Shelley started as she heard the fireworks go off. It was midnight. The moment she had dreaded. It seemed as if all her grief, her fears, her loneliness and emptiness had concentrated into that one moment. She remembered New Years past. She had never envisaged being like this. When you are young you think you will never be old. But now she was. And now her family, such as it was, ignored her. Not even a “Happy Christmas” never mind a “Happy New Year.”

Shelley had become infirm and dependent. Each day was a struggle, and some days she felt she could not carry on at all. She had tried. Oh how she had tried. All her life she had been an overcomer. Despite everything that had happened to her, and despite having experienced much cruelty from those who should have cared for her, she had made good, throwing off all the negativity she had been brought up with. Her quest in life had been to love those whom no one else loved. Those who were alone and who were destined to die alone. She sat with many who were dying.

Now, she was alone. Alone and helpless. Reliant upon others for every little thing. And no one cared.

She had thought many times about this moment. Could she really do it? She had tried to reach out to others, but no one really wanted to know. Even now, she was still lively in her head – even now, the life and soul of the party, had there been a party! But there wasn’t one. It was time.

Shelley took the carving knife, and stuck it into her chest. It was midnight.


Liza’s head was full of all sorts that night. Her life had been fairly uneventful until recently. She was just an ordinary mature student doing a Ph.D. Her academic life fulfilled her, but suddenly she had been thrown into a different world. Not that it wasn’t interesting, but it was certainly different. One thing that she had learned was that nuns wore make up now! And that reminded her – she had wanted to go to Mass at the Chaplaincy. The next day she decided to do just that. Her head was full of thoughts about Father Peter’s toupee falling off, to the consternation of the make up wearing nuns, but she tried to put the picture out of her mind. Arriving in Radchester a little late, she had to run from her car to the Chaplaincy, her rucksack on one shoulder, overflowing with books as usual. As she ran towards the entrance, she came upon Father Ray walking in front of her. Her footsteps were heavy on the pavement as she ran, and, hearing her, Father Ray turned round to see who it was.

“Steady on,” he said to her. “You’ll come a cropper like that.”

Liza felt embarrassed, and slowed down a bit. She needn’t have worried. Mass was late beginning, and she had got herself sat down next to some ladies. It seemed a friendly place, and she turned to the lady next to her, introducing herself as Liza.

“Oh, I’m Sister Bernice,” said the lady.

“Oh, hello,” replied Liza. Then, taking the bull by the horns, she said,

“ You don’t wear habits any more now then.”

“Oh NO,” replied Sister Bernice. “We’ve godernised now.”
She then turned to the three ladies sitting next to her, and said,

“This is Liza. I was just explaining to her that we’re modern now!”

“Oh YES,” said the three voices all as one, straightening their rather nice skirts as if to show off their clothes.” Liza was suitably impressed. At that point a bell rang and Father Peter entered. The Mass began. It was rather different to the Mass at the big church next door. Much more low key. Liza enjoyed it and the friendliness there.

As she was leaving she spied Hugh walking along the pavement.

“Hi,” she shouted out, waving at Hugh.

“Oh, hi,” he replied. “I’m at a bit of a loose end. My lecture wnas cancelled.”

“Oh, well I need a coffee,” said Liza. “Want to come with me to McDonalds?”

“Why not,” replied Hugh.

They made their way along the road to McDonalds, talking animatedly about all the recent goings on, especially the ones at the University.

“Have you heard?” asked Hugh.

“Heard what?” replied Liza.

“Well that Patricia Hall has had a right ding dong with Father Chris. Something to do with the Church Fathers and misogyny. But you know father Chris, he’s right into the Church Fathers. He gave her quite a talking to when he discovered that she had been brought up Catholic. Told her shewas a disgrace.”

“Oh dear,” said Liza. “That will have put the cat amongst the pigeons. No one in the academic world knew that.”

“And that’s not all,” said Hugh. “That Graham Todd reckons he should be in Patricia Hall’s place. He’s been after being a professor for years now.”

“I can see there being some unrest at the University then” said Liza.

“Yes, and rumour has it that your Supervisor is off down to Cambridge. He’s managed to get some plum job down there.”

“Oh my God,” said Liza. “What’s going to happen to me then?”

“I have no idea,” replied Hugh. “But that place is in a mess at the moment.”

Liza became horror struck. She had put her whole heart and soul into this Ph.D. Why hadn’t she been told anything? She resolved to make an immediate appointment to see her Supervisor.

“Don’t worry too much,” said Hugh, trying to comfort her. “I’ve had three diddrent Supervisors and I’m still here. Sadly, they don’t consider us lot when they decide to up and leave.”

“No, and it’s our money that’s keeping them,” said Liza. “I don’t suppose they ever think of that.”

“Come on,” said Hugh. “Let’s drown our sorrows in a coffee and have a good gossip.”

They walked purposefully along the road to McDonalds. As they passed the Church of the Holy Name of Jesus, they found Father Ray sitting on a bollard on the pavement in front of the church with his dog, Toby.

“You got to Mass in one piece then,” he said teasingly to Liza.

“Oh yes,” replied Liza. “And I met the nuns too.”

“Oh, them,”said Father Ray.” “Nuns are not what they used to be. But then nothing is nowadays anyway. I wonder when I’ll get my candlesticks back!”

Liza looked at him, and said,

“There’s something very sad bout that girl. Have you ever looked into her eyes?”

“Oh yes,” replied Father Ray. “And that’s exactly why I don’t report her to the police. “I’m hoping she’ll talk to me one day, so I can find out what’s really wrong.”

“She sobbed her way through the whole of Mass on Sunday,” said Liza.

I know,” replied Father Ray. “Maybe one day I’ll find out what’s going on. I think this stealing is a cry for help.”

“We’ll get on then,” said Liza. “We’re just going for a coffee.”

Hugh and Liza sat at a table in the window again. Once again they saw Father Chris jogging along.

