scribbles tagged ‘flash fiction’

I accidentally drank 3 bottles of wine (at work before 10am)

Saturday, June 20th, 2015 | tags: ,  |

Don't drink the wine in the storeThe office door slowly opened, Tina’s face peered into the room she glanced around until her bloodshot eyes met mine and her silent finger drew me into the corridor. I made my excuses, slipping from the hot office to the cool corridor. Tina’s words were fast, agitated and broken by sniffles. I caught the main gist quickly

Brenda’s unconscious in the toilets

Oh my goodness, Have you called an ambulance, what’s happened? As we stride out towards the toilets

No, she wouldn’t want us to call an ambulance. I’m confused, this seems odd to choose not to call an ambulance on request from a currently unconscious person who isn’t a doctor

She can argue with us when, IF, she regains consciousness. Let’s call an ambulance. As we walk briskly Tina seems to be calming down. Maybe it’s my clarity of belief about what to do

She’s an alcoholic, there are 3 empty bottles of wine by her, she’ll probably recover and be really angry with us. Now I begin to understand. Alcoholism has destroyed people I know, suicides, broken families, debt. An alcoholic might not even admit they have an addiction and hiding the symptoms is something they’re extremely good at doing. I’m  angry and more determined to get medical intervention from professionals

Are we able to know that she’s unconscious just because of the alcohol, are we sure she hasn’t had a heart attack or brain haemorrhage? We’re not doctors, we can’t know, she might die for all we know I’ve already  dialled 999 while talking. Tina clearly can’t break a promise to a friend. Tina stopped crying, we walk into the women toilets.

Brenda is on the floor wedged against the door, I take advice from the paramedic. Angela is pacing the toilets, tears streaming down her face, her crying is more like screaming. I want to slap her. I suppress the urge and hug her. Angela and Tina have been trying to sort this out alone for several hours. Trying to talk an alcoholic down to get help, trying to use what they think is a mutual friendship. While we wait for the ambulance Angela and Tina pour out their stories of Benda’s long history of alcoholism. So much pain and they’ve both taken ownership of it, they’re both seemingly paralyzed by their friendship with Brenda and what looks to me like overt Machiavellian manipulation of that privilege by Brenda.

The paramedics arrive and quickly assess the situation, taking Brenda away. I explain to Tina and Angela that I’ll take full responsibility for the decision to call the ambulance, they should point Brenda to me when she comes back. Then I had to deal with my own anger. I hate alcoholism. I have my own addiction (smoking), I have some empathy with addiction but I can’t deal with alcoholism. For me it dehumanisers the addict, they cease to be a person, they become a manipulative being who’s sole aim is to feed their habit and they trample on so many good hearts along the way.

I accidentally drank 3 bottles of wine (at work before 10am)
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Slowly one spring

Saturday, February 28th, 2015 | tags: , ,  |

I was 18 in 1981

Dry stone wallingI knew I didn’t want to be a wife, a secretary, an accountant, a person doing a job to earn money to live in a home and go on holiday. I tried to find things that I really wanted to do. Travel and see the world? Not really, it may be fabulous but what’s the point in that? It’s just hedonistic, and I didn’t want to do things just to make myself happy. Maybe I should want to be the prime minister? No, I didn’t want to be important.

I would walk out onto the Cotswold hills at night, sit watching the lights flickering over Wales in the distance. Sit in my Paddington bear duffle coat, which I loved, alone on the hillside in the dark thinking that the world was beautiful but there was nothing I wanted from it or could give to it. These thoughts were at once profoundly peaceful and sad. I would cry because there was nothing that I wanted to do or be. I had no vision or desire for a future. These thoughts were mine, I shared them with no one, I did all the things I believed you were supposed to do, ate, slept, went to school, studied, looked at universities to go to. But it all felt like an act for the purpose of fitting in, not worrying anyone with my complete lack of interest in anything.

One March morning I walked out of school and went home. My parents both at work, one brother at Salford University another living in Didcot. Just me at my parents home. Warm, comfortable full of good memories. This was enough, this was all I needed, nothing more.

I collected all the pills I could find in the house. Had a hot bubble bath to clean my body for whoever had to deal with it afterwards. Took off the earings and necklace that I always wore. Carefully, neatly, placed them by my bed. Put on my pyjamas and my favourite hand knitted (by me) aran jumper. Went into the front room and put “Closer” on the hifi at a really high volume. I loved Closer, so beautiful. It took 3 pints of lemon squash to down all those pills. Pills are dry.  Unpleasant to swallow.

I curled up on the sofa and fell asleep. Ian sang “Existence well what does it matter? I exist on the best terms I can.”

