Friday, 28 May 2010


She bends down. Her baby-fine hair falls, a feathered fan around her head. She picks up the spade, and straightens. I watch her hair fall back into place. Her face is strong and square, and when she smiles, you know you can trust her.

Come on, she says. Let’s get this done.

The workman’s overalls amplify her muscles. She moves like a lioness prowling the plains, her concentration fixed, and her stride sleek and stealthy.

Here will do, she says, and she begins to dig. Her hair sweeps forwards and backwards, forwards and backwards, falling forwards and back into place with every move. It glows angelic in the moonlight.

How deep do you think? Her voice is distorted by the effort of digging.

We don’t want the foxes to dig him up, I say, but I know I’m not being much help. So I stand back and watch. The girl with baby-fine hair goes on digging, goes on doing; goes on solving my problem. And I cross my fingers and hope that it’s true.

I hope it’s true. I hope I can trust her.

Thursday, 27 May 2010

It took an hour in beautiful sunshine, armed with 'dog-of-small-brain' and a camera, to walk from Burscough Top Locks to Rufford.

Wednesday, 26 May 2010

New Writing Competition

Another week, another short story competition in which yours truly didn’t even get a mention in the ‘also-ran’ list. So, to re-coup some of the money I've wasted, sorry, spent on this and similar contests, I’d like to introduce the first ever

Mawdesley International Short Story Award Prize

Entries are invited for this prestigious new writing award

∞ Any Genre ∞
∞ Any length ∞
∞ Any time ∞

An array of glittery prizes awaits the winner.

Entry fee £5 per entry, and £4 for every subsequent entry (please send as many as possible)

The Organiser would like to stress this is a highly esteemed competition which will result in instant literary success for the winner. The fact that you’ve never heard of it should not deter you.

Please send all monies asap, cheques made payable to ‘Missap’. Thank you.

Sunday, 23 May 2010

Man Required

(previous applicants need not apply) (no time wasters)

- Good afternoon, I’d like to thank you for taking the time to attend this afternoon’s interview, Mr, er, uh…
- Well, yes, okay, I guess I can call you Giles.
- So, Giles, what makes you think you’d be suitable for this position?
- Uh-huh, yes, good-looking; yes, I can see that. Broad shoulders, yes. Eyes, smile, yup.
- It says here on your application form that you’re good with children; do you have any relevant experience to back that up? Oh, excellent. Animals? Yes, I see. Good. Good.
- What else do you think you could bring to a position like this, Giles?
- Oh really? Hmm, yes, I like the sound of that.
- Ha! You can what? Really? I didn’t think that was physically possible. Oh! Giles, you are making me blush. Ha ha ha ha; yes!

- So, uh, if I were to offer you this job, Giles, how soon could you start?
- Oh.
- I see.
- No, I don’t understand.
- No, I’m sorry; I’m not interested in your problems with your wife.
- Yes I do have a problem with that.
- No. You do know my advert specifically said ‘no time wasters’?
- As if. That’s the door behind you.

(Editor’s note: that’s enough ranting now, thank you Sam)

Wednesday, 19 May 2010

The Salt Pit Hares

The three gorgeous hares, brothers, larking in the lush spring grass, their black-tipped ears bobbing as they chase, pouncing and feinting. But they keep their eyes roving, ever wary. They spot us swishing through their field, the carefree dog and I. We are not like them; we have nothing to fear. They stretch up on hind legs to get a better look. Then they dive down into the grass to compare notes, to reassure each other, and hope that we’ll go away. They are safe: the dog trots on his lead and I never could run that fast, but we keep coming, so, suddenly, they switch off their bravery and flee off across their meadow. They pause on the brow to look back. We have reached the stile. I imagine they are shouting hare-ish insults at our retreat. We climb the stile and leave them to get on with being hares in the springtime in a world of fresh grass.

Monday, 17 May 2010

A Little Novel-ing...

Been very busy all weekend, so instead of a mini story, here's a little snippet from the work in progress...

“Don’t touch!”

She yanked her hand back, spilling her tea.

