Thursday 22 December 2011

Moving in Mysterious Ways

Dear Listener,

What if this is all just a big game? And what if that big game is just a small part of another big game? Are we doomed forever to the narrow confines of what we believe can or can't be done? What happens when you start to question ... everything?

After a short interruption we are back with Episode 21 for you. A story that betrays my fascination with chess, and other things. Here, if you need it, is a direct link to the audio file.

The sound track for this weeks episode is from Distant City by Davide Viterbo on Magnatune. And ... that voice on the intro is the voice of my producer, Tim - so now you know what he sounds like. Nice work, Tim, thank you!

May all the happiness of the season be with you!

And ... sweet dreams ...

Friday 25 November 2011

Bear Bridge

Dear Listener,

Here we go with episode 20!

Here's a direct link to this week's episode, right click and save link to download it to your hard drive. If you enjoy these stories, please consider leaving some feedback as a comment and/or subscribing on i-Tunes or RSS.

I hope you enjoy this story about how a little village came to be called Bakerton after a baker and a miller saved it from some savage bears with cunning and magic. You will even learn to speak a handy bit of the bear's language.

The soundtrack is from Magnatune artists: Ehren Starks and Anthony Salvo.

Wishing you sweet dreams ... until next time ...

Tuesday 15 November 2011


Dear Listener,

Here is a story that is stitched together from ideas that occurred to me while out walking the dog, my ponderings on the nature of fear, a dream from a long time ago, and a more recent journey in my own soul - it kind of emerged over the course of the last week.

Is there something in you that needs unblocking so it can come to life again?

Here's the direct link for this week's episode. If you have time, check out the archive to download any of the previous 18 episodes and I hope you find something you like.

The atmospheric sound track is by Indidginus from the album Circa Diem - worth a listen right through by itself as it takes the listener on an aural journey from dawn to night ...

Sweet dreams ...

Friday 4 November 2011

The Seven Legged Spider

Dear Listener,

Here's the direct link to the MP3 of this week's episode, to download it "right click" and "save link as". You can also listen by clicking on the flash player above or via iTunes or by subscribing to the feed with any other podcast client.

I have no doubt that many of you will recognise this story as yet another variant of a popular folk tale. I remember hearing it as a child. usually the "take home message" is something to do with collaborating and contributing to a greater effort, but here's my take on it ...

If you enjoy the background music on these podcasts, it is all available from where you can listen online for free or download stuff for a bargain subscription. This weeks soundtrack is from Countryside Stroll by Cari Live.

If you have been enjoying the podcasts, please leave us some feedback as a comment. We know that people must be listening because the stats tell us so, but who and what? We'd love to hear from you.

Until next week, enjoy, and ... sweet dreams ...

Friday 28 October 2011

Wild Blue Yonder

Dear Listener,

Here's a direct link to this week's episode.

To follow the bubbles upward or the rocks downward?
It is a deep dive into the ocean and beyond, to carry you far away in your imagination, to dream within dreams, or just to help you get to sleep ... enjoy!

The delicate and atmospheric soundtrack of sparse piano and drones is the work of Kourosh Dini, from the fittingly named album, "Water and Sky". You can find more at as always.

Sweet dreams,


Saturday 22 October 2011

Beth and the Emerantil

Dear Listener,

Here is a direct link to this week's story. I apologise for the drop in service recently due to seasonal bugs hitting our recording schedule, but I hope we're back to normal from this week.

"Climb up onto my back."
This is the story I have been meaning to write ever since that long weekend at the end of April 2011 when Prince William tied the knot with Kate. I guess it kind of emerged from all that was bubbling in my thoughts at the time, while watching a whole nation with their eyes fixed on the young couple.

The soundtrack for this story is from Countryside Stroll by Cari Live and it is available from

We hope that you enjoy this episode and if you want more you can always check out the archive or subscribe to the feed or iTunes.

Until next time, thank you for listening and ...

Sweet dreams ...

Sunday 9 October 2011


Dear Listener,

Just a short one this week...

Sometimes the stories we tell children to make them behave can have the opposite of the intended effect. We were told that if we were pulling a nasty face when the wind changed direction, then we would get permanently stuck with that facial expression. I remember an afternoon spent sitting on a rock with my friends holding grotesque facial expressions for as long as possible in the hope that the wind would change direction and we'd be able to go home sporting a contorted visage.

