Can’t swim, water terrifies me – so going to live on a boat. #asmsg #T4US

Seriously! Although it will take a month or six to organise…

As part of the process I spent the past weekend at Crick canal-boat show. I’ll be living on one of the comparatively long but not quite so narrow ones – one without ruddy castles and ruddy roses! Traditionalists will loathe and despise me. Those posh folk in the equivalent of inland oil-tankers will look down upon me with disdain. Plus ca change, plus c’est who give a flying rat’s arse, eh? I shall be an inbetweeny.

The wet end of Crick Boat Show.

The wet end of Crick Boat Show.

For reasons partially detailed in my mini-bio, I have been domestically disconvenienced and surrounded by Catch-22 situations for quite some long time. However, time rolls on and some legislation that accidentally benefits me (for a change) means that I can now make a choice. I choose to disappear into a large part of England’s northern canal system.

Exciting decisions lie ahead. My budget covers a range of options from buying second-hand to buying new-but-requiring-completion. I can fit in a traditional narrow narrowboat, but living will be much, much easier and more pleasant for someone of my shoe-size in something wider.


I won’t be steam-powered! I will be powered by wind and by solar energy as much as is possible in England. I am already used to a lifestyle of relatively low power consumption. Some of the routes that I want to explore are tidal rivers though, so the power for the vessel will have to be diesel, and a decently-sized diesel at that. Fetching water manually, and a lavvy that isn’t connected to flush-and-forget drains have been part of my life for a long time, they hold no terrors or mysteries for me. I already know how to shower effectively in less water than most folk use to wash up two cups and a plate, and waking to find my nose has plunged to -4°C overnight is a not-unfamiliar sensation and no cause for panic.


Having my own space will allow the addition of a hound to the household. Preferences call for something sane and large enough to keep one paw on the throttle and one on the tiller during man-overboard procedures. On most canals (not rivers, not locks), “man overboard” procedures usually amount to “stand up; wade out”. It’s the locks and the rivers that worry me, for I am, at heart, a two-legged Pierson’s Puppeteer.

In lieu of roses and castles this beastie is more what I am aiming for…


with an interior look something akin to…


…but I’ll very cheerfully take whatever I can whip up and get…


and could very happily live in…


or similar.

I plan on reverting to writing on a manual typewriter, while sitting on my (cruiser-style) deck, barefoot and smoking a pipe. I shall sink even further into delusions of bohemian hippiedom.

After the show I have a long list of “eek! no way!” items, some “ooh yes” items and an even longer list of new questions to be answered. I plan on rummaging through them for a short while and then making the usual compromise.

Hutson enterprises is on the move again. Splendid stuff.

Of course, I will need a boat with a few bookshelves…

Strolling the country lanes, planning a ruddy #English #apocalypse

I was walking through the lush Lincolnshire countryside yesterday, wondering how best to turn England into a post-apocalyptic wasteland, when I was beset by the most terrible traffic problems. It’s not unusual, once or twice a week, to have to step aside to allow a tractor to pass or some errant “townie” to rush by in their Wazzock-Motors No-Brakes GTi 6×6 “people carrier” ATV, but yesterday I was faced with not just two carriageful horses but also a velocipedist and a pedestrian – not once, but twice!

Actually, it fed quite nicely into my deliberations, since one of the witless characters that I am in the throes of consigning to life in a de-populated England is to be a blacksmith. Moreover, a blacksmith hitherto and pre-apocalypse engaged solely in the business of making metal gewgaws and knickettyknacks, a blacksmith terrified of horses. Of course, post-apocalypse, his business is nought but the shoeing of horses…

The GTi of choice in post-apocalyptic England.

The GTi of choice in post-apocalyptic England.

England and the Eng-er-lish of course, being ruddy weird and a law only unto ourselves now that we’ve given back most of the planet, hold our apocalyptii a little differently to most. Other main characters are to include a farming chap, a country Vicar and a terrifying horde of pinafore-clad, flour-fogged harpies. I see no reason, no reason at all, why life following the decimation of more than ninety percent of the population should be miserable.

This work-in-progress is in t’early stages at the moment, and it shares a pipeline with two other collections of short stories, but it’s most definitely on the way. Provided that the traffic doesn’t keep interrupting me so while I am out on my plot-planning route-marches through the lanes.

The more customary state of the lanes...

The more customary state of the lanes…

Mind you, quite why that doughy-thing from Ghostbusters appears in the sky is beyond me.

Chin-chin, chaps.

Ian H.

NEW RELEASE: The Gamblers from Christoph Fischer @CFFBooks #thriller #mystery

The Gamblers - a #thriller from Mr Christoph Fischer.

