Just because you love fifties fashion doesn’t mean it has to be frumpy.

Hurrah for Pinterest! I wish I could find an application where I could put together my own clothing combinations, if you know of one please comment down below. Meanwhile, I do not these images they belong to the users of Pinterest

Photo: Lily Jarlson, a vintage YouTuber

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Conflict poem

Instead of having fires of passion

They have been replaced by fires of anger.

Instead of you murmuring sweet things to me,

they have been replaced with spite and bitterness.

Instead of you being next to me,

There is a vast space

and it’s not just the stretch of a hand

but, it is everything.

Kisses have been

replaced by tears and

concrete walls now guard us

from each other instead of the

the home we once lived.

Eyes are the window to

the soul but, my

shutters have come down

so that you cannot see my broken heart.

You promise you’ll

change but you never do

all that changes are my bruises

you give,

from black to blue.

Why I am I still here?

Well, isn’t it true, if

Belle can love a princely beast,

can’t I learn to love you too?

The man I loved is not who you are,

he’s trapped inside your angry heart.

So, I will love

the beast, till death

do us part

so there’s a chance my prince will

come.

Flash fiction

We’ve lived in Wales for over a year now having fled Kabul. I’ve watched my husband struggle with the language, to go to farmers auctions whilst I kept house and prayed for success, Wales is the land of farming and that’s what we’ve done all our lives. We are comfortable with our life but revel in luxury after the dusty streets of Afghanistan. I have swapped my Hijab for a housecoat and curlers. Religion has fallen into the wayside after what we’ve been through.

Our luck changed one faithful day in Spring when Muhammad came to the kitchen door what was a lazy afternoon. I shuffled outside in my slippers to find shivering sheep and it lovely cloudy ball of wool in the field. My husband and beamed at each other. The next thing I know he’s got the ancient brownie out and snaps a candid photo of me holding our treasure. It was rather soft but it felt like gold.

60 years on that timid housewife is now gone, after my husband is passing I was forced to learn English and fully integrate myself into the community. I’m taking my GCSEs exams. There was a time when I lay in bed dreading the day, it seems so long without him. Without him as my shield I had to stand on my own 2 feet. Of course I’m encountered racism but as soon as I became mother the other women saw I was just like them. Before people wouldn’t hold my hand but now I’ve lost count of how many henna tattoos I’ve done. People used to wrinkle their nose when I walked in the room, the smell of spice and coconut lotion. Now, people plan off my recipes! it’s nice that I can bring a bit of Kabul into our little valley.

I always tell my grandchildren to persevere and to be grateful of Te smallest things. I was born in Kabul but Wales is my home.

Historical memoir

I would travel back to the summer of 1977 when the movie musical ‘Grease’ was being filmed. I’d Run over Olivia newton John so I could be Sandy, then myself and John Travolta would fall in love off screen. Then I would go to 2007 and get myself a role in the movie Hairspray alongside my husband. I would also go back the 40’s and meet my great grandparents when they were courting.

‘I’m constantly amazed by man’s inhumanity to man’ – Primo Levi, if this is a man.

1. The the poetic description leads us gently into the extract and the colours set the scene and also the atmosphere around the camp. The pathetic fallacy is used very well so as a reader we know what we are getting into. The direct speech as an opener, whilst intriguing would be too abrupt. As a reader, we would feel disorientated by this if we did not know the setting and circumstance.

2. The ‘could is italicised to show the other side of the opinion that instead of suffering and darkness there could be joy in the world if we thought differently.

3. The colours ‘grey, muddy, and blood red’ all have connotations with misery and suffering whilst ‘sky blue and sunset’ offers a ray of hope.

4. The lack of clarity leads us to think that his wife has passed on and that he feels her spirit and that’s what gets him through.

