A regular column from Henry, giving a candid view of his activities and the strange things that happen. King Henry VIII 21st century travels all over the UK with his mobile Palace, he encounters strange and compelling people, he reports back as often as he can. Keep watching this space.
9th September 2016.
Here’s the truth about writing your first book and getting it published.
It’ll take you at least a year to write 300 pages that flow well and tell your story the way you want it to be read. Now get some friends to read the book and let them comment freely. Now write your book again correcting all mistakes this is called Sub-editing.
You could send the book in PDF format to publishers, about 10% will reply, of them 10% will be positive. Don’t forget that is actually 1% overall.
Now you’ve got a publisher, they will give you a contract to sign for the book and any further books if it is successful. From the day you sign the contract it will be 290 working days to the shelf.
In that 290 working days you will have to proof read, check other’s proof reading and then finally proof read it again. Guaranteed there will be many comma’s taken out ‘to make the reading flow better’.
Now write the front and back cover blurbs, then design the cover. Fill in marketing sheets for interviews and newspapers.
Now you book is to be published they will sent you three ISBN numbers, one for an ebook, one for a paperback and finally one for the hardback. The pricing is up to the publisher, but first timers can range from £1.99 to £3.99 for the ebook. It depends on how the publisher judges the quality of the writing.
The great day arrives and your book suddenly appears on Amazon and other book sellers website. They still don’t have the hard copies, so only ebooks are readily available. They will judge how many to order in hard copy from the public interest in the ebook.
Now your box of 10 hardback books are delivered to your house, this is the first time you have seen one, in fact it is the first day you actually believe it was going to happen. Remember you are the only one who has seen the actual book, now you sign them for your friends who have helped you write it in the first place.
It’ll take another three weeks until hard copy books begin arriving at the buyers, the ebooks will have been sold from day one.
Adding it all up, the books are on the shelves physically in two years minimum, so don’t give up your day job in the meantime.
Now for the crunch. Let’s say your book sells. You will receive your first royalty one year after it reaches the shelves, then every six months. So don’t count on living off your writing and stop looking at brochures of boats, cars and travel. This is 3 years of waiting. Even if your book sells the hourly rate is poor, but this is the acorn you have planted.
Now the big risk. It’s up to you if you want to write a second book, but now you know how long it takes. So, decide if you want to gamble with your time, if you do then begin writing your second book as you are trying to get a publisher. You are banking on the fact that when you do get a publisher they might ask for a second book, they want to ride a second book on the wave of the first one so it should be about six months behind. This is a big gamble, but worth the effort if all goes well.
I had written three books by the time I got my publisher, I gave them the first one then they asked for a follow up, I then sent the second one. They know about the third. But the writing bug takes hold and you see stories everywhere, taking notes and photographs will help jog your memory.
I have seven books now, one is published, one is being Sub-edited and proof read. The others will be sub-edited one at a time, this takes 2 months each. Never stop writing new material, so I am now researching for the 8th book.
If everything goes to plan, I will leave a lot of books for my children to smooth out their lives. Or, if the first book doesn’t sell well, I’ll have to be happy that I actually had a go.
Last things to remember.
Books are not printed in A4 sheets. You should write on your computer screen in font 18 to allow the same number of words per line as the actual book. Never move to a new blank page without the ‘insert new page’ function because it could go out of phase in the actual printing size.
Paragraphs, to have two blank lines to break up the reading on fine print. A full block page of writing is too hard to read.
New line for character dialogue, another new line for reply.
Write numbers in your text not actual numbers, ‘Three pounds” Not £3.
Your own pictures are used for front covers, so only ever take pictures in Portrait as books are generally upright. Use a good camera of about 5Mb per picture for good detail.
Draw a flow chart on your wall, could be a large calendar for the dates in your story. Make sure you keep to the correct timing, especially babies being born.
That’s it, I’m only a novice and had to learn all this the hard way. So I hope it helps.
29th August 2016
At last my first book is in the shops on 31st August 2016
"Son of Lewis" A crime novel for adults.
Go to this webpage for the synopsis.
Hope you like it.
27th June 2016
After my last gig as King Henry VIII I knew that I would not do it again. Up to then lurking in my head was the possibility of part time work or even FaceTime studio work. But no. That option has been deleted and I now live a new normality of writing, travelling and being a good husband and grandfather. Please note I will never add 'gardener' to my new normal.
Speaking of a New Normal, the Brexit is one.
By Ray Irving
What is normal?
A personal conventional view. Maybe!
A recognizable pattern of the environment. Could be!
A rule to abide by and accepted by all. Possibly!
A given formula to use to create stability. Logically!
Something that breaks the plan apart. Sudden abnormality!
What is a new normal?
A personal conventional view interrupted. Suddenly!
A recognizable path now with a new route. Scary!
A rule changed that needs to be accepted. Democratically!
A new formula to develop for stability. Collectively!
A new normal to amend the original plan. Respectfully!
King Henry VIII is no longer in the building.
26th June 2016
Wake a sleeping giant at your peril
Silent mumbling becomes a deafening shout.
The majority given its say must be heard
Ballot democracy result, they have the most clout.
Take back the reigns with instant demand
Give Bankers, money shufflers the grandest view.
Build up imbalance to global scale
They sell, sell, dump, buy, buy, you they screw.
Leaders lost leave with tears and regret
World is shaken with disbelief and shock.
Tribal rulers try to defend their own lot
As for the silent majority? Never again mock.
28th February 2016
It was strange really, don’t know why I went there because I’ve kept away purposely all these sixty-two years. I suppose it was just to clear the smears on the slate, and get it out of my system. So riding the Cheshire plains towards Knutsford, I decided on the last second to flick the left indicator so my mate Nigel behind on his Honda could understand the turn coming up. Off the main road to Ladies Mile, next to the Heath at the entrance to the town now known for its Super Rich Footballers, Knutsford.
Just to prove the richness of this town, it contains the most Kitchen installation and bathroom fitting shops per head of population in the world. WAG’s change their kitchens and bathroom to suit their new hair colour.
Chorley has Nissan, Wigan had Honda. Knutsford has McLaren a showroom. £200,00/250,000 models on show, and they sell them!
"Oooh! Darling, that car matches my handbag, can I have one, Pleeeze?" Pleaded Wiggly Wag.
Along to half way up Ladies Mile to the second turn off, I cornered left into Warren Avenue the avenue where I lived from 6months old to 5 years of age.
Why you ask was it so hard to do? Well we were not happy there, my Father worked for the Egerton’s who owned Tatton Park whose southern gate is in Knutsford. They went bust when Lord Tatton died leaving huge death liabilities. The Estate was given to the National Trust and they have their own workers, so father was made redundant and lost his tied house.
The threat of such an action in the future made us all scared and nervous. It ruined our family life.
I never wanted to go back, I don’t like visiting Tatton Park, so it made a huge influence on my character. On my bucket list was “Get rid of this bloody thorn.” So yesterday I did.
Memory from 62 years ago!
“Yes you can play football with the Egerton kids. But, they win okay!”
4th February 2016.
A letter to the next generation.
Your World, Sorry about that.
Sorry kids but we’ve made a mess
Just like your bedroom with toys on the floor.
But ours is much bigger, we now confess.
Difficult to measure is our shameful score.
We took all the fish and polluted the sea
We fought over colour, God’s and what’s more
We dirtied the air so we couldn’t see
The obvious reminders of our shameful score.
We watched as people fled their devil
We shook our heads in disbelief
We took too long to rid the evil
They conquered, killed with no relief.
We stood our ground as others shouted
Beat our chests as others fought.
Was it all worth the humanity flaunted?
We spared the thought, it was only worth naught.
This is now your world, truly a mess
Our cards spread on the battle floor.
Lessons learnt? None we must confess
Earth nil, Humanity nil, the final score.
To end this shameful letter.
