I am moved by Lady Percy 's expression of love. CLICK HERE - see if you agree.
Otherwise my novels, short stories, verse, family, music, memories, vulgar interests, detestations,
responses, apologies. I hold posts to 300 words* having found less is better than more.
I re-comment on comments and re-re-re-comment on re-re-comments.
* One exception: short stories.

Thursday, 12 July 2018

Mind your speech a little
Lest you should mar your fortunes

Got into an argument with Avus. VR says the tendency is hard-wired and I should be ashamed of myself. Somehow an idea spilled out.

Sonnet – A voice transformed

My voice trapped on tape an aeon ago
Emerged down my nose, that vulgar outlet.
Lacking in comfort sound whined high and slow,
Pitched for complaint and brassy bar-chat.

A brake on all hope of sociable gain,
A fig for my thoughts so poorly expressed,
Loving yet loveless, for whining’s disdain,
The warmth of my breast remained unconfessed.

Late comes an option and blazingly right,
My whine takes on notes which others have set,
The words are improved, the rhythm delight,
Impulses gallop without let or fret.

My songs are unheard but, hey, do I care?
Those names! Holy names! That shine in fame’s glare

Sunday, 8 July 2018


 Is life merely preparation for writing novels? The jury's out.
I was shabby as a young reporter, thinking it went with the territory. My trousers tore in the crotch and I was forced to buy a replacement immediately. In measuring my inside leg, the sales assistant accidentally allowed his hand to slide up through the torn fabric, embarrassing us both. I'm not sure I was able to report this to my mother.

Ripened with age and towing a cart labelled "Useful fictional material bought and sold" I now see different potential in this glancing contact - a Damascene moment when the male character finally accepts his gayness. I have written about gays, sympathetically I hope but probably not convincingly, and the torn trousers still hang in my memory banks. Perhaps the symbolism is a bit too pat.

Reality is often just too real for fiction. I am not sure the argument I overheard between one senior company manager of old German stock ("You damned kike!") and another who was a Jew ("Lousy Nazi.") could ever be used in a novel. Rather too raw, I suspect.

Years ago I thought I supported feminism but an incisive, aristocratic young woman proved me wrong. She toyed with me publicly, bathing me in humiliation. Sweat gathers on the back of my neck as I recall this, but the effect was beneficial. My feminism is more plausible these days and I have learned to keep my mouth shut more often. However in trying to integrate this into a story I'm sure my self-consciousness would show through.

I was once given a great opportunity with a famous publication and I mucked it up. No one criticised, there was only silence. Could I make that work? Hmmm.

The best raw material grows arms, legs and a face over time. Evolves in fact.

Wednesday, 4 July 2018


Goebbels awoke, nodding with approval.

Only yesterday. He'd issued a communiqué about overwhelming success in Stalingrad and had gone out for a little air. The man had appeared from nowhere, dark skinned, Mediterranean, gesturing towards a box, the front a frame of grey tinted glass, a mysterious impermeable window.

"Ask the box a question."

Why had he not called for guards? He was after all Reichsminister for Propaganda.

The man added, "An answer only you would know. Speak clearly."

Was this a command? Goebbels spoke clearly as ordered: "The subject of my thesis at Heidelberg." He had had his records at university destroyed; then, his Aryan purity had been less pronounced.

His question was spelt out in luminescent scripted German seemingly within the glass. The answer, similarly displayed, said, "Wilhelm von Schütz, dramatist."

The man smiled faintly. "The machine is not limited. Ask about a present concern."

One in particular, huge and worrying. "Eventual German casualties at Stalingrad?"

No pause in the unfolding script. "Total Axis dead, wounded, missing and captured: 800,000."

Unnecessary to ask if this added up to a defeat. More urgent questions arose: "Does this machine exist?

"It will."

"In German hands?"


The man coughed discreetly. “I will leave you, Herr Reichsminister.  Keep the machine. The battery has some life left.”

Goebbels sensed the machine’s power - how best to use it for the Reich? Priorities! Yet to use such power safely he himself needed to be... invulnerable. He said, “Machine! Anne-Sophie Wasserman, Reydt, near Mönchen-Gladbach...”

Already a response. “Where you were born, Herr Reichsminister. Two things: she still lives, her ethnic background is what you fear.”

Now he addressed the guard, told him to find a sledge-hammer.

The pillow felt soft. Just a nighttime fantasy but the correct decision nevertheless.

Monday, 2 July 2018

My past resurrected

Good logistics delivers the right item, in the right quantity, to the right place at the right time. It was once my professional concern, the subject of a magazine I edited. Amazingly I became an expert and experts as far away as Japan, though more often in Germany and Sweden, paid my air fare so I could chat with them.

Those with more uplifting professions - especially teachers - will no doubt think I led a blah life. Business, my dear! So corrupting, so crass! And we all know what Boris Johnson thinks - it begins with f.

But logistics can be fascinating.  It's nationally important, good logistics  measures a country's efficiency. Good or bad logistics will be at the heart of what Britain becomes post-Brexit. Logistics is anti-waste; mainly of time and time, as we all know, is money. Its principles are simple even though they may be fiendishly hard to apply. In retirement I became the official washer-up chez Robinson and am now the best washer-up I know. My system is based on what I learnt as an editor. Using a dish-washer? Not on your nellie!

