I might be on the telly…

So – you know how it goes.
You’re bored.
At a loose end.
Facebook has the looney left, the rabid right and the cautious centre all abusing each other for the debacle which has become British government – or lack of it.
What’s a chap to do?
I know, how about that old table up the corner, the one we inherited when we cleared Dad’s house?
Is it worth anything?
What’s it’s story?

I’ll Google it out of idle curiosity.
But what do I call it?
Well, it has a marquetry picture of Muckcross Abbey on the top and it’s a gaming table.
That’ll do for starters.
Tongue stuck between teeth I type, ‘m-u-c-k-c-r-o-s-s_a-b-b-e-y_g-a-m-e-s_t-a-b-l-e_enter’
Got a few results, so stick tongue back to where it should be.

Try this first one.
BLOODY HELL! There’s a photo of it here.IMG_0448
An exact match.
And it’s in – wait for it – the Royal Collection.
I know, I know. That’s what I thought!
Liz and Phil have one too!
I bet they unfold it every night before bed (after Corrie probably) and have a quick game of whist while they scoff their supper from the Tupperware.


Well fancy that.
I need more information.
I look at other sites.
But I don’t see it. There are similar, but the legs are different.
Now let’s just quash any comments to do with me having Queen Anne legs straight away, shall we.
I know you lot.

I Google the history and learn quite a bit.
Apparently it’s Irish in origin.
That’s where the Abbey is, so that makes sense.
Killarney-ware, it has a name.
It was made for the tourist industry.
Bugger! that means they probably made hundreds of the bloody things.
Ah well – never mind.
That’s how the Windsor’s got theirs obviously, Victoria and Albert must have got it for their museum when they were over on their holibobs.

So I left it.

A bit.




Someone’s posted on Facebook that May is a raving idiot, Corbyn’s a knob and no one knows who the Liberals are anymore. But here, among the vitriol is a post telling me that the Antiques Roadshow is coming to the Black Country Museum in a few weeks time.
It wouldn’t hurt to go would it?
You never know, do you?
And Fiona Bruce is a bit of a sort isn’t she?
You prefer who?
Really? well never mind. Each to their own.
And ‘guns & militaria’ is a really hot subject isn’t it? If you like that sort of thing.
Uniforms and stuff. Weapons of mass destruction.

Anyway, what’s this?
Oh. It says here that you can get in touch and see if they might be interested.

So I did.

And they were.

They even came round to our place and had a look at it.
Kate said they seemed very keen (I wasn’t there) and I had to take it down to the museum the night before the show was to be recorded.
Deep joy.

I phoned bro on his holidays – no he wasn’t in Ireland or I might have asked him to buy another one – as back up. Well you never know, a spare might come in handy.
I’m back home,’ he said. ‘Bit of a disaster, came back early – me and Sue (sis in law) will come with.
Bostin’. As they say in these parts.

So off we went.
Have you ever been to The Black Country Living Museum?
You ought to try it.
There are trams and trolley buses, an old fashioned funfair, all manner of reconstructed old buildings (including a pub). Oh look, there’s a terraced house like the one I used to have! There are old shops, a mine, a working beam engine. Well worth a look.
And today there are – cameras.

The day is hot – unbearably so, and to start with there are not many there.
I’m a bit miffed. I have a special pass to get ‘fast-tracked’ through the throng and there’s no resentful queues to bypass.

Sit there,’ commands the man on reception.
So we sit.
It is the BBC after all. I pay a licence fee for this you know and I’m glad they’re being so assertive with my money.

Oh look, there’s old wotsisface – doesn’t he do furniture? And there’s her that does the toys. Oh, oh, over there – it’s your mate from ‘guns & militaria?’
Yes, you’re right, in the flesh he is a bit of a disappointment.
Eventually up rocks the producer.
Hello,’ he says, ‘I’m the producer. I’ll find you an expert.
I giggle and bite my tongue.
He looks at me strangely, but I resist the urge to tell him the definition of an expert.
Oh, surely you know that old chestnut.
An ‘ex’ is a has been and a ‘spurt’ is a drip under pressure.
See, you did know it didn’t you. I could tell by the groan.

