Monthly Archives: February 2023
Earplug Adventures Wallpaper: Vile Coffee: Cozy Chat
This post first appeared in a blog that was so unpopular, it staggered belief. Not like this one at all!
Having escaped the island of Doctor Adolf Weil-Barrau intact, former head of security Slomo Chewings buys a cup of vile coffee from a Barf machine for fellow islander and potential love interest, Daffney DeMauritainia. From Mutant Island. Fascinating factoids; The Barf machine is the lid of a sweetener dispenser. The table is a filter from a pneumatic pump. This is the first occurrence in an Earplug Adventure of a non-heterosexual relationship. P.S If Daffney looks very similar to Bubbles Gloor in The Veil of Shytar, it’s because the same earplug was used in both stories. Waste not; want not – or so they say. They also say everyone has their double somewhere in the world. Well there’s the proof – sort of.
Once More Unto The Breech
Which is another way of saying that the recent tidy-up of these two (old) books…
…has been completed and both are back on sale. Now I can get on with creating the third book. I mean, everyone wants to write trilogy, don’t they? These two can be accessed via the sidebar or the Tooty’s Ebooks Available to Buy Here page.
It’s very difficult to find extracts that don’t contain spoilers; but here’s a couple of attempts. Unfortunately they don’t contain any ‘action’ because those segments are guaranteed, not only to include spoilers, but they are (at times) so violent that I was (when I re-read them) slightly shocked at my earler self’s blood-thirstiness. So, no nasty stuff here…
A stray shaft of sunlight shining in my eye woke me from my troubled slumbers. Straw may look comfortable but it pokes you in places you didn’t know you had, and it can really make a body itch. Fortunately the others had neglected to mention rats the previous night, so, when upon numerous occasions, I awoke to scratching sounds, or the weight of some furry animal running across my back I was greatly alarmed. If I’d known what to expect in advance I’m pretty certain I’d have taken a tent with me – or just slept beneath the stars, and hoped that it didn’t rain.
Now, as brightness attempted to blind my bleary eyes, I knew that I hated living rough.
‘Nature? You can keep it!’
Katherine, on the other hand, was full with the joys of spring. She already had a fire burning outside, and the smell of coffee perked me into a sitting position. I noticed the absence of Lee and Kevin immediately. As I wandered outside I enquired after them.
“My, who’s a sleepy head, then?” Katherine chided. She then answered my question, “They’ve gone hunting.”
“Lee went hunting with our only assault rifle?” I was surprised that Lee would willingly waste such irreplaceable ammunition.
“No, silly.” Katherine replied – offering me a cup of black, watery coffee.
“With Kevin.” She added, “The lad’s very good with snares.”
I admired Kevin: he was worth two of any other boy of his age. “He’s a little diamond.” I said as I sat myself beside Katherine.
The coffee was awful, but it was wet and warm, and at that moment it was enough. I gazed out upon the silent countryside, and let my brain slip into neutral.
Some unmeasured time later the boys returned with four dead rabbits. They were young. Perhaps born only a week or two after the virus had struck. It seemed such a crime for us to take life when it was so rare and precious. I must have said as much…
“Wanna eat, don’t you?” Lee was slightly miffed. He and Kevin had worked hard to make their catch. I apologized for my foolishness.
“Next time,” Kevin spoke eagerly to Lee, “I can show ya fish tickling.”
“Are there any?” I asked.
“Yeah,” Came Kevin’s positive response, “loads of ‘em. I seen ‘em in the river this morning.”
“Make mine trout.” Katherine put on her cut-glass accent, “Just like my men – I prefer them slightly soused.”
An hour later, with a rabbit each tied to our haversacks, we made our way along a dusty dirt track. It was a fine day, and in our childish ways we had shrugged off our troubles for the duration. This came to an abrupt end when a bullet kicked up the ground beside us. We all dived into a track side ditch. Struggling within the confined space we managed to struggle onto our fronts so that our haversacks might offer some protection. I saw Lee’s rabbit torn apart by an impact. With fear clearly evident in his eyes he looked back to me.
