At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream

 

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How long does it take to write a novel? I am going to go for 2014 as the conception of my new novel ‘At The Seaside Nobody Hears You Scream’. The character of Tobias Elliot Channing, the holder of a degree in psychology and registration as a private investigator, first appeared in a short story ‘The Ambassadors’ in Audio Arcadia’s audio book anthology imaginatively titled Short Stories Volume One. It then appeared in a paperback edition An Eclectic Mix Volume One in 2015, with a wonderfully colourful cover. Toby’s actual birth had come about when our exercise for writers’ group was to create a detective character. The story idea came from Pete at my other writers’ group – write something inspired by the painting The Ambassadors by Hans Holbein the Younger which hangs in the National Gallery.

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In February 2014 the Valentine’s Night Storm gave me an idea for the start of A Story, but what the story would be I had no idea. Compared with other natural disasters in the world our storm in Britain was a minor event, but three people were killed. Our house shook during the night even though we are ten minutes walk from the cliff top, further along the coast, at Milford-on-Sea, a Valentine’s romantic dinner turned into a disaster movie; a ‘freak’ wave picked up shingle and smashed it through the panels that make up the front of the art deco building, the diners were eventually rescued by army vehicles.

https://metro.co.uk/2014/02/15/dream-valentines-day-meal-turns-to-nightmare-after-storm-blows-out-windows-of-beachfront-restaurant-4305491/

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The weather forecasts warned everyone to stay away from the coast the next morning; so we walked ( okay I dragged Cyberspouse, saying it would be fun to take the scenic route to the local shops ) to the cliff top to see high tide. It was exciting, no chance of being blown off the cliff as you could lean into the south westerly coming off the sea and taking your breath away. But as we clung to the low fence on the cliff top and peered over we got a shock, piles of smashed wood washed over by the waves, rows of beach huts reduced to matchwood. And that is when I had my idea; but you will have to read the novel to find out why Ellen Green was so afraid when she looked over the edge of the cliff that morning.

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Fed up with waiting for me to get on with writing the novel, Toby Channing drove his camper van into two very different novellas I was writing, which along with The Ambassadors are part of the collection ‘Someone Somewhere’ published in 2017. ‘Someone For The Weekend’ and ‘Durlswood’ became two of his strangest cases.

What has happened in the intervening two years? Lots of blogging and writing; strangely only five months pass during the novel and the passing of time makes no difference to Tobias Elliot Channing because he is firmly fixed in 2014. It is just as well this novel had a fixed starting point, because writing novels ‘in the present’ is just about impossible. How the world has changed in the past five years…

 

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Visit my Amazon Author pages here to check on all my books.

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU

https://www.amazon.com/Janet-Gogerty/e/B00A8FWDMU/ref=ntt_dp_epwbk_0

 

Open the novel here…

Staycation

sunshine-blogger

 To some a Staycation means not going abroad for their holiday, for others it means staying at home in the garden. With our bathroom being ripped out and hopefully replaced, we took the bus into town with our wheelie cases.

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Friday evening we arrived in torrential rain, Saturday and Sunday saw heat waves and on our last night we watched the lightning from our balcony.

For writers and photographers, finding interesting places to stay is vital. We had five nights at an Art Deco hotel which I’m sure has seen better days, but makes a good Premiere Inn. We had a front balcony, only on the second floor, but still fun to look out at everything going on. Westover Road has also seen better days; now an interesting mix with art galleries, posh jewellers and pub at the other end, the lovely Pavilion across the road from abandoned Odeon cinemas and a YMCA hostel next to the hotel. Opposite us, coaches delivered endless day trippers.

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After breakfast on the first morning we went up to the ninth floor and found a writer and photographer’s delight, the rear view; a riot of fire escapes with a little old house surrounded by layers of building developments. A walk up the road took us to the official opening of a newly pedestrianised area, Darth Vader and friends turned up collecting money for charity.

