Wednesday, 1 February 2012


Then there was a hand on my neck. At first I thought it was struggling against my struggles - trying to push me under. I fought it; my mouth opened and water rushed in, cold, thick, syrupy and tasting vile.

Someone was trying to drown me, but who - and why? Claudine? Albert? Never Albert - he'd always been my friend. I suspected Claudine didn't like me - but to actually want me dead?

I felt my body giving in - giving up the battle to stay alive. It seemed easier to go under. After all, who would miss me much? The sisters had each other and now they had the wonderful Claudine to replace me. Claudine and Albert had each other. Henriette - my favourite sister? She'd miss having someone to share her books with, but she'd soon get over that.

Then something was gripping my chest, squeezing hard enough to hurt. I was coming to the surface. My body decided for me - it wanted to live. I took a massive gasp of air and began to cough and choke.

I was lying on the bank, shivering, alone in the darkness, more dead than alive and with no idea who had rescued me.

Thursday, 26 January 2012


It was midsummer but cold, down by the river at 1am. I had a woollen jumper and jeans over my nightgown, but I still shivered.

The moon was high and almost full. I wanted to stand still and gaze at its reflection in the water. All of a sudden I wanted to be on my own, for Claudine and Albert to be far away. But Claudine called me over her shoulder. 'Hurry up, Marie. Albert will think we're not coming.'

Albert was already there when we arrived - sitting on the bank of the Willow Pool, splashing his feet in the water. His skin looked almost blue. His top half was naked, though I assumed he was wearing his swimming trunks.

Claudine whipped off her jumper. Underneath were her bra and pants. Then she dived, entering the water with a mighty splash. Albert followed her and soon they were laughing and splashing, with Claudine giving the occasional shriek.

I couldn't swim. I still can't.I remember wondering why the hell I'd ever agreed to this stupid plan. Why wasn't I tucked up in my warm bed at La Maison Rouge, dreaming of flying nuns and angels with golden wings?

 Did I really care that much about keeping Albert from Claudine's clutches?

The answer, though, was yes, of course I did.

'Jump in, Marie,' yelled Claudine. 'Come on, it stops being cold when you get used to it.'

'I can't swim,' I reminded her.

'It's not deep. I can stand up - just about.'

Albert spoke for the first time. 'We'll help you,' he cried. 'I'll teach you to swim. It's easy - just sit on the edge and slide in. I'll be there to catch you.'

His tones was cajoling and somehow it was impossible to resist. I did as he told me, slipping into the water close to my favourite willow, the one I called the twisting tree.

My head went under. My feet searched for the bottom, but all I could feel were weed fronds and, beneath them, slimy mud. Nothing to support me...

I tried to scream, but inhaled water instead. My heart pounded. Claudine and Albert had gone; they were leaving me to drown.

Monday, 23 January 2012

Time out to tell you about my blog award....

OK, friends, I'm taking time out of my story to tell you about the Irresistibly Sweet Blog Award just passed on to me by a very special blogger, the lovely Rosemary Gemmell, whose blog you can read at

Thank you, Rosemary, this is my first blog award and I'm so pleased to have one.

Now I have to tell you seven things you might not know about me:

1. I didn't meet my birth mother until I was 22.
2. When I did. I hated her when I find out how I came to be born (eek, I'm giving away my story here)
3. I have a little half-sister called Silver who you will read about later on.
4. I was brought up on a strange mixture of old books belonging to Henriette, one of the weird nuns who brought me up.
5. The place I was brought up in is unreal (interpret that however you want to, for now...)
6. My first boyfriend, if you can call him that, was drowned.
7. I still don't really understand what happened to me but I am glad to have escaped from it all...

If you want to know more, keep reading my story (I'll be posting the next instalment very soon).

I'm passing this yummy award on to the following sweet bloggers and their blogs:

 Plastic St (come on Lou, let's have some more posts on this one :-) ) It's very funny!
My Kind of Writing Blog
Seri Says (great photos on this one)
Alfie's Blog 
Girls Heart Books (a whole team of authors on here)

OK well, thanks again Rosemary - I'm off to eat that yummy strawberry pie now :-)