Review of ‘From the Edge of an English Summer’ by Michael Wynn

From the Edge of an English Summer

What an incredibly well-written novel! The plot is fast-paced with some very amusing scenes, particularly with Lydia. It’s hard to decide who is my favourite character, but she is brilliant! Lydia is the typically lacking-in-understanding wife of Julian, the narrator.  She is horrified at his leap from corporate banker to the depths of society and is appalled by his new acquaintances.

Set in and around Chelmsford, Essex (with a couple of fictional places thrown in) each character is perfectly built and you have empathy with those seeking justice but also with Lydia who is totally bemused by the change in her husband.  Wordsworth is a complex character who has chosen a very unorthodox way of life.  Julian is trying to establish himself as a writer and to find meaning to his life having worked for years making more money than he knows what to do with. 

Julian blunders into a situation he could never have imagined himself in and bumbles his way through, determined to ‘do the right thing.’  The story takes him into some very sticky circumstances, some of which I am sure he will never let Lydia learn of. 

Wordsworth is the local tramp, who has begrudgingly allowed Julian to befriend him.  They realise there is something amiss with a group of young girls they see each morning and determine to put matters right. Their exploits put them in serious danger and the suspense had me on the edge of my seat, breath held.

For anyone wondering whether to buy ‘From the Edge of an English Summer’ I can highly recommend it!

Mountain High

dales-waterfall

PHOTO PROMPT © Dale Rogerson

We hiked up the mountain. 

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Backpacks digging in, creating sores where they rubbed.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Blisters on toes, walking boots rubbing the backs of ankles.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

In draining heat, we struggled on.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Breath becoming ragged from reduced oxygen.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Energy fading, enthusiasm too.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Pacing it out, determined not to fail.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Reaching the summit, catching our breath.

“It’ll be worthwhile,” they said.

Spectacular waterfall.

“It was absolutely worthwhile,” we said.

 

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Canine Capers

It has been a while since I have participated in Friday Fictioneers, mainly because I have known I would not have the time to comment on others’ posts and for that I apologise.  Today’s offering is a little ditty about the demon beast who came to live with us in April.  The prompt picture is almost exactly the same as the bridge nearby where he likes to go.

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

under-bridge

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

On a hot summer day (to paraphrase the words of the one-and-only Meatloaf) in the slow-moving stream under the bridge, Freddie splashed about joyfully.  Bounding about, clambering at the slippery mountain-like rocks, he was as happy as a pig in the proverbial.  His long leash prevented him going too far upstream; he was only three months after all. 

I felt an outpouring of love for this funny little bundle of fluff who had come into our lives creating mayhem with every tail-wag.

His initial reluctance to go into the water, which my big toe encouraged him to overcome, was long-gone.

 Word Count: 100

From this:

IMG-20180523-WA0000

To this:

20180805_195252

 

Crossed Wires

bowl-and-leaves

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

“Hi Christopher.”

“Hi Mum.  How are you?”

“Fine thanks.  You’ll never guess what Barry’s given me!”

Christopher’s mind wandered to all the weird and useless presents Barry had given his mother and speculated what the latest gift would be.

“Go on.”

“A crystal bowl,” she said breathlessly.

A crystal ball?  Oh God, even more useless than the nose-shaped contraption that dispensed shower gel from its nostrils.  Does he think she’s a gypsy fortune-teller?  Can she not see how insulting that is?

“What are you going to do with that?” His patience was barely concealed.

“Put fruit in it of course!”

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

Word Count: 100

Preservation of Solitude

Preservation of Solitude

PHOTO PROMPT © Karen Rawson

Rose jealously guarded her reclusive existence.  For years she’d lived happily in a shack concealed deep in the woods. But today pegging stream-washed clothes on an old rope-line, something was awry.  She moved cautiously towards the object of concern, tense, her hand across her mouth.  Goose pimples peppered her weathered arms.  She prodded the freshly dug earth, inhaled sharply before shuffling into the ramshackle shed to collect her tools.

It was two days later a body was discovered on the far side of the wood in a shallow grave bearing a cross fashioned from branches and scattered with wild flowers. 

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Sudden Realisation

FF 11042018

PHOTO PROMPT © Yarnspinnerr

A cool breeze blew gently across his cheeks.  Bright orange lined the inside of his eyelids telling him it was daylight, but he was unable to open them.  He groaned at the pain inside his head.  ‘What happened?  Where am I?’  He strained to remember.  The fuzziness rendered him unable to focus.  Strong footsteps approached; someone with a purpose.  His cracked lips opened to enquire, but all that came out was an incoherent croak.

“How are you James?”  His body stiffened at the woman’s voice.  His memory instantly cleared.  Unable to move, he trembled as the needle pierced his skin.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Regrets

stumps

PHOTO PROMPT © Rochelle Wisoff-Fields

That’s all that’s left.  Pitiful for a life of so many years.  His final weeks had been humiliating, degrading, miserable.  She wished she could have changed that.

‘But you could have,’ an accusing voice whispered.  Guilt burned her soul.  ‘Would it have been so difficult to visit more often?  He was always so thrilled to see you; his withered face brightened at the prospect of a couple of hours’ company.  Weary, when you left, but rejuvenated, contented.  Selflessly, he never expected anything from you.  He accepted his lot without complaint.  Too late to change anything now. 

