Saturday, 29 April 2017

Arnold digs himself deeper.

I managed to get a whole ten pages of my new novel this week. Arnold, my sort of hero, is trying to go places I hadn't imagined. So I've decided to write two books simultaneously. First I'm going to write it as I planned, and at the same time, as it begins to slip off into odd tangents, as all my books do, I'm also going to write that and see which is better at the end.
  This is a small snippet from the planned version. I'm not making him intentionally obnoxious, it's just the way he is.

Arnold finally got home an hour later, moderately hopeful that his luck was turning. Even Doris seemed in a good mood, throwing her arms around his shoulders in a rare display of affection. That she also covered said shoulders in a thick coating of something white and smelly did nothing to dampen her mood.
  ‘I’ve been so worried about you,’ she said returning to whatever it was she was preparing. Arnold hated to look these days and usually begged off eating, complaining of toothache or stress. It was those damned evening classes. knitting one’s own yoghurt or growing denim seemed an unlikely pastime judging from the company she kept there, most of whom wore crew cuts, sported bulging biceps and facial piercings, and that was just the women. He harboured a suspicion that it was a meeting place for lesbian terrorists. Not that he ever mentioned such fears to Doris who seemed to enjoy herself there. But if it kept her happy then he was happy. Lord knew that he had not done much to make her smile recently.
   He was fine he told her, ducking as an exceptionally large sheet of pastry almost engulfed her head.
   ‘Well just you see it stays that way,’ she replied in mock severity, and seeing that her attention had left him he slithered from the kitchen and upstairs.

Friday, 28 April 2017

It's been a while

I've been very remiss with my blogging of late.
    My only excuse, if there is one, is that my job is quite a long day and when I eventually get home the choice between rotting on the sofa whilst watching NCIS before going to bed almost as early as I did when I was a child, or blogging, has been won by my age.
    Now that's no excuse and I know it, so from now on I'm going to start again.
    I have been writing but even my usual 5k words per day that I usually finished comfortably before my year off has been difficult to resume. It might be because I'm writing in a completely new genre for me, but this time I'm going to stick to my plan and not just write anything that comes into my head. It's always served me well in the past. This time I'm determined. And when I get to the end of the novel if I don't like it then at least I'll have tried.

    Back tomorrow when I've rested my poor old bones, and as this is a bank holiday weekend then I'll have another day to do some serious writing/blogging.
    You have been warned.

Saturday, 22 April 2017


Here's a little note I got from some company of which I've never heard. How they got my name I'll never know, but I wonder if people really fall for this nonsense.

Hi Roger,

I'm on the customer success team here at ******, and I work closely with our recruiting team to help find the right candidates for jobs.

We have several hiring managers looking for skills that match your background, but we do not have updated information about you.

It's like saying we have a job just for you. Er what do you do exactly????????

Monday, 17 April 2017

Meet Arnold Pratt.

I think I'm beginning to get an idea of my new character's sense of humour. Obviously this is only the first draft but here's a snippet of him.
    His visitor was not a very impressive man. Truth be told he was quite the opposite. About thirty years old, his suit was rumpled and, Arnold noticed, torn in a couple of places. Jet black hair had been carefully slicked over a prematurely balding head and a mournful hollow-cheeked face gazed mournfully at him for a moment. It was then, that ignoring the pain as he moved his eyes, Arnold saw that the man’s face was scratched and his left hand was bandaged, and not very recently as the white gauze was grey and in some places distinctly black.
    ‘I see that you’re awake.’ The man had a distinct midlands accent. Was the pointless comment to give him time to think of something intelligent to say?
    ‘Apparently,’ Arnold said, already disliking the stranger.
    Spying a chair filled with Arnold’s bag and clothes the man gently deposited them on the floor and sat down. Arnold decided to have some fun with the man, if for no other reason than because he was bored, and pain always made him flippant. It replaced anger which always got him into trouble.
    ‘And who are you?’ He decided not to look at the man again; it hurt too much and it was time for the other to do the work.
    ‘You can call me Ron,’ said the man with a groan as his bandaged hand hit the wooden arm rest of the very low chair which Arnold could no longer see as it was lower than the level of his bed, which itself seemed to have been designed by the Marquis de Sade. He remembered that from the last time he’d been in hospital, and the bruises the rigid frame had left on him. ‘We need to talk,’ said the now disembodied Ron giving up the fight with the chair and struggling to his feet, an action which caused him considerable pain if the realistic groans were anything to go by.
    ‘Are you from the Inland Revenue?’ demanded Arnold just for something to say. After all it was only the beginning of the new tax year and provided he deposited something with the blood suckers before December they really had nothing to charge him with.
    ‘Ronald Jenkins,’ said the man now appearing before his eyes, his face even paler now. ‘And I don’t work for the Inland Revenue.’ Arnold began to tire of this. He was sore, he was confused and the anger he had meant to feign was now real.
    ‘And what do you want from me? If you think I’m going to pay the owner of that crappy warehouse then you can think again. It was the damn boxes that fell on me. All I was doing was guarding the place. If people can’t stack boxes properly then I might just consider suing the man who owns it. And if you’re his solicitor then you can go and tell him to get stu...’
    The man held up his hand, the bandaged hand; the movement obviously causing him pain because he instantly dropped it where it fell against his leg, clearly causing him even more pain for with a jerk and muffled swear word he held it back up, obviously not sure where to put it.
    ‘No, Mister Pratt, I don’t work for the owner of the warehouse, I work...’
    Well if you don’t work for him why did you tell me you did? And if he’s getting some ambulance chaser to work for him you can tell him from me that...’
    ‘Mister Pratt, please.’ Ron’s eyes bulged with either agitation, frustration or fear. Or perhaps all three. But Arnold was not finished yet. '
    ‘And you “No win, no fee” wallahs aren’t going to get a penny out of me. You wait till I get the Health and Safety people onto this. I reckon they might do some suing of their own.’ Well in the swing of it now Arnold opened his mouth to begin the next round but was prevented from saying another word by the return of the nurse.
    ‘Are you upsetting my patient? Because if you are you can leave. And you have to leave, anyway,’ she announced with malicious relish, ‘because visiting hours are over.’ She stood before him, magically grown with her fury and as if afraid that the now wavering bandaged hand was about to strike her, pushed it rudely to the side, provoking a howl of agony from the man who opened his mouth to speak, or to shout but again was prevented by the nurse’s other hand. Maybe she was trained in martial arts for a second later she had spun him around and using his good arm for leverage hustled him from the room. From the outside the outraged voice of his visitor was easily overpowered by the nurse promising to fetch the security people and have him thrown off the grounds. And no she didn’t want to see his ID and if he pulled anything else out his his pocket she would get the police to bang him up.
    ‘He’s gone,’ she said, returning to the room, once more magically shrunk to her previous size. ‘I’ll tell the security to keep an eye on him and if he comes back he’ll be sorry.’ She seemed to be enjoying herself, perhaps someone else had been annoying her and Ronald Jenkins, whoever he was, just happened to be the the brunt of her wrath. ‘Do you want something to eat? It ranges from absolutely horrible to just eatable.’ Arnold smiled at a kindred spirit, but shaking his head thanked her.
    ‘Can I go in the morning?’ he said. The bed was no hurting him more than his bruises.
    ‘You can go now if you like. Your body came back clean, or rather,’ she smiled, ‘your body scans came back clean. You’ll be in pain for while but you’re fine.’ That was enough for Arnold.

