Archive for May 2013

The Flood

May 27, 2013

Blowing your own trumpet can be discordant. However, yet again, I’m getting fed up with this, too much of anything is bad for you, why does it have to be me? Why oh why oh why? this website has won an award. Here we go again. I know, tell me about it. Award-winning Everyday Gothic Horror Stories. Yawn. Details can be found on this orange line here.

It was raining cats and dogs and frogs and
Fearing the flood would not abate I built
A boat; And two by two my zoo took shape

Caterpillars shared room with centipedes
But man, I kept the spiders from the flies
No tigers about so no life of Pi
Gathering my flock I prepared to sail
Then the heavens closed to bring sunshine
Thank God for that as I am no Noah
The animals are all female, probably
And it would be the end of humanity


Not in Wisden #9: Hawkeye

May 22, 2013

tumblr_mlrzp6xkbg1qllztgo1_500The Millerstounshire cricketer Thomas Carr believed that he was always unlucky. He backed up his theory by citing the phrase lies, damned lies and statistics. The stats were definitely against him. Poor Carr had one of the worst batting averages in the GDCCC. But he was adamant that he had the best eyesight in the league.

At the start of his career he recorded low scores and he didn’t improve much. He was so bad that rumours abounded that Thomas Carr was partially blind. They were probably wide of the mark, club players making up mischief, in all probability Thomas had terrible hand to eye or ball to bat co-ordination. In his defence, Carr insisted he just kept getting unplayable deliveries.

Backing up Carr’s comments that he could see as well as anyone were in evidence whenever he was in the fielding team. He wasn’t a great fielder or slip catcher, it was something else that the doubters couldn’t counter. Thomas would find money in various parts of the field; loose change fallen from pocket holes in trousers, coins dropped from yawning magpies mouths, scrambled coins thrown by Olympian brides at the nearby church. He accumulated quite a bundle of silver insisting no one else could have found the half-buried bounty. Week on week Carr would be out cheaply with the bat in one innings then be a few quid richer in the next.

It was one of those mornings when I rose early and couldn’t get back to sleep. With nothing better to do I headed the short distance to the cricket ground. There was a slight frost in the air but a day’s play looked promising. I passed the small stand and saw a figure in the outfield lingering at Long Off planting something in the ground. It was Thomas Carr. Thinking he must have a bit of insomnia like myself I wandered over.

“Hi TC.” I greeted him affably. Carr looked at me guiltily. From the corner of my eye I spotted something shiny on the grass beside him. In the vernacular of the game- Carr had been caught.

This one’s for the Siberian huskies

May 20, 2013

The latest, hottest breaking news is that Yahoo have bought Tumblr for $1.1 bn. The internet portal company Yahoo have been steadily declining behind Google and feel this is a good investment. They’ve decided to give Tumblr a twirl.

Before I read this I hadn’t heard of Tumblr. Further research told me Tumblr is a blogging, social media site based mostly for the young online crowd and having a predominately US audience. Now how did I miss this? I know I’m not American but I am youngish….

Anyway, I’ve bought hundreds of tumblers before and none of them cost me $1bn. Now you might think this is going to be another glass blog, and much as you can never have enough tumblers or glass blogs, I’m leading up to the main theme.

A relation is heading off to London soon and he told me about one of the places he’s booked. It is a bar. Not just any bar. It’s the Icebar. To cut to the chase I’ll cut and paste from their home page.


Step into ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL, a cold sensory environment where the walls, bar, tables and even your own personal glass are made of the purest ice. A concept at the very heart of ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL is that everything inside is made from crystal clear Torne River ice which is harvested from the pristine winter wonderland of Jukkasjärvi in Northern Sweden.

Every Autumn, a team of ICEHOTEL’s artists and ice designers carve Torne River ice into a new theme and layout using chisels and chainsaws. Every design is different from the next and each year we eagerly anticipate the results of this wonderful artistic transformation.
With each new design, we build on the tradition of groundbreaking innovation and style for which ICEBAR BY ICEHOTEL has become famous.

