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Someday My Prints Will Come

I don't know about you (well, obviously I don't, I'm not even sure who you are) but Amazon and their associates have the happy ...

Thursday, 4 October 2018

The 'Pictures of an Exhibition' 2019 World Tour!


Alright, I agree, as World Tours go it's rather limited.  In fact, it only works if you view the world as starting and ending with the East Midlands, which I know some people do.  Also, it depends on you stretching the concept of a 'Tour' to include dates that are months apart from each other (January - Derby, March - Nottingham, October - Walton-on-Trent, November - Ashbourne)  Nevertheless, it's the nearest to a World Tour that I'm likely to get, so...

I've dusted off my 'Pictures of an Exhibition' talk and updated it and now I'm taking it on the road again.  My thanks to the four societies that have taken the plunge and I'm very much looking forward to talking to you next year.

What's the 'Pictures of an Exhibition' talk all about?  Well, here's the blurb "Philip spent a lot of his younger days being urged not to make an exhibition of himself by his parents and yet, somehow, succeeded in doing so.  With a series of pictures and stories, Philip explains how he grew up (allegedly) in Burton upon Trent and lived to tell the tale"  You'll hear a lot of the stories that have featured in the popular 'nostalgedy' collection of books, many of which have previously appeared in the Derby Telegraph.

You can find out all about my speaking offer at Derbyshire Speakers Directory - Philip Whiteland  I've got just two more slots available at the 'expenses only' rate (actual petrol costs plus any parking fees) in 2019, after those have gone there will be a modest fee for any other dates in 2019.

Perhaps I should get some T-Shirts printed ☺

Wednesday, 22 August 2018

Arkwright's Tin

Do you do anything that you know, in your heart, is absolutely futile?

I don't mean such things as reading this blog, although I accept that there's a good case to be made for it.  No, I'm talking about doing something habitually which you know, full well, is absolutely pointless.  I'll give you a 'for instance':

In my wardrobe, underneath where my shirts and tops hang, there is a shelf on which has accumulated a variety of objects that I can't find a home for anywhere else.  This includes two watches, a portable Sat-Nav of considerable age, a variety of mobile phone chargers (most long since redundant) some cuff-links in cases and various other odds and ends, including a small pouch which did contain cuff-links at one time but which is empty now. 

There is a purpose to this rather tedious insight into my clothing storage arrangements.  Just about every time I get a shirt or top out of the wardrobe to wear, you can guarantee that it will sweep the small pouch, referred to above, from the shelf and onto the floor.  Each time, without fail, I bend down and retrieve this pouch and return it to its rightful position, even though I know full well that it has no purpose and will, in all probability, never have a purpose again.  I call this fixation a nasty case of 'Arkwright's Tin'.

You may recall the classic Ronnie Barker series 'Open All Hours' in which he played the misanthropic shopkeeper, Arkwright?  A wonderful piece of 'business' in the programme was the vicious action of the cash register, which intimidated Granville, his assistant.  The particular bit of genius associated with this was that, every time the cash register sprang open, a tin on top of the register invariably fell down, was adroitly caught by Arkwright and was reverently placed back on top of the register, despite the tin apparently being empty and having no purpose whatsoever.

There are other examples.  I've mentioned before about a saw that we inherited from a favourite aunt.  When it came to us, it was still contained in the cardboard sleeve in which it was, presumably, purchased.  Over the years, this cardboard sleeve became more and more dilapidated by wear and tear, until it evolved into no more than a folded piece of cardboard, which only partly covered the saw, but we still diligently replaced it each time we used the saw.  Only recently has it deteriorated to such an extent that we've finally been forced to admit defeat and put it in the recycling bin (the cover, not the saw).

I've also mentioned before about my mum's vacuum cleaner.  Purchased by my dad, at considerable expense from a very effective door-to-door salesman, it weighed a ton and my mum hated it from Day 1.  It came with a wide range of tools that could, allegedly, achieve a whole range of unlikely tasks, including washing the car.  I don't think we ever used more than a couple of these, and then only for the most mundane of purposes.  Nevertheless, the vacuum cleaner came, when new, in a box with all of these tools arranged around it in various cardboard tubes.  We kept the cleaner and tools in their original box and it lived under the stairs. 

Getting it out of the box was a tricky operation, given the lack of ceiling height, caused by the slope of the stairs above, and the considerable weight of the cleaner.  Every time that you finally succeeded in extricating the cleaner from its lair, the tools arranged around it, now deprived of its support, would fall down into the box, so that each time we returned the cleaner we had the tricky operation of putting the tools upright to create the space for the cleaner and then gingerly replacing the cleaner without knocking any of the tools back down again (which was near enough impossible).  At no time did it ever occur to us to abandon the box and original packaging and just keep the cleaner and tools somewhere else.

