• Romance

    I Will

    When I pictured my wedding day, I saw myself cloaked in white and crowned with jewels. I’d wear the pale blue drop earrings my mother gave to me on my sixteenth birthday, borrow my sister’s make-up, and buy some white Vans that I’d embellish with lace. The picture was perfect. But you know a picture can never always be quite perfect. Nobody believed me when I insisted I had only been drinking sparkling water that evening. I wouldn’t have believed me. But I had nothing to blame except my own stupidity. I kept twirling it around on my finger, captivated by the moon’s charm against the diamonds. Should I? Shouldn’t I?…

  • Friendship

    Here

    This was where we first met. Right here on this bench. You were watching the cars, counting them, you said. Sneaking a glance at the driver, wondering who they might be and where they were going. You found it hard letting go, retiring. I had just had a fight with my girlfriend, my first long-term one. I was in the wrong as usual, and you helpfully pointed that out to me. After the fourth time of bumping into each other here anyway. It was right near where my bus stopped, and it was on your way to the village shop. You told me exactly what I did and what I…

  • Family

    The Banana Incident

    ‘I am not spending money on a cinema screen. It’s not happening,’ Hugo said, marching up the muddy, beaten track toward another kissing gate. ‘Hugo, calm down, I’m just saying…’ Kate grabbed a water bottle from his rucksack. ‘Slow down!’ ‘I won’t do it,’ he reiterated, not slowing down at all. ‘Dad, it’s freezing!’ Jack moaned, trudging behind his parents. ‘I told you to wear a hat,’ Kate huffed. ‘It’s hardly much bigger than our one now anyway.’ ‘It’s six inches bigger! We don’t need a 50-inch TV.’ ‘We don’t need a bean to cup machine either, but…’ ‘Uh, we do actually.’ Hugo glanced at the coffee-stained OS map. ‘It…

  • Story Snapper

    Our World

    A world without Coronavirus. Where social distancing is simply a matter of being British.Where a baby’s first word isn’t ‘mask’.Where Christmas is a time of peace and not of lateral flow tests.Where one does not whip out sanitiser when one goes to shake one’s hand.Where the tune ‘happy birthday’ isn’t a reminder to wash hands more thoroughly.Where death toll figures aren’t read over a bowl of cornflakes.Where fathers and mothers don’t die alone because of national restrictions.Where loved ones are lost. A world with Coronavirus. Where embracing one another isn’t taken for granted.Where broken relationships mend.Where working from home swings doors wide open.Where the world unites in giving key workers…

  • Family

    The Ugliest Christmas Jumper

    It was the ugliest one I’d seen by far. Elf-green wool with HOHOHO in white bordering the arms and torso, and…I am not even kidding…tiny ball balls sewn onto the fabric in the shape of a Christmas tree. She had made it herself. Gran had made it especially for me. She didn’t hate me either. She liked me. She thought this would make the best present ever. I mean…there’s a Specsavers advert right there! But I loved Gran. I couldn’t have not worn it on Christmas Day. Except, I had also planned to meet Jon’s parents for the first time that afternoon. Yes, the first time ever. Ever. And of course, I wasn’t going to…

  • Family,  Romance

    Love in Action

    Winter was the hardest on her. The dark, cold mornings, the dark, cold afternoons. And we had just added two more babies to our not-so-little family. I never in my wildest dreams imagined I would be a dad to four kids. That wasn’t the plan. We wanted two. But then we thought just one more. And the fourth arrived alongside that third. Twins. It was Lex that did it all. Kept us all alive. Kept us all motivated. She was the star. She was the workhorse. With a husband that worked in London all week and barely got to kiss her goodnight by the time one foot was in the…

  • Dreams,  Family,  Romance

    My Mary

    Clad in sooty black leather, my Mary roared about the seaside village from the unripe age of sixteen. When she rode, her vanilla hair whipped out of her helmet, which she only wore because her father demanded it, her slick smile grew ten inches, and that jacket she wore burnt under the relentless sun like a lump of hot coal. She was a lioness. And the village folk didn’t take kindly to it. They harrumphed and tutted. My Mary heard the whisperings, but it didn’t bother her a jot.  And then she met me. An awkward, gangly fellow who resembled more of a dizzy flamingo than a strapping lion. But…

  • Family

    Snow Day

    As if all the rooftops in our town were fairy cakes, one cold night, God decided to finish them all off with a dusting of icing sugar. The following morning, the whole town was cloaked in nature’s glitter. Sparkling spider webs adorning shrubs, solid blades of grass welcoming the lick from the morning sunshine, piles of thick fresh snow waiting to be crunched and rolled into snowmen. After a dull, blustery Saturday where no one in the family seemed at all happy, that morning was like a breath of fresh seaside air filling our lungs. Even Dave, who had been in a stupor all week from a hard slog at…

  • Family

    Oscar

    I knew the long hours doctors worked. When my brother told me he wanted to become one, I knew I wouldn’t see him much. I didn’t expect to not see him for two years. He decided to work overseas, and I stayed with our mum. She needed care. She would never admit that her wheelchair stopped her from doing anything she wanted to do. She played basketball to prove that to everyone. I’m not sure she ever stopped to think that it might prevent her other son from doing what he wanted to do. Not that I’d ever tell her that. It wasn’t like I was saving lives. I was…

  • Romance

    Advent

    We met in a quaint coffee shop one quiet afternoon. The persistent sun shone through the oval window onto his table where he was reading a dog-eared P.G. Wodehouse. He was in his own world full of chuckles. As I dropped two sugar cubes into my flat white, he laughed deeply, dimples forming in his broad face. I stirred my coffee, and he laughed again, and again, until he glanced around, realising he was no longer in his own world full of chuckles, and spotted me. His dimpled cheeks reddened. I broke into an amused grin. We got to talking about Jeeves. Eventually, we made plans for a dinner date.…