Hello and welcome. I'm Moira Ashley and on this site you'll find a selection of my writing-- currently comprising travel articles and poetry, both serious and light hearted. I hope that you'll enjoy browsing and that you may find something here to entertain,inspire or enlighten you...thanks for visiting my site.

Encounter in the Forest

Our orange tent had tricked me with false sunrise. I shivered as mist lapped at my legs. It was too early for the clank and splash at the communal tap, the scent and sizzle of bacon. Dad, who’d woken when I crawled over him to unzip the morning, whispered ‘Shall we explore?’ My plaits bounced excitedly as I nodded. This was day five of ‘life in a foreign country’ and there was still so much to see. Admittedly, the border was a mere seventy miles north of our home in County Durham, but they had different pound notes and a blue-and-white flag, and people who sounded their ‘r’s as if rolling them across pebbled paths...........more

Caffi Culture

Peering at the menu behind the counter, I worry for a moment that I’ve succumbed to sudden onset macular degeneration. I struggle to read the offerings: h cks, he e nd om t toa ti

Then I realise it’s a peg board where items are composed of individual plastic letters and several have fallen off. The café’s interior décor – red Formica tables and wood veneer walls, suggests it was last updated circa 1960. Strung across the ceiling are faded Christmas paperchains (it’s September) that pre-date Slade, possibly even Bing...........more

The Spirit of IY

A skinny figure in an orange vest and straw trilby hurries towards me, hand outstretched.

‘Lenny’s my name, guiding’s my game. English? What’s your team? Mine’s Liverpool. ‘Scuse me a minute.’ He gabbles into his mobile, hunching his shoulder to hold it in the crook of his neck while high-fiving a passing posse of teenage boys. An elderly mama trundles a pram piled with fruit along the bank of the sluggish, jackal-yellow river. She tosses Lenny a mango which he fields with a flourish, the scent of the ripe flesh briefly competing with his aftershave..........more

Rolling The Dice In Nevada

We cross the border from California into Nevada—rampaging fires having forced a last minute change of itinerary— passing a gas station with attached brothel and a mobile tattooist on a graffiti splashed parking lot before arriving at our overnight stop. .........more

Pig Tale

A fuzzy aura surrounds Baby Jesus: not so much halo, more white angora. He and Joseph have been knitted from assorted scraps of 3-ply and are roughly twice the size of Mary, a Barbie-like figure swathed in silver tinsel. All three, however, are dwarfed by the bizarre centrepiece of this Nativity, a plastic pig carcass, suspended from a frame, belly slit open, innards picked out in sickly shades of grey and purple. .........more

Referendum Fever

In the mizzle of an Edinburgh morning Saltires swirl; chants of ‘yes’ and ‘no’ are flung rhythmically back and forth across the grey streets by impassioned, but good natured crowds ; politicians polish their sound-bites and wave their tartan-trimmed promises. But we, sequestered in a medieval walled town high in the Tuscan hills, are a world away from referendum fever, surely?.............more

Speakeasy

‘I’m lookin’ for a gun-slinger,’ I announced self-consciously rapping the door. No response.

Was it a wind-up? The concierge had winked in what I took to be a conspiratorial manner as he handed me the slip of paper and mouthed ‘password’ but perhaps he was just having a joke at my expense. ‘I’m lookin’ for a gun-slinger’, I repeated, more forcefully. .............more