I hate to mention it, but there’s another vote coming up…

Hello again.
Nice to see you.
Oh sorry – I really didn’t mean to do that in a Bruce Forsyth voice.
I’m not good at impressions.
What?
You’d noticed.
Thanks.
Anyway, how are things with you?
Really?
Oh dear.
They’re protruding by how much!?
Surely you can get some cream for that?
I should ask the chemist.
Pardon?
How am I?
Well funny you should ask.

It’s like this, remember the…

What did you say?
Look, I know you were only asking out of politeness and didn’t really want an answer, but I thought that seeing as you brought it up…

Remember the play wot I wrote…

No, now you mention it, I know I can’t ‘do‘ Ernie Wise either, but this play thing…

Not the one I did for the radio, no. It turns out that the BBC don’t posterknow a good thing when it’s staring them in the face – bastards!

I was talking about pm. com, the one that I wrote for the stage.
Yes, it was a few years ago, I’m glad you remember.
Well I only got someone to go and do it!

Yeah!
How about that then?
Honestly – I’ve never seen anyone so underwhelmed.
I thought you might be pleased.

Sorry, you thought what?
That it would just be,’something else for me to keep banging on about.

There’s no need!

But let me finish telling you, ‘cos you’ll never guess what.
I’m in it!
Cool or what?
In a purely am-dramish sort of way.
So I’m line learning.

I knew you’d say that!
Just because I wrote it doesn’t mean that I know it off by heart, no.
I have to practice my art.
Now I’m a thespian.
Getting used to the smell of the greasepaint, the roar of the crowd.
Of course I couldn’t compare myself to Burton or Gielud, well not yet anyway.

Arise Sir Dave, I can picture it now.
Me and Madge.
Her with a sword in her hand.
What do you mean, ‘you wish you had a sword right now‘?
I’ll take that to mean that you don’t want a ticket then.

They’re only three pounds.
I know – cheap as chips!
I’ve got friends on Facebook see.
Surprising as that sounds, yes I have.
And I was thinking that if any of them, in say Oz or Trumpton, fancied popping across for the evening that the low price of entry may be of benefit.
Help out with the air fare.
And the airport taxes.
See how thoughtful I am?

Now there was no call for name calling, ‘one act short of a scene!
Honestly, some people.

Afraid that we can’t put them up though.
My mate Nige is coming over from Ludlow and he’s already claimed the couch. Perhaps you could help by…

Oh! I see. They can **** right off to where?

Isn’t that the chain Lenny Henry advertises?

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Anyway, it’s a political drama – of a sort.
About the ‘Countrywide Reform Alliance Party.
Well in these days of uncertainty and surprise after Brexit, Trump and Leicester City, I thought it best to concentrate on the issues that concern us all.
The cost of beer and football admission prices for example – that sort of thing. Hard hitting and factual.

Pardon?

It spells what!

Perhaps I’d better have a rethink then, eh?

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Something is happening…

Things are happening.

Apart from in the country which should and probably shall forevermore be known as Trumpton, that is.

I thought you might like to know.

Oh really? It makes a pleasant change to hear that you’re so keen to know what’s going on in my life, may I say?

Sick of elections and referendums eh! Can’t say I blame you. Anyway, this has nothing to do with politics.

No, honest! I mean it! Not much anyway.

‘Cos like I said, things are happening.

DOGNAPPED! as I told you a few weeks back is in the final of The People’s Book Prize next year.

Sorry, I know I keep ‘banging on about it,’ as you put it, but someone has to publicise it and if it ain’t me then…

Pardon?

Yes, thanks for sharing, reblogging and retweeting it. I do appreciate it honest.

Anyway. I just wanted to say that the next book, IN THE DOGHOU|SE! is shortly due for release.

Yay!

You will review it won’t you?rascal-soaked

Thanks.

Here’s a picture of Rascal just to whet your appetite.Yes, Ian’s done a fantastic job illustrating again hasn’t he?

And there’s more.

Yes there is.

In the great tradition of Ernie Wise I have wrote a play. Two in fact.

