Jewel Of A Surprise – 99 Word Flash Fiction

What moves one person may not move the other.   It’s all about perspective.

This week for the Flash Fiction prompt over at Carrot Ranch, Charli ask us this:

‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that has a shift in perspective. It can be a transition of one character or a change between character points of view. Go where the prompt leads, either technically or creatively.’

Close up of Kingfisher on River Avon, Bath September 2012 (c) Sherri Matthews

Close up of Kingfisher on River Avon, Bath – September 2012
(c) Sherri Matthews

Jewel of a Surprise

“I hate my birthday,” grumbled Jaynee, “something always goes wrong and now you’ve forgotten to book my favourite restaurant.”

“Don’t worry,” smiled Dan, “I’ve got other plans. I’ve hired a boat for the day instead, as a surprise!”

“But I thought that was, well, for another time…”

Moored on the river that afternoon, Dan poured two glasses of champagne, then reached into his trouser pocket for the ring. He dropped to one knee.

“Jaynee…will you…”

Jaynee gasped. A flash of blue on the riverbank caught her attention. “Shhh…don’t say anything. Look, a Kingfisher! This is the best birthday ever!”

 *******

This flash fiction is a BOTS (based on a true story) only so far as I really did see a Kingfisher on my birthday in September three years ago.  I am not Jaynee, I adore messing about in boats on the river as I’ve shared here many times. and I was absolutely thrilled that hubby arranged a boat trip down the River Avon in Bath for my birthday that year. Complete with a bottle of bubbly, of course.

I have always been fascinated by Kingfishers, but the closest I ever came to seeing one was one morning while sitting on the back of a boat on the Norfolk Broads: I caught a glimpse of  blue and orange, so distinctive to the majestic Kingfisher, but that was it.  It disappeared as quickly as I caught sight of it.

But many years later, this beauty stayed long enough for me to take the close up (Weekly Photo Challenge) used in this post. For me, this Kingfisher’s presence truly was the best birthday present.

Posted in Family Memoirs, Flash Fiction, Nature & Wildlife, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 15 Comments

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge Day Four: German Shepherds And Guy The Gorilla

One day when I was little, I remember walking with my mother across the road to the mushroom farm to buy goat’s milk for our Siamese cats. This was nothing new,  but on this particular day two huge dogs appeared out of nowhere bounding towards us, barking their heads off.

Strangely,  I don’t recall feeling frightened, but they gave my mother a real scare.  She scooped me up into her arms as the dogs leapt up at us before the owner called them off.

Not a pleasant experience, but it didn’t stop us from owning dogs as family pets in the years to come.  In fact, after my parents split up and I  moved with my mother and brother to Suffolk, we adopted a gorgeous German Shepherd called Simon.

I adored Simon, but he was disobedient and hard to handle when we took him on.  By then fourteen, I took up the reins thinking that I could soon train him into the calm, obedient dog I believed him to be.

After a few ‘lessons’ and to test my training thus far, I got the bright idea to take him for a long walk through a waist-high field of barley, letting him off his leash and then calling him, expecting him to return obediently.

You are probably not surprised to learn that this aspect of my training failed miserably; not only did Simon take off for hours ignoring my frantic calls, but he didn’t return home for two days.

Local farmers congregated on our doorstep threatening to shoot him if they caught him worrying their sheep again, and so Simon’s days as a young German Shepherd running wild and free through the Suffolk countryside came to an abrupt end.

Me with Simon the German Shepherd, Field at the back of our house in Suffolk, July 1974 (c) Sherri Matthews

I asked my brother to take this photo with my Kodak Instamatic.  I wrote on the back: “Sherri and Simon in the field at the back of our house in Suffolk, July 1974″.   (c) Sherri Matthews

It seemed that my dad and his new wife also acquired a dog. One, hot summer’s day during the school holidays, we set off for a day out to London Zoo in Dad’s latest toy, a British Green MG Sports car.  Crammed in the back between me and my brother sat their massive German Shepherd, Bilbo Baggins. It was chaos and I loved it.

My love for German Shepherds will never wane despite one unfortunate experience for which I blame not the dog, but the owner.