I woke up 3 days later in Frenchay Hospital. My first thoughts were “Shit, I’m still here, and now everyone knows I don’t want to be here”. The nurses had no trouble showing their disdain for someone taking up a valuable hospital bed when there are genuinely sick people around. Another girl on the ward had a broken leg and she persuaded me to push her wheelchair as fast as possible up and down the corridors. She was full of life,  positively glowed and kept me away from the hissing nurses.

I was allowed home after a couple of days ‘observations’ and required to have weekly meetings with a psychiatrist as an alternative to being sectioned into an insane asylum. Charming. I’d rather not be in an asylum. Waking up in Frenchay was like being born again. Not in a Christian ‘I’ve seen the light’ way.

A  new beginning nonetheless

Slowly one spring
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let hope move on

Friday, February 14th, 2014 | tags: , ,  |

Freeway ExitThat moment, when you realise “I don’t love you any more

  • When you order a meal and he tells you, again, to be careful about your weight.
  • Walk in the rain towards a warm friendly bar and he says he wants to go home
  • The phone call to say he’s working late

A moment of a relief because of the freedom it implies. A deep seated pain because love is too wonderful a treasure to lose lightly. The desire to hold on, to try to rediscover that love is so strong that the temptation to disbelieve the moment is too often overwhelming. To hold on after love has died in the hope it will reappear in the magical way it first arrived. It can’t be gone for good, surely this is just doubt, just a moment of hurt. Surely love is still there, just hidden beneath the mundanities of everyday life, it’s head will rise again with all the joys that implies. But it doesn’t happen.

Don’t wait too long. Let go. Change direction.


let hope move on
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The Italian job

Sunday, September 29th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

PorticoArne’s taken all 6 of the ‘ACE design’ team to Italy. They’ve bagged a big client project. Arne promised they could do it faster than the other design companies. The other companies made realistic, achievable proposals. Arne plans to achieve ‘faster’ by making sure everyone is working on this project simultaneously. He’s prepared for a thin profit margin. This project will be a loss leader for ‘ACE Design’. It should prove the quality of ‘ACE design’s work. Arne believes this will improve the likelihood of follow-on, full price, work.

They loose the only native Italian speaker on the team at Venice airport.

Antonio couldn’t walk past the Ferrari store. Once in the store he couldn’t decide which lovely thing to walk out with. Eventually he picked a handful of things, not bothering to check the prices, then got indignant at the price and started ‘discussing’ this issue with the sales staff. Helen hears the commotion and Antonio is extracted from the Ferrari store. Arne pays for the Ferrari merchandise and Helen wonders whether she should start an argument in the D&G store before they leave the airport.


The Italian job
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English channel watch

Thursday, September 5th, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

Eastbourne life guardsKevin and Wayne enjoy the rare rays of the August bank holiday. Eastbourne is buzzing, um, humming, um singly-rubbing with the laughter of cost-courting couples and the plunk-plunk of walking sticks. Kevin and Wayne aren’t expecting a rush of water-based emergencies, few people can make their way successfully across the shingle to even reach the waterfront.

Kevin meant to bring his study notes to the beach, but what the heck, this is his summer holiday, watching the sky is a good way to get beer money for the term. At least he’s not stuck in the kitchen’s of Wetherspoons – a living he’ll on earth. No one warned him that student life was about being a servant class for 3 years before struggling for a job. Now, this is the life, outside enjoying the world go by.

The black clouds are gathering. Cunning visitors have been using outsized umbrellas as walking sticks. No-one will be put off by a short or long downpour. This is their holiday and they WILL enjoy it.

English channel watch
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iMac wars

Sunday, September 1st, 2013 | tags: , , ,  |

‘ACE Design’ have grown from a sole trader on floor 6 to an open plan design studio with 6 full time employees, on floor 3, in less than 2 months.

Apple Software Update FailTheir IT guru, and financial backer has insisted they use PCs for normal office work and only use Macs when absolutely necessary. Most of the new staff are furious “but you said at my interview I’d get my own iMac!”

Arne smiles as he flicks his Dutch blonde fringe from his eyes, temporarily looking taller than his normal 6″6. He winks and clarifies for them, “I said you could make a business case for having one, and I haven’t heard a good case yet” Arne’s ordered one iMac to be shared, everyone gets their own company PC. Helen doesn’t mind, she’s never used an Apple and is comfortable with the strange workings of the PC. She’s enjoying sharing her knowledge with her new colleagues. Suddenly she’s got the ability to instantly dispel frustrations and be seen to be valuable.

“I won’t be using the Apple, so you’ll all get more time on it” Helen sings in her eagerness to make everyone happier. Arne’s fringe has only just found gravity’s natural place. He flicks it back revealing piercing periwinkle blues.  Synchronously, all eyes turn to him “We’ll get you an iMac as a birthday present“.  Like an audience at Wimbledon all eyes move to Helen. She’s  now the object of envy, no longer the supportive helpful place she likes to be. “I’ll just donate it to the most needy designer in the room, can’t see why I’d want an iMac

Chaos ensues, how could Helen turn down the offer of a free iMac? The other designers can’t begin to comprehend it. Maybe Helen isn’t really a designer? Maybe she’s joking, maybe Arne’s joking.

