Sunday, 30 April 2023

No Kissing Required CHAPTER ONE



    My name’s Dan Pierce; whether or not that’s my birth name, I don’t really know. You’re asking; why don’t I know my identity? Good question. But there’s also a good answer; I’m Dea...d, and my earthbound memories have been totally wiped out. I’m finding the D word kind of hard to say, so excuse me. That revelation shocked you, didn’t it? Well it came as quite a blow to me. In fact, it’s a bit of a bummer, when you wake up and realize you’re now a spiritual being.

    I’ve discovered that entry into heaven is no mean feat. It’s like starting a new college, or university, the powers that be want to make sure that you’re qualified for the tasks ahead. When you reach the pearly gates they don’t say, “Hey you’re dead, come on in.”

    Firstly, your name’s got to be checked against God’s database. It used to be called the Book of  Life; well it still is, but it’s no longer etched on tablets of stone, or written on papyrus. No way, Heaven has invested in a high tech computer system and the gatekeeper accesses the information via an android tablet. I couldn’t believe it; the miracles of modern science will never cease to amaze.

    Back to the Book of Life, it’s literally a journal of your existence. You know, birth name, where you were born, achievements, disappointments, the good and the bad things you did; of course, it helps if you’ve led a blemish free life and I don’t mean a life without zits. Finally, it states where, when, and how you died. Now this data allows God and his trusted elders to judge as to whether you’re celestial material.

    When I arrived several days ago, or was it several years ago? Time isn’t measured the same way here. Sorry I’m rambling, put it down to shock. I don’t even know if it’s relevant as to when I arrived, what is relevant to me is the fact that I didn’t actually know my name, never mind how I died. But seemingly, this isn’t so uncommon.

    However, there was a complication in my case and that was the gatekeeper didn’t know my details either and he certainly wasn’t expecting me. He had no note of my arrival, nada. To cut a long story short, I didn’t get in. I was named Daniel Pierce, for the sake of the records and whisked away to Limbo, tout de suite.

    That’s when I got the devastating news; take a deep breath because this is a shocker. I was told that if they couldn’t establish who I was, or why I was there, I’d be thrown into the Lake of Fire for a second death. Well knock me down with a feather, if it wasn’t bad enough
that I’d died already, I was to die again. No right to appeal, no chance of a reprieve.

    Well that was until Mikey, sorry, I mean Archangel Michael, arrived in Limbo yesterday, to speak to me and a bunch of undesirables. He explained that there was a chance of salvation, all was not lost, we could prove that we were worth saving.

    He proposed that we enlist in God’s army to help defeat the Red Rider, aka Satan and his foot soldiers who are attempting to flex their muscles on Earth. It seems that Satan has escaped from the burning sulfur lake and he is determined to seek revenge on God for the years he has lived in torment. He is proving to be elusive, his army is growing stronger every day, and Heaven needs all the help it can get.

    Duh, now who would say no to this opportunity of redemption? Surprisingly enough, some of my fellow suspected hoods did decline. They didn’t fancy doing good deeds, obeying God’s word, or Devil slaying. But I said, “Bring it on.”

    Sooo, that’s where I’m at in my celestial career. By the way, I’m now an angelet, which is another name for a probationary angel. How long will my internship last? Well how long is a piece of string?

    Guys, I’m about to embark on an important journey and I could do with good friends like you around. What I’m saying is, I’d like you to tag along. I’ll need someone to sound off to. How about it? I believe I’ll be boarding a bus in Las Vegas tomorrow, headed for Phoenix. I hope to see you then.


No Kissing Required PROLOGUE

Arizona, six months earlier

    What’s happening? How did this all spiral out of control? The sixteen-year-old boy is confused. With the promises of no rules to obey, eternal life, and sex anytime he wants, with anyone he so desires; yeah, who wouldn’t be tempted? Besides, no money need change hands.

     However, payment was expected; of course, there was a charge for Utopia. Deep down, he had known it was all too good to be true. The price was non-negotiable, no haggling, no cutting a better deal was possible. What he had been asked for in exchange was priceless, and he just wasn’t prepared for it. No, selling his soul to the Devil wasn’t something he would ever be prepared for and something he wasn’t going to do.