When my middle boy was just a baby, my ex-husband (EH) got the idea that we needed a companion for our lovely dog Bonnie, a cross Labrador/Collie.   We had always harboured the dream of owning a German Shepherd and one day, EH saw an ad in the local paper:

‘Free to good home, German Shepherd, good with children.’

The dog was two years old and the owner, a young woman, was moving to San Francisco and couldn’t take him with her.  We arranged to meet her at her local park, EH told me, because the dog wasn’t keen on men and might not like the idea of us going to meet her at her house.  This news made me nervous to say the least, but EH said it would be fine.

But it wasn’t fine.   We got to the park and spotted the woman with her dog sitting by her side beneath a shady tree.  As we approached and only about twenty-five yards away,  the dog stood up to alert, snarled and bared his teeth as the woman tried – and failed – to control him.

That was enough for me.  I yelled at my six-year-old son to turn around and run while I swung the stroller holding my baby boy around so that I could run too, but I wasn’t fast enough.

EH tried to placate the dog – “It’s alright boy, we won’t hurt you…” – but this made the dog even more angry and it lunged towards us. The woman, who was timid and barely spoke above a whisper, didn’t hold the long-running leash firmly enough and was unable to rein her dog back in before he managed to sink his wonderfully sharp teeth into my lower right calf.

Not only did the bite hurt, a lot, but the dog ruined my favourite pair of jeans which I had only just been able to wear since losing my baby weight.  That really annoyed me, once I recovered from the shock and pain of the dog attack and of course, immensely relieved and thankful that my boys did not come to any harm and far worse hadn’t happened.

Finally and as a postscript, I return briefly to that trip to London Zoo. In the 1970’s, the zoo boasted of its most famous attraction: none other than Guy the Gorilla. I couldn’t wait to see him that day, but at first he sat quietly in one corner of his cage, minding his own business, ignoring his visitors.

My dad, in typical fashion, began to make gorilla-type grunting sounds to try to get Guy’s attention.  One or two, then a few more, and suddenly, much to the amazement and delight of the now gathering crowd, Guy looked over at my dad and got up on all fours.

With huge head and body, he shuffled over to the front of his cage and looked squarely into my dad’s eyes.

For a moment nobody dared move, a hush fell upon the crowd, all eyes on Guy.  Dad whispered to me and my brother out of the corner of his mouth, “Watch this,” and he grunted again and this time Guy grunted back.  I couldn’t believe it.  Then Dad went a step further: he grunted while he beat his chest in feigned gorilla action.

Guy looked, blinked and slowly rose to his full, magnificent stature.  With deep, brown eyes locked on my dad’s, he beat his massive chest and the pair of them carried on like that, back and forth, for several minutes.  The crowd went crazy and I’m sure I saw a grin on Guy the Gorilla’s handsome face.

There was no doubting who was the star attraction, but to me that day, my dad was the leading man. Quite what Bilbo Baggins thought of the show I’ll never know, but for me it was one of the best moments of my childhood.

 *******

Thank you again to Irene and Norah  for inviting me to join in with the five Photos, Five Stories challenge: ‘Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge’.

Dear Irene recently lost her beloved Zach, a most handsome German Shepherd. She shares his story and how he came to be such a ‘faithful friend’ in her moving tribute post.

Finally, for today’s challenge, I am nominating new blogging friend Melinda from purpleslobinrecovery.  No obligation Melinda, but if you do decide to take up the challenge, I set only one rule:  Have Fun!!

Posted in Childhood Memories, Pets, Photo/Story Challenges, Suffolk Tales | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 62 Comments

Breathe

This flash/poem (if there is such a thing) is dedicated to my friend Charli, who in her grief for the recent loss of her best friend asked us to write a 99 word Flash Fiction about a breathless moment, to write about life.

View from Tower Bridge, London, of the River Thames with The Shard to the left  and the Post Office Tower in the far distance. Early evening, June 2015 (c) Sherri Matthews

View from Tower Bridge, London, of the River Thames with The Shard to the left
and the Post Office Tower in the far distance.
Early evening, June 2015
(c) Sherri Matthews

 Breathe

“There is no other,” he lied.