Over the next few days everyone starts demonstrating to Helen how much they need their iMacs for everyday work. They bring in their own personal Macs from home. The IT guru is not happy, but it clearly demonstrates that Arne doesn’t need to BUY everyone iMacs if they’re using their own. Looks like a bit of an own goal for the designers.

Will Helen get an iMac for her birthday?

iMac wars
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Tuesday, July 23rd, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Heat wave on the southbankThe air conditioning on floor 6 is not working as expected, please don’t switch it on because the condensation is dripping on the light switches which is dangerous. We’ve set aside some hot desks on floor 4 for people to use if they are feeling to hot. Ben is going to check the air conditioners before the end of the week

It’s 34C (93F) in the shade. A rare heat  wave that could last all week. Caroline’s fingers have swollen so much she can barely type. She wont be able to get her feet back into her sling-backs without first soaking her feet in cold water.

The town square water fountain is looking more attractive than a corner desk on floor 4. Local students are working-on a creative arts project to re-discover the ‘rain dance’.

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short burst of heat

Saturday, May 18th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

As you know we have been experiencing some ‘changeable’ weather conditions, and we are reacting to these demands, on a daily basis by turning the heating systems on and off.  In addition, we have taken the opportunity to carry out some essential maintenance work in readiness for next winter’s challenges, hence, we do need to turn the heating on and leave it on for short burst of time. 

We have now turned the heating off as from today, further maintenance work is planned for next weekend, if you should need any more heating locally in your area of work please do come and talk to any member of the team.

Ben, the building maintenance team works to a strict schedule. On May 1st the central heating is switched off until November 1st.

The sole traders on floor 6 are surprised by Laurel’s admission that the heating has been on in May. They haven’t felt the benefit. Their heating still isn’t working. Everyone has at least one ‘local area heating’ appliance, including heated blankets. Even Caroline who’s worked there for 6 years doesn’t remember the heating ever having worked. Could this essential maintenance end 6 years of frozen, penthouse, wilderness?

The 1st floor are still steaming and dreading yet another summer with the heating going full blast. On the 1st floor, no-one can remember the heating ever having been turned off across the summer. Their open windows create a pleasantly cooling breeze. But the breeze is laced with smoke from the smokers basking in the brief rays of sunshine outside the west wing on Abattoirs road

Could we please remind you that smoking is not permitted outside of the west wing door of the building.  Smoke is drifting into the building through open windows. 


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we’ll email you when the power comes back on

Monday, April 22nd, 2013 | tags: ,  |
FW: Important – Power Supply Failure

Businesses with power support people withoutHannah is determined to make sure everyone in the building can empathise with the deep-frozen floor 6 sole traders.  There is gossip that the recent influx of blow-heaters to floor 6 actually resulted in the power loss.


please be careful when working around any temporary surface cabling and blow heaters
Doreen was taken to hospital this morning with a suspected broken wrist, she tripped-over a blow-heater cable.


In order to carry out immediate repairs to our mains
electricity board we will need to cut off the power supply to the entire building.”
Without power, the blow heaters wont work. No-one can work, even the computer fans stop whirring. There’s talk of starting a bonfire in reception.


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smokers wing

Saturday, April 20th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Could we please ask you all to make sure that when using West Wing door it is closed properly, otherwise the alarm becomes activated and disturbs other tenants working in the area.

Abattiors RoadFrom every floor the smokers gather downstairs, outside the west wing. They’re not allowed to smoke on the street outside the front door. They lower the tone of the business centre.  The west wing door opens onto Abatttoirs road, a wind-tunnel disguised as an alleyway. It’s not a popular walkway, the smokers aren’t seen outside the westwing.

If the smokers forget to bring their key-card they have to walk around to the front door to get back in again. They’ve taken to leaving the door propped-open with pens or any small item from their pocket so that it doesn’t fully close while they’re out.

The door has got the message, it’s learned not to close fully.

smokers wing
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1 wonderful musing »

green curry sprinkles on that?

Friday, March 29th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Worm hole generator deviceSome of the microwave ovens in the building are being left in a very unclean state, please could we remind you that it is your responsibility to ensure that they are left in a clean state ready for the next user.

Snow and ice hazardises the pathway to the Bean & Gone Café. It’s known to the inhabitants of Heidelberg Tower as the ‘Sad Café‘, a comment on the food quality.  The beans are boiled until the colour and any attempt at rigidity is battered out of them. The jackets on the potatoes are tough as tank-tracks, even a steak knife couldn’t cut through them. It’s cheap, not cheerful.

