Monthly Archives: June 2016

Friday Fictioneers – A Long, Slow Thaw

ff290616‘She wants to see you,’ my brother said, his faint voice almost lost within the crackles of the long-distance line.

I hadn’t spoken to my younger brother in two years; it had been nearer twenty-five since I’d seen our mother, yet the memories of that spring morning remained clear.

‘You’re too good for her, and that family,’ she’d insisted, bitter, angry tears reddening her eyes.

She never did come to the wedding, never did see her our three girls grow up. She had other children, ones who hadn’t disappointed her.

‘She’s dying’ my brother, continued. ‘She wants to say she’s sorry.’


These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

It’s an old prompt, but a new story. No re-treads on here!

Adieu Europe

diceGot to be honest and say I wasn’t really watching the EU Referendum hustings that closely. Why? Well, two main reasons. Firstly I didn’t appreciate there was a serious chance we would actually vote to leave. Naive perhaps, but for me Europe has simply never been an issue. Secondly, it all felt like an internal Tory squabble (most UKIP are ex-Tories) – a squabble that has been brewing for years and needed to finally vent steam. Well, vent steam it did, and driven by the racial intolerance currently rife in our politics, the voters of the UK took the frankly mind-numbing decision to cut themselves adrift from our European neighbours.

What now? Well, that’s a good question. However, I wouldn’t waste time asking the ‘Leave’ campaign as none of them seem to know. Unlike the Scottish Independence Referendum in 2014, where there was a 670 page white paper outlining the transition, in this referendum there has been nothing but soundbites and rhetoric. On the news of a Leave vote the UK markets crashed to the point where we dropped from the 5th to the 6th biggest global economy. Hot on the heels of share values being decimated the first lie of the Leave campaign was then exposed. Leaving the EU would apparently allow an extra £350m to be spent on the NHS, each week. As it turns out that was, err, “a mistake” according to UKIP leader, Nigel Farage. Conveniently it was a mistake plastered all over battle buses, hoardings, flyers and television interviews. As I type I’ve just read that Cornwall residents (who voted 57/43 to leave) want their current EU subsidies to be matched by the UK Govt. I wish them well with that request. There will be a long queue of people wanting their lost EU income protected.

Of course, I’m Scottish and a passionate supporter of my country and it’s right to become an independent nation once again. Many people will now be asking where this result leaves that dream. The answer is probably best summed up by this post-EU Ref map.


The yellow bits voted to remain; the blue bits voted to leave. As you can see there is a rather large, unspoiled, yellow bit north of the Scotland/England border. In more detail, there are 32 council areas in Scotland. Of those 32, erm, 32 voted to ‘Remain’. Sad fact is if everyone who voted in Scotland had voted to ‘Remain’ it would have made absolutely no difference i.e. we were, as we always are, outnumbered by our fellow islanders in England and Wales. The net result is that despite an overwhelming desire to remain in the EU, Scotland is on the way out. With it will be an end to the EU funding so vital to many Scottish organisations. However, I’m sure we can expect the UK Govt to cover the shortfall, or more likely not.

Unsurprisingly this outcome has triggered talk of a second Scottish Independence referendum. First Minister, Nicola Sturgeon, made it clear during the recent Holyrood elections that only a “significant and material change” would bring “indyref2” onto the table. There can’t be much argument that being dragged out the the EU against our will more than qualifies. It looks like being an interesting year or two ahead on the UK political scene.

Thanks for reading.

The clock is ticking

Wee Ginger Dug

So that’s it then. The sun has risen but the darkness falls. The nightmare has happened. The nightmare is here. Two Unions lie broken. Last night England broke the Unions, and chose for us. Chose to take us into the dark forest, chose to take us off the path we wanted to travel. England and Wales have voted to leave the EU and Scotland has voted to remain. Every single council area voted to remain.  The union is divided but Scotland is united, and here we are again, sitting at the back of a bus that’s being driven to a destination that we’ve said we don’t want to go to. We cling on as we drive off a cliff. We shout from the back seat but no one listens. We hold our heads in our hands and we weep in frustration. That’s the best of both better together worlds. That’s…

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Friday Fictioneers – Fear of (Not) Flying

ff220616With the evening sun setting over Milwaukee, Cathy buckled up tight for her final paid landing. The former homecoming queen had pushed her cart up and down the aisles of Deltas for the last 30 years. Her ankles now ached most shifts, but she never once stopped smiling.

