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Rebels At the Seaside

'Do you remember our holiday at the beach, Jean?'

'Oh I remember it well, Amy, We were both very naughty children at the time, I was eight and you were ten. Aunt Jessica, your mother, had said “After lunchtime I will take the pair of you to the beach for a treat.

It was a nice sunny day. Jean and I said to mother “can we play outside until lunch?”

Yes you can”, said mother.

‘We went out to play, and you said after a while, “Let’s go to the beach.”’

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Remembering my mother in St Clement’s Church of Rodel, Isle of Harris

‘I sank beneath your wisdom like a stone’

Leonard Cohen

Remembering you, it’s perfect
finding in my pocket
tiny periwinkle shell, ember-red

with right thumb
brush off
cling of sand, crumb

let fall
single wind-made
blade of Marram

set down spiral-drawn shell
on stone sill
over bountiful

swell of gifts:
two and twenty pence pieces
sheep’s wool twists

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Revenge is Sweet

Revenge is Sweet

There's no point in spinning this story out by introducing a few red herrings and ending with a twist. I confess! I’m guilty! I nicked my neighbour Mr Gray’s plump ripe strawberries from his prize winning patch. It’s been over sixty years but my memory clicks into retro mode every now and then and that’s when the guilt returns. The heist was weeks in the planning and the motive for the crime had an element of revenge and rebellion.

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What do you say to someone who knows he will die today, before the ending of the light, or at best during the long dark night to follow?
"How are you? Looking better - I dont think this rain is ever going to stop."
He managed to nod and give a thumbs-up as the nurse settled him back into bed. He was careful of the tubes linking him to an oxygen stand, careful not to foul the lines of plastic that seemed to reach into every possible opening to his body.
What do you say in a side room of a cancer ward? A quiet last retreat, a place for some dignity.

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Silent Vigil

“Mon the burgers!”

“D’you want a bacon roll while you wait?”

Cars honked at us continually as they hurried past. We received a couple of thumbs up. Even one friendly wave. I felt so bitter by then, however, that the few scattered smiles seemed insincere.

The residents of the flats opposite stared down at us unrelentingly. They must’ve thought we were completely mad, standing out there in the grim grey rain, but I stared right back. I’d much rather be outside getting drenched than living across the road from a slaughterhouse.

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animal rights, activism

Skiffle Sister

Ruby had a plan. She had waited an’ waited for news of the school concert, but the exams had jist feenished an’ the posters were up at last. The Music Club aye closed the first hauf, so they didnae have tae audition an’ get a riddy – but anither obstacle stood in Ruby’s wey: Peter Paterson (‘the Perfect Prefect’).  

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Stacey on the Lunch

Warning: this piece contains strong language

Decelerated positron emissions born a thousand centuries earlier bathed her face in the warmth of a late Spring morning. This time was ours and no aspects of cliché, of empathy, of knowing smiles could take away the fact that she was my princess. I knew she was for I had admired her for months, waiting for a suitable time to slay the dragon who held her prisoner.

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school rebellion, love

Take a stand

Please note: this piece contains strong language

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The Angela Merkel Challenge

I’m on the bus, after another dispiriting day at the office. At home, trite TV, back chatting teens, dinner drudgery and an unresponsive partner await to sap me further. Out the window I see a row of beleaguered plane trees, their stark, clipped limbs burdened with Christmas lights and decorations. I feel like one of those pruned trees these days. These years. And rather than making me stronger or healthier, I feel only the snap of disappointment and how close I’ve come to breaking. I sigh. Could I catch an airplane?

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The Blazer Run

When am thinkin aboot the times when a’ve been rebelious, it’s sad tae admit that it mostly happened in the past. At school, tae be exact. Since then a’ve been pretty obedient unfortunately.

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