Well, here's another autobiographical fragment from my early memories, introducing another old-wives-tale for the collection.

As usual here's the direct link to the MP3 file ... or blah blah blah ... subscribe ... blah ... iTunes ... e.t.c.

I have also added an "Archive" page here so if you have missed episodes or you would like to peruse the entire back-catalogue it should make things easier for you. 

Sweet dreams,


Thursday 29 September 2011

A Tale of Two Pots

Dear Listener,

Broken and wounded though we are, perhaps we are more useful than we think. At least that's what I was wondering as I wrote this very simple little story, which based on one of those folk tales that I heard once and which has stuck in my mind. I think the original may be from India but don't quote me on that.

As usual, here's the direct link if that's how you get your fix. Otherwise, don't forget that you can get this podcast via iTunes or subscribe to the feed with another podcatcher of your choice.

I hope you enjoy this.

Sweet dreams,


Thursday 22 September 2011

Between Two Tides

Dear Listener,

Here's a direct link for this weeks episode.

I wrote this story about 12 years ago so it is one of the few that has not been freshly generated for the Borders of Sleep project. However, I am including it here because, like some other stories here, it is a re-telling of a very vivid dream that I had one night - albeit a long and odd one. At the time, I was a second year Anthropology undergraduate and I think that some of the things that were occupying my waking thoughts had started to seethe on another level.

You will, hopefully, imbibe something of my sadness at what happens to human beings as they move from an essentially egalitarian hunter-gatherer existence to a sedentary existence where the accumulation of wealth and status begins to create hierarchies that are often underpinned by a priesthood and religion that becomes more concerned with legalities and maintaining power structures than stewarding the mystical.

Ah, well, If all that sounds a bit heavy, don't try to read too much into it, just enjoy the story and the pictures it makes in your mind's only a silly dream after all.

Sweet dreams,


Friday 16 September 2011


Dear Listener,

A few months ago, by a string of coincidences and choices that principally consisted of me being stupid, forgetful and impulsive, I went home to collect something I had forgotten and discovered a fire in my kitchen. I was able to save the house and our dog before any serious damage was done. The timing of everything was so impeccable and, since it owed absolutely nothing to the intervention of my will or powers of determination, I was convinced there was a wiser and higher power at work that morning.

I don't know if that was in the back of my mind when I wrote this story about a clown whose very foolishness preserves him through peril. To be honest, as with so many of these stories, I simply let my imagination go and recorded what I observed.

You'll hear straight away that this story is a bit different from others so far. Lookout for one or two rhymes and the Tango-Jazz in the soundtrack from Scott Hallgren (check him out on Magnatune).

Here's the direct link to the MP3 that you can download by right clicking and saving to your hard drive, or you can listen with the embedded player above or subscribe using i-Tunes or other podcatchers using the links in the side bar.

Enjoy listening, please leave some comments, and ... until next week ... sweet dreams!


Monday 5 September 2011

Balthazar's Chandelier

Dear Listener,

It was reached by a bamboo scaffold ...
Welcome to episode 11 of Stories from the Borders of Sleep, which tells of an extraordinary day in the life of a humble servant who was trying his best to keep a low profile ...

It is also the first episode in our long promised new WEEKLY podcasting schedule!

As usual, here's the link for direct download (right click and save to your hard drive) and here's a link for the i-Tunes page for this podcast. If you use another type of podcatcher and would like to subscribe, grab a feed from the top of the column on the right.

This is one of many stories that I have heard or read in a forgotten time and place that has, nevertheless, stuck in my mind enough to be given the "borders of sleep" treatment. I hope that it stays with you as long as it has stayed with me.

Sweet dreams ...


Tuesday 23 August 2011

Swee-swee and the Cobbler

Dear Listener,

We are not so different from birds ...
I adapted this story from one that appears in the writings of Richard Wurmbrand, a Romanian Christian pastor who was imprisoned by the communists for his faith. He spent some 14 years in prison, much of it in solitary confinement and enduring torture on a daily basis. He was beaten so badly he was never able to wear shoes again. In spite of this he has written some of the most profound and powerful stories and sermons I have ever read. He was a master of the parable and this one, about a caged bird, is just one of the many that came to mean a great deal more to him, no doubt, as he lay in his cell.

