“To be at liberty and out in the London streets was like being out of prison.” – Mrs Budley Falls From Grace – MC Beaton
He couldn’t help thinking that to be at liberty and out in the London streets was like being out of prison. Some people needed to be in nature and have trees around them, but he enjoyed the buzz of the busy streets. Nature was insipid, it lacked substance, the air in the park, skimpy and plain. This air, in the city, had character, something you could sink your teeth into.
In an offhand and blithe manner, he stepped off the curb failing to see the advanceof a London Cab coming towards him.
Now he truly was free from prison.
This story was written for the 50 word Thursday challenge, this week hosted by Deb Whittam, click on the link below to read her post and take part in the challenge:
I wrote this story last year, but it fits today’s Word of the Day prompt so I thought I would share it again with you.
Down at the bottom of the garden, where the Ivy and brambles are all overgrown and the little patch of nettles is getting a bit out of hand, there lived a fairy called Aera. A pretty little thing she was, no bigger than a monarch butterfly, with tiny hands and delicate feet, encased in little boots made from bluebell flowers. Her dress is made from two daffodil flowers sewn together with thread. She has transparent wings that glimmer with a silvery blue gleam when the sun shines on them just so.
She was friends with most things in the garden. She would fly with the bees and have a little chat to them. They didn’t stop for long though. Bees are very hard-working and don’t stop work for idle chatter, at least not for long. They did stop to give Aera the time of day because she was so lovely and often told them where the best flowers were. They, in turn, would give her a cup of their honey to say thank you. Aera also flitted with the butterflies. She’d known them since they were little caterpillars and she loved to see them grow into beautiful butterflies.
Aera chatted to the small birds, the Robin and the Wren. Mrs Wren was a particularly close friend. Mrs Wren has so many little babies to feed that sometimes Aera would help her find little seeds and worms.
There was a Magpie that came into the garden and Aera was not so fond of him. He was noisy and mischievous and often played too rough.
“Come out to play Aera. Let’s play who can shout the loudest? I bet I Can? CAW CAW CAW.” The Magpie would say.
“No thank you, Mr Magpie, I would rather just listen to the wind in the trees rather than your noise. Please go away.” Aera was always as polite as she could be but Mr Magpie made her cross.
If he wouldn’t go away, Aera would use some of her Magic and then the Magpie would fly far away and leave her alone.
The people who owned the house didn’t go into their garden very much and so she knew she could fly around and not be seen.
One day the family moved out and sold the house to a young couple. Aera heard them talking.
“Oh Darling, look at that mess the garden is in, all the weeds and the overgrown Ivy and nettles. You must do something about it.”
“OK Love. I will chop down the shrubs, pull up the weeds and concrete over the lawn. We can have a barbecue and invite our friends around.”
Aera was very upset. If they chopped down the shrubs and pulled up the weeds it would destroy her house. She wouldn’t be able to fly around, they would see her.
“Aera, what are we going to do?” Said Mrs Wren. “I have my nest in the shrub they are going to chop down, and I am just about to raise another family too.”
“Aera, if they pull up all the flowers, we won’t be able to make our honey.” Said the bees. “What are we going to do?”
Aera decided that she was going to see the great Owl who lived in the Oak tree in the park.
He was so wise, he will know what to do.
“Mr Owl, Mr Owl, can I speak with you?”
It was still daylight and Owls sleep during the day and catch their food at night.
“Yes, Yes, Who is it? I’m awake now. I hope it’s important, I need my beauty sleep don’t you know?” Said the Wise Owl, rather grumpily.
“Oh it’s you Aera; I haven’t seen you in the longest time. How are you, my dear?”
“Oh Mr Owl, I need your help. New owners have bought the house and are going to chop down the shrubs and pull up the weeds and concrete over the lawn. The bees will not have enough flowers to make their honey and Mrs Wren and I with both lose our homes. What can we do?”
“I hear this sort of thing is happening more and more. Don’t they know the damage they are doing to nature? Hmmm, let me think.”
After a short time, Mr Owl spoke again.
“I think you should find out more about the new people who have moved in. They might not know much about nature and how important a garden is for the wildlife. Find out if they are the type of people who recycle their rubbish. If they are then they might change their minds if you can convince them how important it is to have a garden, for the bees and birds and the environment.”
Aera flew back to her garden and decided to listen at the window of the house. Normally it wasn’t polite to listen at doors and windows, Aera’s Mother had taught her very good manners. This time though, there was too much at stake. Aera heard the lady speaking to the man.
“Have you finished with the newspaper; I want to stick it in the recycling. We’ve got to do our bit for the environment”
“OK Dear. I was thinking, I read the other day that people use too much water, watering their gardens in the hot weather. Maybe we should get a water-butt. That way we can store the rainwater and that would be better for the environment too.”
“Oh, I wouldn’t bother with that dear. When you concrete it over, we won’t need to water it anymore.”
Aera had heard enough. They obviously cared a bit about the environment because they were recycling their newspaper but they still didn’t have a clue about how important gardens were for wildlife.
