PIRATES, HIDDEN TREASURE AND …

Fourteen-year-old Electra sat perched on the edge of her chair facing the small group that sat cross legged on her bed.

‘It happened a long time ago’, she began, ‘but it seems like yesterday—probably because I’ve told the story so often. The only reason why I tell the story is because it’s why my family is the way it is. You see, we are a family with roots. Oh, you think your families has roots too? Okay, let me explain what REAL ancestry means.’

Electra put the empty popcorn bowl on the floor before continuing.

‘In 1801, my great, great, great, great grandfather, built this house. He had been a pirate ever since he ran away to sea and became a captain’s cabin boy. The ship was called the Black Raven… its captain’s name was..’

‘Electra! Will you please stop telling that tale.’

‘Aw…Dad. Why not? It sure beats the real story.’

‘There’s nothing wrong with our family’s history, or your family home. And, don’t forget the reason why you were named Electra.’

Sandy, one of the girls at the pyjama party, bounced off the bed. ‘Tell us, Mr Chapman. We really want to know about your house and your family.’

The other girls joined in the pleading.

Electra stood and took the freshly made popcorn from her father, pointed the bowl toward her chair where she had just been sitting, and motioned him to take over the narration.

‘Electra was right about the year. That’s when the house was built, but that’s where the truth of her story finishes.’ He waited for Sandy and his daughter to join the other girls on the bed. Electra passed the popcorn round before he continued.

‘Basically, my father wanted to save this house from being bulldozed. The locals wanted it demolished for safety reasons. He pleaded his case and renovated it. It’s been our family home since I was a boy. There are a few rooms that have never been restored but it’s stable.’

Sandy stared at nothing in particular. ‘You mean those rooms could be haunted?’

Electra burst out laughing. ‘You must be kidding.’

‘Please continue’, one of the girls requested, her eyes focusing on Electra’s father and ignoring his daughter’s outburst.

‘No, the house is not haunted—not that I know of. The rooms have just never been needed. There’s no great mystery, only the history gets a bit confusing. A few generations back the family lost most of their fortune and the house was left empty for years.’

Sandy looked puzzled. ‘Is that it? Electra, I think it’s a great story. Tell us Mr Chapman how did Electra get her name.’

‘It’s not all that interesting,’ Electra commented casually, wriggled back against the bed board and stuffed popcorn into her mouth.

Her father paused and took a moment to continue. ‘Electra’s mother was beautiful. She had red hair…’

‘That explains your hair,’ Sandy teased.

Electra pushed Sandy playfully off the bed, causing Sandy to squeal and the others to laugh.

‘She died in child birth’, he continued unperturbed. A hush filled the room before he continued. ‘I didn’t know what I would do or how I would bring up our little girl on my own. I brought her back here to my family home where my parents helped until they passed away. Not only was Electra born with red hair but she looked like she had a shock that caused her hair to frizz. Her grandmother named her. Over time her hair lost its frizz… but the name stuck. Her hair still reminds me of her mother.’

He stood and left the room, closing the door quietly behind him.

The girls remained speechless. Electra climbed off the bed and placed the popcorn on her desk before anyone spoke.

Sandy followed Electra and stood behind her, hesitating before speaking. ‘You’ve never told me the real story. Why wouldn’t anyone like the true story about your family and this house?’

Electra turned; her eyes glistened with tears. ‘I wish I knew my mother but I do know a lot about her. Dad and my grandparents made sure I knew everything about her. Every birthday I tell my pirate story so I don’t get sad. I guess I didn’t realize, until today, just how sad my dad gets.’

The girls gathered around their friend for a group hug. ‘Your family sounds wonderful,’ Sandy exclaimed. ‘Your family home is beautiful. Why don’t we ask your dad to show us around?’

Electra smiled and wiped her eyes. ‘That’s sounds like a great idea. Maybe we’ll find some pirate ghosts or some lost treasure’, she added with a giggle. She took Sandy by the hand and led the girls from her room in search of an adventure.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Younger Teens by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Fields of Laughter

The sun was warm on the sombre faces of ten-year-old twins, Holly and Steve. Their legs swung carelessly over the edge of the old rustic fence. Aunt Mary shuffled past with her black veil held tightly against her chin, barely noticing the children.

