Google+ A Tangled Rope: 11/01/2012 - 12/01/2012

Friday, November 30, 2012

The Course of Justice


It was not – as many of the people who later gave witness statements for the prosecution attested – as straightforward an event as it first seemed. This is especially true when you consider that the prosecution’s lead witness was not only unsighted for most of the time the alleged incident was taking place, this witness was also a grey squirrel; a species notorious for their willingness to attempt to subvert the course of justice in return for a handful of nuts and some tail-care beauty products.

Not only that, the CCTV was – as in so many cases of this nature - both ambiguous and of a quality so poor that even the TV news programmes preferred to use reconstructions of the alleged incident, rather than rely on footage that would only otherwise be suitable for use by a top-flight director for a prestige prize-winning drama series on late-night BBC4 with an audience numbered in the tens.

What is more, the accused when she appeared in the witness box, was – to the complete surprise of the jury – young, attractive (but not too attractive for the female jurors to take an instant dislike to her) and from a respectable family and post code. She was therefore – despite what the evidence said – obviously not guilty, and already had the incipient book-deal with a reputable publisher of celebrity biographies that would not only prove her innocence, but also expose corruption in the police investigation, the MPs involved in drafting the law she was alleged to have broken as well as the shady involvement of some rogue elements of the secret service of one of this country’s most trusted allies.

So, in the end it was no wonder the judge – after an hour-long meeting in his chamber with the accused that left him hot and sweaty under his wig and his robes strangely askew – acquitted her of all charges and allowed her to walk free from the court without a stain on her character, but with only a small one on her skirt.

Thursday, November 29, 2012

Thursday Poem: Roads, Routes and Maps


Roads, Routes and Maps

This road, the distance, and you and I here
with all those roads we travelled, standing still
we do not know now all we need to know
to find which way to turn, and stumbling on
towards another crossroads up ahead.

It’s hard to tell, and hard to say just why
we both should not have taken this one route.
We stand apart now, here and either side
of our old half-torn map, both looking off
away down different new turning roads
that lead away from this last point we share.

And shall I stand and watch you walk away,
with half-torn map in hand, as you go down
that road, until it turns you out of sight?
Or, shall I strike off down another road?
My torn half-share of our outworn old map

held ever tighter in my clutching hand
as I go striding onward without pause
or turning to look back, to see a glimpse
of you, when changes in the landscape turn
our twisting routes towards each other’s path
to bring us one day back to meet again.

Wednesday, November 28, 2012

The Mystery of the Fridge

Haier whitegoods. HBF130

There was a fridge.

There was a spoon.

Fairly obviously a fridge will not – in the normal course of events – fit inside a spoon.

A spoon will, of course, fit easily into a fridge. However, that is not where we usually put them.

So, as I stood there, in front of the closed door of the fridge, I had to ask myself why I had just opened the fridge, put a spoon inside it and then shut its door again.

I had no answer to that question.

I opened the fridge door again and there was the spoon sitting – quite comfortably – on the shelf in front of me.


I thought. I must have come into the kitchen and picked up a spoon, intending to eat something from the fridge using that spoon.

I opened the door again. The fridge was empty, apart from the spoon. There was nothing in there at all.

I shut the fridge door again and looked at my watch.

The watch, amongst other things, told me it was Sunday. We usually did our shopping on Saturday, so the fridge should be full of stuff, lovely things all waiting there to be eaten.

So, I’d come into the kitchen, got a spoon and opened the fridge, expecting to eat something from it, probably involving the spoon. But the fridge was empty, so I’d put the spoon down in shock and shut the fridge, my mind blank and unable to process this startling information in a satisfactory manner.

I smiled. I had solved the problem.

No, I hadn’t.

Why was the fridge empty? Empty on a Sunday?

I looked around the kitchen, looking for an answer.

It was only then I realised that the kitchen wasn’t there, either.

Tuesday, November 27, 2012

Yet to Be


Turning back from the moment, moving away from the solidity of the ground, moving into a form of space that knows no up nor down. This is a place that is no place and a nowhere that is somewhere and a here that is now only. Still, we turn around to look back, attempting to discover how we came to be here, in this now and nowhere, here and now.

You and I make gestures towards each other, turning the possible over in our hands as though it is some strange gift given to us we do not know how to use, as though we cannot create a new world, a new way of living from these materials around us.

We have all the possibilities of a life together in reach, but we do not know how to take them, how to shape them, to create a new world around this instant of time that holds us trapped like insects in amber, like two people caught in a photograph hung on a wall, unable to break free of the frame that holds us in this pose, poised between a world we have left behind and a world that waits, yet to be.

Monday, November 26, 2012

Secret Weapons of WWII

‘Never let it be said, by anyone, that this once-great country of ours does not fully understand the art of the cheese sandwich!’ Noble words, I’m sure you both (and your special friend) agree. In was in the darkest hour of WWII that the then Prime Minister of Britain, Winston Churchill, uttered this unforgettable call to arms after a Luftwaffe raid which destroyed one of London’s most famous sandwich shops.

