Posts Tagged ‘Across the Pond by Storyheart’

So finally we reach this years ” Christmas Story” I hope you all enjoy it.

The night was hot and steamy, too hot, too sticky and too not like Christmas for the soldier that lay trying to get some rest before going on duty, in the non air-conditioned barracks room.

Last Christmas had been so special, a family sharing their Christmas joy, watching children open presents, seeing the happiness on their smiling faces. Sharing a stolen kiss under the mistletoe with the one you loved.

The day had been even more special knowing that at any moment the deployment would happen and you’d have to leave the ones you love and head for a land far away where sand replaced snow, and the nearest thing to Christmas decorations were the socks somebody had hung on a small cut-down palm tree that stood forlornly in the corner of the barracks room.

It was strange to realize that the first Christmas had taken place in a land much like the one they were now stationed in. Despite the dangers that confronted them every day the country still had its beauty. You could almost imagine seeing three camels following one of the stars that twinkled in the clear black sky, which could just be made out through the slit, blast protecting windows.

Sighing, the soldier picked up a magazine carelessly dropped by one of the platoon members, and started to read how many years before a war had been briefly stopped by Christmas.

On Christmas Eve in December 1914 one of the most unusual events in military history took place on the Western front. On the night of Dec. 24 the weather abruptly became cold, freezing the water and slush of the trenches in which the men bunkered. On the German side, soldiers began lighting candles. British sentries reported to commanding officers there seemed to be small lights raised on poles or bayonets.

Although these lanterns clearly illuminated German troops, making them vulnerable to being shot, the British held their fire. Even more amazing, British officers saw through their binoculars that some enemy troops were holding Christmas trees over their heads with lighted candles in their branches. The message was clear: Germans, who celebrated Christmas on the eve of Dec. 24, were extending holiday greetings to their enemies.

Within moments of that sighting, the British began hearing a few German soldiers singing the Christmas carol “Silent Night”. It was soon picked up all along the German line as other soldiers joined in harmonizing.

One by one, British and German soldiers began laying down their weapons to venture into no-man’s-land, a small patch of bombed-out earth between the two sides. So many soldiers on both sides ventured out that superior officers were prevented from objecting. There was an undeclared truce and peace had broken out.

That night, former enemy soldiers sat around a common campfire. They exchanged small gifts from their meager belongings – chocolate bars, buttons, badges and small tins of processed beef. Men who only hours earlier had been shooting to kill were now sharing Christmas festivities and showing each other family snapshots

The soldier put down the magazine, and lay back on the bed, still thinking of the previous Christmas, until an order barked into the barracks told that it was time for the night patrol.

Taking out a slightly tattered picture from their fatigues pocket, a small tear crept into the eye of the soldier. It showed a smiling husband and wife and two young children, gathered around a Christmas tree, the lights reflecting in the eyes of each member of the family.

Sighing once more, the soldier carefully pushed the photo back into their pocket, before reaching into a bag under their bed. Looking once more at the discarded magazine, they pulled out a dozen bars of chocolate and stuffed them into a side trouser pocket.

Corporal Fanning might be many thousands of miles away from her family, but as a mother, she may still be able to bring a brief smile and moment of happiness to some children in a war torn country this special time of year.

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author

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BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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For those of you who have not been reading my Christmas Story’s (normally on a Thursday) up to now, each year I write a special holiday story, and have done since 1999. I will share them each week until finally just before Christmas I will publish this seasons story.

Today’s is from 2007, and one of my own favourites a narrated version (will be added later) for those who like to listen rather than read.


He took the last photo frame from the wall, and added it to several others in a small box on the table. He looked around the room, then back at the box.

Was that it?

Three years of living with Jane, fitting into one small cardboard box, and a few shadows on the wall where the pictures had hung. His eyes wondered to a small dent in the wall near the kitchen door… No quite all!

He shook his hand remembering how in his rage he’d punched the wall.

It was three months ago, since that day he’d come home early to find the woman whom he had thought was the love of his life, in bed with a complete stranger. She had not even tried to disguise what she was doing, just laid there with a smirk on her face.

