And at Easter too!

Just so that you all know, remember this post from Xmas. Well guess what I got for Easter! No, not chocolate eggs. Or fluffy bunnies. Man Flu, that’s what! So just to remind you how bad it can be, I’m reposting my previous religious holiday blog. ‘Cos I can’t be arsed to do a new one. I’m too ill!

Pardon?

Oh, I thought you’d never ask.
But seeing as how you have – and may I just say that I think you took your time, you could clearly see that I was suffering – the answer to your question is, lousy thanks.
Yes I’m off the scale of from one to wretchedness.

Oh, you didn’t ask before because I, ‘looked like I was going to whinge.’
Charming!
As if I’d do that.

Anyway, Kate asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I never expected this.

Bloody man flu!

Of all things!

A few pairs of pants would have been fine quite honestly. I wouldn’t even have expected them to be bloody gift wrapped.
But no, that was obviously not good enough. She wanted me to really suffer, so nothing from Primark thank you very much. Straight to the snots and sore throat department for her. Oh, look over there – headaches on special offer I’ll get him one of those too, he’ll like that.

Thanks a bunch darling.

And all nicely wrapped in a box of man-sized tissues.

What?
Well yes of course she had it first, but that was just a minor girly cold. It’s getting slightly better after a couple of weeks and yes, she did have a few days off work, but even so…

This is serious.

I’m at least twenty four hours in now and I have to tell you that I’m proper poorly.
Feel my forehead.
Go on, don’t be shy.

See, I’m burning up aren’t I?

I’m what!? Slightly warm!?
Well quite frankly I’m glad that you’re not a doctor.
Good grief I’m at death’s sodding door here.

Well yes, I can see how you might think that me wearing a tee shirt, two jumpers a scarf and overcoat under my dressing gown whilst I’m lying on the sofa under a duvet may have elevated my temperature slightly but I can assure you right now that I’m in the grip of a raging fever.
I may even become delirious, I may start raving. Please make allowances if I do say something inappropriate.
What do you mean, ‘how would I know the difference?
Charming!

Still, it was nice of you to visit.
Would you mind popping the kettle on while you’re here?

IMG_0478No you’ll need more water in than that – fill it to the top.

Did you ask why?

Because I’d like a hot water bottle and a hot toddy please.

Oh, oh, a bit more whiskey than that please. Go on don’t be shy.
No, just chuck the empty bottle over there.
With the rest, yes.
Thank you.

There’s a list on the side there. Shopping yes. If you wouldn’t mind. Not right away of course. When you’ve got time. Although I am running low on tissues. Oh, and I’m not sure if my note makes it clear but could you make sure to get the ones with the soothing balm. A bit gentler on the nose I find, well worth the extra expense. I think it’s important not to be too, shall we say frugal, when it comes to one’s health and well-being.

You’re muttering under your breath again.

Can you overdose on Lemsip?
I just wondered, looking at all these discarded sachets lying on the floor among the tissues. Perhaps I ought to switch back to Paracetamol and cough syrup for a bit to give it chance to get out of my system.

You’re what sorry?

Oh, you’re off.
Well thanks again for coming over.
Very kind.
See I didn’t whinge, did I?
Could you just make sure that the t.v. remote is in reaching distance before you go.
And the telephone handset please.
Yes, just put it next to my pillow there.
In case I have to call an ambulance.

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And Sue will walk 500 miles… (JOGLE BLOGLE +30)

30 days now to the big ‘off.’

Yes, that’s right! My brother, Steve Robertson is walking from John O’Goats to Land’s End in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support.

Excited?

Yes I thought you were, you weren’t snoring quite as loudly as usual.

So before we go too far down the road of ‘The Jogle,’ there is something I feel I should own up to. Steve is not doing this alone. I thought you ought to know so that you don’t feel that I have in any way misrepresented the Jogle.

What’s that?

No it’s nothing like the PPI scandal and I…

Say again?

I don’t see how you could possibly claim a refund, I checked just before we started this and you haven’t actually paid anything – yet.

Well no, thinking about donating isn’t the same as actually doing it, is it?

And anyway, you have no idea what it is that I was about to ‘fess up to, do you?

No, I thought not. So if I could just explain…

As I said, Steve is not doing the Jogle alone. He’ll be accompanied for forty per cent of the journey by wife Sue.

