What can you find here? Reviews of new and not quite so new Sherlock Holmes novels and collections. Interviews with authors, link to blogs worth following, links to where you can purchase my books and some reviews of my work garnered from Amazon sites. Plus a few scary pics of me and a link to various Lyme Regis videos on YouTube...see what we do here and how....and indeed why!!! Next to the Lyme Regis Video Bar is a Jeremy Brett as Holmes Video Bar and now a Ross K Video Bar. And stories and poems galore in the archives.

Tuesday 25 November 2008

Velvet Night


the night
its velvet coat
is warm protecting
here I can rest
and feel at peace

the moon and stars
my only friends
they tell me stories
of worlds so far away

the night
here I can sleep
and dream of worlds
none have ever seen before


The wind blows through my open window

Billowing the curtains like a ghost

The sound of the rain has slowed

And the night regains its silence

I bring my blanket closer

To keep outside the chill

But the silence calls to me

An eerie orange glow is cast

Over everything in sight

As the silent snowfall begins

Each white speck an intricate design

Melting away into the wet concrete

But the night sky refuses its defeat

The snowfall quickens, thickens

And a crisp white blanket covers the ground

There is no sound at all

The snow has muffled life itself

Tomorrow, children will play

Crunching underfoot

But tonight, the world is silent

Tonight, the world sleeps alone

Monday 6 October 2008


Deep within the night
where secrets play
and desire hides
till daylight breaks the spell.
We know so well
the games to play
a story no one tells.
Taken to a magical land
where freedom is the gift.
Raw truth. No conditions.
Just love.
Where fear has gone
and trust is all.
Hearts on fire
senses poised to feel the flame.
Pray we don't wake too soon
to feel the day creep in.
The light that breaks
and ends a dream.

Tuesday 22 July 2008

Don't let the light fail......


Extracts from the diary of John Stevens

August 2nd 2008

The summer heat is rising. Think we are going into a heat wave. The weather's getting hotter and hotter, the air's getting stickier and stickier. Most nights I seem to lay awake, it's just too hot to sleep. Lucy went off up north, went to visit her parents. I bet it's cooler up there than it is down here.

August 3rd 2008

Went to work as normal today. It was sweltering in there and I really couldn't concentrate. I wish this weather would pass. The news reports talk of rain that should release the pressure in the air, but there's not sign of clouds on the horizon. Last night was strange. I was lying awake trying to sleep when I thought I saw something move in the corner. I put the light on and all I saw were shadows. Rolled over and tried to get back to sleep.

August 4th 2008

It's sweltering. We have the air-con on at work and it still doesn't do anything. The heat is just so intense. This heat wave surely can't last that long... can it? Heard loud yaps in the garden last night. It's been years since there were foxes in the area and dogs don't sound like that... What could it have been? I thought I saw something moving around in my room again, but when I turned on my light there was nothing. I wish this heat would go so I could get a decent night's sleep...

August 5th 2008

The heat just gets worse and worse. I think there's something in my room with me at night. Last night there were shapes moving in my room. I turned on the light and they seemed to fall back. I'm due to meet up with Doctor Williams tomorrow. Maybe he'll be able to help me. As for tonight I don't know if it's safe for me to sleep. Scared of shadows now. This damn heat.

August 6th 2008

Still hot. It's amazing the weather can hold like this. The things were there again last night but I was able to hold them off with the light. They don't seem to like the light. They flee from it back into the shadows against the wall. I told Doctor Williams about them today. He asked me how long I'd been seeing them. He seemed to know what I was talking about but I'm not sure. He gave me more pills. I don't want to take his pills, I've tried them before and they don't work. On my way home I bought a bag of candles. I want to keep these creatures at bay.

August 7th 2008

There was a storm tonight. A big one. All the power is off so the only light is from candles. I'm glad I bought that bag of them. I don't think I can sleep tonight... The shadows seemed bigger, more confident last night... I wish Lucy was here. She would know what to do...

I'm now sitting in the light of my candles. I'm only using two. I can see the shadows dancing just beyond the light. I mustn't run out of candles. Already these two are close to stubs and the night is still young.

I'm running out of candles, it's sometime in the morning and my candles are almost all gone. I have one left and that is reaching its end. I can see the shadows of the things dancing on the walls. They know the light is failing. I must try and find more candles before my time runs out.........

Friday 16 May 2008



A slight movement. For all she knew, it could have been a shadow, cast by the moon. But, had she been paying attention, she may have noticed that there was no moon to cast such a shadow. A thick bank of ominous purple clouds hid the silvery orb, the only illumination coming from the single flickering streetlight standing at the end of the darkened street. The girl stood in this single patch of light, a dim orange circle floating in the inky midnight shadows.

The shadows stirred. The tattered edge of a crimson cloak drifted into the circle of light, the owner of the garment tantalisingly staying just out of sight. A crow caws harshly from the blackness, and the girl looked around, startled out of her dreams. She takes a few tentative steps forward. A pair of brown eyes, tinted red like mahogany wood, track her every move, their expression one of sadness and hunger. The eyes of a trapped, helpless beast.

The girl spins around, her long jacket fluttering around her knees. She meets the watchful gaze, her own emerald green eyes wide with shock. The mysterious stranger steps out of the shadows, keeping to the edge of the pool of orange light. He throws the hood of his cloak back. White hair, flowing over the figures shoulders and midway down his back, frames a face that is barely paler then his hair. The torn and stained red cloak swirls around his shoulders, caught in a sudden breeze. The eyes, locked onto the girl's, are narrowed with a sharp, cruel glint in them. The man smirks; a thin milky-white fang peering out under his top lip.

The girl steps back, an annoyed, defiant look forming on her face. She scowls, spitting out a slow, venom-filled sentence.

“You blood-sucking, filthy creep.”

The man crosses his arms over his chest, smiling disarmingly. “That’s a little bit harsh, lass. Appearances can be deceptive, after all. Here I am thinking you actually know what you’re up against.”

The girl glares at the man before her, her hand hidden behind her back beneath the heavy material of her coat. “I do know what I am up against, Sir,” she spits the last word with a voice heavy with hate. “And I think you may well find I’m more than I appear.”

The white-haired man grinned, baring needle sharp fangs. “Well, then, missy, instead of calling me a blood-sucking creep, why don’t you use the proper term?”

The girl sighed, withdrawing her hand and stepping forward, plunging the stake held in it into the man’s chest. He collapses, a startled look on his pale face, before dissolving into the shadows.

The girl walks off, muttering under her breath as she walks.

“Bloody vampires.”

Monday 5 May 2008

JUST SOMETIMES......................


Sometimes, when you look over the railing, you happen to see the old caretaker who says that there used to be a floor there. Used to be a hall there. Used to be the school hall, before this new place was built.

Sometimes, when you look over the railing, you can almost see the place, the memories still rich and fresh, though it's been fifty years if it's been a day. The old caretaker smiles to himself. He did.....still does.... love those memories.

Sometimes, when you look over the railing, which is really high up even though this place is only two storeys, (because there are openings all the way to the basement) the old caretaker comes out and talks to you, never pressing, he just tells you stories about the old school.

Sometimes, when you look over the railing, the old caretaker will launch into the story of the horrible fire that destroyed the old school. The old school, and the school hall. His face will grow sad.

Sometimes, when you look over the railing, the old caretaker will finish that story and go on to the one about his daughter. His daughter was in the school. His daughter was a dancer. His daughter was in the fire. But the old caretaker does not talk about that in this story, in this story he talks of the dances.

Sometimes, when you look over the railing, you can almost see the dances, mostly the solo dance his daughter did. The dance she did the night of the fire. See the long black hair and that music?..... big hazel eyes.....her mother's eyes, he tells you, the long limbs, the simple white dress she was so proud of against the brown skin...she always was rather dark, he tells you, and the beautiful, graceful steps. The old caretaker tells you she always loved to dance.

Sometimes, when you look over the railing, the old caretaker comes out to keep you company...hey....he won't come out for just any body you know.... and he tells you stories and he asks you, "Isn't she beautiful?",as though you could see what he sees and without even waiting for an answer he's gone, though you didn't hear or see him go.....did you even see him come?..... and you turn back to look over the railing.

And sometimes, when you look over the railing, you see a pretty girl dance and you decide that it would be a shame to interrupt her and you leave, murmuring "lovely" under your breath. Somehow, you don't feel like jumping anymore. How odd.

When I look over the railing, I see the plaque suspended from the ceiling. I see a picture. Just a simple family picture, of a father and a daughter. A picture of a father and a daughter in a glass box with a once pretty, now soot blackened necklace he gave her in honour of her dance. The only remains of either father or daughter that they ever found.

