Gussets and Me. Tights Stall Saturday Job.

Larry was a lavishly coiffured, shiny-suited chap who sold tights and stockings in our local market hall. He paid partly in cash, partly in boxes of chocolates. Nice chap but misguided enough to give me a Saturday job. hosiery, tights stall, market, disastrous job

He also employed Dora and Elsie, two older ladies who, despite their slavish devotion to the application of makeup, had never quite mastered the art although they were rather more successful in their attempts to emulate Larry’s extravagant perms.

My experience of tights -or pantyhouse as our American cousins call them – was limited. As with many dalliances that seem like a good idea at the time, but end in disaster, I had approached them with gusto and discarded them just as quickly.

You pulled a tiny, scratchy scrap of something brown, black or grey out of a packet, stuck a wiggling hand down one of the legs (the only entertaining part of the process) then you sat on the bed and stuck your legs in the legs. So to speak.

This seemingly simple act presented a myriad of possible outcomes, all of them uncomfortable. Continue reading


Performing at the Ilkley Fringe Festival

I’m delighted, delighted, chuffed to announce that I will be reading my short story from the Leeds Trinity University Creative Writing Anthology at the Ilkley Fringe Festival on 4th October.Leeds Trinity University Anthology

This is the anthology I co-edited with the wonderfully creative and super-organised Lucy Brighton, under the supervision of Prof. Hardwick.

I’ve organised for a small group of contributors to read our work at the Festival, giving priority to emerging writers. For most of us, this is our first published piece of work. Yay!

It’ll be my first performance. I am rigid with fear and bubbling with enthusiasm in equal measure. How is that even possible? And how will such a mismatched duality manifest itself on the night? Continue reading


Letter to the Man in the Audi

Dear Man in Audi,

The one who overtook me on a blind bend today, nearly causing a head-on collision. The one I hooted and flashed my lights at.

Yes, you.

You seemed a bit confused; shooting past me then slowing down to 20mph.

You were yelling at me via your mirror.  I can’t lip read, though. Sorry about that.

But the cartoon-like effect of your swivelling head, wobbling mouth and eye balls rotating in opposite directions did make me grin.

And that’s quite a skill you’ve got there, operating the steering wheel by telekinesis, leaving both arms free to flap around in the manner of one with a wasps’ nest in each armpit.

Then there was the way you were frantically bouncing around in your seat, as if you’d just realised your bottom was involuntarily hosting a recently-ignited firework.

Continue reading


Things to do – Whitby, Staithes & Robin Hood’s Bay, North Yorkshire.

Clean beaches awash with seaweed and driftwood, fat seagulls yawking overhead, a giant whalebone arch,  terracotta rooftops and a sea that never seems to rest. Whitby, Staithes and Robin’s Hood Bay can feel like stepping into the pages of a child’s story book.

By contrast there’s a ruined abbey, a Goth festival and Whitby’s association with Dracula. This cluster of towns on the coast of North Yorkshire is one of my favourite places in the UK.

Take a stroll round the harbour.

Whitby fishing boats

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Mackerel and its Part in my Downfall: Part 2.

After the fishing trip in Tenby, mackerel played no part in my life until many years later when a boyfriend –let’s call him Tarquin – took me to meet his mother.

Tarquin was a lumbering, rugby playing chap who clowned around a lot.  He had a clutch of posh, amiable siblings, with names like Montgomery, Araminta and Rupert, unfortunately absent on the day of our visit.  I believe there was a step father too but he too was nowhere to be seen when we visited. Probably cowering under a bed somewhere, sucking his thumb.

Because Mrs Tarquin was terrifying. Continue reading


Mackerel and its Part in my Downfall – Part 1.

Until the day we went fishing in Tenby, my infantile palate had been accustomed to, and welcomed with great enthusiasm, cosy comestibles such as roast lamb, soft boiled eggs with marmite soldiers and bags of sherbet lemons after Sunday school.

Then I met mackerel. Continue reading


Labour’s Pink Van.

Oh Labour party, whatever have you done?  A pink van to entice women voters?    labour party pink bus

Really?  Don’t women get patronised enough with pink gardening shears, pink screwdrivers, pink tool boxes, pink fizzy alco-pops, pink bloody everything?

This looks like the sort of van that goes round Freshers’ Fairs dishing out chlamydia testing kits and fruit flavoured condoms to 17 year olds.

I’m surprised there isn’t a rotating mirror ball on the roof, eyelashes on the headlamps and tinsel round the tyres. Does it fart glitter out of the exhaust pipe too? Continue reading


Inside the Belly of an Underground Reservoir.

 water reflections, underground reservoir, clayton, lancashire

For over a hundred years, this underground reservoir in Clayton,  Lancashire held a bellyful of water – 300 000 gallons of it to be exact –  until it was drained in 1992. The  Chorley Historical and Archeological Society made two applications to English Heritage for the reservoir to become a listed building but it was deemed to be ‘neither rare nor an exceptional example of its type.’

Its empty belly is now being be filled in to provide building space for a new housing development but before sending the bright, shiny bull-dozers in, Kingsway homes opened the reservoir to the public.  Excellent! I love murky places where nobody ever goes so my partner and I hot-footed it over there with our cameras.

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Pendle Hill for the Bone Idle.

trig point, pendle hill, lancashireTrig point at Pendle Hill.

Pendle Hill in East Lancashire is a great big sheep-strewn lump of a thing.   If it were 53m higher it would be a mountain but it’s not so it has to be content with being everybody’s favourite whale-shaped hill for the rest of its life.

Any local can tell you about the Pendle Witch trials of the early 1600s.  Twenty people, mostly women, were hauled off to Lancaster and tried for witchcraft.  Four were acquitted and the rest were hanged. Continue reading


When I’m Cleaning Windows. (Not).

Some strange scrabbling noises at the front of the house this morning prompted me to stick my head out of the bedroom window.

A young man with a purposeful expression was climbing up a ladder.

Now a purposeful young man on a ladder may sound promising but I hadn’t ordered one and as he was clutching a bucket and a squeegee, there was no mistaking his intention.  Some tactful questioning revealed that he was, as I suspected, a window cleaner at the wrong house.
‘Uhh, I had a few beers last night, don’t really know what I’m doing this morning,’ he said,  switching his direction to reverse and dropping his squeegee on his descent. Continue reading