Tuesday, 16 October 2012


Between the thumps of the drum and whoops of joy, I could hear the church tower ring out something o'clock. Half of the count lost to the good natured revelling near me. Whatever time it was, the village party was well under way. The beer had been flowing, people had eaten well and the band - Micky's Dozen - although there seemed to be well over that on stage - were giving it there all. Feet and boots stamped on the make-shift wooden floor as people danced away under the stars. They were thankful for good weather and the harvest it had given us.

Me? Oh, I wasn't dancing. Not really my thing. I sat in the the fringe between dark and light, old solar lamps completing with polished paraffin burners. Micky lead the riotous musicians into one song after another and each time I wondered how the crowd could keep up, but keep up they did. Cardys, shawls and jumpers were cast aside in the frantic movements. Hair was let down and hats tossed towards the straw bales that ringed the stage and wooden floor. There were whoops of delight as a pair of work trousers were thrown towards the band. Whoever had lost them, it was impossible to see.

Monday, 23 July 2012


The letterbox rattled shut. The postman’s shadow disappearing from the glass of the old front door. He’d reached the gate and was across the busy road before the owner of the house was out of her chair. It took a moment for the lady to gather breath, as it did not come so readily in her twilight years. Minutes had ticked away on the antique clock by the door. The tiny wooden cuckoo long silent, but ever watchful over the rack of coats and the spotless black and white floor in the hall.

With a soft groan and a crack of the knee, the post was collected. Bill. Insurance junk. Stairlift. Insurance junk. Charity. This week’s offers at the minimart down the road. Then an unknown. A well padded envelope. The postmark was from Jersey. Helen’s hands shook slightly and she lowered herself to the stair by the door.

With bent fingers she pulled at the wrapping, but it did not break. “Blasted paper,” she cursed and reached for her letter opener on the hall table. Sliding the sharpened point in, she sawed through the rough paper and opened the bubble packed parcel. She shook it. Nothing came out. Squinting, Helen forced open the envelope’s gummy lips and groped within. Her feeble fingers touched card and... yes! A small bottle. Hurriedly, she tipped the items into her lap; a wide smile lighting her features. The bottle was a tiny plastic length: a bit like one of those perfume samples you’d get in Boots. She plucked it from her lap and with failing eyes, studied the logo. Mayfly.