Google+ A Tangled Rope: 03/01/2013 - 04/01/2013

Sunday, March 31, 2013

Down in the Valley


It was not that unusual. Even though I had never seen one before, I knew that such things existed… or were – at least – rumoured to exist.

There were stories. There were always stories in places like this. Everything became a story, sooner or later. In a small, out of the way, place like our village, isolated at the bottom of the high valley and often cut off from the rest of the country, stories were what we told each other all the time. It was a form of connection that couldn’t be broken, telling us who we where and how our world worked.

Our world, though, the world of our village didn’t – and doesn’t even now – work in the same way that the world outside our valley worked. We knew that. We knew we had to be cautious around strangers, not letting them know our secrets or that this world, the world of our valley, was not their world.

So, that day when I was out, deep in the woods, as night fell, I knew I would not be alone. I knew there would be someone there in the woods, someone who knew the secrets of how our world worked.

Even so, when I came across the clearing and saw the flickering shadows cast by the fire and I saw the three women, their naked bodies painted with symbols and sigils, dancing around the fire, wailing their incantations to our moon – the moon that lights our valley as it lights no other place on this Earth – then I knew something was about to happen, some fracture was about to open between our valley and the rest of the land that lies beyond.

Saturday, March 30, 2013

The Stormriders


Back then we were The Stormriders; we would thunder into people’s lives like heavy dark clouds of chaos with the lightning of our steel flashing as we caused chaos, death and destruction all around us, leaving burning and bodies behind as we sped away – there and then gone like any sudden storm.

Back then: we were known, we were feared. Everyone ran for shelter when they realised The Stormriders were coming, the clouds of our horde massing on the horizon of their lives, ready to destroy everything they held dear, ready to rip all their small worlds apart.

Of course, as we became known and feared, the ordinary folk appealed to their lords, their barons, their kings, to do something, to stop us; to bring an end to the storms that ripped and destroyed their meagre worlds.

We were not heroes, we were not the kind of outlaws who become legends by taking the side of the oppressed, we were not facing the forces of overwhelming power. We were the outlaws that make children scream, women cry and men curse our shadows as we pass. We were not brave, we were not just. We were weak and cowardly, except when massed as some great storm cloud ready to tear the sun from some poor unfortunate’s life, but we did not care. We thought we were free, we thought we were wild; we thought we would never have to bow or kneel to any man, noble or common.

Most of all, though, we were wrong and we knew we were wrong and we knew that one day the world would take its revenge on us all.

Friday, March 29, 2013

Stories Everywhere


It had to happen, I suppose, although, I had never expected it to, not while I still lived. I thought I’d run out of life, long before I ran out of stories.

That is the thing about stories, they can be found anywhere. They do grow on trees, but not only on trees, they grow anywhere you happen to look and they blow in on the breezes and sail across the seas.

Stories are all around us, and they are all inside us too. We know we all are a story that begins with our birth and ends with our death, but so many other things are stories too, from the way a butterfly opens its wings to reveal all the patterns of summer to the way the frost etches its beginning on a frozen window pane. There are stories in the way your fingers take the air and shape it, and how my feet stirred up the dust upon all the roads I travelled when I was young and found stories everywhere, especially in the beds of those women willing to pay for my stories with the only coin they had.

So, when the young ones came in from the cold the other day to sit by my fire and watch the dancing flames, it wasn’t too long before those faces turned to me, one after the other, and said: ‘Tell us a story, granddad.’

So I smiled my smile of an old one indulging the young, turned to watch the dancing flames, opened my mouth and nothing came out.

For the first time ever I had no stories to tell.

It has been that way every day since then, up until I sat you down and told you this.

Thursday, March 28, 2013

Thursday Poem: A New Promise

A New Promise

Do not be fooled
by this new promise.
I have made
such promises before.

And I know
I cannot be trusted.
See, I have
these shifty eyes

and the questionable motives
your mother, long ago,
warned you about.

I have no intention
of keeping my word.
Words to me
are just tools to use

to enable me
to achieve my desires
and you,
you are what I want,

even though
we both know
I do not need you
and you would be

better off without me
here to drag you
down into misery.

I am not
the sort of person
who will always
be there for you.

When you need me
I will always be
somewhere else, holding
some new one close
while your arms are empty.

Wednesday, March 27, 2013

Time Ripper

It was time. I mean… well, I was there, but it was time that did it, not me. Something, someone else, stepped into those minutes between us beginning one of our usual arguments and Julie lying dead on the kitchen floor.

When the police arrived, the bloody knife was on the floor next to her. My fingerprints were all over the knife; after all, I had been chopping the vegetables with it when Julie stormed into the kitchen, slamming the door behind her, yelling about what she’d seen through the bedroom window: Alice and me together, down in the bushes at the bottom of the garden, far away and hidden from the rest of the people gathered around the barbecue on the patio.

