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Two film recommendations

I may have already raved about the movie “Yesterday” but I’ll do it again. A little gem! Half way through I was worried that they’d produce a cop out ending but they didn’t. Clever film, that leaves you both entertained and thinking afterwards.

Yesterday we had a family film night, with “Fishermen’s Friends”. Another beauty – heartwarming, funny and wonderfully acted. Great music, too.

Both of them put me in mind of the Ealing comedies of the past. Sharp, perceptive, sly and full of heart – the sort of films you didn’t think they made any more.


Wandering the old tracks

We had a grand time on Monday, strolling over the Forest from Burley cricket club down past the golf course (no, these ponies aren’t playing) and to the disused railway line. No sign of the old bee gardens because of the undergrowth, but you can see them on Lidar images.

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Great fun to find the remains of what was there and even better fun to have a coffee and a sausage sandwich at the Holmsley tea rooms, which was the old station house. Very Brief Encounter. Of course, I can’t resist mugging around.

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The line – which was part of a loop from Brockenhurst via Ringwood into West Bournemouth –  shut in the early 60s, but stretches of it are still walkable.


Two cracking reviews!

An Act of Detection got a smashing review at Promoting Crime BlogSpot:

At the conclusion of their first case, Toby and Alasdair had protested that their detective days were behind them, but then they are presented with The Case of the Undesirable   An Act of Detection is an amusing, delightful novel, with a fascinating setting and two appealing protagonists. I thoroughly enjoyed it and would recommend it to anyone who enjoys their crime fiction light, lively and nostalgic, with a good spice of humour.

Then at Padme’s Library a 5 star review for Lessons in Playing a Murderous Tune.

Some series can become repetitive and past their prime but not these boys,

Charlie’s latest newsletter

Another newsletter, another day of sport watching for the Cochranes. Dilemma next weekend, though. Start of the rugby world cup in Japan but also major cricket and golf going on. It might have to be like the 2012 Olympics – a three screen situation.


On the writing front: the next Lindenshaw mystery is finished and submitted, so there’ll be more news on that as soon as I have it. I’ve also finished another, rather peculiar and more mainstream story that I’ll be looking for a home for.

Appearances: I’ll be running a workshop for Havant Writers in a fortnight (do they know what’s about to hit them?) and I’ll also be at UK meet 2020 in just under a year’s time. If you’re interested in finding out more, visit the event website and sign up for our newsletter. Tickets go on sale next month.

I’ve three bargains to highlight this week. Lessons in Love is still on offer, for under a quid. There are two other goodies, both of which I’ll feature excerpts from today:

Dreams of a Hero is (I hope!) a good value read.

Mild-mannered and unassuming, Miles is on a journey he never expected. After a visit to Greece with his partner, Roger, he begins to experience vivid dreams in which he travels back in history and takes on the role of avenging hero.
Roger notices Miles’s newfound bravery during his waking hours and is concerned that his lover is changing into someone he doesn’t recognize.
When they discover a gay-friendly café is being plagued by violent thugs, Miles is uncharacteristically determined to take action, no matter the cost. Roger argues it would be both dangerous and pointless to intervene, but Miles insists he’s been called to fight an army, and now he’s found one.

The shield was tall and heavy, but the bearer was taller still. This gave little advantage when it meant he could get such a clear view of the advancing lines of troops. Miles adjusted his stance for comfort, staring oncoming death in the eye. “Which one is he?”
“The small one, that’s what they say.” Roger held the spear straight, never wavering even in the heat of impending battle. “Word is he’ll be leading the cavalry, away from where his father’s stationed.”
“Can’t have two firebrands together in case the whole world catches flame?”  Miles managed a rueful smile. “They say he’s handsome, the son.”
“And spoken for.” The smile was returned.
“I only said he was rumoured to be handsome, not that I wanted him to carry me off to his tent.” Miles adjusted his stance again, eliminating any chink in the shield wall.
“You might be grateful if that were your fate, come nightfall.” Roger shivered. “I  pray we’ll survive to joke about this. Now comes the deluge.”
“Deluge? Don’t you mean the conflagration, with the son of fire at its head? And with Hades’ gates wide open in his wake.”
The company turned slightly, as the horses came charging over the plain of Chaeronea.
Miles woke with a start.

Undeath and the Detective (anthology)  is available for less than two pounds and contains my paranormal mystery story Secrets, which is set on board the frigate Hecuba, in the time of the Napoleonic wars. The appearance of a sea monster has heralded a series of alarming events, not least the revelation that two of the ship’s crew have been seeing ghosts. Things are about to get even worse…

“Are you saying…”? The captain’s question was interrupted by the arrival of the lieutenant of marines, with two of his men in tow. “Yes, Henman?”
If everyone who’d heard Thompson’s story of the admiral had turned pale, then Henman’s face out-ashened them all.
“Could you come with us to the hold, sir? Now. It’s important.”
“I will.” Hopkins passed a hand over his brow. “Mr. Douglas, can you make sure Thompson gets a hot meal inside him? Ask my steward to rouse out the last of the chicken broth. That’ll settle him down for a reasonable night’s sleep.”
The looks on the faces of the rest of the midshipmen indicated Thompson might be the only one of them in that happy position. What if this White Admiral, whoever he was, might want to have a word in season with them?
“Mr. Paget?” Hopkins motioned for his first officer to join him as they followed the marines along the deck and down the nearest ladder. “What is it I’m being taken to see?” he asked, once they were out of earshot of the crew.
“A dead man. The surgeon’s with him, but he’s beyond even Mr. Cowan’s care. Here.” Henman pointed, as they reached the hold. Two marines were standing watch, holding a lantern, while Cowan bent over a twisted body.
“Who is it?” Hopkins asked.
“Ponting,” Cowan said, easing himself up off his haunches. “The side of his head’s been stoved in. With this, I suspect.” He pointed to a blood smeared belaying pin, which Paget—gingerly—picked up and held at arm’s length.

And finally – sunny South Shields from our last but one rugby jaunt. We could pretend it was Japan…



Mental wellbeing online – some thoughts

I wrote this a couple of years back, inspired by Charles Causley’s wonderful “Ten types of hospital visitor” but was too cautious to share it. Having seen some great posts recently about mental wellbeing online, I feel the time has come to air the thing.

Five types of Facebook commenter

The first type tells you that there’s nothing to worry about.
You’re overreacting.
Keep calm.
Carry on.
Stop fussing so much about nothing.
Here’s a picture of a man in a kilt.


The second points fingers and tells you that everything bad is the fault of them.
They belong to a different religion, support a different party, voted the wrong way, aren’t an ally.
This type likes to blame everything on them because it means not having to think too hard.


The third says that you’re not reacting in the proper way.
You’re sorry about the events in x but why aren’t you posting about the events in y?
You’re making a fuss about this topic but you really should be concerned about that topic.
Their reaction is more authentic than your reaction.
Their grief is more authentic than your grief.
They’ll never stop reminding you of the fact.


The fourth type changes its icon to whatever’s trending and then goes back to self-promotion.
They’ve done their bit.


The fifth type listens.
It offers no advice.
It makes no pronouncements.
It soothes and comforts and says, “It’s okay to feel how you feel.”

There are not enough of the fifth type.