At the End o’ Me Tether

At the End o’ Me Tether

Lulu was Flo’s mum. Flo was my English foster mum. Attending North Town Primary School—a fifteen-minute walk from home—I dropped in every Friday afternoon, to visit Lulu from the age of five to eleven. “Tell Flo I’m at the end o’ me tether.” She would say this every...

Facing Down the Tiger

Facing Down the Tiger

Perhaps it wasn’t my home, but Hong Kong sure felt like it. From the age of twelve, I was showered with free airline tickets by my father, an employee of East African Airways. Although rich in tickets, we were poor financially. This meant sleeping on airport floors...

How the Wes was Won

How the Wes was Won

Wes was the most charming client in my menagerie of accounting clients—a great charm causing me the utmost stress and anxiety. Accounting records were not handed over until almost the very last day of the taxman’s deadline. When shown the completed statements and...

And You Think Golf is Tough

And You Think Golf is Tough

Finally, I was free… at least for the summer. Laura had taken the boys home with her to the Philippines. I was left a bachelor. On my first Thursday evening alone, I rushed to my Scrabble club—a place I hadn’t visited for years. Remarkably, nothing had changed. All...

The Wonder of Youth

The Wonder of Youth

Talking of restaurants, Europe isn’t like back home in Calgary. Despite being branded “Cowtown”, you can find whatever cuisine your heart desires, from Uzbek to Indonesian. In Spain, it seems every restaurant serves Spanish fare. It’s the same all over Europe. After...

I Don’t Like Mondays

I Don’t Like Mondays

Come what may, Team 2 of Collins Barrow, Chartered Accountants met religiously each Monday morning at 8.30 a.m. sharp. No one arrived late. On that morning, during my first winter in Calgary, Canada, I had five blocks to walk to my office. This ‘Siberian’ weather...

Band of Angels

Band of Angels

Christmas in Calgary is not always full of cheer. Relying on its oil industry, the city suffers intense cycles of boom and bust. One year, I lost both my business and family home. I had been unemployed for months. Shortly before Christmas, a chance came for me to work...

I Shoulda Listened to Mum

I Shoulda Listened to Mum

“Son,” she said. “Stop dreaming of becoming a writer. Be an accountant. You’ll always have a job and pay your bills.” At the tender age of 60, I decided to rebel. Now I’m miserable and broke. Why? Because I allowed writing to possess me. It’s a woeful addiction. And...

Love Kills

Love Kills

Joel died today of a drug overdose. Or, to be politically correct, from “substance abuse”. How can you remain “politically correct” over the death of a twenty-six-year-old due to horrendous choices? Joel was Filipino, a close friend of our son Chris, and was known to...

A Real Angle

A Real Angle

As a child in England, every Sunday afternoon, I was sat at a table by my foster mum to pen a letter to my divorced dad in Africa. “Dear Father, I hope this letter finds you in good health.” In return, I would receive a typewritten answer from him. The flimsy paper...

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