My bike has languished somewhat of late, and I recently resurrected it in the service of small daily tasks. Compared with walking bikes offer higher speeds and improved carrying capacity; such efficiency turns me on. It's true, efficiency can be positively erotic. I don't expect, or intend to solicit, your agreement on this.

Securing my crash helmet proved fiddly. I examined the straps and noticed a flaw in the way they were routed. I can solve that, I thought. I wonder if that puts me ahead of the Swedes? Actually, the Swedes are the world’s best in logistics and I doubt it. My love for them pre-dates Scandi-noir.

Thursday, 28 June 2018

Everything about it is appealing...

Larry Lion’s showbiz career was down the toilet. He called his agent, Chas Cheetah, and said “Make ‘em love me again”. Chas sent out tasteful, deckle-edged cards:

Fun and drinks on the High Veldt.
Come to Larry’s Conversazione.
Meet the elite fleet. High moon. Dawn

Actually Chas didn’t know Conversazione from his ass, had wanted “Fatted calf.” But feared it would put off The Gazelles whom Larry had chased (unsuccessfully, obviously) in his youth. The Gazelles, a timid lot, scented blood – their blood – and refused. A Tofu Buffet at the Gnu Grand was their excuse.

No problem with the location – The Mud Waterhole – but Larry would sing. His voice was rough and his choice of song, Food, Glorious Food, didn’t help. A herd of elands, ever party poopers, drifted away, then Hank Hyena and Wally Warthog fought to the death in an argument about casting in the TV series, Game of Bones.

Larry found himself alone and starving, wondering whether to eat his faithful agent. But knew ever since their college days Chas could outrun him. Might even sneak round behind and turn him into lion tartare. Companionably they snacked on what was left of the starters, mainly Meerkat Bits, and Chas was disposed to advise.

“Age is the problem, Larry. When your mane gets shabby so do your ratings. And hair inserts just don’t cut it. But I have an idea.”

“Wha’s that?” asked Larry
“Animation, but with your voice. Back to your glory days. Standing on rock bluffs and roaring.”

Outraged, Larry – just for form’s sake – chased Chas and saw him disappear over the horizon. By the time the movie came out Larry had lost all his teeth and was being fed pobs in a Berlin zoo. His successor on the veldt was called Kevin.

Friday, 22 June 2018

Same is bad?

SUNDAY Roast guinea fowl (plumper and denser than chicken; yearning to be a pheasant) appeared on our dinner table accompanied by new potatoes and green lentils in a savoury stock sauce. MONDAY 5/2 diet day. TUESDAY Guinea fowl leftovers in mushroom cream sauce encased in large square vol au vent. WEDNESDAY 5/2 diet day. THURSDAY We lunched out and only required a lightish evening meal - remains of cream sauce guinea fowl on slice of toast.

In households round the world this week's regime would never happen. I find all the reasons fascinating.

VEGETARIAN/VEGAN. Self-explanatory. Less obvious are those who eat nut roasts shaped as lamb chops. See The Guardian for current acrimonious debate.

THE SATED PALATE. That the body's gustatory preferences would somehow revolt if presented with variations of the same thing, despite diet-day separations. Yet these sensitive souls often drink the same brand of wine over and over provided it's cheap enough.

SOCIOLOGICAL GUILT. That the neighbours might regard this as evidence of poverty.

THE VERY AGED. Who remember the nutritional privations of WW2 when one ate what one had without grumbling, even cabbage five days on the trot.

TEENAGERS. Convinced their parents (all adults for that matter) are deceiving them.

Me? I hate waste especially when it’s speciously justified, as in: “We’ll put this out for the birds.” I appreciate VR’s ingenuity at dressing up food in different guises. I am prepared to argue that food may be transformed such that its origins disappear in the process. I hate myself less – admittedly in a marginal way – when the BBC as custodian of my soul reveals how things are in the Democratic Republic of Congo, in Yemen, tent cities occupied by the Myanmar, and small foundering craft crossing from Libya to the shores of mainland Europe.  

Monday, 18 June 2018

The egged face

My previous post, Q&A , was over-complex and over-serious. Does what follows compensate?

Introducing my youngest brother to rock-climbing I was solo-ing a climb I'd done before, rock broke away, I fell into a gully and had to be rescued. My brother never subsequently climbed.

As a tyro reporter I interviewed a young woman and became infatuated. In the article I misspelt her name.

My motorbike licence entitled me to drive a tiny three-wheeler car. Without any instruction or experience I bought such a car, drove it home and could only bring it to a halt by crashing it (mildly) into my mother's washing-line post.

A Frenchman serving behind a bar way up in the Massif Central maintained I had mis-pronounced the word "rugby" so un-Frenchly he had no idea what I was talking about.

At school, aged 11, I showed off in an essay by including several obscure words. My hand-writing was (and is) appalling and the master asked me to identify one word. "Intri-gewed," I said confidently.

In the USA I was inveigled into a game of volley-ball not knowing the rules. Within a minute I consecutively hit the ball three times. In disgust another player (who didn't think much of foreigners anyway) immediately walked off saying he didn't play "pointless" games.

My son-in-law, lunching in France, asked me about an "andouillette" (a sausage composed of sweepings from the butcher's floor) listed on the menu. Jocularly I said it was only for adults. He took this as a challenge, ordered one, ate a small slice and pushed it to the side of his plate. I teased him for being a child and he asked me to try it. It had, I think, putrefied.