The Gamblers – a #thriller from Mr Christoph Fischer.

Bored with the gardener? Personal trainer looking a little jaded? Fancy a new #thriller in your life?

Well, this one’s only a book I’m afraid, but it’ll still do the necessary if you combine it with your reading glasses, a long sit down and a stiff glass of your favourite falling-down juice.

The Gamblers from Mr Christoph Fischer.

THE GAMBLERS is the story of Ben Andrews a shy accountant who becomes obsessed with numbers and luck. When he wins the Lottery and becomes rich overnight his life changes, but not necessarily in the ways he had thought. Who can he trust, now that he’s rich? How should Ben build his new life? Still frugal and determined not to waste his money unnecessarily he unexpectedly falls under the spell of a charismatic and seductive Russian poker player, named Mirco. They share a passion for gambling but this fascination remains ambiguous for Ben. What follows for Ben becomes a gamble with trust, corruption and ‘betting on the right horse’.

The book will be released Monday June 1st.

Find the book RIGHT NOW on your local AMAZON and on that vile, mis-named, pestilential, troll-infested cesspool that is “Goodreads” and on Facebook among the photos of cats and of people’s lunches.

Christoph Fischer

Christoph is the one to the right of frame… ;-)


A short biography of a long man.

Christoph Fischer was born in Germany, near the Austrian border, as the son of a Sudeten-German father and a Bavarian mother. Not a full local in the eyes and ears of his peers he developed an ambiguous sense of belonging and home in Bavaria. He moved to Hamburg in pursuit of his studies and to lead a life of literary indulgence. After a few years he moved on to the UK where he now lives in a small town in West Wales. He and his partner have three Labradoodles to complete their family.

Christoph worked for the British Film Institute, in Libraries, Museums and for an airline. ‘The Luck of The Weissensteiners’ was published in November 2012; ‘Sebastian’ in May 2013 and The Black Eagle Inn in October 2013. “Time To Let Go” , his first contemporary work was published in May 2014, and “Conditions” in October 2014. His medical thriller “The Healer” was released in January 2015 and his latest historical novel “In Search of a Revolution” in March 2015.

He has written several other novels which are in the later stages of editing and finalisation.

Christoph’s WEBSITE. Mr Fischer’s BLOG.

The Gamblers by Mr Christoph Fischer

The Gamblers by Mr Christoph Fischer

The book is released on the OneTH of June 2015 and you can find the book RIGHT NOW on your local AMAZON by clicking on this electrical link (the bit where it read “AMAZON”). Splendid stuff.

We have no information regarding a release date for Mr Fischer. The Matron of the ward he’s in just shrugged her shoulders and muttered about “still eating the leather straps on his jackets”.

Anyway. Mayhap if you’re the bold and adventurous type you might follow the chap on Twitter or the Google+ (Google-ploo).

CXVI – A superb Yorkshire #murder #mystery #thriller @CXVITrilogy

CXVI - A Yorkshire murder mystery thriller.

CXVI – A Yorkshire murder mystery thriller.

I am writing this review in short, raspy, heaving gasps while propped up in a corner of my library. I look as though I have just gone ten rounds with Henry Cooper. I have used my belt as an emergency tourniquet around my brain, but I’ll need blood plasma and a stiff bucket of gin & it before I can fix my wild-eyed expression or put the boeuf back into my limp and bedraggled bouffant. My kindle is on the floor next to me, screen smashed and sparks flying as the battery dies. I didn’t do it. The dog is looking at me with his head on one side, wondering if he might need to book himself back in to the shelter before long, or perhaps the Betty Ford Clinic. All I did was buy, download and then click to read CXVI. All the dog did was to sit with his faithful head on my shoulder, growling if I was too slow to turn the pages.

My brain is a simple one, it’s the brain of an “artistic type”. My brain doesn’t wear a uniform or a laboratory coat or strut about issuing pithy orders in time of crisis. Think kaftan, think sitar music, think organic tofu on a bed of spinach steamed over de-ionised spring water, and you have a grip on my psyche. A grip! Hah – I remember having a grip of my own, vaguely. Now all I have a grip on is my handkerchief – and I’m chewing it. Read this book a friend said, it’s great, you’ll love it, it’ll be a delight to read something NOT set on some other continent.

CXVI - a Yorkshire murder-mystery thriller from Angie Smith...

