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Another Brilliant Review for the Christmas Compendium!

I'm really pleased that people seem to like the new collection of seasonal stories 'A Christmas Cracker ' .  This latest 5 sta...

Wednesday, 30 September 2015

Don't Give Me That Old Soap!

Have you ever found yourself thinking "Oh, please don't say that, it'll only make the worst possible thing happen!"  If so, you may well be suffering from Soap Syndrome.

You see, I have this theory that we have become so conditioned by Soaps that we have come to believe that the way they work is actually how real life works.  You know how it is in Soaps, if there's a major celebration under way, somewhere, then you can guarantee that some appalling tragedy is taking place at exactly the same time only yards away thus handily countermanding any possible feelings of joy and optimism you might have been harbouring.

The same is true of any expressions of hope and optimism by one of the characters.  We all know if someone says "You know, I think things are really starting to go our way", that's the cue for despair, death and despondency to come winging their way in, almost as soon as the words are out of their mouths.

I was reminded of this when listening to The Archers, yesterday.  For those not of a U.K. persuasion, The Archers is a long-running radio series which is alleged to be "an everyday story of country folk" although I have to say that I live in the country these days and if it was like this I think I'd move to the Bronx.

Anyway, the aged mother of one of the character's (Heather) was travelling down in the car of her daughter (Ruth) from the North-East of England to her daughter's farm in the Midlands.  You knew the way things were going when she said "I've got so much to look forward to...", which is the soap actor's equivalent of saying 'can I have my P45 please?'.  Apparently she was delighted to finally be leaving the care home she had been staying in, and issued the fateful words "Eeh pet, I'm really looking forward to waking up, in me own bed, at Brookfield".  Well, she might as well have put a gun to her head there and then and saved five minutes of programme time.  I said to my long-suffering wife, " Well, that's it, she's going to snuff it" (I have a way with words).  Sure enough, Ruth was on the phone to David (her equally long-suffering husband) "Daaaavid*, it's me mum, I can't wake her up".  Two minutes later, David had rushed to the hospital but it was too late...Heather had gone.

I'll bet the actors set off for the Job Centre as soon as they see anything remotely optimistic in their scripts, knowing it will only be a matter of time.

* Regular 'Archers' fans know that Ruth's pronunciation of her beloved's name gets more elongated as the years go by.

This blog post has since added a bit of weight and become a fully-fledged column in the Derby Telegraph

Monday, 28 September 2015

Just Dandy!

We were invited to a Black Country Night Out last weekend, and I must admit we approached it with a degree of trepidation.  In my mind, I had a picture of a Dudley-based Colin Crompton type, all flat cap and whippet with added faggots and peas.  The show was in aid of SPEAR, the Sue Pike Equine Animal Rescue charity which does such good work rescuing neglected and abandoned horses and ponies but also other livestock from goats to pheasants.  A friend of ours was organising the show, so we thought we should show our support.  There was a fish and chip supper too, so we were hooked.

Dandy 
(picture purloined from their website)


I have to say that I have never been so pleasantly surprised in all my life.  Dandy, the husband and wife comedy  duo who provided the entertainment, were absolutely amazing.  You know that couple that you like to meet because they are always entertaining and have such good stories to tell?  Well, Dandy were that couple x 100, but with better stories and much funnier gags.

It was just like being able to listen in to a pleasant chat, with plenty of back and forth banter from Glyn and Allan, without ever feeling that you were at a performance.  There was no question of being performed to, you were included as part of the conversation.  As well as the chat, there were some great songs and poems and the whole audience in Mappleborough Green Village Hall were convulsed with laughter from start to finish.  Allan even managed to make the raffle funny!

If you ever have chance to see these two, I really would recommend it.  It takes a lot to have me laughing until the tears run down my cheeks these days, but Dandy managed it.

Dandy's Website

SPEAR website

Saturday, 26 September 2015

First days at school...and work

Some memories from the 1950s and 1970s in this month's Derby Telegraph article (plus a photo - don't have nightmares!)


Now see the article online at the Derby Telegraph website:  Link to article

If you enjoyed this, you might want to try the 'nostalgedy' series of books -

details on the right of this page

Saturday, 12 September 2015

Brilliant!


Crutches for Ducks has just won itself a superb five star review from Carole:

"I really enjoyed this book, in fact I thought it was fantastic.  Anyone who enjoys nostalgia and comes from this era should read this. I will be getting the other ones in the series."

Thank you, Carole and I hope you enjoy the rest just as much.  

You can find the original review here:  http://www.amazon.co.uk/review/RVWM3PGGQ3NQT/ref=cm_cr_rdp_perm?ie=UTF8&ASIN=B0060OJU38




Monday, 7 September 2015

The Beat Goes On

This is the second of my two 'holiday cover' columns for the Derby Telegraph.  Unfortunately, it hasn't made it to their website yet, so I can't give a link.

Can you remember your first music purchase?