This collection of short stories and poetry originates in Wales, and it has its share rooted in myth and legend. It is, after all, a Celtic country with a red dragon on its flag! The appeal of good writing, and the desire for short lunchbreak or bedtime reading, is international, and The Turnings of the Years provides thirty-three marvellous contributions by various authors.
Too Young to Be Old by John Thompson sets the standard for all the stories by ending with a gloriously unguessable twist. It features Desmond Twogood, approaching sixty and sixteen in his head and, by his own admission “a bit of a cad”.
Who could resist Ciaran O Connell’s mildly rebellious priest in Sacred Vows? He’s celebrated the New Year well, even if he does have to tackle the eternal boredom of hearing the same sins in the confessional when the new day dawns? Or are they all boring?
The Journey, one of several offerings by Graham Watkins, opens with the fascinating history of Kamloops Lake stretching away to the Rocky Mountains – it doesn’t prepare you for the motel where our hero spends the night or anything else!
A Chance Encounter by Maya Sales-Hyde is one of the cleverest stories – a tragedy that’s a comedy – best read where laughing won’t disturb anybody. Stella Starnes, on the other hand, sets out to spook the strongest-minded reader with Walking With A Dead Horse and succeeds uncomfortably brilliantly.
The Mist of Time by Steve Kill is one of several emotive poems, mostly in traditional rhyme, but I confess to being especially enchanted by his myths and magic, unicorns and dragons.
Towards the end, I found a real gem. A Few Small Nips by Mary Thurgate, but I could go on forever telling you which stories I enjoyed – Flora’s Bag is about a wedding planner…