CXVI – a Yorkshire murder-mystery thriller from Angie Smith…

They were correct on all counts. The book is based in Yorkshire, and it was a juicy, soy-sauce soaked delight to read a book set in England for a change. What they DIDN’T tell me was that the book was three hundred pages of murder, mystery, intrigue and with the rushing, the constant rushing about. Blue lights, no lights, people being followed, people following people following people and then, just when this undereconstructed vegan peacenik wuss-hippie thought he’d got it all figured out, the author (metaphorically) slammed him on the side of the head with a wet shovel. All I want to do now is shout out ‘But I’m a civilian’ and then lapse into tears and a pair of strong arms that have access to the medical trolley. Seriously. I struggled with the plot of Wind in the Willows. This book, for ALL of the right reasons, took everything that I had to give and left me with nothing to spare – especially for the hint of a blast of a sequel-building revelation in the final pages.

And that is exactly what a thriller should do. Splendid stuff.

I’ve looked at my notes. I’ve thought long and hard. The dog has checked my work and is nodding, using one paw to slide a crumpled sheet of paper over towards me. The heading on the sheet is “Things to not forget to mention”. So here I mention. The author’s writing style is free-flowing, the dialogue is natural. My hippie hind-brain detected no spelling errors, logged no errors in format. There are no icky sex scenes in this book. The violence, which takes the form of the murders, and while epic in proportions and scope, is never portrayed gratuitously. Grandma (mine at least) wouldn’t faint or need the smelling salts. The dog – who has a better grasp of these things than do I – tells me that there are no plot holes and nothing stretched beyond the customary bounds of temporarily suspended disbelief. The dog says that it’s three-quarters plausible police thriller, half whodunnit and one-third plausible Bond-esque international intrigue. Look – he’s a dog; you were perhaps expecting immaculate arithmetic? Just be grateful that he reads and reviews.

I commend to you one Angie Smith – the author who put the murders, the mystery and the thrill back into murder mystery thrillers. Now, if you’ll excuse me, the dog and I need to withdraw to the Zen Room with our Ting-Sha, the Dyson Ioniser and our happy-pills. Maybe for a six months or a year. Just until we feel safe outdoors again, mixing on the roads and the pavements with the underbelly, the overbelly and rump-end of human society.


Available at all good Amazon sites by clicking here.

Angie Smith

Angie Smith

Angie Smith was born in Doncaster and educated at Huddersfield University where she graduated with a First Class Honours Degree in Education and Training. After a long career in adult education, training and performance management she retired early to pursue other ventures.

​She travels extensively, and was nominated for an award for her knowledge transfer partnerships work, when she co-produced and presented a journal article at the International Social Work Conference in Durban.

​Unfortunately in 2013 she was diagnosed with breast cancer and following a year of extensive and gruelling treatment her desire to write was rekindled. The novel, CXVI – The Beginning of the End, is the first in this crime thriller trilogy.

​She currently lives in West Yorkshire with her husband, youngest son and two dogs.

Rumour has it that Angie has no idea where the dogs came from, they just moved it and settled down.

She’s also not sure about her husband.

Read CXVI here.

The Cat Wore Electric Goggles – I’ve got you (re)covered. #T4US #IAN1 #ASMSG

The Cat Wore Electric Goggles, by Ian Hutson

The Cat Wore Electric Goggles, by Ian Hutson. Cover Design by James,

We’ve gone green.

I don’t mean that gangrene has set in or that we have suddenly started using hybrid cow-fart power for the office.

No, what I mean is that The Cat Wore Electric Goggles has turned a shade of splendidly bilious blue/yellow, and now reflects wavelengths in the 495–570 nanometre range. Our Hex triplets are now #00FF00 and, should anyone be impolite enough to ask, we may be found in the vicinity of sRGB co-ordinates (0, 255, 0).

Green is us, with regard to the Goggle-wearing cat, we is green. Am green. Are green. Wintergreen. Green as grass. Seen to be green. Green for “go”.

A new cover is born.

While we loved the old cover, it didn’t say quite the right things about the collection that is The Cat Wore Electric Goggles. We needed a cover that said “woof”. We looked for a cover that said “rocketships” and “robotic dogs”. We found a cover that says “Victorian aliens tried mankind in the Industrial Revolution but then replaced him with orang-utans”. We found a cover that said “if you’re going to fake a Moon landing then be sure to lock up the studio after you leave…”

We found it from James, James of

James is a man of many parts, most of them broken or missing, and yet he produces a fine selection of covers for a cove to choose from or to commission. He writes a bit too. You can find James’s’s’s’s books here, and I recommend that you do.

The Cat Wore Electric Goggles is a book of many parts, and most of those aren’t so much broken or missing as curious and odd and worthy of a raised eyebrow (preferably your own, although if you have servants to raise eyebrows on your behalf, then kudos and good staff relations to you).


