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Revel in the Ribaldry 38

T’was March 2022 when the last Revel in the Ribaldry appeared in these hallowed cyber-pages. So I funk it was about time Number 38 poked its head above the parapet. No dilly-dallying; on with an extract from my favourite book of all time by whatever author you care to mention. Yes, it’s my…

Here follows an extract from Chapter Six – A Pocket of Empire. For the benefit of anyone who has never experienced this fabulous e-book, it is actually a collection of short stories that have been ingeniously linked together in one narrative by your host.

Colonel Goliath Van Spoon was Lieutenant LaMerde’s commanding officer. For a hamster he was remarkably large. Some had even described him as ‘hulking’. And also unlike those he led, Van Spoon was neither French nor hamster-sexual. He was Dutch, and he wore outrageously large clogs, and hung large photographs of polders, dykes, and naked females upon his office wall, just to emphasize the fact. And right now he was seated behind a cheap chipboard desk where he listened to his subordinate’s report.

“For sure. For sure.” Van Spoon would nod as each interesting piece of information was imparted.

“So you see, Sir,” LaMerde concluded, “The peasants are revolting.”

“For sure they’re revolting,” Van Spoon agreed, “They never wash as far as I can tell. I can smell the village from my billet – and that’s saying something, man: The latrine outflow pipe is situated just below it.”

LaMerde silently ground his incisors together. It was his opinion the Colonel was unfit for duty. His mind tended to wander into the esoteric at inopportune times; and his decision-making process was often interfered with by the consumption of alcoholic beverages that were supplied by the Hamster-British owners of the castle. As a result of this several patrols had been forced to fight their way back to the safety of the castle through besieging trinket-sellers; swarming insects; and the occasional gang of wandering prostitutes – only to be told to go back out again and knock properly.

Van Spoon appeared to make a decision. He said, “Let’s take this upstairs.”

LaMerde’s shoulders slumped.  ‘Upstairs’ meant a visit to Sir Cuthbert and Lady Agatha Strawberry-Nose.

“Should we really, Sir?” he tried to dissuade his commanding officer, “I mean – they’re hardly likely to give us sound advice, are they? After all it was the French Florid Legion who dispossessed them of their nice retirement home, turned it into a fortress, and forced them to live in the highest turret.”

It was a well-reasoned argument, but Van Spoon would have no truck with it. “For sure I’m thinking that you don’t trust our reticent hosts, LaMerde: Is that because they are Hamster-British?”

LaMerde discovered himself speechless: He simply couldn’t believe that the colonel was accusing him of being racist. In fact he had an entirely different reason for wanting to avoid Lady Agatha Strawberry-Nose, but he felt that he wasn’t at liberty to divulge that information.

Van Spoon took his subordinate’s silence as contrition. “For sure I was thinking that. Well, Lieutenant, I have a little treat for you. Follow me.”

With that he thrust his chair backwards, hopped over the desk like the Olympic hurdler that he’d been in his youth, and was out of the door before you could say “By the Saint of All Hamsters!”

With the fear that his career with the French Florid Legion was in jeopardy, LaMerde followed in haste.

A few minutes later Van Spoon and LaMerde had climbed the long spiral staircase to the living quarters of the elderly Hamster-British citizens – Sir Cuthbert and Lady Agatha Strawberry-Nose. Van Spoon rapped sharply upon the soft balsa wood door. It gave alarmingly beneath his meaty knuckles, which resulted in what appeared to be permanent, and rather unsightly indentations. He noticed this, and immediately stepped back. “For sure this soft wood gives alarmingly beneath my meaty knuckles.” He said – before lifting LaMerde from the ground and depositing him directly in front of the door.

It was not a moment too soon for Van Spoon: The door fairly whipped open as though it was attached to a powerful elastic cord with a nasty temper.

Lady Agatha’s face appeared in the door frame. She regarded the indentations left by the colonel’s knuckles. Then she looked at LaMerde who stood before her with a sickly smile upon his hamstery face. For a moment it appeared that she might explode in anger, but then she caught sight of LaMerde’s whiskers as they shook violently with trepidation inside his gargantuan hood.

“Serge!” The plump aristocratic female hamster pulled the lieutenant to her heaving bosom, and hugged him close, “Why you naughty male.” She admonished cheerfully, “You’ve been going under-cover with the natives again. One of these days they’ll catch you – and do all sorts of ghastly things to you. Oh I couldn’t bear it: I might never see your handsome face again!”

Van Spoon could see that his subordinate was uncomfortable. In fact he noticed that he wasn’t actually breathing anymore, and was turning a nasty shade of blue.

“Madam,” he said as he extricated the female’s fingers from around the slender frame of the junior ranking officer, “we are here to ask for your husband’s advice.”

Naturally Lady Agatha complied: To have refused would have been a terrible social faux pas. And so the two Legionaries were ushered into the presence of the castle’s true owner.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

This book – amazingly – remains on-sale. You can link to the better-known vendors via the Tooty’s E-Books Available to Buy Here page. It’s not expensive either – despite being the best book in the world. Oh, and it’s rude too.

 

Goodbye ‘Standing in Clover’

I suspected as much, when I first began my countryside photo-blog, that it wouldn’t last long. What has surprised me though, is the reason for it’s demise. Okay, it didn’t attract many views, which is probably quite a good excuse for calling it a day: but it wasn’t that which made me quit. It was the difficulty in choosing which pictures to include on the blog. There was only so much room in the memory – one gigabyte – and just so many pictures to select from. Simply put, I have too many photos in my library: whichever one I choose, I then think I could have chosen a better one. It’s maddening. I wasn’t enjoying it. And then when the ‘faves’ stopped…well it was all the excuse I needed. The blog is toast.  Perhaps if there were two of me it might have been easier…

Earplug Adventures Wallpaper: Disappearing Act

The heroic Catering Assistant apparently ceases to exist moments before the destruction of the Drunkard’s Vomit.

From the fabulous 2022 story, Climatic Calamity

…which (as everyone knows) is available as a free PDF by simply clicking on the cover art.

 

Complete ‘Veil of Shytar’ Absolutely Free!

Yes, it’s that time again. That time when I give away the latest e-book in PDF form for you to either read on-line or download for home consumption. And that e-book is (of course) The Veil of Shytar. So just click on the cover image and it’s all yours to enjoy and (possibly) pore over and discuss its intellectual merits and nice pictures. In fact, should you be a university student or similar, perhaps you could write thesis on the evolution and development of the Earplug Adventures from early stream-of-consciousness witterings to the literary genius you see today – or something along those lines. But I digress: if you know what’s good for you, click that cover now. Read something unique!

Thank Heavens For Stats

Whilst browsing my Flickr account I noted that the latest picture that I’d posted on it had fallen from 15 ‘Faves’ to 13. This isn’t unique. I’ve often wondered why people bother to re-visit a picture, only to (effectively) tell the photographer “I don’t really like your picture after all.” So I thought, “Well the photos aren’t that popular anyway, why do I bother?” – and duly deleted the account. Now it doesn’t matter if people change their mind, coz the pictures are gone. What a relief. This action then took my mind to this blog. It seemed to me that viewing figures have been dropping lately, particularly since The Veil of Shytar reared it’s handsome visage. So, (sometimes) being a logical creature, I considered deleting it also. But just to make sure I wasn’t being a tad premature, I checked out the Seven Day stats. Guess  what: comments were down, but…

Although figures are far from promising, what is though is the percentage rise in all three remaining categories. Enough to keep the Veil of Shytar running. So prepare yourself for the next episode.

 

 

 

Earplug Adventures: The Veil of Shytar (part 18)

Lots of talky stuff in this episode. Heck, on a couple of occasions, they even get serious. Moreover –  no one visits the lavatory! Read on…

The conversation continued in much the same vein for a few minutes until it became clear to everyone that it had run its course. So as the two officers returned to their office, Lance took Bubbles and Barclay inside the building. In doing so they passed beside Silo Seven…

“What do you keep in these silos?” Bubbles inquired. “Nuclear missiles?”

“Grain.” The short-arsed soldier answered. He then expanded upon his reply, “Silos one through six are empty. We’ve not been able to get a decent harvest in years. Seven will be fully depleted by the end of the week.”

“Oh, Lance,” Bubbles wailed, “that’s terrible. Well at least I think it is. How many silos do you have?”

“Seven.” Lance replied. “The Catering Corps are looking into ways of roasting scorpions and cockroaches, and boiling sandworms; so we shouldn’t starve.”

“Talking of starving,” Barclay interrupted, “I haven’t eaten since breakfast-time yesterday – on Earth: how about some chow and a cup of coffee?”

Chapter 9

Bubbles had felt guilty about eating from the cavalry’s meagre supply; but having done so she felt much better physically. She even managed a smile as she stood beside Barclay and did her best to regard the view across the radiation-swept plain upon which Fort Dunderhead had been built…

Her smile was infectious, and as she came close to Barclay, he couldn’t help smiling himself.