As Julie yelled and screamed, heads outside turned towards the open kitchen door. All I could think of was how soft Alice’s skin felt under my hands as we'd kissed.

Then… somehow… time jumped - I remember it like a bad edit in a film – and Julie lay dead on the floor with the knife lying next to her. I remember looking down at my hand in disbelief, expecting the knife to still be there, despite it being in plain view on the floor, the blood pooling stickily around it.

Then, Tracey, Julie’s sister screamed from the open doorway… and then there was chaos, until the police and ambulance men came and calmed everyone down.

Of course, everyone assumed I’d done it… everyone except me, because I knew I hadn’t done it…. Someone, something, had – in those few seconds – ripped time apart and stepped through, pulled the knife from my hand and plunged it into Julie, while I stood there and stared.

Then, just as easily it had ripped time and space apart and stepped back, allowing time to begin again while I stood there too shocked to move or speak.

Tuesday, March 26, 2013

In Want of a Wife

Of course, as is well known – at least by those who know such things – that a man with his own collection of newt and salamander tanks must be in want of a wife. It is just that most women would rather it was not them forced to make this – ultimate – sacrifice, and will have at least one friend – who they cannot stand – who they fell will be eminently more suited to the role.

Still, that - even though it does stand in the position usually afforded to the leading paragraph – need not concern us here as there are more important matters afoot. So far afoot, indeed, that they are halfway up the leg and are making serious inroads into the thigh region. Therefore some alacrity of purpose must – I'm afraid – be our watchword this fine... not too unreasonable... well, this morning/afternoon/evening/night*.

The only thing is... well, I seem to have lost the bit of paper upon which I wrote done this piece of vital information – hence the subtle (or not) attempt to divert attention away from this slight hiccup in proceedings with an opening paragraph which bears little or – indeed – no relation to the rest of the... whatever this turns out to be.

Still... until I can find the piece of paper or remember which, with what remains of my mind – as you know – is somewhat unlikely, then we will just have to think of something else to do....

So, if any single or unattached ladies would like to form a queue over by the left sidebar, I will take them all on a fascinating tour of my rather enviable – and very sexy - collection of newt and salamander tanks.


*delete whichever is inapplicable

Monday, March 25, 2013

The British Empire

It is surprising to see that the most obvious reason why Britain built the largest empire the world has ever seen is so often overlooked by historians. But then historians have a nice comfortable job indoors, often inside nice warm universities and colleges.

If historians got out a bit more then they would - probably – come to the same conclusion that others of us have come to whilst outdoors. That is the main reason the British created an empire was mainly to get out of the rain and/or the cold.

You will notice that the British empire – after an early mistake with Canada - took place mostly in warmer climes. For example, Norway was never at outpost of the British Empire (after all, even the Vikings came here to get away from it), nor was Iceland or Russia. We even let the Russians - and then the Americans have that really cold bit that dangles off the end of Canada – Alaska - while we headed for the sun.

It is also why the Roman empire ended in Britain – at Hadrian's Wall – then declined from there and all the other cold and damp bits inhabited by violent tribesmen dressed mostly in fur. When they hung around conquering in the Mediterranean the Romans couldn't be beaten, but once the cold breezes got up their togas and their sandals got damp, even they had to give up.

So, my advice to any evil genius planning on world domination: do yourself a favour, mate, and pick somewhere warm to invade.

You know it makes sense.

Friday, March 22, 2013

Obviously the Giraffe

Obviously the giraffe was a bit of a give-away, especially as it required a somewhat longer lead than is usually the case. However, as the wife pointed out to the assistant, the security guard, the assistant manager and - in the end – the manager herself, the sign on the door said: No Dogs, and as far as science can determine, it has been fairly well-established that a giraffe is not a dog.

Still, they wouldn't let us past the fresh meat counter, despite us pointing out – with reference to the almighty Google itself on the wife's mobile – that the giraffe isn't, by any stretch of the imagination, a carnivore.

However, we - after the altercation was left unresolved - did decide against taking the giraffe down the fresh bread aisle as a crusty loaf is often enough to have him straining at the leash.

I don’t know if you've ever tried taking a giraffe to obedience classes. If you have, you - like me - will have been bewildered by the snobbery of poodle owners and why they build local church halls with such low ceilings. The vet bill for a giraffe neck massage doesn’t come cheap, and they only ever think you are taking the piss when you phone up the pet insurance companies and ask for a quote for a giraffe.

Anyway, next week the wife and I have decided we'll take the Bengali tiger shopping with us. We do anticipate much politer shop staff – if only from a distance.

