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 The waterproof green and brown camouflage jacket and camouflage over-trousers with visible bum crack have been replaced by a stunning pair of dungarees in a fetching Grey/ Black ‘shock and awe’ pattern just in case a Russian submarine should surface through the murky waters of the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

Happy Christmas – here it is again…

I know it’s been done before, but I couldn’t let today go by without recycling this message from Misty because, well, you know what old Miss Cranky Pants is like.
‘Wouldn’t it be nice if you could sort out some nice carols,’ I said, ‘for the Christmas do’s that we’ve got coming up.’
But according to her there are none that suit.
No dogs represented apparently.
So she’s written her own, to rectify the situation, so here not for the first time is –

MISTY’S CHRISSYMUS SONG BOOK

All together now!

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I THINK I’M IN DANGER
(Traditional tune – Away in a Manger)

I think I’m in danger, I may come to harm
The farmer has left me in charge of the farm
There are creatures all over, it fills me with dread
How can one little collie, get this lot to bed

I run like a whirlwind, I ‘come bye’ like mad
I do all those tricks I was taught by my Dad
I round up some ducks, I herd up the hens
And if I was taller I’d open the pens.

The cattle are slowing, overtaken by sheep
At this rate of progress I may need a jeep
The horses are frisky and starting to stray
And some blooming piglets have stolen the hay.

The stars in the night sky are less than impressed
And I have begun now to run out of zest
I lay down my head with a feeling of sorrow
‘Oh sod it!’ I think, ‘I’ll sort it tomorrow.’

4a-300-copy

A SHEPHERD WATCHED
(Traditional tune – what do you think!?)

A shepherd watched his sheep one night
While seated on the ground
A silly ass came rushing past
And chased the flock around

He scratched his head in stunned surprise
Not knowing what to do
‘Fear not’, spake forth a little voice
‘I’ll round them up for you.’

Looking round, the shepherd spied
A dog come into view
‘Pray tell forsooth,’ the shepherd said
‘What’s in the deal for you?’

‘Believe me’, spake the little dog
‘This really is no scam,
I only wish a bed of straw,
Maybe a leg of lamb.’

The man agreed, for he true knew
He was in trouble deep
In less than thirty seconds flat
The dog herded up the sheep.

The shepherd, he was most impressed
‘Pray what do they call you?’
‘Colin,’ replied the little dog,
Head in a bowl of stew.

The shepherd, who was Mutton Jeff
He heard this not the same
And that my friend’s the story of
How collies got their name.

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ONCE A DASCHUND
(Traditional tune – Once in Royal David’s City)

Once a Daschund loyal and so pretty
Had a kennel, it was painted red
Not a fan of anything so grisly
The garish hue was doing in her head
The colour really made her cross
So she went out and bought a tin of gloss

Daschunds they are really such a small breed
Being quite deficient in the leg
But our friend she really paid it no heed
The problem never entering her head
But when half finished, she was madder
Our poor mutt, she couldn’t find a ladder.

People came for miles just to wonder
This marvel all mankind could now behold
No one there could quite believe the blunder
On Facebook, Twitter, everyone was told
What an awful colour scheme
The top still red – the bottom painted green.

IMG_0216

Quite how Ashley got his picture here I’m not too sure! Did you know that someone started a movement to get him back in favour for book 4 – honestly, what a nerve!
CHUCK THE BALLS
(Traditional tune – Deck the halls)

Chuck the balls for hounds and collies
Fah la la, la la, bark, bark
‘Tis the reason I’m so jolly
Fah la la la la, la la, bark, bark
Chuck them further, chuck them higher
Fah la la, fah la la, bark, bark, bark,
You’ll be shattered, I won’t tire
Fah la la la la, la la, bark, bark.

And so, our little homage to dogs at Christmas is nearly over. Only one left to sing and just to warn you, there is a slightly naughty word in it. So sorry yet again! I did tell her, but Misty muttered something about it being artistic license. I just said that it was awfully rude.
Anyway that’s just about it for now. As I said there’s one tune left. Hope you enjoy it – put your fingers in your ears for ‘that’ word.
Oh, take a look around the rest of the blog site- there’s all sorts of stuff on there to give you a bit of a giggle.

By the way, these great pictures are drawn by the very talented Mr Ian R Ward.

HAPPY CHRISTMAS ONE AND ALL

Clear your throats – that’s right madam, cough it up – it may be a gold watch! Let’s all have one last lusty chorus…

AN ALSATIAN
(Traditional tune – Good King Wotsiface)

An Alsatian, he set out
Told no one he was leaving
The pizza cooked, without a doubt
Was deep and crisp and even
His friends, he knew they liked it hot
But he had let it coo-el
A vital thing he had forgot
Oh what a silly foo-o-el!

