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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, 16 August 2013

So, what the heck is 'nostalgedy'? Part 1


It struck me (and I know many people would like to) that you may be wondering what this 'nostalgedy' nonsense is all about?  This is intended to be a bit of an explanation.

I think the best thing I can do is to quote from some of the reviews I've been very lucky to receive.  For example, Gingerlily from Ireland put it like this:

"Its the same formula of gently amusing stories picking fun at everybody, but most of all the author himself... Its all very likeable and appealing stuff and very easy to read. Philip has this knack for finding the amusing in everyday things. As with the first one, it can be enjoyed with you feet up and a nice pot of tea and biscuits."

and Alina from Australia says:

"One of the strengths of this book is that you feel like you're sitting around the pub talking chite with an old friend as Phil reminds you of how absurd much of your babyboomer childhood and adolescence was."

In other words, I spend my time going over some of the embarrassing moments from my past in the hope that people might find this amusing, and they seem to!  The beauty of this is that incidents that may have been the cause of sharp words and tension at the time can, with the benefit of 20/20 hindsight, be converted into light-hearted stories.  Things such as this:

"Dad insisted on providing the turkey for this feast, which was something of a concern because Dad disliked doing anything in a conventional manner.  If he bought anything, it was always through ‘someone who knows someone’ who could allegedly get it cheaper, bigger or faster, or all three.  This sort of arrangement tended to lead to considerable uncertainty, which was not conducive to the peace of mind of my aunt and uncle, who were great ones for doing things properly.  Thus the scene was set for potential disaster.


As the days before Christmas gradually diminished, my aunt made repeated requests to know what size of bird to expect, but was always fobbed off by Dad, who probably didn’t know the answer himself.  Christmas Eve arrived and, as good as his word, Dad delivered a fresh turkey, albeit rather late in the day.  However, in a fit of generosity, probably brought on by the fact that Christmas Eve was Dad’s birthday, which he did like to celebrate, he had bought something that resembled a young ostrich.  My aunt had a relatively small kitchen and there really wasn’t enough room in there for her and this bird.  The problem was compounded on Christmas Morning, when, having prepared this avian monster for the oven (a not inconsiderable feat) it became apparent that it would not fit into the oven.  Only savage butchery reduced the beast to portions that could realistically be prised in.  Even then, the sheer size of the fowl led to the generation of so much fat that the kitchen looked like the morning after a riot in a chip shop.  The whole thing took much longer to cook than normal and the eventual result, despite my aunt’s acknowledged culinary skills, was not up to her high standards.  She was left quivering on the edge of either murdering my Dad or having a nervous breakdown, whichever was the easier.  Typically, Dad couldn’t see what all the fuss was about and was somewhat miffed not to be the hero of the hour."  (extract taken from Crutches for Ducks)

Or this gardening incident:

"I remember one night of shame, way back in the 1970s, when he and I had called in at the pub on our way home from work and spent a little longer there than was really sensible.  It was a warm summer's night and still quite light when we got home.  Mum had been nagging dad for some time to weed the top patch of ground so that she could plant out some seedlings she had been nurturing.  As we made our way down the entry to our house, dad said we should get on and do that now, as it would be a nice surprise for her.  Well, it seemed like a good idea at the time, as these things do when you have had far too much to drink and not enough to eat.  We set to, removing all the bits of greenery in this patch by hand.  It took quite a while, but we felt vindicated when we looked at the fruits of our labours, a nicely cleared patch of ground and a pile of green spindly shoots.  I'm sure you've probably guessed by now that mum had spent the whole day weeding that patch and planting out her seedlings.  You may also have guessed that we were not very popular for some time after that, although dad took most of the heat as he should have been able to spot the difference between seedlings and weeds, whereas my ignorance in that area was widely known." (extract taken from A Kick at the Pantry Door)

I suspect the key to it is that we've all (or most of us) done something just as silly at one time or another, and it's quite fun to be able to laugh at someone else's shortcomings.

If you think this is the sort of thing you might like to read, you might want to start off with the very first compilation of stories, Steady Past Your Granny's, which has the distinct advantages of being both short and cheap (bit like me)!