The snow was turning to slush and melting away, the festive decorations hung limply. The long winter with little to look forward to stretched ahead, like the dark main street at dawn.

He liked walking around the town in the early morning. It reminded him of how it used to be. The old shop fronts, the sea audible in the distance, the solid castle overlooking the town.

This was what it was like before the tourists had started coming, before the gaudy lights,  the high street chains and the overcrowded population.

The fluorescent jacket was the first glimpse that something would disturb his morning ritual. Then he noticed others standing around. As he kept walking the general noise grew.

Another demonstration. An abundance of British and English flags told him the nature and identity of the marchers.

His walk soured, he turned for home, where he would gather in the deliveries of bread, milk and papers. Mr. Patel would open his store as he had done every day for forty years.

When the English Defence League marched past he would stand at his door and stare at those hurling abuse. He would not turn away.


Written as part of Sunday Photo Fiction. Write a story of around 200 words based on the photo prompt given (above). Hosted by Al Forbes. For more details visit HERE.

To read more stories based on this week’s prompt, visit HERE.


    • Thanks for commenting Janet – I should emphasise it is a minority of people and in a minority of places in Britain. Fortunately there are plenty more welcoming and tolerant people.

      Liked by 1 person

  1. A good take Ian, which shows a keen eye for detail. I hadn’t picked up on the English flag. It’s really sad that, in public perception, the Union Flag has been pulled in with the the English one to imply an obvious allegiance to racism and thuggery. A very young relative of mine (primary school age) proudly wears Union Flag Dr Martens because they’re “cool”. I’m sorry to say that the first time I saw him wearing them, I wondered what people might think.
    That’s not a dig at your story, just a comment on what strange times we live in.

    Liked by 1 person

    • I completely understand – flags can take on such dangerous connotations. Up here in Scotland to fly the Union flag or the Scottish Saltire is now a political opinion, or worse religious sectarianism.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Yes, it’s a shame. The story of the Saltire’s origins is much more romantic than one involving men sitting round a table doodling and arguing, but nevertheless rooted in tribal conflict. Then again, it was the losing leader whose name was stamped on the location. By the way, I’m pleased to report that I pronounce Athelstaneford properly, even though I’m less than 1/8 Scottish.

        Liked by 1 person

  2. This idea of mine not yours is rampant everywhere. Even in India when people migrate to other states in search of jobs they are harangued and harassed no end. And then there are women who marry into other families and remain outsiders forever. It just never ends does it? Very well highlighted an all pervasive social malaise Iain.

    Liked by 1 person

  3. And what would the city be like if all the “foreigners” left? People don’t think, don’t plan ahead. It’s sad. Society is anything but “social” in many ways these days. Good writing, Iain. —- Suzanne

    Liked by 1 person

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