Steve’s voice was solemn and quiet. ‘Holly, do you remember last summer when Grandpa fell into the river trying to reel in that big trout?’

Holly laughed unexpectedly. ‘Yes, my sides hurt from laughing while he was explaining to Mother how he got so wet.’

Uncle Peter hurried past with his weeping wife and two protesting young children tagging along behind. He glared at Holly and shook his head in disgust before hurrying up the drive. Steve and Holly tried to stifle their giggles as they watched the small family group approach the house.

Holly laughed again as she remembered. ‘We never did get to eat fish for tea that night.’

‘Hello Holly. Hello Steve.’

The twins smiled and waved back to their cousin Gerald. His father grumbled and prodded Gerald in the direction of the house.

Quite a few relatives lived nearby and sometimes they walked the short distances between the farms and their community church but visits weren’t common. They were all busy with their own lives, their own farms.

Holly frowned. ‘Do you think Grandpa ever found out I was the one who hid his tobacco?’

Steve grinned at his sister. ‘Probably, he always said he had eyes in the back of his head.’ He threw his head back and snorted, almost losing his balance in the process and sending them both into fits of uncontrollable laughter.

Mr Snyder, the owner of the farm that adjoined theirs, drove his rattling pickup truck in the direction of the open gate and stopped almost directly in front of Steve. ‘You children should have more respect for the dead. For pity sake, I can hear you from my front door.’ With that, he accelerated toward the grass area where other vehicles were parked haphazardly under trees.

The twins were silent for a few moments before Steve spoke again. ‘I don’t think Grandpa ever liked Mr Snyder.’

Holly smiled, trying to smother another giggle. ‘Remember when Mr Snyder let our cows out of the back field and Grandpa chased him with his shot gun?’

‘Yes, that was funny, especially since Grandpa had forgotten to buckle his trouser belt before leaving the outhouse.’

The twins were continuing their banter when they noticed their father strolling up from the barn toward them. Work still needed to be done, even if Grandpa’s funeral had been held earlier that morning.

‘Hey you two. What’s the joke?’

‘Holly and I were talking about Grandpa. Sorry Dad.’

‘Dad, why is everyone mad at us?’ Holly asked sadly.

‘Because, my sweet child, no one knew Grandpa like you both did…and like I did, for that matter. Even your mother could tell you a story or two.’ He leaned up against the fence between the twins and nodded in the direction of the house. ‘Not one of these guests will miss Grandpa after today.’

‘They didn’t really know him.’ Steve said this more as a statement than a question.

‘No Son, they didn’t.’

‘That’s sad’, Holly concluded.

Their father looked up and scanned the fields.

The children turned their heads to follow his gaze.

‘I remember when I was about your age,’ he began. ‘Your Grandpa worked the farm completely on his own. One day, Mr Snyder let his cows into our corn field. Your grandfather decided from that day on, he would get revenge. It was never anything serious. They both got over it soon enough. Grandpa’s funny antics were really something to witness.’ He finished with a short, choked laugh and wiped his hand across his eyes.

Holly and Steve jumped down from the fence and walked hand-in-hand with their father back through the gate. The trio didn’t enter the house full of mourners. Instead, they headed for the corn field which was now ready for harvest, and then on to the fields beyond. Their laughter echoed across the farm.

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Hope in the City

DELIVERED  – A Peculiar People Collaboration

Amongst the group of writers I can claim to have written just one chapter but yes, I wrote Chapter four.

320_4654160An immigrant and her young daughter, struggling to reach their dream…a special needs child, searching for hope…a newly released ex-con, seeking forgiveness. They have one thing in common—they’re about to be touched by God in a way they never imagined. All through a simple postcard. Brought up in a strict Muslim home in London, Sulafa has recently experienced the transforming power of Jesus Christ. Now, despite fear of discovery and its consequences, she knows she has to spread the good news. In an act of bravery, she sends out postcards with a single message: Let me pray for you. Her simple request impacts lives and brings hope in the midst of hopelessness.