My eyes blaze. A question.

“Do I know this to be true?”

There it is, the answer in the swiftness of his downward glance before he attempts to speak.

But I turn from his feigned sorrow to gaze upon the sun-seared final remnants of another lost day.

Mindless grief tumbles like the dark waters below into wrecked acceptance, and I want to scream of his betrayal, to announce it with a herald far above the rumbling skies.

Instead, I walk into the troubled night knowing that in the morning, I shall breathe again.

Posted in Flash Fiction, Poems | Tagged , , , , , | 60 Comments

VOTING NOW OPEN – Annual Bloggers Bash Awards

Sherri:

I’m spreading the news! Have you heard about The Annual Bloggers Bash in London on August 1st organised by wonderful blogger Sacha Black? Sacha has also opened up voting for the Annual Bloggers Bash Awards 2015. I’m utterly gobsmacked to see that the Summerhouse has been nominated in two categories – Most Inspiring Blog Award and Best Dressed Blog Award. Thank you so much to the lovely blogger who nominated me, I didn’t see that coming! Sacha welcomes all to the bash and I can’t wait to meet so many amazing bloggers. For those who can’t attend, all details are in Sacha’s post for ways to keep involved, wherever you are in the world. Thanks so much Sacha and your lovely committee members – Ali, Geoff and Hugh. You are superstars!

Originally posted on Sacha Black:

Who-will-you-vote-for-

You nominated in your hundreds – literally! I had to enlist a committee of fabulous bloggers (Ali, Geoff and Hugh) to help organise all the nominations and sort them into this, the official voting post. To find out more about the #BloggersBash event have a look at this, this or this.

11733474_10207031963138573_162371955_nBefore we begin voting, there’s one more thing to add. The lovely Geoff decided we needed to stand out from the crowd so that y’all can find us at the British Library on the 1st August. So he has ordered some Annual Bloggers Bash t-shirts. The committee will be wearing them, but it was cheaper to bulk buy, so inevitably we have spares. SO, if you win one of the awards then a t shirt is yours! But if you would like a t-shirt anyway then they will be £6 on the day. Geoff is…

View original 436 more words

Posted in Awards, Blogging, Reblogs | Tagged , | 30 Comments

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge Day Three: School Symbol

When I left California in 2003, I couldn’t have known that it would be a decade before I would return.

It was bittersweet to say the least, walking down memory lane two years ago with my dear friend, revisiting places where we had both once lived, parks and beaches where our children had played and picnicked together, and schools our children had attended so many years before.

Snapping this photo, I remembered my children’s first day at Pat Butler Elementary School. We had just moved to beautiful Paso Robles having escaped from a crazed neighbour’s violent threats, and a fresh, safe, albeit slightly nerve-wracking start awaited us.

As the years went by, this became our familiar spot where the kids waited for me after school.  “Meet you at the pole”, they would say when we said our goodbyes in the mornings.  And so we met, every afternoon.

Pat Butler Elementary School, Paso Robles, California, 2013 (c) Sherri Matthews

Pat Butler Elementary School, Paso Robles, California, 2013
(c) Sherri Matthews

The school entrance looked exactly as I remembered it.  Warm, Californian spring air stirred up shadows from the past: of me as a young mum, walking my boys to their first day of a brand new school, holding small, sweet hands, pushing my infant daughter in her stroller, knowing not a soul.

We were strangers in the land.

But in ten years of life and school within a community of friends, of PTA meetings, of field trips and parent evenings, of plays and awards assemblies, of D.A.R.E events, of Scholastic Book Fairs, sports and graduations, laughter and tears, class parties and endless cupcake baking, we found a home.

This photo is a symbol of that life, of that home.

Life moves on, my children are adults, their school days long gone.  Now it is the turn of  another generation of children and their parents, unknown to me and me to them.

I wondered if any of the same teachers still taught there.  I smiled as I remembered rushing down to read the list posted in the office window, desperate to find out who my children’s teachers would be for the new school year.   Another friend and I used to joke about the stomach aches we gave ourselves, so anxious that our kids got the ‘good teachers’.