Of course, as everyone knows, the cheese sandwich – with or without pickle - has always been a vital part of the British people’s ability to cope with adversity. As one infantry private rescued from Dunkirk bitterly remarked: ‘Bloody French baguettes! As soon as you try to take a bite, the bloody cheese falls out of the other end… and don’t talk to me about that useless French cheese. No wonder they’re going to lose.’ Wise and prophetic words, as subsequent events proved.

Of course, the Germans did expend a great deal of time, money and energy trying to develop super weapons such as the V1 and V2, the Me262 and other such wonders of the age, however, they never really developed a battlefield-ready cheese sandwich, and – for many historians of the time – that is probably why they ultimately lost the war.

Sunday, November 25, 2012

Sunday Poem: The Chain


The Chain

Stars are like everything thrown across
an infinite nowhere and left forgotten.
Names are everywhere, pining us down,

taking lives and holding them still.
Each name a form of chain holding us
tight against the background of this world.

Unable to break free of the chain of a name
we twist and turn against its pull
that roots us to this here and this now

at least until we break free of this world
and float off into the sky of forgetfulness
where our names become just more air,

more lost sounds floating on the breeze
that flows across the fields of history
until we are forgotten forever.

Saturday, November 24, 2012

No Land for Her


There were only the possibilities of some new land hidden beyond the curve of this world, some distant place Valerie thought she could discover where she would find she belonged. This was no land for her; this was no place for her. The people here, in this narrow world, seemed cold, spiteful, too uninterested in the possibilities of existence for her.

Valerie wanted more, more than this thin cold life of stunted possibility. She wanted more than this, but what she wanted she could not say. She did not want the foolish, stumbling boys or the heavy-handed men who turned to stare as she hurried past on some essential errand. She wanted someone who had eyes that could see further than the narrow open ground that lay between the village and the forest. Someone who wondered what it was like beyond the mist-shrouded hills and snow-capped mountains. Someone who could see as far as seeing goes.

The only thing Valerie did know, and know for sure, was that she would not find someone like that here in her village.

So, when the travelling storyteller came to town carrying his heavy bag of tales, poems and possibilities, Valerie was ready, waiting for him, ready to follow him to the end of all his stories.

Friday, November 23, 2012

New Kindle Novella Out Now: Have a Go


Have a Go

[Novella – 17, 500 words approx]

The day John Russell became a Have a Go Hero, for accidentally foiling an armed bank robbery, was the day his life changed forever, and all he’d wanted was a nice cup of tea.



‘Can I have some money too, Daddy?’ Beth said.

John smiled down at her. ‘I suppose so. How much do you want?’

‘A million pounds.’

John was too stunned to reply for a moment. He looked down at Beth who seemed to be waiting patiently for her more than reasonable request to be granted. ‘What do you want with a millio.... What the f…!’

Suddenly, the doors burst open and two armed men rushed into the bank, both wearing ski masks, ex-army style clothing and leather gloves.

One - armed with a sawn-off shotgun - herded the stunned customers, including Debbie and Stan, up against the wall.

The other, armed with an automatic pistol, forced a large bag under the counter screen. ‘Fill it! Quick! My mate - Mr Blue - over there has a very nervous trigger finger. If you don't want to spend the rest of the day wiping your customers off the walls of this nice little bank of yours, you'll hurry up. And keep well away from that alarm button under the counter.’ He looked across at the other three members of staff cowering behind the counter. ‘The rest of you come out here and join your customers over by the wall where Mr Blue can look after you properly.’

The man with the shotgun turned to face the one at the counter. ‘Hang on! I'm Mr Green this time. We agreed - remember?’

‘What? Oh, right… whatever you say Chri… Mr Bl… Mr Green.’

Once the three members of staff had hurried to join the customers standing against the wall, Mr Green turned back and stood where all the staff and customers could see him clearly. ‘Hey, everyone! Just to make it clear, so that no-one is confused. I'm Mr Gree… Mr Blue, and To… he is Mr Green. Everyone understand?’ He looked around carefully, his finger stroking the trigger of his shotgun. ‘Well, do you?’

The assembled customers and staff stared back at him.

‘What? Oh, hang on…. No. I'm Mr Green.’ He pointed across towards his accomplice with his shotgun. ‘He is Mr….’

‘Hey Chris! Er… Mr Green, careful where you are pointing that!’

‘Sorry To… Mr Blue.’ He turned back to face the bewildered group. ‘Right, for the last time… I'm Mr Green and Tom…. He is Mr Blue. Right?’

There was a general muttering of assent from the assembled customers and staff.

‘Right, that's that sorted. Let's get on with it, Mr Bl… Green… Blue,’ said the bank robber at the counter.

‘Green!’ Mr Green yelled without turning to look at him.

‘Mr Green, right.’

‘Right! All of you - back against the wall and keep still. Put your hands on your heads!’ Mr Green pointed the shotgun at each of the adults in the queue until they complied.

Beth was too bewildered to move; looking from the bank robber to John and back again as tears formed in her eyes and her lips trembled.

‘Move little girl. Move!’ Mr Green yelled, pointing his shotgun at Beth, then trying to push her back with its barrel.

Beth stood still and burst into tears.