The second of many anticipated books from Peculiar People, Delivered is a collection of short stories that intertwine to deliver a single message. It is the work of twenty-five authors with one united voice, proclaiming the power of God to transform lives and His ability to do the miraculous in the most ordinary of circumstances.

Amongst the group of writers I can claim to have written just one chapter but yes, I wrote Chapter four.

Chapter Four

Hope in the City – by Chrissy Siggee

Seventeen year old Sarah stepped down from the train and looked around. Haunted eyes stared out from a gaunt face. She looked around to gather her bearings. Commuters pushed and shoved their way past, almost causing her to stumble under the heaviness of her backpack. The warped wheels of her worn suitcase flip flopped behind her as she followed the crowd. She’d come to Sydney for a new life. No one here knew of her former years, which she wanted to forget…

from the book:  DELIVERED  – A Peculiar People Collaboration

 Available now from Amazon

Three days in Coffs Harbour

We took a few days away to visit some of our favourite places and new places too. One of our favourites is the Butterfly House.

We have never seen so many chrysalises at one time.
These are just some of the butterflies we encountered.
Another favourite is The Clog Barn and the miniature Dutch village.
Clogs are made and sold on the premises. I couldn’t resist the photo with the eastern water dragon that likes to sunbathe or take a shot cuts over the houses.
Day 2 we drove up to the sky pier that gives a panoramic view of Coffs Harbour.
As you can see, Norm had charge of the camera. We were the only ones on the sky pier. We then headed for the break water.
At the end of the breakwater we decided to continue the 2 kilometer/ approximately 1 1/4 miles UP 40 metres/ approx 130 feet above sea level to the to of Muttonbird Island.
Views from half way point. Zoomed in of course.
Taken at the top. I made it. 3 years ago I would not have thought I could walk that far.
Yes, way up there is where we went.
While walking the break wall we booked a table for lunch. I had a fresh tuna steak with an amazing salad and Norm had roast duck. We both decided on this Mango cheese cake for dessert. It’s so good for a gluten free dessert.
Day 3 we visited the botanical gardens.
We walked several paths and board walks during the hour we were there.

My apologies if the photos are out of a alignment. I haven’t got these new WordPress changes worked out yet.

Archived in: Retirement

Old Timbertown

A day’s outing took us to Old Timbertown in Wauchope. With the school holidays over it was a quieter day with very few visitors. Just the way we prefer it. It was nice to wander around with no itinerary.

The old water wheel in working order.
This is Honey, a young Llama with plenty of freedom to roam the town.
A draft horse being hitched on to a wagon. We didn’t hear the name .
The steam engine is powered by timber from the saw mill.
We couldn’t resist a ride.
Magic, another draft horse.
mmm…. it was tempting to leave him there. 🙂
An old steam tractor looking sad.
The old but still operational saw mill.
Old Fire Station.
Saddlery, Cobbler and General Store along the main road.
Original milk urns, carts and stuff.

We bought a few bottles of Timbertown’s red wine and a carved fruit bowl from one of the merchants. The blacksmith was just tinkering but was fascinating just the same. Stepping back in time for a day into the late eighteen hundreds and it’s slow life style made for an interesting day.

Archived in: Retirement

It’s that time of year again!

I’ve never had so much space to work on my favourite craft and not have to pack up so we have room to eat. I can leave it out ready for the next time I have a spare hour or two.

oops. A little blurred but you can see that I’m making Christmas cards. I’m also making January Birthday cards.

Some finished. Others I need more craft material. Our local craft store has closed temporary because their stock is sitting on the wharf in Sydney where the dock workers are having a strike. Ebay may be my only hope to finish them in time for Christmas mail out.

