A Done Deal – Cath Delaney
780 words Feel Good
Sally views a television programme on arranged marriages with horror. But her mother, Kate, had visited India and met a woman who gave her a different perspective on the practice. It was to change more than one life…
Sally rolls her eyes as the credits roll up the television screen. “Thank goodness I was born here,” she says. “Imagine not choosing your own husband.” The documentary about arranged marriages had been fascinating stuff. “Just think who I could have ended up with if you had arranged my marriage.” Sally laughs. “Some boring nerd with a steady job, no doubt. It doesn’t bear thinking about.”
A Fairy Godmother Calls – Cath Delaney
1540 words Fairytale
Jean firmly does not believe in Fairies, Ghosts or anything supernatural. But when a disembodied voice visits her and reminds her of past events, she is thrown into confusion. A long walk with her dog, Sam, is required to clear her head. But the voice has other ideas…
“Lovely day, isn’t it?” Jean almost dropped the plates she was putting in the sink. Who on earth could that be? A quick glance at the glass kitchen door confirmed there was no unexpected visitor. As she looked round, Jean frowned. She could have sworn she’d heard a voice. But she was quite alone in the house and the lane at the end of the garden path was quiet this early on a Sunday morning. ‘I’m hearing things, I must be getting old and daft,’ Jean decided, shaking her head. And she had indeed just been thinking what a lovely day it was. Winter had come early but it was sunny and crisp, with frost on the branches and hedgerows.
A Little Grey Lie – Cath Delaney
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Teenager Josh is at loggerheads with his father, Max and his mother, Anna, feels like the pig in the middle, trying to keep the peace. Then she finds Josh’s English homework book and discovers how Josh really feels. But what can she do to improve things?
A herd of elephants stampeded down the stairs and burst into the kitchen. “You’ve been in my room and I can’t find my One Direction CD,” Josh screamed. “Please calm down. I had to clean it, what a filthy mess. And I haven’t touched your CDs.” “It’s my room and you shouldn’t go in. I’m entitled to some privacy.” Josh’s contorted face was not a pleasant sight. “And I’m entitled to have dirty dishes washed and in the kitchen where they belong, not under the bed. They were a health risk. And while I’m at it, how many times do I have to tell you to put dirty washing in the basket….?”
A Very Pleasant Evening – Cath Delaney
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Fay and Hugh are giving a dinner party and Hugh, as usual, has selected one of the guests for his flirtatious attentions. Throughout the successful evening Fay looks back at how their relationship has developed and ponders on a decision she knows she will have to make sooner or later.
The main course is a success and I relax. I feel a flush of contentment. I’m enjoying myself as the wine flows and the laughter increases. I marvel at the change in me; in the not too distant past the evening would have been an agony of effort to cover my insecurities. But my new found happiness has come at a price, a price that right now I’m willing to pay. The big question, the one I’m avoiding, is for how long? “Lovely salmon, Fay. You can always tell when it’s wild, don’t you think?” Shona winks at me.
Acting Out – Cath Delaney
2000 words Women’s Fiction
Annie, a probabtion officer, meets Dean, an actor. She slowly gets to grips with the life of an actor who spends most of his time ‘resting’. But then Dean lands a big part in a soap and life as Annie knew it comes to an end. Action is required.
I spotted two middle-aged women giggling and pointing outside the supermarket and groaned. Dean feigned ignorance, looking round casually, though he’d probably seen the women before I did. His radar was always on high alert in public. “It’s you, Dean Davies, I don’t believe it,” one of the women screamed, as she nearly knocked me over in her haste to get to Dean. She needn’t have rushed. Dean was always available to his fans, even though he moaned incessantly in private about the nuisance of it all.
Affairs of the Heart – Cath Delaney
2000 words Romance
Married couple Jane and John are very successful artists, with John’s pottery and Jane’s weaving much sought after. Their parties, held to promote their business, are legendary. But although the world views them as a golden couple, the truth is very different…
I catch her staring at me across the room. It’s a look of intensity, a slight frown creasing her forehead. ‘So you’re the latest, are you?’ I think and move across the room towards her. “I’m Jane, I don’t think we’ve met,” I say, offering my hand. Beneath my social smile I’m thinking ‘but I know what you’re about.’ She takes my hand and her limp-lettuce handshake gratifies; she’s not as confident as she looks, with her geometric hair cut and designer dress. “Yes, I recognised you from the photos in the shop. I’m Anna,” she says. “John invited me. I met him at the museum, at a talk about his pottery. I’m very interested in ceramics.”
