139 entries in this archive

Sunday 19 September, 2021

Glee Club (11,000 words, about 40 minutes reading time)

This story was written in response to a Writers’ Circus challenge on the theme of friendship.

Once I started tapping the keys, the story kept kept coming at me, relentlessly, and I was on track for submission on the due date of Tuesday 14 September 2021, the second Tuesday of the month.

However, its completion was delayed as an other tale took priority (see “Smugglers’ Cove”) which I posted to this website a few days ago.

The central idea of the Glee Club is based on fact. In the story the hero called Jimmy Shaw is based on an equally lovely man called Jimmy H who came to see me down through many years in business. He was a technical rep whose firm provided pumps and pressurising systems for buildings.

Some of you reading this may recognise Jimmy H, a man whose pockets were always filled with sweeties. As far as I knew him, Jimmy H was a non-smoker, teetotal and never once used foul language or the like. In my mind’s eye he was a true Christian gentleman. And yes, Jimmy H was indeed a BB Captain. I did not know him socially and know next to nothing of his family background.

However, before I knew him through business, I had met him several times during my time at the YF at Forsyth Memorial Congregational Church in Govanhill. Jimmy H was the star singer in a small Glee Club group who came to entertain our church audiences many times, singing a repertoire of songs old and new.

Now, please, I ask those who read this story to keep in mind that what you are reading is a work of fiction. Jimmy Shaw and his wife Irene and the other characters are from my imagination. Read on.

Tuesday 14 September, 2021

Smugglers’ Cove

This is a story about a couple called George and Linda and their dog called Bella.

In May 2021 we visited Silverdyke Caravan Park at Cellardyke in the East Nuek of Fife, a favourite haunt most years. Alongside us in their motorhome we encountered the exuberant, tail wagging bundle of energy called Bella, a brown and white spaniel.

We chatted about this and that and I took the opportunity to pass Linda my contact card, inviting them to visit www.thebuzzinbee.co.uk to access “Rosemarkie Remembrances” and “Doodle and the Dolphins”, old stories involving caravans and dogs.

Last week, September 2021, we found ourselves alongside the delightful dynamic trio again. Linda was quick to remind me I had promised a story featuring Bella.

The next morning I started tapping the rough outline on my iPad and by the end of our short break, the tale was ready for transfer to my laptop to be edited and checked.

As they were about to leave to return to their home in Peebles, I told them to expect Bella’s story soon and asked their indulgence regarding my invented dynamic for their dialogue, crafted to create the story duly published herewith.

Be assured that Caiplie Coves and Kilrenny Church with its cemetery and the tomb of the Lumsdains do exist.

The rest is fiction.

Or is it?

Wednesday 18 August, 2021

Tishala (1,000 words, 4 minutes reading time)

This is a little tale about a cat called Tishala.

It was prompted by a Writers’ Circus challenge, “A day in the life of a cat”.

Friday 16 July, 2021

Never Again ( just 600 words, to be read with morning coffee?)

This tiny tale was penned in response to a Writers’ Circus challenge entitled, “There was a time. . ..”.

Ah, yes, as regular readers will suspect, there is another longer tale on this same theme, a story still in the making. However, as the deadline approached, I knew the longer offering not be ready.

Then, while awake in the night, ‘Never Again’ came to mind, almost fully formed.

Read on, why don’t you?

Sunday 30 May, 2021

Cafe Myra (1,000 words, 5 minute read time)

This tale was written in response to a Writers’ Circus challenge, issued in April for May 2021 submission, just as we were being encouraged to ease ourselves out of our current LOCKDOWN.

It is a simple tale, whimsical, which seems to be one of my traits at present.

Sunday 30 May, 2021

If Only! (4,000 words, 20 minutes to read)

This was written in response to a Writers’ Circus challenge, a topic which I set for June 2021.

It is confected from my childhood memories of living in Pollokshaws, before we moved to Arden.

The song which came to mind for me was “Some Enchanted Evening”, one of my father’s favourites.

It has been recorded by many, many people, even by me, a version which is still a work in process (!).

My favourite rendering is by Al Jolson. You can listen to it on YouTube by copying this link into your browser.


Thursday 27 May, 2021

Kinnoull Gardens ( 6,300 words, about 25 minutes)

This tale germinated during a caravan holiday at Scone, Perth a compact city which straddles the mighty River Tay, famous for its huge salmon.

Perth was was once the capital of Scotland.

Our visit was in May 2021, just as Covid travel restrictions were being eased.

On holiday, we enjoy visiting gardens and gardening centres, always hoping to find something special to take home and try in our own small garden.

On this trip we visited Branklyn Gardens, now owned by the National Trust for Scotland. This compact two-acre garden terraced garden was developed by John and Dorothy Renton in the early 1920s when it benefited from plants brought back to Scotland by plant hunters like George Forest and others.

Branklyn specialises in rhododendrons and azaleas, for which it is world-famous. And Branklyn Gardens Tearoom have the best fruit scones in Scotland!

The garden is collocated with Balnacraig School, originally set up in 1843 as a model industrial school for the disadvantaged young women of Perth.

Both properties lie on the slope of Kinnoull Hill which towers over the Perth.

On another day we visited Scone Palace, in times long ago dubbed “The Crowning Place of Scottish Kings”. Scone Palace Garden is famed for its hundreds of specimen trees, many of which are giants! It too has a collection of rhododendrons and azaleas laid out in a flatter, parkland setting.

Our next stop was Glendoik Gardens located behind the Glendoik Garden Centre. This also has an an amazing collection of rhododendrons and azaleas planted in a much more natural setting of a spectacular, steep-sided glen with a river tumbling through it, most definitely well worth a visit.

From these visits, a story was planted and grew over the time of our short break holiday.

Tuesday 25 May, 2021

Thirteen Starlings (1100 words, a five minute read)

This tale was written while we were on holiday in our tiny old caravan at Silverdyke Caravan Park, perched above the remains of Cellardyke sea-bathing lido, long abandoned with the advent of foreign holidays, heated outdoor swimming pools and long stretches of golden sand beaches lapped by warm seas.

The story wrote itself with a little help from Linda, George and their eighteen-month old spaniel Bella, our delightful near neighbours on the site.

Saturday 1 May, 2021

Serendipity Antiques (short read, about 10 minutes)

This story arose from a Writers’ Circus topic, “Attic”.

It takes the form of a letter from a dying mother to a son, a rambling epistle containing information to be withheld until he is eighteen, old enough to understand and accept his heritage without the angst and uncertainty which an earlier revelation might cause him.

Sunday 28 March, 2021

The King’s Shilling by Margaret Reid Bonthron

My wife is very keen on genealogy and some time ago wrote an article for the 3Ls Genealogy Club at Strathclyde University’s Centre for Lifelong Learning.

This piece chronicled what she had discovered about her forebear, Private John Reid of Dalrymple, Ayrshire.

‘Our’ John Reid was a professional Scottish soldier who fought at Waterloo with the 79th Regiment of Foot, before being shipped to Canada, complete with wife and family.

Recently on Scotland’s People (a government-run website), there was a release of Kirk Session records which enabled Margaret to discover a little more about ‘our’ John Reid.

You are invited to read on and to listen to me singing a version of The King’s Shillin’, a song which depicts what it was like for men like John Reid.

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