Chapter One

WIN_20150619_213254Tilly Treadwell was having a good day. She could almost throw away her stick. It was her steps that were forcing the world to go round and not her walking on it. Her purple Dr. Martin shoes slapped down as she made her way along the river to town. She felt well today and was going to make the most of it. She smiled at people as she passed, taking care to suck her teeth in so they wouldn’t drop. Swinging her arms and her stick as if she were in a jazz band.

At 84, she could still turn heads although not for the reasons she thought.

She was a startling image with her sand coloured moleskin trousers, slightly too short, a bargain at the charity shop and were her favourites. She had her cotton purple, black and orange African tunic that was very pleasant to wear in warm weather and showed off the sunburn on her arms. She wore her khaki baseball cap so she didn’t have to bother fussing with her short grey bed head hair and had even plucked a daffodil and pinned it to the back of the hat so it waved as she walked. Her dream catcher earing’s finished off the outfit beautifully she thought.

Her army surplus backpack served as her handbag and today it contained something very special. Today she had a purpose and would shortly be ticking another item off her bucket list.

There were a group of kids sitting about the fountain as she approached. One of the lads winked and immediately regretted it as Tilly broadly smiled flirtatious, and stomped seductively towards him and plonked down squishing amidst them.

She laughed to herself thinking ‘job done’ as she saw them squirm, hurriedly grab their belongings and retreat towards the seafront. Overhearing one of the girls as she elbowed the lad “Ew! She fancied you!”

She sat swinging her legs and enjoying the sun enriched moment. The garage window across the street reflecting back an image of a younger woman.

She swapped her sunglasses for the ones hanging around her neck by knicker elastic and looked around. The coast was clear so she slipped off her backpack and rummaged. A quick last check and unscrewed the top of the large plastic container, leaving it below the surface of the water.

From a safe distance sat on a bench between trees Tilly watched with bursting glee.

The purple dye had been a great touch to the industrial strength washing up liquid.

Disappointment filled her body, it was taking too long, maybe’s she hadn’t used enough. It had worked fine in the toilets at the home.

A little patience and the correct amount of splashing started the chain reaction. For a moment she regretted her friends weren’t with her.

“Oh my! That does look rather splendid “as the purple foam crawled from the fountain and started to grow.

Tilly laughed openly as the foam spread, producing purple bubbles that glittered metallically as they blew along. She was so proud of herself.

It was a beautiful purple vision to behold. Lifting a huge skirt of bubbles out of the fountain and swallowing up all in its path.

The foam seemed to be on a mission and was reproducing at an alarming speed. It stood easily at forty feet and was still growing. The good-natured foam turned evil and decided to cross the road, making it impossible for traffic to pass through it.

“Oh bloody hell! Tilly silently mouthed, she gripped the metal hand rail of the bench, as if white knuckles would calm the swelling suds.

Cars were being sensibly cautious and coming to a stop. A police car pushed its nose through the soapy fog and slowly came to a stop in front of her, and wound the window down.

“Hello Tilly”

“Hello sweetheart” It was her friend Nettie’s grandson Tom.

“Kids eh!”

“Aye I saw a crowd of them going down to the front. A girl in a pink dress with black hair was the trouble maker. She was cheeky to me too”

“Thanks for that! Send Nan my love. See ya”

Tilly waved and waited until he disappeared back into the foam and hurried along the road back to Golden Acorns Nursing home.

She was passing people who had clearly heard about the purple fountain foam and they were rushing past. Tilly felt happy at the stir she had created.

There was a coach that had stopped and some of the people had got off to have a cigarette, including the driver. Tilly saw that it was heading to the Trossachs in Scotland. Reminded of a time many years ago when she had worked up there. It would be nice to see it again sometime.

She crossed the road and walked around the back of the bus, lit a cigarette and stood with the others, smiling and exchanging a few pleasantries about the weather.

“Ok folks! Looks like we can get going again. Everyone on” shouted the bus driver. He walked towards Tilly and put his hand on her arm as if to help.

“Thank you” without a thought and stepped on the coach and found a seat near the front. The coach smelt new and she had a double seat to herself.

