Tag Archives: memories

The Memory Game – Mid-Week Flash Challenge

They said I’d never amount to anything, but what did they know?

They’re all dead now.

But, truth be told, they all helped. They helped me amount.

I amounted, is that a word? I don’t care, I amounted. I amounted to this.

Mother helped first. You’ll find her in the lavender bottle, father’s in the swirling beige decanter. Mrs Barnes lived next door. She hated me, but she’s in the blue jar.

There are more, many more, each one better than the one before. It’s okay though, they were old, most of them. It’s better when they’re old. They’d lived long, interesting lives. It’s fascinating how interesting peoples’ lives really are, even when they think they’re not.

Take Grandpa, he’s in the bottle stained green, Army green. His life in the services was paramount to my success.

Just in case you’re worried by my use of words, they aren’t really in the jars, or bottles. Not really. They’re dead and buried, all good and proper. They died of old age. No story there.

Old Mr Thompson, a real gentleman, but one who wooed many young flirty things, and Mrs Crane, she had some stories I can tell you! Ms Haines lived a riotous life during the swinging sixties. Bob, I’ll use his first name, he’s special to me, a real treasure, he’s a deep burgundy, wine red, churning like hell itself. He helped. He’s one of my most popular. And Mr Bartlett, oh, yes, we have the dreamer. Hatchet, he lived in the Amazon, not the bookshop, the warehouse, the real thing! Sandy, lived up to her name.

You’re wondering now, aren’t you? How did they help me?

I wasn’t much – they told me I wasn’t much. Even when Dad gave me that chemistry set when I was eleven, he laughed and told me not to burn down the house. I didn’t.

I wasn’t much at school that I’ll admit, but when you have Google, and the world at your fingertips, you can amount to much more than people tell you you will. Chemistry, bio-chemistry, neuroscience, electronics, astrophysics, and a little dabble at alchemy of a sort. You’d be surprised what you can learn online. I wasn’t an Emo locked in my room contemplating suicide *insert mwahahaha laugh here* I was learning. I was amounting.

Mother showed an interest, the first of her negligent motherhood, so I showed her everything. I think she was worried about the number of packages arriving from Amazon, the online store this time not the jungle, and that sparked her interest, or maybe it was concern. She was great! She wasn’t well, anyway. So, timing was imperative. She helped me learn.

So, now I’m renowned. I don’t think how I became renowned is really the issue. Nobody cares anymore. They only care that I amounted, and because I did I can help them. I can offer them, and you, a service that no one else can.

After patenting the process I amounted to so much I now own businesses, governments, clients, and the entire entertainment industry. People rely on me.

You know when life gets too much? When you’re so stressed out you don’t know what to do. You can’t cope, anxiety creeps in, panic rises, and you need something? It used to be weed, Ritalin, coke, the little blue pill, brown sugar, a little bit of skunk, a tab, acid or liquid gold, the Halcyon days. Now – it’s me.

I can give you anything, whatever you want. I can help you escape for however long you wish, wherever you wish, doing whatever you wish.

I’m in the memory game.  I am the memory game.

Whatever memory you want to experience, I have it. I only take from the dead. I have clients queueing up to donate to me on their way out of this life, hoping they’ll live forever in someone else’s mind. That their memory will be your favourite, that their moment standing on the beach, waves lapping at their ankles, cotton clouds wafting by will be your chosen moment of calm.

So, tell me, what do you want to experience? Love, sex, peace, war, I have it all. What are you buying?

0000. Divider

Amazing picture for Miranda’s Mid-Week Flash Challenge from Mikhail Batrak, check out his art, it’s gorgeous!

Write up to 750 words inspired by the prompt photograph.

A Purple Swathe of Bluebells – Beauty in Blue…

The Bluebell is the sweetest flower, that waves in summer air:
Its blossoms have the mightiest power to soothe my spirit’s care…
(Emily Bronte – The Bluebell)

a purple swathe of bluebells, purple swathe, beauty in blue, the last krystallos,

I promised a blog post on bluebells, an indulgence on my part as they’re my favourite flowers.

Blue, pink and white bluebells  © Lisa Shambrook

Blue, pink and white bluebells © Lisa Shambrook

I have clear memories of bluebell woodland walks when I was a little girl, running through the woods, jumping over tree roots and dancing through swathes of blue.

We didn’t live far from the Bluebell Railway, and a school trip saw me daydreaming out of the steam train window at the banks of bluebells. The verges and railway banks near my home were also strewn with the flowers during spring and I used to bring home bunches of wilting blue, pink and white bluebells for mum on the way home from school.

Bluebells never lost their appeal. That splash of colour, a carpet of blue from afar, delicate nodding bells, with barely there stripes, close up, and the air of mysticism…

Bluebells © Lisa Shambrook

Bluebells © Lisa Shambrook

Bluebells are symbolic of gratitude, humility and constancyall virtues that ring true to me – and they are closely linked to the realm of fairies, appealing to my love of all mythical and fantastical, ‘tis said that bluebells are rung to bring the fairies together.