There was sudden anger on John's face. He stepped forward. Debbie tried to pull him back, but John shrugged her off.

He stood a few inches from the gunman. ‘Don't point that thing at my daughter you pathetic bastard!’ He grabbed the gun barrel and twisted it away from Beth and up towards the ceiling.

Mr Green was too stunned to react at first. But the sudden jerk of his gun made him pull the trigger. The gun fired up at the ceiling.

John and Mr Green were showered with shredded ceiling tiles, falling around them like feathers. Mr Green stood with his mouth as wide-open as the ski-mask would allow, staring up at the massive hole his gun had blown in the ceiling while snow flakes of former ceiling slowly fell down over and around him.

John stepped forward, forcing the gun butt back into Mr Green's stomach with some force. The villain doubled over in pain as John struggled with him. John tightened his grip on the gun, trying to twist it out of the hands of the villain. He jerked it upwards, making the gun butt hit Mr Green in the face.

The bank robber groaned and crumpled to the floor. He let go of the gun, letting it fall to the floor. The shotgun slid across the polished tiles and underneath a table.

Over by the counter, Mr Blue saw his accomplice was down. He glanced at the teller, who dropped the half-filled bag on the floor on her side of the counter and pressed the alarm. He tried to point his pistol at the teller, but his panic made the gun wave around so he couldn't aim it properly. The teller pressed a button and a steel shutter slammed down over the front of the counter.

Mr Blue turned and pointed his gun at John, in his nervousness he fumbled with his gun. The pistol was waving around erratically as he tried to pull the trigger, but the safety catch was still on. Mr Blue frantically tried to release the safety catch, but pressed the wrong switch, accidentally ejecting the magazine instead.

The magazine fell out of the gun and dropped onto his foot, causing the bullets to eject and scatter all over the floor.

Mr Blue looked around in panic before dropping to his knees and scrabbling around - trying to put the bullets back into the magazine - but his gloved hands made it impossible to pick up the bullets from the highly-polished floor. He looked up as he heard distant sirens and decided to run.

John turned - still stunned and covered in shredded roof tiles - to see Mr Blue bearing down on him. The bank robber swung his pistol at John's head as he tried to get past, catching John on the temple. Mr Blue glanced back as he got to the door and saw John slowly sinking to the floor, unconscious.

The customers and staff in the bank stood against the wall with their hands half in the air, not knowing what to do as they stared at the slowly-closing bank door. Debbie was on her knees comforting Beth and Stan. The old woman was feebly dragging her unwilling son towards the stunned Mr Green, still lying on the floor and moaning softly, less than a foot from the unconscious John.

Mr Green was slowly recovering. He blinked twice then shook his head, but all he could see was the face of old woman gradually coming into focus as she leant over him.

‘Mother?’ he said with a tentative smile behind the ski mask.

The old woman's face screwed up in anger. ‘You b… bas…! You basta….you… you…!’ She was still supported on one side by her son and the walking stick on the other, as she drew her leg back and delivered a powerful kick to the ribs of the prostrate Mr Green.

Mr Green writhed across the floor, trying to escape the old woman's kicking. ‘Ow! Stop. Get her off me!’

The customers and staff, still against the wall with their hands up, began to smile and relax, slowly lowering their hands, as they watched the old woman.

Mr Green was scampering around the floor on all fours, trying to hide behind tables, chairs, plants and anything else he could find. The old woman, still supported on her son's arm, tottered after him, trying to hit him with her walking stick.

‘Keep still!’ she yelled at him. ‘I'm going to give you the damn good thrashing you so obviously deserve… you… you… you…!’

‘Help! Get her off me! Stoppit. Ow, Christ! No. Help! Help!’ Mr Green yelled back.


Have a Go: A novella - by David Hadley:

Available here (UK) and here (US) for the Kindle now.

Celebrity Chefs


‘It makes sense, of course, to always make sure the golden-hamster droppings come to a slow boil before simmering for 176.235 seconds. Then drain them and allowing them to dry on the naked stomach of a Peruvian supermodel, before attempting to grate them over the nearest available member of your home-grown herd of antelope as they migrate across the wild open savannah of your kitchen.’

Obviously, for the rest of us, who occupy normal space and time, such recipes are far beyond what we have available in our more modest kitchens. For not only do these celebrity chefs presume that we – in the ordinary and mundane planes of existence – have easy access to organic peasant-reared hand-dried golden hamster droppings, or whatever this season’s trendiest ingredient is, they also seem to assume that we can afford to buy such things, even if we are lucky enough to find a shop that sells them… or – for that matter – has even heard of them.

Not only that, they seem to have a kitchen the size of several football pitches filled with all manner of devices, technology, equipment and peripherals that make our bent rolling pin and rusty apple-corer look more than inadequate as they chop, slice, whiz, drizzle and do all manner of arcane culinary manipulations to their pile of golden hamster droppings that would cost ordinary folks the best part of a month’s wages; let alone enable us to afford the rest of the ingredients.