Archived in: Retirement

Tommy’s Lesson

Tommy entered the kitchen; his head bent forward to watch his feet as he walked. His hair skimmed the underside of the kitchen counter as he cut the corner.

‘Grandpa, can you help me tie my shoelaces please?’

‘Sure. Up we go.’ He lifted his grandson onto a high kitchen chair.

‘Grandpa, why is it so hard to learn how to tie shoelaces?’

‘That’s a good question. Everything we learn in life can be hard.’

‘Why?’

‘Because it’s part of learning.’

‘Why?’

‘Well, if everything was easy to learn in life there wouldn’t be any strength to our character.’

‘Huh!’

Grandpa slowly looped a shoelace as Tommy watched. ‘Let me put it this way,’ Grandpa continued as he twisted one end of the lace around the loop. ‘Do you remember when your daddy and I took you fishing last summer?’

‘Yes.’ Tommy’s face screwed up. ‘It was so hard to get the worms to stay on the hook and get the fish to bite them.’

‘That’s right. Do you remember how many times you had to practise to get it right?’

‘Lots.’ The little boy nodded once and continued to study his grandfather’s hands.

‘By the end of the weekend you had it just right and you caught the biggest fish for supper.’

Tommy’s face beamed and revealed a toothy grin. He let his foot drop and held up the other one.

‘Your turn,’ Grandpa encouraged.

Tommy wriggled his foot onto his other leg and concentrated on the shoelace. It took a few minutes but eventually he made the final turn and pulled the loop through.

‘There will be other things in life you will need to learn and they won’t be easy either.’

Tommy sat looking at his shoes while he listened. ‘Like what?’

‘Oh, all sorts of things, like how to know the difference between right and wrong, when to make an important decision and how to choose which decision to make.’

‘Why?’

‘Because that’s life and we need to learn lots of things like tying shoelaces and how to fish. Making a decision when choosing what kind of friends we should have can be a tough one.’

‘That sounds really hard. Will I have to learn how to talk to grandsons too?’

The old man laughed. ‘Yes, but not for a while yet; that’s a grown-up’s lesson. You can wait for that.’

‘Look, Grandpa. We tie shoelaces the same. Maybe you practised lots too.’

‘Yep, I practised lots too but some life lessons took longer to learn than others.’

‘Grandpa, can you teach me how to learn other life lessons?’

‘I certainly can but right now… why don’t we have some ice-cream?’

Tommy giggled and his eyes brightened. ‘I guess we don’t have to learn how to eat ice-cream.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.

Archived in
Children’s Corner at Riverside Peace

Faith’s Adventures

From the Archives:  Faith’s Adventure – All 8 Stories

Faith to the Rescue
Faith Loses a Friend
Faith Goes on a Holiday
Faith’s Christmas Surprise
Faith’s Close Encounter
Faith’s Discovery
Faith Becomes a Mother
Faith – That’s my Blue Eye
1924250_36118412313_7426_n-imp

Partly true, partly fictional. 8 very short stories about Ken and his dog faith. Suitable for all ages. Please note: story “Faith Loses a Friend” may need parental guidance for younger children.

Archived in
Short Fiction by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

Roof Top Dancing

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

There is someone on my roof…
It sounds like they are dancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

I wonder if this roof is dance-proof…
It wouldn’t be for elephants prancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

Who is dancing on my roof?
Toward the eaves they’re now advancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

I sneaked a peek to find the proof…
To do this, it took some chancing.

tap, tap, tap…
thud, thud,
bump bump.

repeat

There is someone dancing on my roof!
— It’s three galahs belly-dancing.

https://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Galah

© Chrissy Siggee

Archived in
Poetry Mix and Children’s Corner by Chrissy at Riverside Peace

The Dragon and the Princess

Everyone except Thomas Creighton-Smiths’ granddaughter, Ada, knew Rosie was more than just a pig. Ada’s ideal retirement for Rosie was to explore the ancient land of dragons by day and visit the kitchen for under-the-table dinner scraps in the evenings before dreaming by the fireplace.

