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Newsletter 174

Are any of you fans of the inimitable Flanders and Swann? (If you’re not, look them up on youtube. So funny, so British.) They have a song about the weather including the lines: Farmers fear unkindly May, Frost by night and hail by day. Which shows that the climate was just as naff 50 odd years ago as now.

News

The next Lindenshaw story, Two Feet Under (working title) is scheduled  for the new year. So the current Charlie-releases-schedule looks like this:

June 5th 2017 Broke Deep (Porthkennack universe contemporary gay romance) October 16th 2017 Count the Shells (Porthkennack universe historical gay romance) 8th January 2018 Two Feet Under (Lindenshaw mysteries book 3)

There’s also the re-release of the first 8 Cambridge Fellows books on the horizon – dates to be confirmed – and a Cambridge fellows novella I really need to shoehorn in.

The were-sloths are now available for general download at my website. Or, to clarify, the story about them is; no actual weresloths were injured in this process.

I’ve booked to be part of Selsey Authors, which I had to pull out of last year at the last moment due to a family minor crisis so am determined to be there in 2017.

Excerpt:
Here’s a bit from that Cambridge Fellows novella that I need to sort out a release date for.

Cambridge 1922

“Owens? Owens?” Orlando Coppersmith’s voice sounded louder and clearer from his chair in the Senior Common Room at St Bride’s than it had ever sounded before, and with good cause.

“Steady on, old man. We’re in enough of a state of shock without you making sufficient noise to wake the dead.” Jonty Stewart smiled at his friend’s uncharacteristic outburst, although friendship would hardly be the most accurate way to describe their relationship. Even the description “lovers, companions, colleagues and partners in solving crime” didn’t quite cover the depth of the bond they’d build up in nigh on twenty years.

“Or wake some of the dons,” Dr. Panesar agreed, mischievously.

“Good point, Dr. P.” Jonty sniggered. “Some of them look like they’ve been asleep since 1913.”

St. Bride’s may have been one of the most forward looking of the Cambridge colleges, embracing the fact the year was 1922 rather than pretending it was still 1622, but some aspects of the university, including crusty old dons, seemed to be an immutable fixture.

“In which case,” Orlando pointed out, “we’d have ten years of history to explain to them, much of it unpleasant, let alone this latest scandal. Being asked to defend Owens. What is the world coming to?”

And finally, we’re having our first UK Meet 2018 planning meeting on Sunday, so here’s a nostalgic picture from the 2016 event to inspire me to get my thinking cap on.

DSC_0047 copy

Their Finest

If you go to one film this spring, go to “Their Finest”. Beautifully shot, beautifully acted, funny and moving at the same time, with so many “Singing in the Rain” type affectionate digs at the film industry. Bill Nighy is a genius – but you knew that, didn’t you?

How Steeple Sinderby Wanderers won the fa cup

If you’re looking at the title of this blog article and thinking, “Oh, I don’t remember that happening!” you’re probably in the same boat as the person at our local Oxfam book shop who put the book in the biographies section. It’s not a true story, but a highly amusing novel from 1975.

How had I managed to miss this? It’s got sport and humour and lots of sly digs at the media and other targets. If you want to slip back in time 40 years, and have a smile while you’re at it, I’d thoroughly recommend this gem of a book.

Bulldog Drummond

I’ve just read my first Bulldog Drummond book – the first one Sapper wrote, to be precise. It wasn’t too bad, as long as one accepts that it was a product of its time (nearly a hundred years ago).

What did I love best? The banter between the various ex-comrades. Several bits of it were exactly the sort of dialogue that would have got a modern reader saying, “Men didn’t talk to each other like that in those days.” Well, they did, obviously.

What surprised me? The repeated use of the expression “go gay”, meaning doing something brave or taking decisive, uninhibited action.

Will I read another? I wouldn’t rule it out, although I understand that this one was probably the best in the series so maybe not…

Autism awareness blog hop – Toby’s tale

Am delighted to take part in the annual blog hop to raise awareness of autism.

Today I’m sharing a true story about a boy called Toby (which is clearly not his real name). Toby is in his first year at school, and had a great time at Christmas playing one of the animals in the stable in the Nativity play. His parents had a good time, too, because when Toby was at pre-school he wasn’t allowed to take part in the Christmas production – in the pre-school’s eyes it would have been too much of a challenge. Toby has autism.

I can’t decide whether I’m sad or angry about the pre-school story. Of course, Toby needed help from an adult to be able to be part of the Nativity play in school, like he needs some extra help in class to be able to access all the curriculum, and that “all” must include things which aren’t English and Maths, or else where is the richness of his education or the education of children like him? Because Toby isn’t the only child I’ve heard about who’s been denied the chance to do something because he’s not quite like the other children.

Schools in England are supposed to have a Local Offer for children with Special Educational Needs (SEND) and a special needs policy. They will contain things like:

·         Children with SEND will have access to the appropriate resources needed to help them make progress.

·         The school curriculum is reviewed to ensure that it promotes the inclusion of all pupils. The school will seek advice about individual children, with external agencies when appropriate.

Trouble is that the policy doesn’t always match the practice, and the reality of school life isn’t as open and welcoming as it should be, nor are staff so willing to make the reasonable adjustments they should. Other parents can get tetchy that children with autism or other needs are receiving what they perceive as favourable treatment. Budgets are tight, so unless pupils have been given dedicated funding the extra support may drain other provision.

I may be being controversial, but I’d say that the impact of budgets isn’t as important as the impact of what lies between people’s ears. Many adjustments cost very little if anything at all – they’re about attitudes and whether your school staff have a “that child can’t do that” or a “how can we enable the child to do that” outlook.

aaFB

Hooray for the young players called up by England!

Yesterday was exciting enough (I confess I was literally jumping up and down and cheering when the English players in the Lions squad got named) but today we had the England squad to go to South America. So many young men who we’ve seen play for their clubs – or for the country at under 20s level. We predicted Iziekwe and Marchant would be in but not the Curry twins. Have identical twins ever turned out for the senior England team and will this pair ever do that?