“Now you know.” Was all she’d said.

He’d turned and walked out, but not before hitting the wall so hard with his fist, he’d broken several bones in his hand.

After a night lost in various bars, he’d arrived home to find Jane gone.

Over the next few weeks several friends, or at least a people he’d thought as a being friends, had told him, that Jane had been “playing around” some time. Like a jigsaw puzzle, small items from the previous months had fallen into place, and he realized just what an idiot he’d been.

Weeks turned into months and the shops started to fill with the glittering sights and sounds that can only belong to Christmas. His house still remained empty, except for memories.

One night he was sitting in the chair sipping a drink, looking at the shadows left from where the pictures used to be.

Had he ever known love, true love?

His mind went back five years to the summer he’d spent in France after graduating from college. Yes he had known love, known it and lost it.

It had been a wonderful time, the cares of studying over, the pressure of a job not yet begun. Six months lazing about in the sun in the south of France. Then there had been Pascal.

He’d been sitting in a bar next to the beach when she’d walked in, the sun had been setting seemingly surrounding her with a red glow, that matched the copper tinge of her hair, making her look almost on fire. Like in all good romance movies there eyes had met across the crowded floor… But in his case, she’d looked at him, then turned and walked back out the bar.

That brief moment of eye contact had though, left a message written across his heart, setting him a challenge, which over the next couple weeks he’d taken up.

Ten days from the moment their eyes first met, they’d laid in each others arms, bodies, hearts and minds joined as one.

For the rest of the summer they had been together, until he’d had to leave, even then phone calls and emails had kept their romance alive.

Then one day she’d told him on the phone that she would not be contacting him any more, she did not give her reasons, and her last words of “I will always love you.” had just left him confused, as well as heart broken.

Yes he thought, his eyes once more straying to the shadows on the wall, he had known love.

His thoughts were interrupted by the ringing of the front door bell. When he opened the door, there stood a woman perhaps a little younger than him, with dark hair. She handed him a letter, written on the top envelope was his name.

“Please,” the woman said, with a slight hint of a French accent “you have to read the letter.”

He went to open the letter then noticed a small face peering from behind the woman, her curly red hair only half hidden by her hat. Something about her seemed familiar.

“Please,” he said opening the door, “come inside.”

He led the pair into the living room, where they sat while he opened the letter.

“Peter,” he read “if you receive this letter, I will no longer be with you. I have been very ill, and I know my time in this world is not much longer.”

He looked up at the woman, and noticed the dark rings under her eyes.

He read on.

“My love, I have never forgotten you, and saying goodbye to you over the phone like I did was the hardest thing I’ve ever had to say.”

A shock of reality hit him. He looked up at the woman, his lips mouthing one word… “Pascal?”

The woman nodded.

“Oui… I mean yes she sadly passed away two weeks ago, but made me promise to bring you the letter before she died. I am Joelle, Pascal’s sister.” He could see the tears starting to swell in Joelle’s eyes. Not knowing what to say he want back to the letter.

“I had to say what I did, I know now perhaps it was wrong, but at the time, I did not want you to hate me.”

How could he ever have hated her?

“I was confused, embarrassed and scared.
Later I realized that I’d done was wrong and that you, of all people would have understood, but by then it was too late. The words had been said, the deed had been done. Peter, a few months after you left I found I was pregnant.”

The room seemed to spin, a myriad of emotions swept through him like a tidal wave. The rest of the words seemed to swim before his eyes until he got to the last line.

“Please don’t be mad at me, and remember I will always love you.”

He put down the letter his hands trembling, a thousand questions springing to his lips each remaining un-asked.

Joelle, ushered the small girl towards him, a package clasped in her hands.

“This,” she said, her eyes now filled with tears. “Is Pascal’s daughter, her name is Angela. She has a gift for you.”

“Me.r..r..y Christ..mas..” Angela said, her face breaking into a smile of pleasure that she had managed to say the words correctly.