Anyway, after a bit Steven Spielberg or whatever his name was comes back with our ‘expert’ in tow.
We introduce ourselves.
She’s Elaine Binning
She’s very nice. It turns out she knows her onions. Shame we’ve got a table.                               No, I was joking, I couldn’t resist – she’s very knowledgeable.
We tell her what we know about our heirloom.
She seems impressed.
Alfred Hitchcock, or whatever his name was, tells us to wait in the hospitality area, where we’ll get refreshments and some makeup.
No one said anything…
Oh well, I suppose the champagne and caviar will compensate for being girlyfied. And I must admit that my forehead is a bit shiny.
It’s a cuppa and a hobnob.
Cutbacks I suppose.
At least we get to go on T.V.
Isn’t it exciting?

I try to be nonchalant. After all I’ve been on local radio four times now and done the same amount of podcasts in my capacity as author don’t-cha know. But they didn’t involve make up. fullsizeoutput_26eThis is the real deal. I start rehearsing my BAFTA acceptance speech.

Bro and I do the thing. You know, ‘how much do you think it’s worth?’ My conservative £800 counters his wildly optimistic £1500.

And now we’re off to find out. We’ve both been smothered in foundation, powder puffed to within an inch of our lives and we’re marched with our non reflective foreheads down through Black Country streets of yore for people to point and smirk at, ready to go in front of – lights, camera, action.fullsizeoutput_270

It takes ages.
There is a chat about the table. That’s interesting, I wondered what the wood was. And it’s what!? 200 years old!
Bloody hell!
I thought 150 at most.
That’s why it’s got these old fashioned legs.
But how much?
Hang on. We have to reshoot that bit.
Someone’s hand was in the wrong position.
It’s o.k., they’ll cut it in when they’re editing.
See I know about these things now.
Has she said what it’s worth?
Am I supposed to be talking?
Or is it you?
Oh, we’re supposed to be listening, ‘with interest.’
Talking of interest it’s how much?
Hang on, can you just repeat that phrase. The microphone didn’t quite pick it up.
‘Did you say that you inherited it from ‘my’ Dad? Your brother is here too you know, shouldn’t that be, ‘our’?
I have to redo it.
Our father,’ I blurt out rather too confidently, before realising I sound as if I’m about to start praying.
I do it again.
Has she told us the value yet?

I’m distinctly aware that my newly flattened brow is sweating profusely and my hands which I’ve had so comfortably at the ends of my arms for over sixty years seem to have developed a life of their own. What are they doing! From that camera angle I probably look as though I’m playing with my willy.

Dear God, let it be over soon.
Now what’s she wittering on about?
Not the bloody price is it!
‘All in all it is a very nice example,’ says Elaine. ‘Do you have any idea of value?’ she smiles sweetly.
I shake my head dumbly.
Well then,’ she declares, warming to her theme…

Apparently the new series airs in September.

I never did get to meet Fiona.

But I may be on the telly!

Dr. Who and the Lazarus effect…

Yes I know – I haven’t blogged for a bit have I? Sorry, what with being in the final of The People’s Book Prize and putting on the play wot I wrote, I’ve been a bit busy.

No doubt I’ll blog about those two newsworthy events in the near future, but just to show that I’m not averse to cheating here’s one I prepared earlier and posted on the blog page that time forgot.

Just a few thoughts on the timelessness of social media. Normal saftness service will be resumed as soon as possible – so here as a booster shot is, ‘Doctor Who and the Lazarus effect….’

Cue intro music – Numa num num, numa num num, numa num num, numa num num, numa num num, numa num num, numa num num, numa num num, ooo wee ooo…

I’m afraid to tell you all that I have extremely bad news.fullsizeoutput_d9
Brace yourselves.

Thingummyjig is dead.

Yes, sorry to break it so bluntly.

Old Wotsisface.

Remember him crooning that old song?
What was it again?
No, I can’t remember now either, but still, eh..?
Those were the days.
Didn’t he marry that old slapper; you tell me, what was her name?
Yeah, that’s the one.
I think!

No, I don’t know. Probably cancer. It usually is.
But he did rather live life to the full. Perhaps he just wore out.
Must be right though, I just saw it on Facebook.

Are you sure?
Hang on, give me a minute. I’ll Google it.

You’re right, you know!
Two years ago according to Wikipedia.
Heart attack in a hotel bedroom following a night of kinky sex with a prostitute dressed as Tinky Winky.
Who knew.
I don’t think I’ve ever seen the Tellytubbies.