Soon to be your world
See if you can do better.
6th December 2015. Wet Sunday.
I tried my best to ignore the verbal demand from my wife as I thumb tapped my iPod pretending I was working. But she is a persistent lass and eventually I was snared.
“Come on get out of the armchair, you’re only getting depressed by all the bad news on the Television these days. We’re going for a walk up in them there hills. Gonna need a warm coat, woolly hat and rubber boots and don’t forget your camera.” She shouted, as she grabbed the iPod out of my hand and dropped it into the waste paper basket as a meaningful gesture. I got the message.
Great walk up in the hills at Rivington. All the years I’ve been coming here (60 years actually), I even taught in the school on the hill for twenty years and I never knew this crag and footbridge existed. Down the northern side of the hill to the upper barn and the Sunday biker’s ‘tyre-kicking’ in the car park next to the café. A great afternoon out within in a short spell between torrential downpours. Virtually on my doorstep but not really appreciated. Back home I did feel better, forget the news, forget the weather, back to my computer to download my new pictures.
21st November 2015
I am lucky enough to have a Tudor Mansion close to where I live, in its own grounds with parkland and a forest. Tonight they light up for Christmas, what a fantastic scene.
12th November 2015
I live in a growing village, lots of space and trees, closely surrounded by countryside of farms, hills and lakes. I’ve lived here for 37 years, it’s been great for family upbringing, parking, sitting in the garden in the summer under the beach umbrella. It is a Cul-de-sac so vehicles parked on the road could be considered a problem to large vehicles, but drives are large to counter this.
But, now its hell. ‘HELL’ might be an exaggeration, more like ‘WELL what next?’ I must remember my luck in living in such an idyllic place and expect the real world to visit someday.
The Energy company are refitting all the streets gas pipes and household meters, they had warned us all by letter for three weeks that it was going to happen, so we were prepared. We cleared the fronts of waste, overhanging bushes and trees, the gas meter access and left a clear path down our drives.
But then, they accidently fractured a water main supply with their gas pipe machinery. That must have upset their apple-cart and the computer planned exercise somewhat, because they had to bring out the water people to seal the flow.
Now we have the road and paths dug up for the gas works, plus the water emergency crew in large vans digging up the road to expose the broken water pipes. Houses are without water, gas and tight exits for cars from drives. The pneumatic drill starts at about 7am and continues all day.
Nothing can be done about it. It’s just the way of the modern world where we take services for granted everyday. But that’s the theoretical perspective, in real life we have to eat out, or queue up at the chippy, the water is a funny colour, no gas hob or central heating, bottled water from a supermarket that is now hard to reach.
Let’s hope it’s all worth while and I get another 37 years of peaceful existence. I’ll finish now before they slice the fibre-optic cable and make the house ‘no-band width’. Hang on, the telephone is cable too, then there’s the electricity supply.
I take it all back.
These guys are doing their best for us and accidental interruptions happen, so maybe I’ll brew them a coffee and throw in some chocolate biscuits to cheer them up, after all they’re just trying to keep my little world intact.
Just need a bit of a moan to calm me down that's all.
6th November 2015.
By Henry Tudor
Light up the clouds as we turn away
The finale ending to a stormy day.
Nature’s consolation prize to share
Tomorrow’s another chance,
It could rain and blow
Though we don’t know.
Weather to predict
A computer trick.
2nd November 2015.
Just nipped out for a fifteen minute visit to Rivington to take some pictures for my library. The colours today of Autumn with such a strong sun are fabulous.
By Henry Tudor
My favourite time of British year
Despite cold air, ground mist and mud.
Sunbeams filtering through the trees
Lighting up their mossy barked wood.
Golden leaves trying to drop from trees
Onto paths painted with nature’s bronze.
Blackbirds watching as colours change
Silence is deafening for once.
Autumnal day at winter’s door
Stressful thoughts are swept away.
Soon dead leaves will turn to soil
So enjoy the show whilst it’s here, today.
22nd October 2015.
Have just returned today from a three week stay in Philadelphia, so here's are some of the stories I have been writing whilst off line.
1. Where am I?
Huge arable farms, everybody works, no cars, horses and carriages, younger generation on foot powered scooters, windmills, Dutch origin culture.
Study the pictures, the places is actually called Paradise in the County of Lancaster.
Got it yet? Okay here's some more.
Yes that is tobacco!
These scooters can easily outrun a skate board.
They have their own schools.
That's it, I'm in AMISH country!
2. Americans. A candid view by Henry Tudor.
I've been to America twelve times, seven of which have been as a tourist-cum-visitor of relatives. In fact my youngest grandchild of only nine months was born there and holds an American Passport before she tries to eat it.
I enjoyed a humorous commentary from the internet which accurately described us Brits to a tee, except for free TV and free Rail travel at 60 it missed these benefits. The rest was okay and so I'll accept the view with a smile.
Now let me reverse the comparison. I will be as candid as possible and openly send a copy to my many American friends who live near my family, without fear of shutters going up.
So, what do I think about Americans and America? I could just reply comment by comment, but that'll cloud the issue. So I'll write my own list. No real stacking in any order, though I may repeat my most anxious a few times.
1. They seem to have a love affair with guns, some ladies even have enameled ones which are colour coded to match their clothing or their car. But in the end a gun is a gun, in anybody’s wardrobe.
2. They are very polite, they always hold a door open and call me sir. I do it too, but only because I'm scared they do have a gun ready just in case I don’t.
3. There's a lot of cops about, they hold their guns as they walk, this is because their holster rocks wildly as they seem to waddle. Too many fast food lunches me-thinks.
4. Still don't understand the law keepers, they seem to change uniforms and areas of command, colours of cars etc. State trooper, Highway patrol, District station, county police. All these different forces kills off any chance of spotting a patrol car watching for speeders.
5. Parents dote on their kids to an excess, spending fortunes in toy stores (shops), they are constantly harrassed by their child's incessant wanting and moaning.
6. Some guns are in car trunks (boots), lockers in pickup trucks or openly on belts. Most are out of sight and there are blatantly obvious courses advertising for “Use of hidden weapons.”
7. Their money is like monopoly money, all the same size and colour, just the number changes or the picture. It feels like monopoly money too, lots of worn currency about. Mind you, most purchases seem to be by card, right down to the $1 coffee from WaWa.
8. Most products seem to be the same number in value as in the UK, but in dollars, (£1 = $1.50) which means cheaper. Fuel is only $2.25 per gallon, which compares be transposing to £1.50 per gallon! This means they can fill up a gas guzzler of 20 gallon tank for $45 (£30). If I tell them that we pay $7.60 per gallon in the UK they reply, “You need to get a gun.”
9. Cars are cheap and lots are leased, dents and scrapes are ignored. People carriers are popular, 7/8 seaters with vee 6, 4.0 litre petrol engines burning a gallon every 22 miles.
10. Food is mostly eaten in cafes, bars, restaurants, from garages, though not at home. There more cafes per square miles than anywhere in the world.
11. Most clothing stores are for women, if there is a men's section, its only 10% of the floor area. Lots of assistants on their facebook accounts ignoring your wave for help.
12. Burgers are the national staple diet, the heights change with competing layers between brands. Strange sauce concoctions ooze out as you try to eat it.
13. MacDonald's fast food cafe's seem empty here, as if they're fed up with them. Maybe too many competitors these days.
14. There are more overweight folk than the UK and they don’t seem to care, sandwiches are sold by length 4, 7, 10 and 14 inches long and huge fillings. It’s easy to work out who eats what. They don’t do small pizza’s. Food is sold in large packs, ( a 36 egg pack.) Their bacon is very fatty and in huge packs too.
15. Fish and chips are horrible in the US, must say though that the majority of UK fish and chip shops too are disgusting and their UK owners need to go on a course of using the correct temperature and time. American battered fish is usually soggy.
