Inspiration, Maybe – Volume Two

50 photographs, 50 stories, of which there is one of the 50 below.

They all start with –

A picture paints … well, as many words as you like.  For instance:

And, the story:

Have you ever watched your hopes and dreams simply just fly away?

Everything I thought I wanted and needed had just left in an aeroplane, and although I said I was not going to, i came to the airport to see the plane leave.  Not the person on it, that would have been far too difficult and emotional, but perhaps it was symbolic, the end of one life and the start of another.

But no matter what I thought or felt, we had both come to the right decision.  She needed the opportunity to spread her wings.  It was probably not the best idea for her to apply for the job without telling me, but I understood her reasons.

She was in a rut.  Though her job was a very good one, it was not as demanding as she had expected, particularly after the last promotion, but with it came resentment from others on her level, that she, the youngest of the group would get the position.

It was something that had been weighing down of her for the last three months, and if noticed it, the late nights, the moodiness, sometimes a flash of temper.  I knew she had one, no one could have such red hair and not, but she had always kept it in check.

And, then there was us, together, and after seven years, it felt like we were going nowhere.  Perhaps that was down to my lack of ambition, and though she never said it, lack of sophistication.  It hadn’t been an issue, well, not until her last promotion, and the fact she had to entertain more, and frankly I felt like an embarrassment to her.

So, there it was, three days ago, the beginning of the weekend, and we had planned to go away for a few days and take stock.  We both acknowledged we needed to talk, but it never seemed the right time.

It was then she said she had quit her job and found a new one.  Starting the following Monday.

Ok, that took me by surprise, not so much that it something I sort of guessed might happen, but that she would just blurt it out.

I think that right then, at that moment, I could feel her frustration with everything around her.

What surprised her was my reaction.  None.

I simply asked where who, and when.

A world-class newspaper, in New York, and she had to be there in a week.

A week.

It was all the time I had left with her.

I remember I just shrugged and asked if the planned weekend away was off.

She stood on the other side of the kitchen counter, hands around a cup of coffee she had just poured, and that one thing I remembered was the lone tear that ran down her cheek.

Is that all you want to know?

I did, yes, but we had lost that intimacy we used to have when she would have told me what was happening, and we would have brainstormed solutions. I might be a cabinet maker but I still had a brain, was what I overheard her tell a friend once.

There’s not much to ask, I said.  You’ve been desperately unhappy and haven’t been able to hide it all that well, you have been under a lot of pressure trying to deal with a group of troglodytes, and you’ve been leaning on Bentley’s shoulder instead of mine, and I get it, he’s got more experience in that place,  and the politics that go with it, and is still an ally.

Her immediate superior and instrumental in her getting the position, but unlike some men in his position he had not taken advantage of a situation like some men would.  And even if she had made a move, which I doubted, that was not the sort of woman she was, he would have politely declined.

One of the very few happily married men in that organisation, so I heard.

So, she said, you’re not just a pretty face.

Par for the course for a cabinet maker whose university degree is in psychology.  It doesn’t take rocket science to see what was happening to you.  I just didn’t think it was my place to jump in unless you asked me, and when you didn’t, well, that told me everything I needed to know.

Yes, our relationship had a use by date, and it was in the next few days.

I was thinking, she said, that you might come with me,  you can make cabinets anywhere.

I could, but I think the real problem wasn’t just the job.  It was everything around her and going with her, that would just be a constant reminder of what had been holding her back. I didn’t want that for her and said so.

Then the only question left was, what do we do now?

Go shopping for suitcases.  Bags to pack, and places to go.

Getting on the roller coaster is easy.  On the beginning, it’s a slow easy ride, followed by the slow climb to the top.  It’s much like some relationships, they start out easy, they require a little work to get to the next level, follows by the adrenaline rush when it all comes together.

What most people forget is that what comes down must go back up, and life is pretty much a roller coaster with highs and lows.

Our roller coaster had just come or of the final turn and we were braking so that it stops at the station.

There was no question of going with her to New York.  Yes, I promised I’d come over and visit her, but that was a promise with crossed fingers behind my back.  After a few months in t the new job the last thing shed want was a reminder of what she left behind.  New friends new life.

We packed her bags, three out everything she didn’t want, a free trips to the op shop with stiff she knew others would like to have, and basically, by the time she was ready to go, there was nothing left of her in the apartment, or anywhere.

