Sunday, 17 April 2011

Spilling Ink

Extra treats for Harvey this week, as I heard I'd won second prize in the Spilling Ink flash fiction competition.

Until last year I had something of a blind spot where flash fiction was concerned. I'd never tried writing it, because I couldn't imagine being able to develop characters in the way I wanted within a word count of perhaps only 500 or less. For me, characters and relationships are the things I really like to explore in stories, way ahead of plots or themes.

But then for some reason I went through a bit of a sea-change. I started experimenting with flash fiction, and found I enjoyed the challenge. I realised that if the main character was clear enough in my mind, it was possible to pin them down on paper. It was just a matter of working hard within the tight focus of the story, and not getting distracted by rambling sub-plots as I am inclined to do. That may sound obvious, but I am a great believer in the principle that we only really learn by doing.

So the moral of this particular tale is that even if you think you can't, have a bash anyway. You may find that you can!

Saturday, 9 April 2011

Quote of the day

Recorded advert played over Morrisons' tannoy: "Start saving for an easy Christmas!"

Sunday, 3 April 2011

An heirloom!

My parents are in a constant state of clearing out their house. This means my visits usually yield at least one item of family memorabilia that I didn't know I needed.

Most recently it was this Home Safe from the long defunct Derby Savings Bank. This little safe belonged to my grandmother. It's metal, and even empty it weighs almost a pound (that's around 450 grams if you're reading this in metric). One side has a slot for coins and the other has a round hole for notes.

When I went round Birmingham's Back-to-Back houses, there was a similar safe on the mantelpiece of the 1930s themed house, so I'm guessing my grandmother's safe is from the same era. I am told that the bank kept the key to the safe to prevent savings being raided for the gas meter. You would have to take your safe along to the bank for them to open it and pay the contents into your account. Unfortunately I don't have the savings book that would have accompanied the safe so I don't know how much my grandmother managed to squirrel away in there. I'd love to know what she was saving for.

Apparently safes were manufactured for lots of banks across the country, and also for the Post Office. Do let me know if you've got one like it.