How cool is this?

The uncool bit is that patrons are only allowed in the bar for 40 minutes. Hardly enough time to wet your throat even if to stay longer might bring on the onset of hypothermia. This minor gripe aside it’s not a bad concept. What will they think of next?

What about A Game of Thrones Bar? This would be a pub of Fire and Ice. A combination as lethal as a snakebite. Or how about a themed pub about the John Carpenter classic film. This could be called the FogBar. Tricky though, if looking for the toilet.

The War Journal: Colditz

May 12, 2013
A liitle short story while it’s quiet in the world of bizz. 

 You join us slap bang in the middle of an embarrassing situation. Here we are, packed like cannon fodder, on a long journey to captivity. I’ve no idea how we got caught by the enemy and neither do any of the other prisoners. It’s as if our memories have been wiped out and we’ve just been born.

A bumpy road made us fizz and soon we are hauled out of the wagon and thrown into glass cells. The first thing that hits me is the cold. It’s absolutely freezing.

“What kind of barracks is this? We haven’t misbehaved yet and still we’re thrown in the cooler right away.” shouted Private Chibber.

“Quiet, soldier, the whole camp is on permanent chill.” said an old lag/prisoner from a level below us.

I surveyed our surroundings. This was an unusual internment camp. It housed only one building and prisoners were stacked on different floors and seperated according to their rank and colour.

“This is just like the J.G. Ballard book, High Rise. Have you read it?”

“I’ve seen the film.” mumbled the Private.

“It hasn’t been made into a film.”

“Oh. I must be thinking of something else.” he thought for a moment. “High Noon, that’s it.”

“Well anyway, High Rise is a book about this luxury skyscraper that is a sanctuary away from the outside world. The building has all the amenities a community needs: Shopping malls, swimming pools, tennis courts, pubs, bookies, bingo, you name it. It’s a utopian paradise for the super rich.

“Soon some minor teething problems arise and there are power cuts. You know what these cowboy builders are like. Feuds break out between the neighbours that escalates into extreme acts of terror like murder and arson. The utopian world goes upside down and becomes dystopian.

“The people divide themselves into groups depending on where they are situated in the building. The high rise occupants organise themselves into the three classic types of society- upper, middle and low class. Total anarchy ensues. It is a very violent book. You’d like it.”

Chibber was unmoved. “ It’s just like Waterstones book stores then?”

I failed to see the  violence connection and was curious. “How do you work that out?”

“That’s got the levels things going too”. Chibber went on “Right, in the basement floor they’ve got the good stuff for normal people- sport, music, film. The ground floor is neutral. A kind of a, no-man’s land. The first floor is where the fiction books are kept for the middle-class muppets. And finally, at the top are the reference manuals and “serious” books. This floor is for the toffee noses.”

“Quiet soldier, the cavalry is coming.” shouted the old lag. “Every now and then there’s a jailbreak. It’s just your luck if your turnstile is picked. I’ll get out of here one day, you’ll see. I’m isotonic”

I didn’t have a clue what the old boy was on about. He must be on some kind of funny cigarettes thinking he’s bionic. Mind you the whole place did go quiet as footsteps approached.

The steps stopped and a rustling was heard from outside followed by a loud noise of falling silver. All of a sudden the iron in front of me was turning. I had a chance to drop into a waterless moat at the bottom of the cage. Suddenly I could feel myself being pushed from behind. Chibber had decided to force his iron open and tagged onto me, dropping into the ditch. A Butch and Sundance moment.

“This was just like the old days when we used to double up into the football grounds with only one of us paying.” reminisced Chib.

In seconds all the light disappeared as a giant airplane with five fingers hovered above us. Freedom.