    Therefore, he was now fleeing for his life, he needed to get away from Wingate and fast. Luckily, for him, the road was quiet. He had been driving for about an hour, he had only seen one other vehicle in that time and it was following close behind. It had joined the road about three miles back; the driver had not attempted to overtake and was unlikely to do so now, due to the byroad’s narrowness. At first he had thought it was a police car following. Somehow, they may have been alerted that he had stolen his father’s car, but eventually he had decided it was unlikely his father would notice it was gone before morning.

    The tailgating car suddenly closes the distance between them and it’s headlights illuminate the rear-view mirror of the boy’s vehicle; blinding him on every turn and twist of the winding road. He presses his foot down, hard onto the gas pedal, but the car’s response is sluggish. The young driver is certain that the engine is protesting at being pushed so hard.

The two cars reach the summit of the climbing road and the fearful teenager knows that the ground drops steeply down away from the side. He can’t see the bottom of the ravine, it’s as though it’s lurking in the bowels of the earth.

    “What the?” the teenage boy yells with surprise, as the pursuing car gently nudges the rear bumper of his. He moves forward slightly in his seat, but his seat belt clicks and saves him from being hurt in any way. His foot is flat to the floor, but his vehicle continues to struggle to pull away from its pursuer. The boy grips the steering wheel as though he’s on a white-knuckle ride at the fairground. The road widens around the last bend and will start to drop downhill, towards Highway 87. He hopes the maniac following him will pass then.

    Both cars are now traveling at high speed and the awkward curves of the road are hard to negotiate. The inexperienced driver is finding the steering heavy and he knows he is being pulled closer and closer to the edge of the precipice. He’s finally approaching the last bend; he glances in his rear-view, but what he sees causes him to lose his concentration. Just for a moment, but a moment too long. The car leaves the road on the bend and the darkness swallows the teenager up like a whale consuming a minnow.

The tailing car doesn’t stop; it drives on, no looking back.

Wednesday, 5 April 2023




Amarilla Bay, Tenerife

     This week many walkers celebrated 'National Walking Day.' I love walking each morning, however, this week I haven't been able to do so. No I've not been a lazy girl, unfortunately after bending down to pick-up a  biscuit wrapper, which I dropped, I popped my back. Yes, it proves that eating biscuits, is bad for your health.


Helix Park, Falkirk


    I've went from a brisk walk of 35miles/56km a week, to 10miles/16km, at crawl pace. I'm on the mend now and I hope I can get up to speed next week, because, as philosopher and poet, Friedrich Nietzche wrote, 'All truly great thoughts are conceived by walking.'  


Tajao, Tenerife


    Yes, it is a great time to think and additionally I need all the help  I can get to keep the pounds I pile on very easily, at bay. So, until I start walking well there will be no Easter treats for me. 

    I've included a few pictures of my favourite walks over the years, here in the Canary Islands and in Scotland. Hoping you enjoy them as much as I enjoyed being there.


Culross, Firth of Forth

Friday, 31 March 2023




     Spring has definitely arrived here in  the Canary Islands, the thermometer has soared by ten degrees plus in the last week. That means this girl here has swapped her jeans for shorts and for those who want to look away now, I'm exposing my pale white, winter legs. Not a good look.

    We  have an all year round warm climate here on this group of paradisiacal islands, which I have written about before. However, when my neighbor starts replanting her window boxes and patio planters with flowering pants, accompanied by her words, "La primavera esta aqui," spring has certainly sprung.

    It's time for the living things in this world to  yawn loudly as they awaken from the winter. This poem by the great American poet, Emily Dickinson, correctly says, 'A light exists in spring.'

