The Rose Garden. Short story.

Fred Hollins had always loved his garden.  His rose arches welded in his own shed served as strong hold for snow covered climbers and old faithful roses as large as his house. Fred was in love with the whole idea of what a garden can look like with hard work.

Freds wife was not so sure as her thought was she was no more than a second best to Madame Lousie  Odier and Gloria Stracken. Names of roses but in her mind rivals for her time with him.

rose-covered-arches.jpg

Fred worked hard in his retirement too and Alice plans to travel had long left by the window as Freds new greenhouse was being erected by a three man team.

The many who called to see for themselves the results of his labour stood open mouthed at such a marvel.  Alice was more and more reduced to rank of kitchen porter.

Years flew by nothing changed only more pruning and seed tray washing. He only came in to sleep and was back in his greenhouses when Alice awoke next morning.  She drove to shop alone and felt rejected so much she spoke to no one. The way they lived had a bad effect on the relationship but she had had good times before he found his hobby now his life. Madly in love with old roses if not with his Alice, they had drifted apart.

It was the annual flower show at the open gardens near by. Fred was approached as best garden in town winner to be presented with a cup by the local Council Officer Dan Pringle. He himself a champion rose grower. Fred dressed smart and for once she helped him with ironing his shirt ,this pleased her as he looked so good in a good suit.

Alice was not asked to attend. She head in hands at the kitchen table came up with a plan to bring him nearer to her. What if she fixed the ladders he used for high rose pruning . A slight fall may do the trick. She could be his nurse she thought. Six weeks in bed broken leg.Helping hand as he started walking that should do the trick. For an hour she mulled it over in her troubled mind. Yes it was to be. She slipped out with the hack saw from the garage and sawed half through one step near the top. The ladders laying on the neatly clipped lawns the cut was made so thin at the joint it was undetectable. Placing the ladders back on the hooks she replaced his saw and went out for a drive.

images

All was set in place.  Weeks turned into months and Alice waited smiling for the first time in years. His way in his garden left her in no doubt she was not a thought in his head. They hardly talked unless it was rose cuttings or run to store for bags of seed soils or manure in bags. She yawned and as she looked up to see what he was up to the ladders up against the wall told her D,day was here at last.

Fred tied on his tool pouch with his set of pruning tools and mounted the ladder. Alice gasped as he trod on the step and for an age it held. She watched with wider eyes. Her knuckles white as she gripped the sink taps waiting .Then down he came so fast it shocked her made her jump. He came down through the glass roof of his greenhouse and hot the stone flagged floor like a lump of strawberry jam.

She blinked in disbelief as the noise filled her ears and as the sound died , so did Fred.

She tip toed up the garden path and there he was with a glass fragment in his neck .Blood bath all around and blood still pumping from him.  Sprays up the wall of brick behind him. She started to cry hot tears staining her blouse.

Alice howled loudly and for a while felt helpless her idea to bring them closer had ended her marriage and claimed her beloved husbands life.

Then she saw the ladders and the step handing down. Given thought she now turned the ladders around and with pliers removed  the bottom step. Inside her home she rang police and ambulance.

The body covered over she walked alongside as the ambulance team took him inside the vehicle. The police had few questions but she said she heard only the noise. No inquest was called for the fall was not his death but the greenhouse glass had cut his main blood arteiry  right through and killed him.

Alice spread Freds ashes over his rose beds  and thought that the best way for him. Plenty of Fred in the soils, she sold the house and left for better days.

It was as she packed her bags she became suddenly aware of someone behind her. A voice in her head told her Fred was with her still. Her hair stood on end, as the policeman held her arm and handcuffed her tightly. Her prints on saw and ladders and a note from an anonymous writer had pointed at murder.

Her court date was set and her lawyer took her story as fact.  In the dock she was put through serious difficulty explaining her love for Fred and then killing him.

Her lawyer fought hard and she was released with probation order only.  The press who had waited for over an hour for the verdict now gathered like bees around a jam pot and photo after photo flashed had Alice blinking hard.

Next day she sat reading the newspapers and suddenly she stopped in supence.

In the photo of her in a crowded court doorway was another face  between her head and her lawyers head there was her dead husband face, Fred Hollins, as clear as day smiling back at her.

 

Advertisements

The Mabinogion.

