The Water Writer by Britta Benson

The ritual was painstaking. It never got any easier. First the freezing cold shower to make his skin tingle with shock, jerk the lethargy out of his bones, bump his soul into existence. Then, turn the dial to piping hot, leaving him red raw, aching, reduced to a whimper. Next, lower the temperature back to…

My Tigers by Britta Benson

The things I see, the things I think, dream, imagine, which ones are real? Which ones are more real? The things I see, are, for me. The things I think, dream, imagine, are, for me. Even my tigers. If I pack them into the box of language, can I make you see them too? Can…

Buttercream and Biscuits by Britta Benson

I’ll chap her door. What else can I do? That woman must know something that I don’t. Hettie died on Friday. The family didn’t hang around. No wake, no cake. Her son clearly adopting the less is less approach. ‘She wouldn’t have wanted a fuss’, he said on the phone, like he knew her. Trust…

Joy by Britta Benson

I wander where wi-fi is not and signal bars fade into endless horizons. When no one can reach me dark blossoms in my soul dare to start their unfurl. First tentatively, stretching, a wiggle of reconnaissance, then bursting into flames not even the rain can hide for there is no tomorrow. Today, I am my…

Naming Ceremony by Britta Benson

She called this child ‘Dandelion’, after the only thing that would thrive in her dump of a garden. No poppy here, no marigold, not even a daisy. She was done with them and hoped, her youngest daughter would be resilient, like the bright yellow wildfire weed, that spread across the street, ready to conquer the…

The Lovely Lady Who… by Britta Benson

For this man, I’m just the lovely lady who comes in once a week and plays Ludo with him. He has no idea why I visit. Perhaps, he thinks, I’m a community volunteer, like those do-gooder older women in pale lilac cashmere cardigans, widows, who seem to spend all their free time knitting more pale…

We are Gardeners by Britta Benson

This is the story of the loam, where everything is grown or not, here’s our lot, a bucket full of oddshaped miscellanea that would never make it to a shop, let alone the fancy farmers’ market. This is our produce, the pride of our place: Sickly green tomatoes with varicose veins, blotchy potatoes, warts and…

Dinnerplate Identities by Britta Benson

We all eat. Food comes and goes, always available, yet often, more of an afterthought, a side show, consumed in a rush. I see people in the street wolfing down a sandwich while speaking on the phone, no respect, no regret. Let’s stop here and linger. I’ve got something to tell you.  This is the…

The Girl by Britta Benson

She can see fresh leaf green through the concrete, spot a fairy from ten thousand miles away and always in her own reflection. She’s three. Fairy dust – what a joke. That’s not how she operates. Look for the cracks, the cuts and scars. When one world bursts open, another one waits underneath, ready to…

The Quiet by Britta Benson

It can only stay quiet for a certain time. That first uncertain time, when the survivors hunker down, stay as low as they possibly can and live on scraps and dust mites. Some have planned for this and built a bunker. I guess, they’ll be slightly more comfortable. Mum and dad didn’t see the point….

Colourblind by Britta Benson

So what exactly are you meant to do, when you wish to spruce up your home a little – and let’s be frank here right from the start! All I intended to do was to paint a few walls, pick a new rug, perhaps a few scatter cushions, nothing major, just a cheap and cheerful…