The summer of 1914 in London, a tediously overcast yet fortunately dry one.  A polar opposite to the devil dark storm cloud July Crisis in diplomatic circles across Europe that would soon spark ‘The War to End Wars’.

She was sat upon an Old Father Thames towpath newly painted wrought iron bench lobbing pieces of crimping’s from an obvious, to even my untrained eye, shortcrust Cornish Pasty to a mob of dabbling mallards to scoff upon on that day we first met.

As ever, upon my morning habitual constitutional and as was my want, good manners ensured I delivered her a cheery, ‘Good day’ notwithstanding her self-evident lack of decorum. Bare feet indeed, plus a rather risqué double skirted mid-calf dress, bright orange in colour of all things, although it did match her locks and galaxy of adorable freckles. Plainly she was fashioned from an unusual mould.

I was walking on by, Kew Gardens bound, when I caught her almost impudent, “Excuse me Sir. I need advice and possibly you can assist in that regard.”

Turning about face, my riposte, “Should such advice be within my gift you are welcome young lady. Pray what do you need to know?”

“The sun is due to make an appearance later I understand and my desire is to get a suntan upon the soles of my feet. The thing is I find myself unable to decide whether or not to stand on my head or lie on my back with my feet in the air. I mean either way the soles of my feet would face the sun, just not sure of the best option.”

“I think the latter, as the former methodology would likely cause you a rush of blood to the head and that would never do would it?  Additionally, you may think in terms of common decency the act of your intention would be better enacted within the privacy of your own plot.”

At this she laughed aloud, afforded me the most captivating wide smile, “I’m an actress and when I said, ‘Excuse me Sir. I need advice and possibly you can assist in that regard’ I was merely reciting from memory my lines. That you responded allowed me to play a cheeky game. You have my apology Sir.”

She need not have apologized in this instance. Such is the sometimes alchemy of chance encounter I was besotted.


The black satin blindfold was your choice

and at your insistence you led the way

along the corridors of vague revelation

to the concert hall where the freethinkers pray


Theatregoers witnessed with unusual blind faith

a farce marketed as sombre tragedy

you played the flawless protagonist

I chose to overact nonsensically


Let others keep their world weary contradictions

for me, a flashback to the wild flower of your youth

lest you think our love was lost as I lay dead in the trenches

think again, it lingers on for keeps, my sweet darling Ruth




34 thoughts on “OF WAR AND A GIRL NAMED RUTH

  1. Ah yes, well, I’m quite glad she was kidding on the part of the the soul of the feet suntan. It’s so difficult to find the perfect shade! Well, and then you know, if you burn, you just can’t walk for days!!

    1. That line would have been great dialogue as a riposte from the chap…bollocks I missed a chance again. Story of my life! Glad the book turned up Paul, thanks Sir

  2. Ah Mike, you never ever EVER fail to disappoint on any level. Well wroth the trip over here. Will get your interview up on Wednesday. Got a slightly extended deadline, so am of course using it for that x

    1. Bleary eyed upon waking, sipping a coffee and scoffing upon muesli (no added sugar of course) this foggy morn I misread what you wrote as, ‘…you never ever ever fail to disappoint’ and presumed you had a hotline to my former lovers! Thankfully I read on and all was well in the world again. Can’t thank you enough re the interview yet as I said previous if you are under the cosh with your publishers then don’t feel bad about putting me on the back burner.

      1. Hee hee…re the former lovers… I kind of thought you might. I am never under any cosh. Ah, like my heroines, having been given this time, this is how I choose to spend it.
        Ps wise man say, anyone who helps Mr Shey deal with loony bin/bitch cousin other day on facebook is worthy…. but this we know x

  3. Anything with feet has got my vote! The way you extend sentences beyond the need for commas is inspiring (taking note)

    1. Best not to follow my lead on commas. I get lampooned regularly for forgetting them! Yet feet are interesting things…indeed another blogger who interviewed me enquired as to the truth of my claim to have a musical big toe…a true thing. I await her take on the subject with baited breath.

      1. Lampooned- what a word , obviously I enjoy the lamp in it. A musical big toe? Wowee, hoping for a link to the interview 😀

  4. And here I was imagining her standing on her head in all manner of attire as well as lying back with legs up…thinking ouch if feet get sunburned she won’t be coming up to you Sir for some time…and then like being whipped albeit gently with a long wet rag across the face discovering she was only kidding…

    1. In small part based upon my nutty wife who does the oddest things. She once slapped me around the face in a supermarket queue saying, ‘How dare you!’ implying that I’d done something inappropriate, then laughed her leg off when the girl at the checkout till asked he if she should call the police!

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