Saturday, February 27, 2021

Dreams don't pay the rent

 Jess shuffled into the cramped dressing room.

‘What are you still doing here?’

Sally kept her eyes closed, her enormous costume feet propped up on the dresser.

‘I’m calling time on my calling.’

‘You’re skipping the audition?’

‘For evermore.’

‘But … Jess; it was a call back.’

‘There’s nothing worse than having raised hopes dashed.’

‘But it could be your big break.’

‘Panto is Skegness? I’m thirty-three. My job is wearing an oversized cartoon costume to entertain sugar-rush kids. It’s time to enter the real world.’

‘This is the real world.’

‘Is it? Playing make-believe? Dreams don’t pay the rent.’


A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words.

Tuesday, February 23, 2021

Review of The Address Book by Deirdre Mask (2020, Profile Books)

For many people street addresses seems quite mundane and routine. However, as Deirdre Mask, details they have become vital pieces of information for those living at an address and the operations of government and business. Yet, in many parts of the world street addresses remain absent causing issues for those who do not possess one. In this fascinating book, Mask travels to a number of locations to explore the history, variance and politics in street addressing, using her own investigations and interesting facts and anecdotes to illuminate the stories. As a popular science book it works well, keeping the analysis light and engaging, while providing enough depth and reflection to be insightful. And there’s a reasonable geographical mix, with stories relating to several countries, including beyond the West. Personally, I think there could have been more discussion of postcodes and other spatial addressing units such as townlands and parishes, and also how addresses are vital to industries such as geodemographics and data brokers (there is a capital imperative to addresses not just governance), but generally a wide range of addressing issues are discussed. 

As an aside, I thought it was interesting that Ireland featured so little in the book given the author was living on the island when she started researching and writing. A very large number of homes in Ireland have no street address – in the county I reside in over 60% of addresses are non-unique (I share mine with 13 other properties some of which are 3-4 km away and I have no road name or house number). And there can be multiple townlands of the same name in the same county. It is only the towns and cities that have road names and numbers. The solution, introduced in 2015 (after a lengthy debate and delays), has been individual property postcodes, which are still not widely used, even by government (and interestingly the biggest blocker of their introduction was the national postal service). In addition, many street names in Ireland were changed after independence, with all the associated politics that involved. Yet, Mask travels from Ireland to West Virginia to look at a place transforming its addressing and then onward to other countries. It seems odd given Ireland’s own history of addressing to not discuss where one is residing. Regardless, overall an interesting and enlightening read.

Saturday, February 20, 2021

Blood on his hands

 The door burst open.

‘Did you hear about Larkin?’

‘He’s filed an appeal?’

‘He took his own life.’


‘Asphyxiation. Used a strip from his pillowcase.’

‘I don’t …’

‘It’s what he deserved.’

‘No. No, it’s not. Did he leave a note?’

‘It said he was innocent; that it was hopeless and he’d had enough.’

‘It wasn’t hopeless; he just didn’t know how to prove it.’

‘There was literally blood on his hands.’

‘But they were the wrong hands.’


‘They never checked his hand span.’

Joyce felt sick. Larkin was dead because of his desire to win the case.

A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words.

Saturday, February 13, 2021

Fingers splayed

‘I didn’t know her and I didn’t kill her.’

Larkin closed his eyes. He knew that nobody in the courtroom believed him, including his own family.

‘And your fingerprints?’

‘I don’t know. I just don’t …’

Larkin held his hand out, fingers splayed.

‘They were …’ Joyce stopped.

With sudden clarity, he felt the case fall apart. Except nobody else noticed.


‘I …’ Joyce stared into space.

Could he really prosecute an innocent man? They’d spent months preparing the case, certain of his guilt.


Joyce blinked twice. It wasn’t his job to do the work of the defence.

A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words.

Saturday, February 6, 2021

At first sight

‘Here’s you bill.’

Ronan glanced up and found himself staring into the waitress’s eyes.


‘Did you hear that?’

‘It must’ve been the lifeboat flare.’

Lisa made to turn away, but Ronan grabbed her wrist.

‘I don’t think so.’

‘Then a gas explosion.’

‘Did any of you just hear a loud bang?’ Ronan asked.

‘What?’ Conor said, looking over.

‘An explosion?’

‘What explosion?’

‘It seems we were the only ones to hear it.’

‘You can let go off my arm now.’

‘People are staring, Ronan.’

‘This is the woman I’m going to marry.’


‘Yes,’ Lisa said to own surprise.


A drabble is a story of exactly 100 words.