5. Latin is a language of intelligence and the phrase could be a metaphor for, providing hope.

6. That he feels them is no hope.

7. The bid is a symbolism of what’s to come, his freedom. Frankl just needs to hold on for a little bit longer.

God has no hand in the suffering of his followers. He is still with us and to defend and speaks to those who are at the hand of our suffering it’s whether they choose to value his advice. He is the one who blessed us with life and shall receive us into his arms when our time is at an end. He will save us in the end, but we are not at the end, we must stay strong and keep to faith. Even if it has left us, we can never leave it.

homework

World war 2

Nan win

It was 1939 when the war was declared I was 16. I remember sitting at the kitchen table with my mother in Portsmouth and Chamberlain’s voice rang out in the room. My father, Henry was pacing up and down the room. My mother, Olive gripped hands as those terrifying words sent shivers down my spine.

My father was the first to speak and what he said I still remember to this day; ‘What’s for tea love?’ I asked him to repeat it, my mother lived.

‘Henry Coward! Our country is now at war and all you can bloody think about is your stomach?’ My father’s eyes narrowed. Nobody spoke out against him.

‘Well, I’m not going to fight bloody Hitler on an empty stomach?!’ His eyes crinkled slowly and his frown was slowly spreading across his face.

My mother caught on and started to laugh and sob at the same time. It was humour that got us through those dark days.

If I could sum up the war in smells it would be cabbage, bomb powder and blood. When my dad went off to war I was heartbroken, I didn’t want him to get hurt. The train station was so busy, soldiers in khaki, smog, the chatter of relatives being welcomed home, crying and slow kisses.

It was all too much for me at the time. I just remember his hug; the scratch of his stubble, the smell of his shaving and hair cream. With his strong arms around me, that was the last time I felt truly save. Ever.

I remember my mother clinging to him sobbing, her resolve breaking. The last images of him are of him growing into a small dot, wandering off into the distance.

We got a telegram to say he was killed in 1941 in France. I have never hated anyone in my life but when I read this my blood began to boil and I felt like I could take the Riech on all by myself.

The boy that had the task of handing over the telegram was handsome, deep brown eyes, jet black hair and a kind face.

Little did I know that in 10 years we would meet again. It was at a church dance that my mother was playing the piano. The hall was decorated with tea lights and union jacks. ‘Magic Moments’ was playing on an old gramophone in the background and this young man who was

with his cousin tapped on my shoulder and said. ‘I could never forget those eyes.’ His name I learned was William and he described our first meeting. It was like something out of a romance book. That night we rehashed the blitz and I could almost feel myself back there, we drank to England and anything else we could think of.

He walked me back home under the moonlight, his jacket on my shoulders. It was then I had my first kiss.

Wars, heartache and austerity melted away and I felt safe again.

Later on, I would be Mrs Winifred Jeffery for 30 years, having two children and move up and down the country.

They were my best years.

Ketchup on the decision

“Alright Elsie, I’ll get on to it today.” Bill put his hands in the air in surrender to Elsie’s stern gaze. She had every right to be annoyed with him, he had promised to redecorate the living room for the past three weekends. The thing was, his love of Portsmouth Football club tended to get in the way, he’d rather be at the match than picking paint samples with Elsie, where they could never agree on a colour.

It had to be done, Elsie had the look of his old army commander during the war – he couldn’t worm his way out of doing his chores this time.

With a hefty sigh he got to his feet and went to get the two tins of ivory paint that had been stashed under the stairs. “Just keep the kids out of my way would you? The last thing I need is to trip over Janet’s dolls or trodding on one of Paul’s motor cars” Bill grumbled as he fetched the tray and brushes from under the sink.

Smiling at her husbands grumbles Elsie felt like she’d won the war single handedly. She grabbed her navy trench coat and swapped her slippers for her dark pumps. “Come on kids,” she called from the hallway, “we’re off down the clubhouse to see auntie Millie and uncle Doug for a bit, your daddy’s got some jobs to do.” Paul and Janet rushed to the doorway where they hastily put on their coats and shoes, their game of snakes and ladders lay abandoned on the living room floor, they were excited to get going because a visit to see their aunt and uncle meant fish and chips and maybe an ice cream if they were extra good which was a rare treat.