 A Light Exists in Spring

A light exists in Spring
Not present on the Year
At any other period
When March is scarcely here

 A Color stands abroad
On Solitary Fields
That Science cannot overtake
But Human Nature feels

 It waits upon the Lawn
It shows the furthest Tree
Upon the furthest Slope you know
It almost speaks to you

 Then as Horizons step
Or noons report away
Without the Formula of sound
It passes and we stay

 A quality of loss
Affecting our Content
As Trade had suddenly encroached
Upon a Sacrament


By Emily Dickinson (December 10, 1830 - May 15, 1886)

Sunday, 26 March 2023

Hyperlink to Lost Souls Chapter 2 (Second of two parts)


    I’ve just gargled with some peppermint mouthwash. My breath probably isn’t too fresh after eating an abundance of herring for breakfast and you never know who I might kiss. Ha, ha.

    Back to the herring, I’ve never eaten them before, but they were superb plus they’re good for you, all that oil. I’m going to enjoy eating Inuit style because I love fish.

    Now, let me catch you up with the gossip. When I went down to breakfast, the atmosphere amongst the family was more than a little frosty and that was with the central heating on.

     Charlie was going on about a lost soul and Stan was having none of it. When I joined them, Rachel told her pop to “leave it.” So from then on, all the old man did was eat and throat sing in between swallows. Therefore, I haven’t got to the root of what’s going on; I’m hoping to later.

     For now, I’m getting ready to venture outside; the kids have chores to do around the house and Stan mentioned he wanted to check out the engine of the Coronado. Just in case it needs any essential repairs done before he goes back out on the road.

     It all sounded a bit too technical for me; however, I may learn something that could be useful in the years to come, so I’m going to go out and see what’s going down. A guy needs as many strings to his harp as he can get. Do you think I can put socks on my hands instead of gloves to keep out the cold? Why? Because I have no idea what I’ve done with the gloves I had on yesterday. The glove gremlin must have sneaked in during the night and stole them.

    Because of the dense cloud cover today, daylight is rather shy. I’ve wrapped up well, and as I leave the heat of the cabin, I can see the truck is parked where Stan has some work lights set up, in the shelter of a large wooden outbuilding about one hundred yards from the house. As I walk over to join my amigo, every breath that leaves me forms into a small icy cloud that floats eerily in front of me. Strange, but true.

    Stan looks up from the inside of the hood of the truck when he hears me approach and says, “Hi, Dan. Are you out to give me some help?”
    “I’m hoping I’ll learn something because I know absolutely zilch about engines. I couldn’t help you even if it was the engine of a lawnmower,” I say.
    “Lawnmowers are not much use around here,” Stan laughs.

    He opens one of the drawers in the large red toolbox on the ground beside him and lifts out a large, oily-looking spanner. Well, I think it’s a spanner. Anyway, with the spanner thing, he starts to tinker inside the engine compartment.
    “Have you found anything that may cause you problems?” I ask.
    “No. This truck is reliable. I’ve never had any problems with it. My last truck was a different make. It used to give me problems all the time, especially when I drove through heavy snowstorms. The filter used to draw in the snow and well, that was that.” Stan stands back and looks at the engine as though to admire it. “I can see by the look on your face that I may as well be speaking double Dutch. You have no idea what I’m talking about, have you?”
    “In a one word answer, no.”
    “Like you and I, the motor of a truck needs air, otherwise they break down and that’s where the filter
comes into play.” Stan keeps looking at me.
    “That makes sense,” I say.
    “Dan, why do you have socks on your hands?” Stan scratches his head and laughs.
    “Couldn’t find the gloves I had on yesterday and I knew they were a necessity rather than a fashion statement around here. Socks are just gloves for your feet, so what’s the difference?”
    Stan is now laughing heartily and his already red face is getting redder and redder as he continues to laugh.
    “Hey, what’s going on here?” shouts Beth, who has just appeared from inside the house. She’s carrying a large green mug in each hand; she’s watching her footing as she makes her way across the slippery yard towards us.
    “Look at this guy’s hands.” Stan points at me, he can hardly speak.

    Beth’s face lights up and she says, “Here, this will heat your hands ups.” She hands me a cup of piping hot liquid. The contents of the other mug she’s holding is spilling all over the ground as she starts to laugh on seeing my make-shift mittens close-up.

