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Reviewing the Reviews

After a longish period, with not much happening at all, the last week has been a particularly good time for reviews of my 'nostalgedy&#...

Friday, 18 May 2012

More Bye Definition

Some more slightly odd definitions, continued from Bye Definition:

sofa:  An approximate measurement of distance

settee:  Received Pronunciation version of the popular glove puppet

tome:  To be at one's own house

nappy:  To have a propensity for taking short periods of sleep

nappy-rash:  To have a propensity for taking short periods of sleep in the outside lane of the M25

pullover:  instruction from the police if inclined toward nappy-rash

jumper:  description of one who has received a pullover

bathroom:  room that rarely contains a bath, as opposed to...

Ba'athroom:  room for the use of a nationalist Arab political party

bathroom tiles:  materials for drying oneself in a bathroom (RP)

skirting board:  the act of avoiding paying one's living expenses

pillow:  the mood engendered by finding that the aspirin have all gone and someone's put the empty package back in the bathroom cabinet

matchless:  as for 'pillow' except the mood engendered by those evil people who put dead matches back in the box

stoned:  description of someone who is quite fit and muscular in appearance

gnat:  item of headgear




Wednesday, 16 May 2012

Bye Definition

Spent some time reading the late, lamented Douglas Adam's and John Lloyd's (QI) 'Meaning of Liff' the other day.  This isn't in the same league, but I couldn't resist it:

Nork:  Mythical creature with immense powers of observation - "she watched him like a nork"

Cravat:  Noise made by frogs in public school grounds

Lariat:  Hat worn by Lawrence

Pepysshow:  Odd entertainment in which scantily-clad young women show men their diaries for money

per se:  Very affected pronunciation of the name 'Percy'

Carpet:  Small animal found in vehicle, usually on the parcel shelf. 


Scarf:  The answer to the question "What do you call a baby cow?"


Now find more of the same at More Bye Definition

Saturday, 12 May 2012

Jambalaya - the cover has landed!

With grateful thanks to Emma Sly for her sterling work, this will be the cover of the new book 'Jambalaya' due for Kindle publication on 30th August, 2012.

It’s a time of Civil War; of cowboys and soldiers, riverboats and gamblers, genteel Southern Belles and dark deeds.

Celany Garden had it all – big house, doting wealthy parents and not one but two devoted lovers. So why is she being pursued by kidnappers? What has happened to her maid, and where does an Army Major called Agnes fit in? Can Celany beat the law, the army, and an enthusiastic posse in finding the answers? Everything hinges on a flatulent horse called Thunder, a General who hates loud noises and a psychopathic Marshall with a penchant for torture. Gone with the Wind was never like this! 

If you can't wait until 30th August, you can get a sneak preview now at Jambalaya Prologue and there are a host of stories to be enjoyed at Steady Past Your Granny's and Crutches for Ducks

Sunday, 6 May 2012

Putting on the stile?


I'm currently preparing for my annual Walking Weekend with "the Lads".  That sentence is incorrect on two counts.  Firstly, my 'preparations' consist of the occasional 3 mile walk, when I remember and can be bothered to get my boots out from the bottom of the wardrobe, where they slumber from one year to the next.  Secondly, the epithet "the Lads" was barely accurate 20 + years ago, when we started this tradition and is considerably less so now.  My wife says that we bear more resemblance to "Last of the Summer Wine" with each passing year.  You will have to take a look at the photograph and draw your own conclusions.

"The Lads" - Barmouth, 2012:  from l to r:  Peter, Richard, Philip and Kevin (see Forty Years On)

I suppose the people who would be most surprised that I now willingly go for a walk in the country (albeit, only once a year and with a good deal of pub visiting thrown in) would be my cousins from Holbrook, Brenda, Kathryn and Frances.
   
Once a year I was sent to stay with my mum's eldest sister, Auntie Mabel, on the basis that it would "do me good to get some fresh country air into my lungs".  I had mixed feelings about this.  As a child, I was definitely a 'townie' at heart, never happier than when I was plodding the mean streets of my bit of Burton.  Countryside, for me, began and ended with the Anglesey Road recreation grounds.  Anything else was too foreign to contemplate.  My cousins, on the other hand, had always led an idyllic country existence in the tiny (as it was then) village of Holbrook.  We could not have been more worlds apart if we had come from different continents. 

In fact, to me, the trip from Burton to Holbrook might as well have constituted inter-continental travel.  It seemed to take ages in the days before dual-carriageways, particularly if we were travelling in my Uncle Jim's Ford Prefect, when we would have to set off back "before it gets dark" because (as we later found out) my Uncle Jim's night vision was not all it should have been.

When I was in Holbrook, I felt as if I had been cut off from the known world.  Nowadays, I actually pass Holbrook to get to Loscoe for a weekly night out with Pete (one of "the Lads").

Holbrook was ok as long as I didn't have to engage with all of that countryside, of which they seemed to have an obscene amount.  My absolute bĂȘte noir was 'going for a walk with your cousins'.  This wasn't so much because they really didn't want me dragging along behind them (although they didn't, and I could understand why) but primarily because this would involve muck, strenuous physical exercise and, worst of all, stiles.  I have said before that I don't really do heights.  I can stand any amount of width but height, as a dimension, is in my opinion overrated. 

It seemed to me that stiles were just another form of torture specifically designed by those in the country to make my life a misery.  Wasn't it bad enough to have to trudge over uneven ground, through mud and goodness knows what else, and with large animals of uncertain temperament staring at you, without being required to climb rickety wooden structures every 100 yards or so just, apparently, for the sheer fun of it?
I would love to be able to say that my opinion has changed over the years, but with regard to stiles, it hasn't.  Every Walking Weekend will see, at some point, everyone else waiting patiently in one field whist I perch precariously on top of some stile, legs locked in fear and desperately trying to work out how I'm going to get back down again.

I understand that Dartmoor is considering getting rid of stiles to facilitate access to the countryside.  Now there's a potential venue for our next walk!