Yes, his wife Sue! He’s hardly going to be marching along with some random Sue who happens to be married to someone else, is he? Honestly – will you just let me finish!

Now for those of you who haven’t met him, Steve is tall. Very tall. 

Sue on the other hand, isn’t. 

Tall that is. 

Which is probably why Sue will only be doing forty per cent of the route. For every stride that Steve takes she’ll be doing two and a half. At least. So – not quite half the distance, but the same amount of steps. Explain that to your Fitbit.

But don’t blink or you’ll miss her, she may be small but she’s speedy. In fact the only picture I could get was one of her disappearing into the distance. There was a rush of air and a loud noise which may have been a sonic boom as she sped past.

57634249079__5FBDA9F5-F23B-4D9F-BEFB-282A74CFE66AAll this means, dear reader, is that technically speaking Sue should have been sponsored too. 

And she’s not.

Sponsored that is.

So here’s an idea, you know that 10p you were generously and charitably going to donate toward Macmillan Cancer Support? How about making it 20p instead. Just to show willing.

You know it makes sense. Here’s the link to Steve’s just giving page. http://bit.ly/2Tzmjwi

In the meantime they’ll both be out training this Easter holiday weekend somewhere around here in the Black Country, so I suggest that you keep a sharp lookout – otherwise you may get trampled in the rush!

We’ll be back in ten days as the countdown continues.

 

 

 

A small step for a man (Jogle Blogle +40)

With only 40 days to go to the start of the Jogle, dear reader, I thought that I might fill you in on the early part of Steve’s journey from John O’Groats to Lands End – the Scottish experience – for want of a better expression. 

As I’ve told you before, Steve sets out on the 18th. May and…

Pardon?

Yes I did, you obviously weren’t listening – again!

So, just so you can get out there and wave your Saltire’s at him as he passes, here’s a quick heads up of the first part of the route.

Excuse me?

No, a Saltire isn’t a sea breeze, it’s the Scottish flag.

Yes, the blue one with the white stripey bits, as you so eloquently put it.

Anyway, from John O’Groats he’ll head – North!

I know, I know, that’s what I thought. I’ll hear the splash from here in Stourbridge! 

But once my intrepid brother had explained why, it all became clear. So if you’ll indulge me for a while I shall try to clarify exactly what’s going on.

Imagine for a moment the summer of ‘69.

What?

No, not the song. I’m talking about the Apollo space mission.

Yes, it is comparable as you’ll soon see.

Neil Armstrong, Buzz and the other bloke no one can ever remember didn’t blast straight off to the moon you know, oh no, no, no.

First off the three men I admire the most had to drive their Chevy from the levee, hitch up the Saturn V rocket and tow it off to the launch pad.

And that’s what’s happening here.

Steve will stumble out of bed, eat a hearty breakfast…

No, I guess you’re probably right. He is about to embark on an athletic endeavour after all, so he’ll probably be eating something that looks and tastes as though it’s dropped out of a squirrel’s backside.

Then he’ll strap on his rucksack, step out into the storm and make his way – North (that’s uphill to you and me) to the Duncansby Head lighthouse which is along the road from his B & B and the official starting point of this adventure.

Then, splashing through the puddles and hunched against the driving rain, he’ll head back the way he’s just come and begin the long journey south.

Now you may recall that the aforementioned Mr. Armstrong said something about, ‘a small step for a man,’ as if he’d just done something truly momentous. Personally I don’t think he’d entirely thought that through, after all he’d been sitting on his bum for the entire journey. Okay, now you could argue that it was a half million mile round trip without decent ‘facilities’ to put it delicately, but he did have a rocket up his backside. Steve on the other hand will be marching the length of this British Isle, and get this, on his own legs!IMG_0330

Nowhere near the seven and a half million pounds of thrust those idle astronauts had. Now I think you’ll agree that it’s impossible for Steve to generate anywhere near that amount of power, after all it’s surely not humanly possible to eat such a quantity of beans at one sitting. So I think I know whose the greater achievement will be, don’t you?

Here’s his first weeks itinerary.

18th May, first stop Wick.

