Brompton-on-Swale

SandraBookCoverGhostsOnTheSand

I’d planned to have this book released by Christmas 2017. I know, it didn’t happen. I love writing so much I don’t have time to publish, and I certainly can’t afford a publisher. Oh well, when it eventually does get released later this year it’s going to be a bargain book for those of you who love England, especially the north-east. The stories packed into this book include;

Ghosts on the Sand (set in Blackpool)
Guy at the Bar (set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond)
Camera (set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond)
The Engineer (set in a fictitious village in County Durham)

Why are most of my stories set in the North East? Because it’s the best part of England. Northerners are genuine, down to earth and fun!

I was born in Bishop Aukland, lived in Shildon until I was 4 years old. I then fled with my mam to Etherly and Butterknowle to escape my violent dad. Mam finally found a job and house in Summerhouse, county Durham, where we lived until 1967. When she remarried we moved to Brompton-on-Swale, the village that shaped my life. Even though I live in the United States now (well until I retire to Italy), Brompton-on-Swale is on my mind a great deal. I wish I could become a famous writer. If I did I’d make sure to let everyone know where I came from. I’d tell them about that down to earth little village, where everyone knew everyone else and looked out for their neighbors. Many folks were born there and never moved away. They are the lucky ones. My wandering spirit won’t let me stay in one place too long. I pop back every now and again. Yes, it’s changed, but I still think of it as home.

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To Young to Die!

swale-at-sunset

“Someone help him, it’s Michael. He’s drowning.”

Without hesitation two cops rushed forward and jumped into the river. Lindsay tried to stand, ready to jump in the water herself, but Barbara pulled her back.

“Look, they’ve got him, what could you do?”

“Is he alive? He has to be alive.”

In a matter of minutes Michael was pulled onto the riverbank. The nurse went to work on him immediately, “Give us some space.” She yelled. “Back off.”

The crowd stood back giving Lindsay a clear view. She watched in fear praying Michael would open his eyes.  Did his eyelids flicker? Lindsay held her breath willing him to live. The crowd watched silently and when the nurse finally gave up, tears in her eyes. She looked back at Lindsay defeated.

“I’m sorry, there’s nothing else I can do. It’s too late.”

The sound of distant sirens broke the heavy silence; people drifted away, nothing more to see. Lindsay shuffled weakly across to where Michael lay and looked down at his lifeless body, tears dripping from her chin.

“No, this can’t be. Everyone around me is dying.” She laid her head on his chest and cried. No one spoke. No one moved. The sirens grew closer, but they were too late. Barbara put her hand gently on Lindsay’s back.

“Come on, leave him, you can’t do anything now.”

Lindsay didn’t move. “I should be dead, why am I still alive?”

“Hey! Stop where you are!”

Lindsay looked up when she heard Barbara shout sternly at someone. She couldn’t see who approached, but the other policemen ran towards him urgently. When Barbara stood aside she recognized the grief-stricken face.

“John, I’m so sorry.” She began to cry again.

John fell on his knees by his brother’s body.

“No, no! Dear God NO!”

Lindsay put her arms around him and they cried together, tears mingling.

John spoke, maybe to his brother, maybe to Lindsay, maybe to God. “It’s all my fault, I brought him to to bloody country. I should have left him in Ireland with the kids. I shouldn’t have tried to interfere with Patrick. It did no good. Now your friends are dead. It cost me my brother. ”

Lindsay held him tight. “You know Patrick was planning to kill again, who knows how many this time. Michael’s dead, but who knows how many people he saved. It could have been hundreds. How many more bombs was Patrick going to make?”

They clung to each other a little longer before Barbara helped Lindsay to her feet. A couple of paramedics approached. “Come on, let’s make sure you’re okay,” she said as she guided Lindsay to them.

“John had nothing to do with this. He was trying to stop Patrick.”

“We still need to talk to him, but not now.”

As she walked away Lindsay looked back over her shoulder and saw Barbara kneeling on the ground next to John, her arm around him soothing him. Oh dear God why Michael? 

She take no more, her legs gave way and she sunk to the ground.

Yes, another short story almost over, sorry its so sad. Life doesn’t always have a happy ending so make the most of every day. If you enjoy my writing, check out my first Dead of July on Amazon http://amzn.to/1aXh4Md.

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

The Restless Dead

bigstock-beautiful-woman-with-stone-lik-12160685Lindsay and Michael walked along a back lane to the banks of the river Swale. Other than the sound of birds chattering, it was peaceful, almost like being on another planet. The fire and it’s aftermath still tormented Lindsay’s brain, but the surroundings were soothing. Neither of them spoke as they walked along the well-worn track by the river.

“There’s a clearing up ahead with some big rocks we can sit on, the river is shallower there so if this is a ploy to drown me, you’d struggle.” Lindsay said.