“It’s been a funny old sort of day.” He said over his shoulder.

“Not the one I’d imagined.” Bubbles confessed. “And not better either.”

Then, as the exterior lights blazed and turned the dusk beyond the perimeter into night, both terrestrial earplugs turned their gaze away from the window…

…and looked at each other.

“Until we get the Prowler ship-shape,” Barclay said, “their problem is our problem.”

Bubbles opened her mouth to reply, but a sudden power-outage plunged the interior into semi-darkness…

Recovering, she spoke her intended words:

“If we could leave tonight, I wouldn’t. We have a super-advanced alien-based machine at our disposal, built by the Punting-Modesty Munitions Company: surely there’s something we can do.”

Barclay allowed his eyes to range along the compartment in which they stood:

“They have an advanced technological civilisation,” he replied, “and all they can do is either hide or flee. If someone can fix up the Prowler, I think that’s what we should do.” Then, following a pause of perhaps a heartbeat or two, he added: “Alternatively we could use it to good effect. I’ve been thinking about that strange curtain-like thing in space. Something tells me that it’s there for a reason. Or if it isn’t – well maybe we can give it a reason. Let’s go talk to the boss: maybe he knows something about it.”

Bubbles was thrilled by what she heard her subordinate say.

“Oh, Barclay,” she screamed as she cuddled up to him, “what a wonderful idea. Let’s go – right now.”

So, whilst electrical technicians elsewhere struggled to turn the lights back on, Bubbles wrapped an arm around Barclay’s, and together they strode off in search of the Commanding Officer’s quarters…  

Although Fort Dunderhead could be described as ‘big’, it didn’t take long for the determined earplugs to find Major Leftfoot-Badger’s office.  At first, though, they thought the room was empty. Only the presence of a pair of old-style cavalry hats informed them that anyone was home…

Of course, what neither Punting-Modesty employee could have known was that the Major wore contact lenses, and he and Lieutenant R Swypes were hidden from view as they searched the carpet beneath the Major’s desk for an errant lens. When they became aware that they were not alone, they quickly regained their feet and threw themselves into their chairs in time to greet their visitors…

“Ah, the terrestrials.” Leftfoot-Badger called out, despite the fact that he couldn’t actually see who stood before him. “I can smell the vacuum of space upon you.”

“Whadda ya want?” Swypes added.

As Barclay told the Worstworlders about their encounter in space, both cavalry-plugs donned their hats and came around the desk…

“Lieutenant Swypes,” the Major said as Barclay finished his description, “this is more your area of expertise: how about you strut your funky stuff.”

Swypes turned his attention to the visitors. “I believe you speak of the Veil of Shytar.” He said. “So named by a solo adventurer, by the name of Augustus Pronk, who flew his tiny one-earplug vessel from our world, in search of another upon which he could live in splendid isolation from his overbearing wife and soul-crushing off-spring. He was seated upon his tiny vessel’s sole lavatory, when the veil swam into view and startled him mightily. He decided to name the apparition after the lavatory seat upon which he sat. But, being a prudish society we altered his original nomenclature for the space anomaly to Shytar. The difference in pronunciation is slight, but it makes all the difference when discussed during a dinner party, governmental general assembly, waiting in line at a check-out, or whatever.”

“Fascinating,” Barclay interrupted rudely, “but what the flipping heck is it?”

“We have no idea.” Swypes replied as he sniffed disdainfully. “Since Augustus Pronk embarked upon a second journey to rendezvous with it – and never returned – no one has dared go near it.”

“Oh,” Bubbles said in surprise, “so you have no idea that it rejects sensor scans and cannon fire?”

“Er, no.” Swypes replied. “Um…what of it?”

“I’ll tell you what,” Bubbles snapped, “instead of cowering in the shadows and accepting defeat, the people of Worstworld should be trying anything and everything to make sure this planet survives the coming holocaust. The Veil of Shytar can deflect energy. How much energy? Could it stand against a nova? Shouldn’t someone be looking into the idea?”

The Major felt it his duty to take control of the conversation:

“Perhaps it is, young female,” he said in a not altogether stuffy or pompous manner, “but until this moment, no one has ever thought of it.”

Stepping from his desk he stood and spoke directly to Bubbles…

“We no longer have the capability to make this study.” He said. “Time is not on our side.”

Meanwhile Lieutenant Swypes was regarding a container of redundant machine guns. Barclay noticed this.  “You should use whatever weapons you can on such an implacable foe.” He said.

“Major,” Swypes addressed his superior, “might I suggest we do everything in our limited power to assist these wonderful earplugs in their efforts to utilise the Veil of Shytar against the coming nova?”

“What do you mean, Lieutenant?” Leftfoot-Badger responded hopefully.

“That we send a team of engineers to get their vessel fixed and fit to fly.” Swypes replied. “Bubbles and Barclay are our only weapons against the inevitable. We must send the willing conscripts into battle!”

These were rousing words spoken well in a surprisingly stentorian tone.

“Jeepers, R.” The major exploded, “you’re absolutely right. Enough of wasting our lives away sodding about in armoured vehicles: let’s give ‘em a fighting chance. Are you up for it, Bubbles?”

Bubbles, caught slightly off-guard, responded thus:

“Ugh, yeah…whatever. Let’s get down!”

The Major was thrilled by this reaction, so, only moments later, Lance Ottershoe arrived to escort their visitors from the office…

“You two hang around outside in the corridor.” He said as they headed for the door. “I’ll go rustle up some engineers and armoured personnel carriers.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

In the early Earplug Adventure stories all the photos were taken at random. Then, when I figured I had enough shots, I would arrange them so that they told a story of sorts. It was a bit Stream of Consciousness, but trammelled by the pictures available to me. Later I reversed the process – thinking up the story and shooting appropriate photos. But the picture in this episode that features the box of machine guns  in the Major’s office returned me to my roots. I had no plan to use the gun’s presence the story; but their mere existance gave Barclay the opportunity to make the Lieutenant reconsider his position. A significant and timely result of this appears later in the story – you’ll know it when you see it. If I hadn’t included that box (as window dressing) in the scene when I shot it in my attic ‘studio’, the tale might have taken another path entirely. Stream of Consciousness continues to have a place in my stories. I think it’s a good way to write – at least for me, who can’t abide rules and restrictions: it allows an alternative narrative to exist.  

Earplug Adventures: The Veil of Shytar (part 17)

So Bubbles and Barclay have found their way to Worstworld. They’ve managed to crash the Prowler. What could possibly happen next? Read on…

Soon they lost all track of time. Minutes felt like hours. Hours seemed to last a lifetime. But eventually they sighted a large building which was pretty much in the middle of nowhere…

Barclay made an important observation: “It looks inhabited.”

“Do you think it might be a penitentiary?” Bubbles suggested. “That looks like a gun emplacement in the tall frontal façade.”

“I don’t really care.” Barclay replied. “Just as long as they have running water and somewhere comfy to sit.”

“And a lavatory, of course.” Bubbles added.

Barclay agreed wholeheartedly. “Absolutely a lavatory. If there’s no toilet there, I’m walking straight out again. I don’t care what they say or how insulted they feel. I’m hitting the road. First of all, though, we have to get there. Can you spot an obvious route?”

Fortunately Bubbles could, and before long they were marching resolutely along a well-worn path…

…which was long in the extreme and circumbendibus…

Like very long, but only slightly circumbendibus. However every road must have a beginning and an end, and as they approached the end of this particular road, both earplugs stepped off of the way to bathe in a roadside pond…

…the waters of which Barclay immediately broke wind into. This was fortuitous because in addition to washing off their accumulated filth, Bubbles was also highly entertained. 

“Oh I do like a good fart. And look,” she said as pockets of methane burst delicately above the pond’s surface, “my namesakes.”

But all good things must come to an end, and soon they found themselves standing at the front door of a famous (and completely refurbished and modernised) Fort Dunderhead…

Soon much shouting and kicking of the front door elicited a positive response. A cavalry-plug who introduced himself as Sergeant Lance Ottershoe invited them in and cheerfully conversed as they proceeded across the parade ground…

“I studied Worstworld as an emergency back-up subject at university.” Bubbles informed Lance. “I recall Fort Dunderhead being somewhat smaller and primitive in the text books. This is an entirely different edifice.”

“Yes, nice, isn’t it?” Lance replied. “I often wonder what it would look like beneath a normal yellow sun.”

“Less blue.” Barclay suggested.

“Hard to tell,” Lance responded, with a hint of sadness in his voice – or so thought Bubbles, “all paint looks pretty much the same colour these days. The only difference is the degree of shading.”

Then Bubbles received her second surprise…

“What in the name of the Saint of All Earplugs is that?” She screeched in disbelief.

“That’s my armoured reconnaissance vehicle.” Lance answered her shrill question. “It’s called Recon One. Do you like it? I think it might be yellow and green, but I’m not sure.”

“But you’re a cavalry-plug.” Barclay exclaimed. “Surely you ride around the arid wastes on Plugmutts?”