I  first became aware that these ancient tales go back really only to the early days of 1900. Yes it may be true that medieval story lines run through that pages of this said book but in essence what we come to read is the work of a coal mine owner wife who lived to be rich against all odds ,times and people and who died to be buried inside concreted and thick lead so none could disturb or dig them up. In Abergavenny a town in Monmouthside once England now owing to Government changes Wales. Here , just a few miles from the Welsh coal fields on the valleys a man decided to win no matter what .Cruel cheat who bought mines grew rich and paid out little to his workforce. Typical villain of a man indeed.  His wife who decided to write all she could of old tales which had in part been handed down by mouth from old to young in families over centuries .

gwisgoedd.jpg

They say trained story tellers told the tales in centuries past before the advent of television. Tales of magic and four stories of peoples from all over Britain in Welsh legends. As Welsh was banned from being spoken or practiced over some 1000 years from Norman invasion to 1020s it died out .They say it survived underground behind bolted doors but no real proof exits. What is Welsh but ancient Briton and renewed bit by bit.Even the political side was placed in by Llloyd George and Sir Winston Churchill in 1912 as Lloyd George pretended to be Welsh inorder to get in a Parliament seat. He was in fact born in Cheshire England. Words added to Welsh was his passion. We look at Microwave in English but in Welsh is Ping Ping. Very short language dictionary but many Welsh will tell you different.

 

An Aristocratic lady from near London came to live in the town of Myther a valley head population of Welsh  miners .This was in Victorian times when a womans duties were to devote her time to looking after her husbands wishes. She became so occupied with ancient tales that she penned as much down as possible and gave us the Mabinogy as its called locally to that area. The Lady, Charlotte Bertie Guest,  was the writer or translator of 14th century tales The tales in eleven parts in four sections  bound in lovely golden details on brown leather hide. No qualifications did she have to attempt this only she was a daughter to an Earl who helped her be published. It is this book that all who know of the Mabinogion ever read.

 

The mystery is how historically correct are the facts we read. Being passed down by a few related families is hardly a good starting place for fact to to come to the top like so much cream in the milk.  What we have is names and places and wizards and flying horses and a story wrapped around some ancient Celtish Lords, with a Goddess of the winds.

Talk with the few who are devoted to this work and anger exits on anything said over authentic fact. So many different authors and who is who is a dream only.

I read as much as I could then placed the book back in my library uninterested having paid a lot of cash out to have it I found it well illustrated and lovely bound but stories and magic not my scene made me suspicious of fact that did it come down the ages in tact .Or is it more likely the mind of a Victorian lady in general?

I found that main character really a God named by Celtic warriors and reused in tales within the many pages of this book.  I doubt the tale had legs to travel so far as 1860s without some intervention to make it work. Celts were in themselves mysteriously silent on fact .We know they worked for Roman army in battles as crazed fighters scared of nothing and handy to have if you were Consort or General. Not much is known of these peoples in history yet they can leave us tales from the past?  I am a historian but can find no fact here. Are they tales unchanged word for word or meaning down the many 1000s of years from the days of Rome and Celts. I cant really say i think so but there we are another great mystery we have here.

Without finding the old manuscripts of these said stories one cannot swear that any go back that far in time as 2000 years if we are talking Celts.

just a topic that I researched some 40 years ago for winning a BBC radio cup for a poem.

Gods speed, Sir Kevin.

Copyright Kevin James Parr Bt

short story

Terry foxwell had one big dream in his life.Happily married with a child on 8 he was happy if hard working. His dream came to be one rainy afternoon in Plymouth Harbour Yard. He had stopped by on way to see a customer when out of the blue he saw it clear as day. A big sign read FOR SALE. A classic 2003 glass fiber and wood sailing boat . Without a moments delay Terry stopped and walked into the office of David Manning the owner of a boat yard.

After a haggle and a good sales talk Terry had bought the Mary Baker boat for cash at high discount. Manning had even signed the brokerage papers and bill of sale was safely inside Terrys inside pocket of his rain coat.

On he went to another booking to see a customer who was ready for the lawyers visit.  That evening after thinking all the drive home how to tell his wife, came right out with the news at dinner. Kate was stunned their daughter  Emma delighted . Desperate she phoned her school friends  with the story.