The sound-track is from David Modica's album "The Water is Wide" - available from

As usual, you can download the episode by clicking here, or by clicking on the embedded player at the top of this post (if you have quicktime installed), but by far the best way to get this podcast is to subscribe with iTunes or subscribe to the feed with your podcatcher of choice.

We hope that you enjoy this story and we look forward to bringing you more on an increasingly regular basis in the coming months. All being well, we are planning to move up to weekly podcasts in early September.

Sweet dreams!


Friday 5 August 2011

Two Handkerchiefs

Dear Listener,

Here is the direct download link for this week's story. You can right click on it and select "save link as" to download it to your hard drive or just click on it to open in your audio software. However, if you are enjoying the stories, then I recommend subscribing on iTunes or subscribing to the feed with your pod-catcher of choice.

Fleeing across the meadow ...
I also thoroughly recommend the practice of writing letters that need never be sent. I sometimes write letters to myself in the future, and have also been known to address missives to my younger self, or to people who I miss because they are no longer in my life, or to general vague things that seem to embody what I am happy about or upset about at the time ... I find it therapeutic.

Dear Diary ...

Dear Me ...

Dear whoever you are that's holding me back ...

Dearest ...

That is how this story begins.

This one is a "fairy tale" ... well ... it does have fairies in it but it may not be "happily ever after" in the quite the same way as most fairy tales end. You will also hear about two letters, and two wars, and two sworn enemies, but most of all you'll hear about two handkerchiefs.

In the background on this episode you can hear the haunting sound of Jami Sieber's cello - available (as always) from

Look out for an announcement about Stories from the Borders of sleep becoming weekly in the not-too-distant future.

Until next time ...  sweet dreams!


Tuesday 26 July 2011

The Trespassers

Dear listener,

Here is a cautionary tale that I have derived from a story that one of my school teachers used to tell. He used to tell it to people who wanted to drop one or another of their GCSE subjects. When you have listened to it you may wonder what relevance it could possibly have to education ... but I think the message is clear enough. Not to give too much away, but there is a certain way of dealing with problems that may not be the best in the long run.

Bringing an appropriately transylvanian atmosphere to the soundtrack, we have the Kyiv Chamber Choir's "Hymns of the All Night Vigil" and a bit of dark ambient wonderworking from Robert Rich's "Cowell Theater" album, both of which are available from the scrumptious Magnatune website.

Here is a link to the audio file; but - if you have not already - how about subscribing with iTunes or adding the feed into your podcatcher so you never miss another episode. Hopefully we will be kicking things up from fortnightly to weekly episodes in the not-too-distant future, so stay tuned.

Tim (sound engineer extraordinaire) worked really hard with me to bring this episode for your listening pleasure so we hope that you enjoy it. Thank you for listening, and if you did enjoy it, please let us know with a comment or something.

Sweet dreams,


Thursday 7 July 2011

The Cat and The Mouse

Dear Listener,

Traditionally we know that cats and mice do not get on with one another - it's a cat-eat-mouse world! But here is a story that just asks "what if" a particular cat and a particular mouse should break the mould because of their love for one another?

This is a story adapted closely from one of Grimm's Fairy Tales. The brothers Jacob and Wilhelm Grimm were collectors of European folk tales, publishing some of our best loved and most often recited stories in the early 1800s. Unlike the "disneyfied" fairy tales that have become popular in our own time, the stories that the Grimm brothers collected tended to be dark and obscure ...

The rather evocative, at times dark and obscure, solo violin of Anthony Salvo accompanies this tale which I hope you enjoy. If you like the music you can download it yourself from

To listen to this week's podcast you can click on this link but I really recommend subscribing to the rss feed (there's a selection of feeds at the top right) with a podcatcher like Juice or iTunes - then you won't miss any future episodes.


Friday 24 June 2011


Dear Listener,

Our greatest enemies were the stinging nettles ...
As a teenager, I lived a stone's throw from the river Thames and spent every opportunity I had to fish in it, swim in it and mess about in boats upon it until I knew every thread and backwater of its course through the valley.

This week's story is an unembellished fragment of autobiography from that time in my life and I hope I have been able to picture it for you.

The background music is by Healing Muses, available from as always. To listen to the episode you can use this link, or get the feed by RSS or iTunes..

