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TIME FOR A BREAK!

This is my 805th post since I first began blogging! I’m taking a short break but shall be back soon.

If you are new to my blog, I especially recommend you to read, “Another Birthday”, “Coronation” and “Royal Protocol”.

You may have your own favourites. I would be very pleased to know which ones they are if you’d like to make a comment below.

Thank you for following my blog and for all your feedback.

I’m always pleased to receive your comments and likes.

See you again soon!

Best wishes, Andrea

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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MORE FLASH FICTION.

 It’s said that everyone remembers the birth of their first child. Ours is etched in my memory.

Janice had gone to bed early. There I was watching “The Great Escape” when there was a piercing scream from upstairs followed by a loud thump.

“Johnny!” I heard her yell. “I need you!” I leapt upstairs.

There was Janice, lying in a pool of water.

“My waters have broken.” She was sobbing.

“Phone Joan the midwife! Get her to come NOW!”

 I tried to calm her down.

“But you’re not due yet.”

“Please Johnny.”

So I did, only to be told that Joan was out and would get back to me. There were no mobile phones back then. We were stuck. And Janice was literally stuck on the bed. I tried to move the wet sheet from under her, but she just screamed at me.

“Johnny, I think the baby’s coming!”

I panicked then, I can tell you. I was desperately trying to remember what they’d said at the hospital. Something about keeping calm and not panicking!

“Keep calm,” I said, in my best soothing voice.

She screamed back at me, “I am calm!”

The phone rang. It was the midwife and I managed to gabble what had happened. “Stay calm,” she said.

“Aaarghhh!” yelled Janice.

“I’m not going to be able to get there. Have you seen outside?”

I glanced out of the window. Snow!

“Have you timed her contractions?”

“They’re coming frequently,” I replied, as Janice yelled again, this time with a supressed grunt.

“If it’s happening this fast, it’ll be fine.”

I don’t know who was breathing more rapidly, me or Janice. She had starting panting like a dog on a hot day.

“Aargh!” screamed Janice. “It’s coming!”

Between her legs I could see this pale lump. The baby’s head!  

Joan was reassuring. “No need to do anything. Just support the head with your hands as it comes out.”

There was a wounded animal cry from Janice as more of the baby’s head appeared.

“Pant!” urged the midwife.

“Pant!” I shouted.

Janice panted. And then in a moment, it was all over. Our son slid out between Janice’s legs.

“Now lift baby onto your wife’s tummy.”

Janice reached down to touch our son. Was he alive?

Then the magic moment when he cried. We were crying too.

“You’re amazing,” I told her. “I’m so proud of you.”

“Don’t touch the cord.” The midwife was still there on the phone. “Cover your wife and child. An ambulance is on its way.”

Janice had put our boy to her breast. His little toes were curled up in ecstasy.

“Hello son,” she whispered, “I’ve been wanting to meet you for a long time.”

And do you know, he opened his eyes and looked right at her.

There was a ring at the door.

“Congratulations!” The ambulance man beamed. “What’s his name?”

“Noah.” We both said it together.

“Ah,” smiled the ambulance guy, surveying the soaking wet bed.

“I can see why!”

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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FLASH FICTION – CORONATION.

The writers’ group I attend set the task of writing 450-500 words on the topic of, “A tight situation”.

I brainstormed various ideas of difficult situations and came up with this idea. Hope you enjoy reading it. Please feel free to comment below and let me know what you think.

CORONATION

The bells of Westminster Abbey tolled the hour.

“It is time.” said someone sombrely.

In the ensuing silence there was a loud yell.

“Shit!”

“Mum”, whispered Tom, “they’ll hear you on TV.”

“This is a disaster. I’ve laddered my stockings! What am I going to do?”

She nudged the young woman next to her.

“Kate, have you got a spare pair of tights on you?”

Kate silently shook her head and put her finger to her lips as the TV cameras swung towards them.

“Oh heck,” muttered Camilla, “what the hell shall I do?”

She looked around furtively.  No one appeared to be watching. A quick fumble under her skirt and she had unfastened the stockings from her suspender belt. Thank goodness she still wore them – so much easier to get off. At least, that’s what Charles had always said.

“Quick,” she whispered to Kate, “pass me your tights!”

“That’s crazy! We can’t swap tights!”