Aunt Jean’s French Beret – Cath Delaney
1900 words Humour / Teen Story
Lauren’s Aunt is visiting the family. Aunt Jean has a rather eccentric dress sense and in the past her school friends have mocked Lauren about it. But this time it is even worse : the thought of bumping into her new boyfriend during a proposed outing with her Aunt is mortifying. But Lauren loves her Aunt and can’t hurt her by refusing to go. All she can do is cross her fingers…..but will it work?
Aunt Jean arrived sporting a bright pink French-style beret, fake-fur boots and emerald green eye shadow. My heart sank. I knew she would insist on taking us children out and the chance of bumping into Paul King was too awful to contemplate. I wanted to crawl away and hide. Aunt Jean’s headgear is a family joke that is seriously unfunny. Last year on her visit she wore a huge straw hat covered in artificial fruit. She took us to the local theme park for her treat and half my school seemed to be there.
Back Pedalling – Cath Delaney
1000 words Romance
Rob and Lisa met through their love of cycling. But Rob always has to meet a target whereas Lisa prefers a more relaxed approach. Their difference comes to a head one wild and windy day. But will it end their relationship?
Panting and sweating, I propelled my bike up the hill. Rob was already at the top, leaning against a wall, looking at his watch. There were ominous grey clouds in the sky and the howling wind was against me. I finally reached the top and Rob frowned. “You’re slow today, Lisa, you’re usually quicker than this.” “I’m exhausted, that hill was a killer.” “Well, we can only have five minutes break or we won’t make the campsite in Brisedale before dark.” With that Rob turned away and studied the map for the umpteenth time.
Blood Sisters – Cath Delaney
1000 words Feel Good Story
Julie and Kate have been best friends since primary school. Then Kate meets Gareth and their friendship is suddenly ripped apart. When Julie spots Kate walking along the street, she desperately wants to make up. But will Kate?
I see her coming along the High Street towards me, Kate, my ex-best friend. I panic for a moment and turn to cross the road out of her way. Then I change my mind and swerve back. That we haven’t bumped into each other before now can’t be a coincidence, not in a town as small as ours. Kate has obviously avoided me, though she isn’t doing so now. Why is that? Part of me, the emotionally detached part, is curious to see what Kate will do. Will she shout at me? Or cut me dead?
Cascading Love – Cath Delaney
1000 words Feel Good
It’s Bonfire Night and Lauren and Don are due to attend a family firework party. But Mother Nature has a rather different plan…
“Fireworks for you tonight, my girl,” said Don, as he kissed my cheek. “If you say so,” I sighed. “I do and you’ll love it. And so will our daughter.” Don patted my stomach as he looked at his watch and then he was gone in a flurry, leaving me laughing and even looking forward to the evening’s activities. I can’t say I ever enjoyed bonfire night, not since the year I turned six.
Converting Pat – Cath Delaney
1700 words Humour
Got a slob of a partner? One who wouldn’t know what a duster was if it bit them on the nose? One who can’t work the washing machine but is a whizz on the Iphone? One who believes that housework fairies really exist? Then you have a Pat. But something had to give…
I realised love and hate are very close relatives when I saw the state of the kitchen. Dirty plates littered the filthy worktops and the grease-splattered cooker defied belief. The tea towel was on the floor and had a muddy boot print on it. I stormed into the sitting room. Pat, leg hooked over the arm of the chair, looking very relaxed, glass of lager in hand, was watching the news on T.V. “Couldn’t you at least clean the kitchen after yourself?” I demanded. Pat turned slowly and theatrically to face me, looking sulky “It’s the weekend, my leisure time.”