All of that seemed so silly, standing there ten years later, once again a stranger.

They say it isn’t always a good idea to go back.  But I write memoir and so I have to go back, all the time.  But it isn’t to dredge up a painful past for the sake of it, nor to stoke into flames bitter embers of a life lost.   No.  I believe that sometimes we have to go back to remember because it helps us understand.  Then at last, in that understanding, we are able to tell our story.

And in telling the story, we know the ‘why’ for doing so: we have connection and we hold our heads high and we are strangers no more.

*******

Thanks again to lovely Irene and  Norah for inviting me to join in with the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge.  Today I’m inviting lovely, skilled friend Pauline of ‘The Contended Crafter’. No obligation Pauline, only if you want to and whenever you can.  And if any of you wants to know how to make a beautiful Light Catcher, I urge you to run not walk to her latest post.  Absolutely stunning.

This post is not the one I intended.  The story I had in mind was a very different one, but writing is a strange thing and so I went with the story that yelled the loudest.  It also links in with the Weekly Photo Challenge of ‘Symbol’.

 

Posted in Family Memoirs, My California, Photo/Story Challenges, Weekly Photo Challenge | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 94 Comments

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge Day Two: Quail Eggs

During my children’s school years, I subscribed them to a variety of magazines and book clubs. My daughter’s favourite was The Magic School Bus club.

Such excitment when every few weeks her package arrived containing all sorts of goodies: a glossy book filled with the latest adventures of Ms Frizzle and her students, a colouring activity or two, and of course a science experiment usually requiring bicarbonte of soda and red food colouring.

I also loved exploring the educational section of toy shops, always on the look out for  fun-filled family activities, although not much beats Lego as far I’m concerned.  But that’s another post.

We had a great deal of fun, but we also had our fair share of disasters.

Take the Butterfly Garden for instance.  What a wonderful idea I thought, as I gift-wrapped it for my six year old Eldest Son.   We can watch beautiful butterflies burst forth from their cocoons and fly happily off into the great outdoors.

Following all the instructions, things started off well, but when it came time for them to burst forth, it was not a pretty sight.  Several of the Painted Lady Butterflies looked malformed, leaving us to peer into the garden and for me to answer questions like “Why is that butterfly stuck in its cocoon Mummy?”   And “Why is that one missing one wing?”

Thankfully, enough butterflies hatched normally to make it an overall happy experience.

Not to be undaunted, I then bought the kids an Ant Farm.  We couldn’t wait to watch the ants tunnel their ‘city’ in the sand, while we observed through the perspex walls of their ant home.  Again, we followed the instructions, making sure to give the ants sugar-water, only to find them a few days later shrivelled to a crisp.  So much for the Ant Farm.

But the biggest disaster by far involved quail eggs.  Intrigued by an advertisement in the back of Boy’s Life magazine urging Boy Scouts everywhere to ‘hatch baby quails in the comfort of your own home’, I, as usual, relented.  We had free-range chickens at the time, so I thought why the heck not?

We sent off for the kit which included an incubator of sorts, an extremely precise set of instructions and the coupon with which to send off for said quail eggs. The eggs arrived in a box through the post,  yet the first instruction very strictly advised:

‘KEEP THE QUAIL EGGS STILL AT ALL TIMES UNLESS TURNING AS DIRECTED.’

Hmmmm….

We monitored the temperature, turned the eggs as directed, and waited.  When hatching day came and went, and the next and the next after that, I took a closer look by cracking open one of the eggs, only to confirm what I already suspected: not only was it empty of any sign of a baby quail, but the contents were rotten.

Time to bring out the Lego.

But, as we all know, life is full of surprises.  Twenty-something years later and a few months ago, my daughter added to her menagerie a pair of Chinese Button Quails.

