Thursday, 21 July 2011

Mea culpa

Mea culpa maxima - or rather the bug I've had is culpable for making me feel like I've had a head full of soggy weetabix.

For the past couple of weeks I haven't done much writing at all. :( But I've read a lot [Perfect Score by Sue Robuck *nods* try it, it's very good, and Harry Potter and Flashman] and I've watched a lot of half films, sleeping through the rest of them.

So - I haven't really got much to offer at the moment. I feel I should at least post a bit of fiction if I can't be entertaining on my own account. So - something old.

A few years ago I started writing a story about a gardener who accidentally [it makes sense in context] used the Victorian Language of Flowers to communicate with his employer :

That evening Gwyn dragged himself home and slumped in front of the telly, biting his thumbnail and replying to Dad's attempts at conversation with ill-tempered grunts. He needed this job badly. He had done what he could to the best of his ability, given the time. The flower beds around the house looked good. The drive was weed free. The lawn by the conservatory and the one at the front of the house was neatly mown, though sadly mossy. Either Thornton would be happy or not, so there was little point in worrying about it. But that night he spent more hours fretting than he did sleeping.

He was up first – up with the sun – and had the milking bail clean and ready to go before his father was even dressed. Taking the dog he went to the meadow where the cows grazed, knee deep in the morning mist, and smiled to see their surprised looks. The cows knew he was early as well as he did but they ambled across to the gate readily enough and so he was ready that bit earlier than normal.

“Don’t care what that agent says,” Dad murmured as Gwyn passed him under one of the pear trees, going to take the short cut to the Court across the bottom meadow. “Thornton ain’t gonna find anyone better than you, not round here. He’d be mad to let you go.”

Gwyn sighed and held up crossed fingers, then jogged down the dewy slope. He skirted the torn-up patch of mud where the tractor had turned turtle, hurdled the stream in the dip and ran across to the hedge that separated the farm from the grounds of Old Court. He climbed the stile and walked quietly through the vegetable plots, uncultivated now, past the greenhouses and through the open door in the wall surrounding the kitchen garden. The house looked quiet and dark so he decided that edging the lawns would be the best bet. He walked quietly around to the sunny side of the house but stopped short still in the shadows.

Someone was brightly lit by the early sun, standing on one of Gwyn’s meticulously planted flower beds, probably crushing the calla lilies. Gwyn gulped, his attention completely fixed on this person rather than what he might be standing on. A tall, blond haired man with striking facial features partially obscured by hornrimmed spectacles, he stooped to do something to one of the plants. Gwyn stepped forward into the sun, suddenly anxious.

At the crunch of his boots on the gravel the man turned sharply and looked towards him, hair glinting, and Gwyn stopped again. They looked each other over then the man held out a beckoning hand. “You must be Gwyn Derry,” he called and smiled as Gwyn moved towards him. “I must say I am most impressed with what you’ve done here and,” the smile broadened and Gwyn found himself flushing for no reason at all, “and if it was your choice of flowers for the house, I found them most interesting. American Starwort in the hall, sage in the kitchen - and the bedroom …”

“Um,” Gwyn said, puzzled. “I’m – um – glad you liked them.”

The man tilted his head then nodded. “Very much,” he said and laughed a little. “I’m sorry, it’s early and I’m still a little jet lagged. My name’s Thornton, David Thornton.”

Gwyn took his hand and shook it. “Pleased to meet you,” he said and stood there confused as Thornton gripped his hand searching his eyes as though waiting for something more. Gwyn’s colour deepened and he tugged his hand free. “I – er – better get on,” he said. “If it’s all right with you I’ll make a start on felling the south lawn.” He offered an appeasing grin.

For a moment Thornton frowned then he nodded, his handsome face relaxing into pleasant but bland lines. “I’ll make tea in a while and bring some down to you,” he promised. “White? Sugar?”

“That’d be grand. Two please,” Gwyn said. “Thanks.”

He didn’t look back until he had reached the shed, brushing past potted marjoram and releasing a faint waft of its sweet scent, but Thornton was still standing amongst the lilies watching Gwyn as though he had expected something – something he had been disappointed not to get.

I got to 20K words reached a crux and had one of those "why am I bothering" moments. Possibly I ought to get back to it.

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