The perils of internet dating – weekly challenge #3



Without meaning to she’d arranged two dates on the same evening.

“Tim, 29, likes vampire movies and role play.”  LEFT

They were both called James, and this was where the whole confusion had started really.

“Tom, 31, has six dogs, 4 cats and a one-eyed snake.” LEFT

After downloading the app she’d spent hours swiping left or right. Generally, it was much more left than right. There were some strange characters on there.

“Joe, 34, dislikes girls with tattoos, girls with duck faces, high maintenance girls and girls who complain.”   LEFT

So, when she found James she was excited to talk to him.

“Hang on a minute Rubes, which James are you talking about?”

Ruby picked up her phone, she wasn’t sure. Clicking on the app her eyes were drawn to a six-pack. A topless man was staring back at her through the screen. She swiped through the photos, another topless photo, a selfie in the gym, a group photo on holiday; she couldn’t tell which was him. LEFT. Going into her matches she found James,

“James, 30, spend my weekends rock climbing or walking my springer spaniel.”

She smiled, looking through his photos, one of him on a cliff face, one of him on a night out and one of him with his dog. He just looked so nice.

“OK, from now on let’s call him springer spaniel James” Karen said, pulling Ruby from her daze. “Who’s the other one?”

Ruby looked back through her phone to find the other match listed as James.

“James, 29, likes cooking and watching movies snuggling up with a glass of red wine.”

That sounded lovely, a glass of red wine and a cuddle is exactly what she thought she was missing. “Right,” her housemate decided, “he can be Red Wine James.” She leaned back into the sofa, sipping on her own glass of red wine. She loved Ruby like a sister and couldn’t help but laugh when she came to her with these miniature crises.

“OK, so tell me what actually happened?”

Ruby put her drink down. She knew when she started telling stories she started gesticulating madly with her hands and didn’t want to spill the wine.

“Well, it was all very confusing to be honest. I matched with them, like, at the same time and they both started talking to me.”

Whilst Karen listened she explained how she was telling both James’ about her new resolution to run the London Marathon and how she was trying to train for it but so far could only run a few miles and how she regretted saying she’d do it but she had told all her family and friends about it and she couldn’t really back out now.

“So then,” she continued, “randomly James, red wine James, asked me if I’d like to go out for dinner on Saturday night.”  She shook her head and looked up the ceiling, as though asking someone from above to help her. Karen urged her to continue.

“I messaged back saying Yes” she sighed, “then I added, maybe just a drink on Saturday, see how it goes?”

Karen was surprised, Ruby normally jumped in head first and had planned numerous weddings on the taxi rides to her first dates. She was pleased that her friend had managed to restrain herself and told her so.

“Oh but don’t you see,” Ruby cried, “the second bit of the message went to the wrong James.”

Ruby showed Karen the messages on her phone so she could see what had happened.

“So,” Karen said, elongating the word longer than necessary, “Basically Red Wine James asked you out for dinner on Saturday and you asked Springer Spaniel James out for a drink on Saturday.”

“Yes!” Ruby cried, “and that’s how I’ve managed to arrange two dates on the same evening without meaning to!”



Without meaning to she’d arranged 2 dates on the same evening.

Hello bloggers!

This is the 3rd opening line for my 3rd short story!

So far so good. The challenge is going really well, I hope you have been enjoying my writing as much as I have been enjoying writing it!

Thank you for all the love on the previous stories. I have linked the last one here in case anyone wants to have a cheeky read. I’m particularly proud of this one.

via The tale of two sisters – weekly challenge #2


Also, I went to a real live opera last night. Not just a cinema screening, a proper watch it live one! It was amazing.



The tale of two sisters – weekly challenge #2

As the policeman pulled back the sheet she knew immediately that he had come. The sound of his voice had woken her from the darkness.

In contrast, Anna now stared up at the white ceiling. She could hear her lover talking; to another man she didn’t know. His voice was tight and clipped, lots of short sentences. They were talking about a date, a time, a location of an event that she did not know what.

bright-light-fills-the-screen_e1fegjzt__F0001The lights above her were clinical and she had to shut her eyes to stop them from aching. Squeezing them tight shut, the way you do when merely closing your eyelids isn’t enough. But still the light was there blinding her.

She went to move her hand, using it as a shield to protect her eyes from the light. Nothing happened. Growing frantic, she furiously tried to lift her arm. Her brain sending urgent commands to her eyelids, her arms, her hands, asking them to move. But still they ignored her, remaining motionless.

