Weekly Writing Challenge: The Sound of Silence

We’re asking you to make “silence” a presence in your post

Ribbet Edit

There is a garden just across the path. It was a garden with vegetables, flowers, trees, bushes: a garden to please the eye, a reward for the gardener. It is now a quiet garden; there is no longer a gardener. It is now a garden of silence.

I called my father last week he is now 98 years old.

“Hello dad”

“Hello Pat”

“How are you keeping?”


“How are you keeping?” my voice was a few decibels louder.


“No dad, I mean HOW ARE YOU KEEPING.”

Mr. Swiss calls from another room. “Do you have to shout like that when you call your father?”

“Yes, he cannot hear me.” And then my dad reacts.

“OK, just the same, just the same.”

“Dad are you wearing your hearing aid.”



“No, it’s no good. I cannot be bothered, it doesn’t help.”

and so the conversation continues. I tell him that my husband has problems with his back. “Yes” he answers, and after a while he asks me how my husband’s back is.”

My husband tells me when I have finished with my call, “I think the complete neighbourhood probably heard the conversation.”

My father lives in silent country.

There are many forms of silence. A silence that no longer exists and a silence that it’s owner does not realise it exists.

I once had to travel by train. I entered the carriage and took my phone to inform my husband I was on my way. The lady sitting opposite, suddenly put her fingers to her lips. I looked at her with bewilderment. What was wrong? She pointed to a sign on the wall of the carriage saying “Quiet Zone”. It seems that in this carriage quiet was to be observed at all times. It was a carriage for the readers, the sleepers, the “zombies?”. It was not the carriage for me, so I left as soon as I arrived and moved to the next carriage where there were human beings, people that lived and breathed, that spoke to each other. I decided a world with silence was not my world.

One day I will move on to a quiet world where my garden no longer exists, where I will have eternal silence. I might move on to a deaf world with a hearing aid, but I hope I do not move on to a world of silent compartments in a train.

Weekly Challenge: The Sound of Silence

Daily Prompt: West End Girls

Every city and town contains people of different classes: rich, poor, and somewhere in between. What’s it like where you live? If it’s difficult for you to discern and describe the different types of classes in your locale, describe what it was like where you grew up — was it swimming pools and movie stars, industrial and working class, somewhere in between or something completely different?

Photographers, artists, poets: show us SOCIETY.

The End of Norah Street

Picture taken before the street was demolished.

Let us begin at the beginning, although my birth was not here, but in a small country town, due to the fact that the maternity hospitals were full of women giving birth to the babies produced by the returning troops from the second world war in London in 1946. My dad was one of those, but my arrival was too late to take an empty place in one of the local hospitals, so mum was sent to another town to await my arrival.

When I eventually arrived, I was taken to my new home. The houses were built in 1884, nothing special: a working class area of London. The only swimming pool we had was the garden drain that my grandfather would block to allow his duck to have a swim. We had a small garden, but there were chickens, a duck, a dog and a cat, and even my mum’s family, one son, three daughters and her parents, all in three rooms. All the livestock had disappeared by the time I arrived, including my mum’s brother and sisters and I was squeezed into a cot in the corner of my parents bedroom. We lived in the top three rooms, my grandad in the bottom three rooms. The cot became a bed and at the age of 4 I eventually had my own room. The only film stars we saw were those at the cinema, even the TV only arrived when I was about 10 years old.

We had a few gangsters that became famous for their crimes, even a few shootings in the area, but nothing dangerous. If you stuck your nose out too far, it might be chopped off (figuratively speaking), and the local language was cockney, a London dialect, spiced with a few colourful adjectives that I never actually said as mum threatened me to wash out my mouth with a bar of soap if I did. I did not like the taste of soap.

So now let us leave this scene of the concrete jungle behind us. One day I decided to move on in the world. I had been working in the City of London and decided to see what other cities were in the world. I had also caught the longing to speak other languages as well as English and cockney.

I arrived in Switzerland, in another concrete jungle called Zürich, The houses were bigger, different and there was no war damage. I even found one street, the Bahnhofstrasse, that was filled with shops and banks.

I moved on to the Swiss countryside, met Mr. Swiss and eventually settled down in a place called Solothurn. After our offspring had grown and decided to do their own thing Mr. Swiss and I moved into a small village near Solothurn.

This is where the fun starts. You do not just move in Switzerland, it all has to be documented. You cannot have a population wandering all over the place, it all has to be registered. If you do not register within a certain time after moving, you might will have to pay a fine. So now we were living in a village where the population of cows, hedgehogs and field mice was more than that of the people. This was no problem, our cats chose us because of the field mice probably.

What is the social background of this village? According to how many wealthy people live in a town or village in Switzerland, the local council tax if affected. If you are surrounded by factories and people that have to work for their living, then the taxes are higher. If you live in a village where there are factory owners, doctors, lawyers and established millionaires, then your taxes are lower as these selected few are earning enough to cover the expenses. This is explained in a nutshell, but that seemed to be the way things worked in Switzerland to my working class, East of London outlook on the world.

We had moved into a village where one of the richer members of the local society lived and so he was financing the infrastructure of the village like roads, schools, drainage, etc. etc. This made our village quite a popular place to live, as the local council tax was at a low level, the local millionaire paying for most of it. The local millionaire was not so young and one day he passed on to the millionaire happy hunting grounds. In the meanwhile, other millionaires had moved into the village, so our local income tax level was maintained. Luxury apartments had been built for the retired millionaires and so everyone was happy.

