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Sunday, 21 August 2016

My brother, the rover...which sounds like the opening line of one of those folksongs.

...you know the kind of folksong.  The ones which start with a long nasal note (perhaps, as Terry Pratchett speculated, to give bystanders the chance to get away) and then descend into a lot of vocal twanging and that sort of 'singing with a clenched jaw' that gives everybody a faux Irish accent.  The songs are usually wildly mysogenistic too, lots of 'dewy maids' doing euphemistic things to cows and their herders.

But I digress.  The title of this blog is actually literally true, my brother has been a bit of a rover.  In fact, he has just been the first person (properly really and everything) to spend 24 hours travelling on a London Underground train.  It might be news to you, but the Tube has just started to run a few 24 hour services on Friday and Saturday nights (I always vaguely wondered how Londoners got home after late nights out when there were no trains. I assumed buses, but for all I know there were licenced Pogo-Stick suppliers and you had to hop your way back after a late date).

Anyway.  The boy done good, he spent 24 hours on the Underground, without ever breaking surface, and he did it to raise money for the Samaritans.  You can read some of his story here, it comes with pictures of said brother, so be careful.  And, should you wish to donate to his cause (which is a very good one and everything), then here is the JustGiving link - both he and the Samaritans will be extremely grateful for anything you can spare.

This is him.  No, not the big red circle, that's the Underground symbol.  He's standing next to it, and isn't the big long silver thing (that's a train).

The part that really worries me is that he wasn't allowed to leave the station at any point, so all his food and drink came courtesy of the vending machines on platforms, and...and I want to be delicate here... he could only use the station toilets.

Anyway.  If you admire his spirit, ability to stay awake, and restriction on toilet usage, then please pop over to his JustGiving site and leave a few pennies to support the Samaritans.  Otherwise I shall subject you to folk songs until you do...

Monday, 15 August 2016

I go to the seaside...

You know the best thing about being an author?

No, it's not the biscuits - although, I must admit they are a contributing factor.  Neither is it the free and ready access to Lovely Tone (well, I get to mention him frequently, anyway), or the fact that I can sit around the house in my jammies covered in egg stains, staring out of the window and say I am 'working'.  No.   The best thing is being able to go to places and call it work.

Yesterday I went to Scarborough.  There's nothing truly remarkable about this, Scarborough is a nearby town and I'm often found there. usually in the winter, accompanied by howling gales and dogs and showers of spray that threaten to knock me off my feet.  When you live near the sea, especially a seaside town which tends to be overpopulated in summer, you don't go that often in the Season.  But I had Visitors (my brother and his wife), who fancied a trip to Scarborough, so I took them.  It's all right, I brought them back as well...

Anyway.  Having toured the sea front, with its arcades and smells, I took them into the Old Town.  It's not generally recognised by many people that Scarborough has an Old Town, but before it was a purveyor of fried food and bingo, Scarborough was a working harbour, with ship owners and an old castle, and once you get up into the steep streets of little houses and views over the whole bay, it becomes a lot nicer experience.

At least, it's a nicer experience until my big face looms up over it.

Of course, they had to paddle, but they are from Down South, so that was all right.
And I took them to visit Anne Bronte's grave, and we walked along the headland that divides the two bays and looked out to sea.  All in all it was an example of 'how to look under the surface of the expected' - which is a writerly lesson if I ever heard one.  Superficially, Scarborough is a tacky, slightly down at heel seaside town with far too much face paint and the smell of fried food.  But when you get a bit off the beaten track you can find yourself looking at the place from a whole new perspective.  With a fresh doughnut in each hand, admittedly, and often wearing a 'Kiss Me Quick' hat, but at least you are getting some culture...


Tuesday, 9 August 2016

The Perfect Hero...must have own head,, and no My Little Pony tattoos.

Right.  I now know what I must write to make big mega-bucks...  I've been conducting a survey (for which read looking at a lot of book covers and blurb, because I don't have time to survey..I barely have time to get up and dressed...actually, no, not time, that's not the word.  Ah yes, inclination. I barely have the inclination to get up and dressed).  And this survey (yes, yes, all right, I only looked at covers, it's hardly scientific) has shown me a few trends that I really should get in on, in order to sell those millions.

Right.  The hero should be (in no particular order) at least three of the following: - a motorcycle rider, tattooed, ex (or current, jury is out) Navy SEAL (I'm not quite sure what one of those is, I'm imagining a lot of swimming and looking cute, which never did any hero any harm, and, come to think of it, the motor cycle had better be one of those huge big throbbing jobs, I'm fairly sure a Vespa won't cut it.  And the tattoos shouldn't be 'I Luv Mum' or a My Little Pony one..), billionaire, troubled (dark past optional), bringing up his nephew/sister/child-after-traumatic-death-of-his-wife (see, dark past), immensely HOT (probably looks-wise. Unless they just mean that he has trouble with heat regulation and is often sweaty), protective, unable to take 'go away, I never want to see you again' as an answer. If his 'trouble (optional dark past)' can also cause him to have episodes of 'brooding', that appears to be good too.

If the covers are anything to go by, having a head is optional, but he must possess a torso that looks like a tarpaulin stretched over builders' sand and planks.  How the hero and heroine are ever to have a conversation when he hasn't got a head is a question one must ask, but I suppose conversations are not required when he's a hot tattooed, motorcycling SEAL billionaire - once you've got the 'take me, I'm yours!' out of the way it's pretty much grunts from there on in.

But... y'see, my main problem with heroes like this is that I have to be able to believe in them.  And I just find it very hard to imagine that a man who spends most of his life either in the gym (working on those concrete abs) or riding his motorcycle moodily up and down the corridors of his multi-million pound business, will make a good partner for more than six weeks, before he gets either bored or moody and rides (or swims, if he's a SEAL) off in search of the next pretty girl.
Sigh.  Tony wouldn't do that.  Mind you, I'm struggling to find him on the above list, unless he's got secret tattoos, of course...