  • The Cat Wore Electric Goggles
  • One Saturday, Almost 2,000 Years A.D.
  • VTC = 1:1 +/- H times ATP
  • The Improvement Engine
  • One Small Step for Ma’am, One Giant Leap for Ma’amkind
  • The Unfortunate Fatal Incident at 7 AU
  • Tiger, Tiger, Burning Bright
  • Shall I be Mother?
  • The Especial Relevance of Cowpats
  • You fools! You fools! You insensible fools!
  • The Truth, The Whole Truth And Nothing But The Truth
  • The Almost Omnipresent Omniscient Monks

Do you see what I mean? The contents already look better in green…

Alien invasions of England; secret government satellites causing mayhem; insane COld War time-travel; steampunkish aliens manipulating Mankind; fake Moon landings; disastrous “first contact” in our own Solar System; evolution gone… different; how to sink the RMS Titanic twice; human crash-test dummies; viruses on the loose; electronic detectives and even a few monks doing strange things. It’s all in there!

And now, thanks to James of, it all looks so much more plausible.

Links to the book, of course, are over on the right…


Cover Reveal for Dark Shadows of the Past @AngelSefer (The Greek Isles Series IV)

Dark Shadows of the Past (The Greek Isles Series Book 4)

Dark Shadows of the Past (The Greek Isles Series Book 4)

A deadly conspiracy…
Stunning jewelry designer Christina Connors wakes up laying on a freezing hard surface surrounded by spine-chilling darkness. Realizing she is dumped in an alley next to a dead body, she searches her mind for answers of how she got there but it’s terrifyingly blank. As the fog lifts, memories of dreadful events come crashing down on her.

A secret identity…
Christina finds herself caught in a deadly game of conspiracy, murder, and vengeance. She must discover how to play the game while concealing her real identity as Sophia Rosetti, the daughter of Mafia lord Paolo Rosetti.

Love or betrayal…
Seductively handsome police detective Dan Mallory takes over Christina’s case and vows to protect the feisty enchantress. But when her real identity is revealed, the betrayal is mind blowing. Who is Christina really? Is she the innocent victim running for her life, or is she a deceitful charmer who stole his heart and led him into a conspiracy that could cost him not only his job but also his life.

About the author

Angel Sefer

Angel Sefer

Angel Sefer was born in Athens, Greece, and has studied and worked on both sides of the Atlantic. She holds a degree in Economics and divides her time between the corporate world and her true passion: reading and writing mystery romance novels, full of heart-racing action, suspense, twists and turns, and breathtaking romance.

Angel is an award-winning, bestselling author, a blogger, and a member of ASMSG, WLC, and several other writers groups.

She lives in Athens, Greece, with the two loves of her life—her son and her husband.

The Greek islands—alluring destinations that cast a spell on the visitor from the very first moment—are among her favorite settings. She has written a whole series of standalone mystery romance novels—The Greek Isles Series—each taking place on a different island.

In this series, dark mysteries mingle with sizzling romances, while the reader enjoys the virtual experience of visiting some of the most enchanting Greek islands. The impeccable beauty of those islands—where nature exists lavishly in hundred shades of green and blue, and centuries of Greek tradition coexist harmoniously with cosmopolitan activity—will steal the reader’s heart away.

Award-winning, bestseller Spellbound in His Arms is the first novel published in The Greek Isles Series. In this suspenseful tale of murder, deceit, and political cover-up, sexy investigative reporter Jackie ignites the fury and stirs the passion of mysterious police detective Michael. The action unfolds on majestic Corfu in the dazzling aquamarine waters of the Ionian Sea.

Bestseller Deadly Secrets is the second novel published in The Greek Isles Series. Stunning Helena and seductive Captain Dimitris confront each other—and make sparks—in this suspenseful tale of murder, deceit, embezzlement, and treachery. The action unfolds on picturesque Mykonos—one of the most beautiful islands in the sparkling sapphire waters of the Aegean Sea—and is supported by a steamy story of forbidden love.

The Heiress of Santorini is the third novel published in The Greek Isles Series. The startling truth about her billionaire client drives breathtaking insurance manager Alexandra over the edge but cannot quell her desire for sinfully handsome and off-limits Mark. This tale of non-stop action, suspense, deceit, and murder unfolds in Atlanta, New York, and on the awe-inspiring island of Santorini—a precious gem in the Aegean Sea that is still an active volcano with spectacular rock formations, impressive lunar landscapes, and breathtaking red and black sand beaches.

