Charli Mills has suffered at the hands of United Airlines this last week, prompting us to write about a yellow boat (I know, that sounds like me, going off at a tangent) so transport is at the core of this week’s flash fiction challenge. The above pictures, of my Grandfather, shows types of transport from the 1920s. At some point I will tell the story of Percy Francis but for now let’s revert to the Billy Kramer song and the trains and boats and planes.
I suppose anyone who has spent any time flying knows of Charli’s frustrations. The delays, the manic rush for a connection, the staff who appear to be waiting for you to ask your question in a particular way before they will give you the information you require. Some airports have been designed by architectural torturers whose sole aim is to make finding and then getting to your gate as difficult as possible. Dulles airport in Washington is one of the worst.
All that said I have found more frustrations and screaming impotence arising from my use of the railway. And to be fair a lot is down to my incompetence. Catching the wrong train, sleeping through my stop, trying to alight from the wrong carriage at a short platform, leaving heaven knows how much luggage on board, including a forest of umbrellas.
I drive my family mad by my insistence on arriving at the station or airport well in advance of the advertised time for check in. I check and recheck tickets and still do I get things wrong. On my honeymoon I read 14.40 for 4.40 and ended up running across the tarmac to catch the plane (in the days when that was possible). This year returning from Edinburgh I convinced myself the train left at 5.30 and arrived at 4.50 only to find it actually left at 4.30. So I had to pay an extra £150 for new tickets, the train stopped for two hours near Newcastle for a broken train ahead and another 3 near Luton for a suicide. We arrived back in London in the wee hours and queued for a cab for another two hours arriving home at 5 or 6 in the morning. The Textiliste laughed. I took that as yet another sign of her forgiving nature but it could have been the onset of travel dementia.
The one mode of transport I really avoid is the boat. Ferries, cruise ships, anything really. Not because of delays or incompetent and uncivil staff, but because I loathe being on water. I suppose that is why Planes, Trains and Automobiles is one of my favourite films – the bit where the car bursts into flames is priceless.
It is with some reluctance therefore that I turn to this week’s flash. My poor characters must deal with Charli’s yellow boat.
October 8, 2014 prompt: In 99 words (no more, no less) include a yellow boat on a river. Be creative with the phrase. It can be about a yellow boat or it could be the name of a band or brand of toothpaste. It can be included in the setting or be the adventure.
If you have been following Mary and her family you will know they are in Scotland on a much needed break. The link is here, if you need to catch up. Sadly bad news has followed her, but maybe things will look up.
Head above water.
‘It’s lovely, dad.’ Penny ran to the yellow rowing boat. ‘Where are we going?’
Paul looked at his wife, Mary. ‘To say bye to grandpa. His ashes are scattered near here.’ He glanced at Mary. ‘Ok love?’
Mary’s eyes reflected the fathomless blue of the loch. She watched her daughter chat happily to the boatman. Did it matter if she was adopted or flesh and blood like Penny? It was about love, wasn’t it? Unconditional love. That’s what’s makes a parent and her father had given her that.
‘Let’s say goodbye. Properly this time. And then let’s go home.’
Charli also challenged us to create a flash for the Gymnast, her 3 year old great nephew. If you missed that in her blog, here’s my effort:-
The Gymnast saves the day
The Gymnast took three yellow cushions to the pond. Nanners stood alone on the island, her eyes covered by weeds, her glasses floating on the water.
‘You need to trust me Nanners, if I’m going to save you.’
‘What’s your plan my love?’
‘I have the yellow cushions.’
‘But they’ll sink…’
‘It’s alright Nanners. I know what I’m doing. You trust me, don’t you?’
‘Of course my love. What do I do?’
The Gymnast pushed the cushions into the water. He said the magic word as he did. A yellow boat appeared and Nanners stepped forward. She was safe.