THE WEBSITE OF AUTHOR JANET GOGERTY
WHAT’S IN THE OTHER CHAPTERS
SCROLL DOWN FOR NEW FRONT PAGE STORY
CHAPTER ONE: READ ABOUT THE AUTHOR AND LINK IN TO HER BOOKS ON AMAZON KINDLE
BUY THE FIRST BOOK OF THE BRIEF ENCOUNTERS TRILOGY FOR ONLY 99 PENCE. READ NEW FIVE STAR REVIEW.
CHAPTER TWO: COASTAL VIEWS
CHAPTER THREE: TAKE A JOURNEY WITH THE NEW
CHAPTER FOUR: TRAVEL NOTES FROM A SMALL ISLAND
CHAPTER FIVE: NEW BEACHWRITER'S BLOG
MAY IN MARGATE
P REVIOUS BLOGS: BOURNEMOUTH LANDSLIDE
BEACH HUT LIFE
CHAPTER SIX: FICTION FOCUS ON SHORT STORIES
THREE COMPLETE TALES
FRONT PAGE STORY
Andrew picked up the post; three charity letters addressed to The Occupier, two bills and an official looking envelope to Mr. A. T. Heist, 6, Ararat Avenue. It was from the council planning office.
Dear Mr. Heist,
Reference your complaint against Mr. Brian Elton Liever of no. 8 Ararat Avenue. A planning officer visited the aforementioned address and found that the structure is not permanent, so planning permission is not required. Mr. Liever was advised that if the vessel were to be placed upon a trailer on the public road, its length of three hundred cubits would break parking regulations. If said load was to be transported, the width of fifty cubits would classify it as an extra wide load and the department of transport must be notified. The height of thirty cubits is not considered to interfere with the flight path of the nearby airport.
Andrew looked out of the window at his dreary back garden. On the rare occasions the sun had appeared this year it had failed to reach his runner beans, the washing line or their patio.
In the spring they had thought Brian next door was having new decking. They did not know Mr. and Mrs. Liever well, but were on cordial terms. The three sons still lived at home with ever changing jobs and girlfriends, but they did not ride motorbikes or play loud music so life in Ararat Avenue was pleasant. There had been hammering and sawing, but the sound of hard work and the smell of new wood was agreeable.
By May, viewed from the back bedroom windows, it was obvious Brian was constructing a deck, not decking. Soon they didn’t need to look from the upstairs window, they had a good view from the garden.
‘A boat? We’re not even near a river.’
‘Why don’t you just ask him what he’s building?’ said Mrs. Heist.
‘I don’t want to get involved, if we have to take action, it’s best to stay neutral.’
By June all four Liever menfolk were busy full time on the boat and a hot scent reminiscent of road building wafted over the fence. Andrew peered over the fence and saw a drum bubbling steam.
Brian looked up, ‘Just sealing the timber with pitch’ then turned back to the task at hand.
It was a beautiful structure, the sturdy, elegant bow was inches from the Heists’ fence and the stern touched the Lievers’ back fence. Friends and neighbours began popping in to view progress and advise Andrew. The first of many letters and e-mails were sent.
Mrs Liever had not been seen for a while, but one day Mrs. Heist bumped into her at the supermarket; she was breathlessly pushing a heavily laden trolley.
‘I do hope we haven’t been causing you any bother, you know what Brian’s like when he gets his teeth into one of his projects.’
‘No trouble, with all this rain we’ve hardly been out in the garden.’ Mrs Heist felt sorry for the other woman.
Mrs Liever leaned wearily on her trolley. ‘I’m not supposed to tell anyone yet, but it’s going to be an Ark. That’s why we’re stocking up, forty days worth of food; with the eight of us….oh there’s Brian coming with the car.’
‘The woman must be mad’ said Andrew later that evening.
‘Not her, him, apparently he had a psychotic episode a while back.’
‘How do you know?’
‘Clare who works at the doctors told me.’
‘It’s not as if this area is liable to flood and we’re on the highest point.’
After the council letter arrived, Mrs Heist began to worry that it was her husband who was ‘losing it’, he was becoming obsessed.
‘Neither the police nor the council are going to do anything, it didn’t rain on Saint Swithin’s day, so the ark is not going to float away.’
‘That woman down the road says the world is going to end in December so maybe it’s not worth worrying about next door.’
‘I’m going to go and sneak a look after dark.’
‘They keep their side gate locked now.’
‘I’ll squeeze through that gap down the end of the garden, after all their lights have gone off.’
It wasn’t a good night for trespassing, there was a full moon, but the ark looked truly amazing in the moonlight and even bigger when he stood beside it. There was a ramp on the side away from their house and Andrew ventured through a hatch with his torch.
He wondered if he had strayed into an episode of Dr. Who, it was vast inside, a deck below him and one above. There was a delightful smell of fresh hay; around him were stalls and bags of animal food. He peeped up on the next deck, four spacious cabins and a galley.
The next morning he wondered if his ark visit had been a dream.
‘I didn’t hear you go out, I fell asleep reading my book’ said his wife.
Dream or not it had given Andrew an idea. He would call Brian’s bluff.
The city farm and pet shop weren’t interested, but on the internet he found many groups with a cause who would like the publicity, animal rescue charities, green activists, ‘end of the world weirdos’.
One sunny day Brian decided to end the secrecy and stood on the deck. The local press had been summoned.
‘I’m afraid there’s no room for anyone else, but if you have any messages you want passed on to the new order?’
The neighbours jeered with comments such as ‘Where’s the rain...can’t see any animals.’
‘The Lord will provide.’
Andrew had already phoned the signal to his volunteers and the neighbours turned to look out on the avenue where two children carried a rabbit each, followed by a man leading two goats…..the procession stretched down the road as far as anyone could see. As excitement mounted, black clouds rolled overhead and the heavens opened.
EPILOGUE: HOW TO CONTACT THE AUTHOR
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