Here and Now

28 Jun

Down off the mountain after four nights and up and posting in the daytime. Will wonders ever cease? My story for this week’s FridayFictioneers was inspired by this photo prompt and by a lovely blogger friend named Sandra who spends part of her time traveling through France aboard her barge, ( <— can you imagine? check out this picture.)  ( Sandra, is this true ? —>) Desormais. Do have a look at her latest post in her blog Castelsarrasin. It’s easy to find yourself operating a lock, searching for a mooring next to a tiny French town, bicycling for groceries and negotiating for time on the internet with Orange kiosk operators.

A wonderful life, or, perhaps more accurately, a summer of idyllic interludes separated by the trials and tribulations of canal life. Sandra only knows.

Here and Now

From a secluded glen hugging a gentle curve of the canal, canes cascaded to the water in wild, shadow-dappled chaos. We’d moored here at my insistence, two miles east of Château de Chambord, because to pass by without lingering was simply unthinkable. I made raspberry margaritas and we drank them in the shade of the wheelhouse. My husband groused about what a pain it was to have had to set two anchors while I thought about love and the maroon bottle of Chambord Liqueur we’d shared on our wedding night.

Amid the thorns, succulent fruit waited to be picked.

65 Responses to “Here and Now”

  1. ron pruitt June 28, 2012 at 11:56 pm #

    Hi Doug,

    It was 102 here today, so it was really nice to be taken on a excursion to the beautiful French countryside. Wrting from a femme’s POV showed your versatility as a writer and you must be in touch with your feminine side and I mean that as a good thing. I can almost taste the raspberries and wine and smell the water in the canal. Thanks for the short, but sweet, trip to paradise. Ron

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 12:50 am #

      Dear Ron,

      If more ladies knew how in touch with my feminine side I am I might be more in touch with theirs, but, alas, they all think I’m a scowling brute. Oh, well. Don’t judge a book by its cover.

      Thanks for your kind review of my 100 word trip on the canal. I’m looking forward to yours soon. Keeping my eye on the link page.

      And as for 102 degrees? All I can say is better you than me. That’s hot. How about I fix you a raspberry margarita?



  2. Lady Marilyn Kay Dennis June 29, 2012 at 12:00 am #

    “Desormais” means “from now on”, which is a complete programme in itself. I liked this story with its double entendre. Mine’s on the list.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 12:52 am #

      Dear Lady,

      Google translate has it as ‘henceforth’. Close, I guess. Perhaps Sandra will weigh in on the subject.

      Thank you for reading Here and Now. I’m glad you appreciated the layers and thank you for saying so.



      • Lady Marilyn Kay Dennis June 29, 2012 at 2:09 am #

        Well, yes. You could also say “from this day forth”. Henceforth is certainly more succinct and vaguely dramatic. Desormais is quite an ordinary word in French, which is probably why I didn’t think of henceforth.

  3. Laura L Mays Hoopes June 29, 2012 at 12:42 am #

    Hi Doug,
    I love Chambord liqueur and have always thought it tasted like summer. Thanks for the lovely but bittersweet reminder. Funny how tiny pieces of glass can wreck things in a relationship, pieces that never quite seem important, but hurt every time they’re touched.
    best, Lorelei
    PS Thanks for commenting on my fridayfictioneers piece. For others, it’s on

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 12:59 am #

      Dear Laura,

      Thank you for commenting so deeply on Here and Now. I’m happy to know you like Chambord liqueur. Wasn’t sure whether I’d run across anyone who’d tried it. To know that its taste brings back memories of summer for you is wonderful for me.

      Is anything so sweet as we remember it in our memories? Love and time’s passing.



  4. Carol Deminski June 29, 2012 at 1:20 am #

    Doug, please let Sandra know that if she needs a writer-in-residence to help be the first, second, or third mate on her French barge, I’d gladly volunteer…….

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 1:22 am #

      Dear Carol,

      Get in line!

      Good to see you and thanks for dropping by. (And for teaching me how to use the linking thingy. ha! Created a monster, you have.)



      • Carol Deminski June 29, 2012 at 1:31 am #

        Oops, I cannot be held accountable for your growing proficiency with technology… but I’m always happy to help feed the monster!


  5. Jan Brown June 29, 2012 at 2:10 am #

    Gorgeous imagery, provokes all the senses with mastery!