And the old caretakers daughter dances. It's what she does best. It's what she's been doing for fifty years. It's what she'll do forever.

Saturday 3 May 2008


Good luck to the LymeRegisRadio team for tomorrow's initial Sunday broadcast with Philip Evans at the helm. Looks like another great idea from Nomad and the hell do I get myself on it ????

Have fun guys.

Thursday 1 May 2008



Another quiet day in Lyme police station thought the young PC assigned to desk duty on this sunny afternoon. The paperwork was laborious and never-ending; there had been no phone calls to alleviate the boredom nor any visitors. Surely someone somewhere had a problem which could do with his attention, a lost tourist for instance or a local resident with a missing pet - a cat,dog, goldfish....anything ! comes someone.....he hasn't that certain tourist look....a resident maybe....looks to be in his fifties....walking gingerly.....not as fit as he could be, maybe.

" Good afternoon Sir, how can I help you ?" he said.

" Hello, my name is Charles Russell andyou can help me by finding the person who is impersonating me." the man said simply.

Hey, this could be more exciting than a missing goldfish the PC thought. He took stock of the man in front of him, certainly looked to be in his fifties with short, grey hair and a wrinkled, lined face.

" Impersonating you Sir ? as in identity theft you mean ?"

" If's that what you call someone who goes around pretending to be you, yes."

" Have you contacted your bank and cancelled all your credit cards ?"

" No it's not like that...he just pretends to be me......goes where I my friends as his own."

" Best you explain it to me Sir, give me all the details."

" Take today for example.... I have just been to the Harbour Inn, Martyn the barman was on duty who I know quite well. He seemed surprised to see me as he thought I was only having the one. I replied I am only having the one, but he said does that include the one I had earlier. "

" And you hadn't been in earlier I take it ?"

" No, precisely. Same thing happened at the chip shop more or less. Fancied some chips and when I walked in and ordered, Anthony who works there, who I know quite well too, said didn't the last portion fill me up then. When I replied that I didn't know what he was talking about, he said that I had been in earlier. I would question my sanity but for one thing."

" What is that Sir ?"

" I have seen this imposter myself.....walking ahead of me on Marine Parade. From the back he looked just like me, similar clothing, identical gait. I ran towards him but he got wind of it and ran himself. I could not catch him."

Our young friend on the desk tried to picture this out of condition elderly ( to him ) guy running, grimaced and looked at this character in front of him.

" Right, Sir...let me get some details down, first of all could I have your age ?"

" Yes, I'm eighteen."

Wednesday 30 April 2008

NO NEWS IS.................

Since last post have been editing the Holmes novel once again, taking out superfluous apostrophes, putting them in, taking out commas, putting them in !! Shortening sentences, lengthening conversations....but....hey.....think its now as complete as I can make it......well.....maybe.

Wednesday 2 April 2008


Very remiss of me.....have not added anything here for over a month !!! Good excuse though, was determined to finish writing my Sherlock Holmes novella by Easter and managed to do so !!!

The last 19,000 words tumbled out over the Easter weekend and it has now gone soaring to prospective publishers under the snappy, snazzy title ' Sherlock Holmes in Lyme Regis '. Fingers crossed !!!!

Friday 29 February 2008



It was a Friday in the early summer of 1896 and I had arrived back at the rooms in Baker Street I shared with Sherlock Holmes, late the preceding evening. I slept soundly and rose somewhat later than my usual time and prepared myself to do full justice to a handsome breakfast Mrs. Hudson had prepared.

Holmes was sitting in one of the arm chairs with papers strewn everywhere as was his wont, he appeared to be deep in thought as I entered the room and my cheery greeting was greeted less affably than could have been. I was used to this behaviour from him and busied myself amongst the ham and eggs laid out on the table. I was reflecting on my recent stay in Lyme Regis, I had stayed on in that delighful town after a case there was brought to a triumphant conclusion by Holmes, a case which, for various reasons, may never see the light of day. ( editors note: In fact the manuscript of this adventure turned up in Lyme Regis itself in 2007 and is being prepared for publication. )

My attention was drawn to Holmes by his occasional moan as though in pain and his fidgeting around in the arm chair, which had the result of not only disturbing my breakfast, but also tumbled yet more papers on to floor.

" You appear to be in some discomfiture Holmes. " I ventured.

" It's nothing Watson, I assure you dear fellow."

" Nevertheless, Holmes you do not even look well, have you been overdoing things in my absence ? "

" No more than is usual my friend, unfortunately the criminal classes do not adhere to convenient hours and I in my position as hunter have to follow suit. " he replied.

He followed up this statement with a prolonged coughing fit, I brought him some water from the carafe on the table " Here, my old friend, drink this down." He swallowed thirstily and languished once more in the chair.

" Holmes, you must see that even your own iron constitution cannot take much more and as I am to some extent answerable for your constitution by dint of being not only a physician but also your comrade and friend, pray, let me examine you and advise a course of action."

" Thank you my old friend, but I am starting to feel more my old self now."

" Did you eat yesterday Holmes, or the day before come to that ? "

I had known Holmes go for days without food when his mind had chafed before some problem while his thin eager features became more accentuated with the prolonged complete mental concentration.

" I must admit I have not thought of food recently Doctor." he answered meekly.

" Then I insist you let me examine you Holmes."

" Very well Watson, I can see I will not have the peace I crave until I succumb to your earnest request."

A brief examination told me all I needed to know, Holmes has been abusing his body for too long, particularly as regards his food intake and the regularity thereof.

" What is your diagnosis, pray, Doctor ? "

" The problem lies with your digestive tract Holmes, in fact you could say......."

" Yes, Watson ? "

" It's alimentary my dear Holmes. "

Wednesday 27 February 2008



It was a cold yet bright February morning and we had arisen to be met by the sight of snow lying deep on the street below, now turning brown in the middle of Baker Street where the daily traffic had ploughed through it but still a shimmering white on the edges of the road and footpaths.

Holmes was deep in thought and as usual this meant also being shrouded in clouds of tobacco smoke. He was curled up, almost feline like in the basket chair and was practically immobile and had said not a word in almost two hours.

I was busying myself bringing my notes of the last case Holmes and myself had worked on, up to date. It involved the prominent Conservative politician Sir Eustace Makeworthy and his exposure as a thief and embezzler and his subsequent fall from grace. His wife, the fair Lady Hilda had recently won a divorce from this rather unlikeable man and his attempts to blame her for his downfall and wrongdoing because of the large alimony payments he now had to make, were pitiful and lamentable. The case itself was hardly the most exciting that Holmes had figured in but there were some quite sublime moments of analytical reasoning which deserve a wider audience. My major problem was to come up with a title for this case, should it ever have occasion to be published and to this end I was failing miserably.

" I believe I may be able to help you there Watson" said Holmes from the basket chair.

" Help me with what Holmes ? " I replied.

" With a title for your scribblings my dear fellow. "

I tried to counter the urge to be baffled and astounded but in this too, I failed miserably.

" What is this Holmes, I am baffled and indeed astounded by your, pray, could you have possibly known what I was thinking ? "

" It was simplicity itself my friend, as soon as you started to assemble your many notes and to put them in some kind of order, it was obvious to me that these were notes of the Makeworthy case, your enthusiasm to get the facts down on paper in a logical fashion at the conclusion of a case is, of course, well known to me. "

" Yes I see that Holmes, but two other cases were also brought to a successful conclusion recently, why could it not have been one of those I was preparing for publication ? " I asked.

" Most simple, Watson, no other case involved so closely a husband and wife and when I saw you quietly open the bureau drawer wherein lies your marriage certificate and steal a brief look at it, I knew then you were reflecting on your brief happy marriage and indeed, on the sanctity of marriage itself . "

" Bravo, Holmes, excellently reasoned out.......but how did you know I was trying to think of a title for this affair ? "

" You then proceeded to pick up your casebooks and thumbed through them, pausing briefly after every few pages, with the look of someone looking for inspiration, what else could you have been looking at but the frontispiece for each story and your furrowed brows told me you were studying the title of each tale."

" How absurdly simple Holmes" I cried.

" Quite so" said he " every problem becomes very simple when explained to you my friend. "

" And you say you have a title for me Holmes ? "

" Yes I believe I do" he replied.

He rose to his feet, knocked the dottles from his pipe into the fire and picked out a cheroot from the coal-scuttle, as he lit it, he turned around to look at me, his eyes shining.

" Watson, it must be called...........The Case of the..."

" Yes, Holmes" I interjected.

" Alimony Tory my dear Watson. "

Tuesday 26 February 2008



A new home, a new life.......something which had been on the cards for sometime but now fully realised at last. A chance visit to an old friend in a quiet seaside town had given me the impetus to make the changes I needed to make and a few short months later here I was. I had purchased a cottage in the old part of town with enough money left over to live fairly comfortably. It is a town much frequented by writers and artists and whilst I considered myself as neither one or the other, I had ambitions in those directions.

