Saturday, December 31


I want to clear a reflective space, to look back at this year, look forward to the next. Life crowds in, barging past me on the busy pavement and catching my shoulder.

Friday, December 30

A man I shared an armrest with

He talks to a woman from his village about his 96 year old father, who is now on his own after his sister died last fortnight. His father's new neighbour is too noisy, screams at her children all night. There is a vibration in his throat - I recognise it as panic, as concentrated sadness. I only notice he's left a bag of Christmas presents behind after he's left the train.

Thursday, December 29

Disconsolate roses

Their heads have become to heavy for their necks, and they rest their blowsy pink chins on the edge of the glass.

Wednesday, December 28

The Cock, Auchenmalg

The old boy serving half-pints at The Cock is talking about the cows round and about. McKie's herd, apparently, are 'crazy'. He comes out from behind the bar so he can properly show us how they charge from their shed to their field, and from their field to back into their shed.

Tuesday, December 27

Young cows

I sit on the wall and talk to them in a quiet voice. One's coat is the colour of burnt caramel - over by the fence there are seven littler ones. They mistake me for someone else, and all stumble over to moo their need. I want to come back with buckets of water, with more than enough of their favourite foods.

Monday, December 26

Rigg Bay with racing dots

The dark seaweed is dusted with white and pops under our boots. Across the bay a family is threading its way across the sand and rocks, with different sized dots racing back and forth between them and towards the edge of the sea. Dad counts 12 happy dogs through his binoculars.

Sunday, December 25


The frost at the bottom of the garden doesn't have time to thaw before the dark steals in again across it, like a kindly arm.

Saturday, December 24

Friday, December 23

On the train to Edinburgh

Poplar sillhouettes in a row, thin and perfectly perpendicular. Eight black birds float in the space above them, carefully placing themselves at random distances from each other. The sky puts out blue as if it could do it all day.

Thursday, December 22

Woman on her mobile

She answers the whining ring and it's Ed. She discovers he's planning on buying her husband a DVD for Christmas - she's horrified, tells him he mustn't waste his money, her husband 'isn't into Christmas all that much anyway'. After he rings off she calls her husband, instructs him in a too-loud voice to call Ed straight away and tell him he really doesn't want a DVD. What Ed wants to do, and whether her husband wants a DVD or not, goes unheard.

Wednesday, December 21

Poor bag

A half-full faded yellow bag of sand and cement mix sits in the hall where it's been for several years. One day we'll throw it away.

Tuesday, December 20

Quiet morning

A quiet morning reading things I already know but have forgotten again. The words taste like slices of apple, brown bread, cold cranberry juice.

Monday, December 19

A tiny beetle

A tiny beetle on my keyboard with elegant ridges from his front to his back in bronze and cinammon becomes what it is - a seed. It still has life inside it but it's moving more slowly, waiting more patiently for growth.

Sunday, December 18

Inside looking out

Smoke trails grow downwards from way up in the sky. My fingers soften as the car fills with warm air.

Saturday, December 17


The tall lamp rocks in the wind - only a few centimetres either way where the neck bends over like a snowdrop, but enough to loosen its base rooted in the earth, enough for the lamp to release the tension from its metal.

Friday, December 16


Her unborn baby lies between us as we talk, listening to its mother's plans next year and waiting to hear its name, which it doesn't yet know.

Thursday, December 15


I pass a woman pushing a her buggy-ed baby and bump into the cloud of eucalyptus scent they're pulling along with them - pale green, shot through with burning.

Tuesday, December 13

City fragments

* a black PVC Santa leering at me from a costume shop window
* a souped-up car with lights fixed onto its belly so it drags a luminous blue shadow beneath it
* headline shouting from a newspaper board: 'SERIAL ARSONIST MAY BE BACK'
* 'who dunnit' sprayed in diffuse black paint across the probation office front door

Monday, December 12

Tipped over

From the window I can see that the green plastic chair at the bottom of the garden has tipped over. Sitting on it and soaking myself in sun belongs to a different time.

Sunday, December 11

Sign reporting the site of a fatal accident

I wish they'd take it down so I'd stop being reminded, and so I'd stop being reminded of the people who don't need to see the sign to be reminded.

Saturday, December 10

In the mall at Christmas-time

They have coated the paving stones by the river with ice, and small girls in pink and silver are gliding in circles. Their mothers look on, puzzling over what to buy grandad and making Christmas card lists in their heads.

Friday, December 9


The seagulls have all gathered, hopefully, on the crest of the roof of the Loch Fyne Seafood Restaurant.

Thursday, December 8

Life size cows

There are various fibre-glass animals on the pavement outside the shop at the top of the road - sheep, ducks, geese. Last week there were two new additions - life size cows, complete with veiny udders and kind eyes. I want to take them both home and talk to them softly, pat their flanks.

Wednesday, December 7

Tuesday, December 6

Cold season

The weeping willow trails its yellow branches on the frozen ground, leafless and thinking of Spring.

Monday, December 5

Passing the arboretum

Caught sight of through the trees: an orangey-red flashing glow that's dying to be fire, but instead is the electric light on an awkward-looking vehicle.

Sunday, December 4


His name is written across the red plastic in fading black felt tip. He doesn't work here any more. I wonder how long his name will live.

Saturday, December 3


The long rectangular back window is lit up from inside and stands out like a television screen in the early morning gloom. A man in a red T-shirt is stood up, wobbling, and sorting through something out of view - I imagine his suitcase, innards exposed, clothes hiding a woolley hat or a book. Where has he travelled from? Where is he going?

Friday, December 2


100 tiny fairy lights zig-zagging up the stairs, sprinkling light into the room like icing sugar

Thursday, December 1


His front two legs are thicker, as if he's been doing too many reps with the tiny dumbells at the insect gym, getting himself all out of balance.