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.

GOING HOME

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.
‘Phillip!’
‘Bloody Red Arrows. Following us about, frightening the damn horses!’
‘Come, we have to pack.’
‘Why?’
‘One’s grandson is getting married.’
‘Married! Is the filly preggers?’
‘No!’
‘Then what’s the damn rush?’
‘Phillip!’
‘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.’

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Radio Ga Ga…

Oh hello.
Blimey you snuck in didn’t you? I never heard a thing.
I was what?
Oh, miles away.
That’s true I suppose.
Things on my mind.
A lot of stuff going on.

Did I tell you that I was going to be on the radio?
Again, yes.
What do you mean, you’re surprised they’ll let me back after last time!
It wasn’t that bad.

Was it?

Anyway, yes I’m going back.
Dave Homer’s show like the last couple of times.
Well yes, he’s a very nice bloke.

Did you know he’s the real ‘Mr Dave,’ of Balti Dave fame.
No?
Remember all those curry houses down Lye High Street – his fault.
See, you learn something new every day, don’t you.

I wonder what he’ll ask me? That’s why I’m so distracted. Running through the possibilities.
About the third Misty book obviously, that’s why I’m going in the first place.
He had me there for the first two after all.
But there’s so much more.

What do you mean, ‘like what?david robertson
There was The People’s Book Prize last summer. I could tell him a couple of funny stories about that, couldn’t I?
No I’m not telling you what, you’ll have to listen in won’t you!

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Then there was the play wot I wrote. PM dot com. We could chat about that.
The Saturday night performance yes. Goes without saying really doesn’t it.

I never want to think about the Friday night again to be honest. All those fluffed lines. Waiting in the wings when I should have been on stage.

Wearing a Manchester City shirt – I still feel unclean! Well I haven’t got that many United shirts and my brother was the only person I know with enough strip for the cast. Just a shame he supports that mob from the wrong end of town! No matter how much I scrub myself…

What?

Oh yes, you’re right – I”d forgotten the stray dog running around the audience in the second half. Ha ha! I wonder where he came from? I wonder where he went?
Still, the Saturday performance was soooo much better.

It got a laugh anyway.

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And now I’m a professional playwright.
I got paid for it, so there.
I don’t think the amount is important, do you.
Oh!
Seeing as you asked it was ahem, ahem.
Pardon? Oh you didn’t hear. Never mind then.
Okay, okay! If you insist.
A pound.
No need to laugh quite so hard, thank you!

So anyway I decided to write another.
Yes, another play.
Well you don’t need to groan quite like that.
It’ll be funny.
In places.
No, I can’t tell you what it’s about. If I did I’d have to shoot you, it’s a secret see.
Don’t want anyone picking it up before it’s ready.

It’s set in The Black Country.
That’s as much as I’m saying otherwise Lenny Henry or Doreen Tipton might nick it.

Perhaps I’ll tell my mate Dave though.
Perhaps I’ll tell him that I do a blog.
What do you mean, ‘Where?
This is it!
Honestly!

Tell you what, I’ll mention your name.
You’ll have to listen now, won’t you?
102.5 FM Black Country Radio.
From 3 o’clock on Friday afternoon.
Or get it on catch up.
It’ll be a loff anyroad up.
Bostin. 😀

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!

Ho bloody ho!

Pardon?

Oh, I thought you’d never ask.
But seeing as how you have – and may I just say that I think you took your time, you could clearly see that I was suffering – the answer to your question is, lousy thanks.
Yes I’m off the scale of from one to wretchedness.

Oh, you didn’t ask before because I, ‘looked like I was going to whinge.’
Charming!
As if I’d do that.

Anyway, Kate asked me what I wanted for Christmas. I never expected this.

Bloody man flu!

Of all things!

A few pairs of pants would have been fine quite honestly. I wouldn’t even have expected them to be bloody gift wrapped.
But no, that was obviously not good enough. She wanted me to really suffer, so nothing from Primark thank you very much. Straight to the snots and sore throat department for her. Oh, look over there – headaches on special offer I’ll get him one of those too, he’ll like that.

Thanks a bunch darling.

And all nicely wrapped in a box of man-sized tissues.

What?
Well yes of course she had it first, but that was just a minor girly cold. It’s getting slightly better after a couple of weeks and yes, she did have a few days off work, but even so…

This is serious.

I’m at least twenty four hours in now and I have to tell you that I’m proper poorly.
Feel my forehead.
Go on, don’t be shy.

See, I’m burning up aren’t I?

I’m what!? Slightly warm!?
Well quite frankly I’m glad that you’re not a doctor.
Good grief I’m at death’s sodding door here.

Well yes, I can see how you might think that me wearing a tee shirt, two jumpers a scarf and overcoat under my dressing gown whilst I’m lying on the sofa under a duvet may have elevated my temperature slightly but I can assure you right now that I’m in the grip of a raging fever.
I may even become delirious, I may start raving. Please make allowances if I do say something inappropriate.
What do you mean, ‘how would I know the difference?
Charming!

Still, it was nice of you to visit.
Would you mind popping the kettle on while you’re here?

IMG_0478No you’ll need more water in than that – fill it to the top.

Did you ask why?

Because I’d like a hot water bottle and a hot toddy please.

Oh, oh, a bit more whiskey than that please. Go on don’t be shy.
No, just chuck the empty bottle over there.
With the rest, yes.
Thank you.

There’s a list on the side there. Shopping yes. If you wouldn’t mind. Not right away of course. When you’ve got time. Although I am running low on tissues. Oh, and I’m not sure if my note makes it clear but could you make sure to get the ones with the soothing balm. A bit gentler on the nose I find, well worth the extra expense. I think it’s important not to be too, shall we say frugal, when it comes to one’s health and well-being.

You’re muttering under your breath again.

Can you overdose on Lemsip?
I just wondered, looking at all these discarded sachets lying on the floor among the tissues. Perhaps I ought to switch back to Paracetamol and cough syrup for a bit to give it chance to get out of my system.

You’re what sorry?

Oh, you’re off.
Well thanks again for coming over.
Very kind.
See I didn’t whinge, did I?
Could you just make sure that the t.v. remote is in reaching distance before you go.
And the telephone handset please.
Yes, just put it next to my pillow there.
In case I have to call an ambulance.

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

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!!!!!