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I’m back.

Sept 2014 I'm Back © Antony N Britt

Yes, even though I said I was going to end the Sunday Roast when I last posted in December 2013, I couldn’t help myself. You see, there are so many stupid things to comment on, and they all seem to happen to me. Therefore, what I shall do is offer an occasional meal for you. And here it is.

So what’s been happening?

I’ve been busy: Writing another book, rehearsing for a musical, and working bloody hard.. I’ve also not long returned from a week’s holiday in my favourite exotic hotspot – Torbay.

Sept 24 - Torbay © Antony N Britt

Now don’t laugh, I’ve been going there on and off for 35 years and this was my 18th trip. I love the place. You’d think after all that time, though, I’d be bored, but you’re wrong. There’s always something new to see, like the most sinister looking Disney Tramp I have ever seen.

Sept 2014 - Tramp © Antony N Britt

Really, the thing looked rabid. And while I was in the same amusement arcade, I noticed this in one of the 2 pence tipping machines.

Sept 2014 - 2p Machine © Antony N Britt

Okay, how exactly are you supposed to win that mug? There is no way it would ever get down the drop slot and even if it did, it would smash.

But that wasn’t all I saw on holiday. I took the kids on their bi-annual visit to the model village and this was in one of the displays.

Sept 2014 Charlton Heston

I hate to ask, but had the late Charlton Heston begun a course of hormone treatment in preparation for a transgender operation? I’m not sure, but those breasts are bigger than my ex-wife’s.

And there were other curiosities …

Sept 2014 - Shopping Train © Antony N Britt

Huh! Why; something Thomas the Tank uses when he goes to Tesco?

And there was an even bigger, why in Dartmouth.

Sept 2014 - Dartmouth Fish © Antony N Britt

Something looks decidedly fishy about that décor.

And another new experience for me in Torbay, I went on the big wheel which you can see in this picture.

Sept 2014 - Torquay Wheel © Antony N Britt

However, it was only when I got to the top and it stopped for five minutes, I suddenly remembered my terrible fear of heights.

Sept 2014 - Top of Big Wheel Torquay © Antony N Britt

Jesuuuus! It was high. I never used to be that scared when I was young, but I was glad to get off this time.

However, the holiday wasn’t all that bad, and I did get to play an upmarket game of crazy golf on a top course.

Sept 2014 - Mini Golf © Antony N Britt

Yes, they don’t make them like they do in Torbay. Not quite sure what the pig is doing, but I made a bit of a ham of my shot as a result.

And I discovered a funny thing in my wallet.

No, it wasn’t a condom – smart arse. Before going on holiday, I emptied my wallet of all the useless things I wouldn’t want (like condoms). However, once in Torbay, I found I did need the store loyalty card, and I did need my petrol miles card, and I especially needed my backup credit card. I may have even needed my driving licence. What I didn’t need, though, was the business card given to me by the guy doing magic tricks at my nephew’s wedding.

So if I needed extra cash or to present my licence, I was buggered. But on the other hand, if I happened to require the services of a magician on holiday … hey, don’t say I’m never prepared on that score.

Sept 2014 - The Magician

And that’s the holiday, but what else have I been doing?

Well, I returned home to find my back patio covered in weeds. Yes, these would be the ones the man who re-laid my slabs two years ago said would never return.

Now I know what you are going to say, weeds are simply flowers growing in the wrong place.

Sept 2014 - Weeds © Antony N Britt

Bollocks! They are not! Weeds are evil and must be eradicated. However, I didn’t want to spend a fortune on weed killer so I was pleased to have a chance encounter with the man who does the gardens at work who told me the trade secret.

Formula: ½ Gallon of Cider Vinegar, 2 tablespoons of washing up liquid, and one cup of salt.

Cup! What size cup, for heaven’s sake: Egg cup, tea cup, FA Cup …? I don’t know, so I took the liberal view and used a mug. However, after spending loads on this pump spray container, I was kind of wishing I’d simply bought the weedkiller in the first place as it would have been far cheaper.

