And Sons

Whenever I put up tiles now, I think of George from the potworks. George with his thick white beard. George with his big spiky eyebrows. I’m looking at the tiling in Caledonian Road station and thinking of George. I can’t get over the craftsmanship. The “Way Out” and “No Exit” signs. The arrow flourish after “To Hammersmith”. That’s where I’m… Read it

The Love that Never Was

I am watching, surreptitiously. Who are you, wearing the wilted leaves? The Shamrock captures me first, as your eyes reflect the green clovers and sparkle as if in sync. With what? Diamonds? No, too rich. Crystals perhaps, etched into the three-lobed leaves, as you are now into my heart. Calmed by your eyes, reflecting the innocence and freshness of an… Read it

My Last Rolo

“Would you like my last Rolo?” I hold it in the palm of my hand, lying in state in its foil wrapper. She turns towards me and wipes away the strands of hair that are stuck to the tear trails on her cheeks. “I know it’s an old cliché, you just look like you could do with it” I smile… Read it

Luck Lost & Found

He came home on a clear day, early and unexpected; his leave coinciding with the start of spring. He’d taken the first train to London, slept sitting in the corridor, his back up against a compartment.  Outside the squat red station at Holland Park he thought he wouldn’t recognise anything, not even where he lived.  Then, as he walked down… Read it

The Arduous Hill

The oily smell in the engineering workshops of the School was distinctive. It infiltrated my young nostrils, neither hateful nor pleasant but indicative of the work that went on there. Lathes worn from use were neatly lined up and decorated with spirals of sparkling swarf, a plantation of post-apocalyptic Christmas trees. My grandfather proudly explained how he had tutored several… Read it

Up the Hammers!

“Mind the gap Grandad.” My underground announcer’s voice is a little rusty despite holding my nose so tightly my glasses steam up when I speak. I hold my Grandad firmly as we take our exaggerated step from the carriage. This is the kind of thing that would send him sprawling and I didn’t want to remember today for picking him… Read it

Happiness is Wanting What You Have

“O Val!” “O Mel!” They sit on the big iron roller in the shadow of the stands, looking across the perfectly mown pitch. The day is dazzling. Mel’s a groundsman, responsible for the green velvety stripes. Val sells ice cream. They grew up together in the same shabby Stockwell Street. He’s just proposed. She thinks, “I’ll never be this happy… Read it

The Pact

Reaching down to the depths of my bag, fingers grazing the raw underside of the leather, I delve deeper until I feel the rigid filigreed metal of my grandmother’s gun. I trace the cool ivory handle with my fingers and in my mind, taking in the sure smooth certainty of its existence, imagine the recoil jolt that will come when… Read it

Yes

Under the thick wolf sweater, the stays of Andrea’s corset had flexed with every movement of the carriage. We went to a fancy dress party once as geologists. I had a rock hammer and a leather bag; Andrea wore the sweater and carried a field guide to the sedimentary beds of southwest England. Everything seems a long time ago and… Read it

The Exchange

Deep in his pocket, Marcus twirled the beads of the brooch as he walked towards the Royal Exchange. His thoughts moved to the sensual feel of the beads on his fingertips and what might happen later. He hoped the brooch would do the trick. It hadn’t cost much, but it was the thought that counted. He hadn’t really been thinking… Read it

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