Her friends would be seeing her off at the airport, and that’s when I told her I was not coming, that moment the taxi arrived to take her away forever.  I remember standing there, watching the taxi go.  It was going to be, and was, as hard as it was to watch the plane leave.

So, there I was, finally staring at the blank sky, around me a dozen other plane spotters, a rather motley crew of plane enthusiasts.

Already that morning there’s been 6 different types of plane depart, and I could hear another winding up its engines for take-off.

People coming, people going.

Maybe I would go to New York in a couple of months, not to see her, but just see what the attraction was.  Or maybe I would drop in, just to see how she was.

As one of my friends told me when I gave him the news, the future is never written in stone, and it’s about time you broadened your horizons.

Perhaps it was.


© Charles Heath 2020-2021

Coming soon.  Find the above story and 49 others like it in:

‘Tis almost October

Which, of course, means on this side of the world, that Spring has arrived and is in full swing.

Perhaps not quite the news the hay-fever sufferers want to hear, but it does mean everything in the garden will start to grow again, and, worst luck, also the weeds.

But, it is getting close to the end of the month, and it has been a reasonably good one.

Firstly,

My private detective, Harry Walthenson, is working stolidly on his new case, and is up to episode 27, with another ready to be published soon.

The latest episode is here:  https://bit.ly/3dTFvkL

Secondly,

My serialised stories are progressing, and I’m striving to upload a new episode for each at least once a fortnight.  However, far various reasons, nothing has been been published for about four or five months, but this hiatus is now over, and new episodes will be published in the next week.

The other thing that I’ve been working on, basically in those five minutes or so from when my head hits the pillow, till the moment I’m asleep, is titles for each of the stories.

For the first, currently labelled with ‘I’ve always wanted to go on a treasure hunt’, I’ve been toying with the word ‘map’ and something witty, like ‘A Map to Trouble’, but it’s not exactly attention-getting.  Perhaps the search for the treasure is metaphorical for searching for a better life, for each of the characters in the story, might lead to a more suitable title.

The latest episode is here:  https://bit.ly/2Svt2gg

For the second, currently labelled with ‘What happens after an action-packed start’, it started in the desert, and ended in a dusty, desolate village in Africa.  I’d like to have the word ‘Redemption’ in it.  It’s now finished, and a title will be found.

The last episode is here:  https://bit.ly/2Yxnh1k

The others need more thought, as yet, and I know a title will pop out at me as I get further along with the story.

Just another surveillance job episode 43 is here:  https://bit.ly/3gjGHA8

and a story inspired by Castello Di Briolio episode 41 is here:  https://bit.ly/3gzcYly

Thirdly,

There’s two new episodic stories coming, another one set during World War 2, involving a rescue, and one dealing with the investigation of a crime with a suspect that has all three criteria to be the number one suspect, and might be called, ‘Motive, Means, and Opportunity’.

Another, started on a whim after watching an episode of Star Trek on TV, is called ‘I always wanted to see the planets’, and will have my vision of extra-terrestrials eventually, and is up to episode 34 and can be found here:  https://bit.ly/3kCpXGF

Also the ‘Being Inspired, Maybe’ stories are continuing, the latest story, Number 139 has been published here:  https://bit.ly/3j664Wf

And the next will be available in a day or so.  The stories are the fun part of my week, as they usually get written while I’m waiting to collect my youngest granddaughter from school.

As for the novels, one is at the editor, and one is in mid-re-write.

If only there were more hours in a day!!!

“Strangers We’ve Become”, a sequel to “What Sets Us Apart”

Stranger’s We’ve Become, a sequel to What Sets Us Apart.

The blurb:

Is she or isn’t she, that is the question!

Susan has returned to David, but he is having difficulty dealing with the changes. Her time in captivity has changed her markedly, so much so that David decides to give her some time and space to re-adjust back into normal life.

But doubts about whether he chose the real Susan remain.

In the meantime, David has to deal with Susan’s new security chief, the discovery of her rebuilding a palace in Russia, evidence of an affair, and several attempts on his life. And, once again, David is drawn into another of Predergast’s games, one that could ultimately prove fatal.