The triple-dip recession mixed with icy pathways have conspired to make Heidelberg Towers’ residents bring in home-grown, cheaper, meals. At lunch time people vie to be the first to use the microwave without being seen to queue or be competitive.  They’re failing.  Denise watches Jonny across the office.  If Jonny moves his chair back while holding a Tupperware container in one hand, Denise will rise quickly, hike-up her pencil skirt and use the extra leg-length afforded by her 4 inch heals to be the first to the Microwave.  Jonny’s tried walking away from the microwave then spinning round to have the momentum to out-stride Denise, but she’s fast and slippery.

Denise’s motivation isn’t hunger. She doesn’t want her lovingly home-baked pie to be sprinkled with Jonny’s left-over Thai green chicken curry. If Denise gets to the microwave first, she sucks her thumb then wiggles the wet digit at Jonny mimicking their company logo. If Jonny gets there first he turns his back on her, simultaneously wiggling his bum and thumb. This competition will probably end in tears, or worse. When Laurel and Hannah send an email to the whole building about Microwave etiquette everyone suspects Denise of escalating the problem to keep her pie pure, but it could be that Jonny’s engaging in proactive counter terrorist techniques.

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inbox assault

Wednesday, March 27th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Could you please email reception and say whether you still  have heating issues in your rooms

Almost all the heat on floor 1 escapes through the open windows,  the rest escapes down the customer phone lines of the Goin’ my way? staff.

The heat never seems to rise to the 6th floor sole traders. Even snow on the roof doesn’t warm the 6th floor, its already cold so it’s kept cold by the snow insulation. The sole traders arrive cold. They shiver and shake through the day then jitter out of the building around 5pm when a call echoes around floor 6 – “Tanner’s posse up?!” replies include “Aye up chuck!”, “Eh-up”, “you’re ON”, “I’m in!” and the occasional “fulk off!”. They huddle together for warmth before flocking in close formation to the Tanners arms. In the warm pub they share stories of today’s; dodgy supplier, indignant customer, technical emergency and, of course, the inevitable lack of heating. The heating system belongs in a museum. Floor 6 sole traders dream of radiators that can achieve, or exceed, body temperature.

Hannah’s email resulted in an inbox-assault of sarcasm from the floor 6 sole traders. Their heating definitely doesn’t work, they’re thinking of improvising a stove by burning Neil, the centre manager, in a wicker man.


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steaming a way

Monday, March 25th, 2013 | tags: ,  |
the heating engineers are in the building checking the heating system

Stoltz House Pink RoomThe ground floor is literally steaming. The travel agency, “Goin’ my way?”,on flr 1, keep their windows WIDE open. Neil, the building manager, is concerned about the security risk of having all the ground-floor windows open all day, especially if people forget to close them before leaving. Odd Jenny says it’s not in her job description to check and close windows as well as clean them.

The Goin’ my way? staff already wear sleeveless tops to stay cool and, perhaps more significantly, to show off their liberally applied L’Oreal Sublime Bronze arms. Jilly, one of the Goin’ my way? company directors, picked up 20 boxes of L’Oreal Sublime Bronze in the Tanner’s Arms (local pub) at less than 10% of the published retail price. Jilly prides herself in knowing a good deal when it’s slipped to her under the table.

Flashing some orange skin is now part of the Goin’ my way? way Another company way is using the logo as a greeting, the hitch-hiker style ‘thumbs up’ wiggle. At reception, Laurel and Hannah enjoy sharing thumb-wiggles with the Goin’ my way? staff as they arrive in the morning. It’s amazing how many variations on the hitch-hikers thumb-wiggle you can actually come up with:

  • Young Jonny has added a distinctive butt-wiggle, He’s a tease!
  • Jello Jonny uses both hands in an asynchronous rhythmic movement that ripples through his whole body.
  • Denise sucks her thumb before wiggling the shiny digit.
  • The plaster-cast on Carol’s wrist makes it difficult for her to wiggle, for now she’s waving her way in….
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invisible clutter

Saturday, March 23rd, 2013 | tags: ,  |

something missingWe have a parcel in reception fro Diana Clutterbuck but we can’t remember which company she works for

Cathy may be invisible to the main residents of Heidelberg Tower, but not to the receptionists. Laurel and Hannah know who Cathy is. They enjoy their morning banter over tea together. There are many invisible people in Heidelberg Towers. Doreen has tried extremely hard to be one of them, but she just isn’t.  Her attempts to shuffle around the edge of rooms are so quirky that you have to really look at her. Doreen is terminably ‘Noticeable’ like Eugene Felnic in the Grease duopothy.

On the other hand, Diana Clutterbuck is eminently forgettable, except for her charming name. Laurel and Hannah agree that they couldn’t put a face, gait or dress style to that name. Neither of them will recognise her when she walks through reception in the morning.  There’s nothing left to do but to email the whole building to get her to come to reception and collect her parcel. Now everyone will know her name, but she’ll still be invisible to everyone except Laurel and Hannah.

