Harmony in the Hospital

Back in the 70’s the Bay City Rollers sang Shang a Lang. Their hairdos were augmented I’m sure with all manner of products including Harmony hair spray. According to the advert it lasted 24 hours and brushed out easily.

Long before that there was Yin and Yang and the idea that opposing forces like night and day can achieve harmony when they are in balance.

Our world needs holding together. Not by products but by the acceptance that, as the Prophet Muhammed said, all creatures are one family dependent on God.

Some years ago I had occasion to be in a hospital corridor late at night. I saw a figure in the distance whom I presumed was female as she was wearing a black niqab.  It had been an emotionally charged day and as she came closer, I felt a strange feeling of resentment. Why was she covered from head to foot like that ?

Covered that is except the eyes which, despite whatever reason she was in that corridor, radiated a smile at me. Nothing else; just two beautiful, kind eyes. I smiled back at the other human and thought of everything we must have had in common in that place of healing.

Harmony – for at least 24 hours and not easily brushed away.

© Ash Cheyne 2017

WordPress Daily Word Prompt – Harmony





An ever lasting line

like his greatest sense



We wait

for the delivery

that never comes

That last hilarious punchline


Our hearts race





for a sudden spike


We’ll always have them


of polished shoes

crisp shirts

poker face

razor sharp wit



© Ash Cheyne 2017

Daily Post Word Challenge – Spike

Opaque Forest

I wonder if they know

that opaque

is the Latin word

for dark.

That light

can’t get through them,


That energy fades

in us all

without the sunshine

of our lives.

That they’ve been here

longer than us.


by the wind.

Stronger than us.


© Ash Cheyne 2017

Daily Word Prompt Challenge – Opaque

Gen Vinyl 1

Finally they emerge after years of hibernation in a cold place on the other side of the planet. The weight of expectation is matched only by that of the boxes. No visible damage – so far so good.

They appear to have survived floods and transportation and the advent of CDs and digital downloads by a need to literally hold onto something real. Something to display that was usually harder to find than a couple of taps and a download. A sensation to carry in your head and under your arm after the banter of the buying and selling process.

As I select my favourites with the glee and wonderment of a kid at Christmas, I begin travelling through time. Sitting in my room with mates from school, playing Bad Company whilst thumbing through porno mags yet marvelling at the good manners of a guy who has the respect to hold a vinyl LP correctly; ensuring there is minimal dust on the needle to limit the characteristic crackle.

I am 18 years old and unbeknown to me, I am having a life experience that will one day cease to exist for most of us. I have a summer job in a record shop before going off to university. Sure, we’ll always have summers and universities but right now we have Blondie and Big Country and Bowie and the Beatles White album re released in coloured vinyl. We have 12-inch singles and an association with something that makes us feel alive. A sense of identity and a nice LP sized cloth bag to put our discounted purchases in and to show to people without headphones on the bus home.

The needle bumps at the end of side 1 of Dark Side of the Moon as I hurtle back to the present day where old factories bombed in the war with pictures of King George on the wall, press records in an industry that employs people but that doesn’t really exist.

I download music using my credit card and hope that I’ve paid the money to the people who actually have the rights to sell it. No banter even if they don’t.

In the good old days you’d scramble the cash together out of any and every pocket. Some foreign coins and chewing gum and a knowing smile from the pretty girl behind the counter who forgives your haplessness because liking a band enough that no one has heard of to spend your beer and cigarette money on makes you pure.

Vinyl is a substance never to be worn or sat on, except in exceptional retro circumstances. Like by my daughter along with an old Doors tee shirt of mine. She’s not into their music yet, but she does live on love street so it wont be long before the needle moves a couple of grooves; hissing and scratching and awakening something real. Gen Vinyl 2 perhaps?

I have a beard and I’m slightly middle aged and I’m partial to art and craft beer. Below the surface though I’m still that teenager and if there were a band called The Kinaesthetics I’d have all their albums.

© Ash Cheyne 2017


Mother isn’t happy, but we are unaware. Oblivious. Lost in our thoughts about how long we will have to sit in this stuffy room on the 15th floor. Thinking about the weekend and a good few glasses of something special.

I look around at my colleagues. I think that’s what you call the poor souls that spend their days together. Not out of choice but in debt to institutions in bigger buildings than this. Paying back the debt on theirs.

Then a droning noise, like someone is drilling the centre of he building. Then it stops, briefly as the table we are sat around starts to move around like a Ouija board, as if we have upset someone from the other side.

I hear screams from another room amid shocked pale faces in mine. Some dive under the table; some head for the door. I sit frozen, wondering what magnitude it is. The building has base isolators so it shouldn’t collapse. So they say. Who’s hanging around to find out ?

We sit in our cars, gridlocked. Pedestrians overtake us, crunching on broken glass; some crying; some unsure. Somewhere there are people I care about that I can’t reach. Not by phone or car or good intentions.

Note to self. Focus on real life and love. Quite a jolt.


© Ash Cheyne 2017

Daily Prompt Challenge – Jolt






It was no real surprise that our flight was cancelled. The wind the night before nearly made me airborne. Or was that the glorious wine from Patrick’s private collection ?

It was a long weekend and determined not to shorten it we took a cab back into town and had breakfast in Joes Garage. Then we crossed the road and took in the Warhol exhibition, pretending we were already there.

It rained when we finally got there. Movie rain. Straight down and bouncing off the concrete like we were at the thought of being together. Record stores and witchcraft and spells and vodka martinis in the Morrison Hotel bar

We didn’t want to go home in the early morning.


© Ash Cheyne 2017

Weekly Photo Challenge – Surprise


We had been skiing in Chamonix all week. We had a great time although I worried about her, my daughter, a lot of the time. I can get by in French but one day we crossed through the Mont Blanc tunnel into Italy. I know the names of a lot of food, but that’s about it really.

Towards the end of the day, we got lost and passed a small pile of bodies that had crashed into each other, presumably at typical Italian high speed. She froze as I told her to come down the other side and not to look. She looked terrified and tearful.

Then we saw some huskies and her world brightened immeasurably. Fear and trepidation vanished. Without a thought she put her hand out and petted the animal. The mother I think. Penetrating eyes met childlike innocence and all was well. Secure.


© Ash Cheyne 2017

Daily Post Photo Challenge –  Security









Curve ball

Not in the groove though

Can’t get that feeling

he had way back

when he was part of it

The machine


that explains the convenience

of the truth

we choose

To believe

in something we like

A minority vote

for good


© Ash Cheyne 2017

Daily Prompt Post – Outlier





My First Time

So, here we are. You and I wondering what happens next. A friend said it’s a brave thing to bear your soul to millions of people. If I’m that interesting then I’m sure I’ll get over it pretty quick, but for now I’m pretty nervous that maybe no one will care or that my site looks naff.

I write stories. Some short and some very, very long. Oh, and some poetry too. I often get asked if they are fictional. As they are all based on things seen, heard or done, then there are elements of [distorted] truth in there. So let’s say faction.

Each week I plan to write about the stuff that bothers me or makes me laugh. Then, suitably entertained, you may wish to take a look at some of my other stuff. Stay tuned.