The Vltava

to give it its German name,
The Moldau,
the summer of 2012
(but it could have been anywhere
a calm, sunlit scene
under the hustle and bustle of Charles’ Bridge …..

a cool, panama-hatted artist –
from nearby Brno –
(sure to become someone famous someday soon)
rows his new American girlfriend –
from far-off Oconomowoc –
past a panicky fleet of bobbing ducklings
through this never-to-be-forgotten golden evening
into a blue paradisical forever-after
but this particular moment
when she laughs and says something
which he does not understand
but smiles nevertheless as he rows
and they look into each other’s  eyes….

this is the moment



Signs of the Times (and the Courier and the Record)

The bees were worth several thousand pounds.

This cat had been taken by a couple from Cupar on their round the world in 80 days (approx)   luxury cruise. 

I saw this sign in Glasgow’s Byres Road and followed the arrow to the shop it was pointing at  but it was a barber’s shop. I think it was some sort of  Glasgow joke.

Meanwhile, up in Stromness, this plaque tells of a more heroic age, when men vented their energies and bravado on feats of endurance and stoicism even though death was an ever present alternative.

And how did the Khyber Pass find its way from India to this little Orcadian  alleyway ?

Dear kind compassionate Mrs Humphrey,

                                                                                     This is just a note of thanks and appreciation for all the care and thoughtful nursing you gave to poor sailors and whalers and explorers and ordinary fisher folk who caught diseases of the sea at a time when little attention was given to these diseases or to those who were afflicted by them. Thank you.

Yours sincerely,



 Hooded girl in black…waiting….stork-like….the misty Tay Bridge vaguely in the background……

   Woman in a red dress…….waiting  in a windy shop  doorway                        



on her mobile on a chilly rainy day….waiting with pursed lips

for……the rain?……time?…….me?……to pass…..

and the patient hooded girl in black……still….. stork-like

w  a  i  t  i  n  g    for   something   to    happen….

At least the bridge has come back; surely that’s something?

No it isn’t. And don’t call me Shirley.

Wild Horses


The Pyrenees, the wonderful Pyrenees….

and listen to your echo
                                                     your echo
                                                                             your echo
while wild horses graze
Els Encantats soaring in the background
in-between out-of-sight
the still cold blue waters of  Lago Negre
upside down
the wooden refugio perched on its edge
just as wonderful
you can get
a bottle of  wine
a stick of bread
a chunk of Manchego

sit on a flat rock
for table and chair

close your eyes

breathe the clean cool early-morning air

feel the early-morning sun
warm on your face
and listen to those strange horses

while the out-of-sight out-of-mind world below
tamely pursues its weary wicked way.