“Sorry,” he said. “I didn’t mean to startle you, but you mustn’t touch these,” he pointed to the purple flowers. “They’re highly toxic. Monkshood; Aconitum Napellus. The poison can be absorbed straight through your skin.” He arched one eyebrow and gave her a strange, sideways glance. “It’s very effective, fatal in ninety-nine percent of cases. It induces severe vomiting, and death from a seizure within minutes of being ingested.”

“Ewan! I don’t want to know how you know that,” she said with a shudder. She looked up at him, at his face, the bruising blending into the dusk. Alarm stirred her instincts, setting them quivering as though in a breeze.

“Why on earth have you got something that dangerous growing in your garden?” She looked at her mug of tea with fresh eyes. “Dare I drink this?”

He laughed. It was so unusual to hear him laugh, she watched him, torn between joining in, and paying attention to the fear prickling in her core.

Thursday, 13 May 2010

It isn't very often the tide comes in at Southport!

Wednesday, 12 May 2010

Clearing the Confusion

Oh yes, I said, if you google my name, it leads you to ‘Tales’. Er, no it doesn’t. That’s the price of being precious over a cool name for the blog. (well I like it) If you google my name, it brings up a banquet of possibilities.

So I feel it is my duty to all the other Sam Penningtons, to point out that I am not, nor have ever been, nor could ever be a porn star. I’m not saying there isn’t a niche out there for my aging and skinny, yet strangely saggy flesh, but I think the world will gladly wait.

Hope this clears up any confusion!

Tuesday, 11 May 2010


You’d never say she’s pretty. The edges of her face are hard and pointed. Her eyes are large, but unredeeming; they are being swallowed, sucked back into sockets so dark, no amount of sleep could ever lighten them. Her eyebrows are sharp ridges. A lover might cut his mouth should his lips ever graze the cut of her cheeks, the blade of her nose. Her face is a landscape of bone, her unsmiling mouth soured by conflict, a sub-skin battle. Her bones crave domination. They have drawn the line at erupting through her sallow skin, but they have formed such bold, strong shapes, all other features are eclipsed.

You’d say she has striking bone structure. I wonder if her bones are satisfied with that.

Monday, 10 May 2010

Many Thanks...

Regular readers to this spot (!) know I don't write stuff about me, (odes to deceased cats, and the perils of twitter aside) but just this once, there is something I have to say, and that's a big WELL DONE to whoever put whatever in my drink on Friday night.

What goes around comes around...

Wednesday, 5 May 2010

Tweet Tweet

I’ve joined ‘Twittter’. Well, you read about it everywhere: all the bright young things ‘do it’, and the terminally-hip. I am neither of these things, but, undeterred, I signed up.
It’s easy; pop in your details, then wow the world with your first ‘tweet’. But oh, the tyranny of the blank page. What shall I write? It must be something pithy, something good. But what’s this? I have one follower?


How can I possibly have a follower? I only signed up a minute ago. I begin to sweat at the thought of how this person knows I’m here when I haven’t a clue what I’m doing. My follower is in America, (how global, how exciting) and she asks, ‘are you fascinating?’

Utter panic.

The sweat runs cold. I consider drowning my new-born account and running for the hills. Why am I doing this anyway? My hands shake. It takes ten minutes of type-delete-type before I muster something floppy about joining twitter.
I click ‘tweet’ and my offering flutters away into cyber world. I glow with maternal pride. I wonder if my new friend will be impressed.

Thirty seconds later and the screen updates.

I now have no followers.

Saturday, 1 May 2010

On Losing a Moggy


There is a fluffy black cat shaped hole in the universe where you used to be.

But I see you everywhere. Out of the corner of my eye, I see you mousing on the wall. I catch a glimpse of you in the hedge when I walk up the garden, and you give me that contented girl-cat look you always give me that says 'hey, I'm a cat and I love it.'

I opened my window wide last night and expected you to jump in, just like you always do. But you didn't. And you won't, will you? Because I didn't bury a dead cat that that just happened to look like you. It was you, and it hurts.

There is a fluffy black cat shaped hole in the universe where you used to be.
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