“I bet he has to do that to work off his angst after all that stuff going on with Patricia Hall at the University,” said Liza.

“I wouldn’t be surprised,” said Hugh.

“I wonder what IS wrong with that girl who steals the candlesticks,” said Liza. “I really felt sorry for her on Sunday.”

“I think Father Ray does too, despite being attached to his candlesticks. He’s not a bad old stick, even though he does act strict and stern. “Maybe when she brings the candlesticks back again, he’ll get to talk to her properly.”

“Oh, I HAVE got something interesting to tell you,” Liza said suddenly. “An old murder is being investigated where I live. They imprisoned the wrong man years ago, and now they are looking for the real murderer. It was a young woman who was murdered, and she left a young daughter. She was living in a Home for women who were escaping domestic violence. The child got put into care, and the rumour was that when she grew up she came to Radchester. It’s all very sad,” said Liza.

“Oh dear,” said Hugh. “I wonder if they’ll find the real murderer.”

I hope so,” said Liza. “I don’t like to think that there is a murderer on the loose.”

“Come on,” said Hugh. “How about we go and pay a visit to the Art Gallery over the road.take our minds off all these goings on for a bit.”

“Good idea,” agreed Liza.


Well, 2021 is finally coming to an end. What a mixed year it has been.

For us, there have been big changes. Just this past week,My blindness has got so much worse that I am unable to read things on my iPad any more, and though I have Voice Over I am struggling desperately to learn how to use it. I know how to turn it on and set it working, but it just reads bits to me like the banners. It will not read someon’s whole post to me, which drives me mad!

There has so far been no one to teach me Voice Over, and the vids on You Tube about it, made by sighted people, and there are often little things that they don’t realise are confusing, not being blind themselves. The vids often do not help me. Fortunatly I have found a Company who, in the New Year, will teach me via Zoom. The man who is going to teach me is blind himself. However, the classes are in two hour sessions and, because of my pain, I cannot sit for that long. But I am going to try.

Writing is a bit easier, though if I type I make many mistames. Using dictation is hilarious, as it comes out with all sorts of funny things, which of course I don’t notice as I can’t see lol.

I dread the day coming when I can no longer write. That would be the end of me!
Lregarding this damned virus, we are terrified as, if I caught it I would almost certainly die. Our NHS Service has been going through the records of vulnerable people who were told to shield originally, and I received a letter the other day from the NHS in London telling me that because of my condition, I will, after January 10th. be eligible for the new aniti viral drugs, should I catch the virus. It is a nerve wracking procedure though. The drugs have to be administered quickly.

We do not go near people at all now and we do not have anybody at all into our home. We dismissed our cleaners after we duscovered that they did not care if they came into our house with symptoms. So we are now dirty!

It is horrible, as a blind person, living like this, seeing no one, and we have no friends or family to phone. I often say that if this virus doesn’t kill you one way it will kill you another!

So is there hope for 2022? I hope so! I have to believe that there is. We all do. We’re all sick of it in our various ways.

Personally I cope by coming on here – into WP. I just hope and pray that as my sight has now deserted me so badly, I will be able to find a way through.

Please forgive any mistakes in my typing.

I hope that the New Year brings much better things for all of you. And thankyou for continuing to read me ❤️


Liza could hardly wait to see Jack . Driving rather too fast, all kinds of things were going through her head.

“Jack,” she blurted out loudly as she almost ran to the table where he was sitting.

“What on earth is all this about.”

“Well, I’m not sure myself,” replied Jack. “Apparently some man went to prison for a long time for a murder he didn’t commit.”

“Oh my God,” exclaimed Liza. “How awful.”

“Yes,” said Jack, “and a journalist from the Gazette is making a big shout about it. He seems to want to find out who the real murderer is.”

“Do you know much of the story?” asked Liza.

“Well, a bit,” said Jack. “It was a young woman who was murdered. Her body was found in the woods just above Grimswell. She’d been bludgeoned to death. It turned out she was a woman from The Oaks, a place where women went who were escaping from domestic violence. She’d taken a young daughter with her. She had to be put In Care in a children’s home.”

“So who was done for the murder then?” asked Liza.

“Oh it was a local man,” said Jack. “But no one in the town believed he’d done it. Word was that the whole town knew who really did it, but no one was going to say anything because they all had secrets that they didn’t want exposed.”

“Oh my goodness,” said Liza. “Who would have thought that such a thing could happen in as small a place as this!”

“I don’t suppose this is going to die down any time soon,” said Jack. “The police are looking into the case again.”

“I bet there are a few scared people round here then,” said Liza. “All afraid that their secrets might come out.”

“You could say,” said Jack.

“I wonder what happened to the child?” Liza said.

“I don’t know,” said Jack. “Not for sure anyway, though some said she ended up in Radchester. Seems likely really. Big city. More possibilities.”

“It must have been hard for her,” remarked Liza. “Poor girl, having to go through all that.”

“Yes, and if she hears about all of this now, what on earth must she be feeling?” Jack’s softer side began coming out as he thought about the girl. This was no time for joking.

“Let’s change the subject,” said Liza, shuddering a bit.

“O.K,” said Jack. “What have you been up to?”

“Well do you remember me telling you about my friend Lisbet?”

“How could I forget?” replied Jack, with a smile on his face. “You two got up to some right escapades.”

“We won’t be getting up to any more,” said Liza. “She’s going back to Sweden.”

“Damn,” ejaculated Jack. “I thought I might get to meet her one day. She sounded quite interesting – for a vicar!”

“Oh she was that alright,” said Liza. “She was always a bit restless though. Nothing ever seemed quite right for her. She was always quarrelling with the hierarchy. Women in Sweden are treated rather differently to how they are here.”

“Well at least she’ll be going back to what she’s used to then,” observed Jack.

