Wallpapers of the Tooty Kind

Having concluded my important task of the day (I can do only one per day: two taxes my memory too much), I sat myself in front of my laptop and began fiddling with some pictures I took whilst on a wander through a tranquil graveyard the day previous. This is what caught my attention…

A novel step over a flint wall – complete with hole for slipping a foot into, or allowing a small dog to pass. The scene itself makes a pleasant wallpaper. But I felt that the hole was the real star. So, on my first pass I created…

…a scene through a window on an ice planet. Hmmm, might use that in an Earplug Adventure. My second pass brought forth…

…the interior of a defensive position during battle. Hmmm, might use that one too. And on my third pass I created…

…the view from a cell in an alien prison. And it was this one that gave me an idea for another Age of Stone story. If, during the Age of Stone, all technology is based upon rocks and stuff, then  surely they would make their star ships from stone too!  Have to put my thinking cap on now. Could this be the forty-second Earplug Adventure e-book in the making? Bloody hope so: I don’t have any other ideas!

Not for all the Tea in China

I’ve probably mentioned, one or twice in the past, that I don’t do heights. Four rungs up the ladder push the envelope of comfort for me. So, recently, when I looked out of my bedroom window at this  fellow…

…I asked myself is he A: fearless? B: brave? Or C: a fruitcake? Because…

…I wouldn’t do this for all the tea in China…

Would you?

Turning a Green Village Yellow

I’m fortunate enough to live in a village which sits within the boundaries of the Southdowns National Park. As you can probably imagine it’s a very green environment. But for 2021, the parish council – which in a more primitive era might have been termed ‘village elders’ – decided it needed ‘greening’ even more. To this effect they gave every household a packet of wild flower seeds and told them to plant them. Well it has been a great success. But the most obvious success has been the proliferation of sunflowers throughout the village and its environs. Here’s just a fraction of a field that one local farmer turned over to the production of myriad wild flowers…

And the churchyard put on quite show too…

I did my bit , of course. Here’s one I planted in a tub in the back garden…

I was very happy to join in. But then, for me, it get’s a little poignant. Here is one of mine that faces the street…

Isn’t it brilliant? But this seed didn’t arrive courtesy of the Parish Council. This grew from a packet of seeds handed to me at my wife’s funeral. It isn’t the largest sunflower in the village: but it is the best. But to pile poignancy upon poignancy, today – inspired by all these sunflowers that have appeared at every turn – I chose to wear a yellow t-shirt. Burrowing through my considerable collection of t-shirts I spotted a seldom-used Marks & Spencers example at the bottom of the lowest drawer. But as I eased it from beneath the stack I made a discovery. Unlike all of my other t-shirts, I didn’t wash, iron, and pack away this one. This one smelt strongly of the over exuberant use of fabric conditioner. This one was ironed properly and folded neatly side to side. In short, the last person to wash, iron, and pack away this t-shirt was my beloved wife. For a moment I was overcome. Then I put it on…

Not sure what I’m going to do when it needs to go in the wash. Already the creases have fallen out, and the smell of the fabric conditioner has faded away. And I can’t get them back. Another link with the past broken.

Impetuosity isn’t reserved for the young.

For the past year I’ve done several things on impulse. My carelessness has reminded me that I was once young and did all the stupid things impetuous young men do – often with regret when they went painfully wrong. So, if I have any sense, you would think that I might have learned something as I’ve grown older. Namely that it’s usually safer if you think something through before acting. But, as I approach the second half of my sixth decade, impetuosity seems to be taking control again. Recently, whilst out walking in the English countryside I was smitten by a sudden thought. An inquiry really. I don’t know why, but I had to know the answer. So I acted on impluse; and now I know that my willy is impervious to the common stinging nettle, but my scrotum is not. It’s not important, and it won’t enhance my life; but it’s good to know. But that paled into insignificance at my latest bout of impetuosity. Bored with the limited performance of my (shabbily-built Chinese-produced) Yamaha YBR125…

…I began trawling through the dreadfully limited stock of my local motorcycle dealers. I was looking for something affordable in the 300-500cc range. Instead I bought this…

Flipping heck it’s a monster. It’s a 2002 Yamaha XJR1300. It has three more cylinders than my 125; ten times the cubic capacity; and, I reckon, weighs more than all my previous bikes put together. What was I thinking? And I’m afraid that it’s going to hurt a lot more than that patch of stinging nettles did. But it’s my dream-bike: with impetuosity in control, how could NOT buy it?