“Why on earth would I drown you?” Michael asked.

“I don’t know. Why are you here?”

They continued in silence until they found the clearing, and found a couple of boulders to sit on. Michael made pebbles skip across the glassy surface. It irritated Lindsay. She was on edge and wanted to know why he kept following her.

“We’re not here to play, what is it you want with me? And who the hell is Colleen? I can’t believe I’m even asking. I must be losing my mind. If it’s not bad enough seeing images of my dead friend, now I’m seeing the ghost of some Irish woman I’ve never met. Is this your doing?”

Lindsay began to cry again, a sad hopeless sound. Michael said nothing until her sobs subsided. He knew she wouldn’t listen. They didn’t know they were being watched. Eventually Lindsay stopped crying.

“Sorry! Sorry for everything. You wouldn’t be able to see any of this if you weren’t tuned in to that sort of thing. I’m not making you see anything. I’d give anything to turn back the clock and not have you suffer like this. I can’t! I’m just trying to help.”

“What are you trying to help with? Do you know who started the fire? Do you know who killed my friends? If you do, why are you talking to me instead of the police?”

“It’s not that simple.”

“Nothing ever is with you bloody Irish. You try to blame religion for all of your hatred, but I don’t believe any of it. I thought God was about love not hate.”

Michael dropped his head into his hands and sighed.

“This has nothing to do with religion, or the IRA. It’s about me brother John. Colleen was his wife. She’s dead!”

“I’m sorry, how does that tie up with this….”

There was a loud splash in the water at the other side of the river. Michael jumped to his feet.

“Come on, we have to go.”

“Why it was just a fish jumping?” Lindsay stood up and looked into the water. Two reflections looked back at her. The head of a beautiful, but pale woman peered over her shoulder. Lindsay almost fell as she twisted around to see who was behind her. Michael was the only person there. She looked across the river to see the shape of a man disappearing among the trees. Michael grabbed her hand urgently. “Come on, we have to go now.” He said urgently.

Michael, Michael, where’s my Johnny boy. Why can’t I see him?

Dead of July Another book by Sandra Thompson. Buy it on Amazon.

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

 

Bishop Aukland – My haunted place of birth.

I was born in Bishop Aukland in County Durham. It’s the land of whippet’s, leek growing competitions and pubs so it’s hardly surprising that the most haunted places are pubs. 

Haunted pubs… 

I know of two pubs in Bishop with histories of paranormal phenomena. One is – as you rightly guessed – The Sportsman, which is more than 400 years old.

Phenomena include disembodied voices in the bar and a white, shimmering figure, also in the bar, glasses and bottles moving themselves around, cellar pumps coming suddenly to life, and on one occasion, a middle-aged woman’s handbag wrenched away by unseen hands. One of the previous landlords, Peter Creamer – a very down-to-earth individual – witnessed numerous happenings, as did his bar staff. 
Part of the cellar dates back to Henry VIII’s time – a period of violent persecution when the Roman Catholic churches and monasteries were largely destroyed – and it is said to be the final part of a tunnel that connected (or connects) with Auckland Castle. Who knows what went on, there? 

The Grand Hotel also has a cellar ghost which likes – or liked – to turn the juke-box on at full volume and play the same tune even over and over – even when the power was off.

Don’t know what the song was. That was in the early 1990s. Whether it’s still there, I don’t know. 

Then there’s the East Deanery at South Church, around 700 years old, once a religious community, and in recent times, converted to a pub-restaurant thanks to the vision and tireless work of the owner, Jimmy Greenwood. The Deanery is haunted – according to a medium who visited the place several years ago – by the ghost of a small child. I know this is true, having been there and experienced the presence for myself – in broad daylight and minus alcohol. As you probably know, the Deanery is a private residence, again. 

On the outskirts of Bishop, the Toronto Inn and the Red Lion at Bitchburn have well-documented histories of haunting.

The Red Lion’s around 400 years old, and a Cromwellian soldier is said to take an occasional stroll through the restaurant.

As for the Bay Horse, I haven’t heard anything as yet but as it’s one of the oldest pubs in County Durham, anything’s possible. 

Information from BISHOPAUKLANDHISTORY.CO.UK

My childhood was spent in County Durhan and North Yorkshire. Both of these counties are steeped in History and I was scared by tales of ghosts from a very early age. 

History and the Ghosts were such a large part of my life, so it was hardly surprising that I started to see them myself. Everyone thought it was a child’s active imagination, until I was in my twenties. They took me more seriously when I got older.

I have written a couple of short stories about my ghostly experiences. They are currently being re-edited for release later this year. Those books are “Guy at the Bar”, which is set in Brompton-on-Swale, North Yorkshire, and “Girl on the Beach” set in Blackpool. 

