Salisbury Cathedral And A Holiday For Fred: 99 Word Flash Fiction

This week, comfort and refuge is the theme for Charli’s flash fiction prompt:

‘November 11, 2015 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) write about a place of comfort that is a refuge. Have fun with it, like a pillow fight between best friends at a slumber party or newlyweds in search of the perfect mattress. Or you can go dark and write about unusual comforts, like a bad habit or a padded cell. Play with the idea of comfort and refuge.’

Walking by Salisbury Cathedral a couple of weeks ago one late afternoon, it was good to take some time out of a busy day to stop and rest and snap a few photos ~

20151107_162214

Set in eight acres of lawn, this medieval cathedral dating back to 1220, is one of Britain’s finest examples of English Gothic Architecture, boasting the tallest church spire and largest cloister in all of the UK.

Salisbury Cathedral Edited 4

As well as containg the world’s oldest working clock dating back to AD 1386, it also houses the best surviving of the four original copies of the Magna Carter.  I’ve visited this glorious cathedral many times over the years, most often to walk around its grounds, and I’m always astounded by its beauty.

Salisbury Cathedral Edited 2

Salisbury Cathedral Edited

Thinking of the theme of rest, maybe it’s time to wrap up the adventures of Fred and Ethel.   I think Ethel is ready for a rest after Fred’s antics. She wasn’t able to trap him last time in the cage she built in the garage; he escaped, howling into the night. Not one to give up, however, Ethel has ideas for a little getaway, but something tells me that her idea of a holiday is very different to Fred’s…

Entance to Edinburgh Castle, Scotland (c) Sherri Matthews

Entrance to Edinburgh Castle, Scotland
(c) Sherri Matthews

A Holiday For Fred

Furious, Ethel stormed into the house. She grabbed a beer from the fridge and swigged it down in one.

Hours later, Fred stumbled into the kitchen.

“You git, where the ‘ell ‘ave you been now?” Fumed Ethel, slamming her empty bottle down on the table next to the other three.

“I don’t know luv, honest, I don’t remember…”

“Well sit your arse down,” Ethel glared, “‘cos I’m gonna tell you about a little holiday we’re going on…but first, for gawd’s sake, put some bleedin’ clothes on!”

“Great, can’t wait,” beamed Fred as he bounded up the stairs.

About Sherri Matthews

Sherri has been writing full time since 2011. Currently working on her memoir, 'Stranger in a White Dress', she has been published in a variety of national magazines, websites and three anthologies. Sherri raised her three, now adult children, in California for twenty years and today, lives in England’s West Country with her hubby, Aspie youngest, two cats, a grumpy bunny and a family of Chinese Button Quails. She keeps out of mischief blogging, gardening, walking by the sea and snapping endless photographs. Her garden robin muse vists regularly.
This entry was posted in Flash Fiction and tagged , , , . Bookmark the permalink.

73 Responses to Salisbury Cathedral And A Holiday For Fred: 99 Word Flash Fiction

  1. Go Ethel!! Get him away from home, maybe into a nice comfy padded cell????

    Liked by 1 person

  2. I’m scared of Ethel…I wouldn’t want to go on a holiday with her. 😦
    I love the photographs of the cathedral, Sherri! ❤

    Liked by 3 people

  3. Heyjude says:

    Now Salisbury is one cathedral I have yet to visit – some good misericords (106) in there too! Have you seen them? Looking at that portcullis in your last image I have an awful feeling about where Ethel is planning on taking poor old Fred…and it doesn’t bode well. For him.

    Liked by 2 people

    • Sherri says:

      It must be one of the few you’ve never visited Jude, but you know more than me about it! 🙂 I’ve been inside the cathedral a few times over the years so I’m sure I have seen the misericords, but don’t recall knowing the number, that’s a lot! It is so beautiful inside and out, I hope you will visit it one of these days. And when you do, let me know, we’ll meet for coffee in the Refectory 🙂 I’m not sure I did that well this week with the story…my head is full of revisons of my memoir and it’s a struggle…I think I need to go away with Fred 😦

      Like

      • Heyjude says:

        Although it is lovely to see you again in the blogging world, maybe a longer break is required? And yes, when I get down to Salisbury I will definitely let you know.

