Fruit cage

Fieldfares flutter its fine netting maddened by the scented air, their hard eyes looking for holes to squeeze through into this open-air larder where currants and berries lie plump, bright as jewels under the green leaves.

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The deepwater port at Piraeus

At Piraeus’s deepwater port ends Europe where Themistocles built his navy sheds and high walls against the Persians, walls to protect the precious Athenian way of life. Now Europe ends in concrete and quayside cranes made elsewhere, raised over the sea to process containers sat waiting in the sunshine. An international ship approaches slows and […]

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Swimming for England (complete)

“And time passes, it is only life itself that never changes – when we are all gone the clouds, the gone the clouds, the stars, the cities will still bustle and hum with no thoughts at all for who lived for a bit and then disappeared.” John Hickman, 1960 Chapters The Bosphorus Page 3 Alcatraz […]

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February morning / the 7.18 to London

A press of metal on metal, the simplest trick and yet the most important, so soft and true we might be starting on runners in the snow, leaning something heavy against a tree. Any man’s walk, his run, now a dash by a free horse, steady, incrementing around a bend and we are travelling. A […]

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Swimming for England (extract)

One week before they flew to Turkey he met Eric for a final training swim. It was dusk and warm. As he waded into the cool water he was overwhelmed with despair. When he put his head down into the dark water and began a slow crawl towards the centre of the lake voices of […]

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Open water

All afternoon the sea pushes into the land, plating the estuary to cloud swelling the river high enough to salt the skirts of the valley trees. Deeper inland creeps the sea’s fingers, gloving the mud creeks, blunting their sharpness with brimmed water. Crabs scuttle uphill, rafts of sea-weed eddy, a hovering merlin whistles high tide. […]

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The guerilla planter

He is paused, boiler-suited against the work to follow, observing the day fail around him. A light strip in the west lends him eyes and when the town’s dark circumference reaches his boots he gathers up his tools – a sack of tree whips, one old spade, and goes roaming. Roaming in the gloaming. He […]

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