“I don’t know where she’ll end up,” said Liza. “She had a lot of ambition. She wanted to do a Ph.D. at an English University. She thought she’d be listened to more with that behind her.”

“Don’t they do Ph.D.’s in Sweden?” asked Jack.

“Well they do, but they’re not as well thought of as ones from England. She wanted to be in high places, and that’s why she came here.”

“Sounds like she was causing a bit off a stir though,” remarked Jack.

“Yes, in more ways than one,” said Liza. “She did manage to catch one man, and she had him at the vicarage. Problem was, the cleaner arrived early the next morning and she had to secrete him somewhere.”

“Oh my God,” said Jack.

“Yes, but God didn’t help her much. She got a terrible reputation. When my grandmother died, the family was looking for a vicar to do the funeral and my aunt, who lived almost opposite to Lisbet said we could get anybody as long as we didn’t get her over the road!”

“So she made an impression then!” said Jack.

“Oh yes,” said Liza. “Not one that did her much good though.”

“I can believe that,” said Jack.

“Yes, she was a bit worried about getting pregnant though, and she wanted to go to the Family Planning Clinic but, as she said, how could she go to a Family Planning Clinic as a single Rev. Magnusson!”

“Hmmm. Might have caused a some eyebrows to be raised,” said Jack.

“I got a bit fed up with her at times though,” said Liza.” When we went to the Church of the Holy Name in Radchester there was a real nice young priest there. Quite handsome he was too. And Lisbet said what a waste it was, him being a priest and celibate.”

“Sounds like she fancied him a bit then!” replied Jack.

“You could say,” said Liza. “It made me feel a bit sick really though. I told her to shut up. I was always having to tell her to shut up!”

“Well she’ll be well and truly shut up now,” said Jack. “You won’t be listening to it any more.”

“No,” said Liza, with a sad sounding sigh.

“Hey, I’ve just thought,” said Jack. “If things had gone much further it could have been a case of ‘Baby at the Vicarage’ instead of ‘Body at the Vicarage.’”

“Oh my,” said Liza, “You’re right. What a thought!”


“I’m hungry,” announced Lisbet as they left the church. “Is there anywhere decent to eat round here?”

“There’s the King’s Head up the road,” replied Liza. “You never know who you’re going to see in there though.”

“I’ll take a chance,” said Lisbet. “Anyway I’ve got something to tell you.”

Liza’s mind started working overtime. “You haven’t found a man?” said Liza.

“No, no such luck,” replied Lisbet. “But wait until we get there and I’ll tell you.”

It didn’t take them long to walk to the King’s Head, but by the time they got there it was already fairly full. “Oh look, there’s Adam,” said Liza.

“Who’s Adam?” asked Lisbet.

“Oh he’s a bit of a snob. Thinks he’s it because he became Catholic from being Methodist. His whole family is Methodist but he reckons he’s found THE Truth now.”

“Oh my God – one of THEM,” said Lisbet.

“Yes,” said Liza, “and he reckons he’s going to be a priest. Says he’s in formation.”

“Looks like he’s in formation regarding the female sex,” remarked Lisbet. “Look at that girl he’s got with him.”

“Oh, that’s Francesca,” said Liza. “Everybody likes her.”

Francesca really was rather beautiful with her olive skin and long black wavy hair.

“He’s under her spell,” said Lisbet. “I’ve a feeling he won’t make it into the priesthood.”

“Hmmm. Maybe,” agreed Liza.

“Look at all those bums on those stools round the bar,” Lisbet suddenly saud, “And I don’t fancy one of them!”

“Shut up!” replied Liza. “Can’t you think of anything else? Anyway, what did you have to tell me?”

“Oh, yes, I’m going back to Sweden. They’ve called me back. I’ll be gone within rhe next two weeks.”

“Oh NO,” exclaimed Liza. “Who on earth am I going to go to the swimming baths and see naked men with now? And who on earth am I going to blast off to about that stupid eco theology that’s all the rage now?”

“You mean you don’t agree wirh it?” said Lisbet.

“Well some of it is so far fetched,’ replied Liza.

“Oh I’m sure you’ll find someone to blast off at,” said Lisbet. “What about that man with the exploding bowels?”

“Oh, Hugh,” said Liza. “I haven’t seen him for a while. I wonder what’s happened to him?”

Oh I expect he’s floating around somewhere,” said Lisbet.

“Maybe,” replied Liza.

“I’m going to miss you though,” she said.

“Well there’s always emails and phone calls,” said Lisbet.

“I suppose,” said Liza.

On their way back to the cottage from the King’s Head, they started to reminisce. By the time they got back to the cottage Liza was feeling decidedly sad.

“Well maybe you can come back for a holiday some time.”

“Yes, maybe,” replied Lisbet. They hugged, and said “Goodbye” quickly, not wanting to draw out the sadness any more.

That night, Liza rang Jack.

“Fancy a drink at the Wheatsheaf?” she asked.

“Why not,” replied Jack. “I’m at a bit of a loose end, and anyway I’ve got something to tell YOU now.”

“Ooooh, I’m all ears. What is it Jack.”

“Well I’ve been talking to a journalist bloke from the Gazette, and there was a murder here quitexa lot of years ago, and for some reason the whole town’s talking about it again.”

“Oh my goodness,” said Liza. “I can’t wait to hear more. See you soon.”

“O.K.” said Jack.


The next evening the phone rang as Liza was relaxing in the cottage that she and her husband were renting.

“Hi, it’s Lisbet,” said the voice at the other end. “I have to come over your way for something. Can I come and stay a night with you?”

Liza was delighted. “Of course you can,” she said. “But I want you to come somewhere with me while you’re here.”

“Where?” inquired Lisbet.

“The Church of the Holy Name of Jesus in Radchester,” replied Liza.

“Oh, you mean near the University?” asked Lisbet.

“Yes,” said Liza.

