The Errand

They have no telephone at home nor callbox nearby, so Abraham is on an errand for his mother to see how his uncle Fred is doing in Cardiff Royal Infirmary after a heart attack. It’s the school holidays and Abraham’s been as bored as only a thirteen year-old can be. Not now. He’s sitting on the number 6 trolleybus whistling Buddy Holly’s hit, ‘It doesn’t matter any more’. 

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The Drain Man

1910 Swansea.

Roddy, head bowed and breathing hard, stands between the shafts of the milk cart he’s just pulled up the steep hill to the top of Cambridge Street; he’s caught in a sudden pool of early morning light glistening on the tarmac, damp from overnight rain. Seagulls whirl, screeching with laughter. The milkman climbs down from his seat and sets the bottles gently on the front step of Ivanhoe. Hearing a scream from the upstairs window he thinks, That’ll be Maggie’s new baby.

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Snapping

It was 1967 and I was a young man on Hessle Road in Hull taking photographs. I wanted to be a photographer as great as Bert Hardy or Tony Ray-Jones. I was at ease as I moved amongst the crowds of Saturday shoppers. I wasn’t hiding what I was doing and revelling in the alchemy of being seen and unseen, taken for granted, and as uninteresting as a road sign. 

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Property

It is the evening of June 7th 1983. Archie and his wife, Rosy, are watching a Conservative Party Election Broadcast on their twenty-two inch PYE television in the front room of their council house on Orchard Park Estate in Hull. 

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Pinky

As I approach my sixtieth birthday it’s time to commit to paper the extraordinary events I experienced in 1960 when I was ten. I find it hard not to think it was all make-believe; even my own wife and grown-up children think it was a coping mechanism in the face of trauma.

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Out of Time

Steph is visiting her partner, Adam, who’s in an induced coma in an Intensive Treatment Unit. She stands at the foot of Adam’s bed, staring at the array of apparatus that’s keeping him alive. She had expected silence but the room is filled with the incessant bleeping of the many life-support machines and monitors surrounding the beds. 

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Oludeniz

Two brothers in their seventies, Vinnie and Oz, share a ‘squeeze’, Vanessa, on holiday in Oludeniz. It’s late morning and they’re in the ‘Lions of St George’ bar where there’s ale on tap and English St George flags hang flaccid amidst cigarette smoke. 

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Mrs Windsor

A middle-aged woman, Penelope, is showing a potential buyer, Mr Bond, around her mother’s bungalow. It’s on the market for £387,500. 

This is the dining room, Penelope says. In the centre of the room there’s a large oval mahogany dining table covered with a considerable number of porcelain horses.
Likes nags, does she? Mr Bond asks.

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Madness

The Yoraths are a respectable, lower middle class family who have survived the Second World War in which Sidney served in the infantry. Olive fought her own battles on the home front, forever frightened of the telegram announcing Sidney’s death, while cherishing their son, Tony, who is now eight. 

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Lister

In the summer of 1961, Lister is fifteen and has a holiday job at a small carpet shop, belonging to Glyn Jones, an acquaintance of his father, an accountant, Samuel. Lister is pleased to be earning ‘a few quid’ and his parents are happy that he’s out in what Samuel calls ‘the real world’ and not forever in his bedroom reading. Lister suspects the truth is that Rachel, his mother, is perfectly happy to have a bookish introverted son, whereas Samuel is fearful that Lister doesn’t have enough oomph to be make a fortune, despite the fact, that he, though voraciously ambitious, has not made one himself.

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