Okay, does a mixture of mainly vinegar really get rid of your weeds? The answer is, yes, but every time I step into my garden now, I get a craving to buy a bag of chips.

Change my name to Doctor Griffin.

Sept 2014 - Invisible Man

You see, that was the name of the Invisible Man in the novel by HG Wells.

So you’re going to ask why … Okay, I’ll tell.

By chance while online, I came across somebody I worked with over twenty years ago. I was surprised, but glad because I liked them and we always got on. I messaged her but imagine how put out I was when after two or three conversations she admitted she couldn’t remember me. I named numerous other staff members of the time, and so did she, but I was still forgotten. How is this possible? We sat opposite one another for two years! Have I been erased from history? Obviously so. But even more weird, at least once a month somebody will come up to me and swear they know me from somewhere, but the person they think I am is not me. Work that one out!

Great, somewhere I have a doppelgänger enjoying a living out of my past.

Too Mush-room on my plate.

The reason for that terrible phrase will become obvious when I explain what will now go down in history as The Great Aberystwyth Wetherspoon’s Mushroom Incident.

Yes, I was in Wetherspoon’s having one of their breakfasts. While ordering, I asked if instead of tomatoes and beans (yuk), could I have extra mushrooms. You see, the breakfast only came with one flat mushroom. And I do like my mushrooms.

I was told yes, and imagine my anticipation when my breakfast arrived and I was told, ‘Your extra mushrooms will come on a separate plate.’

Great … loads of mushrooms. What more could I ask?

Picture my face when this arrived.

Sept 2014 - Single Mushroom Wetherspoons © Antony N Britt

Look, one sodding mushroom in place of beans and tomato is not a fair swap – right?

Is the Sunday Roast back for good?

Probably once a month. And not even on a Sunday sometimes. So it’s just going to be The Roast. You see I’m terribly busy and how many tales of dodgy mushrooms can one person deliver?

Cheers.

Nick

Hollywood comes to the region during May in the form of Singin’ in the Rain at the Prince of Wales Theatre, Cannock.

Singin' in the Rain. Prince of Wales Theatre Cannock. 8th – 10th May 2014.

Based on the MGM musical of the same name, the plot adheres closely to the movie telling the story of how the silver screen found its voice and left silent pictures behind. It focuses on romantic lead, Don Lockwood, sidekick Cosmo Brown, aspiring actress Kathy Selden and Lockwood’s leading lady, Lina Lamont whose high-pitched voice makes her an unlikely candidate for talking pictures. The show features all the numbers from the MGM score including: Good Morning, Make ‘em Laugh, You Stepped Out of a Dream and of course, the classic Singin’ in the Rain.

Full of charm, comedy and romance, Singin’ in the Rain is the latest offering from the excellent Aldridge Musical Comedy Society (AMCS). For almost 50 years, AMCS have been delivering quality productions and this is no exception. Staged from Thurs 8th to Sat 10th May (including additional Saturday matinee), tickets can be obtained from the box office on 01543 578762 or by going to www.aldridgemcs.co.uk with the option to book direct from AMCS or online. £12/adult, £10/Concessions and £6/Under 16s.

Singin' in the Rain Cast - 2014

Nick

Successful Parenting – Chapter One

The rule book.
Prototype.
Template for those yet to come.
Trial, maybe,
mostly error.
My first-born son.

Hoping to get it right
by the third or fourth
but for now,
you need my guidance,
and I need you as my guidebook.

We’ll help one another,
learning – getting it wrong,
trying all the same.
Writing the instructions for parenthood.

© Antony N Britt

img012

This was written a couple of years back and included in a book together with poems by other fathers. Unfortunately, out of print now which is a shame as the contents were far better than most of the arty farty crap you see put out in poetry circles.

Cheers.

Nick

David is my teenage son and autistic. When first diagnosed at the age of three, the doctor told me he would never develop mentally. However, over the years he has evolved within his own world. Here, I hope to tell of some of the strange but sometimes wonderful things about him and hopefully give a little insight and understanding into living with autism.