“Thank you, Angela. Bonne Noelle to you” he said taking the package from the small hands, now noticing how much she looked like her mother.

The child gave him a small smile, her fingers just touching his for a moment.

Slowly he opened the package; there were two pictures, one of Pascal and one of Angela. Written on the bottom of Pascal’s picture were the words.
“To the Man I will always love.”
He looked up at Joelle a film of tears across his own eyes.

“She made me promise to bring you the pictures,” Joelle said, a small smile touching her lips.

She reached across and took the pictures from his shaking hands, moving across the room, she hung them over the shadows left by the images of a previous life.

“And every father should have a picture of their daughter on display…”

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author


BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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Today’s Christmas Story is from 2005, and as requested have added a narrated version, so if you want to hear that just click the microphone at the end of the story.

Laura finished typing the last part of her report, sat back and looked around the office. Snow covered the pavements, and with Christmas being just around the corner, most of the people in her department had already left for the day. She would be here for a little while yet, Daniel her boyfriend worked nights as a ground technician for Air Canada. She preferred to let him sleep, rather than, by her arrival home wake him early. Staying late also enable her to start that bit later so she had a brief time with him in the morning at the end of his shift.

Her thoughts of Daniel were interrupted by the phone ringing. She picked it up, wondering who would be calling her at this time.

“Hey, girlfriend,” came the voice of her friend Patti, “Merry Christmas.”

“Same to you Patti.”

Patti always managed to bring a smile to Laura’s face, something she felt in need of at the moment.

“To what do I owe the pleasure of this call?”

“Oh you know me, dashing here and there all the time, and right now I’m there. Well not quite, but will be soon.”

“What are you talking about girl?”

“I’m on my way downtown, and wondered if you’d like to stop for a coffee with me before you head home?”

Sure sounds good to me.” Laura answered; glad to have a something to do before she headed home.

“I hear the coffee shop near you is doing a special coffee and snow or something. I think they are calling it “Christmas Coffee. Whatever I’m sure it’ll be worth a try.”

“Sounds interesting, I’ll meet you in what, twenty minutes?”

The other end of the phone went quiet.

“Patti, Patti, you there?”

“Oh yes, sorry, sure twenty minutes will be just fine.”

Laura put the phone down, and started to clear her desk. She was looking forward to a good girls chat with Patti.

Packing up her laptop, and checking her desk she headed out the door. Noticing the light still on in her manager’s office, she peeped in the door. “Goodnight Carolyn, I’m off now.”

“Night Laura, I’m wading through the month end figures so I’ll be here for a while yet.”

Laura caught the lift to the ground floor and wrapping her scarf round her headed into the snow covered night.

The lights sparkled from shops full of Christmas goodies, and she wondered just what Daniel might give her for a Christmas present, it was always hard for him to get to the shops. Not that she had really decided what to give him either, but then she was always a “last minute” shopper.

A small time later, Laura entered the warmth of the coffee shop and looked around for Patti, not able to see her, she was just about the leave when somebody touched her on the shoulder.

“Fancy meeting you here.” Came a voice she knew so well.
“Daniel!” she exclaimed turning into the arms of her boyfriend. “What are you doing awake, let alone here?”

“Oh,” Daniel casually remarked “I couldn’t sleep. Anyway I had a few errands to do, and thought I’d stop for one of the “Christmas Coffee’s that I’ve heard so much about.”

The couple sat at a table near the window, Laura’s hand automatically going to Daniel’s.

“I meant to meet Patti here,” Laura said, “I guess she’s been held up. Still, what a lovely surprise meeting you.”

Daniel leaned forward and kissed Laura softly. “How could I stay away from the woman I love.”

“Tell me that when you’re feeling half asleep at 5a.m.” Now go… get us two of these special Christmas Coffee’s.”

“Yes boss lady.” Daniel said giving a mock salute. “I love it when you’re dominant.”

Laura laughed and gave Denial’s rear, a friendly slap as he went to get the coffee’s.

She looked around, wondering where Patti might be.

