Oh, oh, oh it’s magic…

It’s a strange thing when you have too much time on your hands. The things that go through your mind I mean.

Take now for instance. I’m on a plane.

I’ve been sat in more or less the same position for nigh on 3 1/2 hours and I’m likely to do so for a further 5 1/2. Despicable Me 3 has just finished and you get to thinking,

1. Should I go to the loo, just for something to do?

2. When are they feeding me again?

3. What the bejasus is holding this thing in the air?

I know, I know – you can get all scientific on me.

You can tell me about differential air pressure until you’re blue in the face.

Yes, and thrust too madam. I thought you might put your twopennorth in!

But it’s me sitting here over the wing and believe you me, there’s very little between the underside of the aerilon (or whatever that flappy thing is called) and the tip of bloody Greenland as far as I can see.

And 39000 feet straight down looks pretty far at the moment, I can tell you.

Between us and Arsuk (it’s true, Google it. What an unfortunate postal address that is! Where do you live? Arsuk. Well I only asked!) there is air. A lot of it admittedly, but it’s not exactly heavy. We breath the stuff in and out constantly and it doesn’t take a great deal of effort. Can it really hold up God knows how many tons (yes I know it’s tonnes but we’re going to the USA. And anyway, after Brexit do we get our measurements back?) of aircraft, fuel, cargo and us poor bloody passengers?
Furthermore, have you had the chance to study an aeroplane wing in detail?


No? Nor me until now. Honestly I’ve seen more sheet steel in your average bus shelter. 

And rivets! Don’t talk to me about rivets! I used rivets in metalwork at school once. Not the sturdiest of fixings in my opinion.

Pardon? Yes, that was rather a long time ago, thank you for pointing that out.

As I was saying I have used the odd rivet in various metallurgical disasters and they do in my experience tend to shear as soon as you look at them. Yes, I know that there are rather a lot of them dotted about the aerodynamic surfaces, but personally and particularly now that my mind is working overtime, I would have preferred to see row upon row of nice half inch diameter bolts. In super high tensile steel!

So what is it holding us up?

I’ve had a lot of time to think.

And I have come to the conclusion that there is only on possible logical answer.

It’s magic.

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Nelly the Elephant…

Oh hello.
Come in, sit down, take the weight off.
Don’t mind me I’m a bit busy.
Packing, yes.
Pardon?
Oh, where are we going?
To the land of Nelly the Elephant.
Yes really.
What? No, we’re not off to the Serengeti!
I see how you got confused though, my fault – sorry.
By ‘Nelly the Elephant ‘ I meant Trump, Trump, Trump.
Yes, that’s it Donald J and his clan.
Well, I know, it is a bit crass insulting our closest ally like that, but hey perhaps I’ll lob a few bricks in the luggage to contribute to the wall.
No I’m not worried.
What’s the worst that can happen now Donny has his tiny *donnies* on the nuclear on/off switch. I mean old Kim Il wotsisface is only just able to lob missiles over Japan so I doubt he’ll manage to get one in the heart of Texas.
That’s where we’re going, yes.
Like before.
I’m surprised you remembered.
That’s where Kate’s family are living now. Well some of them anyway. There’s such a lot it’s hard to keep track.
So anyway, we’re taking – wait for it:-
A horse blanket.
A bridle.
Some reins.
Stirrups.
Enough leather straps to start a bondage convention.
A bloody saddle, yes I kid you not! I’ll repeat that in case you didn’t quite catch it.
A sodding saddle!
For a stuffing horse!
Then of course there’s the pad that fits under the saddle.
We had some hoof hardener too, but I’ve drawn the line there. Full of nasty chemicals, not the sort of stuff you take on a plane really –

fullsizeoutput_2denot unless you want the bomb squad to blow up your luggage.
Although you’re right, it’d save having to carry the flipping saddle I suppose.
So yes, Sue, Kate’s daughter, has a horse. Or two. Or maybe three, I’m not sure.
Yes she has told me, but I glaze over to be honest.
There’s not enough room for much else really, in fact I’m surprised that I haven’t been asked to stay behind just in case Billy Whizz wanted to go off on his holibobs to visit his American cousins. I’m told there’s more legroom on a long haul flight so he may well fit in business class. Here’s a nice picture of him – he looks a lot better since Kate rescued him don’t you think? Bless his little cotton horseshoes.
Anyway, we’re off. On Tuesday.
Expect a lot of blogging activity.

Oh – and if anyone wants to pop round to burgle our place whilst we’re gone, I’m sure my mate Nige and Misty will be pleased to see you.

*Black country phrase alert – donnies, meaning hands. No, I don’t know why either.

