My kingdom for a moral compass or Will I ever stop being naughty? By Emily Smart

Crime and punishment My six year old son Rudy came home last night with a letter he had written at school that I had to sign. I didn’t know what he was talking about until he broke (it didn’t take much persuasion), confessing that he had been naughty in class and his teacher had made him write a letter as his punishment. I read the letter, the gist of which was that he had put pen on his friend Roman’s ‘teeshert’ and that he was sorry. The letter ended with, ‘Roman can… Read More

For God’s Sake by Trevor Plumbly

My schooling was pretty basic really: the three Rs, with a bit of Geography and History chucked in to break things up, took care of the basics. But there were, of course, oddities: PE for example seemed to be a futile attempt to transform a mob of unwashed and undernourished slum kids into pre-teen Greek Gods, but the real zinger was Religious Instruction; what this hour long yawn was supposed to achieve is still beyond me, it was quite clear to me at an early age that there was no way Jesus… Read More

On Being a Parent by Angela Caldin

A young mum said to me the other day, talking about her children, ‘I can’t wait until they’re 18 and then I won’t have to worry about them any more.’ She said this in all seriousness and first of all I thought that perhaps I hadn’t heard right. But then I realised that her children were small and that her worries were those associated with small children. She had no idea that as time went on and her children grew up, the issues would change and become more and more intractable. I’m… Read More

Collaborative Short Story by Angela Caldin and Friends

I belong to a writing group composed of five friends who met 10 years ago on a week’s holiday on the island of Zakynthos where we took part in a creative writing course. (Actually, that’s not strictly accurate as one of the friends is my husband whom I met more than 40 years ago and he didn’t do creative writing, he did sailing, but we let him join the group nonetheless.) One of our activities over the years has been to write stories where one of us starts off and then the… Read More

How to Deal with a Blindy by Trevor Plumbly

The Perils of Being Partially Sighted I first wrote something along these lines for an in-house magazine for visually impaired people with a view to putting a lighter slant on the daily problems that face the visually impaired.  Being partially blind gives me an insight into both camps (excuse the pun); sure I use, and rely on, a white cane but unlike the majority of ‘blindies’ I do have some vision left: not enough to enjoy TV, but let’s face it, that might be a bit of a blessing along with the… Read More