I found myself a part time job to while away some of my time, the job was neither demanding nor exciting, just a little driving position, if nothing else, it gave me the opportunity to see more of the area than perhaps I would have done otherwise. I managed to get the cottage straight and almost homely within days, my possessions were few and my needs simple, as long as I had a home for my CDs and books, I was happy.

I noticed quickly how the narrowness of the street combined with the height of the buildings conspired to trap noise and amplify it, conversations of a not particularly loud nature could be heard clearly at night when all else was still but still I was surprised one night to be woken by the sound of a violin being played. I was only disturbed momentarily however, long enough to register the beauty of the playing before I fell back into a deep sleep. In the morning, I could not be sure whether I had dreamt the episode, I had never heard it being played before, but then maybe last night was especially quiet, but then again it must have been around one in the morning and would I really expect to hear someone practising on their instrument at that time ? . It was hardly important anyway and I resolved to put it out of my head.

A few nights later I found my sleep disturbed again by the sound of the violin, I knew this time it definitely wasn't a dream......I sat upright in bed listening and as before it was truly beautiful, I couldn't tell you what was being played, my knowledge of classical music was skimpy to the point of it being non-existent but even I could appreciate the wonder of the piece, it was both hypnoptic and comforting. I glanced at my watch, one-thirty in the morning. I listened for a couple of minutes before and then the playing abruptly stopped and although my night had been disturbed I was strangely disappointed at the cessation of this night music.

The next day was taken up with more mundane matters such as work in the morning and in the afternoon I had arranged for a local electrician to have a look in the wiring in the cottage, it looked as though it had had no attention for a long time. He comfirmed my fears after inspecting fully the intricacies of the electrics and announced it would need re-wiring completely and the sooner the better. It was an expense I had not budgeted for yet I could hardly not have the work done, safety was paramount.

That night, I was again awoken by the sound of the violin, this time my violinist, whoever he or she may be, was playing a more urgent piece, it filled my mind, my soul even......I was entranced. Strangely, it seemed much louder.....was this due to the different nature of the piece being played ?.......but, no it seemed not only louder but closer too. I got out of bed and crossed to the window and looked out into the empty street, all was peaceful out there and as far as I could tell, no one else was disturbed by the quite, quite beautiful music.

The next day, I had the notion of asking around to see if I could shed any light on the violinist who felt the need to practice at such unsociable hours. In the end I thought better of it and one of the reasons was that I did not want it to stop, I had become enraptured by the music as though it was only for me and I did not want to take the chance that by asking questions I may inadvertently have put he or she off from playing.

That night again followed the same pattern as before, the music would wake me around one-thirty and shut off abruptly a few minutes later, The difference this time was that the music was undeniably louder and closer to me, if I hadn't known better I would have sworn that the music was coming from within the bedroom itself. I put my ear to the wall which connected me to the next cottage, it wasn't coming from there but it was so very near, again I looked out of the window into the empty street, I don't know what I thought I was going to see....a man or woman playing the violin feverishly under the street lamp maybe ?

The day passed in a dream, all I could think about was this strange, beautiful music which visited me night after night and that night I was in a positive hurry to go to bed. I slept well surprisingly but was drawn out of my sleep once again by the sound of the violin. I can't really describe to you how this music made me feel it was possibly the most beautiful melody I had ever heard or maybe, will ever hear. I looked towards the bedroom door for it seemed to be that's where this spellbinding music was coming from. There was a dim light by the door which became a glow and gradually this nebulous shape became the figure of a man, his right hand gliding the bow across his violin, he backed away from the door towards the stairs, his eyes imploring me to follow. I was by now wholly trapped within this glorious, bewitching music and I followed willingly.....all the way down the stairs he went, playing all the time. Before I knew it, I was out in the street, he was out there, still playing although I had not seen him open the front door, in fact I knew he hadn't as I had to draw the bolt back. He looked at me one last time and this fabulous melody, this beautiful melody came to an end abruptly. He was gone. I had not time to ponder on this for there came a sharp crack from within the cottage and all at once the bedroom was engulfed in flames. There was a phone box on the corner and I sprinted those few yards in record time and dialled 999.

The first fire engine was there in minutes and I watched them go about their work, the flames were everywhere now, licking out from every window, the smoke billowing down the street taking with it my dreams.
After a few hours, the fire was out and everything had been dampened down, the fire chief was sifting through the wreckage, no doubt looking for the cause of the fire. I was in a neighbours' house, she had very kindly taken me in and had given me a breakfast and kept me supplied with an endless stream of coffee. All I think about was how I would still have been in the bedroom had I not followed my violinist into the street, was it a precognitive dream then ? apparition formed only in my mind by God knows what processes ?.....I did not know, only that I had been saved.

There was a knock at the door and the fire chief came in, his eyes were full of pity for me " Sorry Sir, we weren't able to save much I'm afraid".
I mumbled something in return. " It looks as though the wiring may have been at fault Sir, started in the bedroom and spread very quickly through the rest of the house....some of your books may have survived Sir but little else, save for this, which we found in the bedroom and somehow it wasn't touched by the fire. "

He handed me a violin, unmarked, untouched.



The sea is calm and expectant
On the horizon a flash of light
The sun casts its rays across the sea
Like the shadows of a unfurling hand
The golden light bathes the town
And people awake from their dreams
Dreams by the sea

The aches and pains of the day before
Are forgotten as the life enriching sun empowers them
The fishermen stretch and yawn
And gaze at the calm waters
They smile at each other knowingly
Today will be a good day for their dreams
Dreams from the sea

The sun reflects on the sails of the boats
The harbour is awash with light colour and noise
Pleasure boats and speedboats arrive
Their owners eager to sail
A flotilla twists and turns out of the harbour
Each man woman and child fulfilling their dreams
Dreams of the sea

The sea is calm once again
Fishermen have returned home with their catch
A restfulness spreads over the town
Parents put their children to bed
And wish them pleasant dreams
Dreams of the sea.



Lyme Regis, Lyme Regis...
There is a magic about the place.
An aura or atmosphere which pervades the air
and seems to be in the fabric of each building.......
a sense of being, a sense of history, a sense of permanence.
The houses tumble dizzingly down towards the sea,
as though they are in motion.
And when they reach the sea,
there is a challenge to be met,
questions to be asked.....
inviting the sea to do its worst.....
which it can do......and.....yet,
the sea has never quite held mastery
over the town and its people.
And although the mortal remains of those that have loved and lived here
have crumbled and returned to dust,
their spirit and love of Lyme lives on......
their phantoms and shades are sensed and heard
as quiet footsteps echoing through the ancient lanes,
seen as fleeting shadows out of the corner of the eye....
and heard as half caught conversations carried on the breeze.
Lyme says " Love me.....and I will love you back"
And you do. For it is so.

Monday 25 February 2008


4e urs

What is love ? What is grief ? She knew she missed him like nothing on Earth. Was that love ? Was that grief ? Thoughts like that occupied her during Ben's funeral and perhaps they kept her going throughout it too. Other questions filled her mind too....Why was he taken so young ? Why was he taken from her ?

Ben had been the new kid in school a few short months ago, joining her Tutor group in the Sixth Year. They had hit it off right away, they liked the same music, the same movies and the same books. Most of all, perhaps, they shared the same crazy humour. They spent as much time as possible together, he even walked her to school every morning, it had started as a casual arrangement by text, the phone beeped one night : Message from Ben : ' i wiL pik U ^ @ 8.15 xxxx ' She loved their walks to school together, always giggling about something or another.She would always tell him not to waste his money on texts but every night he would send : ' I wiL pik U ^ @ 8.15 xxxx ' . When they could not be together, the time was spent in texting each other, she was always sending him silly, soppy things ' U & me 4e ben wiL alwys b urs '........' wnt 2 stA lIk DIS 4e cnt W8 2 c U '. No matter where he was or what he was doing, Ben would always reply, until that evening, when her phone stayed silent, no reassuring beep..nothing. It was the next morning when she found out what had happened, Ben had been crossing a road near his house, after returning from a friends, when he was knocked over by a hit and run motorist and killed.

For days, she could not eat, could hardly was a sadness that overwhelmed her and she could not belive that he had been snatched away from her.She thought she had read somewhere, that death leaves a heartache no one can heal, love leaves a memory no one can steal and that was so true. All those questions which hurried around her brain on the day of the funeral remained unanswered.It was a great send off for Ben, all the school attended, yet she resented their presence intruding on her private farewell, she even resented Ben's family being there. A few of Ben's favourite things had gone in to the coffin with him....his MP3 player.....his Football kit......his mobile phone....a favourite toy from his childhood.

