Fiction: The Bike Ride

bike

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 19 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It’s a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern…

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

The Bike Ride

As time went on Daddy grew less protective of her and during the next couple of summers let her out of his sight more and more; so that when at Tregorwick she would disappear into the gardens or run away down to the beach for long, deliciously lovely hours.

At 10 years old, as much as Ariel was used to spending time on her own, she also loved company, so fell easily into playing with the three Tregarn children living down at the Keepers Cottage – when all their respective chores were complete each day. Sharon was a couple of years older than her and Janey was the same age, but Luke was the oldest at 14.

All the Tregarns had dark curly and olive toned skin, though Janey had an extra scatter of freckles across her nose, which, along with her short bobbed hair and mumbling soft voice, made her the youngest of them in all in sweetness and attitude, as well as by birth date. Sharon was slow and mature in her ways, but always went along with whatever games the other 3 “chits” came up with. Somehow, she always seemed to be the oldest, with her motherly ways, patched dungarees and hair pulled back in sensible pony tail; though her elder brother Luke, really was her big brother too, since he towered over her by a good 4 inches.

Luke was usually on the fringe of the gang. Tall and of medium build, Auntie Sarah said he had the dark Celtic looks of a “good Cornish lad”. When they were all together, he said very little and never seemed to laugh or else be especially serious either. He was just around and about, either taking part or taking off. He would sometimes join in, when they were crabbing or digging for lug worms or other pseudo grown-up activities. But when they played games of mermaids and monsters or collected shells and strings of seaweed to furnish their den (in the fern cave at the end of the far beach); he would disappear off to go fishing or read his comics.

One day, in the middle of the summer vacation, Ariel was dawdling around the shingle beach alone, seeing how many pretty pebbles she could balance one on top of the other. She knew the Tregarn girls were away on the big island visiting a relative and their brother had chores on the mainland, so she had to occupy herself. Ariel looked around for flattened stones and stroked their surfaces to check their smoothness. Down on her knees, absorbed in her task, she found that she could gently build her pebble pile in to a precarious edifice, placing each stone slowly and carefully, one on top of the other, until she had a tower of stone nearly 6 inches high.

“Hoy, Angel Ariel!” Luke shouted, as he made his way down the path towards the jetty. Ariel slowly moved her hands away from the stone tower and shuffled carefully away from her creation. “I thought you were on the mainland” she said.

“Just off” Luke replied. “Wanna come? Your Aunt says you can.”

Ariel wondered which of her three aunts had actually given permission, but rapidly accepted the invitation anyway, as an unexpected adventure.

They clambered into the smallest boat and Luke took the oars, setting off across a smooth, easy sea, skimming the waves; whilst he half hummed and half sang what seemed to be lilting folk song: “Hum um, the sea will see, the maiden rise, the wind hum hum and the horses ride, the horses ride…”

His halting humming precluded any conversation, which Ariel was glad of, because she really would not have known what to say. She had suddenly become aware that he was a boy and she was not and that they were alone, but for a few seagulls gliding close by, hopeful of a free fishy snack.

When they reached the mainland shore, Ariel jumped onto the jetty first, waiting for Luke to throw her the rope, so that she could tie the boat off.

She could see that Luke had bought two parcels with him, so guessed they were going to the Post Office to despatch them. “We going to the Post Office?” she asked.

“Yup!” He responded.

“How we gonna get there”?

“C’mon” he said and marched up the rocky slope to the Keep Cave. He produced a small key from his trouser pocket and marched solidly past the large garage door, to a smaller door at the farthest end of the rock. When he turned the key and prised the door open, Ariel peered round him to spy a small storage space, filled with flower pots, wicker baskets and a large rusty bicycle.

Luke grabbed the bike and reversed it out, brushing off cobwebs and dust as he went. Ariel tried not to squeal as a congregation of bewildered black beetles ran out of the shed space and into the sunlight towards them.

He locked the door and hopped easily onto the bike. “Grab them parcels and hop on” he commanded. “You can be the basket. Hold on tight now.”

Ariel picked up the parcels and awkwardly manoeuvred herself onto the cross bar of the bike, side saddle style; clutching the parcels to her body with one hand and grabbing a section of handlebar with the other.

Luke cheerfully started to peddle and Ariel nearly lost her grip a few times as he sped faster and faster up the lanes towards Houndsal Village, humming away. The hand she had grasping the handlebar started to sweat and so she squeezed tighter to stop herself from slipping off and tumbling away.

After a few minutes she got used to balancing herself and carefully cradling the parcels, started to enjoy the sensation of the air rushing by them, as she had an open air view of the countryside around her. Along the hedged lanes they sped, and occasionally she would glimpse fields and solitary houses beyond their herbaceous boundaries, accompanied by the refrains of Luke’s humming half song.

Gradually he stopped his humming and the world around them became markedly, awkwardly silent. Suddenly Ariel had that awareness again. That exciting oddness because they were so close. She had never been in such intimate proximity to a boy before, and she wondered if this was how it all started – when man and woman got together; with this new feeling growing in her solar plexus, mixed up with a secretive self-consciousness.

The big wide Cornish world narrowed down to just the two of them, moving along smoothly on the bike together and she observed the feeling, keeping her eyes on the lane ahead; whilst being acutely aware that he was just inches away from her.

She wondered if he felt it too. But of course she said nothing and did nothing except cling on and pretend to peer ahead. She could only go with the moment and explore this quiet new sensation, this evolution of feeling…

Luke continued to pound away at the peddles and suddenly they turned the corner onto Houndsal High Street, where Ariel clambered off the bike just a little too hastily, nearly tripping over and almost losing the precious brown paper parcels. She maintained her balance, if not her dignity and handed the parcels silently over to Luke. She dawdled round the village shop whilst he queued and managed the despatch of their cargo. He joined her in the shop and bought himself a new comic and several strings of red and black liquorice. When they got outside, he quietly handed her the red liquorice and kept the black for himself, wrapping it around his index finger and pulling off a section to chew on. He rolled the comic rolled up and stuffed it into the back pocket of his trousers, then he purposefully pulled out the bike, swung one leg over ready to ride and motioned for Ariel to sit on the front of the bike, in the centre of the handlebars, by patting them encouragingly.

She looked at the handlebars uncertainly. “Turn around” Luke said patting the handlebars again “and hop on. I’ll steady you.” As she backed up to the bike he reached forward and scooped her easily onto the handlebars, then before she could even settle, they were off, racing away.

The route along the lanes back down to the mainland beach sloped gently downhill. Luke whooped and peddled furiously away, pacing hard and breathing deliberately and heavily.

Ariel gripped on with both her hands. Luke suddenly started to swerve from right to left, zig zagging them along, with deliberate, cocky verve. Ariel shrieked in scared delight and they wove along, laughing loudly; getting faster and faster the further down the lanes they went, until she could see the sea stretching out ahead of them.

“Watch out” Luke shouted as the road ran out, “it’s time to stop!” He braked suddenly and Ariel flew off the bike and landed, bottom first, neatly onto the soft sand of Hounsal beach.

“Luke!” she yelled. “You pig!”

“You’re alright” he said breezily and wheeled the bike away to its dusty hiding place, whilst Ariel stood herself up and brushed herself down, huffily.

They boarded the boat home, saying little on the journey back, then disembarked and parted company on the castle path without a word. He lifted his hand to signal good bye and turned to walk down the path to the cottage, whilst she trudged her way back up to the castle alone.

