Thursday, 22 August 2019

WEP - August 2019 - The Red Wheelbarrow - DL

It's time for the WEP+ IWSG bi-monthly writing challenge.

Here is my story.

Laura hadn’t slept a wink last night knowing today they were moving in to their new home.  Kevin snored most of the night, nothing worried him, nothing fazed him, he just ‘went with the flow.’  She couldn’t wait to get out of this flat and into a house with a garden.  A garden no less.  She’d been looking online as to what plants she could grow but frustratingly moving in November was not really conducive to producing many plants. 

The promised mown lawn didn’t happen, not unexpected, the bonus was their flat had sold in record time and there was no chain for the new house so the exchange of contracts was plain sailing.   
She shut the 6.00 a.m. alarm off and prodded Kevin.  He jumped straight out of bed and started talking nineteen-to-the dozen about the tight schedule they had to keep today.  Laura smiled to herself, she’d arranged it all, marked all the boxes and had a plan for where each item of furniture was to go.  She’d give the removal men copies of that plan and hoped they would keep to it.

Christmas came and went, New Year they toasted each other in front of the brand-new log-burning fire which was their home-warming/Christmas present to each other.  It was so lovely being in this house.  There was such a nice vibe to it.  They planned and plotted and set out their goals for the following year, a major one being to sort out the garden and deal with the shed at the bottom of the garden.  The key to the padlock had been lost many years ago by the previous owner.  Kevin was going to break the lock and ‘find’ the treasures that were held inside the shed.  Laura was certain all he would find would be rotted floor planks, spider’s webs and probably nests of mice.

Laura was weeding the garden during a lovely spring Saturday morning when she heard Kevin shouting for her from the end of the garden.  She made her way through the uneven path (they really must get estimates from a paving company) to see Kevin grinning like a madman.


A rusty wheelbarrow with a flat tyre balanced precariously before him.  Kevin’s expression was one of utter happiness.  Laura’s mouth gaped open in astonishment.   A rusty wheelbarrow, whatever next? 

‘Can’t you see it, Laura love?  This would make a fine feature in our garden.  You could do all sorts of things with it.’

Dubious Laura walked around the galvanised metal container, her finger nails picking at the flaking rust patches.  Her imagination started working.  Rub down the rust, paint it with anti-rust stuff – Google here she came ‘cos she’d need help.  Perhaps she could paint it.  A vibrant red with a profusion of colourful flowers, some trailing over the edges.  There would be odds and end in there every time you looked you saw something different.  A fairy garden.  A dragon haven.  An exotic paradise.  Oh, the sky was the limit.

Kevin received a promotion at work.  He worked long hours travelling away for a couple of days.  Laura didn’t mind so much now her barrow project was nearly finished.  She’d scrubbed, scraped, sanded, smoothed and painted her wheelbarrow.  A new tyre and rubber grip handles had been fixed to it.  She wanted it ready for the August Bank Holiday so she could unveil it at a family get-together she had arranged.  The garden was neat and tidy, the walkway had been paved and they’d even splashed out and had decking built along the back of the house. 

Laura and Kevin stood at the doorway welcoming family, drinks were poured, seats taken in the garden, whispering started, what was under that tarpaulin?  Who did they think they were?  Somebody famous who was going to do a great unveiling?

Laura heard some of those remarks, she hid her tears as she put the finishing touches to the food. They made sure everybody had food and waited until the plates were cleared and people’s glasses were refilled.

Kevin stood one side of the cover with Laura on the other side.  Kevin made a little speech.  He said how much he loved their new home; how hard they had worked to make it their own little paradise.  He said how much he loved Laura and how he appreciated all the time and effort she had put in to making their home a loving one.  Now he wanted to show his family and hers what a creative person she was.

Together they lifted the tarpaulin and stood aside waiting for – well they thought maybe they would get a few oohs and aahs or maybe even some applause.  That didn’t happen.  As one their families started to laugh, first trying to smother their giggles behind their hands as they pointed and mocked and started shaking their heads in disbelief. 

They always knew this couple were strange but really, a red wheelbarrow with yellow flowers and a full skeleton inside it, they needed to be locked up.  It wasn’t a normal thing to do, no way.  First the cousins looked at their watches, is that the time, we really must be going.  Then the older generation decided they needed to go and get things done and finally everybody left, no goodbyes, no thank you’s, no good wishes, they just left.

