Bristol Flash Walk: Will there be pirates?

Child's pirate boat

Image: Pixabay

‘Will there be pirates?’ says Grace.

‘Might be,’ says Albie.

Grace often wonders what it’s like to wield a cutlass and the two of them have long, serious conversations about whether Nana’s parakeet could be trained to perch on her shoulder. Being ten and not five, Albie knows there are no galleons or flint eyed slavers at the docks. But he likes to see the glister of excitement in his sister’s eye all the same.

They play hopscotch by The Hole in the Wall, use a piece of coal to scratch the numbers and a ‘special’ stone that Grace finds by a half empty beer bottle as a marker. Her socks are grey with dust and slack round her ankles, though neither of them worry for now. A telling off feels far away.

They stop on Prince Street Bridge.

‘Want a look?’ Albie lifts her so she can see more than just the tips of the cranes.

They count the cargo ships and the funnels, the stocky tugs that slice triangles in the water, the tank engines that chug and puff, belching steam that thins to a streak above the warehouses. The bridge feels gritty under Albie’s palms and when his arms grow tired and Grace slides to the pavement, her dress is all smuts.

Her eyes swell with tears. Albie presses them away with his sleeve, streaking her cheeks black and pink. ‘Let’s go find a pirate,’ he says and takes her hand.

They dodge barrows, jump the rails, watch hessian bales and crates fly over their heads. A load of barrels – dark wood, smelling of Christmas – sways an arm’s length away and Albie pulls Grace close, holds her till they swing away.

By the engine shed there’s a chocolate brown dog splashed with white as if a pot of paint was dropped on his back. He has three legs, a soft pink tongue and a scarf tied round his neck like a sailor. Grace scrubs his ears with sticky fingers.

‘Perhaps he needs a home,’ she suggests, just as a sharp whistle calls him away.

When Grace trips for the third time, Albie says it’s time to go home. ‘Piggy back?’ he says.

And as she jolts and jiggles and her eyes sting and she can’t stop from yawning, she thinks of steam clouds and the smell of Christmas and of finding treasure with her pirate dog.



A couple of weeks ago, I shared the news that one of my flash stories – Will there be pirates? – had been selected to be read aloud during a Flash Walk around Bristol harbour side. Today, I thought I’d share that story with you.

It was a lovely morning – we were blessed with some surprisingly warm weather – and some great flash fiction was heard. If you nip over to the Bristol Flash fb page, you’ll find a link to local author and performer Tom Parker who did such a great job of bringing a voice to the story, despite bustling tourists and inconsiderately loud buses.

N.B If you study the pics really closely, you’ll find one of me with my back to camera – I’m the gal dressed in blue with the purple and grey back pack. Click on the image and you’ll see hubs to my right (looking very cool in his shades). Here’s an arty black and white pic of Tom performing the story. Can you spot me and hubs?


24 thoughts on “Bristol Flash Walk: Will there be pirates?

    1. Thanks Louise. I loved Albie too. They do nothing particularly exciting in the grand scheme of things, but he’s there for his little sis and that’s no small thing. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

  1. This is a gorgeous wee tale about two siblings spending a day together. I love the relationship you created between them. Albie is such a lovely big brother!
    I’m delighted the day went well for you. I did spot you and hubs! What a cute couple!

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Did you see us? Didn’t know that pic was being taken at the time or I would’ve put more slap on darling!
      I did enjoy writing about Albie and Grace. I suspect they could get up to all sorts of mischief down by the harbour. Hopefully I’ll revisit them at some pint. Thanks for reading, lovely lady 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Haha! Thannk you. You’re very sweet, but we generally think of ourselves these days as chunkier than we’d like to be and falling apart – always feeling like some new part is seizing up, causing pain or being generally troublesome. Does not bode well for the future 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

  2. Hooray, pirate dog! I was looking forward to this one, and it did not disappoint. What a wonderful job of portraying the generosity and trust in a relationship between older and younger siblings, and the bright-eyed imagination of little kids. I can definitely see why this would be a good story to read aloud too! Was it super exciting to be there and hear it read? I’m excited just picturing it.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thanks Joy – what lovely comments 🙂 Yes, it was a small gathering but a very charming and positive environment to be in. I’m not very good at putting myself forward so I didn’t really mingle and meet any of my fellow writers afterwards, but still lovely to hear my words read aloud. And Tom Parker did a great job of the reading. Smashing morning 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Sounds wonderful! Some days I’m better at the mixing and mingling than others. Even if you were having a shy day, at least you were there to see everyone enjoy your story being read out loud — and I’m sure they did enjoy it, because it’s a lovely story!

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Haha! Thanks, Samantha. Yes, it was lovely yo hear it read by someone who knew what they were doing for a change – i.e not me! Fun to write amd lovely to hear read loud. Thanks for reading 🙂

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Thanks Samantha. It is tough to keep on top of the Reader – so many good bloggers out there. Thanks for reading mine 🙂


  3. Firstly congratulations. Hearing another reading aloud your story, putting his own inference and personality in there must have been wonderful. Secondly what a brilliantly descriptive piece, the love between the brother and sister is perfectly shown. 😇

    Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you. It was lovely hearing a trained actor read the story and especially as I’m a bit of a duffer at public readings myself. For once for me it was a quiet, sweet little story too – no death, no ghosts, no alien invasions! Thank you so much for taking the time to read the story

      Liked by 1 person

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