I hope that you enjoy it.

Thursday 9 June 2011


Dear Listener,

Prince of many kingdoms?
What is greatness, anyway? I guess we all have a different idea of what it means to be "great". Here is a story about someone who was rather like a lot of us, and certainly a lot like me, who had never really thought it through.

My masterful sound recordist, Tim, has got me onto a sensible recording schedule, which should mean that these podcasts go out on a steady fortnightly basis from now on. Also, in case you were wondering, I intend to keep on publishing here until the stories dry up which is not likely to happen any time soon as I get at least two new ideas for new ones every week.

Let me point out the stunning artwork for this episode, too, by Robyn. She has been working on illustrations for all the stories.

You can download the podcast by clicking here or subscribe on iTunes or paste the feed into any other podcatcher.

Thank you for listening and ...


Friday 27 May 2011

One Stormy Night

Dear Listener,

What are archaeologists really looking for?

This week's story is longer than the usual Borders of Sleep fare and certainly longer than I would normally podcast; but, I am still wanting to try out different things and see what people like. I did consider putting this into parts I and II but I thought you might find that annoying.

That said, this story is long, but not as long as the time for which one of the characters has been absent from himself.

When I wrote it, it seemed to get a life of its own and to run away with me, but hopefully not like the horse in the story.

There is a lot crammed into it, but not quite as much as you will see crammed into a certain item of clothing that you will hear about.

The airy and dark acoustic guitar soundtrack is from The Glass Desert by Harlan Williams and it's available from Magnatune.

You can download the podcast by clicking here or subscribe on iTunes or paste the feed into any other podcatcher.

I hope you enjoy the story, but feedback of all sorts is always welcome. Tim and I were just saying how great it is when a listener coments - it really makes our day.

Thank you for listening.

Tuesday 19 April 2011

Tree and Stream

If you were water, what sort of water would you be?

Would you be the water in a stream or the water in a tree?

Or would you be ice or vapour?

And what would it be like to be able to see the path of an ant or a star with the same clarity as we see the path to our own front door?

In search of a stag ...
All of these are questions you may ponder as you listen to this story about a wayfarer, and a tree ... and a stream.

The soothing soundtrack on this episode comes from the album: The Once and Future Harp by the Wesh Triple Harp player Cheryl Ann Fulton. It is available from Magnatune who don't pay me anything to say how great they are ... they just are.

To download this week's episode you can click on the post title or here. But remember the best way to make sure you don't miss a podcast is to subscribe to posts using the RSS feed and your podcatcher or aggregator or Google Reader or whatever you use.

Monday 28 March 2011

Water in the Desert

Here we go, at last, with another story. As we get into a rhythm with writing, recording and publishing these, they shall be generally appearing on a fortnightly basis. Each story is self contained and will be between 8-18 minutes long. My thanks to everyone who has been asking about when the next story is coming out.

Like paper cut-outs ...
Here's a story that is a precise retelling of a dream that I had many years ago. Make of it what you will; but, for my part, I have never been able to escape the feeling that there is more life to be had if we would only stop being so clever about everything.

This week's soundtrack comes from the album: The Lost Mode  which is a really lovely fusion of medieval and middle eastern modal music. It is available from Magnatune which is a wonderful music download site that you should definitely check out.

To download this week's episode you can click on the post title or here. But remember the best way to make sure you don't miss a podcast is to subscribe to posts using the RSS feed and your podcatcher or aggregator or Google Reader or whatever you use.

Thursday 3 March 2011

The Prince and the Bird

Welcome to the first episode of Stories from the Borders of Sleep. This weeks' episode features an original story by me entitled, The Prince and the Bird.

It became a millstone around his neck ...
Do you ever feel as if the landscape around you mirrors your own self in some way? That's how the hero in this week's story felt and he was surprised at what he discovered about himself there, too. But was he really a hero? I'll leave that for you to decide.

The soundtrack for this little fairytale comes from the albums: Hidden Sky by Jami Sieber, and Lines Build Walls by Ehren Starks. Both of them are available from Magnatune which is a wonderful music download site that you should definitely check out.

I'd be delighted to hear feedback of all sorts and hope you enjoy the podcast.

Click here or on the Title to download the MP3 (12MB)