Dark Shadows of The Past is the fourth novel in The Greek Isles Series. Dazzling Christina is caught in a deadly game of conspiracy, murder, treachery, and vengeance while desperately trying to conceal her real identity. Seductively handsome police detective Dan puts his job and life on the line to protect this feisty enchantress from the threat hovering over her. The non-stop action and steamy romance unfolds in Atlanta, the Blue Ridge Mountains of Northern Georgia, and the island of Cephalonia—the fascinating setting of “Captain Corelli’s Mandolin” in the amazing aquamarine waters of the Ionian Sea. Dark Shadows of The Past will be available Spring 2015.

Links for Angel Sefer:





Google+ Page


Amazon Author’s page

W.I.P. Blog Tour: The Dog With The Bakelite Nose #British #SciFi #shortstories

#WIP The Dog With The Bakelite Nose by Ian Hutson

#WIP The Dog With The Bakelite Nose by Ian Hutson

A gennelmun by the name of Mr Aaron David has pressured, blackmailed and generally bullied me into participating in a “Work In Progress Blog Tour” – his website and blog may be found here:

Mr David, a notoriously #comedic writer from something called “The North of England”, was himself lashed to the WIP Tour gun-carriage and given several laps of the barracks by what may only be described as a “Christoph Fischer”. Fischer specialises in pulling the wings off fairies, in tearing the skin off slightly cooled custard desserts and in writing historical fiction, and his website and blog linger like the aroma of garlic here: WriterChristophFischer.yadda.yadda. With friends such as these who needs enemas eh?

Now the basis of this tour is to plug a little of one’s novel with a few lines from each of the opening chapters. However, I am still young and handsome enough to live in #shortstory land, so instead of this I shall divulge (squeal, blabber, sing like a gang-land canary) the titles of the contents of my W.I.P. collection, a collection what do go under the name of “The Dog With The Bakelite Nose“. What is this collection? Well, it’s a little bit old-fashioned blathering #British #Scifi and a lot of blathering humour and comedy – with some serious concepts thrown in as an underhand trick to see if oneone spots them. Is it serious? No, not in the least. Is it “literary”? I should cocoa. No, it’s intended as entertainment in much the way that stripping naked and riding a bicycle with loosened wheel-nuts is entertainment, in the way that waiting for an electrical storm, dressing in a long black cloak, carrying a scythe and standing outside the local OAP home, pointing a boney finger at the inmates is entertainment.

So. The contents… will probably include:

  • Woomera, we have a problem
  • The Dog With the Bakelite Nose
  • The Curse of the Mandarin
  • The Man Who Invented Extremely Wet Water
  • Practical Disaster Ltd.
  • The Maharaja of Mars
  • The Heinkel Bubble
  • The Cheshire Alien
  • Hindsight in Wartime
  • The Man in the Penguin Suit
  • Ms. God Moves in Mysterious Ways
  • The Perfect Crime Squad, Sweeney Todd

… and it should be obvious from this that I have far too many titles of the “The XYZ” variety, but then this is a Work in progress.

To explain further, in order:

  • The Moon goes a bit odd
  • Alien invasion of England is thwarted
  • Genuine curses are flung around by oriental types
  • I visit upon you a touch of eco-warriorism
  • The notion of women, children and even humans first in emergencies is examined
  • Mars is red, very red
  • Time-travel isn’t the fun that it’s cracked up to be in textbooks
  • Aliens – for once, being truly alien in nature
  • Weaponry, reinvented with love
  • Pavlov’s humans – does that ring a bell with you?
  • The obligatory side-swipe at god-bothering
  • Futuristic police work

So, when will this W.I.P. be ready? Gawd knows. Summer 2015, I hope.

Why is there a baby elephant on the cover of The Dog With The Bakelite Nose? Your guess is as good as mine; there’s no dog with a bakelite nose in the book either.

Nonimations? Oh yes. I do hereby and with Alice Aforethought (my stage name) nominate:

BiffRavenHill 1. Biff Raven-Hill, a Wartime Housewife with stout ankles and an explosive brain.

Biff is required by international treaty to have a website about her person at all times, and here it is: Biff Raven-Hill, old values in a modern world. It’s electric, and I know that Biff has books in the pipeline as well as books already all over the library floor.

Biff describes herself as 38-24-36, blackcurrant-blonde and desirous of helping old ladies across the road and inspiring world peace.

Biff’s hobbies are cleaning toilets, archery and translating ancient Mesopotamian tabloids and magazines.

Biff’s books may be found here, on the Amazons UK and the Amazons USofA.

WoodTalcMrJ 2. Mr Christopher Rose, a man ravaged by the effects of the passage of time and by years of Northern Soul applied directly to the spinal column.

Mr Rose has always had something in the pipeline since an unfortunate injury sustained in a small but hitherto perfectly formed Triumph Vitesse, and it’s usually a book.