On her return from the cemetery, she went straight to her room, threw herself down on the bed and cried tears of pity, tears of anger, tears of rage until she could cry no more. The thought of Ben in his coffin was too much to bear. She picked up her mobile and before she realised what she was doing, typed out a message ' ms U so much ben wsh U wer hEr w me xxxxx ' and hit the add recipent button : Ben, and sent it. As the days passed, she sent daily texts ' i cry myself 2 slp ben ms U hun xxxx'..........' wiL nevr eva 4get U i M urs 4e xxxx '

The months passed and life began to re-claim her, she now felt able to get out and socialise and hang with mates again. Of course, she had not forgotten Ben, how could she but she was sure he would want her to get on with her life and try to enjoy herself again.

One night, a few more weeks on, she had been to the cinema with Jon from her class, he had walked her home and they stood chatting outside her gate for a while, eventually they said their goodnights and she came in and went straight to bed, tired but happy and it was a long time since she had felt that. Just before sleep took her away, the message alert on her phone beeped. Sleepily, she reached down for it. She looked at the screen with mounting horror, it read: Message from Ben : ' Y dun U txt me NEmor ? ' . She felt herself trembling all over, she knew Bens' mobile was buried with him.......then how ? Why ? It beeped again: Message from Ben : ' thawt U wer myn dun U wnt me nw i stil wnt U U wil c ' She hurled the phone away from her to the far wall, it shattered and phone, cover and battery all went their separate ways. She sat there wrapped in the duvet, still shaking uncontrollably. She looked at the remains of her phone and even as her eyes rested on the battery laying on the carpet by her desk, the fascia which was was laying a few feet away, lit up. Once again came that familar beep : Message from Ben : I wiL pik U ^ @ 8.15 xxxx ' .

Friday 22 February 2008



See that doll over there?


Of course you do, look harder. She's wearing a dress the same colour as the seat, that's why you missed her.

She's gorgeous.

Those long, black silk curls, the soft velvet skin, peachy-white, with just a touch of cream? The painted face, pale cheeks, pink mouth, far too light coloured to be lifelike? The sewn limbs, tipped with white lace stockings and gloves, all peeking out from the long sleeves and train? The old fashioned dress, a style so simple, so quaint.

It's not easy to tell what colour it is, you wonder how many have argued over if it's blue or green or yellow or simply faded darkness. It could easily be any of those or none, time might have taken its toll. Some might say she was black, black as night, black as sin, though there's so little light in this room, it hard to tell. She was never made to be a children's toy, but her purpose was blurred through the decades, she has been one.... and often.

Walking across the room....its not large, but narrow, you wonder. You wonder what colour her dress is. You wonder what her maker gave her for a face. You wonder why you've never seen her before. You wonder why it is so clean in here. You wonder why you felt like apologising to her when you entered the room. You wonder why she seems to stir when you touch her, a flutter of painted lashes that can never move, as if she had been dozing. You wonder about sleeping with your eyes open. You wonder why after you sit down and place her in your lap she stiffens before settling in, and why you feel more welcome now that she's relaxed against you.

You dismiss these wonders, half-formed thoughts and feelings that both unsettle you and put you at ease. It's just a room, and she's just a doll. She's just fabric and paint. She's just a repository of childhood dreams and wishes and love. Stop wondering now. She's just a doll, and you haven't even taken a good look at her face yet.

It's a nice face, though the mouth baffles you. It's just sharp enough for a smirk, just wide enough for a grin, and just soft enoughfor a smile.. It's like she can't decide if she's happy or sad. You look at her eyes for a clue, but they only confuse you more. You can't tell what colour they are, though there's laughter in them, but you can't decide if it's mocking or delighted or forced either.

She doesn't look how she would like to look somehow.

You suppose she's really old, her original colours rendered indistinguishable by time. She's not immediately noticeable, but she invites second looks, though you have a strange inkling that if she did not want looks, no prying eyes would ever find her. Somehow this feeling refuses to go away or buried. It ridiculous, of course, how can a doll want? How can fabric and paint register attention? How can an ornament that has seen children grow up feel? She has watched the erosion of innocence. Of course she can feel.

A stray noise reaches your ears. Oh dear, you forgot, the kids. You came up to find something to amuse them, remember? Yes, you did.

You look at her, considering. No. she could never be happy among them, this delicate product of a bygone era. She could never exist in their dreams, never hold their wishes. They would never love her.

She knows this, that's why she's sad. She's made to last, you know in your bones she's by far your elder and she'll probably outlast them. She's just a doll, that's why she mocks you. But someday, someday. A child will find her, and this extravagant creation of fabric and paint will love and wish and dream again. That's why she's happy.

She's a doll. Just a doll. Stop looking now.

Monday 18 February 2008



Life sucks sometimes.Here she was with nothing to do, nowhere to go and all her mates off doing things together, so-called mates. She felt like a modern-day Cinderella all apart from doing the housework that is. She had even asked her brother, Jay, if he would take her for a spin in his new car and was turned down flat. Brothers and mates eh ?, she thought, who needs them !?

She had been consoling herself with a huge dish of ice-cream, topped off with a precariously balanced heap of chocolate shavings when she felt a hand on her shoulder.

" God, Jay.....don't do that, I jumped a mile, you must have tip-toed across the floor deliberately."

" Sorry sis, didn't mean to scare you."

" Any other apologies for me, like for not taking me out in your car?"

" Sorry for that too Em.....but glad also."

"What the hell does that mean 'glad also' ? "

Jay just stood there looking at her, unblinking, unmoving.

" Yeah-yeah whatever" Em said scornfully. " Why not take me out in it now then ? "

As she said it, she turned and glanced out of the kitchen window towards the driveway. No car. Odd.

" You haven't lost your car already, surely, you've only had it a day ."

Jay looked intently at her " I have to go now sis, I love you ok ? "

"Yeah right and don't forget you promised to watch that movie with me later . "

"Don't think I can do that now Em, tell Mum I love her too."

Why the hell was he acting so weirdly, she thought. Just then the phone rang and disconnected her from her thoughts. She walked across the kitchen to the extension on the wall and picked up the handset.

" Em, it's Mum" She sounded awful thought Em, could hardly get the words out. " Be ready in five minutes darling, ...been in bad way.....think......we need to get there as we can........before......before. " Her voice tailed off.

Em looked over to the now, empty spot where Jay had been standing. She composed herself and with a shaky voice, slowly said..

" Mum, I think we're going to be too late".

Friday 15 February 2008


I find it recorded in my notebook that it was a foggy evening in late November 1895 on which the singular series of events that became known to the public at large as “The Case of the Cornish Pasty” first began. Holmes and I were seated on either side of a blazing log fire in our Baker Street rooms; he was apparently engrossed in the latest edition of the Strand magazine and all the time muttering the odd word about sensationalism which I took as reference to my humble attempts to publicise his work to the general public. I vowed to take no notice of these mutterings and continued to read an article in the Lancet, a fascinating but patently absurd piece about the transplanting of human organs, even myself as a medical man could see what ineffable twaddle this was, and moreover, the piece in question soon became extremely tedious and I confess that, after a few minutes, I had fallen into a brown study.

Suddenly, Holmes looked up from his reading. “I notice, Watson,” he said, “that you have visited your hairdresser this morning.”

“Merciful Heavens, Holmes!” I ejaculated. “How could you possibly have known that?”

“You know my methods,” my friend murmured, almost to himself " Must I explain everything to you my friend ?"

Then suddenly, Holmes’s mood appeared to change in an instant, as he jumped up and waved his magazine excitedly in my face. “But tell me, Watson, what do you make of the little piece on the back page of this most estimable periodical.”

I took the paper from Holmes’s hand and began to read aloud from a half-page advertisement. “Amazing treasure hunt! Solid gold Cornish pasty buried in grounds of new restaurant by eccentric millionaire Sir Peter Rattenbury. Location of the restaurant to be revealed once the item has been found. Finder may keep the treasure and be the first guest at the Lemon Tree restaurant located…where?”

“A pretty puzzle, I’m sure you’ll agree, Watson.”

“A pretty puzzle indeed. But surely, Holmes, the chances of us.. or anyone...being able to find the treasure with so little information provided are so small as to be infinitesimal.”

“On the contrary, Watson. In fact, I fancy we may be able to solve this little mystery without leaving the comfort of our arm chairs.”

“Surely not, Holmes!” I protested.

“Look, Watson, at the photograph of Sir Peter at the bottom of the page, which the caption states was taken on his spacious estate near Lyme Regis on the south coast."

“I confess that I can see nothing of interest whatsoever,” I admitted.