“O.K. said Lisbet,” but I must be setting off home again by mid afternoon as I have a Service at night.”

Liza had known Lisbet for a long time. She had come over from Sweden to take up a position as priest in an Anglican church. She and Liza had met through their academic work, and had become firm friends. Lisbet was what you might call “different.” She never got on with the male priests, or at least, she said they didn’t like her because they didn’t like female priests. But otherwise, she liked men very much indeed, and on the quiet was looking out for one to have a relationship with. She and Liza often met up together, and talked theology – and men. Or rather, Lisbet talked men! On one occasion they went swimming together at the local baths, and as they were making their way to a cublicle at the end of their time, a naked man was standing with his cubicle door open. Lisbet exclaimed,

“I wouldn’t mind, but I didn’t even fancy him!” Liza burst out giggling.

Lisbet arrived at the appointed time, and Liza tried to make her comfortable, but Lisbet was a very demanding character, and Liza decided that the best policy might be to take her out to the pub, where she could tell her all about the church and the goings on there.

“And of course there’s the University dons too. Some of them go to the church and some don’t, from what my friend Hugh tells me.

“Who is Hugh?” inquired Lisbet.

“Oh, he’s researching the history of Roman Catholicism in Radchester,’ she said. “He’s an Anglican priest turned Catholic who wants to be a Roman Catholic priest but there’s a problem – he has exploding bowels.”

“What on earth do you mean?” asked Lisbet.

“Oh, he has Crohn’s disease, but he says when he can get it under control he’ll be able to be a Roman Catholic priest. He knows everything about all the University lecturers and professors though, and he says that the way they go on, one of them will end up dead. They really have all got their knives into each other.”

“Sounds about right,” commented Lisbet. “Human nature never surprises me.”

On the Sunday morning Liza and Lisbet made their way the fifteen miles to the church. Liza was quite taken with a young girl sitting at the opposite side of the aisle to them. She spent most of the Mass in tears. Liza felt sorry for her, and when it came to Communion, Liza mouthed to her across the aisle, and

“Do you want me to walk up with you to Communion?”

The girl nodded, and Liza duly escorted her to the front.

At the end of the Mass Father Ray collared the girl saying,

“Have you got some candlesticks for me?”

The girl began to run, and Liza stood there open mouthed. Lisbet pulled at her coat sleeve and said,

“Come on. Don’t take it to heart. You learn that there are all sorts when you are a priest, and you have to accept them all.”

Father Ray looked at Liza’s downcast face as she and Lisbet were leaving, and he squeezed Liza’s shoulder saying,

“Don’t take on so. It’s okay. And I will get my candlesticks back one day. She usually brings them back.”


And as the New Year now begins I sing
A brand new song born in pain from the old
Gone now is the soul destroying sharp sting
For I have found a way to break the mould
Resentment never found its home in me
Nor bitterness a bed wherein to sleep
Though eyes are blind I still can clearly see
Love is the only way to walk the deep
A path into the unknown future calls
And I will take my chance though hills are high
Only the one who fears and falters falls
Though questions may abound all asking why
I look not back but press right on this night
And know my darkness soon will turn to light


Outside the church two robins danced
Singing their song to the world
Rude in their audacity
Flitting in bright array,
In the distance sang many birds,
They found their haven there

Many times she had been there
Inside the church had danced
Listened to the sound of the birds
Freed herself from the world
Dressed lightly in bright array
Defiant in her audacity

The church stood there in audacity
Many years it had been there
Different seasons, different array
Whilst outside nature danced
A sign it gave out to the world
Like the singing of the birds

She always took her strength from the birds
Became strong in her audacity
Taking on the wiles of the world
Whatever came to her there
All of her life she had swayed and danced
Joined with nature in bright array

She celebrated in bright array
Taking her cue from the birds
Remembering how she’d always danced
Wildly, with audacity,
Making it known that she was there,
A force within the world

She knew her place within the world
Saw life in bright array
Knowing exactly why she was there
Flying like the birds
Drawn to their audacity
Even in sorrow danced

Even from being young she’d danced in joyful bright array,
Never defeated by the world becoming one with the birds,
Rude in her audacity whether here or there

If you don’t like Christmas

If anyone else is finding Christmas Day hard, for ANY reason, please feel free to come to this thread. You can voice what you want /need to here.

I find Christmas Day very hard because, as many of you know,I had a highly abusive mother, and my memories of Christmas Day are terrible. The minute the lights in town start to go up I start to ffeel fear. Of course, that continues until Christmas Day itself. Then there are bereavements. My lovely grandmother.

So PLEASE feel free to come here if this is not a good day for you.
Lorraine xx


A very Merry Christmas to everyone here who celebrates it. And to those who don’t, a very Happy Day.

We are not really Christmas people, and nothing will change for us today. I shall be writing the same as usual, and I decided the other day to take the plunge and attempt to write a novel – well, a Murder Mystery, but not a short story like I normally write. Not sure I can do it, but I at least want to try. I will still be posting stuff here though, and my shorter Murder Mysteries will still figure here from time to time.

Have a lovely day everyone and stay safe if you can. Xx

Well, have avgood day everyone, and stay safe if you can.


“So what’s new?” asked Jack as they sat in the Wheatshief that night.

“Well, there’s a candlestick thief on the loose in Radchester, and the candlesticks got stolen from the church and Father Ray is attached to them.”

“Oh dear,” said Jack. Do the police know?”

“I’m not sure,” replied Liza. “I only know that Father Ray is cross, and that he is also rather partial to posh frocks.” Jack raised his eyebrows.

“What do you mean?” he said.

“Oh, he loves “Big Sundays” when there’s a long procession and lots of incense and a packed church and he can wear his fancy vestments.”

“Oh right,” said Jack. “So he makes no secret of it then!”

“Nope,” replied Liza. “Not like Father Peter from the Chaplaincy next door who wears a toupee but tries to keep it a secret.”

