Seaside Storm

The dark grey clouds heavy with rain tumbled across the sky driven on by the cold lazy wind that preferred to go through you rather than go round. The white topped waves throwing salty spume into the air and racing up the wet grey sand to eventually crash exhausted on the shingle with a smack and a rattle that almost overcame the sound of the wind. Above the odd seagull braved the storm and making no headway turned and allowed the wind to carry it at full speed into the distance before turning again as if to continue a game of kiss chase.

Further out to sea alone sail border skims across the surface of the waves. Dipping and disappearing into the trough behind the waves only to appear again as he climbs the next wave, as he enjoys the adrenaline rush of risking disaster in the stormy seas. On the cliffside, sea birds take shelter from the storm looking like splashes of white paint against the dark background. Occasionally a bird risks the wind and is carried upwards into the sky to disappear over the cliff.

A dog walker comes into view head bent and collar up eyes stinging from the flying sand and spray. His dog following miserably behind also with head down and coat streaming water.  As the man turns and walks up the beach the wind catches his hat and tumbles it down the beach into the waves. The man turns gives a wave of annoyance and resumes his walk towards the steps and home.

In the harbour small crab and fishing boats bob and dip. The fishermen safe in the warm arms of the Jolly Fisherman drink beer and discuss the great storms of the past and look forward to a calmer sea and a successful voyage.

A distress rocket booms high in the air and they rise and rush to the lifeboat. In minutes the boat rushes down the ramp and battles the waves to bring in a yacht that foolishly ignored the storm and is now stranded having lost power.

As darkness falls distant lights can be seen some flashing at different rates give warning of rocks or sandbanks whilst others travel slowly across the skyline. These are the great cargo ships that dare any storm in their quest for profit.  Gradually the storm having exhausted itself begins to calm and peace descends.




Ambulance hurrying flat out to bring aid,

Blues and two clearing the way ahead,

Casualty waiting in pain and fear afraid,

Death may call and life may pass away.

Emergencies always have first place.

First aid brings swift release from pain  

Golden hour demand speed not delay.

Hospital staff wait nervously predicting

Injuries sustained and steps to take.

Joyful result or death chosen by fate;


Foreign Legion

Legionnaires parade smartly through the city

Marching to  Le Boudin or the Kepi Blanc

Non-French united in one brotherhood

Only one command recognised fight and die

Proud of this tradition and leave no wounded

Queen and country have no meaning

Respect of officers and orders followed

Supersede all other aims and orders

This makes the legionnaire forever famed



Unfurled sails and anchor raised

Victuals and water stored below

Whilst ancient sailors ply their trade

Xebecs three masts take the strain

Young men bring her through the storm.

Zythum refreshes tired bodies rest.


[Xebec, an ancient sailing ship.]

[Zythum, an  ancient Beer.]

The blood stained coat.

As the dead body was taken from the theatre the surgeon, Mr Sinclair, addressed the ranks of observers who had gathered to watch the operations. Some were medical students, but many were the dilettantes who were interested in anything scientific.

“Gentlemen, our next patient is a young factory worker who was unfortunate to get crushed between the wheels of a spinning jenny. The injuries to her leg are so severe I will amputate above the knee.” He continued. Please be as quiet as you can when the young girl is brought in.”


He turned to his assistants and nodded they quickly and quietly left the room and returned with the sobbing girl and laid her on the table. The assistants tightened the straps holding her on the table leaving the crushed leg free. Sinclair spoke to her his voice confident and kind. “Now my dear, keep your bowels open and trust in God and it will quickly be over.”


With that he turned to the small table beside him and placed the saw between his teeth, taking the curved fleshing knife turned to his work. An assistant had taken the girls leg and held it over his arm and held it firmly. Sinclair quickly placed his arm under the leg so that the knife was curved under her leg.


He made one quick cut in one move circled the leg and down to the bone as he did so the high pitched scream began. He dropped the knife and grabbed the saw with made five quick strokes, and he cut through the bone, and the leg was off.


The girl had mercifully fainted as he took one of the threaded needles from his coat collar. And began to close the veins and arteries when he had finished he took the flaps of flesh and stitched them over the wound. The girl was starting to come round, and he stared into her eyes seeking her forgiveness. “It’s all over my dear”.

As the assistants gently lifted her onto the trolley, She quietly whispered: “Thank you, sir”. The porters took her to the recovery ward. From her entry into the Theatre to the time she left 11 minutes had passed, Probably the longest 11 minutes of her life.


Sinclair turned to the observers and bowed to the cheers and applause of the crowd. Sinclair said, “Gentlemen the surgeon needs the heart of a Lion, the strength of a Bull and skill of a seamstress.”

With that, he left the theatre and entered his dressing room where he threw up over the floor. Trembling he took the decanter and poured a glass of fortified wine, he drank it in one gulp and wiping his hands down his blood and vomit stained coat made his way to the wards.


I may have the full fleshed body of a Sassenach
But I have a Scottish heart, not the heart
of a see you Jimmy Lowlander
But at the heart that stood on a cold
sleet filled Moor on a Wednesday morning
And felt the thrill of fear and the heat of battle

I may have the glib tongue of the Queen’s English
But I have the heart of a poet, not the heart of a McGonigal
But the heart that sings of the Glen and clan
A Song of enclosure and exile a Song of return and renewal
A song that sings of hill and stream of Stag and Rut

Oh I may have the full flesh body of a Sassenach and an English tongue
But I have a Scottish heart the heart and soul of the Highlander
And the blood runs hot, and the song rings out on Rannoch Moor
To a lost time and a time long past by and a time yet to come
When the Clans gather, and the Highland heart is one again