Friday, 17 September 2010

A Short Story - Carla!

For those who never mead it to my web site, here is my latest short story...enjoy!


      Copyright: Pauline Barclay

The fragrance of the garden drifted on the breeze, Maud was almost intoxicated with its perfume.
She closed her eyes to help concentrate and identify each blossom and bloom; her nose was an expert on garden bouquets.

She had the ability to sniff the air carefully allowing the fragrance to pass through her senses; her nose to the flower garden was likened to that of a wine connoisseur. Gently, she took another intake of air and twitched her nose. Then slowly, twisting her head from side to side, she quickly and easily identified each unique fragrance. The garden was a paradise of colour and perfume. She had loved her garden for as long as she could remember.

Taking in the vista of the beauty that surrounded her, she knew that her garden looked as good today as it had ever looked. Over the years seeds had been scattered willy nilly with the help of the wind and the birds who frequented her sanctuary. But even with this intervention of nature, Maud still knew exactly which plant grew in her garden and where.

The planning and all the hard work had been done so many years ago now. They had been young and full of energy; they'd had a wonderful zest for life when they had first moved into Carla Cottage. But that was back in 1925, when the twenties were roaring and the Second World War was unthinkable.

Carla Cottage was then, and still is today, the perfect picture postcard image of a country home. Of course in those days, it wasn't romantic; the beams and inglenook fireplaces were part of the way it was. There was electricity, but no plumbing for the water system. The well, which had served as the main supplier of water, was now a major feature on the east side of the garden. It had been the garden that had captured the heart of Reginald and Maud. In those days it was a field, a wilderness in which nature had firmly taken a hold. Reginald had dug and rejuvenated the soil and Maud herself had carefully planted hundreds of flowers and sprinkled thousands of seeds to encourage a wealth of colour and fragrance. It took years to turn their wilderness into a beautiful garden, and eventually it was stocked with every bloom that would grow in their well-loved soil.

The children and even the grandchildren had long since grown up and each one had taken into their adult life the joy of the garden. Maud had patiently taught them how to identify each bloom and how to capture its special fragrance. She could still hear their laughter as they chased each other through the gardens, hiding and seeking with one another. She had invented fun games to help them learn the names and identify each plant. They had been so keen to learn and she had loved every moment of their childhood. The tree house Reginald had built for the grandchildren was still visible to this day. Maud put her hands over her eyes to shield the bright sunlight, now she could see the tree house clearly. It looked as good today as it had when her dear Reginald had build it, almost breaking his legs in the process when he felt out of the tree. She smiled at the memory of the day. Fortunately, her dear husband sustained nothing more than a sprained ankle and a few bruises.

Maud moved her head to one side, as if she still could hear the childlike chatter of her grandchildren as they played in their special tree house. Her own children's tree house had long since fallen apart. But the memory of their childhood days was still with her. She had taught them so much and they had wanted to learn. She had shown them how to carefully cup each bloom in their tiny hands and then very gently inhale its fragrance. Their eyes opened wide and their faces had lit up with joy and delight when they were able to identify many of the garden blooms by the fragrance - a game they had played time and time again. She had made sure there were lots of rewards, they never lost interest – she had loved those years.
Throughout each childhood, thousands of seeds had been sown, hundreds of tiny seedlings had been pricked out and finally a garden full of blooms had been planted. Each child and later grandchild had had their own garden plot to grow what ever they wanted. Nicholas, their son had grown beautiful flowers and Emma had insisted on growing vegetables. The grandchildren had experimented, each year changing their minds, but fortunately their joy of the garden never waned. The plots today were no longer tended by the children, like the seeds on the wind they too had found pastures new. The plots were now full of wild flowers sown by her and the birds.
The garden had suffered for a time when Reginald had passed on. Maud had found that her haven had lost its charm and what had seemed to be welcoming and warm, now held her at a distance, as a stranger might. To walk in their garden alone was never the same without her all-time beloved partner. They had bought Carla Cottage for its garden and they had lived there together for over sixty years. He had brought her there as a young nineteen-year-old bride. They had been lucky; they had found a perfect life together. Her thoughts were broken by the noise of an old Tigermoth plane has it growled above her, she looked up and waved at the goggled pilot. The noise unexpectedly reminded her of how the garden had looked during the war. Apart from a small patch of flowers they had grown vegetables; “You can’t eat flowers, pretty has they are,” Reginald had said every time he had to dig up their much loved flowers to make way for essential food. After the war they had returned their garden back to its former glory as quickly as possible.

Maud bent down and touched the roses near where she was standing. “Yes,” she said aloud to the old English rose; “We were very lucky indeed.”

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