My first full length novel “Dead of July” is available on Amazon.

http://amzn.to/1aXh4Md 

In this novel my Ghosts are in Dortmund, Germany, and they are almost the death of me.

For more information follow my Facebook fan page. I would be very nice if you ‘liked’ it too   Follow me on Facebook

Sheila’s Story – A village in County Durham

This is the farm-house where I spent many happy days as a child. It wasn’t my home, but it felt like it was at times. My mum was employed as a housekeeper. It was a lovely warm place.  The large family that lived here had a dog called Simon. A black Lab. I used to sit by the stove, in the warmth of the kitchen, snuggled up next to Simon.

The family who lived in this house was very good to my mum, they treated her more as an equal than an employee and we felt like we were part of the family. It took my mum a little longer to be accepted by the rest of the villagers as she was going through divorce. In a small village in County Durham, in the early sixties, that was quite a scandal.

There weren’t many young people living in that village, so I didn’t have many playmates. I spent a lot of time alone. I used to walk Simon, the black lab. I would mix with the farm workers, who always had time for me.

I often went for long walks on my own, picking mushrooms, which flourished in the  field where the cow grazed.

I loved to sit in the field next to our house and imagine I was in fairyland.

This wasn’t difficult because the field was full of cowslips, milkmaids, soldiers buttons and  cowslips, to name but a few of the wild flowers that bloomed in spring and summer each year.

Milkmaids

Soldiers Buttons

Buttercups

The other thing that made it easy for me to imagine I was in Fairyland, was the light that flitted around that field at night. I tried to see it during the day, but it was never there. At night, from my bedroom window, I saw it often. 

The light wasn’t bright, but it was there, dancing across the field leaving ribbons of pink in its wake. The dancing light made me think of ‘Tinkerbell’ from the Peter Pan, and I wished I could fly. It was a happy light and when I saw it I didn’t feel so alone. I wish I could still see it now.
To read more about Sheila and her adventures growing up, click on the links below and read my two short stories.

These book are available in paperback and as E-books in France, Italy, Spain and Germany as well as the US and the UK.

Follow me on Facebook  for updates on my upcoming novel ‘Dead of July’, a story about a Sheila in her mid twenties, and the trouble she got into in 1982 whilst married to a British Solder living in Germany.

On the buses – Sheila’s Story

My mam and I stayed with my Aunty Gwen and Uncle Bob for about a week. They were good times. Aunty Gwen made a big fuss over me and let me bake with her. Uncle Bob liked to drink beer, but it made him happy, not angry like it made my dad. My mam started to relax. We went for walks to the park and to the sweet shop, we ate ice cream every day, even 99’s with the Cadbury’s flake in them. We did all the things we weren’t able to do when my dad was around! Aunty Gwen paid for everything. My mam tried to pay, but she didn’t really have any spare money and Aunty Gwen knew that so she told her to put her money back in her pocket.

We took the bus to Etherly

Eventually we had to leave the comfort we had enjoyed with Aunty Gwen and Uncle Bob and move on to my Uncle Billie’s house. Uncle Bille was too busy to pick us up so we took the bus, it wasn’t a very long ride. Uncle Bille was always working, he had a taxi firm and a garage. My mam said he would work himself into an early grave.

I think he drove buses too because there were always buses parked outside his house. His wife Aunt Vera didn’t work so much, I think she took care of the paperwork for his garage, but she never looked well. She smoked a lot too, my mam said that’s why she wasn’t well. She coughed a lot.

Short rides on buses were fine, long ones made me sick, so I was glad when the bus pulled up outside Uncle Billie’s house. He had a nice house, it was new and my mam said it had all of the ‘mod cons’, I didn’t know what that meant, but I think it was good.

The bus driver helped my mam and I get off the bus with our bags. We still didn’t have all of our clothes with us, but we had a lot to carry. We were hoping Uncle Billie was going to make a trip back to Shildon to pick up the rest of our things.

We walked across to the front door, my mam walked briskly and I walked as slowly as I could, dreading the door opening. The door did not open. It was a frosted glass front door, divided into four panels, with little letter box right in the middle. I could see an image at the other side of the door, an image about my height. It had to be Julian. The letter box opened and a hand came out, a hand making obscene gestures.

My mam put her arm around me and hugged my tight. “It will be alright pet” she said.

The door opened and Uncle Billie stood there looking dishevelled and tired, his wild curly hair falling over his face. My mam said my Uncle Billie ate lots of burnt toast and thats what made his hair curly.  He opened the door and welcomed us. My mam loved her brother, and I knew he loved her back, and wanted to make her safe. Behind him we could see his son standing in the shadows with a smirk on his face. I hoped we wouldn’t stay there long!

To purchase my first short story ‘Girl on the Beach’ click on the links below. Available in paperback and as an ebook.

Girl on the Beach (Smashwords)

Girl on the Beach (UK)

Girl on the Beach (US)