Colin Alcock

It's not just the books.


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Jack of all trades, master of some. That's my own assessment of a life where I've tried many things, done well in a few, failed in a few, but generally kept my head above water in this fast flowing river of life.

Now, I'm in calmer waters, having joined that band of retirees who can choose when to get up in the morning. Most days, anyway.

This website showcases some of my writing and some of my images and is a fluid selection, changed at the occasional whim to provide new works or older, but previously unseen material.

So, more may be added, a few items may disappear and maybe the style will change as it grows organically; for that's the serendipitous way I tend to do things.

I hope you enjoy what you find.

As for my background, click the button below for a brief resumé.

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Paul Hewitt believed he had found the perfect partner in Giules Franciotti, unaware of the missions that she and her feisty sister, Maria, kept secret from him - until he, too, was drawn into one, with a disastrous result.

As a consequence, all three lives are threatened before a disastrous finale exposes the truth.

A dark plot, but a light read.
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When Anne Grant invited her son to a Christmas Lunch at Arden Ash, without telling Edna Gray, all she had intended was to show an independence of spirit and less need for the constant guidance offered by her self-appointed mentor.

She didn’t expect the kind of interest his introduction would arouse – or that a train of events among her new acquaintances would lead to such tragic consequences.

For those who like a good page-turner.
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Some see the dandelion as an evil weed, others recall the beauty of a wildflower spread across a sunlit field.

Whichever your point of view, this compilation provides a varied collection of prose, poetry and rhyme to match many a mood.

A book that you can dip into at random.

What's new this month?

A short, verbal image of a city day.

(Click here) to read January's "I am City".

A light flash fiction, also on this page,

"Duck Soup".

Plus a new short story in |The longer bits|

"Donna's Mom is laughing now."

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Wintry sea, Felpham, West Sussex

Duck Soup

As they stood before the camera, in the new season’s beachwear, Margaretta glanced between poses at the lean, tanned, figure of Jean-Claude, thinking ‘With luck, I’m going to be playing away tonight.’

Her photographer husband, being bisexual, had much the same idea in his mind, as he brought Jean-Claude to the front of the trio on the studio’s beach set.

The third model, Carmella, was desperately trying to remember her grandmother’s recipe for duck soup. She knew that Jean-Claude would drop everything for duck soup, and she was desperate to take the strong-muscled hunk home, that night. She did. And after he’d helped her assemble the tall IKEA bookcases she’d bought, as a surprise for her partner, Emelia, they sat down to a quiet supper.

Emelia came in, late. Seeing them together at the bistro table, in the breakfast kitchen, she threw a hissy fit, shouting and stamping her feet, in rage. They’d left no duck soup, for her.

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I am City

The dawn light is a relief. It brings a slow warmth to my chilled streets, after a night of frost that dusted pavements with silver, foot marks and cycle tyres patterning them in the earliest hours, before the hoards set out on daily commute. They show little respect for me, as they hustle across my roads, fast pacing to the station, scuffing frozen feet at bus stops and trampling in litter from the night before.

My highways choke with tyre rubber shed from spinning wheels of too fast drivers, grazed from articulated trailers and pantechnicons, while oils and grease are laid down from fume filled exhausts and ageing engines, the stop-start manoeuvres of public transport tearing at my well-worn surfaces. The roar of rattling diesels, the cacophony of shouted voices, all assault me; shop shutters squeak and squeal on opening and false light begins to spill from windows of coffee shops, serving croissants and coffee. A burger van offers fat laden breakfasts and wafts out acrid odours; tempting to some, met with clenched noses by others.

Cool air brought down the grime of a dust laden night and now, as sun penetrates between the shadows, warmer air and light winds circulate it around my buildings, over low roofs and up the slab sides of towering edifices, coating windows, settling on sills and reaching into already fume filled lungs, as city folk breathe in the still chill air, expelling it in vapoured gasps.

Commuters plunge down to my bowels and stand close packed, ready to surge onto metal caterpillars underground, each announced by a blast of fusty air. Some stay surface bound and walk, hail taxis or climb stairs to the upper decks of buses, peering ahead at jammed tight traffic dribbling through short lived green lights, in horn blaring packages. They ignore the sights and attractions that surround them, my very history, as they peer at smart phones and count out the last seconds of freedom before work – and whether that will be seconds early or minutes late.

As the day wears on, it quietens to convoys of safety vested schoolchildren; and shoppers, and travellers and tourists; the sightseers, at least, appreciating my worth. Guides extol my virtues, my place in history, my fine architecture from yesteryear to contemporary, my parks and green spaces, but they hide away the slums, the crumbling deprivation of cancered concrete and social disorder. For the whole of life is found within my boundaries.

Evening approaches: the morning’s dissonance grates out in reverse, trampling my nerves until night-time revelry overtakes and lighter, happier tones pervade. The city’s populace enjoys the brighter aspects of my entertaining side; the bars and bistros, the restaurants, the theatres, the music throbbing clubs and star-spangled casinos; right through to the early hours of morn, leaving fast food waste and beer can litter for council night cleaners to clear from my streets.

And finally, an hour or so almost quiet. Before the rigours of another day.


Image © Jim Mcdowall |