From being reunited with the enigmatic Alisha, a strange visit to Susan’s country estate, to Russia and back, to a rescue mission in Nigeria, David soon discovers those whom he thought he could trust each has their own agenda, one that apparently doesn’t include him.

The Cover:

strangerscover9

Coming soon

 

Memories of the conversations with my cat – 73

As some may be aware, but many not, Chester, my faithful writing assistant, mice catcher, and general pain in the neck, passed away some months ago.

Recently I was running a series based on his adventures, under the title of Past Conversations with my cat.

For those who have not had the chance to read about all of his exploits I will run the series again from Episode 1

These are the memories of our time together…

This is Chester. He has suddenly become delusional.

I’m not sure if a cat can become so, but since I gave him a role in one of my stories, he’s started acting weirdly.

I’m sure if he could wear sunglasses indoors he would. As it is, it’s head in the air, looking straight ahead, ignoring everything and everyone around him.

I think about opening the concertina doors that lead into the dining room just to see if he crashes into them.

He thinks, no doubt, that I think he’s just sniffing the air to see if there are any mice to be caught, but I’m on to him.

As he strolls past I say, “Perhaps I might turn that role into a walk on.”

He stops in mid step, and turns his head.

“You can’t. I’ve read the latest chapter. I’m integral to the plot.”

I smile. “You do realise often the best roles end up on the cutting room floor, or in this case, perhaps I’ll start editing early. There’s such a thing as the delete key.”

Smug, or is that haughty, look gone.

“Just go back to being your usual self,” I say, “and I’ll reconsider your role.”

“Does that mean no fresh fish for lunch today?”

“Don’t push your luck.”

I’m sure cats can’t shrug, but he gives it his best shot, and continues on his way minus the attitude.

For now. Who knows what tomorrow will bring

‘What Sets Us Apart’ – A beta readers view

There’s something to be said for a story that starts like a James Bond movie, throwing you straight in the deep end, a perfect way of getting to know the main character, David, or is that Alistair?

A retired spy, well not so much a spy as a retired errand boy, David’s rather wry description of his talents, and a woman that most men would give their left arm for, not exactly the ideal couple, but there is a spark in a meeting that may or may not have been a set up.

But as the story progressed, the question I kept asking myself was why he’d bother.

And, page after unrelenting page, you find out.

Susan is exactly the sort of woman the pique his interest. Then, inexplicably, she disappears. That might have been the end to it, but Prendergast, that shadowy enigma, David’s ex boss who loves playing games with real people, gives him an ultimatum, find her or come back to work.

Nothing like an offer that’s a double edged sword!

A dragon for a mother, a sister he didn’t know about, Susan’s BFF who is not what she seems or a friend indeed, and Susan’s father who, up till David meets her, couldn’t be less interested, his nemesis proves to be the impossible dream, and he’s always just that one step behind.

When the rollercoaster finally came to a halt, and I could start breathing again, it was an ending that was completely unexpected.

I’ve been told there’s a sequel in the works.

Bring it on!

The book can be purchased here: http://amzn.to/2Eryfth

In a word: haul

Well, I know a lot about long haul, because living in Australia it’s a long, long way to anywhere in the northern hemisphere, in what is known as a long haul airline.

For the rest, haul means to pull a load along with effort or force.

Or a haul can be the plunder of a thief, stolen goods.  It can be something different though, but generally lots of something taken away, such as fish.

You can haul yourself up the side of a hill, or up a cliff face

And for those who are nautically minded, and love sailing boats, you’ll know to haul offshore

If you’re an Olympian, you’ll know that seven medal haul was always going to be an uphill task.

This is not to be confused with hall, what you walk down in a building heading to a particular room.

Or it can be the name of a stately residence or building, for instance Toad Hall.

It can also be a university room where students are housed.

“What Sets Us Apart”, a mystery with a twist

David is a man troubled by a past he is trying to forget.

Susan is rebelling against a life of privilege and an exasperated mother who holds a secret that will determine her daughter’s destiny.

They are two people brought together by chance. Or was it?

When Susan discovers her mother’s secret, she goes in search of the truth that has been hidden from her since the day she was born.

When David realizes her absence is more than the usual cooling off after another heated argument, he finds himself being slowly drawn back into his former world of deceit and lies.

