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Previous Challenge Entry (Level 3 – Advanced)
Topic: Summer (the season) (07/09/09)

TITLE: Down Lovers' Lane
By Colin Swann


An enormous black bull appeared from nowhere. The two rustic pensioners Wilf and Joe and their dogs stood there motionless, transfixed by fear. The bovine lowered its horned head, snorted fiercely, sent grass sods flying by vigorous pawing and then charged at them. Forgetting their aches and pains they sprinted toward a five barred gate and then clambered over like two youngsters escaping capture from scrumping apples.

“Wow, that was close! What does Farmer Brown think he's doing letting a bull loose where there's a public footpath?” Wilf complained vehemently.

“Well that's put the kibosh on our normal route,” said Joe. He went on, “We'll have to walk down Lovers' Lane for a change.”

So off they set, grumbling and grousing about 'that dratted bull' spoiling their walk. Their first stop was at the Stag Pool. Wilf said, “Hey, look at that flight of swallows all skimming the water – if they say one swallow doesn't make a summer, it's sure here now.” He went on, “And those fish look as though they're enjoying their high jump training. Wow, what a splash they're making. All that leaping just for a few measly flies.”

“Yon' heron wouldn't put up with sprat food - look at his beak – wouldn't like to get bayoneted up my rump by him mate,” said Joe.

“Me neither!”

“Hey,” said Joe, “that's Walt Willis over there – up to his old poaching tricks I suppose. He can't be touting courting couples at this early hour. He uses the poaching to get away from his Mabel and then as an excuse for his spying on lovers. One young man gave him a black eye for spoiling his session.”

Wilf laughed, then said, “Can you remember Cheeky Charlie when we were youths? Me and my mate Al almost got ourselves black eyes from him.”

“How come?”

“We played a trick on him. Al rolled his trouser legs up and we pretended to be lovers. He sussed us and shook his fist. We scarpered quicker than you could say Jack Robinson.”

“Was it the hairy legs or the knobbly knees that gave you away?” Then Joe roared out a prolonged belly laugh, the likes of which Wilf had never heard from his mate.

Their next stop was to observe Gran Winterbottom's English country garden – she'd won prizes with it. “The bull's really done us a favour,” said Joe, “I love summer blooms – those prize roses, what could be nicer? Eden couldn't better them. Look at the size of those raspberries as well.”

Just then Gran Winterbottom popped her head above the raspberry canes. She looked like a red faced glove puppet. “Hello, you two old codgers, what you up to?”

“On a detour – Farmer Brown's black bull was guarding his heifers - chased us from the high meadow route. - blasted animal,” said Wilf.

“How's your Arthur doing these days Emily? He was telling me, the last time I saw him, that his knees were playing him up – is he any better?” Joe inquired.

“He's taken to resting them twelve hours a day and sleeping the other – bone idle I'd say. Just left him reading his paper that I had to trudge a mile to get and then he'd the cheek to ask for a coffee when I got back – I'd say something colourful if I swore.”

“Well Emily you're doing a good job there all on y' tod – garden looks as great as ever. We'll have to be on our way now – bye! Give our regards to Arthur.” She threw back her head and tutted.

They decided to detour yet again and headed back by the low fields.

Wilf looked around the field which had an irregular blaze of colour. There was a canvas of lush green grass inter-spaced with a diverse array of meadow flowers. Speckles and blotches of crimson poppies contrasted by blue cornflowers, brown plantain and green vetch, all fought a battle to keep their heads above the long grass. It was one of natures untidy messes of analogous harmony.

Wilf got to musing about his own unkempt garden. He thought, 'I wonder what my Grace thinks of me.'

After more musing he said to Joe,“I must be getting back, I've got the garden to tidy.”

“Me too Wilf, me too!”

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Member Comments
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Sara Harricharan 07/17/09
Interesting conversation between two old friends. I liked the names you gave everyone-made this story a fun read.
Virgil Youngblood 07/17/09
An enjoyable read with fun characters.
Jim McWhinnie 07/20/09
Lovely storytelling with charming characters. And I agree -- great names.

I'd like to read a rewrite of this piece with an eye toward simplifying the sentences. I think it would bring the language into the same tone of simplicity that is found in the charming and rustic storyline.

Your writing is so rich in imagery.
Patricia Turner07/20/09
Love these two old codgers. I wondered if they were going to find a couple of sweethearts after their diversion down Lover's Lane but I'm glad they decided to go "tidy" up their own gardens. A very entertaining and well written story.
Gregory Kane07/21/09
There are some great little episodes here, well articulated and authentic sounding. But I felt a little let down by the ending and found myself wondering what the point of the story was. Maybe there simply isn't one or perhaps I missed it. But there you have it.
I'm sorry there was never a Lover's Lane near where I grew up - sounds like I missed out on a bit of larking around. (Interpret that as you will!)
Mariane Holbrook 07/21/09
What a great story and a fun read! I know you must have had a good time writing this one! I enjoyed it and I hope the judges enjoy it enough to place you high in the tallies. Very good job!!!
Eddie Snipes07/22/09
You have a lot of good descriptions and visual imagery.