19th. May Day 2 – Latheron

20th. May Day 3 – Helmsdale

21st. May Day 4 – Golspie

22nd. May Day 5 – Tain

23rd. May Day 6 – Evanton

24th. May Day 7 and at last somewhere I’ve heard of, albeit in a bawdy rugby song about 24 young ladies of righteous virtue – Inverness.

Get out there and cheer him on. 

And if you’re feeling charitable, here is the link to his just giving page in aid of those wonderful people from Macmillan Cancer Support.

‘Got my first real six string, bought it at the five and dime, played it till my fingers bled, was the summer of…’

Oops, was that out loud? For some reason I can’t get the tune out of my head.

Can’t think why?

If you haven’t caught the previous posts regarding the Jogle, why not? Tsk! You’ll find them below.

The Flag on the Bag (JOGLE BLOGLE +50 days)

Hi. Welcome to the second instalment of the Jogle Blogle.

As you’ll probably remember this is the blog of my brother, Steve Robertson and will be chronicling his walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End.

Yes, yes – and the three peaks too. Give me a chance, I was coming to that.

Anyway, with only fifty days to go before he sets out I thought that I’d better…

Pardon?

You slept through the last Blogle?

Well I’m not going back through all that again, you’ll have to read it later and catch up! Now sit up straight and pay attention.

As I was saying there are only fifty all too short days to go, so I  thought that I’d better let you know how you can spot the poor chap trudging mournfully through the Scottish countryside in his sou’wester, anorak and wellies, with rain dripping from the end of his nose. It’s very easy, he’ll…

What?

How do I know it with rain? Well of course it will. I went there once on my holibobs and it never let off peeing down for a fortnight. Came down in galvanised bloody buckets!

Where were we? Oh yes. So for the sake of identification and so that you don’t embarrassingly get him mixed up with some old tramp, somewhere about his rucksack will be – the Black Country flag. Here it is for those of you who haven’t seen it.

IMG_0220

 Say again?

‘The Black what?’ did you say?

Hang on, I was just coming to that too – you really ought to have more patience.

The Black Country is a region in the heart of England and the reason why you’re all driving around in your German and Japanese cars today. This is where the Industrial Revolution began and the furnaces burned 24/7 which is why we’re proud to have our own flag and why it is predominantly red and black with some white bits – black by day and red by night – black soot, red glow. The white centre depicts a glass cone furnace and the chain represents the chain making industry (we made the anchor and chains for Titanic, which I have to point out is the only part of the ship that actually worked as it’s now at the bottom of the ocean!)

I know, I know – how wonderfully educational the Blogle is!

So if you see that flag prominently displayed on some bag or other there’s a good chance it’ll be attached to Steve. Pop out and give him a cuppa soup, he’ll probably be freezing – yes I know he’s starting out in May, but until he gets to the right side of Hadrians Wall all bets are off weather wise.

 Oi! You at the back. Was that you snoring?

Honestly, sometimes I wonder why I bother.

 Oh and just a reminder, his just giving page is https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/steve-robertsonjogleor the shorter Bitly link http://bit.ly/2Tzmjwi

 Due to technical problems which I’m far too old to understand these posts will now appear here on http://www.mistybooks.wordpress.com and also on Facebook at www.facebook.com/mistybooks2015or on Twitter @Misty_Books So please like and follow any of those pages so that you don’t miss any of the action. We’re scheduling updates on progress at 40, 30, 20 and 10 days prior to the great event and then daily once he’s set off,  provided this scribbler can stay awake long enough.

 Please share this post far and wide on whatever social media page you find it. After all it’s not just you we want to part from your hard earned cash – we’d like to mug your friends too, especially that rich one nobody likes! 😀

Inaugural Jogle Blogle

Hello and welcome to the very first Jogle Blogle.

Yes, I know you don’t know what that is yet – but sit down, take the weight off and let me explain.

Yes, you at the back with your hand up, what is it?

You want a what? A cup of tea! Well make your own.

Honestly, some people!

And keep your thieving hands off my Victoria sponge, that’s my last slice.

 

For the rest of you, this is the Blogle.

In it I’ll be letting you all know how my brother, Steve Robertson, is getting on with his walk from John O’Groats to Land’s End, aka the Jogle.

Clever eh? Don’t you just love a good acronym?

That’s a distance of 874 miles if you take the shortest route by road.