Mr Rose never describes himself but fortunately, Police sources advise me that he bears more than a passing resemblance to that bloke who works in the chip-shop, the one who looks a bit like Elvis.

Tagged electronically, Mr Rose may be tracked via his own website here – Wood, Talc and Mr J dar de dar de dit dit dot com and there’s a book to be found on the Amazons UK and the Amazons USofA too.

3. I nominate anyone who cares to have a go! Just link back here please, give some detail about your W.I.P. and then, to avoid the bad luck associated with chain letters, nominate at least nine or ten modern “billion” other people to continue the chain. Or to pull it, if you have old-fashioned plumbing and no respect for the environment.


A serius epistemological qestion on gramer 4U froma puzled gammar Narzi

Shooting myself in the foot with a blunderbuss.

Shooting myself in the foot with a blunderbuss.

This is a serious question, and one that has always puzzled me. It relates to the increasing number of folk who consistently use your, you’re, their, there, they’re, lose, loose, affect, effect, its, it’s, ensure, insure and similar terms incorrectly.

What do these folk think when they see the terms used correctly? Do they cringe and wonder why most folk have no idea, or do they just not notice? Are they oblivious, or are they wilful?

11111 In England the overwhelming majority of motor car drivers cheerfully, thankfully, simply copy the actions of others and drive on the left-hand side of the road. They move in a clockwise direction around roundabouts, stop at red lights and screech off only at amber. The vast, if not actually overwhelming, majority will follow a crowd through doors marked “Entrance” and leave via doors marked “Exit”. The be-hooded youth (the “yoof”) have taught each other an entire, if utterly meaningless, panoply of strange finger-signals quite inaccessible to anyone of more mature years who may have a touch of arthritis or incipient carpal tunnel syndrome. Virtually our entire population move as a herd, stampeding towards their credit cards at the merest hint of the release of a new electronic toy. Damn it, millions upon millions watch the same television programmes, they go to work within a hour or so of each other, they come home in a mob and they all shop for food at ASDA or TESCO or HARRODS or wherever, buying the same oysters, drinking the same wines and wearing the same UMBRO tracksuits. If someone shouts “jump” they all, as one, jump.

Why then does this growing army of language-shagging numbnuts not also follow the mode in the matter of the very simple terms there, their and they’re?

Why has exposure to the [largely, still] correct environment of advertisements and product markings and magazine or newspaper articles not encouraged the theiy’re masses to simply follow, for fear of being seen as separate from the herd?

Carefully, carefull-ah, careful-ah hah ha ha hah...

Carefully, carefull-ah, careful-ah hah ha ha hah…

When such folk hear others in the asylum exercise yard saying “There are nuts over there, they’re nuts, let us go and kick them in their nuts” why do they never seem to wonder where the “are” disappears to, or how there/they’re/their to them seems to mean three different things, or why other people have three variant spellings of what they think is just one word?

I dunno [sic]. I’m serious though in my curiosity. What is the thought process? Is there a thought process? If they stumble across these words (and others) in isolation or without context, do they just guess at the meaning?

99999 Given the level of wax in most people’s ears these days it’s quite understandable that some of these errors have arisen with homonyms. Most people these days speak as though moving their lips, tongues and epiglottis requires some unthinkable waste of energy. The difference is surely obvious though on first glance at most FaceBook posts, so why is it not obvious enough to trigger the herd instinct?

Language is a code, and the more you bugger about with the rules the less intelligible the code becomes. As a certain gentleman once said on the radio during a time of some tribulation:

I have, myself, full comphidance that if all do their duty, if nothing is neglected, and if the best arangements are made, as their being made, we shall prove arse elves once again able too defend are Island home, to ride out the storm of war, and to outlive the menace of tympany, if necessary four years, if necessary a loan. At any rate, that is what we are gonna try too do. That is the resolve of His Majesty’s Goverment – every man, of them. That is the will of Parliment and the nation. The Bridish Empire an the French Re-public, linked togever in they’re cause and in they’re need, will defend to the deaf they’re native soil, aiding each other like good comrades too the utmost of they’re strengf. Even though large tracks of Europe and meny ole an fey mouse States are falled or wilfallin to the gripe of the Gestarpo anall the odius aparattus of Nazi rule, we shall not flag or fail We shal go on to the end, we shal fite in france, we shal fite on the sees and oceans we shal fite wiv groweing confidance an groewing strengf in the air we shal de-fend are eye land watever the cost may bee we shal fite on the beeches we shal fight on the land-ing grounds we shal fite in the feelds an in the stretes we shal fite in the hilles we shal nevva surender and evenif which I donot four amomentebeleivethis I land ora largepartofitweresubjurgated an starvin,thenOurEmpirebeyondtheseesaremdand garded by the BritishFletewouldcaryonthestruggeluntillinGodsgoodthymetheneworldwivallit’spowerandmitestepsfourthtotherescyouandthelibationoftheold oiiagv[o08ut4q0484nlgn[oa83u83nflanepi4iuuwpitndgih etcetera, etcetera, etcetera as the King of Siam once said.

