Serving a Semi-nomadic Community | Doctorate

Not my usual kind of post this morning but go with it…

I’m approaching the end of my first year as a doctoral student. Aside from the energy-sapping workload of juggling a family, research, a career, and a blog [insert applause here please], there is nothing that suggests to me that taking on a Professional Doctorate was a mistake or that my topic – Scottish Gypsy Traveller interaction with the Criminal Justice Service – was the wrong one to choose. Scottish Gypsy Travellers heritage and culture form an important part of modern Scotland. This culture celebrates close family values, an oral storytelling tradition, and mobility, whether corporeal or reflected as a symbolic identification with mobility and change. Nevertheless, discomfort with mobility on behalf of the sedentary majority in Scotland is still very much apparent. A lack of access to health services, poor political representation, biased and caricatured portrayal in the media, a non-assimilationist education system, and local authorities unwilling to tailor basic services to a semi-nomadic ethnicity all contribute to huge inequality between Scottish Gypsy Travellers and the rest of Scotland’s population. Continue reading “Serving a Semi-nomadic Community | Doctorate”

The Old Swanson Place | Short Story

Talk of the town, it was. The old Swanson place had finally sold. Three years it had been on the market, its balconies covered in gull mess and the gardens creeping over the gravel chips in the driveway. Dusty bay windows looked out over the estuary, bulging and blank, as though unable to bear the sight of the cheaper dwellings at the bottom of the steep hill. Then one day the estate agent’s sign was gone, rotten stake heaved out of the ground. Continue reading “The Old Swanson Place | Short Story”

Grace Notes | Book Review

Grace Notes

Bernard Maclaverty

Vintage

£8.99

 

‘Catherine had never been in a church this late. The place was dim – a quarter lit to save electricity. One bulb in four. Sounds were magnified – a candle dropped, high heels on marble, the swing doors whumpfing closed. Coughing, with echoes. And old women whispering prayers full of esses. A coin dropped into the box of a candelabra – from the noise it was possible to tell how full it was – clink for full, clunk for empty. The sacristy lamp burned steadily in its red glass container – symbol of the real presence of the tabernacle. Jesus in flesh and blood.’ Continue reading “Grace Notes | Book Review”

Street Service | Short Story

Difficult to justify my behaviour this evening as the kerb grates against the back of my head. Difficult to keep my dinner down amidst the spinning lights and the belches of warm, yeasty air from the nightclub doors. The coldness of the road is beginning to reach through my jacket as people crowd around.

‘You alright, mate?’

‘He didn’t mean nothing by it…’

‘You ain’t gonna press charges, are ya?’ Continue reading “Street Service | Short Story”

In Bad Taste | Short Story

Dear diner,

It has come to our attention that our small, family-run restaurant was the subject of a review by the renowned food critic and raconteur Jean Bernard last week. Recently opened, we were delighted to have attracted the attention of such a culinary connoisseur. Nonetheless, it should be noted that no soliciting of such a review was made by our humble restaurant and no pretences of grandeur were made on behalf of our food. It was with some surprise then that Monsieur Bernard’s scathing review was read and it is with no small degree of sadness that I must tell you that we are closing our doors as a result of his article. Responsible for the breaking of many a head chef, Bernard is notorious for destroying the reputations of a far higher class of restaurant than ours. As a result the chefs, the cleaning staff, and the serving staff will be looking for work elsewhere.

Nevertheless, do not mourn us. We offer this counter-review as a sweet, a dessert, a cordial if you will. What is a meal, after all, without a satisfying finale? Continue reading “In Bad Taste | Short Story”