New Spice

Still with the ‘writing from your senses’ exercises, this piece was the result of the task to write something ‘tasty & smelly’!

“Couscous” my wife replied distractedly when I asked what we’d be eating tonight. She was trying to find something in the spices cupboard that clearly hadn’t been used recently, as most of the shelves’ contents had made it onto the worktop before a satisfied grunt told me that I wouldn’t be sent to the corner shop on an urgent errand. But then I realised I was being silly: if it was for couscous it wouldn’t be available locally anyway.
My thoughts drifted to the Tunisian holiday that had introduced us to the delights of the dish. Continue reading

Frog and Peaches

When the class broke up just before Christmas, we set each other story tasks  for the holiday. My writing chums decided they wanted another childhood story from me, something with beach or sea in it.

My grandmother was of a melancholic disposition. Not that I would have known that when young though from an early age I was conscious that she never laughed out loud. Even her smiles seemed sad. Many years would need to pass before I understood how life can lose its colour and existence become joyless, and that such had been nan’s condition for the 20 years prior to this story.
To the child that was me, her subdued manner and sombre dresses were part of being a grandmother. To the child that was my mother, nan’s long widowhood meant an obligation to indulge and humour her. Continue reading

The Work Placement

This was another foray into view point writing. It was meant to be ‘close 3rd person’ but that clearly will need more practice!

“You know what’s wrong with this place? she said, arms akimbo. “We just don’t have any fun here!”
Her colleagues’ faces showed varying reactions, from hopeful anticipation to wary unease.
Her desk mate grinned. “What you got in mind now, Jess?” Continue reading

The Finishing

Our class was about Points of View and writing from them. Thinking ‘camera’: close up, further away, zoomed out. This piece was an attempt to apply that learning.

He had sat at the water’s edge all morning. In his green waxed coat, with his nets and other fishing paraphernalia. In his fifties, bent over on the tripod stool, rod in hand. Patient.

The lake belonged to his fishing club. It lay tranquilly not far from houses but, surrounded as it was on all sides by impenetrable woodland, it had a countryside feel. He watched the water, the float, waited in the quiet that cocooned his motionless activity – imperceptibly watchful – asleep to the passer-by’s glance.
The odd bird chirp, pheasant croak, magpie cackle, and he – all caught in the susurrous embrace of the trees. Continue reading

Hidden Hues


In this part of the hall of my life I
stored the holiday you asked to see. Can you see it now?
The viridian shimmer that suffused the room: light
filtered through lime trees?
The purple haze on hills?
The serried gold and umber in that sun-lit patch of
plough-scored soil?
—my ‘Field of Cloth of Gold‘ of newly-married memory, recalled
in the rosy day break—
The wine-blush-dusted sloes?
Iridescence on the lake?
Saffron crocuses?

Other colours are stored here
but at a deeper security level.
We’ll leave now,
walk back into the light that
will prism into future colours.

My hidden hues are dyed in me
as yours in you.
We store our colours in the halls of our life
and when, at the last, they come looking
they’ll find nothing but


La Soulette 2

This piece is a fictional spin-off from the earlier memory piece about the same holiday. After the class where this got an airing, my writing chums decided I should make it into a poem!  It’s amazing how a challenge can push you into producing something – faute de mieux!

Hiking down memory lane

You ask if I enjoyed it? Did I! I reckon it was the best family holiday we ever had! I only have to close my eyes and I’m right back there, waking on the first morning between those rough white-washed walls…. Continue reading

La Soulette

I wake up suddenly. None of that gradual swimming up from depths of sleep and gently surfacing. One moment I hadn’t been there and the next I was, awake between rough cast white-washed walls. The room is bathed in a cool viridian shimmer, light sieved through the canopy of lime trees that shade the house from the south. I  let the feeling of cool calm flood into me, letting go into the moment – I’m on holiday. Continue reading