Going Home

Those of you who have taken the time to visit my website may recognise this. It started life as a radio sketch which I’ve now rewritten as a piece of flash fiction.
Whatever for?’ I hear you cry, ‘It was bad enough the first time!
Well I’ve done it for The Bloggers Bash competition, okay? Write about the royal wedding they said, three hundred words maximum they said. So here it is in three hundred words exactly. Well you know how pedantic I get about things like this. It’s called, ‘Going Home’ and I expect to get hauled to The Tower as soon as I press ‘PUBLISH.’ The last words I’ll hear will probably be, ‘Orf with his head.
It’s been nice knowing you.


A lone piper played, ‘Donald where’s your troosers?’ the melody skirled along the glen.
A single shotgun blast transformed the refrain into a discordant wail as the bagpipes deflated.
‘Philiip!’ Faintly against the breeze.
‘Wha..? Bloody woman! Who the hell does she think she is?’ A servant squirmed uncomfortably beside him. ‘Go man, chase them out as we discussed.’
Discharging spent cartridges and reloading, he watched the gamekeeper hurriedly depart whilst his wife approached from the opposite direction, skirt flapping above wellingtons.
‘Phillip, are you shooting musicians? Again?’
‘New headscarf dear? Haven’t seen you in ages; been Googling yourself?’
‘Musicians, Phillip!?’
‘Bloody racket. Mercy killing I call it. What do you want anyway?’
‘Didn’t you get one’s email?’
‘You know I’m not a Golden Graham.’
‘The term is silver surfer. We’re going home. Now.’
‘We are home you stupid…’
‘Not this home. One of the big ones. In London. And no pot shots at the tourists either.’
‘London! Hateful place. Besides there’s a corps of buglers in that copse, I sent gillie to flush them out.’
A roar escalated, rushed overhead and faded, chased away by two gunshots.
‘Bloody Red Arrows. Following us about, frightening the damn horses!’
‘Come, we have to pack.’
‘One’s grandson is getting married.’
‘Married! Is the filly preggers?’
‘Then what’s the damn rush?’
‘Must we?’
‘It’s expected. One has subjects.’
‘We need another war, sort the buggers out. We’ll be singing that bloody song I suppose?’
From Balmoral Castle the opening strains of ‘God Save The Queen,’ echoed across the grounds.
‘That’s the one,’ Phillip sighed.
‘Oh Lord, Brian May is on one’s roof again.’
‘Allow me, my dear.’
The shotgun barked and the chords died away.
‘Oh, good shot, Phillikins.’ she patted his arm affectionately.
‘One aims to please, ma’am.’


How did you start writing?

How did you start writing?

It’s a pretty standard question when you’ve just written your magnum opus, patted it on the back and sent it out to make its way in the world.
You may be quite justified in replying, ‘At school.‘ but let’s face it that may come across as a bit trite and the request for the information into the reason why you have behaved in such an obviously crazy manner is usually genuinely asked.
And so, when the subject is raised, I normally bite my tongue and answer, ‘Oh I’ve always written,‘ as if that explains everything.

It doesn’t.

The truth, as it is so often, can be quite painful.
I have genuinely ‘always written.
But – and here’s the rub – not seriously.
Not with a goal of being a published ‘author.
Surely I could never aspire to be anyone so grand.
I’d written rhymes about work colleagues for a laugh. Indeed, so amusing were these ditties that I was once banned from the works canteen – for life. Something to do with slicing the gravy as I recall.
I scribbled a few short stories, entered them for competitions convinced that the arrival of the winners acknowledgement would be only a matter of time and, once that time had expired, railed against the judges for their obvious lack of taste.
So yes, I’d always written.
And I’d always wished that I could write without other things getting in the way, the mundane day to day chores, the job, the bare necessities of life – if I may nick the lyric of a song.
Until one day those bare necessities turned around and gave me a kick.
Not subtly, but a swift hard kick right where it hurts.

My wife of thirty four years died.
She collapsed on Christmas Day and by Boxing Day her brief visit to this mortal coil was over.
Two weeks later my father lost his battle with cancer and joined her.


That’s a good way to put it.
Not entirely accurate, but as good as any to sum up something that cannot adequately be described.
And sometimes, once life has given you that kick it considers itself to be the gift that just likes to keep on giving.
Eight months later I had a heart attack.
And a quadruple bypass.
And a collapsed lung.
And an epiphany.
Here I am at fifty eight, what am I meant to do with my life?