    Stan grabs hold of the steaming mug before there is nothing left inside and to save Beth from burning herself. He dries his wet, gloved hands individually on his checked wool jacket and says, “I assume this is for me? Hot chocolate is just what I need.”

    Beth takes off her woolen mittens, rubs her hands with a napkin from her coat pocket, and she says,   “Yeah, Dad. I thought you both might welcome a warm drink.” Beth places her uncovered hands along with her wet mittens deep into her pockets. She giggles as she continues to look at my hands. “So, why on earth do you have bright red socks on your hands?”

    “Can’t find my gloves,” I say. 

     “Surely you could have chosen a different color. One that would have been a little more, let’s say, subtle.” Beth’s dark eyes sparkle mischievously.
    “I don’t like these ones much; so, I thought, if I lost them too, it wouldn’t matter.”
    “That sounds reasonable,” says Beth.   

    Stan ejects a mouthful of the chocolate into the air as he starts to laugh raucously. He lifts a handful of snow and rubs it into my face and he says, “A good enough reason, Dan. Any sensible human being will understand your explanation.”
    “We better try to find you a pair before we go snowmobiling with Si tomorrow,” says Beth. She giggles uncontrollably as she leaves us to head back to the house.

    Can you tell me what they find so funny? After all, what is a guy to do when he’s lost his gloves?



Friday, 17 March 2023

Hyperlink to Lost Souls Chapter 2 (First of two parts)



Chapter Two

Day Two: Welcome to Tuk

Brrrrr, I’m going to have to put on another jumper or pull my beanie down further over my ears. My buzz cut isn’t practical here. I might need to grow my hair and have it restyled. It’s freeezing in Tuk; today, it’s minus twenty-six degrees outside. At the risk of repeating myself, brrrr. Back to cool hairstyles; do you think ‘surfer’ style would suit me? Think about it and get back to me. Remember though, I won’t actually be surfing. Snowboarding maybe, but not surfing.   

Moving on; I arrived late last night and wow what a welcome. Caribou stew and walrus meat. Yum, yum. Now, don’t screw your nose up until you’ve tried it. Really, what are you like? Were you a picky child?   

After our little adventure yesterday, Stan was rather subdued for the rest of the evening. He didn’t eat much, which puzzled the rest of his family. He also asked that I keep the incident to ourselves, he said that it would just worry Rachel.   

That was fine by me because this morning his mind should be virtually wiped clean of our ordeal. If his brain cells have decided to store any of the details, he’ll think it was just a vivid nightmare and it certainly was that. Oh, and one of the elders confirmed by e-mail that Snowy is in cahoots with the Red Rider, aka Satan.   

I’m sharing a real nice bedroom with Stan’s son, Simon Tuligag. He’s a real cool dude and has no objection to me calling him Si. Thank goodness because Simon Tuligag would be a lot to say each time I wanted to tell you about him. I had to get my head around it at first, never mind my tongue. Stan explained to me on the way here that he’s originally from Detroit. But, twenty years ago on his first trip to Tuk, he fell in love with the most beautiful
Inuit woman, they married one year later and he’s lived here ever since. When the kids came along, he said his wife wanted the kids’ names to be in keeping with Inuit tradition. He was happy with that and, as tradition goes, they were given a Christian first name and an Inuit second. That’s what love is all about, compromise. Yeah, I’m being soppy.                                   

Back to Si, there’s something kind of sad about him and his sister, Beth Amaruk, though. Sorry, I forgot to tell you about Beth. She’s hot, hot, hot. The kind of sight that warms a guy up on these cold Tuk days, and looong nights. 

Whoa, do you hear me? I’m talking as though I’m human again. Danger zone, danger zone. It’s a good job I’m not sharing a bedroom with her. Forget I said that. Sorry, God. As I was saying before I was rudely interrupted by wayward thoughts, these kids’ eyes are full of sadness. I can only hope and of course pray they’ll share whatever is troubling them with me real soon. 