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 10:45 am #

      Dear Jan,

      Thanks for your succinct comment. I love Thursdays because I know the 100 words has to be good come Friday. Sharp eyed readers like yourself are my muses.



  6. Carrie June 29, 2012 at 2:14 am #

    Oh that fruit. So evocative 😉 lovely piece. I could picture the boat bobbing on the water as the drinks were enjoyed

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 10:47 am #

      Dear Carrie,

      Thank you for lingering on the thought of that fruit. A slow, hot, cool, lazy afternoon sounds good about now. The ripples are still moving outward.



  7. billgncs June 29, 2012 at 2:35 am #

    nicely done, I thought your wife might have guest written this

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 10:50 am #

      Only guest wives for me from now on. My mistress (writing) will have it no other way.



  8. TheOthers1 June 29, 2012 at 5:33 am #

    You did well with the female pov. Raspberries and floating along the canal sounds nice.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 6:13 am #

      Dear CC,

      Coming from you, that means a great deal. Thanks for the vote of confidence. I shall find your story tonight and talk to your more then.



      • TheOthers1 June 29, 2012 at 9:01 am #

        I’m not sure I’ll be able to do a story this week. I’ll get off work and head straight to bed this morning (there’s no inspiration in sight anyways).

      • TheOthers1 June 29, 2012 at 5:18 pm #

        No story, but a quick poem for the prompt:

        Back to sleep for me

  9. Lora Mitchell June 29, 2012 at 6:48 am #

    Oh Doug. You are such a romantic. How clever …to write in a feminine voice. During your trip, did you meet up with Sandra and share raspberry margarita’s with her? Sounds to me … you would have liked that…ohoh…my bad. Wonderful work as usual. I’m on the list.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 6:56 am #

      Dear Lora,

      Yes to romantic, no to meeting up with Sandra on my trip. Was trekking through the mountains so no chance there, plus I didn’t know her way back in the before times, plus I’m too…..Oh, never mind.

      Thank you, Lora, for visiting. I will barge on over to yours in about three hours, as I am just about to tuck in to a big pizza and see what Apple TV has to offer this fine Thursday night.

      Feminine point of view. Have you ever seen As Good as it Gets with Helen Hunt and Jack Nicholson?



  10. Kwadwo June 29, 2012 at 7:02 am #

    A very romantic story. You did well to capture the feminine psyche.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 10:51 am #

      Thank you for the nod to my feminine side. I appreciate your discerning eye.



  11. unspywriter June 29, 2012 at 9:04 am #

    Nicely romantic. And your feminine side is great. 😉

    Here’s mine:

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 11:06 am #

      Dear Maggie,

      Death to the happy hikers!

      Loved May the Punishment fit the Crime.

      Thanks for visiting mine. My feminine side is happy.



  12. raina June 29, 2012 at 9:08 am #

    Hi Doug, this was very pretty and romantic. Thanks for stopping by mine, I have made some changes as you suggested.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 11:05 am #

      Dear Raina,

      If my eyes don’t deceive me, you changed everything. Either that or the cheese has slipped off of my sandwich.

      Thanks for dropping by and reading.



      • raina June 29, 2012 at 11:18 am #

        Haha…no no, that is another link, a poem by Al. Sorry to cause the confusion.

  13. Kaitlin June 29, 2012 at 9:43 am #

    Oh oh oh, this was great. The meanings one can get with a bit of contemplation are perfect. Wonderful job.

  14. Craig Towsley June 29, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    everything was great as always Doug.

    Especially this line,”…to pass by without lingering was simply unthinkable,” which I have now adopted as my mantra.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 10:58 am #

      Dear Craig,

      Thanks for visiting. Are Owl and Raccoon drunk on fermented raspberries. Sleeping in the cane break? Shall i go wake them?



  15. rochellewisoff June 29, 2012 at 10:18 am #

    Hi Doug,
    I see how well your raspberry research paid off. ;). Seriously, you did very well with the feminine POV. Something Rod Serling struggled with in his writing. However Arthur Golden nailed it in Memoirs of a Geisha. Sorry for sounding like an advert.
    I said all that to say I really enjoyed your story. Thanks for never taking the obvious route.
    here’s mine in the usual spot.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 10:41 am #

      No apology necessary, Rochelle. I thank you for telling me I came close with my POV. I’m here now in this male body, but I think I have access to long years of experience on the other side of the fence. I know that’s not in your ken, but for myself it makes sense.