We have now been living in this millionaire’s tax paradise for about fifteen years. Of course not everyone in the village is a millionaire. We have a few farmers, people that actually have to work for a living, and a few golden oldies, like Mr. Swiss and I. The village is split in two halves by the main road, the top half mostly having villas houses and luxury apartments and the bottom half where we live, with normal apartments and a few houses in between. It has become quite a popular place for the older generation, but gradually families are moving in with children. We have a tribe of crows populating the local trees and during the summer evenings a few bats flutter around, but up to now I have not seen any vampires.

Just across the road up on a hill is a castle, which now belongs to the local authorities. It is open for viewing and you can celebrate your wedding there, or any other celebration in the family – no problem. We also have a stable where you can take riding lessons. To complete the picture there is a local church, with the local cemetery where we eventually all arrive, millionaires, workers and golden oldies. There is no difference how much tax you paid, you just might have a nicer grave.

Further down the road

Daily Prompt: West End Girls

West End Pingbacks

  1. Well Said & Done! | Rima Hassan
  2. Recycle | Perspectives on life, universe and everything
  3. Daily Prompt: West End Girls-Why people get rich | Journeyman
  4. Society | Mara Eastern
  5. Big City Girl | Rose-tinted Rambles
  6. Begrenztes Denken auf dem Spielplatz | Zeitarbeiterin
  7. Roger, The Bush Pilot And The Daily Prompt | The Jittery Goat
  8. DP Daily Prompt: West End Girls | Sabethville
  9. Living In Ogden – It’s All About Community
  10. a stunning society… | ensuing light…
  11. The rainbows in my eyes divide us | 365 days of defiance
  12. society | yi-ching lin photography
  13. of good hosts | Anawnimiss
  14. Daily Prompt: West End Girls | The Wandering Poet
  15. Home Is Where Your Rump Rests | The Dragon Weyr
  16. Saudi Arabia Was Beautiful But I’m Happy It’s Not My Home, Anymore | Kosher Adobo
  17. Daily Prompt: West End Girls « Mama Bear Musings
  18. S. Thomas Summers: Writing with Some Ink and a Hammer | The High Society of Cows and Foxes
  19. Home (Daily Prompt) | Writing and Works
  20. Cricket matches and roosters | A mom’s blog
  21. Daily Prompt: Our House | One Starving Activist
  22. We Are All Immigrants | Lisa’s Kansa Muse
  23. Classes In Society | My Little Avalon
  24. Anywhere is a Place for Prayer | THE MARRIED MAN WHO LOVES HIS X
  25. Prompt’d To Post: West End Girls (Fairfield County, Connecticut) « The October Weekend
  26. Culture shock | A picture is worth 1000 words
  27. The beauty in hindsight | Unlocking The Inner Creative
  28. Love Don’t live THERE Anymore | peacefulblessedstar
  29. MANY CULTURES ONE COMMUNITY | Francine In Retirement
  30. The “Hood” back in the day… | I’m a Writer, Yes I Am
  31. West End Girls: Daily Post | Destino
  32. My home’s patio | Life is great
  33. A real hodge podge … | 365 And Counting
  34. Society | Among the Whispers
  35. Memories | Views Splash!
  36. Neighbors | Flowers and Breezes
  37. Society? Who Needs It. | 61 Musings
  38. Daily Prompt: Children’s Society | medicinalmeadows
  39. My Abrupt Descent Into the Cesspit of Humanity | Thinking Diagonally
  40. One drop in a limitless ocean | sayanything
  41. Daily Prompt: West End Girls | Basically Beyond Basic
  42. West End Girls: Middle East Boys? | Khana’s Web
  43. History outside my doorsteps | Mishe en Place
  44. Now That’s Classy!!! | The Shotgun Girls
  45. CATS! Daily Prompt | alienorajt
  46. ONE MORALITY | Emotional Fitness
  47. Maxed-out Cooperate Chihuahua bark | The Seminary of Praying Mantis
  48. Society | The Land Slide Photography
  49. Life Isn’t Fair | Deliberating Dave
  50. Blue Collar | The Zombies Ate My Brains
  51. It’s a class act. | I’m talking now.
  52. A city and a village. | The Word Trance
  53. TEACHING CHILDREN TO BE MORAL | Parents Are People Too
  54. One Crazy Mom » Where I Live
  55. Daily Prompt: West End Girls | The Politics of Starving | Gradual Thought
  56. Daily Prompt: West End Girl | beingfiofio
  57. Daily Prompt: Society | That Montreal Girl
  58. Day 48: Society Of One | The Sacred Architecture of Here and Now
  59. Daily Prompt:West End Girls | My Other Blog
  60. Looking back | 2 times pink
  61. After-skiing | Le Drake Noir
  62. West End Girls – West Texas | Yowza, Here We Go!
  63. Different types | Read all about it
  64. No future, no future for you | djgarcia94
  65. Daily Prompt: West End Girls and The Myth of the American Dream « the barren page
  66. If I Grew Up In Allentown. With a Fast Car.
  67. A Word from the Boss | meanderedwanderings
  68. One Force Many People…(WP Daily Prompt) | Daily Observations
  69. Suburbian Blues | Edward Hotspur
  70. DP: Society | As I See It
  71. Along Memory Lane | Wiley’s Wisdom
  72. DAILY PROMPT: I didn’t get fleas. | cockatooscreeching
  73. Actually, I don’t know what to name this post | 20/20 Hines Sight
  74. Queens Gets Her Moment | Laughing Through Life
  75. Know Your World |
  76. Reaching for the Stars
  77. West End Girls | The Nameless One
  78. I was born under a wandering star | Willow’s Corner
  79. Daily prompt: Something different | helen meikle’s scribblefest
  80. Smile and Happiness | Let me see