Stories

Glaze

Glaze

The road up to the common is frozen, rainwater from the flooded fields tipped out across the tarmac, now deep in churned ice. My car loses grip on the corners, slides, corrects and lurches forward. This was a journey I used to make daily, sometimes twice a day, but I...

Chorus

Chorus

It starts and ends with seabirds, with the first faint wash of rose-tinted light touching their feathers. There are crested auklets perched on lava flows and sea cliffs. They are here in their millions. The sounds they make, as their milk-pale eyes open, creak and...

In a Wolf’s Eye

In a Wolf’s Eye

I remember an encyclopaedia of animals with a green cover, faded gold lettering, a loose spine cracked at each end, the pages bent at the corners and warped from damp. Not an old book but badly worn by the daily handling by my younger sister and I over six or seven...

The Lookout

The Lookout

Only the towers and walls of this island are shaped the way they’re meant to be. Out on the water, paddling around the cliffs, I get a feel for the place as it was and might be again, when we’re gone, which could be soon

Old Growth

Old Growth

Dusk approaches. The hill is windless and quiet. Moorhens carefully crosshatch the surface of the pool wrinkling the inverted images of  squall-clouds that have been gathering for an hour. A faint curtain of rain closes across the mountains twenty miles away. I am...

Up Close and Far Off

Up Close and Far Off

I don't remember the name of the town where the railway started, or the destination at the end of the line, only that the train sometimes arrived, but most of the time didn't. I think I waited a week. There were a handful of half-ruined colonial buildings on a single...

Heartwood

Heartwood

The statistics: it has taken 12 hours to smooth the surface, 4 shifts of 3 hours, first with 60, then 80, then 120 grit paper. Dust gathering on me, my hands following the rings as they appeared from beneath the deep scores made by the chainsaw. I could have done all...

Offshore

Offshore

On the last day of a family holiday I sneaked out of the caravan just after dawn and walked to my favourite spot on the cliff to say goodbye to the sea. The place was near an old stone hut where fisherman used to keep watch for the pilchard shoals coming close to...

Unremembered

Unremembered

The cloud is down. My navigation is reliant on the recall of shapes close up: twisted trees, broken walls, mawn pools, the bends and intersections in tracks. In the past week fieldfares have returned, I can hear them now, ransacking the rowans. A small flock of...

A Desertion

A Desertion

I remember that the sand whispered and sound carried for miles. And dunes the colour of tanned skin - their perfect, female contours. I remember how the desert engulfed the town, dust blowing down narrow streets, gathering and drifting in doorways. There were blue men...