One for radio – just giving a heads up if anyone from the BBC is looking in. No, I can’t tell you what it’s about – I’d have to shoot you! But it is very good, I’ve read it as well as written it!

The other is a stage play for The Comedy Theatre Group, a local amateur band I joined up with recently. It’s meant to be a political satire, but judging by recent real life events you might not recognise it as such!

If I had released it a few months back you’d have said it was totally unrealistic. In the light of what’s been going on you might now think that it’s not mad enough!

Anyway, hopefully we can get it staged sometime around Easter.
See, I’m not just a pretty face.

Oh thanks, you never thought that I was! There’s no need! Why do you think I don’t post selfies on here!?

And then…

Yes, there is more.

You’re getting bored now? I’ll be quick then.

I’ve got a couple of speaking slots at the Wolverhampton Literature Festival at the end of January next year. I’ll tell you more a bit nearer the date, but if you can’t wait then take a look at http://wolvesliteraturefestival.co.uk

I’m on Black Country Radio on Friday at 2p.m. That’s Dave Homer’s show and I’m going to tell him all I’ve just written down here – plus a bit more that I holding back for now.

So you’ll have to listen now won’t you, I know you don’t like to miss anything.

It’s 102.5 FM – see you there!

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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There’s this job see…

I was out when they phoned the first time.

They left a message on the answer phone apparently.

As usual I never listened to it.

Well you don’t do you? It’s usually PPI, or double glazing, or that bloke from Sky I’m having a row with – still!

Then someone called round.

With a friend.

The neighbour told them I’d gone into town. He said they seemed a bit put out even though he’d said that he thought that I wouldn’t be long.

In fact, he told me later that he thought he’d heard one of them mutter, ‘bollocks!‘ under his breath.

I got a couple of texts on the mobile. ‘Ring! Urgently!‘ they said. But my battery was nearly flat so I put it off.

Unfortunately the emails they sent went straight to ‘junk‘. I never look in there – do you?

Then they phoned again.

Kate answered.

He’ll be round the pub I guess,‘ she told them.

Which one?

She guessed wrong.

I wasn’t in the Hinksford Arms for once. I was in the Navi. So unfortunately they missed me again.

Eventually though they caught up with me.

Law of averages I suppose.

No!‘ I told them.

Please,‘ they said, ‘we asked nicely.

And I must agree that they had. Asked nicely that is.

No, sorry.‘ I was not quite so curt in my second response. A civil question deserves a civil answer I feel, unless of course you’re that bloke from Sky. He knows what he can do – I’ve told him!

Why not?‘ they seemed a bit desperate now. ‘It’s a good job. You’ll make loads of new friends. Foreign travel. All expenses paid. All the best hotels.

Well for a split second I have to admit that I was tempted.

Are you sure?‘ I asked, ‘why me?

Because we’ve asked everyone else!‘ they told me.

I sucked it up and held my temper, ‘So I’m the last?‘ I queried.

I just wanted to be sure.

Well, yes,‘ they hesitantly replied. I think they recognised that they may have painted themselves into a bit of a corner.

In that case, you know exactly what you can do!‘ I couldn’t help it. It was like a dam had burst. The tirade that I unleashed on them lasted a good five minutes at least.

They stood looking forlornly at the ground as I vented my spleen.

Out of everyone,‘ I raged, ‘you asked me sodding last!

Well you were out most of the time,‘ said one, ‘what could we do apart from keep knocking door to door?

The shoulders of the other were quivering. I think he was crying.

But everybody!?‘ I was incandescent.

Well there was a tramp in Essex that we couldn’t find either.

Frankly that didn’t make things any better.

Where are you from,‘ I asked eventually.

Conservative Central Office,‘ replied the cry baby. ‘Gove has screwed Boris over and frankly we don’t want May to have it.

We were going to ask Jezza in desperation,‘ the other told me, ‘but he has even less in his cabinet than the England football team.

The other one started to cry again. Apparently he’d seen the Iceland game too!

But now I’m feeling guilty.

You know what I’m like.

It’s probably partly our fault anyway.