Aware her lover was in the room, she started calling his name. Shouting it, screaming questions about where she was, why she was here and when she could go home. He appeared to ignore her, continuing his conversation with the stranger. Her eyesight rendered useless by the light she focused her other senses. She listened to her lover closely and heard his tone change. The tight, clipped voice was replaced with soothing sounds as she heard him say,

“It’s OK, baby. It will all be over soon.”

She practically felt her heart lurch. He had heard her, knew how scared she was and had come to explain everything. She screamed his name silently. Then she heard the sobbing. The soft, delicate cries of a woman desperately trying to keep the tears at bay.

Simultaneously she was plunged back into the darkness. The light above her had gone off like a light switch. As she tried to focus she realised, not like a switch, just blocked, blocked by somebody.

Judging by the dark silhouette above her it was the woman she had heard crying. As she made out the shape of her hair, styled into big bouncy curls, the diamond earrings and the tears, louder now, she recognised her sister.

Oh shit. Has she found out about us?

All thoughts of her current situation flew from her mind as she saw her. Anna had been having an affair with Mark, her sister’s husband for the last three years. Seeing her, tears streaming down her face she wondered if her sister had found out.

“I just wanted to see her one last time.”

The innocent voice of her sister pulled Anna from her guilt-ridden thoughts.

“That’s normal,” the other man said stiffly, as though it wasn’t normal at all. “We have already performed the post-mortem so Anna’s body can be released back to you tomorrow.”

Anna heard the sound of footsteps coming towards her and the rustling of fabric. The bright light above her dimmed as she was covered by a thick cream sheet.

A post-mortem? Can’t they see I am clearly alive? Yes, I’m just paralysed. How did this happen? How did I get here?

She was lounging on the bed, a glass of red in her hand when she heard the door. Mark was walking out of the bathroom, a towel wrapped around his waist.

“Did you hear that?” he asked, his voice tight.

The sound of keys jangling against the pretty silver bowl they had in the hall way followed heels tapping against the polished floorboards. Anna heard her sister calling, calling for Mark. She laughed whilst she spoke, something about forgetting to take her lunch and guessing that he had done the same.

In the bedroom, Mark had dropped the towel and was pulling his shirt over his still wet body.

“Quick, hide in the bathroom, I’ll distract her.” he whispered, thrusting the half full wine glasses and empty bottle of red at her. Anna hesitated, for months he had been promising that he would tell her sister the truth. He would break up with her and finally he and Anna could be a proper couple. Whilst it wouldn’t have been the way Anna chose it to happen, maybe her sister finding them like this would be what she had been waiting for.

“Move,” he hissed, his blue eyes were hard, their familiar warmth replaced by ice. Her hesitation vanished and she grabbed the wine glasses from him. In her haste, the wine spilled out, leaving a large stain on the cream carpet. He swore at her and hurried out of the room, closing the door of the spare bedroom behind him.The Best Tips For Cleaning Red Wine Stains Huffpost intended for proportions 2000 X 1000

Downstairs, her sister was in the kitchen. Her back was to him as he walked in, her attention focused on finding food in the fridge. He could hear the kettle boiling, the frantic bubbles over flowing from the spout because she had filled it too high. He hated it when she did that.

Anna sat in the spare room wondering how long she was to hide here, she had an important meeting that afternoon and had to get back to the office. The house was big, if they were in the kitchen she could sneak out the front door without being seen. Carefully, she gathered her things and holding her breath gently opened the door. Barefoot she tiptoed towards the stairs. Luckily the house was modern; it would be such a cliché if a dodgy floorboard gave her away.

She heard their voices, he was explaining how the new intern had spilled coffee all over him and his lunch and he couldn’t sit at work with a wet crotch and stained shirt so he just decided to come back for a shower and because he was already here he might as well have lunch here too. He barely stopped for breath, laughing at the incredulity of it all, ha ha ha.

Anna rolled her eyes at the flimsy story but successfully made her way to the hall without being noticed. She was unsure as to how she would get back to work as her car was still at the office but that was something she could figure out later. For now, she had to get out of the house. Mercifully, her sister had not locked the door behind her.

Breathing a heavy sigh of relief Anna let the front door slam behind her.

“Someone’s here,” her sister said, “I heard the front door.” Getting up to look she moved towards the front door. She had long suspected that Mark had been having an affair and wondered if this was the moment she was going to catch him out. Mark called after her, claiming that it was something outside but she ignored him. Opening the front door, on the pavement outside her house, a woman was tapping into her mobile phone.

