Writing Prompt- 22nd Feb


Open yourself up to all Geographies and time periods and imagine a society with an unusual currency- it is not paper, gold, or bitcoin. What is it, and where does it come from? 

(Borrowed a bit from 1700s UK history for this one. Also this was written with little sleep and edited at 4am… cos sick child.) 

Milly clutched her prize. A faint scent still hung in her nostrils. Not the usual smells of damp earthen floor and hearth smoke. No, this smell spoke of far off places, burning sun, heated sand that stretch on forever. Places where strange creatures lurked, dark skinned people who spoke in lyrical tones; to Gods she knew nothing of. 

He mother would skelp her for thinking such things. If Father Boyd head such- she would be on the punishment stool at Mass on Sunday for all to see her shame and witness her repentance. There was only one God. To say otherwise was heresy. 

Almost frightened the local priest would sense her blasphemous thoughts, Milly scampered past the church. She splashed through mud and slurry in the street. The smell kept the aromas of her little village at bay. It tantalised her nostrils, drawing her on. 

She would not have known the worth of her prize, had it not been for Michael. Her mother would do more than skelp her if she knew Milly still payed with the Gypsy lad. Milly had been bearched last time her brother had found out. He squealed like the piglet he was to Mama. 

The beating did not stop Milly sneaking out to see Michael. Her disobedience had been blessed. The pair had come across a half buried box, that smelt of mystery and warm. Michael had known straight away what the contents were and more importantly, their value. 

Milly lifted her woolen skirts as she splashed across the main track, dodging horse droppings and what looked like a drowned rat. She had to hurry, her Father would be waiting in line to pay the rent. 

They did not own the land they lived upon. The local Laird had recently hiked the price of rent so high few could pay. Repossessed land was covered in sheep. The fleece and mutton sold for more than tenant farmers could pay in rent. Sheep were worth more than people to the nobility. 

Most folk were packing up, leaving. Many selling everything they owned for passage to Canada, America and even India. Places she had heard of, but never even seen on a map.

Her Father was at the front of a line of tired looking men. None of them could probably afford the new rent, yet there they were. To argue the case. A last, faint hope that the new Laird may remember that their families had lived on these lands for generations. Served his noble family, bled for them in times of war, celebrated the birth of their heirs. Supported them in times of famine. They could not forsake all that. Land was a man’s soul. Without it what good was he? 

She had heard her Da say that to her mother and thought she may understand. Milly was sure Canada was very nice, but this place, this rainy, muddy, backwarter of a village was home. 

She drew level with her Father and tugged at his sleeve. The large man, bowed from the plough, hands and face rough from hot sun and frost, turned to regard his only daughter. Ten, yet looked so like her grandmother it made his heart ache. 

Milly smiled and wordlessly opened his hand. 

Three dried buds were dropped onto his heavily lined palm. He looked from the grinning child’s face to what was in his hand. He almost dropped the useless bits of plant and stomp them into the mud. Was she added? 

The gasp from the finely dressed servant behind the desk made him think otherwise. 

“Are those-? Where did you? How?” The fop was purple of face, could almost not breathe. 

Milly’s Father placed the buds on the ledger before the man and waited.  

Stuttering, the man wrote a value in the ledger, quill shaking. 

“Ah, that- that will be all. This will pay the rent for- well the next ten years- that is- that depends on silver prices, of course.” 

The big farmer grunted and took his daughter’s hand, leading her away. 

“Milly-May?” he asked as they passed the church, his work rough hand still firmly holding his daughters. “What were those?” 

“Cloves Da,” she responded. “M-” then backtracked quickly, her mind turning over. “I found ‘em by tha Kelpie pond. Looked like a thing tha’ Laird would like so I brought ‘em.”  

Her hand was squeezed in response. Her Father asked no more, especially how she had managed to identify the highly prived spice when she had never seen it. 

Cloves were worth triple their weight in silver, and so was his daughter it seemed. 

He let her have her secrets.  

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Holiday- Argyll Forest

So, no writing of late as I was on holiday, for the first time in two years! I might be a professional but if you work in the public sector the pay is not great, enough to keep my family though. We are a bit unusual as I work full time and my Husband is a stay at home Dad. Well, unusual on our little island anyway. Hubbie has had to face a bit of  gender discrimination but has handled it well (i.e. venting at me and twitter rather than the idiots who make thoughtless comments.)