Earplugs Without Pictures 13

Ever wondered what the Earplug Adventures would look like minus the photos? Might their absence highlight the shortcomings of the writing? Well let’s find out, shall we? Here’s a couple of brief extracts. In this case from this tremendous tale…

As usual there are two brief extracts presented. Both chosen by Mr Sheer Randomness.

“Ladies, Gentlemen, and P.C Wilts,” Runt spoke clearly above the building excitement that ran like a raspberry ripple through the assembled V.I.Ps, “may I present to you the Tubo Di Tempo. It’s a new, mini version of the Tunnel Temporal – designed by the brilliant Italian scientist, Piggies Du Pong.”

“If you don’t mind me saying,” the charming (if ancient) former movie star, Sir Dodger Muir interrupted, “Piggies Du Pong doesn’t sound overtly Italian. Rather, I’d wager the fellow hails from either Belgium or France.”

“In your era, perhaps.” Runt replied. “But in Piggies’ era he’s Italian; so shut it, okay?”

Sir Dodger was about to author a dazzlingly witty riposte, when his train of thought was interrupted by the activation of the Tubo Di Tempo and the arrival of two bug-eyed weirdos from another time zone. Instantly the newcomers addressed Cushions Smethwyke. With a curt bow the smaller-nosed of the couple introduced itself as Glumb Kimball and its huge-hootered associate as Hombolt Whale. “Greetings from the future.” It added. “What do you think of the Tubo Di Tempo?”

Cushions wasn’t sure how to respond: and P.C Wilts’ expression betrayed his instant dislike of the pretentious twerps from a clearly technologically superior era. “Er…very nice.” She managed. Then growing in confidence she added: “A lovely shade of blue. My favourite. Well my second favourite actually. I’m rather partial to a warm orange glow.”

“How wonderful.” Hombolt Whale squeaked through it’s huge, but obviously restricted, snozzle. “Because when it’s turned on at this end it glows orange. Regarde s’il vous plaît.”

Moments later the Tubo Di Tempo did just as Hombolt had promised.

“There.” Sir Dodger grumbled. “Told you it was French.”

But even as the ageing thespian was speaking, so too was Glumb Kimball: “Well we’ve left a copy of the owners’ manual with your Time Techs, so, if it’s alright with you, we’ll be on our way to our own era. It’s much nicer there, by the way. By-ee.”

With that the time-travelling duo stepped into the tiny maw of the machine and disappeared in an instant. Naturally Cushions rushed forward to deliver a blistering farewell insult, but she was too late and needed to be consoled by the former bounty hunter and part-time curator, Hunting Provost: “Don’t concern yourself, my delightful love interest.” He whispered into Cushions’ ear. “They were ugly sods with big bulgy eyes: the future’s welcome to them. And they’ve left us with something really valuable.”

“They have?” Cushions inquired as everyone crowded around to take a look at the wonder from the future..

“Of course.” Hunting spoke in a conspiratorial hush. “Now we can start charging visitors for trips into the Museum of Future Technology twice. Once in this era; and again when they go into the past. I bet, if we take a look at our bank accounts, we’ll find that we’ve already begun amassing a vast wealth before we’ve actually begun sending anyone through. All we need to do is actually set the metaphorical ball rolling. We need to find new-arrivals with no prior knowledge of our earlier time travelling problems.”

“Yeah.” Cushions replied as she let her gaze wander past Hunting. “People who aren’t scared of visiting the past and run the risk of getting stuck there. And I think I know the very people.”


Naturally Mincey had one thought on her mind: a means of generating income. And she waited until the RoboSecGua had fallen far astern of them before bringing up the subject. It was a wise decision to distance herself from the security robot, because at that moment the star-struck RoboSecGua was in the act of encountering a stray plugmutt. “Hello, little fellow.” It said in its best friendly tone, which wasn’t very friendly at all because its voice box was a low-grade type and could only produce a nasty, tinny monotone. “What is your name and what are you doing out here on your own?”