16. Pre-frozen food seems prevalent in cafes. They fill a glass with ice then cola, which can be topped up in the price. But a one-pint glass only holds a quarter of a pint with the ice!
17. Pay cash at a supermarket and the queue stares at you as if you've just robbed an old lady with your hidden gun. Mind you. She’s probably got one too.
18. Lots of till operators in household stores are miserable, they don’t reply, they ignore you and look like you're keeping them from their kids or their Facebook account updating.
19. Cars have left hand steering so the driver can eat his 14 inch sandwich and use the phone at the same time. Left handers have a disadvantage here. Drivers eat, drink and use the phone at the wheel
20. They drive to other shops located in the same car park. Lots of pick-up trucks, huge wheels, vee8 engines and fittings for a snow plough at the front.
Getting knocked down here, over 10 mph is fatal.
21. They love our accent, our Royals and our cute little cars. Their TV programmes are all contaminated by the dreaded Advertisement slot, usually every ten minutes and identical to the one before. Newsreaders talk too fast and in a monotone voice. It's as if there is a reporter factory somewhere knocking them out.
22. Fifty percent of the public don’t know much about the rest of the world, not many could point out New Zealand, Wales, Scotland.
23. Cheese with everything, usually “American Cheese” which melts with even when laid on a cooling burger pattie.
24. Their American Football is very confusing, they are loud during a game and erupt when someone scores somehow. Kids can hit a baseball with great skill, ride a skateboard with lots of tricks and the golf courses are in use all day every day.
25. A real 'no no'. Never pass a yellow school bus if it’s stopped, no matter on which side of the road you are, you must stop. This is a safety rule which all must obey. Break it and you’ll be arrested by a chubby cop in a local uniform with a gun pointing at your face. They’ll fire first before running after you.
But to end this review of our cousins across the pond on a high note, Americans are just like us, except they are richer, the stuff is cheaper and they think big.
Oh and the picture, what is so obviously American than the Water Hydrant and an overweight bike?
What do I think of the ones I’ve met? Great people with great values of family life and belonging to a society. If only we were as verbally dedicated to our country as they are to their flag.
26th September 2015
Off on my travels again next week, seems like I cannot stay in one place too long before getting bored. This is fairly true, I like projects which have a beginning, middle and end, in other words a whole project not just a section. This is why I was a designer, a product developer, a teacher then an actor with my own show. Now a writer I want to live the story to get the feel of a place, be able to describe in detail being in the story.
I have written four books, Two based in Scotland and Texas, one in London and Lincolnshire, and one in Cumbria and Philadelphia. For all of them I travelled to each place, stayed there for a while untourist like. I visited places that a local would know and saw how they lived and went about their daily lives.
Now I’m proof reading the fourth again, needing more information to clearly wrap up the project to my satisfaction, with the fifth book already in my mind. It is based in the USA on the highway system, not really focused on actual towns or cities, but on the background often missed by travellers coasting down a concrete road in a straight line. Up to now the title is “High Water” but that can change if what I see drags out a different image in my imagination.
So to invest in my new story I will be striding down the umbilical tunnel to the Jet’s doorway for a seven hour flight sat in the rear with the other passengers. I’ll be writing a list of ideas to explore and places from a map to visit down certain highways made of concrete with certain features that everybody else ignores. I hope to come home with the story completely sorted and focused in my head. I will write some passages, the odd chapter with no number, the characters may change and their clothing a perfect match to their imagined personalities.
Here’s a clue to the title.
I’ll try to post some words as I travel into wifi zones, but will definitely review the trip in detail when I return.
Until then, Bye.
PS. Someone asked me what it was like on the road as an actor, and now when I research a book. I found this picture taken when I was alone and on the road. I think it tells a story in itself.
19th September 2015
Advice to the Motor-homer. Always take the RV out at least once per week just to change the position of the tyres on the drive and to run the drive train. You can spend much more money on repairs by letting the RV sit there for the along out-of-season periods. Jamming brakes, rusty hinges and body work, flat batteries all these things cost a mint to repair. So beware.
Many RV's have a low mileage because of this seasonal usage, 20,000 is a common usage. My RV has 90,000 on the clock and still runs sweet. So have a day out, go shopping in a distant town, a weekend next to the sea, or just run it round the block, but get the temperature up.
Today was a day out at the seaside to work the RV, (at my age to have a toilet in the vehicle is a massive bonus!), we seemed to be the only one there. See the picture of the Donkeys.
Where are they all?
By Henry Tudor
Not long ago the beach was full
A queue of kids waiting for a ride.
The lure of the Donkey a great pull
Two pounds a go, ten minutes astride.
But now it’s September, empty beach
They’re inside watching soccer or tapping pad.
It’s still sunny, a spacious view wide reach
But they’re resting, nesting, logic not had
So fella’s it’s now back to the stable
To market my ride, a none winnable fight
No money today for the family table
Traffic light, daylight bright, soccer match
It’s on tonight.
10th September 2015
The strangest campsite ever!
Quite a claim, but just read on. This campsite is a German Stellplatz called Ville Express. In the West of Germany near the Dutch border.
It’s not in a field, not a carpark, it’s in a scrapyard of famous old cars and trains. There is a restaurant in a steam train, cars from our past long forgotten. Here see the pictures.
See what I mean!
A Renault Dauphine, A Gogomobile, A 2CV with a Trabant trailer! What next!
Well the front of the Trabant is to become a couch.
9th September 2015.
Short stories and poems.
Have only just returned from an epic three weeks touring historical cities in Northern Europe. 1300 miles in the RV have left me with a sore backside but hundreds of great memories.
Here is a taster of things to come. Outside a famous Cathedral in Bruges, Belgium.
By Henry Tudor
Was I the only one listening?
“Follow my red umbrella”, shouted the seasoned weary guide,
Sick of the same tourist questions, longing to be inside.
“Inside this church there’s an original Michael Angelo
Shuffle around the busker, pay at the door, that’s what you’re all here for.”
“He’s not a busker, he’s down on his luck, he’s wonderful on that cello,”
Whispered the old lady watching his bow and swooping elbow.
“Keep on moving, the crowd will block the church door
The queue will stop us, the coach is waiting to show you more.
“But that’s just a marble statue, stood there five hundred years,
This is pure art on the cello, so good he’s moving me to tears.”
“Sorry lady we need to all see the great carving,
as it’s on our tour,
Can’t deviate from the schedule, that’s what the schedule is for.”
The lady was left there still watching the man play his treasured mate,
She missed the coach, left the tour, hummed along, found her new fate.
The man ended his performance, stood up to take his feeble bow,
Nobody applauded, nobody saw the little old lady now not crying,
Been dying, sat below.
A back street in Tournai.
By Henry Tudor
Sign of past favoured times
Loud status roar on my door.
Now ended my era of wealth
Living alone, now sad and poor.
Modern ways, not my view
Now I share my oak door.
Need to let other’s in to live
Footprints on my tiled floor.
My Golden Lion is all I have left
Reminds me of my lost past.
Should have saved, should have planned
I thought it would all last.
Nobody speaks to me anymore
Now alone on the top floor.
Silence is my life, gone is my wife
I’m furthest from my own Oak door.
On the canals of Belgium a sight not often seen.
Painting it white
By Henry Tudor
It’s the silliest thing I’ve ever seen
As I walked down the canal towards town.
Two men in cardigans painting the pier
Oblivious of each other, they brush up and down.
More on their clothes than the targeted wood
They slapped it on hard, not doing much good.
Then as one climbed around to find the shared tin
The other painted his arm down to his skin.
Confused by the effect of his arm turning white
He tripped and fell through the structure, that’s right.
One leg in the water, the other in white tin
The other man just stared laughing, then also fell in.
I may have added some mirth exaggeration
To impress what happened here today.
