Blog

Behind the Wheel

“All aboard!” Imperial Leather Daddy opened the door to his pride and joy. As always, he had spent that Sunday morning washing, polishing and admiring his Armstrong Siddeley which now basked, gleaming and immaculate, in the early afternoon sun. It was 1946 and I was seven years old. I adored my darling Daddy in those

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Digging for Victory

Ahead of me stretched an enormous green lawn, filled with funny brown lumps. A giant stood looking down on me. He had smiley blue eyes that glittered like sapphires and a gentle voice. “What are those?” I asked, pointing. “Those are made by moles,” the giant explained. “They dig their way up from underneath us

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Munch Munch Luncheon

The first proper formal lunch I remember eating was in 1946 at North London Collegiate School. Staff and students alike, we were recovering from the long-lasting effects of the Second World War. Miss Turpin, who ran the spotless kitchens with arms of experienced steel, stood majestically at the top of the dining-hall, facing the rows

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For the New Season

I thought I would celebrate the start of our new autumn with two recently written poems. The first poem here, FOR KINGFISHER ART, celebrates the work in Woodstock of Richard Brownsill, known to his friends as Rick, who is not only the best picture-framer ever, but the best friend and kindest of neighbours. Rick has

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My Writing Day

Like Cleopatra, my writing days are of infinite variety. A basic idea can be blown into my mind by a chance conversation with a stranger, a short holiday, a creative writing class, reading a biography or even an overheard remark. Sometimes I am hardly aware of mulling over the wisp of dandelion until its spark

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Spreading the Woodstock Word

When I first came to live in Woodstock in the blazing summer of 1976, Blenheim Palace slept behind its gardens of burned grass and the town was full of antiques. There wasn’t a book in sight. A small, badly-run bookshop opened and folded without anyone noticing. A friend of mine who taught computer studies told

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The Man on the Train

Several years ago, I was asked to write three short stories linked by some of the same characters. Here is the first … The Man on the Train Melanie Richards, wide awake at six that February morning, knew that today was either going to be spectacular or an absolute catastrophe. There’d be no half measures.

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Nothing to Lose

Here is the second of the three short stories in the linked chain … Nothing to Lose The patisserie in the centre of Soho rang with the buzz of Saturday-lunch voices and the chink of cups. “Delicious.” Laura Forbes wiped the froth from her lips. “This place serves the best coffee in London.” “After the

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It’s a Small World

Here is the third of the three short stories in the linked chain … It’s a Small World Clare Davenport ran her leather-gloved fingers over the train’s window, trying to see through to something other than the surly night. The train had ground to a halt again in its attempt to conquer the wrong kind

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The Empty Room

The first two stories were about mothers and daughters. Here is a slightly longer one about a father and his daughter. The Empty Room Charles slept so heavily that by the time the December dawn broke, he seemed unable to open his eyes. He rolled them around his head but gum clamped the lids together.

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