After a longish period, with not much happening at all, the last week has been a particularly good time for reviews of my 'nostalgedy...
Monday, 28 November 2016
On the second day of Christmas, my true love gave to me, a partridge in a pear tree.
Whereupon, I said to my true love:
"Shouldn't this have been yesterday?" and she said,
"That's unexpectedly philosophical! Should I reply with something equally gnomic like, 'Should now be tomorrow?' ?"
I summoned all of my wit and ready repartee and said:
"What?" Whereupon, she said,
"Stop moaning, I gave you that nice book yesterday, you know, that 'A Christmas Cracker' containing 21 hilarious seasonal stories for just 99p?"
"Yes, I remember, and you're sounding like a bad T.V. advert. What's with the feathered friend and the nascent arboretum?"
"Oh, it's traditional and I thought you might like it. If all else fails, you can always E..A..T it"
"Eat it?" I queried, whereupon the bird flew straight out through the open window.
"Now look! It took me hours to catch it and tie it to that bloody tree. You've know wossname, you!"
"Sense of gratitude is what I was trying to say. I go to all of this trouble to make things nice and traditional and all you do is moan about the price of things and frighten the wildfowl"
"Well, 99p is a bit cheapskate and what am I supposed to do with a partridge?"
"You can stuff it, as far as I'm concerned"
"I'd have to be pretty fast off the mark. It's over in next door's garden now."
"Oh, just read your book!"
"Well, it is guaranteed to get you Into The Christmas Spirit"
"Now who's sounding like a bad T.V. advert?"
Friday, 25 November 2016
This month's Derby Telegraph article features an excellent photo of Harold Wesley Ltd,. in its heyday (and at about the time when I was working there) and we get the chance to take a virtual tour of this 'dark, satanic mill' (well, not really!)
Derby Telegraph Bygones Article
Derby Telegraph Bygones Article
Saturday, 12 November 2016
Every year, at around this time of year, I promise myself that I will finally get around to compiling a collection of my Christmas stories and, every year without fail, procrastination overtakes me and my window of opportunity gets frozen solid by the Jack Frost of bone idleness. The barmy part about all of this is that I often find myself (which can be a shock if you weren't looking for yourself in the first place) writing more things in the run-up to Christmas than at any other time of the year. Therefore, as a consequence, I have quite a 'back catalogue' of Christmas-themed stuff, but I never do anything with it!
This year is different. So far, it's been different in so many ways that I'll be glad to see the back of it (except that I'm more than a bit perturbed about what next year might bring, and the one after that, and the...oh well, you get the idea). I decided that if I didn't compile this collection this year, then I might never do it, which I agree might come as a relief to all concerned. Somehow, I've managed to raise the enthusiasm to do it and I must admit I've been pleasantly surprised at how many Christmas-themed stories I've written over the years. In this collection you'll find a selection of tales about growing up in my childhood home of Burton upon Trent in the 1950s and 1960s along with an alternative version of the Nativity, which I call my AlterNativity, a take on one of those annoying 'round robin' letters that drop out of your Christmas Cards and, finally, a brand new Undertakers' story featuring my characters Archibald Thurble and Josiah Oakshott.
The overall aim of the collection is to try and help you to become In The Christmas Spirit, which is a state of mind that I find increasingly difficult to attain with each passing year. However, as I was wandering around the shops today, I noticed that we have once more entered the Noddy Holder and Roy Wood pension scheme and so I suppose we should all try to get onboard, or risk being driven mad in the process.
If you want to take a look at the book, you can find it here: A Christmas Cracker or check out the Instant Preview in the tool bar on the right of this page.