Friday, November 11, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Day 11

"I don't suppose I'll have time to change," Robin wondered, in between bites, trying to reorient himself to his routines.  That was the worst part of getting lost, losing one's grip on time: going out for an hour's walk and taking two hours that felt like at least three hours threw off the rhythm of time passing.

"Cab's coming," the housekeeper cocked her head to one side, not looking at a clock but rather listening for a motor in the distance, "Brought your satchel down."

"Oh, thanks," Robin grinned, pleased with Mrs. Ricks's attention. Though she had never once failed him in courtesy or comfort, her taciturn ways made him think her mildly hostile and a little stupid, so her least efforts always struck him as a pleasant surprise, "I guess I don't look too wrong for the train."

"Mmm," Mrs. Ricks murmured agreement, examining her employer's bulky turtleneck pullover, tweed shooting jacket, and corduroy trousers tucked into high paddock-boots with an eye for dirt or disorder; finding none, she wondered that Robin could spend hours hacking in the woods without getting dirty while her husband couldn't seem to cross the kitchen-yard without coming back covered in muck.

*****

200 Words
2143 Total Words

Saturday, November 5, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 ~ Day Five

Entering the house through an unprepossessing side-door into a maze of tiny interconnected rooms that had been part of the kitchen offices until Robin's Georgian ancestors had moved the kitchens into their own wing across the moat; they were too small to be of any modern use, and the space they occupied too narrow to turn into a larger room, so the rooms just sat empty to confuse visitors.

Robin's grandparents had moved the working kitchens back into the main house after the first War, as modern servants didn't care to take a thousand steps from the kitchen to the dining room weighted down with heavy silver platters; the huge original kitchen, which had been turned into a smoking and billiards room in the interim, was revived and lined with cupboards and appliances in the height of 1920s efficiency.  Robin's mother had turned the place into more of a family kitchen as was popular in the 70s, putting couches and a television in the area beside the ancient fireplace and disguising the cabinets and new appliances behind worn wooden facades to make it look more medieval.

Now the kitchen was the domain of Mr. and Mrs. Ricks, a married couple who had been taking care of the house since shortly after Robin's father died; they made the kitchen their headquarters and did all of their maintenance and repairs from there, cooking and cleaning for anyone who came down to stay, but mostly just keeping a spark of life inside the house so it didn't get stale and creepy.

The Rickses were typical country people, in Robin's estimation, rather taciturn and melancholy; they were both tall and very thin, dark but somehow colorless, with long faces and skins weathered beyond their years, enough alike to be cousins (which Robin assumed they were).  Ricks never spoke unless forced to, and answered in monosyllables; Mrs. Ricks was more voluble, but only just.

"Good, you're back" Mrs. Ricks said, looking up from some work she was doing at the ancient scrubbed oak kitchen table "I was wondering if I should send Ricks out to fetch you."

"Would you believe, I got lost in the woods?" Robin laughed ruefully at himself, perching on one of the high stools lined up on one side of the old table to form a breakfast bar.

"It's not called the Wanderwood for nothing," she said, unimpressed, pushing a plate of bread and cheese across, "Eat this, tide you over 'til you can have the lunch I'm packing for the train."

"Oh, thank you," Robin sighed with relief, taking up one of the simple canapes (rather than a hunk of bread and a hunk of cheese with some pickle in the middle, Mrs. Ricks knew her employer liked the bread cut into pieces with a little square of cheese and a dab of relish on each one), "I'm starving, all I've had since breakfast was a chocolate bar."

"Mmm," the lady murmured neutrally, though managed to convey her belief that Robin shouldn't eat so many sweets, while she placed the components of Robin's now-cold lunch into plastic tubs which, with some flatware and a glass wrapped in a cloth napkin and the half-bottle of Moselle in a Thermos flask to keep cool, went into a thermal-lined nylon satchel for travel.

*****

554 Words
1943 Words Total

Thursday, November 3, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Day Three

Wanderwood is a moated stone manor house, of chiefly Tudor vintage, built around a Norman tower standing on the foundations of a Saxon tower, which in turn covered the remains of a Roman outpost on the River Wylye.  The Norman tower forms the entrance to the quadrangular mansion, and features a working drawbridge, sturdy enough to drive lorries across, which Robin crossed gratefully; slamming the small door in the larger double-doors filling the arch and leaning against it as if he were being pursued, he closed his eyes and tried laughing himself out of the strange fear he still felt.

"Moron, getting lost in your own woods," he chuckled aloud, resorting to the old schoolboy trick of shaming the fear out, "You'll be wetting the bed next."

The minor shame covered the fear rather than dispelling it, but it was an infinitely more comfortable emotion, so Robin enlarged on it as he crossed the courtyard to the east wing: worrying over how much time he'd wasted being lost, he wouldn't be able to sit down and eat his lunch in comfort before the minicab came to take him to Salisbury; alternatives spun around in his mind, grabbing some bread and cheese and eating it on the way, or getting something from the snack bar in the station or on the train, none of which would be as satisfying as the chop and salad with a nice glass of white he'd intended.
a
"There you are, my lord," Mrs. Ricks looked up from the her worktable in the ancient

*****

258 Words

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Day Three

Wanderwood is a moated stone manor house, of chiefly Tudor vintage, built around a Norman tower standing on the foundations of a Saxon tower, which in turn covered the remains of a Roman outpost on the River Wylye.  The Norman tower forms the entrance to the quadrangular mansion, and features a working drawbridge, sturdy enough to drive lorries across, which Robin crossed gratefully; slamming the small door in the larger double-doors filling the arch and leaning against it as if he were being pursued, he closed his eyes and tried laughing himself out of the strange fear he still felt.