Lance shook his head whilst smiling mirthlessly. “Not anymore.” He replied. “Those that didn’t hide away aboard Ship Number Fifteen, when most of the Seventh Cavalry absconded to Earth, got old and lazy and went to live with some plugmutt re-homing charity in the nearest subterranean city.”

Bubbles felt a little disappointed at this news: she like Plugmutts and had hoped to cadge a ride on one. “What, so now you all have to share Recon One?”   

“Oh no,” Lance said proudly, “with the world doomed, military budget restraints were removed. The Seventh Cavalry is now entirely mechanized. We have a vast fleet of armoured vehicles at our command. We’ve also dispensed with the shiny blue uniforms and stupid hats: we now wear drab olive green and go cranially naked. Hey, wanna ride Recon One?”

It was a stupid question: of course Bubbles wanted to ride on an armoured vehicle, though Barclay was less keen. In fact he hated the idea, but he didn’t want to look like a wimp in front of Bubbles.

“Yeah, right on.” He said unenthusiastically.

Moments later…

“This is nice.” Bubbles observed. “Very smooth. Is it running a gas turbine engine?”

“Affirmative.” Lance…ah…affirmed. “Methane power. We all contribute to the fuel reserves with our bottoms. It beats bottled gas, or a potentially explosive tank of propane beneath the parade ground. Hey, wanna meet the guys?”

This question was less stupid. Although Bubbles was quite keen to meet a whole bunch of burly Cavalry-plugs, Barclay would sooner have visited the canteen for a cup of something wet and warm. But again he kept his council…

“Line up. Line up.” Sergeant Lance Ottershoe bellowed as he and his guests dismounted from Recon One. “Stand ready for an inspection.”

Cavalry-plugs from all over quickly recognised an attractive young female when they saw one, and rapidly complied with their sergeant’s instruction. In fact several of them had a hard time keeping their gaze from lingering upon Bubbles’ slightly curvaceous hindquarters…

“Lovely,” Bubbles said as she and Barclay made an amateur job of inspecting the troops, “very smart and tidy. Pleasant smelling too. Do I detect cologne?”

After that Bubbles spent several minutes chatting with the attentive troopers – when she learned that everyone could remain outside without atom-proof helmets because the fort possessed an electro-magnetic shield that protected everything beneath it from the hard radiation that scoured the surface for the majority of the day; but before long they were interrupted by the arrival of the fort’s commanding officer – Major Leftfoot-Badger and his adjutant, Lieutenant R Swypes…

“If you’re wondering why Lieutenant Swypes and I are wearing silly old cavalry-plug hats,” the Major said after introducing himself and his adjutant, it’s because we, as officers, believe in the old ways. Not for us these new-fangled drab olive green uniforms and naked bonces: we like to maintain tradition. They’re also atom-proof, so we don’t need to spend lots of time indoors or down in those ghastly cities with all that riff-raff…”

Lieutenant R Swypes then astonished the two visitors by adding:

“But we wouldn’t go down there now anyway – even if we didn’t have atom-proof hats…

…because Worstworld’s most eminent scientists have recently informed us that our Sun has reached a critical phase. It’s going to go ‘pop’ sooner than later.”

“Indeed,” Major Leftfoot-Badger confirmed these words, “they give us six months. Of course we’re getting as many people off-world as we can: but with only the K T Woo and the new ship – the Crash-Bong Blitz available to us, it’s a slow process…”

Bubbles hardly dared ask the obvious question:

“But what happens if the star goes nova before you get everybody off-world?”

“Oh that’s simple.” The Major replied. “Like the planet, they cease to exist.”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Significant shots in this episode are two and three, which are re-works of originals from Worstworld Vols 1&2. The road featured therein was traversed by Hakking Chestikof aboard the very first hover chariot to appear in an Earplug Adventure. Picture 4 features the tree bark pool that appeared earlier in this tale as a snowy fiord. Most efficent, if I do say so myself.

 

Earplug Adventures: The Veil of Shytar (part 16)

In Episode 15 we saw (what might have been) the Veil of Shytar. But we can’t be certain – it might be just an insect curtain. Ooh, that rhymes. So, carry on with the tale; you never know where it is going to take you…

A day later the Prowler arrived at its originally intended destination…

“There you go.” Bubbles – now cheered up by the thought that their distant encounter with the space anomaly was just that: distant. “In all its blue-giant reflected glory: Worstworld.”

“I forgot to ask,” Barclay said as he peered at the unhealthy-looking planet below, “what was it about Worstworld that made you want to come here first, before any other world – known or unknown?”

“It’s unique.” Bubbles replied. “The surface is uninhabitable. Its star is irradiating the planet with deadly rays. The star itself is bound to go nova – and destroy this world completely. And the population now live underground. What’s not to like? And who knows, this time next week, it might not be here!”

“That’s all well and good,” Barclay argued, “but have you considered the possibility that the star might go nova while we’re here?”

“Mathematical improbability.” Bubbles replied as she slammed the Prowler into the planet’s atmosphere. But her confidence waned suddenly when she discovered that the star’s radiation played merry-hell with her controls…

“Aargh,” she cried out above the din of the air as it hammered upon the vessel’s hull, “we’re running out of altitude!”

“Quick, quick,” Barclay yelled, “head for one of those huge holes in the planetary crust: they might be really deep!”

Seconds after plunging into the nearest chasm, all sound and motion ceased…

“Ah, what just happened?” Barclay asked, though he expected no answer that would make any sense.

Bubbles chanced a glance through her side window. “I think we just landed.” She answered…

“More by luck than judgement.”

All Barclay could think of to say in reply was:

“Thank the Saint of All Earplugs for that.”

Chapter 8

Neither Bubbles nor Barclay were in a rush to disembark. Outside the ship looked too dark and foreboding for either of them. Eventually, though, they came to realise that no one had witnessed their descent from space, therefore no one knew they were there. So, being sensible university graduate types they finally stepped from the sanctuary of the Prowler and set foot upon the surface of the doomed planet known as Worstworld…

“It smells funny.” Barclay observed.

“And this sand is very gritty.” Bubbles complained. “If it gets inside our space boots, we’ll suffer horribly. But whatever, the Prowler is clearly allergic to something in this planet’s atmosphere, so we can’t hang around: let’s go find someone.”

However, as they began (what they assumed was) their ascent towards the surface through which they had plunged, Bubbles made an astonishing discovery…

“Barclay,” she squealed, “look, it’s a whole town!”

Barclay joined Bubbles, and together they stared in wonderment at a wide street that led to a small plaza…

“This must be one of the cities that the population moved into when the blue-giant star started going bonkers.” Barclay said at the vista.

“But where is everyone?” Bubbles said with a tremulous voice. “Do you think they might all be dead? Are we too late? Has the end of the world arrived before we get a chance to gawp in awe?”

“Dunno,” Barclay replied, “let’s get a close-up.”

So they did – by entering the town…

“Do you think this might be Busted Gut?” Bubbles more suggested than inquired.

Barclay did inquire: “Busted Gut?”

“The town of which Captain Sinclair Brooch – of the star ship K T Woo – was the sheriff, before becoming a captain, that is.” Bubbles explained.

“Wasn’t that a surface town?” Barclay argued. “Sheriff Brooch never lived underground. He went searching underground once I recall reading in his memoirs: but he never lived there. He’d left long before things got as bad as they are now. No, I reckon this was one of the first subterranean towns, but they had to move out when the radiation started leaking through. Look how blue the light is: it’s coming through all the holes in the crust.”

“And it’s very sandy too.” Bubbles noted. “I bet it blew in under the doors. I expect they were always sweeping it back out. That alone would have sent me deeper underground. I hate sand – especially when it gets into the gusset of my swimming costume.”

Clearly there was nothing worthwhile to learn in the ghost gown, so they continued their ascent…

…which was dull and arduous. However, when they finally reached level ground, they wished they’d never bothered. Hills and an undulating landscape stretched out before them…

…for such a vast distance that their hearts sank at the thought of traversing it.

“What a bummer.” Barclay said as his gaze surveyed the seemingly endless lands that reached for infinity. “Oh yeah, and the radiation is much worst out here: we’d better put on our silly hats: they’re not atom proof, but they’re probably better than nothing at all.”

So they did…

…and Barclay couldn’t help smiling at Bubbles: she looked daft, but kind of cute.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

P.S Significant shots in this episode are Number Two, which is the picture that inspired the story.  Number Three is the remains of an old grave that had succumbed to nature and had partially collapsed, creating  mini sink holes. And Number Eleven, which was originally a photo of a gentle wave destroying a child’s sandcastle on a Costa Blanca beach, Spain. Like I always say: inspiration can be found anywhere.

P.P.S I believe in using stock footage whenever possible; it saves a lot of time. The shots of the abandoned town originally appeared as the thriving mountain top kingdom of Ka-Ki-Pu, in Worstworld Vol 1 & 2.

You can find both of these volumes (utterly free and in PDF format) by clicking HERE.