Living with David Jan 8 2013

It’s a long while since I did a progress report on David, but there have been reasons. These may take a number of posts to explain as I have deliberately kept quiet and although the hurdles are not over, I will cover one part of the story.

If you click on the autism link at the top of the page, you’ll be directed to previous posts. The last progress update was nearly a year ago where David was doing well at college in Wales. And it was true. Admitted, he still had meltdowns, but he has had those since he was fourteen and the college and everybody involved with David’s welfare were aware of them. However, this did not avert the terrible year which was to come.

The Christmas Wreath © Antony N Britt

This was taken three months before the troubles began. David with the beautiful Christmas wreath he made in Horticulture.

It’s April 29 2013 and I attended David’s review at Pengwern College. He delivered a powerpoint presentation and the future appeared good. The college were managing his behaviour with the staff doing a great job. He’d learned a lot in the eight months residing there. As I say, the meltdown incidents remained and probably always would. The nature of the condition, I’m afraid. To combat this, a change of medication was requested, which had been in practice for two months. In that time, David suffered the loss of his beloved nan, but was coping well. Therefore, on that Monday of the meeting, I returned to Walsall with nothing but positive thoughts concerning the next two and a bit years at college.

Four days later, the world crashed around us and nothing would be the same again.

I’d not long started work in the care field myself and had been given a ridiculous amount of shifts, but was okay as I had no commitments that week. Then the phone rang. It was the college informing me about David having a serious meltdown and attacking somebody. They wanted to send him home while they took stock and reassessed their strategies. I explained, I couldn’t have him at home, I was down to work over 80 hours in the week they wanted to farm him back.

With that in mind, the college contacted social services as they were adamant about removing him and a place at a respite home was found. This home was local to me, but the situation horrible with David having to stay at a place he knew, all the time wondering why he wasn’t at home instead.

It was a week of hell where I only saw him a few hours. When he returned to college a week later, they moved him to an isolated cottage on site while changing his timetable and routine, all things you should not do to somebody with autism.

Three weeks later, despite not having many negative reports, the college said they couldn’t cope and sent him home again. Our local services were involved who found a place at a psychiatric centre. The college stated they would not have him back until a proper assessment had been carried out. So, yet another change of routine and at the end of May, I turned up in a terrible atmosphere to collect David from the place he loved. I was told the college were by no means closing the door and would be happy to have him back in September. That was the last direct contact I had with them before they placed a withdrawal notice on him.

Don’t get me wrong, the staff who actually worked with David at Pengwern College were fantastic. He made many strides which are evident months after they kicked him out. The problem lay with the bureaucracy of those making the decisions. They knew David’s issues when they took him on. They even applied and received extra funding to combat initial difficulties. And yet, the very people who were supposed to be experts in the field, could not cope in doing the job I had done single handed for years. Happy to take the money, yet the first sign of trouble, bat it back to the parents.

I still feel bitter. They wrote him off, citing safeguarding and risk, yet they never took into account the alleged escalation of behaviour issues occurred when David was undertaking a change of medication while at a time when he had just lost his grandmother – a major factor in his life.

June 2, David entered the psychiatric assessment unit and was medically discharged four weeks later. However, he could not leave as a new placement needed to be found. Representatives from the college came down early in his stay for a meeting. It was said they would look to take him back in September. That changed over the weeks to January, then finally, September 2014. It was obvious they never had any intention and perhaps it’s for the best, considering their failure. Even so, I still had a hope he could return. David loved the place and the support staff were excellent. But in the end, if I’m honest, it was only sentimentality which ruled my head.

There is a message in this series of events. If you undertake something, you should see it through, not as in David’s case, dump him and expect the family to pick up the pieces as many have been guilty of doing so in his life.

In September, I took David on holiday to Llandudno and some of my photos of that time were subject to my humourous post, The Sunday Roast – A Midweek Break in Llandudno. I know why David chose that for a promised holiday when all the troubles were over (even though they weren’t), Llandudno is not far from the college. He wanted to visit all the places he never got to. Unfinished business.

