Progress report


Trixie found a baby mouse,

Scared it half to death and watched it quiver,

Hunched over its fear.

Bored, she stretched and let me take it,

Put it on the sill in the quiet sun.

No sport in babies, she said,

Let it grow.

Then we’ll see.


Finbar found a toad,

He’s good at that.

He never sees the pheasants or the hares,

Or any largish prey.

He hunts toads.

At night, they lumber from the ditch

Climb the banks and hunker down

Among the brambles.

Finbar spots them,

Overcomes his fear and pounces,

Perhaps because he is on a lead

And knows we’ll hold him back

So he’ll not take any harm.

Still, he finds toads for us,

Even if we choose to leave them be.


Ninnie hunts cobwebs

And dog biscuit.

She finds lots of both.

Life is good, she says,

When there’s a barn and an attic,

And the dog biscuit tub

doesn’t close properly.




Dog in the snow

The dverse Expressionist prompt had me delving into the visual world of Franz Marc. This is another of his paintings, in which yellow symbolises femininity and gentleness.


Why so still, little one,

when the wind blows shrill

and the day is done?


The snow is cold,

and the winter bites

as the year grows old.


Snow drifts high,

still you don’t stir,

on the cold ground lie.


North wind blows,

and the useless hound

is left to feed the crows.

Microfiction: Goodbye

I’ve just finished round #1 of edits, so to celebrate, I looked at Ronovan’s Friday Fiction prompt. It looked like a good one. Short fiction using at least two of the following words:

Burn, Weave, Cabin, Silver, Hush, Light

I did it. A micro-microfiction of hardly any words. Unfortunately it was a prompt from three months ago. Never mind. the old ones work just as well.

Image©Adam Block/Mount Lemmon SkyCenter/University of Arizona


Comet burned through the night, leaving a trail of silver light. The town slept, but the last child left awake watched through the darkness and the hushed trees bowing solemnly in the dark wind and waved to the celestial body carrying a friend home.

“Goodbye, Bingo.”

In the silver garden the moon and the comet light shone on the fresh turned earth where a dog would no longer play, and made a river of diamonds of childish teardrops.

Finbar Congo and Papou

While I’m waiting for the Finch Books site to go live, and to stop myself from going completely barmy, here’s a Finbar post. The last six months have seen such a change in his behaviour I’m still not used to it.

Finbarlying down

In the six years he’s been with us he has been bitten, chased and bullied by other dogs, culminating in a very nasty attack by a Weimeraner that almost punctured his lung and got him 20 stitches in his right flank.

He became very wary of all dogs, and had a tendency to get his retaliation in first if ever another male dog approached with remotely ambiguous intentions. Letting him off his lead became a nerve-racking experience. Would he just scare the daylights out of the other dog or trample it to death? I even bought him a muzzle so he could practice running around with other dogs without biting their backsides when he caught them. It didn’t work. He just pulled the muzzle off with his outsize claws.

Then he met Congo.

Digital StillCamera

Congo is a Weimeraner, big and bouncy, and as far as Finbar was concerned, a serial biter. At first he would freeze and refuse to go a step further when he saw Congo. Then the penny dropped. Congo liked him. And when he ran after Congo, it was Congo who was scared. That was at the beginning of the summer and since then they have been best friends. Congo is big enough not to fall over when Finbar barges him, and not fast enough to ever beat him in a race. It has given him so much confidence that he even invites other dogs to play with him and doesn’t have to be put on his lead every time another dog looks sideways at him.

Last week we met Papou. A galgo from the same awful hole near Seville that Finbar was rescued from.


Papou is nearly twelve but he still enjoys a short 40 mph sprint. Galgos aren’t demonstrative dogs unless something winds them up. Then they lose it completely and have so much fun they end up doing themselves an injury. One reason Papou doesn’t encourage Finbar who is younger and stronger to chase him. Papou is sensible.

Finbar and Papou hanging


and just doing what dogs do.


It might not seem like much, for a dog to go out for a walk without being constantly on the look out for trouble, but it’s a big step forward for Finbar and makes me feel happy for him. Maybe soon we’ll be able to think about adopting that friend for him.

Editor’s pick: Friday

Last November, Literally Stories published Friday, a short story I wrote about an old neighbour here in Bordeaux. June Griffin chose it today as one of her three editor’s picks. You can read her review here..

You can read the story of François and how he made a new friend here

Thanks to June for the review, and to the editors at Literally Stories for publishing Friday.

The painting is by Verrocchio, but you’d think he used Vendredi as the model.

Microfiction: The golden dog


The dog lies, her golden head resting on her front paws, watching the passers-by. She is tired. For four days she has trotted back and forth along the route she knows best, between the two campsites, the park and the bridge, the bridge and the park. She and the man slept together in the same sleeping bag, sometimes under the bridge, sometimes under a tree. Now he has gone.
She waits and she watches, and she trots back and forth, back and forth. But she is hungry and tired. She plays with other dogs but won’t go near people. Her eyes search for a single man in the whole mass of humanity. Her fur is muddy and she is tired and hungry. But she waits and watches and trots back and forth.
I would catch her if I could, the golden dog, and bring her home. But she won’t be caught. I would take the place of the man who went away and didn’t come back. But she has more faith than I, more hope. She will watch and wait and trot back and forth, back and forth, forever.

Dog explained


He watches, the dog
Ears erect, muscles tense
Ready to bound.
He cringes
From the outstretched hand
Beyond reach of its potential pain.
Fearful, they say, with scorn.
Frightened of everything.
Fearful, he is
As are the birds
And all wild things
That peer wide-eyed
Through the tall grasses
And slip into the shadows
At the heavy sound
Of a human footfall.
Wary, he is
Of the outstretched hand
Of the hidden stick, the knife or rope.
He knows, the dog
The infinite variety
Of human brutality.

A bit of info

Dog listens to the wind

Quintessential elemental

wind whips waves and flames

from pretty entertainments to a torrent of death

silences all sound but its own voice,

bends and breaks trees that scream possessed.

Not earthbound like heaving oceans and ephemeral fires

nor the great stirrings of the earth’s crust that rise from the inner core

wind flails the arms of galaxies and twists the meteor’s fiery tail

rushing through the darkness between spinning tops of planets.

It knows no bounds, no limits,

tells stories we cannot understand

from the confines of the universe.

Dog knows and hears and lifts his nose in trepidation

to smell the million alien smells, the fears and terrors

carried from the dreadful regions of deepest space

and sneezes on the dust of long-dead stars.