Kate was unsure as even with discount the deal had taken most of their savings. She had sailing experience which was more than her husbands six days at sea as child added up to. Still it was she agreed to go and view the vessel and all three drove back that weekend.

A small well balanced cabin and fore deck coastal  boat with three birth and a galley. One steel mast in good repair looked new in fact. The  wood was varnished professionally and she was more of  bargain than she had hoped. Terry was besides himself with joy and they hooked up the vessel trailer hitch to his SUV jeep and drove their new purchase home.

index

it was all planned to sail out to an island near the Dorset coast that  Terry knew well as Brownsea Island had been  youthful camp site as a scout in his youth.  Not that far around the coast they could test the boat out and enjoy a weekend away from home and work.   So it was that all came to be and armed with a hamper of food and dinner plates they took a suitcase of spare clothing and drove to the boat launch less than an hours drive from home.

It was fun being launched and happy to use the motor out of reach of land they raised the sail and almost at once it caught wind and filled so quickly with air the little vessel took flight and ran smoothly across the waves.  Emma cuddled her teddybear Mister Crumbles in fear and excitement at the power of the wind in the sail. They had rounded Portland Bill and at the Helm Kate headed for deeper sea to keep of the rocks  on the coastal route to Southampton.

Brownsea was near Bournemouth and she was headed nicely around the coast when suddenly water leaks sprang through the hold inside the engine bay water was filling up fast. The bilge pump could not cope and Terry fought with buckets but to no avail he cried to Kate to head to shore but so far out and rocks so large she did not have time before all sank below the rising waves.

stock-photo-teddy-bear-drenched-on-marble-floor-just-feel-so-empty-vintage-style-748682752

It was never to be but the coast guard searched until night fall and found only a cane hamper floating on the foam billowing  sands as the sea crashed against the rocky coast.

Divers went down next afternoon but nothing was found or reported. What must have happened the vessel hit the rocks and sank in the murky depths of the might seas.The inquest was on going.

Terry was sadly missed at work and a mock funeral for the family was held at Saint Marys Chapelgate near the Foxwell family home. Kates sister Amanda and Terrys parents and his office mates all stood in rows some in tears some closer ,never to hope again.

The inquest had taken only a week to build a case on the accident as investigators had discovered that Mannings brokerage had sold the Mary Baker boat that had come apart on delivery. Manning took it as defect and said it could be repaired. His man just filled in the cracks. The verdict of unlawful death was brought in and police arrested Manning. The family left but in the back seat was found by cleaners, a wet limp childs teddybear, dripping slowly onto the polished floor.

Little Girls used as work slaves

This may amaze my readers but all facts researched can be proved by reading the Chinese books on this subject. Foot binding was a practice in full swing up to around 1970. In certain places still used even now outlawed.

Babies of nine months had their tiny feet broken by a hammer on a stone anvil or worse. The mother would then bandage the feet into a shape of a lotus .This was not an easy job. Once the foot was wrapped and bound the foot would take shape over time. In some cases years.

feet_2_3341734b.jpg

In rich family homes this was done so daughter with small feet could be married into an even richer family as acceptable for for a young man as fashion. Big feet in your back no one likes but to go this far in cruelty is beyond the need for change of what God made us to be.

Now this practice was also linked to the poor peoples daughters who had the same treatment but for quite a different reason. It mattered not which man married them as the parents merely needed servants to work at home. By crippling them it made them stay at home working in cottage industry knitting or weaving to sell to feed them all. Only the best at this survived as some just vanished.

AR-308139869

The practice went on across China as normal and daughters could be sold as profit for the father. Too many mouths to feed and another girl simply vanished.  All girls had the feet bound as big feet meant no marriage too.

fb1_ef98837700b5936dd0b4d2f8

Today this is against  Chinese law. The poor ladies are stuck with it as to try to break and reset would involve a lot of pain and no promise of being able to stand after the operations performed. For most cannot stand without shoes to hold feet in closely.

It has been estimated some 40 million women had this problem in 1950 .Today still so many alive suffer this man made evil deformity of what is called Lotus foot. It opens like a lotus in motion. The shoe has to hold it all in or the woman cant walk.

Sadly I am informed the pain is always there but not enough to stop them walking in shoes made for this deformity as over that last 10 centuries unchanged.