And so I will ask just one final time on their behalf.

DOES NO ONE WANT TO RUN THIS BLOODY COUNTRY!?

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Asylum Seekers…

Well it’s getting close to the vote.
In or out of the asylum?

Now I know that in my recent blog, EU – the Hokey Cokey (it’s on this site somewhere) I did make the assertion that anyone who told you whether we were better off either in or out of the aforementioned institution was an idiot, because no one knows for sure. And I still hold to that view, none of us has a crystal ball after all, otherwise the bankers would be loading what’s left of our pension pots into the financial markets to make a quick buck whilst they thought we weren’t looking.

But, and I stress but, it is worth a snigger at some of the absurdity’s which have arisen while the lunatics have been running the show.

Mostly it can be summed up in one word.

Strasbourg.

O.k., not a word I grant you.

A name.

A name which ought to be writ large and illuminated in garish neon lights to highlight the shame that it heaps upon us all.

Strasbourg.

It was worth repeating.

Yes, the ignoble club formerly known as the EEC feels the need to up sticks from its spiritual home in Brussels to go and vote once a month in a different country.

Why?

Because France says so.

Those who say that we should stay because ‘we can change things from the inside,‘ should mark this well!

Now as everyone else knows, France is the biggest looney of the lot. If it can’t get it’s own way the default setting is to have a bit of a tantrum.

A hissy fit.

At least with Germany you know you’re in the same arena as the playground bully.

But France is different. It’s a bit sneaky. ‘Those little Englanders,‘ it whispers in the ear of anyone whose skirts it wants to hide behind – usually the Germans – ‘always causing trouble! If they want to leave why don’t they just bugger off and leave us to cuddle each other?‘ Although when Germany gets a bit too belligerent they hide behind our skirts and let us do the fighting – funny that!

And yet, here they are ripping us off with bloody Strasbourg. Do they think we haven’t noticed? According to which side you believe the figure is somewhere around £100 million per year. Perhaps a bit more, perhaps a bit less. Hey, it’s only loose change, eh? Or between 5-6% of the entire administrative budget to put it another way. And I thought that I was being extravagant getting in the car to go to the corner shop if it was raining!

Yes, as soon as the circus rumbles out of sight of the Belgian suburbs those crafty hoteliers from Europe’s second capital reverse their tariff boards hung by a piece of string next to the ‘VACANCY’ sign. Prices double immediately as do those in the surrounding shops, restaurants and brothels (well we all know politicians are partial to a good spanking by a dominatrix – not so much smugly superior as ugly posterior!)
Very nice for the economy, merci very much,‘ they shout from the Paris treasury as our taxpayer funded dosh piles up in the funny Monopoly money they invented a few years back.

By the way, we did well stopping out of that one. The Euro! Remember decimalisation and how we got ripped off in the early seventies? Prices more than doubled overnight while we were still counting on our fingers trying to work out how many new pence were in a shilling. Imagine that on a continental scale! Just ask the Greeks. Anyway I digress.

Europe prides itself on its empathy with the environment and is rightly concerned about the size of its carbon jackboot – sorry, footprint. I assume that means that the buildings in Brussels have not yet been fitted with the latest energy saving light bulbs, but those in Strasbourg have, which is why it makes so much more sense to pump all that Co2 into the atmosphere as they transfer operations. Although if that is the case it makes you wonder why they bother to go back again only a few days later.
A case of having ones cake and eating it, perhaps? Marie Antoinette would have been so proud!

All a bit tongue in cheek that.

Hey!

Only kidding, rest of Europe.

You know we can’t be serious when the majority party we’ve elected to your parliament is one we wouldn’t scrape off our shoe with a pointy stick over here.

Yes, you shafted us with straight cucumbers if you’ll pardon the expression, we gave you UKIP!

Seems like a fair trade agreement to me, how about you?

EU – the Hokey Cokey

EU – the Hokey Cokey

You knew there would be another blog along soon, didn’t you? Thought I’d give old WordPress another try out, so I’ll rehash this old thing as a trial foray into the blogosphere – you just know it’s bound to fail, don’t you?
Yes, normal service has been resumed as we consider one of the most important topics of our time, so sit up straight and pay attention.