Sunday, 16 April 2017

He refuses to die.

I reluctantly went to the stables today for want of something even remotely interesting to do.
    This time last year Leaping Louis aka limping Louis was ready to drop, or just as ready for the vet to do him in. It would have been a mercy and my daughter promised that she wouldn't let him suffer.

    Today he almost flattened me in his haste to eat the enormous swede I bought for him, and then galloped round the field like a foal before rolling on his back like a nutcase, but of course only in the filthiest, muddiest part of the field. He's a new horse. Maybe I should eat some of the stuff my daughter feeds him. Even the vet is flabbergasted and demands to know just what she's feeding him, as he's now well over thirty and should have been dog food years ago according to the ever helpful vet.

   Second part of the day was a little expensive. When my daughter (allegedly) drove her car into a kerb a few months ago she buggered up something and as a result I had to buy her a new tyre. Today that new tyre was bald as a coot so we had to go back and get another, only to find that Fiat had not fixed it because it was on warranty and weren't going to make any money out of it. Apparently she trashed the tracking, toe-in, camber and caster - I don't know what that is, either. I
'll be glad to get back to work on Tuesday just to earn back some of the small fortune she costs me every single time she draws a breath.
    Oh, and she doesn't know this yet, but Harley our tomcat just returned from a night on the town proudly bearing most of a mouse in his mouth. She's going to go bonkers if she finds the other bit in her bedroom - again. And if it's not there, I'm going to put it there.

Friday, 14 April 2017

Still four days to go.

It's only Friday afternoon and I've mown the lawn, washed my scooters, done the weekly shop and completed my daily 5k words on the new novel. So what am I going to do next? I dream of days off work but now the next four days Easter break is threatening to stretch off into infinity.
    My wife has threatened to emasculate me if she comes downstairs and catches me watching NCIS again, but I'll be damned if I'm going to the farm to feed and muck out those nags. Is it age I wonder. Does all imagination depart with youth?
    Ah, I've just had an idea...

Sunday, 9 April 2017

Is it a bit of a let down.

I usually begin my books with vulgar dialogue or something exciting, such as: "Interstellar war was not at the top of David’s schedule as he jumped excitedly out of bed."  - Three Hoodies Save The world.
Or "Transforming two hundred retired gentlefolk into silent assassins had been no easy task." - Old Geezers, The Gateway.
    So the opening paragraph from my new novel is a bit of a let down. It's not going to be like any of my others. This time I'm going for parody. It will contain black humour and quite a bit of swearing. I wonder if the first paragraph has an inkling of what's to come, or is just too boring?

"Arnold Pratt slumped before the television. Nothing new there; he always slumped, whether it was at home or at work, or even on the rare occasions he had enough money, or the inclination to go to the pub. Before him flickering mindlessly, was over eighty channels of pure drivel. A large portion of it devoted to sport. All everybody seemed to talk about was sport; especially football. Pratt hated football. Or would have done if he possessed the energy to hate anything. Hatred and loathing required energy; something which seemed to have deserted him. Deep down, he knew that if he calculated when his passion for life had gone it would bring him to a conclusion he really didn’t want to think about. For if he did, then he would have to do something about it. Something fundamental."

    I'll probably change it a dozen times before I'm finished but I wanted to build up to the fundamental part in chapter two. I don't know. I'll work on it.