But it was really quite funny watching the act
So silent movie Keystoney Copy,
7th August 2015.
Now it's 36 days, I can report that today is the first day I feel okay, so sitting next to my RV on the banks of Derwent water in Cumbria had done my health some good. Not fully the old Ray, but definitely not the aching and moaning Ray of the past month.
Shingles! A name that implicates some sort of plague with a bell ringing ahead of me, to clear my path.
Not so! It can only be spread by rubbing the effected area with bare hands. Now I wonder why nobody offered to massage my back!
Well it rained in Cumbria for 60% of the time, luckily most of that was at night. The lakes are full and worrying the locals about possible flooding if it carries on like this.
Even with a storm approaching, the Lake District is beautiful.
2nd August 2015.
What no ball?
By Henry Tudor
I would love to just explain verbally what I’m watching here at the rugby club in Keswick, but who’d believe me?
There’s ten blokes with muscles, which I assume are the rugby team, there is one guy watching and using a whistle from the side-lines. The two teams of five are charging each other, but nobody has a ball. They are not on a field with rugby goals either.
Now for the strange bit, the ten men are wearing a huge ball which covers the top half of their bodies. They are the ball[s].
There is a small net at each end, which rocks over if someone fell into it. So this game of five-a-side seems to be each team have to push their opposite number into the nets, then they have made a “human goal”.
Strangest thing I’ve seen before, but it still looks tough enough to stun a player when two players collide.
See what you think, does anybody out there know what this game is called?
I made one up “Funky Footie” or “Blow-Football” or Bouncy Bodies” or I could go on but now it’s time to blow.
27th July 2015.
It has been twenty five days off the air, twenty five days of agony and I'm definitely not a person with a low threshold of pain. I'm just getting over a bout of shingles. I never really knew what shingles were, I thought they were either stones on the beach or wooden tiles on a trendy roof. But now I know first hand how horrible they really are.
First of all it's a dormant Chicken Pox virus from when you were a kid, it hides in a gland somewhere in your body. Then one day when you are innocently going about your own business it pops out and strikes you down.
Not with chicken pox symptoms, worse! All your nerve endings are irritated and your skin feels like it's sun burnt, clothing irritates, bedding irritates, even folk asking how do you feel irritates. Now transfer this problem into your body, now your lungs are irritated by your rib-cage, your kidneys and liver are aching constantly, your stomach needs food but hates it when it receives it. The rooms are too hot then too cold, wind outside freezes your skin with goose pimples and your eyes are watering all day long.
All this for twenty five days and it's only just beginning to subside! Cannot sit at the computer, stare at the bright screen and the TV buzzes too loud just for me and nobody else in the room.
There are not many words in the English dictionary which have three completely different meanings, but Shingles is one of them.
1. Stones on the beach rounded off by the erosive nature of the tide.
2. Slices of wood overlapping on a roof to make it waterproof.
3. A nightmare illness that's lurking in your body ready to pounce and render you a twitching wreck.
"There's an ill-wind that doesn't dry someone's washing somewhere!" Well using this view of life, I've lost four pounds in weight and my motorbike jacket fits better.
Here's a picture of a swan, and my swan song.
By Henry Tudor
Catch the up-lifting pressure wave
Lower nose to view the wake.
Spread your wings, grab extra lift
Apply under carriage for extra brake.
Could be Concorde back from the grave
Serene flier heading back home.
No, just a mother Swan skimming the lake
Silently graceful returning alone.
2nd July 2015.
Again I seem to have been neglecting the column, but I have been in my office working like a trouper to finish my fourth novel ready for the proof readers to judge.
It’s done at last and believe me I was out of my comfort zone because of the type of story it turned out to be. The layout was also radical which complicated the story in my head so much I had to draw a Critical Path Analysis chart on a large card on my wall behind the computer. It was worth all the effort, the layout turned out to me a great way of telling the story, the difficult content stopped being embarrassing by the time I’d calmed it down after three proof edits. The 268 page book will now go down the line, I’ll just press the start button again for number five.
I did answer two questions from a website visitor, I also wrote a ride out review for Triumphant Entry, so I wasn’t here twiddling my thumbs.
25th June 2015.
By Henry Tudor
I remembered fitting the potty
It’s not as though I didn’t pack
It’s in the old car’s trunk
In a hold-all at the back
But then the bag got forgotten
And now here in mid air
My bladder ache’s rotten
And I’m going silently spare
But here I am, desperately bursting
A man can reach over the side
I’m jogging with stationery haste
Need to Pee, as slowly we glide
There could be worst places
For getting caught short
In the middle of the street
Or team playing in sport
But a hot air balloon where
Just everybody can see
Not exactly the coolest place
When desperate for a pee
I don’t care where we land, go down
Turn off the gas, land on some grass
But not in the middle of town
There, there in the forest a small pass
It’s a golf course, and they’re all watching
Oh no, keep off their green with such a rushed force
Scraping along into a large bunker
Watch out, a field with a shire horse
It doesn’t matter now
Couldn’t hold it no more
It ran down my legs, over my shoes
Onto your basket, then through holes in the floor.
I bet it’s happened before.
16th June 2015
“Not in use”.
I remember the new pier at Southport being built, they ripped down that old cast-iron and wooden structure from the glory days of Queen Victoria, and replaced it with a steel one.
They revolutionized the building of piers by not digging foundations for the stanchions, instead they screwed them into the bedrock. Drilled a hole through the sea, the sand, the clay right down to rock. Then they drilled the blank hole before mechanically rotating the stanchions with a huge screw-thread on the end and fixed them in one at a time.
Okay, the Victorians couldn’t have done it that way, not only because they hadn’t the powerful rigs, but their steel was a bit naff at the time too and without lasers to line them up perfectly in a row their effort would have been a dogleg pier, like the old one.
Then came the replacement for the old tram that ran from the Victorian carousel down to the end of the Pier. They went and bought an Italian, two carriage replacement. I remember the outcry from the locals about buying “Foreign” when trains were once made in Horwich near Bolton, and the industry in Preston was into the locomotive business too.
When the two-carriage tram appeared on the pier all was calmed by them being full of interested people wanting to try it out for the first time. But as predicted by the locals, the tram passenger population dropped significantly as schools went back in, winter poured on, and there was only one stop on the three quarter mile long line, at the end.
A significant factor also was the new café built on the end of the pier. It was poor. Old money one-armed bandits were there for people to remember the days when they walked home after losing all their money. One pound for ten coins! That means the old penny is now worth 24 times its original value, wait there’s a bit more! You still lose them in the machine, and then they sell them again to the next mug.
The new bridge over the lake helped bring the two halves of the Southport front together and the Pier became a strolling place for a free walk in the seldom seen sun. Nowadays the old Blue Italian tram sits sadly at the end of the pier, it has a “Not in use” hand written sign on it. Seems it’s broke and the Italians are too far away to mend it. A cheaper four mini tram trundles up and down the pier these days, having expanded it’s old route from around the lake. Still only half full, still expensive, still only in holidays and weekend times.
My last thoughts as a Southport outsider, but regular visitor and lover of the place. I used to bring my deceased brother-in-law to the pier, he could only manage half of the length but liked to read the brass plaques embedded into the decking. He asked me to get him one. I rang the offices of the council and was passed on, I emailed the same council and never got a reply. Then I resorted to snail mail but they never snailed back. So I gave up.
What the heck is the council doing? Their finest attribute is the pier, why is the café such a dump? Why is the tram Italian and broken down? Why is it expensive to sit in a kiddy train instead? And why can’t the memory of a regular visitor be on a brass plaque and not ignored?
30p for a wee! Don’t let me get into that one!
The sign in the tram should be changed from
“Not in use” to “Not much use” and that goes for the council too.
7th June 2015.
Liverpool Waterfront Festival 2015.