Thursday, March 21, 2013

Thursday Poem: The Promise of All We Desired


The Promise of All We Desired

In the darkness, hands reach out
for the safety of another’s warming skin.
The reassuring touch of breathing flesh
pressing back against tentative fingertips

To give comfort against the dark
and the lonely ticking of the clock
no-one can ever turn back
to those earlier days when life seemed

As though it could only grow beyond
into times that would turn and glow
with the promise of all we desired
waiting for us to come and take it all.

Now, though, the night seems long
even as the day is waiting,
ready to fall through the curtains
to reveal in its sharp light

How another day has arrived
ready to hasten us towards that time
when there will be no more lost days
and only a never-ending lonely night.

Wednesday, March 20, 2013

No Conspiracy


‘…And another thing…’ he slurred into his half empty glass, before putting it down and turning towards me. ‘…if these conspiracies were all true then how come the hundreds… sometimes, the thousands… of people involved in them never says anything?’ His eyes wandered around a bit before settling on me.

‘You have a point,’ I said, nodding.

Just then Sylvie came back into the bar and nodded towards me. I finished my drink and stood up. ‘I’ll see you around.’ I held his shoulder for a moment as I stood, smiling.

He waved in acknowledgement with his free hand as he finished off his beer.

‘Who’s your friend?’ Sylvie said as we headed towards the door.

‘Just someone who doesn’t believe in conspiracy theories,’ I said.

She laughed.’ If only he knew….’

‘He thinks that the lack of anyone spilling the beans, any whistle-blowers, is proof that there aren’t any big conspiracy theories,’ I said as we arrived at our car.

‘Sensible man,’ Sylvie said. She touched her side, just where the concealed holster was strapped under her coat.

In the car she pulled out her tablet from her bag and checked our instructions.

‘Where to?’ I said, starting the car.

‘Just a few streets, down there.’ Sylvie pointed.

‘What is it this time,’ I said as I manoeuvred the car into the traffic.

‘A defence ministry worker,’ she said. ‘She’s told her best friend that she knows the real reasons behind the latest batch of terrorist atrocities and who is really behind them,’ Sylvie said as she took her gun from her concealed holster and checked the magazine was full, before screwing on the silencer. She laughed. ‘Conspiracy theories, huh?’ she said as she turned towards me.

I laughed too.

Tuesday, March 19, 2013

Keep Away from the Edge

Anyway, there it was and there I was too, which was lucky. If I'd been over there – jut to the left of that sidebar, say, then it is quite possible I could have fallen right off the edge of your screen.

And who would be responsible for that, especially when I made a claim for irreparable damage to my prose and whiplash injuries to my verbs?

We are so lucky to have lawyers who will – it seems – gladly devote their lives to such arcana, just to screw a bit of money out of someone else and to make all our lives a bit more constrained by legality and a little less free and easy.

Who could put a monetary value on that kind of devotion to the public weal?

No wonder lawyers get paid so much.

Anyway, there is a well-known danger attached to falling off the edge of the screen – otherwise why would they have such well-defined edges?

QED - as they say, or used to when there were folks around who knew what it means. I never did Latin at school – they were lucky if some of us managed English, let alone some other language. They just taught us the secret of fire and uses for the wheel and that was about it. Although, according to my children, Latin was still spoken when I was at school, especially when issuing guidelines to prevent us schoolchildren being eaten by the dinosaurs on the way to and from the school cave.

Anyway, the danger of falling off the edge of the screen wasn't too bad in the days of the desktop computer, but these days with laptops, tablets and smartphones, one slip off the edge of the screen and who knows where you may end up?

It is dangerous out there, so mind how you go and keep away from the edges of the screen.

Monday, March 18, 2013

One of those... Things

Still, there you have it. I mean it is not often you see such a splendid example of a... well... one of those.... er.... things. Not this close at hand anyway. Usually you may have to travel as far as the nearest multi-story car park to be within sight of such a splendid example of a.... well, one of those, but today – at great... some... moderate... almost no expense we have brought this one here for you to stare at.

Isn't it ama.... well, slightly interesting?


Oh,. Right, please yourselves then. After all, this is – well, nearly – only a blog. What do you expect?


…. apart from the naked ladies being rather rude with their friends, that is...


or the humorous cute cat pictures.



I see.

Right then, if that is the case then we'll have to see about some other amus... faintly diverting way of passing a few minutes before you hie yourself away to look at the cute kittens and/or under-dressed young ladies.


Hang on, I'm thinking.


No, sorry that's really about it for today.

Although, if you can come back tomorrow, then there may just be something a bit more interesting.


Or maybe not.


Well, that's it... honestly.


No, I'm not waiting for you to go so I can do something here that I'd rather you not know about.




No, I do not have a picture of either a cute kitten and/or some under-dressed young ladies cavorting together to put up as soon as you navigate away from this page.