It would be an adventure and if anyone questioned her she would pretend she had Alzheimer’s. It works every time. As the coach pulled away and through the foam, Tilly started swing her legs again. They would drive passed the nursing home. She wondered if Dee would be up yet. For the first time, she felt excited to see the nursing home and Dee was at the window. Tilly waved furiously and Dee saw her, waved and shook her head.

Tilly took her little leather notebook out and ticked another item off her bucket list.

 

 

 

 

 

 

21 comments

  1. Sharon, sorry in advance for the very long comment!
    I love your characters and looove your sense of humour, it comes through and it’s great. The story per se and its inhabitants I really can’t fault, they’re genius and I can’t wait for more. I do have some suggestions but bear in mind that I am no expert and I hope it doesn’t sound incredibly pretentious, just some things that helped me too.
    First of all, as you said, there should be more action. Maybe less backstory, you’ll have time to weave it in the story as you go, somethings can be hinted. I also think it would work better if you stick to one character’s point of view. We’re just getting to know these “wimmin” and the switch can be confusing.
    But what I think can immediatly improve the piece has to do with the text’s structure and using it and punctuation to your advantage. Exclamation points, for example, keep either for dialogue or to that really strong moment you want to enhance. Like when you say about moving to the nursing home “This wasn’t at all what Tilly had in mind!” The words “at all” are enough to convey the tone you intended. Or you could do something like “This wasn’t (at all!) what Tilly had in mind.” This would be Tilly’s thought so the “!” would be ok (you naturally write in “free indirect speech”, it’s a style I love and I think it works great with the kind of humour you have). And further in the text you say “I’ve been thinking!” said Tilly thoughtfully” The ! and the “thoughtfully” don’t go very well together. By showing her body language after she speaks you may not even need to say it (also thinking thoughtfully doesn’t add much info 🙂 ).
    The other thing about the structure is sentence lenght. I think of text as music, the word choice, the short notes, long notes for sentences, low tone, high tone, fast, slow (short paragraphs, longer ones) to get the build up to the moment where emotion really strikes, or in your case just pure fear, shivers and shock 🙂 And reading the story out loud can help with that too, exaggerating the pauses to see how they flow. This will sound very very stupid but a thing I do is to pretend I’m telling a story (think of a scary one) but all the words are “nha nha nha nha nhaaa” and then I fit the lenght of my sentences to that structure (you say you have a dark mind, mine’s just idiotic 🙂 ).
    I really really really hope this helps, I think you have a great writing voice (why would you think you haven’t found it? For me it’s clear and it’s good!) and maybe just with some adjustments, technicalities really, it will shine brighter every day (you write) 🙂 Looking forward to read more of this and more of whatever you write (I swear I still giggle when I remember the comment you made the other day). Keep pushing! 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Thank you so much for taking the time to help me. Your comments are invaluable and much appreciated. This was an early version and was I so caught up with the concept that I let it run unedited. After my initial wave of free flowing, directionless enthusiasm I had time to consternate. I’m not sure how to introduce so many characters in an interesting way. This is a respite from the dark stuff that I’m crawling around with. I think it will take time to hone this craft. I don’t want these wonderful ideas to die on paper by my very hand. I think I am at the larvae stage, I have much writing to do and when I finally come out of the cocoon I may not be the beautiful butterfly but some awkward clumsy moth that is still interesting to some and I will be happy. Thank you my friend. Happy scribbling x

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Sharon, the last thing I want to do is to discourage you, it would kill me! The last time I did the course my pieces were not that great. For the final assignment I had 3 really good reviews to my piece, it was heartwarming to read them. And then two people were kind enough to send me emails with their thoughts and they tore it apart (in the most loving way). One of them wrote a very big mail with observations and suggestions and then added a page long document correcting every single grammar issue on the text. And these were the ones that helped me the most.
    You’re not killing your ideas when you write them down, you’re bringing them to life, they’re the ones on larvae stage. Just write them down and edit only the ones you finish. The rest you have to keep writing, then you can always go back and change, add, cut, rearrange and polish.
    There’s a really nice blog I follow, Fiction University, written by a Janice Something that has very useful tips on the basics of writing. There’s a whole section dedicated to POV where I’m sure you’ll find answers to your multiple characters’ question, look it up.
    Let me know when you submit your piece and how the reviews went.
    Truly wish you all the best***

