General(7)

4

The Jane Baillie Saga

Little girl feigning sleep eavesdrops on parents

Scotland, the Caithness coast, specifically the fishing village of Clyth. It is the evening of January 26th, 1876. A dark chill evening. No breeze, but grassed slopes that tilt to the cliff edge, wear a veil of frost. A shadowed sea heaves, gently slapping at the rocky shore. Waiting. A single roomed fishing hamlet, no different from several scattered along the cliff tops, shelters a...Read On

2

The Jane Baillie Saga Chapter One

Jane's early days from 3 year old to six year old,

  For all her infant life and some way beyond, Jane hated the sea. It was always there in all its forms lapping gently at the rocky shores of Clyth, like some friendly faithful dog, or giving a harvest as generous as a fertile field. Yet Jane believed that below that heaving surface lurked a vicious devil-form that worked with the winds that came howling out of the north to produce...Read On

4

Wishing for Home Chapter Five Getting There

An unexpected visitor gives Danny new hope

The next morning, over the cold porridge breakfast, no mention was made about the use of the belt. Not expecting any, Danny was subdued but not suppressed. Anger and resentment still burned inside him. He couldn’t bear to look at Albin Flint, half expecting to see a self-satisfied look on that sour face. As he entered the kitchen on his way out to school, Eliza Flint said coolly, “You know...Read On

3

Wishing for Home Chapter Three Troubles grow

Danny sees no way out

For Danny, it seemed that since his mother’s letter about being unable to visit for a while, the Flints’ attitude towards him had hardened. Albin Flint, in particular, became more involved, and not in a good way. Danny was sure that the man had declared his own personal war on him. Threats were constant. Flint was frequently warning Danny about staying away from the woods. Tempting as...Read On

3

Wishing For Home - Chapter One - School trouble

Danny Rogan finds being in an unfamiliar school hard to take

Danny Rogan, nine years and three months old, was sick of his life. Facing his second fight in a week, he wanted to be somewhere else. Anywhere else, as long as it was home. Games were stopping around the village schoolyard, as boys, and a few girls edged towards them. Eyes hopeful, mouths gaping in anticipation. Max Hindley’s pudgy face was six inches higher than his own, pure sneering...Read On

3

Wishing For Home - Chapter Two Meet the Flints

Danny discovers the hardship of being with the Flints

Approaching the cottage from the long country lane, with the sunlight shining directly on it, it held so much promise. Behind it was an inviting deep wood, and in one corner of the garden hens strutted, clucked and pecked behind mesh. Across open fields, corn gold in the summer lay the farm where Frankie was staying. Rabbits appeared all the time, stoats and foxes could be seen from time...Read On

3

Wishing for Home Chapter Four Rebellion and Result

Danny flaunts the Flint's restrictions

Danny Rogan slumped disconsolately on the edge of his bed. Just one more punishment. And for what? Lingering too long at the farm enjoying the sight of a newborn calf. Things were just getting worse and worse in this awful cottage. Being brave was one thing. No matter what his mother and father expected of him, being home was the only thing. He gazed out of the bay window to where the...Read On

Humor(2)

7

Digging In

Ben Cole, avoids any hassle, but, with friends sets out to fight threat to their leisure

Friends in the local pub just couldn’t believe it. Even though, some of them had seen our actions with their own eyes. “Ben Coles in court?” they said, with some amazement, “Mr Easy-going. Mr Doormat. Never.” That, just about summed me up. I’d always hated any hassle and had avoided any confrontation. Couldn’t fight my way out of a meringue pie. Even with my dear lady, whenever a row...Read On

6

Will's Mother Worries

A 16th century mother laments her son's strange behaviour

I am so worried about Will. Such a disappointment. When I married John Shakespeare, we agreed that we wanted a large family. By the time Will was born in 1564 we had already had two daughters die in infancy. When it was clear that Will was going to survive, we were so relieved, and John used to say that Will became a symbol of love’s labour not being lost. When, at three-years-old,...Read On