The very idea.

As if I’d do something like that to my devoted readership.





Have they gone yet?


Right, if you young ladies could get undressed.... a bit, I'll go and get the basket of cute kittens.


Yes, there will be cake, too.

Friday, March 15, 2013

New Kindle Book Out Now: The Sexiest Elbows I'd Ever Seen


The Sexiest Elbows I'd Ever Seen

Available here (UK) or here (US).

When we first met she was Emeritus Professor of Post-Colonial Marmalade at the University of Ffestiniog, and she had the sexiest elbows I had ever seen. We met at the Annual Ffestiniog Tapioca-Ignoring Convention, back in the late summer of ’83. At the time neither of us had a Tapioca-Ignoring partner, so naturally – once we found our handicaps were compatible – we teamed up for that autumn’s preliminary Tapioca-Ignoring Cup rounds. Of course, with both of us being amateurs we never expected to get to the finals.

Her name was Plenitude Cleavage and she came from the Welsh valleys, in fact she had quite a Welsh valley herself, never in my experience had I ever seen such a splendid example of nominative determinism in a woman’s body before....

So, begins one of the greatest love stories of our age told here for the first time in ebook form for the Kindle.

This collection also contains several other stories of equal import, such as:

  • Shropshire Smith and the Temple of Vegetables. A tale of adventure and excitement within a forgotten temple of one of the world's oldest forgotten civilisations.

  • The Famed Vegetable Killer of Grimsby. Murder most foul.

  • The Dancing Sex Nuns of the Tenth Quadrant. A story of one of the great mysteries of the far future.

  • The man with the Golden Cheese Baguette. The tale of Britain's greatest spy and his attempt to thwart an evil genius with plans for world domination.

  • The Thing Falling Out of the Sky Incident. Some claim there are aliens out there, waiting to invade Earth. Some say this has already happened.

Plus other stories, such as: Feeling Betrayed, The Aftermath, The Perfect Woman and others the like of which you will never have read before.

The Sexiest Elbows I'd Ever Seen

Available here (UK) or here (US).

The Missing Link

Still, as these things go, it is not often that one is able to get so close to one without fearing for one's life – or, at least – the integrity of one's knee joints. However, as this is the first one in captivity since beyond even the days of black and white TV, it is regarded as a somewhat significant opportunity for the world's cryptozoologists to get some much-needed media exposure, and – perhaps – even sell a few books.

Of course, there as been much speculation as to the true nature of the so-called missing link, or - indeed - if there is any such creature in nature. Experts in the field, and - quite often in the snowy wastelands far from human habitation – have pointed to such mythical creatures as the yeti, bigfoot, the abominable snowman and honest politicians, as proof that there is - quite possibly - some creature that exists between humanity and the rest of the apes.

Others have speculated that the mere existence of daytime TV schedules does presuppose a creature that must be regarded as not quite human, something of lower intelligence than even a professional footballer and with a natural immunity to debt consolidation adverts not found in humanity as a whole.

However, until this specimen arrived and was captured trying to eat a wheel wrested from a supermarket trolley outside its local low-cost freezer centre, all that had been speculation. Now, however there is a chance to discover more about these creatures, unless of course the captured beast turns out to be merely yet another former TV presenter down on his luck.

Thursday, March 14, 2013

But Why a Canoe?

But then, we had the canoe. Of course, everyone thought it was a contingency plan for when the inevitable floods followed the official declaration of a drought, as these things always do, as sure as hosepipe ban follows flood.

Ah, but if you are a man who has seen a woman skilfully propelling her canoe through the rapids, you know just how erotic the canoe can be, and how strong, but still dexterous, her wrists are.

All of which is well worth taking into consideration.

Especially when she had suggested it is time for the annual pilgrimage of a weekend with her mother, and the necessary human sacrifices that will entail, and you know the only possible escape route lies through use of the canal, along with some thin excuse about us both needing the exercise.

Not to mention the well-known fact that mother-in-laws cannot cross water.

So we won't....

Despite the relevance.

Still it was either a frosty morning out on the canal, or another round in the seemingly never-ending battle with the crusts of her mother's home-made mince pies and the interminable dissection of her near-neighbours and their obvious immortality and petty vendettas against the very paragon of virtue that is her mother.

Still, I thought there would be some residue of family loyalty deep within the bosom of my wife, buried deep underneath the not-inconsiderable frontage that she presents to the world, no doubt, but still present.

However, when I suggest packing both the life jackets and a spare set of paddles, despite the smallness of our current vehicle's boot, my darling wife – much to my delight – said: 'yes.'

Wednesday, March 13, 2013

A Fair Cop

So, not only was she tuning up the banjo – with intent – the police also charged her with being too close to the trampoline whilst not wearing the heath and safety executive's now-mandated full medieval plate armour as a precaution against laddering her tights on the badger's claws as she mounted the trampoline clutching her banjo.

