Didn’t we have a lovely time…

Didn’t we have a lovely time the day we went to… Liverpool. Mary has close family connections to the newly refurbished (and Sterling prize winning) Everyman Theatre. That connection includes knowing the Chis Exec (Deborah) really well. So, along with seeing Fiddler on the Roof, we would also get shown around the theatre.


We drove up on Friday and went straight to ‘Another Place’ at Crosby. This is Anthony Gormley’s massive sculpture on the beach. One hundred steel Gormleys looking out to sea. We’ve been before, but that didn’t dampen the excitement. Most of the Gormleys are submerged at full tide – and they eerily rise from the water as the tide comes in. We got there at low tide and I was able to go almost half a mile to the waters edge and say hello to one of the furthest Gormleys, who looked pleased to be drying his knees.

We stayed in the Aachen Hotel (which is not in Aachen, but chosen by the originally military owner – who served in Germany – so it would be first in Yellow Pages. Remember those?). It’s a blog on its own. We chose it because it had walls and was cheap. Little did we know that it was as idiosyncratic as Dali painting. But it did have walls, was cheap and served a huge breakfast.


Before a tour of of the theatre (thanks – Deborah. We got the full one-hour tour followed by supper) and Fiddler on the Roof (which was fab-u-lous) we walked Liverpool in the pouring rain. We did the Tate and saw Tracy Emin’s bed. Yeah, I’m not sure I get that, in fact I’m not sure I get much in the Tate. But I am a philistine. Then the Walker gallery, which was much more up my street. But for me the highlight was Hope University’s marketing double-decker bus, which opened at the side, and out poured a student covers-rock band. C and Mary continued shopping whilst I tapped my feet to four students bringing happiness to lots of shoppers. Many of whom danced in the rain. Brill.

And, as I write, I am 2 scenes from completing the screenplay. I will print it out today, and next week I shall run a ruler over it. It will be with my director chap next weekend. One month ahead of schedule. Hurrah!

Hope your weekend was as fun as ours!

A bit dull!

A quick note from me. Doris is currently being rocked back and forth by ‘Doris’. But surviving well. We’re back in Bristol, but moving to Mary’s today so that the 3 of us can go to Liverpool for the weekend – more of which later.


I’m now just 20 pages just short of finishing Unsuspecting Hero’s screenplay. I’m getting better at using the programme and sharper at translating book to play. I hope to finish it by Sunday and then print it out. I need to work on making it more ‘sensational’ and sharpen the dialogue. I’d hope to get that all done by the end of the first week in March. We’ll see.

Apart from that, it’s been helping Jen and other admin. Sorry it’s dull!




Making progress?

It’s difficult to know what to write about. Should I remind everyone of Donald’s notable successes in his first 90 days? Should I talk about the weather? Both have been rays of sunshines!

Well, what can we say about Donald? Best, perhaps, summed up in his Florida rally yesterday. He wants to reach the American (adoring) public avoiding the liars and fake news that those so-and-sos The Washington Post, CNN and the BBC have been proffering. So the best way to do that is to hold a rally in Florida for a few thousand people and let the national media report it. Mmm, makes sense to me. This is his third weekend in a row that he’s headed for his holiday mansion in Florida, where, if you’ve got the kind of money that buys you a private jet, you can purchase a condo and rub shoulders with Donald on his days off. Not sure that’s wholly ethical…

Now we’ve watched all of the West Wing, three times. So we know how to govern in the US. And if Donald is in Florida soaking up the adulation of his adoring fans and rubbing shoulders with people who have spent a fortune on buying some of his property, then who’s running the country? And call me old fashioned, but why isn’t he in California helping out with the flood defences? Oh, of course. They didn’t vote for him.

It’s going to end in tears. My worry is that it may not be Donald shedding them. Let’s hope the Dutch, then the French, then the Germans all vote with some intelligence. We, of course, started this with the Brexit vote. I do worry…


However, Mrs Sun has been omnipresent and, after a couple of days with C’s sister down in Wool, we’re now Day 3 of 3 on a small CL next to Dorset coastal path. It’s been fabulous. Two long, up and down walks, and today hopefully a run.

We’re also in Lost – now Season 2. It ain’t half bad. As Jen said, if you suspend disbelief it’s quite a lot of fun. Certainly, with the way things are at the moment I think I’d rather be fending off savages on a remote island than sitting here waiting for Armageddon.


Back to Bristol tomorrow, then Mary’s next weekend for a trip to Liverpool. I’m over halfway on the old screenplay, so should be finished by early March – well ahead of schedule. It remains fun, but I think I have a lot of work in draft 2 to sharpen it up before I show it to my director friend.

It’s all good!

Weather’s turning…

Thankfully the weather seems to be changing. Today, at Lulworth Cove after a morning of torrential rain, Mrs Sun came out and almost started to brown our knees. Fabulous.

What’s been going on? Geographically we left Bristol on Tuesday after a day helping out Jen and her dogs, and we headed southwest for Wellington. We were due to stay with Dita, and old Army friend of ours. She lives just off the M5, but it might as well have been  deepest Devon. The road to her place was Doris width plus 6 inches and banks where at Olympic height. Turning into her house (backwards) was a squeeze, but no damage done – nor none when we left this morning.


We went to Dita’s as she asked me to present to the Exeter Flotilla – a sort of retired naval officers’ club. After supper in the mess at Lympstone, I gave them my best Sierra Leone tale…which seemed to go down well enough.

