Nobody told me there’d be days like these …

Strange days indeed.

Most peculiar mumma … woah. Yep. Times, they are … definitely weird.

Anyone get the obscure pop reference? Btw?

Yeh, OK. Probably not. Either that or there’ll be a deluge of comments saying I’ve got the words wrong, which I probably have because I didn’t bother to look it up. But it popped into my head this morning and I sat there thinking,

‘John, mate, if you thought life was weird back then in the late 70s/early 80s, you really hadn’t thought things through.’

Undomesticated footballs in a recreation of their natural habitat at the Abbey Gardens Zoo

Incidentally, did you know that because of our habit here in Britain of naming the eldest son after his father, 35% of all men in Britain were called John for most of history? It only changed in the first half of the twentieth century.

Arnold’s pants, babbling. Stop.

Have I gone a little bit mad? Probably. Or maybe it’s just even harder to pretend to be normal than usual. Then again, look at world events! Who’s going to notice? Maybe I’m just going a little bit stir crazy, like these footballs, perhaps, trapped in one of the open roofed parts of the ruins in my local park. Doomed to live on the dregs from plastic water bottles for the rest of their natural lives. No frisbees or kites as yet but I particularly like the look of that green one, I’d like to go back with a  massive stick and see if I could find some way to roll it close enough to the bars to chuck it back out … it’s a good 40ft up though and once I touched it, I’d probably discover it was covered in rat shit. Yeh. OK, let’s call that, Lockdown Amusements Plan A.

Things are well odd now aren’t they? Lots of references to the Spanish Flu epidemic which is not helping. I have reached the point where I am largely ignoring the news. I’ve done a couple of walks though and enjoyed the sun until … blimey oh Riley? Hay fever.

Some blossom on Wednesday …

Jeepers! Usually at this time of year I am away. Yes, I get hay fever but it’s the pine pollen version, up in the Alps. This year I have been trapped in our garden with the birch trees and the very, lovely and heavily scented but also mightily pollen producing Lilac tree opposite.

Oh my fucking aunt Ada.

Any fellow hay fever sufferers out there? Anyone get the vertigo version?

For three days I have had the fucking spins – except yesterday I drank my own body weight in water and got rid of it. So much so that last night I had two glasses of wine and a very small calvados (plus a pint and a half of water) and it went. I even went to the loo at five am this morning without the tiniest whiff of the dizzy. But then it was raining, of course, so it was only to be expected. By seven thirty, when I sat up, the room was spinning like some kind of crap special effect from 1960s StarTrek. I was running from one side of the room to the other as I staggered to the loo for my morning wee and everything was going up and down. Luckily I have pills for this, so as well as popping piraton like it’s going out of fashion, I have some stuff the doctor prescribed for me a while ago which I use to hammer the dizzy on just these occasions. It’s not so bad, just a bit grim while I wait for it to kick in.

Some years back I got a sinus infection that went on for absolutely ever. It happens occasionally and usually it takes about two weeks to go on its own but this one didn’t. Eventually I had several rounds of antibiotics. The doc explained that I would always be prone to vertigo because the insides of my … inner ear? Sinuses? Spinny bits, anyway, were scarred and it would take very little to a) re-infect or b) set the buggers off again.

On the up side it’ll go as soon as the lilac and birch flowers are over. And it goes now, literally about three minutes after it starts to rain, except it never bloody rains. Presumably it’s waiting for summer to do that. On the upside, it seems that every single thing that blossoms is doing it at once so maybe it’s just volume of traffic, so to speak.

Moving on …

On our walk on Wednesday, McMini and I invented a new word. We noticed one of the seagulls flying above us – I’ve no idea why we have so many gulls in Bury, we’re miles from the sea but I assume it’s something to do with the nearby rubbish dump. Anyway. This gull flew over and dropped a massive poo which splutted onto the roof of a nearby house. We both saw it and giggled about what a narrow escape we had. Then we got talking about what if it had landed on the road near us, the sound it would make, and then of course, it was only a tiny hop from that to, would there be any spatterage? If it plopped from 40ft up, how far away would you have to be for your ankles to stay safe from … what would you call it? And then we came up with the word.

Crapnel: pronounced like Shrapnel but with a Cr. The splash back from landing excrement which is not a direct hit, in itself, but results in droplets peppering the unfortunate victim’s body or clothing, or in a particularly virulent post curry situation, bottom.

Yeh, I know, not that funny, unless you are eleven or a mother with a comparable mental age. Then, of course, it’s an absolute belter. I laughed til I stopped.

Live appearance, I hope, on Wednesday 22nd April.

This week I am trying something new. I have signed up to a virtual book fair … on Twitter. Gads I know nothing about twitter. I will, hopefully, be streaming a reading from Escape From B-Movie Hell live from … well … probably from my car because … acoustics. This glorious event will take place at 2.30 pm, BST, which is British Standard Time, which is, I think, British Summer Time. For the purposes of the broadcast, I’m going to assume it is, anyway. If you’re in the US this is 9.30 am, EDT.

