More Sunshine

Thanks to Nora of JOY journal for nominating me for another Sunshine Blogger Award.

You can visit her happy blog here and read her answers to the interesting questions she was given.

https://noraedinger.com/2019/05/15/sunshine-blogger-award/

Here are my answers to the questions she posed for me and the other nominees.

Why and when did you start blogging?

Originally on Goodreads, but I realised everybody else was on WordPress and I felt left out. I have been Tidalscribe since September 2016, my first blog had one Like!

 How do you manage your blogging schedule?

I try and schedule ahead, especially if I will be away, but ‘ahead’ might mean posting well after midnight.

Do you blog on more than one platform? Where else?

I write a Beachwriter’s Blog on my website that is mainly pictures.

https://www.ccsidewriter.co.uk/chapter-five-beach-writer-s-blog/

What’s your favourite thing about blogging?

Meeting bloggers from all over the world.

What don’t you like? 

Keeping up with all the posts I want to read.

What advice would you share with new bloggers? 

Use WordPress, write about anything that interests you and hopefully others. Only blog if you enjoy it, not just because you want to sell your books or crafts. Don’t mention your latest book in every blog! Write less rather than more. Long blogs can be interesting or a story you want to read worth bookmarking for later, but often later never comes. Text spaced out with a few pictures is easy on the eyes.

How do you stay motivated? 

I love writing fiction and non fiction and haven’t run out of ideas yet…

Is the graphic design of your site an important part of your blogging?

Not really as that isn’t one of my technical strengths; I just hope my photographs will keep it looking bright.

What is your favourite quote? 

Anything from Winnie the Pooh

What are you looking forward to doing this summer ? 

When it’s half term next week we are renting two cottages next to each other in Somerset with Team H. Should be fun with little boys of 1 and 3. Then a visit from Team G from USA and finally up to Ironbridge to see the new home of Team AK. If you have never been to Shropshire it’s worth a visit.

What would you like to happen with your blog by the end of 2019?

I shall probably stay with the same format of Wednesday main blog, Friday Flash Fiction, Silly Saturday and occasional Sunday Salon with book and other reviews. Hopefully I shall continue to grow genuine followers and if the occasional person accidentally buys one of my books, even better.

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Not every blogger likes being nominated for awards or has time. Some throw it open to all their followers, so I shall do the same. If you would like to accept the challenge

Here’s what to do!

1- Give a big thank you to the person who nominated you so others can find them!

2-Answer the questions from the blogger who nominated you.

3-Nominate other bloggers and ask them your own set of questions!

4- Let the nominees know about the nomination in one of their posts.

5-List the rules and the Sunshine Award nomination on your own site.

6- Let the fun begin!

Or if you prefer put your answers in the comments.

I thought it would be fun to have quick fire questions.

1 Desk top or lap top?

2 Walk or cycle?

3 Town or country?

4 Ship or plane?

5 Dress up or down for an evening out?

6 Living person you would most like to meet?

7 Dead person you would most like to meet?

8 Gardening love or hate?

9 House or high rise living?

10 If offered a seat on the first commercial flight to the moon would you go?

 

 

 

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Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Saving Society

Some might say that the planet should be saved, not society, but we shall deal with that next week. It is probably easier to start on a small scale with your own street/farm/castle or country estate (delete as appropriate ).

To avoid trying to define society, just imagine a perfect neighbourhood and if you are ambitious, your own town or city run exactly how YOU like it. With a bit of crowd funding, quietly taking over while no one is watching because of Brexit, it should be no problem. London National Park City is launching in July, so how hard can it be to change your street?

http://www.nationalparkcity.london/

Here are some simple ideas to start with. Make it compulsory for everyone to have nice front gardens; the sort you like to walk by, green lawns, beds and tubs full of flowers, delightful scents and the happy sound of bees. If anyone complains, point out that the government has pledged to create green corridors for bees; if they complain they have nowhere to park their car refer them to idea number two.