He set out to the local shop
The weather it was snowing
He hoped no one had seen him go
But little was he knowing
A row of circles marked his trail
Of which way he would go-o
Steaming circles – yellow rimmed
Shining in the snow-o-o!

His friends who were all quite astute
Noticed their host missing
They all set off in hot pursuit
Following his pissing
They caught him at the checkout till
And mocked him till he blu-ushed
So don’t forget the garlic bread
Or you may end up flu-u-ushed!

rascal-running

The square root of zero…

So here we are already one fiftytwoth of the year into 2018.
And exactly what have I achieved?

Well, nothing actually.

But you see, that’s not a very fair question is it?

What do you mean, ‘Why not?

Isn’t it obvious.

No, I don’t think, ‘Because you’re an idle bastard,’ is a valid comment.
The reason is because this first week doesn’t actually count, does it?

No.

You see this first week has been spent chatting to fellow bloggers setting targets which we hope to achieve during the other fifty one weeks of the year.
So I have actually been very busy.

No, I knew you were going to raise that old chestnut.
These are not resolutions.

Definitely not.
Resolutions are for packing up things like smoking, or drinking, or eating too much cream cake, that sort of thing.

And let’s face it resolutions are all too easily broken. Take that one I made at midnight to curb my excessive drinking habit. The fact that I toasted the idea with a very large Jack Daniels gives you some idea how that turned out.
No, these are targets. Goals if you like. Something to aim for.

Pardon?

Oh! How did I get on with last years?
Well let me just say that the objectives which were mooted at this point in the preceding twelve month span were perhaps not met with the resounding success that may have been envisaged at that juncture – but that exciting new opportunities were indeed, in the fullness of time, opened up with a view to future development.

I sound like a what?ardeh+U%TqaqnlwMTXrQ3APolitician!

Shoot me now!

What was that?

Oh that’s good.
I hadn’t heard that before. ‘The square root of zero is still bugger all.

I shall have to remember that one to use the next time I want to sound like a disparaging old fart.

Well I’m sorry to be so blunt, but there was no need for you to say that was there?

Encouragement, that’s what I need right now.
Okay, so I may not have achieved all that I set out to do last year.
No you’re right, I didn’t achieve anything actually.

But I tried.

Procrastination – that’s my biggest problem. I even wrote a blog about it. See, see, I did do something after all.
Yes, I know. Writing a piece about not doing anything is hardly something to shout about.
But it’s a start.
From tiny acorns and all that.
There’ll be a mighty oak along any minute now, just you wait and see.

Anyway – you know me. Always look on the bright side.
All those plans that I made last year can be exactly the same as the ones I’m making this year. I’ll just copy them out and have time to put my feet up for a bit.
See, I’ve already written a blog about procrastination, how’s that for progress?

Pass me last years diary, let’s see what’s going to be keeping me off the streets for the next fifty one weeks.

Oh, and while you’re up, could you pass me that packet of fags, a can of lager out of the fridge and I’m sure there was something else. That’s it, a nice slice of that cream filled Victoria sponge should slide down quite nicely I think.

Cute puppy though!

Send the cavalry

So I’ve swapped Misty and Milly for a couple of weeks for their American cousins. That’s Henry (the small white one) and Murphy (the bigger brown one).


Pardon?
I don’t think that they bark with American accents, no.

Anyway… Sorry, what!?

No they don’t walk on the wrong side of the path either. And before you start again let’s not get into the whole potato, potarto/ tomato, tomarto argument o.k. We’d be here all day.

As I was about to say, I’ve been taking the lads out for a walk. In the morning, when it’s cooler – sorry, I just had to get that dig in. Is it raining back home? Oh dear!

But. And as so many things are over here, this is a big BUT. No, with one ‘T’, dear – there is a difference. Can I carry on now? Thank you.

But, when me and the girls go out in dear old Blighty we usually venture down the cut – oh, apologies again, that’s a Black Country phrase meaning ‘along the canal towpath’ – the most dangerous thing we are likely to encounter is a slightly miffed duck, annoyed because we haven’t brought it some bread.

Here in Fulshear, Texas, the new housing estates tend to be surrounded by water. Like a moat around a castle. And very picturesque it is too. Egrets stand by the bank looking all, well egrety actually, the banks are lush green grass, fountains fount. Lovely.


Hold on. What’s this? A sign. Let’s just take a look… WTF!


I thought those ripples in the middle were a bit big for any sort of fish I’ve ever seen the fishermen of England drag out of the Staffordshire and Worcester canal. And although the grass is neatly trimmed for the first foot or so, isn’t that long grass a bit too close to the path? Dogs don’t hiss over here, do they? And what ‘other wild life’? Mice? Raccoons? Grizzly’s? The sign’s not very specific is it. I mean I went to Alaska once and believe you me bears really do shit in the woods. I came across some (bear shit not bears). It was still steaming. It was probably still steaming in the extremely short period of time it took me to hurtle back to a place of safety.

