The Hard Part

(1000 words) It was in my eighth year, shortly before my birthday, that my mother took me to live with her mother, Françoise, in Woodhall Spa. In my perception, we were one moment walking along the beach in Skegness, past huge black rocks like giant Tourmaline tumblestones, that I later learned were to stop the sand from being eroded, and the next, we were beside my grandmother’s swimming pool, the clear water azure and alluring. At that time, I did not recognise we had crossed a border between worlds.  I was soon enrolled at St. Cuthbert’s, a private school for girls, situated within acres of green lawns, cricket and football pitches and its own private woodland, where small-leaved limes rubbed shoulders with the wild service tree and where a little wooden pergola displayed a plaque dedicated to the school’s founder.  “Christiana, you and Anne are to share a tent.” So said Brother Joseph, a teacher I disliked on account of his yellow eyes and spots, like boils, that seemed to cover his cheeks. I was ten years old now, aware of changes in my body that I didn’t completely understand. We were camping in the school arboretum over the weekend. It was June and it seemed like summer would never end. I looked over to Anne and we both smiled. “OK.”

Christmas Past

(400 words) There’s snow on the steeple, and frost on the ground, Sweets for a penny and crackers for a pound. And a long woollen stocking at the foot of the sheets, Waiting for Santa to fill it with treats. Downstairs, there’s milk and mince pies on the table, For Santa to eat, whenever he’s able. Then sleepy eyes close, an end to resolve, The conundrum of Santa, the mystery to solve.

Learning the Alphabet: A Memoir

(900 words) Resemblance to a schoolmaster gone for the moment, Dad would appear, jaunty, as if holding a big secret, which in a way I suppose he was. “Listen, children” – he never called us ‘kids,’ they were for goats, apparently. “We’re going to grandma’s next week.” My sister Helen, brother Steven, and I would … Continue reading Learning the Alphabet: A Memoir

Billy Bunter’s Christmas Surprise

(2000 words)

Harry Wharton looked at the letter in disbelief. His hopes for Christmas had been shattered.

My dear Harry, we most deeply regret to inform you that we are currently undergoing extensive renovations at Wharton Lodge, and that they will not be completed in time for Christmas. So, your dear mother and I shall have to spend Christmas on a cruise to the tropics. Alas, funds do not allow for you to accompany us, dear boy, so, unfortunately you will have to spend Christmas at Greyfriars School.
Mr. Quelch has kindly agreed to stay on over the holidays to look after you and give you extra Latin tuition, very good of him, I’m sure you’ll agree.