On that last day, we met up with one of David’s mentors who typified going the extra mile by reuniting David with things he’d left behind. He and other members of staff who worked with David will not be forgotten. Unfortunately, for David, neither will Pengwern College. On the way home, I asked him where he wanted to visit as a last outing.

‘Rhuddlan Castle,’ he said.

I groaned, accepting the request. Rhuddlan Castle is half a mile from college. You have to drive by the college to get to it and you can then see the college from the castle. Finally, we had to pass the college again on the way home.

David watched his college on that journey, and from the viewpoint, taking photos for memory. As we passed that final time, tears flooded from me as his head craned, staring at the place where he’d spent happy months. It was as if he wanted to reach out and touch, and I’m in tears again writing this now as I relive that moment.

The hard fact was, David’s days at college in Wales were over, and new support needed to be found.

To be continued …

Living With David - View from Rhuddlan Castle

Taken from Rhuddlan Castle. The white building in the distance in the middle is the college. The reason David wanted to come here.

Cheers.

Nick

Still harping on about Christmas.

I do hate it. Just for once it would be nice to do something I want instead of having to please other people.

December 23 - Bah Humbug!

Ahh, Christmas. A time when we should all worship our loving God. The same God who slaughters over 2 million of his subjects in the Bible. With friends like him …?

Take the nativity. Jesus is born and God sends a star to guide three wise men to bear gifts. Unfortunately, the star isn’t accurate and the men end up going to King Herod by mistake. So, having been sent the wrong way by God, the wise men blurt out the secret to Herod, thus instigating the massacre of the innocents. Hmm … Doesn’t sound very wise to me.

Dec 29 - Monty Python Wise Men

Sorry, couldn’t resist.

Because of God’s misdirection, dozens of newborn subjects, waiting to be brainwashed into loving God, are murdered.

There is a moral to this story. If ever in life you are lost and in need of direction, don’t trust God, buy a Sat-Nav instead.

Merry Christmas.

And talking of Christmas presents …

Earlier this year I did a piece about a two inch Hex/Allen key which came posted to me in a twelve inch box full of polystyrene shapes to protect the metal object. Well, one of David’s Christmas presents nearly matched that for over zealous packing.

Dec 29 - Big Box for Small Item © Antony N Britt

There it is, a massive three-foot box to send a twelve inch toy train. And no bubble wrap … tut tut. It’s a good job my recycle collection came two days after Christmas.

And while I was shopping for the kids toys …

I’m glad my daughter isn’t into those bland karaoke singers from One Dimension (I mean … One Direction). If she was, she may have wanted me to buy her the replica dolls instead of the Gothic Dead Dolls she normally likes (Yes, I have children with strange tastes). However, while I was shopping for Clawdeen Wolf, Venus Flytrap and Viperine Gorgon, I came across the previously mentioned boy-band dolls.

Dec 29 - One Direction Doll in Shop

Ahh … I’m kind of guessing Liam is the minger of the band who nobody wants. I almost feel sorry for him.

And the picture of the week.

When I used to post on Myspace, I only offered one photograph a week at first. It would always be something I came across while out and about. This one I’m sticking on now reminds me of the ludicrous things I used to see.

As I was climbing the staircase to make my way to a coffee shop, I noticed elsewhere in the building there was a CD and Record fair taking place. However, half way up the stairs, after kicking some puppet frog out of the way, I noticed a directional sign for the CD event.

Dec 29 - Upside Down Sign © Antony N Britt

I’m guessing they hadn’t a sign which catered for the stairs turning to the right so therefore had to put this one upside down.

Only in Walsall.

A short observation.

Also in my Myspace roasts, I would have a piece titled, Knob of the Week. Okay, this knob was a couple of weeks ago but I haven’t posted in that time so I really should give one final award and hand it to Lord Hanningfield.

Dec 29 - Lord Hanningfield

Hanningfield has been in the news over the revelation he claimed £300 allowance for spending 45 minutes in the House of Lords one day.