~ Sandra Peachey ©

PS: This blog post is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love in every facet of existence, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, whatever it holds for you. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites anywhere in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

The Phone Call on the Train

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 18 of 29

Do you ever find yourself irritated by the person having a loud telephone conversation in your vicinity?  Well, now I’ve decided to do something about it… Yup, I will write about it.  That’ll show em…

AnnoyingCellPhoneGuy

I board the train and hastily sit down. Settling into my window seat I quietly notice the woman sitting opposite me, who looks to be somewhere around her early 30s. She has a classic celtic oval face, which, along with her narrow and dark rimmed glasses gives her a distinctly preppy mien. Her hair is dark and of an indeterminate longish sort of length is clipped away from her face. She wears a navy blue modern take on a long waxed jacket. Her sensible satchel bag is strung safely and diagonally across her body.

As a people watcher, I spy secretly on, wondering what I else I could get to know about her. Her hands are sheathed in fingerless gloves, so I can’t divine what her marital status is.

She is (as most people are in that carriage) intently focussed on her mobile phone.   Completely absorbed by it – she fiddles with and strokes the device like it’s a delicate baby bird. She sees all its’ secrets, without a smile or acknowledgement; just with intense concentration. Then, with a few deft taps of the screen, suddenly she is making a call and now everyone in the carriage is sharing her loud life and being simultaneously assailed by it…

I pout inwardly – is it just me or is the fact someone having a loud one sided conversation, less than 2 feet away from my ears, (albeit on public transport), is a genuine intrusion on my own sought after introspection?”

Suddenly everyone is plunged into her world. She may have a pretty celtic face, but she also has a fog horn voice, which slices sharply into my own silent space.

The signal suddenly cuts out and my erstwhile travelling companion is suddenly without any word, except “Hello… Hello?” My face betrays nothing, but I am secretly relieved that the call is peremptorily shut down.

Sadly for me, though this woman is determined to impose her words on the world, she redials, reconnects and continues on with her bland diatribe. I learn about all about her diet (Vegan) and her delicate stomach. I find out where she is going today and who she is going to meet. I learn all about escapades that her dog, Tilly, gets into. Apparently this canine character is a daring escape artist, who slips wantonly off the leash and into the wicked dangers of the urban street.

The train stops at a station, so that now all the carriage and the recipient of the call (whose name we never learn), is regaled by a dialogue as to where we are and the fact that a woman out on the platform is pulling up her tights. They’re wrinkling round her ankles apparently. So now I get to unwillingly share her life and be assaulted by her petty reflections. I felt that the object of her observations deserved a little more circumspect respect, so I chose not to stare at her as well. How damn rude! I mean, here I am making a mental note of all her mores, but at least I’m keeping it to myself and the 1000s of readers this blog has around the globe…

I stretch my feet and accidentally kick a shopping bag she has at her feet. She grabs the bag up, cradles it protectively and then moves it onto her seat for extra safety. It seems a preciously aggressive move. Maybe that is just the way she is…

Still the call goes on and on. The carriage and I now get to learn all sorts of new and unwanted details about her life. She lives with a man – his name is Leonard. We find out all about their friends. We get the endless dross and trivia that probably many of us share, but instead we do it more secretly, in private twos and threes. Not in a railway carriage where everyone really has no choice but to share in the minute every day detail she expresses with volume and vigour, and whether we want to know it all or not – it is imposed on our ears. Processed by our brains. Taking up our precious time.  Finally, after over 20 minutes, the call actually ends.

But my brain is buzzing with irritation and I decide that as I cannot concentrate on reading the book I had stealthily stored in my own smart phone, then I might as well commit all this to juicy memory. I start silently typing away on my own tiny keyboard.

I observe, through the corner of one alert eye, that now she’s tapping and typing away too. As I write about her, I wonder if she’s writing about ME and if I’ll appear in one of her blogs or books one day…

I doubt it though. I doubt whether I have even registered in her consciousness. And when I surreptitiously look again (pretending to peer out of the window). I see she is executing a mixture of typing and peering – pinching at and scrolling the screen of her phone. She has one very busy finger, which does all the hard work, whilst the rest of her follows.

Over on my seat, I’m multi-tasking – in smug fashion, I am nimbly 2 finger typing, whilst in the act of people watching too.

My awareness is heightened, my observation skills are sharped and my fingers fly as I capture the essence of those moments in digital form, to later be regurgitated and polished and considered.

All of life is here on public transport… Not so long ago on yet another train, myself and the carriage were assailed by a very juicy argument. It was worthy of a soap opera, since it turned out that the caller this time was an angry man calling a jealous woman. It seems she had reason to be jealous, since she wasn’t, as it turned out his only romantic relationship… But that wasn’t important, as this man’s anger at this woman’s anger needed to be vented. It’s just that it happened to be vented in a train carriage with around 16 people in it, all of whom were silenced into sharing their argument.

I hated the aggression of it all and even the soap opera story elements didn’t make up for the fact that this man’s voice was cutting into my personal (mental) space.

And it’s not just noise pollution that bothers me… On yet another train journey, in order to try and guarantee a little extra peace, I actually upgraded to First Class.  Had a reserved seat and everything… Arrived, sat down and settled in smugly to my own little bastion of quietude… All good until the next station.  2 business men got on and sat opposite me.  At least their loud conversation, full of adrenaline and bravura was socially acceptable (according to my rules) and I did my best to ignore it.  They had just pulled off ‘a deal’ and were feeling very pleased with themselves. But it wasn’t their words that bothered me, it was the smell… One of them was wearing the aftershave from hell… It was heavy and cloying and after around 10 minutes I started to develop a headache as I unwillingly inhaled the testosterone and stink laden air surrounding them.

Just how do you tackle something like that?  I couldn’t change seat – all the buggers were by now occupied in the carriage I had paid EXTRA money for.  How could I say “excuse me, but your choice of aftershave is making me ill…”  And it was, after an hour of breathing in those fumes, I was, frankly feeling nauseous.  But, cowardly wuss that I am, in the face of 2 loud men in suits, I said nothing, did nothing and suffered in silence…

The simple fact is, once I have stowed my luggage, sat down and claimed my territory, no matter what the world throws at me – I don’t want to move – lazy, moaning prima donna that I am!

But still I travel – I even enjoy the process.. On the whole… But even in the sealed box of my car, I’m not immune to other people’s road rage and myriad interruptions and irritations. At least in a plane I’m spared the spectacle of shared phone calls, but that doesn’t stop loud people doing what loud people do any where, even though they are confined to a small space, where – ahem, normal rules of volume do not apply…

It’s not as if pointing out such jarring loudness has any sort of dumbing down effect. I’m reminded of this a few days later when I am voluntarily out in public again, this time as part of a pub quiz team. The team is made up of people I’ve never met before and I’ve noticed that invariably, in every such group, there is someone who always shouts out the answers. You quietly ask them to turn down the volume, or write down the answer, so as not to share your secrets and scores with the world, but they just don’t get it. It seems that such people either don’t have that kind of awareness, can’t control their loud impulses or simply don’t care…

But of course, it takes all sorts to make a world and when you go out in to it, you will invariably encounter nearly all of them, loud or quiet. This is when I have to remind myself to live and let live. I’m certainly not perfect. I can definitely be loud. I can even be thoughtlessly inappropriate – though I like to think that’s rare. I’m actually an introvert with a soft voice, which is why I try to avoid the loud people of this world. Sometimes I can externalise into an extrovert when the occasion calls for it and you will even see me in the limelight. But often, instead I exact my impact internally, or occasionally it will spill out onto paper, just as it is right now.

