Birth of The Prophet Greetings to one and All … and a mini whinge.

Yes, of course K’Barth has it’s own equivalent of Christmas. They celebrate the Birth of The Prophet, or The Prophet’s Birthday as the feast is also known. The Prophet was born on the darkest, dimmest night of the year – aren’t they all? In memory of His birth, K’Barthans prepare an enormous meal, with numerous courses and specific – mostly alcoholic – beverages, none of which particularly goes with the other. Does this sound familiar?

However, they don’t exchange presents, oh no, instead they present each other with pastry effigies of Arnold The Prophet, stuffed full of confectioner’s custard. Anyone who stumped up for a copy of Christmas Lites last year will have read about this in the short story I had in there. It was a truncated short though, I had to hack mercilessly at it to make the 10k word count and you know me, I believe in never throwing anything away, so I decided I would polish up the longer original version and add it to my current series and publish it at Christmas time.

Unfortunately, what with Dad dying and all that malarkey, I didn’t get it finished as quickly as I expected so it’s coming out in February, 8th February, 2020, put that date in your diary peps. If you’re interested, it will be up for preorder soon but, unfortunately, not yet as … Christmas … which is so much more complicated and a significantly greater pain in the arse than exchanging pastries, mwahahahargh! But fret not! If you do want me to tip you off when Nothing To See Here, is released/available for preorder you can sign up for a special email bulletin. If you haven’t joined my mailing list, you will receive no other emails. Yep. Unless I cock it up mightily, I will only tell you those two things. Nothing else. To sign up for that, just follow the link, below or click on the picture of the cover:

Tell me when Nothing to See Here is released.

And here’s the blurb, in case you wanted it!

It’s midwinter and preparations for the biggest religious festival in the K’Barthan year are in full swing. Yes, even though, officially, religious activity has been banned, no-one’s going to ignore Arnold, The Prophet’s Birthday, especially not Big Merv. He orders The Pan of Hamgee to deliver the traditional Birth of The Prophet gift to his accountants and lawyers.

As usual, The Pan has managed to elicit the unwanted attention of the security forces. Can he make the delivery and get back to the The Parrot and Screwdriver pub in time for an unofficial Prophet’s Birthday celebration with his friends?

Other news …

There are lots of things I wanted to say this week. I wanted to talk about racism and how stupid it is, I wanted to fact check all the U-turns the Conservatives have been accused of making so far and see if it really is that dire, I wanted to do a lot of things. But … Christmas.

OK, so this is where the upbeat stuff stops, so if you want to feel upbeat, this is probably where you should stop too. The next bit is honest, and a bit of a downer.

The thing is, I’m missing Dad quite badly, it’s not quite as grim as it was, I haven’t felt weepy for over a week now, which is grand, and splendid progress. I just feel down. The grief counselling has come through for the New Year, so I know that will help and I’m looking forward to it.

In the meantime, life. It’s like we are sliding into anarchy and extremism and I’m the only person in the world who can see. I’m so weary of it all. I can’t do it anymore. I can’t go on politely pulling people up every time they say something shitty about immigrants, asylum seekers, LGBT etc folks, disabled people, brown people or anyone different from them. I know what goes around comes around. If kindness and tolerance was trendy for a while then, clearly, we’re going to go through another phase where it’s cool to be a bigoted fucktard. Cool for twaaaats (sing it to Squeeze).

At the moment it feels as if the world is being run by the stupid jocks out of seventies movies. You know, the popular bully in the class in seventies films. The one who make our geeky hero or heroine’s life a misery until said geek saves the world using knowledge and science while the jocks who think they rock stand by with their mouths open. That’s right, the people in charge right now, the people being heard and calling the shots are the equivalent of Biff from Back to the Future.


Once someone you love has become, ‘other’ be it disabled, mentally ill, whatever, it changes you for life. I met a couple yesterday, a man and his disabled wife. He was pushing her in a wheelchair and she was incredibly apologetic about getting in the way in a very small and pokey shop. They were both sweet, but he, especially, had the kindest, wisest face I have seen on another human in a long time. Here was someone who had clearly been the recipient of unending twattery from morons and doggedly continued to treat other people with kindness and dignity. Someone truly, truly good in a way that was impossible to hide.