      I see you didn’t take the obvious route either, ‘eh? Forgiveness was wonderful.



  16. Sandra June 29, 2012 at 11:19 am #

    I really enjoyed this Doug, and your narrator gender switch was perfect! Yes, Desormais does mean ‘from now on’ which is more romantic than ‘henceforth’ which has a slightly imperious ring about it. The word Desormais is also crafted into the parapet above Skipton Castle in Yorkshire, which was the motto of the Clifton family. You should be able to see it here.

    As ever, you captured a moment in time with your piece and wrung every last atmospheric nuance out of it. Nice work, and thank you for promoting my cruising blog.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 11:35 am #

      Dear Sandra,

      Your cruising blog deserves to be shared and I cannot thank you enough for opening that window on the world to me (and others).

      I’m glad you enjoyed Here and Now. I owe you for its genesis. Thank you.



  17. Adam Ickes June 29, 2012 at 11:49 am #

    Beautiful as always, Doug. You never fail to disappoint, even when writing from the female POV. Of course I’m a dunce when it comes to women, so don’t take my word for it.

  18. Joanna (Lazuli Portals) June 29, 2012 at 12:18 pm #

    Where to begin? The “hugged curves” I liked, and cascading canes in shadow dappled chaos brings to mind still waters and refreshingly cool air. Lingering was clearly imperative.The nostalgia made for a pretty perfect piece (even if her husband missed the point!)

    We are linked, and are here:

    PS I did comment last week but WordPress ate several of my comments! 😮

  19. readinpleasure June 29, 2012 at 12:37 pm #

    Doug, I didn’t ever think you were romantic. Silly of me really. I’ve always pictured you as the rugged, brusque guy. But underneath all that blustering masculinity lies a soft heart and well not exactly feminine side. This is good, is all I can say. Cheers! Mine is here and linked as well:

  20. rgayer55 June 29, 2012 at 1:15 pm #

    Well, Doug, you turned a lot of heads this morning with this enchanting, well written piece. I’m in awe of how easily it flows and how relaxed and comfortable one feels while reading it. Outstanding job.

    Naturally, mine’s a little odd

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 1:45 pm #

      Dear Russell,

      Just stopped by your revolution. Pure delight once again. You remind me a little bit of Douglas Adams (that’s a good thing, if only for the name Douglas…)

      Thanks for the kind words, my friend.



      • rgayer55 June 29, 2012 at 6:26 pm #

        Enjoyed your comments about my nuerons. If you’ll email I’ll send an excerpt (the whole story if you want it) that explains what the medical profession thought of my nueron after running an EEG.

  21. elmowrites June 29, 2012 at 2:16 pm #

    Doug, this is so different from your usual fare, I can hardly believe it’s the same writer! I *loved* it, though – the beauty of the scene you paint, the hints at so much going on between your narrator and her husband, the double entendre of the fruit… all of it. Idyllic.

    Two tiny tiny things, I’m almost ashamed to mention: Consider hyphenating “shadow-dappled” for ease of comprehension, and I don’t know about Sandra’s boat, but no narrowboat I’ve even been on had anchors (more like mooring pins!).

    Don’t let me spoil the mood though – you know I can never comment without critiqueing something!


    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 4:29 pm #

      Dear Jen,

      Gave you the hyphen and retained the anchors. I’ll just chalk it up to an ex-submariner’s desire to have anchors on his vessel, no matter what.

      As for your penchant for critique, please always tell me what you’re thinking. There is so much to be learned even from the internal debate that such comments engender and I have a very thick skin. Reassured? Good.

      Thanks for visiting the canal with me. Very glad you enjoyed it.

      • elmowrites June 29, 2012 at 4:37 pm #

        It’s a deal, Doug. I enjoyed the anchors in spite of their unusual nature and will defintiely install one (or two) next time i’m boating

  22. boomiebol June 29, 2012 at 2:35 pm #

    Very well written, liked the female point of view. Thanks so much for stopping by mine

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 5:03 pm #

      Thanks for the Yin/Yang vote of confidence. I appreciate your reading and letting me know what you thought.