Notoriously bad at breeding, she didn’t expect them to do so, but thanks to her excellent farming skills, not only did they breed but ‘Cookie’ (Mummy) brooded for the given 16 days and look what happened:

These are the first two, held in my daughter’s hand one hour after they hatched.  Aren’t they adorable? There are six altogether:

Newly hatched Chinese Button Quails, June 2015 (c) Sherri Matthews

Newly hatched Chinese Button Quails, June 2015
(c) Sherri Matthews

Daddy – ‘Mooncake’ – had to be separated at first, but now they are all back together in their perfect quail home, one big happy family.  At night, the parents settle down and the babies sleeps around and on them.

Quite what we’ll do with them when grown I have no idea, but for now we’ll enjoy their feathery-humbug-uber-cuteness.

Quails at last.  Who would have thought?

*******

Many thanks again to wonderful Irene and Norah for inviting me to join in with the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge, the simple rules of which are:

Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge.’

(I can’t manage the consecutive bit,  but they will continue next week).

Just to mention too, and keeping with the theme of this post,  for parents with school-age children looking for a resource guide to learning with lots of fun during the school holidays, I highly recommend Norah’s excellent post here.

Finally, I nominate lovely blogging pal Jenny over at  Characters From The Kitchen  for the challenge.  I can’t wait to read her stories.  Coincidentally, when linking to her blog, I noticed that today’s post is about, of all things, the amazing merits of Lego.  Seems we are once again on the same wavelength. Thanks Jenny for taking part!

Posted in Birds of a Feather, Family Life, Photo/Story Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , , | 81 Comments

Five Photos, Five Stories Challenge Day One: Hot Stuff

Delighted to accept the Five Photos, Five Stories challenge when invited first by Irene and then by Norah, I’m looking forward to at long last joining in.

The challenge as follows:

‘Post a photo each day for five consecutive days and attach a story to the photo. It can be fiction or non-fiction, a poem or a short paragraph and each day nominate another blogger for the challenge’.

Thank you so much Irene and Norah for tagging me!

To start off with Day One, I’m cheating slightly by combining the photo/story challenge with Charli’s prompt for this weeks Flash Fiction challenge:

‘In 99 words (no more, no less) write a story that includes the phrase, “Man, it’s a hot one”.’

It’s been a while since I kicked up some dust over at the Ranch, and it really is a hot one over there in Idaho. I remember that kind of heat; my heart goes out to her and her neighbours, as well as my friends in California living under the threat of wild fires raging out of control.

Our heatwave here in the UK, although not in the high temperatures of other, hotter parts of the world, but uncomfortable enough when humid, sticky and not an air conditioner in sight,  seems to have disappeared into showery bursts of cool.

This is the time of year when I scooped up the kids from our home in California to visit family in England.  Starved of the summer days of my childhood,  I danced in the rain and breathed deeply into the fresh, cool air.

But I got used to the blistering California summers by staying indoors in air-conditioned homes and cars.  I forgot that back in the UK, everyone rushes outside to sunbathe as soon as the sun peaks out from behind the clouds, desperate for the warm comfort of its Vitamin D drenched goodness.

In California, I never sunbathed as it was impossible to stay in that kind of heat for long. But it was the heat of a summer in Las Vegas that knocked me flat when I first visited in 1979.  It was the first time that I felt the kind of heat that melts the rubber on your flip-flops and fries your skin to a crisp.

This then is my entry for both challenges.  Hope you enjoy!

(c) Sherri Matthews

(c) Sherri Matthews

Hot Stuff

“It’s already noon, let’s go.” Knocked back by air so hot it felt like a blast from a furnace, Jules slammed the motel door shut.

“Man, it’s a hot one out there.”

“What d’ya expect stupid? Vegas isn’t exactly by the sea is it? We’re in the middle of a freakin’ desert.”

“Well, I wanna have some fun. C’mon, the Casino’s air conditioned, right?”

The afternoon scorched on as Gus and Jules staggered from one Casino to the next.

The lobster was cheap, the Tom Collins free and The Chapel of Love was only a short, hot walk away.

*******

I have no idea who to invite for the story challenge, as I’m out of the loop as to whose done it and who hasn’t.  If anyone would like to join in, please feel free to do so. 

