Monday, 4 November 2019

The House on the Crossroads

They were perfectly happy in their house on the crossroads. Perfectly happy until the rumours started. 

‘They’re going to widen their roads.’ 
‘They’re going to be diverting traffic down here to take it away from other towns.’ ‘They’re going to let anyone move here.’ 
‘There’s going to be no left turn or straight on, so it’s going to be harder for you to leave the house.’

At first they ignored the rumours but soon they were talking about it at meals, in the morning and in the evening.

Neighbours began to worry and ask questions. ‘Are you sure this is going to happen? Why haven’t we heard anything from the authorities?’ 

Then one day the Estate Agent came and talked to them. ‘You should sell your house now before any of these things happen. You’ll make a fortune and you’ll be able to choose wherever you want to live. You’ll be free to do whatever you want because everyone will want your house.’

The people at the crossroads asked ‘but all the rumours have been denied, haven’t they? They say it’s not going to happen.’

The Estate Agent gave a wry smile. ‘Well they would say that wouldn’t they? I can guarantee you, promise you, that you will never get more for your house than now. That’s why they don’t want you to sell.’ He showed them a piece of paper with a figure on. 

They all gasped. They had never imagined they could get that much. The Estate Agent winked at them. ‘You’ll probably end up with much more, but I wouldn’t want to tempt you. I can however promise you this much’ he said, pointing at the figure. ‘I’ll leave you to chat together for a moment.’

The people at the crossroads looked at each other and spoke. 

‘He thinks we could get more.’
‘He said we’ll never get a better price.’ 
‘He says all those rumours are true.’

They looked at each other and said, ‘let’s have a vote’. 

Once they’d decided that those who rented a room couldn’t vote and neither could the children, they took their vote. It was close, very close, but just enough to decide to sell the house.

The Estate Agent returned. ‘So, what’s your decision?’ 

‘It was very close,’ they said, ‘but we will sell.’ One of the residents began to cry from a real sense of loss.

‘You won’t regret it,’ said the Estate Agent, ‘it’s straight forward from here, all you have to is decide on is which is the best offer.’

‘But what about the state of the roof, the damp, the wiring?’ asked one resident who was nervous about selling their home and the future.

‘Those won’t be problems unless you keep bringing them up,’ said the Estate Agent. ‘It’ll be on the market by this afternoon’.

When the house went on the market they sat back and waited for the offers to flood in. It became increasingly hard to get hold of the Estate Agent. All they got from his office was ‘don’t worry it’s all going to plan’. 

Months and months later they hadn’t had a single offer and some who had decided to sell began to talk about their concerns. The one who had been really keen to sell would shout over them, ‘This is exactly what the Estate Agent said would happen!’ 

One afternoon some friends of the Estate Agent visited the house. 
‘Look at the roof,’ they said, ‘and the damp’. 
‘And the wiring,’ said another, laughing. ‘Somebody’s going to make a killing and it might as well be us.’

Later that week the Estate Agent came round. ‘Well, we’ve got an offer, it’s not quite what we hoped but it’s a good offer, the right offer, and it will finally, finally, get you out of here’. He showed them the offer.

Most of them gasped, ‘but it’s nothing like what you said we’d get, it’s less than we paid for it, much less’.

‘Well,’ said the Estate Agent, ‘I never promised you anything’.

‘You said we’d get …’ and then they realised he’d never given them the paper with the number on. 

One of loudest of them said ‘but at least we’ll finally be out of here’. 

‘But we didn’t really want to leave until the rumours and then this man turned up with his promises,’ another said. There was real anger between the people in the house at the crossroads. 

The Estate Agent just smiled and said ‘you’d better take this offer, it’s the only one you’re going to get’. 

‘But it’s from your friends,’ said one of the children who hadn’t been allowed to vote. ‘Just shut up!’ said an older resident, ‘let’s just sell and get it done’. 

‘But where shall we live?’ 

They all stared at each other as the Estate Agent spoke. ‘You can worry about that later. The main thing is to get the sale done. Then you hold all the cards and can make the decision you want, free from all this.’ He pointed to the house on the crossroads.

And as they stared they saw his friends putting up road signs stopping people being able to turn left or go straight ahead. A man with a truck with a giant ‘For Sale’ board drove up. ‘Not yet!’ shouted the Estate Agent, ‘they haven’t quite made their decision’.

The people who lived in the House on the Crossroads stood and looked at each other and knew … they were at a crossroads.