I stopped work.
I wrote.
Eight months later my first book was published.
O.k. self published if you want to be precise, not traditionally so, but let’s not get precious about that trifling difference. I had just had a lesson that hanging around for an agent, a publisher, or any sort of opportunity was not a luxury I might allow myself to take. Time is after all linear, we are not allowed to get off for a coffee and a quick puff on a Camel, however politically incorrect that may be.

‘DOGNAPPED!’ is a children’s book. It’s in the final of The People’s Book Prize 2017 here in the U.K. You will vote for it come May won’t you? Thanks.

It’s about my dog Misty and her mates, cast adrift on a canal boat with a reluctant puppy. Apparently adults love it as much as the kids, but I won’t tell on you when you start giggling, so don’t worry about that.




‘IN THE DOGHOUSE!’ is due for release before Christmas – and a cracking little stocking filler it will be.

‘ON THE DOG WALK!’ is due next May – purposely in time to remind you to vote for ‘DOGNAPPED!’

There are plans for audio books for all three.
There’s a stage play to be performed next year – a political satire.
There’s a period radio drama if anyone would like to produce it.
There’s a comedy sci-fi novel to have the finishing touches applied.                               There’s also a blog to attend to – in case you hadn’t noticed.

Three months ago I married a wonderful lady.
There’s so much more to come now I’ve learnt to kick life back.

Oh! How did I start writing?
I guess I’ve always written.

How about you?

Yes – it was a bloody good wedding…

Well that was some weekend!

Can’t believe a week has gone by already.

Were you there?


Why not?

O.k., living on a different continent is not a valid reason I’m afraid.

No it’s not!

Kate’s daughter and family were here from Texas.

Yeah. That’s made your ‘sorry I was on a field trip in Antarctica,‘ excuse look a bit feeble, hasn’t it?

Never mind though, I’m in a good mood so I’ll tell you all about it. Get yourselves comfy. Settle down at the back there. Here we go.

IMG_0472We had a bit of a family get together on the Friday night, whilst we were setting up the tables and stuff in the big tent (sorry, Kate. I keep forgetting to say marquee)

It was great to catch up.

Then on Saturday morning the condemned man ate a hearty breakfast in the local Premier Inn (yes, I had been banished from home – not allowed to see the bride apparently!) with my uncle, cuz, Mrs cuz and 4 year old mini cuz Fraser.

Back up to room to get changed.

Forgot the hair brush, so off up to Mrs cuz to borrow hers for a quick flick through my thinning pate.

Yes you’re right, it was a good job they stayed there too!

Little bro in his best man suit picked me up in the merc he’d nicked for the day and presented me with  my very own pair of £2 sunglasses. Nothing like a mob wedding, huh! Shame the bow unraveled on the front of the car, but hey, you can’t have everything. It was a nice knot! That’s my big little brother in front of the car trying to hide the entanglement!13938404_340645452989890_6559908707990097971_n

Then we dashed over to Himley Hall.


Yes you’re right, that was the place where Edward and Mrs Simpson used to go for a spot of ‘rumpy pumpy,‘ as you so eloquently put it.

Kate turned up a bit later. Here she is with her son, also a Steve.


Yes, she did look stunning. I’ll tell her that you complimented her.

I said yes.

She said, ‘if I must.

The registrar looked pleased as we signed on the dotted line.

They played ‘Don’t Stop Believing‘,’ by Journey and we all walked out for some piccies in the grounds.

Back in Kate’s posh motor to the big tent.


Bit of nosh.

Lot of wine.

Little bro did a speech and nearly cracked at the end. Love you too, Steve.

I did a speech as well. I won’t bore you with it here.

Had a bit of a break.

Took Fraser to see Billy Whizz (see my blog ‘From Billy Joel to Billy Whizz,‘ if that reference has passed you by – you’ll like it, he’s cute!)

Back to the tent in the evening.

Bart put on a disco – thanks mate.

Me and Kate had a quick wobble round.

No, she  wouldn’t let me hold her bottom!

Gunnrunner turned up and put on an excellent live slot. Scared most of the non rockers off.

I even got on stage with them. Yeah, that’s me in the white.IMG_0350

What do you mean, you heard the guitar wasn’t plugged in! I keep telling everyone it was wireless!

Packed up after midnight and we all went home.


Did we what!?

How rude! Anyway  I’m afraid is for me and Kate to know! 😜

Yes. It was a bloody good wedding!