Old Mother Shipton and Brompton-on-Swale

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I lived in Brompton-on-Swale from 1967 – 1977. My teenage years were spent in this small northern village, and they were good years. I think I had my first alcoholic drink (legally) in the King Bill, which is no longer open for business. “Guy at the Bar” is inspired by events that happened in this public house. It was a scary evening for me, but I survived, and lived to tell the tale. I’m working as hard as I can (while still holding a full-time job) to get this story along with one or two others into a compilation of short stories called “Ghosts on the Sand and other Chilling Tales.” Be patient, it’s coming.

“Run while there’s still time!”
“What?”
“You’ll die if you stay here.”
“Die? What are you talking about?”
“The flood, it’s coming.”
“What flood?”

I looked around for approaching waves. “Where’s this water going to come from?”

“You’ll see soon enough. I’m heading for the hills!”
“There’s no water close enough to us to cause a flood.”

Our soon to be ex next-door neighbor, glared at me as though I was the crazy one.
“The river Swale, it’s going to wash the village away. You’ll be sorry if you stay here, mark my words.”
“Don’t listen to her Sheila,” my Mam whispered, “she’s lost her marbles. I’m glad she’s moving out.”
“I can hear what you’re saying. You think I’m not right in the head,” she persisted, “but I’m telling you, the village is doomed.”

My dad joined us
“What’s all this about a flood?” he asked, clearly irritated at the thought of having bought a house in a flood zone.

“Old Mother Shipton. She warned us. The flood is coming, I can feel it.”

My dad laughed, clearly relieved,

“For a minute I thought you were serious. Don’t worry girls; Mother Shipton is a legend in these parts. She lived in a cave in Knaresborough hundreds years ago. Many people believed she was a prophet, but others claimed she was a Witch. I’ll take you to visit the caves if you like. We’ll take a picnic and make a day of it.”

My Mam looked relieved and continued to unload the van.

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.

All about me!

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I’m the one in the middle. Always ready to laugh, always ready for fun. As a kid I was ALWAYS in trouble. I turn every situation into a story.

Other than my family, the important things in my life are writing and visiting Italy. I  finally realized my Italian dream and bought a house in the small village of Colledimezzo, which is in the Chieti province of Abruzzo. I’m just as pleased as punch. I have another dream to fulfill now, to make it as a writer.

I’m still working on my next book, “Ghosts on the Sand” and I have one last short story to write before it’s done. Each story is based on events in my past. “Guy at the Bar” is a tongue in cheek thriller based on a man who tried to hit on me back in the seventies while I was having a quiet drink in “The King Bill” which was a pub I frequented in Brompton-on-Swale, where I used to live. “Ghosts on the Sand” was written about five years ago and it is based on my tumultuous childhood. My dad (by blood) was a bully. Mean, lazy and extremely scary. He beat my mam regularly. I have no good memories of him. This story starts after we left him for good. It talks about a little girl who had premonitions. I do still have premonitions, very accurate ones.

There are also two very short stories in this book.They both just popped into my over active brain. “Camera” is total fiction and set in Brompton-on-Swale and Richmond, North Yorkshire. Its a short, fast paced thriller. My editor couldn’t stop reading it, which meant it was edited super fast. I think that’s a good thing. My final story “The Engineer” isn’t written yet, but it is set in Italy. Total fiction and a kind of black comedy.

Hoping to release this novel for public consumption before March. Can’t wait to hear what you all think.

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Camera!

She’d just gotten to the other side of the road when she heard him call.

“Hey, you left your camera in the car.”

“What? That’s not mine.”

“It must be yours. I haven’t picked anyone else up today.” He shoved it into her hand and walked away. The leather strap felt slick, slimy, but worst of all, it felt alive. Lucy shuddered and almost dropped it.

Camera is a bonus short story in my upcoming book “Ghosts on the Sand”. Watch out for it it’s COMING SOON!

The Spirit World – Just keep talking to me!

I was left alone in the darkness. Cold and exhausted I made no effort to move. If Luca materialized again I was done for! The moon had been hiding behind the clouds, but now appeared and cast a dim silvery glow on the earth. I looked around me, but there was nothing to see, no burning trees, no charred remains, nothing.

