This is continuation of previous posts Chapter 1 and Chapter 2


Chapter 3
Daisy liked having her bedroom up in the attic. Being petite, it was easier for her to get up the stairs, and being the only girl, she had the room to herself. She liked the idea that, if she felt like it, she could pull up the steps and withdraw from the word completely. But she wasn’t strong enough yet, and maybe the hatch could only be closed from underneath. It was a sunny room, but cozy and homely at the same time. The very pale green wooden panels lining the room gave it a warm feeling. The pretty white cotton curtains with their pink floral design, fluttering in the breeze, made her feel happy. She could lie on her mattress on the low side of the room and look up at the sky, dreaming about her future. Or she could sit with her schoolwork at the little wooden table under the window, and watch  the commuters as they made their way across the park to the station.


It was not your typical attic. Do you have any idea how difficult it is to deconstruct a rocking horse and manouvre it up a flight of stairs? Let alone hoist it up several flights which only get narrower as they get higher.  The rocking horse went to the rag and bone man.

It was atypical also because, although it was small, it was light and airy. There are not many things that are easy to carry up those kind of collapsible steps, and that is why the attic became something of a family archive. Papers, letters and photos were the only items that were relatively easy to carry up there, and it became a convenient place to keep them, mostly in boxes ranged along both sides of the room. That is why Henry had bought the little lap desk which he kept on a narrow pine table. The chair that he sat at used to belong in the hall. He would happily spend hours up there writing letters and attending to his investments.

Fewer interruptions and fewer prying eyes.


Hannah had thought the attic would make an ideal nursery. That was because she was sentimental, clucky and totally impractical.  She could see the lace bassinet on its stand to the side of the window, the pretty blind in broderie anglaise with the pink satin ribbons, and the mobile with the little pink hippoppotami and white giraffes hanging from the ceiling. She would place the nursing chair in front of the window where she would be able to feel the sunshine and get some air.

The fact that she was not actually pregnant meant that she could disregard reality. Ignore the fact that there was hardly room for the average adult to stand up, that it would be impossible to negotiate the steps every time the baby cried or that it would be dangerous and tiring to be carrying the baby up and down so many narrow steps.


Being a poor relation means that your family may try to take advantage of you whilst imagining they are doing you a favor. When William had agreed to paint the attic for his Uncle George, he imagined that Uncle was trying to help him out because he knew his nephew was without work. Perhaps if he did a good job, Uncle might help him to get a position in business.

So he had turned up every day on time, and been diligent about the job. He had prepared all the surfaces very well. He had managed to open the window which had been stuck shut due to dirt or paint, or maybe just because it hadn’t been opened in a very long time. He sanded the wooden panels, including those that looked rather like skirting boards, which covered the angular space between the ceiling and the walls. He had had to remove and replace a couple of them that were loose. He had cleaned out the debris, which included quite a lot of dust, droppings, (rats?) and some long forgotten dirty looking papers that must have worked their way behind the loose panels over the years. He had shoved them into the pocket of his overalls intending to show them to his Uncle later, just in case they might be something of interest to him.

He had expected Uncle to pay him something for the job, even though there had been no specific agreement. Uncle had seemed happy with the work but never offered to pay him anything.

It was months later when William needed his overalls again. He had obtained a position in a bank and had been focused on his work, but recently he had bought his own house. It was way out of town and in need of repair. Now he was getting into his overalls to start his renovations. He felt something rustle in the pocket as he pulled his overalls on. It was the papers he found in the attic. There was a piece of newspaper with a date – 1915. There was a document with the remains of a wax seal that was no longer doing its job of sticking the paper down. He unfolded the paper to read – The Last Will and Testament of….


Photo Attribution: Lap Desk

By Koppas (Own work) [CC BY-SA 3.0 ( or GFDL (, via Wikimedia Commons

5 thoughts on “Writing 101 – A Series of Vignettes

  1. Maddy, what a wonderful series! I have never tried a vignette so am looking through others posts. I really love yours and it has helped me with the concept of a vignette. Thank you.


  2. Finally got my vignette done or is that a series of vignettes? your post really helped me get my head around the task. have just finished your “day” post and loved it! Thank you


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