Apparently people frequently have a go at this couple for taking up too much space and getting in the way. I had a bit of an oh Lordy moment, myself, trapped in a very narrow aisle between them and a pram and trying to get out of the way! Only last week, at the supermarket, the lady told me, they saw that one aisle where they had to get some stuff was really full. He parked her next to some things she wanted to look at and went to get the bits they needed from the packed aisle alone. While he was gone someone came along and wanted to get to something from the shelves by the lady. She was in the way, so instead of speaking to her, or even asking her if she could pass it to them, they just moved her. Without a word. As if she was a piece of furniture. Moved her out into the middle of the aisle and left her there.

How fucking rude is that?

This is Brexit Britain. It’s not Brexit, itself that’s the problem, it’s the fact that it’s given the handful of people who voted leave because they’re racist and bigoted the courage to think their Neanderthal, shitty viewpoint is OK. The courage to commit hate crimes against disabled people, to air views that are, frankly, pretty evil, and it’s made them feel entitled to do so. I’m not even talking people who think we need to look at immigration, here. We do need to manage immigration properly, you know, with thought, compassion and empathy. Not only for those who are wishing to move here (what on earth are they doing coming to our crappy little island) but for those among whom they will be placed. No, I mean people who are out-and-out vile and seem to rejoice in it. The kind of people who would call me a snowflake, simply because I have an imagination and, occasionally, use it to try and appreciate what it might be like for other people who are different from me.

Incidentally, lots of people call me a snowflake in jest and that’s fine. Let’s be clear, I don’t mean my right wing friends taking the piss out of me here, I mean the really scary people.

The fact we are standing at the top of the same hill, with Mum, as we were with Dad four years ago is probably not helping me to feel jolly either. I did have a brief respite, but I know what’s coming and it’s coming much faster with Mum. A few months ago, when Gareth the Voice first contacted me I played Mum the demo he sent. She read and loved the K’Barthan Series years ago, and we discussed how exciting the whole audiobooks thing was. By the time Gareth and I were speccing the voices, a month later I had one voice I wasn’t sure about and I thought I’d play it to Mum. Gareth had definitely delivered what I specced but … had I specced it right?

Mum has a very good marketing brain – she was director of a PR firm in the 1960s and that is some going in an era when it was considered perfectly OK for a client to refuse to work with a copywriter on the grounds of them being female. As a result, Mum and I have chatted about my writing in depth from time to time. I did branding, which was pretty similar to PR and she’s one of the few people in Real Life I can talk to about both my writing, and my efforts to market it.

When I mentioned the voice conundrum to Mum she said,

‘Oh yes, darling, I meant to remind you about that. I haven’t read any of your books and I haven’t a clue what they’re about, it’s awful. I’m your mother. I really ought to read them. Could you lend them to me?’

I was a bit thrown.

‘Uh … I can’t remember now, but I think you read them,’ I lied. ‘But it was a very long time ago, so you’re well within your rights to have forgotten them. I pretty much have. I needed to re-read them thoroughly to get up to speed for doing the audio,’ I told her, continuing to lie comprehensively, through my teeth. ‘Does anything come back if I remind you? D’you remember Ruth, or The Pan of Hamgee? Big Merv? Lord Vernon?’

She remembered the ones in my latest story, which is short enough for her to be able to follow it. But otherwise, that’s it. She’s completely forgotten about all of it. She’s completely forgotten so much stuff.


All of it’s gone forever.

Which is grim.

I was hoping, so hoping, that it was just the strain of looking after Dad but it isn’t.

One of the toughest bits about Dad is that even though he is out of pain, and, even though, as a Christian, I believe he’s gone on to somewhere happier, I still find it hard to look his suffering in the eye. I need to if I’m going to move on, but it hurts, it hurts a lot and I suspect it always will. And now I have to walk the same journey with Mum. A costly, painful journey. One that’s going to make my heart ache for the rest of my life.

Pain on pain, hurt on hurt.

Another three years of this. Minimum. Where, in God’s name, will I find the strength to do it all over again?

Um … yeh. Merry Christmas.

Never mind, I’m going to church now. With any luck, when I come back, I’ll feel better.


Filed under About My Writing, General Wittering

12 responses to “Birth of The Prophet Greetings to one and All … and a mini whinge.

  1. It’s partly the light. The days get shorter and shorter and shorter… and I want to curl up in a ball and never uncurl. Yesterday was my Daddy’s birthday; he would have been 96, except he left us in 2014. So hugs.

    I saw my parents take care of my grandmother, but they didn’t talk about it much, and me being sick and all, and far away, my sisters did all the real care – with help – and I just did the US paperwork required because both parents were US citizens living in Mexico, and that complicates a lot of things.