[not forgetting, of course, the rising pitch at the end of what is not, in fact, a question, yeah?]

Ugly, innit? Lose the code, lose the structure and you lose the message. You might as well just put your hand on the cave wall and spit ochre all over it, because that’s the only way you’ll ever transmit a message to the future.

74735664564 Grandma matters, an if you fink it dont then all I can say is juhdfsgohrwojbege3kenc ewe.

All I ask is two fings.

Firstly, for the sake of my gnarzi blood-pressure, please just do your best.

Secondly, someone please, please, please tell me why seeing decent grammar in the majority of communications doesn’t seem to raise so much as even a mild concern among those who loose they’re mind when their writing.

Talk clear. Do right. Write grammatical.

E&OE, fnarr fnarr.

[Wanders off towards the horizon with a tear in this eye and a quite uncontrollable demonic chuckle rising in his froat.]


As the Seekers once so pithily and presciently observed, the carnival is over.

As the Seekers once so pithily and presciently observed, the carnival is over.

A bewildered bloke with a tampon string hanging down his chin #dentist

Ah, teeth. Tushy-pegs, the old ivories, the pearly whites, the fangs – call them what you will. Where would we be without them eh? Once upon a time we used them to chew on the sinew and gristle of woolly mammoth and wild animally things, these days we vegans use them to execute raw carrots and dispose of cabbage cadavers. Sometimes, in some humans, teeth can be a component part of some curious thing called a “smile”. I’ve never been a serial smiler. For one thing, I’m English and I know that smiling is over-demonstrative and just plain gauche. Smiling is something that foreign persons do, usually when abroad.

Reginald, smiling.

Reginald, smiling.

I have given smiles, on occasion, under duress. Just the right, thin smile at just the right, vulnerable moment can destroy someone without the need for fisticuffs. I have all of the necessary equipment, albeit high-mileage, and I can peel my lips back just as well as any chimpanzee. It just doesn’t feel natural though. Why bare the old gnashers in non-violent greeting or to signify approval when I can so much more easily raise an eyebrow or take a little of the cold steel out of my glare?

Anyway, I digress. Teeth and I have been together and in an intimate relationship since early childhood. We have seen a succession and a mind-boggling variety of dentists come and go over the years, from Army dentists who filled teeth at gunpoint to, lately although sadly, not latterly, a private practice in Norfolk where the carpets were plush, the music tasteful and the bills akin to international telephone numbers. The current dentist is one of necessity, provided very kindly indeed by the National Health System courtesy of my taxes. Frills and frippery and staff who address you as “Sir” or “Mr Hutson” do not overburden the NHS package, brilliant though it is.

About fifteen years ago I broke a tushy-peg. The uber-expensive dentist of earlier years rebuilt it for me. A while back the ravages of time broke the beast again and, even to my unprofessional and squinting myopically in the mirror eye, broke it beyond hope. Removal of the remains was the only decent option. An appointment was made. An appointment was kept – and this is where bewilderment crept in.

The appointment was at a specialist branch of the surgery, in what looked like a once-grand terraced house in a Lincolnshire seaside resort. I haven’t seen quite such organisation and efficiency since the days when I worked for MI4½ and circumstances required us to interrogate all persons with the surname “Smith” then living in the Home Counties. A conveyor-belt system without the conveyor belt, running at warp speed and timed to the highly complicated, multi-tasking second. To make more money, private dentists just pad the bill whereas NHS dentists must see more patients (the NHS prices are fixed by the NHS, not the dentist). In, sit, drill, fill, out – NEXT!

I knocked on the door and a latex-gloved hand reached out and pulled me in. Bang, wallop. Sign here, sit there. Hutson? The Dentist (caps intended) will see you now. Hmm – tricky one this. Sign this extra waiver indemnifying Her Majesty’s Government’s Dentists against any and all risks associated. Open wide – WIDER! – in with the needle. Go sit in the waiting room while The Dentist processes two other patients to various stages of their visit. Hutson? Back into the treatment room NOW – AT THE DOUBLE, LADDIE! Open wide… wide enough to dislocate that weak jaw you wuss… nurse – pin him down. Pliers, tug, crunch, crack, pull, yank (I had by this time retired to my happy place, cowering behind my trembling Corpus Callosum and thinking about bunny wabbits).