2.2 The Bronzed Adonis

May 9, 2013


The supermarket queue was moving slowly though Ralph himself was in no hurry. He was waiting in line to purchase his All-in-One cleaning and fresh breath toothpaste at the princely sum of £4.99. The racks of goods on his way to the checkout didn’t interest him- bars of chocolate, magazines with lurid tales of the rich and famous, different sized batteries- not least because he only had a five pound note in his pocket.

At length Ralph’s turn arrived. He smiled friendlily at the cashier and placed his paste on the table. It was scanned and deposited in a small bag.

“£4.99” said the checkout operator.

Ralph handed his fiver over and was given his purchase. The teller looked to the next customer before seeing that Ralph had not moved from the serving area. It was only a few seconds but Ralph felt like this moment was as long as Huey and he didn’t feel like no King Ralph. With a frown the cashier rattled into loose change box and, with a smack, delivered a penny into Ralph’s outstretched hand. Ralph flashed a goodbye smile that had fake written all over it.

This little incident bugged Ralph all day and later, meeting his friend Jeff, in a plush, posh bar downtown Ralph recounted the penny incident.

“I wouldn’t wait for a penny.” said Jeff.

“Why not?”

“For a start, its bronze.”

“What’s that got to do with it?” asked Ralph.

“I don’t know if you know what century this is but the bronze age has long gone. Most of those pennies are stinking of …rust and …oxidisation-”

“Oxidisation?” interrupted Ralph. Jeff, with a low nostril noise emitted a I-might-be-right-but-I’m-not-sure face and went on.

“That’s right. The penny stinks. God knows what kind of diseases are lurking on its surface. And another thing if we all reject the penny change the queue goes in quicker. It angers me when I’m in a long line and those in front are stalling for 1p. One of these days there’s going to be a fist fight on account of the penny change. Penny rage, they’ll call it.”

Ralph tried a new approach. “Ok, how about this? What if you bought two items at £4.99 each and you handed over a ten pound note, would you wait for your 2p change?”

“You’ve raised the stakes, Ralph. Everyone has a limit and that 2p could be vital in the long run. There’s a big difference here. Only a fool wouldn’t wait for the 2p. 2p is a no-brainer, there’s no 2p or not 2p about it. But 1p? I wouldn’t like to embarrass myself.”

“If you ask me the 99 price thing is all a scam. To avoid the awkwardness of waiting for the change why don’t they round the price up.” Ralph pointed up.

Jeff pointed down. “They could round it down, that’d be even better. Hey, here’s Sly.” Sly was Jeff’s wife. “Hi Sly.” He kissed his wife.

“Now it’s my turn, Sly,” said Ralph “you’ll love this kiss. Look at my nice white teeth and fresh breath. I’ve been using an expensive new brand of toothpaste and well worth the price.” Ralph made his Joker face revealing pearly white molars that looked good enough to eat.

“No thanks, Ralph, though I must say your teeth do look tremendous. Aren’t you buying me a drink, Jeff? I quite fancy the Bronzed Adonis cocktail. It’s always good to try something different.”

“For you, sweetheart, the world.” Jeff signalled the barman over and ordered the cocktail. A few moments later it was brought over. Jeff opened his wallet and took out a ten pound note figuring that would be more than enough for the one drink.

“£9.99” said the barman. This flustered Jeff. He knew that Sly’s position on the penny change was the same as Ralph’s. She would break his neck if he didn’t take his change.

The barman waited for his fee. A stand-off ensued.

The music of Ennio Morricone played in Jeff’s head.

Jeff feared losing face in front of Ralph by taking the coin yet feared Sly’s response even more if he didn’t take the penny. Ralph looked at Jeff. Sly looked at Jeff. The barman looked at Jeff. Jeff eyed the other three in turn. He’d already used his fainting trick three times this week.

“Tell you what, I’ll have another whisky and you can have another whisky, Ralph. And have one for yourself, barman.”

Jeff fished in his wallet for a further money. If the round still came to something 99 he’d order a bag of nuts.