  23. erinleary June 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    I have been to Chateau du Chambord….lovely descriptions of a beautiful scene. Sandra has it rough….

    Mine is here:

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 5:02 pm #

      Dear Erin,

      Thank you for the compliment. I envy you having roamed the chateau. All I could do was Google it and then use my pea brain to fill in the gaps. 😦

      I loved your story, Last of the Mohicans. Very evocative of summer and the power of children’s imagination.


  24. Mike June 29, 2012 at 3:51 pm #

    A beautifully romantic piece of writing.
    Thank you for a lovely read Doug.

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 4:59 pm #

      Thank you, sir. I appreciate the feedback.



  25. Susan Wenzel (@SusanWenzel) June 29, 2012 at 4:40 pm #

    Ahhh, the difference between men and women….or the cynic and the romantic. I’m sure if she plies him with enough alcohol, he too will recall the more pleasant times…

    (Not that I’m promoting drinking, 😉 but a splash of vodka sure makes cooking dinner *that* much more fun!)

    Happy Friday!

    ~Susan (

    • dmmacilroy June 29, 2012 at 4:58 pm #

      Dear Susan,

      He may fall sleep in the wheelhouse while she picks the fruit herself….

      No telling.

      Hope you are well.



  26. janmorrill June 29, 2012 at 7:05 pm #

    My goodness. I loved this for so many reasons–that you shared a bit about one of our fellow fictioneers (I had no idea!) that you took us away from this gawdawful heat, and last, but not least, your beautiful writing. Oh, that last line! Thanks so much, Doug!

    Here’s mine:

  27. Kathy McClure June 29, 2012 at 10:21 pm #

    A very enjoyable vacation, and an cunning snapshot of marriage. And, oh the last line was priceless!

  28. Brian Benoit June 30, 2012 at 1:29 am #

    Another good piece of work — it almost sounds as if you’ve traveled that way yourself. I have a feeling that husband of hers will be won over and forget his brambles. Well done!

    Brian (

  29. flyoverhere June 30, 2012 at 11:21 am #

    Romanic vs Pragmatist, lovely story and very well done from the lady’s perspective! I am sure that once he understood what was in store he joined her on the romantic side!

  30. Madison Woods June 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    I had never thought of raspberry Margarita! You never fail to evoke all the sensory impressions of a scene and I was right there on board with this one. I also enjoyed the introduction about Sandra and her romantic life on the barge. It seems like an amazing lifestyle.

    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2012 at 11:11 pm #

      Dear Madison,

      Thanks for your kind and cogent comments. I really thought about what it would be like there at that moment and then just described what I saw. If you ever want a moment of quiet contemplation, pop into Sandra’s barging blog entries anywhere and relax as the countryside goes by. I met her through you, so it is I who must return the thanks.

      Mahalo and Aloha,


      • Madison Woods July 1, 2012 at 3:00 am #

        I cruised around Sandra’s blog a long time ago when I first found her… or she found me…. I don’t even remember. But I thoroughly enjoyed my mini-vacation through her blog.

  31. JKBradley June 30, 2012 at 6:24 pm #

    Howdy Doug.

    “Amid the thorns, succulent fruit waited to be picked” seems the perfect description of a fine marriage as well.

    Thank you for directing me to Sandra’s blog, which I had only superficially explored. I am now about to visit the local wine distributor in search of a fine summer French white which I shall enjoy with my wife while reading through her blog.


    • dmmacilroy June 30, 2012 at 11:07 pm #

      Dear JK,

      Just got back from shooting a record Saturday round of Disc Golf and my fine mood was further elevated by your kind and thoughtful comments.

      Sandra is a very nice woman whose blog reveals her writing abilities and her sensibilities. I love following along as she and Neville make their languorous way through the countryside of France.

      Enjoy your wine and I’ll catch you on the flip side.



  32. Linda July 2, 2012 at 5:37 pm #

    So romantic and a lovely scene indeed Doug. My ex parents in law used to own a narrow boat and we’d often take off for a weekend to be still and quiet enjoying drinks in the bow or in the shade of the trees so thanks for the lovely memories you gave me too 🙂

  33. creativenoodling July 5, 2012 at 5:09 am #

    This is one of the nicest responces to this prompt that I have read.

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