“Obviously the cat is out of the bag though,” said Jack.

“Yes,” said Liza, “but woe betide anyone who mentions it to him. Apparently he goes into a sulk for months. And then he has to go to Confession for being in a sulk.”

“Well I always knew you were into everything, but this sounds beyond the pale.”

“It’s interesting, said Liza. “They say there’s nowt so queer as folk, and that’s certainly true. But there’s something about this place. A sort of camaraderie, but when Mass gets going it kind of makes the hairs on the back of your neck stand up. I think I could get to quite like it. I might try going to Mass at the Chaplaincy one day. There’s nuns there, only they don’t look like nuns. They wear nice clothes and make up.”

“WHAT?” blurted out Jack. Nuns with make up on. You’re really having me on now.”

“No I’m not,” said Liza. “There was a bunch of them talking outside the church when me and Hugh left Mass last night, and Hugh told me they were nuns.”

“Well can you REALLY believe anyone who claims to have exploding bowels,” said Jack, with a laugh.

“Oh, I’ve found out about that too,” said Liza. “He’s got Crohns Disease poor man. It’s a real disability.”

“Oh,” said Jack. “He certainly seems to know everything that goes on around there.”

“He knows quite a lot about what goes on at the University too. Father Chris does a bit of lecturing over there, but he doesn’t get on very well with that Patricia Hall. Mind you, I don’t think many people get on very well with her. One day there’s going to be a big bust up.”

“I’d love to be there to see it” said Jack. “All those University dons in full fling!”

“Well I wouldn’t want to get on the wrong side of that Patricia Hall. They say she hates men too.”

“Oh my goodness,” said Jack. Is that all?” He wouldn’t have been surprised at anything now.

“Well Father Chris is addicted to jogging because of his expanding waist.

“So his posh frock won’t fit him soon then,” remarked Jack. “Or does one size fit all?”

“Don’t ask me,” replied Liza. “I’m only just getting to know all this stuff.”

“My goodness,” said Jack. “I wonder what other secrets are hissing in the woodwork.”

“I don’t know,” said Liza, “but I still haven’t found out what the cloud was that Hugh left the Church of England under.”


The next day Liza returned to Radchester, weighed down by a rucksack that was bursting open with books almost falling out all over the place. Libraries had always attracted her, and University libraries had become like a second home to her. She would have lived there if it had been possible. The thoughts of all those interesting books excited her, though she knew she only had time to read those that were to do with her particular subject: violence!

Now, however, there was something competing with the University library – the church over the road! It fascinated her. Not only that, but Hugh fascinated her too, and she hoped she would bump into him again. After a shorter stint than usual in the library, where she found a superb book on violence and the Law, she made her way over to the church. When she got there, she found that one of the side aisles had a huge board on wheels with a picture of the Prodigal Son on it. People trickled in and out of one of the rooms near to the picture. She wondered what was going on, and then she remembered what Hugh had told her about Confession. Each person who went into the little room went and knelt in a pew when they came out. One young man knelt in a pew with a beatific smile on his face, raising his arms in rhe air in ecstasy. Such was his joy that Liza couldn’t help wondering what terrible sin he had been relieved of. If Liza was fascinated by the church she was even more fascinated by this, and she wondered what sins she would go and confess. It felt like quite a good idea. Go and tell someone all the things you had done wrong, and then forget them for ever.

Suddenly she felt a hand digging into her shoulder. She turned round and it was Hugh.

“I was going to go to Confession,” he said. “But do you fancy going to McDonalds instead?” Liza began to think of the effect of a NcDonalds on Hugh’s exploding bowels, but he didn’t seem particularly concerned.

“O.K.,” she said.

Once in McDonalds, they sat at a table in the window where they could watch all the passers by. Liza had a milk shake and Hugh contented himself with a coffee.

“What’s your subject?” Hugh asked.

“Violence,” Liza replied.

Hugh burst out laughing.

“So you’re an expert on violence then!” Liza did see the funny side of it, and burst out laughing too.

“You should be here on a Saturday night. There’s plenty of it going on then. Poor Father Ray has all sorts to deal with. One night a young girl came in and stole the candlesticks off the latar. God only knows how she did it! It’s in full view, but she must have sneaked up when there was no one around. Father Ray was a bit cross, to say the least. He was rather atrached to his candlesticks!”

Liza almost burst out laughing again as she pictured the rather tubby Father Ray, attached to his candlesticks.

“Ooh, look, there’s Father Chris,” Hugh suddenly said.

“Where?” Unquired Liza. “Who is he?”

“Oh, he works with Father Ray. Him and Father Ray and Father Peter from the University Chaplaincy all live in the Presbytery together.”

Liza looked and there was a youngish man running past in jogging bottoms and trainers.

“He can’t live without his jogging,” said Hugh. Father Ray can’t live without his posh frocks, and Father Peter can’t live without his toupe. But mind, never say anything to him about it if ever you meet him. He’s a bit sensitive about his toupe and pretends he doesn’t wear one.”

Liza’s mind began to boggle a bit. In the past two days she had been introduced to exploding bowels, posh frocks, toupes, an addiction to jogging, and a candlestick thief.

“Well, I missed Confession,” announced Hugh, “but Mass is due to start shortly. Want to come? I’ll go to Co fession tomorrow and get rid of a job lot.”

“O.K.,” said Liza. She was beginning to really like the church and the thoughts of all the goings on there caught her Imagination.

Fandango’s Story Starter

I knew he had already arrived at the rendezvous point because I could smell that familiar scent. It was one of the first things I had noticed about him when I met him. The night was calm and bright. A crisp winter’s night. No one would know we were here. He had been angling for this for a long time, but I had resisted. Now was the moment though. The place was familiar to me, but it looked different in the dark, though the moon was bright and the shadows just added to the sense of intrigue.