Daniel returned with two cups of coffee, the whipped cream piled on the top, had silver sprinkles in it, so it almost looked like snow.

“So these are the Christmas Coffees,” Laura said taking a sip. “Hm not bad.”

Daniel wiped the cream from his lips caused by his first sip. “I like the snow,” he said “but I think it needs more ice.”

Laura looked a little puzzled. “More ice?”

Daniel fumbled in his pocket. “Yes,” he said “more ice like this.” He handed Laura a red box, which she carefully opened. There inside was a ring, not any ring, but an engagement ring.

She looked at Daniel her mouth half open in shock.

A smile flicked across Daniel’s lips. “I’m sorry love, this is all a little plot hatched between me and Patti, to get you here so I could ask you one question.”

Laura’s eyes filled with tears.

Daniel knelt down on one knee. “Will you marry me Laura?”

People at the nearby tables had stopped talking and were looking at the couple.

“Well?” said a lady sitting next to Laura. ”What’s your answer?”

Tears started slide down Laura’s cheek. “Oh yes Daniel, with all my heart, yes.”

A cheer went up as the couple kissed, sealing their engagement.

“About time!” Came a voice from behind Laura. Turning, she was greeted by not only Patti, but also Carolyn, and several of her friends from the office.

Laura turned back to Daniel, and slipped the ring onto her finger. “Some plot, fiancée of mine. Then she laughed, saying, “I think Christmas Coffee’s the best drink I’ve ever had.”

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author


BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book

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Today’s Christmas Story is from 2003, a story with a slightly different twist. I was also asked if I could add the narrated version, so if you want to hear that just click the microphone at the end of the story. (will be added Friday)

He hit the turn off button on the TV remote, then reached up and wiped away a tear that was rolling down his cheek with the back of his hand. That dam film, every time he saw it, the same thing, each “Good old Savings and Loan” each “Zo Zo’s petal’s” each “every time a bell rings and angel gets their wings.”

He had seen the film a hundred times before, yet he still got churned up by it. How many times he thought, as another tear threatened to roll down his cheek, how many time had he said he would never watch it again? Yet every Christmas, it was repeated, and he watched it with the same effect.

He stood up and reaching for the now empty beer can, and with his dirty plate took them into the kitchen. Adding the plate to the pile of, “I’ll wash them in the morning” dishes in the sink.

“Dam” he said to himself again. “Dam, dam, dam Christmas”

Shop windows yelling at you to come and spend your money, bright lights, singing, receiving cards from people you don’t know and being with your family.

He laughed, some chance, being with his family. He had not spoken to his parents since the day he stormed out of the house, and out of their lives. Once too often they had said no, and he had said yes, once too often they had argued, and this time there had been no turning back. That had been three years ago.

“Oh well.” he thought looking at the clock, he would make his was to the bar, and see in Christmas with people who new his name. He would have some fun, and might even get a kiss or two under the mistletoe. One certain person, who might be there to give him a kiss and make him smile.

Just before one in the morning fumbling with his key he opened the door to his small bed-sit. The evening had been good, memories were only slightly blurred by the sweet red wine, and he had managed to kiss the one person he hoped would remember him in the morning.

He stumbled into his bedroom and crashed out on the bed.

Sleep came very quickly helped by the evening’s alcohol intake, and with sleep came the dreams. It was like a muddle of all the Christmas films rolled into one, wondering what life would be like if he had not been born, and then flash backs to Christmas past. His parent’s faces, and the joy of the family Christmas’s from the past.

He woke in the morning, his dreams wrecked across the tumbled sheets of his bed, like so many ships lost on a stormy sea. He woke with the resolution that he must speak to his family. Christmas was a time for forgiving after all. He poured himself some orange-juice and thought about he had to do. For some reason he wanted to have a shower first, he did not want to make the call to his parents in the disheveled state he was currently in.

Thirty minutes later, feeling more alive he shakily picked up the phone and dialed their number. His mother answered the phone.