Anna was searching for the closest taxi company on her phone, somebody who could get her out of here quickly. Finding one she bent down and put on her stiletto sandals, cursing herself for choosing those shoes. She couldn’t really walk in them at the best of times but she had needed to look smart for this meeting, and they were sexier than her usual work ones. Buckling up the last strap she looked up and saw her sister, standing, staring at her.

Her sister’s delicate features were twisted in rage. Confusion, realisation and anger had coursed through her in a matter of seconds. Anna, seeing her running towards her took a step back, one foot on the raised pavement, the other now in the gutter. She felt the force of her sister’s hand as it smacked across her face, her cheek fizzing in pain. As she raised her hand to her stinging face she took another step back, her legs wobbly on their Prada stilts.

Shocked, her sister pulled her hand away quickly. She was surprised at the strength her anger had given her. She watched as Anna desperately tried to balance on her ridiculous shoes whilst her cheek reddened. She almost felt sorry for her. Hearing Mark’s calling behind, irritation surged within her. He was apologising, telling her lies about it being a one-time thing and how it didn’t mean anything. The anger inside her blocked him out, all she could focus on was her sister, and the oncoming car. No hesitation, without thinking, she lunged forward.

I remember what happened now. She pushed me. Into the road, the car was coming. She saw it and she pushed me. I remember the high pitched squeal of the brakes, the smell of burning rubber and the darkness as my head hit the pavement.

The driver got out the car, his face white.

“Sh-she just stepped out,” he stammered, “I had no time to stop.” Mark was beside his wife, holding her hand. He nodded, confirming that the driver was correct in what he saw, Anna had stepped out. He held his wife in his arms, pushing her head against his chest, pretending to soak up her non-existent tears. He would protect her from this, it was the least he could do.

I’m not sure how long I spent lying under that sheet, but when it was finally pulled off the previous white ceiling and bright lights were replaced with something softer. My sister was hovering above me talking to someone, it sounded like she was making arrangements for my funeral. Her voice soft, answering questions politely. I heard a door open and close.

“Hello again,” she said to me, “Dead and you still find new ways to torture me.” Her tone had turned cold and unnatural as she continued. “Mark knows what I did, he is lying for me, on the condition I stay with him. Apparently he loves me and can’t live without me.” She spoke to me like she knew I was listening, bragging about Mark, knew that I was inside my body, trapped inside this place between heaven and hell.

“Typical,” she said offhand, “you’re the dead one, but I’m the one in purgatory.”  



Thank you for reading! 🙂

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Opera anyone?

fatladysings-580x358My first encounter with opera probably occurred when I was so young that I don’t even remember. For years my Dad has blasted this intense and often very loud classical music through every speaker in the house. Or in the car on the way to school. So, up until my late teens when I moved out, I was probably listening to opera every day, that is until I shouted at him to turn it off.

I say ‘listened’ when I probably meant heard. I could hear the music he was playing but I never really listened to it. To me, it felt strange to drink a relaxing cup of tea whilst listening to music that sounded like he was going into battle. (I imagined opera being the lady in the image above.)

Whilst I knew the opera portrayed a story, I never really understood how you were supposed to understand the stories as the singing was in German or Italian. Why would I want to listen to a song for 3 hours that I couldn’t understand and more importantly couldn’t sing-a-long to?

So, last week I decided to take the plunge. The Royal Opera House stream their live shows to cinemas and I accompanied my Dad to the live screening of Verdi’s Macbeth. Having studied Romeo and Juliet and Midsummer night’s dream at school I did not really know the plot of Macbeth, despite the obvious, everyone seems to want to kill each other. Desperately worrying that I would spend three hours bored not knowing what was happening I boned up on the plot so I was feeling confident when I sat down.

Macbeth (Željko Lučić) and Lady Macbeth (Anna Netrebko)

It turns out, by the way, for anybody considering going to see an opera for the first time, that worrying was pointless. The opera is translated into subtitles on the screen and it is incredibly easy to follow!

The opera was conducted by Antonio Pappano and Lady Macbeth was sung by Anna Netrebko, apparently big players in the opera world. In the pre-amble, whilst the actual live spectators were taking the seats, we were given some information about the background of the opera and a look into their rehearsals. It showed how the conductor pushed and pushed his performers, giving you an idea of the stamina that was required for these singers to perform at this level for such a long time.