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Abolish all private vehicles and, just until your local town becomes fully functional with solar powered moving walkways, set up a car share scheme.

Soon everyone will be happy; flowers and wild life put everyone in a good mood and those living in cramped flats with no gardens have been helping with the digging and planting.

Idea number three, take over every empty plot of land, however small and plant trees, create allotments and parks for children. While your local millionaire is away on his expensive yacht, commandeer that land where he had two houses demolished and plans to build a block of flats for rich people.

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Fourthly, all vacant buildings of any sort, shops, offices and second homes to be commandeered for the homeless and as workshops for the self employed. A little networking on the internet should bring you a team of building experts to supervise and train school leavers and the unemployed. It won’t be long before you have created a happy healthy local neighbourhood with no problems and others will be keen to take away your ideas to their own cities and countries.

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These are just a few introductory ideas, feel free to make suggestions and tell us if you have managed to create utopia where you live.

For a clue as to how humanity will save itself read the best selling book nobody is talking about…

 

 

Friday Flash Fiction – Wander With Wanda

Is it Fiction, is it Friday? This week I share the blog of a writer introduced to me by Baz the Bad Blogger … I take no responsibility for what she may say…

WANDA ON WEDNESDAY

The Woman Who Tells It How It Is

THIS WEEK – WANDER WITH WANDA

This week H3 and I have been travelling and visiting, with all the unpleasant mingling with people that involves; and that’s just H3’s relatives.

At the inevitable motorway services we encountered that condition I am fortunate not to suffer from, ‘Indecision’. It gives me indigestion when people hover as I eat. We knew they were a posh family because the fortyish woman with long legs, tight jeans, designer boots and jacket addressed an expressionless facelift woman as ‘Mummy.’ ‘Daddy’ stood with arms dangling, slender fingers deathly white, a medical condition perhaps, certainly he did not look robust enough to cope with young grandchildren. There was a toddler in a wheeled contraption and a boy of pre-school age.

In an unusual moment of grandmotherly sympathy I said ‘Plenty of room here’ motioning to the table next to us and the pair of empty chairs at our table. H3 frowned at me.

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Yes, we are to be a grandmother, the daughter waited till the twelve week scan to break the news. I told her not to expect me to baby-sit, as with the puppy when she was nine, ‘You wanted it, you can look after it.’ Of course it’s about time, I had told her often enough not to leave it too late; she’s older than Meghan. I had even tactfully asked if there might be a problem, wouldn’t have been surprised if her so called ‘partner’ was not up to the task. H3 already has a couple of grandkids, in New Zealand thankfully.

Anyway, back to motorway services. How hard is it, in a building full of tables and chairs, to find somewhere to sit for three adults and two kids? A staff member was summoned to clean the table and Grandma steered the baby vehicle behind us. A high chair appeared and was wedged in behind H3’s chair, toddler was inserted and boy enveloped in an arm chair and given a plastic box of healthy fruit portions. His mother dashed off to the loo with the question of what to eat and drink and who was to fetch it, left in the air.

It came to me then that the whole ‘family motorway operation’ is an insurmountable problem; the unfamiliar high prices, the atmosphere of rush, the jumble of counters and tills leaves even normally functioning adults in a quandary.

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The mother returned with news of a better table spotted just as Granddad tried to move the high chair a fraction; the tray came off surprisingly easily in his frail arms and he nearly toppled backwards.

‘Come on Darling,’ mother to boy ‘we’re going to another table.’

‘I don’t want to move’ followed by an ear piercing scream.

Perhaps he had one of those syndromes, or maybe he was just a brat. By now H3 had his impending migraine expression and I had indigestion. I leaned in to make a witty remark to cheer him up.

‘Shsh, they’re sitting behind you, they’ll hear’ he whispered.

Further conversation was impossible as the toddler, upset by her brother’s tantrum, decided to join in. H3 made a play of looking at his watch then stood up; he did not want to be rude and look as if we were escaping from them.