As we now know, recent legislation now allows the police top take action against anything they feel like on any particular day, whether or not it is actually against the law. These changes have been brought about since the recent successful legal action by two serving police officers who were made to attempt to arrest a violent criminal, thus placing them both in a hazardous workplace environment. Having the courts find the police forces are liable for not providing a safe working environment for their employees, the government has had no choice but to make it illegal for the police to confront anyone doing anything illegal, or threatening harm to the arresting officers. Therefore, the government needed to find something else for the police to do, besides just arresting people for being dickheads on social media.

Hence the arrest of the lady threatening to use the banjo without wearing the correct mandated safety gear for using a trampoline in a built-up area.

However, as she said: 'it's a fair cop.'

Mind how you go.

Tuesday, March 12, 2013

Going Mental


Well, you know… or perhaps you don’t…. I haven’t checked.

That is the problem with venturing into other people’s minds, you don’t know what you are going to find there - especially in the minds of those with… er… unusual interests…

...such as yours....

I know… I know everything….

Yes, even that….

There is no point you trying to deny it… as you were just about to.

Anyway, I can see how someone – especially someone like you – could find llamas attractive, although, not in that way, especially not with that purple lingerie, the wellies and the badminton racquet.

Especially considering what you intend to do to the llama with the badminton racquet: something that I know for a fact is illegal in several countries, especially those in South America where the llama is a revered animal.

As minds go though, yours is - I must admit – one of the more interesting I’ve read of late, even taking into account your interest – or, should I say, obsession – with lingerie-clad camelids.

Still, the wellies could turn out to be useful should you wish to pursue your interest in the erotic possibilities of a dalliance with a willing llama of your acquaintance should she get sudden cold hooves when she sees you in all your naked glory.

Monday, March 11, 2013

Cheese Amnesty


On the whole, though, it was more of a cheese-based inquiry than would otherwise be the case. After all, we all know about the increasing number of murders committed by wielders of some of the more obscure local cheeses, compared with the more usual supermarket cheddars and similar mass-produced dairy products.

The use of Stilton has long been recognised as a rather British form of regicide, with - of course – Richard of York’s final despairing cry of ‘My Kingdom for a Krackawheat’ when faced with the overwhelming number of Stilton rounds massed against him by Henry VI on the field at the battle of Wakefield.

Still, the use of Wensleydale by the Parliamentarian side to rid the country of Charles I is familiar, despite the poor quality of contemporary history teaching, to most school-age worker units, even though many of them will have little or no idea just what sort of computer game character a Wensleydale is and just when the Roundheads won X-Factor.

However, since the last cheese amnesty saw a record number of unlicensed wedges of Sage Derby handed in to police stations all across the country as well as some rather lethal Gorgonzola successfully defused by the Anti-Cheese Terrorism Squad in Bilston only last week, there are some encouraging signs that cheese-related mayhem may – at last – be on the wane since the successful capture by the Metropolitan Police of the leaders of one of the capital’s most notorious importers of illegal Brie.

Sunday, March 10, 2013

Sunday Poem: A Trick of Light and Shade


A Trick of Light and Shade

The world is lost as we become anonymous
just some more blurred and faceless faces, the very edge
of yet another photograph. A mere disturbance

of light and chemicals that burns so easily
with only dust of our ashes left behind, all blown
and lost on the wind’s indifference. Or faded, sad

and left forgotten in the brittle yellowed pages
of just one more unopened photograph album
left hiding deep inside its jacket of dust and time

up high on a shelf where nobody will ever notice,
or hidden deep in a forgotten box left lost
in the furthest corner of the attic of

discarded memory and never once recalled,
or found again, as years all fall down one by one
to far too many decades of forgetfulness.

Saturday, March 09, 2013

The Open Doors to the Folded Worlds


The door to her world opens and I slip through as she sleeps dreaming of a tumultuous war between the possible and the impossible that brings about a chance for her to escape this narrow world that holds her prisoner. As she sleeps, I move carefully towards her bed, lean over and whisper in her ear of all that could be once this broken world lets her go and she leaves her chains behind to follow me through the door into other possibilities.

Even though this world that holds her prisoner has nothing for her but servitude and tedium, still she does not rise from her dream to float with me towards the waiting door. Still she feels the weight of her world holding her down, holding her back. Even though she dreams of the stranger who comes to her every night to make promises about strange far worlds that she can only dream about, she still refuses to take his hand and let him lead her away.

She knows there is something wrong, she knows that all she ever hears from him are stories, promises that will never come true and she knows too, that once he has led her through that doorway he will leave her, lost and alone, in some far world of which she knows nothing, while he goes off searching through all the open doors to the folded worlds to find another sleeping woman, just to whisper his promises in her ear.

