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  We were talking about hitchhiking. I asked if you ever had. I thought it was illegal now, but it’s not. But still I would never have tried it as a teenager. I was always too afraid I think. Had the dangers of it reinforced in my thinking at a young age. I always listened […]

Colour 197

I’m in the salon getting my nails done. I don’t find this relaxing. I just like the after-effects and looking down at the flawless colour on my fingers for days after. Everyone else is getting colour 42. I like colour 197. Every time I’m there, the manicurist keeps telling me to relax. You’re not relaxing […]


I am at the lake in the usual way lying on the dock reading comic books maybe eight or nine years old when my uncle asks me if I want to try to waterski. I had seen my cousins, older than me, long limbed and skilled on the water fly across the lake being towed […]


Long grass and blackberry bushes grow on each side of this sunny island road, before more trees and houses. No sidewalks here. The ditches beside the road are shallow and overgrown with grass. There are still telephone poles, the wires connecting each one to the end of the street. I step over a ditch and […]

Leather Jacket

    I am sitting in the Queen’s pub, holding a pint in my hand, wearing a black leather jacket. It’s not mine and it belongs to someone who has died. It’s not just that they died in the car accident wearing the jacket, and this just recently. I guess I am amazed at the […]


  I am a Washington Capitals fan that lives in Vancouver. I get questioned about this, about how this happened. I know people who follow the Bruins or Red Wings. They don’t get interrogated about it. It’s like I’m having some kind of dirty hockey affair. All I know is it happened during the short […]

Turtle Bay

We took two canoes. My uncle and me in one and my cousins in the other. My uncle sat in front. We brought along buckets to fill with water. Some of them were ice-cream pails and some weren’t. Every time he lifted his oar from the surface I would watch the water drip off of […]

Drug Raid in Macclesfield

They always looked out the window when they heard the sound from the delivery truck at the pub saying ‘This vehicle is reversing’ as it backed into our street to turn around. After dark that evening we saw the flashing lights of some black police riot squad van which shot to the crossing by the […]

Julian Cope

  That night the train stopped on the way home, in the middle of nowhere. We had been in to see Julian Cope play at the Academy in Manchester. At one point he disappeared backstage for a costume change and returned wearing a matching outfit of alligator print leggings and a sleeveless top. From Manchester […]

Manhattan, December 2013

  They looked soft and handmade, flying down from above. I know that I saw them, despite the distraction of the city’s flashing momentum.   From what I heard, each wing beat ticked. They nestled in the eaves like tiny grandfather clocks. Soft whispers muffling the traffic’s rattle, saying Hello or Look up here, I […]

Erica’s Word – Game Theory at The Town Pump

  Lately at night I look out the window onto Vancouver, like I used to look out onto Derbyshire. I see a picture, I see rooftops, but instead of green short shaved moorlike hills there are mountains and water. The mountains are close enough that I can get to them in less than an hour. […]


I remember when The Cars Candy-O came out. I was a little older than the first album. The boys at school, I can see what they would have thought of the cover. It was grown up, with high heels and boobs. It was a year later than their first album, and I was a year […]


  I am walking home from school, down the hill. Back then I had songs in my head as I walked down the road’s shoulder. It was uphill to school and downhill back home, past the houses I would see every day. It was then I had Bye Bye Love by The Cars in my […]


I’ve never broken anything. Not even a finger, or sprained an ankle. I used to see people with casts on their arms and legs, and be envious. Their friends could write things on the white plaster, or draw little pictures, like stickmen or crashing cars, like they were signing a school yearbook. The injured couldn’t […]

Toys in the Attic

In 1990 I bought Toys in the Attic from a second-hand record store. Heard it all the way through for the first time sitting on my lounge carpet and embarked on a heavy listening phase with the album in my basement suite. I’d heard Sweet Emotion and Walk This Way lots before. Uncle Salty was […]

Being Twenty

I unlocked the door to my suite. It was after 2 am. The door had a step down to it, from the yard behind the house. That was the step where the milkman left the milk, until the golden lab upstairs thought to attack the cartons chewing through their middle. Milk spilled over the rip […]

Game Memoir: When the Caps beat the Canucks in Vancouver – by a Vancouver Capitals Fan

  This memoir was first published on the NovaCaps website, Washington Capitals Fans of Northern Virginia, October 29, 2015.   I was nervous before the game. In fact, I had been going on adrenaline all week, having some early mornings and long commutes, two hours each way, without feeling tired at all. Parts of the […]