‘Have we walked straight into another war zone?’
Katherine’s voice calmed us: “You know I almost get the feeling we’re not wanted around here!”
She then shouted at the top of her lungs, “I say, you out there: stop that shooting nonsense this instant: we’re just passing through, for Heaven’s sake!”
A young male voice called from somewhere unseen: “Where ya headed?”
I cringed as Katherine cheekily replied, “What’s it to you? That’s none of your business.”
I detected uncertainty in the boys tone when next he spoke: “Ya not heading for the island are ya?”
We all exchanged looks.
“Island?” Lee enquired. “What island? There’s naff-all islands ‘round here.”
“The boy’s mad, obviously.” Katherine observed.
“P’raps it’s a secret island.” Kevin offered.
“It’d have to be top secret:” Lee spoke with a sarcastic tone in his voice, “We’re in the middle of the country! Remember Britain? Big island with water all ‘round it?”
Katherine decided it was time to reply, “No thanks: we don’t like islands. We like villages and farms and things like that.”
Kevin added, “We think islands are poop!”
We had to wait a few seconds while the mystery shooter digested this. After what seemed like a very uncomfortable century he spoke again, “If I promise not to shoot, will you stand up?”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014
As I consulted the AA roadmap in the rear seat of the bus I was very grateful for its all-inclusiveness. It showed minor roads that only locals would know about, which I hoped would take us to our destination without the need to travel upon trunk roads.
We’d pulled into a muddy lay-by upon a country ‘B’ road to find our route, but since it was raining outside I’d decided to spread the map over the largest flat surface available.
Karen could see that I was having difficulty reading the map, so she clambered to the rear of the bus, and parked herself opposite me. Following a cursory glance at the map she said. “Wrong page.”
I’d been running a fingertip over the surface of the map – following the coastline. I paused. “How do you know?” I asked.
“You told us that Winston Crag was rocky.” She explained. “The coastline you’re looking at there is low-lying, graduating to limestone, and finally sandstone. You’ll find no rocky prominences there: It’s all been worn down by the sea.” She then flipped the map over and pointed to a completely different part of the coastline.
As she’d been speaking her eyes had been studying the map. “There.” She said as she laid a finger upon the map. “Winston Crag. You’re right, it isn’t too far away.”
I thanked Karen, who promptly forgot me and called Kylie to join her. Together they selected the best route.
‘Suits me; I never wanted to be known as ‘Pathfinder Goldsmith’ anyway.’
After drawing in their route with a pencil Kylie chose to include me in their conversation. “So what will we find when we get there?” She inquired.
With no guarantee that we would reach our destination unmolested I thought it best that only I should know the answer to that question. If my friends knew nothing they couldn’t be expected to tell anyone whether it be under interrogation; hypnotism; or any technique for extracting information.
“The less they know,” I’d said earlier to Tasman, “the less can be forced out of them if we’re captured.”
“Fine,” he’d replied, “but suppose something horrible happens to you en route: they won’t know what to look for when they arrive.”
“In which case it won’t matter.” I countered. “The gig will be up. Our silent resistance ends with our death, capture, or incapacitation.”
So now I found myself unwilling to share my secrets with my friends and allies. “Sorry.” I said weakly.
Both girls shrugged their shoulders. “I’m sure it’ll make the surprise all the more exciting.” Karen said as she passed the map to Kylie, before adding, “Okay, Driver – drive on.”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014
Tooty the Chef and Citrus Semolina!
One day, in a kitchen far far away, Tooty the Chef searched desperately for inspiration. The family, sick to death with shop-bought yoghurts and the like, wanted a nice pud. It was down to Tooty to deliver the goods…
Being a ‘chuck-it-all-in-and-see-what-happens’ kind of chef, delivering a nice pud was always going to be a challenge for the pointy-nosed idiot. However, after much deliberation (i,e ten seconds) he settled on these primary ingredients: lemon merigue sauce mix; cornflour; Valencian orange food flavouring; and semolina.