Yet another example of the over privileged having positions of power in this country. In an interview, the Tory Twit stated he didn’t know what the fuss was about. He called it, “A storm in a teacup.”

Spending under an hour to earn £300, I’m surprised he had time for a cup of tea.

And a Happy New Year.

2013 has been the most difficult year of my life, and it had a knock on effect in my writing. As for the Sunday Roast, I hope throughout, people haven’t been offended by what I say. It really is, tongue-in-cheek.

I don’t actually dislike One Direction. I wouldn’t know their songs if they were blasting my eardrums. I don’t even hate Russel Brand, Sharon Osbourne or any of the other celebrities I’ve lampooned. Even the royals, I’m ambivalent about. So I’m truly okay with all I have a go at and none of the insults are meant. Well, apart from those directed at Iain Duncan Smith. He’s a complete cunt.

Dec 29 - Iain Duncan Smith

Farewell from the Sunday Roast.

Cheers.

Nick

Dec 15 - Christmas Card

Ahh … now I know Christmas is coming.

Christmas in my house would not be complete without the Stroods.

I imagine puzzled faces on those who have only read my Roasts over the last year. I shall explain. Mr and Mrs E Strood live a few doors down and over the road from me. Their house is one number different to mine.

The view from my window with the Stroods house on the corner and about the hundredth scrap van seen this morning

Since I arrived in 1997, I have had a Christmas card for the Stroods, wrongly delivered to my house from their friends, Betty and Bert. Now, how do I know it’s Betty and Bert? Ahem! I mistakenly thought it was for me and opened it that first year. Stupid, I should have known. I’m a miserable Bah Humbug bastard. Nobody sends me Christmas cards.

Anyway, the situation in my street is you don’t converse with your neighbours until the day they depart to a new house and then only if you’ve spent years nodding good morning at them. Therefore, every year I don the balaclava and mount a clandestine operation in the middle of the night to deliver the card to the correct address.

Now I know what you’re thinking, and it’s the same thing asked every year. Why the hell don’t I tell the Stroods and hand it personally? That’s just it. I don’t. Year after year, I carry out my mission. One occasion I got in trouble and set off two security lights, knocked over a wheelie bin and got chased by the dog. Then there was the year it snowed and I left tracks everywhere and had to go back with a brush to sweep them away.

As I say, I speak of this Christmas card every year as those of you who’ve followed me from Myspace will remember when the Sunday Roast appeared there. For people who can’t remember my roasts on Myspace – tough, you can’t see them any more as Justin Timberlake and his consortium erased all the blogs when they took over.

Back to the Stroods … and Betty and Bert. I always wait with anticipation for this card. You see, I get worried now. What if the Stroods move house and don’t inform Betty and Bert? Come on, in 16 years, they haven’t told them they’ve been sending a card to the wrong address, so it stands a chance. Then again, what if … what if … Betty and Bert … have died?

Nooooooo!

This was the major worry last year as (horror and concern) I didn’t get the card delivered to my house.

I was traumatised. Okay, there could have been the logical explanation that Betty and Bert had finally updated their address books, but come on, we all know that’s not likely.

However, I have the greatest pleasure to announce, yesterday. Saturday December 14, the card to Mr and Mrs E Stood – finally arrived … at my house. Its got glitter in it this year and I can rest in my sleep. At least I will once it’s past midnight and my in the dead of night military operation to deliver the bloody card is well and truly completed.

And a late tribute.

I know Nelson Mandela died over a week ago and he’s being buried as I speak, but I didn’t do a roast last Sunday so couldn’t comment.

I don’t think I have ever seen a person’s passing marked so universally with everybody I know, praising them.

When I see good folk dying young while scumbag tyrants like Pinochet, Mugabe and Thatcher live to a ripe old age, it reinforces my belief that there isn’t a God. However, here is one guy who deserved the long life they received. Below is a picture I posted over a year ago when he met David Cameron while perfecting the art of turning into a chameleon.

