FIRST SNOW

Agnes loves Christmas. As soon as they finish forking out a small mountain of sweets to the trick-or-treaters at Halloween, Agnes starts her Christmas build-up. It starts small. A few 'extra' items in the supermarket shop: a decoration here; a little snack food there. Then wrapping paper, cards, presents. Before November is out, Archie is … Continue reading FIRST SNOW

MY HUSBAND AND HIS LOVER

'That's the trouble with these old stone houses. They're built like forts, to keep the enemy out. But once the enemy is within, it means it's difficult to escape. Little slits instead of windows, only one door. You know, they used to tax homeowners based on the number of windows in their house, so everyone … Continue reading MY HUSBAND AND HIS LOVER

IN A MANILA MARKET

All kinds of strap shoes hang in rows. Black, red, white, tan. Thoughts coalesce. Her shoes on the bedroom closet. Shoes for every occasion. Imelda Marcos-scale collection. He burned them all. The clothes too. The closet, the bedroom, the house. All up in flames. It had to look real. They found the charred remains. They … Continue reading IN A MANILA MARKET

D IS FOR DRESDEN, GERMANY

A STORY OF DÉTENTE IN DRESDEN, GERMANY Alan Smith stood among the locals of Dresden in the reconstructed Neumarkt, looking with the crowd towards the Frauenkirche with its wondrous dome topped by a golden cross gleaming in the dusk sky.  The dignitaries were filing into the building, German mainly but also religious leaders from far … Continue reading D IS FOR DRESDEN, GERMANY

C IS FOR CORK, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND

A STORY OF CONFLICT IN CORK, IRELAND ‘The bastards wouldn’t let us put out the fires. The city has burnt to the ground.’ ‘Sit down, Conor, please.’ Imogen pleaded with her husband. ‘You’ll wake the baby.’ ‘It won’t end now. The Republicans will want revenge. They’ll hit back harder. I saw Jimmy heading away with … Continue reading C IS FOR CORK, REPUBLIC OF IRELAND