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Monday, 31 December 2012

Back!

Fresh from a lovely Christmas and with 2013 jet heels on ... my blog is back.

Please have a look around and your comments - honest ones, no sugar-coating, please! - would be much appreciated.

I will be posting really whatever takes my fancy; short stories, poetry, news, occasional comment and family news, my little boy features quite regularly, scrumptious he is!



Thursday, 5 April 2012

The Weekend: Chapter 4

                                    A Dish Best Served Cold

She had been awaiting the dawn light with anxious trepidation. The night had seemed never-ending, with sleep hard to come by and the butterflies remaining ever-present, a constant, nervy reminder of impending events. This day had been a long time coming and now here, Alicia's mind raced, uneasily flicking through the multitude of outcomes that lay ahead. Today, lives would be torn apart and new rules would soon apply: her rules.

Although the bolthole was generous in its opulence, the low Moroccan bed was not to her liking and it hadn’t helped her settle, in fact the gravity of the situation was shredding her nerves. Lying there, she cast her mind back, something that she did often. Her thoughts always gravitated to that sunny October morning last year, the images seared into her mind. Even now, she felt physically sick, remembering what she had seen. Everything had changed in that instant.

5 months pregnant with Archie, she felt that a rare opportunity to grab some free time to herself was too good to refuse, so decided to go to swimming early, the pool being only a leisurely 20 min walk away. Debs was always saying how lovely it was there, Rob was lying in after the long drive down the night before, so why not? It was Debs' birthday today too, so sleeping in before a heavy night was a good idea in Alicia's book, although her bump was proudly preventing her from indulging.

She had been there only a matter of minutes and had not even finished changing when the shrill tone of the fire alarm rang out. Muttering her disapproval, she grabbed her bag; stuffing her top, towel and purse inside, before making her way towards the corridor. A kindly, silver-haired man accompanied her towards the front fire exit, then outside.

"Annoying, aren't they, the alarms I mean?” the man said.

"Yes, very much so", Alicia replied, easing herself down on the low brick wall opposite the gym entrance.

Their conversation died away as she spotted a wispy grey haze escaping from what looked like an air vent on the roof, along with bustling activity by the entrance desk.

"There's smoke, up there...see?” she exclaimed to the benevolent stranger, pointing to the drifting fumes.

"Yes and none without fire. I'm not waiting around, are you local? I don't mind giving you a lift home, if you'd like?” he replied.

It was clear that the building would be closed for some time and the thought of two wasted walking trips didn't appeal to her.

"Thank you for the offer, that's very kind", Alicia replied, feeling slightly guilty, as the sun was threatening to burn through the early morning mist, perfect conditions for a stroll.

He dropped her outside Jack and Debs' house, where she thanked him for his assistance. She had found out en route that Derek was a widower, lived just 3 streets away and enjoyed playing badminton on Fridays. Walking up the driveway, she harboured thoughts of sliding back under the duvet but it was probably too late, Rob was no doubt up and about by now.

Entering through the back door, her "Hi, it's only me", met with no response. She walked through the reception room, down the wide hallway towards the stairs, calling once more, this time, slightly louder, again no reply. Shrugging her shoulders, she guessed that Rob had gone for his morning run and that Debs was out, perhaps shopping, as was her wont, spending Jack's gains...ill-gotten though they were, something that she was unaware of that bright morning. She stopped, hearing a muffled knocking noise. Listening closer, she heard the unusual sound again. She didn't recognise it but followed its dull, persistent beat, perturbed by the increase in volume as she approached the kitchen door.

It was the painted toes she noticed first, as she tentatively looked around the slightly ajar door, followed by the slim, toned leg, crooked and wrapped around a familiar stocky, masculine, naked frame. Frozen in horror, she watched spellbound as her sister’s clenched fists gripped the cupboard handles directly above, head thrown back, bare breasts shaking as he took her, frantically, there on the worktop, her guttural yearnings clearly spurring him on. She watched for what seemed like hours but was barely a few seconds in this disjointed reality, before recoiling in silent revulsion. Turning and fleeing, not closing the back door behind herself, she sprinted towards the road, hurtling for the sanctuary of South London normality, the images scalded in her vision.

Alicia didn't stop running until the final lamppost, where the road tailed off towards the common. Doubled over, hands over her face, her stomach retched and she didn’t hear the car pull up beside her, or the deep voice from inside.

”Alicia?…Alicia, are you ok?, It’s me, Jack.”




© Nigel Pamenter 2012

The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 24 March 2012

The Weekend: Chapter 3

                      Dirty Little Secrets


"Rob Meadows? Hyde Park, Albert Memorial, 4 p.m. Understand three things only Mr Meadows. Be on time. Be alone. Tell nobody. I trust that you appreciate the importance of this."