I’m not sure if that makes me better or worse than the loud people or it’s just who I am – someone who likes to think that she shouts only when she has something worth shouting about.

You see, out there in public, if you share your world with me, then you have now become my property. I take this seriously though and as I’m scribing it all out, names and circumstances have been changed. This hides the identities of those I write about into biased history, with only enough volume as is necessary to read these words in your head.

These representations, now become my creations and that is the refuge or could it even be, the quiet revenge, of the writer…

~ Sandra Peachey

PS: “Just to let you know that your book has arrived… As a take on Tom Cruise in Jerry Mcquire – ‘you had me at page 1’.  Well done. You are an amazing writer, this book should be a film and I have only read 2 letters” ~ Beverley Jones

A collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together – along with new material, into a beautiful book.  It makes the perfect present, for you and for your loved ones … You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), order it at any bookshop, or indeed buy it from all good book websites around the world…

Love Letter to The Stranger

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 17 of 29

Today I am returning to the Peachey Letters format, where I contemplate the people and phenomena that shape my world. In doing so I analyse, understand and work through all of life’s undulations. This post then, has come about as I see a loved friend going through a prolonged period of mental anguish…

Love Letter to The Stranger

The Stranger

Dear Stranger

I remember the time when my mother was admitted to hospital, due to a long drawn out episode of psychosis. She woke up one morning, having packed her psychological bags and had gone away with the (most peculiar troop of) fairies.

So, my brother bitterly said at the time – the mother we knew – had, for all intents and purposes died; although she lived and raved right there, in front of our very eyes.

Actually she came back from that trip away with the fairies, but she never was quite the same, ever again…

And now I see someone else that I love going through some very strange life machinations and as I try to make sense of it all, in to my mind comes a Billy Joel song that I love, called ‘The Stranger’…

It starts with a sublime (lounge bar) piano solo, and when it has pulled you in and lulled you with its’ lilting melody, is gently joined by a whistling accompaniment – simultaneously harmonising with and piercing through the smoothness; then it changes abruptly into a scrumptiously sleazy electric guitar riff. Next, the words kick in: “Well we all have a face that we hide away for ever, and we take it out and show ourselves when no one is around. Some are satin, some are steel, some are silk and some are leather, they’re the faces of the stranger and we love to try them on…”

I’m minded of this song as I contemplate how the personalities of those we (think we) know and love can alter so radically…

How does this work? Well think of a lover, that special someone you shared all that laughter and passion with in the past. Then time passes and now, in the present they have become unrecognisable. They have the same face, and the same voice, but have transformed into a doppelganger of that loving person who was with you once. Now they are against you. That happy shared past you had together, has passed in to an altered, argumentative present.

Or have you seen someone strong you once knew, go through an illness (physical or mental) and change? You witness them over time, gradually or suddenly metamorphosing from past to present. Where once they were defined by their boundless characteristics; they are now dragged down by their suffering.

They were the person you knew and loved. But here in the present they are The Stranger.

These transformations often make no sense to us emotionally… We are devastated by the change because we remember what that person was like and how being with them, felt. We had a pattern of togetherness and when that gets interrupted, our internal sense of rightness gets tilted mercilessly.

All sorts of emotions filter can through our consciousness as a result of such wanton changes – unease, betrayal, loss, grief, anger and helplessness to name but a few. Or sometimes The Stranger appears after a long, slow decline, creeping onwards until gradually we realise they are in the room with us.

If we lived in the psychological past, maybe such transformations wouldn’t happen. If we stayed in that time where things or people were wonderfully or ordinarily in step, they wouldn’t change and we wouldn’t suffer the consequences. We’d still be stepping along rhythmically, whereas now we are running to keep up or waiting for someone else to catch up. And we realise, that actually we have become the The Stranger too.

All this bubbles up into my mind right now because I’ve just spent the day with someone I’ve known for most of my longish life. This is a friend who has been through a number of mental traumas, and a number of revelations, that frankly would have tested many to the limits. In the past 18 months she has gone through an almost 360 degree revolution in her perception of herself and her life. She has had to reassess relationships and face challenges. Now her psyche has had enough. Her brain has flipped and her emotions imploded, along with her sense of self and sanity shifting cataclysmically.

It has been tough to witness someone I have known for so long change so much and suffer so deeply. And neither do I forget all the others who have been touched by the same traumas and changes too.

These things start off a chain reaction of events and consequences beyond one person, just as they ignite a complicated, inter-related set of contemplations and emotions in everyone. I cannot speak for anyone else, but for me, the history my friend and I have is significant, and it binds us together. It keeps us together, through thick and through thin, because relationships are not just about a golden past, they are about a continuing present, which sometimes is ugly. This is one of those times when I choose to walk with the ugliness and ensuing heaviness, because even The Stranger cannot obscure the face of the person I love so much.

And this isn’t some holy than thou smug declaration of saintliness. I know I have lost friends when I have been through traumas which they haven’t seen through and have seen instead the face of The Stranger. Much as that has hurt, I try hard not to judge, as I also acknowledge that I have let go of people in my life too, for many sensible and unfathomable reasons.

But in the case of my friend, how wonderful it is that I can live in the past and remember who she was, which is also, by the way, who she still is, despite her suffering and strange behaviours.

So, as I stare at The Stranger who was my beloved friend, I hold the memory of our kinship in my heart. I count my blessings, as she feels cursed, because I am one of those who supports her. I feel I am helping in some small way because I know I bring her a little comfort and not least some distraction from her despair.

As a coach I’m keen to intervene, as supporting others is my own selfish satisfaction. But this isn’t my role in this. She hasn’t signed up as a client. My role is just to be there for her.

When I went to see her today, she was having a bad day. She reached out to me and cried in my arms, apologising for her senseless (and highly medicated) state. I told her not to worry about that. When it came to our being together, all she had to be to me was a friend and that, in that moment, meant doing absolutely nothing. I supported her in a myriad of small and stupendous ways today, borne of what I know of her, and what I know of me. Those tiny acts may mean everything and yet I know that they could all change nothing. But it is just important that I be there and do that right now, when I can – for myself as much as for her.

I have to be strong and take care of myself too, otherwise I would be of absolutely no use to either of us or anyone else in my circle of life.

Even The Stranger hasn’t stopped me loving her. Who knows, maybe sharing a room with ‘The Stranger’ will mean that I get to love her even more.

People we know and love, change. Sometimes we accept those changes. Sometimes we are the ones who change and we either move on together in life or go our separate ways.

Change, more often than not is tough and scary. If we are to survive it and see past The Stranger in others and ourselves, then we have to acknowledge it as being as natural as the passing of time. The acceptance of this means that instead of fighting it, we can put our energies in how best to manage it. Every situation will have its own solution, so my one simple strategy is to work it out, just one step at a time.

One of the gifts I bring to life’s party is that I have the ability to deconstruct a situation, plan or project and build it back up into what and where it needs to be. This process works for me in so many situations in life. For my clients and those like my friend who feel that the weight of this can be overwhelming, we break things down into small steps and then take those steps, just one at a time.