As a child I adored Mary Cicely Barker’s Flower Fairies, my favourites were all the purple flowers, but her bluebell fairy disappointed me. I wanted her to look like the lavender fairy, so I spent many hours drawing and making up my own bluebell flower fairies. I only wish I’d kept the pictures!

It made sense that one day bluebells would burst forth within my own writing, and they did becoming a theme throughout my current series. The first book benefitted from a photoshoot in our local bluebell woods, Greencastle Woods, and became the cover of my first published novel ‘Beneath the Rainbow’. That’s my daughter in the picture, recreating a scene from the book where Freya finds herself in her own heaven. Her favourite place in her heaven is sitting amongst the bluebells, where she finds peace and calm. Bluebells also become a source of both grief and comfort for Freya’s mother, a way of showing the passing of time, and become a recurring theme in all three books.

© Lisa Shambrook

© Lisa Shambrook

In my own life, bluebells are a source of joy, heralding a season of growth and new life, and they always ignite memories encouraging gratitude and introspection.  Bluebells inspire me and make me happy, maybe it’s their colours. My favourite colour is green, closely followed by all shades of purple and lilac. Green offers calm, soothing, restful tones of growth and inspiration, and purple is the passionate, harmonious, meditative colour of creatives and the mysterious. These colours are me, so the bluebell becomes a signature flower, a representative of my own personality.

Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

This year I have made time to walk our dog through our local bluebell woods as much as I can…enjoying the beauty, the swathes of blue and the quiet of nature. In Wales, the bluebells are at their peak, and if you can go seek out your own woods…see if you can hear the tinkling bells and fluttering of wings…

Are there bluebell woods near you? Let me know, and if I’m ever up your way in the spring, I will check them out!

beneath the rainbow, beneath the old oak, lisa shambrook, books, novels, If you want to read
‘Beneath the Rainbow’ and
‘Beneath the Old Oak’
all links are on my website.

Beneath the Rainbow:
“It’s those silly dreams that keep us alive.”
Freya won’t let death stand in her way. When she dies Freya knows she needs to move on, but is caught within her mother’s grief and the discovery of terminally ill Old Thomas. Beneath her Rainbow…Freya needs to reach her mother, wait for Old Thomas and be ready to move on.

Beneath the Old Oak:
“Turn those dreams of escape into hope…”
Meg thinks her mother is broken. Is she broken too? Meg’s life spirals out of control, and when she mirrors her Mum’s erratic behaviour, she’s terrified she’ll inherit her mother’s sins. Seeking refuge and escape, she finds solace beneath a huge, old oak. A storm descends, and Meg needs to survive devastating losses.

swathe of bluebells, bluebell woods, greencastle woods carmarthen, bluebells, the last krystallos,

Bluebells, Greencastle Woods, Carmarthen © Lisa Shambrook

Blues Buster: Through the Glass Darkly

through the glass darkly, blues buster, poison perfume, the last krystallos,

© Lisa Shambrook

Erin let her long locks fall down her back as she released the clasp that held up her hair. She knew the ebony cascade always made him catch his breath, and she listened for his slight inhalation amid the silence of the room. The corner of her mouth lifted as his sigh escaped and she gently shook her heavy mane.

Her thoughts raced, tripping over each other as romance gave way to sensual, and her senses heightened.

She stood, bathed in silk, and swept her black hair to one side. Still with her back to him, she closed her eyes and let his gaze roam over her form. She imagined his touch, his kiss, his lips caressing her bare shoulder and she let the robe drop from her shoulder with anticipation as night’s chill tingled across her skin.

A rogue moonbeam cast its light across her vanity table and a small, dusty bottle glittered. Leaning forward she picked up the bottle and lifted the stopper. She cupped it within her hand and inhaled the dusky oriental scent. Memories flooded and images lit up her mind, and for a moment she was lost amongst the fragrance and sweet romance. Heady sensuality, deep kisses, lingering fingers and long lost memories slid through the moonbeam, and Erin could barely contain them all.

“Erin, sweetheart,” the young care worker’s voice interrupted her reverie. “Erin, why are you dancing in the dark?”

Then sunlight drowned Erin and her gasp filled the room.

“There, now we’ve got light, you don’t want to be wandering about in the gloom, now do you, sweetheart?”

Erin blinked, and the young woman in the crisp white uniform, took the dusty perfume bottle from her old, gnarled fingers. She replaced it on the dresser and gently guided the tiny, elderly woman towards her bed.

