Geraint Roberts

Geraint Roberts




Geraint Roberts writes novels and short stories. His debut novel, Forest Brothers, was set in turbulent Estonia during the 1940s. Geraint is currently working on a prequel as part of an eventual  trilogy. He contributes to various third party blogs and is a proud member of the Leicester Writers Club. He has won many prizes for short stories, including at the Aber valley Arts Festival in 2012, where he scooped prizes in both the short story and Welsh novel categories. He was also Highly commended in BBC Radio Northampton's Write 2007.

Geraint was born and educated in Aberystwyth. He attended the University of Leicester to read Mining Geology. Having graduated in the middle of a mining recession, he worked for a building society, a bank and British Telecom. He also worked as a business manager for a rehabilitation agency. Geraint is now project manager of a renewable energy company.


Creative Work

Kicking the Bottle

Like a legion of old, they line up behind their metal totem; an animal swift of foot and fiercely territorial. A fitting tribute to the band of men as they stand and wait for the sound of the horn. As it echoes through the streets, they walk out of their beloved village to the hill rising above.

Others can be seen through the morning mist, making their way from the far side. Those already gathered mark the approach. Bawdy comments from those who have been here before. Nervous jokes from those new to the fold. A great desire to conquer hums in the air.

The interlopers reach the hill. Both sides eye each other, looking for weakness, looking for new means of succeeding. The masses are ready for this special day.

A small group approaches, carrying a large cloth banner. They pick their way to the top of the hill where the men stand waiting. The leader of this group is old and wise. Over the years he has seen many days like this. He knows the risks, he is aware of the consequences. He bids everyone luck and God speed. He cautions them from harm, but is met with wry smiles.

The cloth is lifted up and pieces of pie shower the men. Some grab at them. Others ignore the shower as they ready themselves.

Then with a shout, a small barrel is lifted high and the cries begin.

‘To the river!’

‘To the road!’

Whatever may pass in the hours that follow, one thing remains certain: many an ego will be bruised this day upon the hilly fields of Hallaton.



The first time I stood in the middle of Leicester and saw the trees of Charnwood in the distance, I fell in love with the city. It was much bigger than my home town of Aberystwyth, but those trees reassured me that I had not let go of my rural past. The city provided me with a place to live, but the county provided me with a wealth of places to wander. Bradgate Park, Foxton and Hallaton were my favourites, each holding their own charm. My writing is influenced by histories that have intrigued me. Real events from the past provide an atmospheric backdrop that you would be hard pushed to conjure up yourself. Once this canvas is painted, you bring the foreground to life with your own dramas.

Hallaton holds fond memories from my university days in the 1980s. It reminds me of five of us cramming into my mate Gareth’s ancient Hillman Imp for billiards, chilli con carne and Ruddles County at the Bewicke Arms. There were many other villages, but Hallaton was our favourite. The village is home to the old Leicestershire custom of bottle-kicking that takes place each Easter Monday. This event intrigued me. Why? How? What? A firkin?

The dates of the university terms unkindly denied me the chance to see a game of bottle-kicking during this period, but I finally got to see a game many years later. A large hare pie and three bottles or firkins (barrels about the length of your forearm) are paraded around before competing teams attempt to move one of the barrels to the opponents goal. It's the best of three and each goal is at a different location across the local stream. Naturally. Where would we be without a bit of mud? At the end of each goal, the players retire to the village square, where the firkin is opened and drunk by the heroes of the hour. Some of the images in my piece are inspired by what I saw. In the excerpt above, I combine images from the bottle kicking with preparations for battle. The same feelings of expectation are there, as with the soldiers of old. Nowadays the outcome is less lethal, although the pride of the two rival villages of Hallaton and Medbourne is paramount.

I have since visited beautiful Medbourne and supped with the ‘other side’. My loyalties are now as tangled as the hedgerows that are pummelled each year by the eager players.



Forest Brothers, Circaidy Gregory Press, 2013, ISBN: 978-1-906451-69-1, ebook ISBN 978-1-906451-77-6




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