This is a vignette, featuring one of the characters in my Middle East novel. Beryl Beryl Vine is at the door, her small face beaded with sweat from the short walk to our bungalow. She has a flowery plastic bag full of hairdressing things. I invite her in, apologising for the noise. Beryl  seems like a […]

Dead languages, useless knowledge and rocks from outer space

This little ramble is inspired by a memory: my mother once said that she couldn’t understand why Latin – a ‘dead language’- was taught in schools, and why anyone would want to learn anything so useless. Latin is embedded in English grammar along with other linguistic influences, and is our ancient language of prayer and […]

Reading the 21st Century

Born in the mid 20th century, in a not very bookish household, my earliest  literary influences were Enid Blyton and comics. Especially comics, which I could buy for myself at pocket money prices from the corner shop, long  before I was old enough to take myself off to a library. The comic format seems an obvious […]

New Year Blog – Resolutions and the Apocalypse

We have not only survived another Christmas and end/beginning of a year but also the 21st of December 2012. Endings are beginnings. The Mayans encoded that into their calendars – they reset them each new cycle. Of course,  some preferred to interpret the Mayan ‘prophecy’ in terms of an apocalypse. There are always anti-Pollyannas who have a death […]

The Virtual Fireside

People often talk of the ‘universality’ of stories, how they transcend time and culture with common themes that entertain, instruct and link societies. Perhaps the love of stories is a defining characteristic of humankind. Ancient traditions of storytelling are physical – by the use of spoken and sung language, as a fireside activity by a […]

The LBD and Ave Maria

Most women know what an LBD is. Of course, it the mystical, alluring ‘Little Black Dress’. Every woman needs one. In the quest for the perfect LBD, a helpful sales assistant with quickly point out – ‘It looks nothing on the hanger’ (except the price, of course). ‘It needs to be worn to be appreciated’. Try […]

Nuns and Harlots

I am posting a little short story to mark National Short Story Week. More of my favourite motifs – flowers. There is a compost heap too. This story is featured in the webzine ‘Word Bohemia’ – Nuns and Harlots Sarah would buy flowers and not take care of them, just plonking them in a […]

Nan’s Workroom

The night before we left England, we stayed at Nan’s. My younger sister and I slept in her sewing room in the old bed in the corner. We slept in our underwear, tucked beneath the eiderdown, watching the shadows of wires strung like rigging from the light socket. There was a commode to save us […]