And in reality, what we ever do is only ever one step at a time; it’s just that the pace of those steps slows and quickens according to energy, emotion and circumstance.

So with The Stranger or with a friend, we can always walk forward, whoever we are with.

And since I started with the Billy Joel song called The Stranger, it also seems a good place to end:

“You may never understand how the stranger is inspired
But he isn’t always evil and he isn’t always wrong.
Though you drown in good intentions, you will never quench the fire.
You’ll give in to your desire when the stranger comes along.”
~ Billy Joel, The Stranger. From the Album of the same name.

Yours, sort of sincerely…
    Sandra
Coach, Author and Sometime Stranger

PS: “Just to let you know that your book has arrived… As a take on Tom Cruise in Jerry Mcquire – ‘you had me at page 1’.  Well done. You are an amazing writer, this book should be a film and I have only read 2 letters” ~ Beverley Jones

A collection of the ‘Peachey Letters’ from this blog have been gathered together – along with new material, into a beautiful book.  It makes the perfect present, for you and for your loved ones … You can buy Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life on my website here or from Amazon (in Paperback and Kindle), order it at any bookshop, or indeed buy it from all good book websites around the world…

PPS: Here is the song – to either remind you or introduce you, click here for a YouTube video, with lyrics…

Fiction: The Mermaid Cave

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 16 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It is a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern.

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

Mermaid

The Mermaid Cave

Under Tregorwick Castle lies a cave, which, family legend has it, was fashioned out of dynamite by smugglers several hundreds of years ago… It was suspected that somehow the monks who built the original monastery were in cahoots with their local pirates, and that the two parties lived secretly and symbiotically supporting each other, given safety and storage in return for a tithe of the riches held in the womb of the mineral rich rock.

Now the cave is a playground, a subterranean swimming pool, half filled to its’ shelf like ledges with clear turquoise tidal sea water. It is lit by the very recent addition of electricity, and some how magically over recent decades, troublesome candles and lamps have been replaced with strip lighting over the stone stairs, descending into the oceanic gloom, where you are greeted with fairy lights, covering the ceiling of the cave with a curious Christmas like glow.

The water and the humid air has a strange and natural warmth, hatched as it is in this Cornish stone. And climbing carefully down its curving steps takes you out of the already rarefied world of Tregorwith and into a secret salty new atmosphere.

It has a centre circular sea pool with nooks and niches branching off it, all just deep enough to let you rest on the surrounding sofa rock, submerged up to your shoulders.

Ariel would come down here with Daddy and swim and splash and giggle for long lovely hours. The giggles would echo and reverberate as if the fairies who lit the ceiling were joining in with the merriment. At other times she was allowed to come here alone, as long as some one knew she was down there and she promised not to stay for longer than an hour.

Where she had failed to learn at school, here Auntie Sarah taught her to swim, with stern encouragement.

When she was on her own, there was less splashing and giggling. It was instead a time to dream and play at being a marvellous Mermaid Queen, sitting in her thrown room, half in and half out of the water and there was even a throne – the central most niche, facing the stairs, where she would sit and command legions of imaginary turtles and rainbow coloured fish to bend to her wishes and whims.

-o0o-

Through all the life that followed, Ariel never forgot the cave and often swam through it her adult dreams.  In those soft sleeping times it was, for ever, a place of fun, peace and special sanctuary, where she could silently reign supreme.

~ Sandra Peachey ©

PS: This blog post is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, whatever it holds for you… It is of course the perfect Valentine gift. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites anywhere in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

Fiction: The Valentine Fool

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 15 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It is a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern.

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

The Valentine Fool

valentine_fool
Picture by claypupperton of Deviant Art

“Just say it to me once” Ariel insisted “and then you can go.”

There was, as ever, an awkward pause, but then he came out with it: “I never understood it, I suppose, but when I think about it, I do love you”.

“My goodness, that was painful and not exactly romantic, but thank you for admitting it. I can make my peace with this now. Have a nice life and a farewell hug, before I kick you out of course” Ariel replied.

Jay clung to her and then she pushed him off and out of the door. “Good bye you daft egghead. May love go with you in your life.”

As the days, weeks and months passed by, she pondered on this strange affair of theirs and what an odd state of affairs it had all been. They had made their decision for all the right reasons. He had an opportunity to have a new life with a family, and she of all people, understood about arranged marriages. They had weighed up all their options, gone over the pros and cons and just couldn’t find a compelling enough set of reasons to stay together.

She’d always known that he loved her in his own understated way, and now he’d said it – that of course would have to be enough for her ego.  And he had been very generous to her in so many ways – she could now treasure the expressed sentiment as his parting gift.   They were never a romantic match any way. It had always been a matter of convenience for both of them, so now they had made a sad and sensible decision, together.

As time went on though, the feeling that she had been rejected began to gnaw at her. Their conjoined logic hadn’t saved her, after all. Their feigned friendship with benefits had been born out of a hidden desperation and an unsightly loneliness, which somehow had grown into a dependency she didn’t even know she had, till now.   For all this time she had kept him at a distance, kept their togetherness as an arrangement, and never really wanted to be with him in any significant way. Now she grieved his loss in her life and still she knew he cared for her – out in the dark ether of incommunicado.  He hadn’t wanted to go after all, she made him. Though no doubt – her nagging, gnawing thoughts dictated – he was having a rare old time getting to know his young prospective bride.

With the new year a depression of spirits settled upon her, but she got on with her day to day living with energy and determination. Soon, she reasoned, she would come out of the other side of this resolution and move on to better things.

Jay had sent her a Christmas card and then in January a postcard from his latest business trip, so she knew she was on his mind. These communications were always bitter sweet. Ariel was simultaneously delighted that he had reached out and yet frustrated that his rare contacts with her were tepid rather than torrid. Neither did they give her any news of his impending nuptuals, so she could cut that particular tie from her heart too.

As February came and the calendar clicked down relentlessly towards Valentines Day, she found that she felt it was a simple, sweet inevitability that he would get in touch. She knew that he would somehow just have to make contact with her on that day of all days. It was an easy certainty, so she didn’t need to run the ‘will he / won’t he?’ spin cycle around her head and just got on with her life.

When the 14th of February arrived, she rationalised it into ‘any other’ day… And sometime, around 11.30 am, he did get in touch, with a rare text: “Are you busy today? Would you like to go out?”

He was late as usual when he finally knocked on her door. She flung it open to behold that he held his walking shoes in his hands, rather than a Valentine bunch of flowers. Yet he was there, just as her intuition had predicted. She wondered in a whisper to herself, where it all might lead…

She banished any notions of the future from her mind.  Today, she decided was a day for simple silence and acceptance. She would let him say whatever it was he had to say.

So she put on her coat they set off for walk.  And because she gave him the space of silence, he filled it with his words. She simply responded just enough to let him know that she was listening and was on his side.

He prattled on about his plans and his work. He complained about his colleagues. “He just needs to get it all off his chest” she thought, “and then he can really speak to me.”

As time passed and their footsteps squelched over the muddy fields of their favourite walk, still he prattled inanely on. She realised suddenly that there would be no lover’s reunion and shut down upon herself, wishing that the walk could be over sooner, rather than later. She even wondered whether to plead illness and turn back. But still her heart hoped and still her feet moved, one in front of the other. And all the time they kept their physical distance – just out of hand’s reach from each other.

