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The Smoothing Stream

(first published in Literally Stories, 19th January 2023) by Michael Bloor After the cremation, I felt I had to get away. I found a Perthshire country house hotel on the internet, situated in one of those mysterious winding glens that end abruptly in a wall of rock. The hotel advertised itself as ‘a mecca for…

May, 1967

by Michael Bloor (first published in The Potato Soup Journal, 6th December, 2022) I’m 75 years old and, at the time of writing (October 2022), President Putin is threatening a nuclear war, my boiler is misbehaving, and governmental fiscal foolishness is knocking a big hole in my pension pot. So why am I so bloody…

An Historical Footnote

by Michael Bloor (first published in Literally Stories, 28/11/22) A while back, I was reading an account, by the poet and journalist James Fenton, of the fall of Saigon (aka Ho Chi Minh City) in 1975*. In the middle of the despairing mob outside the US Embassy, begging to be evacuated, as the last of…

Double Dating

by Michael Bloor (first published in Free Flash Fiction 26/11/22) My walk took me into the old quarry by the east bank of the Allanwater, a pleasant, sheltered place on a windy autumn day – my usual stopping place to eat my lunch (on this occasion, a small pork pie and a banana). I was…

Midhowe Chambered Cairn

(first published in The Drabble, November 16th, 2022) By Michael Bloor On the small Isle of Rousay in the Orkneys, there lies a great chambered tomb. Five thousand and four hundred years ago, the farmers and the fisherfolk of the island laboured over many years building the tomb, the better to house and honour their…

The Laird of Balwearie

by Michael Bloor (first published in Literally Stories, 20th October 2022) I was visiting Fraser, an old friend, in Fife. It was one of those fine, dry, crisp, cold days that you often find in Scotland in February and we took a walk out into the countryside. Fraser pointed out a ruined tower in the…

Citizen Wyckam-Smith

by Michael Bloor (first published in Literally Stories, 27/09/22) Have you ever ordered a DVD of an old film that, once upon a time, you thought was wonderful (back when you were at an impressionable age, say, between the ages of 15 and 25)? And when you settled down to watch it, accompanied by a…

Earwigging

by Michael Bloor (first published in Scribble, No.95, Autumn 2022) The minister, the Reverend Donald MacAlistair, left the Health Centre with a spring in his step. He’d attended for his annual check-up, a service the centre offered to all their over-65s. His blood pressure had reduced since last year and he’d lost half a stone…

The Wisdom of Work Placements

By Michael Bloor (first published in Free Flash Fiction, 24th of August, 2022) I read somewhere that cats live in the ‘eternal present,’ which is why they never express gratitude, only pleasure. This strikes me as a pretty good life-principle: okay, gratitude goes out the window, but we could also say goodbye to regret, disappointment,…

Samuel Taylor Coleridge, Life Coach

by Michael Bloor (first published Grey Sparrow Journal, Issue 40, July 31st, 2022) I believe quite a lot of people chat, from time to time, with their deceased relatives. Myself, I’ve often chatted to my dad, especially when stuck in traffic. But I imagine that chatting to Samuel Taylor Coleridge is more unusual. Unusual, but…

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