They are early stories in the Earplug Adventure saga: don’t expect too much in the SFX department.

Scissors, Needle, Thread.

In an earlier post, titled Fashion For Fogeys 2, I told the fascinating tale of how I dyed some trousers bright yellow. Gosh, what fun it was. But looking back upon it, I couldn’t help but notice that (since retirement, and the subsequent reduction in physical activity) I’ve lost some meat on my thighs and arse – as seen in this pleasantly demure Tooty the Chef shot…

Well the resulting loss of bio mass means that I look less than a million dollars in my yellow Marks and Spencers trousers. This is unacceptable; so I thought the time was ripe to engage the imagination and put them to an alternative use. Naturally it took next to no time to formulate a plan. Note the blue, padded motorcycling jeans I’m wearing in this shot of me aboard the Back-Lane Behemoth…

They’re bloody awful. They’re badly made; too long in the leg (even for me); and too short in the torso. They make no provision at all for the existence of testicles. At best they are uncomfortable. More often they make my bollocks ache and ruin the ride. As they stand, the blue jeans are surplus to requirements, and have been stuffed into the bottom of my bedside ‘biker’s’ trunk for some while. But, thought I, what if I could remove the padded areas and insert them into the vastly more photogenic (and more observable in traffic) yellow trousers?  No sooner had the question been raised, when I was quickly delving into my late wife’s sewing kit. Shortly the blue jeans had been reduced thus…

Thereafter – many – many – hours later, and with fingers and thumbs aching to hitherto unimaginable levels of agony, the interior of the blue jeans had been transferred to the yellow trousers – from the knees up to the buttock area…

In a moment of inspired brilliance, I decided to leave the complete arse area of the blue jeans in place, so that now my dainty botty is protected from an initial impact with the road by two layers of jeans material, two sets of pockets, and the abrasion-resistant material of the original blue jeans liner. And the knees and hips get the pockets that are designed to hold soft armour. I didn’t have any yellow thread, and I can’t sew a decent stitch to save my life: so my handiwork can’t stand close scrutiny…

…but who is going to notice as I go whipping past upon my mighty steed?  Moreover, I no longer need to wear reflective vests and the suchlike, because I already appear as dazzling as the morning sun…

What a groove!

First Glimpse of the Next Earplug Adventure

Early days yet. Very early days in fact. But work is underway with props. Look…

Yes, some land vehicles that have appeared in various Earplug Adventures through the years, have been pulled out of mothballs and given a coat of paint – along with some cheap soft orange earplugs who managed to get themselves all messy with transferred ink and other nasty stuff. Here’s what the finished articles look like…

Since I mentioned – in an earlier post – that the central characters would be visiting Worstworld again, following a long period (and loads of adventures) without setting on eyes on the place (if you don’t count that passing shot in Surprise Visit), I thought I should up-date the remnants of the 7th Cavalry – those that remained  behind after most of their officers and enlisted ‘men’ absconded aboard Ship Number 15 when it returned to the Museum of Future Technology in Worstworld Vol 2. Yes, they’ve gone all mechanized. Regarding the second character – to partner with Bubbles Gloor: meet Barclay Scrimmage…

He’s the orange one, by the way. If you’re wondering why Bubbles Gloor looks familiar, it’s because I’m re-using the Daffney De Mauritania figure from Mutant Island – not because I don’t have any more blank earplugs in stock, but because I like it, and I think ‘she’ will do very well. This is a test shot, by the way. It’s a bit too good to leave unsued, so this will definitely appear in the (so far unnamed) story as in interior of the new and improved Fort Dunderhead.  Watch this space.

 

Climatic Calamity – in it’s entirety – COMPLETELY FREE!

You may have missed the odd episode of Climatic Calamity along the way; but that doesn’t matter anymore because the free PDF version has arrived for you to either download and read at your leisure (and perhaps share with your friends), or to read in situ right here. Try to comprehend the magnitude of this wondrous offer: it is almost unequaled in the history of literature and photography – exceptions being all the other Earplug Adventures. Imagine, all those photos: all those words: all that creative genius – absolutely FREE! Just click on the book cover image, and it’s all yours – to hug to your breast and covet like a…urr…covetable thing!

Earlier Earplug Adventure books are also available too. Visit the All Earplug Adventures in PDF Format Unexpurgated & FREE! page beneath the header, and click away to your heart’s content. There has to be one there you’ll enjoy.

Flipping heck – forty-six e-books in little over eight years: I’m a veritable mass production machine. And the quality just keeps on getting higher!

P.S I know there’s no such word as covetable – but you know what I mean. Covetable: something worth coveting.

Climatic Calamity (part 29)

A story of 29 parts: how uneven. Still, not the end of the world, is it? Now feast your eyes upon the EPILOGUE…

Epilogue

After a brief meeting with the museum’s curators, it was straight to the Grand Hall for an impromptu award ceremony…

Naturally Cushions Smethwyke performed the role of Medal-Pinner in Chief. With the Earplug Brothers watching, and Rupert Piles recording, she stepped forward and said very loudly:

“I hereby designate you all as Heroes of the Museum of Future Technology. With that honour comes a pitiful pension, a life-time pass into the museum, a diploma stating that you’re something special, and a cuddly toy – of which…ah…we seem to have run out of. Logistical problems, obviously.”

Of course she could have left it at that, but she then picked out Celestino in particular.

“Celestino Candalabra,” she said in a surprisingly strident voice that carried to the crowds in the corridors beyond the hall, “your talent, I believe has also been your burden. So heavy was it that you took yourself away to live alone in the mountains. Well the curators and I have searched through some of the less well known artefacts from the future, and we have discovered a special bra that when worn by such as person as yourself, renders them immune from the thoughts and…and…and…the ‘truths’ that accompany them. We are proud to offer this to you. Or, if you’re not overly enthused by the thought of wearing female’s underwear, we can tart up your secret cave, add air-con, and maybe install cable TV. Whatta ya think?”

“I think,” Celestino said quietly and hesitatingly, “that I need time to think about that. What I’d really like though, is to hear El Custardo and Los Natillas perform Ode to Joy. Could you do that for me?”

Well no sooner had he spoken those words, when El Custardo’s nasally voice filled the hall…

“Seńor,” he said, “it would be our honour. A one, two, three, four…”

With that everyone was treated to a mariachi version of Ode to Joy that (had the Grand Hall been built by shopping mall builders) almost brought the ceiling down.

Then it was outside to have fun in the snow before it all melted away…

A bemused pair of robots stood in the centre of the frolicking earplugs and wondered what the flipping heck was going on.

“Fifth Officer,” the Captain pleaded, “please explain to me what is happening.”

The Fifth Officer was about to inform its Captain that it had no idea, when it’s thought processes were interrupted by the sound of a mighty engine directly above the area upon which they stood. The hatted robot looked upwards…

…in time to see another Submarine Space Freighter heading for the Space Port…

And it knew, with a certainty that was usually reserved for Celestino Candalabra that more followed in its wake…

Normal business was about to resume at the Museum of Future Technology!

The End

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Ah, a deep sigh of satisfaction: another masterpiece complete. The magnum opus rolls on.

Climatic Calamity (part 25)

In episode 25 you get even bigger bangs for your buck. And…ah-hem…a touch of nudity. Read on…

Far away, aboard the life-boat, the next explosion shone brightly upon the view screen…

Of course no one, with the exception of Peggy, wanted to witness the destruction of their ship and crewmate, so they looked away.

As the craft began to accelerate under its own power, the distant explosion grew in size and intensity…

“Uh-oh,” some unnamed crew member groaned as the explosion exceeded expectations by a thousand fold…

… “Something on the planetoid must have blown up too. Hold on to your hats!”

The next second that distant explosion became a very personal event. The blast wave threw the life-boat across parsecs of space, and stripped it clean of ablative armour…

But it survived – a testament to the skills of its builders.

Chapter 10

In the following days, Peggy taught the crew to maintain the vessel’s systems, whilst Celestino looked out upon an uncaring cosmos and revelled in the fact that nothing out there sold him the ‘truth’ about anything. Moreover, in maintaining his ignorance of internal affairs aboard ship, he was unaware that Erronious and Hellfire spent most of their time doing sod-all and mooching about the ship whilst picking their noses and scratching their bums…

Following necessary repairs, the battle-scarred life-boat finally got underway and quickly moved to supra-light speed…

However, just a few hours into their faster-than-light journey, a horrifying image appeared on-screen…

“By the Cyber-Saint of All Robots,” the Captain squawked, “It’s a huge hooded figure!”

The superbly-designed ship made an automatic avoidance manoeuvre…

“Oh-no,” Hellfire wailed, “we failed. It’s the Wonky Supreme Being. That’s it: we’re stuffed: he’s gonna be really miffed!”

But Celestino fretted not one bit. He already knew the true identity of the god-like being that appeared to thwart their passage. “No, Hellfire,” he said, “It’s…

…the real Supreme Being!”

“Hiya, Guys.” The Supreme Being’s massive voice rattled from the ships audio system, “Okay if I come aboard?”