They walked and walked and so he talked. She knew having a listening ear wasn’t an opportunity he often had, and that no one knew and understood him as she did, so she let him waffle on. At one point he paused and asked her if she was alright. “I’m OK” she lied.

They made their way back to her house and he asked if she was hungry. She wasn’t, but said she would make him lunch, so that finally he could confess in confidence his love for her or else confirm his wedding date…

Back in doors, he did neither. She fussed and cooked and served to keep her nerve.

When they’d eaten, he put his fork down and said “how are you doing?” She found it hard to respond. Finally she struggled out “I’m a 5 out of 10. But more importantly, how are you doing, have you set a date yet?”

She was angry to learn that he hadn’t even met his prospective bride again yet; he just hadn’t got round to it. She ruminated that it had been over 3 months, since he had left her all alone and yet he had done nothing to move his situation on.

But when she spoke all that came out was “Happy Valentine’s Day”.

“Well, you know that for me, that’s just a date on the calendar” he replied. “It doesn’t hold any special significance.  It was a nice sunny day, I thought it would be good for a walk.”

“Right, like it didn’t hold any significance last year when I told you I didn’t want to go out on Valentine’s Day, because we didn’t have that kind of relationship. Why are you lying to us both? Who are you trying to kid? I knew you would want to see me today of all days.”

“Well you let me off the hook then” he laughed.

“Look, I suppose that’s nervous laughter, but right now, it sounds like a sneer” Ariel said. “Tell me truthfully – have you missed me?”

“Well yes” he said and finally her heart lightened. “I’ve had no one to go on walks with or take to my favourite restaurant. I really fancied a Thai meal last week and had no one to go with.”

Now Ariel’s heart tightened and her breathing constricted. She had thought this man was different from most other men; but here he was, coming out with that ridiculous male bravura that they all pull out on occasions like these. He wasn’t going to propose… anything other than a bloody walk and talk.

She glared inwardly.

“I think I should go” he said.

“I agree” she responded and waited impatiently while he faffed around getting his coat on and finding his keys.

“Good bye” she said, stepping away and opening the door as he tried to awkwardly hug her. He stepped out, then turned and tried to hug her again. She pushed him out of the door and made a careful effort not to slam it behind him.

Of course she cried when he left. She felt deeply despondent and incredibly stupid. She been rejected – again. Nothing in her life was going to change. Having felt just a vague grief that he had passed out of her life and would soon return, now she was plunged into the depths of painful despair.

“This is unendurable” she raged. “I can’t go on like this.  I can’t go on feeling such pain.  This is just insane cruelty. He’s stupid and cruel and yet I’m crueller still. I keep living and breathing through all this agony, again and again. I even try to protect myself from the hurt and still it happens. I can’t do this any longer. I just have to stop trying and failing, over and over again.”

She searched out the hiding place for Martrucio’s dagger and sharpened it purposefully. She placed the point against her heart and judged the thrust and angle it would require to sever her heart swiftly, before she would get scared and change her mind again.

But it was a sharp moment of solitary drama. Snorting angrily, she put the knife safely away and opened a bottle of blood red wine instead.

After several glasses of ruby balm, she ripped out his contact details from her phone book and then sat down to compose her final letter to him:

“Hello Jay (I simply cannot use the ridiculous formality of ‘Dear’ Jay)

Well that was a Valentine Day that felt more like an April Fool…

Today you were cruel. Maybe not deliberately (?) but regardless – insensitive, stupid and very, very cruel.

Our time together today has highlighted our myriad differences – again. We just keep coming back to each other, because we are all the other one has. But that just isn’t good enough, for either of us.

Don’t be in touch again – OK. Just leave me to rot. As you’ve appreciated I’m not worth anything other than the occasional lousy fuck or someone to go on a bloody walk with, just because you want sex or don’t have any other close friends.

Look – I thank you for all you have done for me, really I do and I don’t forget that, but your weak niceness is just part and parcel of the problem.

So do me a favour, if you do actually, really care for me, in any way – just fuck off and leave me alone now. Go get a new life with your young wife and a whole pack of children. I wish you well: enjoy the sleepless teething nights in your 50s, school runs in your 60s and University graduations in your 70s; oh and that is if  your babies don’t have geriatric genetic abnormalities which mean you will have to nurse them until you die (you will have a combined age of 87 years between you don’t forget). But at least you get to have the bloody chance to be a parent and to have a future. I have never denied you that, even though all of those particular options in life have always been denied to me.

Somehow, after all the time we have known each other – I assumed that since I’m the only person who really knows you and just loves you because of who you are and what you do, might mean something. But no, a juicy young wife and family pressure are clearly bigger draws.  It’s only the rest of your life after all and being a mummy’s boy has to be easier than being a man!!!

But you have my permission and instruction to go ahead and desert me now. Instead, just go on and please those who are related to you, but don’t have a clue about who you actually are and what you really want from life. Compare their love to mine and continue with it. You are after all, as we both know, a clueless, childish fool when it comes to emotional matters.

Life, through no fault of my own, has robbed me of everything I ever wanted and despite all my best efforts, it continues to do so. Just as you get under my skin, and into my heart – this!!! And after everything I’ve been through lately Jay, today’s little visit from you was just a cruel, sick joke. I can only hope that the joke was only on me and that one of us, at least, goes on to get some real happiness. 

Happy Valentine’s Day, or should that be February Fool’s Day – a new celebration I hereby institute for the emotionally insane.

Good bye Jay.

Good luck and please just bugger off in to the wide, blue yonder – now and for ever.

Never yours,
Ariel.”

Her letter written, she folded it up and put it into a pristine unaddressed envelope. She downed another glass of wine and wondered if she would actually go ahead and post it. “Happy Bloody Valentine’s Day, indeed…” She thought, raising a glass to the universe, and then throwing and smashing it soundly on the kitchen floor.

“That’ll save on the washing up” she slurred, before crawling upstairs to her ever empty bed.

~ Sandra Peachey ©

PS: This blog post is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, whatever it holds for you… It is of course the perfect Valentine gift. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites anywhere in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

The Love in Your Life

valentine

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 14 of 29

Hello and a Very Happy Valentine’s Day to you…

Now, as a coach, I love to ask questions – so I am wondering, is this simply another day for you?  Or do you have something special planned with a special someone (a trip to Paris, or a box of chocolates, or ..?).  Or then again do you wish you had something special planned..?  Or could you care less?

As someone who has written and published a book about the phenomenon of love, I have been asking questions myself about what Valentine’s Day is REALLY all about, and some fascinating answers have wafted their way back to me…

In ancient times there were TWO Saint Valentines — one of Rome and one of Tern, who were martyred on this day, and the journey from them to modern day notions of romance, is a long and interesting one.

One of the first historically recorded connections between Saint Valentine and the idea of love comes much later, from Geoffrey Chaucer, who in 1381 wrote a poem to honour King Richard II’s engagement.

Then somehow, through time, tide and tradition the idea of St Valentine and love became linked to today’s date – the 14th of February.  So it was that as printing and postage became more widely available, that Valentine cards could be sent, often traditionally ‘incognito’.

And there are so many more components I could continue on – of chocolate, of cupids, of roses and more, but aside from tradition and expectation, what could Valentine’s Day really represent for us all???

Love comes in many forms and can be found in all aspects of our lives, whatever our relationship status may be.  Where is the love in your life?  Does it start with you, for you, can you see it and perhaps more importantly do you choose to see it?

