Tag Archives: DPchallenge

Points of view

In response to the WordPress Daily Challenge on differing points of view, I thought it would be a good idea to use one of the photos I’ve used in a previous post about a market.

You remember I’m a people-watcher. All writers are. We watch and listen all the time. Sometimes, whole stories come out of a session of people watching. I sold the short story Airport Departures after a session of people watching. (Read it in Woman’s Weekly Fiction Special November issue)

So here’s a reminder of the market picture.

different points of view

who is saying what?

They come to my stall every week. Always they buy the same things. Three years they have been buying my produce and still they do not know the French word for the food they eat.

This was my father’s stall. And his father’s before. Grandfather came from Spain when there was no work after the civil war. He picked grapes for the French growers. He was just a boy. He watched his parents grow old working other people’s fields and he determined to hand down something better to his own children. So he saved and bought land.

We still grow our fruit and vegetables in those same plots of land and we bring them to market. Now, it is my time to watch the stall. One day I will hand over to my own son.

 

I wish she wouldn’t do this. I wish she wouldn’t make such a fuss over every damned piece of fruit and salad. She picks over everything on the stall. Goes through it with a bloody magnifying glass. Almost. It’s embarrassing. Come on, Nancy, just pay the guy.

If only she’d drive. She’s getting worse. Losing confidence. Won’t go anywhere by herself. I have to accompany her every time she leaves the house. I don’t want to be impatient with her, but I can’t help it sometimes. Like now, when she’s quibbling over a twenty cent piece. The poor guy’s shown her the ticket. As far as I can see, it’s all correct.

 

You have to watch every penny. I mean cent. I still haven’t got my head around the Euro. These small coins all look the same to me. Oh, dear. This was meant to be our last little adventure together. Living abroad, somewhere in the sun while we still had the energy to enjoy it. But it’s so difficult. Graham has made no attempt to learn the language. Whenever we go out he depends on me to translate and I can’t remember things the way I used to.

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Not a complete story – just a snapshot, but you can see how characters will develop.

Writing short pieces like this helps to fire the synapses. Get the creative juices flowing. It probably won’t be the best thing you ever wrote, but that doesn’t matter. It’s an exercise, and as with everything, the more you practise, the better you get.

Leave a comment and I’ll get back to you. Happy writing!

50 Shades of Chocolate love. Falling into it again.

Chocolate history

the history of chocolate

Since around 2,000BC people have been falling in love with chocolate. That is some long history and today, I’m part of it.

I’m at the chocolate fair in Béziers. There’s a queue outside the exhibition hall and it isn’t full of kids either. Or all females as you might expect. No, there’s grandfathers and bikers in their Harley jackets. There are young families with babes in push chairs. There are teenagers and young lovers with their arms wrapped around one another.

And there’s me. With himself and a house guest from England who is as much into chocolate as she is into wine which makes for a very pleasant time whenever she comes to stay.

The chocolate fête in Béziers now attracts visitors from far and wide. Each year this festival of chocolate temptation grows bigger. Visitors come in their tens of thousands to the two day event. No wonder. As soon as you step inside the magic begins.

It’s the aroma first. Unmistakeable. It hits your senses with all the power of its four thousand year hold over us. I know I’m going to be eating a lot of chocolate today. I might even swoon.

Chocolate dainties

let me at them!

Oh, help! Will I survive this afternoon with so much temptation at arm’s length? I turn aside, but there’s no escape.

chocolate cones

I’ll take all of them, please!

When the Spaniards first brought chocolate to Europe in the 1500s, did they know that today in 2013 there’d be a queue of people eager to take their seats and watch professionals molding it, shaping it, colouring it, making dainties and delights enough to make your eyes water and your mouth drool?

chocolate makers

50 shades of chocolate?

On the upper floor of the exhibition halls another demonstration is taking place on the main stage.

chocolate maker

artisan at work

Wonder if he’s married? What a lucky girl the wife of a chocolatier must be, huh?

I might have to go and lie down in a darkened room.

But, I survive and the three of us buy enough chocolate to keep us quiet and very happy as we join  an ancient lineage: Mayans and Aztecs, the Spaniards who first mixed cocoa beans with vanilla, nutmeg, cloves, allspice and cinnamon, and brought it to Europe; the Dutch and Brazilians and Germans and Venezuelans and on and on all around the world.

Political movements come and go. In the history of humankind, chocolate is a constant. I’m delighted to take my place in its history.

I pop some in. The sensations begin . . .melting . . warming . . coating the tongue . . reaching the back of the throat. . .