I hope this story will not upset but inform more strongly.  Yours Sir Kevin.

Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2019

The tracery of thought.

It was here,  long ago, when I was young and Daisy and me lived in this house. A lifetime ago. Siblings we so close and warm against the embers of that same fire in the sitting room.  No longer is it there against the wall as then. It flickering flames just memory.

Blue ribbons and frilly dresses for Daisy and me but Eric a wooden soldier for him to think of father. He played with it until all paint peeled off. I pass on trough the rooms searching.

Tunes played by Mother filled the air with sounds. The piano has gone but I can still hear it faintly ,dancing in my head. Happy we that summer then all fell apart when dear father was called to service of war. September 3rd 1914. So long ago.

It was here ,in this little window across to the park railings that once held the roses from the pond. The ducks all gone. Such memories of sad longing as Daisy fell ill, with worry no doubt.

Mother had us making socks for the soldiers in this little kitchen, all wool and knitting needles. No real laughter but we tried to be normal. Daisy against the fire huddled in blankets but still smiling through tears.

default.jpg

I recall the news when the few returned all broken and bent from the front. Years of waiting now; the telegram. We wept so long and weary. Father was killed one hour before they called an end to war. No one knew where he lay. Mother fell ill and soon we ,Daisy and me stood in the snow as they lowered dear mother down in the wet sucking earth of our church yard, just a short walk from this door. I stand colder than ice near that church door no reason just had too it seems. I have no way of knowing why it keeps happening to me. I am not part of those behind the curtain now. The light is drawing me nearer. It happening again I will be leaving i feel it all through me, im not wanted.

TACA-1906-family.jpg I came back, I think only to find father, lost as he is. Mud fields have no sign of him they told us all.  I must go. For it is cold in the  grave I lay within without us all together again.

 

Short story this time.

Best wishes Sir Kevin.

Copyright Kevin Parr Bt 2017 for today 24th August 2019

 

The Wreck of the steam ship Brother Johnathon and treasure it held.

A paddle steam ship with 244 passengers and crew embarked from San Francisco on route to Portland but not on happy terms as it seems the captain suggested his ship was over laden. Vanderbilt owned both the ship and the cargo hidden in its hold. It is said that the captain was told he could go home with loss of employ or sail to Portland and deliver the cargo. In that hold sat gold coinage in wooded boxes well secured. This gold was to pay the Indian tribes for land. It was a heavy load and filled the hold.

 

The sea was a milk pond and no problem was it for progress to be made. That was until they reached the position of a freak storm with waves 30 foot high crashing against the timbers of the boat.. The captain was just two miles off port but decided to turn the Brother Johnathon about and head back to the place they came from. We have it that he had had enough of his command and saw it as Gods justice he was in peril for being so over weight in water. The last wave hit the deck tipped the vessel over .Only 19 passengers survived as the ship sank fast down into the grimy billows. The ships wheel and broken life boats came to shore and no rescue could be made with any result. The date 30th July 1865.

Money picture

For 128 years it lay in the fathoms yet no sign did they find of her. In 1993 treasure hunters discovered the remains of a paddle from that steamer some 3 miles across the sea bed. She had drifted so far from the sinking that no one was sure it was the right ship. In the cracked open hold they soon found gold. Over 1200 coins worth then over a few million dollars. Search was on for all the boxes and coins if not for then the Government interfered claiming ownership. Salvage rights flouted and mass war developed between treasure hunters and Government officials. Undignified act of fight suggested a news paper report in California.

brother-jonathan-1851-400The ship in question from a painting

All this was news but one crab fisher had a load of gold coins exactly of same minted issue as was on the ship. He said in 1930 he was crab netting off coast and in one cage came up a leather valet case full of coins all gold and shiny.

It is hard to believe as leather will not survive in deep salt water for over 70 years. Something is not right about his story. However he had a lot of coins stored in a big demi jar. It was not admitted that he had sold some but antique dealers checked by police seem to have sold at least 20 coins to collectors. Coins led back to this man. How he came by this coinage is anyone guess. He could have found wood on the surface and dived to bring up more than he was telling of. He was an old man when interviewed and claimed he had forgotten the exact spot he collected the coins.