"Moron, getting lost in your own woods," he chuckled aloud, resorting to the old schoolboy trick of shaming the fear out, "You'll be wetting the bed next."

The minor shame covered the fear rather than dispelling it, but it was an infinitely more comfortable emotion, so Robin enlarged on it as he crossed the courtyard to the east wing: worrying over how much time he'd wasted being lost, he wouldn't be able to sit down and eat his lunch in comfort before the minicab came to take him to Salisbury; alternatives spun around in his mind, grabbing some bread and cheese and eating it on the way, or getting something from the snack bar in the station or on the train, none of which would be as satisfying as the chop and salad with a nice glass of white he'd intended.
a
"There you are, my lord," Mrs. Ricks looked up from the her worktable in the ancient

*****

258 Words

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Day Three

Wanderwood is a moated stone manor house, of chiefly Tudor vintage, built around a Norman tower standing on the foundations of a Saxon tower, which in turn covered the remains of a Roman outpost on the River Wylye.  The Norman tower forms the entrance to the quadrangular mansion, and features a working drawbridge, sturdy enough to drive lorries across, which Robin crossed gratefully; slamming the small door in the larger double-doors filling the arch and leaning against it as if he were being pursued, he closed his eyes and tried laughing himself out of the strange fear he still felt.

"Moron, getting lost in your own woods," he chuckled aloud, resorting to the old schoolboy trick of shaming the fear out, "You'll be wetting the bed next."

The minor shame covered the fear rather than dispelling it, but it was an infinitely more comfortable emotion, so Robin enlarged on it as he crossed the courtyard to the east wing: worrying over how much time he'd wasted being lost, he wouldn't be able to sit down and eat his lunch in comfort before the minicab came to take him to Salisbury; alternatives spun around in his mind, grabbing some bread and cheese and eating it on the way, or getting something from the snack bar in the station or on the train, none of which would be as satisfying as the chop and salad with a nice glass of white he'd intended.
a
"There you are, my lord," Mrs. Ricks looked up from the her worktable in the ancient

*****

258 Words

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Day Three

Wanderwood is a moated stone manor house, of chiefly Tudor vintage, built around a Norman tower standing on the foundations of a Saxon tower, which in turn covered the remains of a Roman outpost on the River Wylye.  The Norman tower forms the entrance to the quadrangular mansion, and features a working drawbridge, sturdy enough to drive lorries across, which Robin crossed gratefully; slamming the small door in the larger double-doors filling the arch and leaning against it as if he were being pursued, he closed his eyes and tried laughing himself out of the strange fear he still felt.

"Moron, getting lost in your own woods," he chuckled aloud, resorting to the old schoolboy trick of shaming the fear out, "You'll be wetting the bed next."

The minor shame covered the fear rather than dispelling it, but it was an infinitely more comfortable emotion, so Robin enlarged on it as he crossed the courtyard to the east wing: worrying over how much time he'd wasted being lost, he wouldn't be able to sit down and eat his lunch in comfort before the minicab came to take him to Salisbury; alternatives spun around in his mind, grabbing some bread and cheese and eating it on the way, or getting something from the snack bar in the station or on the train, none of which would be as satisfying as the chop and salad with a nice glass of white he'd intended.
a
"There you are, my lord," Mrs. Ricks looked up from the her worktable in the ancient

*****

258 Words

Wednesday, November 2, 2016

NaNoWriMo 2016 - Day Two

Robin breathed a sigh of relief when he caught sight of the familiar roofline of Wanderwood through the thinning trees; he'd been lost in the wood, something that had never happened in all his years of tramping about alone.  That wood was so familiar, Robin thought he could walk it blindfold.

But today he'd found himself in a part of the wood he'd never seen before, a very old part, full of wizened and incalculably ancient trees, carpeted in dense soft leaf-mould, with delicate ferns and rich wildflowers swaying under lazy beams of golden sunlight.  It was utterly beautiful, by far the most beautiful part of the wood he'd ever seen, but terrifyingly unfamiliar. Referring to the compass in the back of his pocket-watch, he found the needle swinging around lazily instead of pointing north.

Grabbing hold of a rising panic, Robin sat on the bole of a tree that had fallen down some hundreds of years ago but continued to grow horizontally, providing a sturdy bench in a tiny picturesque glade. Some deep breathing and concentrated positive thinking got the panic under control, and a bar of Belgian chocolate calmed him further; his mind back in order, he remembered that the late-morning sunbeams must be slanting east-to-west, he had only to follow them westward to get home.

It took a good long while to find familiar territory, stumbling onto a well-worn path wending among friendly trees after a half-hour's concentrated hiking; and even then it was another mile out of the wood, and a half-mile further across meadows to the house.  He made a note of where he'd regained the path so he could go back another day, with more provisions and perhaps a camera to capture the beauty of the place.  Nevertheless, the panic of getting lost did not quite leave him, he was unsettled and eager to reach the solid security of the house.

*****

317 Words
1131 Total Words