Our Story of the Week is a mother-daughter story from the writer John Lee Langton.

John turned to writing later in life, first taking a creative writing evening course at a local college, and then following up a couple of years later with the prestigious Diploma in Creative writing from Kellogg College, the graduate college of The University of Oxford.

For us, Langton is one of the true masters of the short story. Instantly evocative of a time and place, his stories explore original themes and setting, and are a veritable pick and mix of genres.

In Scars, Langton writes a humorous story about the relationship between a mother and her unimpressed daughter.


My mother was in Padua for the mud. A once a year pilgrimage usually made around October to help her pursue a lifelong quest for cosmetic immortality. The mud, she believes, is the perfect end of season treatment for yet another year of lifts, nips and tucks to an already enhanced and overstretched body. Mother hopes that by lying in the grey steaming goo she will achieve a blending of her various surgical procedures, resulting in a seamless unity that will leave her body unscarred and vigorously under fifty. She is, as of this month, seventy-eight years old.

I still remember the day my mother decided she was not going to do old age. We had been out walking. I in my new summer frock and blouse, her in a blue low-cut dress that matched the colour of her eyes and set off her shining, raven hair. She was, even then, a testimony to hair dye, make-up, and anti-wrinkle cream. The men she had been hoping to attract, however, were looking at me. I was thirteen – tall, in the first blush of youth, and my boobs, bigger than my mother’s, were pushing up and out in a manner even my prim white blouse could not hide.Read more…