Naturally the creator of Earplugdom didn’t wait for permission. A split second later he was amongst them – and he wasn’t alone…

“Ta-da,” he yelled. “I figured you’d miss this little guy; so I pulled it out of the explosion before it became part of it. Hey, what do you think about my miniaturisation? Look, I’m almost a tiny as you. Of course I’m not commensurately puny too: I’m still big-bad-me.”

Of course everyone was surprised and thrilled to have the Catering Assistant back with them. But the Captain openly questioned the Supreme Being’s motivation.

“I’ve had minor gods scouring all of space and time looking for my evil doppelganger.” S B replied. “Couldn’t get a sniff of him. Then everything went arse-about-face at the Museum of Future Technology, and I thought, ‘Ah-ha, could this be the work of Wonky?’, so I hung around and kept watch. You guys led me to him.”

Celestino laughed. “And it wasn’t the planetoid exploding or sub-atomically unstable space tearing itself into constituent quarks and bosons that threw us across space.” He cried. “It was something you did.”

S B looked at his (truly) non-existent fingernails. “Me?” He replied. “As if… Actually I took advantage of the moment. As Wonky fought to stop the explosion with his pseudo-god-like powers, I nipped in and shoved a hydrogen bomb down the back of his underpants. When he broke wind in surprise – blammo – no more false god.”

The Supreme Being then began his farewells, but Erronious interrupted him:

“Say, S B,” he said, “when I was trying to annoy your doppelganger, I told him that his buttocks weren’t as meaty as yours. Was I right?”

Hellfire was about to apologise upon Erronious’ behalf, but the Supreme Being forestalled him: “Wanna see my bum, huh?” He roared. “Well check this out.”

This earned him a round of applause and cries of ‘encore’. Moreover, his brazen act proved that the real S B had far meatier buttocks than his pretender. He had other things too, but no one felt sufficiently qualified to comment upon them.

“Well I must dash,” his voice boomed as he disappeared, “I have a galaxy to run.”

So, as S B disco danced at supra-light speed on-screen, Celestino, the former burglars, and Peggy welcomed the Catering Assistant aboard – whilst the Captain informed the Second Officer that it would soon be taking over duties in the Café Puke on the next voyage.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

There, wasn’t that nice! But things go awry pretty soon in the next episode, so you’d better be there to see it.

P.S I’m very grateful to the Captain and it’s glowing brain: otherwise I couldn’t have used the naked Supreme Being shot at all!

All You Need For An Earplug Adventure…

…are…

…a computer, a camera, a note pad, a pen (obviously – what good is a note pad without a pen?), and (in my case) some glasses and a cup of cafe cortado. Oh yeah, and…

…sets, props, and lights. Not forgetting…

…locations and a photographer. And last, but certainly not least…

…a whole bunch of earplugs!

P.S Did you recognise the location I was shooting in that charming photo of my tanned self with a bamboo plant? It was…

…the scene from Surprise Visit in which the three Cafe Puke Baristas go in search of raw cane sugar for Nigel the Golden One of Scroton. If you spotted that, present yourself an Earpluggers Merit Award for Paying Close Attention. It looks something liked this…

Surprise Visit (part 25)

So here we are – at the end of this wondrous tale. The epilogue – which might be brief, but at least it allows space to advertise the fact that the PDF version of the whole e-book is now available to either read in situ, or download to read later with people who share your advanced and cultured sense of humour. Just click on the book cover image, and you will be transported to literary and photographic nirvana. But before you do, there’s the matter of the final extract from Surprise Visit. And here it is…

Epilogue

Far away, in the realm of the Galactic Gods, the Supreme Being was eyeing up somewhere to take a vacation himself…

But he couldn’t find somewhere that quite suited him. Fortunately the God of Sour Onions had just received a report of an extinction event in Weird Space…

It mentioned it to the Supreme Being.

“That sounds like just the right place.” He replied cheerfully.

A split second after making up his mind, he materialised upon the dead world…

“Perfect.” He said with satisfaction.

He then proceeded to divest himself of his godly clothing…

…pulled up a beach chair; unpacked his favourite towel; and sat down to enjoy the feeble rays of the brown dwarf sun that bathed the brown planet in its ghastly orange glow…

He didn’t mind the few shape-shifting sausage rolls that insisted upon rolling around the empty domed conurbation. In fact he had two of them become street lights, so that he could read his book more easily. And the other he turned into a nice pink flower.

“Lovely.” He said with satisfaction. “A bit of colour really brightens up the place.”

The End

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

Now click that image!

Surprise Visit (part 16)

It could be that Surprise Visit is a little lack luster; or maybe Summer isn’t the best time to post stuff on the Internet; but, it seems to me, that this tale isn’t going down too well with the majority of my readers. Or, to put it another way, it appears that they are being turned off in their droves. So it occurred to me that it would probably be a good idea if I released the full PDF e-book now, rather than at the serial’s end. I will ruminate upon this. Meanwhile, for those who are diligently following the story (thank you), here is Part Sixteen…

Of course, the news spread throughout the museum like a wildfire. Almost instantaneously the Earplug Brothers convened…

The eldest brother, Rudi, spoke first:

“Okay,” he said, “we’re on the case. If there aint no fleet to protect the museum, we’re gonna have to go find the miscreants before they come visiting us again. Yo? Can you dig it?”

“Sho’nuf, bro.” The second oldest, Valentine replied without hesitation.

“Count us in.” The twins, Chester and Miles added a nanosecond later.

“I have a reputation to protect.” Magnuss said with a smile. “And a darned good ship in the Tankerville Norris. I’m game.”

A short while later, four of the five brothers had prepared themselves for the ordeal ahead and now posed for publicity shots…

Naturally, Magnuss had gone straight to Nigel, who, having taken the longest tinkle of his life, had conjured up a half-assed plan. Like the news of earlier, Nigel’s plan also swept through the museum – not so much as a wildfire; but more like a pedestal fan with the speed dial set on number three. It was enough to blow in the direction of K’Plank the Space Wanderer, who chose the arboretum in which to break the news to Auntie Doris that he had volunteered.

“Ugh?” Doris responded – her usual smile having fallen away like dead leaves in autumn – “But you have no armament. What good can you do? You’ll just get yourself killed – and with no effect. K’Plank, be logical: let someone else do it.”

“I can flit around and draw enemy fire from the other ships.” K’Plank replied heroically. “And it’s not like I’m totally unarmed. I bought several boxes of stink bombs from a schoolboy on Deneb Four. I couldn’t find a buyer for them here, so they’re just surplus stock. The acidic stench might even incapacitate enemy sensors and play havoc with their sinuses. Anything is worth a try. I must do my bit to protect you and the place you call home. It’s what any decent space wanderer would do!”

Doris didn’t know it, of course, but three of her nephews had already launched aboard the museum’s scientific Flying Saucer…

When the time came for K’Plank to join them, she (and several watchers in the balconies of the Grand hall) was there to wave him bon voyage…

Only moments later, Valentine had the Punting-Modesty XL5 Facepuncher streaking skyward…

As the Earplug Brothers climbed above the clouds, Magnuss and Hair-Trigger aboard the Tankerville Norris joined them…

Then, as one, the four museum vessels formed up behind the Buggeram Bay…

Even at the modest speed that the Scrotonite ship’s AI chose to carry them in the direction of the sea, just off the sewage outfall, it didn’t take more than a few minutes for the view of an alien Spatial Relocation Ring to hove into view…

“Don’t tell me, Walker,” Nigel said as he eyed the impressively massive device that could clearly hover with apparent ease above the azure waters, “we have one of these on the drawing board.”

Walker was slow to respond. After several seconds and an elbow in the kidneys from Beatrix, he replied:

“You signed the financial authorisation last week. The designer’s argument for it was that a ship didn’t need to traverse space, hyperspace, wormholes, transit conduits, or any of that old guff, to get anywhere. We would just send one of these, then simply enter its facsimile on Scroton, and be – ah, here, for example – in the blink of an eye. Ships wouldn’t even need to make orbit. In fact you wouldn’t need space ships at all: just aircraft.”

“I thought it looked familiar.” Nigel all but mused to himself. To Walker he said:

“So we’ve been beaten to the punch yet again. Someone has very good spies on Scroton. But, tell me, who could possibly pass as a cable end – for certainly no cable end that ever drew breath on Scroton would work against their planet’s best interest. I’m completely mystified.”

Julian Prim coughed discretely. “Golden One,” he said, “if your ingenious plan is to succeed, we must invert the Buggeram Bay, and envelope our partner’s ships in cloaks that make them appear as we do.”

“Oh yes, that’s right.” Nigel replied. “It’s very important that the ring recognises us as bona fide alien vessels. If we can pass ourselves off as such, it will probably open and allow us egress from this planet, and ingress to the planet at the other end. Go for it!”

