A Business Venture – What Pegman Saw

This week Pegman is on the continent of Africa, in Bamboi, Ghana. There is not a lot of streetview available in this area, but you are free to roam within the borders of Ghana for your inspiration.

Your mission is to write up to 150 words inspired by the prompt. Once your piece is polished, share it with others using the link up below.

I wasn’t quite sure I would participate this week as I could find nothing really about this place.  Wikipedia was utterly useless this time.  Hope you enjoy my little business venture.  Thank you, Karen, for hosting this party weekly.  Most times I end up learning about a place… 😉

I also did something I never do, which is read the other stories first.  Needed inspiration and to see if there were subjects to avoid (a good thing, too, as there were two stories that went along the lines I was considering.)

 

 

A Business Venture

“OK, don’t move, Kwaku! This will make a great picture!”

“You cut off part of my face, Adwenpa!”

“Yeah, but I got our tourist bus, which is really the most important part, no?”

“Sure, easy for you to say, you’re the biggest part of the photo!”

“Stop complaining! Let’s get our flyers made so we can start our business as tour guides of Ghana!”

“Do you really think you will be able to convince tourists to come to Bamboi? It is such a small and insignificant place in all the Bole District. We are but poor farmers.”

“Yes, we must try to get them to leave the luxury of the Ivory Coast and to come and experience the real Africa. We need to start somewhere.”

“And we can bring them to see the baobab trees to show them that “The Little Prince” was wrong. They are not evil and fearsome.”

 

Weekend Writing Prompt #72 – Shell

Could not resist this one.  Shout out to Sammi Cox for hosting this weekly challenge.

A word prompt to get your creativity flowing this weekend.  How you use the prompt is up to you.  Write a piece of flash fiction, a poem, a chapter for your novel…anything you like.  Or take the challenge below – there are no prizes – it’s not a competition but rather a fun writing exercise.  If you want to share what you come up with, please leave a link to it in the comments.

Word Prompt

Shell

Challenge

My shell protects me

And

My heart

Love,

Can crack it open

Cut To Perfection – Friday Fictioneers

It is officially Thursday as of 18 minutes ago.  Hey, what’s a girl to do when she works a 12+ hour shift and gets home at 11 pm?  I had been thinking of this wonderful picture by J.Hardy Carroll and trying to come up with something.  I dunno why, but my drive home gave me an a-ha moment so, voilà.

Thank you to Rochelle for hosting our weekly gathering of fellow fiction writers.  I so love how it challenges me to try to come up with something original.  Sometimes I succeed, sometimes, not so much.  However, we keep coming back week after week, don’t we?  Oh?  You don’t yet?  Well, what are you waiting for?  100 words, beginning, middle and end.  Full story.  It’s a challenge, that’s for sure!  If you do want to try, just click on the blue frog below and add your link to your blog.  Easy-peasy.  Not sure what else needs to be done?  Just click on Rochelle‘s name and follow the rules and regs!

©J.Hardy Carroll

 

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Cut to Perfection

Bit by bit you cut away at me.  I don’t really notice it at first:  a chisel here, a cut there, nothing significant.  I’m flattered you care enough to better me.  Over time, more cuts, more changes, all in the name of making me perfect, you say. I protest.  You dismiss my concerns as nonsense.

You say I have a great base to work with as my frame is good but just needs some improvements to make the whole me that much prettier.  “Just think beautiful cut-out objets d’art!”

Outside, I look good.  All that was me has been discarded.

 

 

 

 

 

The Proof In Our Existence

On this 17th anniversary of a darker-than-dark day, I know that if I accidentally turn on the TV and it’s on a news channel, I will be bombarded with images of disaster, of planes hitting towers, of people running to and fro. Played in a loop. I won’t do that. Instead, I shall share this wonderful post by my friend Marc over at Sorryless because it is stories like these that I prefer to share.

Sorryless

Firefighters Todd Heaney and Frankie DiLeo, of Engine 209, c

People are inherently good.

We’re raised to believe this concept from the time we’re old enough to get bored during liturgy and choose sides on the playground. Most kids aren’t concerned with empirical validation when the freedoms they hold most dear are threatened; yanno, stuff like playtime and dessert.

Then there was me.

I questioned everything, no matter how convincing the adults were at selling the points. I wanted to believe people were generally good, but I had myriad reasons to be skeptical. Adding to my distrust of the status quo was the fact that I read, a lot. And I observed, everything.

So it was that I questioned the cross stitched tenets of a happy life, which mandated that you go to school, score a good job and get married. Societal conventions read like a manual, and I knew that spiritual complications navigated through so much more than a…

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Scenes From the Beauty Parlour

Ever since her bout with cancer, my hairdresser only works three days per week (can’t say I blame her, quite frankly) – usually on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Saturdays.  Occasionally, she’ll switch her Saturday for a Friday.  More often than not, I get an appointment on Tuesdays (nice and quiet), sometimes on Thursdays (a bit more action); I avoid Saturdays because, frankly, I just do.