Friday, March 08, 2013

The One with the Trampoline


Still, it is not as though she gave us any choice. After all, she was the one with the trampoline. However, we did have the economy-sized vat of Multi-Purpose lubricating oil, so – after some rather fraught negotiations, including a long-term commitment to weeding the patio at an unspecified later date – a suitable compromise was reached. Unfortunately for the connoisseurs of such activity who habitually frequent such … er… places such as... whatever this is, she totally vetoed any use of the video camera at any time during the proceedings, up to and including the full immersion of her next-door neighbour and her rather impressive gravity-defying… er… personality.

Still, as weekend neighbourhood barbecues go, it was not the ordeal most of them become with the rather hectic use of the trampoline by some naked and heavily-lubricated (on the inside as well as the outside) attendees, making any conversation about house prices more than a little difficult, except - of course - for the gaggle of ladies over by the water feature who made disparaging comments about many of the gentlemen present who were doing their utmost despite the chill of the evening.

Unfortunately, by the end of the proceedings it seemed that most of the sausages were still left untouched on the barbecue… for some unexplained reason.

Thursday, March 07, 2013

Wildlife and Charity

It is not that often, these days, that one gets accosted by a young lady or gentleman wishing to ascertain one's charitable relationship with the many socially-deprived writing implements, such as pencils. However, fascinating as the subject may appear, especially to the cognoscenti, that is not exclusively the subject of today's missive.

It would also help if you could avoid catching the eye of the bull walrus over there on the chaise lounge, as it is nearly his feeding time and the mackerel are still in the freezer – not that he cares too much about them being frozen, it seems they remind him of home, but he doesn't like being interrupted whilst watching Attenborough's latest opus, at least not until the credits roll.

That is – as I'm sure you know – one of the problems in setting up one's own house as a wildlife sanctuary, especially when there is the constant threat of a territorial battles over the airing cupboard by the leopard and the timber wolf and the way the penguins keep hogging the bathroom, much to the consternation of the guillemots nesting precariously on the top corner of the shower curtain rail.

However, all the problems do pale into insignificance on those awkward social occasions, for example when the aforesaid charity worker turns up on your doorstep, insisting that it is one's moral duty to provide financial support for all the unwanted pencils currently suffering hardship in sub-Saharan Africa. It is at such times that having the tiger take up residence in the hallway really proves its worth...

...apart from the bloodstains, of course.

Wednesday, March 06, 2013

An Evening's Entertainment

There we were, poised and ready. Although, pedants amongst you may question the use of the bowler hats by the ladies' team. However, those of us over here, next to the mantelpiece comprising the men's team did have the shin pads, so it was not as unusual as all that.

However, the Scrabble(tm) board itself was ready in the middle of the room, the referee was yet to signal the match could begin as some of the women were not yet fully-armed.

Some – according to recent media reports, yet to boil over into full-on media hysteria - have questioned the increasing violence in these get-togethers, especially the rioting that resulted recently in Guildford when a dinner party attempted to annexe next-door's patio, using a previously-purchased attack helicopter, and with supporting mortar fire from behind the garden shed.

There was also the case in Tewkesbury where the local chess club set up a twelve-mile exclusion zone around the church hall they used as a meeting place, setting up razor wire and guard towers to prevent an attack by the Evesham volunteer Bridge club paratroops who were attempting to – as they called it - 'liberate' the Chess club's tea urn and recipe for chocolate-chip cup cakes.

Still, at least, as the Prime Minister said in a recent TV interview, despite these problems, we have not returned to the dark days of the late 1970s when the country was ravaged and brought to the edge of collapse by the outbreak of the Bingo wars in the North-East. We do hope – as the PM – said that we do not see a return to those dark days, at least not in our lifetimes.

Tuesday, March 05, 2013

Of Monsters and Men

Of course, there are many ladies who often find themselves beguiled by such sights as a fully-kilted Scotsman tossing his caber while his sporran oscillates gently in the Highland breezes.

As is now well-known it was a certain Highland lass called Morag who was the first to see what latter became known as the Loch Ness Monster when when one of those strong Highland breezes temporarily displaced Craig McHaggiss's kilt as he bent over to take a firm grip on his caber. Morag later said she had devoted the rest of her long life to watching Scotsmen tossing their cabers, but never again did she ever see anything to match Craig McHaggiss's Loch Ness monster.

Far away too, in the frozen Himalayas, where one would think the climate would mitigate against such a phenomena, the ladies in that area have legends of the Yeti – often mistranslated as the abominable snowman, but a more accurate translation would be the very well-hung snowman. Often described by the wide-eyed woman as being much, much bigger than a normal human male, whilst adding wistful that it - far from being abominable – knows just how to treat a lady.

