Not Being First Fish – second edition with illustrations and six new stories

I don’t have to launch my books, they just slip their moorings at dead of night and sneak off. This one, ostensibly by the elusive P Spencer Beck, made its escape yesterday. Described by one reader, who may or may not be a friend and who may or may not have been referring to letting it get loose at all, as ‘sheer lunacy’, this is a work of non-fiction. Little diary snippets reliant on the single perspective and grossly biased memory of the one observer so most likely of dubious veracity.  Not exactly fake news, more hake news, i.e a … Continue reading Not Being First Fish – second edition with illustrations and six new stories

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‘Kitchen Forensics’

My resolve falters as I reach the kitchen door. It will be huge and offensive. It will require a delicate touch. It will be mine to deal with – yuk! As I approach, an advance scouting party of flies lifts off and disperses itself across less appetising surfaces to wait, I imagine, for the all-clear. Well, not for a while and not here I tell them. I peer forensically at the agglutinated mass, put on gloves and aim a squirt of surfactant at the festering heap. Then, dissecting out two small bones and a piece of cartilage, I wonder for … Continue reading ‘Kitchen Forensics’

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‘Micro Management’

‘So they want us to use a particular font of a particular size and a particular colour for our email signatures?’[1] ‘Yep’ ‘And there’s no corporate stationery or template for this?’ ‘Nope, you make your own.’ ‘I see.’ I think it over, devoting a whole nanosecond to the process, which still seems rather too much in view of the subject matter. I deliver my judgment. ‘And when, collectively, we blow it out of our arses, do they want it to be a particular fragrance?’ Ok, not exactly constructive, I’ll give you that, but when the boat’s sinking, you don’t call … Continue reading ‘Micro Management’

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‘The Bridge’

I am moseying along the river bank, heading towards the old wooden bridge. In the far pasture over on the other side, a batch of newly turned-out cattle is cavorting and bucking in celebration of its liberation. Also on the far side, well ahead of and oblivious to the cattle, is a family; a two + two of seemingly stranded townies who are staring with incredulity at the stile over which they must climb in order to cross the bridge. Each of them is carrying rather more bulk than is strictly necessary, and they clearly see the narrow step up … Continue reading ‘The Bridge’

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‘Dressing Up Boxes, and Dressing Up By Wearing Boxes’

You have to be a certain age to remember dressing up boxes. Today’s tiny tots can put in for a replica of the entire Beckham estate for Xmas & call their lawyers if Santa doesn’t deliver, so the frisson of transforming cast off curtains and abandoned antimacassars into theatrical costumery will be lost to them. Our dressing up box was a battered old suitcase out of which we selected ancient curtains & lace doilies to serve as the trappings of royalty. Net curtains became the wings or the floaty ethereal dresses of fairies; the big velvet ones you had to … Continue reading ‘Dressing Up Boxes, and Dressing Up By Wearing Boxes’

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‘Glastonbury, Meteorology, and Shouting at Swans’

Saturday and I’d spent most of the morning keeping an eye on the weather as we had been promised our seasonal blend of sun, showers and thunder storms and, finally judging it safe to head for the fields without a wetsuit, I strapped the dogs into their harnesses and hit the road. Naturally, as soon as we arrived at a wide open space devoid of any cover, the sky assumed the quality of the inside of a biscuit tin and the rain came down in stair rods, thereby putting paid to any chance of a future career as either a … Continue reading ‘Glastonbury, Meteorology, and Shouting at Swans’

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‘Aliens on Your sofa’

Today, we’re off to the Vet’s and it’s the turn of Ms Muppet and General Montgomery.  If you’ve seen that three page treatise on how to give a cat a pill, you may be wondering why there isn’t one about getting cats into carriers.  Well that’s because the process is so deeply traumatic that it can’t be reported without reopening deep psychological wounds.  And we’re not talking about the cats here you understand. Anyway, today is the day and, aiming for nonchalance, I set out the two carriers in a separate room.  These are minutely explored, inspected and then inhabited … Continue reading ‘Aliens on Your sofa’

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