 

Pardon?

Yes I know, I was just coming to that. It was pointed out rather early in the planning stage that Steve was taking the decidedly easier route. Let’s face it, as we all know, going from North to South is all downhill. You’ve only got to look at any globe for heavens sake!

IMG_1254

So to make amends and rather than changing to the uphill route of South to North (he’d already booked the first hotel and foolishly paid a non-refundable deposit) my dear brother decided to throw in the three peaks, Ben Nevis in Scotland, Scafell Pike in England and Snowdon in Wales.

That’s upped the distance to around 1200 miles with some lumpy bits for good measure.

What’s that?

I take your point, although I don’t actually remember him being dropped on his head as a baby, but it’s not beyond the bounds of possibility.

He’s asked me to chronicle the journey seeing as how I’ve done a bit of writing in the past – he said, blowing on the fingernails of one hand and brushing them nonchalantly against his lapel.

 

So as I say, this is the first Jogle Blogle. There will be further posts as we head toward the start of this great adventure on the 18th of May and then daily updates with things like the route to be taken, miles to be covered, blister count from the previous days exertions, that sort of thing.

 

Oh you’re back are you? I see you didn’t make a brew for anyone else you miserable… Hang on, are those crumbs stuck in the stubble of your facial hair madam? If you’ve so much as looked at my sponge, so help me I’ll..!

 

Anyway, back to the Blogle. Did I mention that he’s doing this for charity?

What?

Well of course I’m going to ask you to stick your hand in your pocket, he got me after all, so why should you lot be immune?

It’s for Macmillan Cancer Relief.

Here’s the link to his just giving page. https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/steve-robertsonjogleor the shorter Bitly link http://bit.ly/2Tzmjwi

 

As well as allowing you to generously donate, in it Steve explains why he’s doing what he’s doing.

And I’ll let you know how he’s getting on in future editions of – the Jogle Blogle.

Trips off the tongue doesn’t it?

But for now you’ll have to excuse me. I’m just popping into the kitchen to check on something. And if there’s even a hint that my supper has been tampered with, you mark my words – there will be trouble.

Life on the cut

I’ve mentioned before on this blog that I started writing a regular column for Canals Online magazine. For those of you who didn’t believe it, here is one of the aforementioned articles, treated of course with my usual diplomatic reverence.
As mentioned in the last edition of ‘Canals Online’ magazine, spring has well and truly sprung and is now in full swing down by old bridge number 38.

