“Can the trees talk, Pappa?”

His innocent face was frowning, dark honey coloured eyes staring at me from underneath his brows.

I looked down.

Sunlight streamed through the canopy, lighting the green grass tussocks at our feet.


I hesitated, arthritic hands on the weeding implement that I had been using. Crouching down next to my Grandson, I was now at eye level.

“Maybe. Why do you ask?”

“Because when the wind blows through their leaves, I can hear whispers. I was wondering if it was the trees talking.”

We were in my back yard, out near where the garden became the forest. Little Dylan had followed me out and was now accompanying me as I weeded this section of yard.

There was something magical to my little Grandson about the natural world where I lived. He never ceased to dream and wonder about the land around us.

This was his most recent question.

“The trees tell each other stories, much like how I tell you stories.”

“What do they talk about?”

My knees felt stiff, so I stood up. Dylan stepped back, grasping my fingers and trying to help. I gently pushed him away.

This one I had to think about, or else I’d be in trouble. My daughter in law didn’t believe in playing make believe, and I was walking a fine line.

In the distance, a loud deisel engine sounded, growling even louder as it roared up the hill before our driveway.

The sound died down as the car braked in front of the family house. A screen door slammed, as voices greeted each other. And then my wife and Sally appeared on the back step to the yard.

“Mummy,” cried Dylan, his old Pappa forgotten now that his mother was present. He ran to her side, throwing his arms around her legs.

“The trees tell each other stories, Mum.”

Sally kissed him on the forehead as she picked him up.

“Do they really?”

I held my breath.

But today, she was smiling.


Ice and snow filled her vision.

Feeling more alone than ever, she scrambled further up the winding mountain pass.

“As long as no Mountain Trolls see us we’ll be fine,” said a voice from behind.

Mitch trudged upwards too.

Diana heard him slip and turned around.

A full year younger than her, Mitch was her brother and best friend.

“Are you okay?”

Mitch was looking over his shoulder, a scared grimace on his face.

“Trust me, there is no such thing as a Mountain Troll,” Diana admonished him.

A soft swear word was caught in an echo, the sound gaining momentum before disappearing into silence.

The mountains this high up were unforgiving. Snowflakes began to spiral downward.

Mitch after catching up with his sister stared at the sky.

“Diana, that doesn’t look good.”

Through the white landscape, a dark smudge indicated a ledge in the rocks ahead.

“There, Mitch. Can you see it?” She pointed towards it.

Squinting, Mitch set his face in a stubborn scowl.

Silently now, both sister and brother climbed towards it. As they neared, a tunnel reaching further into the mountain became visible. The two teenagers continued past the entrance.

The tunnel was high and roomy, with enough space for the siblings to walk side by side easily.

Warm air drifted through the tunnel towards them. Walking around a bend, a rosy glow greeted them. Going in further, the rosy glow became a cheery fire.

“Hello strangers. Welcome.” A little creature, the colour of sandstone and with a hide just as rough and hard, was sitting by the fire, waiting for them.

“My name is Alistair. What’s yours?”

The little creature beamed.

“Err…” Mitch turned to his sister and whispered, “what is it?”

Before Diana could answer, Alistair cocked his head to the side, still beaming.

“I’m a Mountain Troll. And this.” He swept his arm to take in the cosy room.
“Is my home.”


The Baroness was in fine fettle. She had just finished reading the abridged version of my book, and I was glad it was up to her high standards.

“I love how you explained what a Matrix was.” She leaned forward on her chair, a smile teasing her lips.

We were sitting in the drawing room of her mansion. The chair she sat on had heritage colours embroidered into the material, and my chair echoed the same design. I was her Repair Man, and she had decided, on a whim, to take an interest in me.

“I’m glad you liked it.” I smiled back.
This could be my lucky break. What she didn’t know was I was also a Time Traveller, and the book had been inspired by my foray into the future. With clocks being expensive and hard to come by, I had “borrowed” the Baroness’ clock. She’d never notice, I rationalized to myself.

“Except the bit where you mentioned a computer.”

Her smile stopped and she looked sad. Hastening to cheer her up, I felt the need to explain.

“I’m also an Inventor.”

“Aha, then you’ll be able to fix my clock. It seems to run backwards.”

Scapels and science classes

“That was gruesome.”

Tom was pulling a face as he spoke.

“Yep. I don’t like that section of the Library either,” I said under my breath.

The Librarian put another book on the shelf between us and the exit door.

Curious, we had visited the science display in the school library. Glass jars held the innards of different disembowelled creatures. Mice, frogs and fish with their entrails clearly suspended in liquid, stared glassily at students passing by.

Science was next. Not my favourite subject. Desperately, I was hoping I wouldn’t be adding to the collection of glass entombed animals we had just seen.

A perfectly shaped girl came bouncing around the corner as Tom and I entered the science laboratory. Tracey, the most popular girl in the school, beat us to the door.

I dropped my gaze, then wished I hadn’t. In her hand, Tracey was carrying a scapel. It meant only one thing. We were going to disembowel some poor creature.

Doubling over, I groaned. Mr Pearce, our Science Teacher, glared at me as I staggered to the entrance of the laboratory.

