To Southampton (When Will Bingo Die?)

I’m to be limo driver this morning as the Glasgow taxi landscape has become increasingly unpredictable since the pandemic hit. Four of us are airport bound from the west of the city so I gather all up in my creaking ride and in no time we’re jumping out on the roof of the multi-storey in the June sunlight. The airport is humming with holidaying humanity but pretty calm and security isn’t too fractious. I buy reading matter and a vessel of water in an automated process that is alienating, forlorn and brutal. Hardly anyone is masked despite the virus numbers being alarmingly high and reinfection with new variants rife. I have on my N95 respirator which gives me a comforting sense of (misplaced) protection. I take a seat in a remote corridor and regard the hordes as they drift through the turbid air in travel stupor. The mingled scents…—More Tales


I was going to start this sentence with the word “so” but I caught myself just in time. So I started it with “I” instead. And that’s as it should be. We jump out of the van at quarter to four and the dressing room is so unpleasant I immediately strike out in the June drizzle, walking a scenic path uphill towards the castle through tall mature trees where I am cawed at by a crow, accosted by a female blackbird, peered at by a squirrel and surprised by couple of rabbits. It’s like the start of a children’s book. I reach the old graveyard near the summit and remember being here in the 1980s but for what reason I can no longer fathom. Just a jolly, possibly. I recognise a weird marble statue of an angel and children encased in a bell of glass. It’s the Martyrs…—More Tales

Belfast, 6th June 2020

Our propeller plane glides southwest down the Firth of Clyde to land with a gentle bump at George Best Belfast City, the only airport in Europe named after a famous alcoholic. All Australian airports are named after alcoholics while most of the Caribbean ones are named after murderers. We are greeted by a friendly driver whom we follow to a minibus. There is radio news of UK PM Johnson facing a vote of confidence today and we are very quickly in town avidly spotting any obvious changes since our last visit years before the Belfast Agreement. I dump my bag in the pleasantly day lit dressing room and go abroad for a nosy. I find myself in a modern downtown sort of zone where I’m served Irish stew in a brown cardboard pot with delicious homemade bread in a lunch joint. I take a table outside in the…—More Tales