July 22 Chameleon Mandela

Yes, it’s a joke, but one I think Nelson would have laughed at as he did seem to have a cracking sense of humour. Must have done to describe meeting the Spice Girls as being one of the greatest moments of his life.

Dec 15 - Nelson Mandela meets the Spice Girls

Stormy Weather.

There has been some terrible weather in the last week or so and much of the East Coast has been badly affected. I saw one piece where David Cameron visited the oddly named coastal town, Wells-Next-The-Sea.

I feel for anybody in a situation where homes are ruined, but feel for the local council. They are now going to have to change all their stationery to read, Wells-In-The-Sea.

Bad pun? I expect to get a flood of complaints now.

More sights you see about town …

Last time out, I posted a picture of a shop window displaying what I can only describe as decapitated heads.

Dec 1 - Head (1024x579)

Well, I saw another one this week which stirred my interest. Monsters from Doctor Who.

Dec 15 - Flower Heads (447x1024)

Don’t believe me? Look at this picture from the 1986 story, Trial of a Time Lord.

Dec 15 - Doctor Who Vervoid

Hey, December 15 and I’ve only said, Bah humbug, once.

Twice, Damn it! Oh well, think of me tonight as I deliver the Stroods card … probably waking the entire neighbourhood in the process.

Cheers.

Nick

Happy Birthday, Doctor Who.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who 50th. The Day of the Doctor.

I’m actually four weeks older than the time lord. However, that doesn’t make me 1200 years old. I mean I was born a month before the programme began in 1963.

These days, I’m jealous. You get all sorts of lovely toys to play with. Look …

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Figures

During my childhood, I had no such luxury. Do you know what I had to use my imagination on? The free cardboard figures you got off the back of a Wheetabix packet.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Wheetabix

Yes, those. And I collected the lot. Wish I still had them.

And the same feeling of being short-changed is applicable to DVDs. I didn’t have a VHS video recorder until I was 20 so as a kid, the only way I could relive the adventures was by reading the classic Target novelizations (Yes … I do still have those).

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Target Novels

Ahh, the memory of my childhood, trying to picture how the Tardis materialising looked on TV simply from Terrance Dick’s description of a blue box appearing to the sound of wheezing and groaning. He actually coined that phrase which has stuck down the years. These days, the only wheezing and groaning I come across is the old couple up the road having sex with the windows open.

And talking of Doctor Who merchandise …

You can’t half get ripped off. There are now limited edition replicas of props from the series you can buy. The latest is a cube from the Series 7 episode, The Power of Three. It retails at about £40.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who The Power of Three Cube

Come on, it’s a frigging lump of plastic. The words rip and off come to mind, as does the the term, sucker … and I don’t mean the things which the Daleks use as an arm, either.

Dec 1 - Doctor Who Dalek

You wouldn’t catch me wasting money on something like that. Well, apart from my genuine Tardis key, that is.

Dec 1 - Tardis Key

Okay, so if I had the money, I’d get a cube.

Not mush-room left on the plate today.

A couple of times recently I have moaned about mushrooms, or the lack of them, especially when requesting extra.

Dec 1 - Mushrooms at St Paul's The Crossing

Ahhh … The St Paul’s Crossing Restaurant, the only place in Walsall who know the true meaning of the words, more mushrooms.

The morbid sights you see about town …

Dec 1 - Head

Fascinating. Decapitated heads in a shop window. Enough to give you nightmares.

What a load of plebs.

Sept 22 Andrew Mitchell

The case of MP Andrew Mitchell (or pleb-gate) has been in the news again this week. Mitchell is the politician who was accused of having a run-in with police officers guarding Downing Street when he tried to cycle through a security entrance. He quite rightly, lost his job for his disrespect but has always maintained he never used the word, pleb.

There is no evidence either way what was spoken by Mitchell, or the plebs, but the MP does admit to arguing and swearing at them. Following investigations into whether officers lied about this, there have been calls for Mitchell to be reinstated in his job.