“What’s the matter with you, Richard?” he all but growled at me.

“I don’t feel too good, Sir.”

“You better sit in the Sick Bay. The Flu has been going through the school. Looks like you better stay there for now.”

Turning, I suppressed a grin as I strolled towards the Sick Bay. I had done it. I had managed to avoid hurting any poor animals.

Obediently, I sat in the Sick Bay, until I heard the bell. Then, I walked back down the corridor, heading towards where the buses picked us up.

Along the way, Tracey flounced in the opposite direction.

“Hello, Richard.” She smiled at me.

“Will you help me? I’m trying to stuff this cushion with the stuffing from this teddy bear.”

She thrust an old ragged teddy into my arms, and then used the scapel to cut him open. As the soft white wool came bursting out, Tracey gathered it and pushed it into a lovely patchwork cushion.

“Why weren’t you in Science today?” she asked me.

I stopped and thought for a second, deciding to not answer.

“Did I miss out on much?” I tried to sound casual.

“No. Not really. We were just doing revision before our exam next week.”

Tracey peered into my face. “Are you okay?” she enquired.

I could feel the smile on my face.

“So… the class just did text book work?” I asked her.

“Well. Yes.”

“And this scapel is from Craft?”

An odd look crossed Tracey’s face.


I had been wrong. No poor creature had been harmed at all. Once he found out what had happened, Tom would never let me live this one down.

Birthday cake

“Steve?” I asked him.

“Yes, Toni.”

“The instance that Mum finds out, we’re in deep trouble.”

My older brother nodded. “That’s okay.” He winked at me. “We’ll just have to make up some story.”

It was our Mother’s birthday. We had been in the kitchen, and had decided to make a cake out of some eggs we had found in the back yard. As soon as I had cracked one, a terrible stench had cleared us into the outside.

“Hey, you two,” bellowed Mum. “Come back here and clean up your mess.”

“Too late,” I informed Steve.

“Sis, why don’t we climb this tree? Mum will never find us up here.”

“Okay,” I said reluctantly, as I followed him amongst the branches.

I don’t know how long we had been up there. It seemed like ages, before the sun dipped below the horizon, and the mozzies drove us down to the ground.

Tip toeing, Steve opened the door to the back of the house. We entered the sunroom, relieved that the smell seemed to be not as strong.

Cautiously, we next entered the kitchen.

“Well it’s about time you two came inside.”

Mum had her hands on her hips, but the kitchen was clean once more.

“Next time you want to bake a cake for my birthday, please use the eggs from the fridge.”

Self Discipline

Some have it and some don’t. What sets people apart? What makes some people truly great in their own right?

For me, I believe the difference is Self Discipline.

As a Writer, self discipline is the difference between my success and my failure.

Today, I am redeeming myself by writing this article. Today, I have been self indulgent. Now? I am making up for my slovenly ways.

Self discipline is valuable and a trait I am working on. It is a Journey, just like my Writing is.

So join me on the road to success. Invest in yourself. Invest in your Self Discipline and you will never go wrong.


It’s everywhere.

Like a Creature who has snuck up at us out of the depths of our subconscious. It preys on the elderly and it’s shadow reaches further into our hearts and minds via the contageousness of the Media.

It’s times like these, when we face both illness and Recession that we need each other.

At this point in time, I’m toying with ideas of what I can do to help on a personal level.

When the Corona Virus has passed, there will be broken businesses and business owners and employers left in its wake.

It’s up to us to mend this. If you have some idea about maths, become a Budget Counsellor.

If you have people skills, reach out and offer support. If in a country with Lifeline, become a Lifeline Counsellor.

It’s during times like these when your free time combined with your skills can rebuild lives.

As soon as is practical, reach out to the charity and not for profit sector and make a real difference.

Together, we can do this.

Personal Motto


Do you have a personal motto?

A little mantra that keeps you pressing forward each day?

An affirmation?

Well, the main character of my book has one. It is “Never give up.”

If you’d like to find out what happens, order a book via direct messaging me.




This post is copied from an answer I wrote on Quora, where more of my written work lives.

My hope is that by clarifying what courage is, this can help others who do not currently have access to my other work.

Courage, as I’ve understood and experienced it, is having the ability to love more than fear. There’s a saying in Europe, called Whistling down the wind.

It means that a person uses what they have, their breath, to call on something, the wind, that is greater than they are.

Regardless of whether you see this Greater Presence, as the Universe, God or the Human will to live, I’ve found it important to connect with this larger Force.

So, courage is not fear. It is the love that stays with you and works through you, to overcome the fear.


It was mating season and I was single.

This is a bad situation to be in when you’re a wasp. It made me the laughing stock of my fellow wasps.

I’d dance, and wiggle, and fly in loops. But none of the girl wasps were interested in me.

Then, I found her.

The breeze sprang around to the North.

Her sweet scent sent me wild. I’d dreamed of meeting her. She haunted my sleep.

Finally, it got too strong.

My desire forced me to start looking for her.

I flew dead North. I flew until my wings ached and my eyes were watering.

Then, just as I thought I could fly no further, I saw her.

A snigger went up from a small group of other male wasps hanging around the bottom of a plant I’d never seen before.

I’d fallen in love with a flower.