Thursday, 26 February 2009


A grumpy strawberry blonde flumps down in the train seat opposite and begins her morning maquillage. First out of the cat-covered make-up bag is a small pot of green sludge and a cat-shaped compact mirror. The green sludge is dabbed onto rosy cheeks and followed by foundation, concealer, eyeliner and frightening blue eyeshadow. To be honest, when she's finished she doesn't look that much better and her hair needs a brush, but she's done, puts the make-up bag away and takes out an i-pod Shuffle in a small plastic case with a pink cat on it. I'm sensing a theme here and when we all get up to alight at London Bridge, I notice the pewter cat brooch on her coat and the cat-covered shopping bag among the three she carries. The realisation dawns on me; she's a nascent dotty cat lady, walking the fine line between eccentricity and obsession.

Thursday, 12 February 2009

Gracious Lane

In a hurry and late as ever, I steam swearily along the A21, bullying slower drivers out of my way. The weekend has been resolutely wet and grey but as I crest the hill, the clouds suddenly part to reveal sunshine. The road is illuminated and the autumn trees sing as I pass Gracious Lane. Gratitude hums along and I arrive with a smile.

Monday, 2 February 2009

Letting Go

Outside Wateringbury there is a road sign. For as long as I can remember, a sad bunch of flowers has been tied to it, marking the scene of an accident, a possible death, of which I am entirely unaware. The flowers must wilt soon after being placed there, their slow death echoing the short, sharp eclipse that robbed someone of a loved one, their presence on the verge heavy as grief and maybe heavy as guilt, too.

In sadness, I drive along the road at dusk, my headlights picking up an unfamiliar brightness at the roadside. Tied to the sign is an oblong of white cardboard and on it, in thick, black, capital letters, three words; 'I FORGIVE YOU.'

Moved beyond measure, I start to cry and consider my own hard heart and all those wrongs.


The street is filled with shrieking children and the odd delighted dog. Their footprints bruise the fresh-fallen snow amid a volley of snowballs. Laughter and pink cheeks bring colour to the bleached scene while the snow continues to fall.