I can't believe that we're the only family to have these 'Arkwright's Tin' moments.  Do you do anything like this?  Please let me know, otherwise I'm going to have to apply for one of those specially fitting jackets and have done with it!

Just a reminder that all of the books in the 'nostalgedy' collection (which includes the sort of tripe you've just read) are at their LOWEST POSSIBLE PRICE for the month of August.  Like this:

Steady Past Your Granny's 99p

Crutches for Ducks 99p (usually £2.49)

A Kick at the Pantry Door 99p (usually £1.49)

Giving a Bull Strawberries 99p (usuallly £1.49)

The Things You See £1.49 (usually £2.49)

The Nostalgedy Collection (all of the five books above) £5.45 (usually £8.95)

The Things You See paperback edition £5.99 (usually £7.99)

In each case, these are the lowest possible prices that Amazon will let me set.  Click on any of the titles above to go straight to the relevant Amazon product page.

If you want to augment your holiday reading, grab a bargain for the long winter nights to come or even buy an early Christmas present at a price that won't be repeated this year, just follow the links.  They will never be cheaper

Thursday, 2 August 2018

Cheap Phil's

There are many good reasons to buy a 'nostalgedy' book, I would humbly suggest.  Chief amongst these is that, for those of us of a certain age, there's none of that bother of having to remember which character is which or the intricate twists and turns of the plot, for the astonishingly simple reason that there are no characters and there isn't any plot! 

I would submit that this is a boon and a blessing.  If you're like me (in which case, you have my deepest sympathy) you probably find that you rarely have the time and/or inclination to read a book from cover to cover, which is fine if you're reading something that lends itself to dipping in and out but a bother if it's something that requires you to remember a host of characters and their recent shenanigans. 

This is particularly true when you're on holiday when you can easily be distracted by all of the other things on offer or by simply surrendering to the arms of morpheus in the warmth of the sun. 

What you need, in these circumstances, is a series of short, self-contained tales which will amuse but not tax the memory cells.  As luck would have it, I have the very thing for you and, wonder of wonders, for the month of August it will never be cheaper.

For this month only, all of the books in the 'nostalgedy' collection are at their lowest possible price, and this includes the paperback option.  Here's the deal:

Steady Past Your Granny's 99p

Crutches for Ducks 99p (usually £2.49)

A Kick at the Pantry Door 99p (usually £1.49)

Giving a Bull Strawberries 99p (usuallly £1.49)

The Things You See £1.49 (usually £2.49)

The Nostalgedy Collection (all of the five books above) £5.45 (usually £8.95)

The Things You See paperback edition £5.99 (usually £7.99)

In each case, these are the lowest possible prices that Amazon will let me set.  If you want to augment your holiday reading, grab a bargain for the long winter nights to come or even buy an early Christmas present at a price that won't be repeated this year, just follow the links.  They will never be cheaper!

Friday, 27 July 2018

Brace Yourself!

Every year, since we've been able to do so, my wife and I have bought Senior Citizen Railcards with the intention of "seeing a bit more of this country, this year", and, every year, just like clockwork, we realise that we're coming to the end of the Railcard's natural life and that we haven't done anything with it.  Panic sets in and we hunt about for possible locations for a day out, which will go some way toward justifying the expense of the Railcard in the first place.  This is a long-winded explanation of why, a week or so ago, you could find us heading out to the east coast for a day by the seaside.

Where did we go to?  Well, to a certain extent we were retracing the steps I've described in 'The Curse of the Jolly Fisherman' albeit with better weather.  I don't want to upset the City Fathers unduly, so let's utilise a cryptic crossword clue:

1 (across) Confused eg. SS Kens

 Yes, that should save any red faces.  Therefore, we were not going to Mablethorpe or Chapel St. Leonards, despite the undisputed attractions of those rival resorts.

It's been quite a few years since I've been to this particular resort as a destination.  I've passed through it and by it on numerous occasions but haven't actually aimed to spend the day there.  I can now understand why not.  Here are a few observations:

1.  I've Got Wheels!

It must be the mobility scooter capital of the world.  I have never seen so many in one place at one time.  Of course, there's nothing inherently wrong with mobility scooters and for some, they're an essential part of living a relatively normal life.  However, the majority seemed to be employed in moving the morbidly obese from one eating venue to another. What amazed me was not the number but the sheer variety.  As well as the conventional scooter there were also monstrosities bedecked with chrome and faux exhaust pipes that looked like miniature U.S. Interstate Trucks. Some sported trailers, in addition to the scooter itself, containing shopping or dogs or, on one memorable occasion, a full sound system belting out C&W hits.  Often there was a panoply of rear-view mirrors, in the manner of Mods motor scooters, although these clearly had no functional purpose because it is your role, as a pedestrian, to get out of their way, not for them to be aware of you.  There was even a Sinclair C5, albeit pedal-powered only, just think how differently it might have turned out for Clive Sinclair if he had just thought to add on an Interstate Trucker option?