  I blamed the March rain, because I wanted to go to the lake. I looked out the window at the droplets pooling against the glass. I  wanted to see the ducklings in Turtle Bay, but Mum and Dad said the weather was too cold and rainy. It was Spring Break. Back in those days, […]

The Science to the Finding of Expensive Umbrellas

I was never good at science. I went through a phase, once in my life, of finding expensive umbrellas at bus stops. I was 19 or 20, and going to a community college, traveling there by bus. The umbrellas were both Christian Dior. I found them on days that threatened rain, on the bus-stop bench. […]

Slippin’ Jimmy – what we’ve earned and what we deserve in life

I felt some anxiety this morning. I don’t know why as recently it hasn’t bothered me too much. All the running and cooking are normally quite therapeutic. Maybe watching the Amtrak crash in Philly on CNN has affected me more than I realize. I know what has happened. I’ve seen the same pictures already and […]

Snow in June

It was May 1st 1997,  the day of the election. I had gone swimming at the baths mid-morning. Hall Bank was a steep street. Wearing sandals, I walked up it towards the marketplace. My legs had that feeling of flexibility after you swim. I could hardly feel the incline. It had been warm the last […]


I was eight when we went to Universal Studios in Los Angeles. Part of a trip to California with my sister and my folks. We went on the Backlot tour, as it was called then. We sat in a tram with others, everyone with their sunglasses and sun hats and sandals on. I remember the […]

Easter in Cloverdale

When we were little, on Easter morning, we had an Easter egg hunt. My Mom had bought a few small Easter eggs, the chocolate ones, and they were hidden around the house. Not outside was the rule because that would be too cold and possibly dirty and wet. We always checked about this when we […]

Going to a Famous Dead Poet’s House on your Birthday

Once above a shop in a mill town my lemon yellow flat with the white sash windows stood out slightly on the corner far enough so that I could almost see down the middle of the street with the houses seamed together, twins in cream and pastels. In the summer a cool breeze flows from […]

Life and ice-cream

I am standing in an ice cream parlor in Florence. The owner yells at me in Italian. I had just bought a vanilla ice-cream and began to eat it inside the parlor, smoothing the white cold ridges with my tongue to prevent the whole thing from toppling. I am not supposed to be doing this […]

Just a Friendly Update

I’m 73,000 words into the first draft of a novel. Will write something new for this blog soon.


Published in Staple New Writing Magazine Spring 1997


Published in Staple New Writing Magazine Winter 2000 issue


Published in West 49th Magazine at Langara Community College, 1991-1992   I cover them in cloth like I am draping the dead, or old furniture or merely painting a new room. I am afraid of drowning in windows. I fear a domestic X-ray. To be exposed to an outer radiation like a balding child that […]

Home Movies

Published in Langara’s West Forty Ninth Magazine, 1991 A countdown of flashing black and white 4-3-2-1– prepares me, warns me of this viewing. It sends me there. A wooden swing from oak tree to beach each thundering wave lashing out to lick my heels but I escape and chase the cat under the porch where […]


Published in Staple Magazine, August 1995   I notice the daffodils In the kitchen fading. But those in my room? They look like elephants Attached to a stem; An upside-down mobile Stuffed in a vase; Weary dancers Wearing sunflower hats. This was a child’s room, Too new to touch, too soft. Roots far underneath, Unarmed, […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 1

snowy forest
This entry is part 1 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER ONE Friday, December 19th, six days before Christmas The snow had stopped about two hours before. Renee had finished her walk, and she descended the last bit of the forest trail, like she did about four times a week. She walked along the footpath between the lake and the main road and crossed the […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 2

snowy forest
This entry is part 2 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER TWO Saturday, December 20th, five days before Christmas The next day Renee got ready, she was going to skip her walk and go straight to the pub. The Arms was only a short walk up from her house, about ten minutes. Stockwell cottage was a mid 18th century cottage. One of the rooms downstairs […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 3

small moon
This entry is part 3 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER THREE Sunday, December 21st, four days before Christmas Darrell picked her up in his rented car. She argued with him that she should drive because he was the visitor in the area but he wouldn’t have it. It was a clear night. The moon was just a sliver, barely there. The pub was by […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 4