So we sigh, turn off the telly, head off into a kitchen half the size of the box the celebrity chef gets her golden hamster droppings delivered to her door in, and we make a salt ‘n’ vinegar crisp sandwich using the best supermarket own-brand sliced white we can afford, spread liberally with a butter substitute that has the taste, consistency and spreadability of decade-old axle grease, drizzled almost liberally with value-brand salt ’n’ vinegar proto-crisps that may once have has a nodding acquaintance with a real potato , but that was so long ago that they no longer have any memory of it.

Then, satisfied, replete and in awe of our own culinary skills we return to the TV to see if there is anything better on now.

Thursday, November 22, 2012

Thursday Poem: Walking into Walls


Walking into Walls

Only knowledge lifts us up
from this slow fading dream
to a world we can walk through

stepping away, through these ghosts
and walking into walls that hold us
apart from those sudden moments

that make us wonder what is real
and how each day can fall around us
leaving nothing but memory and loss,

when distance grows longer as time
takes us away from all we once
thought so certain and so right.

Here we are now, and waiting
for those ghosts of memory
to slip through these solid walls

and reach out across the years
with hands we will never hold
and voices we no longer hear.

Wednesday, November 21, 2012

Living History


Quite obviously, back in those distant times, the people were quite aware that they were living in historical times and were therefore quite resigned to their lack of modern technology. This is why there is – to the modern reader – a rather puzzling lack of mention of things like mobile phones, computers and other wonders of the modern era - as well as the curses of our age like television - in the historical record. Because the people in those times, now known to modern historians as The Olden Days, knew some things had not yet been invented they – very wisely – did not mention those things at all.

Even though, for example, Victorian TV was some of the best the world has ever known, with some of the finest examples of the reality genre – such as Scullery Maid Factor, Know Your Place and other such jewels of the genre, the Victorians knew better than to make any mention of them in the historical record, less we – their descendants – come to realise we are not quite the know-it-all smart-arses we think we are.

This also explains why the Victorians also managed to keep their massive country-wide motorway network so secret from future generations by cunningly disguising it as a canal network, something they had learnt from the clever way the Stone Age people of this country had shrewdly disguised a Neolithic multi-story car park as Stonehenge many, many, centuries before.

Tuesday, November 20, 2012

How to Improve Your Sex-Life

As is so often the case, when she arrives at your front door naked under her coat and – this time - carrying an accordion and a grapefruit, you know you are in for another evening of her latest How to Improve Your Sex-Life sexual technique hastily cribbed from whatever some magazine or website contributor has re-imagined some ‘scientific’ research, hastily cobbled together by some cosmetic company’s bogus ‘laboratory’ or by the PR department of a former polytechnic eager to boost its media profile.

Still, however, the one last week – apparently from the leading article in one of those women’s magazines that likes to point out we are all doing sex wrong – which involved the tin of anchovies, Val Doonican’s back catalogue and a pedalo, did turn out to be much more rewarding than I’d originally anticipated, when she arrived half an hour late. Mainly because acquiring a pedalo at this time of year is not all that easy to obtain, even for hire, especially with us living so far from the seaside.

It was worth it though, just to see the looks on the neighbour’s faces as they watched us trying to launch a pedalo on our garden fish pond whilst trying to remember enough of the lyrics of Paddy McGintys Goat for us to achieve a simultaneous orgasm without spilling the contents of the tin of anchovies overboard and further upsetting some already rather perturbed koi carp.

Still, though, as I remarked later in our mutual post-coital glow, I do enjoy having anchovies on my pizza… not only that, there was a not inconsiderable discount on the out of season pedalo hire too… so a successful evening all round, I think.

Monday, November 19, 2012



It was that sort of place… the kind of place where you kept a tight grip on your ladle and laughed scornfully at those who flaunted their desert spoons openly. Back in those days the Wild West Midlands was a lawless and – yes – a wild place. Everyone, of course, knows about the faggots and a few even witnessed the mushy peas, but there were other dangers for the unwary to fall into as they ventures into this wild, untamed wilderness in search of the fabled pork scratching, especially as it was so easy to fall out of a pub and into a canal.

Those were dark, damp, days, but being as this was Britain, it was all perfectly normal, except that the typical British drizzle fell with an unusual menace as the dwellers of the Black Country emerged from their dwelling hovels and strode manfully and/or womanfully from home to pub and back again, often spending equal amounts of time in both and often spending those equal amounts of time equally passed out on the floor as the darts players stepped over them in their haste to get hold of a precious bag of scratchings before the unholy wail of ‘Last orders’ terrified them all into fleeing for the sanctuary of their hovels where the mysterious faggots awaited their return.

Sunday, November 18, 2012

At the Time


If only I’d known at the time, which – with time these days being the way it is these days – was certainly possible, if not likely. However, with the new modern hand-held time machine taking over as the gadget of choice, supplanting the mere smartphone, we can see more and more of the problems it was intended to solve actually getting worse and worse. People are spending so much time leaping backwards and forwards in time, mostly to remind themselves to do things they forgot to do first time, or sometimes to stop themselves from what they did first time, that they have hardly any time left for the present.