Erin shuffled softly, her feet encased in sheepskin slippers. She glanced back to the mirror on the dresser, and frowned at the old lady returning her gaze. She had no idea what the old lady was doing in her room, but she was tired, and the bed looked welcoming. Her care worker pulled back the covers and Erin slid between the sheets, her flannelette nightgown rising up about her legs as she settled into bed.

As the young women left with a clichéd au revoire and clicked off the light, Erin let her eyes get used to the sudden dark. For a moment fear shivered through her frail body and loss brought tears to her eyes, but as the moon smiled and gazed across the room, Erin relaxed.

Her hand brushed soft white hair from her face and the moonbeam danced across the bed. She brought her fingers to her lips and a wisp of scent, a dusky fragrance, ignited her mind. Shadows slid back through the walls, ghosts filled her mind and the cold night became warm as she moved a strand of ebony hair from her forehead and felt her silk nightdress cling to her skin. She smiled as his breath tickled her neck and bittersweet love returned…

(513 Words)

My story for Blues Buster over at The Tsuruoka Files…this song, Through the Glass Darkly by Annie Lennox brought with it a hint of sadness and loss, and with current familial circumstances, it inspired a poignant tale.

Five Sentence Fiction: Empty

Photo by Lisa Shambrook Instagram (please do not use without permission)

It was the imprint in the sofa, the flattened cushion and the worn patch in the carpet.
It was the ridge in the centre of the bed; she’d tried sleeping on his side, letting her body mould into the contours of the mattress, but she could never get comfortable, could never sleep that way.
It was the lack of matching knives, forks and spoons at the dining table, no need for the half-full jar of Marmite, and too much milk in the fridge.
It was the shaving gel and razor still sitting lonesome on the bathroom shelf, and the memory of aftershave.
It was those sad puppy eyes his beloved old Labrador gave her when they sat together in the quiet sitting room, with too much to think about, surrounded by ghosts and empty hearts.

Gorgeous Writer’s Keepsake Box

Sometimes books fall apart 😦 or they’re just too old…what do you do with them when you can’t bear to throw them away?
Authentically authory (I know that’s not a real word…), but this wordy, page covered Keepsake or Memory box is gorgeous and made by daughter! Now I want one too!

It’s made from an old shoe box, using torn out pages from an old or damaged book and pva glue. She covered it with my matt finish Mod Podge glue and added a brass cupboard door handle at each end, using her favourite ‘Serious’ Glue from Evo Stick. If you want more info the process is on her blog:  bekahcat.blogspot and see more pictures!
I love it and it looks amazing, even better than the picture shows!
Below added 16th April:
And here is my box…
Made from a second copy of one of my favourite trilogies ‘Abhorsen’ by Garth Nix.
My daughter has some really good ideas! That, and she wouldn’t let me keep my sewing kit in an old ice-cream box if I wanted it out ‘on show’…so it has a new box…voila!


Linking A Chain Of Memories…

Treasures, we all have them, and these are mine…
‘Christmas Delight’…the first bead on my bracelet tells you how much I love Christmas…candy reds and glittering greens…
‘Dream’…I am a dreamer, I live with my head lost within the clouds…
‘Lava Chase’…this bead is from a Self Representing Artist, I prefer to buy SRA rather than branded beads, this one to me represents a life full of fire and fireworks and passion… 
‘Pawprints’…for Roxy, Raven, Misty and Rusty…
‘Fig’…beautiful chocolate brown for my love of chocolate, and of autumn’s shiny conkers and cute acorn cups…
‘Flower Vines’…I adore the garden…
‘Celestial Body’…reminds me of the eternal nature of my family, Vince, Bekah, Dan and Caitlin…
‘Live, Laugh, Love’…accompanies my beloved leather jacket…
This SRA bead is a gorgeous purple and represents my Faith and my Integrity…
‘Opal’…my birthstone…
The beautiful iridescence of my Chamilia bead is the glitter of sunlight on water and how much I love swimming…
 ‘Love’…how can that represent anything but my husband? Vince this one’s for you…
‘Orion’s Belt’…I love the stars and constellations and Orion was the first I ever recognised standing outside studying the universe with my Dad…
‘Snowball’…my Trollbead and my favourite weather…
‘Saint Lucia’…this is the ocean…powerful, calm, tempestuous, beautiful, my favourite place…
‘Lizard’…this is Orca…to be found in my Astraea Trilogy…
‘Forest’…woodlands, and my favourite colour…this is my colour to wear…
‘Leaf’…Autumn is the best time of the year, falling leaves and gorgeous colours…
 ‘Venetian Rain’…I love my SRA beads, this one looks like a local river, where I love to walk…
‘Book’…speaks for itself, I love writing and reading books…
‘Peridot’…named by me, this Petite Lovelinks bead represents a honey green jewel also found in my Astraea  Trilogy…
‘Zircon’…let’s pretend they’re diamonds! The purity and endless nature of the bead is the Temple for me…
‘White Flowers’…my favourite scent is jasmine, the heady fragrance of white flowers…
So this is my life…a chain of memories to wear around my wrist…

These are the suppliers of my beads…but there are plenty of other Self Representing Artists out there…google them or search ebay for European Style Bracelet Beads…
I  have thoroughly enjoyed putting my bracelet together!
What’s your story?

