No Place Like Home

Maude ran a finger along the shelf ‘Nurse Simmons!’ she called out. ‘More attention to the dust and less to the new registrar if you don’t mind!’ Her senior staff nurse glanced briefly at Dr Tate, raised an eyebrow and hurried back to give the shelving another wipe over with a damp cloth. ‘All done Sister Jenks’ she announced a few minutes later, inviting inspection with a drift of her eyes towards the unit. Maude raised her chin and looked down under her glasses, a formidable matron-in-waiting whose middle name must surely be ‘Dettol’. She swept down the centre of … Continue reading No Place Like Home

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Not David Attenborough

The ice rat scuffed at the frozen tundra, came up with something apparently satisfactory, and scampered off to its burrow. Four more days of filming and we could head north to the Serengeti, that would be warmer for my old bones. I hitched up and rearranged my knees as discreetly as possible, sending two of the juveniles tumbling back into the burrow and ruining the shots we’d been waiting for all day, shit! Mutterings from the crew; the words ‘past it’ and ‘decrepit bloody baggage’  were allowed to float my way. So much for respect. Thirty years of wildlife filming, … Continue reading Not David Attenborough

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Madness

I want to preface this story with some thoughts. The title was a given, a course exercise, and not a choice as such, but I did have a choice about where I went with it. As a professional working for a large mental health and learning disability Trust and in the context of current campaigns to eliminate stigma, I’m bound to say something about how I arrived at this grim image. The exercise was one of perspective and the result is fiction, not fact. That said, I have worked as a nurse in conditions not dissimilar from these and observed … Continue reading Madness

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Dennis

Dennis is a case alright. Big, thick-set, yellow hair thinning on top now he’s hitting forty. I’ve known him for years; first when his exasperated mum hauled him into the Centre hoping to get him fixed and him trailing behind with a wicked grin tweaking his mouth in which was stuffed the Mars Bar he’d half-inched from our shop. Dennis was a LAD. Any smarter and he’d have been real trouble but, his style cramped by what his dad had referred to as ‘defective head-gear’ before clearing off to leave his mum with it all, he was limited to shouting, … Continue reading Dennis

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Drosophila Melanoghastly

She opened the lid of the sink-side depository into which peelings, vegetable off-cuts and abandoned fruit were placed in the interests of her personal composting crusade. It had been recently emptied and a squadron of disenfranchised fruit flies scrambled and took to the air, wheeling around in search of suitable pay-dirt. A banana skin! They descended. ‘Death by drosophila!’ she thought, a smile creeping sideways onto her mouth and occupying a good two thirds before slipping off as the thought of cooking dinner for six re-surfaced. What was it about husbands that enabled them to forget their wives’ culinary ineptitudes … Continue reading Drosophila Melanoghastly

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Prune-Ella, Queen of the Dessert

Cynicism. A withering of the heart through repeated, constant, undeserved criticism of genuine and meritorious effort? Well not desolation or abuse that’s for sure; those give rise to defeat, hatred, uncomplicated self-destruction by the slow degrees of personal deconstruction. No, cynicism has a sense of survival to it, vengeance even. It is veiled power, happy to bide its time, content to stalk its target until the moment and the words are most apposite. Cynicism is miserable nastiness out in a posh frock and allowed to mix with its targets. Ah but bitching, that’s a much more entertaining option. Perhaps bitching … Continue reading Prune-Ella, Queen of the Dessert

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Marmite: an inadvertent exercise in perspective writing

Narrator ‘I hate it, it’s horrible!’ ’There’s nothing wrong with it. Get it down or there’s no afters’ ‘But Dad!’ ‘Sammy, I’m warning you!’ ‘Jason says it’s witches’ poo!’ ‘Samantha!’ (‘Samantha‘– that meant trouble) ’Finish it now or you go to your room with no TV, understand?’ Sammy’s mouth turned down at the edges. Her bottom lip started to protrude and quiver. Her shoulders started to chug up and down and her fists tightened on the Sunday tablecloth. She sucked in a huge breath though distress-flared nostrils and she howled. It was an eyes-screwed-up, face the colour of the abandoned … Continue reading Marmite: an inadvertent exercise in perspective writing

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