I mention this because I have this morning seen this happen. Not the Tinky Winky bit obviously, I made that up.
Although thinking about it…
I forget who it was exactly. And if you think I’m scrolling through all those posts of kittens being cute, children being sick and photoshopped cloud images looking like angels then please think again.
Obviously not someone as ‘big’ as Bowie, Prince or any of the rest of the ‘A’ list crew who have so sadly and publicly popped their clogs recently and had a whole evening of News at Ten devoted to their demise.
Let’s consider the case of Jimmy Ruffin, the guy who sang ‘What becomes of the broken-hearted,‘ played at the end of so many seventies disco’s, for two reasons. 1 – there is a very nice short story about him on my website, you might enjoy it after you’ve read this over at https://www.weebly.com/editor/main.php  and 2 – I remember that it did actually happen to the poor old sod.
Yes, poor Jimmy sadly passed away, no doubt mourned by many, only to rise like Lazarus a year or so later to go through the whole process again for the people who had been too busy to notice his passing at the first time of asking.
So, bereft and saddened we share and retweet for all we’re worth to our friends. They do the same until it triggers a memory in one bright spark who says, ‘hang on a minute, isn’t he dead already..!’
Strangely this knowledge of his passing back in the mists of time assuages our mourning instinct and we do feel a great deal better than had we gone through the process when it actually happened.

Hold up a bit.
What’s this now?
Your pussy has gone missing madam?
Someone’s knicked your car, sir?rascal-running
Does anyone know this bastard that has been filmed kicking his dog?
No, they’re not very good photographs are they, but hang on and I’ll see if I can find out.

Turns out that all that occurred some time back.

Apparently madam only wanted to do some heavy breathing as she called out the hunks from the local fire brigade. Her pussy was up a tree as it turned out and was rescued six months ago.
Sir’s car was recovered after being spotted floating down the canal. Apparently the lad who pinched it was the same bastard who kicked the poor dog. Well done to whoever posted that by the way, obviously it’s far better to film this stuff rather than intervene and prevent it in the first place. Fortunately scummy was recognised though and was given a very severe telling off indeed. I’m pleased to report that he is a reformed character and lives happily with his wife and six kids in a bedsit in Chipping Sodbury.

But here it is all over again, as fresh and as good as new. And people are sharing and tweeting and bending over backwards to help what has already been accomplished.

And that’s what technology has done for us. Time used to be linear.
One day followed another.
No longer.jamesl10It loops around on Facebook.It retweets itself on Twitter.
It replays endlessly on catchup T.V.

No wonder Doctor Who always looked so confused, skipping around in time like that.
Keeping up with who’s dead and alive is like trying to remember whether Jon Pertwee or Tom Baker had the assistant with the shortest skirt.

Be honest lads – it never was about Daleks really, was it!?


Cardinal Wolsey and his part in the Normandy Landings – Guest Post by Ian Hutson…

Cardinal Wolsey and his part in the Normandy Landings – Guest Post by Ian Hutson…

Glad I’m following this blog…

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

There comes a time in every chaps life, after he’s bought the boat and after he has begun to work through the long, long list of DIY jobs that need doing, after he’s prevaricated and fluffed around like a land-lubber, when he simply has to move his boat. I mean really move it, on the water, out of the marina to a specific location and then back again. It simply can’t be avoided.

My time came when I looked at the Cardinal’s gas system. The system for LPG, that is, I don’t mean that the boat burps or has flatulence or anything, although, perhaps in times of nautical stress…

When I read the broker’s advertisement for the boat I actually misread it, and it turns out that there wasn’t so much a “full-size cook” in the galley as there was a “full-size cooker”. A subtle but important difference…

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Meet and Greet: 5/20/17

Meet and Greet: 5/20/17

Dream Big, Dream Often


It’s the Meet and Greet weekend everyone!!  Strap on your party shoes and join the fun!  

Ok so here are the rules:

  1. Leave a link to your page or post in the comments of this post.
  2. Reblog this post.  It helps you, it helps me, it helps everyone!
  3. Edit your reblog post and add tags.
  4. Feel free to leave your link multiple times!  It is okay to update your link for more exposure every day if you want.  It is up to you!

  5. Share this post on social media.  Many of my non-blogger friends love that I put the Meet n Greet on Facebook and Twitter because they find new blogs to follow.

See ya on Monday!!

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David Robinson’s Dognapped – TPBP Summer Collection 2016

IN THE DOGHOUSE is now published. Misty’s 3rd book, ON THE DOG WALK will be out in October and DOGNAPPED! needs your vote by Sunday 21st May 2017 as it is now a finalist in THE PEOPLES BOOK PRIZE

The People's Book Prize

david robertson⌈ Vote Now ⌋

In the lead up to The People’s Book Prize 2016 we caught up with author David Robertson to talk about his children’s book


Where did the idea of Dognapped! come from?