 

 

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H3’s relatives took us to a well known family restaurant chain which I had not visited since the days when the daughter was little and it was H1’s idea of the perfect family outing, no wonder I divorced him. At the bar for drinks, while we waited interminably for a table, we found ourselves in the middle of an old boys’ reunion. Memo to self, never attend a reunion when you get past a certain age, even if you are hale and hearty you will be cast into dark despondency by the sight of former lively colleagues with walking sticks, stoops and tremors.

‘Hello Dave mate, how are you doing?’ translation ‘Oh my God, I hardly recognised you.’

Our table was on the other side of a flimsy trellis from a children’s birthday party, could it get any worse? Yes, our very attentive waitress, did not allow the confined space to deter her from appearing like a parrot at my shoulder every ten minutes to ask if everything was all right… and all the while H3’s aunty trilled how she always came here because she liked the salad bowl.

 

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Imagine my relief at the end of the week to be alone in a First Class lounge at Heathrow Airport, or so I thought until I heard loud voices. Buying a first class ticket does not make you First Class, common was the word that sprang to mind. When an attendant brought my coffee and croissant I gestured to the couple who were now complaining to another member of staff.

‘Nouveau Riche?’ I whispered.

She stifled a giggle and nodded.

Other passengers sighed with relief when the couple’s flight was called, except for those on the same flight.

We all sat in silence with newspapers, books and lap tops, but sometimes it can be too peaceful. Mr. Important Businessman sat opposite me and methodically opened his lap top and briefcase and inserted earpieces, looking round with an expression that said Do not disturb, important e-mails to answer, vital documents to read.

Within seconds his head drooped and he was fast asleep, woken only half an hour later by the call for my flight. He sat bolt upright in alarm, then glared accusingly at his lap top screen, he managed to swallow his pride enough to ask me which flight had been called; he was on the same flight.

I gathered my belongings calmly, I had written and scheduled this blog five minutes before the call. I enjoyed imagining him arriving utterly unprepared for his meeting of world importance.

Read more flash fiction and stories of all sorts including two novellas.

Only $3.26 or £2.49. also available in paperback.

 

 

 

The Blog of Many Colours

Times and Tides of a Beachwriter is brought to you today by the colour pine green, chosen by Jill Denison, whose favourite colour blue was already taken. I hope we can do justice to this shade of green. You can visit Jill’s blog here.

https://jilldennison.com/2019/05/14/%e2%99%ab-happy-birthday-%e2%99%ab/

Pine Green is surely the oldest shade of green. Pine trees are hardy and grow in many parts of the northern hemisphere. They were evolving during the early Jurassic period, old and dependable, not like flighty deciduous ( broadleaf ) trees with their fancy hues ranging from gold, through bright green to bronze. Pine green is a colour that stands out against the pure white of snow covered landscapes; pines the only trees hardy enough to survive long dark winters.

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Pine green will make you think of real Christmas trees with their delightful scent, or perhaps the aptly named Pinewood Studios next door to Black Park in Buckinghamshire, with its 500 acres of woodland. In Bournemouth the Victorians thought pine trees were good for your health and planted many in this seaside town so visitors coming to convalesce would benefit. Consequently there are over forty roads in the area that start with Pine and as many that start with Wood. Thank goodness for sat nav; imagine trying to remember if the friends you are going to visit live in Pinehurst, Pineholt, Pinevale, Pinecliff or Pinewood… Road, Avenue or Gardens… Pity the people who live in Woodland, Woodside, Woodstock… Drive, Close or Way and keep getting the wrong mail.

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For some of us pine woods immediately conjure up a bear with a red jumper and yellow trousers and scarf.  For nearly one hundred years Rupert Bear has lived in the pine woods.

http://home.bt.com/news/on-this-day/november-8-1920-rupert-bear-makes-his-debut-in-the-daily-express-11363942462439

But pine green is not always a popular colour in nature, the soft needle laden matting beneath the trees is barren compared with the rich diversity of plants and creatures found in ancient (not as ancient as pines ! ) English woodlands with their carpets of bluebells in spring. Pine trees waited billions of years to become the ubiquitous pine furniture; they grow quickly and smell delightful at the sawmill, but lovers and protectors of the sort of woodland that Robin Hood roamed around like to see green needles replaced by lacy summer green and golden autumn beech.