Love percolates our life in so many ways – way beyond the singular romantic notion, so today, where ever you are in life, let’s celebrate and cherish it.

That is my simple request to you, today, to celebrate love, in all its forms… I wonder, when you ponder love in all its variations and transmutations, where this journey will take you?

For me it led to publishing Peachey Letters ~ Love Letters to Life, the exploration of the love in all aspects of my own life.  I’m equally chuffed and humbled that my sharing and stories in that book have touched many hearts, who have been entertained, challenged and who, in turn have used love to heal, to analyse and let go in their own lives too.

It’s 3 years since my book of Love Letters was published and if you don’t have a copy yet, you can get it on Kindle or paperback from Amazon, or get a special Valentine deal direct from me by clicking here for more information on my website – where you can get your copies significantly discounted.

So having got the loving history and the sales opportunity out of the way, it’s time for me to say farewell and to wish for you the love that you deserve and chose on this Celebration day.

With love, laughter and more…
Sandie xx
Sandra Peachey
Author, Coach and Consultant

* Author of Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life as featured in local press, Psychologies, The Lady & The BBC!
* International Book Awards Finalist 2015 – Women’s Issues category
* Co-author of ‘The F-Factor’ – the blueprint for entrepreneurial women to have Success without the Stress
* Winner at the 2013 ‘Women Inspiring Women’ Awards
* Nominee in two categories in the ‘Association of Professional Coaches, Trainers & Consultants’ Awards, 2012 & 2013 
Purchase your reduced price Paperback here

Fiction: The Flying Ballet

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 13 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It is a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern.

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

The Flying Ballet

R & J

Stuck at home with her mother, the summer holidays seemed to last for ever. But now she was 17, she knew this would be the last summer that her mother would have the final say. Her mother knew it too and followed her around the house, constantly talking away at her. Ariel felt like she was the pepper in a pot, with her mother constantly grinding away.

Still she was quietly rebellious and yet, she said nothing to her mother. Ariel knew how it would be. She just had to wait it out and then she would have her adult freedom.

3 weeks into the holiday, her relentless boredom gave way to jangling excitement. She felt that Mariel was soon to manifest. As usual Ariel skulked in her bedroom, slowly waiting.

When Mariel arrived, finally and inexorably, it was a bright, smart day. As usual she was brisk and bristling. And this time she had a very special treat up her gossamer sleeve. “Today my darling, I’m taking you to Covent Garden. Dress elegantly now. We are going to the ballet. I’ve pulled some celestial strings and got us into the latest production at the Royal Opera House.”

Ariel was both excited and bothered. “But I’ve nothing to wear to an Opera House, have I?!” She demurred.

“Oh don’t fuss, we’re off to a sneaky Saturday matinee, not summoned there by personal Royal appointment. Honestly, it’s about prima ballerinas today – not prima donnas! Tiaras aren’t necessary, silly sylph – just throw on your favourite pretty dress and let’s go – come on, do!”

“Well how would I know?” countered Ariel “It’s not the Garsington Hippodrome, is it?!”

“Well then Ariel, this is all part of your continuing education. Don’t worry about the dress code, no one will be judging you. Just dress to be happy – but do it quickly – we have to leave now!”

Mariel took off and indicated for Ariel to follow. “The simplest way to find London” she whispered, “is to follow the rail network. All the local tracks from this place lead to the capital.”

Ariel was delighted by this premise. She could so easily find the station and then fly on to any number of destinations.

“Now don’t think you can just follow the tracks to anywhere” her mentor continued in a conscious contradiction, “as a navigational device this is not always the wisest way. As with all journeys, you must chose the most appropriate means for your purpose. It just so happens that this line to London is a nice direct route that cuts quickly across the country from here to there.”

It was a sunny, clear day and so they cruised high above the London line. The air was thin and clean and there was hardly any wind to either cut across or glide upon. It was gorgeous flying weather.

Suddenly Mariel signalled to for them to drop lower and then sped downwards, making as if to dive bomb the 12.17 to London Euston. Ariel followed with a joyously reckless lack of caution.

Mariel raced to the front of the train, then looped back and round, showing off a particularly stunning reverse spin manoeuvre. Ariel was not even going to attempt that, but she swooped after her and looped over the train up and over from side to side.

When a tunnel came into sight, Mariel hovered over the driver’s cab and held out her hand to Ariel. Together they flew just a couple of feet from the engine, rushing from the outside light into the inside dark.

It was as if they were gripped in a vacuum of time, held firmly in the rush of air between the train and the roof of the tunnel. They were swept along, impelled by the roaring rush. It was loud and dirty and wonderful. Ariel kept her breathing focussed and as light as possible. She knew not to inhale the fowl diesel stink, in that dank, compressed space. The danger was thrilling. They had to balance perfectly between the roof of the train and the roof of the tunnel, with barely a foot to spare. Mariel gripped Ariel’s hand lightly and tightly, showing her best how to balance and to feel the air pressure – using it to guide the slightest of movements that adjusted them and kept them safe and straight.

Then through the dirty darkness Ariel could then see the light at the end rushing towards them and suddenly they were out in the light bright open. Mariel shot upwards, pulling Ariel breathlessly higher and higher, shooting up into the highest reaches of the blue, almost cloudless sky.

Now Ariel breathed deeply and coughed out the tiny vestiges of diesel stench from her lungs. She knew though, that her clothes absolutely stank of it. But she couldn’t care less – her heart was beating with the beautiful adrenaline buzz of it all.

They touched down in a London park and Mariel took her the rest of the way via the more mundane method of The Underground. “You’re getting the full London experience today, sweetie” she said “and that includes shopping.” To Ariel’s ecstatic delight, Mariel took her to a very tiny and trendy boutique somewhere down a side street near Leicester Square; where they both changed into new designer dresses that somehow were waiting to be collected and, needless to say, fitted just perfectly…

With little time to spare, they arrived at the grand edifice of the Royal Opera House. Mariel made for one of the smartly clad male attendants and motioned for Ariel to stand back whilst she talked to him. She wondered what wonderful seats Mariel had organised. May be they were even in a box… Looking over though, the conversation didn’t seem to be going well.

Mariel motioned her over to them. “Ah, Miss, I was just explaining to your aunt that unfortunately the seats I had reserved for her, have now been taken by another party… I can’t find you any seats today I’m afraid”. Ariel was completely crestfallen. “However”, the man in uniform continued, “you can stand at the back of the auditorium and watch from there if you would like.”

Mariel looked quietly cross “it’s your decision Ariel.”

“Well then, let’s stay” Ariel replied.

Their companion walked with them, grabbing a Programme along the way; then took them pass the ticket collectors for the stalls and showed them the sweep of the balustrade at the back of the theatre. “So then, I’ll see you after the show” he said with mock confidence. Mariel sniffed and turned her head from him. He walked stiffly and swiftly away.

“Well, really” bristled Mariel “the absolute cheek of it. He promised me seats. I must be losing my touch. Should have used deeper, more convincing magic, but thought he was a sure thing…”

Suddenly she was aware of Ariel looking at her with wide and interested eyes. “Well, I suppose it is a Saturday matinee on a summer afternoon – what did I expect? Are you alright here darling? We will have to stand for an awfully long time.”

“Er, we can always leave if our legs get tired of standing” Ariel said in lame placation.

“You’re right, my sweet, let’s wait it out and sneak off if we get bored” Mariel responded.

