CHAPTER SIX FICTION FOCUS ON XMAS FLASH FICTION
TWO TINY TALES - 'VIRTUAL CHRISTMAS CARDS' and 'DESK'
Virtual Christmas Card
Post office lady: ‘Six pounds seventy two pence please.’
Alan: ‘Sorry, I only wanted a book of TWELVE SECOND CLASS stamps.’
Post office lady: ‘Yes, six pounds seventy two pence…’
Alan: ‘What! How much are… never mind, just give me one stamp to post this letter.’
Lynne: ‘What do you mean Alan, virtual Christmas Cards?’
Alan: ‘I can design my own card, e-mail it.’
Lynne: ‘But I’ve already bought the cards.’
Alan: ‘Use those for the hand deliveries. We’re not posting at that price.’
Lynne: ‘What about mother?’
Alan: ‘She’s got e-mail.’
Lynne: ‘She only looks at it once a month, she wouldn’t know how to download or whatever it is you do.’
Alan: ‘She’ll manage, it will be in Jay PeG (JPG).’
Lynne: ‘How will you design a card?’
Alan: ‘Use one of my photos, that nice snowy scene I took on the golf course.’
Lynne: ‘The week before they found that body in the copse after the snow melted? That’s not very nice.’
Alan: ‘Your mother won’t know.’
Lynne: ‘They never found who did it, did they?’
Xmas Day at Lynne’s mother’s house
Lynne: ‘Oh, you’ve got a new painting Mother, is it an Impressionist?’
Lynne’s mother: ‘It’s the Christmas card you sent.’
Alan: ‘It can’t be, that wasn’t real.’
Lynne’s mother: ‘Sean next door came round to help me with my e-mails, I didn’t know what all those higgledy piggledy letters and numbers were. He put it on a stick and took it to work; they’ve got an A2 printer. Hey presto, the biggest card I’ve ever had.’
Lynne: ‘Your photograph doesn’t look very good blown up Alan. Oh who’s that near the trees in a red jumper, I thought nobody was out playing that day. No hang on, that’s not a golf club he’s got in his hand, it’s a spade, I don’t think that’s a red jumper it looks like blood!’
There were oohs and ahhs as Liz walked into the office, it was only a few months since she last set foot in the place, but anyone listening to the other girls would have thought they had not seen her for years.
‘Oh, he’s gorgeous, take his hat off so we can see him properly’ said Carol.
‘Can I hold him? Look Lucas, do you like the Christmas decorations?’
‘Must be your family he gets his red hair from… he’s very pale, I thought he would be more sort of coffee coloured.’
‘Well he hasn’t seen any sun yet,’ said Liz defensively ‘besides, Jarrod’s got such a mixed ancestry I expect he had some ginger forebears.’
‘So how’s it been then, does Jarrod change the nappies?’
‘Of course, he’s a fantastic Dad, even gets up to make me a cup of tea in the middle of the night, fetches Lucas from his cot and plants him on my breast so I don’t have to move, then sits and chats so I don’t get bored.’
‘Lucky you, I had to make do with my iphone for company during night feeds.’
‘Are you going to take the whole year then?’
‘I’m not sure, Jarrod’s so besotted he reckons he should take time off work when Lucas is on solids, he hates having to leave him to go to work.’
By this time a few of the fellows considered enough minutes had passed to show they weren’t gaga about babies and wandered over.
‘Pity you’re going to miss the office Christmas party,’ said Dave ‘wonder if it will be as wild as last year?’
‘I don’t remember it being wild’ Liz blushed.
‘You were so drunk you probably don’t remember anything.’
‘You’re a fine one to talk, Dave.’
‘I was quite sedate compared with the boss.’
‘No, he was dead sober,’ said Carol ‘at least he stayed till last to make sure everyone left safely, he was going to call a cab for Liz.’