A moment later…

…five ships approached the mysterious Spatial Relocation Ring. Timing could have been better because Nigel’s bladder chose that moment to remind him that he shouldn’t have consumed three glasses of cream soda and a Bloody Mary before departure…

“Why have you two joined me?” He demanded of Walker and Bertram.

“Support, Sir.” Bertram replied. “Both spiritual and physical.”

“We don’t want you falling up the toilet, Sir.” Walker added.

After a difficult visit to the loo, finding their way back to the bridge was kid’s stuff. Once settled into his chair, Nigel noticed an incongruity:

“With the ship inverted, why is the screen the right way up? It boggles my eyes.”

“Something to do with the refresh rate of the HD screen, Sir.” Fermin answered Nigel. “It gets all wobbly if it’s turned upside down.”

“So it’s not my blood rushing to the top of my head?” Beatrix inquired.

“Could be, Ma’am.” Fermin replied. “I wouldn’t discount any possibility. Oh, no more time for idle chat: here we go!”

Initially, it appeared that Nigel’s plan was…uh…going to plan: but when the Buggeram Bay and the Tankerville Norris entered the event horizon simultaneously…

…the Spatial Relocation Ring responded in a most violent manner – snapping shut and barring the way for K’Plank and the Earplug Brothers. All three vessels wheeled away in near panic…

Aboard the Flying Saucer, Rudi could barely believe his eyes…

Chester and Miles looked away in fear that they had lost their youngest brother.

“It’s okay, guys,” Rudi called out. “The Tankerville Norris and the Buggeram Bay made it through!”

However it wasn’t all good news. Their sensors had detected a rocky island directly beneath the SRR.

“Look, bros, it even has a Café Puke outlet.” Rudi cried out in glee. “Let’s go drown our sorrows in a ghastly mug of brown muck!”

Valentine had spotted it too. Without hesitation he ‘zoomed’ down to take a better view…

“Yup,” he radioed the boys and K’Plank, “it’s sho’nuf open, and it’s happy hour!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

That was a truly international extract – with ‘real’ backdrops coming from England, France, and Spain. I certainly get out and about shooting the Earplug Adventures!

Surprise Visit (part 2) An Earplug Adventure

The photo-count for Surprise Visit is up to an almighty 138. Hardly enough for an Earplug Adventure: but a bloody good start. So, without further ado, let’s go there!

THE PROLOGUE CONTINUES…

A short while later, Walker Crabtrouser visited the catacombs beneath the council chambers and met with a soldier…

“Private Fermin Gusset reporting for duty, Sir.” the soldier snapped as he stood to attention before the military leader of Scroton. “Ah, what do you want me to do?”

“At ease, Gusset.” Walker replied. “Would you like me to call you Fermin?”

“Ah, not sure, Sir.” Fermin answered. “Depends on what happens next. I’ve never been alone with a superior officer in the catacombs before. Not quite sure what the protocol is.”

“Don’t concern yourself, Fermin.” Walker tried a smile. “Nothing underhand or dodgy; just want the right cable end for the job of protecting our fabulous leader on his vacation in the Museum of Future Technology. Now I believe that you can see in the dark jolly well; is that right?”

“It is, Sir.” Fermin responded instantaneously. “Inherited it from my mother, Sir. I can also punch people really hard. I’m a crack shot with a bow and arrow. I have boundless energy – physical, mental, and spiritual. I can think on my feet, so to speak. I can run and run and run without getting so tired that I have to sit down for an hour to recover. I can eat anything, up to and including coal. I can blow down doors without the need for explosives. I can go for days without having a poop. And I hate anyone who threatens this wondrous civilisation into which I was blessed to be born.”

Walker was impressed, though he did wonder how Fermin was able to blow down doors without explosives. He assumed gastric gasses were involved in some way. “Then I was well informed.” He responded to the litany of skills. “Clearly you are the ideal candidate for the role of bodyguard to our glorious leader. Just one thing: you don’t get space sick, do you?”

“Never, Sir.” Fermin replied. “Cast iron gut. Which reminds me, Sir: I have acidic bile – strong enough to burn through pre-stressed concrete. If someone were to imprison the Golden One in a hardened bunker or suchlike, I could probably get him out with only third degree burns.”

Walker couldn’t help but show how impressed he was with the young soldier’s talents and enthusiasm. “Remarkable.” He said. “Just for that, you don’t have to address me as ‘Sir’ anymore: call me Walker. Or, if we’re in company, Field Marshall. ”  

He would have said more, but he thought he heard movement nearby…

“Did you hear that, Fermin?” He whispered.

“Sorry, Walker.” Fermin replied. “The batteries in my deaf-aids have gone flat: but I can lip read with the best of ‘em.”

“Oh well, no matter.” Walker concluded. “We’d best be on our way. Make yourself available at the drop of a hat. Okay?”

With those words reverberating off the ancient walls, they went their separate ways…

However, Walker hadn’t been mistaken when he thought he’d heard something moving in the catacombs nearby. Two mysterious figures loitered beneath the lighting panel next door, in Bay Ten…

“We must inform the chief,” the red cable end said to the pale grey cable end. “This is a most unfortunate happenstance. Perhaps our plans will require tweaking slightly. Who would have guessed that Nigel would choose now to visit the Museum of Future Technology?  What a complete git he is!”

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2022

What’s this – spies in the bosom of Scroton? Surely it can’t be true! To see what happens next, tune in again next time.

A ‘It Features in My Book’ Wallpaper: Fictional Village of Brambledown

When I posted the first ‘It Features in My Book’ Wallpaper, I hadn’t planned to produce a sequel – of sorts; but nosing through my collection of digital photos, I found more that feature locations (from my recollections during childhood) that inspired scenes in this book…

Here is a shot that includes a part of the fictional village of Brambledown…

…which I thought made a nice wallpaper. But whilst I was bending myself to the task, I fiddled with a shot that features a location that is included in a specific scene from the book, which I present here as an extract. The locale has changed considerably since the sixties (the period from which I drew my imagery); but the general lie of the land remains pretty much as it was. The sunken lane highlighted here, featured in the first post.

An extract from Silent Apocalypse…

Since I was not present, the following part of this narrative must be second hand. It was related to me at a later date.

Night had fallen. Four teenaged girls, one of whom was Katherine Kingsbury – sister to Tom, and school friend of mine – huddled together in a thicket that grew upon the hillside that overlooked the village. They’d been abducted during the Wiltshire Rifles’ first foray into Brambledown. They rejoiced in the fact that they’d not been joined by others, but were greatly concerned about the villager’s welfare. As of yet they were unhurt and unsullied. None of them imagined the situation would remain that way forever. Katherine, bound at hand and foot, stared at the one young Rifleman left to guard them. What she hoped to accomplish she didn’t know, but if it made him feel even the slightest bit uncomfortable, then it was worth the effort. And she was pretty certain she was having some effect. Eventually he turned angrily toward her.

“Will you stop that?” He snapped.

“Will you set me free?” She returned his outburst.

He took a step toward her. “I’ll tell you what I will do…”

“Rifleman!” The voice of the Lance Corporal erupted from the surrounding shadows, “Remain at your post.”

The Rifleman threw Katherine a glance of menace, and resumed his watching of the village through the thicket. He spoke to the Lance Corporal, who had come to check the girl’s condition:

“Any chance of action tonight, Corp?”

The Lance Corporal glanced at the girl’s bonds before returning his attention to the Rifleman. “For you – or the unit in general?”

“Both.”

“No – and yes – in that order.”

The Rifleman’s whining voice betrayed his youth: “Oh, but Corp, I missed out last night too.”

The Lance Corporal was unmoved. “Tough. Shouldn’t be such a prat then, should you? Tell you what: next time we need a complete louse-up, we’ll call for you. Now shut up and keep your eyes peeled.”

“Thanks very much.” The Rifleman managed. “So we’re going in again tonight?”

The Lance Corporal was already departing. “If my plan’s gonna succeed, we have to. We have to keep ‘going in’ until there’s either no womenfolk left in the village, or we’re all dead. Whichever way it turns out, we are not leaving here empty handed. You got that?”

Katherine heard these words, and shuddered.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

As far as I know, this e-book remains available at several outlets, some of which are included on the sidebar via the book cover images, or on the Tooty’s E-Books Available To Buy Here page. And very nice it is too – if you enjoy genocide and disaster.

Don’t Miss Out!

Just in case you didn’t know, but this fabulous e-book…

…is available in PDF form, absolutely free and gratis. Just click the image and the tale will present itself to you, to either read now, or download for when you’re in the mood for a gentle chuckle. You can even show it to your nearest and dearest! It’s quite short too – so you won’t get bored stupid.

J.B. Chisholm Has Returned!

Following a near three-year hiatus, my favourite on-line author, J.B Chisholm is once more composing fabulous P.G Wodehouse-like tales upon the Internet on the Vasa and Ypres site. The third book in the series is titled The Little Matter of Montreal, and follows directly on from this book…

Visit immediately!