Plugmutts, in general, possess a limited vocabulary and this one was no exception: “Heathrow.” It replied. “Heathrow out here – look for you.”

This reply surprised the RoboSecGua; plugmutts seldom sought out officers of the law. “I am surprised by your reply.” It said. “Plugmutts seldom seek out devices such as I. Why?”

“Beige female earplug.” Heathrow answered. “She bad news. She Sir Dodger’s estranged daughter. She no like famous movie stars. She jealous as heck. She want something. No trust her.”

This worried the RoboSecGua more than it cared to admit. “Flipping heck!” It exclaimed. “I hate to think what she might be doing to the wondrous Sir Dodger – as we speak!”

Well what Mincey was doing was not enjoying a guided tour, which included the amazing spectacles that were so powerful that they could see all the way around the world and up the viewers trouser leg.

“By the Saint of All Earplugs.” Mincey squealed. “I had no idea my buttocks were so dimpled!”

But she felt more secure in her emotional state when they took a stroll towards the Future Alps Exhibit. So it was then that she chose to drop her verbal bombshell: “Dad.” She began, “You know that you’re a museum curator and all that? Well, I was wondering…what with you being really old and stuff…might it be possible that you retire, or die or something, and give the job to me? I’ve got plans for this place; and I think that I’d do a much better job than that toothy git, Cushions Smethwyke. What do you think, Dad? Good idea or what?”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2018

Of course it’s much better with the pictures: after all you can see what’s going on! To read or download the book in its entirety – pictures and all – click on the The Time Tamperer vol 1 cover image (above) to bring up the full PDF file. By the way, in addition, and also – you can access all the Earplug Adventure files (including Vol 2 of this exciting tome) on the sidebar by clicking the cover images.

What Really Happens in English Graveyards at Night

In the light of day, and the average English graveyard appears tranquil and silent, gravestones sit quiescent and still..

But at night, when no one is around to see or hear…

…earplugs hold very important meetings in their grand halls. I wonder what they discuss?


Photography: Setting Up a Picture Without the Slightest Effort

Other than my Earplug Adventure scenes, I don’t set up pictures: I just snap what I see. Well most of the time anyway. There are occasional exceptions, of course.  For example: do you think that Tooty might possibly have parked his blue car behind these bright yellow Calafornia Poppies – just for the juxtapositioning of their delightfully contrasting hues?

You do? Then you would be correct. Sometimes you gotta help art along.

Scary Pollinator Alert!

If anyone can tell me what this huge, bumble-bee-sized, fly is, I’d be grateful. It doesn’t appear in my British Wildlife book and I can’t find it on line…

Did it come off a ship from the nearby port? It doesn’t look native. It also appears to be earning it’s keep by pollinating enthusiastically. Hungry perhaps? Whatever, it shits me up, and I don’t care if I never see one again: but I have know what it is.

Revel in the Ribaldry 35

Too much time has passed since our last delve into the world of Hamster-Sapiens. So on with an extract from this masterpiece of ribald hamster fiction…

Once again good old randomness has chosen the extract. It’s this one…

Everyone crowded around the education computer as it parked itself in the centre of the lounge. Its single ‘eye’ looked up into the face of Ho. “Ya been callin’ m’lud?” It said in an inquiring tone.

“Yeah.” Ho hissed urgently through excited incisors. “Tell Ho how Crustacean guys perhapped.”

“Cripes, dude.” The machine replied, “You’s askin’ a whole lot from the merest education computer-thing. I aint got the words whatta make no sense to guys like you guys is. I got the real shitty talk, y’all.”

Ho looked to Wetpatch for a translation. But instead of responding, the school-hamster addressed Kevin directly…

“Can you produce a computer printout instead?” He asked.

It didn’t matter how many times that everyone pored over the resulting computer printout, not one of the hamsters present was sufficiently qualified in computer-speak to fully understand it, or even begin to. It was just so much ‘Gahg’ to them. Or even ‘Yalg!’

