Psst! Wanna gatecrash an Xmas party?

Do you?
Good, come over here and I’ll tell you about it.
No, no, no.
Quietly!
Don’t draw attention to yourself, we don’t want everyone to know, do we?
What do you mean, ‘Why not?
I’ll tell you why not – what about if her at number 33 heard about it and turned up too, eh? Her with the gammy leg and the boss eye, yes. You wouldn’t want to get trapped up a corner in polite conversation with her now would you? No, exactly. You know what she’s like, anything you say will be taken down and used in evidence against you. Nosey old bat!
And him from the local debating society. Can you imagine… Dear Lord, you’d never get a word in edge ways. Annoying git!
So let’s just keep it to ourselves, yeah?
O.k.
So, this do is at Southcart Books in Walsall.
Yes you do know it, it’s behind that new Poundland place they’ve just built.
Pardon?
Is it?
53b Lower Hall, Lane WS1 1RJ?
Well you obviously know the place better than I do then. Let’s face it it’s a long way from Dudley.
That’s the one, yes, run by Scott and Amy.
Well I heard that they’re putting on a bit of a do on Saturday 16th December between 11 and 4. There’ll be food and drink and everything. Even people telling stories and reciting poetry.
So anyway, I was thinking of going over and taking the Misty Books gang with me.

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Now the new book is out, yes. Have I mentioned that at all?
You’re sick of hearing about it?
Well I thought you might be pleased.
After all it follows on from DOGNAPPED! which I may have mentioned was a finalist in The People’s Book Prize earlier this year. And then there was IN THE DOGHOUSE of course which is coincidentally a year old now and of course the latest ON THE DOG WALK which I just got my hands on from the publisher.Image 19-12-2016 at 08.01
You can take your fingers out of your ears now, I’ve finished the promo.
I SAID YOU CAN TAKE YOUR FINGERS…
Sorry, I didn’t mean to shout but you did have your fingers…
What?
Yes. Ian R Ward has done the illustrations for the new book too and once again they’re fantastic.
Oh, you’re interested now then. Not a story person I take it, more of a picture looker.
Just as well they’re for kids then isn’t it.
Well now you’re asking they’re aimed between seven and eleven as rough guide, although a lot of folk seem to like the shared reading experience for younger kids.
There’s an Amazon link here so you can take a look. http://amzn.to/2e0GyRe
Of course they’ll be cheaper at Southcart but like I said, keep it to yourself, we don’t want everyone to know. They make great stocking fillers.
Yes I’ll sign it.
You want a what? A bookmark? Oh go on then.
I might even tell you a story, ‘Th’auld pol on th’ cut’, you like that one don’t you. Can I do what? ‘The Bard of Dudlay’. Surely you don’t want to hear that old chestnut again! You do? Oh, alright then, if you insist.
I’ll see you there then, on the 16th.
But don’t forget, keep it to yourself. Whatever you do don’t…
You did didn’t you.
I saw you just then.
Pressing the share button.
Bloody hell. I’ll have to tell them to order more sodding sausage rolls now!4a-300-copy24129986_2071662109729175_3232081706566700152_n

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All round to Ritu’s then…

Sorry, I can’t quite…
Yes, it is a bit loud isn’t it?
It is amazing the volume you can get from an old Dansette. And Abba always seem to get a bit screechy when the volume is wound up don’t you think?
No, I don’t know whose it is really. I met some chap down the pub with a carrier bag full of booze. Told me he was going to a party so I thought that I’d tag along just to see if it was any good.
Pardon?
No, I wasn’t going to stop but I might as well now seeing as how I’ve been here six hours already.
Yes I bought some, how about you?
A party can of Watney’s Red Barrel!
Really.
Well I hope you bought a can opener. Oh dear. Yes I do suppose that when you have to rifle through someone’s drawers to find a suitable implement it can be quite difficult.
So it sprayed where?
I wondered what was dripping from the light fitting.
No, I didn’t go quite that far. Like I said I wasn’t expecting to stop so I just bought along a small bottle of tonic water in case someone fancied a mixer. I should have bought two I think, I feel a bit mean now, especially as I seem to have drunk at least thirty three times the volume in Jack Daniels.
Oops sorry, I didn’t mean to bump into you – I just didn’t see you there.
That was some dance move.
No I didn’t think anyone could do the splits quite like that, or that way up come to think of it. It’s very impressive. I was just talking to…
Oh, she’s gone.
Never mind.
Do you know whose party it is?
Ritu?
Ritu who? Oh, haha, I made a rhyme.
And it’s her what?
Blogiversary? What the fu..?
Does she? Oh I see. And she’s kept it up for three years? Blimey.
So is it something? You know, like for wedding anniversaries – the first one’s paper, that sort of thing.
It’s leather. Oh right, that explains the lederhosen then.
I did wonder.
And which one is Ritu?
Can’t you?
Oh! Well perhaps she got fed up and went down the pub.
No I was going myself a couple of hours back but when I went to get my coat from the pile in the bedroom it was moving. Well heaving actually. And moaning. So I thought it best to leave well alone.
You never know what you might uncover do you?
Look out!
My that was close.
It is one of the advantages of laminate flooring though, don’t you think?
Yes, you can clean up a mess like that easier than if it was on carpet.
Poor chap, I wonder what he’d eaten.
Oh, so you can – I didn’t see that among the diced carrot. At least it looks like it was thoroughly cooked. No, I never totally trust a kebab either.
Anyway it’s been nice chatting but I really think it’s time to leave.
Yes it is cold but breaking up the furniture to start a fire is a bit extreme don’t you think.
I know, even ‘Stayin’ Alive’ blaring out like that doesn’t quite drown out the sound of approaching sirens does it.
I wonder what Ritu will say when she gets back?