Memoirs(4)

10
Editor's Pick

A Warmer Reality

Man in early forties tries to come to terms with his father's indisposition

---“It’s not him, is it, Jack? It’s just not him.” My mother’s despairing words were a mournful poem that reverberated inside my head whenever I visited the hospital. She was so right. The wizened shell inhabited by something totally alien was a parody of the father I had known. Those chafing images implanted in my head threatened to bury the good that had gone before. Sitting there, in...Read On

3

Early warning

A new experience of fear

Early 1940. Siren’s mournful wailing, signalling, Our first air raid. Fearfully looking at me, she switched off all the lights Then she came to hug me close, her body trembling. I’d never seen her like this, so full of fear and worry. “It’s all right,” I reassured her. A distant bang, surely approaching thunder “Oh, God.” Her voice displaying her terror. “Down the stairs,” she urged....Read On

5

First Date Set-Up

Teenage girl questions her father about the early onset of romance

 

5

Something of Value

Young man has first encounter with human loss

It was a slow melancholy song in Harry Turner’s head. Uncle Joe was dying. A sad refrain that reminded Harry of the man he knew. He was a man full of good humour, activity, kindness and love for his family. Now he was dying. The dirge plagued Harry’s mind. He had arrived home from university that morning to find his father in a less than happy frame of mind. “Your Uncle Joe’s unlikely to...Read On

Musings(2)

2

Christmas mix

Random thoughts on Christmas

All the images of Christmas past run together like the mix for some sumptuous fruit cake, from which the crumbs will scatter memories, trivial and momentous, garnished by the flow of years. Each crumb falling, out of any natural sequence, so that youth overrides childhood, middle-age falls ahead of youth. Yet childhood remains forever the most crystal-clear of Christmas images, and...Read On

6

Remembrance Challenge: Lest We Forget

Thoughts at a memorial

On Ploegsteert memorial in Belgium, no faces show. Only names carved on slabs Along curved walls of the imposing colonnade Impressive, the stone lions that guard. Eleven thousand names of the multi-ranked Casualties of war, who share this dubious banner NO KNOWN GRAVE. Consider these lives snatched into oblivion Ripped out of all existence, Yet, three kilometres north lies Ypres ...Read On

Poetry(1)

4

Deep in my Heart

reliving a beginning

So deep within my heart When did that implant begin? That haunting smile On lips of such promise? Or the subtle depths Of those laughing dark brown eyes So sensual when the time was right? Maybe your mobility caught the eye   The lilt and the sway. Of hip and thigh. Then add delicate gentility of touch When fingers first intertwined. While that lustrous raven black hair Swayed...Read On

Romance (2)

1

A Special Moment

Elderly man returns to the school he left seventy three years ago seeking a lost memory

Standing at the school gate, Harry Connor cursed softly. Memory, you damned trickster. A tantalising image had shaped in the furred conduits of his ageing mind. A gem of reminiscence teasingly snatched away, evading his grasp. He had made this journey seeking to recall a special face. Now, the school’s soot-darkened bricks and stark arched windows had fleetingly evoked a significant...Read On

6

Back Without Regret

Music takes him back over many years

That’s it. Breakfast dishes all cleared away. Cups neatly stacked, in the lower cupboard, Cereal bowls alongside with the plates. Now, why do I find something so menial satisfying? Oh, don’t I know the reason very well? It’s a form of security. Just like the warm aroma of my wife’s scones baking in the oven. There’s something steadfast and reassuring about that sort of thing. Fifty years or...Read On

Songs(1)

3

Christmas Whoopee

Father's major Christmas Worry

A lot of tinsel Kids wanting more Queues at the check-outs In every store What is the reason? Another season Another Christmas   Dad is defensive He knows the sign It's all expensive, The gifts, the wine. But Mom's not stopping She's gone out shopping Another Christmas   She's bought out Harrod's And M and S, She went through Wallmark Like an express So no one's missed out,...Read On