As we disposed of our disposable income

like tissues chucked in the bin after a wank


the amazon packages arrived one after another

large brown bubbles of guilty glee

like froth on a hot chocolate


and we dipped into our overdrafts

like a heron dipping its beak in a scummy pond


even the similes could not save us


we scraped tiny pennies off the floor for the next drink

and then we had to stop drinking completely, what a drag


there came a point where all I could think of was money

and how much I had, how little I had


how quickly it vanished in the first week of the month


and I wondered how they survive those who had

twenty pounds cut from their universal credit


and I defrosted last spring’s soup, and was grateful

that my antidepressants are free in Scotland


and I maxed my credit card with a tattoo deposit

because darling, we’ve only got one life.



The Abortion Dress

With all the focus on the possible striking down of Roe vs Wade, I thought I would perform my poem The Abortion Dress from my collection, The Mouth Of Eulalie. The poem is in the voice of my character Juliette but speaks pretty strongly to my first abortion. I’ve been lucky enough to live in countries where abortion is legal when I needed one (twice). I also lived in a country where it wasn’t legal, which was pretty scary.

My first experience wasn’t smooth sailing however as the NHS doctor I saw first treated me pretty badly (called me a stupid girl) so rather than having it on the NHS I paid Marie Stopes. They were as awesome as a provider could be in the circumstances.

You can order my collection at the following link: https://www.bluediode.co.uk/product-page/the-mouth-of-eulalie-by-annie-brechin-isbn-9781915108012

The Bellringing Poet: What’s Keeping Me Busy In Lockdown

I’ve had a lot of trouble concentrating this last period of lockdown. Whereas I wrote almost a whole book in the first lockdown, and read a library of poetry and prose, I am struggling to do anything more than doomscroll in my spare time – and sleep, which without the exercise to tire me out leads more often than not to some crazy dreams.

But I have been somewhat productive in a couple of areas. Firstly, my aunt recently became President of a charity in France called Cancer Support France – Languedoc. They aim to help those anglophones suffering in the region by providing emotional and practical support. You can find out more about them here: https://csflanguedoc.com/

CSF-L are a growing organisation and as such have a lot of processes that require documenting. With my Ops background I volunteered to help them with this project, and have had a lovely time speaking with their volunteer staff to put together some hopefully useful documents. This has saved money they might otherwise have to spend on consultants, and also allowed me to keep my hand in with some customer journey analysis.

The second area is bellringing – for those who don’t know, I am indeed an enthusiastic campanologist. As well as running regular Monday night practices on the virtual platform Ringing Room, I’ve now agreed to come on board with a Scottish Association working group looking at recovery post-Covid. It’s a broad topic and we have some specific challenges here in Scotland, but I’m very excited to work on it. More information on the Scottish Association and on bellringing can be found here: https://www.sacr.org/

A Covid Poem

The year we watched the death tolls rise

I read some books, I stayed inside

I worked from home, I watched some films

I skyped my family from the realms

of my four walls – each week we said

Thank God none of us have had it yet

I wore a mask out to the shops

I panic-bought, but not a lot

On the news an old man couldn’t buy eggs

I cried the eyes out of my head

For him and all the others shielding

Later Bake Off and Noel Fielding

Soothed my anxious brain to numbness

But still the thought that I had done less

Than I could have to help others

Kept me restless between the covers

My drinking grew steadily out of hand

Some nights, well, I could barely stand

The mornings cracked on like a whip

As I tried to forget all of it

Poems no solace, nor was sex

Yet I couldn’t say I was depressed

The fugue was blanketing but hope

Remained there like an outflung rope

I called my friends, I hugged my partner

I tried to my hardest to remember

I was lucky – I survived

The year we watched the death tolls rise.

For Louis on his balcony, en ecoutant du jazz

This is one of several poems I wrote simultaneously in French and English. You can choose which version you prefer.

Monaco sun

over impossible blue bay


Soleil monégasque

sur une baie de bleu impossible


if those moored yachts

were my vertebrae


si ces yachts amarrées

étaient mes vertèbres


you could run your fingertip down them


tu pourrais glisser ton doigt là-dessous

No two seas own

the same colour


Aucunes mers possèdent

la même couleur


the mediterranean’s got

a golden glint


la méditerranée porte

un lueur d’or


like a pirate’s tooth

Flash me that smile


comme une dent de pirate

Jette-moi cette sourire


Even my bone’s marrow tenses

against your absence


Même ma moelle osseuse se tend

contre ton absence


restless tides pulled

to a distant moon


marées inquiètes attirées

par une lune distante


invisible in brilliant daylight


invisible dans un soleil brillant