For years the treasure that came up was argued over so much of that gold may still be in the shifting sands of the sea bed. Thousands came to search making it a gold rush in fact.

No sign of any bodies of men women or children came to light as the sea had devoured them.

A paddle steamer was not really sea worthy as rivers are the natural abode of a craft such as this. . Vanderbilt was so rich he could have used a larger vessel but he risked the lives of all just to buy land for Government to build a city. His Captain was a sea man who knew too well the risk of over laden ships. The freak storm may have been the wrath of God as no real nature could bring on such high rolling seas just off California and border with Oregon with waves 30 feet high that came up in seconds to carry a ship down to the sea bed. But then would God sacrifice so many lives just to scold a rich man. No,perhaps not. So there must be some other explanation to sort this out. The survivors told of calm sea then up came the waves like boiled milk and waves over the funnels of the ship as 30-40 foot high took the ship down quickly. The life boats crashed to the water hit the ship turning it  upside down and many sank with it. She ,treasure fixed, people screaming vanished beneath the waves

Must have been a terrible loss to the  families of those who perished.

So these are the facts and record of some billions in gold coinage that may be too difficult to raise what remains hidden. Will we ever know how much is down there? One day some one with the right tools and need will raise what is left of the Brother Johnathon for the world to know just what went on with Government dealings  back then as now underhand and secret until something goes wrong.

Thank you for being with me on this, Yours Sir Kevin.

 

copyright 2019 Kevin Parr Bt

The man in the Iron mask.

Perhaps one should not expect the truth from TV historic plays and series that at first glance look the real period. Then the scriptwriters start the lies. Why ,when real fact is far stranger than fiction in most cases.

I allude to Versailles with the great George Blagdon as King Louis XIV and his brother who is driven mad by seeing the man in the iron mask. Pure fiction by the writers of this moving series. As with the movie staring De Caprio.

Leonardo DiCaprio In 'The Man In The Iron Mask'

Voltiere wrote the first book on this character we know was fiction but he wrote it long after Louis death in 1715 .It was published in 1771 and was picked up fast as legend. Other works came on later as the man in the iron mask. Alexandre Dumas who wrote the fictional tale of three Royalist soldiers called the musketeers. One epic tale that stirs the reader into the pages one by one of that said period. A great novel written by a black man who had a famous father who was hailed the best army General in France.  Musketeers did nit ride about on fine horses they were foot troops carrying the fisrt real rifle in history over a shoulder and the big iron rest for the leveling of the fire arm in the other.Around waist and the other shoulder came the belts of balls and powder. A taper of tallow burned in the hat band for igniting the fire box to shot the weapon. A musket man was a slow moving front line soldier. How ever he also caught on to Volieres tale of this prisoner who Dumas now added Royal blood and off it ran as best seller.

Sad to say this man existed but not in the way of this tale. He was a racketeer rebel who had committed a series of crimes against Italian nobility. He was tried in 1669 and jailed in Pignerol Fortress in Italy. His jailer one Saint -Mars. This prisoner of the state was moved about a bit owing to information of jail break. He was covered in a leather mask to his head with buckled and locked so no one could get it off him only by the keys that Saint- Mars left in safe places. If this man did go as said to prison in France it was not for long so cant see why he was sifted over the borders. We just dont know as no real record says why. This now started the rush to legend status for many French writers who jumped on the band wagon.

This prisoner did not wear the mask in his cell only placed on him when moved to another cell or floor as he died in 34 years of serving his sentence in Pignerol  Italy and on his grave his name is recorded as Eustache Dauger ?

The rest goes on in fiction that he was the bastard son of King Louis who had many bastard children so why keep one in prison. Then he was First born son of Louis  mother. Then he was the real King of France but in fact all the time he really was just a criminal called Eustache Dauger that caused so many to believe so many stories and that my friends is how legends and Urban myths start rolling.

I do not think Versailles will be my thing from now on as in Vikings the same no fact and two centuries added as one. Deeds attributed to other men and to a real historian it becomes offensive as we know many will believe it all as fact , why ,because its on the tv. It must be right. Then it is not as I make my point.

One hopes this will help you look deeper into what is said for if you like me want only truth then this article is right up your street.

God bless ,Sir Kevin at your service.

Copywrite Kevin Parr Bt 2019