Last week, I called Françoise to see if she had any openings and she could only give me the next Friday morning at 9:00 am.  I accepted (gawd that is early!) since I usually have Fridays off and if I don’t, I probably won’t start until 4:00 pm which just so happened to end up being the case.  I know for most people 9:00 am is no big whup but when you work the night before until 11:00 pm or later, you just don’t really want to have to put the alarm clock on…

There was just Françoise, waiting for me, and one of her colleagues, let’s call her Yolande, because I have no clue what her name is, and she is taking care of one client whilst another waits in one of her chairs.  Yolande talks loud.  No, I mean LOUD.  And she sounds like a dock worker.  I asked my sister if she knew what her name was and her response was:  “The one with the potty mouth?  No clue.”  😉  So. Yolande it is.

Another customer comes in –  Yolande’s.  The noise level has gone up more than a decibel.  Not long after, in comes Pierre-Luc, owner of the shop and requisite gay coiffeur – walk and talk as one has come to imagine as well as the expressive hands.  What can I say? Stereotypes were not born of the air.

Pierre-Luc’s customer comes in.

During all this coming and going, at the other end of the salon, Françoise and I exchange looks and smiles, with the occasional laugh at the conversation behind us, while she does my own roots in a shade of exactly my natural colour (coz I’m wild like that) and if she wants to speak to me, bends down close to my ear otherwise must shout above the din.  She is not the shouting kind.

Dye applied, she leaves me to read for my 45 minutes as her customer comes in.  Or rather, attempt to read.  I go through comments on my last post, chat with a friend on messenger, and then try to get into my book.  I, at first, keep my back turned to the circus behind me in said attempt.   Finally, unable to concentrate, I give up and turn around to enjoy the show fully.

One woman, who is trying really, REALLY hard to “keep it young” is sitting in the third chair.  Her flaming red hair is standing up in chunks all over her head, while her roots are being refurbished with the appropriate shade of “You Can’t Miss Me”, giving one the impression said chunks are pulling her face up though we know it’s the result of one visit too many with Dr. Nip and Tuck.  Her face is painted to match her hair, clothes appropriately loud – ’nuff said.  Trying hard to look sophisticated and worldly until she opens her mouth and the trash talk that emits is enough to make one take a step back.  She is Yolande’s customer.

The door opens and a man pops his head in, letting Ms Flashy-Red know he saw her car and knew she must be close by and hoped to see her.  Then leaves.  Well THAT starts a whole rush of “What was that?” and she admits the man seems a tad smitten with her and basically follows her around.  The comments of “Did you call the police?” are mingled with the “Look at you with your admirer!”  One can’t help but laugh.  The man is in his early 70’s or well-used late 60’s…

Just as my timer pings, Mr. Loverboy pops his head in to check on his “sweetie”, well hidden behind Yolande, who is just finishing up one of her ladies – you know the type who comes for her weekly wash and set, now properly pouffed and spray-netted and sent out the door..  He says: “I get to see you in your pre-beauty stage!” and leaves.

Ms Flashy-Red says, “Oh my God, he won’t leave me alone and he can’t see me!”

To which I retort:  “If you want to get rid of him, maybe you should let him see you like this!”  Everyone cracks up.

By now, I have had my hair washed and have moved to Françoise’s chair for my cut.  In the mirror I can see Pierre-Luc teasing (they still tease?) the hair of one of his weekly-wash-and-set ladies and find myself wondering if all of this should end up in a post.  Of course it must as here I am.

The conversations are one one top of the other; a true cacophony.  The customers know each other; the hairdressers (we are not in the “stylist” business here) interjecting their two cents’ worth…  I feel I’m in the middle of a mix of “Coming To America” and “Steel Magnolias”.  Everybody knows everybody and their business and I’m just sitting here enjoying the show

Oh… and, before you ask… end result (once I re-wet it and removed all the gunk…)

 

 

From Outrage To Opera – Friday Fictioneers

Good Wednesday evening, my readers! It is Friday Fictioneers time and I (foolishly?) decided to try and channel our very own Queen-of-bringing-history-to-life, Rochelle. What was I thinking? Thank you to GAH Lerner for the use of her lovely photo.

Please, do join in and give us your 100-word story that came to you upon gazing at this photograph. Once you have written it, click on the blue frog below and add your link… then the best part is this: You read and comment on other’s stories, they read and comment on yours and our community becomes even more wonderful. And, bonus, you don’t even realise it, but your writing becomes all the better for it! Win-Win!

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From Outrage To Opera

Moon gazing, Ryan thought of his journey. He saw his 12-year-old self, sitting in solitary confinement despite two good years with Miss Hughes, a teacher who never gave up on him, telling him he mattered.