Was it a dream, a nightmare?

With the little strength I had left, I pushed myself up off the ground and onto my feet.

Ouch!

Something dug into the heel of my hand. I couldn’t really see what it was, but picked it up anyway. A small round shiny object glimmered in the moonlight. I smiled as shook it back and forth. It was a gypsy bell, the sort Mala wore on her skirt.

Headlights rounded the corner ahead of me. Dare I stand in the road and flag the car down? I had no idea where I was. Unable to make a decision, I watched it pass me by, tail lights disappearing in the distance.

Damn, where am I? I should have flagged it down.

Walking along the dark country road, I felt alone, but no longer afraid. Looking up at the stars I wondered what really happened after death. Were Mala and her love together now, forever? I’d never know, well maybe one day I would, but hopefully not for a long time.

Another car approached. It pulled up next to me.

“Hey there, are you alright, what are you doing in the middle of nowhere? Did your car break down?”

Bending down I peered through the open window and saw Liz, the landlady of the village pub in Brompton.

“Hey Liz, no I haven’t broken down, but I’d love a life home.”

“Oh, its you, what the heck are you doing out here? Jump in.”

I sat in the passenger seat of her sporty little MG. Before she pulled away she looked across at me.

“You look awful! Are you sure everything is OK?”

I started to laugh uncontrollably before tears gushed down my face.

“Oh no! It’s not that bloody dead guy again is it? The one you managed to pick up in my pub?”

I pulled myself together.

“No, he doesn’t bother me anymore. I managed to attract a gypsy this time. Actually, three of them, but it’s all over with now. All sorted.”

“I hope you’re right,” Liz said as she pulled away, “but I have a feeling these little adventures are going to be with you your whole life. How old are you?”

“Twenty!”

“Bloody hell, and how many dead people have you attracted, how many spirits have you sent on their way?”

I thought about it for a while before answering.

“Only two Liz, a couple are still hanging around, but they’re good company.”

If you want to read more about this budding ‘Ghost Whisperer’s’ adventures, keep following my blog. Dead of July, my first book, is currently available on Amazon for $0.99. I’m also working on two more short stories, which are both set in the North of England. One in Blackpool and the other in Brompton on Swale. Brompton is a small sleepy village in North Yorkshire. It’s the village where I spent most of my childhood. Writing is my passion and one day may become my retirement career. Everyone has to start somewhere. 

Thanks for stopping by.

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

Invisible Man?

c6876cc69401343gypsy21f8134cb719e073dIt was pretty hard to keep my mind on work. Lunchtime didn’t come soon enough.

“We’re going to the Red Lion for a Ploughman’s, do you want to come?” Cindy asked.

“No thanks, I think I’ll grab a sandwich and find myself a seat by the river.”

She gave me an odd luck. “You okay?”

“Yes, why?”

“You’ve just been a little distracted the last couple of days. If you need to talk, I’m always here you know that.”

I smiled “I have things on my mind, but I’m not ready to talk about it yet.”

“Would it have anything to do with a certain someone in a leather jacked?”Cindy asked.

“Maybe,” I said, giving nothing away. She was satisfied with my answer and left “See you later then.”

I didn’t have a book to read, and I didn’t want to sit by the river. I wanted to find the bad boy in the black leather jacket.

I walked up to the market place, which was a hive of activity now the fair was arriving. Huge lorries looked out of place in the medieval market square. It was a riot of color with the brightly painted gypsy caravans. An old woman tanned dark brown and jingling with beads swept past me. She was a familiar sight at the fair, a fortune teller and possibly a hundred years old, but fit as a fiddle. She hesitated for a moment. I shivered, a sudden chill penetrating my blouse. Nausea swept over me. I hope I’m not getting sick.

The old woman stopped again a few paces in front of me and cackled, “You’re not getting sick, you’re getting a visitor. She’s coming!”

“What?”

She continued her ear piercing cackle and walked away. “You’ll see!”

“Hey wait.” She disappeared behind a huge truck. Did she read my mind? Who was coming? My imagination again? I tried to follow the old gypsy, but she was nowhere to be seen. I’d find her again, when she was open for business, she’d be more than happy to take my money.

