Wednesday, 29 June 2022

Out The Bag

Hello, dear readers!

And welcome to the madhouse.

Yes, the recent work we’ve had done to our lovely little home may be complete, but that doesn’t mean the adventure is over. No, not by a long chalk.

The skip which has taken up the space usually reserved for my car was taken away on Monday, after I made a call to the roofer who ordered it. The scaffolding which has enveloped our house like some industrial exo-skeleton is only an hour gone, however. And that has had some… repercussions.

In order to set the scene, and possibly make what comes next just a little obvious, it’s probably important you know we (that’s myself and my long-suffering wife, Tina) have cats.

In The Frame
There are three of the cute little, um, creatures (my mum, would disagree with ‘cute’, but then she has a phobia, and thinks all cats are the spawn of Satan’s slightly less pleasant brother), or at least that’s the theory.

Last Friday night, you see, one of the number, upon spying the brand-new climbing frame we’d undoubtedly erected outside our bedroom window especially for her, decided to have a climb.

No Exit
This was fine and dandy right up to the point Sunny (the cat in question) took a step too far and couldn’t work out how to get back (it was a short walk in a straight line and a small hop back through the window, but then, she’s not the brightest).

It triggered some loud protestations on her behalf, and a good hour of cajoling, convincing, and pleading for her to return to base. Something that fear and frustration had seemingly made impossible, as she remained frozen in place for a while before eventually descending to the flagstones.

Now, this should have been a win, and in the normal course of events it would have been. Unfortunately, the same scaffolding that had presented Sunny with such irresistible temptation also blocked the only door leading from the house to the back garden, as well as the door that allows entrance through the garage. Having done all we could, we tried to get a few hours of sleep and come back to the problem in the morning. And thus started season one of The Mystery Of The Missing Cat.

When we looked out of the window the next morning, there was simply no Sunny to be seen. We called for her, rattled food packets, and even resorted to trawling the streets shouting her name, but there was nothing. Not one sight, nor one sound.

At least, not until Sunday.

Through The Square Window
That was when, upon glancing by happenstance through the glass of the back door, I spied a small feline figure sat in the garden as if she owned it, and absolutely nothing was unusual or worthy of any fuss whatsoever (so, basically, being a cat). This just left the slight issue of getting her back in the house, which, as the scaffolding was still in place, proved impossible.

Sunny wasn’t about to go near the wood and metal that had been the scene of her anxiety, you see, and we still couldn’t get past the planks and metal tubes to help her to get over it (both metaphorically and literally). Tina did have a short, aborted attempt, but as that was more than likely to involve an appearance on You’ve Been Framed, a trip to casualty, or both, I’m glad she eventually saw something like sense.

It was an impasse which has persisted over these last few days. Towards evening, or in the early morn, Sunny will appear but she can’t (or won’t) get to us, and we can’t get to her. Hopefully, now that the scaffolders have deigned to return (just three short weeks after their first visit) to take away their work, tonight might see the wanderer return for a good meal, a fuss and a love, and the mother of all tellings off.

Now where can I get a really, really, big net?

Until next time


Hey, folks! If you would care to take a look at some of my more creative writing, then the links below will transport you to the magical worlds of a few anthologies my short (and in two cases, very short) stories have been included in. Feel free to check ’em out!

New Tales Of Old: Volume 2

Death Ship



The Musketeers Vs Cthulhu

Wednesday, 22 June 2022

And Dusted

Hello, dear readers!

Everything comes to an end.

Sometimes this is a sad thing. The end of an era. The passing of a generation. The full stop at the end of the sentence. Fini. Done. The End.

Then again, there are some things in which the end comes not too soon, but bang on time, and this last week has brought just such an ending.

Wednesday, 15 June 2022

Up On The Roof

Hello, dear readers!

There’s only a matter of days left, a mere collection of hours, which I just know will fly by, leaving me exposed and vulnerable like I’ve never been before.

This is the weekend we stand as witness to major changes in both my life and that of my wife, Tina.

This weekend the surgery starts.

This weekend the roof comes off our house.

Wednesday, 8 June 2022

The Plan

Hello, dear readers!

There are plans afoot.

Well, maybe not afoot. A-wheel maybe?

Regardless of which expression fits best, there are plans, and they are underway. Forward momentum has been achieved. Not a lot of it, you understand, but some. It’s really quite exciting.

As to the nature of those plans, well that has a lot to do with a trip away and big days of celebration… on two fronts.

On Ceremony
The first item that calls for a spot of formal revelry is the small matter of my step-daughter, Sarah being a right old clever clogs and passing her degree in Paramedic Science, the ceremony for which is scheduled for the back end of July.

