Thursday, 17 September 2009


The shop window twinkled like a Christmas card.

Tucking pigtails into her beret Maisie pulled herself up onto tippy-toes. Her heart fluttered as the prize came into view.

‘Begin with something extraordinary’ her teachers had said.

‘Gaze at it. Fill yourself with awe at its complexity. Be amazed by its beauty.’

‘Taste it. Smell it. Feel it.’

And so she had practised. Day by day.


The bell of Mr. Bellingham’s Gastronomic Emporium jangled.

The shopkeeper looked down into the eternally wide eyes of Maisie Crabtree. Poor thing; soft in the head.

‘What can I get you today?’

Maisie pointed.

‘A slice?’

‘The whole thing please.’

‘That’s three shillings… What in heaven?’

Bellingham’s jaw dropped as his words left his mouth and spiralled up to revolve around the great round cheese hanging from a beam.

Maisie bent the magic to her will, clinging to her empty purse.

The shopkeeper brimmed with a strange benevolence.

Snip, went the string.

‘Take it. It’s yours.’

Maisie’s arthritic hand clawed at the door and she hobbled out onto the street.

She turned her wrinkled face up to the low December sun, made misty through cataracts.

She drank in the warmth.

And it was wonderful.

(c) Michele Ranger September 2009 (condensed)

1 comment:

  1. It reminds me of the Tenterden Folk Festival in October with its lovely old shops along the high street, all ready for Christmas, and its old fashioned feeling of late apples and mulled cider.