I have a half hour slot; a ten minute reading followed by a space for people to ask questions … although my books are as verbose as these blog posts so, in order to read a bit where something actually happens it’s a 15 minute reading and 15 minutes of questions. I have tested the video link and it does work, although I may have to do it sound only because McMini will be back at  e-school by then and the bandwidth may be taking too much of a hammering to accommodate both of us.

The slot before me, the first of the whole fair, is my lovely local author friend Rachel Churcher, so it might be worth tuning in early to watch hers. You pick out the authors you are interested, go to their twitter feed at the appropriate time and there should be a live video playing … I hope …

For the event schedule go here:

To follow me on Twitter go here:

The reading and the Q&A will be about Escape From B-Movie Hell and I will reduce the price of that book to £1.99 $2.99, or the equivalent in whatever else you work in across the main retailers this week.

Cutting my own throat …

What with the fact these are strange days I’ve been wondering how I can sort out some other reader treats and yet, at the same time … you know … not starve. Here’s my cunning plan.

As well as reducing Escape by several quid, the K’Barthan Box Set is in one of those lovely 40% off box set sales at Kobo starting next Saturday, I think. Always good, those and I will remind you again next week. I’ve also managed to give away a lot of copies of Escape From B-Movie Hell and of Few Are Chosen on Kobo this month – and in the case of Few, Amazon US price matched so lots of folks downloaded it there, which was nice. A couple have even read it and bought the other books, too which was absolutely splendid.

Quite a few people seem to be downloading the free ebook novella that I give away with my mailing list right now too. Hurrah! I do hope they’re enjoying it.

If you’re interested in doing that, yourself, you can do so here:

I really don’t mind if you unsubscribe from the list when you’re done.

Also, I’m going to be giving away a 30 minute audiobook to anyone who signs up for my audiobooks mailing list.

If you’re interested in the audiobooks sign up here:

Same caveat goes about unsubscribing afterwards.

What I am trying to persuade people to do is use their local libraries to listen to or read my digital books. That way nobody has to pay to read anything, although, in most instances, the library pays for the book once and I am compensated a small amount under the various book lending schemes.

One Man: No Plan is coming to audio

On Man: No Plan audio cover

Woot! Yep. Last but not least, I got the third of the four audiobooks back yesterday. I tell you the glee wave emanating from this part of Britain was probably strong enough to effect the orbits of nearby planets. I was so ludicrously excited about it all. Still am. So I’ll be loading that up to the retailers today. Should be live everywhere except audible within the next month/month and a half possibly? Audible will take 3 months unfortunately, because they just do right now; about 60 days plus for QA to listen and pass it and then anything from a week to over a month’s pause while it’s ‘heading to retail’. That’s the main reason why I went wide rather than all in, but also because I think the current situation has rendered a lot of people time rich but cash poor. For that reason, it seems like a great opportunity to introduce my books to bored library users! It’ll help the libraries and it’ll help me. Win win.

Other bookish news …

Close Enough cover

Yep, in other news, Close Enough, the third Hamgeean Misfit K’Barthan Short has been beta read and I’m just going through the beta reader’s comments now. Next, it’s on to editing. After that, so long as the designers are still able to do the paperback cover, the book should be out late June as an ebook and a paperback. If all goes well, it will be coming to audio later along with the other shorts. I’m hoping sales of the series will fund production, though, so don’t hold your breath.

If you’d like to know more about that you can find more information here:

And finally …

Nothing like a bit of blood, fish and bone on the roses eh?

All this being locked down has made for a very well maintained garden. Well … a bit. I still haven’t weeded the boarder but that’s mainly because I’m waiting for a massive cut on my hand to heal. I’m a bit leery of this kind of thing after having cellulitis. I do NOT want that again. But I hope to fix the border next week.

In the meantime,  we are mostly growing tomatillos, tomatoes, climbing purple-podded French beans and ONE onion.

Alongside these we have some fruit trees because the folks before us were well into their fruit. There are two apple trees, a pear tree, gooseberry and current bushes, grapes … a LOT of grapes, a mulberry tree and a plum. We also have a peach with leaf curl, I must sort that out. Naturally, since McMini is a kid, it’s obligatory for him to grow sunflowers. And of course, there’s the garlic, which is wild and a bit of a thug but very food in cooking, and the raspberries, which are supposed to grow in pots but seem to prefer the entire vegetable garden. Yes if anyone in Bury wants a raspberry plant, just let me know and I can leave it out the back for you to collect.

If possible, we might be growing some courgettes, and a couple of curly kale plants would be good to see us through the winter. It depends if I can get the seed. I grew some kale last year and it was fab. Needs to be caged in though or you get caterpillars on it. Which reminds me, our butterfly count is good this year; some tortoishells, a red admiral (little one), an orange tip, a couple of brimstone blue and a bright yellow one. Plus lots of those weird furry things that are a cross between a bumble bee, a hummingbird hawk moth and a hover fly, with a long proboscis. They sip nectar as far as I can tell.

