Stories from all categories

mansplendour
2
I was working in a cafe, head down, muttering the words aloud under my breath as I forged down the page writing for hours. The man next to me started to take an interest. I ...read more
hand to hand
6
I went to a new physiotherapist today for my injured hand, and experienced all the Germanness. Me and the therapist, who is 23, have to call each other Mrs So and So, Mrs So. Her ...read more
this one time?
I came home after a long day, festooned with groceries. The bench on the subway platform was occupied by two girls and their shopping. I said, "Excuse me," in German, and they said, "Excuse me," ...read more
refugee dinner
4
This is the lunch I had today, in a Saturday cafe set up by a refugees welcome committee (one of the many) in Berlin. When I ordered, a smiling Syrian woman plump and beautiful in ...read more
a virgin busker
6
On the subway a woman suddenly opened her mouth and began to sing. Her voice was tentative and good. She had a little loudspeaker rigged up through her mobile phone and had set herself to ...read more
a Berlin evening, so cold, so sweet
2
After an exceptionally difficult night and a day of doing difficult work, I said: I need to go out. Let's go someplace we can have a glass of red and a plate of food. I ...read more
it has sun
In the cafe he showed me the pictures he had taken on his walk here, of a dog skateboarding in the park. "You should animate those into a thumb-book!" I said. Amy Winehouse was singing. ...read more
the meagrely satisfying throne
4
He didn’t want to be President. Not if President means making sticky decisions, and being blamed for things (most of the world calls this ‘adult responsibility’), and being woken at four to read the papers.  ...read more
pity flamingo
Every week I cross town on the train and we pass a tower block of identical grey-frame units which have grey balconies. One balcony, at eye level with the train, has a bright pink inflatable ...read more