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Thanks Jude. Yes, I will be taking breaks here and there, and plan to hit it hard in January, the weather makes for a great excuse to stay home and write. Although, I do so love those clear, frosty winter days…let’s hope we get some this time! And do let me know when you are coming to Salisbury, I shall look forward to it very much 🙂

        Like

  4. Sherri, I have been to Salisbury Cathedral! It was in 1970, but your pictures brought back so many memories. Thank you for the nudges!
    Now for Fred and Ethel. I think a tiny room somewhere inside–with heavy drapes over the window in case he decides to get some fresh air–would be appropriate, WITH clothing. 😉
    Ethel could stay in a different little room, and be allowed only communion wine.
    It’s a win-win for these sweeties!
    You amaze me with your creativity, Sherri!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      That’s amazing Marylin! It’s only one hour away from where we live 🙂 My photos don’t really do it justice, they were taken on my phone in the late afternoon, but it was the first time I’ve seen the cathedral without scaffolding around it (for cleaning and renovation) in years! Haha…that sounds like the perfect holiday for Ethel and Fred, I love it, thanks for the great idea Marylin. I think I’ll leave them there, just like that…time for a rest for us all 🙂

      Like

  5. Hahaha! 😀 Oh my gosh, these two are cracking me up. Every flash. This one is great.

    Oh, that last picture is making me want to traaaavel… I’ve only been there once. Story for another time. 😉

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Glad they make you laugh Sarah, thank you! I feel like this post was a struggle, I’m coming up for air with my memoir revisions…and tired 😦 But you made my day saying you’ve enjoyed the Fred flashes…so to speak lol 😉 And oh my…to think you’ve been to Salisbury Cathedral…only one hour from me…must hear your story one of these days 😉

      Liked by 1 person

      • I meant Edinburgh Castle. And, yes, I will share the story. O_o

        Like

      • Revisions are retched. Have some tea. Breathe… It will all be worth it when you have that book in your hands. ❤

        Like

      • And of course by “retched”, I meant “wretched”. Argh! (Though they might make you want to retch…just saying.)

        Like

      • Sherri says:

        I’m a twit…yes, you said Edinburgh Castle…grrrrr…sorry 😦 But it’s a story I really, really want to hear…although with the o_O I hope it’s not troubling 😮 The day we went it was so foggy, we couldn’t even see the castle from the street, ha! And yes…wretched/retched. I’ll take both…but today I actually had a great morning thanks to being awake since the early hours with a mind full of revisions that had to go down right away and I had four hours of total, absolutely peace and quiet in the house to do it. I still can’t believe it happened…makes up for the previous wretch/retch 😛 Thanks so much Sarah for your, as always, wonderful encouragement ❤

        Like

  6. dgkaye says:

    Photos are gorgeous as always. Ethel is scary, lol 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

  7. prior2001 says:

    Ooooo Fred and Ethel are taking holiday – hmmmmm –

    Like

  8. prior2001 says:

    Also – love the pics – the lighting added interest and cool place to walk! Now really wondering g where they will holiday

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      It was getting dark by 4pm as it does on a grey day at this time of year here…It was fun to snap a few pics on my phone. Not the best, but glad to share them here…and I think that maybe their holiday will turn out to be one with plenty of surprises. So many, I don’t have a clue, ha! Thanks so much Y for reading along… 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • prior2001 says:

        Is it difficult doing this in 99 words – and just wondering – dos she really sat “Arse” or was that u being classy?