“You see, Watson, but you do not observe. Make deductions as I have shown you so often in the past. If you do, then you will arrive at the inevitable conclusion that Sir Peter Rattenbury has buried the precious comestible, and therefore intends to set up his restaurant, in the grounds of his own home.”

“Really, Holmes, this is too much. I fail to see how you have arrived at that conclusion.”

“Think, Watson. The name of the restaurant. Now look again at the picture of Sir Peter standing next to this subtropical arboreal plant and the crop of yellow fruit it so obviously displays.”

But how…?!” I spluttered.

Holmes looked at me. A wry smile played across his face.

“It’s a lemon-tree my dear Watson.”

Wednesday 13 February 2008


Vast and all consuming,
the stirring waters carry out their unending cycle across the entire Earth.
Like time, the tides rush onto the sandy shores,
bringing gifts and promises from the life beyond the surf.
The water runs over the sand and smoothes over the pebbles,
aging them, whispering volumes of knowledge into their nooks and crannies
as it caresses the imperfections and smooths the rough places.
Along the shore, a silent chorus of jewels sing out a single perfect chord.
Sensing a peaceful dénouement, the tide recedes just a little.
The chorus quiets as the tide goes back to its own,
bringing a few adventurous pebbles along to experience
the infinite opportunities the tide had whispered to them.
It recedes.
And hears one last mournful note from the shore before it disappears completely

Sunday 10 February 2008


I stand, watching the sea lapping at my toes,
Hypnotised by its' gentle rhythmic waves.
I stay for hours,alone with my thoughts.
What a place of beauty to have found.
I don't know why, but I don't think I can leave.
Is it Lyme itself or
the magic of the sea?
Whatever it is, I'm still here


I lay sprawled awkwardly, on top of my crumpled sheets, drifting in a darkness that only sleep could provide. I had no reason to be awake, but suddenly my eyes opened. A strange feeling in my legs and arms, and a heaviness in my chest, pulled me rapidly from sleep and into my room. The red glow of my digital clock told me it was 7.20 in the morning. Confused and groggy, I glanced around to make sure everything was alright - and it wasn't. My bedroom window was open, and gentle wind played with the curtains. I was certain I had closed the window; it was December and far too cold to leave them open. But I also knew no one else could have opened them as I lived alone and the bedroom was on the third floor.

I slid out of bed to quickly close it. Then suddenly, a strangeness prickled at my neck, and I could feel fear wash over me. I froze. With a quick, desperate glance, I discovered a dark figure standing in the shadows. "What the..." I gasped. Then, with a speed seemingly impossible, the figure was suddenly by my side with his hand over my stretched mouth.

"Don't say a word" he whispered forcefully.

"I have waited too long already, and I do not have the patience for hysterics."

I watched the dark form reach for the light switch, and I heard the faintest of clicks as light poured into the room. After a split second of near blindness, I saw clearly the man beside me. He was... God! There is no earthly way to express to you what he was, or how he made me feel. Malevolence was a tangible thing that surrounded him. He was terrifying. His skin was pale like mist at dawn, deathly and cold. Hair blacker than oblivion fell to his shoulders. And his eyes... When I stared into his cold, dark eyes, eternity itself stared back at me. His iron gaze turned my rapidly beating heart to ice. An indescribable fear tore at my mind - a fear I had never known before and never again will feel. It was the fear of something inhuman, something more dangerous than death.

With the hand that covered my mouth, he pulled my head to the side, exposing my bare neck. In his eyes I saw a hunger I can never describe, and in that moment a sudden insane inspiration entered my brain. One word. Vampire. I never believed in such things, even as a child, but in that instant I knew it was true. And so his head lowered, and I felt the touch of his lips on my skin. As his razor-like canines slid into my artery, I felt only the slightest of pains, like a shot for a vaccine. I could hear his voice in my head, whispering soft things of comfort to make it less painful - and to keep me from resisting.
But I was not ready to die. I could feel the blood slipping from my body, and I fought. It was so hard to think with the demon in my head and his arms around me to keep me standing. Get out of my head! I hissed in thought. I shoved the vampire off me with trembling hands. His teeth pulled away from my throat with the searing pain of a knife slash. When I touched my skin, my fingers were coated with warm, crimson blood. Panicked at the sight of it, I hurried to wipe it on the sheets. The man - if you can truly call it a man - faced me once again.

"Who are you?" I demanded in a weak, quivering voice.

"I am the night," he whispered in a breathless whisper.

"Very poetic," I jibed, though I was shocked at my own capacity for sarcasm in a desperate situation. "Leave me alone."

"I must survive."

"I intend to survive this encounter as well," I informed him, suddenly more angry than scared.

"No. I have waited too long. I do not have the time to hunt for new prey before the sun rises," he told me. There was no emotion in his voice. It was a simple fact that I would die so he could live. And I bristled at the word prey. I was not an animal to picked off the food chain. I refused to die. There was a wooden cross hung above my bed, courtesy of a previous occupant and the ends were pointed and sharp. I had no idea if the legends were true, but I was not about to go down without a fight. Furious and desperate, I snatched at it, and brandished it like a knife before me.

"Leave!" I shrieked at him. But of course, he didn't. With inhuman speed, he lunged at me and attempted to grab my wrist. Adrenaline and fear coursed through me. I swung my little wooden cross and sliced through his arm. An unnatural cry tore from his throat, and I watched as he clutched him wound. "Stay back," I told him." He blinked as if shocked, and glanced down at his arm. It was bleeding. Then he glanced at the point of my cross that now had a thin layer of blood on its tip. He smiled, but it was a bitter expression. And when he spoke again, his voice was strained.

"Funny," he mused, "you were the first one ever to fight. And I have not the energy to fight you." He turned to the window, and as I stared at him, I could see through the blowing curtains, the sun climbing slowly over Golden Cap. My head turned rapidly to the clock. It was seven-thirty, he had waited too long. When I faced him again, he was perched on the sill.

With one backward glance he leapt from the open window. Amazingly, he transformed into a raven before my very eyes. But at that moment the sunlight fell on his midnight wings, and that was his end. Caught between horror and fascination, I watched as he burst into a cloud of smoke and disappeared with the coming of dawn. Again I heard his whispering voice in my head, saying: 'I am the night." I gazed at the brilliant sun and whispered back.

"There is something greater than the night... the light."


I sit all alone in this forest of trees
Staring outward and away across all the leaves.
The sunlight splashes down making the forest gleam
As I lay back in the grass and begin to dream.
Nature surrounds me and clears my clouded mind.
My dreamscape unfolds, creating bolder images to find.
I float through this ethereal realm with relative ease
Before I wake up alone, overshadowed by trees.


You can hear them whisper
If you're willing to listen.
Angelic voices;
Their song rejuvenates,
Ringing through the sky.
Come laugh...
Let joyful sounds
Echo and glisten.
Reaches my ears,
Mortal am I .

Saturday 9 February 2008



Christmas was nearly over, over as soon it had begun almost. The house was still full, however, of assorted Uncles and Aunties and rarely seen cousins, and they showed no signs of going. Gary, being the only teenager present, was about as bored as he could be and quietly slipped out the back door. The neighbourhood was still new to him as he and his parents had only been here a few weeks, so he thought a little exploration may relieve the boredom.

Not far from home there was a leafy lane which appeared to lead nowhere in particular, but new as he was, he had picked up the local gossip about a haunted house at the end of this lane and the thought of giving it the once over both thrilled and scared him. He ambled down the lane, kicking piles of leaves into the hedge as he went, it seemed to go on forever but after a few minutes he found himself standing by a pair of rusty wrought-iron gates. He pushed them open and made his way across the overgrown garden, through which he could see the house, a unremarkable grey stone building, not your classic haunted house look at all. He peered through the glass on the front door, it certainly looked empty, although he had heard there was some sort of caretaker who looked in from time to time. He just had to go in now he had got this far and if he should happen to come across anyone, could explain himself away easily kid in lost etc. No big deal.

The sky had darkened and the first drops of rain began to fall, that made up his mind for him.....he tried the door handle, it turned easily and the door slid open, he was pleased at this, at least the crime of breaking and entering could not be added to trespass if things went wrong. There were a few sticks of furniture around, but little else other than cobwebs. This caretaker could not be earning his money with his cleaning skills he thought, that's for sure. Now he was in here, he was disappointed, it was just an old empty house,neither exciting or scary. He tried the upstairs rooms, all perfectly empty and lifeless, Outside a storm was raging, thunder rolling around and the interior of the house was being illuminated by lightning flashes. The rain was hammering on the roof and windows,now, Gary might not have been scared by the house, but he sure as hell was not going out in that weather. He descended the stairs and as the lightning flashed he could see a man at the bottom. Oops found out.

