Boswells Blog

16th May 2019

'The Boswells Connection'... Recovery

'The Boswells Connection'... Recovery

One week to go until the launch of ‘The Boswells Connection’ a book of fictional stories linked to Boswells written by Oxford Inc, a group of writers who compile stories around a common theme. Join us in store next Saturday 25th May between 11am – 2pm to meet four of the authors behind the project and to have them sign your copy of the book (which must have been purchased in Boswells). We have lots of other events planned for that weekend too so join our mailing list or follow us on social media to keep updated.

Seeing as May is ‘Share a Story Month’ we’re posting the start of a couple of the stories to give you a taste of what’s to come. We hope you enjoy this excerpt.

 

Recovery

Annie Winter

As Julie turned into the next aisle of the toy department, the large bag hanging from her shoulder sent a display of novelty balls flying. Mortified, she scrabbled around on the floor to retrieve them as they rolled energetically away. Another woman shopper squatted down to help and between them they managed to retrieve the escaped balls and load them back into their container, by which time a sales assistant had arrived.

‘Thanks so much for helping,’ Julie said. ‘I feel such an idiot.’

‘Don’t worry,’ the woman replied. ‘We’ve all done it.’

‘That’s so kind of you,’ said Julie. ‘Can I buy you a cup of tea as a thank you?’ She felt drawn to her rescuer’s warm smile and the friendly interest in her eyes. She was wearing an elegant green jacket which matched them.

‘Well, that would be very nice, but’ looking at her watch, ‘I have to be at the bus station in five minutes to meet my children. It was nothing, really.’ And with a kindly wave, she shot off down the stairs.

Julie was in the shop to choose a present for her small nephew’s birthday. She loved the toy department. For much of her married life it had been the best – and lately just about the only – toyshop in Oxford. It was full of memories of her children’s lives; the cuddly toys, the Lego, the shelves crammed with everything a child could possibly wish for. Now they were grumping their way into adolescence and were too cool for old fashioned things like toys – screens were all they seemed interested in these days.

After she’d chosen and paid for the present, Julie went into the tea room and looked around for a free table. It was Saturday afternoon and the café was full. Julie didn’t feel like having to exchange pleasantries with a total stranger, but there wasn’t much choice if she was to get a seat at all. Ah! There was someone leaving a table in the corner so she made a swoop towards it, just seeing off a couple of middle aged women who had also been hovering.

While waiting to give her order, she tried not to feel tempted to get out her phone and pretend to the outside world that she had a million emails to answer and lots of games to play. So, she sat and looked pensively into the middle distance until the waitress came. As she waited for her Earl Grey and chocolate brownie to arrive, a flood of painful thoughts seeped into her mind and her eyes filled with tears. The weekends the children went to their father seemed to stretch out forever. She tried to take part in outings and trips with her friends to fill the gap, but with most of them she felt their paths were diverging. What she was experiencing as a single mother, soon to be divorced, bore little resemblance to their comfortable, even smug, existence in couples. She had tried joining things but it was difficult to get out in the evenings, and at the weekends when she did have the children she wanted to be with them.

It was nearly two years since Ted had left…

If you’re tempted to know the ending and read the other varied stories then make sure to get your hands on a copy of the book!!

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10th May 2019

'The Boswells Connection'... Two Thinkers

'The Boswells Connection'... Two Thinkers

On Saturday 25th May we’ll be launching a book of fictional stories linked to Boswells written by Oxford Inc, a group of writers who compile stories around a common theme. Seeing as May is ‘Share a Story Month’ we’re posting the start of a couple of the stories over the next few weeks to give you a taste of what’s to come.

We hope you enjoy them!

If you’re tempted to know the ending and read the other varied stories then do come into store and purchase a copy of the book from Saturday 25th May. Four of the authors, including Geoff Bremble whose story is below, will be with us from 11am to 2pm on the Saturday to sign your copies of the book. We have lots of other events planned for that weekend too so join our mailing list or follow us on social media to keep updated.

 

Two Thinkers

Geoff Bremble

8 June 1933, Oxford

It was late morning and the professor had at last completed the final draft of the lecture he was to give at Rhodes House. He was staying in rooms in Christchurch and had developed the habit of taking a walk along Cornmarket Street at around midday. He was in the company of James Harvey who had been assigned by the University to look after his needs during his stay in Oxford. They were now in the first-floor restaurant in Boswells department store looking out onto Broad Street and across to Saint Mary Magdalen church. Over the last few days he had observed a rough looking man walking with a distinct limp towards him past the church and pulling a small trolley. Its contents were covered by a well-used tarpaulin and, strapped to the trolley, were a couple of long rods both of which had at one end some sort of net.

‘James, see zat man down there, pulling zat trolley. He’s been doing zat at ze same time each day we’ve been here. Any idea why?’ the professor said in a deep guttural voice.

James Harvey leaned over and looked out, ‘He’s a fisherman on his way to the river. I know him, poor chap. He lost a leg in the Great War and has never really recovered from his ordeal. But nice enough.’

‘I vould like to go and vatch him fishing. Vould zat be alright?’

‘Well you’ve nothing fixed for the rest of today, so why not follow him. But don’t disturb him or you might get a mouthful.’

‘A mouthful? I don’t understand.’

‘You will when you get it,’ laughed Mr Harvey standing up, ‘quick, you had better go or you’ll lose him.’

The professor went down the stairs out onto Broad Street and, from a distance, followed the man down George Street. After about ten minutes and having reached Hythe Bridge he paused for a few moments to take in the feverish activity on the Canal Wharf to his left. There were barges lined up on the canal waiting for their turn to offload their goods before turning round to make the return journey north. Further beyond he could see the outline of Castle Hill which he had visited a few days earlier.  After a moment or two he continued over the bridge, crossing the canal and the river Isis. It was then that he nearly lost sight of the fisherman but, looking to the right, he spotted him 50 yards or so along Upper Fisher Row starting to set up his equipment for the task ahead. After about ten

minutes the man was ready and seated on the river bank. The professor watched as he flicked the baited hook upstream before allowing it to float slowly back towards him only to flick it back up once more. Eventually a fish took a bite causing the line to tighten as it made attempts to escape. The fisherman, engrossed in what he was doing, quietly reeled his catch to the bank manoeuvring it into his catching net and then in to the holding net. He began to re-bait the hook and the professor, seeing his opportunity, stepped down from the bridge and walked towards him.

We hope you're as excited as we are! 'The Boswells Connection' out on the 25th May...

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