The Witness

Sara woke to silence, the absence of sound breaking her sleep. In her half-awake state, she imagined that the world had come to an end during the night, quietly, softly, unheard. Her brain slowly churned into life and common sense curtailed her fanciful thoughts. She dragged her sleep-softened body out of bed, curious to see what was really happening outside.

She poked her head through the gap in the curtains and for a moment was disorientated, resorting to rubbing her eyes to chase away the remnants of sleep. Then she realised that her vision wasn’t blurred after all. It was snowing. Oversized flakes drifted out of the sky, coating everything below. A thick eiderdown of snow enveloped the bushes, the garden gate and the path. As for the road – the road was empty. Blissfully, silently, empty. In place of the cars idling at the kerb as parents decanted children into the primary school next door, was a solitary cat. Sara watched it picking its way through the now unfamiliar landscape, lifting each paw high, shaking it, setting it down. Every now and again, it would pause, sniff the air, and then move on. Continue reading “The Witness”


Imagine a world where, instead of making our way through life wearing different masks (you know, the work mask, the at-home mask, the walking-in-the-street mask), we are physiologically unable to do anything but display our emotions on our faces, for all to see?

I commute into London every working day, along with hundreds of thousands of other people. I’m sure that I’m not alone in having horrible days every now and again. Life is not always brilliant! But what do we do? We get up, have a shower, do our hair, put on our work clothes, pick up our work bag and by the time we have performed all of these unthinking rituals, we have plastered on the ‘I’m OK’ face to take outside and show to the world.

The thing is, on those days when we feel absolutely broken inside, all we can see around us are people who appear to be having a much better time of it than we are. So, we’re automatically going to feel worse than we did already, since we’re comparing our ‘I’m a mess’ insides, with everyone else’s ‘I’m having a great day’ outsides! Continue reading “Inside/Out”

The calm before…

… the marathon.*

I’m fortunate enough to be living in a city where there’s quite a vibrant mix of festivals, rallies, runs and rides going on throughout the year.  Sometimes, it drives me crazy, but well, you can’t have everything your own way!

Where I live right now is situated almost at the end of a number of long-distance events – a marathon, half-marathon, long-distance bike ride, a naked bike ride (yes, avert your eyes if you really don’t want to see too much!), classic car rally, Mini rally, motorbike rally… I get to see all sorts of strange, exciting, wonderful and bizarre sights throughout the year.

Yesterday, the red and white cones sprouted up along the pavement. The very small suspended parking bay signs suddenly made themselves visible (see above for ‘drives me crazy’). The metal barriers to hold back the hordes appeared in covert nests behind trees and gates. This morning, ubiquitous red and wide plastic tape had miraculously strung itself along the road, as if commanded by a vast magic wand in the deep, velvet night. Continue reading “The calm before…”