Small Stones July 21-27

July 22

The displays in the department store windows conjure images of summer cottages and seaside air. Colourful photoframes sit atop a white wooden desk. I picture myself in a garret writing and looking out to sea.

July 23

The radio plays a song that captures the life of a singer taken so young; each word now laden with meaning, prophesy and sadness. It is the voice of a 22 year old girl who knew too much suffering for her age and who paid too high a price for her imperfections.

July 24

Three weeks later, the perfect rose bush has passed its best; its petals faded from intense orange to a weak pink, the edges yellowed by summer rain.

July 25

A snake of people queue from St John’s Wood to Lords to watch a legendary cricketer leave this great stage . Thousands come to watch, to say that they were there and thousands will be turned away.


I move words around on my CV for the thousandth time, a lifetime of work in a thousand words summing up thousands of hours doing a thousand things that cost thousands and affected thousands.

July 27

I am reading an article about a wedding anniversary and a marriage that has survived through accepting differences. Within it is truth, honesty, humour and things I could and should have said when I had my chance.

Small Stones July 18-21

July 18

Night falls early on a cool grey day. Outside the rain sweeps across the garden, the grass lush and green. Only a few flowers betray evidence of autumn.

July 19

I listen to words of contrition on the radio; once mighty men with great power trying to summon up humility and regret for the occasion, denying knowledge or responsibility. Last year the banks, this year the media, next year…..

July 20

I am busy doing nothing. I sit down and try to concentrate, prioritise on what needs to be done. Everything must be done now and yet everything can wait.

July 21

A veil of dust, smudges and pollen is lifted. A clean pair of glasses makes the world a brighter place.


Small Stones July 9-13

July 9

Water falls over my body, washing away the dust and pollen of the summer which irritates my skin. I fumble for the shampoo, knocking over several other bottles in the process. The shampoo has a rich fresh smell. I squeeze a small amount into my hand, conscious of the fact that there is little hair to wash but enjoying the luxurious feel.

July 10

The sky is dark and black, but bright golden evening sunlight still falls on the garden. A binary rainbow emerges, the first bursting with colour emerges from the trees whilst the second has a softer palette.

July 11

The gym is busy tonight; each person in their own little world pedalling, rowing and pumping iron to a Techno soundtrack oblivious to the beautiful setting sun outside.

July 12

There is so much to do but I feel weary and overwhelmed by each new task. I close my eyes but now I see is a whirl of blinding lights. I sit for a while, my head spinning around with ideas, problems and fatigue.  Outside the world speeds on without me.

July 13

I am holding marbles in my hand. Not the smooth glass variety for children but black pieces of racing tyre discarded on the track. Unlike a road tyre, it is tacky to the touch, ugly and misshapen. like blu-tac with no give.

A Real Writer

It’s been twenty odd years since I wrote for my University newspaper and apart from a few ‘Mr Angry’ letters to the local newspaper, my writing has been limited to work and evidence documents for campaigning on local issues.  I think I write well, if a little slowly, but those kind of documents don’t set my pulse racing.  So it was a special day this week to see my writing featured in a newly published book ‘Paying Attention: A River of Stones’ edited by Fiona Robyn and Kaspalita.

It’s a small piece and by small I mean really small; a ‘small stone’ in fact, one of thirty one that I wrote in January, one every day (you can read them all here on this blog).  It’s a couple of sentences, not much more than a ‘tweet’ but it’s mine, it’s original and it’s in a real book (hardback and paperback) which you can buy (via, Amazon to follow in a few weeks) and a download that you can put on your Kindle etc.

I’m in good company too.  There’s a whole bunch of great writers in this book; ‘real’ writers I know and admire who get published and write books of their own.  I feel like a pub singer playing with the Beatles or a Sunday League football player having a kickabout with David Beckham but I’m in there, holding my own and until I stop smiling and resting on my laurels, that makes me a real writer too.

AROS – Small Stones 31

There are so many stones in the river.  I cannot, nor want to, keep them all.  Some stones are too large to lift out whilst others are mis-shapen and ugly.  A few stand out like marbles, polished and shiny.  I dry them carefully, put them into my bag and head for home.

AROS – Small Stones 30

Few people are out in the woods today.  I walk along a carpet of fallen leaves lost in my thoughts.  I stop at benches dedicated to people who walked here often and who are greatly missed.  There should be someone beside me and someone smaller trailing behind us, complaining of the cold and boredom, but I walk alone.  Soon it will be Spring and leaves will grow again.  I hope for that renewal too.

AROS – Small Stones 29

The theory of Creationism is dispelled.   No-one who has ever walked round a supermarket can argue that we aren’t descended from neolithic man.  Prehistoric man fought animals and speared fish.  I battle my way through crowded supermarket aisles filled by shoppers, overwhelmed by choice.

AROS – Small Stones 28

A project is ‘finished’ but at the back of my mind is the temptation to do just a little bit more; ask a few questions, talk to a few more people.  My stomach tells me I need to eat.  My cupboard tells me it’s time to shop.  My laundry basket tells me it’s time to wash.  My body tells me it’s time to stop.

AROS – Small Stones 27

Insanity is defined as the process whereby the same process is repeated endlessly in the hope of a different result.  Outside my window, a team of workmen fill in the same potholes they did six months ago.  They unload expensive equipment and work diligently.  They will be back in six months time.

AROS – Small Stones 26

Shoppers huddle in coffee shops sheltering from the perpetual drizzle of an English winter.  A pensioner rides her motability scooter along the pavement with the determined look of an Olympic athlete whilst her husband trails obediently a few paces behind.  The mood is heavy matching the leaden skies, the Christmas lights long gone and the hopes for a New Year a receding memory.

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