The south-facing elevation of Sonya’s eighteenth century house is festooned with white roses. The garden is the most visible expression of all that she holds dear as custodian of her family’s heritage. Her visiting grandchildren, Nick and Jane, play football on the immaculate lawn, and invariably but accidentally, damage her meticulously ordered herbaceous borders. Bored by Sonya’s endless carping at their lack of respect for her delphiniums, Nick and Jane refuse to visit her. She misses them and has a vivid memory of her daughter, Clair, telling her grandchildren that Granny is mad as a hatter. Sonya’s reached the point where she’s trapped in her own sad history of appearing to love objects more than people.Continue reading
Category Archives: Writing
This is my 100th 500 word story from the collection
‘Behind the Plague Door’
It’s early morning. The sky is black. Maritime pine and eucalyptus emerge, ghostlike, from swirling clouds of white smoke which precede the imminent arrival of the fire. A high wind drives the inferno towards a large white walled and red tiled villa.Continue reading
Geoffrey is proud of the home he and his late wife, Isabella, created, for themselves and their daughter, Anita. In the ten months since Isabella’s death he’s kept the three promises he made her: he’s kept a close eye on Anita, eaten three meals a day and kept himself ‘respectable’.Continue reading
Heavy rain sweeps over the overgrown back garden. Margaret, or Peg, as her husband Oliver calls her, is staring out of the kitchen window of the rambling Victorian house that has been the Cromwell family home for nearly fifty years. Gusting wind bends the silver birch and the black barked laurel hedge shudders in the growing storm. It’s not rain, Peg thinks, it’s the ocean, the cold Atlantic, as squalls of rain, thick as waves, pound the window panes. She imagines white horses breaking on the lawn. The once herbaceous borders, now populated by weeds, drown under the weight of rainwater. The leafless branches of trees wave frantically as if they are the masts of long lost galleons. Are there pirates to be saved, Peg wonders? I’m all at sea, she thinks, lost in memories of her daughter, Ellie.Continue reading
Jack looks in the mirror in the hotel toilet and there he is, a reflection of himself; nothing unusual about that except that this ‘himself’ isn’t him. He turns.
The man standing in front of him says, Yes, I was thinking the same thing. Name’s John. He extends his hand.
I’m Jack. They shake hands. We’re doubles. John, Jack, almost identical names.
There’s the word for it, doppelgangers.
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’.Continue reading
The Drain Man
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading
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.Continue reading