" Sorry Mister, I was out walking and got caught in the storm and ran in here out of the rain". He thought he sounded convincing.

The man, an old man, took some time mulling this over and seemed to accept it. " It's ok kid, no harm done" he said.

" You must be the caretaker" Gary said.

" That would be me, I flit in from time to time, just to keep an eye on things. You must be new here, local kids tend to keep away".

" Yeah, I heard, haunted or something I think it's supposed to be".

" And you, kid, you're not scared ?"

Even if he was, Gary was not about to admit it.

" If its a ghost story you're looking for, I can help you there, come in the drawing room with me, we'll light a couple of candles and I'll tell you about it".

Gary hesitated and almost unknowingly took a step backwards.

" So you are scared, kid " the caretaker mocked.

" No Mister, not me" said Gary, his bravado returning.

They settled themselves into two old dusty armchairs and as the storm raged outside, the old man started his tale.

" Long time ago, this house was owned by two sisters, both elderly and both spinsters. They had virtually no family save for the odd niece and nephew scattered all over the country.One of the nieces, Emily Wade, came here for an extended holiday and met a local guy, John Burnham. They saw a lot of each other during the time she was here but all too soon, the visit was over and she headed back to Rochester in Kent. They wrote to each other and vowed undying love, and counted down the days until they could see each other again, which would be on her next visit".

" Excuse me, but why didn't this Burnham guy go to Kent to see her ?"

" Pressures of work kept him in town, he was very single-minded and despite his words of love to Emily, he was happy to be patient, knowing she was his. In time of course, she came back and they took up where they had left off. She was all for marriage but he was fighting shy of the idea and kept her hanging on. Inevitably it all cooled down between them, she was tired of waiting whereas he was happy enough to throw himself into his work knowing she was always there for him. She wanted to break off this so-called 'engagement' but he was adamant he would not let her go, she was his."

" A few weeks passed during which they hardly saw each other and one fateful week, Burnham had to travel up country to attend a funeral of a family member, he was going to be gone for seven days at least. This was an immense relief to Emily who no longer had to fear, at least for a week, his unannounced visits and unknown to Burnham she had another admirer, who would be just as happy to see the back of him for a week.You can imagine what happened, Burnham came back early and caught Emily and her lover together, in the room above us actually, kid"

" What happened ?" Gary was well and truly hooked now.

" Simple, he murdered her".

" And the lover ?"

" The lover was never seen again, kid. The police put two and two together and decided that the lover was also the killer hence his disappearing act. No one had seen Burnham return to the area, so he quietly left and re-appeared two days later to be met with the awful news about Emily"

" So then, it's Emilys' ghost that haunts the house". Gary said.

" No you smart-ass kid, no its not. Emily has never been seen or heard since, in this house or anywhere. But.... oddly enough, John Burnham also died in this house, upstairs in Emilys' old room. By this time, the two spinster sisters had also died and the house was empty. Burnham had an incurable disease and came here to his own hand, and that, kid, is that".

Outside the storm was still continuing, the wind was shrieking and the rain falling steadily.

" But its not even a ghost story, and you promised me a ghost story. It's not even a very good murder story Mister, it doesn't make sense for one thing".

" In what way ?" asked the caretaker.

" If the police thought the lover killed Emily and this Burnham had some sort of alibi, like not being in the area, how come you know so much about it, how come you know he killed Emily ?"

" Thats easy, kid. I am John Burnham ".



Another day when the memories come flooding back, not to say that they are not ever present but some days the memory becomes more tangible like a taste in my mouth or something I can grip firmly and hold on to. It all started before I was born even so you could say that the memories are not entirely my own yet they belong to me and the events fashioned me and I am who I am because of them..........

Here in Seamouth we are used to the sight of the disused lighthouse on the promontory to the west of the town, long since redundant but although the lighthouse is not in active use, the story which has surrounded it is still spoken of. A local girl had disappeared, vanished without a trace.....some say she ran off with a local man....others say she killed herself over a doomed love affair..either way she was gone.Not long afterwards, folk would say she had been seen waving frantically from one of the windows of the lighthouse, after the first couple of occasions the reports were taken seriously enough for the lighthouse to be searched, nothing was found and the sightings continued sporadically.

I was born fifteen miles down the coast from Seamouth, my mother and father had moved away just after the girl had disappeared and as I grew up and heard the stories,I would pester my Mum about it.....had she known the girl...had she seen the ghost ? Her stock answer was to tell me it was all nonsense and to just forget about it although she had a strange faraway look in her eyes whenever I mentioned it. My Dad had long since gone, all I remember is a moody irascible man who seemed to resent my brother and myself and even Mum too.One day there was a scribbled note left addressed to all of us and he was gone, a neighbour saw him at the bus stop with his battered old suitcase and that as they say, was that.

Truth be told, we hardly noticed his absence and life continued as before, we grew up, we changed and Mum scouted for more work, she worked as a carer and was always trying to get extra hours whenever she could, I pointed out an add in the paper for a carers position in Seaforth paying a lot more per hour than she was earning at the time but it was though she had an aversion to the place, she would not contemplate taking a job there and took great pains never to visit the town unless it was absolutely necessary.

My brother Jason left school and found himself a job in Seamouth, working in a supermarket on the western edge of the town, it meant public transport there and back but he was happy enough. He had only been there a few weeks when he overslept and missed the bus, it was a difficult job persuading Mum to drive him in but she did so reluctantly and Jason told me later that as they caught their first glimpse of the lighthouse and he brought up the subject of the 'ghost girl', Mum turned deathly white and did not say another word the rest of the journey.

A few nights later Jason came home looking very excited, I was with Mum in the kitchen when he burst in " Mum, Daisy you'll never guess what ?" Our blank faces told him we couldn't guess. " I've seen the ghost, the girl in the lighthouse, no one else on the bus did but me and I heard her too, calling she was."

" What, calling your name Jason ?" I asked.

He looked across at Mum who was almost ready to collapse, shaking uncontollably but she rallied herself and asked in a whisper " Whose name was it she was calling Jason ?"

" was yours, heard her voice in my brain saying over and over, Sally Sally Sally."

Mum stood in the kitchen, now very calm, nodding to herself, mumbling something which sounded like "It's's time" She hugged us both and walked over the the door and opening it, she stood on the step, straining her ears. She walked away from us, then broke into a run and before we realised what was happening....she was gone.

And that as they say,was spite of extensive searches Mum was never found nor was any clue found as to where she may have gone or what may have happened to her.

That was ten years ago and for most of those ten years I have been living here in Seamouth, well, I had to be close to Mum didn't I ?

I look across to the lighthouse and see the figures of two women waving, one older, one younger. I am brought out of my thoughts by the sound of children squabbling.

" Will you two just stop that now please and wave to your Grandmother ? "

Friday 8 February 2008


The day draws to a close,
the night feels its way, slowly seductively forward.
Light slips away silently tiptoeing behind the clouds.
Darkness holds dominion over all.
Clarity is left behind as the black night envelops the scene.
Trees sway, gentle breezes dance chattering and laughing,
but soon quietness stills the night and settles all around.
Silent, yet, still can be heard for those who care to listen,
voices whispering in the dark, the souls of the night.
The lights of our towns and cities blur natures true vision,
until once again the sun comes to reveal all,
rising once more and the world is refreshed for the new dawn.
The day exhales and light and life is reborn.


When life is dark and stormy,

with fewer ups than downs.

Still waiting for the moment,

when smiles replace the frowns.

You're at that point where life is hell.

A black hole full of glitches.

Then a glorious flash of light,

when hope reborn first twitches.

That moment when you're really sure

that the evidence is plain.

The light at the end of the tunnel,

Isn't a bloody train!

Thursday 7 February 2008


Christmas Day was slowly moving towards evening as the sun slowly sank behind the village church. The last light of day cast deepening shadows thoughout the graveyard as she passed. She always loved this time of day the grave yard seemed so quiet and peaceful it residents undisturbed in their eternal rest. "Why is it only the good die young ?" she thought, pausing to look at the gravestone of a young girl in her twenties.

