Summer Ready Covid Empty: Wordless Wednesday

© irene waters 2020
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His first and only: 99 word flash fiction

Unaware of the steps his momentum sent him flying through the air, arms and legs akimbo. The letter he’d been reading floating gently in the breeze behind him. His thoughts were those of a drowning man. This is what it feels like to fly? First his childhood, then the small amount of adulthood he’d experienced. Should have told Alison I love her. Should have written a will. A bellyflop onto concrete that’ll hurt.

He landed hard. He momentarily felt like Humpty Dumpty before all thought left him.

Alison screamed. “Don’t die. Not when you’ve just inherited and can live.”

This week Charli asks:

August 13, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story about a first flight. It can be anything or anyone that flies. What is significant about the first? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by August 18, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

Posted in Carrot Ranch, flash fiction | Tagged , , , , | 3 Comments

Love in the Time of Cholera: A Book Review

Love in the Time of Cholera by Gabriel Garcia Marquez is the story of three people. Florentino Ariza who as a teenager sees Fermina Daza, falls in love and decides he will marry her. He is a poet and spends hours writing to Fermina who eventually believes herself to be in love with him. Her Father does not approve and removes Fermina taking a trip to his home country. Unknown to him they maintain a correspondence and agree to be married. On her return Fermina takes one look at Ariza and decides that he is not the man for her and marries a doctor Juvenal Urbino. This leaves Ariza heartbroken but determined that one day she would be his as Urbino was eleven years older than Fermina. Although he keeps his heart for Fermina his body is shared around 655 women in all sorts of ways enabling an examination of different types of love from a mother’s love to perverted love in the extreme. We would classify him as a stalker as he watched Fermina from afar, and at closer quarters as she lived her life with her husband and children.

The characters are extremely well drawn although I didn’t find any of them likeable; Ariza I positively abhored. The story spanned three people’s lifespans in a culture that was quite foreign to me. It was set somewhere in the Carribean. Marquez himself is a Columbian. I found the names difficult to follow as to my eye they were unfamilair names and therefore similarly sounding to my ear – this meant that I had to concentrate and often backtrack in the early stages to remind myself of who was who.

The writing was lyrical. Beautiful. However this also made it difficult to read as the dense narrative with its intricate language made it necessary to concentrate. The chapters were long (at one point on my kindle it told me the chapter was going to take me 2 hours + to read) with no passage breaks to make a natural stopping point. It meant that every time I halted I had to reread the last few pages to get back into the story. Despite this I wanted to read it. It just took me more time than a normal novel would take and it is one of the few books that I would consider reading again as I believe there was much that I didn’t take in on the first reading.

There were definite themes. Ageing being a big one. We go from teenager to into their eighties and it examines the changes that are wrought in that time, the perceptions others have to love when older and the difficulties that arise.

Another theme is love in all its forms and how what is seen isn’t necessarily what is the reality. My guess is the name of the book comes from the symptoms of love being similar to those of cholera but that may be too simplistic as I believe there is a lot of symbolism in this book that isn’t necessarily apparent on a first reading. The river, for example, is in my opinion, a metaphor for Aziza’s life. If you read it let me know what you think.

Would I recommend this book: Yes I would. It is quite different to anything I have read before (Joseph Conrad is the closest and strangely he was mentioned in it) and so beautifully written.

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Early Morning : Silent Sunday

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Posted in Australia, Noosa, Silent Sunday | Tagged , , , | 8 Comments

Laguna Bay: Silent Sunday

© irene waters 2020
Posted in Australia, Noosa, photography, Silent Sunday | Tagged , , | 5 Comments

Two and three wheels in China: Bikes, motorbikes and trikes: Cee’s fun Fotos

© irene waters 2020

Another aspect of China that we found surprising was how few bicycles, and motorbikes there were. Predominantly the modes of transport were modern cars. All the motor scooters were electric and perhaps the lack of sound made those that were there a little more inconspicuous. Additionally, the motorcycles had their own lanes which were often removed from the general car lanes. When you saw them parked en masse you realised there were more than you were aware of.

© irene waters 2020

and there was room after room filled to capacity in this underground parking area. Coming from a tropical climate and travelling in spring, I found it interesting how the bike riders kept their hands warm.

© irene waters 2020

Although not common, the trike and bike were still occasionally seen transporting loads that wouldn’t be seen in my hometown at least.

Bicycles were seen even less often although we were taken for a ride through the Hutongs (an old part of Beijing) on the modern equivalent of a rickshaw.

© irene waters 2020

I did feel a little guilty at having someone pedal us around the narrow lanes of the Hutong but if it wasn’t for tourists these people might have little income and at least they weren’t pulling the rickshaw as they would have in bygone days and the experience was much better than the horse and carriage in Egypt.

Thanks to Cee for hosting Cee’s Fun Foto. Join in – its fun.