I approached him eagerly. His long black coat caressed the ground. He didn’t move, but just waited. I had thought about this moment for a long time. Oh how I had wanted to enter his world. A world of privilege, of expensive clothes and cars. He knew it, and I was easy prey.

I woke up in the hospital bed. I could remember little of what had happened. At some point he must have pushed me, and at some point I must have been found. I heard the beeping of the machines in the ward – and I knew I was lucky to be alive.


I see the horses passing by
Just as they did in times of old
Within, my spirit starts to sigh
Turning soon into a cry
The question rises “Why oh why?”
Let me be taken into the fold
I see the horses passing by
Just as they did in times of old


Liza and Jack sat in their usual place in the Wheatsbeaf that night. Jack was well known in the small town community. Always ready to do a good turn for anybody, he was well respected. He’d met Liza at a Conference and was immediately attracted to her. She was bright and outgoing and very interesting to talk to. She had had what you might call a tumultuous life, but somehow or other had always managed to land sunny side up. Behind everything though, there lay a very sad story. Jack felt she was worthy of a better life than she had had and he wanted to help her. The problem was, she didn’t seem to want helping. Not in the way he wanted to anyway.

“I’ve got something to show you,” she said to him. She held the booklet out to him and he started to read it.

“But this is Catholic stuff,” he said.

“So,” replied Liza. I happen to agree with it. “You don’t make promises to God and then break them.”

“So God expects you to promise to be bashed around,” said Jack. “Sounds like a strange kind of God to me.”

Liza felt a bit stumped at this. Part of her felt that this was true. That was her dilemma.

“I don’t want to talk about it any more,” she said. “Let’s have something to eat and I’ll tell you about my day and the man with the exploding bowels.”

“The WHAT?” exploded Jack.

“Well he certainly was very interesting,” said Liza. “Used to be a priest, but left the Church under a cloud.”

“Well I would imagine he would have to if he had exploding bowels,” said Jack. “Imagine doing a baptism and being in competition with the baby!”

“I wonder what the cloud was though,” said Liza. “He seems quite nice to me. Says he’s going to tell me all about his research.”

“What into exploding bowels?” quipped Jack, laughing.

“No, into Roman Catholic history in Radchester,” replied Liza.

“Well I guess that’d be right up your street,” said Jack. “I remember you at that Conference. Into everything. I remember you banging your fist on the table one day and saying,

“I hate bloody Freud,” followed by something I’d better not mention but it certainly cut us men down to size!”

“Hmm,” replied Liza. “I’ve got to meet that Patricia Hall soon. A right bovver boots feminist she is. She and my Supervisor hate each other’s guts, but she’s the Professor and he isn’t!”

“I can just see it,” said Jack. “You academics really are a bunch. Always vying for top position.”

“You’re right there,” said Liza. “It’s certainly a cut throat world. I wouldn’t be surprised if one of them ended up dead some time, the way they go on.” And with that Jack picked up his knife and waved it around in the air.

“STOP it,” snapped Liza. “‘You’ll get us chucked out.”

“Well it wouldn’t be for the first time,” laughed Jack.


You wanted me to call you friend
In garden warm that summer’s day
The willow wept as you did pray
To me you did your hand extend
You said my broken heart you’d mend

You gained my trust while tears did fall
My head I rested on your breast
I gave my all at your behest
But then I heard the cock’s shrill call
The weeping willow heard it all


“Mind that LILY. Don’t touch it,” she barked out.

“And don’t go near that deadly nightshade down the lane,” she continued.

Rosie wondered just where she could go and what she could touch. Lilies, it seemed, stained your clothes and deadly nightshade was LETHAL. It killed you if you ate it. Everything seemed full of danger of one kind or another. Grandma would probably have had her sitting in a chair allvday doing nothing.

Rosie grew into a very anxious child. Then the day came when she had to have her photograph taken at school. Inside, she groaned. She jnew she would have to out in a PRETENCE of being happy.


Liza found herself deep in thought as she drove herself the fifteen miles back to her home in a small town surrounded by rolling hills. She loved the countryside, but was also attracted by the city and all its goings on. Most of all she loved to be in the University library especially the rather impressive Law library. As she drove, she thought about her experience in the church, and she felt something drawing her back there. As she neared home, she knew she was going to go back the next day. She might even find out who Father Ray was. In the event, she found out who Hugh was!

She met Hugh just as she was entering the church. He was a largish man with a ginger beard and curly ginger hair. Dressed casually and carrying a rucksack on his back, everything about him seemed to say he was a mature student at the University. Intrigued, Liza said “Hello” in a friendly tone. Hugh replied in just as friendly a tone, and he seemed keen to talk. In fact he was almost over friendly. Liza didn’t mind however. She was a very outgoing person and was always ready to talk to others. She found herself listening to Hugh’s story. He had been a Church of England priest, but had left the priesthood under a cloud. He had then turned Roman Catholic and wanted to become a priest in the Roman Catholic Church. There was just one snag however. He had exploding bowels! During the course of the conversation she got to know rather a lot about Hugh’s bowels. They seemed to take precedence over why he left the Church of England under a cloud. He vowed, however, that once his bowels stopped exploding he would go forwards for the Roman Catholic priesthood. He was very proud of having done research at the university into the history of the Roman Catholic Church in that area.

Despite the subject matter of the conversation, Liza rather liked Hugh. He was different. He invited her to stay for Mass with him.

“Mind you, you’ll have to sit on the front row,” he said. Liza didn’t mind that. She wanted to see what went on and, for that, you needed to be at the front of the church.

“Oh look, there’s Father Ray,” said Hugh, as a rather tubby, stern looking man in a cassock appeared. So THAT Was Father Ray! Liza thought he looked a bit strict as he walked to the back of the church with a sort of fast shuffle. Soon, he was back, and soon, the Mass began. Father Ray had disappeared for a few moments and reappeared in some ornate vestments. It all seemed a bit strange to Liza, but she found herself fascinated.