Then she had a good idea. She had a little magic she’d stored away for a rainy day. She decided she would use her magic to help everyone.
When she got back to her little home, hidden away amongst the Ivy and the brambles, behind the nettle patch, she took out her magic pouch.
It was full of magic fairy dust that she had been saving for something special. That night, when most people were asleep in their warm beds, Aera flew out of her house and started sprinkling her magic dust over the garden. She sprinkled some over the house too. As it was a warm night, the bedroom window was open, so she flew in and sprinkled her sparkly dust all over the two people sleeping and snoring in their bed. Aera said her magic words; they are in fairy language so you wouldn’t understand them. Then she went to her bed, knowing she had done all she could.
The next day the postman was delivering the letters on his round, just like he normally did. He was surprised to see a large golden envelope addressed to the house at the end of the street. The one with the overgrown garden. He posted it through the letterbox and continued on his way.
“Dear, look at this letter we have received. It’s from the Natural Garden Club; we’ve apparently won a garden makeover in their competition. Did you enter us for this competition?”
“No, I don’t remember. Maybe it was your Mother, you know she enters lots of competitions now she’s retired.”
“Well someone is going to come round next week and talk to us about it.”
“That’s nice dear.”
The following week, a garden designer in a purple suit came round to talk to them about their garden.
“Well we had plans to chop down the shrubs and pull up all the weeds and concrete over the lawn and turn it into an entertainment area,” Said the lady.
“Goodness Me!” Exclaimed the garden designer. “Don’t you realise how important these little gardens are to our wildlife?” He said. “We need to do all we can for the environment. When people concrete over their gardens, it makes flooding much more likely. The bees need all the flowers they can get to make their honey. If the bees die then our crops will fail. The wildlife really needs a small patch of weeds at the bottom of the garden so it can thrive. I’ll tell you what I’ll do. I will tidy up the garden and trim back the shrubs. I will reduce the weed patch, so it’s just a small bit at the very bottom and I’ll build a patio by the house so you can have your barbecue. How does that sound?”
“OK, we didn’t realise how important having a garden and a weed patch was for the environment we are happy to do our bit, aren’t we dear?” Said the owner to his wife.
Now the garden is neat and tidy but it still has the flowers, the lawn and the shrubs. At the very bottom of the garden is a very small patch of nettles and some Ivy and brambles, and just inside, just out of sight, you can still catch a glimmer of a very tiny house. A small fairy called Aera lives there and she’s very happy.
The sun burned and sizzled above and heat waves rose from the ground blurring the view over the once green valley. The river that cut its way down towards the sea had been reduced to a trickle over bare rocks, rarely seen and washed clean, now baking in the sunshine. It was a balmy day.
The group gathered around in the shade of an enormous Cedartree. There was some respite from the unrelenting sun, some coolness and verdant greenery in that now parched landscape.
Just beyond the tree, the river had meandered and carved out a section that had become an oxbow lake. Just perfect for swimming.
It didn’t take long before everyone had jumped into the pool and started splashing around with abandon.
Olivia jumped out of the pool and gathered up the abandoned clothing. There were only a few socks. They were a group of naturists and nudity was their uniform. Socks protected their feet in their walking boots but the rest of their garments remained rolled up in their backpacks pending the moment when they entered populated areas where their nakedness would cause offence.
Olivia strode gracefully across the meadow, putting up a washing line with all their discarded socks dangling from it like glorious bunting on a parade day. In her hand, she held a clump of earth. She peered into the clump with a fascination that would not be broken. Botany was her passion.
Olivia had discovered a new species of creature that had clung to her leg and wouldn’t let go. She kept it as a pet.
It was a glorious afternoon that no-one from the Naturist Naturalist Group would forget in a long time.
Hardangervidda is a large area of land most of which is now a national park. It is inland from the Hardangerfjord that was once the only access to this part of the area. There are roads but they spend a good part of the year covered in snow and ice.
This picture above is a typical mountain home that many Norwegians keep up in the mountains as a place of their own for vacations, to enjoy the outdoors. They are not normally lived in all year round. This area is covered in Snow in the Winter and is an area with many ski slopes. The first snows normally arrive at the end of October.
This is the Fossli Hotel, built out of timber (most of the houses are) in the late 1800’s. It was built here because of its fantastic views of the Voringfossen waterfall. The area is also good skiing country in the Winter.
This is the Voringfossen waterfall. The photos do not give justice to the beauty of the scenery. Nor does it demonstrate how deep that valley is, the drop is 182 metres or 597 feet.
This is the Sysen Dam, you may be able to make out a couple of people walking across the top.
We were very lucky with the weather. Autumn doesn’t last long in Norway and they told me that Winter usually arrived at the end of October. There is snow on the tops of the mountains, but that normally is there all year round. We had two sunny days and one rainy day in Norway with temperatures about 15 degrees centigrade (about 60 Fahrenheit) which was milder than I was expecting. I packed for the Arctic, but it wasn’t that bad at all. The air was so clean and fresh and the scenery was Amazing.
I will definitely be going back to Norway at some point, It was so lovely, but I will have to start saving up, it is not a cheap place to visit.