Thud

It was fog. It was a very, very dense fog. London had not experienced such a pea-souper since the 1950s when coal fires spewed forth their hearths into the lower atmosphere for it only to sink to street level and clog the roads as well as everyone’s lungs. So this fog was a freak. As the 113 from Edgeware to Oxford Circus smashed into the 98 from Pound Lane to Tottenham Court Road, Millicent was about to suggest to the rather dour little man sitting next to her on the upper deck, ‘It’s almost like something out of a science fiction movie.’ However, her utterance was cut off as she drew breath when the red leviathans met in a thud and crunch of fibre glass, grinding metal and tinkling glass close to Lord’s Cricket Ground. ‘That’s us stumped,’ said a voice from the further reaches of the routemaster. The voice READ MORE

Off to church

‘I do I dooooo Iiiiiiii doo Mmmmmm I Arthur James Smethwick do take, hrmmmmm. I whatever do take Molly Rose Bimble. God I mustn’t laugh. Molly Rose Bimble as my lawful wedded wife.’ ‘Art, are you ready, what are you doing up there?’ ‘Nearly. Moll are you sure you want to do this?’ ‘Are you getting cold feet?’ ‘No, I’ve got my thermal socks on.’ ‘Ha, ha. I forgot I was marrying you for your sense of humour.’ ‘Of course, I do.’ ‘Only you can bugger off at the end of the reception if that’s what you want to do. And I don’t care about vows and stuff. But, if nothing else, you will endure the meeting of all the relations.’ ‘Look, ready.’ ‘Shame you never learned the right knot for a tie.’ ‘Thank you darling, you look gorgeous too. Anyway, I didn’t invite the relations, you did.’ ‘Don’t lay READ MORE

The circle conundrum

‘What are you doing?’ said Pooh. ‘I’m drawing a circle,’ said Eeyore. ‘I need to work out the diameter. What’s twice plus?’ ‘Plusplus,’ said Tigger and in a single boing found himself in a rose bush. ‘Ooh and OOWWWW.’ ‘It depends how big your plus is,’ said Pooh, ignoring the feline. ‘Exactly or, to be more precise, inexactly.’ Eeyore almost raised a rare smile. ‘You see it could be the same as minus.’ ‘No it couldn’t.’ ‘It could if my plus was 50cm plus a metre and your minus was two metres minus 50cm they would be the same.’ ‘But what would be the point in that?’ Pooh scratched his belly in a quizzical fashion. ‘Precisely or imprecisely. It makes as much sense as… as a tigger. What if my plus was one metre plus one metre and your plus was one metre plus 50cm. How would you know I READ MORE

Anger – another exercise in pace

‘Fuck off, you bastard.’ She screamed the words at him. She spat them. If they’d been bullets he would be dead. The Saturday traffic sped past. An island in the middle of a High Street thronged with shoppers wasn’t where she would have chosen to hurl her anger at him. She would never have intended to stand stiffly, with her arms back, her fists clenched, her body leaning towards him, her head jutting out, her eyes glaring from their sockets; she would never have chosen to lose her temper so publicly. And as she loosed the words at him, a blast of automatic fire, it occurred to her, deep within her, it wasn’t what he’d done or was planning to do, but what he’d said about her, the place he saw her. The shit, she thought. But men are duplicitous, she had enough experience of them to know that was READ MORE

Nodding candles – an exercise in pace

The table was narrow. Two dinner plates would almost touch in its width. It was littered. A few bread crumbs, an ashtray, wine glasses, a box of wine, shreds of tobacco, rizlas, a lighter – the residue, the remainders, the late night, dawn-breaking survivors, like them, of a recently past meal. Candles tossed their soft light across the scrubbed wood surface and their incandescent heads nodded in agreement with the words that drifted above them. It was a good place to be a candle. The kitchen was warm, its ceiling-high shelves were a subtle barricade and the over-arching music completed a shelter from some outer world. They, her and him, were safe within the halo of light the bobbing flames felt was enough to contain them. That night many had talked in several rooms and rent the air with their strong feelings. It was an evening when fate had selected READ MORE

Titanic – something from nothing

Would you mind?…. This is my raft… Oh don’t try and play that everlasting romance trick on me, and it’s not Rose, it’s Miss DeWitt Bukater… The water might be cold, that’s what you get when there are icebergs around. It’s not exactly toasty on this lump of wood, why don’t you go and find your own? A special evening together, a special evening? I’m not sure how much I remember. Oh, when we went and jigged with those smelly people in that smoke-filled cabin. Yes, I suppose that was fun.. for about ten minutes, but there was nothing romantic about it or after it. All I can recall is going back to a cabin that didn’t reek of tobacco and stale cabbage, throwing off those stinking clothes and falling asleep on the sofa. Must have been a bit squiffy, had I been drinking? You drew a picture of me, READ MORE

Retirement

Well, that’s that then. It’s all over. At last. Tomorrow life begins again. Every minute of every test match as it happens, uninterrupted. Day after day. Every ball, every wicket, every run. Lunch at lunch, tea at tea. Supper at close of play. Every drop of rain and second of bad light. Bliss. The perfect greenhouse. No green fly, black fly, aphids, rust… Nothing but sterile soil and amazingly healthy plants. Four types of tomatoes – Sungold, Soldacki, Sweet Million and Black Russian. Oh melons. Yes melons. And the perfect lawn. No moss, no dandelions. I’ll get the old cylinder lawn mower sharpened, strip the engine. Then we’ll have lines on the lawn again. Damned hover mower, quick but useless. Manicured, that the word they use. That’s what I’ll have, manicured lawns with perfectly straight edges – trimmed. I’ll have time to trim the edges. Time. Time to hoe and READ MORE

Standing

Five hours he’d stood there, five. He’d moved around nonchalantly at first. Made tea for them both, albeit awkwardly. He’d successfully emptied the shopping bag after he’d decided bending down to remove the contents wasn’t going to work and he had heaved it on to the table in an ungainly fashion. He immediately wished he’d put it nearer the cupboard because his body seemed to have gained a new barely controllable momentum. The following four hours forty minutes? Well. His wife invited him to join her on the sofa but he was having none of that. No, he wanted to make a point. So he’d stood there, made coffee on occasion and cobbled together some sort of supper. With his back to the wall or leaning against it, propped, he witnessed Celebrity Something, X Factor or was it Britain’s Got No Talent, the news and the start of Match of READ MORE