In this introduction, an ‘expert’ commented that the casting of Netrebko as Lady Macbeth was perfect and from my novice’s eye I could see why. The character of Lady Macbeth is clearly the lead role in the opera and Netrebko dominated every scene she was part of. For me, her death was the one weakness in her performance. After a stunning scene portraying Lady Macbeth losing her grip on reality, desperately washing her hands that will never be clean, her death was her going to bed. A dagger found in her chest later. Did she kill herself? Did somebody kill her? It was never explained.

Anyway, following the story whilst listening allowed me to understand the delicacies of the music that I had never appreciated before. The way the style of the playing and the tempo and pitch etc of the music convey emotion is fascinating.

During the interval Pappano explained the music in the chorus. The score resting on the stand in front of him, (so many notes the paper was more black than white) he played sections of it, showing the audience, which parts made it sound sick, which parts made it sound supernatural. His passion was infectious and I found myself desperate to hear these things for myself.

For a complete opera novice, and with a self confessed love of bad pop music, I was surprised by how much I enjoyed this experience. I have even found myself listening to it whilst having a cup of tea.

Image 1 from:

Image 2 from:

That website will probably give you a more comprehensive review too!

As the policeman pulled back the sheet she knew immediately that…

Hello again!

So, with the first short story under my belt my writing challenge is so far a success!

I have recently been a ‘forever starter, never ender’.  Basically, I can always start stories but never finish them! Having you fellow bloggers holding me accountable has meant that I have managed to break this cycle and actually finish something!

So huge amounts of love and gratitude to all of you out there.

Here is the second opening line, a little obviously dramatic for my taste, but alas I do not get to choose them. Short story to follow next Friday!

🙂 x

P.S Check out my sneaky new About page if you want to learn a bit more about me.

P.P.S. I will also be starting some blog posts with my various goings on. I have really enjoyed starting this blog and find myself doing things and thinking what a fun/interesting post it would make. Watch this space!


Hidden Treasure – weekly challenge #1


His secret hiding place had been discovered. A feeling of dread churned in his belly as he stumbled upon the scene. The treasure chest lay open, crudely revealing its insides. The contents spread about his feet.

Jack, full of panic, managed to pull his gaze away from the mess and look at the face of the offender. He recognised the strong jaw, the pointed cheeks and the lack of warmth in the dark brown eyes. His adversary grinned wide, his milk white teeth gleaming in the midday sun. If he was unsure as to what he had found, the look on Jack’s face confirmed it.

“This is your treasure?” he questioned, his lips savouring the last word, disdain coating each syllable. Jack made no comment save for flinching at the disrespect his precious items had been given. Sensing Jack’s displeasure, the enemy picked up a small piece of rope, an object of his newly acquired loot. He turned it over in his hands, his fingers feeling each section of the fraying braid.

“G-g-give it back,” Jack stammered, anger replacing fear. The enemy ignored him, continuing to play with the rope, its rough surface sounding like sandpaper against the smooth skin of his hands.

“It was a gift… from the King of the Forgotten Forest… it will only work for me.” Jack said, defiant.

The enemy barked a laugh, his face awash with disbelief. He surmised that Jack must have stolen the rope and informed him so. Jack did not care to disagree.

The Forgotten Forest was a dangerous place. It had rumours surrounding it that were so well established they were told to children as bedtime stories, scaring them into sleepless nights. The legends said that people who dared enter the forest never returned, their very essence forgotten as if they had never existed.

It was unsurprising that his adversary thought him a liar. Dark magic was cast over those trees to ensure that families never came looking for their loved ones. Clearly, Jack had survived, the memories of his loved ones were still intact, and above all he’d been given a gift for his efforts.

“What do you mean?” the enemy sneered, “it will only work for you?”

Jack sighed, he had already said too much. He watched the enemy, still holding the rope, fat fists clasped around it. Despite trying to cool the hate coursing through him, there was something in those lecherous hands that made Jack want to continue. To prove that he wasn’t a liar, that he had done something that his foe could only dream of.

“I saved the King from a fire that was in his forest. To thank me he gave me that rope… Spells are cast on it so that it will grow longer or shorter when I say and knot or unknot.”

Incredulous the enemy demanded Jack show him this magic thrusting the rope into the open space between them. Flaunting its magic was a condition that the King had bestowed upon the rope, the spells could not be performed in front of others, to protect the secrecy of the forest. Jack made no move to take the rope and merely shrugged.

Bored of Jack’s lies the enemy threw the rope on the floor.  He picked up another item that had been spilt from the chest, a small gold coin.