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        I love writing flash, and I’ve so enjoyed Fred and Ethel. I will continue it, not sure where or when…but I feel I want to explore other styles of flash with Charli’s prompts for the time being, different emotions cropping up as I edit my memoir. I didn’t post last week’s here, (the prompt was ‘frozen’), ran out of time, but had a thought you might like to read it. A different frame of mind as you can see 😉 And yes, Ethel really does say ‘arse’ from where she’s from…but I like the idea of you thinking I’m being classy, lol!

        Deep Freeze

        As if to the beat of a song she didn’t know, he scraped at the ice clinging to the windshield.

        Slumped in the passenger seat, she watched as with every slice, white frost escaped into the frigid air; fleeing from its icy prison.

        Ha. Prison. I know that.

        She didn’t hear what he said as he turned the key and reversed out of the driveway, but she caught his off-guard momentary glance, no doubt bemused at her smirk.

        I’m going to Capri and I’m not coming back. That’s me. No commercial.

        Divorce papers signed; she floated like scraped frost.

        (c) Sherri Matthews

        Like

  9. I can only imagine what Ethel has up her sleeve for a holiday… watch out Fred! Also, what lovely pictures of Salisbury Cathedral. Your pictures seem to capture the Gothic architecture just perfectly. What a treat to have such beautiful monuments close enough to visit.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      A few surprises…or shocks…no doubt! Thank you so much Heather, I’m glad you enjoyed them. I love Gothic architecture, it has to be my favourite I think. Every time we drive back home from visiting the boys, we know we are only one hour from home when we see the majestic spire of Salisbury Cathedral reaching high into the distant skyline 🙂

      Like

  10. I love the pictures of the cathedral. It’s beautiful and amazing. Fred and Ethel will be missed. Will it be a happy ending or sad?

    Liked by 1 person

  11. Beautiful peaceful photos, Sherri.:) I don’t think that Fred is going to find live very peaceful if Ethel has anything to do with it. 😕

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Ethel has reached the end of her teather I think…but hopefully there will be a happy conclusion… 😉 Thanks so much Sylvia, I’m glad you enjoyed them 🙂 xx

      Like

  12. Hilarious story and I love the old architecture. This new stuff leaves me flat

    Liked by 1 person

  13. Luanne says:

    Sherri, what a beautiful building. I have been there!! I can’t believe I’ve actually been some place you write about! The details and the history are such an antidote. Fred and Ethel are such characters LOL.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Luanne, can you believe we wrote about spires at the same time, and then to find out you’ve been to Salisbury Cathedral? You’re the third of my American friends to tell me that today, I’m amazed! It’s only one hour from where we live! You need to all come back so we can meet up there! I think we’ve been in-spired, LOL 😀 Hopefully so will Ethel, so she knows where to send Fred for his holidays, haha!!!

      Liked by 1 person

      • Luanne says:

        Hahaha, I have lots of hope for Ethel! So close to you!!! And that was so many years ago you probably weren’t even there then! We went in 1999, I think. I’d go back in a heartbeat. We’re thinking of Ireland, though, because hubby heard there are LOTS of celiacs there. We’ll see; I’ve asked Jean Tubridy what she thinks.
        Re the coincidence with the spires: that is not the first time we’ve done that either. Same wavelength, somehow . . .

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Haha…gotta keep that hope alive!! Yes, so close…yet, you’re right, I was living in CA then, but I took the kids to visit the Cathedral once or twice during home visits, so who knows… maybe we were there on the very same day and just didn’t know it! 😉 Oh Ireland, what a wondeful trip that would be. I’m quarter Irish (my paternal grandmother was Irish), but can you believe I’ve never been there? Wanting to put that right for so long…and yes, that wavelength is still buzzing away 🙂 xo

        Like

  14. Charli Mills says:

    What an astounding place to visit, so beautiful that Gothic architecture. Oh, Fred! He best be careful where Ethel is sending him — perhaps the pound! But I’m sure she’s frazzled by his moon-time activities!

