The Rehearsal

The rehearsal was her favourite bit. Sure, it was something special to be at the performance and see the polished final piece, but at the rehearsal she could experience the birth of it, see it take shape and grow into what it would become. Her words. The very words she’d laboured over and written down carefully, re-written a dozen times, being spoken, being performed, by an actual actor. It never lost its shine. It never got old.

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To Plant Strawberries

He sat behind the table on a Thursday afternoon, the door opening and closing every two minutes as shoppers came and went, came and went. He’d done this a hundred times now, or at least it felt like it and he knew the drill exactly. Most of the people who came in were heading straight for that pile of paperbacks stacked on the table near the desk. The new bestseller by E. Tanner. He’d get a few to his small table of neatly piled hardbacks, his latest offering of seasonal gardening, but the majority were led by their noses and would take whatever they were fed. Was he cynical? Oh god, he was cynical!

The Waters of Bath and Harrogate

This summer I did the spa towns. I didn’t plan it that way, it just happened. Bath, being somewhere Jane Austen is famous for living for a while, held a celebration of 200 years since the writer’s death, and I’ve never been before.

Blackberry Dreams

“Last night I dreamt about your girls. You were in the house and they came along the top road. They were so full of smiles and excitement at the idea they might see you again. They’d ridden their bikes all the way from their house and they stood and waited for just a mere glimpse of you.”

Blue John Cavern

Deep, deep below the ground among the hills. Up through the haunted Winnat’s Pass and down, follow the land like a spill of wine. The green meets the blue as the hills touch the sky and sheep roam wherever they like. Here is the mouth of a cave. Enter the stone and step down into the earth and feel the linger of Romans who discovered this opening 2000 years before.

Making Marks

The building feels like a warehouse, though I know it was once used as workshops for metal workers. The stairways hold the memories of the mesters who once crafted their material, each step I make as I ascend tinny with the clank of the metal frame and steps. I like to think we keep their spirits alive by carrying on the tradition of art in this space.

What’s in a Name?

A walk through the Neepsend area of Sheffield doesn’t exactly bring you at one with nature. The area was heavily industrialised in the 19th century and today it’s an urban explorer’s paradise with many old factory buildings standing derelict and frozen in time. You have to look hard to find any hint of greenery here, but in this landscape of chimneys and brick, there are small pockets of nature in the most surprising places.

The Secrets the Land Kept

Chris and Sue had never been entirely sure who owned the field that ran beyond their back garden, but it had never been used for anything as far as they knew. Lately someone had been keeping a horse down there and when Sue was walking one afternoon and she stopped to pet the graceful beast,…

Resistance is Futile

We pull up outside the house and look over at this pale sandstone building in the corner. A For Sale sign leans to the right and trees bend in from the left. It’s an odd looking house. Small church-like windows dot the stone as the structure seems to taper off as it gets higher. The…

The Corn Exchange

The Corn Exchange in Leeds is a beautiful Victorian building, designed in 1861 by Cuthbert Brodrick and opened in 1863 as a trading floor for the sale of corn wheat, barley, hops, beans, pees, and seeds. This circular stone building has an unusual spherical roof that pokes out like a great grey spring shoot from…

The Workshop

Nikki stood at around twenty-five past twelve in the circle. That is if you took Patricia, who was leading the group, to be 12 o’clock and everyone else to be the numbers and times that followed her. And Nikki did. Twenty-five past twelve, she thought. It was a good place to stand because she was…

The Peace Gardens

In the city centre of my home town, Sheffield, there strides an area of greenery called The Peace Gardens. The Peace Gardens has changed quite a bit over the years, but the message remains the same and it’s as important now as it always has been. The Peace Gardens was designed and shaped in 1938…