So that’s it from Suffolk this week. Hope it’s all going well up your way and you’re feeling like the blossom rather than the footballs!


Filed under General Wittering

18 responses to “Nobody told me there’d be days like these …

  1. Wow, MT! You had me at crapnel. Clever. There’s so much going on in your life that all I can say is a big congratulations and also commiseration on the allergies and vertigo. Best wishes on your endeavours and stay safe, you all.

  2. Congratulations on getting the third audiobook up and out – you’re on a roll.

    And on a new word – crapnel was needed, just nobody knew it.

    Enjoy the virtual tour – sounds like fun.

    One humorous typo: If your doctor proscribed the medicine you need, it would mean you shouldn’t have it. Also tickled my brain: it’s humor in the States, and humour in the UK, but humorous in both. Logic and language are not friends.

    • Curses yep it needs an e. The book isn’t up yet. It needs a 5 minute sample which is really tricky to find in this book. So soon … But not yet. 😁

  3. Diana

    So much going on in your world. Very exciting. If I had twitter I’d get up really early in the morning to jump in. But I don’t, so will likely sleep. Have fun with this adventure.
    McMini is a lovely lad. I love “crapnel” as well — so many contexts it would fit, and not just with bird droppings either. I have a relative that dropped five very short, inappropriately nasty (as far as I can determine also drunken) emails in response to one of mine to him — totally crappy they were. Residue of those could also be perfectly identified as crapnel.
    If he does this again I will try to remember to use the word. Waiting for his response would at least give me some anticipatory pleasure. (ie will he even notice?)
    Raspberries. I want raspberries. I was offered a plant last year but haven’t received one yet. I will have to ask….

    • Ah … I wish I could send you some. They may not be hardy enough to winter outside where you are but these are designed to be grown in pots in pots so you can bring them in. I planted mine in the veg patch because they arrived not only before the pots, but also the day before I went on holiday. They have overrun the garden. You might see if you could get a pot variety though. Worth checking maybe

      So glad you enjoyed this post. From the inside my life feels very disorganised and chaotic. More like lurching from one small alarum and excursion to another!



      Sorry about the catty relative. People can be right knobs sometimes can’t they.

  4. Diana

    p.s. I was particularly amused with “I still haven’t weeded the boarder…”
    Thank you for leaving little gems like that for those of us who notice such things. 😀

  5. Caro

    Good luck with virtual.
    Love crapnel. They got a direct hit on me once. Stunk to hell and clothes wouldn’t wash clean despite Vanish. Bin fodder. And my favourite summer top…sod and his law again.
    We have gulls the country over all year. These birds used to frequent school playgrounds three times a day. Now they have healthy eating at schools, no gulls there. Instead fast food like KFC or rubbish tips reducing landfill before it’s covered. They adapt. Find food, will survive and proliferate. Carrion. Just like humans. 🤔😳🤦🏻‍♀️

  6. I don’t think any of us were prepared for days like these. Lol. Good luck the the virtual thingy… Let us know how it goes. 🙂

  7. The little furry flying things are called bee-flies and the long proboscis is for sipping nectar. The are harmless and rather cute, I think. The larvae parasitize mining bee nests and if you have a lot of bee-flies in your garden you have probably got mining bees too. Look at the soil in your borders and you may see tiny little heaps of soil with a hole in the centre. That’s a mining bee nest.

    • Ooo thanks for that. I rather like them and I like to think that I have a lot of bees in the garden as well. That’s great news. I do indeed see heaps of soil and also small holes. Now I know what they are. I think there are a lot of places where I don’t weed much where the bees are probably happily going about their business undisturbed! 🙂



  8. Diana

    I just went to twitter to see if I could watch your book presentation and reading — after the fact — and I could!! Yaay! I very much enjoyed your reading (If Gareth reads any better than you he must be but yours was really great! Your reading of the alien dialogue was particularly impressive!)
    I also love how animated and smiley you are! Your laugh reminds me of a friend who I haven’t seen in eons, since she moved elsewhere — but nothing hesitant or timid about that laugh! Wonderful! I found myself wishing that McMini had been involved in the presentation as well.
    The questions were good ones, too, since are ones I might have asked if I’d been awake to watch live.
    Oh — and I could so relate to your frustration/confusion with the tech stuff. But you figured it all out.
    I hope you have a chance to do more of these things.

    • Oh wow thanks for watching. Delighted you enjoyed it. Gareth reads a LOT better than me. 🙂 But that one … the heroine is quite close to me in character so it’s quite easy for me to read it because … you know … it comes naturally. 🤣🤣🤣. I definitely will do more of that stuff but hopefully I’ll be a bit slicker with the tech next time.

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