DOGNAPPED! came from a series of short articles that I used to do for our local agility club featuring my dog Misty. The newsletters were written from her point of view and proved to be very popular. It was a short step from there to creating a children’s book.

Troubador publish a variety of brilliant authors, what is it like to be in the company of talented writers?

As you say there are a lot of talented writers out there and to see your name in print is a wonderful experience. My episode is number 21 – episode 19 was Richard Madeley. That certainly makes you stop and take stock!

Have you got a message for…

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Vote DOGNAPPED! You know it makes sense

So – here’s something a little different from my usual scribbling.
Okay, who said, ‘About time too!
There’s no need.
And the rest of you can stop sniggering.
Honestly if I’ve got to come over there I swear that I’ll…
I should count to what?
Oh all right. 1,2…
…8, 9, 10. Thanks, I’m feeling a lot better now.
Now I may have mentioned this before, but Misty’s book, DOGNAPPED! is in the final of THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE and…
Was that you – again?
It was, wasn’t it? ‘You never bloody shut up about it!‘ indeed.
I’ve got your card marked, matey.
Anyway, for the rest of you who are at least kind enough to show just a little bit of interest, then let me explain.
No not you, smarty pants.
You can go and stand over there – in the corner. No, go on, further, further and a bit more. That’ll do. I’m not speaking to you again.

It must be important, it’s in capitals.
And, ha ha, the final is in the capital too.
I know, I know – I don’t know how I think them up.

Well I thought it was funny! In fact I think a bit of wee came out. It must be an age thing!

So, London.
Down the smoke.
A week on Tuesday.
Me and Kate get to have a bit of posh nosh.
In Stationers Hall down by old St. Paul’s cathedral.
For the awards ceremony.
It might even be on a Sky News podcast thingy.
I’ve got to wear a dicky bow.
No, I haven’t bought it – I borrowed it off Posh Dave, he’s in a male voice choir, so he has all the gear.
I don’t even have to tie it, it’s on a bit of elastic. But don’t tell anyone, I’d hate to spoil the illusion.IMG_0216
So there we have it.
How about that then?

Of course you know what it’s about. The gang of dogs on the canal barge – got it now?

Well you said you’d read it, I told you to borrow it from Dudley library. Yes the one with Ashley in it, remember? I knew you’d bring that up – again! Here he is look, I know you like to see him, occasionally

I’m chuffed.
So’s Misty.
Will we win? Dunno – I’ll let you know.
Oh, hang on I nearly forgot.

You will vote for me & Misty won’t you?
Yes, that does include you in the corner.
Yes, I’m sorry – just a bit tense with all this going on. Hope you understand.


Children’s section

Thank you.



Sometimes something triggers a question in your brain that just demands an answer.
Take the other night as I was sitting in the pub for example.
Yes, I know – we’ll argue about my excessive drinking later, o.k?
Someone has to keep the brewing industry going after all.
And it may as well be me.
I insist. It’s no trouble, honestly.
I’m looking ‘a bit put out’?
Well now you come to mention it I am feeling a tad disappointed.
It’s nothing really, nothing at all. Don’t worry about it.

I just thought you might have offered to buy me a drink, that’s all…

Anyway, back to the subject of my rambling thought processes.

On the wall of said pub was a picture.
Of a pit head.IMG_0449
And the winding gear.
There used to be a lot around here in the Black Country.
Probably the name of the area hints at that very fact.
I remember passing one such industrial monolith on my way to school back in the sixties.
Of course I took no notice, it was not an unusual feature back in the day.

But – thinking about it now, who on Earth came up with that?
Imagine the scenario – wealthy landowner calls the local gravedigger to his mansion.