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      You would love it Charli, one for the list 🙂 You can imagine what it’s like at Christmas too… Ha! Yes, but I think that things will work out for them both eventually! 😉

      Like

  15. Norah says:

    Thank you for sharing your photos of Salisbury Cathedral and the information about its history. The age of the cathedral just blows me away. There is indigenous art here in Australia that dates back a long time, but no structures the like of those in the UK. My most lasting impressing of my trip to London last year was of stepping into a 3D history book. It is just amazing. To have the best preserved of only four existing copies of the Magna Carta is just awesome.There is so much to learn and appreciate just by being there.
    I’m sorry to hear you are putting Ethel and Fred to rest for a while, but maybe you have all deserved it. Ethel certainly has! I hope she has chosen well.
    Lovely post, Sherri. I thoroughly enjoyed reading it.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed the photos and the post Norah, thank you! I used to love to share such places with my children during our visits ‘back home’; Salisbury Cathedral was always one of them. I love to hear of your appreciation for all the places you enjoyed when you visited London last year (and again, how I wish I could have met you then 😦 ), It’s always wonderful to hear that about one’s own country 🙂 I hope I didn’t disappoint you too much about Ethel and Fred. I am having so much fun with them, but I feel I want to write other flash for now with the idea or revisiting the hapless pair later on. A rest is definitely called for, and I think that Ethel’s choice will work out well. Thank you again so much Norah for your fun and enthusiastic comments throughout their little saga 😀 😉 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Norah says:

        You are welcome, Sherri. And we must go where the prompts take us, mustn’t we? It is just right that Ethel and Fred take a break occasionally. I give Marnie a break occasionally too! I’m sure I’ll enjoy reading whatever you write. And how I wish I knew you when I visited London last year too! 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        That’s so lovely to know Norah…thank you! And yes…but who knows, maybe there will be another time. The possibilities are endless! I hope you’re enjoying a lovely weekend, or should say ‘enjoyed’ thinking of your time now 🙂

        Like

  16. Pingback: Finding Comfort « Carrot Ranch Communications

  17. Another beautiful walk Sherri. Gosh if we ever do get together those cameras are going to be shooting fast and furious. Sad to say goodbye to Fred and Ethel although the lasting vision I will have of Fred is his hairy naked arse and that may be a good place to leave him. I can understand you wanting to leave the confines and try other things. You lasted much longer than me writing a serial flash and I’m in awe. Geoff of course is the master and must have enough now to publish a book of them. How are your revisions going? Lots of love 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      So glad you enjoyed it Irene, always a pleasure to walk with you, any time, night or day 🙂 Ha! Yes, we’ll be zooming all over the place with loads of blog posts to show for it!! LOL! Oh you crack me up Irene… ‘his hairy naked arse’!! I did allude to that a fair bit didn’t I? I hope it doesn’t give you nightmares 😛 I would like to know if he ever found out what Ethel did to ‘that’ white nightie 😉 Yes, I will miss these two, but for now it’s time to move on to other flash pastures…and yes, Geoff is definitely the master. I honestly don’t know how he writes all he writes…I have so much to read of his on the back burner, I can’t keep up! Are your ears burning Geoff? Good…they should be 😀 Thanks for asking, they’re going well at the moment. I struggled over the first few chapters with a lot of rewrites, but I hit it hard yesterday after a couple of weeks of mounting frustration and feel that I’ve made some real progress at long lost. A long way to go…but I’m moving in the right direction! I hope everything is going well with your revisions and you enjoyed a lovely weekend with your sweet little Muffin 🙂 Lots of love right back to you… ❤

      Liked by 1 person

      • I’ll try not to have nightmares over it. I have a vision of it that is not quite nightmare material but now you aren’t publishing his antics goodness knows what he might get up to – that might be a nightmare. Look forward to your new flashes.
        As long as you are moving in the right direction you’ll get there. Hope you had a good weekend and that the coming week is very productive, fun or both. 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Haha…I’ll let the nightmare sit quietly for now 😉 A good weekend thanks Irene, hope for you too and little Muffin is behaving 🙂 I’ll second that… a productive and fun week ahead…love the sound of that! For you too my friend. I’m wrapping with a post tomorrow until next week, got my middle son’s birthday this weekend, the family gathering and too much to do… But I’ll catch up with you before the end of the week…lots of love 🙂 ❤ 🙂