With a sigh she ran her hand along the top of the gravestone before moving away back towards the church.Pausing she picked a single red rose lifting the delicate bloom she allowed the sweet scent to fill her senses as she entered the church. A chill breeze greeted her from within, shifting her long chestnut hair behind her, before she was lost in the darkness inside. Slowly she picked her way though the darkness towards the pulpit, lighting a small candle she moved towards the back of the church. As the small light gently spilled over the altar she could have sworn she sure a small boy kneeling there in front of the altar in prayer, but looking again he was gone. Leaving just the cold empty gloom of the church. Slowly she moved around the church lighting the candles until the whole church was filled with a soft warm light. It was only then that she noticed the Bible laying open on the floor. Bending down to pick up the book a chill breeze sprang up from within the church, blowing out the candles and shifting the pages in front of her. Looking down she could only just make out six words on the well-worn page. "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust" she read aloud, "The lord bless you and keep you" a voice seemed to echo though the church. Dropping the Bible she span round searching for the source of the voice, there in the shadows she could see the same little boy standing by an open door to the left of the altar before the shadows seemed to swallowed him and he was gone.Lighting another candle she moved towards the open door searching for the unseen child. "Hello is there any one there" she called slowly picking her away though the nave. "It's ok I wont hurt you". The light lit no more than a few feet ahead of her as she entered though the open door into the vestry. The heavy smell of incense filled the small room, strange that she had not smelt it in the church its self. Moving around the room she could just make out the darkened shapes of chairs and table. A huge, heavy Bible lay open on the table a gold rosary marking the page. Moving closer she could cleary read the marked passage below, fear pierced her heart as see once again read the same passage, "Ashes to ashes, dust to dust".A small figure moved in the darkness by the chair, quickly she turned but the light of the candle revealed nothing. A light breeze touched her cheek indicated that the back door to the graveyard was left ajar. The sound of footsteps outside the door sent her running to open it.

There by the last light of day she could know clearly see the small boy standing by a gravestone. There he stood as if waiting for her, slowly she walked towards him each step seeming to take a lifetime as she moved towards the chestnut haired boy. Gently he took her hand not taking his eyes from the gravestone. Slowly she read the inscription on the stone. "Teresa Smith, 1980 to 2007 Loving wife and mother. Peter Smith, 1996 to 2007. Loving son". Squeezing her hand the little boy looked into her eyes. "Come on Mummy time to go home".

Silently the moon rose casting its pale glow upon an empty graveyard. It's residents once more undisturbed in their sleep.



It was Anniversary time again, how quickly it came round each year. And here he was again doing the waiting, waiting for her to show up....some things never change, he thought to himself, smiling. And of course she would be drunk again, not that he blamed her in any way, it was out of her control after all. As indeed it was for him, destiny that is, but he was here at least facing up to the inevitable.

He looked up the dark road and saw approaching headlights. This could be her, no, it went on by at speed, not slowing down for a second.Besides he should have known it wouldn't be her.....she was never early.

He paced up and down a little, she won't be long he thought, his watch hadn't worked for years so he couldn't be sure of the exact time would be soon.

Then he saw the headights, obviously hers this time, the car veering wildly all over the place, the driver losing control of the machine. He stood rooted to the spot, unable to move, watching the headlights as they danced towards him.

He closed his eyes and awaited the impact, at least it wouldn't hurt, nothing had hurt since that night.

" Happy Anniversary" he whispered as the car made familiar contact.


As Holmes resumed his languishing and silence I glanced through The Times noticing how Holmes had ringed several items in the agony columns to which he always turned to eagerly. On many occasions the whole tide of cases he had been working on turned because of what he had read and deduced from the guarded and frankly mystifying messages in its columns. Nothing today had seemed to spark his interest and exercised his immense intellect, without a case to utilise his talents he was prone to lying around motionless and inert with barely a word passing his lips, at times like this I was concerned for his well-being as both his friend and physician and I could not help but glance to the leather bound morocco case there on the mantlepiece and would fervently pray that my friends ennui would not drive him once more to that seven percent solution which he found so stimulating.

My reverie was interrupted by Holmes " If you care to look on the breakfast tray you will find a letter there for you" I was not surprised the letter should have ended up on the tray amongst the remains of breakfast, indeed, I was only too pleased that my unopened correspondence had not ended up like Holmes' own, affixed to the wooden mantlepiece by a jack-knife. A little while later my thoughts were again interrupted by Holmes " I rather think Watson that a trip to Lyme Regis to see an old friend from your university would be a capital idea" " By all thats sacred Holmes" I cried " Have you read the contents of a private letter to pull off this mind-reading trick ? " "Really Watson I would hope you know me better than that my old friend. No my deduction which has obviously hit the mark was based on observation pure and simple". " I cannot see what I could have possibly done to enable you to make such a deduction" I replied. " My dear fellow, you always remain perplexed at these little parlour games of mine and yet when I explain my reasoning as revealed to me by your features and movements you will no doubt declare it to be most elementary" " Nevertheless Holmes I would be grateful if you could reveal to me the workings of that fine intellect" Holmes was entirely susceptible to flattery and my well-chosen words would brought forth his explanation with a flush of pleasure. " Very well Watson, after reading through the contents of the letter you sat back and smiled with the countenance of one recalling their youth, you glanced up at your diploma from the University of London, thereby alerting me to the fact that this was almost certainly a missive from a friend of those days, you then walked to the bookcase and opened up a copy of Jane Austens overly romantic novel Persuasion and opened it to a page which equates to an episode where one of her chief characters foolishly jumps down some steps on the buttress known as The Cobb in the seaside town of Lyme Regis, as you returned to your seat your hand briefly lighted upon the Bradshaws, at which point I interrupted your thoughts to your consternation and surprise" " Remarkable Holmes" " Elementary Watson, I would be a dullard indeed if I could not interpret that evidence"


Sand's ahead
Sea's further
Children playing.
Waves lapping.
Boats drifting.
Gulls flying.
Sun's overlooking.
Heat's burning.
Sky's blinding.
I'm smiling.
Watching the horizon.


So many ifs,
so many buts.
Will she text,
will she not ?

Excitement mounts
with each minute.
Will she call,
will she not ?

Nerves jangle,
heart beats fast.
Will she ring,
will she not ?

A knock on the door.
A hurried footfall.
Will she like me,
will she not ?

Friendship gained.
Friendship won.
Will it last,
will it not ?

So many ifs,
so many buts.
Will she text,
will she not ?



" I've been waiting".

He heard the voice as soon as he entered the dusty attic, yet he was clearly alone here, even his footprints showed up on the dust-covered floor. Shrugging his shoulders, he put it down to over-work and stress, but he still went ahead with a search of the room. As he thought, he was alone. It looked as though it had been used before as a childs nursery or playroom. A few old toys remained where they had been left, in the corner a fine old rocking-horse looking the worse for wear but against the far wall was a magnificent Dolls House, he had never seen one like it....a huge thing, almost as tall as him, a mansion and looked to be in pristine condition, gleaming in spite of the gloom in here, with pretty curtained windows looking out into the attic. Whoever the children that played here were, they were very, very lucky indeed.

" I've been waiting".

He spun round, peering into the gloom....where was that coming from ? Next door maybe, children playing ? Although he couldn't be sure it was a childs voice even, it sounded both old and young but that was just plain crazy. He turned his attention to the Dolls House again, sitting by the side of it was a doll, which was strange as he didn't recall seeing it a few minutes ago but then it was dark in here.He threw open a skylight to let some light in, and went back across to the doll. He picked her up and examined her, the golden-blonde curls seemed free of dust and she was in remarkable condition for being confined here in the dirt and dark. What are you thinking doll, what would you say if you could talk, how have you kept so clean here in this lonely place ? Now this was even crazier than hearing the voice, here he was talking to a doll of all things.

He put her down gently where he had found her and got on with what he was supposed to be doing. He had just bought the house as his getaway from it all and this room would suit him perfectly as somewhere he could paint, write and be alone, be at peace.

" I need someone to play with".

What the..............if this was what overwork and stress did to you then it was going to be a very good move indeed to settle himself here. Playfully he approached the doll.....but surely....he had put her down on the left side of the house, then how could it be she was now on the right. He looked closely at her face, at her smile which seemed wider now somehow, was it you, do you speak after all or do you just look. An idea came to him, perhaps this was an old battery-operated doll which had a few phrases it could repeat and when he had picked her up he had activated it somehow although that could not explain the words he heard when entering the room. He politely said excuse me as he pushed her dress up to check her back for a battery compartment, but there was none. Right, he told himself, time to get downstairs for a stiff drink before I go completely mad.

He took one step towards the door and as he did so, the room began to spin, it seemed to be pressing down on him from angles, the ceiling was moving downwards and the floor was rising up to meet it, instead of the feeling of being crushed, he had one of being at one with the room as though his own dimensions were altering to suit the new dimensions of the room.He was shrinking into himself, getting smaller with each second that went by. He could no longer find the door, his legs refused to work and oddly enough escape itself was no longer desirable or necessary even.

He had no awareness of time passing but passed it had. He opened his eyes. His ears strained for the noise which had awoken him. To his right sat a girl with golden-blonde curls. She put her fingers to her lips " Shh........look"

He looked out through the pretty curtained windows into the attic......he could dimly see a man was there, walking around, taking measurements, muttering to himself " Great house this, can't believe its been empty for so long".

