War of the Worlds at the WI – Friday Fictioneers, July 2017

Copyright J Hardy Carroll


I’ve never really liked Mrs Fortescue-Jones, but right now her swollen lips and missing front teeth evoke an overwhelming empathic response from me.

“Boomers…” the gatecrashers had shouted, hotly followed by “brexiteers…, housing-hoggers…, pension-bandits…, bed blockers…”

We, the remaining members of the WI, had been chained to the ancient church-hall radiator, which was ticking and clanking away as usual.

Mrs F-J, however, is made of sterner stuff.

Snowflakes,”   she’d hissed before making a break for the phone to alert Septaguarian Security Services.

Mrs F-J always did like the last word.

And that, sadly, might just well be it.


The inspiration for this bit of nonsense came from one of my favourite Margaret Atwood short stories called ‘Torching the Dusties’.   The WI, for those who are unfamiliar with it, stands for Women’s Institute.   For cultural and demographic reasons there will still be many Friday Fictioneers for whom the story will have little significance – sorry about that.    🙂   Thanks to Rochelle once again.



About Sandra

I used to cruise the French waterways with my husband four or five months a year, and wrote fiction and poetry. Now I live on the beautiful Dorset coast, enjoying the luxury of being able to have a cat, cultivating an extensive garden and getting involved in the community. I still write fiction, but only when the spirit moves me - which isn't as often as before. I love animals, F1 motor racing, French bread and my husband, though not necessarily in that order.
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56 Responses to War of the Worlds at the WI – Friday Fictioneers, July 2017

  1. neilmacdon says:

    A bit of nonsense, but a very serious commentary behind it.

    Liked by 1 person

  2. Iain Kelly says:

    Great fun Sandra, enjoyed the comic tone. The WI seem to have a lot to answer for – I wonder how many of those accusations are true for their members?

    Liked by 1 person

  3. Surely it will never come to that…will it?

    Liked by 1 person

  4. Martin Cororan says:

    …Time to break out the WI gatling gun and go old school


  5. Sue says:

    Oh, very good….the war of the demographics, indeed


  6. A touch of the Handmaiden’s Tale here, perhaps. It could happen. Get yourself a boat!


    • Sandra says:

      Indeed. I finally realised this week that although the last episode is on Sunday, it’s only the last of the series. I thought there were a few too many outstanding issues to wind up.


  7. ceayr says:

    Superb social commentary brilliantly executed.


  8. Dear Sandra,

    While I didn’t understand everything in the story, I still understand good writing. I can always count on you for that.




  9. Love this. Serious stuff with a humorous tone, and such a vivid character. Well done!


  10. Definitely a Calendar Girl, but then, maybe she is? I like a humorous yarn. Thanks, Carol.


  11. Rowena says:

    Unfortunately, this went over my head but you created some strong characters there with great attention to detail.
    xx Rowena

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Jen says:

    I love your character and dramatic tone. You’re always a go-to for me while participating in Friday Fictioneers. 🙂 Cheers to you.


  13. I sincerely hope it’s not her last word!


  14. Mike says:

    I really detest the media and hospitals who use of the term ‘bed blocker’. British governments have closed the long stay hospitals that were build by charitable donation. Now they gripe when someone is in need of longer term care

    Liked by 1 person

  15. Dale says:

    Like the other non-Brits, some of this went over my head; but the gist is there anyway and, like Rochelle said, you write so well regardless!


  16. Let’s all sing Jerusalem! Nice one Sandra.

    Click to read my FriFic

    Liked by 1 person

  17. wmqcolby says:

    Yeah, it’s great writing, if a bit confusing for someone not in-the-know. But I always like reading your stuff, Sandra. This story is kind of what cinnamon rolls are like for me. I don’t eat them, but I can tell a really good one when I do (if that makes any sense!).

    Five out of five dusties. 🙂


  18. pennygadd51 says:

    Excellent story, Sandra. The WI being chained to the radiator by youngsters evokes overtones of suffragettes chaining themselves to railings – which some of your cast had probably done in their youth! But great to see FF being used like this for social commentary, especially done so entertainingly!


  19. Liz Young says:

    Those youngsters forget that we septuagenarians paid for our pensions, and for the NHS. In Tenerife, fit people can only take out as much as they’ve put in, so nobody can live on the dole forever like many do here. Arrghh! Good for Mrs F.


  20. draliman says:

    Well, I wouldn’t want to cross the WI 🙂


  21. granonine says:

    Good one! Since I’m now a septuagenarian, I could easily identify 🙂


  22. Lynn Love says:

    As you say, these terms are bandied about – often by the media – easy labels for whole swathes of the population. And the WI demographic has changed a great deal too – filled with young women now so I hear. Not all Jam and Jerusalem any more! Love the tone and Mrs F-J – what a battler she is. Great stuff Sandra


  23. JS Brand says:

    Great story with excellent writing. As a Brit with snow on the roof I really felt for the ladies. I don’t want to start, but nobody ever mentions the years over which we mollycoddled old gits paid up to 15% interest on the mortgages we took on to buy the supposedly oversized houses that we’re now hogging when we should apparently move out and shuffle off to the old folks’ home or the grave.
    I feel for young people who can’t afford to get on the housing ladder, but sometimes it’s hard to do so when mature citizens are blamed for it. Rant over.

    Liked by 1 person

  24. Interesting from here. A glimpse into a different world that seems much the same. Thanks for the view Sandra.


  25. plaridel says:

    i like the snowflakes metaphor if only to remind me of what donald trump and company are doing to distract the public’s attention from the russian probe against him and his family.


  26. I assume from the comments that your story referred to some program that a few of your readers are familiar with. I don’t know anything about it, but the scenario of your piece is fun, and I love the voice of the narrator.


  27. Too bad she doesn’t have an opinion! LOL! Great take on prompt Sandra! 😀


  28. Sarah Ann says:

    And I had always imagined the WI as such a dignified organisation. I can just see the experienced members and their trainees going for each other. ☺


  29. I am curious, what does ‘snowflakes’ mean? Loved the picturisation.


  30. Sounds like a great scene even if I don’t know what the fuss is about. Sounds like the aftermath of a European soccer match. 😄


  31. This is darkly comic, but also scary. I’m dreading being really old. There’s such anger being stirred up against the old, which causes a worse age divide than when I was young. In my darker moments, I truly believe that the anger is such that we’ll all end up being served compulsory euthanasia orders. Am I being too pessimistic?


  32. Alice Audrey says:

    Talk about the generations not getting along!


  33. rgayer55 says:

    I got an inkling of what was going on here, but that’s about all. Mrs. F-J appears to be a tough old bird.


  34. subroto says:

    Oops there goes Mrs. F-J. Loved those slogans by the gatecrashers.


  35. Somnath says:

    The rythm was astounding and pleasant..


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