Posted in Family Memoirs, Flash Fiction, My California, Photo/Story Challenges | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | 65 Comments

The Mystery Of The Missing Laptop And Other Tales From The Summerhouse

Hello dear friends!

Thank you so much for your lovely, warm welcome back. It’s great to be blogging again, although I still don’t have my shiny and new, bright and breezy, newly repaired laptop.  Shall I tell you why?  Because five weeks since I returned it to the computer shop for sending off for repair, it seems that it is now lost, somewhere in the Czech Republic apparently.

A bona fide mystery.  Fodder for my next flash fiction story, perhaps?  Perhaps not.

We have recently had a heatwave here in the UK, but nothing that matched the heated telephone conversations I’ve had these past few weeks in trying to get this sorry saga sorted out.  I’m surprised my phone didn’t melt.

But there is some good news: As of last Friday, I have a temporary replacement laptop with my files and Word, with the promise from the manager of the computer shop, that if my laptop isn’t found and returned this week, I will receive a brand new replacement.

Let’s see.

Meanwhile,  all has not been silent behind the glass-paned doors of the Summerhouse.

Here’s the latest:

Scheduled before my laptop went kaput, lovely friend to many Sally Cronin, interviewed me for her Sunday Show – A Funny Thing Happened…  in which we talk about Asperger’s Syndrome, among other things.

Sally’s wonderfully eclectic blog, Smorgasbord – Variety is the Spice of Life, promises entertainment, stories of her many travels and adventures, health articles, guest blogs and much, much more. Her Sunday Show continues each week, she will be thrilled to see you if you decide to drop by.  An absolute joy to work with – thank you so much Sally for featuring my interview, I enjoyed the entire experience.

At around the same time, my two lovely Australian friends, first Irene and then Norah, invited me to join in with Five Photos, Five Stories challenge.  I am very much looking forward to this challenge which I hope to begin tomorrow, along with saddling up and galloping over to Charli’s Ranch in time for some more Flash Fiction.

Norah also had a lovely surprise waiting for me at the Summerhouse.    And I do love surprises!  Her gift, conferred upon me and all her online friends,  is her newly created S.M.A.G. badge which I now display proudly on my sidebar.

Artist Kari Jones designed the badge for Norah.

Beautiful isn’t it?

smag-ccbyncnd

Thank you so much for thinking of me Norah! 

S.M.A.G. stands for The Society of Mutual Appreciation and Gratitude.  You can read why Norah felt moved to create this special badge here.  Her post inspired me to write about online friendships, something I’ve wanted to do for some time, and will share  more about this later.

Speaking of online friends, I recently had the pleasure of meeting lovely blogging friend Sarah from Sarah Potter Writes. Sarah is taking a month-long blogging hiatus while she works on the edit of her urban fantasy novel. When she returns, I’ll link to her delightful post and tell you all about it.  Meanwhile, I’m sure you’ll join me in wishing her all the very best with her edit.

Before heading out to begin my massive catch-up with you all (it will take a while, so put the kettle on or chill the wine, I will be there eventually!), I’ll leave you with news of my most recent adventure.

Hubby, Aspie D and I squeezed in a quick trip to London to see the play American Buffalo with John Goodman, Tom Sturridge and Damian Lewis.

Afterwards, we rushed to the back of the theatre.  Aspie D’s hero is Damian Lewis (he of Band of Brothers, Homeland and more recently, playing that old fox Henry VIII in Wolf Hall).  He looks a bit different for the play, having grown sideburns and a moustache to fit his 70’s-era character.

She was so excited to think she might actually get to meet him, and she did.

Here is the moment when she told him he was her idol and asked,
‘Could I please have a hug?’  Which she never does!
I love the look on his face:

Aspie D can't believe she is face to face with Damian Lewis (c) Sherri Matthews June 2015

Aspie D can’t believe she is face to face with Damian Lewis, her hero.
(c) Sherri Matthews June 2015

And here is ‘The Hug’.

The Hug (c) Sherri Matthews June 2015

The Hug
(c) Sherri Matthews June 2015

A rather pushy woman tried to get in front of me, shoving her way from the back of the small crowd to the front, where we had been one of the first to line up.