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Down at the pier and the main beach, which you always see in newspaper pictures of seaside hot spots, was busy, busy, busy; beach parties with tables laden with food and very loud sound systems. A walk to the end of the pier brought a bit of peace and a good view of the zip wire which takes you back to the beach.

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What did I learn from pretending to be a visitor? The homeless group that always seems to be there when I go to Bournemouth and get off the bus, IS always there; a double bed arrangement which stretches halfway across the pavement with several occupants near to our busy hotel. Of course they are not the only homeless; in a town full of happy holiday makers and lively young language students they are the spectre at the feast and Darth Vader isn’t the only one ignoring them. In the gardens there are buskers and a young man doing fire juggling with a sign ‘Homeless but Trying’. At the shops there are Big Issue sellers. I bought a Big Issue.

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The Royal Bath Hotel nearby is a great place to stroll into. Sit and cool off inside the huge fascinating lounge or enjoy the sun in the gardens. You could stay all day, people watching, plug in your lap top etc. without anyone noticing.  This hotel has also seen better days, as we discovered when we went there for dinner one evening to try the ‘special three course meal’ – no wonder it was so reasonable; we needn’t have worried about being smartly dressed, there were some very strange guests.

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On our last day we went abroad on a cruise; bus to Poole Quay for a boat trip to the start of the Jurassic coast at Old Harry Rock and then to Swanage on The Isle of Purbeck, an hour’s trip. We disembarked at the restored Victorian Pier for five hours ashore. A short walk takes you through the pleasant seaside town to the station where you can see steam trains, take a ride to Corfe Castle or have a snack in the railway carriage cafe. A walk out to Peveril Point and we could stand on the cliffs and look back to Bournemouth.

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For more Staycation pictures visit my website.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

Have you been on a Staycation?

 

Liebster Award (Retro)

Friday Flash Fiction 636 – Heat Wave

Perfect bliss; to come out of the cool sea and lie on the beach soaking up the sun, then plunge back into the waves to cool off again. This beach would be paradise if it wasn’t full of thousands of other day trippers, but when I close my eyes it’s peaceful, I could be alone. The screams of swimmers and the laughter of children fades away and I am drifting off to sleep, the early morning start, to beat the traffic down to the coast, is catching up with me.

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I’m not quite asleep and I open my eyes to observe unnoticed the trio of girls spreading out their towels a few feet away. When they go running and giggling towards the waves I close my eyes again; in this heat wave they are bound to stay frolicking in the waves for a while.

My eyelids are heavy, my towel is moulded comfortably into the warm sand and I am drifting, just as I was in the gentle swell moments ago. Work, studying and responsibilities have floated away.

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The gentle hum of human voices returns and then I hear it; a voice at odds with happy holiday makers, an increasingly urgent cry.

‘Charlie, Charlie, CHARLIE…’

I keep my eyes closed, just someone calling their dog and disturbing my perfect day.

‘Charlie, Charlie, has anyone seen a little boy…

I open my eyes, I am listening, but nobody else is. Where is the voice coming from?

‘Charlie, help, I’ve lost my son, he was here a second ago, Charlie…’

I sit bolt upright, twist around and there she is, sheer panic in her eyes, her mouth fixed open. People start to stir, struggle to their feet in the soft sand. The young woman looks straight at me.

‘Did you see where he went? Someone, someone must have seen him… Charlie?’

My brain starts to wake up, unburdened by parental terror I find myself gearing into action.

‘What does he look like, how old is he?’

‘Four, red hair, purple shorts, lime green top…’

Sounds quite easy to spot, but four is young, can they talk by then, I don’t know much about kids…

‘Go to the Lifeguards, they probably have some system or other, they’ll get a search going… I’ll look around.’

She stumbles off, some granny person is taking her arm. For some reason other sun bathers and parents seem to think I know the mother, know what’s happening.

‘Come on everybody, if we all look, red shorts, purple top and green hair… I mean purple shorts, lime green top and red hair, four year old boy.’

