the would be writer

He didn’t know where to begin. To open a facebook page or tweet updates to his, as yet unwritten, novel luring followers in.

He still had to update the blog. Take a snap for Instagram and he’d signed up on a five year long writer’s course starting today.
‘Guaranteed to bring success.’

It’d hopefully be worth the huge cost.

The first lesson.
In came the tutor, smiled at them sitting with pens poised.

“Read all you can. Whenever you can.

Whenever you’re not reading- Write.

And with that she left the room. Never to return again.


an affair long ago…

I trace the indentations of your pen as I read my address so familiar but here made so special. I brush it along my lips, not kissing, not smelling but somehow inhaling the essence of you. I note the measured precision with which you’ve attached the stamp.

I rip, carefully. Not wanting to ruin but an urgent need for this contact, to read your words.

Prising the gummed ‘V’ wetted by your tongue.

I remember.
And then I’m mourning your abscence.
The much anticipated letter only serving to heighten the fact you’re not here.

Will never be here with me.

the English Nanny

She’d imagined a dusty mausoleum. But facing her, with a cloudless azure sky behind, stood a house. A central door with two upper windows either side.

A breeze blew.
Welcome in the heat.

The geraniums in the window-boxes wept their blood red tears.
The sun had long since stripped paint from the shutters, leaving wood dry and bleached. Like bones in the desert. She double checked to make sure she’d got the right place.

Casa de los Muertos.

She knocked tentatively. Her home for the rest of that summer.

He opened the door.
And she was lost.

Hot Wax

She lit the candle with fingers that trembled. Her gasps almost blowing it out.
She was glad Peter was so calm. It stilled her nerves a bit. This first time.

“Honestly. Just relax!”
A frisson then as skin touched flesh when Peter pushed the candle to the side slightly to show how the wax would drip as the wick burnt lower.

“Yes? Are you ready?”

She nodded, inhaled, eyes dark with concentration.

“Move the candle in a pattern or randomly. But let the wax drip.”

It flowed and dried hard.
Ready for the batik to be dipped in the dye.

The Gatekeeper

A cloudless sky hangs heavie above mee from mine grassy vantage point. I’m mesmeris’d by the orange suit’d gatekeeper keeping watch o’er the hege of hawthorn. Its sweete scented flow’rs now long gone.

Another then joynes the firste, her false eyes wide upon those amber wings. She basks by the pallid brambles flowers scatter’d well betwixt natur’es barb’d wire. The twisting unwelcoming thorns of the brier’s coil’d stem.

Mine eyes scour the hege’row, the start of haws and sloes apparent but the gate they guardeth remains unseen. Are they there to stop me ent’ring or what is beyond, getting free?

Granny’s Preserves

I had to stand on tiptoe to see the jams bubbling way on her stove in her wasp filled kitchen.The gingham circles cut out with crimping shears ready for the WI Market hidden under a dozing cat.

Now though, production beyond our dreams on those hot autumn days in her kitchen. Lids printed now. Still with the same pattern. Gingham in a range of colours.

At the 2016 Food Awards she wins across the board in the preserves section. And we hope she’s watching. Proud. The family still making them today to her exact recipes, albeit in a sterile factory.

Sunday Trading

Four ‘orseman of the apocalypse were in Asda earlier. Shopping for a kiddies party, a barbecue I reckon.

No one stopped ’em. No dogs t’sign says.

The one ont white horse bought them lamb kebabs yer Dad likes.

Wharever that one ont red horse ‘ad t’seal were broke, dripped blood downt toiletry aisle he did. Right mess it were. And he ‘ad a plastic sword tucked under his arm he dint pay for.

Third had trouble wit scales ont self service checkout. Nearly dropped his oil and wine. We’ve all been there int we?

Picked right day for barbecue mind.

The dinner service

It had been a wedding present.
Royal Albert.
Porcelain with a spray of pink roses and a looping band of gold.
Two cracked cups and a missing side plate.
Once for best it saw us all Christened and Christmases as far back as I could remember. Until in the 80’s just after we buried Nan, in her saved for best shoes, it didn’t get put back away.

Except the tureens. Our life didn’t need them.

It had a hot wash (too delicate for the dishwasher.) And then sat with us daily even though the bowls never quite held enough cereal.

Team Building Weekend

Brian from accounts is lying on top of me.

At work he approaches my desk soundlessly. Says ‘Alright honey pie?’ in a low nasal drawl. I spend most of my working days thinking about knocking him out with a hole punch.

Wales hasn’t bonded us.

We want to escape the cold.
Go home.

But I slipped. My ankle has doubled in size. I can’t move my leg.
The others have gone for help. Brian stayed and suggested he lie on top to keep each other warm. Actually a good idea.

They’ve been gone hours. His breath smells like fish pie.

Marietta Robusti

The Little Dyer girl was one of seven. She dressed as a boy for a decade and a half, the only way to learn her father’s art even though he was Tintoretto.

Experts still struggle to tell her work from his. Philip II wanted her as court painter but papà couldn’t bear to see her go. Emperor Maximillian was told no too.

An agreement that she’d not leave his household while he lived held Marietta back; he found her a husband, a Venetian Jeweller. And she kept her promise until at 30 she died, four years before him, in childbirth.


He raised a gloved hand to his face. There was a glistening sheen to the thin latex. His nose twitched a little as he inhaled deeply.

Smelling her.
Her final throes.

He removed and dropped them into the fire pit. His coat too. And the rest of his clothes. Walked naked to the caravan where the kettle was whistling him over for a wash.

He felt the usual lurch of emptiness as he towelled himself dry and dressed. Nothing left to cling to.

Onto the next.
He carefully rinsed his potnoodle cup for recycling then began a fresh search.

A Winter’s tale

So I said ‘I exit stage left pursuing him and then what Darling? You know it’s all well and good but I’ve got children to feed and I’m never going to get my equity card until I have a fucking speaking part.’

He didn’t have an answer. I went mad. Couldn’t stop myself. I suppose what I’m saying is I didn’t get the part. Well, I killed Marlowe. It’s OK I saw Bill on the way back here and he’s stepping up. He’ll say he wrote it and we’ll all deny any knowledge of Chris.

Anyway, how was your day?