Friday, 13 March 2015

The ties that bind

This story is published in Woman’s Weekly (17 March 2015).

I’ve mentioned in a previous post the creative writing class I go to on a Friday morning. Last year, for a term, we wrote on the theme of transport and one class member brought in a prompt of a black and white picture of a young man on a bicycle.

I decided, in the class, in the ten minutes we got to write something on it, that it was an old snap that had been unearthed by a woman and her brother when they were clearing their mother’s house. Because the brother looked like the young man and not like their father the woman wondered if their mother might have had an affair. 

When I came to develop it at home I decided to aim for 1800 words and send it to Woman’s Weekly as I knew they were short of stories that length – plus I didn’t think it was a storyline The People’s Friend would go for … .

I haven’t had a story in Woman’s Weekly for ages so I was delighted to get a quick and positive response to this one.

I love looking through old family photographs. (Reminder to self: use your own photos as prompts.)

I have lots of them. Fortunately, my mum had gone through her photographs and written on the back, but there is a limit to the information you can put on and how useful it’s going to be to future generations. For example, I can read ‘Aunt B, Nairn Beach’ and know who that is but unless I add ‘Kate’s maternal great-aunt Belle’ my children won’t have a clue. And their descendants – if they’re kind enough to have kept the photos – won’t know who ‘Kate’ is, never mind Aunt B.

There is a packet of photographs Mum had labelled ‘Canadian connections’. These had been sent back home to Scotland since the beginning of the twentieth century when a branch of the family emigrated.

One has been labelled by its sender: ‘This is my eldest sister with me’.

Not very helpful eighty years on. Luckily, I was recently put in touch with a current ‘Canadian connection’ who is interested in the family tree. I sent her a scan and she was able to identify the ladies.

The ties that bind.


  1. Congratulations on the publication!

    I love old photos. I can see they have lots of story potential.

  2. Let me know if you use one for a story, Patsy.