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Thanks Cecilia. I’m not discouraged at all. I wouldn’t expect to be a proficient nurse after just a few weeks. It takes experience. I see this as something similar but I i have a huge passion for this that has captured me and will bounce me along whatever. When I first read your stuff, it stood out to me, I can’t quite define why but it did. I could easily read a book that you had written based on the little I have read. You have to keep to that base standard now, that is your challenge. I have a feeling I may continue to pester you long after the course has passed. Ta Ra x

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks ! I checked it out! It looks interesting. I have some new ideas on how to play with my grannies! I was thinking about why you said about text being music and you described it beautifully. But I stopped dead! I can’t even clap in time ! I shall have to be mindful of that one. Even with a metronome I completely miss the beat. I did manage once when I had a friend on either side and they clapped my hands for me. When I hear a beat I clap twice to make sure at least once might catch it. I wonder if this is a natural disability I have haha. But this may apply to my sentences Mmmmm. Never mind I have always danced and clapped like no one was watching and I shall continue. Ooh ! I have an idea for a story ! Laters x

      Liked by 1 person

  5. Wow Sharon I’ve just discovered Tilly: I love her ! This is grand! You have a real character here, and you introduce her so well, your sense of humour is magic (she sucks her teeth in…this is wonderful)How wicked and clever and funny she is…and the way she looks! it’s just too much, I was grinning from begining to end. I hope we’ll know how it goes on the journey to Scotland. What a superb imagination you have Sharon…Bravo!

    Liked by 1 person

  6. Hi Sharon,

    Thanks for introducing me to this! I’m impressed that you’ve started a novel- Love Tilly as a character, fun, interesting and with a darker side which makes me want to read more.

    Your description of Tilly is genius, and creating a character who sees herself as something different gives us a lot of insight into about the character without us having to be ‘told’.

    I agree with the comment on the use of exclamation marks- other than this the plot is interesting, characters are intriguing, I’m interested to see where it goes.

    Nikki

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Hi Nikki. That for popping by and your valuable comments. Its interesting that you mention the exclamation marks, I had missed those entirely. A mistake I must continue to fall into. Cecelia’s comments were originally for my first draft, much more boring. I wanted to introduce a lot of characters very quickly. It is completely rewritten but her insightful comments serve as a reminder as to how easy it is to stray. I shall go look at the exclamation marks. Are they not good to use? I tried to follow you to your blog but could seem to access. Will try again later x

      Like

  7. What a lovely character Tilly is. I enjoyed this. Like you I started off writing one sort of story and often find something else (and usually better) has arrived on the page.

    Like

    1. Thank you Pauline. That is so kind of you to say. Sometimes characters just have to be written about. I fear Tilly might be one of them. She isn’t giving me much piece at the moment x

      Like

  8. Hi Sharon. I’ve seen so many comments coming through about Tilly that I’ve been really annoyed that it’s taken me so long to come and read it. But now it’s the weekend, and I finally have. And: Tilly is great – a really great character. There are not that many mischievous octogenarians (in fiction anyway), so I think this is a wonderful thing: keep writing about her.
    And secondly – to Cecilia, for the wonderful image of the written word as music with long notes and short notes – this is such a great description, I’m tempted to print it out and pin it above my computer for inspiration.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Kate. To be fair Cecelia’s comments were so helpful this piece wouldn’t have been written the way it was without her. Still needs more work and a work in progress. Isn’t writer’s blog land fun, helpful and supportive x

      Liked by 1 person

  9. Oh my God Sharon, only just saw this and I LOVE it! Tilly is a wonderful character, I love so many things about her: the knicker elastic, the way she swings her arms as if she’s in a jazz band, the way she pretends to have Alzheimers and “it works every time”, the list goes on and on. I am totally rooting for Tilly, how wonderful to have a heroineIin her 80’s who is still so active and full of fun, I really hope you continue with this, and I think it would make a great book, a bit like Just William or Pippi Longstocking but for adults. Brilliant!

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thanks so much Sian. I am hoping to write more. Her friends are just as bad but for now I’m focussing on Tilly. I was trying to write my creepiest horror and this flipping woman would not be quiet and demanded I write about her. So pleased you liked her. 😃

      Liked by 2 people

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s