Holly and Ivy

Two beautiful winter friends, Holly is more dramatic, with a spiky personality. She has red lips and a sharp smile. Ivy is more introverted, a clinging persona who hides hidden depths. Ivy will climb up the social ladder and suppress her rivals.

Outdoor types, the girls are often seen around town together, usually in the winter months, and at the mid winter festival where they team up with pale mistletoe who hangs around with them trying to suck up to them.

Often seen at Christmas parties together it is always Holly that gets her claws into the office staff. Never one to miss some fun, Ivy likes to trail around town with Holly.

Meanwhile the baby narcissii and crocuses sleep in their beds waiting for warmer weather


Angry voices


1am, the pub opposite is letting people out after a night of music and booze. I hear, but don’t see the clatter of bottles being thrown in the skip. The punters are waiting for taxis or a lift. Then one ugly angry voice is raised. I won’t go and look. I know that they sometimes get really rough over there and I don’t want to intervene. I have heard fights in the past outside our door, women screaming at each other. But I’m fearful of reprisals, my car is out there, near them, old and battered it doesn’t need any more damage.

Shouts, angry voices  swearing and cursing. Oh go away, get your taxis home. Unfriendly men with a chip or two on their shoulders . Car horn peeping, laughter and a fairwell. Diesel engine growling. Headlamps shine in through the window as a car three point turns….. Its getting quieter  Some voices fade off into the distance. Others shout goodbye. Another Saturday night is over.



“My face is turning blue” she shouted from the bathroom, “my skin is cracked”. The fear trembled her voice. Her husband muttered something, clearly not listening. “come here, look!” pleading, she shouted again. His footsteps thudded up the stairs, “what do you want?”  “oh my god what is that?”. “how the hell do I know?” “is it a face mask?” he questioned. But she was on her knees, weeping, “call the doctors, call my mum, what is wrong with me?” she was wailing and crying .

One quiet word expelled by an almost silent breath “virus” he sighed.


It’s Halloween and the sense of foreboding hangs heavily in the air. Birds fly around the house, their fluttering wings catching at the windows as they fly up in panic from something slowly shuffling about the building.

Leaves are falling in a mimicry of snow. A crumpled carpet of browns and gold, dulled by the cold dark air. Sound is muffled, but even through it there is a lurking, grinding shudder.

As the darkness falls a tremor shakes the ground. The stems of ivy entwined around the walls of the house seem to stretch and shiver, the leaves expanding and contracting, pulsing, throttling. Dragging down on the building, pulling through cement, brick and concrete. Crumpling the floorboards and ceilings. Slowly the house changes shape, slumping down into itself like a car in a crusher.

Finally a spray of water rises above the debris as the water main bursts.

The birds fly and flutter down, settling on the rubble. Quiet descends.

Blah blah blah


My head is spinning, I can’t think. Why? Because he keeps talking, on and on and onandonandonand……argh!

He keeps listing things, this and that and the other. ..more and more. Muttering, talking under his breath. It’s not a duolog, it’s a monolog. The pretence of listening  trying to turn a blind ear to it. Please shut up! I scream over and over in my head, my aching ears, every tv programme is spoken over , every speech or argument is submerged by the verbal spewing of the same things, same ideas ad nauseam.

I try not to say anything. I did not want to start an argument. I’m polite, patient, trying to be caring. It makes my mind bend, trying to placate whilst trying to hear my own thoughts.  Misery is close to love, partnered with it, shackled till bedtime brings blessed quiet.

Tinnitus waits when silence decends, whistling, high pitched, fracturing my mind even more, sometimes I switch on the radio, quiet words, only just audible either sooth, or I catch their meaning, and listen into sleep, leaning my thoughts into their soft pillow.

I know in the morning I will start again. I try and stay in the haven of quiet peace in the dawning of day’s, lingering in bed, hiding my thoughts under the duvet. Sometimes I want to escape, to talk to someone who will listen to Me, let Me be, let me be, let me be, my brain stumbles….

Selective hearing is treacherous, what did he say? What meaning did he put in that phrase?  My off switch is too strong now. Like listening to a weather forecast that I never fully hear, only noticing a storm is coming at the end, but not hearing where…

Got to sleep, but the talking mutter is still going on….. no rest for the wicked……

No freedom, till death do we, in sickness, for poorer….where did the positives go? Where is there solace. Why do we change. Why does despair outlast joy?

But there is some joy, as a bird starts to sing into the dawn, as rays of light shine through the window and warm me, I know that I will carry on, calm down, face the future. Buy some ear plugs!



Apologies to real writers out there. I drew this then decided to write a very short story to go with it…forgive me!

The Phoenix rose into the air above the flames,  it’s wings beat them back and swirled huge sparks around it. The shock waves from its flight blew branches off the trees, then tiles off the roof just across the way from where the bird had cracked the golden shell of her egg.

In the bedroom of the house a young girl sat brushing her hair before she got into bed. A small nightlight with a pink shade cast a gentle glow in the room. Two windows let in pale starlight, and for a moment the girl thought she saw a shooting star streaking across the sky.

The Phoenix had seen the steady light from the bedroom. It was young and craved the warm heat that it had left behind. It had been born in the bonfire that the girls neighbour had lit earlier in the day, not knowing that an old Phoenix had laid her egg there before fluttering off to die in the forest.

Phoenix can survive without fire, but when they are chicks they need warm light to dry out their feathers which stay damp from the egg for a long time. The light from the room was just right so beating her wings she flitted across the street.

The girl opened her window to allow cool air into the room and snuggled down under the covers. As she lay there she thought she heard the scrabbling of her cats claws at the door. But the noise seemed to be coming from her bedside table. Quietly she lifted the blankets and looked, directly into the glinting eye of the Phoenix!

No ….she must be dreaming  she thought. Then she saw the bird had carefully curved its wings around the top of the night light.  It raised its head so that its neck was straight and beak pointed up to the ceiling.

Now it was bathing in the heat and light, gaining strength with each minute. The girl lay still, she didn’t want to breath. She could see through the wings, they were almost transparent now, the bird was starting to fade……

“Don’t go!” she whispered, but it was too late. The Phoenix  had become a sparkling, soaring mass of light, weightless, magical, etherial.

Quietly it flowed through the air like liquid gold and silver. …out through the window and on towards the rising moon….