My god it was cold in the shadows of Liverpool’s stone buildings as we walked down from the car park. But looking down the road towards the port, I could see bright colours, hear drums, and smell food cooking.
There was a festival in full swing.
The one thing about Liverpool that suits festivals, is their long waterfront. It’s so long there are never massive crowds filling the pedestrian ways. Clumps of crowds I call it. The stage with the groups performing, the large paved area for the drummers out of earshot of the stage, the climbing bars for the Sea Scouts. Then there were the museums, the enclosed docks for the brass band, the visiting Navy ships and the tall sailing ship open for visitors. The river had its brightly coloured ferry, and a sailing regatta, along the entire event people in costumes danced and a row of sheds selling hot food were competing with ice-cream vans, but all tucked away from the events. The roads were closed of traffic with helpful volunteers showing where everything was situated.
That’s how to do a festival! Luckily the shadow from the tall buildings couldn’t reach the riverside so it was warm there with lots of seating on the stone terraces, next to rows of blue toilet cabins. Cleaners were constantly walking round picking up litter, though the many available bins were being dutifully used by the visitors.
Let’s use the word “free”, shhh! Don’t let other cities know about this. The kids were entertained with free chalking of pictures on the pavement, free entrance to all the museums with extra activities for the kids, free samples from the food stalls, free pop concert, free brass band show, free entrance to the ships free photography with stilt walkers etc. So a family of four with sandwiches and a flask of tea would only pay for the parking, about £5/7 for the day. Bargain.
In my old Lancashire view, Liverpool City is looking glorious these days, it doesn’t need scenery for its performances, Liverpool is the scenery.
3rd June 2015
It may look like I’ve been neglecting this website for a couple of weeks, but it’s been hectic and frustrating at the same time here in La Belle Lancashire.
What with slates blowing off daughter’s roof, motorhome windows cracking thanks to a tree that has grown longer whilst I wasn’t looking. Motorbike that needed some TLC, I’ll correct that, some expensive TLC. My wife having an eye operation, one to go.
Then this computer being badly effected by Apple’s own upgrade, now it wanders around the memory banks blindfolded and cannot open emails, the apple sky had become cloudless, search engines are searching for me somewhere I’ve never been.
Only for the pastime of writing my books, this has kept me sane. My third is finished but only halfway as I sub-edit it slowly. My fourth was moved up to one quarter finished and I’ve dreamt up my fifth, which I hope to finish in two years time. It may seem daft, but I like juggling. Nowadays I’m up to keeping three books in the air at the same time, whilst standing on the centre of a seesaw with the wind blowing.
Anyhooo! I’ve been told by the met’ office that Summer Sun starts tomorrow, so I’m going out on the Bonneville for the day now that it owes me big-time. Will pick up my mate as pillion as he’s still waiting for the testing folk to give him his deserved pink slip.
24th May 2015.
Picture taken by my mate in Liverpool. Queen Mary 2
(I've got more than one mate! My name is not Billy.)
16th May 2015.
I felt wrong to be in this zoo. This poem came to mind after seeing this monkey.
By Henry Tudor
I was born here, it’s all I know, this is my home
They feed me, groom me, keep me warm.
I have a shelter to live in, sleep in, hide in
I’m bored, my desires ignored, I hate it.
Other’s have arrived, they tell me of freedom
Freedom to play, run, swing, have fun.
Freedom to hunt, scavenge, fight for the right
Freedom to feel fear, excitement, love.
I want freedom. Whatever it is, I need it
I want to find my family, grow old happy.
I want to roam, to sit in the shade of a real tree.
I want to be a Monkey, I want to be me.
2nd May 2015.
By Henry Tudor.
Young Karl Schwarz lived a colourless life.
Black and white with just some shades of gray.
His sisters Lila and Rosa, both colourful twins
Both tried to improve his black outlook each day.
Poor at school, he was blackboard blindsided
Walked into black wall, a final blackout.
Blackheads and scabs soon blackened his face
Blackbirds targeted the poor lad, when he’s out.
With blackberry stained poo on his nice new blackcap
He shouted a black-hearted appeal for some colourful aid.
Everything seemed against him, everything black
The white book of good luck, he must have mislaid
He drifted down deeper into the dark world of black
Gambling on Blackjack, they took all his cash.
Sadly now blacklisted, he received the black sack
Nowhere to go, all hopes now a black dash.
Blackmailed by his family to try holiday break
Black swan attacked him on lake in Blackpool
Met there an old blacksmith, who gave him advice.
Be an undertaker, wearing black for a living,
that’s super cool.
Soon money returned in notes red, and blue
He embraced the past blackness of his past black life.
He became a blackened Goth, black make-up, dye too
He met and then married, his new black haired Goth wife.
It depends how you see it, life’s bright or it’s black
There’s always a bright side to your miserable view.
Now driving a Mercedes, a slow riding black hearse
Considering Karl Schwarz,
there’s a shiny black side too.
And the names? Well what do ya think?
By the way, Schwarz is German for black,
Lila is purple and Rosa is pink.
Just trying to be clever and keep it on track.
29th April 2015.
To a special person who enjoys a curry or two.
Curry for Elspeth
By Henry Tudor
Come on cookie, rustle up my spicy dish
A five star rating, your ultimate wish.
Dopiaza, Korma, Rogan Josh, Vindaloo
Mild and medium, I like a red hot one too.
Spice up that chicken, pork, lamb and beef.
Excite my taste buds, tingle my teeth.
Onion, lentils, rice and black eyed peas
Need now a cold lager, help the heat to ease.
Pasanda, Masala, Madras and Dhansak
Balti, Biryani and Bhuna, a taste bud attack.
I maybe careful, just one hot one each week,
I enter the restaurant, my tongue in my cheek
Not too crazy, so order Jalfrezi, sounds rather nice
Make it with a milder spice and some Basmati rice.
Chapattis with pickle and hot soft Naan bread
“Will madam like anything else?”
That’s it my lad
18th April 2015.
Whilst wandering in Amsterdam I noticed a traditional Bagel cafe, the food looking great. Obviously I had to go and eat there. But look at these two pictures, taken from the doors of the Loo. Brilliant.
The story in the poem is pure fiction. OR is it?
By Henry Tudor
The dough was perfect, elastic and light.
The oven heated high, most of the night.
He baked and baked his bagels supreme.
She rose early to sell them,
a shopkeeper’s dream.
But she wanted more, to create her own.
Onion and Cranberry, edges burnt on bare stone.
This broke up the partners, marriage as well.
She moved across cobbled front, his competitor hell.
Why fight over a bagel? Many did shout.
It’s the principle, the creator, what this is about.
Now came a third contender, with much lower price.
Spiraled his bagels, with sugar and spice.
Sold out all his products, he bought on the net.
Made a big killing, his bagels a sure bet.
Let’s not fight in our separate corners did both partners say.
Let’s combine our baked bagels, together today.
Freshly made bagels now cheaper in bulk
Off went the contender, back home to sulk.
There’s a moral to this tale, the bagel of mistrust
Share duties, share creation, share making, a must.
Keep both baking the best
That’ll take care of the rest.
16th April 2015.
You might find this chilling, but it happened today at Pendleton-flash Sanctuary.
Seven to One.
By Henry Tudor
Ignore me at your peril, black Coot
Hatchlings seven, once did they follow.
I stand here still, but now I watch you
You’ll take more than a one-chick swallow.
Sadly black Coots, now only two
You see! This place is my larder.
Your last chick next, then sadly you
Finding food will be that much harder.
I take it when it’s there, quietly waiting
Don’t judge me harsh, it’s nature’s way.
I build up my strength, from food in this marsh
You are just another meal, for the day.
Last one, mother coot
All gone, must scoot.
Well that's nature for you!
14th April 2015.
It's about time I came out of my shell, hiding behind the pen-name Henry Tudor.
