So, it's a Sunday afternoon and it's heat haze, wobbling in the dips in the road, and you've been playing cricket at Broadgate with your mates in the gardens there (first one to tip it into the newt-pond wins outright - you'd never be allowed, these days, what with them being a protected species and all) and you've stowed all your gear in your bag and strapped it onto the rack at the back of the Honda 90 and kick started it into life, and you beetle off slowly, past its forbidding windows and gothic pinnacles and many-angled roofs, up the drive to the ornate Victorian gates and sit there waiting for a gap in the traffic.
The sad nuances of the place, its past as an aslyum, and all those years of people being shut up there and neglected, some of whom were as sane as you are, (ie not very) are all lost on you.
It's still warm and your head feels hot and sweaty inside the crash helmet. Turn left, through Walkington, Little Weighton, up to High Hunsley Beacon, Riplingham Crossroads, drop down through Welton or Elloughton Dale, and be home in time for tea. Or turn right? What lies that way? You don't actually need to ask yourself that question.
Before you know it, you are enjoying the feeling of the slipstream cooling you through the thin jacket and your jeans are flapping around your ankles, but then this is the 1970s, and nobody's
really noticing that flares and Honda 90s don't mix, and you are wearing your holey trainers and you suddenly realise you are actually a bit grimy for what you had in mind, but by now you are already on the Westwood and you are weaving your way through the parked cars and ice cream vans and wandering cows.
You can see the frontage of Beverley Minster pretty much as someone would have seen it five hundred years ago, coming from this direction, but today it's flickering in a mirage of hot tar fumes. And five hundred years ago there would have been no Sunday drivers and no ice-cream.
Time to throttle back now, because it's almost the start of Newbegin and the thirty limit and you never know what the hell is round the next corner in these little winding medieval streets, even on
a Sunday teatime, when the old ladies venture out to evensong: kids, cats, dogs, parked cars. You slow right down anyway, because you are looking for a particular house, where Dr Kryzwicki lives.
You like Dr Kryzwicki, and she is also one of your best customers. She teaches at the University, and she is the author of an often-cited standard monograph on medieval history. You do not particularly take notice of this at the time, it will be some years till, in middle age, you actually read it, with a sudden stab of recognition; you just like her easy, mannish laugh, her enthusiasm for local history, and the fact that finding obscure books for her allows you to do your job in a professional way that's attracting the attention of your boss, who owns the bookshop. So it's all good.
In fact, it's better, because this summer, staying with Dr Kryzwicki is Annette. Annette is German, blonde, speaks very little English, has been in the shop with Dr K, the shop where you have a poster of Debbie Harry stuck inside the door of your locker in the staff room, and Annette has participated in a sort of three-cornered banter with you and Dr Kryzwicki that left your heart racing after they had gone, long after they had gone, so much so that tidying the stockroom (a shitty, boring task) that afternoon was done instead with a skip in your step, a song in your heart, and half the time it normally takes.
You know, because you have been told by her, in the course of that brief, heady conversation, that Annette sometimes takes Bumble and Fudge, Dr Kryzwicki's terriers, for a walk on the Westwood. Maybe on a Sunday?
Swerve in to the kerb, pull up, and just sit there. What now? You can't really linger unbidden outside of the house of one of your best customers on a Sunday teatime on any pretext that will stand up to Dr Kryzwicki's formidable questioning, should she happen to see you there. You haven't thought this through. You pretend that you are checking something to do with the engine. The street is deserted.
Somewhere from behind the back gardens and privet hedges, in yet another street, yet another ice-cream van is playing Greensleeves, double-time. A cat lounges on a garden wall in the shade of an
overhanging laburnum. Heat sleeps. Two-hundred-year-old glass is greeny-grey, opaque, and dead as lead in expansive Georgian windows with floral curtains. Please, God, please…
A click of the gate. Heart leaps and head whips round, in time to see a blast of corn blonde hair. You heave the bike up on its stand and pocket the key. You hope it'll still be there when you get back, both the bike and the cricket gear, but then this is Beverley, not Bransholme, so you should be OK. You doff the crash helmet, so she might at least recognise you and not be spooked by such an unexpected apparition. And she might actually remember you. Though, paradoxically, the thought occurs that now you are carrying your head under your arm, like a ghost.
No one should have to stand at Humberside Airport's arrivals gate, name board in hand, waiting for Mr Van Der Kerkhof to arrive. Not at five in the morning. Groups of youngsters barge past me, shouting to each other at the top of their voices, excited. I can spot the cheap package holiday crews a mile off.
I don't understand it. If you work for months in an office or factory, why not enjoy your time away a bit more wisely? My brother tells me
Fiction - Returned To The Dark By Nicky Ellam
It's dark in here. That's because I live at the bottom of the jewellery box along with the other outcasts: the tangled necklace with the broken lobster claw and teddy pendant she got for her eleventh birthday, along with the bracelet that's missing a couple of gem stones.
She always says she will have them repaired but never does, preferring to spend the money on more fashionable pieces instead that imitate Asian and Oriental designs.