Stan and his wife Rachel Nauja also share their home with Rachel’s father, Charlie Angakkuq. He doesn’t say much, he just throat sings most of the time. He’s a real old guy and he’s been looking at me rather suspiciously since I arrived. Now, why would anyone be suspicious of me? Cheeky. I don’t need your impudent little retorts.

Charlie definitely isn’t convinced of my cover story. Did I tell you my cover story? No, I didn’t, I must have forgot. Hanging on to an uvula for grim death and smashing through a cougar’s teeth kind of put me off.

FYI, I was to meet up with my father here. He’s been working offshore and he’s hoping we can settle down here. It seems I’ve been living with my guardian since my Mom died. But on my way here, I found out that,  due to work commitments, he isn’t going to be here for another few weeks. Blah, blah. I’m not going to bore you with the whole story because, in fact, it’s a teeny wee bit lame.

As you know, I’m not good at lying. It’s not an angelic thing to do, but needs must. The truth is, I was supposed to meet up with a guardian angel here, but it seems he has been unexpectedly held up. No need to worry because I know for a fact that he isn’t in any kind of trouble. It’s just his last assignment is taking longer than planned. So, you see, he was held up due to work commitments!

Back to the old man, his surname Angakkuq translated from Inuit to English, means wise person. He’s the local Shaman, a well-respected figure amongst the aboriginals here in Tuk.

It’s believed he has powers to communicate with gods, spirits and talk to the souls of the dead. One thing for sure, we’ll soon find out if he’s tapped into my world, won’t we? Now, Stan thinks its all bunkum, he says that, while he loves everything Inuit, he draws the line at believing in myths. However, his family believes undoubtedly in the old guy’s powers.

On the odd occasion he actually speaks, they hang on to every word he says. Its different strokes for different folks that make the world go round. That’s one thing I’ve found out since I arrived on Earth. There’s one thing we all have in common, we’re all born and we’ll all die. Do I sound philosophical? Okay, I sound like a nerd, I know.

If I’m still here when new term starts, I’ll be attending Boreas College along with Simon and Beth. My mind’s not made up as to whether that’s where all the celestial action is going to go down. Who knows? If you do, e-mail or send me the answer on a postcard c/o TUK. E-mail Mikey if that’s easier and he’ll download it on my app.

Listen, I’m going to sign off for now. Rachel’s calling  me and I can smell food. Whatever it is for eats has a very fishy smell. Yum, yum. I wonder what Inuit’s have for breakfast. No need to e-mail me with the answer because I’ll have already eaten it before you even get round to logging on.           

Sunday, 26 February 2023

It's the Little Details



    An old movie  I never get tired of is the 1944 classic, 'Meet Me in St Louis.' The film focuses on the life of the Smith family and mainly, that of the Smith's four daughters.

    The year is 1903 and the city of St Louis is getting ready for the 'World Fair' which took place in 1904. The picture is full of romance, comedy and song. The story itself in my opinion explores the ups and downs of the two oldest girls, coming of age.

    Yes, much different from present times, however, when first love comes along whether in 1903 or 2023 affairs of the heart aren't easy.

    The two oldest daughters played by Lucille Bremner and Judy Garland, both eventually find love, with many of the events leading to the happy ending, are filled with comedy drama.

    One of the scenes I always chuckle at is when the oldest daughter, Rose believes she is going to receive a marriage proposal via a telephone call from her beau, Warren Sheffield (Robert Sully) who is in New York .

    Unfortunately, the telephone is in the dining-room and the family have gathered for dinner, much to Rose's dismay her conversation which she had hoped to keep private was now being played out in front of her siblings and worst of all her parents.

    Okay, what is so special about this scene? The fact is this scene could never have taken place if the Edinburgh born inventor, Alexander Graham Bell, hadn't invented the telephone.

     Bell, was awarded the first US patent for the telephone on March 7 1876, therefore I wanted to mention that this week will be this great invention's anniversary, as well as that of his birthday, March 3.

    In a quote by, John Wooden, 'It's the little details that are vital, little things make big things happen.'

   Without this phone scene, Roses' story would never have been completed and maybe I wouldn't keep enjoying this movie.