A Walk in the Park (Part II) by Emily Smart

It’s been a week of rules. Spoken, unspoken and broken.  It’s got me thinking about how we cope in our daily lives with the myriad of ethics, morals and standards that we and others impose, without even thinking about them. I’m not talking about laws. Obviously it isn’t a good idea to go around killing people and, whilst I am still unsure what coveting my neighbour’s wife means, I probably wouldn’t recommend that either. No, it’s the smaller things I’m talking about. I found myself repeating for the umpteenth time to a… Read More

Last Orders! By Trevor Plumbly

The 1960s were the beginning of the end as far as the traditional pub was concerned. The beat generation demanded novelty and noise; this was quickly provided by franchise chains and disco bars, which left the poor old dedicated drinker out in the cold. Depending where you stood in the social scale it was ‘the boozer’, ‘the pub’ or ‘the local’. For non-locals, they had names that totally belied the ambience and clientèle within. Only an innocent tourist would expect to meet any of the peerage in ‘The King’s Arms’ or find… Read More

A Walk in the Park by Emily Smart

I was giving our toilet the equivalent of a whore’s wash yesterday – a quick wipe on the plastic and porcelain with a wet wipe and a splash of Harpic around the rim – and I was reminded of my mate Catherine. It was Catherine who came up with the idea of the walking school bus. No, not the one where parents wear luminous workman vests and wrangle 20 kids to school trying to avoid busy roads, squealing brakes, broken bones and calls to 111. Our walking school bus is made up… Read More

War and Peace by Angela Caldin

The Eurostar train slices smoothly through the flat landscape of northern France on its way to Brussels. The land looks rich and fertile with green fields of potatoes, oats, wheat and vegetables interspersed with the occasional startling yellow of oil seed rape. Herds of placid-looking cows graze near the isolated farmhouses surrounded by hedges. Rows of poplar trees spring up like soldiers from the ground, breaks against the wind that often sweeps over the level land. The only signs of life are teams of workers in white overalls spraying between the rows… Read More

Happy Birthday To Me! By Trevor Plumbly

On the morning of September 18th 2006, I rose out of bed a little more tentatively than normal. I was now 65 years old and it was time for a bit of a stock take. A glance in the mirror confirmed hair loss, teeth intact and the basics of the old chiselled features discernible, dimly, but nevertheless discernible. Sadly that didn’t extend south. The beer, pies and fish and chips had sent in their account and my waistline had paid in full. Turning sideways I drew in a deep breath in an… Read More