Elsie gave her husband a peck on the cheek as he rummaged through the drawers for the brushes. Bill grunted and waved his hand as Elsie called over her shoulder as she shut the front door “And don’t forget to cover the settee with a dust sheet, we’re still paying it off from Mum’s catalog!” With that the door clicked shut behind them.

Bill was glad of the peace, he could finally hear himself think without Elsie and the Kids chewing his ear off. Before he forgot he pulled the furniture into the middle of the room so he could get to the walls and then covered up Elsie’s beloved green corduroy settee with a rather tatty dust Sheet.

Bill dipped the paint brush into the paint tray and began to cover up the nicotine stained walls left by the previous tenant with the ivory paint. He enjoyed doing the job and wondered why he’d put it off for so long. He began to hum away with the radio and as a Glenn Miller favourite from his and Elsie’s courting days came on he even started doing a little boxstep!

An hour into the job all was going so well and the wall was half finished. What he didn’t count on was Jock, their Wesie pup who came running in through the living room. Damn and blast that dog! Bill thought as he tried to catch him before he dived into the paint tray, Paul was supposed to have locked him outside this morning! Jock was no Match for poor Bill’s sciatica and left a trail of ivory paw prints on the wood flooring.

“You blasted dog!” Bill shook his fist at the mischievous menace and practically threw him back outside ignoring the dogs whimpering and locked the back door.

So Bill was left to scrub the wooden floor which made him feel his age, cursing the dog. Finally after an hour of scrubbing the floor was finally clean and Bill got up from the floor despite the aching in his knees and continued painting. If he didn’t get this done today he’d never hear the end of it from Elsie.

*

Two hours later Bill had finally finished. He stood back to admire the glossy wall and celebrated with a well deserved mug of tea.

His back and knees ached like hell but at least Elsie would be pleased and hoped he’d be greatly rewarded in bed that night.

As the rain thumped down Bill decided that Jock should have learnt his lesson by now so Jock was allowed back into the house after being throughly towelled off. Despite the mutts mishap earlier Bill was rather fond of the cheeky beggar and gave him a scratch behind the ears as both master and dog settled back into the armchair.

Bill only realised that he’d nodded off when he heard Elsie and the kids clattering through the front door.

“Hello gang! How was it down the club? Did you have fun?” Four year old Janet kissed her dad on the cheek whilst babbling on about ice cream and the penny slots.

Elsie was shedding her coat as she walked in with hot parcels of fish and chips. Her beautiful face broke into a beaming smile as she noticed the gleaming wall where the dining table was pushed up against. “Oh Bill, it’s lovely! Thank you,” She pecked her husband on the cheek making Bill blush, “was it an easy job?” Elsie set the parcels down and began to set the table.

“Well let’s just say I had a little help from Jock.” Bill said wryly as he sat at the head of the table and began unwrapping the delicious parcels. Elsie opened her mouth to say more but Bill but his hand up, “it’s a long story love, I’ll tell you later”. Paul and Janet ran in after tidying away their toys from earlier and sat at the table licking their lips. Elsie sat down and began to rely Milie and Doug’s latest drama and then he saw a flash of red as Paul shook the tomato sauce bottle and saw it splatter all over the gleaming wall. Bill fumed. It put a new spin on ‘ketching up’ with the decorating that’s for sure!

Packages tied up with string

“But why do I have to go?!” Wailed Rose Bennet for about the third time that morning as she sat eating a meagre bowl of lumpy porridge at the kitchen table. Her mother was fervently running around stuffing things into a battered satchel, her patience wearing thin

“Because it’s bleedin’ safer for you in the country than having the jerry drop bombs ‘ere and could do with a rest from all yer moaning!” Emily snapped as she stuffed a rather grubby pinafore into the bag. She instantly regretted it though once she saw a tear trailing down Rose’s small face.