    But the status of the world WAS worse then. They – and your parents – dealt with WWII, the atom bomb, finding what the Germans and Japanese had been up to…

    It’s NEVER been easy.

    Give yourself lots of credit for doing the best you can, and keep making the best decisions you can, out of love. Daddy never got to read Pride’s Children. Mother, who was still with us when it came out, didn’t either. I hope there’s a library in heaven – but of course there is.

    Hugs – and the light is returning. I notice how I get better as the days get longer, every year.

    • Yeh, the days are getting lighter thank heavens. And yeh you’re right and the backlash is probably the dinosaurs struggling. Here’s hoping.



  2. SO sorry to hear about your Dad.
    And as far as the state of the world – I don’t think it is as awful as everyone makes it out to be. Best thing to do – is shut out all the noise – the naysayers and the Chicken Littles, stop reading the news – it will only bum you out more.
    And what is this “Snowflake” thing. I am assuming it’s an insult – I like snowflakes – each one so different and pretty.
    People are mean and rude these days, no one seems to have any manners. I blame it on the Internet. I blame everything on the Internet.
    I hope you find some glimmers of happiness today.

    • Bless you, thanks. Church helped. I had a leg chat with a fellow member of the congregation whose mother died of dementia two years ago and also felt raw. These things are always easier when you’re reassured you’re not alone. And yes you’re right. I avoid the news at the moment. Nothing I do feel optimistic about our children are really cool. So long as the old white men with loads of money, who seem to have a stranglehold on everything at the moment, don’t fubar everything before they get hold of it. 😲🙂

  3. You are not alone. There are plenty of us out there who will rage against the shit that’s been fed to people without the wit to see what it is and who rejoice in being shitty to their neighbours.
    More constructively, has Mum actually been diagnosed? The blanking of your books could be part of her response to dad’s death. I experienced something like that when my brother died. If she’s forgotten you write them, that could be more serious. Forgetting reading them… well I suffer from that a lot. In fact I may need to read yours again, as the detail is now buried under several hundred other books :O plus the ones in my head yet to be written lol
    In other words, don’t panic.
    On either account. Just dig in there, find some like minds, and stick together.

    • PS You won’t have a merry Christmas, but find some way of having a peaceful one.

      • Thanks. It’ll be ok once we’re at our various destinations and celebrating. I just haven’t written anything for a while when I do a lot of this will be easier.

    • Thanks. 🙂 Yeh I’m hoping that once Christmas is over she’ll look up. But we need to get her to the memory clinic. Getting them to send her for a diagnosis is so hard. I don’t understand why. Once she’s disabled there are drugs she can take. They won’t cute it but they do hold back the tide for a while.

  4. Not a lot of words here, but a huge interwebz-wide bag full of hugs.

  5. Diana

    I love your writing, even when it hurts my heart.
    Sometimes the memory goes in waves — out and back, out and back. May you experience far more of the “Here it is” of this than the “oops it’s gone again.”

    I am NOT a fan of memory clinics — at least not the one I am familiar with here. I think it’s in name only, and is there only to make people think that something is happening or can be done. My sister and I were appalled at what passed as diagnosis and care. (Basically nothing.)

    Grief counselling has brought great solace to a friend of mine (who was actually in the UK for an alzheimer’s convention recently. She said that it was really good. Some very positive things happening in the area of dementia care. I just don’t remember any of the details she shared). I am glad you are in line for some of that grief counselling in the new year.

    Actually, my friend is back in the UK again right now, for Christmas with her husband and inlaws. I wish you two could meet.

    Thank you for sharing your trials and your joys. I suspect that you are reassuring others that they are not alone in the challenges of caring for loved ones dealing with significant issues. When my mom was still alive and we were dealing with the fallout from her dementia and the lack of help/care available, reading things that others had posted online was a huge encouragement and support. I suspect that you are touching many.

    May Hope outpace and override despair at every turn. May your Christmas be a good one!

    • Bless you. Thank you. Yeh the merrier clinic isn’t hugely helpful but there are drugs that will stall the progress of Alzheimer’s for six months to a year. My dad was diagnosed with his memory was at 80% by through an oversight we weren’t told and the drugs weren’t administered until it hit 40%. I don’t want that to happen to mum. Her dementia is progressing very fast which is harder at the start but will be a mercy at the end. I am pretty sure she will really a bit after Christmas. She’s just all of a dither.

      Have a wonderful one, yourself, won’t you.

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