Suddenly everybody is shouting for Charlie, it’s quite exciting, a Lifeguard is running, talking on his radio… I could be a Lifeguard, saving people on land and sea…

Then I see him in the distance with a man, trundling away from our search area. I plough through the sand. Holding the man’s hand, is he being kidnapped? I overtake and trip over a sandcastle in front of them, the boy looks unperturbed.

‘Charlie, are you Charlie, your Mummy’s looking for you.’

‘My name’s Archie.’

‘Clear off mate.’

‘I was just trying to help a lady who’s lost her son, sorry, same clothes …’

The cries and shouts and radio voices reach us and the man turns his head to see the whole beach on the move, moving towards us, recognising the purple, green and red description.

‘My brother’s called Charlie’ says the little boy.

The man suddenly laughs. ‘Bloody child, he’s always doing that to us, getting lost. Come on Archie, no ice cream till we’ve found your twin brother.’

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The game of snap ends ten minutes later when a worried swimmer emerges from the shallows with a grinning sodden child, but now nobody is sure where the mother is.

More tales of land and sea in Times and Tides

 

Flowers 2

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Waterloo

I got off the train wearily, borne along the platform with the other commuters. It was only Wednesday but I was fed up already, who wouldn’t be, having to go to work on a sunny July day.

How had this happened to me, fourth generation of my family on the train to Waterloo every morning to a job I loathed. Was that what it had been like for Dad, Granddad, uncles and aunties, or did they just accept it as their position in life? Twenty three and still living at home so I could save up, save up for what?

I was working for a company everybody except me thought was exciting; Bright Designs was going places, but I wasn’t.

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I stopped on the busy concourse and stood still for the first time ever; I usually dashed straight for the escalator to the underground. Around me everyone was rushing, I thought of Tim my old school friend, in Thailand teaching English, travelling cheaply and posting beautiful pictures on Facebook. Voices intruded into my Land of Smiles fantasy and my eyes focussed on a couple at the barrier to platform 13.

You just don’t get it, do you Josh? A train to the seaside is not my idea of a surprise holiday, even if we were staying together.

I stared at Josh, smart looking bloke, but sounded like he was as successful as me with women.

I don’t understand Lizzie, I thought you wanted to get away for a few days and talk.

It’s too late for that.

Lizzie disappeared into throngs of commuters oblivious to her little drama, out of sight before Josh had even turned his head. He tore off his back pack and threw it on the ground and then, as if he could feel my curious stare, he looked up at me.

‘Hey mate, care to swap lives. Looks like you could do with a trip to the seaside, train leaves in ten minutes.’

He proffered his train ticket.

‘You wouldn’t want my dreary life Josh.’

‘So neither of us have anything to lose, go on, hand me your man bag and take my rucksack.’

 

What on earth possessed me? I slung the back pack on my shoulder and put the ticket in the slot at the barrier. Josh had already gone, taking my wallet, paperback and ID pass for Bright Designs with him. I patted my pocket, my phone was the only thing I still had of me.

Settling into a window seat I almost laughed out loud, runaway train. Nobody except Josh knew where I was going; I didn’t know where I was going and I didn’t care.

As the train moved off I looked at the ticket, Bournemouth. Then I casually dipped into the rucksack as if I knew what was in it; a wallet with notes as well as several debit cards and a thick envelope, signed for delivery. I had no compunction about opening it, Josh wanted me to have his life. Afterwards I realised what an idiot I had been, it could have contained drugs or might even have exploded.

But all it contained were two sets of keys, detailed computer print out maps, a set of directions and two pictures, a row of beach huts and a smart white apartment block. What was Lizzie missing? My initial thoughts had been – arrive at seaside, get ice cream, go for a paddle. But now I was going to have a holiday.

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Just when we would have been having coffee at work I was standing on the cliff top. The sea and sky were unbelievably blue, the air balmy, this was a dream. I followed the instructions for the beach hut and descended a steep path with cliff on either side framing a view of sparkling sea with land on the horizon.