“Of course not!”

Kate looked relieved.

“I’ll wear yours and you can go bare legged. You’re young enough to get away with it. No one will notice. But I can’t appear in front of the cameras with a huge ladder for all the world to see.”

Kate sighed.

“I can’t take them off here. We’ll have to go to the ladies’ room.”

“OK. You go first.”

Kate was seated at the end so it was easy for her to slip away. A few minutes later she was back, with the tights balled up in her hand.”

“Here you go.”

“You’re a star.” Camilla smiled.

“Be quick. It’s nearly time.”

Camilla didn’t want to draw attention to herself, so she sidled along, smiling benignly at people who nodded to her as she made her way to the back of the Abbey. But where was the loo? She started to panic. It was no good, she would have to nip outside and do the deed hidden around the corner.

With minutes to spare, she saw the sign. Ladies. At least it wasn’t gender neutral! She crept into a stall and quickly put the tights on. Thank goodness they fitted.

The clock struck two followed by a loud fanfare.

Kate was looking around and at the same time trying to remain the serene and smiling Kate the world knew and loved.

“Don’t panic, I’m back!” Camilla smiled at Kate with relief. “All done. And just in time. The procession is about to begin.”

………………………………………………………………..

Breakfast the following morning was a very quiet affair since Charles had stopped speaking to her.

The most momentous day of his life and nothing had been written about him! Not a sausage.

Instead, there was page after page of photos of Camilla and Kate. And to top it all, there was a close-up of Camilla unfastening her suspender and several pictures of a bare legged Kate in the photo line-up.

As for the headline, it read: “A tight situation for King Charles 3rd!”

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

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A MODERN FAIRY TALE.

The Unhappy Prince

There was once a prince who lived in the most beautiful palace. Everyone loved him.

But was he happy? No.

Nobody loves me, he said.

There was only one person whom he had ever truly loved, but she died.

And he cried bitter tears. Not just for her. But for himself.

Where his tears had fallen flowers grew and soon the palace was surrounded by thousands of flowers, all with messages declaring love for the prince.

But was he happy? No.

Nobody loves me, he said mournfully.

The prince grew up and had many friends and colleagues who cared about him.  Countless women fell in and out of love with him.

But was he happy? No.

Then the prince fell deeply in love with a beautiful woman and for a while he was happy.  But his new love told him that he was not happy and that his life was not worth living. So the two of them agreed to leave everything and everyone he knew to start a new life for themselves.

But was he happy? No.

Nobody loves me, was his mantra. He took every opportunity to tell people how he felt. Eventually he told his father, I don’t want to be a prince any more.

That’s fine with me, said his dad, but then you can no longer live in a palace. We will still call you prince but you can no longer expect to have all the good things that go with the title.

The prince moved to a new country far away where he had a beautiful house, servants, two beautiful children and everything his heart desired.  But was he happy? No.

He started to take pills and other drugs hoping they would make him happy.

The prince complained to anyone in the world who would listen that his father had been cruel, that his wicked stepmother hated him and that his family, whom he had chosen to leave, did not want him.

Everyone he met wanted to hear what he had to say about his old life compared to the new one.

I was not happy, he said.  No one listened to me, he said. Everyone wanted a piece of me, he said.

Advisors told him, you must tell the world how you feel, how you have been mistreated.

And so he did.

He gave interviews to the newspapers, appeared on TV and even blogged – with some help and encouragement from his beautiful wife – on his very own web site.

But still he was not happy.

So he wrote a book which everyone read.  It sold millions of copies all over the world and made the prince even richer than he had ever been before. But not any happier.

I would like to be able to tell you that this is a mere fairy tale.  But, sadly, it is all true.

And it looks like the prince is going to live unhappily ever after.

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

FLASH FICTION

Here’s my latest piece of writing.

You will see that it gives a whole new meaning to the words, “flash fiction”!

BABES IN THE WOOD

The kids were squabbling loudly in the back of the car – just for a change.

“Josh keeps touching my arm,” moaned Katy.

“I’m not. Katy keeps kicking my foot!”

We had been driving around for what seemed like hours trying to find our Paris hotel.

George had missed the turn off from the Boulevard Peripherique – the ring road – and we were lost.