“Excuse me,” I said in no uncertain terms.  “But I was here first and I am trying to take a photo of my daughter.”

As you can see, I got the photo. Damian Lewis has a lot to answer for.

What a great guy.

 

 

Posted in Asperger's Syndrome, Blogging, Current Affairs, Guest Blogs | Tagged , , , , , , , , , , | 75 Comments

Happy July 4th: Back To Blogging On Monday

Wishing my dear American family and friends a wonderful July 4th.  I hold dear so many happy family memories of picnics, barbeques, and fireworks, joining in with the celebrations on the Central Coast of California.

Beautiful Morro Bay, California (c) Sherri Matthews

Beautiful Morro Bay, California
(c) Sherri Matthews

I never expected to be away from blogging for so long.  Happy to report that I will resume posting on Monday with updates, news and looking forward to visiting you, dear fellow bloggers.   Thank you so much for keeping the Summerhouse ticking over in the meantime, you guys put a skip to my step and a smile in my heart.

Happy weekend to you all and see you on Monday!

Love Sherri x

Posted in Blogging, Family Traditions, My California | Tagged , , , , , | 32 Comments

Not Goodbye But Au Revoir

Today, I wish the view from the Summerhouse looked like this:

View of Moonstone Beach, Cambria, California, April 2013 (c) Sherri Matthews

Early Sunset View of Moonstone Beach, Cambria, California, April 2013
(c) Sherri Matthews

My plan was to post my ‘Bench At The Beach’ (May’s theme) photo on Friday for Jude’s Bench Series that she runs every month. Too late for the cut-off, I know, but I thought she would like it anyway.  It is certainly a special photo to me.

For almost twenty years, this area of Cambria along the Pacific Coast Highway on the Central Coast of California was a favourite hang-out for me and my children. Even now, if I look closely enough, I can see their playful shadows and hear the distant peels of their laughter carried along by the cool, sea-breeze.

As a child, the sounds of the sea while holding a seashell to my ear fascinated me. Sometimes, I wanted to disappear into that watery world, imagining living out my days on a beautiful island, peaceful and still with only the gentle tide lapping at the white sand shore.

Recently, I read this:  the same letters appear in the words ‘silent’ and ‘listen’.   Not mind-blowing, I know, but it made me stop and think.  It truly is in the silence that we hear so much more, when we pay attention and really listen. Maybe that is why silence is so uncomfortable sometimes, why we look for distractions to drown it out.

I know one thing: enforced silence is not so good.   For me, this means a blogging silence, because I am utterly cheesed off. Yes, dear friends, I admit defeat.  I have run out of patience with trying to make do with my old laptop as it takes forever to load pages,  the monitor freezes, emails are a mess and I can’t use the Reader (so slow).

The view today, therefore, is more like this:

Me - 1990s California Nothing like blowing off some steam (pretending to sing into a microphone, in case you were wondering...) (c) Sherri Matthews

Me – 1990s California
Nothing like blowing off some steam (pretending to sing into a microphone, in case you were wondering…)
(c) Sherri Matthews

I can post here, reply to comments and use the notification button to reply to my earlier comments on your blogs, but even that freezes so it is a frustratingly slow process all round.

Hence, this will be my last blog post for a while which I was really hoping to avoid, but having thought about it over the weekend, I feel this is the best way, although it pains me to say so.  Until my new laptop is repaired/replaced and fully functioning with everything re-booted, it just isn’t practical to struggle on like this.

Thankfully, I can use my Gmail account and Facebook Page via the apps on my Smartphone (and there I was complaining about it not so long ago), so I can keep in touch with some of you there, as well as read blog posts through links shared on Facebook.

But so far as blogging goes, this is it for me until modern technology does what it’s supposed to do and gives me the right tools of my trade.  Without it, I’m like a bear with a sore head. And I’ll miss you all loads. But until then, be good and remember,  the door to the Summerhouse is always open, rain or shine, laptop or not.  And God willin’ and the creek don’t rise, I’ll see you all as soon as possible.  And thanks for listening, I feel a lot better now.

Love Sherri x

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