Short Story: A special gift

We woke up at six to beat the others to the bushes. Grandmother and I were wobbling down the tracks, not yet fully awake. Most of the houses we passed along the way were still unlit. Grandma says not to trust the dark, or the neighbours. “For all we know,” she says, “they could already…

A letter for number 26

Books, lantern, aid kid. Check. Everything I needed was there. I only had to slip past our self-made checkpoint. I had figured it all out. Danny couldn’t resist his cigarettes and since they are forbidden down here, he always sneaked into another corridor. Leaving me with no more than four minutes to make my move….

Small Poems (Dutch)

Two small poems, one I wrote while living in Kathmandu and the other right after returning home. (‘Heimwee’ is written on march 5th and ‘Thuis’ on May 7th) Thuis In de stilte heb ik eindeloos geluisterdnaar het deinen van jouw borstkas,de ontbrekende toeters en het niet meer blaffen van de honden. Geluisterd tot het tijd wasOm het nu…

Scottish warmth

Alex had found me, dirty from the mud mixed with the sheep poo that lay all around. The remote landscape of the Scottish Highlands had provided little comfort during the day and the rain had soaked all my gear apart from my sleeping bag. Hours before arriving at the warmth of the walker’s pub that…

The woman carrying seven thousand letters

You should see her sitting there. On a bench, looking out over the ice covered sea that makes Stockholm’s islands reunite in winter. Her face ravaged by the sun and the years of living outside. She has got those wrinkles you get from sadness, not the laughing kind. Her clothes are worn, but still got some…

The last man of Myrdal (Part I)

I clearly remember taking their picture. It was a lovely day in August, the summer of ’57.  The train came in from Oslo and paused in Myrdal for a few hours on its way to Bergen. It gave us the chance to persuade the tourists to stay the night in a lovely hotel, so they could see the…

Sadly, no coffee with Harold

When I came home from a cold and amazing day at Hastings yesterday I found a letter in my mailbox. At first I thought it was some sort of advertisement, but it turned out to be the response to my letter to Harold send by the solicitors that handled his estate. They wrote me that Harold had…

A letter to Harold

To find out Hilda’s story I need to find out which face goes with the driving licence. I would also like to visit Kettering, because that is where she was born and where she died. It’s only an hour from London and her partner, Harold, is still living there if the Yellow Pages are still up to date. She had no…

The search for Hilda

About a week ago I headed for Camden Markets. Months before I had stumbled upon a little stall where they sold old photographs and I had the intention of buying them all. When I came there I found the box being too big and also stuffed with a lot of things I couldn’t use. So…

Three little houses on the hill

The bus driver parked his bus in Triberg and insisted on buying me coffee during his break. He told me he was a very religious man and believed I couldn’t be anything but an angel send by God. And as far as he was concerned you needed to buy coffee for angels. I had been…