Ten minutes later I was in the little wooden hut divesting the rest of my work life and putting on swimming shorts out of the collection of beach gear handily provided. With the warm sand between my toes I was a child again. I plunged into the sea, not as cold as I was expecting. My freedom was complete as I struck out through the gentle waves then turned to look back at the cliffs, I was out of my depth and out of my life. I whooped like a teenager, how I wished everyone at work could see me; perhaps not. This was a holiday that would not be posted on Facebook.

Liebster Award (Retro)

For more tales of land and sea dip into…

 

 

 

Beachwriter’s Blog

sunshine-blogger

There is plenty to enjoy living by the sea, even if you never set a toe in the water. But there is so much to do involving seawater that it’s a shame if you don’t dip your toes or whole body in.

You need nothing if you have a naturist beach nearby or you can go to the other extreme and encase you body in a wet suit and acquire lots of equipment.

Paddling is the first introduction for most of us to the ocean and waves, warm and soothing at low tide on a sunny day, cold and daring at high tide on a windy day.

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But swimming is the ultimate, leaving the land to which you are bound, seeing the coast from a different view point. On a hot day with the sun sparkling on the ripples it is bliss, on colder days it’s invigorating with the initial shock turning to a burning glow. I have never worn a wet suit, assuming it would take away the feeling of freedom and more importantly I don’t think I could manage to pull one on, let alone peel it off again.

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A beach hut doesn’t involve water and many enjoy sitting outside their huts with the kettle boiling enjoying the view and watching the world go by. On a hot summer weekend the whole world does go past your beach hut if you are on the promenade, so a snooze in peace is unlikely. But for the swimmer a beach hut is a great luxury, even if it’s only a six foot wooden box – six foot square, not the six foot long other kind of wooden box. You don’t have to lug your towels, folding chairs, buckets and spades and wind breaks down to the beach each time and you have somewhere to get changed.

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Renting our little square of concrete from the council (we own the hut ) is not cheap, but probably cheaper than the many sea sports which involve getting all the gear. From paddle boarding on a calm day to owning your own sailing boat there are many ways to be on the ocean. For some, their boat is a part of family life just as a dog is for other families. I am a touch envious of people who can sail over and drop anchor just off Studland Beach, a lovely stretch of natural coast unspoiled by groynes or promenades, it also includes the nudist beach. The rest of us face a slow bus trip or drive across the conurbation of Bournemouth and Poole and a £4.50 trip on the chain ferry ( £1 for pedestrians and bikes ). But a boat owner told me the trouble with owning a boat is, you feel compelled to go out in it if the weather is good, so you never get to do other things on a sunny day.

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If you are adventurous you can go surfing – big board, kite surfing – little board or wind surfing. All of them involve falling in the sea a lot and being watched by other people and photographers. These sports also involve lugging around equipment and spending ages getting ready and deciding if the wind or waves are right.

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So I shall stick to swimming; after the days of torrential rain and changeable weather, I finally had my first swim of the year on Saturday. Sea temperature 16 degrees. It was lovely, but there is one piece of equipment I would like; a waterproof camera for a real sea view.

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Visit my website for more coastal views.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-two-coastal-views/

Some of the stories in Times and Tides are set at the seaside.

 

 

Silly Saturday – Not More Air Festival Shots…

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The Red Arrows flew over our road, but I missed the shot.

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Some people alter their whole house to get a good viewing point.

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Ice cream war?

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You need the right lens if you want to get good shots of the aeroplanes.

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Boats are easier to photograph.

 

 

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So are buses.

 

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Which ones are real?

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This is as far as Spiderman got!

 

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Which ride would you try?

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I got some good pictures of smoke…

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… and bikes.

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Meet the pilots.

For actual pictures of planes see Wednesday’s and Friday’s blogs.

