The Lady hadn’t left the house in 200 days. She must get out, her shrink said, for the furtherance of her mental health. She risked becoming a modern Miss Havisham if she didn’t jump back in the saddle (his words) and soon.

Squinting over a plate of flowers at the Ikebana exhibition, bald and stooped, scrubbing his mouth with the back of his hand, she saw Harry for the first time. Well, she thought, he’s as good as anybody.

“Would you like to get a sausage roll and tea?” she asked, bold as brass.

Odd – the things flowers make you say.



Harry’s first heart attack was a nonevent. He found out about it when he went to the doctor to discuss his habit of gobbing and snorting Image result for snail trailswhich The Lady Smock found so distressing while they were gardening. Birdsong hushed and snail trails flooded when he spat with a guttural grunt. Spring was the worst. An allergy perhaps?

The capillaries around his sweet Lady’s nose blanched and her skin regained the perfection of youth when he told her. He knew then that she loved him.

“Nothing to worry about,” he said. It was quite minor, but still, gardening became bearable again.


sun rays on a cloudy day
pinpricks through retreating
grey pierce the snow

i think of god’s smile
how Pat Boone’s teeth
gleam with goodness

and wonder about god’s bite
but not today
because I am smitten

by beamish light
and beamish birdsong
and beamish morning

light dissolving snow
down the drain, amplifying
the volume of life


Slipping into shoes with holes,
decorated steps lilting lifts
and winged tips for flights of fancy
dressed to delight
starring the stage Irish.

The drink’s the ticket!
A drop of Tullamore Dew, a finger –
or two – to lighten the step
into the whiskey mist night
with the Wild Rover,
no nay never no more! at least ‘til
next year, sure, but right now
trilling toora loora for show
and taking the mickey out.

Rolling arse uphill
a bellyful home to the missus
and the babies dropping brogues
in a lump with the pumps
and plimsolls on the mat
the everyday Irish afoot.


The pepper steak was a mad mistake
but so was the caribou stew.
Add to this the briefest bliss
of a tumultuous tiramisu,
plus cake and pop
and a generous glop
of whip cream and caramel goo
and I was done like dinner,
five pounds thinner.

Really, it was all worthwhile!
Despite being horrible,
despite being bad,
despite the pain and the trouble,
I learned a new word
one I’d never heard –
oh the collywobbles!


It wasn’t the hijacker’s fault
or the meal of crackers
and warm water
or the cramped seat
and fear of DVT that made her
feel so knackered. It was
the flight attendant,
who fled first, still dapper
after 36 hours, no chips
in her lacquer, crisp uniform
immaculate slacker sliding
down the chute perfect
shoes touching down.
Resisting the urge to
smack her was the reason.