Ainslie Paton romance author

A Little Story About a Loud Noise

A little while back I wrote a short story – yes, that’s right, me, a short story.

Like a mini skirt, obscenely short, flash of underwear short, compared to my usual length.

It’s a love story rather than a romance, strictly speaking, but I think it’s actually terribly romantic in a true life kind of way.

It’s called Tin Kettling.

They don’t have tin kettlings anymore.  They’ve gone the way of the old fashioned girdle, the telegram, party line telephone and the cut-throat razor, of simpler times before Bridezillas, wedding planners, wedding dress trashing photo shoots and mandatory overseas honeymoons.

A tin kettling was a wedding present with a difference.  The idea being somewhat cheekily to keep the newlyweds from getting any sleep – or um, peace and quiet for other things – by making a hell of a racket outside their bedroom banging pots and pans and kettles all night.

If you were given a tin kettling it was a sign of respect, of being liked and loved by friends and family. I can’t think of a modern day or a city based equivalent.  The practice has a European heritage often associated with lawlessness, but in Australia, it was all about community inclusiveness, a rural tradition and doesn’t appear to have survived the second world war in any but random occurrences.  (A 2004 episode of McLeod’s Daughters featured a tin kettling.)

Here is an account:

We would gather together and wait for the bedroom lamp to go dim.  We would wait a few minutes for the couple to get cosy, and then, if we could stop giggling, would sneak up to the bedroom window armed with kettles, chains, pots and pans, anything that would make a racket. At a given signal we would let loose with as much noise as we could muster. It was then traditional for the newly wedded couple to get out of bed, and make us all a cup of tea. It was an honour to be kettled;it meant you were a valued part of the community. (Canberra Times, 7 August 2010)

This little story takes its name from the tin kettling that Kel and Ginty receive.  The story itself is about noise and time and life.

It’s the perfect coffee break story, a bite-sized slice of love with the essence of a lost time and a less complicated world.

It’s also the first of three stories about three generations of the same family.

It’s available in several forms:


  • as a free story on iTunes and other ebook sellers – hopefully soon
  • as a cheapie story on Amazon.  Hopefully they’ll price match to free, but you can get a kindle version free via Smashwords.

So log on, download, nick out for a takeaway or dust off the good china, put the kettle on and pull up a cup.

I’ve been told it might be a good idea to have tissues handy – just sayin’.

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