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Odd Jenny’s gone off on one

Thursday, March 21st, 2013 | tags: , ,  |

Toilets!The cleaners have noticed that someone is putting cistern blocks in one of the ladies toilets.  Can we please ask you not to do this as it is not covered by COSHH regulations and may react with the cleaning materials currently used.

After her husband picks up the kids Cathy does an evening shift serving in the Tanner’s Arms, (local pub) then arrives at Heidelberg Towers, after midnight.  The office workers often drop by the Tanner’s after work. Cathy serves them their favourite tipples as she tries to work out which people have made her night cleaning shift harder than necessary. Who is:

  • The messy eater on the south corner of floor 4? Maybe it’s that lady with the over-sized handbag and threads hanging from the hem of her jacket. She even looks crumby. Doreen.
  • Always blocking the sole-trader’s toilets, flr 6? Maybe it’s that very tall blonde chap who likes his Vodka Russian, he must have a large colon.

Cathy knows many of the Heidelberg Towers office workers by name. She knows their families from their desktop photographs. They don’t know her, she’s invisible behind the bar and she’s left the Towers before they arrive in the morning. It wasn’t always like that, there was a time when Tanner’s customers would smile at her, share a story and buy her a drink.  She wouldn’t swap her 3 kids to get those leery smiles back, though she’d like to be seen again.

Cathy enjoys polishing the glass on office workers’ family photographs, it reminds her of her own very special family.  Derek is due to be released in 6 months, they’ll all be together again. Well, not that they actually get to spend much time together in-between day jobs, night jobs and school.  Cathy get’s a couple of waking hours with the kids each day, just after and just before bedtime – when they’re grumpiest.

By 7am Cathy’s shift is over, the worn carpets are clean, the toilets are sparkling and the window sills wiped.  Cathy stays for a chat with the receptionists Laurel and Hannah before hurrying home to her waking family.  Laurel and Hannah tell Cathy that ‘Odd Jenny’ (who cleans the odd-numbered floors) has complained again. Jenny’s threatening to walk out because someone’s put a cistern-cleaning block in one of the ladies toilets. Seriously!  They had to email the whole building to ask them not to do their own cleaning in-case Odd Jenny buggers off.


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mixing it

Tuesday, February 12th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Tea supplied in China mugsDoreen is carrying a tray of drinks. The eclectic cups on her tray are carefully arranged by size and shape. She walks in a regular pattern counter-clockwise around the main conference room placing cups equidistant on tables as she circulates. Doreen focussed on her task, avoiding eye contact with the other guests, she seems happy in her organisation. The people in the conference room take the cups from where she’s placed them, drink and talk amongst themselves about Jack’s fortune.

It’s Jack’s last day, he’s got a new job with a city based corporation, replacing the family atmosphere of Heidelberg Towers with the sleek smooth corporate image and a crowded city commuter train. Everyone’s sad to loose Jack’s effervescence, but glad that he’s moving onto somewhere warm and shiny.

Hannah will really miss Jack’s morning chatter, she arranged this little soiree with an email sent to everyone in the building:

Leaving drinks – please circulate

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premature enthusiation

Tuesday, January 29th, 2013 | tags: ,  |

Tacoma Water Tower on buildingLaurel and Hannah bought life to the otherwise corporate looking veneer of the crumbling reception space in Heidelberg Towers innovation centre. Heidelberg towers isn’t so towersome. It’s only 6 floors. But that’s towering in this town. All the local low-rise thatched housing was destroyed by a fire back in the 19th century. The town was rebuilt with fancy tiled roofs on new brick houses that were all of 2 stories high.  The tower was anticipatingly named after the town they tried to twin with. Despite this show of good will, Heidelberg somehow escaped the full twinning experience.

Laurel and Hannah greet the tower-inhabiting staff in the mornings as they dribble into the building.  Smiles and witty comments about smart attire, weather, or both are fired at the arrivals. Doreen, the accountant, like a rabbit caught in headlights keeps eye contact as she shuffles sideways briefly before darting into a side corridor. Jack, the telephone support operative, strides up to the reception desk cheerfully, chatting about the events of the night before. He’s raising his mood in readiness to absorb the tearful onslaught of phone-calls to come.