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On a banal note, pine green is the colour of disinfectant. When we moved to the coast I had the idea that it would be fun to only have disinfectants and cleaning materials that were blue and had names such as Aqua, Ocean and Seaspray with fresh sea air scent. I hate the smell of pine disinfectant or air fresheners. Only the real thing will do.

Pine Green in fashion? I don’t think so. Who says ‘I think I’ll wear my pine green dress tonight’ or ‘Darling, why don’t you wear your pine green tie with that shirt.’

Pine Green belongs in nature.

If you would like your favourite colour to feature, put it in the comments.

Yellow, peacock blue, purple and pine green have starred so far.

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Silly Saturday – Height of Hypocrisy

To reach the heights of hypocrisy is harder than you think, there are so many hypocrites around it is hard to compete, but don’t give up yet, you can be hypocritical without even realising it, without even being able to spell it.

Did you sign that petition to save orangutans, without even knowing how to spell orangatangs? Good, but when you went shopping for your peanut butter you picked the one with palm oil in. At least you bought a compassionate mouse trap at the hardware shop, remembered to check it when you got up and tip toed into the garden in your dressing gown to release the dear little mouse through the fence into next door. Then you had a cooked breakfast; so a mouse’s life is worth more than a pig’s?

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You signed the petition against using fossil fuels, but had a lovely day out on a heritage steam railway. Pondering on trains made you decide to sell your car, but luckily your partner also owns a car as you were very grateful when they drove you to the emergency weekend dentist when you had that abscess.

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However, you are feeling extra virtuous because you were part of the Extinction Rebellion protest and your picture appeared on Facebook, with at least two friends recognising you. Of course you had not actually intended to sit on Waterloo Bridge with the protesters, but were trying to make your way home after visiting your grandmother in Saint Thomas’ Hospital; as the buses could not run across the bridge it was easier to walk across and catch a different bus. Then Isabella from work spotted you and enveloped you in flowers and kisses and introduced you to all her green friends and somehow you couldn’t get away…

If you haven’t already had a go at playing the Gaia game – Snakes and Stairs, why not try it?

https://tidalscribe.wordpress.com/2018/10/20/silly-saturday-snakes-and-stairs/

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Friday Flash Fiction – 800 – Dream Machine

Seth tried to hang on to the memories before he opened his eyes; a whole film in technicolour. He had dreamed a whole movie, a brilliant idea for a novel if he could recall it; write a best seller with film makers flocking to his door… that would be a dream. If only he could connect his brain to his computer, time would not be wasted sleeping, unless it was the fact that he was sleeping that produced the ideas. He jumped as his phone vibrated under his pillow and played that irritating tune. Every morning he vowed to change the tune and every evening he forgot. Whatever the melody, it didn’t alter the fact that he had to get up for work.

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The school Seth taught at bore no resemblance to the one in his dream, where young minds were nurtured and different talents exposed to produce a team of world changing teenagers with Seth sharing a little of the glory, or quite a lot as he was made Prime Minister. Who would play him in the film? He snapped out of his reverie and looked at the surly faces staring at him… and that was just the staff room. Seth put his empty coffee cup down and stood ready to face the afternoon.

‘Hey Seth, you’ve got a new kid in your English class, he’s in my form, Dad’s a scientist and polymath, seen him on television, goodness knows why he sent his son to this school, something about discovering real life.’

‘He was thrown out of his private school,’ said the head of science ‘too clever for his own good.’

Seth felt his hackles rise; they should be encouraging the clever kids, not putting them down. He strode down the corridor with an idea for the warm up pen and paper creative exercise.

The class was unusually quiet, gathered round the new boy who was talking enthusiastically, his long fingers gesticulating elegantly to illustrate his subject.