Now then, he denies calling them plebs, but he did swear at them. Hmmm … I call swearing at a police officer who is trying to guard your life, ten times worse an offence than referring to them as plebs. The enquiry team presiding over this seem to have conveniently forgotten that.

Poor old Andrew Mitchell, you have to feel sorry for him. I mean, he’s not done that much wrong in his career … apart from insulting hard working policemen … and lobbying to lift trade embargoes on foreign companies who gave donations to his parliamentary office … and investing funds into firms involved in tax avoidance. Yes, just the sort of person we want running this country, or rather one we should send on a holiday abroad and politely ask if they’d leave their passport at the door.

And here’s a man who should be called more than a pleb …

Dec 1 - Assem Allam

Hull City owner, Assem Allam is the latest in a long line of tosspot millionaires coming into the game and trying to rewrite history. He wants to change the name, Hull City to Hull Tigers. Now fans have complained to which the knobhead has responded by telling them to die. Hate to say this, Assem, these fans were there many years before you were, and they’ll be there long time after you have departed.

It’s like Cardiff City with a pillock of equal proportions in Vincent Tan. Using the football club as his personal plaything, the Malaysian businessman raised anger by changing the long traditional blue kit to his favourite colour. So, we now have a team nicknamed, The Bluebirds, playing in red.

Note to this and any other investor who believe in their own God Complex mentality. If you want to treat football clubs like toys, go and play with this.

Dec 1 - Undertones My Perfect Cousin Subbuteo

Right, enough ranting …

I start two weeks of very long shifts tomorrow so probably won’t be a Sunday Roast next week. I’m going to watch Doctor Who … and maybe play with my sonic screwdriver.

February 24 - Toy Sonic Screwdriver © Antony N Britt

Cheers.

Nick

No Sunday Roast this week. Spent yesterday at Foyles in London, pitching my novel, Finding Jessica to an agent from Curtis Brown as part of their Discovery Day.

However, I need to do an update because I have further publications to add to those already available.

First, online. My short story, Fetch, is available at Darker Times Fiction and you can view by following the link at the foot of this post.

Darker Times

Also from Darker Times, but this one in print, Sweet Revenge is included in Darker Times Anthology (Vol 5). You can purchase a copy from Amazon by clicking that relevant link, too.

Darker Times Anthology (Vol 5)

Finally, a short piece titled, The Man in the Sea is in Sharp as Lemons, an anthology of Poetry and Flash Fiction published by Earlyworks Press.

Sharp as Lemons. Earlyworks Press.

Links to this and the others I have mentioned are below.

Click here for online publication of Fetch (Via Darker Times Fiction).

Get Sweet Revenge by purchasing a copy of Darker Times Anthology (Vol 5) , following this link to Amazon.

The Man in the Sea is available at this link to buy Sharp as Lemons, from Earlyworks Press.

Cheers.

Nick

Forget your X-Factor and Strictly Come Dancing, there’s only one place to get good song and dance and it’s at Brownhills Community School when Aldridge Musical Comedy Society arrive with Dick Whittington and the Return of the Rat.

Following the award winning Dick Whittington in 2010 and last year’s, The Pirate King, Return of the Rat is a brand new, stand-alone pantomime from AMCS full of excellent numbers performed by a fantastic cast.

Songs include: I’m a Believer, One Night in Bangkok, Radio Ga Ga, Holding Out for a Hero and One Day More. I was fortunate to view a rehearsal and was also blown away by another number. I’d like to maintain the element of surprise, but have to admit, this routine is a real Thriller.

When Dick and the crew rescue their old friend, Captain Jack Starling, they enrage the evil water witch, Callista. Intent on revenge, she mounts an assault on London, resurrecting a terrifying enemy, long thought dead. Audience, People of London, Women of the Amazon and Swashbuckling Pirates from the Caribbean, all should beware. King Rat – is back.

Dick Whittington and the Return of the Rat is at Brownhills Community School, Deakin Avenue, Brownhills. WS8 7QG from Thursday 21 to Saturday 23 November at 7.30pm, with additional Saturday Matinee (2.30pm).