Gravedigger deferentially enters the drawing room, wringing his flat cap in his hands and stands in front of the landowners expansive desk nervously awaiting the reason for his summons.
The landowner stubs out his cigar, ‘Ah, good of you to come my man. Scargill isn’t it?’
Okay, okay – we’ll argue how Arthur Scargill’s ancestors got from Dudley to Yorkshire later, eh? Probably something to do with black pudding and flat caps for all I know, there is a bit of commonality there after all.
”Tis indeed Scargill sir, but Ayenock’ll do.’
‘Good man, good man. How’s the family?’
‘Fine sir thanks for asking. Missus popped another bab out last week while she was shovelling out earth for that canal you wanted. Fifteen that is now I think.’
‘How is she?’
‘Pregnant again, sir.’
‘Excellent work, that man.’
‘Thank you sir. ‘Fraid the two year old ain’t ready yet – turned a bit sickly, got a slight touch of cholera I think – but the one above him, she’ll be three next week and ready to start building hovels for your workers any day soon.’ A slight hesitation for an awkward pause, more twisting of the cap into a figure eight, then, ‘Erm, pardon me asking sir, but what is it you want me to do?’
‘Ah, that: Ayenock, I’d like you to dig me a hole.’
‘Oh I’m sorry sir, I didn’t know you was poorly like.’
‘Not for me to fit in you fool, I need a hole I can own.’
”Well ‘smy job sir, don’t matter to me what you does with it. Usual is it? Six foot by two and a half foot by six foot deep?’
‘Not exactly no, I’d like it a bit bigger.’
‘Bigger sir?’
‘Erm yes. About twenty feet square should suffice.’
Twenty foot – bugger me! Beggin’ pardon sir. Has the elephant died up at Dudley zoo?’
‘No my good sir, it hasn’t. And anyway the zoo won’t open for another two hundred years at least.’
‘Sorry sir, getting ahead of myself as usual. But I has to say it’ll take me an’ old ‘arry all day to dig that out at six foot deep so it will sir.’
‘And I’d like it a bit deeper.’
‘Oh, deeper is it? Exactly how deep were you thinking?’
‘Until you hit coal.’
‘Coal, yes.’
‘What’s coal then when it’s out?’
‘It’s like a black rock that you burn.’
‘You want to burn rock? Wood not flammable enough for you?’
‘Yes, no, I mean, hrumph! My dear man please remember your place and address me as, “sir”
‘Have you had a bump on the head? Sorry, have you had a bump on the head, sir?’
‘Of course not! I need the coal to smelt some iron ore.’
‘Or what sir?’
‘No Ayenock, iron is ore.’
‘It’s or what…’

Now at this juncture I should perhaps point out that this reasoned debate could take some time, so let’s just cut to the chase…

‘Oh! Iron ore is it?’
‘What else would it be?’
‘Dunno sir, you lost me at “coal”
‘Scar.., I mean Ayenock, I envisage a day when men like me will be able to drive around in horseless carriages.’
‘And fly through the air in hollow tubes.’
‘If you say so…’
‘So I need that hole in the ground.’
‘Of course you do, sir.’
‘When can you start.’
‘Well, we’ve got a charred charcoal burner, he got a bit too involved in his work, and three suspected plague victims to inter by this afternoon, but I reckon we could make a start about three o’clock.’
‘Good fellow.’
‘Beggin’ pardon sir, but I do see a couple of slight problems.’
‘You do?’
‘Well first up sir, there’s gas.’
‘Bit of a problem working with old ‘arry in a confined space, see sir. ‘Specially if he’s been on the beans and Norbert’s Old Peculiar the night before.’
‘I’ll give you a canary.’
‘A fucking canary! Why thank you sir. Help no end that will.’
‘You said, “a couple of problems.” The second is?’
‘Yessir. Water.’
Oh, I’ll make sure you have all you can drink.’
‘No sir – it’s holes see. They tend to fill up. With water.’
‘Bit of a problem if you don’t mind me saying.’
‘Thought of it already, Ayenock.’
‘You have sir?’
‘Had you there didn’t I! Yes, I did foresee that very problem and I’ve asked my good friend Newcomen to come up with a solution.’
‘Very good sir. And has he?’
‘Of course. Bright chap. He’s going to pump it out.’
‘Pump it?’
‘Out, yes. With a beam engine.’
‘A beam what?’
‘Engine. It’s made out of iron ore.’
‘Ore what?’
‘Don’t start that again.’
‘Course not sir, but pardon me asking – isn’t making ore what you need the coal for?’
‘It is, Ayenock. Must I keep explaining myself?’
‘But begging pardon, sir, isn’t that putting the cart before the horsepower so to speak? Slightly? Sir.’
‘Bit of a problem, sir?’
‘A minor hiccup. You go and start digging whilst I ponder the solution.’
‘Yessir. Mind me asking sir. What’s this hole in the ground going to be called?’
‘Oh, that’s easy, Scargill. It’ll be called, “mine.”