A Christmas 75-worder #27

December 31, 2015

Photograph by John Hoggard

Photograph by John Hoggard

Well this is it my last 75-worder of this Christmas period, and, just like the double doors on the Advent calendar, I’m going for a big finish and I’m going to offer you two 75-worders today.

The first was written way back in September and actually appeared on the Paragraph Planet website on September 29th. Using the first few words of the story as the Paragraph Planet site does it is not inappropriately entitled, Autumn returns to the valley.

So, why am I sharing with you a story about autumn? Well, it was my fellow WordWatchers member, Charlotte Betts, who suggested that she’d like to see a complete series of these, one for each season. As this was never my intention, but an obvious thing to do once it was pointed out, so I decided to take her up on her suggestion.

While I have been unable, so far, to complete the series, lacking suitable inspiration for Spring and Summer, it was inevitable that during my musings over the Christmas period that a follow up to my Autumnal story would make itself known. So, here they are my two seasonal 75-worders back-to-back:

Autumn returns to the valley for the anniversary of my birth, as she does every year. I tip my hat to her, the first morning my breath blossoms as a cloud from my chest. I watch as she dances between the branches, igniting them in flickering flames of red, orange and gold. As the days shorten, she shakes the proud oaks, warning them of the coming of Winter and they shed their crowns in fear.

*

Winter comes to the valley and, tapping gently on the ground, he turns water to diamonds, a gift to those who slumber below. But they do not answer his call and in his frustration he rages at them, turns the earth to stone, entombing them. But anger turns to sorrow. He does not like the sad, grey world he has created, so he covers the world in a blanket of white and waits for her…

I am hoping I can write about her when real Spring arrives and not this strange pseudo-Spring that many of us seem to be in at the moment.

Thank you for all your comments, shares and likes on this series of stories, here on the blog, on Twitter and on Facebook. They are all very much appreciated and I have tried to follow up on each – so I hope I have not missed anybody out.

Until 2016!

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-worder #26

December 30, 2015

Christmas Sparkle by Yvie Hoggard

Christmas Sparkle by Yvie Hoggard

If there was a hint of sentience about wrapping paper then perhaps this is the tale it would tell…

Only a few days ago it had encased a Christmas gift, adding sparkle to otherwise bland packaging. Then it was laid amongst others, nestling down beneath an ornamental tree to await the morning light. Then it was ripped asunder and cast aside, its purpose fulfilled. Now it sits, poking from the top of an overstuffed bin, twitching in the breeze like the death-throes of a silvery carp, but such is the life of wrapping paper.

We have recycled as much as we can, but the recyclers will not take foil/metallic wrapping paper and so, despite our best efforts, our bins, which won’t be emptied for another 10 days due to the seasonal bank holidays, are approaching critical mass.

Until tomorrow…

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-worder #25

December 29, 2015

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Unseasonably warm and sadly, for many, unseasonably wet, weather was the seed that grew into this 75-worder.

They found him sitting quietly on the sofa closest to the window. They watched as he gave the snow globe a shake, staring intently at the tumbling, sparkling flakes as they settled back over the fairytale castle. After a moment he turned away, stared out of the window and then sighed at the bright sunshine. His gaze returned to the snow globe and he shook it again. Perhaps it would snow tomorrow, they said hopefully.

Here’s to better weather, more appropriate for Christmas, for us all.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-Worder #24

December 28, 2015

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

I wrote this last year on a wet and grey and miserable day not unlike today. My youngest still rides the scooter with as much relish and vigour as she did that first day, although the scooter looks a little smaller now…

Despite the rain and the icy wind the child persisted, nagging her father into submission. Dressed as warmly as possible in their new hats and coats, they ventured out into the street. The child raced away, a single leg, piston-like, driving her forward on her new scooter, seemingly oblivious to the rain, wheels curving sweeping arcs in the surface water. Dad watched on while water dripped from his nose and his feet turned to ice.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas.

Until tomorrow.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-worder #23

December 27, 2015

The Deity Club by Helen Withington

The Deity Club by Helen Withington

This is one of my favourite 75-worders. I loved the idea of some ancient “Gentleman’s Club” where the divine hung-out when they weren’t being omnipotent. That idea seemed to get wrapped into the thought of whether Father Christmas would be allowed into such a club. He certainly has great powers, but it’s pretty specific and that potential conflict became the essence of the story. I think Helen’s water colour did a wonderful job of capturing the mood of both the chilled out Santa and the despairing God of Thunder.