‘How do you know,’ I hear you cry.
Well I’ll tell you a few of the tricks us old timers living down by the cut use in defining the passing of the seasons.
Firstly, during the first full school holiday week of Easter the tourist boats begin to weave their way up from Stourport. ‘Weave’ is the operative word as the novice captain of the vessel struggles with the intricacies of steering left but going right.
Also during this holiday period it rains.
Incessantly.
Yes, it comes down in galvanised bloody buckets.
Happy Easter, pass the creme eggs, some oilskins and a sou’wester.
But there are other signs.
Fishermen for a start.
The secretive solitary angler has slowly been shedding his winter plumage. The waterproof green and brown camouflage jacket and camouflage over-trousers with visible bum crack have been replaced by a stunning pair of dungarees in a fetching Grey/ Black ‘shock and awe’ pattern just in case a Russian submarine should surface through the murky waters of the Staffs and Worcs. ‘Can’t smear Novichok nerve agent on my knob, Vladimir – I’m disguised as a rock.’
Flocks of them have now appeared on the banks, freshly returned from their winter migration to The Horse and Jockey or the far more exotic Hinksford Arms.
The calls have changed too. Instead of the customary grunt of the lone fisherman in response to any hearty greeting from passing walkers, the calls echo out as they try to locate their mate – ‘How about them Dingles? Couldn’t pass a ball if they tried!’
‘You need bloody talk, the Baggies ain’t much better.’
The ritual displaying of their wares is in full swing. Boxes on wheels have been dragged through the countryside before being opened up to allow all and sundry to see the bewildering array of hooks and lures lovingly arranged in trays. Phalanxes of carbon fibre rods lie across the towpath, held up on all sorts of tripods, steady’s, stands, racks and bits of old twig, giving each angler more catching power than a fleet of Grimsby trawlers.
A pair of Tupperware boxes, one with cheese sandwiches in cling film which have been mouldering on the windowsill since last Wednesday and one full of maggots fresh from the fridge lie discarded in the grass. Take care not to mix those two up then.
A chorus of disapproval starts at the far end and like some slow motion Mexican wave the only rod each of them ever uses is hoisted out of the water and into the air to let the latest learner skipper zig-zag his way past.
Look out!
Coming toward us now is the latest fair weather visitor, clad in shorts, an Action Heart tee shirt and shiny new trainers. Yes, the occasional jogger has peeked out of its nest, discerned that the temperature is above fifteen degrees and it is unlikely to drizzle for at least the next half an hour. He has set out on a mission to jog up as far as the pub, stop for a crafty half and then head back in an effort to lose a few pounds. As well as his colourful plumage he wears a Fitbit on his wrist to be examined every few seconds as an antidote to his being unable to access Facebook in this wi-fi dead-spot called ‘the countryside.’ He is also sporting a utility belt which would make Batman green with envy. There is a water bottle handily placed to be unslung without
losing pace. An iPod is connected up to his head with the latest in ear-bud technology. There is a spare water bottle and a container with re-hydration fluid for emergencies. A pouch contains a multigrain bar which when opened will look (and probably taste) like something that has fallen out of the backside of a squirrel. There are a packet of plasters because you never know do you? He once stumbled, fell and grazed a knee whilst attempting to
hurdle a particularly well spread dog poo. Another pouch contains an economy tub of Vaseline just in case his nipples start to chafe and create static electricity against the nylon of his shirt. And if his right arm should somehow become incapacitated there is a further water bottle within reaching distance of his left arm, to which is also strapped a blood pressure monitor and a sweat band.
Another recent riser from hibernation is the fisherman’s arch rival. So fast and unwilling to stop are these creatures that it causes the normally reticent angler to swear and cuss like girls on a hen night in Newcastle as they hastily drag their fancy plastic rods off the towpath. In a blur of florescent Lycra the mountain biker swoops past covered in an array of multi-national corporate logo’s like an oversubscribed advertising hoarding, head armoured against attack and bum splattered in mud (well at least I hope that’s what that is!) because his bicycle is far too fancy for mud-guards.
Also leaping out of the way are a pair of ramblers. Quiet and unassuming these shy creatures are also agitated by the cyclists ill-mannered charge past and the male may ‘TUT!’ loudly only to be admonished by his mate who will tap his arm apologetically and whisper, ‘George, really!’ They dress identically in a (whisper it, because the next bit is rude) uni-sex sort of way. Despite the heat they wear long grey woollen socks which are rolled down to the top of their hiking boots. Khaki shorts are topped with check patterned shirt (or blouse). He wears a cap, she a sun hat. He carries an Ordnance Survey map in a plastic cover and a compass which he examines at regular intervals despite being on a towpath which allows only a choice of two directions. She has a canvas knapsack inside which is a tinfoil wrap of egg and cress sandwiches, two packets of plain crisps, four Hob-Nobs in cling-film, a thermos of tea – no sugar, her reading glasses (his are on a string around his neck for map and compass readings) and two sensible raincoats.
If I’m not very much mistaken in that thicket over there, just off the towpath – if we approach quietly… Ah yes, I thought it was, the den of the angst ridden teenager – thankfully unoccupied. Normally raucously obnoxious when in a group but get one alone and it will become monosyllabic, with words like ‘yeah,’ ‘nah,’ or ‘innit.’
Pardon?
Oh, how do I know?
Well it’s very similar to looking out for Otter scat. As you will notice there are many empty cans of lager strewn about and the lingering smell of weed signifies that they have been marking their territory. We’d better get back out into the open in case they come back.
Watch out for the over excited Alsatian bounding along it will probably (ah yes, I thought it would – apologies for the tardy warning, it was running faster than I thought) sniff your groin and drool unnervingly. Here comes the owner, or ‘Dad’ as he likes to be called in Tyson’s presence, with a cheery if hesitant, ‘he’s very friendly, so I don’t think he’ll hurt you.’ He would have been closer to his pooch but he was diligently poo picking before hanging the plastic bag from the branch of the nearest tree like a gaudy Christmas bauble.
And that my friends is how we country bumpkins tell the time of year. Summer will be upon us soon, it’s scheduled for a week next Thursday – we will of course know by the arrival of a pair of Kayakers and a paddle boarder.
Oh yes, and the rain will be warmer.
If you’d like to read my latest musings of life on the cut for ‘Canals Online’ magazine you’ll find them at https://www.canalsonlinemagazine.uk/david-robertson-article-2

I’m a SWAGger…

So I’ve got involved with a theatre group – wanna hear about it? Then read on.