Once out, he vowed to change his circumstances, including signing up for choir despite his lack of singing skills. Mr. Brown, teacher, took it upon himself to teach him, bringing him to the Metropolitan Opera at 15, with Denyce Graves, an African-American lead singer. Someone like him. Finally, Ryan had a dream.

Nine years later, Ryan Speedo Green sang at that very same Metropolitan Opera.

***********

Read more about Ryan here

Cook in Tuscany – La Chiusa, A Surprise, Innocenti and Farewell

*** EIGHT – yes, EIGHT!!  months have gone by since I returned from Tuscany.  I had so many issues with my computer that I had put this aside to finish later and later never seemed to come.  I am now, if you don’t mind, ready to finish the telling of this fabulous life-changing (for me) trip! ***

♣♣♣TWO YEARS – yes, officially TWO YEARS have, as of today, gone by since I started my Cook in Tuscany Trip.  I am not counting my day in Zug because that would have made yesterday the official two-year mark.  Though I am not pro-resoution, I have promised myself to finish every project I have started and that includes this one.♣♣♣

Now where was I….

Sigh, the last full day in Montefollonico, at La Costa with this fabulous group that made the start of my trip so wonderful. The next morning most would be hopping the van to Chiusi-Chianciano Station to continue their adventures elsewhere or return home.  But till then, we had a full day of wonderful stuff!

As per usual, we had our breakfast in the closed-in veranda before making our way to our last cooking class.  It is kinda funny that we had the van, considering how close we were!  We could easily have walked there and back but hey, why not?  And it’s not like any of us knew where we were going anyway.

This time we made our way to the restaurant La Chiusa, run by Michelin-star chef Dania, a woman who is somewhere in her 70’s but does not dress “accordingly” (whatever that is supposed to be)!  She is one sexy lady!  Though divorced, her husband still works with her.  How very European, eh?

Dania is very artistic and she showed us how to decorate plates with zucchini and beet purées.  We made stuffed zucchini flowers, pesto risotto, chicken stew, caramel nests, fig and caramel ice cream.  The colour of the egg yolks… I have no words.  And this standard for them!

Once most of the mains were started, Dania brought us through to her gardens, which were still amazing in September.  Huge kale, leeks, rows and rows of rosemary, basil, eggplants, peppers, fig trees, zucchini with their blossoms – it was amazing to walk through, while Dania chattered away, occasionally translated by the lovely Geraldine – same who had translated on truffle-hunting day.  I think I would spend hours on this bench, dreaming of what to pick next…

Group photo!

We then went into the “pasta” kitchen where Antonietta had us making ravioli stuffed with ricotta and lovely gnocchi.

All that hard work meant we got to eat al fresco on the terrace.

To return “home”, we decided to walk this time.  It was just up a hill, less than a kilometre and let’s face it, walking was not a bad idea.  As we entered the gates of Montefollonico, we were chattering and laughing when I heard “Dale?”.

What the… I spun around and there was Pierre.  One of Mick’s close friends and former clients.  Oh. Em. Gee.  You cannot make this stuff up!  I mean, come ON!  This is not THE rocking place of Tuscany.  This tiny village is tucked away in the middle of nowhere!  I can still hear Donna saying:  “You turned French Canadian in front of my eyes!”  Speaking of eyes, the whole gang got all misty-eyed at seeing us hug.  Pierre looked at me, then up at the sky and let out a “Mick, tabarnac!”  He said he was a little bit of a believer but now was full-fledged.  I had no idea he and his wife, Geneviève, were there on vacation.  And it was his in-laws who wanted to go visit there.  What were the chances?

Pierre and Me

We exchanged emails and made arrangements to hook up in two days.  So. Very. Cool.

We had a few hours to kill before our next adventure and Sandy wanted to deliver an apron to Dania in thanks.  So I joined Donna and her for a walk back to La Chiusa and Dania.

Our last excursion was down the street from LaCosta to Innocenti Wines.

We were greeted by Vino, Vittorio Innocenti’s sweet dog.  We entered and a few feet in, found ourselves in a fairly dark and musty wine cellar with the big casks.  Vittorio and Laura (Geraldine’s mum) were waiting for us to give us a tour.  Not a very big one!  The place is quite small and feels very intimate.

It was our last night together! How quickly it passed.  How much fun we had.  The memories created will remain forever, of that I am certain.  Friendships created and with the magic of Facebook, maintained.

Our last supper was at La Costa in the closed veranda as the evening was quite cool.  We had a lovely feast of pork chops and the lemon roasted potatoes and balsamic roasted cipollini, three types of crostini (mushroom, roasted tomato and olive), salad and a birthday cake for Cindi and Alison!  A perfect ending to a perfect week in perfect company.  Linda and George gave us each a lovely ceramic plate as a memento.  We would save our good-byes for the morrow.

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Part 4

Part 5

Part 6

Part 7