The old man sat down heavily by the fire and patted his distended belly. “One Billion Calories an’ still only a fifty-two inch waist. Ho Ho Ho.” He pulled off his red hat, patting his sweaty brow with it. “I fear the million shots of whisky may have got the better of me this year!” he bellowed, snorting loudly. Thor shook his head and glared. Letting Santa into the Deity Club had been a terrible mistake.

Hope you’re all having a wonderful Christmas Time.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-Worder #22

December 26, 2015

Christmas Tree by Yvie Hoggard

Christmas Tree by Yvie Hoggard

I suspect that we won’t be the only household this Christmas that will be like this on Boxing Day. We were last year (when I wrote the story) and I’m sure we will be again.

The Boxing Day Menu: There were homemade mince pies for breakfast and a small bar of recently unwrapped chocolate for brunch. There was some deliberation at lunchtime and examination of tinfoil wrapped bowls before general indecision lead to a mixture of pigs-in-blankets, a few leftover Brussels Sprouts with half a tin of previously opened baked beans. Tea was a non-event although the fridge was grazed repeatedly and a generous portion of Christmas cake was devoured.

Hope you all had an wonderful Christmas Day and that the festive period continues to bring you happiness.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-worder #21

December 25, 2015

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Do I know somebody who tried this…? Possibly…

When Martha and Ronald arrived at their son’s home a little before Eleven on Christmas morning the tension was palpable. Despite the pleasantries towards them, the daggers Jessica, her daughter-in-law cast towards her son, Ron Jr, each time there was an ominous ‘BOOM’ from the utility room was rather disconcerting. Martha eventually enquired about the noise when handed a sherry by Jessica. “He’s defrosting the turkey in the tumble dryer,” Jessica hissed between clenched teeth.

Hoping that you have a flawless day and that your turkey is suitably defrosted.

Merry Christmas to you all.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-worder #20

December 24, 2015

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Last year, a few weeks before Christmas, several messages were left on my land line and mobile phone, urging me to ring back at the soonest opportunity. I did and I discovered I was a match as a potential Bone Marrow donor. As it was Christmas there was some concerns about getting me to a suitable location to have additional blood tests taken before the lab shut down. However, my wife, Vee, is a qualified phlebotomist and so they sent the kits directly to me. So then, sitting at the kitchen table, Vee filled a series of small vials with my blood and we hurriedly packaged them up and posted them back to the lab…

He’d almost forgotten that he’d joined the Bone Marrow Register years earlier. Their call, especially while he was distracted by preparations for Christmas, was unexpected. He’d gone through the questionnaire and they had sent him the blood sample kits. Now he was stood in the queue at the post office, returning those tests back to a lab, wondering if he was going to be the best match and give somebody the best Christmas present ever.

I can’t believe that was a year ago already. It turns out I was not the best match and so I have no idea what happened. I must hope however, that, the person who needed the transfusion, is still with us and doing just fine…

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-worder #19

December 23, 2015

Angel by Yvie Hoggard

Angel by Yvie Hoggard

Sometimes there is no story to write, sometimes the truth is all that is required, topped and tailed to wrap it neatly into 75-words. What you will read here is exactly what my then seven year old wrote in her hand made Christmas card last year. I cried.

They carefully opened the card and read it aloud to their daughter who had just presented it to them. ‘To mummy and daDdy. You are the bestest. I lov you very mucH. MeRry Christmass. Xxxxxxx’ Around the outside of the card there were many witnesses to the statement: Father Christmas, Rudolf, snowmen, angels, the family cat wearing a Santa hat. They scooped up their little girl and they cuddled, knowing that such gifts were priceless.

Merry Christmas to you all.

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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A Christmas 75-Worder #18

December 22, 2015

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

Snowflake by Yvie Hoggard

I wrote this one to be deliberately ambiguous, to let you, the reader decide what the mechanism for what actually happens is. I also wrote it because, sometimes, things can be really tight at Christmas, but it doesn’t take much to turn things around and make a huge difference to an individual.

Robert slipped his card nervously into the cash point machine. He knew things were tight, really tight. He typed his PIN slowly into the machine and waited. He requested his balance and his heart sank. YOUR BALANCE IS: £4.62. TODAY YOU MAY WITHDRAW: £0.00. Tearfully he went to cancel his transaction when the screen blanked out. Then the words: MERRY CHRISTMAS BOBBY MY BOY appeared and the machine dispensed two crisp £20 notes.

I would be interested to know what you think about this one…

John Hoggard

John Hoggard

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