Misty 3 – Ashley 1

As you know I just got married.
Yes, thanks for the pressies and the good wishes.

And I’ve been campaigning against the quarry down the road. We have to keep The Black Country green after all, don’t we, and building a quarry on a flood plain is not really a smart idea, let’s face it.
Well thanks, yes, ‘environmental warrior‘ is quite a glowing testament. Kind of you to say so.

So I suppose I ought to start writing again.
Yes, I know that’s what this is, thanks for pointing that out, but I mean real writing.
What?
O.k. let’s start again seeing as how you’re being so pedantic.
This is real writing, I agree.
But I’m talking about writing books.image
Yes, that’s right – another Misty book.

Like DOGNAPPED! yes.

Pardon?

You see everyone asks me that. Can you put our Fido in it, or can our Spot have a starring role?

Quite frankly – no!

O.k., o.k., I’m sorry to put it so bluntly, but if I put in every pooch whose owners asked me to include them there would be no room for anything in the books but a list of names, would there?
Yes, I know there were 101 Dalmatians, but I bet you can’t recall all of their monickers now can you?
Thought not.

Oh go on then, you’re going to give it a bash. Somehow I thought you might. No, go on, go on. Let’s get it over with!

Pongo, Perdita. Well that’s the parents done.
Rolly, the cute little plump one.
Lucky, was that a guess?
Patch – yes he was the noisy one, wonder how you knew that!
No, I’m not implying anything, I was just wondering – out loud!
Freckles – well spotted! I know, a bad pun – sorry.
Penny.
Pepper.
Cruella de Ville, no I’m afraid not, she was the baddy if you remember.
Lady and Tramp, erm, wrong film I think you’ll find.
Rin Tin Tin!? Clutching at straws now aren’t we!

See it’s not as easy as you thought, is it?
Now I knew you were going to say that. Lassie indeed!

Where were we?
Isn’t that an interesting phrase, all those ‘w‘s and ‘e‘s.
Well I thought it was – I am an author now after all. These things float my boat.
I dare say you might think that, but I can assure you that I am not ‘a boring old fart,‘ as you so delicately put it!

Anyway, I’m going to start on the third Misty book.
Well of course Misty’s in it! Goes without saying really doesn’t it.
And One-Eyed Rose and Bertie.
Yes, Rascal’s in it too.

No, I’m afraid not.

No, I’m not kidding! Ashley’s not in it.
What do you mean, ‘Why not?
Well he’s not in the second book either is he!?
Oh, sorry forgot – it’s not out until November so you didn’t know that, did you?
Well sorry. It is a bit of a spoiler. I just forgot, is all.

What?
No, I’m not going to put Ashley in the third one ‘just to make up for it’!
Honestly! Some people!
Who’s writing these books, me or you?

Now, see, I doubt that you could make ‘a better job of it.
Yes, that may be ‘very patronising‘ of me as you put it, but the last time we discussed the first Misty book, DOGNAPPED! didn’t you say you only read it because you ‘liked the pictures’?
Thought so!

So I’ll write this one then if that’s o.k. with you.

Well don’t read it when it comes out then! See if I care.
It’s for kids anyway.

Oh, come on stop sulking!

Look, if I decide on a fourth I’ll see if I can put Ashley in it.IMG_0216
Better now?
What?
Hurry up and start writing then!
Why?
Oh, sod the next two, you want the one with Ashley in.
O.k.

Here’s a picture of him to keep you going.

Enjoy!

 

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CONGRATULATIONS!

Congratulations to Dudley Canal and Tunnel Trust for winning a top award offered by the Canal and River Trust for making our nation’s waterways exciting pla14441069_10154606696624850_933092009194229555_nces to live, learn and spend time.

Perhaps the Canal and River Trust would also like to throw it’s weight behind our campaign to keep an environmentally damaging canal side quarry, on former green belt land, out of the centre of Swindon village just a few miles away? You have after all got a sign on the towpath calling it a site of biological importance. It’s the same sign that tells visitors of all the nice cuddly (mostly protected) wildlife in the immediate area

The quarry is proposed for the field, which has dwellings to three sides, just behind this lock. The entrance will be on the (not very wide) High Street, a stone’s throw from the local shops, community centre, church and primary school. But hey – there’s money to be made, what do a few hundred residents matter?

