Wednesday, 27 November 2013

A story for those who care

What is the connection between the arc of the covenant, the beautiful cedars of Lebanon which once grew all around the shores of the Mediterranean, a children's nursery rhyme and the giant figure cut into the chalk hills of the South Downs of England?  If you don't know, find out!  Look for yourself.  Google The Long Man of Wilmington and wonder who created him.

My story takes us through the mind and imaginative wanderings of a young female photojournalist.  In Book One a seemingly disconnected series of events in her life and mind lead her on, drawing her in, as if dangling on the end of a spider's thread.  Inexorably she is pulled toward the centre of the web, to face the ungodly.  By the middle of Book Two she has realised, but can she stop?

Her travels are occasionally bawdy, occasionally funny, well written and romantic.  The majority of the locations in the story are real and the innumerable pieces of history used are, if our history books can be believed, also real.

The Promise Tree Book One is a pleasant read and the electronic book makes an ideal and convenient Christmas present.

The majority of the posts on this blog are short extracts from The Promise Tree Book One.


Land of Dreams

The door had opened to a land of dreams as easily as if she had just leaned on it by mistake and fallen through.

Hours passed and Christmas day drifted quietly and amiably into evening.

Snowy Christmas

At home the whole house would smell of Christmas cooking.  Freda would be making great yule cakes and leaving them to rise by the fire.  Soon he could be sitting by the fire, a thick slice of freshly baked and buttered cake in his hand, a cup of tea on the corner of the table.

With curtains blowing, the back door shut.  His home; his Christmas.  Isolated by the day to come, he settled in front of the fire.
"Might we wake to a snowy Christmas, then?"  Freda peered at him over flour-covered glasses.
Walter shook his head, "Sharp frost and clear."
With his face as red as a smacked bum, she wondered what had been chasing him.  "All finished at the pub then?"
Walter nodded, blew the steam off his tea and added a measure of whisky to it.
"Mrs Lace get off to London then?  To her do?"
"Cuh!  You should've seen her dress.  Bit bloody cold for that sort of thing, I'd say."
Ah.  So that was it.  She'd guessed it would be.  He was jealous and flustered.  She moved the whisky bottle and the mince pies nearer to him on the table.
"I think there'll be a circus on the other channel."

Yo Ho Ho

"Yo Ho Ho
Yum Yum Yum
Stick the Christmas tree up his bum."
A sip of bright Scottish amber and Walter was happy, stapling cupids to Christmas tree fronds above the bar at The Woodpecker.

Santa's Nuts

"Hang Santa up by his nuts."
The pub fell silent.  In that still moment, Mike turned to the Proctor sisters:
"She didn't get what she wanted for Christmas, you know."

Christmas Tree Fairies

"You look like a fairy off the tree in that dress."
"You can turn me upside down to see, if you like."
"Everybody looks to see if Christmas tree fairies have knickers on."

Wednesday, 20 November 2013


She had tempted Jack in his enchanted wood, made love to Walter the boy openly in the flirting sunlight, moved freely down the hidden pathways of gypsies to the land beyond dreams, where spring and summer rule supreme and fairies ride on unicorns.  The door to their enchanted world had swung easily open.  Half-naked in the wood with Walter she had been shown the Down before the figure.  The wood, or Jack, was playing with her.  So be it.  She would play Spring, Titania, the sensual Queen of the Woodland, for the time being at least.

Friday, 15 November 2013

Perfect Manners

They whispered love's whispers and she answered.
"Love me?"
"You know I do."
"My heart keeps wondering why."
"I love you, angel."
"I'll miss you."
"Kiss me."
"Hold me."
"Forever, promise?"

She promised.

As she danced, all of her went with joy to the young men with lost hearts and perfect manners.


"Well, the ingredients my dear.  Yours is the nearest English wood, once forest, to France.  Anne was educated at the French court.  France is the land of the great heresy.  Anne's home was Hever Castle, not far from here.  The Friary, there, right next door to your wood, was founded by Simon de Roches, a French Templar knight late back from the Holy Land, from where the great heresy most likely came."

Host of Memories

Turning his face to the descending ice crystals, he shut his eyes: mmmm.  Nice.  Then, putting his plate down on a stall, he cut into the pudding with his fork.  A sprightly dance of Christmas joined a host of memories in his mouth.  That was good.  Very good.  A light pastry case with mincemeat filling, a thick layer of marzipan ice cream and baked meringue to cover.  That was more than good: that made one remember the first ever taste.  As porches of warm houses aand memories of parties burst upon his tongue, a girlfriend's warm hand in his, he walked her home in the snowy moonlight.  Now he was smiling.

Carol Singing

'Of all the trees that are in the wood, the holly bears the crown.'

The voices of the Richards boys came to him clearly on the winter air.  Carol singing somewhere round the village green no doubt.  He felt a light touch in his hand, as if a child had just taken it.  Looking down and all around there was no child to be found.

Star of Evening

Ahead of him to the east the first star of evening began to appear.  Stopping, he watched it twinkling, dancing over the waves on the edge of the world.  'Spend this long night with me.'  Had she whispered it to him, as they kissed and hugged under the mistletoe, in a grove of oaks?  Or had he just imagined she had?

Sandalwood & Oranges

She'd smelt of sandalwood and oranges.....Facing the great tree, her arms reaching round its massive trunk, he'd lifted her up.  Then, their hoard of mistletoe around their feet, in a grove of oaks, she'd kissed him.  It had been a good day.

Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Glittering Youth

But how on this mossed bank of joy had he cheated the rooster?  Or could this wood of love turn back the crow-blackened edges of mouths to the once rose-pink lips of glittering youth?  An icy hand touched the back of her neck.  Cheating the precipice of ages made her uneasy and she felt the wind blow cold in a far away wood.


At the far boundary of his property, he could see the hedge of bronze and crimson leaves.  Daggerwood.  The wood of a hundred thousand arrows from the English longbow.  The woods were full of songs, full of magic, full of history.  But the song that bothered him was the one that came to him on the air, barely distinguishable from the clatter of branches in the wind.  Children's voices all together.  Sometimes high in the leafy summer canopy.  Sometimes just over the hedge amongst the bindweed and nettles.


I think it's true that, for some people, poetry is food for the mind.  Words, odd words, taken out of their normal context, can encourage the mind to spread, to imagine, to dream.  Read The Promise Tree.