Wandering among the throng of lively fair ground folk was uplifting. They shouted and laughed among themselves as they unloaded their equipment. I envied their freedom. The following day the trucks would be gone and the market place transformed into a gaudy playground.

There was no sign of the motorcycle, or its leather clad rider so I bought a sandwich and wandered along castle walk , where I found a bench in the sun and ate my sandwich, wishing I did have a book to read, something to occupy my mind. Maybe I should get away for the weekend. I thought of the old hag that spoke to me in the market place? What did she mean about a visitor? Probably nothing, she was here every year, charged as much as she could to tell your fortune, saying only what you wanted to hear. If she didn’t like the look of you, she’d tell you something horrific, just to scare you.

Then I heard the music again.

And where do we go from here?
Which is a way that’s clear?

A motorbike revved up somewhere below me! I looked down to the road by the river Swale. Nothing! I could hear the noise of an engine as it travelled along the road and cross the bridge, heading up towards Hudswell, but there was nothing to see.

I broke my sandwich into pieces and fed it to the birds. I just wasn’t hungry anymore.

Will I ever find my bad boy? Stay tuned to find out. 

One of my other stories Dead of July can be purchased on Amazon for $0.99.

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

Unforgettable Figment of my Imagination – Oh Baby thats what I Want

The room was warm and filled with blue cigarette smoke. Speakers screeched with feedback. One two, one two, and then the music began. It was music I’d heard before, long ago. I’d heard it on movies. The dance floor was alive with laughter. Ladies in tight pants with tiny waists danced to the sound of the Big Bopper. Where had I heard that name before?

“Oh baby that’s what I want”

It was dark, hard to see. Where was I? It was a different time, a different place, and a different world!

“Hey, you wanna jive with me?”

“What?”

“You wanna jive with me?”

A young man in tight jeans and a shirt with a thin black leather tie hanging down the front stood in front of me. His hair was slicked back, a curl falling over his forehead. Placed there carefully to look random. Is this what my mam had called a teddy boy? I thought teddy boys had gone out of fashion years ago.

“No, I don’t jive!”

He looked disappointed and walked away. He had more luck with the girl sitting across the room. I watched fascinated as he swung her in circles.

Where was I?

The jiving finished and the music slowed down. I knew the next song very well. Nat King Cole. Unforgettable! It was my mam’s favorite!

That’s when I saw him walking towards me, his head tilted to one side, his eyes shining with mischief. He stopped halfway across the dance floor and lit a cigarette, holding it as though it were a fashion accessory. It suited him! He must be hot in his leather jacket, but it made him look icy cool. I shivered as he approached. He took my hand and led me to the dance floor. Unforgettable, that’s what you are.

He stopped and swung me around to face him.

Where am I? Where did you come from?

My heart stopped!

I gasped for breath!

The smoke was gone, but I still tasted it. The music was a shadow in my mind, haunting the corners of my memory.

I’d dreamt it all? The dark stranger in the park, and then in the pub, had triggered my imagination. I could still feel his touch, smell his leather jacket. Who was he?

Is he real or am I imagining him?

Dead of July my first novel is available on Amazon from $0.99, yes that’s less than a pound or a euro if you live in Europe. I’m cheap! I want everyone to read my first attempt at being a writer. I’ve been writing since I was 12 years old. Some of my old stories will resurface soon, but for now, there’s Dead of July! A young army wife in trouble…not far from the truth, I always was! Enjoy!

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

 

The End!

EasbyStAgatha2Lindsay couldn’t remember if they gave her something to help her sleep, or if she was so traumatized she blocked everything out, but she didn’t recall getting in the ambulance. When she opened her eyes she found herself in a hospital bed with the worried face of her mam looking down at her.

“Oh thank God. I was worried you’d never open your eyes again,” she said as she planted a kiss on Lindsay’s cheek. “I had no idea what was happening or we’d have come back sooner.”

Lindsay smiled weakly. “It wouldn’t have changed anything.”

“I spoke to Mel’s mam at the funeral, she….”

“The Funeral! I missed the funeral? How long have I been in hospital?”

“Since yesterday afternoon, the funeral was this morning.”

