Tag Archives: Maureen Harrison

Maureen and Jo, Shared Story

I feel as if I’m in limbo.  Normally I operate from the ‘here and now’, but everyone is being told, indeed being commanded, to live as in the future.  Far ahead, decades ahead, or else!  Or else what?


The people in the square shuddered as the person on the platform thundered his instructions.  They had been subjected to these rantings many times.  They were all dressed identically – black trousers, black hoods – indeed the only colour to be seen was black.  Was this the future then?  No colour, no light, no life as they had known it.  I look around.  Was there only me who could see?


I tried to speak to the man standing alongside of me, I tried twice but he did not respond at all.  I shouted but it was hopeless.  My words were falling on deaf ears.  I turned to the person on the other side of me.  She stared straight through me. I raised my voice and she slowly turned away.  By now panic was setting in.  These people were being hypnotised and only I realised it!


Why was I still left alone?  I felt under nobody’s spell, like these people.  I had been lucky enough to have escaped the brainwashing which had been going on from the stage.  Should I escape now while I had the chance?

I ran to my left.  People closed in around me, and the threat was intense.


Maureen and Jo – shared story.


© 1st July 2021 Maureen Harrison & Jo Femia


Psychiatrist -v- Patient (or is it?) by Maureen Harrison

Psychiatrist -v- Patient (or is it?)


As John related his story to the psychiatrist a feeling of unease pervaded the room.


John described the moment he felt he had lost it –  the driving rain hammering against the windscreen accompanied by a howling gale when he had no idea where he was.   Ghostly shapes gathered around but he quickly realised these were trees but what were the lights shining in the distance?


He glanced at the rear window of the car and felt for sure somebody was watching him.   He accelerated but quickly realised his mistake as the car tyres slithered across a slurry of mud.    Heart pounding he attempted to get out of the vehicle but fear made him hesitate.   Luckily the car had righted itself and he was able to resume his journey.


To the psychiatrist it became apparent he knew this scenario.   As John continued to talk he let his mind wander to a similar experience.   He knew what came next!   But how?   He didn’t think he knew John so how could he know this story?


John went on with his tale.   He drove a little further and saw a white shape ahead.   What was it?


I know this thought the psychiatrist.   Go on with your story but I already know the ending.  If your story is my story what are you doing here talking to me about it?


The vision became only too clear.   The white shape materialised and a gunshot rang out.  John slumped in the driving seat.  The psychiatrist looked at the patient, then down at himself.   John was dead!   The psychiatrist closed his eyes.


His receptionist found him later that day.   Blood was pouring from his chest but what on earth had transpired?   The room, apart from the dead psychiatrist, was empty.   She checked around the room satisfying herself all was clear.   She dialled 999 and said “there has been a terrible accident.”  Only she knew what had transpired and she was saying absolutely nothing !!!


She heard the sirens and readied herself …………..


© Maureen Harrison/Touchstones Writing Group/1/7/2021

Bommy Poems and Prose, November 5th 2020, Bonfire Night by Maureen Harrison

Our regular Zoom workshop replaces the physical meeting at Touchstones and takes place on the first Thursday of the month between 2-4. This month it fell on November 5th so we had to write about Guy Fawkes’ Night, Bonfire Night, call it what you will. What I loved about facilitating this session was the marvellous memories we all brought back, I’m sure there’s a book to be had from this!

Maureen sent in her poem for our enjoyment.

Chairman Ray



For weeks before the 5th November, which is Bonfire Night, gangs of us kids would scour the hills and dales for firewood.  This consisted of old trees, bushes, planks – in fact anything that would burn.   Our house had a cellar as did some of the other houses so we used to persuade mum to let us keep our stash down there.   Method in our madness as other rival gangs were on the lookout to raid our stock of wood.   We were lucky as dad’s cousin Rose was the caretaker of our local church which doubled as school during the week.   She used to let us keep our wood which was too big to go down our cellar in the church boiler room.


We used to make a guy – an effigy of Guy Fawkes who tried to blow up the Houses of Parliament hundreds of years ago.   We made ours out of paper stuffed with straw.  He (it was always a “he”) was dressed in some old clothes and he proudly wore an old hat.


My brother and I used to dress our cousin in old clothes, cram him into a pushchair and parade him around as well as the gang’s guy until mum rescued him.


The mums made all sorts of goodies – potato pie, parkin, black peas, baked potatoes and anything else which they fancied but the favourite was always treacle toffee.   In fact I still make treacle toffee and black peas on Bonfire Night but I buy the parkin after my daughter broke one of her teeth on some  I once made.


Come the day – kids and dads, though usually my dad and his brother – set about building the bonfire with us kids dragging wood from all our hiding places.  We still had to keep watch though over the wood as gangs of kids would still try to steal our wood, as we would try to steal theirs.


Fireworks such as jumping jacks, catherine wheels, chinese crackers, roman candles, rockets, sparklers and bangers were set aside from the bonfire.   Dads usually set off these with mums supervising the tots who were allowed to hold sparklers.


Later on food would be dished up.  Potatoes were put directly into the fire to bake.  They emerged from the flames by way of poking them with sticks.   Black as charcoal on the outside and raw in the middle but we valiantly ate them until the proper food arrived.


Later on cousin Rose would open up the school and pews would be brought out and placed at a safe distance from the dying fire.   Mums and dads would sit on them usually with a drink and us kids ran wild round the common.


Bedtime came at last.   We stank to high heaven of wood smoke and were filthy.


The last job for my mum, which was an embarrassment to me and my brother, was to dowse the fire with buckets of water to make sure it was out!!!!!


© Maureen Harrison    TCWG    5/11/20