Robert is always anxious about crossing borders, runs on a short fuse and impatient with any obstacle. He shouldn’t have been on this train but, thanks to a drunk trying to get on the plane from Heathrow to Warsaw, followed by a delayed departure, he missed his connection to Minsk. He’s in a blue and yellow ancient wooden coach tagged on the end of the modern Trans-European Express from Paris to Moscow. It is the only way to get to Minsk by the next day – as is sharing a couchette with a stranger. Decision makers like me shouldn’t have to put up with shit like this, Robert thinks.Continue reading
It is 1970 and Trevor is engaged to Bethany (never abbreviated). He’s been saving in order to buy Bethany a very special, secret wedding present – this is over-and-above the other expenses he’s had for his wedding. He spent an age wondering what to get, but when he looks in the window of the shop on Paragon Square, his problem is solved; the shop agrees to put it in store until needed.Continue reading
They come from different directions – she from the east, he from the west.
The eight-lane motorway is almost deserted. The Mercedes in which he is being driven passes slowly through a pall of yellow smog. There are plants in the central reservation where each leaf, tendril, frond of limp grass is dusted, choked, almost fossilised, making the present seem to come from a time lost in antiquity.Continue reading
It is 9.30 pm as Anne and Gordon emerge from the motor coach; it isn’t raining in Portree. This is a surprise. The rain had been heavy for hours and the wind still howls on Skye. After hours on the coach it’s a relief to be in the open. They decide to walk to their hotel. A mistake. The heavens open. The raindrops huge and icy. In a less than protective bus shelter they put their backpacks into protective covers and walk on up the long hill in the dark. The road is awash. Within minutes they are drenched.Continue reading