My wife, in typically stoic fashion, returned to work just six weeks after giving birth to our first son. Back then, Sarah was manager of a group home for two Down’s adults on the outskirts of Swansea, so had to do shifts, which included sleep-ins.

I was working as a part-time lecturer at the local college and also as an ad hoc draftsman for an engineering company in Llandeilo. This meant I was out three days of the week, but home every evening. …

He’d been instructed quite clearly. One pig’s eyeball to be requested from Danny the Butcher (no, not Danny the Barber, his mother had confirmed, pouring cold water on his little joke). He was to smile and ask politely, or else. She wasn’t going to pay for it, she didn’t even want to look at the disgusting thing, ych a fi.

Why an eyeball? you might ask. It was his first year at secondary school, and, at his first Biology lesson in the dark oak panelled lecture room of the 1928 block, they’d been instructed to procure said eyeball. For dissection…

I recently passed my childhood home, took the opportunity to park up for a few minutes and furtively look in from the car. My mother died twenty six years ago and we sold the house a couple of years after that and I have always found it painful to go back.

The house itself has fallen into obvious disrepair. Peeling paint, dirty windows, dripping gutters. But it was the state of the garden that hurt most. The neat borders and tidy hedges my parents lovingly planted and tended for years have overgrown, gone wild left to their own devices. …

I am a creature of habit. My working day begins at 8.00, after an hour in the the gym. I sit sweating at my desk for fifteen minutes responding to emails while I cool down before a shower. I am back at my desk by 9.00 for the most productive two hours of my day. At eleven, after Popmaster, I go into the house (or garden if it’s warm) for a small cup of coffee. My mug of choice is one of two Gruffalo mugs that I bought for their exact size. I’ve been doing this now for the past…

Born towards the end of New Year’s Eve of 1963, I managed to save my mother’s blushes by not quite being a New Year’s Day baby. She would have hated having our photograph in the newspaper, as was the tradition back then.

It’s a weird day to have a birthday (not that I have anything to compare it with). I swing between the opinion that everyone celebrates my birthday, and that no-one does. …

I hate it,

I hate it, I hate it, I hate it, I hate it,

I hate its fucking squeak, its clunks, its lurches.

I hate it when it’s cold. I hate it when it’s hot.

I don’t much like it when it’s temperate.

I step on. Grudgingly. Set the timer and off we jolly well go.


The squeak kicks in immediately, despite repeated oilings.

Squeak, squeak, squeak, squeak.

I block it out, knuckle down, break a sweat, plan my day.

And daydream. Weaving little stories in my head.

I build imaginary new worlds, then dissolve them with reality.

He was escorted the short distance across the glistening tarmac from Swansea Central to the new sports shop he was about to open.

My grandmother took me. Come on boy she said and lifted me as high above the buzz as she could manage, which wasn’t much for a dumpy little woman in her fifties. I patted him on the back as he went in. I remember a huge head with thick brown hair and the smell of aftershave. It was like he had his own gravity the way people pressed towards him.

Gran shoved me through the steaming, overcoated…

Ian ‘Jungles’ Jones was a one off. I first got to know him when he over zealously pogoed out of a window to the Skids on the jukebox at the Half Moon Inn in Garnant. He picked himself up and carried on pogoing outside in the beer garden until the song finished. “Into the Valley”, I was impressed.

He was a natural clown, the first you’d call when arranging a night out, assured to be doubled over with laughter. But sadness also followed him around like an evil ginger twin. …

My roles in life in chronological order

Being, infant son, apple of their eye, grandson, nephew, cousin, citizen, Cymro Cymraeg, enforced Christian, toddler, mother’s chocolate pudding, patient, small boy, wonderer at the world, dog owner, watcher with mother, visitor, learner, little artist, reader, playmate, passenger, Bampa’s little horse, schoolboy, cinema goer, chapel goer, third wise man, friend, dirt collector, bychan Arthur Goss, singer, reciter, Barbara Goss’ boy, Gran’s little bugger, football fan, owner of treasured Geoff Hurst autograph, street games afficionado, den builder, Auntie Maria’s nose borer, Tufty Club member, day tripper, televison watcher, European Citizen, reluctant choirboy, horse rider…

Confessions of a Boot Boy

While cleaning my wife’s little boots yesterday I began thinking of how much I’ve always loved the task. It’s a satisfying process to scrape off mud and detritus, to brush vigorously before applying polish, waiting for it to soak in for a few minutes, then buffing to a high shine with a soft brush and cloth. I sometimes indulge myself further by applying a layer of Dubbin, a greasy salve that helps waterproof and further shine and protect the shoe.

When my four children were little it was my Sunday afternoon job to polish their…

Simon Goss

All this, and Welsh too.

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