If I wrote you a postcard
I would write
‘wish you were here’
perhaps in capital letters.

is a banal codification
used when people have nothing to say
but the situation demands a message.
This is known.

if I wrote you a postcard
and wrote
‘wish you were here’
perhaps in capital letters
you would see through the context
strip away the convention
and see the message as it was truly meant.
I wish you were here.

The island of Bivolio

My favourite holiday destination is the island of Bivolio. I spend my days in the shade near the sea, hard muscles soft, thoughts wandering away and slowly fading.

When I first went there, I asked people how they said ‘day dreaming’ in their language. They looked at me and laughed and gently corrected me – day dreaming? I was talking about dreaming and that happens in the day. Night dreams are different. Dreams, the ones that you rest into in the day, bring you possibilities for the future, night dreams solve the problems of the past.

“Dream on it,” they say, “and the answers will be there.”

“They have always been there,” some continue, ” but you have tried too hard, you have thought too hard. Dream on it.”

“Golden dreams” they wish me. The sweetest golden dreams.

We really enjoyed our stay with you

We really enjoyed our stay with you. The accommodation was spacious and clean, and the meals plentiful and tasty. The bones in the stew and what might have been a tooth in the jam were disturbing at first but we soon got used to them. My husband enjoyed himself so much I believe he has decided to stay on a while longer. Could I therefore book the same week for next year? Me plus one.

Published on http://www.paragraphplanet.com 26 August 2015

Going to the Island

Come on son, time to get up – we’re going on holiday. Grandad will be waiting for us.

Do you want some breakfast?

Don’t bother having a wash, you can go in the sea when we get there. Just wash your face and get dressed. We’ll have to hurry to catch the ferry. Your brother’s up and your dad’s out at the car.


Want to be sick.

I can’t stop here, there’s a queue of traffic behind us.
Come on, there’s a good boy, we’re nearly at the layby, we can have a cup of tea there and you can be sick.

Go on, quick, jump out quick.


Thank god for that.
I know. I’ll get the flask and the cups. Who wants something to eat?

He’s been sick again.
Again? Where is he?
He’s over there behind that hedge. His brother’s with him.
Why did you let him eat that hard-boiled egg?
He wanted something and that’s all he fancied.


Which will bring us back to Doe, a deer, a female deer –
Christchurch near Bournemouth.
There’s no need for that, it’s keeping them quiet.
Ray, a drop of golden sun –
Ow! He hit me.
Stop it both of you. Your father’s thinking about the road.


We’re going to miss the ferry.
We’re not going to miss the ferry. We might even get the one before the one we’re booked on.
Will they let us on that one?
I don’t know. We can ask when we get there.
I’ll have to phone Dad to tell him we’re going to be early. We need to find a phone box.
Let’s wait and see, shall we?

I just said let’s wait and see.
Don’t drive so fast, there’s no rush.


Need a wee.
Why didn’t you go before? Dad, dad, you’ll have to stop, he wants a wee.
Which one?
Which one do you think?
I can’t stop here, we’re in the middle of the town.
He can’t stop here darling, these are people’s gardens, you’ll have to wait.
Can’t wait.
He can’t wait.
Well, I’ll stop when I can.
You’ll have to stop soon, he really needs to go.

You’ll have to take him. Take him round the corner away from the car. Don’t let anyone see you.


When are we going to get there? Will Grandad be there?
We’re nearly there, well, nearly. Yes, he’ll be waiting for us. And tomorrow you can go fishing with him.


There’s the queue. There, over there, there’s the queue.
Yes, I can see it. Have you got the tickets and the stickers for the windscreen?
Yes, I put them on the table when you were making their breakfast.
In my bag?

Where on the table did you put them?
On the table….


How are you feeling now? Can you see the island? Let’s see who’ll be the first one to see Grandad.

Where’s your brother now? Stay here while I go and find him. And if you see your father tell him to stay here. We’re getting off soon.


Well, who are these two tall boys? Do I know you? Come here while I say hello. Hello love, hello son. You drive round and I’ll nip round on my bike. The back door’s open.
Hello dad.

First published on http://scottishbooktrust.com/writing/journeys/story/going-to-the-island 29 June 2015

Today we should have been flying

Today we should have been flying back from our holiday at the sea, hair dried, skin scorched, sun in our blood, sun singing in our dreams.

We should have been waving goodbye from the windows of the plane, promising ourselves we wouldn’t forget and that we would come again. The palm trees should have been greyed in the failing light, whipping in the dusted wind of sunfall.

Should have been. We should have been. We should have been looking forward through the sunset-tinted shades of our contentedness, our unexcited happiness, looking forward to our future, our future together, our future continuing.

I should have been looking, I should have been watching, I should have been paying attention. I should have been careful.

I’m sorry.

I’ll come back and visit you. I’ll talk to you. I’ll bring an old black umbrella and use it as a sunshade and sit or stand and look out at the sea every day. And then I’ll leave the umbrella, the now sun-faded and salt-stained was-black umbrella, I’ll leave it lying on the rocks and join you in the water.