“Hi Mom, this is Tony”
He heard his Mom catch her breath, then the sound off the phone being dropped.
His father must have picked the phone up.
“Hello” came the gruff voice of his Father that even now almost made him put the phone down.
“Hi Dad, this is Tony, Happy Christmas.”
There was a pause.
“Sorry, you must have the wrong number.” Came the reply, then the line went dead.

Slowly he put down the phone, and wiped a tear from his eye. “Dam, dam, dam Christmas.” he shouted.

Some time later, with his second cup of coffee, he sat pondering in the kitchen.

At least this year he had tried, had made the first move.

Perhaps next year he thought. Perhaps next year his parents would accept him, accept him for what he was. Accept him and hopefully his new boyfriend.

Another year and they might understand he had different feelings to most other men, might realize that not matter what he was their son, and he loved them.

Click the microphone to hear the story narrated by the author


BARRY EVA (Storyheart)
Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book

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As they say, the show must go on, so pulling myself out of my sick bed (why is it always the bed that is sick?) I managed to chat and croak with the very interesting
J.R. Hauptman about him and his new book “The Target: Love, Death and Airline Deregulation”

J.R. Hauptman, is a retired pilot. His book is set in Colorado and the Rocky Mountain West, and tells the tale of the tumultuous first years of airline deregulation and the effects it had on that industry and the people who worked there. There are many people today who believe it was, in large part, the rush to overall dLove, Death and Airline Deregulation back then that led directly to the economic chaos that threatens to overwhelm our entire economy today.

Why not stop for thirty minute and share this enjoyable and interesting chat

Listen to it at
You can listen to the show (as I am now) at


Direct location you can link to is


or on my blog at


Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
“Across the Pond”

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I have been asked to share some more old English Phrases and origins of them. So that will be today’s blog.


Many years ago in Scotland, a new game was invented. It was ruled “Gentlemen only… Ladies Forbidden” …and thus the word GOLF entered into the language.


England is old and small and the local folks started running out of places to bury people. So they would dig up coffins and would take the bones to a “bone-house” and reuse the grave. When reopening these coffins, 1 out of 25 coffins were found to have scratch marks on the inside and they realized they had been burying people alive. So they would tie a string on the wrist of the corpse, lead it through the coffin and up through the ground and tie it to a bell. Someone would have to sit out in the graveyard all night (the “graveyard shift”) to listen for the bell; thus, someone could be “saved by the bell” or was considered a “dead ringer.”


In the Royal Navy the punishment prescribed for most serious crimes was flogging. This was administered by the Boatswain’s Mate using a whip called a cat o’ nine tails. The “cat” was kept in a leather or baize bag. It was considered bad news indeed when the “cat was let out of the bag. ” Other sources attribute the expression to the old English market scam of selling someone a pig in a poke (bag) when the pig turned out to be a cat instead.


The entire ship’s company was required to witness flogging at close hand. The crew might crowd around so that the Boatswain’s Mate might not have enough room to swing his cat o’ nine tails, hence “No Room to Swing a Cat”


Solicitors kept their clients papers in a file folder tied with red ribbon to prevent the papers from falling out. Of course, when they wanted to get at the papers, they would have to cut through the red tape.


Your dinner plate was a square piece of wood with a “bowl” carved out to hold your serving of the perpetual stew that was always cooking over the fire. The kettle was never actually emptied and cleaned out. New ingredients were simply added to the muck. You always took your “square” with you when you went traveling.


Visitors to the Anne Hathaway’s cottage (near Stratford upon Avon) are given this explanation while looking at the bread oven beside the fireplace in the kitchen: “The bread was put, as a raw lump of dough, straight into the bread oven. No bread tin, it just sits on the floor of the oven. The oven is heated by the fire and is very hot at the bottom. When the bed is done baking and taken out to cool, the base of the loaf is overcooked black and also dirty. The top of the loaf is done just right, and still clean. The bottom of the loaf is for the servants to eat, while the upper crust is for the master of the house.

Author of Young Adult Romance/Fiction book
Across the Pond




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