So as from this date, I write for this website as Henry Tudor, but my novels will be by my own name, Ray Irving.
Ist April 2015.
This article is not a joke, OK! The date is just a coincidence.
This website has been in existence now for nine years, the first seven were all about Henry, how he could re-enact the old King and his court in Primary Schools around the UK, also to entertain large audiences with his historical but funny, stand-up act.
Then it changed, sorry, I mean I changed.
I achieved pensioner status and decided to leave the road, the stage, the history stories. I decided to try and live my ultimate dream of being a novelist. You must have noticed that the word retire is not used.
I will never retire, my brain wont let me (Sometimes I refer to it as Brian, just because I type too fast.), well I cannot stop thinking and creating. To me, there are no interesting garden centres, I love motorbikes, not electric scooters.
Anyhow, back to the yarn.
So, two years ago I stopped taking bookings for Henry, I removed the calendar from the website, I opened new sections for storybooks, and then novels.
I never stopped writing, up to fifty hours weekly, I couldn’t get enough of the keyboard and the thrill of dreaming up a tale and then writing it down in the eBook format you see on here.
At the same time I began a major project and after a full year I completed my first fictional novel.
I let it sit inside my computer, not really because I didn’t believe in it, but the fear of trying to find a publisher amongst the thousands of wannabe’s out there struggling to be seen in print. My heart goes out to them.
A month ago, my book draft was read by a top publisher, they liked it. Now I have got a publisher, my world has changed completely, yet again.
I know I’m still learning, I always have been, but I’m learning my new trade of how to be a successful Author. It’s harder than you think as you cannot expect your use of the English word and imagination to suddenly merge, it takes time.
I’ll keep on loading new shorts here for the folk who read them, but full novels must now be new stock in my new future. I’m taking stock yet again.
I advise all people here not to keep to one career, you may find it exciting in the beginning, creative in the build up, rewarding in the peak, but it’s boring as you get older and other’s are behind you in the same race.
I’ve been a Design Engineer, Electronics factory Manager, Teacher of Technology, Actor and now Author.
Definitely not boring, or some sort of Attention Deficit.
But definitely not boring.
The plan was for an exiting trip on a train to visit their nephew in Liverpool. I was in charge of the two granddaughters, a 7 and a 5 yr old. But alas, drunken scots singing and swearing at the top of their voices on the outward trip caused much shaking of heads in the crowded, dirty carriage. Then alas, drunken teenage girls on the return trip whom thought it hilarious to tell everyone about their amorous lifestyle.
I complained to the guard on the outward journey, and the guard on the return journey. Neither answered the question of "Is it legal to drink in the carriages?
Not going by train again. Why should I pay £20 only to be sitting in filth and surrounded by lager louts and silly girls whose language their own fathers would be ashamed of? No wonder the roads are crowded.
Anyhow, Here's a poem about the famous Mersey ferry Snowdrop, something that changed the day from a catastrophe back to enjoyable. Many thank to my mate Bob for the more colourful ferry as it is today, I did forget my camera!
By Henry Tudor
Come sail with me,
‘cross Mighty Mersey.
I’ll take you to Brighton New,
Greatest view, just me and you.
One short hop, with Snowdrop.
I’ll never stop.
11th March 2015. Is it only me who notices these odd sights?
By Henry Tudor
So tell me Sir, how did this injury occur?
Bite marks on your toes, scrapes on nails
Black feathers, deep gouges,
Both readily concur.
It was an animal attack
From the front, not the back?
Was it a dog? A cat? A bat?
Whatever could have done this?
Such a strange looking attack.
But, there are some feathers there too
Stuck in your other shoe.
Was it an angry black duck?
Or, just some incredibly bad luck?
I for one cannot understand this one.
Must have been large, strong pull.
Where has this shoe gone?
Was it a giant black Gull?
I admit it sounds naive,
But only meant as mischief,
I tried playing with a black swan
And that’s how it was done.
By Henry Tudor
I’ve lived here all my life
Had kids here, lost my wife.
So I’m staying here, go away
Find another site, another day.
No court can take this from me
It’s my house, my fence, my tree.
So bulldoze others who sell
Make this land a concrete hell.
Building noise now subside
My view is gone, concrete outside.
The tree is dead, the air is lead
I’m on my own, better dead.
10th March 2015.
I wasn’t going to write this story, as it nearly spoilt my week’s trip to Lisbon. But, it happened, and in reality it did spoil the memory of it.
Whilst eating our lunch on the cold stone seats at the beautiful harbour frontage of the City of Lisbon, my wife looked for some change to drop in the hat of the guitar player. She always does, she thinks that the player had in fact entertained us and was trying to earn a living, so she will give him her change. I agree.
The act of searching in her handbag for change must have caught the eye of a team of pickpockets. A brightly coloured purse, press-stud flap on the handbag must have ticked their boxes, for a possible easy hit.
We finished our lunch and decided to walk away from the crowded square centre, to explore up river towards the cruise ship docks. The sun was behind us and we cast out own shadows as we walked. We were linking arms so our shadows were linked with a small light between.
Suddenly my wife saw the shadow change, another person was crouching behind her. She felt the handbag move. We both spun round to find a girl crouched on the floor pretending to tie her shoes. Another girl was stood behind her watching.
The purse had been moved but was still in the handbag, The girl on the floor stood up and stared at us, I shook my head and held up my camera as if to take a picture. The girl suddenly turned and ran to her accomplice and they both marched off, back to the centre where the guitar player was performing. I took their picture as they marched away.
I know we were very lucky, these two thieves would certainly have taken all our holiday money and cards. But what we really lost was our happy holiday feeling. It suddenly became a cautious trip from then on. I looked around at all people, even when walking in the streets, we wouldn't go down any small streets and kept to where the police were standing, or sitting in their cars. We stopped going to new places, we became over cautious expecting to be robbed at any moment.
In the end, I was glad to leave Lisbon, even though it was beautiful and initially high, in my top ten places to visit. It is now relegated to remain a spoilt memory.
And the picture? Well it looks just like any tourist snap, but the tall girl is the pickpocket, the shorter girl gets the stolen good passed to her. So if in Lisbon, Portugal, down at the riverside square, keep your bag locked deep inside a rucksack, not hanging on your waist. Carry loose change for beggars and performers in your pocket.
From that moment on, I began to notice just how many beggars there are in Lisbon, how much gangland graffiti there was. No point in having glorious scenery when you are a target.
7th March 2015.
By Henry Tudor
Urban art it might be, vandalism maybe.
A threat? Very possibly.
Leaving the realm of Urban decay
Graffiti can become Art, statement say.
Banksy style blooms on our wall
But also hatred, a warning call.
Down a road, bereft of a view
Below a path to railway too.
A gun is drawn, ready to fire
Where can it be seen?
Must be much higher.
Up in the heights of marble stack
The rich are lodged from front to back.
Only they can see the rails and track
This graffiti gun? A mental attack.
Later on that day.
Many tourists just sat around the sides to watch the reactions of people as they tried to walk over this tiling.
A great optical illusion.
Newly found pictures of Tudor Historical figures.
Must say that finding different pictures of old faces in our Tudor history, is most exciting. Now we can use them in our work instead of the one’s most copied, by other historians.
I was wandering around the Museum of Humanity in Lisbon, Portugal only yesterday. Humanists theories were major part of King Henry VIII’s eductation by that Dutch genius Erasmus, from Gauda, the cheese location.
Then Sir Thomas More turned up, along with Master Hans Holbein.
Want to see these pictures? Then download this file.
Click here to download this file
Many Thanks to The Museum of Humanity Lisbon, Portugal.
Go and book an EasyJet now!
22nd February 2015.
Fish n Chips, mushy peas and bread, with a pot of tea.
How beautiful, balanced, comforting, British, can a meal be?
Just the smell of the boiling vinegar, lures me in.