 

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/09/05/to-the-pier/

 

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/09/07/friday-flash-fiction-flies

 

Silly Saturday – Where do you think you Were?

Answers at the end.

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Salisbury Cathedral

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Time for the answers.

 

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Windsor, Royal Berkshire

Ten Downing Street, London, SW1

Salisbury Cathedral, Wiltshire

Hastings, Sussex

My garden

Bournemouth, Dorset

Stratford-upon-Avon, Warwickshire

Broadstairs, Kent

Margate, Kent

Brighton, Sussex

Sheerness, Isle of Sheppey

HOW MANY DID YOU GUESS?

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IF YOU LIKE PICTURE QUIZZES TRY THE TWENTY QUESTIONS AT MY WEBSITE.

 

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-three-picture-quiz

 

Silly Saturday – Various Verses

                                              Beach Hut

 

Six years we’ve waited for this wooden box,

With flaking paint and rusty locks.

There’s barely room to stand,

The floor covered in sand.

The towels are damp and musty

And all the shelves are dusty.

 

But the kettle and mugs are well in reach

And there’s a great view of the beach.

In the sun we sit and read books

Waves beckon, costumes hanging on the hooks.

Wet and cold return for hot tea,

Strip off and dress in modesty.

 

The neighbours are close, two inches away,

Her next door is topless today,

His huge stomach should not be seen,

Thank goodness for the screen between.

The other side are out of sight,

Soaring under parachutes bright.

 

Their boards dip the waves, then ride up high,

We sit and watch them in the sky.

If we fall asleep as we usually do

We won’t notice when they drop from view.

Until we hear roaring whir above the wave

As Coastguard hovers, kite surfers to save.

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New Things

 

How to adore new things.

No need to buy, to bring

The sensual delight

Of touch, smell and sight.

 

John Lewis sells to you

Cotton, wool, silk, bamboo

Knitting yarns, skeins and such,

Many hues, soft to touch.

 

Call in at the bookshop,

Look out for new stock,

White paper, page pristine,

Smooth spine, jacket clean.

 

Tack shop for leather new

Saddles, bridles on view,

Shopkeeper hopes to sell;

No, just here for the smell.

 

Go down to the saw mill

Experience the thrill,

Newly sawn scented wood,

Golden sawdust feels good.

 

Ancient ocean, old land,

New waves, new tides, smooth sand,

Grains glitter, sparkling foam,

Before feet start to roam.

 

Sunrise reveals hard frost,

New scenery at no cost,

White landscape, yours to view,

Air sharp, breath anew.

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Friday Flash Fiction – Happy Days

 He leaned back in the chair and smiled; the best things in life were free. The afternoon sun bestowed its life giving warmth and he understood why the ancients worshipped the golden disc. Myriad specks of light danced on the calm turquoise sea, a scene to delight the impressionists, but no painter could do justice to such a view; the chalky cliffs of the Isle of Wight and the green sloping downs of the Purbecks.

He languorously reached out for his glass of wine; it tasted like the nectar of the gods. Silky arms wrapped themselves around his neck; Tasha crept up behind him and kissed the nape of his neck. He sighed contentedly, love in the afternoon.

Tasha stretched out on the other chair and they watched life below on the promenade and beach; happy cries of children drifted up to them. They pondered where they would eat tonight, what they might do tomorrow. The sea air made them pleasantly drowsy.

Friends said he would tire of the sea view, but if he did he would call a taxi to the station. At Waterloo he would step off the train and stroll along the embankment to another balcony, with spectacular views of the Thames; watch the sun set and the city light up. Then perhaps go to the theatre, dine late, take in a club.

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He opened his eyes from his daydream as he felt Tasha’s fingers on his cheek. It wasn’t a daydream, it was real. Money could buy you happiness; a seaside apartment, London penthouse, holidays to anywhere, a beautiful woman and a life free of debt and work. Winning the lottery was certainly helpful if you wanted to exchange a grotty rented room in a rundown house in a dreary suburb, for a new life.