Community Café

I sometimes have an irrational feeling of anxiety when I walk into a café, not knowing how busy it will be or how I’ll be received. I went to my local café a few days ago, having not been for months, and never regularly.

I had barely stepped inside today when the lady behind the counter smiled and said, ‘Latte?’

‘Oh, umm…Yes, thank you!’

The café was empty, apart from three older people, and I took the sofa seat by the window. The sun had returned.

The café lady caught my eye and said, ‘Scrambled egg?’ Continue reading

Surfing the Nerves: My Day at Surf Snowdonia

You love the idea of this and it’s going to be great, I told myself. You’ve always wanted to give it a go.

Somehow it’s easier to tell yourself that when you’re curled up at home with a cup of tea, dreaming of the waves, than when you’re shivering with a surf board at the start of your first lesson. It didn’t seem the right time to tell the instructor that I can’t skate, or rollerblade, and can barely carry a tray across a room!

I edged into the water, and the other five learners and our instructor were soon on their bellies, paddling their boards towards the starting point. I fell behind. Great, so this is how it’s going to be… I could barely balance lying down and it seemed to require every muscle in my body to keep moving – I fell off, twisting my lower back. What on earth am I doing? I couldn’t even look up to see if I was receiving pitying looks, as I was firmly in survival mode. I caught up, just in time, and was only halfway through a sigh of relief when I fell in again. I surfaced, cleared the water from my nose, and looked behind me. The massive wave was approaching. My heart flipped. Continue reading

Am I a Proper Writer?

It’s my English Language O-Level exam. As always, I spend a few moments looking around at my fellow candidates while the papers are being handed out. There’s the girl with a ghostly-white face, sitting so far forward that she looks like she might slip off her seat. There’s the boy who is so relaxed that he ought to be on a recliner, and doesn’t seem remotely concerned – he either knows he can pass easily, or has already accepted a fail. There’s the blank-faced gazer. There’s the personification of calm readiness. There’s the shaker, hanging on to her bottle of water. Dry mouth, no doubt.

I could go on, but I now have my paper and am focused on spelling my own name, not quite trusting myself to be automatic today. I take extra care with my neat handwriting, which is different every time I write. Perhaps one day I’ll find my style. Continue reading

The Day We Nearly Killed Our Brother

Jonny was going through his ‘skater-boy’ phase. A hint of ‘emo’. He was about eleven years old. That day he was wearing his favourite red and black striped wrist bands, a peaked grey hat, black t-shirt, grey skinny jeans, and Converse. His clothes drew attention to his lanky body.

It was warm enough to be in the garden; a day when the sun dipped in and out of clouds, the breeze slightly chilling whenever the sun decided to hide. Jonny was the first to go outside, as was so often the case. Our older brother, David, had torn himself away from the computer and gone out to join him.

There had been a shed at the top of our garden, but it became so rotten that we’d torn it down and were preparing to lay the foundations for a new one. A tree was beginning to lean out over it.

I walked up the steps to see what my brothers were doing, tiptoeing in my sandled feet, carefully avoiding the patio cracks and the colony of ants that spilled out of them. I flicked one off my toe.

It looked like a construction sight up there, largely because of the planks of wood, breeze blocks, sticks and other items that Jonny had decided to collect. The boys were busy attaching a length of blue rope to one end of a small ladder which we had acquired from a rubbish tip.

‘Hi,’ said David, with a glint in his eye as he looked up at me. ‘Jonny’s going to stand on a rung, and we’ll chuck the end of the rope over the tree branch and hoist him up!’ Continue reading