Saturday, 19 October 2019


Barrington stared at the crime board in frustration. He knew the answers were there but he just couldn't make the pieces fit. It was early and no one was in yet. He had hoped that after a break maybe fresh eyes might unlock the puzzle but it was the same fog as before. 

Barrington turned away in frustration but as the corner of his eye caught the board he saw it, he bloody saw it. Of course, he thought, of course, 'we've got the whole thing the wrong way round'. The photos finally made sense. The victim wasn't the victim, the victim was the perpetrator. Oh my god, it all made sense now, it was so simple. They'd been looking down the wrong end of the telescope.

Barrington hadn't noticed the team assembling around him but he did see the Chief Super walk into the middle of the room, stare at the board with her hands on her hips. She shared the teams frustration and anger that they had made so little progress.

'OK,' she said, 'has anyone got any fresh ideas?'

They could almost detect the hopelessness in her voice. The initial silence was almost deafening. Finally Barrington spoke.

As one they turned to him and everyone smile or laughed. Barrington spoke again.

'Oh for God's sake,' said the Chief Super, 'get the cat out of here.'

As Barrington was lifted and carried to the door he knew this was going to be another case for the 'unsolved' pile.

Sunday, 22 September 2019

The Aponatime

The Aponatime is a very curious animal. Shy and terribly timid they only come out if people are being very quiet and listening to the world around and inside them. Oh, and just so you know they are becoming increasingly rare because sadly we don’t spend as much time being quiet and listening as much.

In fact they are so rare that you might not even have heard of an Aponatime. But I want you to imagine how dreadfully sad it would that be if there were no Aponatimes left in the whole wide world. It would be unimaginable because Aponatimes are very special indeed. You see they take you to the Land of Imagination. They can make you laugh, they can make you sad, they can make you frightened, they can make you smile and they can make you very, very happy.

But what they are quite brilliant at is making your eyes feel sleepy. Really sleepy even when you know more than anything that you’re not tired and you don’t want to lie down or go to bed.

It’s then that the Aponatime can weave its magic. It’s like they put a spell on you and before you know it you are drifting off into another world. A world of dreams and fantasies where impossible things can happen and you could be a giant or a mouse, an astronaut or a blue whale. Maybe even a tiger or a wizard. It’s a truly magical world the Land of Imagination and we must never stop going there.

Would you like to go there again? Well of course you would. Would you like to go there now? Well, if you shut your eyes and listen very carefully maybe an Aponatime might just take you there. Sshh now and let’s just see. Ooh, what’s that, I think I can hear something, I think it might even be ....... oh yes it is, so now just relax and listen

Once Aponatime .....

Friday, 13 September 2019

A Paper Boat on the Sea of Doubt

(Just a thought from the shower)

When an idea first emerges it’s like a paper boat – delicate. 

It is launched into the Sea of Doubt where it is tossed about by winds of negativity whipping up waves to capsize it. Inside the boat is self-doubt, quietly ready to spill you overboard.

Try to talk to people about your idea because some of them might bring you wood, sails, varnish and many other things that can help strengthen a paper resolve. They can add other hands to the tiller to help navigate through the waves. Someone might even bring a ‘fibre glass’ moment that streamlines, strengthens and speeds you. 

A good idea can sail through the doubt and find the land to develop and build. It can steer round the rocks others place in the way.

But sometimes your ideas boat will sink. It might be under the weight of problems, it might have been launched at the wrong time or, simply, there might be a hole in it.

The important thing is not to be dragged down with it. There are always new ideas to launch, new seas to cross, new reasons to try. To be held back by the fear of failing merely adds further depth to the Sea of Doubt and can turn you into a negative wind for others.

Friday, 8 February 2019

The Nightmare

I had the strangest nightmare. We had put on this fabulous exhibition in the most beautiful massive open gallery. Hundreds had come and really got engaged with the work. People sat on the floor in groups and responded creatively to what they saw. There was a real sense of collective joy and energy.

It was so special that I spent a lot of time capturing photographs of everyone enjoying the space, the art and working together to develop ideas. I was so happy that I really struggled to take videos as I was shaking with excitement so much. I just wanted to make sure that I could capture the magical positive memories forever.

