Tag Archives: friday fiction

Friday Fiction (Article Snippet)

So, I have recently been writing about mistresses in the Regency Period for Jane Austen’s Regency World magazine, and I thought I’d share a little bit of it with you for  today’s Friday Fiction. (I continue apparently not to know what ‘fiction’ means.) Here am I wombling on about the difference between mistresses and prostitutes

In the Regency Period (and indeed in other eras) there was a definite difference between a ‘mistress’ and a ‘prostitute’. A mistress belonged to, or was ‘kept’ by, one specific man, whereas a prostitute would have sex with any man for money. Mistresses might be taken up by one man after another, and perhaps have the role of courtesan in between gentleman lovers; however, a mistress was by definition not a prostitute. Whilst it was expected that she would have sex with her lover whenever he required it, she would also be likely to have a social or emotional relationship with the man as well. For the mistress, it was not necessarily a bad choice, though it could have problematic outcomes not only for the lady herself but for her family. For a start, it would be considerably more difficult to marry after having been a mistress: if Darcy hadn’t forced Wickham to marry Lydia Bennet in Pride and Prejudice, it is very unlikely that anyone else would have married her – and the ill reputation would also have fallen upon her sisters.  It also left a woman reliant on the gentleman in question: in Sense and Sensibility, we are shown the downward spiral of Eliza Brandon’s life after her first affair.

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Friday Fiction

I have been blogging for the Huff Post again – this time about satirical political songs. I wanted to do a mix up of all the parties, but couldn’t find options so instead I’ve concentrated on Ukip, as they are apparently very easy to satirise. (I make no further comment on that…)

So, here we are.

Friday Fiction (poetry)

Random anecdote time: My grandmother had a slightly eccentric habit of clipping out pictures and phrases about cats and sticking them all around the two bathrooms she had. (When I say ‘bathrooms’, there was actually only a toilet and washbasin in one, and a toilet in the other with a washbasin in the ‘real’ bathroom next door. But I wrote ‘toilets’ to start with, and it gave me a mental image of picture-covered-u-bends…) Anyway, she has been dead for many a year, but a whole lot of the phrases/poems/extracts about cats have stayed with me. There was one, I recall, which read:

The gardener’s cat called Mignonette
She hates the cold, she hates the wet.
She sits amongst the greenhouse flowers
And dreams for hours – and hours – and hours.

Now, in one of my more pretentious moments as a 13 year old (fresh back from holidaying at my grandmother’s house), I wrote a poem. I felt a little guilty because it was the poem I’ve just typed out that gave me inspiration, and you can see links between the two. But I doubt if the original author would feel that I had stolen their poem. Mine?

Oh rose! Thou rose of ruby red
When summer comes, lift up thy head,
And dream away the passing hours
Sitting alone from the other flowers.

Oh rose! No greater beauty known.
A summer flower, yet one alone.
As pure and simple as is gold;
A sign of love from days of old.

Oh rose! No flower quite so sweet.
As cold as ice in days of hear.
In summer thou art dearly blessed,
But then in winter, sleep and rest.

Now, before you comment – I know, I know, it is not the most wonderful poem ever written. And even when I wrote it, I was sometimes embarrassed by it. But it’s interesting how one thing may trigger another. And my grandmother’s bathrooms will live in my memory forever 🙂

Friday Fiction (Disability)

So, I wrote my first piece for the Huffington Post blog today, so I think that really has to be today’s FF.

I Get By With a Little Help From My Friends

Hello, I’m Penelope Friday. I am a disabled mother: I’ve had a diagnosis of moderate to severe ME/CFS for 22 years, and a diagnosis of fibromyalgia for 1 day (yes, really. No thank you, in the nicest possible way, I don’t want to know what you advise for either of them). I have a very wonderful son of nine, but when he was a pre-schooler, I had a horrendous amount of trouble getting him to pre-school. I have been reminded of this recently because my car – fairly vital when you can barely walk – has unfortunately gone the way of all things mechanical. And I’m back to relying on… well, that little (or, in my case, big) bit of help from my friends.

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Friday Fiction (Parenting)

Disclaimer: I wrote this a while back so my suggestions may be out of date 🙂

 

Penelope Friday offers parents five easy ways to help the environment without losing their minds!

1. Change Your Ideas On Nappies.

Okay, in a perfect world we’d all be putting our babes in reusable nappies (and doing even more loads of washing than we already are), but realistically for most of us, that’s just not going to happen. Instead of thinking, “I can’t do that, so I can’t do anything,” think again. It’s worth checking for local reusable nappy laundering services: if you’re worried about the cost, rest assured that compared to the cost of buying disposables week after week after emergency-trip-out-at-midnight-because-the-baby’s-just-pooed-in-his-last-nappy… well, put it this way, the price begins to look quite reasonable. AND the companies come to you – think ‘Tesco Direct’, the nappy version.

Unfortunately, it’s also true that not every area has a local nappy laundering company. After days of scouring the internet for any information on it, I discovered that my fine plans for reusable nappies were in tatters. No one (and frankly, I can’t entirely blame them) was willing to take away smelly nappies and replace them with beautiful, freshly laundered ones. Failing this, there’s still another option that is at least green around the edges – biodegradable disposable nappies. Not, I grant you, as great for the environment as reusable, but a darn sight more practical. ‘Nature’ nappies are not only mostly biodegradable, but also (and this is important) widely available in shops like Boots and Mothercare – places you’ll be visiting anyway. What’s more, they are not (as you are no doubt suspecting) extortionately expensive. They’re a similar price to name brand nappies, and work just as well.

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Friday Fiction (The Sisterhood excerpt)

This is my current WIP, another Regency romance. This is currently the beginning of the first chapter, but when I think through how much the beginning of Petticoats and Promises changed during editing, I do not promise that a single word of this will be in the final story!

 

The Sisterhood

 

The simple fact was, Charity Bellingham should have been born a boy.

 

Charity, not for the first time, was pondering this as she practised her scales on the piano. C major. C minor harmonic. C minor melodic. She had played these enough times that her fingers knew the positions by rote, leaving her able to mull things over as she played. If she had been a boy, perhaps her parents would have loved her. (C sharp major; all the sharps.) If she had been born a boy, wouldn’t have been thrown out of Forsbury, their old, beautiful house. The entail would have gone to her. (D minor harmonic – easy) If she had been a boy, perhaps her father wouldn’t even be dead. She might have been with him as he toured their estate, able to fetch help immediately he was thrown from his house. He wouldn’t have lain there alone so many hours, wouldn’t have caught that awful chill which led two days later to his death.

 

If she had been a boy…. E flat melodic minor. Charity thumped the notes down, trying to drown out the voice in her head. Her mother looked up from the chair in which she sat sewing, her lips pursed.

 

“Charity! There can hardly be a need for that volume. It is unladylike.”

 

“Sorry, mother.”

 

And ah yes, there it was. The fact that in all ways save the only one which mattered, Charity was a boy – or at any rate was boyish. Having been born a girl, she had not even had the courtesy to act like one. To pursue girlish interests with the same enthusiasm as her sister. Rebecca, source of this comparison, looked up from her place at her mother’s side, and gave Charity a sympathetic smile. Becca, like their mother, was sewing: a neat line of stitches to embroider a dress. The best that could be said about Charity’s sewing was that it was serviceable: two edges she sewed together would stay sewn, but they would win no merit for beauty. She preferred reading to sewing, and outdoor exercise to either.