Well obviously (being the heaviest item on the list) the semolina would need to form the bottom layer of a three-layered delight. So he boiled some up…
…and slapped the resulting goo in several eqally small serving bowls. As it cooled, he bubbled up the lemon meringue sauce and poured it on top…
So far, so esthetically pleasing. But what wonder was he going to conjure up from a jar of cornflour and a small bottle of food flavouring. Well it’s obvious, isn’t it? Custard! Orange custard…
Actually it went well. The orange didn’t make the milk go all wonky, and it thickened nicely and evenly. Sadly the colouring was somewhat lacking, so – as you can probably see – he added some yellow food dye. It didn’t work: the finished custard remained pale and insipid…
But good old Tooty didn’t give a monkey’s toss…
…coz when (that evening) he warmed them in the microwave, they were scrummy! Of course they were. Unfortunately the serving bowls were made of melamine and duly absorbed more than their fair share of the heat created by the microwaving. On the outside he might appear pleased with himself: but on the inside he’s smarting – just like his fingers and thumbs.
Don’t Buy My eBooks…Yet!
When I wrote this 2014 novel…
…it was as a sequel to this e-book of 2004…
Having completed the sequel, it came to my attention that the older book was somewhat wanting in several areas. Not the story: merely the way it was told. As a consequence of this it was re-written immediately after the completion of it’s sequel, and looked all the better for it. Well…when I mentioned to you all, in a recent post that I was planning a third book, I thought I should re-establish a link with my earlier writing style, the story, and the characters of both books. Guess what: I found them somewhat wanting again. Oh flip! So, if anyone harboured any ideas about purchasing either book – don’t. At least not yet. Yup, I’m re-writing them again! Well not so much re-writing; but seriously tidying them up. Already Silent Resistance is looking pukka: Silent Apocalypse will follow shortly. But, golly, what tales they are: well worth a couple of bucks! I shall endeavour to keep you posted on their progress. When they’re finished (again), I’ll give you the nod. Then you can purchase as many copies as your heart desires. Make it lots.
Rural Wallpaper: Country Counter Top
Earplug Adventures Wallpaper: A Monster Farts
This post first appeared in another (ghastly, vile, and hugely unpopular) blog.
Lost and alone in the bitter cold, mountain pea farmer, Frank Tonsils believes that he might be hallucinating. After all, one doesn’t expect to meet a flatulent multi-legged monster on a snowy mountainside. From Natural Selection. Fascinating factoid: The ‘monster’ was created by adding a home-made stick-on eye to a piece of torn nylon weave that had originally protected a 2-tonne pack of processed timber whilst in transit. Obviously the ‘fart’ was added later.
Portrait of England: Seaside Paddle
Is A Third ‘Silent’ Novel Possible?
The original version of this book…
…was written by yours truly in 2004. It took a decade before I was ready to write the sequel…
Unfortunately the sequel’s ending was so convoluted that I found it impossible to get around the difficulties that I’d engineered into the plot. A third tale seemed unlikely. Then, nine years on, I came up with a scenario that might lead to an opening in the canopy of my imagination. I might – just MIGHT – find myself in a position to concoct another bamboozling story featuring the teen-aged protagonists from the first two books. Gosh, I hope so: they are a joy to write. If my aging brain can fire on all thrusters, I plan to put aside the next Earplug Adventure, and begin the completion of the trilogy with Silent Existence. Wish me luck: the last time I tried writing a third part of a trilogy was the aborted follow-up to Present Imperfect in 2016…
I now include a tiny morsel from the second book. It has to be tiny because almost every potential extract gives too much away about (not only this book, but also) the original story.
“You’re different.” Tasman said to me immediately following our welcome back by the others.
“No I’m not.” I insisted as I watched our arsenal being taken away.
“From each other I mean.” He explained. “The two of you. You and Felicity. If I was in a darkened room with you both, I’d know one from the other.”
“In what way are we different?” I inquired with truthful interest.
“She‘s more…vulnerable.” He answered. “It’s why I urged her to seek out the alternative version of me. She needs his help.”
“Obviously.” I said as I began collecting up all the used harnesses. “I need you; ergo she needs her…” I almost said ‘Tasman’, but I quickly realised that Dexter and Shane were within earshot as they battled with a recalcitrant trolley upon which they were attempting to carry six bombs at once. “…Brian.” I finished.
“Two Brian’s, eh?” Kylie’s head appeared around the door frame. She winked. “I wonder if he’s such a whizz with the alien technology too.”
As remarks go, Kylie’s couldn’t have been more innocuous; but her words struck the same chords in both Tasman and I. We looked at each other; back to Kylie as she entered the room to collect another explosive device; then back at each other again.
“We’ve been so dumb.” I said to him.
“Speak for yourselves.” Kylie said as she passed us.
“I’m not arguing.” Tasman replied to me.
Kylie held aloft a bomb.
“No one’s dumb.” She said. “Not unless they drop one of these on their foot.”
I ignored her.
“We’ve not seen the woods for the trees.” I said.
“The obvious has eluded us all this time.” Tasman said by way of agreement.
“Sorry.” Kylie said as she laid the explosive device down again. “What’s this obvious thing that neither you have missed?”
© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014
P.S These books (plus Captive Echo) remain available as e-books. Check out HERE to have a look.
Ye Olde Huawei Finally Comes Good
The buttons on my late wife’s 2005 Motorola had long since lost their silk printed numerals by the time she decided to call time on it and buy a ‘smart’ phone, which (as recommended by the phone shop assistant) was a Huawei Ascend. Well, after battling with the unreliable, counter intuitive piece of crap for several months, she went back to her Motorola, and remained faithful to it for years – until the week she died. She hung on to the the Chinese phone though because it took quite nice pictures – just as long as she didn’t try taking shots from a moving car: when she did, the phone’s auto-focus simply couldn’t make up it’s mind and often ended up taking pictures of the car interior, a random roadside, or her angry face. She didn’t think of it as an Ascend: more an Ass Hole. But because it cost good money, we kept it as an emergency device. Then, recently, two and a half years after her passing, my daughter’s old phone finally stopped picking up a signal. Cue a new phone – complete with new mini sim card. “What to do with her old sim card?” thought I . The answer came immediately: “Put it in the old Huawei.” So I did, and the Ascend didn’t disappoint: as anticipated it was next to useless. But then I discovered it had a wi-fi setting. Might it be possible that I could access the Internet on my home network? Unlikely, I thought. But after a lot of fiddling, gnashed teeth, and colourful expletives this happened…
Hoorah – it’s my blog. And doesn’t it look smart too? Now, should all my laptops, my never-used mini Mac, or my iPad decide to go awol, I can still admire my great works upon the Ascend. It doesn’t mean the phone’s any good, you understand: but it’s no longer an Ass Hole: merely a Butt Wipe!
Earplug Adventures Wallpaper: Prowler At Sea
I don’t know if this picture of the Punting-Modesty Munitions Company’s finest product will appear in an Earplug Adventure, but I thought this experiment in creating something out of almost nothing worked quite well…
Nature Wallpaper: When Catkins Start Their Dangling…
…it’s for Spring that we’re all angling!
Say Goodbye to ‘The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah’
Due to space limitations on this blog, The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah have become surplus to requirements. The story has been sitting here idle for quite a while now, since it’s appearence in these hallowed cyber-pages in 2021, and therefore had to go. By-ee Lines of Ta-Di-Tah. As brilliant as you were, there is a time and place for everything: and this aint either of them. But fear not, Dear Earplugger (or potential Earplugger), the fabulous photo-novel lives on – in PDF form – complete and unabridged, in all it’s silicon magnificence right here, behind this cover photo…
All you need do to access the story that featured the marriage and honeymoon of Magnuss and Hair-Trigger is click on the picture. Other than me, what could be simpler!
Make of This What You Will Too
In the original Make of This What You Will, posted here shortly after my wife’s passing in 2020, I related the tale of strange goings-on in my house that appeared to relate to her. Well I’ve always been susceptible to unusual phenomena, and I might well tell the story of my Guardian Angel one day. But that’s for another day: this particular post concerns an event that occured mid 2022. Today I took my Yamaha along part of the road upon which the event happened. My body cam captured the locations most pertinent to the tale, which is brief but inexplicable. But first let me set the scene. A scene that takes us back to the mid-seventies, and my best pal, Steve…
Steve spent a lot of time in the house I shared with my parents. Like most youngsters we watched very little TV, but if something interesting happened along, he would often stay late to watch it with me. On this particular night he had an early start for work the following morning, so he departed my house half-way through the hour-long documentary we were watching. Riding his motorcycle home, which normally took him ten to fifteen minutes, he found his father watching the same documentary. So he sat himself down to watch the last fifteen minutes of it. To his consternation he recognised the portion of the broadcast. It was the same segment he had watched with me a half-hour earlier. Somewhat amazed he checked the wall clock: it displayed a time that preceded his departure from my house. He had arrived home before he’d left my house! The only explanation he could conceive was that he had traveled through time. When he told me, I concurred. I have related this tale several times through the years. People suggest that perhaps his father had recorded the show on a VCR, and was watching it a half-hour later. Good idea – if the average Briton had owned a VCR back then. But they didn’t: they were as rare as hens teeth or rocking horse shit. In fact the only video recorder that any of us had seen up until that time, was the example that William Shatner’s character showed Peter Falk in the Columbo episode Fade to Murder. In any case, how could he have recorded the second half before it had aired? Now (to use a VCR term) Fast Forward to 2022. I’ve departed my late wife’s step mother’s house in my Skoda Octavia.,.
I’m on my way home via the country route, which takes me to this tiny roundabout at the foot of a long , gentle ascent…
Turning left I start up the climb…
Around the corner I pass a side road named Crouch Lane, which separates the urban sprawl of Horndean from the hamlet of Catherington…
A kilometre (approx) later a white Ford Transit pulls out of a side road – forcing me to test the ABS by braking heavily whilst swerving…
Regaining my momentum and reconfiguring my sphincter, I move on – pleased to have survived the encounter. Moment’s later I pass by a flint wall that runs too close to the road for comfort. No room for error – especially when a large lorry passes by in the opposite direction…
What should have happened next is that I continue around the bend, with private dwellings to my left and a public house to my right, followed by a school and a church…
But this doesn’t happen. Instead I get a’ What The Fuck?’ moment. Everything has changed. I’m not approaching the top of the hill anymore: I’m at the bottom again! I’m just around the bend from Crouch Lane all over again!
For the next thirty seconds and an approximate kilometre of road, I’m trying to make sense of the situation. Then I remember the white van pulling out in front of me. So I slow in preparation. Guess what – it pulled out in front of me, as anticipated: but this time I was ready for it and had no need for sudden braking. But as I continued past the flint wall for the second time, I sincerely hoped that I wasn’t trapped in some form of causality loop: that I would gain the uppermost section of the hill…
Well the fact that I’m writing this and have this photographic proof of my existence in the here and now, my prayers appear to have been answered. But what really happened? Did I travel back in time by half a minute? Or did I dimension-jump from an almost identical reality into this one? Or something else entirely? Hmmm- spooky. And true too!
P.S Is it any wonder that I became a writer of science-fiction and fantasy! I think they call it ‘living the dream’. Or should that be ‘nightmare’?
P.P.S If I did swap dimensions, did the ‘other’ me take my place? Did he have a weird thirty-second moment too?
Portrait of Nature: Last Year’s Left-Overs
Autumn seems to have hung on all through winter.