‘Without any discussion class, write for fifteen minutes imagining you could plug your brain into a computer while you slept.’

Unusually they settled down quickly. Seth sauntered casually between the desks, the new boy was scribbling furiously, words and hieroglyphics.

‘Isaac isn’t it?’

‘Yes Sir.’

At least the private school had taught him manners.

‘Named after Newton or Asimov?’

‘Both Sir.’

‘Do you enjoy writing?’

‘When it’s my favourite topic, good choice Sir, my father and I have just invented such a device. It didn’t go down too well at my last school, getting the pupils to volunteer; perhaps you would like to have a go?’

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So on Friday evening Seth found himself relaxing on a comfortable bed in a very pleasant room with electrodes attached to his head; he didn’t expect it to work, but he did have an idea for a new short story about a writer who finds himself  in the hands of mad father and son scientists. It was rather creepy being in the company of the two most intelligent people he had ever met.

‘Our initial aim is to discover if brain waves will translate into images or words or perhaps both’ said Isaac’s father.

Seth drifted off quickly. He was on board the International Space Station with  Isaac and his father and the attractive married science teacher he fancied; also bizarrely his mother and the middle aged lady who worked on the till at the Co Op. They had a fantastic plan for saving the Earth from climate change, if only he could remember what the plan was… he woke up with a start.

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‘Great, we’ve got some images already.’

Seth looked at the screen as he sipped a welcome cup of tea. A beautiful view of the earth, a view inside the space station, well anybody could get those images off the internet… but not pictures of his mother and everyone in his dream, the lady still in her Co Op uniform, the science teacher in a very short skirt and low cut blouse, floating around showing her figure to full effect. Isaac chuckled.

‘Hey Sir, you fancy Mrs Greening.’

Seth ignored the remark. ‘But we’re not talking, I’m not sure if we spoke in the dream, but we had a plan…’ he rubbed his temples ‘to save the earth.’

‘Let’s try the word document then’ said Isaac’s father.

Seth thrilled when he saw words come up on the screen, he’d written a book in his sleep, he peered closer, something was wrong…

I Captain odf the mosat brillainteam o severs sent up my mother fopr got to,mask me to get milkat the shops mrs greening saya her husband is dead so its okayforhet come up herthees the moonnt asbigasithoughtihave togobalc toearth itstime forscgool wonder if the shuttle is working todayknoitdoesb’tworkanymore ohohmyspacesuitdoesn;t fit ishallppbably implode otrisitsexplode ionspace………….

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For more stories, have a look in the book.

 

Silly Saturday – How to Cheat at Game of Thrones

Today I am delighted to welcome back Baz The Bad Blogger to talk about his new novel and the YouTube video he has created to launch the series.

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‘Have you always wanted to write fantasy Baz?’

No, but if that chap can make all that money out of Game of Thrones I thought how hard can it be to write about dragons?

‘Have you watched all the series of Game of Thrones?’

No, have you?

‘No, but I imagine you must have had to come up with some very original story lines to compete with GoT and all the other fantasy novels.’

My dragon is set in the real world of the 21st Century; he comes from a lost island somewhere in the Pacific, but loses his way home and ends up at Bognor Regis. Notflex are going to love it.

‘That explains the scene where he nearly collides with the coastguard helicopter…’

But there is still the traditional castle setting… I can’t tell you any more, you’ll have to buy the book.

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Silly Saturday – How to be Fantastic on Facebook

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It’s hard to believe, but there are some people who are not on Facebook. Think of what they are missing. These are some of the things I have learnt from Facebook. Cats and dogs can get on together. Lots of people like cats, lots of people like dogs. Horses like visiting people in hospital. Baby pandas just wanna have fun. Walruses like sleeping on submarines.

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You can also learn about people on Facebook, what they are eating at the new restaurant or what got stolen from their van last night. You can even find out about people you actually know. In fact Facebook is the only way you will find out what your family are doing – if you can decipher the cryptic messages and pictures. Are they still stuck broken down on the motorway. Is that their Pyrenean Mountain Dog puppy or their friend’s ? What on earth are they doing at Sheremetyevo International Airport?