It will be the usual affair when it comes to these things (or so your uneducated blogger is led to believe). There will be mortar boards, gowns, diplomas rolled up tightly and secured by ribbons. There will be ceremony, speeches, a procession of people neither I nor Tina, my rather amazing wifey, have ever met and possibly never will, who will shake hands receive said tightly rolled diploma and then exit stage left (or possibly right). But in the middle of all of that there will be Sarah, and a few minutes of pride and reflected glory; making the whole rigmarole more than worthwhile.

If I’m allowed in.

Third Wheel
As I mentioned, Sarah is my step daughter and although she has been in my life since she was ten, she is not the fruit of these particular loins. That distinction belongs to Tina’s first husband. Thus it is, that with only two tickets to the event being provided per student, and at least three interested parenting parties (I’m unsure of Sarah’s dad’s current partner’s intentions) the maths becomes somewhat impossible. The chance of a third ticket is currently being investigated but, should one not be forthcoming, I think it’s only right to bow gracefully out and let the actual parents do the beaming with pride thing in my stead while I find a pub in which to toast the graduation (and possibly catch some sport on Sky or BT) in. Securing for myself the moral high ground in all and every argument from here to just this side of eternity.

The other option would be to retire to the hotel.

Sarah’s degree is (or at least will be) in Paramedic Science, furthering her long held ambition in life to be a nee-naw driver and professional life saver, and n order to achieve this life goal she has studied for said degree at St. Georges University, London, which is, for paramedics, the place to go; meaning, in order to witness her graduation myself and Tina will have to go down to ‘that London’, and that explains the whole hotel thing.

Room For Misunderstanding
Now, I’m not world renowned for my organisational skills, but on this occasion I think I can be given a little credit for actually being on the ball. The hotel in question, you see, is booked.

This took a little more doing than might at first seem evident. 

For one, and for obvious reasons, we needed a disabled friendly, wheelchair accessible room in a disabled friendly and wheelchair accessible hotel. This might seem like a fairly humble request, but it is something that we have fallen foul of before.

One room we stayed in on a previous visit, although classed as accessible by Late Rooms proved to be up a flight of stairs. Another had been built with a ramp blocking the room door (we got moved from that one). It meant that as we turned our attention to getting something booked, we resolved to do so early and to actually contact the hotels themselves before parting with any of our hard(ly) earned cash.

And my word, did I think I’d pulled a blinder. After an hour or two of searching I thought I’d come up with the ideal place. A clean, modern looking hotel, that was bright and spacious, in the right area (London being approximately the size of a small country),  bragging full accessibility for wheelchairs, including a choice of wet-room or lowered bath, and available for the measly sum of £300 for our four selected nights.

What the website never mentioned was that it was £300 a night… A night.

And counting
So, with one rather nice hotel with a rather misleading website struck off our list we finally landed on a good old Travelodge which offers a wet-room (as well as unlimited breakfast) for only £150 more, leaving just travel and that one other special occasion to firm up the plans for. A small matter of Tina and I celebrating our tenth wedding anniversary.

This is the reason for those extra days. We had planned to spend out tenth anniversary at the hotel in Leeds we got married in but, with Sarah’s graduation being the night before, that would have been tight to the power of impossible. No, the easiest and best decision was to spend the day in the big smoke, have a meal, possibly take in a show (The Play That Goes Wrong would be amazing), and get a little squiffy. Leeds will, after all, still be there next year.

So, yes, plans are af… underway, and a small part of at least one of them is accomplished. There’s just the small matter of entertainment and, um, transport to worry about now, and with over six weeks to go that should be fairly easy.

Shouldn’t it?

Until next time


Hey, folks! If you would care to take a look at some of my more creative writing, then the links below will transport you to the magical worlds of two anthologies my short (and in two cases, very short) stories have been included in. Feel free to check ’em out!

New Tales Of Old: Volume 2

Death Ship



The Musketeers Vs Cthulhu

Wednesday, 1 June 2022

The Jubilee Line

Hello, dear readers!

I think it’s fair to say we all love a party, right?

Well, maybe not all of us. I mean, I’m sure there are some of us who find the idea of crowds, and noise, and fuss, and everything else that goes with such super-sociable events a little too much. On the main though, on balance, I think, as long as there’s a kitchen to slink off to, most people can at least put on a plastic smile and bear up under the strain of a party every now and then. I know I can.

Saying that, it does depend, just a little, on the reason the party is being thrown.

For those who have yet to see through my thinly veiled allusion, the party I’m focussed on at the moment is the platinum jubilee of our very own Queen Elizabeth II which is being celebrated over the next four days.