Mandy Eve-Barnett's Blog for Readers & Writers

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Bibliophile’s Collective Tuesday – Sharing a Story & 2021 Reading Challenge

January 5, 2021

I am engaged in a six week writing course and thought, I could share my submissions with you. The first week is the sense of SIGHT. This was my story using the image.

The Jungle Wall

Lush greenery clings to a rocky reddish brown mock cliff face. A sheen of a waterfall cascades onto a flat hard surface, in a splashing burst. Sunlight shimmers in the veil of water, creating a band of rainbow colours. To the side are smooth, burnt sienna stones and pebbles, piled atop each other. Lighter green foliage creeps among them mimicking rivets of a stream. Large fern like leaves in glossy dark greens surround  the liquid of the waterfall and quench their thirst.  The throng of office workers pass by without a care or indeed interest. The mock jungle wall has become commonplace, a background feature. Too familiar to see anymore.

That is until, Sandy enters the building for an appointment. She initially enjoys the cool air so pleasant after the hot humid summer day outside. As she’d entered the building, she noticed the glass façade created stripes of light on the grey sidewalk, in stark contrast to her comfortable red soft leather shoes. She pulled at her indigo jeans, wishing she had taken time to hem them properly instead of folding the fabric at her ankles, where it now bunched and folded.

Sandy heard the water falling before seeing the green and brown jungle wall. A smile grew on her face at the joy and thrill that came over her as she looked at it. She was drawn to the lush greenery, the sparkling water and how the sunlight, funneled from an overhead skylight, danced on the surfaces. She walked to the edge of the installation and the noise of traffic, voices and footsteps fell away. It was as though she had traveled to an exotic location – a tropical forest. The falling water drew her eyes from  top to bottom and around again – pulling her forward ever closer. Unconsciously, she leaned over the glass panels, reaching out to touch the delightfulness of the scene. She was within the installation in her mind’s eye – the russet browns and verdant greens grew in richness and intensity. She looked at every leaf, every rock and plant – committing to memory the sights.

Suddenly, her dream was broken, a hand gripping and pulling her backwards. Her purse tumbled from her shoulder to the ground, its contents spilling across the tiled floor. A woman’s voice muffled in Sandy’s ears, a stranger’s face full of concern.

“You nearly fell over, my dear. You need to take care. Here let me help you with your belongings.”

Sandy struggled from her daze and thanked the woman, as they gathered her possessions. With all the items gathered Sandy thank you woman and watched her walk away, unsure how she could have been so absorbed in the jungle of her imagination. Glancing at her watch she gasped to see she was almost late for her appointment. Without another look, she hurried away.

In the depths of the rock wall, eyes shone out. The treasure was just inside the glass panels. As the building emptied later on that evening, a small creature crept to retrieve the pink and black vial. It put it with all the other treasures and grinned. Another susceptible human drawn in. 

Let me know what you think of this story.

I have once again entered the Goodreads Reading Challenge – I am committing to read a minimum of 15 books in 2021. I hope I can make this goal, as I missed my goal by two books last year, mainly because I was busy completing my steampunk novel, The Commodore’s Gift and promoting it once it was published and participating in NaNoWriMo. This year I will edit and revise my manuscript for the first book in my crime/detective trilogy, so decreased my reading goal slightly. Have you signed up?

My current read is If It Bleeds by Stephen King. It will not take much longer!

What are you reading? What was your favorite book of 2020?

Irk – Not What you Think..?

April 11, 2013


256 (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

Irk – definition: to make weary, irritated, or bored : annoy – and it’s  an English river!

Every day is an opportunity to learn something new -eh?

 River Irk


The River Irk is a river in North West England that flows through the northern suburbs of Manchester before merging with the River Irwell in the city centre. Wikipedia
Source : Royton
Mouth :River Irwell
Cities : Manchester, Chadderton, Oldham, Middleton, Royton.
The river is known as Irk but has also been known as Iwrck or the Irke. These names are thought to have been derived from the Roebuck, which suggests that the Irk may at one time have been a swift-running river.
In medieval times a mill was sited by the Irk, where tenants of the manor could grind their corn. The fisheries of the river were controlled by the lord of the manor. In the 16th century throwing carrion and other offensive matter into the Irk was forbidden. Water for the city of Manchester was drawn from the river before the Industrial Revolution. The first bridge over the Irk was recorded in 1381 but as the river was noted for destructive floods there may have been previous ones . In a 1480 description by the burgesses’ of Manchester in reference to the highway between Manchester and Collyhurst, it states  “the water of Irk had worn out”. In 1816, of the seven bridges over the Irk, six were liable to be flooded after heavy rain but the seventh, the Ducie Bridge completed in 1814 was the first one above flood levels.
According to The New Gazetteer of Lancashire (1830) the Irk had more mill seats upon it than any other stream of its length in the Kingdom.” and that “the eels in this river were formerly remarkable for their fatness, which was attributed to the grease and oils expressed by the mills from the woollen cloths and mixed with the waters.” However, by the start of the 20th century the Irk Valley between Crumpsall and Blackley had been left a neglected river, “not only the blackest but the most sluggish of all rivers”. A project has been set up to rejuvenate the river and remove the pollution.
As for the definition of irk shown above …I’m sure we could all  make a fairly long list without too much trouble. It can be something simple such as a partner’s annoying habit or more serious news related items or a local dispute of some sort. Unfortunately we all have our ‘triggers’ that make us grind our teeth – or not! I suppose if we were not irked about some things we would not be human or totally oblivious of the world around us. Something I would guess writers are not – we ‘feed” off our environments utilizing sights, smells, tastes and touch.
I hope you have few irks in your life but if you do overcome them in your writing – anything goes there.
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