Albert learns that the present continuous is a useful thing to think about when you want to really relax

Albert decides that the present isn’t just now.  The present continuous stretches back to when humans first evolved and then right up to when we’ll live as almost endless computers.  We’re not so significant, Albert decides, that each day has any value.

Carpe diem?  Nope, Albert decides, let the day be: seize the epoch and grab the millennium by all means.  Bring your ancestors, friends and descendants along for the ride.  But squander some days if you wish.  Because life’s too precious to worry about wasting the odd day here and there.

And with this thought Albert lets his Sunday paper fall to the ground and returns to the serious business of snoozing in the garden.

Albert learns that some work looks a lot harder than some other work

Albert feels proud as he steps back to admire the wardrobe he has just built from a flat pack.  For once, he can see and touch the results of his labours.

This then reminds him of when he was working at home for a time while there was work being done on his house.  Real men were knocking things down and building walls.  Meanwhile, up in his bedroom, Albert was tapping onto his laptop, responding to emails and writing reports.

“Well, I’m actually working very hard as well,” Albert decided not to say to the sweating workmen when he ventured downstairs to offer them cups of tea.

How to read your palm


Please, for old time’s sake, take your right hand and study it most closely.

Now then, you see that deep line at, say, seven o’clock heading up to one o’clock?  Well, my old friend, that’s what we term your lifeline.

And see that line coming in from the left, just before what we might term a quarter to? Ah come on now, don’t be all salty like that: you can see it; just look a little harder.  That’s the one!  The one curving up to join your lifeline, the one that runs alongside your lifeline for an inch or so before veering off to the right, heading off who knows where and then becoming a little faint?

Well yes, that would be me, yes.  Indeed it would.  Typically me you might say.

Now, would you just keep an eye on that line?  Just let me know if it does anything weird.  Would you do that for me?

Albert learns about the overwhelming and intriguing power of the flower


(Jean Arp – Man Seen by a Flower [1958])

Albert stares at the flower.

What kind of flower are you? he wonders.

The flower looks back at him.

You can label me, specify me, the flower thinks, if that helps you manage the situation.  The truth is, if you could truly absorb all my flowerness you’d never speak again.

Q&A included in The Drabble’s Best of 2016 list

Well this is a nice start to the new year.  Q&A, a little piece of mine, has been named by the two very supportive and generous editors of The Drabble blog as one of their ten favourites for 2016.

The post highlighting this can be found here.

This is second time The Drabble has supported a piece by me: they included ‘A Fresh Angle’ in last year’s list of their top ten.

The Drabble is a supportive space to share very short fiction and I heartily recommend it. The blog itself can be found here.

Happy New Year to one and all!  Here’s to new beginnings and fresh starts…..

Albert learns that Mr Nick is really lazy during the festive period



‘Hold on, hold on’ Albert says.  ‘Let me get this straight.  You’re closing down the blog for Christmas until the new year?’

‘It’s only a few days,’ Mr Nick says, studying Albert’s tired shoes.  ‘Trust me – both our followers will understand.’

‘And just run through your plan for me again?’

‘Okay, Albert so……it’s like this……I eat and drink too much for about ten days, start reading about six books at the same time and then make lots of promises to myself about how I’m going to be a different person in 2017.’

Albert sighs.  ‘And you’re calling this a plan?’

‘It’s the best I can come with.’

‘And you can’t even be bothered to post fifty words a day because you’re too busy stuffing your face.’

‘Pretty much,’ Mr Nick agrees.

‘And you seriously think people will forgive you for this laziness if you write a short post-modern piece in which one of your characters speaks to the author about how you’re not posting for a while.’

‘Well it kind of worked in the summer.’

‘Mr Nick, you are such a loser!’

‘And what about you Albert ?  I don’t see you exactly getting out there and starting your own blog.’

‘Well that’s because I’m a fictional character.  Besides, I’m the only reason people read your blog at all. I’ve even had an offer of marriage.’

‘Albert, we both know you only got that offer because you don’t exist.  Women think that men that don’t really exist are comfortably the best sort.  Everyone knows that.’

‘You can hardly talk.  All you do is wave at women you don’t know from roof tops.  Or moan on about the one that got away and how it would be better if you’d met on a different planet.’

‘Thanks, as ever, for your kind support Albert.’

‘What if I learn something over the next few days and I need to tell people?’

‘It can wait Albert.  We’ll post it in the new year.’

‘Okay,’ Albert says.  ‘Have it your way.  But don’t come running to me if you lose both your followers.’

‘I’ll still have you, Albert,’ Mr Nick says.  ‘I’ll always have you.’

‘Well there’s no need to make it sound like a curse.’

‘Happy Christmas Albert.’

‘Okay, okay – happy Christmas to you too, Mr Nick.’

Albert and Mr Nick turn to the computer screen.  ‘And a Happy Christmas and New Year to all our lovely readers.’

‘Albert,’ Mr Nick says, ‘could you try that again with a bit more emotion this time please?’

Albert ponders the suggestion for a moment.  ‘Er…no,’ he concludes.