Girls Night Out – Cath Delaney
2000 words Women’s Fiction
The girls’ nights out are a lifeline for the five old school friends. They meet every other month for a meal, wine and raucous laughter as they share their lives with each other. But tonight Chrissie has some news which will stun them…
The waiter approaches us with a swagger. “Ready to order are we? And what’s this tonight, ladies, a hen party?” His tone is amused, condescending. Fiona looks up at him over her glasses. “It’s a let’s get rid of patronising men party. And no, we’re not ready to order yet.” The waiter blushes and hastens away as we choke over our menus. Fiona’s always been the one with the quick answer, the top of the stairs humour that always comes too late for the rest of us.
Growing Old Disgracefully – Cath Delaney
875 words Feel Good Story
Eighty five year old Sadie moved into a nursing home when she broke her hip and could no longer cope at home. Although she is unhappy in her new surroundings, she has a great fear of becoming a burden to her only daughter, Kate, who has offered her an alternative. Can Sadie learn to accept her situation with grace or is she destined to become a miserable, grumpy old woman?
“Have you ever thought of having it cut, Sadie?” Anna asks, as she helps me do my hair. My hands are refusing to co-operate this morning. “No,” I say, offhandedly, watching in the mirror as Anna arranges my bun in not quite my preferred style. Across the room, Doreen looks up from her dusting. “It’d make our job easier,” she says. Anna blushes. “I didn’t mean it like that.”
Hammond Bear and the Runaway Train – Cath Delaney
760 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear is on holiday with Rebus at Jessica’s grandparents on the Isle Of Man. When Jessica sets up her father’s old train set, Hammond is desperate to have a go. But Hammond doesn’t pay quite enough attention as he watches Jessica play with it…
Jessica put Hammond and Rebus on the bed in her grandparents’ house while she unpacked her case. “See, Rebus, I stayed here before I came to live with you,” Hammond said to his friend. Rebus looked round the room. The seashore could be seen from the bedroom window at the end of the bed.
Hammond Bear and the Snowman – Cath Delaney
700 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear enjoys sitting on the windowsill and looking out, especially as it had been snowing and Jessica had built a magnificent snowman. But a robin comes along and pecks the snowman’s nose! Hammond is worried it will hurt the snowman. Then comes a very big surprise…
Hammond Bear saw snowflakes drifting across the window pane and shook his teddy bear friend, Rebus. “Rebus, look it’s snowing. I want to look out of the window. Will you help me up, please?” The window sill was near the end of the bed, but it was a little too high for Hammond to reach. He could get down from it because he just rolled off and landed on the soft duvet.
Hammond Bear Goes on Holiday – Cath Delaney
760 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear is excited about his forthcoming holiday on the Isle Of Man and he is looking forward to going on the big ferry again. But thanks to Spot the dog, the ferry journey turns out to be a bit more exciting than Hammond expected…
Hammond Bear was very excited. He heard Jessica saying she was going to see her grandparents on the Isle of Man, and she was taking Hammond and Rebus with her! “Rebus, Rebus, wake up! We’re going on holiday,” he shouted, shaking Rebus by the arm. Rebus opened his eyes and frowned. “Please calm down, little Hammond Bear. You’ve woken me up, it’s just not fair.”
Hammond Bear Meets Rebus – Cath Delaney
The 3rd in the Hammond Bear series
640 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear was very excited when he learned he would be moving to live with Jessica in her house. But she has another teddy bear called Rebus. Hammond is just a little bit worried. Will Rebus want a new bear friend?
Hammond Bear was very happy. Jessica had arrived to stay with her grandparents on the Isle of Man. They lived in a big house on the seashore. And Hammond lived there too. Hammond usually sat on the windowsill in Jessica’s bedroom where he could look out to sea, but when Jessica came to visit she took him on the beach to play.
Hammond Bear Meets Santa Claus – Cath Delaney
650 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear is desperate to meet Santa Claus. But when he does, his friend Rebus doesn’t believe him and Hammond wonders if it had all been a dream. Until he sees something which proves he did see Santa…
Hammond Bear watched from the bed as a beaming Jessica hung up a large stocking on the bedroom fireplace and then put a mince pie and a glass of milk next to it. “What’s Jessica doing?” he asked his big Teddy Bear friend, Rebus, who was dozing next to him. “Why, Santa Claus brings presents on Christmas Eve Night. Then Jessica will open them with great delight.”