          Like

  18. Oh my, what are Ethel’s plans for Fred? I know others are more optimistic than I but from my life experience I imagine her plans are not good ones for Fred! Though truth be told I am quite fond of Fred and his wiley ways. I shall miss them both. And what wonderful and beautiful photos of Salisbury Cathedral. I keep on learning thanks to you my friend!!! Thank you for another thoroughly enjoyable read! 🙂 ❤ xo

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Well, I can put your mind at rest Diane, Ethel is all bark and not much bite – much like her hapless werewolf husband – so it won’t be as bad as it could be. And like you, I’ve grown rather fond of these two, and won’t forget them. They’ll be back, at some point, I’m sure 🙂 I had a watercolour of Salisbury Cathedral that I hung on the wall of every house I lived in in California. Who knew I would be posting photos of it on a blog one day? Life certainly takes us down some adventurous paths my friend. I love that you enjoyed the pics…and thank you for walking and reading with me as you always do. Much love… 🙂 ❤ xoxo

      Like

  19. Marie Keates says:

    We went to Salisbury in the summer and had a look at Magna Carta and the Barron’s that were still out at the time. It’s a lovely lace for a wander.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Yes, I remember your wonderful post Marie, I never did make it back there in time for the light installation unfortunately. But it is a wonderful place to visit any time of the year isn’t it? Just beautiful…

      Liked by 1 person

  20. I love Salisbury Cathedral. By any chance, did you ever read “The Spire” by William Golding, published in the 1960’s which was based on doing the near-impossible and erect a great spire on a cathedral with unsuitable foundations. The story is loosely based on Salisbury Cathedral. I found it a most fascinating read. The book is still available on Amazon.

    Oh, that Fred. I can think of holiday for him … locked in the Tower of London at the full moon while his dear wife gads about town! I do find these stories of yours entertaining, Sherri. The dialogue is always excellent! xxxx

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      I haven’t read ‘The Spire’, Sarah, but I think I need to get this for hubby for Christmas; he loves to tell me the story of why, if you look closely, it’s slighly off center. The foundations are very shallow aren’t they, since it was built on a boggy meadow so I believe? Thank you so much, I’m really excited as I know he will absolutely love it! Heading to Amazon right after a blogging catch up 🙂 And as for Fred, yes, perhaps the Tower is what Ethel had in mind all along…haha! I’ve had a lot of fun with these two, and wow, thank you so much about the dialogue, that’s made my day 🙂 I’ll revisit these two another time…meanwhile, I hope Fred at least manages to keep his hairy, fang filled head long enough to put things right with his fed up wife 😉 xxxx

      Liked by 1 person

      • Do you think, Sherri, that you need to check with hubby if he has already read it, way back before you knew each other?
        Here’s another novel he might like, although there was a TV serialisation of it (not that I watched it, as I loved the book too much and thought they might spoil it!) http://www.amazon.co.uk/The-Pillars-Earth-Ken-Follett/dp/0330450131.
        Let’s hope he hasn’t read at least one of the two possible novels to do with building cathedrals. Obviously the Ken Follett one is set much further back in history but, nonetheless, it’s most fascinating 🙂 xxxx

        Liked by 1 person

      • Sherri says:

        Hello dearest Sarah…I can’t believe it’s taken me so long to reply to your reply!! Goodness…look how behind I am…again 😦 But…had to let you know that I thought hubby might have read The Spire too, but he hasn’t (I sneakily grilled him…), so it’s ordered on Amazon! And I will check with him about The Pillars Earth too – more sneaky grilling… it sounds familiar… Thanks again Sarah for the links, you’ve been so helpful as always, and now even as far as with my Christmas shopping!! I hope you are having a good Monday and progressing with your book…will keep tabs 🙂 xxxx

        Like

  21. I don’t think anyone is going to argue with Ethel, especially after a few beers, Sherri. I wonder if she’s going to bring him down to the coast, or maybe to cause mayhem in the Ballroom at the top of Blackpool Tower? So many choices and so many different stories to unfold. I’d hate to be him having to buy new clothes all the time.