The girl with the golden-blonde curls,his playmate, looked at him. He nodded, understanding.

"Now" she whispered.

" We've been waiting" they said.



James had a secret. A big secret. He had a ghost in his wardrobe. You may sneer and laugh but it was so. He spent long hours talking to her with the wardrobe door ajar. Yes, another secret, she was a girl. He had been confined to bed these last few weeks, with one illness after another. James had always been a weak child. He knew this,he was told it.

Holly, yes, that was her name, first appeared a few days ago. I say appeared but it would be more truthful and accurate to say she was first heard a few days ago. A disembodied voice calling James from the recesses of the wardrobe. Was he scared ? You bet. But intrigued too, intrigued enough to open wide the wardrobe doors and call " Who's there please ? "

" Hello name is Holly....and you may not believe this, but I am a ghost. "

" A real ghost ? In my wardrobe ? What are you doing there ? Can you come out ? "

" No, I am forbidden to come out of the wardobe but I will be your friend if you like ." came back Hollys' disembodied voice.

" I do like Holly, I like very much.....can I tell anyone else about you ? " James asked.

" No, it will have to be our secret James".

That's how it started with the two of them, one living, one dead but both able to talk for England and how they talked.Being a weak child, remember it must be true, he was told it, he had never made friends, never in school long enough to do so, truth be told and if now his only friend was to be of the phantom variety, then so be it. Holly had lived in the house a few years before, when she lived of course although technically you could say she still lived there but the definition of living may have to be strained to its limit. James loved the stories she told of growing up in the house, how she fought with her brothers and sisters. He had never had any brothers or sisters and even if he had he seriously doubted his ability to fight any of them, even the sisters, big or small. He was weak, remember ?

One evening not so long ago, in fact very recently, a question popped into James' head, one you would think he would have asked long ago.

" What's it like to be dead Holly ? "

" It's like living in a way minus the chocolate of course. I spend my time thinking about my life, it's like total recall, you remember absolutely everything, so it's like living it again."

" Am I the only one you talk to ? " He certainly hoped so, he was not at all keen on sharing his one and only friend with just anyone.Even if she was a ghost.

" Yes, James you are, that's why whenever you call, whatever you say I answer immediately. "

" Like my own hot line you mean ? " Although cold line may have been more apt.

" Exactly like that James. "

" What about other ghosts, do you talk to them ? "

" No, I can only see them, not talk to them.Well, we can say things to each other, it's certainly noisy in the spirit world I can tell you, but there will be no response at all. The only ones we can have a conversation with are the living. "

" I'm glad about that Holly. " James replied. " Think I will say good night now, I feel very tired. ' Night to you tomorrow".

" Goodbye James. " said Holly very quietly.

James came out of his long sleep, and what do you know, he felt good, dare I say it, not weak in the slightest. He bounced out of bed and knelt down by the wardrobe door.

" 'Morning Holly. "he said excitedly.

" ' Morning Holly. " he said again, just as excitedly.

There was no reply.




A feeling of deja vu....I have done this before, the excited chattering around me I have heard before, the whole occasion is tangibly familiar to me but how....where ? I can't shake the feeling but then the bell rings for the start of the race and off we all go.

My first time on this particular event and I was expecting nothing less than a gruelling challenge especially so as my training had been at best intermittent, nevertheless I felt prepared mentally which would be half the battle. So many of the runners have set off very quickly and I avoid the pitfall of trying to keep up with them, this isn't about times or racing, it's about me and pushing myself to achieve something. I settle down into my own rhythm,my own pace....I am enveloped in my own little world, coccooned from the hundreds of other runners who now begin to sprint away from me as we begin our first climb. We are still running on the road but not for much longer, soon we will be heading into open fields that stretch away towards the sea. The sun, so bright earlier, has now disappeared and the air is unseasonably chilly, which suits me fine, the last thing I needed was a hot sun beating down on me. A downhill section now, I apply the brakes a little more, I was never confident about running down inclines. I catch my breath as the ground levels off and I feel as though I am beginning to move more freely although I was painfully aware there was a long way to go.

A sea mist appears and all but obliterates my view,it gives me the uncomfortable feeling that I am completely alone, cut off from the outside world, I can no longer see or hear the other runners. Another climb, this one is the steepest we have to face and also the closest to the Coast Path. The mist is thicker now, I cannot see the reassuring sight of the race marshal who guides the runners on this particular cliff. I slow down almost to a walk and peer into the marshal, no runners and no landmarks. I try to gauge where I am, how close to the edge, but my senses are confused and send me no signals. All at once I stumble, my left foot slides on the wet grass and my body slides with it, I put my hand down to steady myself but that does nothing to halt my slithering. My legs collide with thin air and I realise with horror that this is the edge of the cliff and I am helpless to stop myself going over. I reach out and grab at anything vaguely in reach, rocks, small trees and vegetation but in vain, down I am falling, spiralling away, my mind filled with confused jumbled thoughts.....somewhere in that falling body of mine I braced myself for certain impact......


A feeling of deja vu....I have done this before, the excited chattering around me I have heard before, the whole occasion is tangibly familiar to me but how....where ? I can't shake the feeling but then the bell rings for the start of the race and off we all go.


Ok......does this make any sense to anyone......or did you have to be there ? Sat having a coffee at the Beachfront Cafe yesterday, warm March sunshine...enjoying the community spirit to be found there and the fact that everyone who passes you says "Hello" " Good Morning" etc.......after spending a lovely relaxing hour there, wandered back along seafront towards home and pausing to look out to sea, was struck by how the sun had illuminated a patch of sea and as I looked at it enthralled by the beauty of it, a fishing boat glided into the illuminated area soundlessly and immediately became silouhetted and just seemed to ghost across that patch, bobbing up and down in the swell and somehow, for me, became a symbol of the joy and beauty of living here......all too soon the spell was broken but the image will stay with me.

How could I ever want to be anywhere else ?


Whats new ? Last weekend saw the close of Lyme Regis ArtsFest week, where all artists etc in the town throw open their studios and homes to all and sundry and impress us ( or otherwise ) with their prowess in their chosen field. For the tourist this is exactly what it means, for the residents, its an annual chance to poke about in other peoples houses, to generally nose whilst making the appropriate "oohs" and "aahs" at the particular art on offer be it the most wonderful painting or a model of The Cobb made entirely from seagull droppings. This culminates in a grand ball or celebration on the sea front to mark the end of Nosefest, sorry, ArtsFest to which all are invited, strict rules govern these occasions lest they become out of hand, for instance all Rugby players are barred, horseplay and tampering with food is also discouraged, and vomiting, for most people living outside Scotland and Australia, is an unfamiliar, nauseating, unedifying and unpleasant spectacle and is to be avoided, dancing is strictly controlled on these occasions as it is such a dangerous activity as it involves the holding and touching of both sexes which can naturally lead on to silly expressions on ones face, not going out with ones chums, long hours waiting at school gates, unavailability for cricket matches and ultimately marriage. I did think of throwing my humble abode open during the week and becoming a "performance poet" reciting poems to suit the occasion but then realised in the nick of time that I may be required to vacuum daily or even dust the furniture and life is far too short for that ! The Angel Inn opposite has been much quieter of late so no disturbed nights, Coombe Street is never entirely silent but nowhere is a perverse fact of human society that those with the least musical taste wish to share it with others and those with nowhere to go are possesssed of the noisiest vehicles.....

Wednesday 6 February 2008


Casting off, they leave Lyme behind.
Sailing from the harbour,
into new waters.

They sail freely, knowing the dangers,
but still they go from the Cobb.
Choosing the ocean.

This is a journey we all must make,
away from the harbour.
To the open sea.


Look at the moon, white and shining.
How far is it, can you touch ?
As far away as love, as near as lust.
Appearing so beautiful, but in reality- dust.

Listen to the waves, blue and foaming.
Is it ebb tide, can you reach ?
crash like a cry, then whisper-like lapping.
Offers support but all the time sapping.

feel the heat of the sun, red and searing.
Is it too much, will you flee ?
As hot as first passion,then comes the eclipse.
The fire will die with a cry on its' lips.


To see a wave crash,
to feel its' rise and pull
is to know your own heartbeat.

The ocean owns you now,
you can never escape it.
It is a part of your life.

So you breathe with the tide,
and fall with the moon.
In an everlasting rhythm.


Grey, green, blue currents,
creamy foam, dancing spray.
Suns' rays glinting off
sapphire swells.
The sky grows dark,
whipping the manes
of froth-white stallions,
galloping across the blue expanse
to throw themselves
onto the shore.