When you do have the time to go out, you find everyone standing around – gadget in hand – searching for that point in their personal time stream where they can go back and change whatever it was they did wrong that enabled them to end up here and – more often than not – getting in your way as you yourself scroll back through this morning looking for the point where you can jump back to a point where you won’t be late for work because you spent most of the time, since getting out of bed, trying to find that point in last night’s argument that you spent the whole of the night sleeplessly thinking up some devastating put-down for.

Although, the last time you were late for work you found no-one there as they’d all gone back to the previous evening’s TV schedule to re-watch a crucial scene from the latest reality time-travel drama they’d all missed because they’d spent too long in the pub after work yesterday.

Saturday, November 17, 2012

Activity Holidays and their Drawbacks


All-in-all, then it was not a bad holiday, although touring a small caravan through some of the world’s most dangerous post-conflict minefields is not everybody’s idea of a relaxing fortnight. However, the occasional loud bang and rocking motion of the caravan does help to dispel that too-common holiday torpor that so often descends on holidaymakers on less fraught two-week breaks.

There is, also, something to be said for the intensity of the mine-detecting experience, especially when you are increasingly aware that the tour company has palmed you off with a dodgy mine-detector that has trouble detecting anything less than a loudly-ticking thermonuclear device, or – for some reason – any nearby Rottweiler bitch that is in season.

Anyway, the caravan cutlery draw did have a couple of serviceable desert spoons which did help in locating the mines much better than the supplied mine- detector, to be fair, though, it has to be admitted that the spoons were hopeless at detecting any dogs, let alone Rottweilers – in season or not.

The wife did say, though, that she had not paid all that money to crawl through war-ravaged scrubland on her stomach. Although, I did point out to her that the exercise – should she survive - would do wonders for her body-mass index. A remark that she seemed to find less reassuring and confidence-building than I’d hoped.

Still – after all is said and done – it was still better than a week in Blackpool with the wife and her mother. So – maybe – next year we’ll be back again – that is assuming we did manage to find all the bits of the caravan - after we’d taken that wrong turning on the last day - and we can get them all to fit back together before next year’s holiday season begins.

Friday, November 16, 2012

Putting the Spark Back


Well, it is sometimes like that, although most of the time it isn’t. After all, something standing proud like that can be a bit awkward when trying to effortlessly manoeuvre one’s shopping trolley around the supermarket without inconveniencing too many other shoppers.

Although, it must be said that having the wife naked in the shopping trolley with her legs hanging out each side, does tend to attract more than the usual amount of attention, and not because of the special offer on the over-ready self-basting turkey crown she is clutching to her naked bosom as we career down the tinned goods aisle at a speed not normally associated with the weekly shopping trip.

The self-help books, though, do advise trying to come up with a few novel ideas to keep a long-term sex life from becoming dull and routine, and though it may – admittedly – veer towards the more unconventional, especially with the propensity for shopping trolleys to insists in going in every direction but the one you want them to so a bit of veering off-course is somewhat inevitable, we do believe we have – at last – discovered the ideal way to put the spark back into our love-life, especially when we use the cranberry sauce in a way not specifically shown in the ‘serving suggestion’ illustration on the label.

Thursday, November 15, 2012

Natural Yogurt


As they say: ‘Fine words butter no sexual-experimentalist’, but that doesn’t apply in this case… as we used natural yogurt instead of the butter.

However, a word of caution to anyone else considering experimenting in this fashion: steer well clear of the unnatural yogurt, unless – of course – your particular kink, fetish or political leanings are that way inclined and your actions are not going to case undue distress to the rest of the post office queue.

Of course, you will need a large paintbrush to apply the yogurt, although a smaller one may become necessary for all the crevices, creases and other places of interest, especially those around Ludlow… and the fold of the elbow. For those with a greater than average interest in pies, maybe some sort of automatic yogurt-spraying device may prove more useful for the increased surface area such an enthusiastic diet often brings about, especially if there is a chance of you missing something interesting on the telly. Although my experience of paint-spraying technology indicates that you are unlikely to miss anything in the vicinity of the operation.

Still, we did decide – in the end – that all the effort, expense and yogurt was well worth the effort, for – as she so wisely pointed out – the remainder of the natural yogurt does come in handy for the traditional post-coital kebab.

Wednesday, November 14, 2012

The Ikea Catalogue and its Discontents


Anyway, there she was: standing there, naked and ready….

Oh, hang on, now that I come to think about it, maybe it was over there, next to the table… or was it there, next to the okapi – as you probably know it is so easy to get the table and okapi confused, what with the hectic daily lives we all lead nowadays.

Anyway, I remember because she was holding the new Ikea catalogue in what she hoped was a provocative manner….

As an aside: she did discover some time ago, that the only way to get my attention – especially when I’m busy contemplating the eternal verities with my eyes shut (and definitely NOT snoring – whatever she claims) is to cough discretely while standing there naked. Admittedly, it does tend to raise a few questions in Tesco – but then as I often say to her: ‘you can’t have everything’, especially not when naked as you do not have anywhere near enough pockets.

Anyway, as I was saying about the nudity….

Actually, I perhaps ought to mention about the Ikea catalogue. Normally, I won’t go near the place as it outrages and frustrates the male approach to shopping, based around the commando raid: get in, do what you have to do and get out as quickly as possible with the minimum amount of casualties – especially to the wallet.