I’m so sorry, Dad.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

New Socks and Petticoat Tails

roger-bultot-art-exhibit

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

“You need to let go of your mother’s petticoat tails.”

“Apron strings”

“Pardon?”

“The expression is ‘let get go of your mother’s apron strings’, not petticoat tails.”

“You’re impossible!”

“Impossibly charming and irresistibly sexy!”

Gemma tried to stifle the smile that was strong-arming itself onto her lips as he wrapped his arms around her.  No matter how infuriating he could be, he was also adorable.

“Nevertheless, you need to gain some independence from your mum.  You’re twenty four; an adult.  You don’t need to consult her over everything.”

“No, but…”

“No, buts Richard, you can choose your own socks now!”

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

At Our Age!

Friday Fictioneers 27122017

PROMPT © Ted Strutz

“We’re going round in circles, Ethel.”

“That’s because you won’t see reason.”  Arthur spluttered his mouthful of tea across the kitchen table.

“Me see reason?  How can you think it’s rational to even suggest it?”

“I don’t see what you’re getting in such a lather about.  Bill and Joan do it,” Ethel said.

“Bill and Joan can do what they like.  I’m too old and it’s disgusting to even think of it at our age!”  Ethel sighed.  Arthur had always been an old stick-in-the-mud.  Nothing wrong with a bit of…

Damn, must watch the word count!

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

Tarnished Love

lampost-s-pier-sandra-crook (2)

PHOTO PROMPT © Sandra Crook

I care for you still, but like the old streetlight, my love has decayed.  You seem oblivious to its deterioration.  You’ve nagged, you’ve moaned, you’ve criticised like the unremitting erosion of a coastline, a constant attrition on our relationship.

You are self-absorbed, incapable of feeling contentment.  My every attempt to make you happy has been slapped aside wounding intensely.  Black resentment the resulting effect of thwarted efforts.  I’m no longer inclined to try.

Now I am leaving and no doubt that will be wrong too.  There is nobody else.  No other woman.  I just can’t bear to be with you.

 

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers – a 100 words story based on a photo prompt. Hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

They Were Wrong

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

They said it wouldn’t last, that we were on the rebound. We both knew they were wrong.

On our first date you ignited a spark in my damaged and hardened heart.  In return, you said my child-like enthusiasm for life rejuvenated yours.

We’ve had our obstacles, but overcame them together, flames still dancing between us.

Fifty years on, I look at your crumpled face, my heart fills with warmth.  The soft glow from within pumps out to you, willing you to recover.  Instinctively, I know you won’t.

Your time is near.

I wish it wasn’t so.

My sorrow is unspeakable.

Word Count: 100

 

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

The White Horses of My Mind

rogers-sunset

PHOTO PROMPT © Roger Bultot

I welcome the cool fresh air softly cosseting my skin.  The gentle eddies in the water mirror the ripples of my life.  That’s all they are now: ripples.  The white horses of the past have been slayed, more accurately, the white horse has been slayed.  Events will challenge me in the weeks to come, of that I am sure, but the possibilities ahead do not alarm me.  The chaos that previously resided in my mind has gone, replaced by a calm serenity.  I inhale deeply, regard the colourful reflections in the water, then toss the knife into the ripples below.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

We Have A Hostage Situation

myna-bird

PHOTO POMPT © Douglas M. MacIlroy

“You’d better do what they say or I’m gonna cop it!  They ain’t messing around here.  So far I’m being fed, but if you don’t meet their demands, I’m gonna meet my maker!” squawked Tarquin.

The fist clutching the valuable bird swept away from the camera.  A masked face filled the screen.

“You wanna see the bird again, you wire ten million bucks to this account by the end of today.”  He held up a board with the offshore account details. The screen went black.

“It’s a hoax,” said Edward.

“It’s my baby,” wailed Elizabeth.

“Wire the funds,” ordered Edward.

 

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

Don’t Be Too Hasty

 

Firstly, apologies for my recent absence.  There are a few reasons for this, but I was determined to write 100 words this week!

red-apple-rest-jhc

PHOTO PROMPT © J Hardy Carroll

It looked drab now, but in it’s heyday it had been magnificent, a thriving business and nucleus of action.  Dad invested his inheritance to employ thirty people to produce LPs.  A young man then, he’d been enthusiastic.  The equipment was costly, but business had prospered until the advent of iPods and Smartphones.

“Not much call for gramophone records now,” he’d said sadly as he locked the door for the final time.  Shortly afterwards he’d thrown himself off Beachy Head, unable to cope with the humiliation of bankruptcy.   If only he’d delayed, he’d have seen the revival of music on vinyl.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.

 

Duplicity

ceayr

PHOTO PROMPT© CEAyr

There are so many holes in her story.  There always are.  I look into her eyes, sparkling with excitement and know she is lying.  She looks away fidgeting uneasily.

The cracks in her explanation are bigger than usual, gaping in fact.  I love her dearly, but wonder why I stay.  Bizarrely, I know she loves me too.  Sadness washes over me like surf rolling onto the beach.  Why does she need to do it?  Why am I not enough?

I know she wasn’t with Sophie all evening.  I know this with absolute conviction, because Sophie was in bed with me.

Word Count: 100

Written for Friday Fictioneers hosted by Rochelle. Read the other entries here.