Have been caught up in gaming too. Area X (indi title) and Guild Wars 2. Will review them both next week 😉

Also, Korean drama has once again sucked me in. Damn why is there nothing like this on Brit TV? Anyway Faith was one of the BEST things I have seen for a while. As long as you approach this stuff as a live action anime it’s all good. Again, will get round to a review on that one.

So, we went on holiday two hours up the road on the mainland, so still in Scotland.

Home for a week would be a static caravan on an Estate in the middle of the Argyll forest.

Husband was dubious. Being 6’7” he was sure he would have to spend all his time indoors hunching. I reassured him that he would fit.

So we got to the Estate and were greeted with this.

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IT WAS BEAUTIFUL! We live on the coast so a beach holiday would have been a bit like being at home. Mountains and forests however are a bit different and much more like where I grew up. The place was also exceptionally family orientated, which is what we needed.

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Play parks and open spaces everywhere.

The caravan I knew would be fine, but exceeded my expectations.

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Note very tall man could lie down on the sofa. The kitchen had a fan gas oven and was better than the kitchen at home!

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The estate was vast. Many a walk was taken with son 1 to burn his energy off. Everyone was friendly and total strangers stopped to chat to us.

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It was nice just to let our 3 year old run his legs off. He could not wait to go out every morning. Even the lure of the massive TV in the caravan could not compete. He gets plenty of outdoor time at home but we don’t have a garden and everything is, well, smaller… being an island and all.

The weather was dry mostly, but I had THE YELLOW COAT OF DOOM! I bought a proper breathable raincoat last month. My old one fell apart a few years ago and I’ve been making do with cheap shower proof things that just can’t stand up to the Scottish weather. My YELLOW COAT OF DOOM is obnoxious yellow, rainproof, windproof and warm but breathable so I can wear it in the summer and not sweat to death. Husband hates it, he thinks it’s ugly. It’s not meant to be bloody fashionable! Anyway I love it so I wear it.

Upshot of this is 3 yo and I went out all weathers.

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The landscape can be dark and brooding in bad weather but it’s still beautiful. I think and worth braving the rain for. Besides we had some good days, enough to have a BBQ!

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Sirloin steak on the BBQ. NOM! As long as it is not over cooked it’s lovely.

Ventured out of the estate mid-week when the weather really was miserable. Went by the ‘rest and be thankful’ that is a tiny square of land that is flat next to one of the most treacherous roads in Scotland. It’s always closing due to the landslides when it’s wet… yes I did know this before I set off. There is no way round this road if you wanted to head towards the central belt (mid Scotland). Well not entirely true, you could do an extra 150 miles and go north of it then back south again.

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3yo did not like the weather.

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So all this effort was to get to the Loch Lomond sealife centre. We thought 3yo would love it, as it turns out he loved it for 20 minutes then wanted ice-cream. Fickle wee thing!

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Guitar sharks are creepy (top pic) and Asian otters are tiny and cute!

Being on holiday with a new-born is an odd experience. No restful nights. He still needed his 3 overnight feeds and at times did not want to sleep at night. 3yo wants to be on the go all day and were are on holiday and don’t want to waste time indoors. It’s not easy to handle all this away from home but we managed. We needed a day to catch up on sleep mid-week and Husbands epilepsy played up due to the lack of sleep. This did sour things a bit as I was worried about him and he was worried her was ruining the holiday. 3yo set us straight and said he was having ‘good days.’

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Managed to take 3yo for longer and longer walks during the week. Our record was nearly 4km. Many a puddle was splashed in and we saw sheep! Real sheep! Much excitement from 3yo, but not from Mummy.

Mummy grew up on a hill farm. Mountain sheep with lambs and an excited 3yo are not a good combo. However, I managed to explain to him how to behave and if he listened to me we might even get close enough to have a peep at the babies.

It was odd how the old farming instincts kicked back in and how just through changing our body language the sheep went from startled and aggressive to passive and calm. 3yo was enchanted and wanted to take one home. Mummy said the day she could have a mini pig he could have a lamb….

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So a lovely week despite the trials. Will probably be going back for another visit. In fact Hubbie and I were eyeing up holiday home prices before we left. Can’t afford one but you never know when you might win the lottery or something… I live in hope. My maternity leave is going to put me 3 grand in debt as it is! Such is the joy of having children. They better pick me a bloody palatial nursing home when I go demented!

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