Hammond Bear Saves the Day – Cath Delaney
The 2nd story in the the Hammond Bear series
600 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear lives by the seaside and loves watching the sea from his bedroom window. But one day he sees a boat in trouble. Whatever can he do to save it?
Hammond Bear liked his new home at Jessica’s grandparent’s house on the Isle of Man. He lived in Jessica’s bedroom where there was a big box of toys on the floor and a brightly coloured spread on the bed. There were lots of books on a shelf and a big window with a wide windowsill which looked out to the seashore.
Hammond Bear’s Bath Tub Blues – Cath Delaney
730 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear has often heard Jessica splashing in the bath and wished he could be with her, though Rebus explained why it was not a good idea. But one day the bathroom door is open and Hammond can finally satisfy his curiosity…
Hammond Bear sat up in bed. Jessica had gone to school and the house was quiet. ‘Ho ho, time for some fun,’ thought Hammond. He turned to his teddy bear friend, Rebus, to ask him to play but Rebus was already dozing. Hammond sighed. Rebus seemed to spend a lot of time asleep. When Hammond protested Rebus would just say he was older than Hammond and needed more rest.
Hammond Bear’s Duvet Disaster – Cath Delaney
770 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear has been playing with Jessica’s toys when he decides it is time to have a nap. But as he pulls himself up on the duvet he finds he can’t get on the top of the cover! What on earth has gone wrong?
Hammond Bear put the last piece in the jigsaw and sat back, pleased with himself. He had enjoyed doing the jigsaw from Jessica’s toy box. Hammond found it when he was looking for something to play with and realised he hadn’t seen Jessica do it for ages. ‘Perhaps Jessica grew tired of it,’ Hammond said to himself, as he started putting it together.
Hammond Bear’s Great Escape – Cath Delaney
675 words Children 0 – 5 years
The first in the Hammond Bear series
Hammond Bear is tired of living in a shop window with lots of other bears. He urgently needs a plan. But will it work? And where will he go if it does?
Hammond Bear looked round the shop window and frowned. All the other teddy bears were dozing or talking quietly amongst themselves. They didn’t seem to mind living on top of each other in a shop window but Hammond did. Occasionally one of the bears would be lifted up and put in a bag, ready to go to their new home.
Hammond Bear’s Red Wellington Boots – Cath Delaney
650 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear decides to play while Jessica is out. When he finds some red wellington boots he just has to try them on. He has great fun until it’s time for Jessica to return. Then it all goes wrong…
Hammond Bear was very excited. It was Saturday so Jessica would not be going to school. They’d be able to play all day! But wait a minute. What was Jessica saying? “I have to go to town to get some new school shoes,” she said to Hammond and his teddy bear friend Rebus. “But I’ll be back this afternoon to play with you.”
Hammond Bear’s Very Big Phew – Cath Delaney
the 4th in the Hammond Bear series
600 words Children 0 – 5 years
Hammond Bear wants to play but Rebus, his teddy bear friend, would rather sleep. So Hammond decides to play on his own. But then he notices the bedroom door is open. Time to explore!
Hammond Bear wanted to play. But Jessica was at school and his big teddy bear friend, Rebus, was snoozing. “Rebus, wake up, play with me, please,” Hammond said, shaking Rebus by the arm. Rebus opened his eyes. “Little Hammond Bear, you’re being a pest. I’m older than you and I need my rest.” And with that Rebus closed his eyes again.
Love Me, Love My Cat – Cath Delaney
1500 words Humour
Oedipus is a man-hating, over-indulged cat, but his owner, Clare, has always been his willing slave. But then she meets John and her cat-centric life suddenly becomes problematical…
Sue’s mouth hung open as she watched me prepare dinner for Oedipus: poached chicken livers in gravy. “What,” she asked “does he have for dessert?” “He deserves the best,” I retorted. “And do shut your mouth, you look like a goldfish!” “You think he loves you, Clare, but it’s all cupboard love. Just look at him.” Oedipus was snaking round my ankles, purring loudly. “I bet your Tom is more affectionate when you’ve cooked him a nice tea.” “For goodness sake, we’re talking about a cat here!” Sue shook her head, then giggled. “You’re right about Tom, though.”