The more modest age that was the backdrop to the wider exploration of the American colonies too, meant that a certain man-beast found there was rather coyly referred to as Big-Foot, while the women in the know would wink at each other and add 'you know what they say about men with big feet' whist holding their hands a fair distance apart. They also described the beast as being 'very shaggy', without specifying just which meaning of shag they had in mind.

All in all then, there is far more to these more beast than man legends than some men are willing to admit, at least whilst the ladies are sitting there with those rather smug smiles on their faces.

Monday, March 04, 2013

Natural Exuberance

Even then it was not unknown for her to languidly drape herself across a piano in a state of almost complete undress. This of course, as it was an upright piano, did require a certain natural sense of balance, as well as some forethought as to the all-important placement of the elbows, especially amongst the plenitude of half-empty pint glasses that gathered upon that surface as the evening progressed.

However, it was a far more preferable way of disporting herself in such a crowded room than her earlier idea of bounding around the – rather-limited – dance floor fully-naked on a pogo-stick. Although connoisseurs of the pogo-stick did all agree that her natural exuberance did lend a certain quality to the proceedings which made it something of an eye-catching spectacle, sometimes even an eye-watering spectacle should you be caught unawares by one of her gyrating limbs as she reached heights that made the spectators look up in wonder at her dexterity, especially when she began playing the banjo at the same time.

However, unfortunately, her attempt to break the world record for eating tuna and mayonnaise sandwiches whilst riding a pogo-stick when naked, ended in severe disappointment when, on her twenty-seventh sandwich, disaster struck and her sandwich preparation teams back in the pits ran out of butter, forcing her to attempt a rather dry twenty-eighth sandwich, which despite the liberal application of mayonnaise, ended in catastrophe when a swarm of feral cats attracted by the pungency of the tuna attacked her and forced her to dismount the pogo-stick with some alacrity and seek sanctuary in the commentators' booth – which is when we first met.

Then, dear reader, I married her.

Friday, March 01, 2013

Free Kindle Novella: Have a Go


Have a Go

Free for the next five days – here (UK) or here (US)

[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.



An hour or so after John had fallen asleep, the door opened slowly and quietly. Two figures, a woman and a man, crept into John’s room. Both were dressed in white coats with stethoscopes around their necks and both glanced back over their shoulders to check the corridor behind them as they crept into John’s room.

Once they were safely in the room, with the door shut, they both let out the breath they’d been holding, stood up straight and brushed down their white coats. They checked each other out and nodded their approval to one another as they tried to give the impression of professional confidence.

The woman tuned to the man, leaning close as she whispered. ‘If we do this right, it might just be my ticket back to the front page. Instead of wasting my time on this inside page filler stuff, I’ll be back where I belong – with all the celebrity scoops – real journalism.’ Still watching his face, she reached out towards the photographer’s crotch, watching carefully as his eyes widened in increasing pain and alarm as she squeezed. ‘So, don’t bugger this up for me - all right?’

The photographer shook his head frantically.

The reporter tilted her head and squeezed again, even harder. The photographer whimpered in pain again. Then – when he could open his eyes once more – he saw that the reporter regarded his head shaking as the wrong response.

He nodded frantically instead.

The reporter smiled at him. The photographer attempted a weak smile in return, shifting uncomfortably as he tried to rearrange his trousers.

The reporter let him go. ‘I’m so glad we understand each other,’ she said. ‘I think we might make a great team…. Come on, let’s get on with it.’

The reporter sidled up to John’s bed and coughed.

Nothing happened.

She coughed again. John began to stir. He opened one eye and looked up at her.

‘Hello… er… Mister… er….’ The journalist hastily grabbed John’s chart from the bottom of his bed. ‘Er… yes. Mr Russell. I’m doctor… doctor… Harumph and this is my associate, doctor… A-hem hem.’

John opened both eyes, turned on his light and made a feeble attempt to sit up. ‘Sorry, I didn’t quite catch your… er…?’

‘Yes, well. I see from your chart that the… your… er….’

‘Temperature?’ The photographer offered.

‘Yes, thank you, Doctor a-hem hem…. It says here…’ She tapped the chart ‘that your FA over blood index pressure is verging on the acute. I’d better just….’

She began to mess about with John’s wrist, looking for - but failing to find - his pulse. ‘So… tell me Mr Russell, can I call you John? Tell me, John, how long have you been married?’

‘Eight years, but we were living together since we left university. Acute blood index pressure? Is that serious? It sounds serious.’

‘No, it’s just… er… routine. Tell me, was that woman, you were in the bank with, your wife?’

‘Debbie? No, she’s a friend. From school days, as it happens….’ John turned to look at her. ‘Anyway, what’s that got to do with my blood whatsit index thing?’