‘So what else has been happening, did John go to head office?’ Liz tried to steer the conversation away from parties and tried to avert her eyes away from the desk that used to be hers. She hadn’t been so drunk she couldn’t remember. Hopefully Mr. O’Brian would stay in his office. It had been a mistake to come, but all the girls had phoned and e-mailed pleading to see the new baby. Liz couldn’t really recall how it had happened. She was gathering her handbag from her desk and he was leaning over to use her phone to call a cab – he did call a cab afterwards, for both of them, made sure she got home safely before he returned to his wife and their lovely children. She knew they were lovely because he had a photo on his desk, two boys and one girl, all with hair of burnished copper.
TURN TO THE PROLOGUE FOR THE FRONT PAGE XMAS STORY 'I ISABELLA'
ALL THREE SHORT STORY COLLECTIONS END WITH A XMAS STORY
TURN TO CHAPTER ONE TO FIND OUT MORE ABOUT THE BOOKS.
FICTION FOCUS ON FAMILY DRAMA
A man wakes up on a London park bench wearing another man's clothes and
another man's watch. As he finds his bearings he realises the impossible has happened.
This is the preparallequel to 'Brief Encounters of the Third Kind' and second of the trilogy, but is also a stand alone novel.
In the early years of the Twenty First Century a stranger arrives in Ashley. Only he knows the truth about what will happen to beautiful musician Emma Dexter in seven months time, but will he be able to save her and the others caught up in events that defy explanation?
Julie Welsh is a busy mother with plenty of problems and her life is about to get far more complicated when she stops to help a stranger.
The universe is unknowable, what happens in these two novels could happen to any of us!
Do you like a good family saga, do you enjoy fast moving thrillers, do you wonder at the meaning of life and the whole universe? If the answer is yes to any or all of those questions, you will enjoy this novel.
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READ AN EXTRACT
I certainly had not agreed to being kidnapped, if that was what it was and yet they were kind and solicitous, as if it was a great privilege to be chosen. Another memory came back, I stopped and felt in the unfamiliar pockets and pulled out the wallet that had belonged to another man. Inside was an identity card that bore my name, but the person it described was not me. I recalled my initial pleas to them. ‘Surely a scientist is what you need?’ But they had assured me an actor and historian was just what they wanted.
The other piece of plastic I must not lose, but would I remember how to use it? In another section of the wallet were several pieces of paper in blues and browns, the local currency. A coughing fit overtook me as I put it safely away and started walking again. The female doctor had pronounced me one hundred per cent fit for the journey, after a very thorough examination which I did not recall consenting to. I had tried to resist, but she had been kind and reassuring. That was in the blue room, when everything came into focus properly. She had turned away to check the results then turned back and took my hand. Like the others I wasn’t sure if she spoke out loud or tapped into my mind.
You don’t have to go through with this, we cannot guarantee we can bring you back.
READ A REVIEW
ByJoon March 14, 2017
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Having read the Brief Encounters of the Third Kind, I was keen to
continue reading the trilogy. At first, I thought that it might not live up to my expectations, but I was pleasantly surprised. The Three Ages of Man picks up the story, and expands on the plot by
running parallel to the first novel, and beyond.
In keeping with the flow of the first volume, the second book maintains a steady pace, paying attention to detail, and providing great insight into the various characters we encountered previously. It’s not everyone’s cup of tea, and for those that enjoy a fast-paced series, with lots of flashing lights and noisy bells, this series is different.
Perhaps what I most enjoy about this trilogy is the focus on character development. It’s also current, with mention of Social Media, and even technological advancements. While it is science fiction, it is relatively grounded, and believable.
The end was a surprising twist, although Janet Gogerty does provide plenty of hints, and while it was a shock, I encourage you to read the Lives of Anna Alsop. I won’t say any more so not to give away the plot.
Now I want a PF, and an Arc. I would have enjoyed learning more about these ‘Arcs’, and perhaps Janet Gogerty will write more stories to include them, entertaining us with her incredible attention to detail.