The floor 6 inhabitants are ‘hot desking‘ small businesses and sole-traders. They get the premium business address of Hiedleberg Towers, receptionist services and a chilly hot desk for a bargain rent. Hotdesk? No-one can remember the heating on the 6th floor working. Ben, IS building maintenance. He’s tapped every radiator and tutted knowingly on an annual basis. Ben bleeds the radiators. Like using leeches to bleed away illnesses, the bled radiators show no sign of improvement. The 6th floor staff wear ear-mufflers to cover the sound of their desk fan-heaters. The whirr heralds the arrival of winter. Then, one auspicious day, Hannah sends an email from reception entitled:

heating works

Excitement ripples across floor 6 as earmufflers are removed and staff gravitate, hands and ears outstretched, towards the radiators. But no heat! The email lied! If they’d read the contents they’d’ve discovered that ‘heating works’ are being planned to improve the heating. False alarm, another earmuffled winter will rumble on.


premature enthusiation
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waiting for a train

Sunday, July 29th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

white people #1 white people #2white people #3 Friday 16.36hrs on Sheffield train station waiting for the arrival of the delayed 16.29

It was no accident that Celeste looked up from her cell phone at precisely the moment Tim and Rachel broke their embrace to take a breath. Celeste knows where they’re going.  Celeste isn’t impressed by their public displays of affection, Rachel’s unatural haircolour and trashy skirt.  Celeste smiles to herself as she anticiaptes the inevitable landslide on the Mumbles.

Susan will not forgive Jem, not this time. It’s once too often. He can get his own ipod if he wants to get his rocks off with Primal Scream.

waiting for a train
3 votes rating 3.33

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Stranger is stranger

Friday, July 6th, 2012 | tags: , , , ,  |

this story written on a napkin in a sushi restaurantI don’t think it was about sex. There wasn’t any sex.

It started when I noticed her in my local pub. She’d turn-up next to me at the bar when I went to buy a round. We’d exchange greetings and niceties. Or, I’d pass her when returning from the toilets and we’d exchange friendly smiles. I don’t know why she picked me.

She became an increasingly familiar stranger. During one conversation at the bar I invited her to join us.  She perched next to me, not mixing with my friends. She focussed on engaging me in conversation. The more I talked with her the further away I seemed to drift from my friends. I could see them floating away in mind and space. Leaving me,  with her, wrapped in an unpleasant isolation.

I stopped going to that pub. I enjoy feeling free. Even if I can’t go places to maintain the illusion of freedom. Then I started seeing her in the shopping centre, when roller-blading along the seafront, and worst of all – when I was walking home from work.  I started varying the time I left work and the route I took home. She started waiting outside the one door to the building. I knew I was being stalked. Did she know she was a stalker?

she felt like she was a car accident about to happenA game started when she walked up to me as I left work –  I’d ask her where she was going then turn to go the other way, when she changed her mind, I’d change my mind. The ridiculousness of the situation helped me just say

“I don’t want to walk with you or spend any time with you, I’d rather be alone, please leave me alone

what are you scared of?”

I don’t want to walk with you, talk with you or be with you, accept it, goodbye

She walked next to me, talking  as if I were a betraying lover that owed her an explanation. I looked straight ahead and walked on, pretending she wasn’t there, living what I wanted as if behaving like she wasn’t there would make her go away. I was extremely scared and equally determined to walk to Darren’s nearby home. She stopped at Darren’s beech hedge. I walked his garden path in the new silence feeling as-if her eyes were pawing my back.  Darren welcomed me with a outsized smile and hug, fed me pots of tea, listened to my burbling mess of a story before more delicious hugs and walking me home.

Alas, these things never end quite that easily

Stranger is stranger
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it’s a white wash!

Sunday, March 11th, 2012 | tags: , ,  |

the white washThere’s no story

Everyone is keeping stum!

There’s been a very effective whitewash at the wendy house, even the bastards at News International can’t tap into the story

it’s a white wash!
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I met a real GIRL

Friday, January 13th, 2012 | tags: , , ,  |

The flashing fairy lights above her head revealed a deep pink highlight to her long, gently curling, raven hair. Watching her unnatural colours in the flashing light had a fascinating quality like watching the flames in an open fire. Her dress was the uniform of the masses of young girls I see in the shopping centres – a hint of a skirt from which emerge thick black tights tucked into biege Ugg boots

She held the kitchen party’s conversational court. Either side stood a woman at least twice her age oriented towards her as-if basking in the glow from the jewels of pink light reflected from her hair. I resisted the temptation to curtsey as I moved forward to introduce myself to the group. Once introductions were finished she continued to chatter vivaciously

girl: In our new house we’ll need a small room that’s just for my clothes – a walk in wardrobe really. I’ve got 70 pairs of shoes

I AM a girl!

wendy (dumbstruck, then): in a whole year you only need wear the same pair of shoes 7 times, at that rate, they will last for years!

girl (proudly):  oh yes! I started work at a fashion house in London 2 months ago and I haven’t worn the same pair of shoes twice  yet

wendy (trying not to sound sarcastic): a fashion house? that does sounds stylish, what exactly do you do there?

girl: I’m an events coordinator, basically its about making a fuss, I make sure that the fuss happens at the right time and place

(group giggling)

wendy: are you looking for a place to store your shoe collection in London?