Ariel felt a little stupid, hanging round awkwardly at the back of the theatre, so she concentrated on reading the Programme to hide her disappointment. They had come to see a production of Prokofiev’s Romeo and Juliet and she read that the prima ballerina dancing the role of the 14 year Juliet was 44 years old. It seemed somehow ancient for a dancer.

Standing up for hours on end was not going to be fun either, but out of quiet politeness, she was determined to see it through.

The lights went down and the hubbub of the audience quieted to a reverent hush.

Suddenly Ariel was held in a familiar world of supreme orchestral sound. She recognised the music immediately. It was one of the many classical records her Cornish aunts played to her on the hissing old gramophone in their music room.

Then the dancing started and she was entranced. To the 17 year old Ariel, 44 may have seemed old for a ballerina to be dancing the part of a teenage girl, yet this woman danced and acted like a graceful 14 year old. She was light and flighty and beautiful. Her movements flowed sinuously and gracefully along, partnering the music perfectly. The scenes of the ballet swept by. The stage was filled with sumptuously clad dancers, then faded and honed in to delightful duets and spotlighted solos.

Suddenly it was the interval. “Oh, Mariel, it’s marvellous” burbled Ariel. But before she could say any more, she noticed that Mariel’s male friend had returned with 2 glasses of champagne.

“Thank you Charles” Mariel said to him tersely and dismissed him with a turn of her back.

Ariel giggled, only to be silenced by a reproachful look from her companion. Charles turned on his heel and marched off towards the artificial semi light of the nearest exit.

“What does he expect for standing room only” said Mariel. “Men!”

After the show, Ariel wafted out of the theatre in a semi delirious high.

“Now, I know just the thing – come!” Mariel said, striding ahead. Ariel could barely keep up, weaving in and out of the theatre goers and tourists all around them.

Many walking twists and turns later and they fetched up at a tiny Mediterranean delicatessen. Mariel settled at one of their tiny plastic tables and motioned to Ariel to do the same. The balding middle aged proprietor bustled out and greeted Mariel enthusiastically, looking her up and down and lavishing his greetings with many compliments. They continued to converse in… Ariel couldn’t be sure… Possibly it was Greek…

Next came the business of carefully choosing a number of delicious treats to take home. Selections were made with much discussion, hand waving, sniffing and tasting of the foodie goods, until the chosen items were boxed up and slipped carefully in to paper bags. Proffered coffee the consistency of tar was also consumed by Mariel, but a clean gleaming liquor was roundly and smilingly refused. Ariel watched in wonder.

They flew back home languorously in the dark, back along the railway line. Mariel stopped short of Ariel’s home and handed her a box from the deli. “That is for your dinner, my dancing girl” she said and suddenly was gone from sight.

~ Sandra Peachey ©

PS: This blog post is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… It is of course the perfect Valentine gift. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

 

Could A Letter Change Your Life?

Book Cover Tiny

Could A Letter Change Your Life?

Ever wondered what life is all about? Are you holding onto issues that hold you back in your life? If the answer is ‘yes’ to these questions, then writing letters to the significant people, phenomena and happenings in your life (even if you never send them) can help you get more of the life you want.

The book ‘Peachey Letters  Love Letters to Life’, is written by ‘LifeWork’ Coach Sandra Peachey, who is on a mission to encourage  us to understand and accept who we are, and learn to celebrate the life we have, by just following the simple, cathartic process of letter writing.

You can buy the paperback on Amazon for £11.99 or as a Valentine’s treat you can get it on my website – here for just £7.99 including P&P… Happy designated Day of Love!

In the fast-pasted technological world of today, writing letters has become something of a distant memory for many, yet it could hold the secrets to happiness, health and well-being.

Featured in Psychologies Magazine and The Lady, the book was also honoured as a Finalist in the International Book Awards 2015.

‘Peachey Letters’ is intensely personal and is made up of the various  components of Sandra’s life. It contains her simple philosophies and learnt wisdoms, with the aim of helping people resolve the issues in their own lives, with writing at the core.

It all started in 2012, after Sandra saw people signing up for a challenge to record a video blog every day for a month. For her own challenge, she then started posting a love letter a day for the Valentine month of February on her blog www.peacheyletters.co.uk; and very quickly got an overwhelmingly positive response, especially to her first letter to her father. Since then, her blog has had thousands of hits from over 80 countries around the world.

Sandra explains:
“The book is really an extension of this initial writing process, after I saw how it not only transformed my life, but that of the people who read my letters too. I want to encourage people to resolve issues in their own lives, live beyond their past and embrace their future. I want to show people that they can follow the same simple process as I have, to heal, reconcile and celebrate their lives”.

About Sandra Peachey – Author of ‘Peachey Letters’

Although she has spent much of her working life in the Corporate world, Sandra has always considered herself to be a writer and her first degree was in English Literature. She then pursued a career in Human Resources, working mainly in car manufacture and engineering for over two decades.

After what Sandra describes as a ‘happy mid-life crisis’, she then went on a ‘self-development journey’ trained as a coach and subsequently, set up a business as a Human Resources Consultant and Coach – LifeWork http://www.sandrapeachey.co.uk/ which works with small to medium sized companies to achieve their Life and Work goals and to live more of the life they choose.

Sandra’s coaching and consultancy work takes her all over Britain, and, she lives in Warwickshire in the United Kingdom, where she was raised and has lived most of her life.  

Interview with the Author

What were your motivations for writing the book?

Since childhood, I always scribbling poems and stories – so felt like a writer, however, this got lost during my corporate career. In January of last year, I saw lots of people I knew signing up for a challenge to either record or write a blog every day for a month. I thought that was very worthy, but I wanted to challenge myself differently, so I decided to start writing again and created my own challenge instead.

As the Valentine month of February was on the horizon, I decided that I would write a ‘love letter to life’ every day for that month, to the significant people, phenomena and happenings in my life. As a coach and writer, this combined coaching my self and finding my creative voice. The writing part was easy, though fitting a letter in every day for 29 days around my busy life was more of a challenge. I started posting them on my blog www.peacheyletters.co.uk and very quickly got an overwhelming response, especially to the first letter to my father. My blog has had over 3,000 hits from over 24 countries around the world.

What do you feel the message of your book is and why is it different from other books on the market?

The process of my book is something that anyone can do. Write letters, to release demons, work out who you are and celebrate what you have in life. Writing letters is a form which allows you to be intensely personal and to really speak in your own voice.

I am a coach by profession and many people may not understand what that entails, yet by going through this process I worked on myself and became my own best coach. I also found a poetic voice and was delighted that I really am the writer that I always knew I was.

My book is different because it is immediate, it is simple in concept, broad in scope, yet it is also entertaining and provokes a whole range of emotions in the reader.  It contains my simple philosophies and learnt wisdoms, in a gentle way. The great thing too, is that it is a process that most people can easily follow and people have told me that they have been inspired to write letters too and resolved many issues in their lives.

A year after my challenge, as Valentine’s Day approaches again, anyone and I mean anyone, can bring love into their life. Love is all around them, it formed them and if you are single, in a relationship or separated, love is a huge force which is always there, even when it doesn’t seem patently obvious.

How do You get Copies of the Book?

I currently have a Valentine special offer… You can buy the paperback on Amazon for £11.99 or as a Valentine’s treat you can get it on my website – here for just £7.99 including P&P… Happy designated Day of Love!
~ Sandra Peachey

Fiction: The Argument

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 11 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It is a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern.