“…and this? Did the King of the Forbidden Forest give you this too?” Each word tainted with sarcasm, akin to a stroppy teenager not getting their own way. He flipped the coin with his finger and thumb, its golden shine making the sunlight blink. He went to catch it, and missed, the free coin landed on the ground and rolled towards Jack. The enemy made to snatch it but Jack was too quick. He held the coin creating a fist around it, feeling the comforting indentations of the coin pushing into his palm.

“No,” Jack said, relieved at regaining one of his treasures, “the Goddess of the Ocean gave me it.”

The enemy’s face split into hysterical laughter.

“First the King of the Forbidden Forest and now the Goddess of the Ocean, did you save her from drowning?” he asked, the spite in his voice giving the laughter a menacing sound.

“Obviously not, she’s the Goddess of the Ocean,” Jack replied, his confidence mounting as he rubbed his thumb against the coin. “she can breathe underwater. She gave me it after I found her crown at the bottom of the sea.”

The enemy, annoyed at dropping the coin, sensed the condescension in Jack’s voice. He lunged for Jack’s hand, knocking him off his feet. Letting out a high-pitched yelp as he fell to the floor, Jack released the coin and watched it sail through the air, rattling as it hit the floor.

At the commotion, a woman’s voice could be heard in the distance, as though calling to them. As they lay, they heard the voice get louder, she was approaching them. The enemy scrambled to retrieve the chest, stuffing the rope and the coin back inside. His eyes were frantic as he thrust the chest into Jack’s hands.

The door opened and his mother walked in. She took in the teenage boy and the child sitting on the floor. The child’s fingers clasped around a tin. A tin that had the words “Jack’s Treasure” written on it in a childish print.

The young boy released a sob, a large droplet fell from his pale blue eyes and coursed down his cheek. The frantic fear that was once written on the teenagers face vanished and was replaced with guilt. His dark brown eyes warmed and his hard jaw slackened.

“I was just trying to play with him,” he sulked, “but he lies about everything.”

She held the child’s head against her breast and soothed him. Her eldest son, Billy, had always been boisterous and had preferred to play football with his friends in the street than be alone. But her youngest child was gentle, he had a sensitive manner about him that Billy didn’t understand.

“Let’s see what’s in your treasure chest then Jack,” she cooed, trying to distract him from his tears.

“Oh look,” she said in delight, taking the rope out of the tin. “That nice man at the garden centre gave you this, for helping tidy up after that candle got knocked over.”

“…and this,” she continued, picking up the pound coin, “that lady from the swimming baths gave you this, after you fished her hat out of the pool. I’m surprised you haven’t spent it.”

Billy looked at his little brother, whilst listening to his mother.

“I’m sorry Jack,” he said quietly, “everything you said was true.”



Thanks for reading. This is my first attempt at a short story so constructive criticism is most definitely welcome. Please share your short stories with me too! 🙂


His secret hiding place had been discovered.

Good morning everybody (if it is morning for you!)

So, this is the start of the challenge and the randomly generated world has decided this as being the opening line of my short story.

Please feel free to have a go at writing a short story of your own using it and post in the comments. Would love to hear how other people interpret the words.

Happy writing! 🙂 x




Weekly writing challenge: the rules.

Hello blogging world!


All my life I have dreamed about being a writer. As a child my nose was forever stuck in a book and I marvelled at the intricate stories that writers are able to create in their minds.

However, the tired English GCSE curriculum took me away from the books I loved as a child and forced me to read things I didn’t enjoy. All to get a letter on a piece of paper.


So, I studied Maths at A – Level, and for my degree and went on to get a PhD in something engineering related – I won’t bore you with the details.


Now, at the ripe old age of 27 I am trying to do something I’ve wanted to do in ages; write a novel.

I am accustomed to writing large bodies of text.  A 200 page doctoral thesis teaches you a thing or two about structure and crafting a narrative but it does not treat writing as an art form rather a vessel in which to relay information.


Needing creative writing practice I am setting myself a challenge. I have chosen to air it online in blog form in the desperate attempt that somebody out there in the blogging world will read it, and hopefully join me in some scribblings of their own.


Once a week I shall use a random first line generator in which to start my short story, 1000-2000 words.

I will post the opening line on a Friday, and the accompanying short story the following Thursday. Thus, giving anybody wanting to join me a week to get writing.


To give you an idea of what I mean, possible random first lines could be:


“She’d got him wrong, but that was her loss…”


“The pen hadn’t been worth stealing…”


“Spider threads caught at her face, a sign that nobody had been there yet…”


Thanks for reading!