Settling herself in her big cosy armchair legs tucked underneath her, note pad and pen poised on her lap, Clare waited. She stared out of the window at the ivy leaves silhouetted, dancing against the glass in the breeze and obscuring her view of the distant horizon. Silence filled the musty room, as air loaded with incense wafted under her nose and took her mind to far off places she could only dream of visiting. Today was the day, she felt certain of it, the day inspiration would strike and she was perfectly prepared for it.

Behind the heavy wooden door, she knew her normal life would be revolving unattended, the dust would be settling on the book shelves, certain to drive David crazy if he were to return that night. The clothes would be exchanging unpleasant odours as they squished together in the wash basket ready for the attention of the washing machine. Their cats would be looking after themselves, out hunting or sleeping in a patch of sunlight in the expansive garden where weeds were no doubt making the most of a rare opportunity to sprout forth and multiply.

Wrapped up warm in her thick woollen jumper, long skirt and knee high cotton socks, Clare sniffed and glanced round the library, the perfect setting for her to launch into her literary career. She was comfortable, surrounded by a silent room filled with classic tombs of writing all waiting eagerly to pass their erudite contents onto another avid reader. So why wasn’t she writing?

Shifting in her seat, Clare swallowed and instantly realised what the problem was. She slipped her feet into her fluffy slippers and padded across the timber floor and along the carpeted corridor to the cold stone tiles of the kitchen. Certain there was sufficient water in the kettle, she flicked the switch and set about making herself a cup of tea. She couldn’t concentrate if she was thirsty. Moments later, she padded back to the library with her steaming mug, carefully shutting the solid door behind her and once more taking up her position on the arm chair. With the warm mug in her hand, she placed the paper and pen on the table alongside her, poised for the moment of inspiration that was bound to strike.

Her eyes shifted round the room as she carefully sipped the steaming sustenance, skimming the leather and paper bound hardbacks that filled the solid oak shelves lining the room from floor to ceiling. She always revelled in the rich scents, the smooth textures and vibrant colours that pervaded the room, and she was ignoring her near constant temptation to stand and stroke them at close quarters. It was her favourite room to clean for that very reason, but today she had to concentrate, today was the day to sit and create. Continuing their assessment of the room she knew intimately, her eyes paused on the golden clock resting on the solid slate fireplace, and stared horrified at the hands. She couldn’t possibly have been here an hour!

Taking a deep breath she sat up and carefully placed the mug on the table and reached for the pen and paper. She had to start writing, or she wouldn’t get anywhere! The morning had already been wasted getting Timmy ready for school, feeding the cats and the other tedious chores she hated to do. Both Timmy and David were away for the night so she was allowing herself a single afternoon off to get things started, before Julia and Lynda turned up for the weekly scrabble competition. She was so good with words for that, she should have no trouble getting them on paper. Facing the blank paper once more, her eyes wandered again lifting up the line of shelves to the deep oak beams that stretched supportively across the room, carrying the timber floor joists with ease. There was something comforting about the timber embracing the room, providing warmth that Clare found no-where else in the stone house.

A sudden movement outside the window caught her attention, and she exchanged her paper for the warm mug, before making her way to stand by the timber framed window to stare out across the rolling landscape. Searching for the movement, she soon spotted a sparrow hawk pulling itself into the sky, a bundle of feathers clasped tightly in its talons and she shuddered as she realised she had witnessed its murderous dive. It was the one thing she didn’t like about living in the countryside, seeing the death that surrounded her, even as she loved seeing the encompassing life. David didn’t understand her vegetarianism, but had accepted it as long as she still cooked him a nice bit of meat with his meals. She had never quite got round to telling him that she couldn’t do it. Timmy was a darling, and in the three years of their marriage, David’s son had micro-waved their meat in the utility room so she didn’t have to deal with the smell in the kitchen as she worked on the rest of dinner.

Tearing her gaze from the bird as it glided over to the wood in the nearby valley, she followed the graceful curves and contours of the hills surrounding her home, tracing the lines of the dry stone walls and hedges that divided the multicoloured fields. No matter how much she stared across the scene it always filled her with a fantastic tranquillity. Watching the cattle or sheep grazing on the green meadows, seeing the golden barley dance and ripple in the breezes, noting the passing of seasons with the dropping of leaves from the lone trees as they progressed from stalwart skeletal guardians of the winter to the essence of summer bursting with life and colour, always brought a smile to her lips.

With a sigh, she turned and returned to the chair, wriggling deep into its embrace until she was comfortable. She glanced involuntarily at the clock and squeaked as she realised another hour had flown by. How was that possible?! Determined, she took up the pen and pressed it against the paper, willing the words to flow. Nothing happened.

Muffled ringing pierced the silence as the phone in the hall cried for attention. With a curse, Clare angrily threw the paper onto the table, shoved the feet into the waiting slippers and strode from the room.
“Yes?” She growled into the receiver.
“Erm, Clare?” Julie queried, startled by Clare’s ferocity. “I just wanted to check that tonight was still on and if you wanted me to do anything, or bring anything with me.”
“Sorry. Julie, you took me by surprise! Yes, we are still on as usual. If you fancy anything special to drink or nibble, bring it along otherwise just your fine self will do nicely!”
“That’s great.” Julie chuckled. “And, have you heard about Noreen?”

An hour later, Clare returned to the library arm chair, her mind bubbling with the good news about an old friend’s future baby, to find it filled with a purring ball of fur. The evening sun was slanting low through the large window, bathing the chair in golden warmth that had attracted the sundial tom cat, and Clare stared down at him bemused. So much for her quiet afternoon.

Sighing, she reached round him, and ignoring his hiss of protest, tucked him in her arms and settled herself down in his spot. Once she was comfortable, she lowered him back onto her knees and reached for the pen and paper once more. Bruce growled a little in displeasure at the enforced change of position, circled her knee, padding and testing each spot until he was certain it was kneaded to a comfortable tenderness before sitting down, his back resting against her stomach. His warmth seeped up Clare’s body and she smiled as his tranquil purrs vibrated through her. Maybe his company would be a much needed trigger. Bruce’s purrs rolled through the silent room, relaxing muscles Clare hadn’t realised were tense, and soon she felt her eyes flicker and close, suddenly heavy and she sank into the welcoming warm darkness of sleep.

She woke to the thudding of fist on timber door and she jolted awake. Bruce had gone and a chill had filled the air as grey evening light coated the surfaces with shadows.
“Clare?” A muted voice rang through the house and glancing at the clock Clare cursed. She had been asleep for two hours.”Are you there? Is everything alright?”
Rushing, Clare shoved her feet into the slippers and scuttled through the corridor to the front door. Slipping on the slate entrance tiles, she turned the key and opened the door with a sheepish grin.
“Sorry Julie. I…um…”
“You’ve been sleeping, haven’t you?”
“Um…yeah.” Clare blushed, stepping aside to let her chuckling friend in. “I was supposed to be coming up with a story, but…oh wait!”Clare’s mouth dropped as an idea popped into her mind. “I’ve just got to write this down!”
Julie watched bemused as Clare dashed back down the corridor to the library. Shaking her head at her friend’s sudden turn, she closed the door and started to set up preparations for the evening’s entertainment.



Beccles, United Kingdom

  • Artist
  • Artwork Comments 2

Artist's Description

This is another piece written for a competition…I’m sure there will be folks out there who recognise elements of this! I know I do!

Artwork Comments

  • Alenka Co
  • KMorral
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait
desktop tablet-landscape content-width tablet-portrait workstream-4-across phone-landscape phone-portrait

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