When we left we went back to a house that was not ours yet we clearly lived there. It had a staircase that was impossible to climb and that had strange wormlike creatures on every step. When I went to look at my phone none of the photos or videos had been recorded and all that was there was shapeless blurs. I sobbed uncontrollably 

I awoke with a tremendous sense of loss. Later in the morning I was flicking through my phone and the photos from the nightmare were there

Wednesday, 6 February 2019


As the train left the station he stared down at the pen in his hand. Worn, loved, a gift to him in his youth he had treasured and cared for it but the years had left their marks

As the journey continued his mind played with the thought the pen was a metaphor for his life. At first new, full of ink and ideas it flowed easily with expression and hope. As the years progressed so the pen took those marks and scars, the nib worn to the shape of his hand.

He lifted the pen and moved to mark the paper in his hand. It scratched and he realised the ink had run out. As the train pulled into the last stop he realised he had reached the end of his line

Monday, 24 December 2018

A Night at the Zoo - A Christmas Tale

T’was the night before Christmas and all through the Zoo
The animals were waiting for Elephant to poo
For when the Zoo shuts animals party
Except poor old Elephant, who’s really quite farty
He strained and he strained and he let out a ‘TRUMP!’
But despite all his efforts nothing left his sore rump.
‘Oh what can I do?’ the Elephant cried
‘I’ve pushed and I’ve squeezed, I’ve tried and I’ve tried
But despite all my efforts, despite what I do
Can nothing relieve me of my giant poo?’
Tiger and Lion looked on very sad
‘We know you are hurting, it’s terribly bad’
‘But what can we do to ease your poor plight?’
‘We just keep on thinking with all of our might.’
The Elephant’s eye now filled with a tear
‘I just haven’t pooed for what feels like a year!’
The Monkey looked on and started to giggle
‘What would happen if you gave a good wriggle?’
So Elephant wriggled from trunk to his tail
But the pain in his tummy just led him to wail
‘Oh what can I do to get rid of this lump
I don't want to grow an ugly big hump’
The Camel looked on and said with a sigh
‘They all pick on me and I’ve never known why.’
Giraffe gazed down on his very sad chum
And thought what might let the poo leave his bum?
‘Ooh why don’t you stretch till your trunk’s tall as me
And maybe the poo will come out with a ‘weee!’
So Elephant stretched till his trunk was so high
But the pain in his tummy made him just want to cry
Then Tiger said, ‘Now, this might sound quite funny
But I wonder what happens if we bounce on your tummy’
The animals all nodded and got ready to jump
Right onto dear elephant’s enormous poo lump
Meanwhile in the sky a sleigh flew ahead
Which Santa was driving whilst children in bed.
Reindeer were pulling as hard as the might
To get all the presents dropped off in a night.
So Elephant lay with his tummy on top
And closed his eyes tight for the animals drop
The animals jumped whilst screaming out ‘woo!’
And bounced on his tummy and out shot the poo
Right into the air the giant poo flew
But where it would land, well nobody knew
But up flew the poo right into the sky
Right up to where reindeer and Santa did fly
And then in a moment, and I tell you it’s true
Rudolph and reindeers got covered in poo
It covered their bodies it covered their eyes
And Santa looked on and just shouted ‘Oh why?’
‘Why are my reindeer all covered in poo
I’d better land here right inside this big Zoo.’
The animals looked up in total surprise
As seven pooey reindeer came down from the skies.
And there in the sleigh Father Christmas was sat
His coat red as sunset his belly so fat
‘Well what can I do I have presents to give,
I’ve never seen this for as long as I’ve lived
All of my reindeer are covered in poo
Oh what a problem, and what shall I do?’
He looked at the animals and screwed up his face
“I wonder, I wonder, could you take their place.’
‘But we cannot fly!’ the animals shouted
“I’ll sort that,’ said Santa, who’s not to be doubted.
And out from his sack he drew magic dust
Which he threw at the animals in rather a rush.
And then it just happened, well, antlers appeared
So before Christmas morning they turned into deers.
And then with a flurry he threw them some roses
And before they could blink they all had red noses.
And off in the sky the animals flew
Leaving Camel with reindeer all covered in poo.
And off in the night with stars shining bright
The animals and Santa made Chistmas all right
Then later that morning the animals back
And once they were landed Santa opened his sack
And using more magic turned them back to themselves
With Giraffe quietly saying ‘we just met the Elves.’
And Santa he thanked them for helping him out
While Monkey washed reindeer who gave up a shout.
‘We’re ready to fly, please can we go home
We don't want to spend Christmas Day here alone.
So Santa waved ‘bye’ and off they all flew
Still wondering why they got hit by such poo
As Lion, Tiger and Monkey waved their goodbyes
Giraffe turned to Elephant and said ‘we know why,
And Elephant blushed because he really knew
How Santa’s reindeer got covered in poo.