All gone, root and all.

Before I had time to re-engage wholly with my body and re-take control I found myself outside, on the pavement, wiping blood off my spectacles and wondering why I had a tampon stuffed in my mouth with the little string hanging down my chin.

Passers by were tittering. I tried once or twice, in vain of course, to point with a trembling finger at the brass plate indicating that I was stood outside Messrs Dentist & Co, Tooth-Pullers and Tampon Dispensers. It did me no good, you just can’t reason with strangers when numbed from the neck up and with a bit of string hanging out of your lips.

Radium Toothpaste

Radium Toothpaste

My lonely dilemma was of course, as I stood half anaesthetised out of my gourd on the sunny seaside pavement, should I remove the tampon from my face or leave it in? If I tucked the sting inside my wholly numbed mouth then there was every chance that I would swallow the ruddy thing whole, or worse, choke on it and become the stuff of A&E legend. If I removed it, would the cavern that had previously been home to a recently-deceased tooth of mine – of which, while it lived, I had been very fond – gush forth the old AB/O Rhesus-Indeterminate oxygenated bloodykins and make me look like some sort of especially incommunicative, thick-cheeked zombie swallowing the nether regions of a vampire? If I removed the little beastie what might it look like I was doing inbetween yanking it out and finding a public bin in which to dispose of it? Such a bin would no doubt be far away from the dentist’s emporium, opportunities for misunderstandings many and public opprobrium can take such bitter, hurtful forms. If I left the thing in for too long would the healing process subsume the thing into the fabric of my jaw, landing me with a stringy chin for some time to come? What is the half-life of wadded cotton?

Of course, with my decision-making faculties as numbed as my face, I stood there far too long, so long that I was in danger of being thought of as some avant-garde feminist human statue or as perhaps some catatonic escapee from some local nursing home. I have no idea how long I behaved like a meat bollard parting the pavement traffic until my lift mercifully arrived and whisked me away. Perhaps one of the hypodemic nerdles used for the injections was too long, and Mr The Dentist injected my brain-gland. Perhaps I was just in shock.

Now of course, until I can get one of those screwed-into-the bone replacements, I could only give the merest of smiles should the happy madness overtake me in some social situation.

Getting Even: Revenge Is Best Served Cold from @issyblack #murder #mystery

Getting Even by Pat McDonald

Getting Even by Pat McDonald

There’s a quality to the timeline of this book that you just don’t ordinarily see in other books, or in television series or even films. Murder; violence; intrigue: these sudden outpourings of action are all here – but so is a flavour of the real-world sequence, of the gaps between crimes into which all of everyday and not-so-everyday regular human life is poured. It’s a skilful balance, and it’s struck here well. As murder-mystery tours go, this bus takes in just the right number of crimes while leaving time for tea and reflection in-between.

Forget flashy, glitzy and in-your-face dramas. This is a book with more of an edge, and with deeper foundations. It is a book to make you finally replace the bulbs in the PIR security lights, to make you actually make a genuine effort to teach the budgie to bark like a Rottweiler, to make you think before you open your front door wide to the world after dark. Forget sanitised, everyone except the victim and the criminal live happily ever after dramas. Real life isn’t like that and neither is this book. Half of the characters didn’t live happily before, half of them will never live happily again and the remaining half just don’t live through the action long enough to be able to check my arithmetic. Professionalism is challenged, neat and tidy stereotypes of relationships are challenged and, in a realistic way, Police procedure is challenged just as it must surely be during each and every real-world day.

Getting Even by Pat McDonald

Getting Even by Pat McDonald

This is a book that will transport you to the roads and streets, the houses and nightclubs and even the Portakabin temporary offices of England. You’ll be mixing with plausible people, not with stylised caricatures and showy provincial or parochial offerings – this demographic is the middle ground, the modal ground, the larger portion of the bell-curve, the reality that is so rarely seen in the media. The crime hurts, it offends sensibilities, it’s painful to think about and the wrong people often get killed while the wrong people walk free. This realism, as much as laying the series foundations in this first book of the trilogy, is why not all loose ends are tied by the end of the book, why not everyone has a happy-ever-after ending.

The author’s writing style is highly readable and the plot builds itself as neatly and as solidly as a professional brickie builds an outhouse when he knows that the boss is watching. The formatting of the book is spot on – and you do get a lot of book for your money. The violence, while horrific, is not graphically described or over-played. The sexual content is minor, in context and tastefully written. While this is a book for adults it would also be accessible to a mature teen. Splendid stuff.

Pat McDonald on Amazon here.