heard a voice.

‘Hello there!’

At first, I didn’t know who was speaking because Mum and Dad had gone out for dinner and Lucy, my babysitter, was downstairs with her new boyfriend. Lucy changes boyfriends as often as some other people change clothes, so I’m not sure who this one was.

I looked around wondering where the voice was coming from, but couldn’t see anybody.

‘Up here,’ she said. And then I realized it was the Moon.

I went to the open window and said hi.

‘Why don’t you come up here for a while and keep me company? I’m soooo lonely and bored.’

‘But I cannot fly,’ I told her.

‘It doesn’t matter, you can climb up a moonbeam.’

At first, I was afraid, but then I realized it was easier than I had thought.

When I arrived at the Moon, I noticed that she was shiny, white and hard.

‘You are not made of cheese!’

‘No, of course not. I’m made of icing.’

‘Can I have a small piece?’

‘Yes, but only a small one, please.’

I stayed up there for half an hour or so and we spoke about this and that. I asked questions about the stars and she asked me about my parents and my friends. Sometimes the Moon laughed and, when she did, she shook so hard that I thought I was going to fall.

When we ran out of things to say, I told her I had to go.

‘Will you come again?’

‘Of course.’

I slid down the moonbeam and into my room. Then I waved from the window.

Just then, Lucy opened the door and looked inside.

‘Time to go to bed,’ she said.

‘I’ve just come back from the Moon.’

‘You what?’

‘You heard me.’

‘You’re too old to make up stories like that.’

‘It did happen!’

Lucy made a face and left my room. I was really upset. What if it had been a dream? Just then I remembered something. I put my hand in my pocket and found the piece of icing I had got from the Moon.

I smiled and put it in my mouth. It was the best icing I had ever eaten. It tasted of candy floss, strawberries and clouds. 

I was happy I had such a special new friend.

Tuesday, February 14, 2017

BBC Sincerely F Scott Fitzgerald

BBC The Secret World of Lewis Carroll


Cupid carries 
little arrows.
He’s always ready
To attack.

Those arrows
Of love
Have pierced
My heart.

I blame tiny Cupid.
I blame you as well.
You’ve stolen my heart
Taken it away.

Is Cupid for real
Or just a silly dream?
Is love a fact
Or just make believe?

I think it’s
For real
It’s part
Of my life.

Please little Cupid
Don’t stomp on my heart.
I have only this one.
I have only one.

Saturday, February 11, 2017


There’s a baby
In a cot
In the bedroom 
Next to mine.

He screams,
He stinks,
He sleeps 
And he eats.

Quite a waste of space
If you ask me.

Mum loves
The snotty creature.
She has zero time
For me.

She kisses him
From dawn to night.
She’s besotted,
Madly in love.

An ugly little monster
If you ask me.

‘Do you like your little brother?’
She asks me.
I smile,
I nod.

What am I supposed
To say?
‘Take him back
To the hospital.
That is where
He belongs.’

There’s a baby
In a cot.
In the bedroom 
Next to mine.

Time passes
And he grows.
He’s not so bad
After all.

He smiles
His gummy smile
And I’m smitten,
I’m in love.