At breakfast one dank April Friday, Grandma had suggested they have roast pig for Sunday lunch complete with the traditional three vegetables and brown gravy made from the juices of the roasting meat. It was while Grandma chatted on about where she would insert the large rotisserie rod that Ada ran from the kitchen with Rosie close at her heels. ‘It will help tenderise the old sow’, Grandma was saying without acknowledging she had heard the back-door slam.

Thomas put down his morning paper. ‘I just wanted to take the pig to the abattoir to recoup some of our losses. After all, this is a working farm’. He muttered as he left the house in search of Ada.

His eyes scanned the landscape for a sign of the two gallant explorers. In spite of himself, old Thomas didn’t envy the little girl. He had grown up in Beatrix Potter country and the fantasies she created. The stunning Lake District would have been more practical for Ada’s school holiday imagination. He shook his head. Maybe we should have stayed in Ambleside and taken up trout farming.

It was two days before St George’s national holiday and Thomas needed to take that fat old pig for a road trip but Grandma was fixed on having tough pork and bacon. He stood at the garden gate and looked around. Where are they? He squinted into the fog that settled over the bogs as he recalled his mother’s favourite story that dated back to the 6th century. What was it again? Oh yes. St George rescued a young maiden by slaying a terrifying fire-breathing dragon. He slipped his hands into his warm pockets and headed for the main road.

So she wouldn’t fall over, Ada held up her long flowing medieval princess costume as she marched down Old Kent Road. Rosie trudged slightly behind with cardboard toilet cylinders on her pointy ears and three black ribbons tied onto her limp tail.

They stopped near a red telephone box just beyond the intersection where the road-signs crisscrossed on a wooden post. ‘Oh Rosie, how could Grandma say such horrid things? I won’t let them eat you.’ Ada stomped her foot splashing slops of mud over both of them.

She lifted the old play dress above her waist to search the pockets of her faded jeans beneath. With a silver coin in her hand she stepped into the telephone box. Finding the correct number from the list beside the chunky black phone, Ada dialled and waited. Rosie grunted, shuffled and squeezed in until she jammed herself tight between Ada’s knees.

‘Hello!’ Ada shouted into the mouthpiece. ‘Please help me. They’re going to kill Rosie!’

 

Approaching the end of the lane where it met the road, Grandpa looked left then right. Their farm was located two miles due east of the abattoir between Dover and Holyhead. He sniffed the thick foul air. This neighbourhood is likened to the lowest-priced property on the English Monopoly board. A few moments later he decided Ada would have headed away from town so off he trudged.

Minutes later he heard an ear-piercing squeal followed by a shout from young Ada. He quickened his stride. The telephone box, a little way past the next farm on the opposite side of the road, seemed to be alive as it shook and groaned. Grandpa stopped in mid-step; his neck craned forward. There was someone, or something, in the telephone box. There were too many legs to count. He saw what looked like horns and a tail with blades. There was a lot of banging and bumping going on behind the grime and moss streaked glass.

‘Oh my, it looks like a dragon!’

Ada screamed again jolting Grandpa from his trance. Manoeuvring the door open to avoid swishing his granddaughter, he grabbed Rosie by the tail and dragged her squealing from the booth.

Later, after the local Bobbies had their explanation and had a good laugh, Grandpa and Ada sat down to rest at the nearby bus-stop.

‘Did you know Ada, only forty-five to fifty percent of animals at the abattoir can be turned into edible meat products, fifteen percent is waste, and the remaining forty to forty five percent is turned into by-products like bath soap, candles and glue?’ He paused. ‘You know, glue suits her.’

‘But Grandpa…’

‘It’s OK. I’d rather like rescuing my little princess from dragons. Come on, let’s go home and break the news to Grandma.’ He winked at his granddaughter. ‘There will be no more talk of bacon and roast pork.’

© Chrissy Siggee

This is a work of fiction. Names, characters, businesses, places, events, locales, and incidents are either the products of the author’s imagination or used in a fictitious manner. Any resemblance to actual persons, living or dead, or actual events is purely coincidental.