Well, I mean! Honestly! These are new estates. What are they trying to do? It must be the modern day equivalent of getting the covered wagons into a defensive circle in case of attack and the 7th cavalry aren’t around for protection. Any enemy of note isn’t about to come crawling through the grass to pinch the barbecue while you’re not looking are they? No one’s likely to swim across the lake to have an illicit bounce on your trampoline are they?

And what if poor Fido goes missing. Slips out of the back gate or a hole in the fence in the middle of the night. Are you going to go looking? Too right – nor me matey! One wrong move could be fatal. Stick your foot in a puddle accidentally and the next thing you know you’re doing the death roll tango with a ten foot reptile! The only thing you’ll find of your best friend the next day is a tuft of fur and some frightened poo. Leave well alone, that’s what I say.

Next time me and the boys go out hiking I shall take a lot more notice when they start to bark in whatever regional accent they’re using. For all I know they’re shouting, ‘Big scaley thing with teeth. And his tail ain’t wagging.’

You can buy guns here you know. 

Excuse me – I’m just popping down to Walmart for an AK47.

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..?
Tut!
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!

Sorry?
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.
Shame!

Really?
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!?

 

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.

 

No, I’m not a sexual deviant…

Well what a palaver that was!
“Can you do a talk about your books at our community library?” I was asked.
“Of course!”
Well I was hardly going to say no was I! My second book, In The Doghouse, has just been released on an unsuspecting public and I’m hardly going to pass up the opportunity to shout about it, am I?
“That’s great. Leave it with us and we’ll let you know when.”
“Thanks very much,” well I was chuffed to be asked.

3

I didn’t have long to wait for the call.
Unfortunately it wasn’t the one that I was expecting.
“Are you DBS checked?”
“What?”
“DBS checked, you know – it used to be CRB until they changed it.”
Ah yes, the ministry of Silly Acronyms and Initials strikes again.
SAI what!
To be honest I had come across it before. They ask for the same thing in schools too.
And I don’t blame them. After all they don’t know me from Adam. And there are, as we are sadly only too aware, some very dubious characters about. I mean, have you seen my author photo?
But – and here’s the rub, if you go onto the website for the Disclosure and Barring Service (formerly the Criminal Records Bureau in case you were wondering) you soon discover that it is nigh on impossible as an author to get yourself DBSed.
Pardon?
No – I know DBSed is not a proper word, I’m not totally barking, but I did a blog about making words up some time back, the one called  ‘ROPOPOV’, if you remember, so please pay attention.

rascal-soaked
And sit up straight at the back while we’re at it.
Apparently you are not allowed to apply for the aforementioned accreditation as an author although your alliterative acumen may authenticate any application.
Your employer has to do it.
And how many of us scribblers has one of them.
O.K., for the day job perhaps yes.
But for this secretive activity that many of us undertake under cover of the wee small hours of the morning?
Well that’s all a bit suspicious isn’t it!?
Surely only sexual deviants and house burglars work to such an unsociable timescale.

So I’m stuffed.
I ask around.
A few Facebook groups that I belong to.
And bless them, they come up with some suggestions.

Among them is the spiffing idea that us poor bloody English who wish to get ourselves checked out should perhaps apply to the Scottish government instead.
What!!!
Well I take back what I said about Nicola Sturgeon a few blogs back.
After all, what better way of getting money out of the auld enemy than relieving them of 25 pounds sterling for telling one of their number that they’re not actually a criminal.
And after all, what does it matter to them?
As long as we don’t travel past the wall that the Italians built to keep them out of our bit we could be Jack the bloody Ripper for all they care.
Incidentally am I the only one who thinks that Trumps wall is a bit of a storm in a teacup. The last time I looked there was a bloody big fence there already – perhaps it’s not the principle they’re arguing about, just the best method of construction.

So, dear Nicki (hope she doesn’t think me too informal) – I’m an honest to goodness upstanding citizen, o.k? Oh, and just in case it gives me some brownie points my surname is Robertson and the ‘J’ stands for Jimmy, sorry James.

Anyway it came today.
My DBS certificate.
I’m not a criminal after all (I did keep quiet about the speeding ticket issued by P.C. Sluts – honestly I swear that was his name – in 1999, but I doubt Nicola cares about that either, she’s in love with Angela, not Teresa and the Germans have unrestricted autobahns!)

So I’m not a criminal. I could have told them that.
But now I have piece of paper to prove it.
And I didn’t have to paint my face blue or cry, ‘freedom,‘ to do it.

Pssst! Want an author talk doing? Very cheap, because unfortunately I am a bit damaged.

No, thanks for asking but there’s no need for concern. It’s just that I’m limping a bit. I fell off the back of a lorry!