girl: yes, I went to cheltenham college. I just love cheltenham, but it’s too far away from London to commute

wendy: Is London an expensive place to live?

girl: Mummy’s buying the house, aren’t you mummy? so it’s quite cheap really

If she was any less sincere she’d be auditioning for a lead part in Absolutely Fabulous

I met a real GIRL
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8 bits of fabulous banter »

new model haircut

Saturday, December 17th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

I love cutting your hair

She whispers to herself as she trims a neat edge over my left ear. Always doing an outstanding job, taking her time to look, think, chat and trim.  She is fascinating as she talks about her school days, her friends, her child and the way Proctor and Gamble have involved hairdressers in their product development process.  Unrushed, she proudly shows her staff my finished cut

“I wish I’d bought my camera in today”

new model haircut
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complaining psuedo liberal dude

Sunday, December 11th, 2011 | tags: , ,  |

A Psuedo Liberal Dude (PLD) notices that the patriarchy has eroded his wife’s self-worth:

PLD: I wish my wife was more like you

wendy: MwaHaHaHaHa….(pause)    No you don’t

PLD: Yes I do, I wish she was more confident

wendy: I’m more confident because I see myself doing a relatively good job of something compared to others. So,  I can see when others need to put some effort into improving what they do.  I could give them helpful advice, if they wanted it.  Do you wish your wife was more confident like me?

PLD: Um….   …. no

wendy: didn’t think so

He’s tired of fighting the patriarchy by repeatedly re-inforcing her self-worth. But he doesn’t really want her to have strong self worth. If she did, she might see his shortcomings and suggest improvements.  From his perspective it’s better that she has an irritating lack of confidence while paying adequate homage to him…

complaining psuedo liberal dude
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4 bits of fabulous banter »

the lady doth protest too much methinks

Tuesday, November 15th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

On facebook I have some ‘friends’ that I barely know, I met them a few times and they seemed like nice people. They were friends of friends, and in that sense had a good pedigree.

One of these people is a professional woman, probably in her mid 30’s. I follow her status posts with fascination because I’m intrigued by the possible back-story, the things she doesn’t say.  These are some of the key focus points of the things she has said in the last 6 months

  • Bought a new house
  • Bought a flash convertable sports car
  • Had a fabulous sailing holiday with friends – drinking, relaxing, sunbathing, partying
  • Went to my first ever weekend music festival, camped, had a brilliant time
  • Had a fabulous night out with the girls (photographs of happy people)
  • Had a fantastic house party – photographs of people looking drunk and smiling.
  • Has new 42″ plasma TV attached to the wall in her bedroom (updates facebook from bed – windows phone)

Somehow I read into these posts that she is an unhappy, lonely, person. Someone trying to convince either us or herself that she’s having a good life. By limiting her status posts to acquisition of socially significant items and engagement in ‘popular’ social activities she is only mentioning things that are cultrually defined as aspirational.

In my imaginary backstory she’s just got divorced, is painfully lonely and trying to fill the gap created by the pain of a failed intimate relationship and let her friends know she’s ok – don’t worry. Either that or she is as shallow and superficial as her facebook status convey at face value….

8pointsomething33333333333334Am I bonkers?

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the deepest natural sleep

Thursday, July 21st, 2011 | tags:  |

skies at Lidd on seaMy face heavily half-turned into the red polyurethane sofa, my whole body still held immobile in its own deep rejuvinating sleep. One hour of this sleep feels so good, like a double-dose of quality Ginseng

The memory of passing out hadn’t stayed with me. It’s precursor, the exquisit mix of pain and perverted perception, the other-worldiness that heralds fainting still hangs in the silent air. For a while I try and recapture the floating feeling, without the pain, but my body’s too heavy

Reluctantly, I rejoin the world of acquantiances, where such things aren’t discussed

the deepest natural sleep
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take time to smell the flowers

Tuesday, May 31st, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

heart of a roseOnce upon a time, during an annual job performance review my manager suggested that I should be a little less efficient because it was making other staff feel bad.

I wasn’t living in the USA at the time. Quaint British ways.

I am now more adept at ensuring that I have work time allocated to allow me to be seen to be inefficient.

Lets think of it as my

  • ‘unfit for purpose’ time
  • extra tea-time breaks
  • fermenting good ideas while going completely off-topic time
  • employer funded socialisation time
  • creative teamworking
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before printing invitations

Sunday, May 22nd, 2011 | tags: ,  |

Charles: We’d like to invite you to our son’s wedding on April 29th.

Barak: I’d love to join the party but I’ve already got plans for that day.

Charles: We could move the wedding if you’d really like to come along.

Barak: I appreciate your flexibility, but I’ll be busy on the Wedding day, whatever day it is.

