Sarah Ann Hall

Reporting on writing in progress or, more probably, not; practising flash fiction.

Ligo Haibun 31/1/14 – photo prompt – Let it Snow

with 18 comments

My muse is taking a winter break, seemingly well away from my clutches, and I am missing her. To try to entice her back I have forced myself to sit and write something. To write a haibun when my muse was co-operating was hard enough, but I thought trying to be creative with real-life might be an easier way back to writing than jumping straight into fiction. Now I’m not so sure, but if I don’t post, I might never again.


This week’s Ligo Haibun Challenge provided prompts of something currently in short supply in my part of the UK.


copyright Brenda Harsham


Let it Snow

My home usually floats on a river, but today is surrounded by ocean. To starboard, the Thames is a churning torrent as Cotswold rain races itself home to the sea. To port, the meadow is peppered with ponds as the water table surfaces. Dogs and their walkers have disappeared; seagulls and Canada geese have replaced local swans and coots.

Last week, with water levels of 40cm above normal, we were swept downstream and shot between the bridge parapets. We had no brakes: faith, hope and a good skipper’s eye got us through (with fingers crossed and hearts hammering). Our water tanks refilled, we turned in the tranquillity of the lock cut before re-entering the flow. We crawled upstream, inched and squeezed beneath the bridge, even after doubling our horses.

At 70cm above normal the towpath is covered by water; at 90cm, it reaches our shins and the road through the village is passable with care. At 1m the road is closed. In mid-January the river peaked at 129cm above. We were moored in a lake, walked to and fro in waders, and climbed aboard via a ladder of vertically hung tyres. Four, one-metre-long corkscrews held us rooted to the bank with our ropes stretched taut, ready for boat-loving, strong swimming, rodents to climb.

Snow would be a relief; brighten our days, sharpen smudged edges, dampen the gurgle of water, and freeze the limpet-sucking mud. Instead we bathe in murk, wait for wind and rain, and monitor water levels daily.


deluge sodden earth

prays for winter icing

respite a chance to breathe

 Ligo Hai badge


Truth be told, a cold snap is probably the last thing we need. Everything is so wet that frost and ice would only cause more damage, but that doesn’t work as well creatively.


... now you don't.

… now you don’t.

Now you see it...

Now you see it…



River over its banks.

River over its banks.

Written by Sarah Ann

February 5, 2014 at 11:29 am

18 Responses

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  1. Wow, the rain is truly amazing. I’ve always wondered what it would be like to live on a houseboat. Great writing.


    February 5, 2014 at 5:40 pm

    • Thanks Brenda, and for the great prompts. I loved your snowball photo.

      Sarah Ann

      February 5, 2014 at 9:00 pm

      • Thanks! They were too snowy for some, but they are what we have these days. 🙂 Today especially.


        February 6, 2014 at 1:01 am

  2. Glad she was enticed as I was on the boat with you, those last 2 photos especially the bottom left is amazing. Welcome back..see it wasn’t set hard now was it? 😉 x


    February 5, 2014 at 11:24 pm

    • 🙂 Thank you Jenny. Indeed she might be back. I was scribbling away in long hand last evening something that’s been floating around for a while but seems to be taking shape. I have a cast list and some events in mind, now just have to weave the two together. Still not getting anywhere with photo flash fiction prompts though.

      Sarah Ann

      February 6, 2014 at 9:11 am

  3. I heard about the excessive rain in England and can perfectly understand why you’d like snow rather than rain. Your photos are very telling too!


    February 6, 2014 at 9:15 pm

    • Thanks. The only problem with snow would be the possiblity of everything turning to ice – I’m not good at skating.

      Sarah Ann

      February 10, 2014 at 12:58 pm

  4. A beautiful, poetic, dreamy piece, putting passion ahead of reason, purely for the need of a poetic background! You have been missed. The Cotswolds…even the name alone works magic. You brought out the romantic side of the riverboat, even at this moment of the year, yet everything was as real as the earth and rivers themselves. I liked that very much.

    Hamish 'Managua' Gunn

    February 6, 2014 at 9:54 pm

    • I’ve missed your comments as they always make me see my work in a different way. Passion ahead of reason is just not me.
      Despite the river over-taking the land, or maybe because of it, the new landscape is beautiful – as long as your feet are dry and your house isn’t feet-deep in sewage. Despite the niggling worries, I’m in an extremely fortunate position.

      Sarah Ann

      February 10, 2014 at 1:09 pm

  5. That is a lot of rain! I can see why you’d want snow and a break from the water.


    February 7, 2014 at 5:53 am

    • Unfortunately, there is only more rain to come over the next couple of weeks, but it’s the wind that might come with it that causes us more worry. It blows across the flood plain and tries to push us away from the bank. As we are so high out of the water at the moment, the boat sides act like a sail, and it all gets very noisy and interesting, in that Chinese proverb way. 😉

      Sarah Ann

      February 10, 2014 at 12:56 pm

  6. That was compelling. Your haibun poured like a flood of raw experience that carried me away. I could visualize everything you wrote about. Your haiku at the end really captured the feeling of too much rain, water and mud. The floods in your part of the world sound extremely scary. I hope you are safe in the current round of storms.


    February 7, 2014 at 5:49 pm

    • Your comment is better than my writing – ‘…poured like a flood..’ – love it.
      I am lucky to be floating above the water at the moment. There are plenty of houses elsewhere slowly filling with it.
      Thank you for the wonderful and encouraging comment.

      Sarah Ann

      February 10, 2014 at 12:53 pm

  7. Oh so good to see your muse returning… those water pictures are truly beautiful… like Turner paintings… if you don’t know how it should be…

    Björn Rudberg (brudberg)

    February 10, 2014 at 8:35 pm

    • Thank you. I love Turner’s skies – his cloud sketches I could gaze at for days on end. The swirling waters outside look beautiful with the right light, otherwise they can be a bit dull.

      Sarah Ann

      February 12, 2014 at 9:58 pm

  8. When it rains, it —-
    Water, water, everywhere —

    We have rains here in tropical Singapore – warm and lovely to walk in the rain – have been doing it since I was a kid – since about seven hundred years ago 🙂

    What you say – mud and cold – now, that’s yukky.

    Eric Alagan

    February 11, 2014 at 1:54 am

    • Walking in warm rain is such a beautiful thing to do, but not something we get to do much in the UK. It’s years since I danced under a summer storm. You’re right, mud and cold is yukky. And this week it’s windy too. 🙂

      Sarah Ann

      February 12, 2014 at 10:01 pm

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