See the steam, the stainless steel, the queue, greed a sin.
Can’t sleep, belly full, rumbling tum, nightmare now
Ate too late, too much, too fatty, windy peas Kapow.
Should’ve held back, pensioner size, share a portion.
But no, wanted the lot, decision got stomach in torsion.
Over fished, over dished, overcame, over strain.
Over confident I could eat the lot, ignored brain.
It’ll teach me to walk away, smaller portion next day.
But wow, another fish supper? Whatya say?
Maybe next month. If you'll pay.
PS. I do eat other, more healthy things, but I'm a sucker for the traditional supper.
No wonder, I look like Henry!
20th February 2015.
I love finding Industrial heritage sights that are hidden.
Where's the Wheel?
Here's the answer.
Click here to download this file
The Lost Wheel
By Henry Tudor
Salmon must swim up to spawn
Continuous power morn’ to dawn.
Steps to help them on their way
Bypass the torrent, power spray.
Where’s the wheel gone, large and true?
No sign now it’s gone, need a clue?
Opposite to salmon stepping by
A big wheel stood, the power supply.
16th February 2015
If you have been reading my last page of late, you will have noticed I have been rather busy. Four short stories this week, One new compilation ebook, and I also finished a novel from notes I’ve been taking whilst the snow in Philadelphia, kept me indoors. This book is now sitting and stewing on my computer, waiting for me to sub-edit after a break.
It sounds like hard work, but as with all the jobs I’ve ever done which I loved, they were all fun.
Keeping a balance is near impossible, being a family man, free taxi to many, hospital visitor at the moment, cook and now writer. Today I even sneaked out between rain showers, on my Motorbike and now it needs cleaning. But, being busy has been the story of my life, so why not embrace it.
I looked for a picture from my vast travels. One that depicts how to balance one’s life in a calm manner. This I believe says it all, in the title I gave it.
“It’s satisfying to balance one’s life, by some lateral thinking.”
Just like me, one slight change and I fall apart.
31st January 2015.
St. Anne’s on Sea, in the Shadows.
I drove to this famous seaside resort today for three reasons.
1. It is such a beautiful place just to wander around.
2. The location is used in my new novel that I can currently working on. Even though I know the place well, I needed to get the feel of walking down the street to be able to write it down in the book. At the moment the title of the new book is “Spider”, but that can change as the story line changes with the power of the character’s.
3. My RV has been stood now for six weeks and is beginning to look unloved. So I wanted to take it out for a spin and this trip came to mind.
If you study where St. Anne’s actually is situated then you will work out that their main street is exactly aimed due West. Now with the Sun appearing to be in a more Southerly path from East to West, then the main street on a sunny winter’s day is of two halves.
One half is bright sunny and fairly warm with all the old stone buildings being warmed up and the bright paving helping to keep the visitors warm, and happy, on the wide paths.
Now cross the road and exactly halfway over, the scene changes dramatically. The shadows cast from the high, stone cold buildings, reduce the feel of the temperature to well below freezing, and the few miserable folk there feel it.
It is the cold, dark side of St. Anne’s main street where all the banks are situated. Now queue up for the cash machine and listen to the talk of those around you.
“Hate coming here, it’s so cold. Last time my money blew away.”
“C’mon at the front, I’m sticking to the pavement.”
“My hands are too cold to press the buttons.”
“Can’t see the screen, it’s too dark.”
We all laughed at each other’s jokey comments, then forget them as we ran back over the road, to the Sunnier side of life.
Look at the shadow as I stood at the end of the main street lowing directly East, eerie isn’t it.
Ideas for the novel using the day trip.
“……………..need to get some cash, can you go, I’ll wait over here with the shopping bags.”
“But, it’s freezing over there, don’t try pulling that one!”
Here’s the picture I found in my camera files for the front page of the novel. I’ve written 140 pages so far, but the story is so twisted and convoluted, that even I’m shocked at what I’m reading.
If any publisher out there, wants to see a preview before I finally publish it myself on here, just contact me.
I’m easily bribed.
24th January 2015.
Strange how rare happenings can occur one after another as if by some sort of evil plan.
Yesterday I walked into a white steel cupboard screwed to a white wall, it was head high, had sharp steel corners and there was no warning. It was in a corridor, which would be the most used fire escape route out of the multi-story building. It knocked me off my feet and cut my head, leaving it swollen and myself dizzy for the rest of the day.
A member of staff actually witnessed the accident and said it was an accident waiting to happen!
The staff were so apologetic, they filled in an accident form, gave me a cold compress and offered to get me an ambulance. I came too, still angry at myself for walking into an solid object. But then I went to see the cupboard again, it was nearly invisible, wall and object, same colour, sticking out without warnings or even a plastic tree to break the view. The helper’s were asked why was a sharp cornered object placed in a dangerous position.
Jobs-worth answered, “The boss told us to put them there.”
With that excuse I drew out my trusty iPod and took two pictures, one of the way the steel cupboards were placed and another of the sharp, steel folded corner which had cut my head. They looked worried.
“I am not a litigationist! (I knew what I meant, but not sure there is such a word, but it sounded good under the stress of being dizzy and a swelling in the head.). But If I come back to this place in a week’s time and its not changed, then I will be.
With that, I walked out of the establishment, maybe in an unplanned wavy direction, but unassisted.
The place? Botany Bay, in Chorley, Lancashire.
If you go there, wear a hard hat.
Here’s the two pictures. The position in the corridor and the sharp steel corner which left it’s profile on my head.
Did I say "one after another"?
Today, less than twenty four hours after being knocked out by some Accountant’s notion of fitting display’s at random, I went shopping to Aldi. Aldi in Chorley. I’m not scared of the pen-pusher’s, when public safety is an issue.
Whilst I think this shop provides wonderful food, fresh and cheap. I also wonder what would happen in a fire emergency situation. There are pallets blocking the gangways all over the store, especially at the doors. Did you hear that, the doors.
When you stop to look at the shelving, other folk have to queue up just to pass you, one lady angrily asked me to pick up my food as I walked by and not to stop the flow. Am I on a conveyor belt? Does this company only see people as a product passing through?
It must be the knock on the head, everything seemed dangerous in all my vision. Here I am stuck in a slow moving crowd, passage-ways blocked to only eighteen inches, yea I measured it. So what if an electrical fault started a fire?
So I stopped a worker who was unloading the blocking pallet this very question, much to the nodding of passing shoppers, who now slowed down further just to hear her answer.
“We’re short of space, we need to leave the pallets there, the Boss told us too.”
Yet another jobs-worth, where are they all coming from. Do they not see the danger they are putting their customers in. Is profit the only goal in this establishment, have the accountants taken over the asylum?
I didn’t have my camera with me this time, forgot it ‘cos I had a bump on the head the day before.
Go to your local Aldi. Imagine you had to get out quickly without climbing over the body of a pensioner stuck between a pallet full of dog food. You’ll form your own picture.
If you go there, take a set of step ladders to get over the blockages, and wear a hard hat.
I know the saying, these things come in three’s. So I’m stopping in the house the rest of the weekend, wearing my crash helmet and watching nature programmes on the telly.
Awe! Look at the sleepy hedgehog coming out of hibernation early because of global warming, No, No don't cross that road it's the rush hour, No, No. Oops. Should have gone to specs....rs.
22nd January 2015.
I’ve not shifted snow for years, so I was keen to don my winter coat, baseball hat and waterproof boots and get out there to clear the drive. Is this true? Can Henry be such a wuss?
Nope. Now let us restart.
“Hey the drive’s full of snow, can you get it cleared, dear?”
“Mmmm! But its still snowing dear, and as soon as I’ve shifted it, more will take its place.”
“But then there’ll be less to shift later on.”
“Later on! So I have to shift it more than once?”
“Let’s not argue dear, no need for a timetable or a strategy.”