Barak: Oh, and Charles, don’t send me an official invitation because I want to keep media attention and speculation about my activity on that day to a minimum. Don’t invite me and dont talk about it.


before printing invitations
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singing with ghosts

Saturday, May 14th, 2011 | tags: ,  |

prayersYou walk in my dreams, sometimes laughing, sometimes chiding. Standing flagpole straight.

Not suprised to see you, I don’t ask about your death, the pain that lead to it, or try to tell you of all that’s happened since.

We just get on with the business of being together, as we used to. Only now, I am comforted by your criticisms. Just being with you is so precious. My dreams feel  more real than when I try to find you with my wakeful thoughts. Sometimes I can cunjor you up with a song in the car, smiling as I hear the poverty of our approximate harmonies

Always missing you

You’re always with me, unacknowledged by others

I like it best when you arrive unexpectedly in my dreams

singing with ghosts
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Amelia pulls it off!

Sunday, April 3rd, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

At the Chipping Sodbury finishing school for young ladies of good stock Mrs Thompkinson-Smythe’s ‘Floral Art and Table decor” course skills had transformed the graduation Marquee into a heavenly garden.  Amelia Penrith-Perkington steps up to the Dahlia festooned podium to recieve the class graduation award for “Lady most likely to Marry an Arabian Prince”. Alemia’s successful final year project in International Etiquette and Arabic stock had given her the edge over Maria Fountaine-Diddly who’s sister had already bagged a Shiek. We see a flash of red from the underside of Amelias 4 inch heals confirming that she has chosen just the right pair for the occassion. Like a lipizzaner she gently swings her mane (24 shades of honey blonde) removing strands from her eyes and the hinges of her Jackie Onassis sunglasses.

Despite being under canvas  Amelia keeps her Jackie O’s balanced pertly on her nose to hide the unexpected bruises from the recent cornea-corrective surgery.  She hopes her fellow students, and tutors, will forgive her for this little faux-pas. Failing to use the Jackie O’s as an alice-band to hold hair away from her face is a level 1 style error. Terribly middle class.  She regrets that the eye-corrective surgery happened so soon before graduation, but it really did have to happen before her coming out party. Relying on an emergency back-up pair of spectacles for  unanticipated contact-lense catastrophes just isn’t acceptable now that she’s nearly 18.

Amelia winces as she recalls how her hair had betrayed her last summer by flicking a contact lense from her left eye while riding in Al-amir Sagria’s Jaguar XKR convertible.  This had not been a problem on the drive to Newquay. Unfortunately, when they arrived at Jamie Oliver’s ‘Fifteen Restaurant’ Amelia had used the wall mounted urinals in the Gentlemans washrooms as a hand basin. Not an ideal way to prepare for the first course of moule mariner. Puking on the champaign ivory leatherette seat covers, just before Honiton, had not made for an idyllic end to the evening. Like silent lightening the Shieks people replaced the car. Amelia released a sigh, without letting her shoulders drop, at the thought that these traumas were now behind her.

As she turned to the podium Amelia caught a glimpse of the Govenor, Mrs Burke-Forster, texting! During the acceptance speech! Luckily, Mrs Burke-Foster finished her message before the applause and wolf whistles from some bizarre local people draped across the school boundary walls outside the Marquee, had stopped.

It gives me great pleasure….

Another writing exercise focusing on using another person’s voices. This time, imitating the style of another writer. I hope people who know the writer I am imitating will recognise the style 🙂
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rinse and repeat

Tuesday, March 29th, 2011 | tags: , , ,  |

Oh my god, my head hurts! What a good night. Shazzer, John and Ally know how to have fun! I remember sitting on the floor in the kitchen but I can’t remember why! Must have been a good night!

Pinot Noir,  on BarSuch a good night, it’s going to take all Sunday to recover.  I’m going to have a lovely lie-in, stay in bed all morning while my head clears. Texting Shazzer, John and Ally to find out if they’re as wrecked as I feel and to find out what happened!

No! Shazzer, there’s no wine left! We drank all 8 bottles. Shazzer you’re SO crazy! NO! I’m not having a glass of wine with a fry-up,  I’m not making cupcakes with wine flavoured frosting! We drank all the wine REMEMBER! ‘Cos I don’t! LOL. But the bottles are empty! Shazzer’s such a scream! John’s so cute and he’s got some REALLY cute single friends. Ally’s gonna get John’s cute single friends along for next Saturday. Another great weekend coming up!

I WAS sat on the kitchen floor! I missed my chair, John pulled it out as I sat down, that’s so funny! I should loose weight, I’ve got large thighs, wine goes straight to my hips. You should see my bruises, I’ll facebook them, my arse is well purple, blue and yellow! Looks like the chair tried to beat the fat off my thights!  The bruises hurt nearly as much as my head,





222 word post where I try to write in a different, familiar voice. Thanks to Scarlet for suggesting how I go about choosing a voice
rinse and repeat
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