Our unofficial writing club has had a bit of a staggering start. Between Carole’s Gamesmaker shifts and various other commitments, we’ve rarely had the full contingent, and we’ve rarely all achieved our goals. I was doing well until the week before last. I’d written an entire 30000 word novella in one week, and planned to continue with my word rate.
I didn’t achieve my goal. But, I had the best excuse. Ever.
I’ve talked before about working in our back garden. Basically, the previous few families had covered up the Victorian courtyard that was originally out there, building up layers of stuff over time. When we got the house there was decking and an area of soil covered by bark. The decking wasn’t well installed and it had been left to go slimy with moss, making it treacherous to walk on. We ripped all that out (I say we, I didn’t have much to do with it!) discovering the original brick work underneath. Unfortunately, it was very damaged, and there were pipes everywhere – half of which were redundant, the other half going places they shouldn’t have. The Boyfriend, on advice of friends and builders, decided to dig it all out and build back up again with proper brick laying foundations of hard core and sand, then have someone put the nice Victorian style blue bricks re-layed.
It was in the digging everything up that we made our discovery.
The Boyfriend’s dad, who’s been helping us out with all the garden stuff, was trying to shift what he thought was a rock. When he couldn’t work it loose, he hit it with a sledgehammer. Another day, this could have been a very different story.
The first I knew of this little discovery was when the Boyfriend’s sister came round as she walked the dog and picked one up, shaking it experimentally.
‘What’s this?’ she said.
‘It looks like a grenade,’ I said, not realising how right I was.
Because we were going away that week, the Boyfriend left calling the police until the day before we left, hoping they would come while we were away and we’d miss all the drama. No such luck for him, and a day of hilarity for me, as the first police officer who came over was ex-army and able to identify straight away that the charges in the grenades were still live. It was only the degraded detonator that meant the Boyfriend’s dad still had all his body parts.
There were three pineapple grenades and one rifle grenade, leftovers from some Homeguard movement in the Second World War. Apparently they were all live and the rifle grenade was the most dangerous. That meant the army was belting over to us from over an hour away to dispose of them.
To the Boyfriend, this was mortifying. To me, it was great writing research. And the funniest thing that ever happened.
Of course, all this writing ‘research’ meant I wasn’t actually getting any writing done. But it was definitely a legitimate excuse.
Bomb Squad came and put the grenades in a box, took them off to a field and disposed of them in a controlled explosion.
As we drove down to London the next day, we got a call from the policeman in charge of talking to the media. They wanted to put the story in the paper. The Boyfriend was so glad he was getting on a plane out of the country (which given his fear of flying is something!) and told the media officer firmly he did not want his name publishing in the paper.
The story gave my family much cause for mirth while we were away. The Step-Dad even went so far as to sweet talk a checkout girl into giving him the promotional poster from the newspaper board, which he sent us a photo of, grinning gleefully as he held it.
At Writer’s Club, Ivy said she’d not done much as she’d had a really weird week. I don’t know what she thought was weird, but I’m fairly sure it had nothing on mine!