“So should I wait for the snow to end and then shift it?”
“Let’s not get complicated, get out there and shift it!”
“Yes Dear. That’s all I wanted to hear, a positive statement.”
Door slams, grumbling is heard, scraping is heard, more grumbling.
“Don’t throw the snow over the garden dear, it’ll bury the plants and flood more when it melts.”
“Let me think, where can I throw the snow? Hmmm.”
“Sarcasm is the lowest form of wit dear.”
Scraping stops, grumbling stops, silence is frightening.
“Are you alright dear?”
Are you sure you’re alright dear?”
“Where are you dear?”
“I’m building a snowman in the garden with the snow off the drive.”
“I need a friend. A silent friend.”
21st January 2015.
Watching the horizon as we flew over Greenland, I took this picture. It is so beautiful and so colourful that it inspired a short story. I've call the story "Wing" and you can find it on the last page.
18th January 2015.
Another Grand Child adds to the family, born two days before new year in America. We were there, my wife as comforter and myself as cook, companion and childminder. We stick together whatever the distance between each other.
This is Katie when just one hour old.
By Henry Tudor
Big gaps in age range still complicate
Twenty two, down to five, now one new.
Six grand kids now become seven
It’s true, it could happen to you.
Number seven born in a foreign land
Seven hours in the air, to reach.
Snow, turbulent winds, distance to go
Preparation! Impossible to teach.
But here she is, our new darling Katie
Sleeping in my arms so tired.
A new addition to the merry crowd
New love descends, crowd inspired.
Dear Katie, welcome to our crazy clan
You’ll be the belle, the central view.
They’ll adore you, pore you, wanna hold you
And for that, they’ll form an orderly queue.
Now back in England, thankfully FaceTime and Skype exist.
15th January 2015.
Back in Blighty and sure feels cold, yet the temperature was 8 degrees lower in Philadelphia. This is due to Britain being a cold wet climate and PA being a colder but dry climate.
13th January 2015.
A Taste of Britain
By Henry Tudor
Radnor Township, Wayne, Philadelphia
When they heard my accent on the phone, the lady in the Tea Rooms seemed quite worried. After all they were advertising their restaurant to be a real taste of Britain and even had a Union Jack door mat at the entrance.
The drive there through the sunny forests of PA was wonderful and void of cars as the highway down the valley had taken the traffic. We found the restaurant easily thanks to Thomas Thomas stuck on the windscreen.
There was only two men, myself and my son-in-law, in the crowded restaurant as the rest were the local, afternoon ladies of this expensive borough, from the mansions, in the forest.
The houses round here really are mansions, the shopping precinct car park full of Mercedes Benz's and Beemer's. Every single shop in the cute parade catered for women only, from offering nails polished, to having eyebrows plucked. So to say we both felt a bit out of our comfort zone, is quite an understatement.
The tea rooms were exact in the detail of a Keswick based, Cumbrian cafe. They offered twelve different tea's, with bone china and silver service.
Just to say that my son-in-law and myself are not cake eaters, so we ordered Cottage pie's. My wife and daughter shared a two layer afternoon tea.
The food was excellent and really did taste like the British variety, we really could have been sitting over-looking Derwent Water and far away from this New England countryside of PA.
A total bill of $68 for the four of us was not excessive, but the frozen sausages from the side shop was $10, but we didn't care. American sausages are definitely not as good as good old British bangers, for breakfast.
We enjoyed the outing and rode the scenic route back to our house in Phoenixville, past huge mansions, golf clubs and ranches with horses covered in winter jackets.
The Taste of Britain.
Definitely a place to go if you're missing Britain.
11th January 2015.
Guinness is good for you
By Henry Tudor
Hi folks, it's Henry Tudor again.
It never occurred to me to go and actually look at Philadelphia, even though the name conjures up a glorious picture of a beautiful city surrounded by forests and hills.
I always, wrongly, believed that coal mines and shale gas plants were the scenery. How wrong could one man be?
Let me take you to Phoenixville, a glorious mixture of wooden houses with veranda's at the front, where they gather in the summer with their BBQ's.
Then the surrounding hills and forests with small housing estates with huge gardens and views to die for. I'm staying in the middle of a golf complex, I'll repeat that, A Golf Complex.
Deer roam, streams run and a guard on the gate tips his hat as you pass. But alas it is too far to walk to any shop or restaurant, unless once you've left the complex you don't mind walking on the fast running main road.
A meal out and a couple of drinks whilst watching Liverpool FC win to move up to fourth in the league, sounds like heaven.
So its off in the car, down to hoenixville and search out the local themed pub. The Irish pub called Molly Maguire's. Historically the Molly Maguire's were underground fighters against the English, but times have changed, we hope.
A pint of ice-cold Guinness and Fish n Chips, no other customer watching the match as it's not American Football.
The establishment could easily be in Dublin or even Belfast, it has accurate decoration and real cast-iron high chairs along the bar and the windows. The staff also dress to look the part, so no baseball shirts, no baseball hats. Just dark green trousers and dresses, which to a British eye seems a bit silly, but what the heck, its fun.
The fish was not Cod, it was white and definitely not a salt water breed. I would say it was catfish, or even the carp that's infesting the rivers in these parts these days.
But, I must say it is delicious, the batter hard and thin with no sign of wetness under the crust. The Chips are chips. This is a real problem in America where frozen fries rule the day and their "chips" are similar to what Golden Wonder sell.
No mushy peas, the waitress looked at me, other customers turned around to look at me, as if I had been run over by the Mars Rover, when I asked for them as a side.
They served a tub of Tartar sauce and another of salad with "Ranch" dressing.
Did I care about these details? Nope. I allowed local's discretion to help sell the cuisine to the locals, which actually packed out the pub.
Back up the hill to the golf complex to pass the latest dead deer lying next to the pathless main road, to the house in the forest and the warmth of shale gas central heating.
Philadelphia? A great place to visit. Try the town next door, King of Prussia with the largest shopping centre I've had the misfortune to visit, but the woman in my life loved.
Phoenixville, a brilliant town with a friendly populous and a great Irish Pub outside the whole Island of Ireland.
Did I mention the cold weather? -12 C. The ice cold Guinness felt warm.
8th January 2015.
Got it. Got it. Got it. Got it........
By Henry Tudor.
At first I didnt believe it to be really true
That Big Bangers frequent comic book stores.
Not so, just a tale to tell me and you
They are real, stacks of comics, scores.
Then there's the wooden crates of racks
Hundreds of past issues, front to back.
Collectors paradise in open packs
Must be specialist collectors, with hidden sack.
Trying to find that hidden gem
To complete a series for high esteem.
Searching the racks, means so much to them
Find that rare one, so seldom seen.
Got it. Got it. Got it. Found it at last!
Now my collection is complete.
Now what should I collect, now it's in past?
Start another? Move on? Never show defeat?
One day they'll be worth a mint, my intention.
Will supplement my old age pension.
You've just gotta love em.
5th January 2015.
Doris Smith died on New Years Day, she was an amazing 82 years of age and was the pin up of most guys my age in the sixties.
Who is Doris Smith I hear you all say. Well she used a stage name of Donna Douglas. Get it yet?
Doris was Elly May Clampett from that hilarious comedy series The Beverly Hillbillies.
"Come listen to my story
'bout a man named Ged.
A poor mountaineer
but he kept his family fed....."
There they were, multi-millionaires who still drove an old Model T Ford.
Granny, Ged, Ellie-May and the poorly educated Jethro Bodine.
I would sit and watch them every Sunday evening, in black n white on the 14 inch screen.
They've all gone now, but still a great memory.
Just by chance I was watching a car show on TV and the old Model T popped up. The original car is now in a private museum with the family treasures stacked on the back.
Goodbye Elly May Clampett, rest in peace knowing you brightened the lives of millions around the world.