Fiction - Deep Waters by Gary Clark
The English are not a nation comfortable with the heat. An August afternoon in the city with the sun baking the pavements, overheating not just the diesel engines on the buses as they thundered by in a cloud of dirty fumes and dust, but the irritable people with fried tempers. Blaring car horns, sweaty armpits, uncomfortable in the heat. Manners and courtesy boiled away. Midsummer madness.
Fiction - 'Olde' Hull By Christopher Skolik
Martin sat on the wall, low, it was covered in graffiti; a matrix of over written names and messages to some dead junky, written over and over. Felt as though the sentiments were actually holding the place together, the place made up of the memories of those who knew Matt Kirk. Martin didn't. But he still felt the depths of this place.
Was there still enough of Old Hull left to lead Martin back into a better past?
Fiction - A Clever Use of Bins By Frankie Lassut
An uplifting, 'ultimate' romance fantasy.
Colin was the world's most romantic man, it was official.
Well, ok. His wife, Jean, had written into the local radio station, Hull Online, and told the presenter guy what he did for her i.e. washing up, ironing, rubbed her feet, was always telling her how lovely she looked (especially each time she bought a new dress), took her out for meals regularly etc.
She had won hands down.
Fiction - A Nice, Romantic Man By Frankie Lassut
Men! All the same! But, all I want is a nice one! All he has to do is be interested in me, and throw rose petals in my scented bath (which he ran) just like in American Beauty! Not much to ask is it? I deserve it.
She walked in the countryside with him, hand in hand; there was plenty of energy in the new romance.
Love was in the air! Wildlife could sense this. Birds sang, grasshoppers rasped, and butterflies just did what they do.
They came across a copse.
Fiction - All The Fun Of The Fair By Nick Quantrill Photographs by Darren Rogers
Jimmy held his hand out to the old man lying in a bed of wet cardboard boxes. 'Help you up, there?'
The old man took the hand. 'Good on you, son.'
Jimmy took the strain and pulled. 'No problem. You might want to get your face looked at, though.'
The old man took a tissue out of his pocket and wiped the blood from his nose. 'Don't worry about me, I'll be fine.' He laughed and wiped his hands on his trousers. 'So who are you, then?'
'New around here?'
Fiction - Side Orders - A Joe Geraghty Story By Nick Quantrill
'Ahmet's paranoid, man.'
I turned to Darren and shrugged. Ignoring him, I continued looking out of the car window and into the Hull night, the city flashing by. 'You've been robbed twice this week' I said. It had just turned midnight. People were staggering home, the streets slowly emptying, but plenty of drunks still wanted their fix of fast food.
'Bad luck, Joe. That's all. It happens.' Darren laughed. 'It's cool to have a bodyguard, though.'
'I guess so.' It'd make a good story down the pub, if nothing else.
Fiction - A Story About My Brother By J.W. Robinson
I was about twelve-years-old when my brother, James, came home from the supermarket carrying an enormous cardboard box and announced that he was going to live in it. He had been behaving strangely for a while. My mum said it was a phase he was going through and she didn't like to antagonise him too much; he was prone to emotional outbursts. Nevertheless I think she worried when he took that box up to his bedroom and climbed inside.
Fiction - Mary and Me By Leah Scarpati
The train station was full of children, a mass exodus of sorts. Some were crying, others were brimming over with the obvious excitement of their impending 'holiday'. A variety of ages, the children were all dressed in their best clothes and stood around on the platform with their boxed up gas masks hung over their shoulders and suitcases littered around with their names and destinations printed on them.
'Now you listen to me Billy,' his Mother said. Her voice wobbled a bit.
Fiction - Incident Number 33217 By Grant
Colonel Hafetz strode purposefully down the hall of the Knesset. He gripped the attaché case firmly and braced himself for his meeting. A quick reveal of his ID causes one of two guards stationed to open the door and announce:
'Mr. Prime Minister, Colonel Hafetz.'
Colonel Hafetz enters and a silent Prime Minister gestures him to sit.
The Colonel places the silver case on the desk, unlocks it and turns it to
Fiction - 100 Words Competition - Summertime By Julie Hines
The curtains of early darkness are drawn back for summer.
Gardens become beautiful this time of year.
Contrast of flowing colour. The fragrances of the pink Fuchsias draped in deep purple emphasizing their elegance. The Stock has a powerful aroma. Yellow Marigolds resembling regimented soldiers.
Placing the bulbs into her basket, she made her purchase.
Fiction - Fiend By Jarrett
It happened when I was only seven. They let their eyes off of me for only a moment and he snatched me away. I never saw them again. They are the only ones I ever loved. In fact, it was so long ago I don't even remember how it feels, and to be honest I don't want to; I'm sure it will only bring pain.
I don't know why he did it. I'll never fully understand why he did, but I've come close. I guess like me he yearned for that same feeling so many people take for granted, love.
Fiction - Leonard By Frankie Lassut
Ring ring, Ring ring ...
Leonard smiled, and tubbed his hands together. He picked up the phone, and went into voluntary professional mode:
'I've got nothing to live for. The credit card companies are threatening to take my house away to
pay my bills, which they have piled the interest on.
My wife got fed up of it and left with my children, and my firm has collapsed.
I don't know what to do.