Big, Red Telephone Boxes…

I miss red telephone boxes…strange really, as they got me into no end of trouble… The one pictured caused offense when a passing police car noticed I was sitting atop it!
Another crushed my finger.
And do you remember the rush when a public phone box rang? Not just the literal rush of who got there first to answer it, but the feeling of sponteneity and curiosity as to who was on the other end… more often than not a wrong number, but every now and then the caller would be for one of your friends!
I was very disappointed when red boxes got replaced by grey metal ones…no soul. The red British telephone box was, and still is in the odd far flung, long forgotten, rural spot, an icon. Not so now in a world dominated by 21st century mobile phones…How times have changed!
And, ah look, a red pillar box, just behind Dave’s head, we still have them!
It was this phone box, standing innocently in the snow, that claimed my finger, not in its entirety, but crushed it nonetheless…
A happy game of 44 Save All, remember that? and I chose to hide in the phone box…not the best place, I agree, but there I was. All was fine until I decided to come out and was obstructed by two lads, no idea who they were…not our usual group. They pushed on the door and my finger slipped between the door and the hinges…just recall how heavy those old doors were! Amazingly though, the boys let the door go after I deafened them with ear-piercing screams, and after a bus trip to A&E, my finger recovered and is still useful now, though it does crack when I use it!
So I miss the old icons of our childhood…green lampposts, haven’t seen one of them for years, ZX Spectrum games (that take half an hour to load then crash just as you hit the curser keys), half-penny sweets, space-hoppers, home phones with dials, video recorders (that don’t corrupt recordings but do screw up your tapes), Grange Hill, Multi-Coloured Swap Shop (before you had to resort to ebay!), Mastermind (the game not the programme, you know, the one where you had to guess the coloured pegs), Kentucky fried Chicken before it became known as KFC…and Red Telephone Boxes…

‘I still get wildly enthusiastic about little things… I play with leaves. I skip down the street and run against the wind.’ (Leo Buscaglia)

Back in 2005 I wrote a list of 60 things I wanted to do… I’m a ‘list writer’ and with all good intentions I wanted to see how much I could do and tick off… The list included things such as: learn sign language, paint a dragon, eat a box of chocs on my own, spend an entire day just listening to my favourite music, sleep outside, fly in a helicopter, build a big sandcastle, kick autum leaves, bike ride, build a snowman, get soaked standing in heavy rain, get pampered, fly in an aeroplane, write a letter to myself to be opened in ten years, take a maths GCSE, parachute, and much more… looking back, that year I ticked of seven things, and that did not include a maths GCSE…there are much more exciting things to do in life than maths!

‘List’ people are generally not spontaneous people… I overthink everything, but last year I learned about spontanaeity!
I think the first thing was getting a dog! Vince always wanted one, but weighing up the pros and cons was my speciality and the cons would almost certainly outweigh the pros. Then Delia, who owns Roxy’s sister Sheba, offered us Roxy… and would you be able to say no to something that looked so cute and cuddly?
So in a very unusual move I said ‘yes’ and we became Roxy’s proud owners!
It snowballed from there… during Bekah’s study leave in early summer we dropped off the younger children at school and drove out, on a whim, to Aberieddy, to the Blue Lagoon. 300ft of water and the feeling of swimming and diving into this quarry pool was unbelievable and totally life affirming!
After that we took a helicopter ride over Carmarthen, arranged by Vince. I went on two youth camps, in the rain… and we planned a mystery day out for the children. Edinburgh for the day! The children’s first plane trip, and an amazing experience!

But anything can be fun and create an experience, a memory… we got caught by the tide on Llansteffan beach and had to wade through the incoming sea to safety, well, our wellies were waterproof, they didn’t leak out once they were filled with sea water!

We queued for Five hours to see a Banksy exhibit at Bristol Museum… five hours in a crowded queue with three children, you either bond or you end up wanting to strangle each other, thankfully it was the former this time!
So there are still things I want to do: parachute jump, sleep beneath the stars, eat a box of chocs on my own, build a huge sandcastle… and the message is to do it… don’t wait for the right time, the dog I put off for years is my constant companion, and she has opened up so much for our family, fun walks in the snow, autumn leaves, sand etc…
After all, life is meant to be fun…and I’m planning some more spontanaeity!
‘Life should not be a journey to the grave with the intention
of arriving safely in an attractive and well preserved body,
but rather to skid in sideways, chocolate in one hand,
wine in the other, body thoroughly used up,
totally worn out and screaming
WOO HOO! What a ride!!’