For my next trick

My friend had started a new job and he had taken to it like a smudge on a Polaroid print. All his colleagues are a good laugh and relations are great in the workforce, he said. The camaraderie is such that they spend a lot of their leisure time together as well. They had planned an evening out at a posh hotel. They were always going places and meeting up. Eager to meet these funny, interesting individuals I asked if I could come along.

“But you don’t know anyone,” said my friend “ You’ll just be sitting in the corner laughing at all the jokes.” Continue reading “For my next trick”

A little diversion for the afternoon

One of the worst things in life is listening to other people’s ailments. Getting told the latest medical report from folk you barely know can be galling for a number of reasons. For one, it’s hard to be witty when someone you’re not that familiar with is giving you a car crash headache and another is that you’re suffering this barrage of bad news while trying to smokescreen a yawn. The perpetual groaners seem to revel in their pain. I’ve seen myself locked, piggy-in-the-middle, in a sickness session ménage à trois conversation with two swinging whingers trying to outdo each other in the illness stakes. The contest seemed to be who is the nearest to death’s door.

The only thing worse than hearing about the dooms and glooms of others is when someone tells you about the dream they had last night. In the name of Bobby Ewing, go away. Dreams are insignificant and instantly forgettable. I can’t remember any dream I’ve ever had and I must have had billions of them. Continue reading “A little diversion for the afternoon”

He would say that, wouldn’t he?

A certain Mandy Rice-Davies is alleged to have coined the oft-quoted question during the infamous (but juicy) Profumo trial 50 years ago; and the man himself had already averred in Parliament that there had been ‘no impropriety whatsoever’. But the papers relating to the Denning Report which wound it all up are still not available for us to slaver over, presumably because there are still some Great and Good chaps around whose reputations might fade in the glare of exposure. .

It’s all very nostalgic for me too.

Continue reading “He would say that, wouldn’t he?”

Hit came from Outer Space

While cleaning out my old blogs I came across this. This is a slightly revised version and didn’t we all love revision.

The plethora of teenage slasher movies in recent years are all based on the true story of a mysterious assailant who targeted schoolchildren in a Scottish school circa 1982. All of the following is true.

One of the perks given to the fifth and sixth year pupils in the comprehensive was that they could take their lunch in the games room far away from the pell-mell. The games room had comfortable chairs that ringed-a-round the perimeter walls, though the various cliques rearranged the seating in their preferred way; normally an enclosed circle. Three net less table tennis tables stood in the centre of the room, nobody played on them, there were no bats, there were no balls, they kept getting pinched. These tables were used as overspill seating and tabling for late coming pupils. Continue reading “Hit came from Outer Space”

The shortest horror story ever written

The last man on Earth sat alone in a room. There was a knock on the door.

This terrifying tale, Knock, was written by Fredric Brown based on a plot by Thomas Bailey Aldrich. It’s a little story with a big history.

Seeing this yarn as a challenge to myself because I do write exceedingly short stories I wanted to outdo or out little perhaps Brown’s vignette. The bin was overflowing with discarded foolscap of inferior text and threatening to drown me with paper. Struggling to breathe over the sea of A4 at last I finished my saga.

I tap your shoulder. Boo.

These five little words are cinematic in their scope. Consider it, how many times has the camera frightened the audience by giving them a sudden jerk by revealing quickly an unknown entity in their midst. This trick is called in the game- the jump scare. My “jump scare” short story may be filmed, we’ll have to wait and see. The text is frightening enough what will it be like accompanied by creepy music?

My publisher informed me that Quick Books are interested in my work. Quick books are a new company that specialise in condensing major pieces of fiction making them accessible for readers that don’t have time to complete the full novel. Therefore they will be printing an abridged version of my tour-de-force. I am quite happy to re-print the Quick Books adaptation here for your delectation.



Sorry to be  a little late, but I was called away to lend a hand with a new baby and only returned, rather shattered yesterday : tired but happy.

There were very few entrants to both competitions: in fact only one in the short story section. But what a story, Mr Royal! I’ll never be able to see a giraffe again without thinking of you.
SO, although you had no competitors, you are the worthy winner of the short story competition, and I look forward to a theme set by you for the next round.

There were a few more entrants for the photography side of things – I had expected photographs of little hands clasping larger hands, hands undertaking tasks, such as cooking, knitting, painting…. but no, you had other ideas…

OZ had this contribution: viar amoozing take on the ‘hands’ theme, and viar topical on the equine theme!

Ara posted this a beautifully side lit picture of Alice, Duchess of Suffolk who resides in her resting state in the church where PapaG was Christened, no less!

Christopher posted this, though sadly the hands were not very clear in the size of image.

Last, but not least, JM posted here with a vair amoozing piece, full of puns and several pictures – (the bananas nearly won, hands down, but for the misplaced figure in the background which to my eye spoiled the composition)

But in the end the prize does go to JM for the most unusual take on the theme: the graffiti handwriting of Clarice Cliffe (nee Shorter).

So I  hand the baton to you, John: your turn to set the next photography competition.


Oxfordshire sunset, tonight

The Beaten Track

The cacophony of passing strangers was wearing me down. Their random snippets of speech jarring my ears as they stride past me. The random fragments of their stories that will be forever unknown to me, unfinished Schubert conversations

“Tomasz Wrzesiński wins Gold for Britain,” howls the newspaper vendor.

Living in an over-populated urban metropolis means that when outdoors there are very few moments for quiet reflection. The bustle of crowds and the usual noises emanating from a big city environment are contributory factors to the dearth of good pastoral poets in this neighbourhood. The only one that made an impact in the literary scene was B. Keeper but he was the exception. Continue reading “The Beaten Track”

‘All Hands on Deck’ – photo competition and short story competition: – closing 15th February 2013

My challenge for the photo competition this time is to submit photographs of hands – resting or active, aged or very young, or anywhere in between, singly or in pairs, working collaboratively or alone, helping hands or not… do feel free to submit a series, if you wish.

The closing date is midnight (UK) on 15th February, to give you a chance to include romantic Valentine gestures in your submissions. (nothing smutty of course)

And I thought I’d see if anyone wants to take up the challenge of making this the theme for the short story competition too? Same deadline.

Brummie as she is spoke

Black Country joke to be articulated in your best brummie:

Aynuk drops in on Ayli. “Oim gonna paper owr frunt rowm. Ow many rowls did yo boy for yorn?” “Oi got foiv.”

Next day Aynuk returns. “Ere, owr Ayli! Oi had a roll left ower!” “So di Oi!”

(This was prompted by the news that B’ham Council’s voice recognition software can’t cope with locals.)