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Oh – and it’s on a flood plain! So, that’ll be a big hole full of water then! Honestly, if they weren’t so serious you’d have to laugh!

Are you sure you want to do this, Land and Water Group? Perhaps you’d like to visit the village and explain the ineffectiveness of your environmental policy and we all can discuss the worthlessness of the no doubt re-pulped and re-cycled paper it’s printed on.

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Join our Facebook page – Say No To The Quarry

The Canal and River Trust would like to welcome you to Swindon – it says so on their sign, no doubt to live, learn and spend time – not to make mud pies in a waterlogged hole in the ground!

 

Don’t Panic!

Don’t panic!

It’s all right after all!

The quarrying is finished!

Is it?‘ I hear you cheer in relief, ‘how on earth do you know?
Well if you remember they did a bit of scraping about a few months back, we thought it may be a test hole – but no; I’m very pleased to report that that was it! Quarry dug.

Now we know you’re raving – that chairman at the public meeting was right!‘ was not really the response I was looking for.

If you’ll listen for a few seconds longer than he did I’ll tell you how I know – and that is because they’ve moved straight on to phase II – the infilling phase, see the picture attached, that’s how I figured it out.

Pardon?
You know, I think you may have something there.
I never thought of that.
They don’t yet have approval to put material in there yet do they! How astute of you to notice.

You’re right, that’s what this application is all about, to get permission to dig stuff out and then to refill the hole they’ve made.

A bit premature then this pile of dirt and detritus, don’t you think?

Perhaps it’s something to do with the marina?

No, you’re spot on again – supposedly they’re not doing the marina now until after the quarry.

How strange!

Well surely they wouldn’t dump stuff in there only to go to the trouble of digging it out again when they (they’re hoping) get this ‘quarry‘ approved.
That would be a bit daft, wouldn’t it?

(sorry, I had to put quarry in italics  otherwise you may have thought I was taking their joke of an application seriously!)

I wonder how contaminated that stuff is? Have they tested it?

You what?
Yes, I saw the old car tyre at the bottom of the picture too. Nice of them to leave that littering the countryside.

You’d call it what?img_0527

Fly tipping?

Maybe you’re right.
Perhaps some of the various councils involved might want to look into that? It is illegal after all.
We wouldn’t want our proposed new neighbours to be breaking any rules before they’ve even moved in now, would we!?

Perhaps they had their mind on other things.

Perhaps they’d just got round to questioning the sense of their decision to put a big hole in a flood plain.
Now, now – stop laughing, we already knew it was a pathetic mistake.

Or how about this? Perhaps, just perhaps they have stopped to consider the ethics of digging a quarry in an area which was formally green belt land.

No, I doubt that too! Not when there’s money to be made.

Keep up to date on our FB page – Say No To The Quarry – see if you can be our 300th follower this week!

Never give up your green belt for anyone!

Methinks I doth protest too much.

But quite honestly it has to be done.
In the 37 years (is it really so long!?) since I moved to this little slice of heaven we have had to campaign against the Western Orbital Route, a quarry and an extension to our local airport.
Yes you can call me a NIMBY but I ain’t been on the losing side yet and if you’re so concerned you are quite welcome to put any of them in your backyard and see how you like it.

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So bring on the next.
Yes it’s another quarry.
Except it’s not really.
Confused?

Let me explain.
Once upon a time someone wanted to build houses on a strip of land on the edge the village, between the canal and the brook.
But it was designated green belt.
Bugger!

So that’s the end of that then.
All’s well that ends well.
Happy villagers and happy grazing sheep.
Everything’s back to normal.

But! Hold on a mo!
Here comes a developer with a cunning plan.
We’ll build a marina instead.
Perhaps a bit more aesthetically pleasing, row upon row of canal barges instead of row upon row of little boxes made of ticky tacky.

Well that splits the vote.
Some think it’s a good idea.
Some don’t.
Each to their own.
A bit like Brexit in minature.
And then there’s the punchline. ‘Of course we could always turn it into a travellers site or a quarry.

Suddenly a marina looks very attractive indeed.
No of course we won’t remove anything from the site. The sand we don’t want will be piled up as a barrier to stop the canal and the brook getting too jiggy jiggy with each other.

Come to think of it, isn’t that how they made Wales? The ancient Brits got forced ever westward by various European invaders taking their land with them until they came to the coast and had to pile it up into mountains. Back to Brexit again.