Trouble’s brewing…

I have a terrible confession to make. One that jeopardises the very essence of my being. In fact I’m not one hundred percent sure that I’m willing to share this shocking revelation with you, my blog loving readership, although I have in fact alluded to it in an earlier blog – I was just hoping that the situation might resolve itself.
So perhaps I won’t tell you after all.
I do find it quite embarrassing.
Pardon?
Oh, you want to hear it.
Are you sure?
Well I agree I have ‘dangled the carrot’ as you so eloquently put it.                                       Do stop giggling at the back, madam.
I suppose you’re right and after all I can’t unsay it now, can I?
I’ve gone a bit too far.
Okay, here goes.
Perhaps you should sit down.
Ready?
No no, I’m not prevaricating – again.
Here goes.
Ahem.
Sorry, just clearing my throat.
I don’t like tea.

There you have it.
What?
You were expecting something a bit more risqué?
Well I apologise, but it concerns me.
Greatly.
After all it goes to the very root of my ‘Englishness.
As a native of Shakespeare’s sceptred isle I should probably be swimming in the stuff every day before breakfast. As a Brit I’m supposed to like it.
And I used to.
Until they ripped out my still beating heart and replumbed it before thrusting it back and stapling up my chest cavity.
Sorry madam? Yes, you go and have a lie down. I’ll try not to be so graphic in future.
Anyway – perhaps it was something to do with the anaesthetic.
Put me right off. I can’t even bear the thought of drinking a brew now.
Proper tea of course.
By ‘proper‘ I mean the stuff that you might call breakfast tea, builders tea or something like that. Tea to put hair on your chest madam.
Tea to stand your spoon up in.
Tea as thick as custard.
Not that wishy washy tea that the Queen no doubt gets served on a daily basis. I’ll bet a pound to a penny that Madge would like nothing better than to wrap her regal mitts around a nice steaming mug of good old Tetley instead of that crappy green gunk she’s given.
Tea worth fighting our former colonial territories over.
Good old British tea – made in India, or China.

IMG_0149
And that brings me back to my point.
If I no longer like tea, am I no longer a dyed in the wool Englishman?
Don’t get me wrong, if there’s a game of cricket going on I’m all for lounging around by the boundary rope and applauding politely when a wicket is taken or the bowler is struck for six.
I can deride Johnny Foreigner with the best of them.
I know the main verse of the National Anthem and am quite comfortable with the last verse having something to do with giving those damned rebellious Scots a good crushing.
I do my best to keep my upper lip as rigid and untrembly as possible.
I’ve never tried, but I have no doubt that I could probably pole a punt with the best of them.
Wha..? No madam, with a ‘P.’
I live here, in Blake’s Jerusalem in the heart of the country that gave industrialisation to the world, the land that Constable and Turner painted, that Dickens wrote about in the language spoken by most of the planet.
But I now don’t like tea.
I feel like a traitor.
Perhaps they’ll drag me to The Tower, lop off my worthless head and mount it on a pike outside Westminster Palace as a warning to others not to be so fickle.
Or suspend me upside down over a vat of steaming Typhoo and dunk me like an unworthy digestive.
I’m supposed to go to the States in a couple of weeks, after this shocking admission I’ll be surprised if they let me back into the country of my birth.
I’ll be forced to live a life in exile in some coffee growing republic.
It’s been nice knowing you.

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…
Eh?
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.
Ever.

4
THE PEOPLE’S BOOK PRIZE.
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.
Pardon?
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.

Anyway:-

Children’s section
DOGNAPPED!
http://www.peoplesbookprize.com

Thank you.

 

IT’S ALL MINE!

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.
Sorry?
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.’
‘Eh?’
‘Deeper.’
‘Oh, deeper is it? Exactly how deep were you thinking?’
‘Until you hit coal.’
‘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.’
‘Riiiight…’
‘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.’
‘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.’
‘Ah!’
‘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.’
‘Ah!’
‘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.”

You couldn’t make it up! Oh – perhaps you can then…

Friendship is a wonderful thing. If for example you had the idea that you could run the country better than the present government, even though you had absolutely no experience and were totally politically naive, you would know that you could rely on your friends to heap upon you scorn, ridicule and to offer no help whatsoever. But in the unlikely event that you did succeed, those same friends would expect lavish praise for their endeavours.

So how would you go about such a venture, given that the political process is slow and that you are too impatient to go through the proper channels. It might be an idea to form your own party, over the internet of course, that should speed things up a bit. All you’d need to do then would be to increase your public profile – well they say sex sells…

This is such a story. It couldn’t possibly work of course – now how do I go about setting up a website?

You can call me Dave, by the way.

17796098_10154684238514086_7837186691258039449_n

pm. com – a play by David J Robertson. (Finalist with children’s book – DOGNAPPED! – in The People’s Book Prize 2017)

Coming to a stage near you – provided you live in The Black Country of course. (I know what you’re thinking, ‘Bloody hell, he wrote that quick!’)

See the results here – 9th and 10th June,       Gig Mill Methodist Church Hall, Witton Street, Stourbridge, DY8 3YG

 

For ticket information contact – acomedytheatregroup@hotmail.co.uk

IMG_0220

The Black Country – has it’s finger on the rest of the country’s pulse.

Bostin!

 

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?

17342786_10154627669764086_1081957200397871344_n

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?