Posts Tagged ‘nature’


a blink of sunshine and out he comes
sunburned belly, shoulders, bum
he marches to the mowers thrum
it’s a british summer

ear-splitting screeches, kids at play
take your dog and get it spayed
socks and sandals every day
it’s a british summer

prayers for autumn, comes to nought
wasps drank all the booze we bought
dodging showers is a sport
it’s a british summer

spend most of it in the pub
dining on reheated grub
give those nettle stings a rub
it’s a british summer

Read Full Post »

Tonight we visited the vet with my mum’s elderly and increasingly frail cat and we had to have her put down. Her name was Lily and she was a beautiful – and typically neurotic – Siamese and she was absolutely and completely my mother’s cat. Body and soul.

Lily didn’t like most people, she tolerated a few but she adored my mother. Every night she would sleep next to mum under the covers and she would wait in the window in the afternoon for my mum to get home from work so she could greet her.

To everyone else Lily was skittish and standoffish. In all her years she sat on my lap but once, even though I fed her and took care of her many times. I always imagined Lily as some grand dame of the theatre, elderly and eccentric, displaced by the advent of film, surrounded by the dusty relics of her theatre career and just wanting to be alone.

As much as Lily loved mum, mum loved Lily. Lily was ill for a very long time with feline asthma, arthritis and other problems but mum wouldn’t give up on her. Not out of selfishness but out of care and concern. Our wonderful vet, Mrs Chitty, was willing to go the extra mile, or even hundred miles and mum helped pioneer administering asthma medication to cats, through Lily. Something that most people didn’t think could be done due to how uncooperative and resistant cats can be.

That just goes to show how close and special the relationship and empathy between mum and Lily was. She trusted mum to take care of her and mum did all she could to give Lily a wonderful and beloved life far longer than she would have had otherwise.

That’s the story of a my family though. Duty and care to others. People or animals it doesn’t matter a jot to us, we look after them. Gran was like that, mum is like that and I feel the same way about doing what’s right.

Lily was fortunate, even blessed, to have such a willing and caring person to take care of her. Mum was fortunate to have a cat that, for her, was pure love in sleek, furry, feline form.

I see how upset my mum is and my heart breaks for her. I sat by helpless as Lily cuddled in against her like a nursing kitten and slowly went to sleep in her arms. There’s nothing you can say that isn’t a platitude. Nothing you can do that doesn’t feel pointless or ineffectual. All you can do is just be there and be strong for those who can’t.

Still, I look to my mum and the strength of her grief is a mirror of the strength of the affection her and Lily had for each other. Every tear and sob is a testament to how much a pet can mean to someone and how much you can mean to a pet.

I ask myself if its worth all this pain and heartbreak to have a friend you know is going to leave you one day. How can you enjoy their friendship and affection knowing how the loss will hit you and tear your heart to pieces?

I got home and almost the moment I sat down my cat, Charlie, an independent and cheeky soul in a tabby sleeve, came trotting in to see me. He knew something was wrong and climbed up onto my lap, whiskers swept forward as though sensing I was upset. He never climbs onto me if I don’t have a blanket on me. He talked to me, chirping and merping and he butted my chin and cheek with his head, he licked the tip of my finger and he sat with me as I struggled not to cry, now that I didn’t need to be a rock.

I knew it was worth it then.

I know Lily had the best possible life and gave as much love as she received and that’s what a pet is.


Read Full Post »


03_10_Open_Snow Layers_Jim Van Namee HMI stand and watch from my window in the tower. The glass is cold to the touch already. It’s cold enough to hurt if I leave my hand against it.

I draw it back, wrap my hands around the hot coffee in its mug and I watch a strobing scene of the city, flickering on and off as my breath mists, obscures the view and fades away again.

The first flakes start to fall.


Then dots.

Then flakes.

The flakes stick together and come down like feathers. Some great white angel or feathered serpent has been shot down over the city and this snowfall marks its death.

It covers everything in a clean, crisp shroud of white. Cars and buildings, grass and trees frozen in place, buried under the blanket of impossibly white crystals.

Frost creeps its way across the window as I take a sip of the coffee. Jack’s fingerwork. An abstract pattern of ferns and thrusting crystals but where I breathe, the glass stays clear.

The snow stops. My dry lips crack and I take a sip of the bitter brew to wet them and as I do, something more.

It rains.

The rain punches holes in the snow, but it does not melt it. Where it hits, it steams at first. The whole world beyond the window shrouded in a dense, rolling fog.

The fog slowly thins and the rain has become snow again, the steaming slowly stopping as the ice falls from the sky and covers the snow in a thicker, denser layer. A darker white – if such a thing is possible. Perhaps my eyes are playing tricks.

It’s dark now.

The street lights come on one by one. The lights in the buildings. In silhouette I see other people standing at their windows, covered in blankets. Looking out.

The snow stops again but there is a sense of anticipation and it is not long before another rain falls.

The snowfall is smeared together, but it does not melt. The crisp white of the first fall and the dirty white of the second pierced by lances from the sky. Then they too freeze and fall as flakes but they are clear, as clear as glass. The snowly landscape is wrapped in plastic, gleaming, shining, unreal and it piles up, metre upon metre, sealing the landscape under glass.

I live high in the tower, but if I opened the window I could step out and barely drop, down onto the surface of the frozen glass.

It is tempting.

My hand grips the handle of the window, but it will not move. I tear the skin from my fingertips when I try, leaving them on the handle of the window. My blood freezes before it can drop, scarlet spikes that dangle from my fingers then snap and drop to the stiff, frosted carpet.

The coffee is solid now. I cast it aside as the rain comes again.

The sky is completely black. The stars have never looked so clear. The thin rain falls, steams, then stops and again becomes snow. A pale blue curtain that hides the glass beneath it. A night-time sea a hundred metres deep from which the light-bearing towers of the city thrust, winking out one by one.

The snow has stopped now.

Something crunches in my veins as I tilt my head and I look up, vision fading as I watch the last few flakes fall from the deep black sky.

Like stars.


With a nod to Fritz Leiber

Read Full Post »

(You bury hatchets in trees, right?)

Flash fic challenge from HERE.

The fox sat in the mist, panting, its tongue lolled, its breath curling and mingling with the miasma that surrounded it. Behind it the tree stood, slumped and heaved over, protruding from the bank after the rain had loosened the soil. Even now it creaked as the ground shifted more, pebbles tumbling and a slick mass of damp earth sliding from around its roots, exposing them.

The fox turned and looked at the tree, seeming to sense that it something was wrong with it. Black-tipped ears pricked up and twitched and then the creature turned, loping away with envious ease, a twitch of its brush vanishing into the swirling vapour.

The tree groaned, again, the weight of its own trunk pulling it over, inch by grudging inch as the earth gave way. Leaves shook and quivered, shedding droplets of water onto the grass below. It was slipping faster now, moments from falling flat to the grass, to vanish into rot and ruin as the fox had vanished into the mist.

The moment came, the ground gave way with a final lurch and then…

Twisted branches shot out and braced the tree against the ground. Twigs spread amongst the grass and took its weight. The fall slowed, stopped and reversed. The crooked tree creaked and quivered, green shoots erupting from every point, questing outward like the spokes of some great wooden wheel.

The tree heaved forward, branched flexing until its swept-back leaves kissed the ground. It rolled, impossibly, pitching forward until its roots thrust up into white sky, bursting with green shoots and unfurling leaves, a second canopy of foliage at its other end. Higher and higher it stretched until it was straight as an arrow and then, crackling and twisting, it keeled over again.

Twist by twist, end over end, into vaporous brume.

Read Full Post »