Helena Andree a few thousand words later…..

People boarded and her carriage started to fill. Her cab had two new travelers, an older woman and a young man with an extraordinary moustache. She put her lap top in her bag and placed the newspaper on the small pull out wooden desk by  her window seat. She smiled and nodded at the two new boarders. The train carried on.

The young man left his seat and wandered off in the direction of the dining car, probably for an early breakfast Helena thought. The older woman took out some knitting from her carpet bag and started to click the needles together, occasionally looking at Helena as if she was about to begin or want to begin a conversation.

“Are you going far dear?’ she asked Helena

“Yes to the south. To see my cousin for the holiday.’ Replied Helena. She wasn’t really interested in engaging in conversation.

‘ I believe the Viper agent has gone in the other direction.’ Stated the woman. ‘I’m Josephine Madina from HQ administration. ‘Just so that you know.’

Helena had heard about Josephine. A well-heeled agent who had also been far in to the future. She suddenly became interested in talking.

‘Where are you going?’ asked Helena

‘Trieste. I have important documents relating to the impending war in europe. We won’t be able to stop it. As you know.’

Helena nodded. There were some things HQ couldn’t stop, It wasn’t he job f the agents to stop history, but to knit together the fragments of dispersed information and to link people during troubled times. Josephine carried on with her knitting.

‘Mishka is not like other agents. She works alone. We will have many troubles with her and she will rise to the top of Viper. George could have taken her out, but he decided not to. We will never know what that could have done if he had. Nor do we know why he decided not to. Try and find out Helena. There is some kind of connection there that we are unsure of. I’m not saying George is not to be trusted. Just that he has a link with Moranovic in some way which is a mystery to us.’

Helena was surprised to hear this. Not much did surprise Helena. She pondered on what Josephine had said.

“Are they related?’ she asked.

‘Not that we know of. George is a bit of a mystery really. No one is too sure where he is from. He seems to not have an origin. If he has, he has kept it a secret for a long time. I think he is from the future. I see him at times beyond this era you work in. But even there, he seems to not have any connections. He is closest to you and John and prefers to work alongside you both. HQ has no real reason to be suspicious of him. But his reticence around Moranovic is something we need to find out about.’

Nanowrimo uncut….2011 

Spiced Carrot and Garlic Chutney

I’m not a huge fan of chutney apart from mango and this one -if you have others you would like to share please do…

Here is the recipe taken from a dear friend, Lynne

Makes 10 450g/1lb jars…

4lb carrots – coarse- grated

40z fresh root ginger –peeled and finely chopped

1 litre cider vinegar

8 dried chillies

2 tbsps coriander seeds – coarse- crushed

4 cinammon sticks

2 star anise

2oz coarse sea salt

3 heads of garlic

500ml water

3lb granulated sugar

1. Put carrots in a bowl with the ginger, cider vinegar, chillies, spices and salt.

Mix together and cover with a tea towel. Leave for 24 hours or at least overnight.

2. Next day, pour the carrot mixture into a large preserving pan, add the garlic and water.

Boil then simmer for 10 minutes, then stir in sugar.

3. Bring back to boil and boil hard for 45 minutes. Stir occasionally until the chutney is thick and jammy.

4. Let it settle off heat for about 3 minutes, then while it is still good and hot ladle in to hot sterilised jars and seal tightly with non-corrosive lids.

Label and store in a cool, dry, dark place. Leave for a week if possible.

*To sterilise jars. wash in warm soapy water and rinse in warm water. Do not touch inside of jars. Turn upside down on a rack in oven and heat to 110C. Leave for at least half an hour.


The Life and Times of Helena Andree -Nanowrimo 2011

Extract of my nano this year, words unleashed and streaming: 

Both her mother and father were informers and spies working for HQ – which endorsed supporting the good of all humanity. This was a difficult job, getting it right was very important and people like Helena and her parents played really important roles in this. Not to say that the world would become a perfect place and people would stop being bad, but things would definitely be a lot less worse and eventually the world would become a happier place. 

Helena’s mother was from the Isle of Skye, a bona fida local lass belonging to the clan Donald, she had played a part in helping Bonnie Prince Charlie and supporting the Scottish fight for independence, her influence had been phenomenal, acting as an inspiration for thought and action in her people. She wasn’t hugely fond of traveling, but would disappear occasionally and that was when she met Helena’s father – Tomislav. He was from Russia of course, with a Mongolian heritage -a true traveller and nomad. He relished persuing missions across the world in all eras.

Their meeting was a romantic one during the French resistance in the second world war, both young and on a job to enable the resistance movement in Paris. Helena’s mother, Flora worked in communications deep in the HQ base in Paris in the basement of The Louvre. Her father, Tomislav worked above ground on the Parisian streets as a gendarme, a disguise of course. He kept contact going between significant individuals and passed on information to HQ which is how he met Flora. It was love at first sight, as love often was during war. They married within six months of courting and stayed in Paris after the war, also owning a retreat in the Scottish Highlands near Flora’s beloved Skye. This was where Helena was born, just after world war two ended in 1946. Her brother Jamie came two years later.

Both Helena’s parents were dead. Time traveling doesn’t buy time. All humans age despite being able to cross zones, life can not be extended. There was no elixir for life despite what the Chinese Confucian mythical figure Chang-O believed. The hare on the moon could only promise eternity for Mother Earth, but not for its inhabitants. Helena was a little like Chang-O, she believed in the impossible’ the unattainable and was determined to find a way to live for ever.

Helena rarely saw her brother, he worked at HQ and she had never visited. It was advisable not to until a spy had passed a certain age. She had another fifteen years or so to go. She wondered where John was. It was now almost midnight and time to get out of the bath for a night cap.

Helen Andree was a real-life traveller from  18th century Scotland.