The cold, sullen tone of the female voice, left no doubt as to its sincerity. Running his fingers through his short, stubbly hair on the pavement, Rob was now very confused. Who was that voice? Where was Alicia? What the hell was going on?


Staring into the sunny, midday sky, he questioned to himself if this was really a dream? Yes, of course, he'd wake at any moment, to the smell of Alicia toasting crumpets, her morning 'fix', with Spike the cat jumping on the bed and claiming her pillow. Yes, all would soon be ok.


Turning, still befuddled, he ambled back up the driveway, his thoughts interrupted by an anxious Debs coming to meet him.


"Rob? What's going on, where's Alicia?", she queried.


He looked into her eyes; for once not entranced by their chestnut beauty, nor flattered by their resident twinkle in his presence and certainly not recalling the fiery intensity they emitted from under him on THAT morning, the morning of burnt loyalties on the kitchen table.


Their unspoken tryst was far from his mind as her voice questioned once more.


"Rob? Where's Ali?"


"Tell nobody." Much as he hated lying, the voice had contained brooding, sinister intent.


"Well..er, she's just rung, she apologises but has had to pop into town urgently, she was a bit fraught that she had left Archie's medicine behind, you know his 'magic stuff', so has nipped out to pick some more up, she said she won't be long.


"Right, ok", Debs replied, giving him the kind of blank look that people give when they don't really understand what you've just explained to them.


"Well, come in, I don't bite.....often", she giggled.


"Archie's out like a light in the spare room, I'll make us a coffee", she continued, her voice trailing off to the kitchen.


"So how come Jack's not back?", Rob asked, voice raised, so she would hear.


"Been held up in Vienna until tomorrow. He's at a plastic surgeon's conference, always says that it's good for business", she answered in similar, elevated fashion. 


Her husband was a very well-connected man, with influential contacts in both the upper echelons of his native pharmaceutical industry and also international politics. With his burly, powerful build and handsome looks, Jack really was a poster child for the business of cosmetic perfection and eternal youth. Yet for all the riches gleaned from such glamorous exploits, Rob knew that Debs was not happy.


2.02 p.m. His watch told him the Hyde Park rendezvous was less than two hours away.


"Debs?", Rob asked, now leaning on the doorframe, "Ali's just texted, she says there's some kind of mechanical problem with the carrier? Sorry about this, one of those days isn't it? He nervously laughed. "I'll walk down myself and sort it out, shouldn't be too long. Would you mind looking after Archie for a little while?"


"Yes of course", Debs answered, smiling sweetly. He knew the spark between them still existed but right now he was more concerned with her sister's whereabouts.


The mechanical excuse sounded fairly implausible but he didn't have time to worry about it. He had to make the meet, maybe Alicia would be there and this nightmare would start to make sense. He hoped to God she was ok.


Briskly half-walking, half-jogging, Rob made his way to the Wimbledon Underground; with South Kensington nine stops away, he would have to hurry.


Dark questions invaded his inner thoughts as he moved swiftly through the leafy, suburban streets on that bright afternoon; was Alicia was in mortal danger, was he at risk in some way, why had this happened, why us? It was all so very mysterious.


Unbeknown to him, it would be a day not only of intrigue but of lies and danger, the likes of which would change their lives forever....






© Nigel Pamenter 2012
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.

Thursday, 1 March 2012

The Weekend: Chapter 2

                              Rob


She was quiet, unusually so on the journey down but I'd guessed that she was suffering the effects of being up with Archie most nights over the past few weeks. I hadn't bargained on her tears and bloody hysterics when we arrived though. Thankfully, she hadn't 'had a moment' for some time, yet she made a big bloody show at the bottom of the driveway. We'd hardly got off the road before she was babbling about 'telling me something' but then, typically, just sat in the car crying, while I brought our boy inside. It would be embarrassing, especially in front of her sister and my future brother-in-law, as Alicia regularly referred to him. It was somewhat of a relief to reach the doorway.


"I'm sorry Debs, Ali's been a bit under the weather, she'll be up in a mo, can you keep an eye on Archie while I'll pop and see if she's ok?"


Radiant, glowing after her early morning run, the sporty black tracksuit contrasting her fashionably boyish blonde bob, Alicia's younger sibling looked a picture, as always.


Every time we visited I was struck by how markedly different the girls were; Debs, willowy and lean, with pretty angular features, her trendy clothes always flattering her pert body, whilst Alicia was older, dumpier and bookish. And thankfully, never seen in Lycra. And the books, she always had her head in those damn books.


"Yes, of course, no problem, is she alright?" Debs replied, her smile warm and friendly.


"Oh, she's fine, I'm looking after her of course, as usual!", I answered, regretting immediately the weak joke, although Debs seemed to actually find it funny, laughing more than I would expect.


"You're such a good man, Rob", she said, holding my eye for what seemed an age.