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

argument

The Argument

“Why” Ariel asked, “why, why, why do you make life so difficult for me? You keep me from my father, from my family. You take his money and you moan on and on about him and about – everything! You just never stop bloody turning the knife do you?”

Her mother puffed up furiously and raised her hand to hit. “Don’t you dare swear at me, you ungrateful brat – you…”

Ariel raised her voice an angry semi quaver: “Just shut up, you evil cow!  You pushed my Dad away. You didn’t let me go with him. Why? And you keep me walled up here in this urban shit hole, being lonely and miserable and always trying to make me miserable too.

Why do you always say ‘no’? Why do you constantly criticise? I’m sick of it, I’m bloody sick of it.”

Her mother had rarely seen such angry fire in her daughter since she was a tiresome toddler. She kept the parental boundaries strict – she was in charge – no challenges were to be brooked and things were to done her way or no way.

She was quietly furious and absolutely would not tolerate such recalcitrant teenage behaviour under her roof. “You stop this now, you ungrateful little bitch. Don’t think you’re getting any dinner tonight, after this. And don’t think you are ever going back to Tregorwick after this display. Just one more mention of this young lady and I am going to beat every last word out of you – do you understand?

“Oh mother, you’re pathetic.” Ariel countered. “Yeah – I understand! I understand that all you’ve got is complaints and punishment. And now you’re gonna hit me! Pathetic! If you so much as touch me, I will thump you back. Her voice raised to a scream “I will bloody thump you, you evil old cow!”

Her mother’s fury propelled her hand to slap sharply across Ariel’s face. Ariel screamed in pain and fury. “You stop this” her mother said, slapping again and again with each rising scream.

Ariel shoved her mother away and holding her at bay with her left hand, looked her in the face. “You’re happy now aren’t you mother?  Now you’ve made me cry? You’re happy because I’m miserable, you horrible, horrible old hag.”  Then she ran to the mirror in the hall and looked at the stinging, red marks the slaps had left on her face – one burning brightly on each cheek.

Her mother was silent, rooted to the spot and breathing heavily.

“I’m going out” said Ariel “I’m showing the world what you are like mother, how vicious and evil you are. I’m phoning my dad. And I’m going to get the police on you” she yelled as she yanked the front door open and headed down the path.

Her mother loomed on the doorstep. “Get back here Ariel Ann Tregorwick. Don’t you dare leave this house.”

Ariel ran down the street, and round the corner to the phone box. There were two teenage boys crammed in it, and she so carried on, parading her slapped cheeks for the world to see, tears still streaming down her face

Through the Sunday evening streets she went and realised that she had no change and would have to get the operator to organise a reverse charge call to her father. Then she remembered that her father was usually out at this time at his Bridge club.

Suddenly she felt stupid and vulnerable. She had the streets to herself. Nobody was around. Nobody saw the pain that she was in and the marks of her mother’s anger etched across her face; but out of sheer stubbornness she would not run straight back to her house.

She circuited the nearby streets a few more times and then had to face the prospect of returning home. Her defiance having now deflated, she slunk round to the back of her home and dragged her feet down the back garden path. As quietly as she could, she tried the handle of the back door. It was locked. Her mother had ensured that she would not be able to sneak in.

Ariel knocked and listened. Her mother kept her waiting. She didn’t come. So Ariel was forced to knock 3 times more, louder and louder each time. All this served, of course as extra fuel for her mother’s bonfire of anger.

Finally she came and opened the door, she let Ariel in, raising her hand ready to smash it down on Ariel’s head. They looked each other in the eye. “No, Mother” Ariel said. “No”.

~ Sandra Peachey ©

PS: This blog post is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… It is of course the perfect Valentine gift. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)

Fiction: Love Letter to Canal Flying

February 2016 Blog Challenge: Blog 10 of 29

As a child I was happy to create stories and loved the escapism that they offered.  As an adult, I have now returned to the fiction form and have embarked on writing my first novel (of a trilogy). It is a blend of semi auto-biographical and fantastical elements, which feels to me like arranging a giant patch work quilt of my life: There are some favourite scraps of my own old clothes, which I am adding to, embellishing and turning into a brand new pattern.

Part of my blog challenge this month is to boost the content of this first fiction book.  Each excerpt, which will stand alone on this blog – will eventually be woven into the larger fabric of my book design.

Canal Pic

Canal Flying

On the long summer evenings she loved to fly over the canal just as dusk was descending. It was an exercise in extraneous ego for she could see her magnificent reflection flying over the still water, a mirror to her glorious form, backlit by the clouds and vaulted blue sky above; woven into the waving water weeds and the journeys of teeming silent fish, below. It was a stirring sight as she flew boundlessly over endless miles, honing her senses as she listened beyond her ears to feel the rustle of reeds, ducks calling and sheep bleating their bedtime prayers.

She would consciously work all her senses – to go beyond them. Inhaling the smell of damp summer plants and slowly flowing canal ways; endeavouring to hear beyond the wind – blowing its soft swathes through fields of rippling, growing wheat; with wingless creatures scurrying through, under and around; aware of her above, where humankind ignored her.

She smiled as she flew on and followed the sleepy gentle lines and curves of the canals; the water drawing her along it and soothing her in gorgeous tandem with the easy constant rhythm of her wings.

Below her in innocent farms, cottages and narrow boats, somnambulant occupants watched TV and went about their end of the day business; ignoring her beating wings – sighing and sloughing over their heads in the descending darkness. Deliberately she would tease their senses by sweeping and flapping loudly, playing the wind and the mind and the contradictory silence of the countryside.

She loved this time alone and so week night flights ensured that there were less drunken loud people sitting out in canal side pub beer gardens; yapping and smoking their tarred freedom away, cutting into her sweet night fantastical flights with their discordant chatter.

Yet also from below, these solid land marked hostelry buildings offered her loud beacons of light, to navigate her certain way back home.

She avoided the roads, yet still, even along the quietest country lanes, motor vehicles would whizz inconstantly by; and so she was flying over the roofs of busy unknowing passengers, driving loudly and blindly below with full beams on, navigating through country lanes and over bridges, where unbeknownst, she steered high above, softly laughing at their modern, mechanical ways.

With dusk the bats would come out to feast and play, circling and crying whilst she confused their echo location positioning, as they sensed and sized up the gargantuan flying companion sharing their night world. ‘Squee, squee!’ they cried as she swept on by, bringing her out of her meditative reverie – measured till now by the simple soft beat of her beautiful wings.

Drawn by the sunset – she headed back home with the dropping light of day. Then the moon would take over, insinuated now into the sky above her head, having waxed and waned through a succession of watery nights – from new, to crescent and progressing back to a luscious full ball – with each lunar shape changing through and marking those sweet days of summer flight.

~ Sandra Peachey

PS: This blog post is a fiction and yet I also write about my own experiences.  In fact a collection of my ‘Peachey Letters’ have been gathered together in to a beautiful book, exploring all the facets of my ‘real’ life in all its’ badness, banality and beauty. This is love seen in every aspect of the life that I live.  In it you will find the dark and the light of love, in a way that will make you think, entertain you and let you know that you are not alone in life, what ever it holds for you… It is of course the perfect Valentine gift. You can buy ‘Peachey Letters – Love Letters to Life’ by Sandra Peachey, from book websites any where in the world, including on Amazon (in both Paperback and Kindle)