“I wanted to go, I wanted to say good-bye.”

“You can say goodbye any time. It was a lovely service. Reverend Stegall made it very personal, he christened her you know, back in 1959.”

“He shouldn’t be burying her yet though, she’s too young, why did this happen?”

“It’s the bloody IRA, why do they do anything?”

“It wasn’t the IRA mam, the man who did this was grief-stricken at losing his sister. Cross fire with the British Army and the IRA. He lost his mind.”

“Yes, lost his mind and killed over a hundred people.” Lindsay’s mam said bitterly.

No one spoke for a while.

“There was a policewoman at the funeral, she asked after you.”

“Barbara? She was helping me.”

“Helping you with what?”

“Don’t worry about it now, I’ll tell you another time. You wouldn’t understand.”

Her mam’s eyes narrowed suspiciously. “You’re not in trouble again are you? Please tell me you weren’t smoking that cannabis stuff again. Didn’t you learn your lesson last time.”

“No mam, I haven’t smoked any cannabis, I told you I’m over that.”

A nurse walked into the room, saving Lindsay from a conversation that was making her anxious rather than soothing her.

“Hi Lindsay, the doctor’s coming in to check you out, he’ll probably give you the all clear to go home.” She looked at Lindsay’s mam. “Could you leave us for a few minutes please while we examine her.”

A young Indian doctor appeared in the doorway. “How are you feeling?” he asked.

“Tired,” Lindsay replied.

“It’s shock, you have been trough a lot in the last week and sometimes, in these circumstances your brain shuts down because it can’t cope with anymore. It makes you tired. Sleep blocks out the pain. Sometimes its a good thing.”

The doctor pointed a light into Lindsay’s eyes as he spoke. He checked her pulse, put a stethoscope on her back, took her temperature and asked her questions. Lindsay answered automatically, but her attention was focused on the doorway.

“Was anyone else admitted to hospital with me, did anyone else survive?” she asked.

The nurse hung her head as she answered, “No, sorry pet, were they your friends. Two young men died at the scene. There was an explosion, they were dead before they hit the water.”

Lindsay continued to stare at the doorway where Michael stood. No one else saw him. He smiled at her. It was a beautiful smile.

“Michael, I’m sorry.” She said.

Both the doctor and the nurse followed Lindsay’s gaze, but all they saw was an empty doorway.

“We may have to keep you in for observation.” The doctor said with a worried look on his face.

“Did you find anything wrong with me?” Lindsay asked.

“No but….”

“Then I’m going home.”

And another short story comes to and end. My head is full of them, so pretty soon another will begin. I hope they give you some pleasure, I certainly enjoy writing them. I’ve provided a link to my first novel below. It took me a couple of years to write and perfect, but I think it was worth it. It may be the best $0.99 you’ll ever spend, who knows?

Dead of July

Dead of July by Sandra Thompson

Brompton on Swale – Where it all Began

Dead of July is my current novel. It was released in December 2013 and I’m proud of it. I’m not Stephen King, but being Sandra Thompson is just as much fun.

I was lucky enough to attend an evening with Stephen King in September 2013. He gave a talk in Boulder Colorado, where he lived when he wrote The Shining. The Shining, of course, is based on the Stanley Hotel in Estes Park. I’ve visited the Stanley Hotel several times. It has a great bar. I could not, however, go anywhere near the elevator. No way, not just because of Stephen King’s book, but because that elevator is seriously haunted. How did I know? Thats another story!

Stephen King’s home is Maine, and he’s proud of it. Although I live in Colorado I was born in County Durham and raised in Brompton-on-Swale, North Yorkshire. My very first novel ‘Guy at the Bar’ was inspired by something that happened while I lived there back in the early seventies. I met a drunken stranger in my local pub. Unfortunately this man decided to follow me home. Have you ever tried running down a back lane in six-inch platforms? It’s not easy believe me. I did manage to escape, but not for long. He came back to haunt me.

I’m currently re-editing ‘Guy at the Bar’, along with my other short story, which is set in Blackpool. Writing is a hobby, which I hope to turn into a retirement career. Who knows, one day I may even make a profit. A girl can dream.

This is where it all started

This is where it all started