Hence the nudity….

Because she knows after however many years of happy (sic) marriage it has been, that the only way I find that shop and its catalogue interesting is through the use of nudity. Maybe it is something their marketing department should look into; after all, Scandinavians are rather partial to getting their kit off, if those magazines we saw back in the school playground all those years ago were to be believed.

Tuesday, November 13, 2012

We Long for a Sign


It could have been a moment that took time in its grasp and turned everything back on itself; a time when time itself began again. Each moment hangs there, waiting and we wait too, as though expecting something, some sign to show us which way to turn.

These days though, there is not much left of the roads; sometimes they disappear altogether merging with the grass and the undergrowth. So when we come to a crossroads like this, there is no sign, no indication of which way leads where. It is then that time begins again. Each new turning is a new life, a new possibility, a chance for change and happenstance to take all we have and all we have known and replace it with something new.

We travel on, searching for some sign that goes beyond mere direction. We long for a sign that points towards the lives we have lost, left behind, long before each crossroads became a new beginning. We search for those lives we used to have before the disaster, before the catastrophe.

Each of us, deep down knows that there is no route, no road, that will lead us back, back beyond all these turnings we have taken, to our old lives, back to how it was before. Yet, even deeper down, there is a longing for those familiarities, those certainties, of the old life that even now we have trouble recalling or even naming to ourselves. We just hope that the next crossroads we stumble upon will be the one that has a sign pointing back to those old lives and a road to take us back there.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Distinctly Indistinct


It was distinctly indistinct in a way the left everyone who thought they saw it absolutely positive about its haziness. Those who saw it were absolutely certain that it was so simply indescribable in the complexity of its simplicity, while those who had no idea about it wondered – often at great length – what all the fuss was about.

The fact that all the fuss was about the way its exactness could only be described in vague general terms while its precise details were plain for all to see, but not recount, meant that for those who knew nothing of it, they knew even less when they heard of it and the problems everyone who had seen it had in describing the thing itself.

Obviously enough, the exact dimensions of the thing itself were not very precise due to the uncertainty about where it began and ended and where the surroundings around it came up to. There were places where it was both – obviously – there and – at the same time – obviously not there, both of which were only explainable in precise general terms.

Of course, there came a time when it was not there, although there are still arguments to this day about exactly when it suddenly wasn’t there. There are even some who still visit the place where it was – and now isn’t – claiming that it is still there, but those of us unenlightened by its visit cannot see it. There are those of us though who doubt it was ever actually there at all, just that there were some who wanted it to be there, but even then they lacked the belief to make it certain, to make it solid… and in the end the uncertainty won out.

Sunday, November 11, 2012

For Whom the Whistle Blows


Well, if only she’d realised, then perhaps the unfortunate incident with the Member of Parliament and the elk could have been quietly forgotten about and we could have all gone about our business none the wiser.

However, she saw it as her duty to bring the matter to the attention of a public eager to salivate over the untoward doings of our elected representatives, especially when involving inappropriate conduct with wildlife. After all, everyone remembers the media feeding frenzy when the Undersecretary of State for Cabinet Meeting Biscuit Procurement was discovered in his local branch of Ikea with a zebra who later turned out not to be his wife. As for that local government councillor and the walrus, well… we all know about how that ended.

Anyway, the woman – who shall remain nameless, even though everyone knows she is Henrietta Shagruff – heiress to the title of Lady-in-Waiting to the third-in-line-to-the throne’s Official Trollop, a close personal friend of the elk in question.

Consequently, we can only hope that the MP resigns as soon as possible in order to prevent further embarrassment to a political party already languishing in the polls, with a leader less popular than some of the more disfiguring tropical fungal diseases, and that politics in this country can go back to being the usual tedious and inept farce we have come to expect from our political class.

Saturday, November 10, 2012

You are My Lord


Her hair was across my chest, she lifted her head and tucked the hair away, behind her and then rested her head against my chest. The skin of her face felt cool against me, possibly even damp.

She could have been crying.

‘My husband is dead,’ she said simply.

‘Yes,’ I agreed.

‘You killed him.’

It was not a question, but I answered it anyway. ‘Yes.’

Her hand stroked across my chest, a finger running along the scar that cut across it. I could se little more than the outline of her head in the low glow and flickering shadows cast by the fire, which was the only illumination in the room.

‘You are my husband now,’ she said, kissing my chest.

‘Yes.’ I agreed.

‘I am your wife.’

‘Hmmm….’ I said as she kissed more. ‘You are my lady, now. To me you are my wife; to everyone else you are Your Ladyship.’

‘You are my Lord,’ she muttered, her kisses moving down my stomach as her hand tightened its grip as her kisses moved lower. Her hand began to move slowly up and down as her mouth kissed down to meet it. ‘You are my Lord,’ she said, then she said no more as her tongue and lips became too busy to comment.

Friday, November 09, 2012

This Year of Great British Sporting Success Continues


Even though there were plenty of reasons not to, she – as is her wont – insisted. So, I had no option but to pick the freshest of the watermelons and don my flippers in readiness.

