Chapter Two

I’m so excited. I’ve just found Chapter Two of a novel that I am having real trouble writing. I didn’t even realise I’d managed Chapter Two. It needs some work, but would you like me to write some more?

Chapter two

Every day she’d count the boats. See which ones were in and which ones were out. Imagine what it would be like to be on holiday. Some people led different lives.

Simon and Sarah weren’t poor. Not at all. But they didn’t go on holiday any more. Simon had decided that they should spend all their money on nice things for the house. Sarah just wanted him to be happy. So they lived a simple life in their Grade II listed converted farm house.

The house looked like a show home. Sarah always thought show home was a silly phrase. There’s no home in show. Showing is all about having nothing on your tables, nothing on your surfaces. Everything the appearance of clean. Sarah knew that things were filthy underneath.

But it was the way that Simon liked things and that was important. It was silly of her to leave the knives the wrong way round in the drainer so the water spilled out of them. She should have known where to leave the cloth. She should have known him by now. They had been together for years. Since Sarah was 22 but felt longer. Ten whole years to get to know each other.

Now they had Louis and Sarah worked when they could. They couldn’t pay childcare and Sarah certainly couldn’t have paid it out of her unstable freelance wage. So Sarah had no money.

She mainly stayed inside with Louis, so they would be in when Simon came home. He was a lively baby and didn’t sleep much so Sarah found it hard to get all the housework done and her work. Simon couldn’t stand it if he got home and the house wasn’t tidy. His main priority when he got in was to clear away all Louis’s toys so there was order in the living room. He never helped her with making dinner any more. He did enough with working.

Every day she would take Louis for a walk to get him to sleep, as he didn’t seem to sleep otherwise. And she would go the same way at the same time. Rain or shine. Like a zombie. It was something she did. Like breathing. She couldn’t afford to do much now they had Louis, but at least she could walk.

It was a solitary thing. The whole of Shardington seemed to be asleep as she walked. She rarely saw anyone. But she used to talk to Louis and that was something. He was ten months old and still not sleeping properly. She was worn out. But out she would go to count the boats in and out.

They were narrow boats at the new marina that had been there a matter of months. Sarah always took the path down there. There was a tea room, but she never stopped for a drink. She couldn’t afford it. She could barely afford to text these days, money was so tight.

The boats were all the names of Shakespeare characters or plays. They reminded Sarah of another life when she studied literature. She never really did Shakespeare in her degree as it didn’t fit, but still the names of the boats gave her a thrill of recognition. Ophelia. Cordelia. Henry V. People hired them out to go on holiday. But this was the recession, so most of the time they were all there to count. Today Portia wasn’t there. The quality of mercy…

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Twelve weeks to stop the diggers

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Twelve weeks to stop the diggers

We are but Common people.

You can see the furrows in our brows.

We only want to protect what is ours

And has been ours for centuries.

We only want to revel in what we love.

We hate change, of course we hate change

Oh how we hate the passing of the seasons.

It makes us cold.

They try to silence us

But they haven’t cut our tongues.

We threaten revolution

With every breath. We

bang drums. We

can even change our diction.

And when they threaten, we roar.

Poem (c) Rebecca Deans. Top picture (c) Rebecca Deans. Picture below (c) Friends of Codnor Common.


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Place You

Here’s a poem that I just wrote. (C) Becky Deans 2014

Place You

Let me run my finger tips
Down your Roman road
Lay my hands on
Your ironworks.

Feel your daisies prick
The back of my head. Celebrate
Every field, every disaster. I expect

To feel the ground fall away
From me. They call it a sinkhole.
I’m ready with my torch.

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I can’t remember when I wrote this, but it’s from around 1998.


Brick-red eggs stand in line

On grey crown cups.

Earthenware pots glare outwards.

Boxes nestle

Cardboard on cardboard.

Spoons lie icy.

Our faces distort

In the harsh light

Fighting through the cracked glass.

Mist turns to dust.

There we learn our grains and wheat

Mix our oats.

The smooth white liquid

Rattles in our throats.

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Thank you to my cousin, Ben Wain, and to Marianne Arnot for naming this poem I wrote at our writers’ workshop!


The light plays

I play with light

light envelops us all

and ensnares us


I hide

in the lush velvet curtains

of the mind

I get lost in my bed


Here in the emptiness

Light cannot get to me.

(c) Becky Deans 2014



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Night sounds

Night Sounds
I may have been reading too much Norman MacCaig when I wrote this…

The late night radio
Hums a grave slave rave.
The old set cackles,
But will not give up.

And the central heating
Heaves around pipes and boilers.
Each flat chime taunts my ears.
My pillows won’t plump up enough.

Rain falling off the roof
Utters names of far gone places,
Forms new blankets.

Geese creak.

And I can’t hear your night sounds,
Still my eyes cannot close tight enough.

(c) Becky Deans 2014

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Mrs Thomas de Quincey

What happened when Thomas told William Wordsworth about his new wife?

Mrs Thomas de Quincey

‘Not quite the right sort’

The report of the poet with a Phd

In snobbery, the Lakeland straight man

William Wordsworth.

‘What are you thinking, giving a ring

To a milkmaid? Affairs are one thing,

Marriage something else,’ he said, pacing

Around the room on elegant feet.

‘I mean, just think where her hands

Have been,’ he protested, dabbing his

Troubled forehead with a finely starched

Handkerchief, wringing it out

Onto the ice-sleek polished floor,

Watching the sweat drip, flicking

A lock of hair gone stray back

To the left, then right again.

De Quincey paced the room around

With his eyes, surprised by the

Reaction of his friend, so keen to

Lend his voice to the meek and poor,

To champion the cause

Of the idiots and the mad, then

Thomas became glad, because what he had

What he had raised mountains

Stopped streams in their tracks

And made his blood run hotter

Than the sky. He had his life

And would let the others write.

(c) Becky Deans 2013


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