‘When the Borg Took Our Payslips’

I have occasionally been accused, by the terminally unwise it has to be said, of showing a preference for the sci fi fantasy world of Star Trek over twenty-first century reality.  You know reality: that’s where the cat throws up over your foot just as you sit down to eat and the gift you ordered on line for fast delivery is sitting in a DHL depot, fifty miles further away than the shop you didn’t have time to go to in the first place, because you weren’t in when they called[1].  Neither are they when you phone them, but we … Continue reading ‘When the Borg Took Our Payslips’

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‘The One About the Home Guard’

The local Parish newsletter arrived last week and there, among the notifications about malfunctioning streetlights, an incidence of malicious roundabout furniture knocking-over and the news that we came second (out of three) in the South East in Bloom (Rural Villages) competition, was the alarming revelation that we have a Disaster Committee. In the event of a nuclear or biological attack, the Committee will immediately set off to guard our water supplies, man the village hall into which we will all be evacuated, and scoop up elderly residents in order to feed them soup and biscuits from supplies stored, it seems, … Continue reading ‘The One About the Home Guard’

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‘The Ditching of Dodgy Derek’

Breaking in a strange vehicle (or vice versa) is for me a rather prolonged and edgy affair.  Not only are the wipers invariably positioned where the full beam headlights used to be, thereby prompting an episode of energetic windscreen washing when trying to send a message about courtesy to some oik in a beat up Cortina with speakers the size of Kent on the back shelf, but all manner of other instruments have generally been transposed to novel and entertaining locations. Men seem able to climb into new  cars (or vans, trucks, and quite possibly tanks) and instantly blend with … Continue reading ‘The Ditching of Dodgy Derek’

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‘New Technology and the Problems of Public Neologising’

Something else likely to result in periods of isolation in a single room interspersed with episodes of careful questioning is Bluetooth technology.  My phone has it[1].  In addition to keeping my diary, taking pictures, downloading emails, and signalling the arrival of texts with a burst of birdsong (the first time was a shock – there seemed suddenly to be a flock of sparrows in my pocket), this thing is voice-enabled so you can give oral instructions to have it answer calls, make calls, and sustain conversations while located completely out of sight[2].  You’re advised to choose for activation an unusual … Continue reading ‘New Technology and the Problems of Public Neologising’

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‘More Visitations and the Beginnings of Strange Utterances’

No spotlights this time, just a large orange globe hanging about somewhere east of the leylandei in the copse that screens our lane from Death Row (which I think the actual residents call sheltered accommodation). Mars is to be the nearest it has been to the earth for millennia, or possibly just decades, and both astronomers and astrologers are in a lather about it; the former more because of the frothing astrologers than anything else. I pop out to look and there it is; a large orb glowing Halloween orange and hanging just above my neighbour’s kids’ bedroom – which … Continue reading ‘More Visitations and the Beginnings of Strange Utterances’

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‘The Mothership and the Wheelie Bin’

We were visited by a Mother Ship last night. Woken at 2 a.m. by a sound as of a mighty rushing wind, I found the house to be under the scrutiny of a light bright enough to qualify for the X Files.  Back and forth it went and back and forth went a little white van along the lane just opposite, clearly caught in the electromagnetic phase-shift graviton field that every child knows is generated by these things.  Eventually it headed off down towards the cement works where it must have transported its target off-world because it never came back. … Continue reading ‘The Mothership and the Wheelie Bin’

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‘Gertrude’

The sock drawer used to be a safe place. An ordinary place from which socks, neatly cuffed into pairs, could be drawn for wearing. But now Gertrude has moved in and Gertrude likes her privacy. Gertrude is large and black and she darts quick as you like to the front of the drawer as it opens; hanging there, pulsing, her long legs bristling until the retrieval is over – which it is, very quickly. Her intelligence is mysterious, immeasurable, palpable. While Gertrude owns the sock drawer, I will wear tights.   From Not Being First Fish by P Spencer-Beck.  Available from … Continue reading ‘Gertrude’

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