Friday Fictioneers : 31st July 1917

PHOTO PROMPT © Marie Gail Stratford


Dolly stared into the trug at the faded rose heads, their sepals turned back like neatly folded wrapping paper showing presents of fluff and seeds.

‘Only a little more to do,’ said Mrs Galston.

Being in the garden suited the Missus. Despite the expanse of her straw picture hat, she’d always bronze a little, as if the sun had snuck under her skin and couldn’t help but glow at its own cleverness.

Dolly was the first to see the telegram boy walking straight and stiff towards them, a dark blue shadow falling across the golden afternoon.

So many fallen blooms.


Written for Rochelle Wisoff-Field’s Friday Fictioneers. See the prompt and spin a tale and don’t forget to share, read and comment. See here to join in.

Historical notes

The 31st of July 1917 was the first day of the Third Battle of Ypres, also known as Passchendaele. To learn more about the battle see here.

In the UK at this time and later, telegram boys wore a dark blue uniform, as can be seen in the image on the far left below.

Image result for edwardian telegram boy

57 thoughts on “Friday Fictioneers : 31st July 1917

    1. Thank you so much Karen. Took a while, that one and I didn’t think it was particularly original, but you win some you lose some. Thank you for reading and the kind comment

      Liked by 2 people

  1. Dear Lynn,

    It seems that empty rose stem sent similar feelings thought all of us. It just speaks loneliness and heartache. As always you show us how it’s done—beautifully.



    Liked by 1 person

  2. Beautifully written as always. I liked the similarity you drew between sepals and a neatly folded wrapping paper. Now, I know how observant and detail oriented a real writer ought to be. I also liked the way you have described her skin tone . And finally, the blue shadow indicating a bad news. Excellent? Lynn. Thanks for the footnotes that explained the historical Importance of your story’s title.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much for such detailed and lovely feedback – it’s always good to know exactly which points people felt worked and which didn’t. Thank you for your kindness and for reading Moon


  3. This, my sweet, is so well rendered. The colors, this vision “like neatly folded wrapping paper”, the end beat. Those of us “of a certain age” know what the telegram boy meant. You made my heart skip a beat with that.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Ah, thank you so much Lish! Yes, I can’t imagine going about your daily life, one part of you watching, waiting for a telegram that you know so many people have received before you, that will only mean a complete change to your life, your future. Horrific times. Thank you for your kindness and feedback, both of which are very highly valued

      Liked by 1 person

  4. A moment of hard-earned peace, disrupted by the worst ever news — you capture it so well. The image of all the flowers gone to seed was a perfect metaphor, and gently done.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Thank you so much Joy. Yes, I can’t imagine how awful that must have been, that constant tension at the back of your head – what if today is the day you get your telegram? Thank you for your kind comment

      Liked by 1 person

      1. And yet so many spouses and parents still deal with that every day, with their loved ones off in a war zone, or battling fires, or on the police force. I guess you have to find some way to put it to the back of your head and keep living your life with hope.

        Liked by 1 person

  5. You conjure up a tranquil, if melancholy, vision of a garden. Just like the characters you allow time for your readers to realise that the worst has happened. Clever, beautiful writing. Consummate artistry.

    Liked by 2 people

  6. What more to say? You are brilliant. The calm, serene, blissful everyday activity coming to a rather abrupt halt with the arrival of the dreaded telegram – they never did bear good news, did they?
    I just have to share a video my niece did in college (she has since graduated from Uni in animation) Hope you enjoy it. Some of the students didn’t “get” it… shakes head…

    Liked by 3 people

    1. Ah, thank you so much Dale. What a very generous comment. Yes, I’m sure telegrams rarely brought good news – births, perhaps if a father was away? Your niece’s film is very moving. I love the character and general design and the sentiment too. My other half is an animator – though he works in ‘stop motion’ for Aardman, the Wallace and Gromit people – so I know how much time and effort she must have put in to make that. I’ve often wondered how telegram boys felt giving people such bad news, and them so young, possibly facing going to war themselves depending on their age. thank you for sharing

      Liked by 1 person

      1. Most welcome.
        And so cool. Jen’s style is so nice. She did another one for gradation from university that she dedicated to my father and husband who died within a year and a half from each other and who each inspired her. So touching. She has also done some stop-motion!
        I mentioned some of her classmates didn’t get the “don’t shoot the messenger” message and that he hadn’t been shot for real. We’ll blame it on their youth! 😉

        Liked by 2 people

      2. Bless them for being so young and not really knowing about telegrams! Perhaps modern movies are too literal in their story telling – too much tell and not enough show for them to understand the metaphor? Or does that make me sound very old? 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

      3. Sorry… hit send before finishing! Jennifer created it, her classmates were the same age. Obviously, they had not been as exposed as she was to expressions, movies, etc…

        Liked by 1 person

      4. True. I’ve encountered some young people and thought ‘How do you not know that?’. You’re young, but how do you not know Tina Turner or know anything about the Moon Landings or Churchill? They need to get out more 🙂

        Liked by 1 person

    1. Thank you so much! Yes, I can’t imagine how strong people had to be – still have to be – when their loved ones are caught up in global events. Someone powerful makes a decision and thousands of lives change because of it. Thank youi for reading


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