And today we’re with Joy and Malcolm, C’s middle sister in southern Dorset (does it have a northern half?). Until Friday – which is great. And then we have three days of nothing, before we’re back with Jen for Tuesday. No plans yet…

As for the books. Well, I had my fourth very polite refusal today. But, I have also had a personal recommendation from another thriller writer (thanks Richard C!) to his agent. I have yet to chase that up. And the screenplay is motoring on. I’m now 4/9 of the way through and should definitely be finished by 31 March, if not sooner. My director pal has said he will come down to Bristol for a couple of days once it’s done. Hurrah!.


So it’s all go. My last 3 reviews on Amazon for FtF have been 5 star and I’m still selling a couple of books a day. Not quite the 100 a week (up to 450 in one week) that we had in the Autumn.  But it’s better than not selling anything.

I hope the weather is kind to you…

Keep writing!

Brrr. It’s been cold. Doris has held up womanfully, and we’ve had Cassie for the weekend – which has been great. She’s a darling and, apart from walking (more of which in a second), she requires no effort whatsoever.

Walking…ahhh! Out fitbits (mine is a Garmin) provide an extraordinary push for both of us to get out and walk. 10,000 steps is about 6km and whilst walking round the shops will add 2,000 steps to your daily effort, you really do have to go the extra mile to complete the distance. What with no alcohol (yes, you heard it here first – other than when we go out), we’re really working hard to get and stay fit. Both of us have dropped the running a bit – mostly because with everything else once you’ve been out on your feet for an hour and a bit there isn’t always time to fit it in. But, I reckon we’re still running twice a week. It’s all good.


I’m 75 pages into the screenplay – and my director pal phoned me about the first 35 pages I sent him. He was really happy with them, so I just need to crack on. I’m determined to get it completed by mid-March and then he has said he will come down to Bristol and talk it through. I have to say I’m really enjoying the experience and like what I’ve done  – it does seem exciting and I can see it on celluloid, if you know what I mean.

Book sales are down to about 2/3 a day, but I’m still relatively high in the rankings in the US – and still getting 5-star reviews (thanks). I think this is because FtF is still being offered under ‘Prime Lending’, which means that a few people must ‘borrowing’ the book as well as the ones I am selling. Of course, all of this is a minor issue, as the most important thing is to get The Innocence of Trust out there. I’ve had nothing back from 8/11 agents, and nothing from Kindle. I’ll start getting excited about it in a couple of weeks time, I think.

We’re in Bristol, although we’re off to Devon tomorrow as I’ve been asked to present about the United Nations to a bunch of old navy chaps. And then we’re heading to C’s sister in Poole for a couple of days. In all of this I must remember to keep writing!

That’s all from us at the moment.


Work, work, work…

It’s been work-work-w jkork for me over the past three days. Monday was a series of one-to-ones. Tuesday was a 2-hour seminar session (lecture, seminar, activity) for a bunch of houseparents. And Wednesday was some more one-to-ones. Is it fun?

Well, I think so. I really do feel as though I’m making a difference, and as I keep getting asked back, I’m guessing that the individuals feel as though I’m making a contribution. But, I am cheap; that helps. My one-to-ones are cheaper than a plumber. My seminar sessions are much more equivalent to what others may charge. Although I spoke to a pal of mine on Saturday. He provides consultancy for a major conglomerate and charges £1000 a day. Mmm, I’m not sure that would sit easily with the schools I deal with. Anyhow, that’s it for work until March, where I have another 4 days of stuff going on.


Between now and then it’s all about the screenplay. I’ve sent the first 36 pages to my director friend, who is (today) reading it so as to give me big hints as to whether I’m heading in the right direction. We’ll see. And, at the same time, I’m sitting around waiting for the agent/publishers to turn me down for The Innocence of Trust.

On that note yesterday we stopped and had tea with Seymour and Debbie – he loves the books. And then overnight with old Army pals of ours, John and Lou (thanks for having us!). John said that over Christmas he and two of his grown-up children had a conversation about the books…like a post-read book club. How’s that? And my last two reviews on Amazon have been 5-star. It keeps me going.


With all that in mind, I can’t tell you how excited/impatient I am to get TIOT out there…but I’m not going to do anything for at least a month.

It’s cold here. But we’re both fine (both keeping an eye on our fitness bands…). Hurrah!

Missing the snow…

We’re sat watching Ski Sunday – which is no longer about skiing  as they’re mostly tumbling through the air on a snowboard, with trick names like ‘backside 1440 melon’. There are more neon lights and advertising babes than at an F1 night race. Interestingly there were 2 UK men in the final 8, and 1 woman in the same event. Fabulous. I do really miss it – I really do. It’s the snow, the cold, the crispness, the mountains and everything else. Sigh…

We had a great evening with James and Sheron (who we haven’t seen for over 2 years). They live in deepest Devon and Doris had to breath in a couple of times as the roads narrowed and the hedges widened. It was great to see them – and we shall do our best to pop down more often.


Doris got mostly an all clear from the doctors. There’s a high damp reading on the back garage wall. She’s covered by Hymer’s 10-year cover, as well as Chelston’s warranty. It’s funny but Hymer only built with single pre-fabricated sheets: aluminium outer, decent insulation and breathable plywood inner. The 5 sides are bonded and there is no wood in the process. Chelstons are checking again in 3 months, and if there’s still a concern, then they’ll sort it. I have to say it’s difficult to spot and damage as all of the sides look strong. But the boot has been very damp and cold, so, even though there’s a heater outlet ion the boot, I’ve put a heater in there and I have my own damp metre coming. So, we’ll see.


We’re now back in Bristol and, thankfully, the weather has cheered up a bit. I’m 25/200 pages into the screenplay for Unsuspecting Hero. And I’m working Monday to Wednesday next week in Cheltenham, Chepstow and Wells. All’s well.