When an Island is Born

The waiting was over.

It seemed hard to believe that our first visit to this area was barely a fortnight ago. We had been on a routine patrol. Karla, a young student, had been thrilled to get the chance to come with us. She had learnt how to trail the special marine thermometer pod over the ship’s side, and then take the reading. On one occasion, when she had just done this, I gave the result to Erik, our skipper. A few minutes later, he came out of the chart room, looking puzzled.
“Get Karla to run that again, Jan,” he called to me, “and you check it.”
So we did, but the result was the same. We told Erik. He frowned back.
“That’s nearly a whole degree C more than normal for this time of year. Jan, get the Ministry on the radio and let me know what they say.”

We were instructed to come in for supplies, then return to the area. This time, as we got nearer, we suddenly saw a jet of steam and ash shooting into the air. We moved into shallower water, and dropped anchor. Over the next two days, we saw lots more steam jets, getting ever more frequent and closer to one spot. The acrid smell grew stronger. Ash particles were drifting in the breeze.

Then, one morning, we saw what we had been waiting for. After a long and concentrated eruption of ash, a tiny peak broke the surface of the sea. With the next blast came red-hot larva. Larger eruptions followed quickly now, the plume soaring into the air the smell almost overpowering. Karla and I were kept busy with the cameras and the radio. (It was some months later, after we had visited a school to talk about our experience, that a twelve-year-old boy painted this picture, inspired by one of our photos, plus a bit of artistic licence!)

No-one stopped to think of the time, even though we were entering up the log every few minutes. But we all knew that we would remember that day. The day an island was born.

This post was prompted by the ‘Writing Workshop’ picture walking challenge here.
The narrative is entirely fictional, although inspired by the history of Surtsey,
a volcanic island formed by eruptions South of Iceland in 1963. 
(But the picture was actually painted by a twelve-year-old boy. That was me.)

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The Flip Side…

This post was written in answer to the prompt at ‘100 Word Challenge’ here,
where there 
is also a list of links to other responses. Here we go…

Side one:

[sung] “I’m walking backwards for Christmas…”
[spoken] “…Wait a minute… That’s the other side, isn’t it? Yeah…

Next comes a performance by ‘The Beetle.’

Side two:

First, unsurprisingly, is the complete performance of ‘I’m Walking Backwards for Christmas.’  Then the singer speaking:

“Well? How did you like that, then?”

A reply follows in the inimitable high-pitched lisping tones of the beetle:

“I didn’t like it much at all – I thought that my thide wath better.”

Ah, compact discs. The marvels of digital audio. But to everything there is the ‘flip side’ and here, it is… that there is no flip side.

By the way, does anyone remember this record? I only heard it once!

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Just a Second: Ode to a New-found Loved One

This post is written in response to the prompt at the ‘Writing Workshop’ here.
Essentially, this is to use the word, the theme, the concept… ‘Second’ in a composition.
Here is my attempt. If you look here you will find other responses, including Josie’s own.

I thought no-one would give
My life a second glance.
I couldn’t face
The tasks I had to do.
I wondered when
Or if – I’d love again;
Yet struggled on
And then – life gave me you.

You made me give
My life a second chance.
You helped me face
The way ahead of me.
You showed me how
Life’s worth another try,
And now I find
I’m tied to you, but free.

You made me give
My life a second look.
You helped me leave
The past, that left me blue.
You showed me how
To overcome the fear,
And now I find
I’m free, but tied to you.

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It Wasn’t My Fault

To understand the point of this post, First look at the ‘100 word challenge’ here
(if you haven’t already) where you will find an explanation of the prompt,
and also a list of links to other responses. 

An explosion  shook the ground outside the main factory. A cast-iron manhole cover rose smartly, yet gracefully, into the air as if it had been a champagne cork, described a perfect arc, and descended onto the tailboard of a nearby dray, smashing it in half. The driver of the dray came close to spontaneous evacuation of the bowels.

In synchronism with further bangs, several more iron lids followed suit in the ensuing seconds. On a hunch, a supervisor walked round to the rear of the plant, where an analytical chemist, holding a carboy over a gulley, looked up.

“It wasn’t my fault!” he said…

Believe it or not, this account is substantially true. I have added a little colour – only a little – for which there is no extra charge. The story was told to me by a much older employee of the company for which I worked for a time (my first job) who remembered the incident. The son of the chemist worked in the same department as I did!

Linked to #chucklemums 19 July 2016.

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A Platinum Jubilee?

This week, our ‘100 Word Challenge’ which you will find explained here, along with
links to all the responses, is to write a piece including the word ‘Wednesday’
along with a further 100 words. 

Today is the sixtieth anniversary of The Queen’s accession. But there is another anniversary, in August this year, that is noteworthy.

Seventy years ago, as part of Operation Pedestal, the American tanker SS Ohio entered Valletta Harbour, Malta. Badly crippled and assisted by two other ships, she had brought  fuel oil and kerosene to the island whose people had shown tremendous courage.

On Wednesday, 15th August, 2012, let’s remember the brave men of the Ohio and all who served in that operation, which had great strategic implications. Their platinum medal should be in our hearts.

To all of them: THANK YOU.

All of you who are interested should look up more of the history of the
incredible achievement that was ‘Operation Pedestal.’ 

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