Anyway, I digress.
O.k. then – a marina – we’re not entirely chuffed but we’ll go with that.
Job’s a good ‘un.
Not everyone’s happy, but hey, you can’t please all of the people…

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And then – nothing!
Well, not quite.
The sheep are evicted for a start.
Whenever a deadline approaches where something has to be seen to be done there’s a sudden spurt of activity. A perimeter fence appears. Someone digs a trench and then refills it again. That sort of thing.

And then…
…out of the blue…
…except it’s been in the planning stages for ages…
…’Let’s turn it into a quarry!

What!!!
But you said you wouldn’t remove anything…
We know, but we were only kidding. Besides it’ll make us some money ‘cos we can’t actually afford to build a marina.

What!!!
Oh, hang on though, you can’t – it’s green belt see, protected. So stick that up your…
No it’s not. That status was lost when you said you wanted a marina.
But we only said we wanted a marina because you said…
Tough titty!

Shafted or what?
So, we are now mobilising the troops again.

Say No To The Quarry.

Look it up, it’s the name of our Facebook page.

And we certainly ought to fight that battle and win, so perhaps I ought to leave it there.

Except!
Oh, oh,‘ I can hear you mumbling, ‘he’s off again.

Yes I am, so bear with me.

There’s more sand in the pit at the local primary school than there is underneath that field.
Honestly, any self respecting quarry man wouldn’t even start his digger – it would cost too much in fuel. It’s on a flood plain for Gawd’s sake, they’d be pumping water out all day & all night!
So – you don’t think for one minute that after a few halfhearted scrapings in the ground they may give up and say,’hey, you know what – this isn’t green belt anymore, how about we build up the ground to the level of the canal and build some houses!?

Surely not.
Nobody could be that conniving surely, telling porkies to get their own way. See how the Brexit theme runs through this plot, or is that just the state of politics today?

Just a thought.

SAY NO TO THE QUARRY!

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Power to The People’s Book Prize

Have you got a mo?
It’s just that I’ve got a bit of news.
Oh you know already?

How, if you don’t mind me asking? After all I only just found out…
Sorry? You what?
You think that I’m going to tell you about the honeymoon!
Honestly, you lot!
All you every think of is sex.
Well it is, isn’t it – be honest.
In fairness I have done a blog about that little adventure, but I thought that I’d tell you about this other news first.
What?
No this is nothing to do with sex either.
Really! Get a grip!
And no, that’s not a euphemism for anything.
Yes, I know I wrote a blog entitled ‘Sexual Healing‘ the other week, but I’m not going to make a habit of it.

O.k? Are we clear now?

Right then.
Back to business.

Thinking of previous blogs, do you remember that one I published a couple of weeks back, ‘Should I Practice My Speech?
What do you mean, ‘you didn’t bother.’
Why not?
No, I know that one wasn’t about sex either.
Is that what it takes to get you interested, a bit of titillation?
Stop sniggering at the back, ‘titillation‘ is a perfectly legitimate word.
Good grief!
Calm down for heavens sake! I only wanted to tell you about the book.
Yes, yes. ‘That old chestnut again.
Sorry if I’m boring you, but I’m genuinely excited about this and so is Misty.

Ah, yes – Misty. That got your attention didn’t it!
I’m sure she puts you up to this ‘I don’t care‘ act half the time just to pee me off!
Anyway, back to DOGNAPPED! I told you that it had been entered in The People’s Book Prize, didn’t I.
Yes I did!
It’s only gone and got through to the final!
How about that then!?

No I’m not making it up.
Yes, I know I do make a lot of things up, I am an author after all. It’s virtually part of the job description.
Yes, I know it’s a kids book.
It’s in the children’s section of the competition.
Yes, really!

See. Changed your tune now haven’t you.
Yes. I did write it all myself.
No – I don’t care what Misty said, she didn’t dictate it. Not all of it anyway.
Oh, see now, that’s just sour grapes that is. I know the illustrations by Ian R Ward are fantastic, but to even suggest that they’re the only reason that people bought…
Pardon?
You just looked at the pictures!IMG_0035
It’s not a bloody comic for heavens…
O.k.
Yes.

I am, I am.
…7, 8, 9, 10.
I’ve calmed down now, thank you.
I just thought you’d be pleased for me.
For a change.
Just this once.
I was chuffed anyway.
Even Misty smiled.

Isn’t she cute when she does that?