Tag Archives: London Fields

The storm

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It was the thunder we heard first. The morning had been glorious – just perfect for lazing on the grass with iced coffees from the market, perusing the papers and generally just enjoying life and each other. But sure enough, as I looked up behind Grace’s mess of red hair, I could see the clouds rolling in.

They were angry, and switched her mood in an instant.

“What’re you doing?”

I ignored the scorn in her voice and continued to fold away the pages of newsprint that were strewn around us.

“It’s going to rain.”

“So?”

“So we need to go.”

She stood up then and turned away from me to look across the park. Everyone else was on my side with this one – picnics were being packed into hampers, babies bundled back into their prams. There was another crash of thunder and she lifted her face towards the sky as the first drops of water began to fall.

They were slow and heavy. If we didn’t move now, we’d be drenched.

“Come on, Gracie, this is silly.”

“You go.”

Grace had let her bag drop to the floor and was shrugging off her shirt, unselfconscious in the bikini top beneath. I felt the familiar tug of longing as I saw her bare skin, curving in at the waist where it was met by the denim of her shorts.

“What’re you doing?”

“Just go, will you?”

I wanted to force her to look at me, to grab her arm and spin her round. I wanted to kiss her, but instead I ran. As the raindrops increased their urgency I found shelter beneath an oak tree, squeezing in beside a couple leaning on their bicycles and a man who had squatted down to read his book.

The thunder echoed off the tower blocks again as Grace raised her arms, her hair trailing down her back now as water dripped from its ends onto the grass below. There was a flash of lightening then too, and in that moment I had a vision of her going up in smoke before my eyes, her footprints scorched into the earth. Still clutching the papers under one arm I sprinted out into the wet. I had to save her.

But when I got there she was laughing, an expression of pure glee on her face.

“Isn’t it wonderful? It’s our chance to be free, Charlie. To be alive.”

She reached out for the buttons of my shirt, trying to undo them so I could join her even though I think she knew I never would. I wriggled free and she spun away, shouting something that was lost amidst the storm.

The anger of the clouds had infected me now, and I strode alone towards the home we shared. She’d come back when she was done. She always did.

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Thank you to Sara at Mum Turned Mom for inspiring this story with her prompt of ‘Thunder’, and also to Nicola at Nikki Young Writes who inspired me to explore my characters further through her post for last week’s What I’m Writing.

This story captures a moment in my protagonist’s past, seen through the eyes of her ex. I’m not sure they lasted long after this incident – and I’m pretty sure Grace would have seen things very differently.

 

mumturnedmom
Nikki Young Writes

H is for Hackney

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Whenever the sun peeps through the clouds overhead, people begin to spill out onto London Fields: with their bikes, their beer, their barbecues, heading for the lido or taking a moment to sit and rest after a night spent partying.

That was me once: staking out my tiny plot of grass, watching as the park filled with a teeming mass of life. I remember hula hooping in the sunset, leaning back on a lion to catch some rays; picking out a picnic in the Saturday market, laughing off a hangover with whoever happened to be passing by that day.

It’s hard to imagine any spot in Devon getting quite so crowded. When we first moved out of London I found its emptiness so exhilarating, and the thought of my friends jostling for their space in the sunshine made me feel slightly sad.

But there’s no doubting that Hackney is exhilarating too. I love the new world I’ve discovered out of London, but being back there reminds me of a whole other pace of life, one with a richness that it’s hard to capture out in the sticks.

H is for Hackney.

 

Joining in with The Alphabet Photography Project over at PODcast.

London Fields

Before we moved to Devon, I’d been in London for sixteen years. I lived, worked and studied all over the city, but it was when I moved to Hackney that I knew I’d found my London: the place in that sprawling metropolis that felt like home.

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We still have a flat in London Fields – one of my best friends lives there now, but it’s been ages since we’ve made it over to that part of town. So as part of our adventures last weekend we thought we’d go back to our old manor to take a stroll.

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We wandered through the park, down Broadway Market towards the canal. As an area it’s constantly changing – it has been for as long as I’ve known it – but its spirit remains the same. A vibrant mix of people and cultures, quirky shops and friendly bars, street art and ice cream vans and bicycles and community cricket.

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I know there are plenty of people who turn their noses up at its gentrification or self-conscious variety of cool, but there’s something about Hackney that has got under my skin. It was great to be back, to introduce Arthur to the world we were a part of before he came along. It was almost enough to make me want to move back to London. Almost.

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