Green was the keyword KL Caley attached to this colonnade of growing plants last year at It more or less fitted an idea I had, responding to our dismal summer this year, and incorporating my theory for it. I’ve based the location on the cottage I went for a week several times when I was planning to move. The piece is just under 1000 words.


“These gardens are in pretty good condition, considering.” Geoffrey stood back from the mansion’s elegant border, considering the state of the blooms and the rampant growth of the plants.

“Better than ours, anyway. I wonder how they do it?”

“More gardeners, I expect.”

“Mm, although I bet they’re all volunteers. Maybe we should take one of those swanky retirement apartments overlooking the harbour, and satisfy our gardening needs with volunteering.” Gill didn’t think it would be so much fun, but one had to think ahead. Their garden was beginning to overtake them.

“It’s mainly the changes in weather patterns, though. We never know what’s going to grow, and what’s not. I mean, last year was a drought until they installed the hosepipe ban in August, and then it didn’t stop raining till November.”

“Talking of rain..” Gill grabbed Geoffrey’s arm and pulled him into the partial shelter of the green colonnade just as the heavens opened again. 

Geoffrey pulled up the hood on his anorak. “If we get caught in too many more showers this holiday we won’t have any dry clothes left.”

“Oh, there’s a drying room — didn’t you see it?” Gill wandered on down the tunnel examining the climbing plants that did a fairly good job of keeping the rain off them, considering. “It might be worth lighting that wood burner when we get back, though.”

“A fire in July. Ridiculous.”

Nevertheless, by the time they got back from their daily excursion, they were more than ready for a nice cup of tea in front of a log fire, with added scones and jam from the farm shop on the way out of the National Trust property.

Geoffrey was still trying to get the wood stove going when there was a tap on the door of their rented cottage.

“Oh, hello, come in, do,” Gill said as she ushered the site owner inside. 

“I came to check … oh, put that bar at the bottom to the right, that’ll let it draw more air.”

Geoffrey obeyed the instruction and was rewarded with a flame licking the dry wood at last.

The owner nodded. “Great. I came to check whether you’d like the heating on. I know it’s July, and maybe you’re happy to go with the log fire. There’s no extra charge. It’s a heat pump, so all the cottages will have it on. You can control the thermostat on the wall there, one for each room.”

“That would be great. It wouldn’t be too bad for the carbon footprint of the holiday would it?”

“Better than the logs, although here in the country the argument against them is minimal. Local wood, no air pollution to speak of. Quick cycling.” The owner was very keen on environmental impacts, which was one reason Geoffrey and Gill had chosen them.

“Would you like a cuppa?”

The owner checked her watch. “No, I need to be at the village hall soon. We’ve changed the picnic into a ceilidh tonight. You’d be welcome to join us. I’ll just do the heating and be off.”

Gill closed the door behind her. “Fancy a ceilidh?”

Geoffrey groaned as he got to his feet, and rubbed his thighs. “I don’t think I’m up to it after all that dashing for cover today.”

“We used to just walk through the rain. Why are summers so bad at the moment?”

“Climate change coming to roost. They wouldn’t listen. And of course most Brits think a warmer climate would be nice. They don’t realise it just means more swings, more extremes.”

“Do you think this year’s lack of summer is related to those vast fires in North America last year?”

Geoffrey frowned. “Are you thinking like those historic summers caused by volcanic eruptions? All the extra ash and particles in the upper atmosphere?”

“I am. I was reading a book recently. Mary Shelley was on holiday in Europe in when they were cut off by flooding, the summer of 1815 I think it was, and the weather was so bad they ended up telling stories by the fire every day. Shelley eventually sat down and wrote Frankenstein. Conditions got really bad, by the sound of it.”

“Well, it sounds like tonight’s entertainment is either a ceilidh or telling stories by the fire. Shall I make supper?”

“Thanks. You’ve a choice of part-defrosted stew or pizza.”

Geoffrey put the oven on, opened a bottle of red wine, and added a couple of logs to the fire. The wind and rain lashed the trees outside, but they were safe and warm. And about ten minutes after taking the pizza from the oven, the electricity went off.

“Oh, no! We haven’t blown the fuses have we?”

“Hardly. More likely a tree’s come down.” Geoffrey looked out of the door, but shut it again as a blast of wind brought fine rain in with it. “No lights anywhere. Looks like it’s a power cut. We’ll be fine.” He added another log to the fire. “Where is the log store?”

“Next door to the drying room.”

Geoffrey pulled on his raincoat and grabbed the log basket. “Wish me luck.”

Gill laughed, but stayed by the door and opened it when he came back.

“Well done. We have food, wine and warmth. How about we tell ghost stories by the fire?”

Geoffrey laughed. “I’d better take notes on yours.  You could come up with another bestseller.”

It was a dark and stormy night, and the wind was howling horribly, so they began.

© J M Pett 2024

with thanks to whichever of my courses featured the impacts of the Mount Pinatubo eruption, and to Guinevere Glasfurd for The Year Without Summer, which was a good read.


Green | #writephoto Flash Fiction
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5 thoughts on “Green | #writephoto Flash Fiction

  • 10 July, 2024 at 7:32 am

    A wonderful story that makes you think. Thanks for sharing, Jemima! Please enjoy a nice day! xx Michael

  • 10 July, 2024 at 1:58 pm

    Good story, Jackie. We could use some cooler weather – this has been the hottest year here ever with heat advisories almost every day, which means we’re sort of living inside.

    • 10 July, 2024 at 6:06 pm

      The thermometer just about made it to 70 today; it’s been more like 60 since Saturday. But have winter woollies is to wear, and succumbed to putting the heating on yesterday. Good luck in your heat.

  • 10 July, 2024 at 9:08 pm

    We had a very cool and wet May and June, but with the arrival of July finally joined the rest of the country in record-breaking high temps. It’s getting to be really borderline to not have AC here. In freaking SEATTLE! Oh, no, there’s no climate change.

  • 13 July, 2024 at 3:08 am

    This was so well crafted, Jemima, that I’m writing this again…. well. to be honest, Akismet deleted my comment.
    Anyway, lots of nuggets to get me thinking. For instance, fires in North America rang so true as 4+ are burning already across the state line from Idaho… one is over 6,000 acres already, so the residual smoke here in Boise is making it hard to breathe for many of us.
    Keep up your inspiring writing, Jemima.


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