Then, back with his former employers, David quickly discovers nothing is what it seems as he embarks on a dangerous mission to find Susan before he loses her forever.

http://amzn.to/2Eryfth

whatsetscover

Searching for locations: Auckland, New Zealand – Another city that has a tower

Nearly every city has a high building, a tower, or a large Ferris wheel.

London had the London eye
Paris has the Eiffel tower
The Galata in Istanbul
The CN Tower in Toronto
The towers of San Gimignano
Pisa has a leaning tower

We’ve managed to see all of the above bar the Galata in Istanbul.  One day we might get there.

But, on this side of the world, there are two, the Sydney Tower, and the Sky Tower in Auckland, which we just visited recently.

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It’s not a tall tower, but it definitely gives great vies of Auckland, particularly to the north

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The mountain in the background at the top of the photo is of a volcano on Rangitoto Island.  When we were visiting, there were reports that it might become active again.

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To give a height perspective, it didn’t seem all that far down to the apartment building and gardens nearby.

“Echoes From The Past”, a past buried, but not deep enough


What happens when your past finally catches up with you?

Christmas is just around the corner, a time to be with family. For Will Mason, an orphan since he was fourteen, it is a time for reflection on what his life could have been, and what it could be.

Until a chance encounter brings back to life the reasons for his twenty years of self-imposed exile from a life only normal people could have. From that moment Will’s life slowly starts to unravel and it’s obvious to him it’s time to move on.

This time, however, there is more at stake.

Will has broken his number one rule, don’t get involved.

With his nemesis, Eddie Jamieson, suddenly within reach, and a blossoming relationship with an office colleague, Maria, about to change everything, Will has to make a choice. Quietly leave, or finally, make a stand.

But as Will soon discovers, when other people are involved there is going to be terrible consequences no matter what choice he makes.

https://amzn.to/2CYKxu4

newechocover5rs

Living in the 1920s – if only I could!

I’ve often thought that I should have been born in the early 1900s and lived through what might be called the halcyon days of the ’20s and ’30s.

Of course, it is only a matter of opinion if those days were good or bad, depending on who you were.

If I’d been the heir apparent to become Lord of the manor, or from any part of upper classes with a University education, I have no doubt that I would not have been spared the horrors of war along with rest of the young men who went to serve and never returned.

The only saving grace might be as Officer it might have been easier than being un the ranks, but at that age, I doubt if I’d be as cautious as I should be, as of all youth I’d throw caution to the wind.

But in all likelihood, I would not have been part of the aristocracy but more than likely a clerk or farm worker who might by wit and guile have survived the war, if not a little traumatized by what I had seen and done in the name of defending the Empire.

It had prompted Hemingway to use the phrase ‘the lost generation’ at the end of one of his books, but perhaps it was first used by Gertrude Stein who had said in not many words that those who survived the war were more content to drink themselves to death.

I guess if the war hadn’t taken you, and you survived the great flu epidemic that followed it, then you would probably believe you were in some way invincible.

So, in those post-war days where writers and others congregated in Paris in those mid-twenties, what some regard as the halcyon years before the great depression and later the next world war.  I suspect a lot of the American writers left because of prohibition and wanted the more liberal lifestyle in Paris during these years.

Certainly, there was a group of writers and artists who lived that bohemian lifestyle, perhaps a result of the horrors of war, using alcohol and promiscuity to drown the bad memories.

I doubt if anyone could return from a war like that and not be damaged in some way.  Perhaps the only way to escape the horror was to immerse oneself in a different world, and if I had been back in those days, I know I would be putting pencil to paper making endless notes for later use.

And I prefer to believe if I survived it was because my desire to become a writer would eventually be fulfilled.  Perhaps in the end it might be more likely because I had had a lifetime love affair with words, and to me, it would be more than enough to make a reasonable living from it.

Certainly, I would have sought out others like me as mentors and compatriots.

It was a time when the likes of F Scott Fitzgerald, Ernest Hemingway, Edith Wharton, and James Joyce, all of whom I have no doubt would be happy to be the role models one needed.

And if you could afford to take a trip to Paris, well, enough said.

It would probably take a lot of luck to be included in their group and no doubt hanging out at the Shakespeare and Company bookshop, owned by Silvia Beach and Adrienne Monnier, might have been a step in the right direction.

But, having not been there at the time, who knows what might have happened.

Perhaps one day when someone invents the time machine, I might be able to go back and find out.