“That was interesting. I might come again,” Liza said to Hugh. “You can tell me about the history that you have researched.”

“Ok.,” said Hugh. “I come most days to Mass, as long as my bowels are not exploding. I got stuck in the University toilets the other day, and I had to explain to Father Ray why I hadn’t made it to Mass. They’re a bit strict here you know. Confession is their strong point. You always have to be in it.”

Liza thought about Jack and her exploding marriage and wondered where it was all going to end!

#FOWC Tempting

It was all too TEMPTING. Roy looked at the various things in the shop window. He’d never been in this particular shop before, though he’d often looked fleetingly at it as he walked past it. This morning, however, he could not walk past it. He longed to go in and savour the delights inside it. He hadn’t got much in his life now that his mother had died. He felt empty inside, and had often thought that he needed something to spice his life up a bit.

Suddenly the simmering temptation overcame him. He entered the shop, bristling with desire.

“I want that one,” he said to the assistant. “That one in the window,” pointing to the train set with the bright red engine.


“Know where Father Ray is?”

The voice came from one of the pews.

Liza knew nothing about this place. She had simply come in in response to the bells ringing as she had climbed the steps up into the University to see her Supervisor. There was a strange ring to them – she had felt as if they were calling her, and she had to answer them. She looked briefly around to see if she could fathom out where they were coming from, but could see nothing obvious. She was aware of the time, and that she had to be in her Supervisor’s office within three minutes, but she knew that when she had finished her meeting with him she had to find out where those bells were from, and follow their calling.

An hour later she exited the University and walked briskly to the main road to see what she could find. She guessed that the bells must have come from some church or religious building of some kind or other, but this was a city full of such places, and there were many around the University. She stood on the pavement and there was one huge building straight opposite, that looked as if it might be a church. All that she could do was go and find out.

Liza crossed the busy main road, then walked up to the building. It did not look like a church, but there was a board outside simply saying, “The Holy Name of Jesus.” She had no idea what kind of a church it might be but she was curious. It was a massive building, and, once inside, she felt swallowed up. She tried to work out what kind of a church it was and, upon spying some statues at the front of the church she surmised that she must be in a Catholic Church.

Upon hearing the voice, she looked and saw a dishevelled figure half sitting, half lying on one of the pews.

“I’m sorry, I don’t,” she replied, wondering who Father Ray was.

She felt like a foreigner in this place, but it fascinated her. This, indeed, must have been where the sound of the bells had come from.

The dishevelled man got up from the pew and, giving her a kind of nod, walked to the back of the church and out of the door. Liza also walked to the back of the church and started looking at the various booklets that were on a stand in the porch. She picked up one on marriage. It took her interest. Her own marriage was in difficulty, and so the booklet fascinated her. She took it back to a pew and sat down and read it. There it was – marriage was indissoluble! She put the booklet into her handbag, went and paid for it and left the church. She would show it to Jack the next day. Jack had been trying to get her to leave her marriage for a long time, but she had refused. He had even said that her marriage was totally against God and that he could provide her with a way out, and a safe place to go. She didn’t need money. He would pay for it. She clutched her handbag holding it tightly to her chest. Yes, she would show the booklet to Jack the next day.


In the passage where time waits
I stumble
Trying not to look back
Afraid to look forwards
A blockage has occurred
Thrashing around I try to kill time
And find
That it is an illusion
A construct
Made to control us
Trip us up
“I haven’t got time,” you say
No, you don’t have time
You have eternity


This has been written for Ingrid’s Sonnet Sunday at Experiments in Fiction, where we are invited to write a sonnet for the Festive Season, even if our sonnets may be sad. Here is mine:

We will survive this Christmas once again
Two years have gone since chaos took you home
Your children torn apart from God knows when
No fun’ral did you have nor earthly tomb
It was your parting gift to those you harmed
No place to say “Goodbye” to sore abuse
The world was yours and all the snakes you charmed
Your favourite party game deceptive ruse
My tears still falling turn to screams of pain
No Christmas joy is ours a knife goes in
Red berries just remind us of blood’s stain
And that against you we could never win
But yes we will survive though devils roar
And hear glad tidings now and ecermore


The world is in motion
Nothing still
As the Dance goes on
Forming patterns like the crystals of a snowflake
Painting pictures
Creating stories
Is there really a time for everything
Or is everything in its time?
And is there a difference?
Soon, time will be no more
The Dance will end
As eternity calls
The picture will be complete
But how will the story end?
As eternity calls
A new book will be opened
A book called “The Book of Life”
And in this book
A day will be like a thousand years
And a thousand years like a day
And here, there will be no endings
Or even beginnings
For time will be no more
In a life that is eternal

WOTD Bright

It was a BRIGHT and sunny night
The flea was in a terrible plight
He thought that he had lost his sight
For all around him was so light

Was it day or was it night
If he drank blood would it be white
He found a leg and held it tight
Then jumped up on it with all his might

He sucked the blood it was a fight
And then he got a terrible fright
It was not red it looked like shite
He jumped so high that he took flight

First he turned left and then turned right
He felt so dizzy at this height
Then he came down he wasn’t quite
Sure where he was till he met Dwight
And now he’s happy in Detroit


I wrote this a few years ago at this time of the year. I don’t remember if I also posted it recently, but anyway, am posting it now.