 

Congratulations Ritu and thanks for inviting us to your party. Sorry I couldn’t stop to help clean up!

You can meet her here https://butismileanyway.com/2017/11/15/the-best-things-in-life-are-three-blogparty-blogiversary/

Let Me Just Check…

As some of you no doubt know (and if not why not!? I’ve blogged about it enough) we’ve just got back from America. Well, not just, but recently enough for me not to have prepared any new blog posts lately  – that’s my excuse and I’m sticking to it. So here’s one that I did the first time we whizzed off to see Kate’s clan over in Huston back in 2015. As you’ll see there was a different guy in charge back then so I’m safe from abuse by Twitter if Nelly The Elephant doesn’t like this blog.

Pardon – oh, Nelly The Elephant? Trump, Trump, Trump. Really, don’t you pay attention to anything I write? I might as well delete all my previous blogs right now!

Anyway, as I was saying – obviously this time things went according to plan (yeah right, you know me too well!) but first time? Here is, Let Me Just Check…

…Yeah, passport, tickets all present and correct.
So, now I’ve just got to check in, on line – I’ve joined the technocological age.
What’s this? How many bags? I don’t bloody know, I ain’t finished packing yet! We’ll call it two eh? What’s the worst that could happen? Well they might not let me on the plane for a start. I better make sure there really is only sodding two then! I wonder where the passport is?
No, I’m not getting stressed.
Eddie Black said last night I ought to allow more time to get to Heathrow. He can’t possibly be right. Can he? Now what did I do with them tickets?
Hang on. What’s that muffled screaming sound?
Well perhaps I shouldn’t have packed Kate – I only wanted to make sure I knew where she was. That’s more than I can say for the passport and tickets! I’ll swear I had them only a few minutes ago.
She’s not happy! Apparently it was a bit cramped. That suitcase ain’t as big as it looks. Perhaps I put the tickets in there too. I’ll unpack it again and take a look.
Do I need those shorts? It’ll be hot. I’ve taken them out and put them back three times now. Can’t say I like wearing them, not really my style. But still, the passport may be in the pocket – I’d better take them.
No really, I’m not too stressed. I wonder where the tickets are?
She’s still going on. Honestly! I had to unpack her stuff to get her in the case. O.k. I was going to leave most of it behind  – does she really need more than two tee shirts! There are after all only two cases we can take now.
I wonder if she’s hidden my passport out of spite?
Thinking about it, who the hell wants to know how many cases I’m taking anyway. British Airways? The U.S. government? Barack bloody Obama? Perhaps he’s got the tickets!
There’s only twelve hours left to sort this mess out. If I say two cases, does it really mean two? Surely there must be a bit of leeway in the system! You know what they’re like in American immigration, I could end up on death row!
I swear I had my passport. I remember printing out the tickets. What was the problem with the old days when they sent them through the post? There was never all this cowing trouble!
NO I’M NOT FUCKING STRESSED!!!!!

I’m feeling a little bit cranky

I suppose your all feeling very smug, aren’t you?

Everyone back home in the UK I’m talking to.

Yes, you!

Enjoy your extra hour in bed did you?

I bet you did!

Me, being over here in the USA didn’t have that little luxury, did I? Oh no indeedy.

Normally I wouldn’t be too miffed. I mean you’ll lose it again come next spring won’t you. Oh and how you’ll moan then? Yes you will, because it always happens. The papers will be full of it. ‘What’s the point?’ ‘Only the bloody farmers want it’ ‘It’s all due to Brexit,’ that sort of thing. The trouble is that so will I, without the benefit of this years gain.

But do I get sympathy now? 

No, nothing. Because you’ve got an extra hour of coveted beauty sleep, that’s why. Not you of course madam, (let’s face it that’d take a damn sight longer). Sorry, dear? No nothing. We were just talking amongst ourselves, weren’t we folks. (I don’t think she knows actually, if I see her coming I cover the mirrors).

Now you can say it’s my fault for being on holiday. Blame me, yes it’s all my own fault. But I feel that I’m being unfairly penalised here.

What’s that? Why?

Because I’m not getting it back am I, that’s bloody why.

I’ll get on the flight home and at some point in mid Atlantic an extra hour will just get tacked on. It won’t be commented on or noted in any way. If I do happen to get 40 winks on the plane I won’t wake feeling refreshed and grateful for the precious gift I haven’t actually been given. I’ll just be jet-lagged and cranky.

Cranky, yes. A bit like now, thank you for pointing that out.

Let’s face it I won’t ever get it back will I? It’s not as if I had a receipt, could take it back to the shop and say, ‘this hour is faulty, can you please replace it in accordance with my statutory rights?’

And yes I take your point. On a long haul flight every minute does indeed seem like a week and by that reasoning I’ll gain at least eight years, but those are eight years of red eyed purgatory. You’ve just had one hour luxuriating in your pit. There’s a difference.

It doesn’t matter that you’re not tired, does it. You could use it constructively. Stare at the ceiling, mentally putting the world to rights. 

Have breakfast in bed for once.

That sort of thing.

Pardon madam? You’re feeling a bit unfulfilled yourself? Why? Well never mind, next time make sure the batteries are fully charged! 

Wha..? Her phone was flat, the alarm didn’t go off and she missed the whole ‘extra hour’ thing entirely. Honestly you lot! Mind you thinking about things like that perhaps having a bit more time we could even have – pardon – oh thanks a lot! Kate says I normally manage that in thirty seconds! 

Anyway, writing this has given me time to come up with a solution. 

I know exactly what to do now.

I’m coming back here at the end of March to not lose my hour then instead.

So stick that in your pipe and smoke it! We’ll see who’s cranky then shall we?

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.

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.

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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.

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!?