    Lovely photography of Salisbury Cathedral. Not a place I have ever visited, but it is now on my list. 🙂

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      Haha…she’s even more dangerous after a few beers Hugh 😀 That’s funny…you never who might pop up in Brighton…and as for the Ballroom at the top of Blackpool Tower, well, maybe she and Fred could audition for Strictly? Do you think Craig would give them a ten? Fred would enjoy trying on all the different outfits, although I’m not so sure how well some of them would disguise his hairy nether regions 😛
      A few quick shots of the Cathedral, the lighting was disappearing fast, but it was so nice to see it without any scaffolding, it seems to have been up for years. I hope you do get a visit in one of these days, you would love it there, it is stunning, with so much history. And of course, you can imagine what it’s like at Christmas. Thank you so much Hugh for your lovely and fun comment 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      • Now wouldn’t that be a great story, Sherri? “A Werewolf Does Strictly.” I’m sure it would eat Craig if he failed to give him anything less than a nine. The other thing about appearing on Strictly is that all males on the show seem to be shaved. I guess Fred would have to follow suit? Just imagine a bald and hairless Werewolf. Oh my goodness, I think I’ve just created a brand new monster 😱

        I can only imagine what the Cathedral must look like at Christmas. We were once very lucky to attend Midnight Mass at Westminster Cathedral. We arrived at 10:30pm and were one of the last people let into the place that night. It was an experience I’ll never forget.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Haha…I can’t imagine Fred bald and hairless…yikes…but maybe Craig would prefer him that way and definitely give him a ten then 😀
          What a beautiful memory of Westminster Cathedral. I have one too of going there with my dad not long after my parents split up. It was snowing outside and we slipped in to listen to the choir practising for evening carols. I remember seeing a tear slide down the side of my dad’s face. As with you, I will never forget it.

          Liked by 1 person

  22. Ste J says:

    I love a good bit of architecture, seeing cathedrals is always a reminder to read The Pillars of the Earth which is somewhere on my shelves. I hope the holiday turns into one of those comedy special type stories where they mistakenly pick up the wrong suitcase full of Mafia money and hilarity ensues…but I am sure you will come up with something much better.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Sherri says:

      You and Sarah (above) are on the same wavelength, as she also mentioned the Pillars Earth as well as The Spire, neither of which I’ve read but they sound fascinating. You would love Salisbury Cathedral, it really is magnificent set in its large grounds, surrounded by beautiful, historic homes (including where Ted Heath used to live, Arundells, which I believe is now open to the public). But I fear that Fred won’t be going anywhere as fancy as that…especially after Ethel discovers what (or who?) is in his suitcase…I’m taking a wild guess myself…

      Like

      • Ste J says:

        I love architecture, cathedrals are brilliantly epic when it comes to design, I do want to go but then again I’ll settle for anywhere new because I’m not picky, although may give Syria a miss for a bit. I look forward to Fred and Ethel’s adventures, especially when Ethel uses the word arse, it makes me laugh a little too much.

        Liked by 1 person

        • Sherri says:

          Yes…I think that’s a good idea…leave that for another day, and I will be relieved that you do. Haha…it’s the only word for times such as these, lol 😀

          Like

  23. Sherri those photos are amazing. I think Ethel is taking him on a permanent holiday, Im a bit scared for him as to what she has planned. Have enjoyed this series immensely.

    Like

Lovely to chat...

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

WordPress.com Logo

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

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s