Friday, 27 March 2015


Recently, working alongside Scottish Borders Libraries, I've tutored a couple of workshops on the theme of Spring.   One workshop was held at Kelso Library the other Eyemouth Library.

As well as really enjoying the workshops and the work produced by the participants I've worked and continue to work on a number of poems and stories around the theme myself.

Below is a couple of examples.

The first the poem is complete.  The second the short story is to be continued!

SPRING IS…               

Bursting forth to catch the spreading sun
Grass growth crew cut by ruthless lawn mowers.
Scanning the horizon for holidays approaching.

Spring  is…

Marie Curie daffodils spreading hope along the winding road.
A choir of birds singing laughter to winter’s end.
A street of smiles.

Spring is…
Remembering endings shadowing beginnings.

Spring is…
Time to let out our collective breath
Breath anew.

‘Time to get up. Time to get up.’
He threw his pillow at the mocking birds on his window ledge.  They fluttered away then landed again moments later.
‘You missed. You missed.’ The birds sang.
He lay on his side and stared at the bedside clock. It flashed 6.23am.
Still he asked. ‘What time do you call this to be waking a man up?’
‘Spring is here.  Spring is here.’ The birds sang.
The man groaned.  ‘It can’t be.’
The birds fluttered and danced on the window ledge.
‘Winter is dead.  Winter is dead.’
‘Winter is a zombie.’ The man said. ‘It will rise again.’

By the time the man showered and dressed the Everly Brothers of the bird world had gone to torment another Winter soul. The man stared out at the rapidly wakening world. He would have liked to tug open the window and shout.
‘I hate Spring.’
He didn’t contenting himself with scratching the words on the dew collected on the window.

(to be continued!)

Sunday, 1 March 2015


Over the last year or so I've ran storytelling events for all the family at various libraries across the Scottish Borders.  

I really enjoyed them especially the acting out of the stories not only by myself but by the audience both parents and children.

I discovered if I didn't really know it anyway that I was a show off really!
I wrote a number of stories specifically for these events.  Again I really enjoyed working up a narrative that needed to have lots of action to keep everyone's attention and be entertaining. 

Below is one of the stories I wrote.  It was great fun posting that letter!  

It took me back to when I was wee when a simple everyday thing like posting a letter or running a message to the local shop for more milk or bread turned into an adventure inside my head!

Now that I'm all grown up nothing much has changed!


His mum got as far as starting the ignition, and putting the car in gear, when she remembered.
‘ The letter!’ She said.   ‘ Where did I put the..?’
She was half way out the door ready to run back in the house when Mark said.
‘You put it in your bag.’

 His mother scrambled to get her bag from the back seat.  She searched through it.  Mark stared straight ahead.  There they were.  Waiting for him like they knew his mother would forget.  As usual it would be up to him to save the day. Of course he could have ‘forgotten’ that he had seen his mum put the letter in her bag half way through scooping up her porridge.
But maybe he didn’t really mind what was coming next.
And here it came.
His mother had found the letter and looking at him with that look on her face.
‘Be a wee pet.’ She said.
If only she wouldn’t call him pet. And he wasn’t wee.  He was ten and a half, and two weeks, and three days, and seven hours, and forty two minutes.

A growl shivered up the street towards them, shaking the car from side to side. As usual his mum never noticed.
They were waiting for him right enough.  It wasn’t going to be easy this morning.  Maybe he should have just forgotten about the letter after all.
  We’ll be late mum.’ He pleaded.
‘We’ve got plenty of time.’ She said.
‘ But you always moan about the traffic first thing in the morning.’
‘ I think you’re getting me mixed up with your dad.’ She said.  ‘Come on Mark you could have done it by now.’

Mark took the letter and pushed open the car door.  He stared at the post box at the end of their street.  It was one of those that were fixed into the wall.
 He started to walk, slowly, the letter gripped tight, his eyes scanning the gardens on either side of the road.  He could hear them slithering and growling along the well cut lawns, he caught glimpses of them disappearing around corners. 
He walked on.
He knew they would wait till it was too late to go back. 

He past number 42, Mrs Bridges house, the point of no return and up it reared from behind the neatly trimmed hedges---a huge yellow eyed three headed Gorgon snake hissed and twisted towards him.  He mustn’t look into his eyes he knew that or he would turn to stone.  It darted its head in his direction, but he rolled on the ground and it missed him by inches.

 As he jumped to his feet a huge Troll stamped and squashed the bushes at number 44 and thundered towards him.
He waited till it was almost on him its huge raised to squash him before leaping onto Mrs Jones wall.  The street shook and shivered as the huge foot hit the pavement but Mark had already jumped off the wall and dodged past the massive Minotaur that roared his way.

The post box was metres away but he knew the worst was yet to come.  It rose high above the post box spreading his wings wide.  Mark looked up into the huge black eyes of a Dragon that stared down at him.  He could smell the fire in the Dragon’s breath.  He knew what was coming next.
He looked at the post box. 

‘NOW.’ He shouted and swooping down out of the sky came the winged horse Pegasus and just in time he leap on board as the hot fire burned the pavement.
The Dragon wasn’t pleased and up it flew flapping its huge wings chasing them up and down the street and in between the houses.

They flew over his mother sitting in the car adjusting the radio to radio two.  They swept down between the gap between number 46 and 48 and twisted towards the post box the Dragon shooting fire at them all the way. 

‘NOW.’ He shouted again and Pegasus pulled in its wings and dropped quickly towards the ground.  The Dragon too big to stop and turn roared its fire in anger as Pegasus extended its wings as far as they would go so that glided to the pavement.

‘ Thank you. ‘ Said Mark. ‘Same time tomorrow no doubt.’
Pegasus nodded and flew off into the day.

The three headed Gorgon snake, the Troll, the Minotaur lumbered towards him but things were going to be fine. The Dragon swooped down but they all stopped and retreated as he posted the letter.

Mark jumped in the car and slammed the car door shut.
‘School mum. Quick we’re going to be late.’  He said.
She took an age to put the car in first gear.  She shook her head at him.
‘ Can’t you just walk anywhere Mark?’ She said.

He heard the creatures but couldn’t see them now.
 The car moved off.  ‘ Glad to see you’re so keen on school.’

As the car moved slowly, too slowly along the street, the Dragon rose up and blew flame at them as they passed.  Mark felt the heat come through the door but he knew it could never follow him.  Its job was to guard the post box.
Mark smiled.   Another day another victory.  School would be a doddle after this.