Hi there and a happy New Year to you. 

I know that a lot of you liked and followed our SWAG page some time ago and…

Pardon? SWAG. That’s Stourbridge Writers and Actors Group, madam.

So anyway…

What?

Well I suppose technically it should be SWAAG, but allow us a bit of artistic licence here for heavens sake! 

Honestly, aren’t some people picky?

As I was saying, the group has been up and running for a few months now and we thought it was high time we told you what was occurring.

Firstly what is SWAG, I hear you cry?

Yes, I know that no one actually said anything my love, but remember that artistic licence we spoke about only a few seconds ago? 

Pardon? 

Yes it was, when I said, ‘I hear you cry,’ it was in fact a  figure of speech. Are you going to question every remark? 

Thank the Lord for that. So please sit down and try not to shuffle about so much. 

Yes you were. And rummaging about in your handbag too. 

You’re trying to find what? 

Well when you do find them please try to chew them quietly.

Anyone else? Yes, you at the back? Yes, you with your hand up…

…Oh! They’re through the doors behind you and turn right sir. 

Really? Are you!? 

Well turn left then. Apologies, it was the short hair and moustache that confused me.

So, can I start again?

Thank you.

SWAG.

It was formed some time ago by Mr Sean Harris, who then proceeded to do nothing with it until myself and Simon Faux (formerly of Radio D.J, fame) came along and, shall we say, gee’d him up a bit.

Me? Oh, I’m David Robertson- I write kids books and the odd play, as you’ll no doubt find out in due course.

What? Oh, okay, I’ll rephrase that then, ‘the occasional play,’ is that better? Not ‘odd’ as in ‘peculiar,’ although come to think of it…

The aim of the group is quite simple. To write, direct and produce our own work for your critical appreciation. We hope to entertain, possibly inform and give you a jolly good belly laugh if our production is a comedy of course. That may not be appropriate if we put on a drama for instance, please read the write up first – you wouldn’t like to chuckle in the wrong place now, would you?

So, having kickstarted young Mr Harris into action, we began recruiting others of a thespian bent.- yes I thought that might confuse you, madam. I’ll explain it later.

We are currently rehearsing our first play (technically the second as all three of us were involved in a production of ‘pm .com’ with a different group, although that’s another story). 

This current one though is ‘Downside Abbey’ written by the aforementioned Sean Harris. You may recognise that the title is very similar to a recent production which was on the telly box. Obviously ours is far superior as there are far more jokes involved. We are hoping to stage it in early April 2019, so watch this space and I’ll furnish you with the details of when, where and how ridiculously inexpensive admission is, in upcoming blog posts. 

49174326_1704104593230002_7526936461187219456_n

Yes madam, this is set to become a regular feature so you’d better get used to it.

And don’t raise your eyes to the heavens like that. There’s no need!

Following on from that we will be working on ‘Dudley – not quite a musical,’ a potted history of this wonderful part of the country, written by yours truly. Hopefully that will be coming your way in July in time to celebrate Black Country Day with a fit of the giggles.

So that’s it for now, except to say…

…oh what is it now?

How do you get involved as an out of work actress?

Well anyone wishing to get involved is welcome to drop us a message on the Facebook page and we’ll be pleased to furnish them with details.

Sorry, I didn’t realise you were ‘in the trade’ so to speak, madam.

You were? Really? Now you’re taking the…

Well, I don’t doubt you, but I hardly see a little, grey haired old lady would have much of a part in a Bond movie.

Oh, you were his boss!

Dear me, it just gets better and better. Have you thought of comedy writing?

Can I ask your name? After all I do now consider myself something of an expert in the world of luvviedom.

Dame Judy who?

Never heard of you!

 

Find out more on Facebook search – Stourbridge Writers and Actors Group – SWAG