Trouble is, being a man, he wouldn’t admit it. It’s so frustrating when he won’t ask for help. And to make matters worse, our sat nav didn’t seem to be working.

We were now in dense woodland. Pitch dark and no street lighting.

There was a loud scream from the back seat and what sounded like a sob. The natives were getting restless. And probably hungry too. I know I was.

Suddenly a figure, illuminated by fairy lights, stepped out from under the trees. The man – I could see it was a man – was stark naked. He was carrying what appeared to be an axe and looked like the Grim Reaper. 

“George,” I screamed hysterically, “I want you to turn back now!” But George carried on.

Another figure leapt in front of the car, trying to wave us down.  This time it was a woman wearing nothing except a head-dress that reminded me of pictures I’d seen of Queen Boudica!

The children at the back had gone very quiet.

George continued driving.

A few minutes later we came across a whole group of half-naked people, bizarrely dressed, rolling around on the ground coupling – for want of a better word – right in front of us.

 “Katy! Josh!” I yelled, “Close your eyes!”

George’s eyes were popping out of his head.

“Where are we?” I nagged him.

“What is your location,” a familiar voice said.

“That’s Alexa! You’ve activated Alexa!” I shouted excitedly. For once I was glad to hear her voice.

“I must have activated the button on my steering wheel.”

“Alexa, we’re in a wood,” I said, “in Paris, France.”

“The wood in Paris, France is the Bois de Boulogne.”

I didn’t know whether to laugh or to cry.

“The Bois de Boulogne! George – we were told that whatever we did we had to avoid the Bois de Boulogne. Especially at night. It’s full of prostitutes – hundreds of them.”

“You mean sex workers mummy. No one says prostitutes now.” It was Josh at the back correcting me.

Alexa began, “prostitutes are ….

“Alexa stop!” yelled George.

“We just can’t continue driving,” I implored him. “Turn back now.”

For once, George listened. He turned the car round and we headed back the way we had come.

“They probably thought I was a punter,” he said and he was almost laughing.

“Alexa,” he asked, “where is the Novotel, Paris?”

Alexa gave us directions and to my relief he followed them.

But we’ll never forget the time we were lost in the Bois de Boulogne.

And I don’t expect the children ever will either!

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems

3RD TIME LUCKY.

“Just remember you have in your hands a dangerous weapon”, said my driving instructor putting his hand on my knee.  “A very dangerous weapon”, he repeated sliding his hand along my leg.

I was half way into my first driving lesson. We were still parked and I had not yet driven the car an inch. The instructor had been too busy explaining such things as what to do when the fan belt broke. “Use one of your stockings”, he had said with a leer.  I was about six months pregnant with our firstborn and desperate to learn to drive as we were living on the other side of London from everyone we knew.

After that lesson I changed to another driving instructor who kept his hands to himself. Eventually I was considered ready for my driving exam.  I had applied early in the hope of taking the test a few weeks after the birth. But the appointment came through quicker than expected and it was only about two weeks before my due date.  “Any disabilities?” the examiner asked. Only this I said patting my stomach. He was not amused.  A friend had offered hers a Polo Mint at the start of her test. We do not take bribes madam, he had said.

I failed that first test. Hardly surprising when I could barely turn my head! I had chosen to take the test in an area bereft of roundabouts and traffic lights. However, I still managed to fail because I had driven too close to double parked vehicles!

For my second test in Watford I was completely thrown when the woman who accompanied me to my car turned out to be my driving test examiner!  It was the first week ever of female examiners – who knew? She instructed me to drive in an area of Watford I did not know at all. We were at a railway bridge and there was a single line of cars parked at the side of the road. Without thinking I overtook them all, only to realise too late that they were not parked as I had thought but waiting for the traffic lights to change!  To make matters worse, as I happily drove straight on to a roundabout she slammed on the dual brake. Mortified I had to continue with the rest of the test and drive back to the test centre knowing that I had failed, despite a faultless three point turn.  The examiner said something scathing as she hurried away from the car. I like to think that I gave her a memorable start to her career.

By the time I was ready for my third test I was the mother of two. It was pouring that day and the Watford traffic was gridlocked. We never got round to any manoeuvres as the car was at a standstill most of the time. Nevertheless I passed, thanks to my excellent clutch control.  Success at last!  

© Andrea Neidle, My Life in Poems