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  1. #11
    I started looking at this this morning and found lots to edit, so I have taken it away for the moment, hope to return it soon.
    Last edited by Olly Buckle; December 29th, 2011 at 11:05 AM.
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  2. #12
    Honoured/Sadly Missed The Backward OX's Avatar
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    Quote Originally Posted by Olly Buckle View Post
    I started looking at this this morning and found lots to edit, so I have taken it away for the moment, hope to return it soon.
    A line added to the top of Post #1, to the effect that a new version exists further down the thread, could be an aid to helping some would-be readers find it.

  3. #13
    Sabre
    West Wales in early spring can be wonderful, with puffy white clouds sailing by in a bright blue sky. The sun shines down through trees in bud on to banks, and corners of fields, filled with nodding snowdrops and daffodils. Other times it is awe inspiring; rain passing horizontally and spume flying from breakers as they head towards destruction on the shore. Most people want to be sure of sunshine on their holiday, which makes it quiet. I like wonderful, awe inspiring, and quiet, and head for Nolton Haven, a narrow bay of sand in the far West, served by a single track road.

    To the North side of the bay cliffs rise steeply from the sea, but as they finish at the head of the bay there is a small area of raised flat land. Long ago the local farmer built stone cowsheds here in a C shape, back to the sea, and his successor has converted these to holiday cottages, justly named ‘Haven Cottages’. In spring the caravan sites back from the beach are still uninhabitable, but the solid, stone built, cottages are proof against the weather. On wild, wet, days I watch the sea from the living room window, cook, read, or write in the mezzanine bedroom, it is always a little warmer up there and the roof windows mean the view does not distract me.

    When the tide goes out and the bay is empty of people it is easy to imagine the way it once was when flat bottomed sailing vessels served these tiny coastal communities. Beached, they discharged cargo to the villagers with wheelbarrows, or maybe even a horse and cart; Nolton, with its bay, is large in comparison to Druidstone, the next break in the cliff, which is little more than a cleft.

    When there is a very low tide I can walk across the sands, round the point, and head South to Druidstone. The Druidstone Hotel is almost the only thing there. Unless I hit the big time I don’t suppose I will ever fulfil my dream of being a winter resident there, writing, but their restaurant and bar are the perfect distance for lightweight like me to take a mid-walk break. Returning I take the cliff top path and enjoy the view; the incoming tide soon shuts off the way at beach level and it is not worth risking a scramble over rocks at the cliff base.

    In good weather I get out, but apart from my gentle strolls to Druidstone I am not, as I said, a great walker, I find plenty to occupy me locally. Sometimes I explore the rock pools for small fish, sometimes I will find an old fertiliser sack and pick up the plastic string and other man-made debris along the high tide line, I have even been known to dam the small stream that flows out across the sands or build sand castles. A lone figure on the sands my elderly eccentricities stand out a bit, but the comments in the local pub are always friendly, being a little out of the usual seems to be normal and accepted around here.

    Often I am the only one in the cottages outside school holidays. One year, however, there was another person staying. He did not follow any of my childish occupations, nor did he take his car to explore ‘attractions’ like most visitors. A determined walker he and his dog appeared impervious to weather and set out on a new trek each morning.

    Tall, dark, and upright, his home life appeared to be governed by brushes. Every morning he swept off the spotless slate slab that made a doorstep to his cottage, then sat on it and polished his boots. Exchanging brushes he then meticulously groomed the already magnificent coat of Sabre, his dog, who stood for the attention on command. After putting away his brushes he came over to knock on my door, he would leave a note with me showing his intended route each day, and his walks were impressive.
    The coastal paths can be pretty remote and un-walked at this time of year and he requested, ‘If it should get dark and we have not returned could you pass the note on to the Coast Guard?’ There was no arguing with the rationality of it, but it was hard to imagine someone less likely to have an accident, or be unable to cope if he did. Still our short chat at the beginning of the day did not really impinge on my privacy, he was gone all day, I had the place to myself, and a quick glance at his light on my way past to the pub showed he was home safe in the evening, he was not a pub person.

    Naturally I admired Sabre, he was a magnificent beast of the type I knew as ‘Alsatian’. I never saw him wearing the lead that his master carried, though he walked perfectly ‘to heel’. I respect decent training and said so. It was explained to me that he was, in fact, a Belgian Shepherd, ‘More sensitive and intelligent than the German ones, much more susceptible to training’, and that his master had, ‘total control’. He carried the lead for occasions when he was passing through fields with livestock ‘To ward off potentially irate farmers.’

    My own dogs had always been small mongrels, usually with a fairly high proportion of spaniel and collie in them, far more intelligent than most ‘pure’ breeds to my mind. I had not even owned a lead for some of them, making do with a piece of old string in places where the regulations insisted on it. The importance of training we had in common. However, I doubted the concept of ‘total control’, even in my shaggy, waggy, disorderly, bundles I still saw wild wolf sometimes, and this animal looked the part. Still, his owner did not disturb my peace and it was not worth disputing and disturbing his.

    One evening I was returning from The Mariner’s Arms, where I had been enjoying a pint and a single malt to finish off the day, when I heard the long single whistle that was Sabre’s call. I concluded that Sabre had been out for his ‘business’ when my torch flashed up the path and I heard the cottage door close, presumably on his return.

