The Birds and the Bees

By: Milly Johnson

Five-foot-tall Milly Johnson is a half-Barnsley, half-Glaswegian writer of novels, greetings cards, poetry and shopping lists featuring gin and buns. When not writing she is either listening to Chris Isaak on a continuous loop, reading, talking, reminiscing about the good old days of wrestling, scoffing Yorkshire Puddings, planning to go to the gym, learning Italian or getting up the council’s nose about a Dodworth Road Pedestrian Crossing. She is also a founder member of BULLY OFF, a movement dedicated to stopping bullying in the workplace.

She lives with her two sons and Hernan Crespo (the cat) across the road from her mam and dad in the middle of Barnsley, South Yorkshire. She is currently single and no one is in the least surprised.

Her website is and available to visit totally free of charge and queues.

The Birds and the Bees is her second novel.

The Birds and the Bees: As well as being the gentle way of explaining how creatures of nature ‘do business with one another’, The Birds and the Bees (Eun S’na Sheillein) is also a Scottish country dance originating from the hamlet of Bonniebride (Buinne-Bhrìghde) in the former county of Duffshire, famed locally for the large apiary and aviary that once existed there. It is an energetic reel in which couples complete a series of many cast-offs and changes of partner. It is considered extremely fortuitous to dance this at weddings, due to its connections with an ancient ritual dedicated to Creide, faery goddess of women who ruled over love magick and the search for the perfect mate.

The Sassenach’s Guide to the Wonders of Gaelic, by Maggie Knockater.

Chapter 1

Making a cake for Danny’s school raffle was always going to be a messy business, given Stevie’s predilection for taste-testing the gloopy, raw mixture at one-minute intervals. Not to mention her impatience in waiting for the blades to stop whisking before she lifted them up, which resulted in her splattering herself and the kitchen with chocolate cream. Then, as usual, the bag of flour split and sent up a white nuclear cloud to descend over all flat surfaces. She really must get a proper flour container, she said to herself for the six-hundredth time, knowing, deep down, that she never would.

With the cake rising nicely in the oven, she was just in the process of licking out the bowl and the big spoon when the doorbell rang. However, there was no need to panic and rush to clean herself up, Stevie decided, as it could only be her friend Catherine bringing Danny home after a post-school romp with her mob and the family mongrels. So she answered the door garnished with flour and enough cocoa on her face to pass an audition for the part of main slapstick stooge in a Christmas Panto.

The trouble was that it wasn’t Catherine. It was, in fact, a big rough-looking man, approximately the size of Edinburgh Castle, with a long auburn ponytail, a wild red beard, a tribal-looking scar on his left cheek and Blutoesque tattooed arms which he used to push gently past Stevie in order to barge straight into her front room like the proverbial bull looking for her best crockery.

‘Whurrrissseee?’ came a broad Scottish burr that belonged on someone with their face painted half-blue and half-white, wearing a battle kilt and swinging an axe.

‘Excuse me, do you mind!’ said Stevie, torn between calling the police and reaching for some wet wipes. Tough decision but the wet wipes won on embarrassment points.

‘Whurrr’s Finch?’

‘Who the hell are you?’

‘Adam MacLean, Joanna MacLean’s man.’

So this was the mythical creature Stevie had heard so much about then. This loud, hard intruder standing on her sheepskin rug was him. She gave his big muscular frame a quick once-over. And there she was, thinking Jo had been exaggerating when describing the control-freak nutter she was married to. No wonder Matthew was so sympathetic to her at work. Well, Stevie wasn’t going to be scared of him too and cower in a corner of her own home waiting for him to stick his whisky-fuelled boot in, like Jo did.

In the same second, Adam MacLean had affirmed that this woman was, in fact, the greedy, lazy, rarely sober, slob thing that Jo had reported her to be. That’s why the kitchen behind her resembled Beirut on a bad day and why she herself looked as if she had been hit at close range by a chocolate bomb. On a binge, most likely. That’s what these women who sat at home did all day–eat cakes, drink sherry and watch Trisha. And read all those stupid Midnight Moon crappy romance books that seemed to be littered around the room, he noted. No wonder Jo had been so sympathetic to the poor bloke at work, about to be married to that.

Stevie pulled herself up to her full height of five foot two.

‘Matthew is on business in Aberdeen.’