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In the nineteen sixties many ‘ten pound pommies’ had never left England before and most expected never to return or see loved ones again. George Palmer saw Australia as a land of opportunities for his four children, his wife longed for warmth and space and their daughter’s ambition was to swim in the sea and own a dog. For migrant children it was a big adventure, for fathers the daunting challenge of finding work and providing for their family, but for the wives the loneliness of settling in a strange place.
Prologue December 1963
As autumn brought dark evenings and the walls of their terraced house closed in, George began visiting Australia House in his lunch hour. The winter of ‘63 had been the last straw. George and Helen wanted to emigrate to Australia. They did not expect to make their fortune, but reasoned they would rather live on a tight budget somewhere warm. During the summer of 1963 they had faltered; to move to the other side of the world and never return seemed unthinkable; but late one December evening, alone in their small dining room, George and Helen whispered and pored over brochures and forms.
‘One thing’s for sure,’ said Helen ‘we’ve grown out of this house.’
Her third pregnancy had been a surprise and the arrival of twins a shock; owning their own house had been a dream come true until then.
‘When they built these little houses in the thirties, people were thrilled to have an inside bathroom’ laughed George.
‘...and a garden’ added Helen.
‘Everyone lives in detached houses in Australia, with a laundry as well. By next Christmas we could be in a new house on a quarter acre block of land. Jennifer could have all those pets she wants and I could have my workshop.’
‘Oh George, I don’t think I could bear it if they turned us down.’
‘They won’t, it’s an enormous country with hardly anybody in it; why else would they be paying our fares? Ten pounds to fly across the world.’
‘Or voyage across the oceans.’
‘Six weeks at sea with our lot, no thanks. Besides, I’ve looked into it; if we opt to fly, we should get our passage much quicker.’ He gathered the attractive brochures into one pile and the forms into another. ‘If we post these off, we’re going to go, no turning back. But we can not tell anyone yet, not your mother, or your sister or Joyce and certainly not the children; it wouldn’t be fair to get their hopes up until we’re absolutely certain.’
She kissed his cheek and handed him the pen.
By Jayne Lucas on 16 March 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book. The characters were three dimension and ‘real’ and I felt part of the family. It kept my interest all the way through and I was disappointed for it to end – will there be a sequel? I found myself wanting to know how the story developed and what happened to the characters. I shall be looking for other books by the same author.
By Mr M G Stratford on 29 November 2013
A fascinating insight into the cultural changes and challenges experienced by a family emigrating from the UK to Australia in the 1960s.
By Jane Deans on 5 December 2012
Quarter Acre Block is the story of an ordinary,
middle class English family of the sixties' experiences as they make the momentous decision to emigrate to Australia to obtain a better standard of living. Told mainly through the eyes of the young
daughter, Jennifer it is both heartwarming and evocative of the era. Anyone old enough to have been subjected to the delights of Spam, The Beatles, Tupperware parties,Sunday church and transistor
radios will appreciate the detail.
As they grapple with the difficulties that face them in their newly adopted country the family encounter many new characters and experiences. Dad, George must find employment, they need somewhere to live and Mum, Helen has to adjust to life as a housewife and mother in an environment that is totally alien.
The story is told in an anecdotal style and charts the family's progress during their first year.
This book is a gentle read, with no major shocks or thrills, but nevertheless enjoyable.
By Rea on 22 July 2016
Quarter Acre Block from Janet Gogerty is a
fascinating peek into a year in the life of a "ten pound pom". Following the decimation of World War II and as an encouragement for immigrants to come and repopulate Australia, many British families
were offered the opportunity to emigrate to Australia, for just ten pounds fare.
Quarter Acre Block follows the first year of the Palmers' new life in Perth, Australia. I found the story very interesting and was able to identify with so many of the issues facing this young family; loneliness, homesickness, finding employment and just making new connections on the other side of the world.