snow surface
This entry is part 4 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER FOUR Monday, December 22nd, three days before Christmas The next afternoon she went by the pub to drop off a copy of Oliver Twist. She plunked the book down on the bar. “Here it is.” “Thanks. I read it years ago but I’m in an online reading group and that is the next book […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 5

xmas trees
This entry is part 5 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER FIVE Tuesday, December 23rd, two days before Christmas She needed to get a Christmas tree and it was only two days until Christmas. Her car was older, a yellow Volkswagen Polo which wasn’t pretty but it was reliable. It was a second car of her parents which they had left behind. Mostly when she […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 6

tree presents
This entry is part 6 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER SIX Wednesday, December 24th, Christmas Eve She thought about the dream, which she remembered. The book must have had something to do with the book she had lent to Carol. The nightie and not feeling the cold was strange though. She hadn’t worn a nightie like that since she was about seven. That morning […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 7

This entry is part 7 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER SEVEN Thursday, December 25th, Christmas Day That morning, on Christmas Day, before she got out of bed she noticed a voicemail on her phone. It was a voicemail that she had received from Darrell. He had phoned about one in the morning. He said that he was so sorry, but he had experienced some […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 8

This entry is part 8 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER EIGHT Friday, December 26th, Boxing Day On the flight it was clear weather. She could look down and see the white quilt that England was. What was normally a green patchwork of fields was all white with stitching of roads, fences, trees and telephone lines. They rose up above England and then going north, […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 9

This entry is part 9 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER NINE Saturday, December 27 The next morning she went for a run along the waterfront and then after she had got back and showered she texted Darrell and said she was going to look around the market and get some brunch. She had seen a restaurant right before the market that she would probably […]

The Poacher’s Wood – Chapter 10

This entry is part 10 of 10 in the series The Poacher's Wood

CHAPTER 10 The Future Her visit in Seattle went so well for the both of them, that Renee returned to the UK to resign from her job and sublet Stockwell Cottage to another walker at the pub. She moved into Darrell’s house in Seattle, which was large and had a garden and an ocean view. […]

My Bloomingdales Cape

I was standing in Bloomingdales in New York, in this one part of the store that I found. It was filled mostly with accessories, but they didn’t cost a million dollars.  I had been in there a couple of days before to buy a scarf, but I just wanted one last look before I flew […]

Constructing a Web Page Skeleton

Every webpage is written in HTML. HTML is what gives the webpage its structure. It has its own rules for communicating and these rules are called syntax. HTML webpages are described by HTML tags. A tag is a keyword (tag name) surrounded by angle brackets <>. Tags are usually in pairs, with the first tag […]

Building a Ruby on Rails Application on Mac OS X – Part 1

  The application we are going to build is a blog. This article assumes that you already have the following installed: Ruby language version no older than 1.9.3 The Ruby Gems packaging system. This is installed with the Ruby version 1.9, and any more recent version. SQLite3 Database Ruby on Rails development framework   Building […]

A Maple Leaf (for Remembrance Day)


It was a town right by the sea and the small white house was right by the sea front, the door opened and there was the road and there was the stone wall and over that you could see the harbor and the boats tied to their docks. There was a smell of salty sea […]



At our house we had about ten fruit trees all down the side of the vegetable garden. There were apple trees and plum trees and pear trees. Trees that had grass underneath and the grass we would have to cut in the summer. During the winter the tree branches, though bare, grew spindly up to […]

Going to the Lake

sakinaw lake

In my last year of Junior High, I found out that I had the chance to go up to Sakinaw Lake with my aunt and uncle. I hadn’t been there for three or four years, and so I was excited about the opportunity. My sister, who was a couple of years older than me, said […]

Watching Movies

I am sitting on the couch watching Kramer vs Kramer for the first time. I am fourteen. I’m drinking sleepy time tea and eating rice cakes with peanut butter as this is a new snack I have learned from my aunt. There is the scene about the french toast and I am watching Dustin Hoffman […]



  A small rectangular plaque hangs in my kitchen. It is made of wood, with an off-white front and black writing and was willed to me by my paternal grandmother. On the front is the 1859 poem written by Elizabeth Cheney, “Overheard in an Orchard.” Perhaps the first poem I ever read, except for In […]


bw clock in lighted avenue

When I lived in Cheshire and used to go running out of town into the local countryside, I was always on my own. There were no pedestrians, only a bit of traffic, especially when I got past Prestbury and onto some of the country roads. I didn’t listen to music because I was watching for […]

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