2.  The Smell of the Briny

It isnt there.  We took ourselves to the end of the pier, which is as close to the sea (when the tides in) as you can reasonably get at this resort without getting your feet wet.  My wife remarked that she usually enjoyed the smell of the sea but that this was conspicuous by its absence.  Actually, it might well have been there but, if so, it was completely overwhelmed by the overriding aroma of hot fat.  Deep fried fast food being the principal diet in these here parts.  I imagine that, if you were a vegan, vegetarian or just someone committed to a relatively healthy diet, you would die of starvation here.  As we walked down to the sea front, the eateries were largely focused on variations on a theme of the good old English Breakfast, with small breakfasts, large breakfasts, sausage cobs and bacon rolls predominating.  Then, as we got closer, fish and chips became the order of the day with any number of venues competing to be the best in town (allegedly).  By the time we got to the sea front proper our nostrils were assailed with the dubious combination of doughnuts, burgers and more fish and chips.  Every possible nook seemed to contain a deep fat fryer and griddle and a queue of people eager to partake of something, anything, deep-fried.  There wasnt a lettuce leaf or a vegetable in sight.  My wife expressed an interest in pizza and I told her that she was probably being wildly optimistic, which proved to be true.  We settled for fish and chips.

3. It's a State of Mind

Clearly the resort meets a need, otherwise it wouldn't exist in the form that it does.  As I was wandering along, I tried to imagine just what state of mind you would need to adopt n order to get the most out of the place and I came to the conclusion that you would have to be one of three things:

a)  Intoxicated

b) A child, or

c) Intoxicated and childish

As I've been all three of these at various points in life, I can see the possibility of an attraction and I'll bet it gets interesting late at night when deep-fried anything coupled with a go on the fairground rides, always seems like a good idea.

Overall, it's not the resort's fault that it didn't find favour with me on this particular day.  At another time in life I might well have greeted it like a long-lost friend and looked on it as akin to Disneyland.  Perhaps I should view it in the same manner that I might view an attractive but outrageously clad young lady - as someone who might well have been a dream come true 40 years ago but wouldn't fit the bill, now?

It would seem that we were not alone in our judgement, either.  Having arrived at 13.00 with the plan to head home atound 19.00, we came to the conclusion that we had exhausted the resort's charms by 15.30 and rushed to catch the 16.10 train home.  We were met by a long queue of like-minded souls which threatened to fill the two-carriage train back to Nottingham. 

We left the resort to the whir of mobility scooters and the enjoyment of Groups (a) (b) and (c) and headed back to the relative tranquility of the East Midlands.

Wednesday, 11 July 2018

We Need To Talk!

I seem to have been going through a phase in which I've been giving up quite a few things that used to occupy my time and now I'm left with quite a bit of spare capacity and no real idea of how I might usefully use it.  After quite a bit of mental arm-wrestling, I've come to the conclusion that a lot of the things that I could do, I don't actually want to do, if I'm being honest with myself, so there seems little point in setting myself up to fail (yet again).

I've tried to analyse what I've enjoyed about the various things I've done in my life, and what I haven't and I've come to the conclusion that what I've really enjoyed (and what I miss the most) is the performance aspect.  When I was a lecturer, I got a real kick out of talking to the class and trying to come up with entertaining ways of conveying information about a subject (HR) which can be quite tedious at times.  I may not have always succeeded, but I did enjoy trying!

I had a sort of 'Damascene' moment regarding this at a 'Poetry and Puddings' evening the other week.  Each member of the audience was encouraged to read a poem of some sort before and after the main event of descending on the huge range of delicious puddings on offer.  I was chuffed to bits that my choice of 'The Lion and Albert' went down really well and caused quite a few chuckles.  I realised that this is what I had missed.

When my first book ('Steady Past Your Granny's' - available as a Kindle edition and soon to be available again in print) came out, I was pleased to be invited to give a talk or two based on the content.  The problem was that I hadn't really done any research into what people expected from a 'talk' of this nature and so I just winged it.  As such, I must offer my profound apologies to the massed ranks of the Burton Civic Society who were the first to suffer.