Kevin and Laura held each other tightly, murmuring to each other that they weren’t strange.  Not strange, not odd, not mad, not crazy, just artistic, creative, perhaps a little ‘out there.’ 

The family hadn’t stayed for the best bit. The announcement that Laura had been booked for an exhibition in New York. Her wheelbarrow had won first prize in a gardening competition and would be transported to the USA, included in the competition was a two-week luxury stay in a prime hotel in the centre of the city. 

Now the sky really was the limit.  Laura was on her way no matter what her family thought.

999 words


  1. Artists aren't always appreciated by their families. And families can be strange and cruel and unsupportive. My story has the same thread running through it. I enjoyed your story, felt the young couple's excitement and then their disappointment that others didn't share in their joy.

  2. Hi Sally - loved the twist here ... and well done them - going against the grain of the family - well they'll learn. I'm so glad it didn't have a nasty end ... I was worried at one stage - Kevin going off with another woman - this is so much better ... now I'll have wheelbarrows with a skeleton in forever in my mind. Congratulations - cheers Hilary

  3. First of your stories l have read,really liked it x

  4. This is lovely Sally. What a comment on judgy families. The wheelbarrow brought this couple more than joy it brought a new lease on life. A delight to read. Thanks for putting this up for RED WHEELBARROW.

  5. Awesome! I love how you flowed so easily through time and brought us right into their family. Great ending too - fabulous twist!

  6. So often, families don't understand. Being artistic, following your creativity - it needs courage and perseverance in the face of family's disapproval. I'm glad she won that gardening competition.

  7. I am sooooo glad that the family they chose in each other is more supportive than the one they were born into. GO LAURA. AND KEVIN.

  8. Sometimes family members just don't get it and/or can be super judgy. Good for them for sticking to their guns and each other and getting the last laugh.

  9. Ah, reliance on family for approval can be fraught with sadness. Yet, how often we reach out for it!

    I enjoyed the journey of this wheelbarrow, and of Laura, who had a vision and went with it.

    Creativity is something born from the heart, fulfilled by the hands, and enjoyed by the spirit. Sadly, lots of folks can't, or won't, see the potential in something old, used, and in need of TLC. Easier for most to buy it new.

    Yet... something special comes for time and patience as shown in this story. In a selfish sort of way I'm glad the guests didn't get the "best bit", they didn't deserve hearing it.

  10. So sorry their family has no sense of humor or even basic manners! Buncha cads. But glad that Laura and Kevin have something else to validate them. Bet the family won't be getting any tomatoes from that garden :D

  11. Artistic minds see the world in a different way than others, so of course they can be judged as strange at times. But hey, it seems it's going to work out for Laura in the end. Good for her! I'm glad Kevin is so supportive.

  12. Love.

  13. Her family sounds awful. So often, the most interesting souls are born into the dullest of clans.

  14. I despise that family. I def would have supported Laura and Kevin.

    new follower.

  15. Nice. Family doesn't always get the odd balls. I'm the odd one in my family - my writing hobby confuses them. Well, Good luck to this Laura; first prize for something no one else appreciates is gratifying!

  16. It was certainly a lovely ending for Laura and Kevin. Er... Whose skeleton was that?

  17. Wondered where we were going - my twisted mind. Well-crafted transitions. And that revelation: 'a red wheelbarrow with yellow flowers and a full skeleton inside it'. I could see it - yes, the prompt design- and the family's reaction so familiar. The artictic twist was the icing on the wheelbarrow - brilliant.

    Minor correction? I suspect, 'There as such a nice vibe to it' should have a W before 'as'.

    Anyway, I'm nodding at your saga of a misunderstood couple - and I know the feeling of family disappointment.

  18. Hi,
    An excellent encouraging story about standing firm and going against the grain of opinions others might have. it's what they believe but what you believe that changes your world.
    Shalom aleichem,
    Pat G

  19. Was the skeleton found in the backyard too? Could be fun. Loved the twist at the end.

  20. Niceley done. I liked the twist at the end. It's always cool to see the oddball or underdog get their due, especially since there's no such thing as normal anymore. I'm glad they kept true to themselves.

  21. A well written tale with a impressive twist at the end. Well done.

  22. What a delightful ending! Families can be so obtuse and cruel. But they'll feel like fools when they get to know about Laura's prize. A positive and feel good flash - well done!

  23. Aww, I felt sorry for Kevin and Laura. Some of the most creative people know (and the most interesting too) are those that are a little quirky. Too bad their family don't appreciate them, but I'm glad things are going well for them anyway.