She approached – at speed – from the north end of the bedroom, taking a firm grasp on my already-proffered shuttlecock as she made her third lap of the bed, which already had the Norwegian judge marking her down for her unorthodox use of the gardening wellies.

Still, we managed to just scrape through the first round against a very strong German couple who did things with sauerkraut and lederhosen that would make a TV celebrity blush.

After our convincing win over the Belgian couple in the next round, the press began speculating on our chances of not only reaching the finals (the first time for a British team since the heyday of the 1970s squad), but that we could even beat the reigning World Champion Dutch team who did that thing with a whole Edam cheese that is the most frequently-streamed clip on YouTube as well as now being a best-selling computer game.

However, first, though, we have to beat the Italians in the semi—finals next weekend, where they will be doing their best to dazzle the judges with their use of bondage linguini. We hope you will all be there to support us in our efforts to continue this year of great British sporting success.

Thursday, November 08, 2012

Accidental Invasions


It was not that obvious at first sight, which is odd when you consider the size of the average bulldozer. But, she had one of those smiles that tend to light up your life, and one of those low-cut tops that somehow seem to rewrite the laws of gravity.

Still, as she said, it was obviously a complete accident that she had both illegally appropriated the aforesaid bulldozer, and then – purely by chance – driven it across her neighbour’s back garden, totally destroying an allegedly over-large hedgerow that had been the cause of some friction between the neighbouring households, including some desultory small-arms fire.

However, the investigating police officers dismissed the neighbour’s suggestion that this assault by bulldozer was an attempted invasion and dismissed his claim that his bulldozer-stealing neighbour had planted a flag of occupation in his rockery, and planned to build defensive trenches and a machine-gun next in an area adjacent to his water feature.

However, following an in-depth investigation of the bulldozer driver over tea and homemade scones, which the lady in question insisted on buttering for the officers whilst leaning over their proffered plates in her gravity-defying top, those officers decided that no further action should be taken and that the neighbour himself should be put under surveillance as a suspected terrorist.

Wednesday, November 07, 2012

At the End of Waiting


There is nothing.

There is silence.

There is stillness.

It is as though time has stopped. It is as though the time has stopped moving ever onward, as if the decades no longer drip by like a broken tap until the bucket of centuries fills up and overflows into another millennia.

She waits….

She has been waiting for a long time, since time lost all meaning until time wore itself out here in this place where she waits.

She waits….

Now there is something different. Now it feels to her as though time may be moving again… soon.

She has learnt the patience of centuries waiting to be free again, waiting to escape this prison.

Now she knows here is something waiting out there, lurking as her prison moves towards it.

Even after so much time that time has lost all meaning to her, she can still feel the presence of some living things nearby, coming closer, closing with this place that is, and – it seems – always has been, her prison.

Soon, she knows, she will be free.

They are coming closer, they will free her… and then… and then….

Then she will feed again; taste the sweetness of their living flesh for the first time since before their world began.

This time she will not stop….

This time she will not allow herself to be caught.

This time she will feed until there is not a living soul left on that nearby planet her prison is drifting towards.

She can almost smell the sweet taste of living, torn apart and devoured until there is nothing living left.

This time they will know true fear and they will learn to worship her in the small time they have left before she devours all.

Tuesday, November 06, 2012

You Can’t Hurry Love

As the Supremes so wisely pointed out: You Can’t Hurry Love, which made us realise the roller skates were a mistake, especially when she ended up stark naked – except for the aforementioned roller skates - in the fast lane of the Bewdley bypass dual carriageway.

Unluckily, though, she was not stopped by the police pursuit vehicle before taking the sharp right into the West Midlands Safari Park and ran the risk of roller skating naked into the lion enclosure. An act which is – curiously – omitted from the park’s warning signs, which will soon surely be rectified, at least when the park attendants have finished their in-depth study of the CCTV footage of the incident where she ended up startling several penguins before managing to stop herself by grabbing hold of a stanchion.

Still, she was the one who suggested that our love-life needed a bit of a fillip (or – now I come to think of it, did she mean that Philip from three doors down who is always out in his garden - stripped to the waist - chopping logs). Now, though, I suspect that the roller skates will soon be returned to their box and be put on top of the wardrobe alongside all her previous good ideas that failed the test of time and circumstances. All of which I should never again mention, or even allude to, again, if I want to make sure that, next time, it is not me who is caught by the constables as I roller-skate naked down some local dual carriageway.

Monday, November 05, 2012

A Political Hot Potato


Still, I suppose, it was not the wisest thing to have done when she was approaching – at speed - wielding a still oven-hot jacket potato; I should have made my excuses and left, however, abiding by the fine upstanding traditions of British tabloid journalism: I denied everything.

Such are the vagaries of the political life. Never, on first paying the initial bribes and backhanders had I expected to get this close to the great engine of the British State, and never this close to a politician and member of the cabinet. Although, judging by recent political history, it really should have been the jacket potato with the seat at the Cabinet table. At least, it couldn’t have been worse for vegetables don’t vote for ridiculous policies that have more unintended consequences than a Brussels Sprout Vindaloo.