Tickets are £10/adult, £8/concessions and £5 for children under 16.

Call 01543 480626 to book or go to the AMCS website www.aldridgemcs.co.uk. Barring that, email me via this site or Twitter and I’ll get somebody to call you.

Aldridge Musical Comedy Society - Dick Whittington and the Return of the Rat

 Cheers.

Nick

The Sunday Roast – Parklife

A stroll in the park.

Took a walk in mine recently. The Arboretum is my home town of Walsall’s premier park, with lots of trees. It’s had a multi-million pound makeover recently, but I’m hard pressed to notice any difference.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Bandstand (1024x579)

There is a refurbished bandstand, I’ll give them that. However, I can’t recall seeing many bands being advertised to play there so it remains locked up most of the time.

Next, we have the boathouse, fully restored to former glory, reminiscent of days gone by.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Boathouse (1024x569)

Looks just as I remember … apart from boats, which there aren’t any as I assume health and safety deem it unsafe to have them on the lake.

Oh well, if I couldn’t go on the boats or listen to a brass band, I thought I might as well have an ice cream, or a cup of tea.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Old Tea Room (1024x565)

That used to be a cafe, but it has now been hollowed out with only the frame remaining to use as shelter for a couple of benches. I suppose I could sit there and pretend I had an ice cream.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Ladies Bowls Club (1024x550)

This was once the other cafe, but that also no longer serves refreshments. No, this building has been converted for the ladies bowls club to meet in one afternoon a week.

I gave up, took a look at the lake, and saw this sign.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Pool (1024x567)

WTF? Why have a sign with wording which can only be seen if you are in the lake, itself? I was curious, so I walked round and took this next picture at an difficult angle.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Pool With Sign (1024x863)

You may not be able to see properly, but it says no swimming or paddling. Good advice, if anybody could read it. However the only eyes which could, belong to the ducks. Word to the planning committee … Ducks can swim.

It makes one wonder who makes these decisions, and why has it cost millions, taking years to complete?

So we have a park with no tea shop, a bandstand with no band, and a boating lake with no boats. Not only that, you are in danger of drowning in the lake because the only creatures who can see the warning signs that it’s dangerous, are the ducks. Personally, I think the planning committee should be sent to this other park attraction.

November 10 - Walsall Arbouretum Stocks (1024x579)

And more planning madness.

I live in a pleasant little road with trees lined either side of the road. Unfortunately, some of them are very old and have grown so big, they take up most of the pavement, meaning you can’t get round. One such tree became so great a problem, it unfortunately had to be felled. Never mind, a young sapling was inserted in its place and life was reborn. But hang on … let’s have a look where they planted it.

Nov 10 - New Tree in Middle of Pavement (1024x870)

What in the name of sanity? They stuck the thing in the middle of the path, meaning you still can’t get past with a pushchair, wheelchair or any other kind of chair. A couple of years from now, it’ll be as bad as the one they chopped down.

A side order of boil in the bag rice.

I noticed this commercial on TV for boil in the bag rice. Burning question is … why has somebody stuck Uncle Ben on a tiny stool?

Uncle Ben's Rice Commercial

Just how many autobiographies can one person milk from the system?

It’s a bit of a bugbear of mine, the way publishers ignore writing talent for cheap celebrity orientated trash. Who buys this rubbish? I read recently that Sharon Osbourne has a third biography coming out with the title, Unbreakable. You see, she’s obviously crammed so much into life since her previous efforts of 2005 and 2007.

April 22 explosion Sharon

There is Sharon exploding when I blew her up last year. Not so unbreakable, now. For somebody who has made millions by having no talent whatsoever, perhaps Unbreakable is the wrong title. How about calling it, Thank God for my Psychopathic Husband?

Turning 50 – update.

First crisis of the ageing process was on the day after my 50th. I left my keys on the kitchen table and locked myself out the house. Oh dear, this is the beginning of the end. I need to lie down.

Cheers.

Nick

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