Posted in Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, photography, travel, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , , , , , | 12 Comments

Winter in Noosa: Wordless Wednesday

© irene waters 2020
Posted in Australia, Noosa, photography, Wordless Wednesday | Tagged , , , , | 2 Comments

Her Crowning Glory: 99 Word Flash Fiction

© irene waters 2020

“I need a bathroom quick. “Ahhhhhhh.” Cramp.”

He guided his wife to the toilet block worrying about food poisoning. As he looked beads of perspiration dotted her brow and her crowning glory became wet and lank.

“Ahhhhhhhhhhhh!” His strong grip prevented her collapsing. He guided her into the first stall.

“Gosh it’s big. There’s a loo for everyone………..”

His wife moaned. “Feels like a ring of fire.”

“You’re Not pregnant?”

“No.”

He pushed her back and looked. “You’ve crowned. ” He caught the baby. “Who knew the family loos would be where we became a family. Let’s call her Glory”

In response to Charli’s prompt for this week’s 99 word flash where she asks:

July 30, 2020, prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less), write a story that uses the phrase “her crowning glory.” (Thanks to Anne Goodwin for the prompt idea.) It can be in the traditional sense of a woman’s hair or applied to any idea of a best attribute. What happens if you play with the meaning or gender? Go where the prompt leads!

Respond by August 4, 2020. Use the comment section below to share, read, and be social. You may leave a link, pingback, or story in the comments. If you want to be published in the weekly collection, please use the form.  Rules & Guidelines.

You may be wondering where the toilet came into it. Charli suggested that we set the story in an exotic background, in the loo… and the story was born. I had been taken with the family toilets that we came across in China. I had never seen anything like it in my travels to any other place. Naturally I photographed a selection. Toilets are something that I’m drawn to and I have posted about them in the past here and here and finally here. This toilet I was particuarly taken with because not only did it come with instructions, it also gave a philosophy on life.

© irene waters 2020
Posted in Carrot Ranch, creative writing, flash fiction | Tagged , , , , , | 17 Comments

A Mushroom’s Perspective: Silent Sunday

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Train to Winton: Railway and Trains: Cee’s Fun Foto Challenge

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As an adult I have had three distinct train/railroad experiences. One at Dorrigo when I stumbled across a train museum, another in New Zealand when we went from Dunedin to Taieri Gorge an incredibly scenic journey. For today’s challenge I have the fortune of just returning from a train trip to Winton. Winton is in the far west of North Queensland, 1,325 kms by train from where we live. We decided to travel by economy class as it is part of Australia my husband has not experienced, it is steeped in dinosaur history and it was a place we could travel with COVID 19 restrictions.

© irene waters 2020

I was excited until I realised that the length of time we would be sitting up would be longer than a trip to Switzerland and that knocks us about. We hopped on at Cooroy late afternoon. Not 100% certain what the equipment on the platform was for – perhaps grabbing the mail bags or dropping coal in when the train was steam powered but I’m fairly certain it is no longer in use. As night fell we flashed past the odd light and then the odd town.

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

Because of the pandemic there were no people sitting either in front or behind us and we were given the entire row. The seats were from the first class seating from the Sunlander (another Queensland rail route) and incredibly comfortable allowing us to sleep reasonably well. There was also the dining car shown above and below. We went and ordered our meal from the galley which was a bit of a test for Roger, who is a little unsteady on his feet, as we had to move between cars but it made a big difference being able to move around.

© irene waters 2020

In the morning as the scenery changed from grassy to desert like we arrived at a place called Alpha.

We were allowed out for a 10 min stop. The platform was tiny (reminded me of the Australian film Wake in Fright) and the train hung over at either end of the platform. Anyone who wanted to get off had to come down to our carriage so where you see the ramp that was where we were situated on the train.

Despite the small size of the town it boasted four pubs of which two are featured above. The brick one being creatively called the brick pub.

Whilst there we saw our first road train. These are lorries that have a minimum of three hook ons at the back and are very common in the Northern Territory, Queensland and probably Western Australia. They hurtle along at great speed and are terrifying to attempt to overtake. Back to our train…

© irene waters 2020

Another stop at Barcoldine but that will be the subject of another post and eventually Longreach. Bus to Winton. And then the home journey

© irene waters 2020
© irene waters 2020

Waving goodbye to Longreach.

© irene waters 2020

As we crossed the Great Dividing Range back to the coast we snaked around the mountains giving us great views of the train and scenery.

© irene waters 2020

We enjoyed this rail journey so much that we have booked another – this time to Cairns. We hope it will be as enjoyable as this one.

Thanks to Cee for hosting the Fun Foto Challenge.

Posted in Australia, Cee's Fun Foto Challenge, photography, travel, Travel Theme | Tagged , , , , | 10 Comments