The EU.

Just to show my impartiality on the subject (yeah, right!) we’re flying the Black Country flag at the top of the page, just in case you wondered what that was. Neutral see.

Anyway, let me repeat – The EU.

In?

Or out?

The answer my friend is blowing, not so much in the wind, but more through the tiny spaces between the ears of our elected representatives. Yes that’s what that strange whistling noise has been, it’s not interference on your t.v. madam!

It’s certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons hasn’t it?

There’s some of them on the left agreeing with some of them on the right to stay in.
On the other hand them on the right who want to opt out are cosying up to the lefties to whom they wouldn’t normally give the time of day.
So the rest of us might as well do the Hokey Cokey and turn around for all the good it will do.

‘They’re lying,’ scream the ‘ins’ about their opposite number, ‘It’ll cost a fortune to come out!’
Meanwhile the ‘outs’ are whinging, ‘It’ll cost a fortune to stay in, don’t listen to those nasty rotten fibbers,’ to anyone who’ll listen.
The trouble is the only ones listening are the idiots in the other camp and for them to hear the opposite point of view expressed with quite so much vitriol gets them a bit hot under the collar. Inevitably the game of comedy name calling spirals inexorably out of control, whilst the rest of us wonder how the hell we ever got into this mess in the first place.

In essence it boiled down to a vague idea by our own beloved Mr Churchill. Unable to quite believe that we’d actually won the war and probably deeply certain that we wouldn’t be able to pull off the same trick again he suggested that it might be a jolly idea if we all sang ‘Ging, Gang, Gooley,’ together around the camp fire the way that spiffing chaps do after a bout of the old Queensberry rules. (After all, we did seem to owe the guys across the pond an awful lot of money for all the nylons and candy they’d supplied since 1941 – so it might be handy to have a bit of a whip round with our new European chums).
Worryingly though, apart from a lot of gesticulating with two fingers poor Winny didn’t have much of a clue how to go about it.
Neither did the men from the ministry. The clubs that they used were old, set in their ways and full of overstuffed, careworn, leather wing-backed chairs. They didn’t have much of a stomach for any sort of new arrangement and so they left it to Johnny Foreigner to draw up the rules.

And so a few years later up trotted a European superstate, broadly based on the federalist goals of the very bounders that we’d beaten into submission only a few short years before. And lo and behold our old chum Mr De Gaulle wasn’t about to let us join in the fun. Having taken cover over at our house while we did the fighting on his behalf he suddenly forgot his manners.
It certainly wasn’t cricket, but it damn well was our ball and they couldn’t play unless they let us bat first.

So they did.

Out for a duck!

Bugger!

Essentially what happened next was that the ‘outs’ used to be the ‘ins’ and the ‘ins’ used to be the outs. There you are, European politics summed up in a nutshell. What had occurred as usual, was that our leader’s perceived view of public opinion appeared to swing against them and so they simply swapped coats. Nothing to do with the good of the country, more a question of maintaining their place at the top of the dung heap. Remember the old adage, ‘where there’s muck there’s brass’ – in the case of the Euro-gravy train there happens to be quite a lot of brass, courtesy of us poor citizens.

Politicians know Jack. That’s the lesson the rest of us learnt a long, long time ago.
Around the time of Simon de Montfort in fact.
And yes, I do know that many of you will say that our member (appropriately enough) of parliament works very hard on our behalf and perhaps that is true, But collectively? As much as they say they do know, the more it becomes apparent that their ambition is a good deal greater than their IQ. Listen to the weekly debacle PMQ’s if you doubt the truth of what I’m saying. You’d get more sense from your local nursery school.

Will we be better off out? No one knows and anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot.
Will we be better off in? No one knows and anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot.

Should we shake it all about? Probably, it’ll be so much more fun!

Next time I may discuss the geopolitical map – put on your tin hat for that one!

By the way, does anyone remember the words to ‘Ging, Gang, Goolie?’