This was a really good story, well written and easy to read. Although it is a novel, there is clearly some autobiographical influence from the author in this story. If you like stories about real people facing real problems, you'll love this book. I can definitely recommend it.
By Jane Krabbeler on July 13, 2016
Format: Kindle Edition|Verified Purchase
Quarter Acre Block
BY: Janet Gogerty
Reviewed By: Long Island Dreams Book Reviews
Star rating: 4 out of 5 stars
George and Helen Palmer are loving and caring parents who desire to give their four children every advantage that life has to offer. When the opportunity arises to emigrate to Australia from their native England, the Palmer family seizes the opportunity.
Quarter Acre Block follows the Palmers as they embark on the journey of a lifetime. You will cry as they say goodbye to all their family and friends and travel around the world to their new home.
The author spins this tale in such a way that you will completely identify with the Palmer family as they begin to adapt to their new environment. You will feel their apprehension through out all their firsts, from taking the bus to the shops, starting a new job and attending a new school.
I have no doubt you will feel their joy as they see the beach for the first time, learn to swim, make new friends, buy a new home and so much more.
You will feel Helen Palmers loneliness as she struggles to adjust to her new life away from her extended family and all that she has known. I have to say Helen Palmer jumped off the page at me. I wanted to wrap her in a warm embrace and reassure her that she George and the children would triumph in their new home.
Quarter Acre Block is a heart warming story of love and perseverance. I found myself laughing, crying and cheering for this family. This is a four star page turning hit, that you definitely won’t want to miss.
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READ EXCERPTS; the story of the Palmers' new life is told from both mother and daughter's point of view.
That evening she was allowed to stay up later, till the twins were safely asleep. The television was switched off and she and Simon were told to sit in the front room to hear important news.
‘Australia,’ exclaimed Simon ‘why didn’t you tell me?’
‘We are telling you now’ grinned his father. ‘We haven’t even told your grandparents yet, no point in getting everyone excited or upset till we know for sure.
‘I’m excited,’ said Jennifer ‘going on an aeroplane to a hot country; I could learn to swim and we could have a dog.’
‘I’m sure you can, when we’re settled’ smiled her mother.
‘Or a horse… like those children on television.’
‘What about my friends?’ complained Simon.
‘They can come on holiday to see you’ said Jennifer.
‘It’s a bit further than the Isle of Wight’ he sneered.
‘You’ll make new friends son’ his father reassured him. ‘Besides, the way things are going, you won’t be the only boy at your school emigrating.’
She and Simon were sworn to secrecy; the twins must not know yet, they were sure to tell. No one must know, just in case; in case of what Jennifer wasn’t sure. Perched on top of the concrete coal bunker, nibbling her Easter egg in the watery spring sunshine, she hugged the secret to her eleven year old self.
A short bus ride took the family to the house that George had grown up in; the road was identical to the one they lived in now, the terraced houses exactly the same layout. Privet hedges and creosoted fences were a feature of nearly every garden in the street; George and Helen stood at his mother’s neatly painted narrow front gate and knew they were making the right decision.
He climbed up into the small loft at his mother’s request; no one had been up there since his father died. Peter and Tony delved into the box he brought down.
‘I should have passed it on to you ages ago, for your boys’ said his mother.
Inside were books and toys he remembered, but had no idea his mother had kept.
‘Sort out which ones were Dennis’ then take the rest, they should go with you, don’t forget the past.’
He opened a book and showed Helen the fly leaf.
To George on your tenth birthday, 1935, with love from Mother and Father.
‘How long ago that was, they were happy days weren’t they Mum?’
‘Yes indeed they were; your father and I were so proud to have our own house and be bringing up two fine sons.’
TURN TO CHAPTER ONE TO READ ABOUT JANET'S OTHER BOOKS
THE WEBSITE OF AUTHOR JANET GOGERTY