Anyway, to get back to the matter – and hot potato – in hand, I never, before that unforgettable night, realised that when fellow journalists on the inside track talked about political hot potatoes, that they were talking literally, and that – indeed – hot potatoes are a staple of the political process.

Still, you live and learn – unless you are a potato… or a politician. I suppose – though – it does go a long way towards explaining the current state of the country.

Sunday, November 04, 2012



Still, as they say you can’t make an omelette without at least making some sort of attempt at cooking, no matter how half-arsed. Just what that has to do with why we are gathered here this fine… bloody ordinary and – to be honest - rather dull… morning I have yet to discover, for this is one of those pieces that has no particular aim or direction to it, at least not yet.

Although, don’t wander off just yet, there could be some good stuff further down….


Although, usually by now we would have at least some sort of gratuitous nudity or something involving badgers, sellotape and a musical instrument of some form. However, because we have not – as yet – come across anything of the sort doesn’t mean that there will be no mildly amusing diversion in today’s peregrination around the detritus of what passes for my mind.


All-in-all, then, maybe it would be better to….

Hang on, that rather fetching young lady over there, next to the badger set, has just taken all her clothes off and took a roll of sellotape out of her rucksack, along with a ukulele…. even the badger has stuck its nose out of its hole to see what is going on.

This looks like it could get very interesting, indeed….


Hang on, while I go and fetch my notebook and sketchpad….

Saturday, November 03, 2012

Unanswered Questions


So, what do we have here… and why does it smell like that?

Although, it is an interesting question – with its own integral question mark and a well-developed sense of intrigue, it is – unfortunately – a question that will have to remain unanswered… at least for the time being.

So, if you have already changed into your best bespoke inquisitorial outfit, including your sparkling be-sequined questioning cape and wand, then I’m afraid you are going to have to either sit there with them on – looking incongruous – or go back and change into some more perusal-friendly clothing.

Sometimes, the questions are best left unanswered, especially if you are in the vicinity of those who are not keen on questions in the first place; especially those who regard their religion, ideology, politics, food choices or selection of socks beyond reproach.

However, as change is the only constant, especially with underwear and politicians, this is not really a tenable position.

However, then there are those of us who like to question everything, who take nothing for granted and like seeing certainties crumble into rubble before us, while those that prefer not to ask awkward questions say: ‘What did you question that for?’

And we reply: ‘Why not?’

Friday, November 02, 2012

The Naughty Fruit Set


‘She may well, indeed had had all the bananas a woman of her social standing could desire, but her disdain for the pomegranate led to her being shunned by the rest of London society at that time.’ So, says an exciting new biography of Ermintrude Watermelon, the woman who became synonymous with the infamous Naughty Fruit Set that came to prominence in the inter-war years through their flagrant use of fruit – and sometimes even vegetables – in a way which shocked the more straight-laced of the upper classes, especially when it was revealed just what the Set were doing with all those pineapples.

Many contemporary commentators, and most subsequent historians, have put the Set’s use of fruit for erotic purposes down to some sort of after-effect of the Great War, which had not only robbed the young ladies of the period nearly a whole generation of men, it had – on the Home Front – led to a lack of fresh vegetables (although not on the scale of the Second World War and its aftermath where one upper-class lady complained she had been unable to enjoy a good firm cucumber until well into the 1950s).

However, like most of the fads and fashions of that period the antics of the Naughty Fruit Set were brought to a sudden end by the stock market crash which led to the Great Depression, where anyone consorting in a overly-erotic way with even a mandarin orange was regarded as decadent and beyond the pale. Even though it was rumoured that the Prime Minister and the Cabinet of the time got up to all sorts of activities with a bunch of grapes and certain members of the 10 Downing Street typing pool, all the official records of that period are still covered by the Official Secrets Act until at least 2032, despite several attempts to have the official minutes released under Freedom of Information rules.

So, until that time what really happened then will – unlike the antics of the Naughty Fruit Set remain in the realm of speculation and rumour.

Thursday, November 01, 2012

Expecting the Worst


Well, as it happens…. Or, as we are in the UK, as more often it doesn’t happen, we are gathered here today on this fine… er… drizzly, dull day to celebrate the fact that we are all one year older and – probably – not all that much wiser than when we gathered here exactly one year ago today to celebrate the fact that we were gathered here again, resembling nothing much more than a bus queue waiting for a bus that will never come, and thereby forced into that most uncomfortable situation for any English person – having to acknowledge the existence of other people and – worst of all – make some sort of attempt at communication with them beyond a forceful tutting and shaking of the head.

After all, though, everyone must remember that the British don’t like it when things work. We always expect the worst and are disappointed when we don’t get it. There is nothing that frustrates a free-born English man and/or woman than having something work as it should; it feels as though we have lost our divine right to complain that the world is not as shoddy and badly-made as we’d hoped and we – therefore – have noting to complain about… or, ideally, mutter under our breath about.

To be honest, we don’t actually like complaining either. There is always the danger that if you complain, something will be done about it and – rather than making it worse as we secretly deep-down hope – some conscientious and competent bastard may actually come along and fix it, make it all right… and then where would we be?