Even Branston had been instructed to drag himself away from the Security Camera Office to cast his expert crew-person’s eye across the multitude of barely decipherable figures, icons, and multifarious digital crap. But all Branston could conclude was, “Well it looks to me like the ocean is criss-crossed with sub-atomic Trans-dimensional Conduits. Where they are, and how we access or navigate them, is beyond me. But that’s how the council perhapped: They contemplated their way into a potential alternate reality, and were taken there in the aforementioned web of quasi-existent tunnels that permeate our reality.”

Blur, who had left her post as the controller of the captain because she was bored and lonely, had never really noticed Branston before. To her he was just a fat little voyeuristic geek with a false sense of omnipotence about him whenever he was seated upon his ‘throne’ in the Security Camera Office. But his summation of the computer printout suggested that he had hidden depths: That he was more than the sum of his few parts.

“Ooh Branston,” she breathed into his ear after he’d left the room, and was half way back to his duty station, “you were so masterful just now. I can’t say that you’ve particularly impressed me previously; but I can’t help thinking that you have hidden depths. Perhaps we can exchange plumb-bobs? I believe that you may be more than the sum of your parts. I’d like to feel some of your more private ones.”

Branston smiled inwardly: He was indeed more than the sum of his parts. He’d had the foresight to pre-empt Ho, and had already visited Kevin previously. He’d managed to interview the education computer for almost a full five minutes prior to Ho’s beckoning. From the resulting verbal diarrhoea that was excreted from Kevin’s voice box, he was able to comprehend just enough to impress everyone when the inevitable call for his assistance came. He could no more read a computer printout than he could insert the prow of the Bargebutt into his rectum: But he could certainly act well enough to convince everyone – including Blur, for whom he’d had a ‘thing’ since joining the crew – and now his foresight was about to bear fruit.

“Yummy.” He said.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Naturally this e-book remains on sale at most respected e-book stockists. Check out the sidebar book cover shots to access some of them. Be bold.


The Little Marks We Leave

At the time of this post, ten months have passed since my wife died – and there are still (it seems) a million and one ‘things’ of hers that need to be moved on. She liked to collect all manner of ‘things’. Whatever they were, there were (are) always too many of them to fit into our small ‘modern cottage’. Not only were the common areas of the house full-to-bursting, so was the attic too. And only towards the end of her life did she finally stop, sometimes, to ask herself: “Do I really need this?” Or, more often: “Tooty says the loft is full; do I have anywhere to put this?”

I can’t imagine how many items I have passed on to charity since then – but it’s lots. Multiple car-loads. And still it keeps coming. Most of her books are now sitting on complete stranger’s shelves; but a few – the oldest tomes – are still here. This is one of them…

It’s a slim volume that was first published in 1937. This is a later copy from 1949.  At 108 pages it’s hardly exhaustive, and wouldn’t really do as a proper reference book. But the flowers are beautifully drawn and painted, so really it’s an art book. On the inside cover this appears…

Clearly it was gift – from someone I will never meet, to someone else I will never meet (unless in the afterlife). In one of my often melancholy moods this made me feel a little sad. I wondered who these people were, and what happened to them. Then, as I turned the brittle pages – many of which are coming away from the dried-out spine – I found this…

One day, after receiving this gift, the recipient carried this book with (her?) and decided to collect specimens, which (she?) pressed between the relevant pages. Here is a sample of Chicory from rural Britain circa the early 1950s.

And here is some Corn-Cockle…

Lastly comes the Cuckoo Flower…

The absence of any more samples suggests that only one expedition was undertaken. But, perhaps for just one foray into the countryside, this book was precious to it’s owner. Precious enough for it to have survived and pass through any number of hands since that day. It certainly caught my wife’s eye and has survived her. So what do I do with it now? What we leave behind comes in many forms – not all of them with physical properties such as this book. They are little pieces of us: pieces that cannot die. For now I will keep this on my bookshelf. But it (the book) has nothing to do with my wife: she was only ever a custodian. Eventually (through charity shops or auction) I will probably pass it on to someone else that I will never meet: and they will wonder who the two names on the inside cover belonged to, and they will find the pressed flowers. And maybe they will add to them.