I dream
Tonight of light
As yet unseen to shine
Into the unknown tomorrow
The gate
To a new world shining with stars
To guide us on our way
Pierce my darkness

In dark
I see more light
Of a different kind
Only visible to my soul
I see
With eyes
Wide open to another realm
A shining place to be
Alone I sing
My songs


I CAN’T REMEMBER IF I POSTED THIS ALREADY OR NOT and can’t see to read back. But anyway here goes 😆

You gave shelter
When there was no one there
Who would make room for a woman
With child
There is still no room at the inn
For those untidy lives
That do not hit
The mark
Make room
For untidy
Ones who beg for mercy
For in truth they may be angels
Your path
Angels do not always have wings
But tangled hair, no shoes,
Judge not
Those whom you see
Who do not look the same
As you, who walk the streets begging
One day
You too
May find yourself in that dark place
May there be a stable
To shelter you
Give warmth
The world
Is untidy
Littered with lives gone wrong
Upside down people challenging
The right
Way up
Ones who really are upside down
A new world of mercy
Beckons us all
Greet it


You do what you have to do
Christmas Day is near
Smile, say “Happy Christmas to you.”

Put up the tree, join the crew
Pretend you have no fear
You do what you have to do

You never know how you will get through
Nothing is ever clear
Smile, say “Happy Christmas to you.”

Peace is gone, like the morning dew
The cost to you is dear
You do what you have to do

Consolations are so few
You hardly shed a tear
But smile, say “Happy Christmas to you.”

Your children gone, numbering two
Time, like them just flew
You do what you have to do
Smile, say “Happy Christmas to you.”


Last night I saw the sun
And knew that it was calling me
It saw me too
Had been waiting
Knowing that this moment would come
It was destined
Long before time began
Even before the world had been born
This place this time
Before all ages this time was waiting
And one day time shall be no more
All will have passed
Even the sun will have gone
But for this moment
The sun is
And it calls me
To the place that was waiting for me

Sammi Cox’s Weekend Writing Prompt – Smuggle

Joe and Jen had a bit of a problem – how to SMUGGLE Jen into Joe’s room at the University. It was an all male Halls of Residence and no girls were allowed.

Joe and Jen decided on being bold. Just walk straight in together. Best policy, they thought. Pretend nothing wrong was being done.

The night was wonderful. Until the morning when the cleaner walked in.


Your brightness calls,
Draws me on, enfolds me
In the living tree
Marked by time
What have
You seen?
If only you could speak, tell me
Of those who have trod here,
You guard all souls
Shield me

So long
I have been gone,
Since just a tiny babe,
And though I dwelt in farthest fields
Home is
Right here
Protect me now from all that ails
And bring me here to rest
Now, for all time
To come

May I
Now claim my home
Here in this hallowed place
For never did I forget you
You lived
Within a heart that held so much,
Both joy, and sorrow, now
I come back home
To rest


Still is the world
At the saying of Goodbye
We hold our breath
At the awesomeness
Of that which awaits us
That place where you have gone
A place of light
Too bright for our sullied eyes
And as we say Goodbye
We know our own poverty
Our smallness
In the face of infinity
And we pray
That we too
May approach that place of light
Unworthy though we are
Inspired by love and faith and light
We dare to say
“I too will follow”
And in that moment we are held
We take the Bread
Broken for us
To feed us in our brokenness
Held in the everlasting arms
That never will let us go


Sherri was one of Rev. Mike’s conquests. He had quite a few, all carefully chosen. One day he suggested to Sherri that they go to visit Vera.

“It would be good for you to meet her,” he said.

Half an hour later Mike was pushing on Vera’s front door, and as he did so he shouted out

“Hi, it’s Mike. I’ve brought someone to meet you.”

Vera mumbled something back, then said to Sherri as she followed Mike in,

“It’s no PALACE here.”

Mike smiled quietly to himself. That was just how he wanted it. The lowlier the better, so that no one would miss them.


It seems to me that there are two major groups in U.K. society. One is the elites who by dint of their occupation or wealth have significant powers vested in them. By virtue of these powers they are able to take decisions with regard to the lives of persons in the second group, which I am going to call the ants, or the lumpen mass. This second group of people is subject to the ‘nth degree to the control and decisions made by the elite about any and every aspect of their lives. Usually the decisions are dressed in altruistic terminology, and called “caring.” Phrases like “it’s for your good,” or “it will benefit you,” or “We will be able to provide 24 hour care for you.” I would argue bluntly, however, that this is a deceit.

The ants are an uncomfortable reality that the elites do not wish to face. They should be shut away from real society, and not have the ability to move around freely, with their “problems.” Those who raise their voices against this, thus putting their heads above the parapet find themselves in immediate danger of losing their “freedom.” They are uncomfortable for the elite to listen to, and the ants then become fearful for what might happen to them. They might be shut away “for their own good.” I would like to pose the question,

“Whose good is this?”

At the same time their money is taken away from them to pay for their “care.” They are then trapped for ever in the “care home” because their house is sold and they no longer have anywhere else to go. Thus they have lost all freedom.

I therefor want to pose the question “Do we live in a truly free society?”

YDW Reticent

Jemima was RETICENT to accept her fate. Though was it really her fate? Fate had dealt her some bad cards in her lifetime. But now her life was nearing its end. How much had she chosen the things that had happened to her?

Jemima started to think back. Had there ever been any real choice? She hadn’t chosen her parents. She certainly wouldn’t have chosen the ones she had if there had been a choice.

She hadn’t really chosen her career either. She’d been forced off to Teacher Training College, which turned out to be disastrous. After taking on a number of mundane jobs, she finally studied for a degree. Now when considering choices that was the best one she had made. She entered ecstatically into the cut and thrust world of acadaemia. It suited her.

Life was exciting for a while, and Jemima made it her plan to keep her body as fit as possible. Daily workouts at the gym, swimming thurty six lengths of the swimming pool each day, cycling, walking – you name it, she did it.

Who would have thought that fate would then play its wicked hand? An incurable disease. Now, she was blind. Not only that, but she was wheelchair bound. Gradually the life in her ebbed away. Her body became tired, though her mind was still as lively and active as ever.

Then, her choices were taken away. No longer was she able to look after herself. The prospect of a Home loomed. Her freedom taken away. Fate was cruel. Jemima fought. Oh how she fought. But she knew that in the end they would have their way. Her end was nigh.