She softened immediately and out a boney arm around her daughter’s skinny frame. “You know I didn’t mean that, right love?” She stroked her cheek, “A mum doesn’t ever want to be apart from her kids no matter what.” Rose nodded and hugged her mum back. “A mum just wants her kiddies to be safe.”

She straightened up and dashed away her own tears and picked up the plastic comb and began to run it through her daughters raven hair, she’d given rose a bath last night and used the last of her good shampoo. She didn’t want anyone saying she couldn’t look after her daughter, with each stroke of the brush she wished the war to pass quickly and perhaps then things might be better and they could have a fresh start. The one bedroom flat was sparse; the chairs had wonky legs, the floor full of splinters. Emily had tried to make it homely by lighting a small fire in the grate on the coldest nights, the cream curtains were made from one of her old floral frocks and she’d knitted a nice peach bedspread to cover the lumpy mattress that her and rose shared. Pride of place on the mantle was a photo of the King and a smile came to her lips as she remembered how when Rose was little, she’d pretend that was her daddy. The less said about her real father the better.

Rose had gone in the bedroom to fetch her teddy and battered book of bedtime stories, whilst Emily went in the kitchen and scraped together the last of the jam and stale bread to make Rose a sandwich for the journey and a tin flask of water. She sighed as she gathered together the last few things. She wishes she could afford a full pantry and better clothes for her daughter, she hoped whoever cared for her wouldn’t think Emily a bad mother. Right now though, she just wanted to get this morning over with.

***

Rose was still reluctant to leave her East End but, her mother had found a way to get some toffees and the new Beano which made things a bit easier.

The sky was grey and overcast by the time they reached the school playground, The wind whistled through Roses thin mac. Her tummy began to feel funny and bubbly as she reached her class all lined up ready to walk to the train station. She slipped in beside her best friend Nancy Carter who looked like she’d been blubbing already. Rose couldn’t help feeling envious of her friend’s new coat with what looked like a mink collar and her hair tied back into neat plaits with pink bows. She was just about to ask Nancy if they could sit together on the train but, as she opened her mouth to speak Mrs Gundy, nickname Grumpy blew sharply into a whistle which gave her everybody’s attention.

“Listen, children, has everybody been to the toilet?” A chorus of ‘yes’ answered her. “Good, now mums say goodbye to your children please and don’t fuss.” Emily handed over Roses gas mask and made sure she had her rations and coupons in the front of her bottle green knapsack before enveloping her in a big hug. Naturally, they didn’t tell the families where their children would be sent to which made Emily worry even more. “Now you be good,” she whispered, her voice breaking. “Don’t’cha get into any trouble!” Rose nodded solemnly. Emily smoothed over her daughter’s hair and planted a kiss on her forehead. Rose took in her mothers’ scent of Lilly which she only put on for special occasions and promised to herself that she wouldn’t forget her mothers’ scent or smile.

As Rose gave her mother one last kiss before she turned her back and went into line. Lilly pressed a threadbare hankie to her eyes praying that her baby would be kept safe. Mrs Gundy blew her whistle again as it was time to go.

Emily kept her eyes on her daughter until she was way out of the school gates. It was as if they were little mice being led by the pied piper.

Call the midwife fanfiction

Trixie Franklin gently combed her long blond locks into a ponytail before securing her nurses’ beret with what felt to like a thousand hairpins. She gave herself once the last preening before slathering her lips with balm before heading towards the door and down the wide oak staircases to breakfast before having to report for morning duty.