It was a very well-attended talk and the front row was largely comprised of my friends and family who had dutifully turned out.  I didn't have a script for my contribution, just a list of topics I wanted to cover.  This would be fine except for the fact that, when I'm thinking furiously about what I'm trying to say, I have a tendency to pace and I spent the whole session striding up and down the front row so that they began to resemble the crowd at Centre Court during a particularly energetic rally.  I had no visual aids, so the audience were reduced to watching my stroboscopic image darting madly from side to side as I droned on.  It would be fair to say that I was received politely, if not enthusiastically and I was disappointed to note that one or two of those present had actually dropped off.

After that debut, it was somewhat of a surprise to be invited to do the whole thing again but this time as an after-lunch talk to the Rotary Society in Burton.  You would think that I would have learned my lesson from the previous performance but...I still had no visual aids and no script.  The only saving grace was that, pinned in by my fellow diners on the top table, I couldn't stride about like a mad thing.

The third and final time I was asked to give a talk was to Burton's Probus Society.  This time I decided I would try to learn from my mistakes.  Winging it was clearly not my forte.  I prepared my talk in advance and rehearsed it night and day.  I also took the precaution of preparing a PowerPoint presentation of some appropriate pictures which acted as an aide-memoir to me and gave the audience something else to look at, other than me.  This time I managed to resist the temptation to stride about manically, I stuck to the 'script' and managed to get some laughs.  Admittedly one person was sound asleep by the end of it but, given my previous record, I deemed that a success.

That marked the end of my appearances on the 'talks' circuit.  Pressure of work and other commitments meant that I couldn't really devote any time to it and, to be fair, I wasn't exactly besieged by invitations.  I put my PowerPoint projector to one side and that was the end of that.  Except that now, five books later, I'm hear with quite a few stories to tell and I think I've got some better ideas about how I might tell them.  Obviously, I've still got a lot to learn but the only way to do that is to practice, so I'm putting myself back on the market, as it were. 

If you're in Staffordshire or Derbyshire and you think that you might be interested in hearing what I've got to say, perhaps we could give it a go?  You may have to nail my feet to the floor, of course ;-)

Thursday, 5 July 2018

The Column Inches...Away!

Some of you (not many, I'll give you, but some of you) may have been wondering what has happened to the monthly Derby Telegraph column in which I have been rambling about my somewhat chaotic start to my career history?  For the record, the last column appeared in April and it was this one 'The End of the Paper Trail'.

The simple answer is that the Derby Telegraph, in their wisdom, have changed the format of their Bygones page so that, as from 1st May, the daily page is no more and has been replaced by a 250 word insert with a photo.  The Bygones supplement, published each Monday, carries the longer articles written by contributors like myself but, as it's only five pages long, it's somewhat restricted as to content.  As all the former monthly contributors are now funnelled through this supplement, and two pages of it are given over to a local history article by a local historian and one page to a sort of 'On This Day in History' type article, there really isn't a lot of scope for one of my articles to appear, other than once in a blue moon.  The end result is that an unbroken series of monthly articles, stretching back more than ten years, appears to have come to a rather unfortunate end.

I can't complain because I've had a really good run and I can clearly recall the joy of getting my first article in print, never expecting to still be churning out memories from my early years ten years later.  Still, I'll miss the discipline of producing a monthly article and the memories it evoked.

Thanks to all of you who have taken the time to read about my exploits and if you know of anyone who is in need of a columnist - I'm cheap and available ;-)

Sunday, 27 May 2018

It's hot! Get yourself a 99 (p special)

For this UK Bank Holiday week only, the newest book in the 'nostalgedy' series has been reduced from £2.49 to just 99p!

What have people said about 'The Things You See...'

"I have read and enjoyed all of Philip Whiteland's books and this book was no exception. But a word of warning. Do not read this book in bed if you don't sleep alone. I got in big trouble because I was laughing so much I woke up my husband. He was not impressed. Especially watch out for the kick towards the end at the Post Office. I shall say no more, other than ENJOY!"  Jonty

"Philip has done it again with The Things You See. I love all Philips books and this is particularly special to me as it mentions a place I once worked. It gives so much detail I am almost back at my desk in the late 70s. Philip's books/kindles are just the job to cheer you up.

Keep writing Philip."  Quintella

"As usual Philip pushes those memory buttons long switched off. His humour makes it a local book that must be read. Off now to finish the last few pages."   Amazon Customer

" made me chuckle and successfully took me back in time to wonderful friends and events and a happy life style most of which I had all but forgotten - so well done and thank you..."  KLB

"....I'm thoroughly enjoying it!  It's amazing how much you forget about the past.  Happy times."  LW.