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What do you post on Facebook? There is no need to bother catching up with emails and phone calls to numerous friends and relatives. If you want everyone to know your latest news just post an enigmatic message. ‘Another hot day on the Nullabor Plain.’ Soon you will be inundated with messages from long lost friends.

Hey hun, what’s up, didn’t the job in Northampton work out?

Or post an ultrasound picture of a black and white alien with the words ‘Tabitha is going to have a baby brother.’

Hugs hun, sooo pleased for you.

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But Facebook has more than one page to scroll down; if you are a writer you can have an author page, if you run your own business you can have a page promoting your fantastic products and services. The advantage is that everything on that page is yours, unlike the rest of Facebook, full of boring other people. The only drawback, probably no one is ever going to see it. But just in case anyone accidentally finds themselves at Your Page, make sure your profile picture is sophisticated and professional.

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https://www.facebook.com/Beachwriter/

Friday Flash Fiction – 600 – Nom de Plume

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Busy weekend away helping Sally’s aunt and uncle move house; we stopped for dinner at the motorway services on the way back. I still hadn’t written a word for my new writers’ group on Monday evening. Sally just laughed.

‘Rob, it’s not school, just tell them you didn’t have time, though you could write a whole book about this weekend.’

‘Yes… and if it got published would your aunt and uncle recognise themselves?’

‘Not if you changed the names.’

She continued leafing through some free magazine she had picked up, then pushed it to my side of the table.

‘Look, there’s a short story at the back, maybe you will get one of your short stories in a magazine one day.’

‘I am hoping to aim a little higher than some rubbish free magazine.’

I flicked back through the pages; there was actually an article written by a dog, looking for forever homes for his pals.

Lots of licks, Barney.

‘Oh please, spare me… ‘

‘Read the story Rob, maybe it’s good.’

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Protest

by Angelique Dubarry

 It started with a bumble bee and ended with the saving of a whale; thousands of signatures on the petition protesting to Sea Worlds in the USA for keeping Killer Whales in captivity. Saving The World from my computer was simple and addictive, till the day the door bell rang…

Hmm, it was quite a good story, our topic was The Internet – Good or Evil? Sally was busy playing with her phone, I slipped the magazine into my man bag. Nobody in my writers’ group would lower themselves to read this trashy magazine. What did Sally say about changing the names? No one would possibly know I had borrowed the story.

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On Monday evening there was a good turn out and it was a while before my turn. I read clearly and confidently, I was enjoying myself.

…till the day the door bell rang. I thought they were Mormons, two smart young men in suits.

‘Good morning Ma’am… Mrs Katherine Jones?… how are you today?’

I was taken aback they knew my name, but they were so polite and so American I stepped back and they stepped forward, into my house. On closer inspection their black badges did not mention Latter Day Saints and what they were saying did not make sense. ‘… home security…’

I thought they were selling burglar alarms; then they homed in to the extension where we keep the computer. Now their slick talking seemed to include the words ‘national security’.

I realised, when it was too late, I should not have offered them a cup of tea. When I was at the sink filling the kettle they disappeared, with the computer…

I looked up, the room was eerily silent, either they were totally absorbed, or they did not like my story. I stuttered, but managed to get to the end.

  ‘…but I don’t understand sergeant, what I have done wrong?’ I stammered.

 ‘Let’s hope your ‘38 degree’ friends can get you a good solicitor, one who will explain the extradition process.’

The tight lipped silence continued, I noticed the retired lady’s face reddening.

‘It’s okay Ruth, I’ll handle this’ said Giles, self appointed leader of the group. ‘Is this your own work Rob, or have you some explaining to do?’

How was I to know that Ruth Brown used Angelique Dubarry as her nom de plume? How was I to know that everybody recognised the story, because it had been short listed for the prestigious local arts festival competition last year.