‘There are sound medical….’

‘Clinical!’ The photographer said, nudging the reporter.

The reporter glared at the photographer. ‘There are sound medi… clinical reasons for every question we ask you, Mr Russell. So, if you could just co-operate? It is in your own interest.’

‘Oh, yes. Right…. Sorry. But I was warned about some tabloid reporters prowling around.’

‘Really? How strange. Anyway, it… er… my colleague here would like to take a few photographs… of your… your injuries… for….’

‘For our records,’ the photographer interjected.

‘….For insurance company purposes.’ the journalist said, glaring at the photographer for interrupting her and making a squeezing motion with her hand. The photographer gulped and took a step away from her and began preparing his camera.

‘So… this… Debbie. Just how good friends are you?’ the reporter asked.

John stared at her. ‘I don’t think that’s any of your busin….’ He glanced from reporter to cameraman and back again. ‘Hang on, are you really doctors?’ John struggled to sit up and take a close look at the female doctor. ‘Hey, I thought you looked familiar. You were that reporter in that court case a few months ago – you broke into someone’s hospital room… some soap star! I saw you on the news!’ He fumbled for his alarm button and pressed it, while putting his other hand between him and the photographer, blocking the camera.

‘Come on, Suzy. Let’s go! We’ve been rumbled!’ the photographer said, turning to go.

The reporter and the photographer ran for the door.

Just before she left the room the journalist looked back at John, pointing her voice recorder towards him. ‘So, John… Mr Russell. How long have you been shagging this Debbie woman? Does your wife know?’

From the corridor outside, the photographer grabbed for the journalist’s arm, trying to pull her from the room. ‘Come on Suzy! Scarper! That nurse is coming and she’s armed!’

The journalist turned back and peered around the door. ‘Armed?’

‘Yes! She has a bedpan… and it looks like she’s going to use it!’

The journalist shrugged her arm free from the panicking journalist and turned towards John once more, shouting from the doorway. ‘So, John, how doe sit feel to be a Have a Go Hero?’

‘A what?’ John said wincing as his head throbbed in pain.

The reporter stared at John, about to ask the question again when a loud metallic clang came from outside the room.

‘Ow! Shit,’ the photographer yelled from the corridor. ‘Leave me alone! I’m going… I’m going.’

The reporter glanced around the room in panic. She ran to the window and forced it open, then jumped out.

There was a soft thud from outside and a long, low moan.

Nurse Lloyd strode into the room carrying a dented bedpan. She noticed the open window and smiled broadly. Laughing, she walked over to close it.

‘What’s so funny?’ John said. ‘I was having my privacy invaded.’

The nurse hung the clipboard back on the foot of John’s bed. ‘Just below this window is where they leave the bins full of stuff for the incinerator. She just landed in a bin full of used nappies from the children’s ward.’

John smiled in satisfaction as Nurse Lloyd straightened his pillow and sheets and helped him lie back down. ‘Somehow, that seems like an apt fate for a tabloid journalist,’ he said.

Nurse Lloyd nodded. ‘Anyway, settle down now. I’ve alerted security, so there should be no more interruptions or intrusions.’

‘Thank you.’

‘No trouble at all. Good night.’

‘Good night, and thank you, again.’

Nurse Lloyd picked up the battered bedpan and then turned down the light before leaving and closing the door behind her as John tried to get comfortable enough to go back to sleep.


Have a Go: A novella - by David Hadley:

Available here (UK) and here (US) for the Kindle FREE now, for the next five days.

Going Shopping

Anyway, not that we'd had all that much by way of a summer, still she did insist on the annual pilgrimage to the emporium of all dread and tears, so we could look upon their mighty displays of furnishings and despair.

Of course, it is regarded as cheating to look upon anything there presented and saying 'that'll do,' then turn for the checkout as if the whole adventure is over. These things are supposed to take time and consideration. It is not enough – apparently - to find something quite comfortable, with a colour scheme that does not look like the cat has been sick all over it and at a price that doesn't make the eyes bleed.



Everything in the shop must be examined in the minutest detail – preferably several times. Each item must be given the greatest philosophical scrutiny and the oracles of the appropriate magazine or TV programme must be quoted, ideally in great depth.

Minute distinctions of colour and texture must be debated with all due earnestness and seriousness and any such heretic as oneself - who with a flurry of measuring tape - condemns the whole project on mere grounds of a lack of mere physical space, or some other such piffling intrusion of reality, is roundly condemned and then dismissed to the outer reaches of the car park to reflect on a life of sin against the wisdom and beneficence of the domestic gods, while she goes off to have a cup of tea and to think* about it.


*I.e. to make a vow to herself to keep coming back to these places weekend after weekend until the man surrenders.