“I bet you won’t miss the three-day trips and 5am starts,” the Captain had said.

Thing is she would. Life at home had become almost unbearable since Frank had begun to forget. Last weekend he didn’t recognise their oldest daughter. Cathy feared she would be next, and that scared her.


These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

It’s an old prompt, but a new story. No re-treads on here!

Friday Fictioneers – A Pupil’s Sorrow

I started piano lessons at Miss Shawbridge’s place when I was eight. I always hated them, even though I never disliked her. It was the house which creeped me out, it smelled of death, everything just looked old. They stopped me going to see Miss Shawbridge when I was 13.

I saw her the other week, Alice Shawbridge. I hadn’t seen her in almost eleven years. Despite what I did to her that afternoon she still bears no malice. She’s forgiven me and wishes me no ill, she says. The thing is, I’m not sure I’ll ever forgive myself.


These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

It’s an old prompt, but a new story. No re-treads on here!

Sunday Photo Fiction – Next in Line

160-06-june-12th-2016Three red lights shimmered in the summer haze. The cars on the start line continued to rev, golden licks of flame shooting from the silver and black exhausts. One by one the lights went dark. Both cars screeched  from the start, flame and smoke trails in their wake. Before you could wipe the heat and dust from your eyes it was over. Dad had won again.

‘Well, he’s only gone and done it, Brad.’ I turned towards my little brother, but he himself was already turned away – lost in his own world. Brad had never really shown much interest in racing; he’d never really shown much interest in most of the things our family was known for in the county. I though loved all of it: the cars, the competition, the noise, the excitement. But I was a girl and girl’s don’t race.

The fans in the stands cheered as this year’s champion made his way back towards the pits. In a few years  Brad would be expected to take over the family concern – expected to become the next champion to raise the family name high.  I knew that wasn’t going to happen. Dad would be heartbroken, but in time I hoped he’d understand.


Other entries for SPF can be found here.

Friday Fictioneers – The Beast in the Bottle

ff160414We always knew when Daddy had been drinking. His key would rattle around in the lock until it almost broke – his dinner lying cold and uneaten on the table. We’d hear him cursing; we’d see our mother frowning.

‘Off to bed, children, now,’ she would tell us.

I always went without hesitating. I hated it when Daddy drunk. I’d stay hidden underneath the covers until the house went quiet.

Our mother couldn’t hide from him. She had to put up with Daddy through all of his moods. Yet, her smile remained just as bright the next morning, no matter the bruises.


These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge.

It’s an old prompt, but a new story. No re-treads on here!

Sunday Photo Fiction – The Grassy Knoll Files

spf050616Joel was a conspiracy theorist. He wasn’t the only one in his freshman year at St. McKenzies. In fact they had their own club. ‘Theories Unlimited‘ it was called, and they met once a week in each other’s rooms at the dorm house. So far this semester they had covered all the old favourites: JFK, Area 51, the Moon Landings. Tonight Joel was hosting the group. There would be plenty of room, there was only six of them.

‘That’s clearly not true,’ cried Emily. ‘Elvis isn’t dead, he has a ranch in North Dakota – I’ve seen the pictures.’

Joel nodded in agreement. As the discussion around the continued existence of ‘The King’ raged on, Joel got up and wandered across to the fridge. Having pulled together a pastrami sandwich he tipped the milk carton up to pour himself a glass, only to find the carton almost empty.

‘Hey, has anyone been at my milk?’ he asked the group.

The room fell silent, almost. At the far end of the settee Jimmy slurped from a plastic beaker. Looking up, the white foam ring around his lips was clear for all the theorists to see. Sheepishly he shrugged his shoulders and said ‘Err, the CIA drunk it? Aliens?’


Other entries for SPF can be found here.

Friday Fictioneers – Leaving Home

ff010616A ewe and her lamb huddled together for warmth in the darkness of the crumbling cottage. Last night the rest of the flock had followed each other into the temporary pen readied behind the farmyard, but at least one wary mother appeared to know what this meant.

As sunlight crept over the hills a red quad bike approached the cottage. A young collie crept inside and chased the two shivering occupants out into the open field. The farmer looked at his watch. Over his shoulder he could hear the lorry approaching: the spring lambs would soon be on their way.


These words form my entry into Friday Fictioneers photo prompt challenge