What Pegman Saw: Winter Ghosts

Image: Google Street View

Our village is overhung by the forest, the mountain a spiteful mother at our backs.

For generations the coming of warm weather would prod us from our nests of furs. We’d pick and pickle, cut hay, fill larders and log stores. Ready ourselves.

The cold was always hard when it came. People died, but only those buffeted by years, stripped clean by illness.

Then one year the snow lingered, soft grey ghosts of winter hiding in the shadows. Children scuffed the drifts with their boots, prodded them with sticks before moving on to other quarries.

Each summer those ‘ghosts’ retreated less, were harder to ignore.

This year there was no hay. The ground is too hard to cut even for the smallest grave and the saplings dwindle and die through an endless winter.

Summer haunts my dreams.

***

Written for What Pegman Saw, the prompt that uses Google Street View. This week we visit Maienfeld, Switzerland. See here to join in.

State of Denial: Iain Kelly’s new novel for these ‘Interesting Times’

There’s an old Chinese curse that wishes the unlucky recipient to

Live in interesting times

Now, no one – be they Brexiter, Remainer, environmentalist, climate change denier (Donald Trump, I suspect, might be all of the above, depending on what time of night he’s tweeting and how much cheese he ate before he snuggled up in his jammies) – could say the early 21st century isn’t just that

Interesting.

We have an American President who spills his scrambled brains in public at any time of day or night, who slams a free press and pulls his country back from environmental reforms at a moment of global catastrophe.

We have a British Prime Minister who behaves like a despot, illegally closing parliament when it doesn’t agree with his policies, sacking long time supporters when they do the same, is determined to drag the country towards an economic abyss because his backers have gambled big on a no deal Brexit.

We have a sixteen year old girl with Aspergers talking more sense, being a better leader to a generation than a whole room full of squirming, suited, self-serving politicians …

Interesting times indeed.

Perhaps this is why Iain Kelly’s State novels resonate so deeply.

Set in a world post huge environmental collapse, in an undemocratic state that controls every aspect of peoples lives from what they eat to how they spend their time and what medication they can take.

And yet, even here, revolution smoulders.

State of Denial (the second of Iain’s State Trilogy) is out today.

It is election time in The State, the citizens prepare to vote. A journalist from the Capital City, Maxine Aubert, heads north to report on growing resistance to the powerful ruling Party. Ex-police detective Danny Samson returns to the City he once fled, leaving behind a new found peace in the wilderness. Together Max and Danny become entangled in a burgeoning opposition movement with links to Danny’s past. Soon they learn the ruling Party will do whatever it takes to remain in power, and one life is all it takes to spark a revolution.

A novel for our interesting times.

Here’s a link to Iain’s site.

And if you’d like to read a previous interview I had with Iain on the release of the first State novel – A Justified State – see here.