As she reached the last step she saw an exhausted Patsy walking through the arched doorway. Trixie went over and gave a reassuring pat on her friend’s shoulder. “Fun night was it?” She teased as Patsy stifled a yawn. “I wish. I was called out to Mrs Kettering on Turpin road at two a clock this morning and it was agonisingly slow labour. If it wasn’t for poor Nancy Kettering’s screams I would have fallen asleep myself.” Patsy regained composure and smiled. “Still, there is no joy like midwifery. Mr Kettering was an absolute angel with all the cups of tea and biscuits, suffice to say he’s been feeding Nancy so well because she gave birth to a plump little girl weighing five pounds and eight ounces.” Trixie’s eyes widened in surprise from what she’d seen at Nancy at the clinic she was only a slight little thing. “Well, the bedroom and bathroom are all yours for the morning for you to get some rest, in anticipation I’ve already slipped a Hot water bottle in your bed and left out my lavender bath salts.” Patsy looked eternally grateful to her friend before trundling up the stairs towards their room. Patsy knew Delia was also coming home from the night shift at the maternity home so what with Trixie being out all day perhaps they could have some alone time together.

Seeing that her friends’ spirit had been lifted, however, blissfully unaware of her friend’s plan she headed off to the dining hall. Sister Julien, Sister Monica Joan, Sister Winifred and fellow nurse Valerie Dyer were all huddled around the long worn table nibbling on fruit and discussing what to do to raise money for the Cubs trip to Lords to watch the cricket. Excusing her lateness she took her seat beside Valerie.

“What about another fair where Fred could host his ‘chariots’ races again, coconut shy, the lot?” Valerie cut in enthusiastically. “I could perhaps run a lemonade and shandy stall?” Sister Julienne smiled, “We could also have The Cubs band play with various handicraft stalls like we did when Princess Margaret visited,” she turned to Sister Monica Joan who was rewinding bandages. “I trust, Sister that you could contribute your knitted creations for a stall and perhaps teach children to knit?” The others exchanged an ominous look between them as Sister Monica Joan and sharp objects were like oil and water. “With blunt needles of course.” Sister Julianne cut in which reassured the others. Trixie sipped her tea, “Perhaps I can hold keep fit demonstrations?” The others agreed. Sister Winifred burst in, “Perhaps the new Mr and Mrs Hereford’s friend would kindly rent us his carousel?” Trixie began to inspect the bottom of her teacup, the mere mention of Tom still stung even after all this time especially as Trixie and Christopher’s relationship had gotten so serious. Sister Julienne clapped her hands. “We shall get on with it straight away but, for now, there is work to be done if we’re to get Poplar through another day.” As the sun streamed in through the windows, basking the fresh cut flowers in warmth and light everybody took this as their cue to commence with Morning duties.

Nurse Crane ran the clinical room like a tight ship. She scrutinised everything for any imperfection as well as guarding her beloved Rolodex like it was the Crown Jewels. The room, although she should be used to it by now still made her feel giddy with the overwhelming odour of Dettol. She checked she had everything in her case as Nurse Crane dispensed orders like an army Sargent, “Sister Winifred and Nurse Franklin, you are both on district rounds this morning.” Trixie inwardly groaned at the thought of working with Sister Winifred as she was ever so chatty which meant they would end up being behind on visits. Nevertheless, she did not let it show and lifted her head with her natural grace, smiled and answered, “Right you are Nurse Crane.” She turned on her heel and proceeded to the bike shed whilst Sister Winifred trailed behind.

The prospect of a good day was dampened by the unreliable weather, it was June and yet it was pouring down. As she mounted her trusty bike she saw that a small bunch of Gerber daisies were tied to the front with a note that read:

Dear my darling Beatrix,

Would you please do myself and Lucy the honour of joining as for a cream tea at Shelia’s this evening at six. We have something we would both like to ask you.

Yours love,

Christopher.

Trixie bit her lip and smiled inwardly at Christopher’s wonky cursive. She hadn’t seen him or Lucy in two weeks, things had quietened down lately. They’d been dating seven months and yet as a thought flashed through her mind. She had to stop herself, her engagement to Tom was rather fast and look what happened there. Trixie took a deep breath regained her calm, cool composure and headed towards her first street whilst Sister Winifred chewed Fred’s ear off about the fair.

Trixie glowed with excitement and found herself counting down the hours till her shift ended.