"So different to Jack", she continued, still staring.


"Err, well yes, I guess so", I mumbled, feeling slightly embarrassed.


"He has been delayed in Vienna, so I'm home alone", her tone dropping to a breathy whisper, the suggested implication very clear.


I could feel my heart flutter, lips suddenly dry, as this conversation threatened to become decidely inappropriate.


The brief, awkward silence was broken by a middle-aged man approaching up the long driveway.


"Anyone own a silver people carrier?" the stranger asked.


"Yes, it's mine", I answered, " I'm  just goi..."


"Yeah, well it nearly f*****g killed me, screaming out of here so fast", he interrupted angrily.


"What, what the...??", I replied, turning and running back down towards the entrance gate, hearing the man repeating his complaint to Debs.


Breathless, I got to where the new Toyota was, my pride and joy....and now where it wasn't.  Standing there, by the road, confused, I fumbled my phone from my jeans and flicked through the contacts list and waited impatiently as the number rang. No answer, eventually diverting to voicemail, then the obligatory pre-recorded message.


Only these were words I hadn't heard before and neither was the voice..........




© Nigel Pamenter 2012
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.

Wednesday, 15 February 2012

The Weekend: Chapter 1

                                   Alicia
"Alicia, fancy going away next weekend? We haven't had a break since Archie was born" Rob asked.

I felt the hairs on my arms stand up and trying to avoid any consternation on my face, smiled weakly back,

"Yes, sure", I replied, although he wasn't looking, his head buried in the travel brochure.

"I thought we could stay at Jack and Debs' place, be nice to catch up, what do you think?" he continued, not looking up.

Think, think? I'd done little else for nearly a year, trying to forget, attempting to bleach my mind of what had happened that Saturday night. What had started so happily, what had gone so terribly wrong at that party. The safe laughter, the music so close, him knowing that I wouldn't be heard, silent screams in the darkness...and then those whispered, hoarse, dark words on my face as he committed such evil. A secret that must remain so..

The following weekend, as the journey south glided by, I stared blankly at the passing landscape, before being jolted from my daze as the car pulled onto Jack and Debs' drive.

"You ok?" asked Rob.

I couldn't tell him, not here and not now. My heart racing, I got out and took baby Archie from his car seat, glancing up as Rob made his way round to help. He seemed in a hurry, yes, he couldn't get to her quick enough. My simmering anger merged with my fear and hatred, the tears starting to stream down my face as I heard myself blurt,

" Rob, there's something I need to tell you".


© Nigel Pamenter 2012
The right of Nigel Pamenter to be identified as the author of this work has been asserted by him in accordance with the Copyright, Designs and Patents Act 1988. All rights reserved.

Saturday, 11 February 2012

Hey ho, let's talk Cleo

Battling through reading Cleopatra, sifting it to try and understand just what was historically real, what was propaganda and how this relates to the actual perceptions of her and how these manifest themselves, via miscellaneous visual representations of her through the ages.   Feeling ok so far, happy enough with my progress, although part of me is already wanting the higher urgency of tougher study, I love the pressure of the deadline...although I know many don't!

The tutorial went ok, spent most of the time trying to gauge my tutor, to get a handle on what she felt was personally important in written work and was reasonably impressed, she seems tough but fair, which I like.  So, we'll see how things go....

Wednesday, 8 February 2012

Eyes down

Limbering up for tonight's first tutorial...

Looking forward to meeting some like-minded people for an interesting evening, then it's off to work for me. Night shifts, super-big boo!!

Currently just starting Cleopatra, although been a little delayed due to a certain young man....let me introduce the apple of my eye, my darling, ice-cream covered boy Harrison xx  

Sunday, 5 February 2012

Up and at 'em!

So.....if you're reading this, a big hello and welcome along!

BA (Hons) English Language and Literature is what I've decided to have a crack at, a long-held wish to prove to myself that I have the English ability that I think I do, plus I love English language.  Time to face the grammatical music, it's a nervy time, although I know I can do this!

I hope to use my degree to teach here and abroad at some point, that's the plan, although over 6 years this may well change!

The weekend has been memorable for not only my degree starting but also that we have had lots of snow, probably around 6-7 inches, here in Essex. It has been a perfect opportunity to have loads of fun with my utterly adorable 2-year old son, many photos will appear in time, so be warned, he's a right little cutie!

The prep work for the degree has been enjoyable, kicking off with a Renaissance play, something that I have all but finished and now looking forward to moving onto Cleopatra! A diverse subject range should help us all find our feet quickly and get a taste of OU study and what's involved. The highlight so far has been meeting and chatting with our large group on Facebook, such a lovely mix of kind-hearted, funny and intelligent people, I know where I'm heading if stuck!

I don't ALWAYS rabbit so much, so normal posts will be shorter but let's wait and see...