    There was some moon, the stars were brighter than they ever were in the city, the surf shone phosphorescent at the edge of the tide, the air smelt clean and wonderful, and I decided to continue a short distance up the cliff path. The whiskey had left me in the mood to enjoy the remote and primitive night before retiring.

    I heard the soft, warning growl before I saw him. Turning the torch on him, for a moment I thought he had killed, before the smell reached me and I realised that whatever it was he had been rolling on had been dead for some time.

    “Hello Sabre” I said softly, the cottage door had closed to my torch, not the dog’s return. He finished rolling and backed up, stretching a piece of intestine from the nameless corpse, before he showed me his bottom teeth and repeated the soft growl. It was a request for privacy, not a threat, and I backed away quietly with my intrusive torch, we recognised our shared wildness and parted in mutual respect. I had been indoors for a while, and was settling down, when I heard the soft whine and the other cottage door opening and closing.

    In the morning Sabre stood to attention for his morning grooming, slightly fluffier than usual, washing up liquid has that effect. His master came over with his daily itinerary on their way out, neither of us passed comment, other than on the weather. Sabre, back on duty, stood to attention.

    “Sabre” is written by Oliver Buckle, author of “A Read for the Train”,
    “A Read for the Train” is an eclectic collection of short stories, flash fiction and verse, which may be purchased at,
    Self Publishing, Book Printing & eBook Publishing | Lulu.com.
    and read anywhere, including on trains.


    I take your point Ox, but I kept 'wild wolf' It adds emphasis to a main point ant and I like the alliteration following on to 'shaggy, waggy, and disorderly'
    Last edited by Olly Buckle; January 17th, 2012 at 11:37 PM.
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  4. #14
    WF Veteran Bloggsworth's Avatar
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    Several things, but two in particular. Why would anyone want to put it up on a hotel wall, most guests don't even read the safety instructions; and second, who is going to stand, looking at a wall, and read a story which may in no way relate to them; indeed, which they may see as being in some way accusatory in that they don't like to do what you like to do. It may be a short story, but it reads like a travel report with too much embellishment. As to the actual writing/grammar/syntax etc., I think that they are all secondary to the purpose if you are asking hotelliers and the like to affix it to their walls.
    A man in possession of a wooden spoon must be in want of a pot to stir.

  5. #15
    Honoured/Sadly Missed The Backward OX's Avatar
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    Iíve had a read of the second version and find myself unable to help further with it. Perhaps one of your pieces set in the long-ago might be better as a marketing tool.

  6. #16
    Why would anyone want to put it up on a hotel wall, most guests don't even read the safety instructions; and second, who is going to stand, looking at a wall, and read a story which may in no way relate to them; indeed, which they may see as being in some way accusatory in that they don't like to do what you like to do.
    I like reading random text posted anywhere -- Makes me feel like I noticed something special and that perception is indeed the key to secrets.

  7. #17
    Quote Originally Posted by Bloggsworth View Post
    Several things, but two in particular. Why would anyone want to put it up on a hotel wall, most guests don't even read the safety instructions; and second, who is going to stand, looking at a wall, and read a story which may in no way relate to them; indeed, which they may see as being in some way accusatory in that they don't like to do what you like to do. It may be a short story, but it reads like a travel report with too much embellishment. As to the actual writing/grammar/syntax etc., I think that they are all secondary to the purpose if you are asking hotelliers and the like to affix it to their walls.
    Don't know where the wall came from, the cottages have a drawer with pamphlets about the local area and a scrap book for the cottage though. I have seen stories put on the back of menus and such as well, but I guess dogs rolling in disgusting dead things might not be what you would want to read at table. I am thinking I might expand though, a "Centre parks" story for example, suitable for the back of menus, to read while you wait for your food.
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  8. #18
    Honoured/Sadly Missed The Backward OX's Avatar
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    Thinking some more about this concept overall, I reckon Bloggs has a point; other visitors to that same location might not enjoy reading either someone else’s viewpoint regarding the location or reading about the antics the someone else gets up to.

    In other words, it might work against you instead of for you.

    I reiterate, as a marketing tool, one of your other pieces would be best, for a variety of reasons. I’m thinking particularly of the piece about the aboriginal and the tree root.

    Additionally, not to put too fine a point on it, but mine host(s) might see a negative connotation in publicising the fact they cater to eccentrics. Insert serious smiley.
    Last edited by The Backward OX; January 18th, 2012 at 08:08 AM.

  9. #19
    might not enjoy reading either someone else’s viewpoint regarding the location
    I don't think this applies, like I say there is a whole drawer full of stuff and my experience is people who have not been there before are fascinated by it.

    I reiterate, as a marketing tool, one of your other pieces would be best, for a variety of reasons. I’m thinking particularly of the piece about the aboriginal and the tree root.
    The book is a collection of shorts so most of my previous stuff is in there, I wanted something different.
    Additionally, not to put too fine a point on it, but mine host(s) might see a negative connotation in publicising the fact they cater to eccentrics.
    I must admit the idea that different is unattractive had not occurred to me, naive 'aint I?

    Over all I feel I am risking little, printing and postage will be less than the cost of a book and anyone put off probably would not have heard of me otherwise. I shall give it a go.

    Meanwhile. Centre Parks, Hmm.
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