Surprise Package

Regardez vous the montage below…

Notice anything unusual about it? Yeah – a dearth of earplugs. Could this suggest an Earplug Adventure without earplugs? Well, no actually: without earplugs it wouldn’t be an Earplug Adventure. But, as you can see, the planned follow-up to The Epoch of Dung will include Nigel – The Golden One – and several Ethernet Cable End inhabitants of Scroton. The development of this story – even before the final episodes of The Epoch of Dung are posted on-line (which usually coincides with cerebral somnolence from the  author, following a prolonged period of creativity, hurried camera clicking, and manic typing) was kick-started by the appearence of this little artistic ditty…

Tooty asked himself – who are these guys? Does that have to be London in flames? Could the event depicted therein be twisted slightly and turned to good use in an Earplug Adventure?  Could that smoking ruin be Ciudad de Droxford – the closest city to the Museum of Future Technology instead? Might it’s destruction be a warning or threat to Cushions Smethwyke and the other curators of the museum? An idea began to form. How could (long-term ally of the MoFT) Scroton be involved with the situation? What if Nigel – The Golden One – decided to make a surprise visit to the museum…

…and found it entirely empty? Well discover what might happen, should these events conspire to tell a tale, dear Earplugger, by salivating over these hints of the next story – Surprise Visit!

P.S And, oh look, I’ve already begun snapping pictures: we can’t have them go to waste, can we!

 

Blast From the Past 2: The Straw That Broke the Camel’s Back

Sifting through some more floppy discs that I found in my loft…

Tooty and his harvest of stuff

…I discovered three scripts that I had forgotten entirely. Blanked from my memory, no doubt. This is because (when I began reading the opening lines) it all came flooding back. It was this proposed children’s animation that was the final straw that broke the metaphorical camel’s back. I now recall the boss of a leading children’s animation TV series provider liking it very much, but who couldn’t see how it would fit into a saturated market (at that time), what with Thomas the Tank Engine  and Bob the Builder etc already well-ensconced. He also doubted that I could create enough story-lines for an entire series. He might or might not have been correct about the former; but, as I was to prove very quickly, he was absolutely on-the-money  with the latter. I managed  three episodes…and dried up. I had nothing. This (rather than the failure to sell my adult stuff) is what prompted me to finally give up. But, looking back at it now, almost twenty years later, it wasn’t half-bad. Check out this portion. Skidlid is the driver of a Swedish-built truck named Woden. Scooter is a truck-mountable forklift truck that rides on the rear of Woden. Farquar is a regular electric counter-balanced forklift truck  at the factory for  which they deliver ‘widgets’. Danny drives Farquar; and Binky works in the office.

As previously encountered, the formatting from Windows 95 means that the copy is slightly all-over-the-place…

            SKIDLID & SCOOTER by Paul Nolan

                                    EPISODE 01: WEATHER FOR DUCKS

            1: EXT. DAY. LOGAN’S YARD.

WODEN is reversing across the yard into the loading bay of LOGANS PRESSED WIDGET COMPANY. 

Although his ‘bleeper’ is sounding loudly, SCOOTER, who is still mounted on Woden’s rear, calls out a warning…

                                                            SCOOTER:

Mind yourselves. Mind yourselves. Woden is coming in.

            WODEN: (Swedish accent)

Thankyou, Scooter, but everyone can hear my reversing beeper. You don’t need to worry.

           

            2: INT. DAY. LOADING BAY.

Woden halts. SKIDLID, drops from the cab, then reaches back inside to retrieve his safety helmet – placing it upon his head.

FARQUAR, driven by DANNY, enters from the warehouse, and approaches the lorry.

                                                                        SKIDLID: (calling to Danny)

                                                            Hey, hey!

            Skidlid indicates his own helmet.

                                                                        SKIDLID:

Come on Danny, you know the rules: You must wear a helmet when driving a forklift truck.

            DANNY:

Sorry, Skidlid. I forgot.

            Danny reaches back to fetch his helmet from the rear of Farquar.    

            SKIDLID:

You always forget. One of these day’s you’ll forget your head. Now what have you got for Woden to deliver today?    

              FARQUAR:

He doesn’t know. It’s too early; he hasn’t woken up yet.

                                                                      DANNY:

                                    That’s right. It’s too early; I haven’t woken up yet.

            Mister Logan hasn’t given me the delivery sheets yet, either…

                        SKIDLID:

Fair enough.

                        Skidlid and Danny make for the office

                        FARQUAR: (to Scooter)

Hello, Scooter.

                        SCOOTER: (defensively)

Hello, Farquar.

                        FARQUAR:

Aren’t you coming down off of there?

                        SCOOTER: (calling)

Skidlid?

                        SKIDLID:

Yes, Scooter?

                        SCOOTER:

Is it all right if I come down off of here?

                        SKIDLID:

No, it’s all right. You best stay there. We won’t be long.

                        Skidlid and Danny disappear inside the office.

                        FARQUAR:

Do you feel slightly superfluous – hanging around like that – like a metal monkey?

                        SCOOTER:

I don’t know. What does ‘superfluous’ mean?

                        FARQUAR:

It means something that isn’t really needed.  Something extra that we could all do without.

                                                                        SCOOTER:

That’s not a very nice thing to say. Of course I’m needed. Skidlid often uses me.

                        FARQUAR:

When?

                        SCOOTER:

Well, when we go places where there’s no forklift trucks around.

                        FARQUAR:

You mean forklift trucks – like me?

                        SCOOTER:

Of course.

                        FARQUAR:

But if there are forklift trucks like me around, he leaves you hanging onto the back of Woden – like a metal monkey?                      

                        SCOOTER:

Well…yes, I suppose so…

                        FARQUAR:

I thought so.

Skidlid and Danny return with BINKY – who carries a sheaf of paperwork.

She hands them to Skidlid one at a time.

                                                BINKY:

Your first call is at the new bridge. They need a widget cruncher. Their widget cruncher broke down.

                        SKIDLID:

Thanks, Binky: We’ll get straight over there. Come on Danny – load us up.           

 

3: EXT. DAY. LOGANS YARD.

Danny uses Farquar to place a huge, heavy box onto the rear of Woden – who sags under the weight.

                                                WODEN:

Are you trying to burst my tyres, Farquar? This is very heavy.

            FARQUAR:

Too heavy for Scooter, I think. Perhaps you should leave him behind. He will only slow you down.

            WODEN:

No, I do not think so. Where I go, Scooter goes.

He is a very useful forklift truck.

            DANNY: (calling)

O.K, Skidlid, all done: Off you go.

Woden pulls from the yard. Danny and Binky wave their farewell.

                                                                        DANNY:

                                                            Fancy a cup of tea, Binky?

                                                                        BINKY:

                                                            Good idea.

They depart. Farquar looks up at the darkening sky. The first raindrops to fall hit him.

                                                FARQUAR: (calling)

                                    I say, don’t forget me!

                        FADE OUT.

                        FADE IN.

 

                        4: EXT. DAY. WODEN.

Scooter is becoming drenched by rain as Woden drives through the countryside. He is not enjoying it.

They pass a holiday camp, full of caravans.

                                                            SCOOTER:

Oh, those poor people. What horrid weather for a holiday.

 

5: EXT. DAY. RIVERSIDE ROAD.

Woden drives along beside the river – which is rising in the pouring rain.

                                                            SCOOTER:

                                                That river looks awfully high.

                                                            WODEN:

It is all this rain. It is making the river rise so high I think it may flood.

            SCOOTER:

That sounds like fun.

            WODEN:

Not if you live near the river, and the river fills your home with water.

            SCOOTER:

Oh, no, I suppose not.

 

                        6: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.

Several workmen and a large diesel forklift truck shelter from the rain beneath a canvas hut beside a partially built steel bridge.

                        Woden arrives. Skidlid drops from the cab.

                                                                               SKIDLID:

Hello, I’ve just brought your new widget cruncher.

            WORKMAN:

Lovely. Just drop it there, will you?

It’s weather for ducks out there, and we don’t want to get wet.

            SKIDLID:

Do I have to take it off myself?

            WORKMAN:

Very kind of you to offer. Just there will do.

            SKIDLID:

But the load is very heavy…

            SCOOTER: (interrupting)

I can do it, Skidlid. That’s why you brought me along.

            SKIDLID:

But they have a much larger forklift truck here already…

            SCOOTER:

Please, Skidlid; I don’t want to be superfluous…

            SKIDLID:

But it’s really heavy. I don’t think…

            SCOOTER: (interrupting)

Please…

            SKIDLID:

O.K, Scooter, you can give it a try.

                                   Woden begins lowering Scooter to the ground.

 

                                           7: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.

With Skidlid driving, Scooter approaches the heavy load on the rear of Woden.

                                                                                    WODEN:

Are you sure you want to do this, Scooter?

            SCOOTER:

Yes. The load only looks heavy. I’m sure Farquar made it look much harder than it really is.

Scooter strains to lift the load. He huffs and puffs. The load begins to rise, but his rear wheel will not remain upon the ground. It begins to spin as he tries to reverse.

