Friday, July 29, 2011

Untold Story #1 - Working Title

This is the first of my Untold Stories which I wrote back in the early 1990s and which I mentioned in an earlier post I would publish here. As yet none of them are complete so all are untitled. I shall refer to each as "Untold Story 1, 2, 3 etc - Working Title". All sections are taken from a little way into the stories. Just thought I'd put them out to you and see what happens!

"......It was a sweltering afternoon when the black Ford pulled up at the top of the long driveway leading to the house. A middle-aged woman, early sixties, stepped out onto the gravel path and slowly walked the remaining distance towards the grand entrance. Dressed entirely in black, the fine silk blouse and ankle-length skirt seemed almost in total contrast to the brightness of the warm July evening. Her thick yellowing hair was neatly brought together in braids across the top of her head.

Catching her breath from the exertion of climbing the several stone steps she lifted the heavy brass knocker and gave three loud resounding knocks. She waited. A sudden wind began to stir the leaves of a nearby oak. Following a short wait the wooden door opened to reveal a frail grey-haired gentleman.

"Good evening Sir" said the woman. "I believe this property is still for sale?"

"Yes, indeed it is Mam" replied the gentleman. "If you would care to step inside perhaps we could discuss the matter in more comfortable surroundings". His friendly tone almost suggested he was expecting her.

"Thank you" replied the woman. She stepped past the man and politely waited until he had indicated one of the rooms to the right of the hallway. It was a bright airy room with a large bay window which looked out onto the magnificant landscaped garden.

"My name is Isobella......."

© Ann Brien 2011

The above photograph is not the exact image of the story house, I just love sepia.

Above image via:


Sunday, July 17, 2011

Travels With My Aunt - Part Two - Illegal Aliens!

Having now missed the return ferry home (refer to previous post) there was nothing for us five weary travellers to do but find something to occupy the long twelve hour wait until 3.00am the following morning! For some reason the song "The Day We Went To Bangor" sprang to mind and I immediately suggested it should be our next port of call.

There was a great hullabaloo at the train station with dear Aunty E insisting she buy all our train tickets. Always a woman to be easily parted from her money, under the influence, she became a philanthropist. In the end, common sense prevailed and Aunty E's hard earned cash remained untouched, safe within its leather pouch. Now, with tickets secured, we waited for our train to Bangor, of course not having a clue what we were going to do there once we'd arrived!

A couple of railway staff enquired if they could be of help and when we told them what had happened they laughed, telling us that we were now illegal aliens! With that, my friend's mother produced the bottle of brandy which she'd purchased on the ferry solely for home consumption and I, wishing to bring a sense of decorum to the proceedings, headed out to procure some polystyrene cups. Needless to say I did not partake of the liquid refreshment because by then the little man with his hammer had begun to pound quite loudly against my skull.

Our train arrived and off we set to our unknown destination. I can't recall the journey time but I know we were much relieved to find a cinema where we could rest our weary bones and allow the two senior members of our group to hopefully sleep off their excesses. The film showing was "Grease" and although most of us had already seen it, it nonetheless provided an excellent excuse to while away a couple of hours watching John and Olivia strutt their stuff. After a while the two ladies fell fast asleep as we thought they might.

Of the whole day's adventure this is the part I remember and treasure the most. During a very quiet moment in the film Aunty E woke up and enquired loudly in a very drunken tone "do you have the cabbage in for tomorrow's dinner?". I thought I'd die. Everyone turned around, I was mortified! I hastily answered "yes" and told her to go back to sleep which she promptly did. I don't think we stopped laughing for the remainder of the film!

Later in the afternoon we ate in a cafe, did some window shopping then headed back to the ferry terminal to wait and even dozed for a few hours until our ship arrived in at 3.00am. As I'd always wanted to see sunrise at sea, at around 5.00am while most people were asleep, I went up on deck. What a sight met my eyes - in the centre of the stillness shone a pale yellow sun streaked with sleepy dark cloud, its light reflected on the vast stretch of water which lay out all around me. It was worth missing our earlier ferry for.

We docked at around 6.30am, exhausted but very glad we got to extend our adventure. Our hubbies waited on the quayside to transport us to our respective abodes and yes, they laughed but we were beyond retaliating. I survived the car journey home only through the constant image in my mind's eye of my cosy bed and the several hours of blissful sleep which lay before me. All in all, a grand day (and night) out!

"Grease" film poster image via Wiki.


Thursday, July 7, 2011

Travels With My Aunt - Aunty E

Aunty E and I shared a wonderful thirty six years in each other's company. Well, the first ten were wonderful, the remainder, a little less joyful. You see, during the early years, as I've mentioned in the previous post, we experienced life through, how shall I say, an alcoholic haze, mainly at weekends, or on the odd occasion mid-week if our meeting together was required.

Back in the summer of 1981 you could buy a very cheap ticket, I think it was around eleven pounds Irish money at the time, no Euros back then, to travel by boat to Hollyhead for the day. I rounded up two of my friends plus one of their mothers to keep Aunty E company and off we set sail. Think "women behaving badly" as opposed to the TV series "Men Behaving Badly"!

I must immediately point out that my two friends played absolutely no part in our missing the return boat journey.

To make a very long story fairly short: Aunty E and I were first to the bar as soon as it opened - it was a three hour sailing and no one was counting the scoops. My friend's mother proceeded to buy a bottle of brandy with the intention of bringing it home. On docking in Hollyhead, Aunty E and I each bought a pair of shoes, same colour, same brand. Along the main street there seemed to be some sort of awards ceremony in preparation where tables were laden with trophies of varying shapes and sizes. I of course, having never won an award, seized upon the occasion to hold high one of the cups while hastily instructing Aunty E to take a photograph.

We had dinner somewhere I believe. With not much time left we stumbled upon a wedding group having their photos taken outside a church. So beautiful was the bride and the bridemaids' hats that I just had to get a picture. My God, what was I like? Aunty E decided to tag along despite pleas from the others that if we didn't hurry we'd miss the boat. They slowly headed back to the ferry terminal while Aunty E and I managed to get ourselves lost.

With not one ounce of navigational skills between us we arrived back just in time to watch our ferry slowly pull out from the quayside. Oh dear! With the next ferry not leaving for another twelve hours - 3.00am in the morning, there was nothing for it but to while away the hours, preferably somewhere with seating facilities. As I'd never been to Bangor I thought why not avail of this opportune moment! Eventually it was agreed by all, well most, that that's where we'd head for.

This next escapade will require a further blog post.......

Hollyhead Road image via:
Stena Line image via: