Déjà Vu – Dr Robert Clifford
1100 words General Fiction
Dr Robert Clifford describes two different kinds of carving meat.
Maggie set the last of the plates in the rack to drain. As she looked out the kitchen window she could see Robert and Barbara Howe in the garden next door start to circle each other in the nightly ritual that preceded all out war. Soon their raised voices were screaming across the narrow yard. “There they go again.” she sighed, drying her hands on the tea towel and draping it over the dishes. “I can hear,” growled her husband Peter pouring a large glass of wine… “Time to turn on the TV. Maybe we can drown them out.”
Evacuation – Dr. Robert Clifford
3100 words General / Historical Fiction
Dr Robert Clifford reminisces about his experience as an evacuee during World War II and the surprises he had on his return home from evacuation.
It seemed that just after we heard Neville Chamberlain declare war on Germany, we heard our first air raid siren. We all got under the old family slate-covered billiard table wondering what was going to happen. Nothing did, but it spurred my father into action. We lived in South London at the time. He said ‘This area is going to be bombed to bits. I will rush you children up to your grandparents in Blackpool – tomorrow. Then mother and I will somehow stick it out down here with the dog.
Hooked – Dr. Robert Clifford
1500 words General Fiction
Dr Robert Clifford talks about making full use of a talent while you still have it.
It is said that your schooldays are the happiest days of your life. This was not how it was for me; they were not terrible, but also, not a great load of fun. I went to several schools; a church infants school; a small boys prep school; a co-educational school, which I hated – we had to jump into the school baths every Saturday morning; then to a grammar school where for the first four years I used to hog one of the bottom three places in whichever class I was in.
Not a Stain on My Character – Dr. Robert Clifford
1000 words Humour
A completely true story and the trousers have not been the same since.
I was a family doctor in North Devon where, in addition to my medical work, I did some radio and TV mainly related to medicine. I had also acquired a local reputation as an after dinner speaker; I must confess I loved the sound of my own voice. I had been called to go to London for a Woman’s Hour broadcast, which was always exciting in those days, a trip up to the big city. I was to be met in London by a senior lady in the BBC, prior to doing a live broadcast, on Medical Matters.
Playing at Writing – Dr Robert Clifford
1000 words Humour
A humorous memoire of my early days of writing whilst a doctor – now retired from medicine, I feel I am a proper writer!
Playing at writing is perhaps as good a form of relaxation as most. It has the advantage of allowing you scope outside your own particular work environment without leaving that environment or necessarily interfering with it. The difficulties presented to a doctor-author are that, as writing about subjects you are familiar with is the easiest way of getting into print, whatever your original intention, such is the insatiable lay public’s appetite for medicine, you are soon side-tracked into writing medicine of one sort or another.
Poor Sonia Blatchingthorpe – Dr Robert Clifford
730 word Satire
Doctor Clifford explores other avenues mankind could have taken to express their arts.
For two mornings Sonia Blatchingthorpe had noticed traces of blood in her stool. She was sufficient of a realist to know that this meant either a complete readjustment or the end of her career. For five years now, her fine contralto tones had dominated the music world. She would always command a packed audience in any of the world’s leading music houses.
Soliloquy at Evening Surgery – Dr. Robert Clifford
650 words General Fiction
A General Practitioner’s thoughts at evening surgery.
The Bridge – Dr Robert Clifford
695 words Literary Fiction
Communicating and a fable.
She sat watching him, busy at work on the other side of the water. She said, ‘I do admire the energy and aggression in the way you work. How can you spend so much time building a bridge when you are running a successful farm?’ He said, ‘It is just a question of motivation, and that is a very long story.’
The House Party – Dr. Robert Clifford
2660 words Mystery / General
A picture of a character, a house party that turned into something else and you might be moved.
We had all sworn at university that we would meet up for a week in twenty years’ time. For all the twenty years after qualifying we kept in touch by the bi-monthly bulletins from Forbes-Watson, secretary. Forbes-Watson was by far the most successful of us all; having said that, he was the one with the most money. He had just managed a pass degree in geography at university which was the worst of all of us.
The Man in the White Cotton Gloves – Dr Robert Clifford
1300 words General Fiction / Christian
Another version of the second coming of Christ, in the same genre as Jerome K Jerome, The Passing of the Third Floor Back. As one reader said it makes the hair stand upon the back of his neck.
Nobody saw him without them—he always wore white cotton gloves. He came to our town the day after the vicar travelled to London for a brain operation. He arrived unexpectedly and unannounced at the Church House, wearing a pair of shabby flannels, a well-worn coat with leather elbows, and carrying a battered, much-travelled suitcase and the thing that puzzled us most, he wore white cotton gloves.
The Queen’s Champion – Dr Robert Clifford
740 words Humour
A fascinating folk story with an unexpected twist at the end.
The Queen, who was the fairest in all the land and who was said by the wise men to be the fairest of all Queens, had come to take part in time-honoured tradition of choosing her Champion. The custom was that when the Queen was in the full bloom of her womanhood, all the men of the nation, who had some particular skill or prowess, should come to the four-day games and compete before her.
The Tree – Dr Robert Clifford
This sensitive heart-touching story is set in the 1960s. It is wound around a four-thousand mile trans-Saharan safari, which the doctor author was fortunate enough to experience, and includes a pioneering journey across the dreaded five-hundred square mile Ténéré Desert, between Algeria and Niger, in the middle of which is a single tree. Be prepared to be moved to tears.
This story is included in the collection This Land is My Land
L’arbre du Ténéré is the only tree marked on the topographical maps of Africa I was doing my final year anatomy and physiology when I met Mike Bullock. He was a final clinical year student and we both played for the hospital rugby side. He, as his name implies, was a big, solid, front row forward, while I fancied myself as a dashing wing three-quarter. He was one of those gentle giants who, whatever the circumstances, could never be really provoked. A true ‘man’s man’ – smart, pipe-smoking, six foot one inch, and fifteen stone seven pounds in his socks.
This Land is My Land – 16 short reads for lazy days
‘This Land is My Land’ and ‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ are ‘his and hers’ holiday reads from Alfie Dog Fiction. The collections bring together some of the best short stories from 37 authors across the globe.
‘This Land is My Land’ is more action and adventure driven while ‘Came as ‘me’, Left as ‘we’’ contains a mixture of women’s fiction, feel good stories and romance, and both contain stories to leave the reader thinking. Alfie Dog Fiction’s managing director, Rosemary Kind, says “We know from our readers that they like to stock up on reading matter for their holidays and these collections offer the perfect way to do just that.”
Both collections have a truly international feel, not only through the spread of the writers but the fascinating backdrops to the stories. Within the pages the reader will travel from diamond mining in Australia to a lone tree in an African desert, from the quintessential English seaside Pier to the jungles of Malaysia and coast to coast across America.
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Reader Reviews HERE
Stories included: Winter Light – Henry Mitchell, Tiburcio’s Treasure – G. Lloyd Helm, Fordsburg Apology – Tom Rhoyd, The Sergeant Major Instructor – Martin Gosling, Presence – Michael Barry, Deadly Nightshade – Peter Lingard, The Tree – Dr. Robert Clifford, Tightrope – Michael Mohr, Rosie The Riveter – Chris Cooke, The Refugee – Stephen Rowson, Grey Matter – John Malone, Hunting at Dawn – Ian D. Smith, Under the Baobab Tree – Roger Woodcock, A Forgotten Key -Gerard Taylor Wallace, The Storekeeper’s Town – Paul Peppers, Beasties that Bite and Sting – Terence Brand
Two Sides of the Coin – Dr. Robert Clifford
3300 words Literary Fiction
This story describes two relationships, one completely non-physical and the other poignantly, tenderly and sensitively physical showing what depths of intense communications can be reached in either form. This gives an extremely fascinating glimpse into people’s inner lives.
Without touching I first saw the girl when I was registering at the hotel. Picking up my key, our eyes met in the mirror behind the clerk’s head. She smiled, and something that I can’t describe or explain happened to me, not unlike a wind-taking blow to the midriff that I sometimes got in my boxing and rugby playing days at university. It was three months before my marriage; I had taken Alison, my fiancée, to an industrial conference at a hotel near Dover; not because it had any particular interest, but for both of us to escape the ever-mounting fuss of the pre-wedding preparations, which seemed to be everyone’s concern except our own.