The workmen rush from shelter, clambering upon Scooter – bringing his wheel back down.

                                                SKIDLID:

No, no – it isn’t safe. Everyone off. This load is too heavy for this machine.

The workmen retreat to cover, and Skidlid lowers the load back onto Woden.

                                                WODEN:

                                    Well it was nice while it lasted.

                                                SCOOTER: (sadly)

Farquar was right: I am superfluous. No one has any need of me. You might as well throw me into the river.

            SKIDLID:

Oh, no, Scooter, you’re not superfluous: It’s just that truck-mounted forklift trucks aren’t made to lift huge widget crunchers. It needs big counter-balanced forklifts like…

            SCOOTER:

…Farquar?

                                                SKIDLID:

Well, yes – like Farquar. But Farquar would be no good on the back of Woden, would he? He would be too big. We’re all good at different things. There are times when you are very handy. Just not right now.

                        THE WORKMEN CRY OUT AN ALARM.

Skidlid notices that they are pointing to the river- upon which a caravan bobs in the current.         

A family can be seen waving for help from the roof.                       

                                                                                    SKIDLID:

Oh, cripes, that mobile home is being swept away!

            WORKMAN:

What are we going to do? If it hits the bridge, it’ll be torn apart!

            SKIDLID:

Your big fork-lift truck: Perhaps it could go down to the bank – reach across – and stop the mobile home before it hits the bridge.

            WORKMAN:

Good idea.

(Calling Diesel)

Diesel!

The diesel forklift truck roars into life – smoke billowing from its exhaust.

 

8: EXT. DAY. RIVERBANK.

The Workman eases the diesel forklift truck down the bank toward the fast-moving water.

Skidlid calls from the bridge…

                                                            SKIDLID:

Hurry – the mobile home is getting closer.

            WORKMAN:

I can’t; it’s the mud: It’s too soft. My wheels are sinking. I can’t go backwards or forwards.

 

                        9: EXT. DAY. UNFINISHED BRIDGE.

                        Woden and Scooter look-on…

                                                                                    WODEN:

Things do not seem to be going well, Scooter.

            SCOOTER:

That poor family; they’ll be here in just a few minutes. They’ll be dashed into the raging river.

            WODEN:

Perhaps they are Olympic swimmers, and can swim easily to the bank.

            SCOOTER:

What are the chances of that, Woden?

            WODEN:

About a million-to-one.

          SCOOTER:

That’s what I thought.

(Calling)

Skidlid – fetch out Woden’s towrope. Do it quickly!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2003

Hmmm, wonder if this could be persuaded to morph into a children’s book…? Whatta ya think?

 

 

Blast From the Past

Whilst searching (unsuccessfully) for the set-up disc for a printer I have in  my bedroom, but never use, I chanced upon some floppy discs at the bottom of a plastic storage box. Some of them contained corrupted data, which was inaccessible. But one still worked. It contained the script for Episode Eight of a TV thriller/mystery/ sci-fi show that I had written almost exactly twenty years ago. If I recall, ten episodes were completed before I began trying to interest potential production companies. I also recall that a lot of people made a lot of nice noises about the scripts, but none of them were in a position to influence anyone of importance. Agents and actors mostly. I spent many a happy hour on the phone chatting with them. But when it seemed that my dreams were going nowhere, I quit writing (in 2003)and ran away to Spain for a sabbatical, which lasted until the money ran out in 2005. I never returned to script writing. But, as I mosied through Episode Eight, I began to wonder…

Here’s a snippet from it. Please excuse the strange layout. Word couldn’t read the ancient Windows 98 system I used back then. I was forced to upload from the disc using LibreOffice, then converting to Word 2003, before finally being able to access it on my usual laptop. In the process, the formatting went a bit doolally.

                5: EXT. NIGHT. MASON’S FARM.

                 Wozniak’s car glides into the yard, halting

                before the front door of the farmhouse.

 

                (6: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE HALLWAY).

                The front doorbell is jingling insistantly.

                GEORGE MASON, a stout, florid, man in his

                late fifties – very much the archetypal

                owner-farmer, clumps in from the adjoining

                pantry, and begins unlatching the door.

                When he speaks it is with a broad rural

                accent.

                                        MASON:

                                Hold your blooming horses will

                                ya!

                He opens the door to the bloodied and

                dishevelled group.

                                        MASON:

                                What the blinking heck

                                happened to you lot?

                Janice steps forward.

                                        JANICE:

                                Hello, Mr Mason…do you

                                remember me?

                                        MASON:

                                Janice Gale: What the heck’s

                                happened to you girl: Been in

                                a fight?

                                        JANICE:

                                Yes. Can we come in?

                Mason is flummoxed momentarily.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                We really need to come in.

                Judith notices a brief flicker of headlights

                amongst distant trees.

                                        JUDITH:

                                There’s a car in the lane.

                Wozniak bundles the others past an uncertain

                Mason, then goes for the car.

                                        JANICE:

                                (concerned)

                                Peter!

                                        WOZNIAK: (shouting)

                                Mr Mason…is there a barn

                                or something? I need to hide

                                the car.

                Mason senses the urgency of the situation…

                                        MASON:

                                Round the back: I’ll fetch the

                                key.

 

                7: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).

                 Arthur sits at the table, confused.

                Cavisbury lays upon a bench, slowly

                recovering.

                Judith is tugging the curtains closed as

                Janice enters from the hall.

                                        JUDITH:

                                (breathless)

                                The door?

                                        JANICE:

                                Locked and barred.

                                        JUDITH:

                                Oh, Miss Gale, I’m so sorry

                                I got you involved.

                                        JANICE:

                                Don’t be: Remember what you  said…

                                it’s Peter’s stock-in-trade. He may

                                be scared ridged, but deep down

                                inside he wouldn’t miss this

                                for the world.

                                        JUDITH:

                                But you could both die!

                                        JANICE:

                                (smiling)

                                May we live in interesting times.

                     The door is flung open, startling Arthur.

                Wozniak enters, followed by Mason, who locks

                the door.

                                        MASON:

                                (to Janice)

                                Your young man’s explained

                                everything. You’re being

                                chased by an escaped nutter.

                                Well you can rely on me. Aint

                                nothing I wouldn’t do for

                                a fellow Brambledownian.

                                        JANICE:

                                Thankyou, Mr Mason.

                                        MASON:

                                Call me George.

                                (noticing Cavisbury)

                                Here, aint that Lord

                                Cavisbury?

                Cavisbury looks at Mason through bleary eyes.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Mason, isn’t it?

                                        MASON:

                                It is. I’m surprised you

                                remember me. Do you remember

                                all your tenants you chuck out

                                on their asses?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                I remember you because of all

                                the grief you gave me.

                                (looking around room)

                                I see you’ve done well for

                                yourself…

                                        MASON:

                                No thanks to you.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Nonsense: It was the making of

                                you.

                Wozniak interjects…

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Excuse me, Lord Cavisbury –

                                how long ago was this?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                What was it, Mason: Twenty,

                                twenty five years ago?

                                        MASON:

                                Twenty two years ago.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                And you recall it clearly?

                                        CAVISBURY: (defensively)

                                It was twenty two years ago!

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                And yesterday? Anything?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                (confused)

                                Yesterday? I don’t under…

                                        JUDITH:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                Can you remember anything of

                                yesterday – last week – last

                                month?

                Cavisbury mentally strains to recall – without

                success.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                No, nothing. What’s happening

                                to me? Have I lost my marbles?

                                        JUDITH:

                                We don’t know exactly: It has

                                something to do with General-

                                Elite.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                (startled)

                                General-Elite? How the devil’d

                                that happen?

                                        JUDITH:

                                Sorry?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                That damned Wake fellow:

                                Pressurised me for months.

                                Him and his so-called

                                “fertility clinic”. Couldn’t see

                                the connection – his line of

                                business and mine. And now you

                                say the companies are merged?

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                You knew nothing of this?

                Wozniak drags Arthur forward.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (to Cavisbury)

                                How well did you know your

                                staff?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                I pride myself on knowing

                                everyone by their forename.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Good. Who is this?

                Cavisbury regards Arthur.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                You do look familiar.

                Wozniak tosses Arthur’s ID to Cavisbury, who

                studies it.

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                No – Arthur Cronin is

                                brilliant: This man is

                                clearly…

                                        JANICE:

                                …An imbecile?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                When you put it like that…

                                (holding side of head)

                                And violent with it.

                                        JUDITH:

                                This is Arthur Cronin. This is

                                what General-Elite do to

                                brilliant people…to people

                                who get in their way.

                                        JANICE:

                                And you are the result of what

                                they can do to people they

                                need. How does it feel to have

                                your strings cut?

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Like a vodka martini.

                Seeing incomprehension…

                                        CAVISBURY:

                                Shaken and stirred.

                Mason pulls away from the curtain, going to a

                cupboard, which he unlocks.

                                        MASON:

                                There’s someone in the yard.

                                I heard footsteps in the

                                gravel.

                He pulls out a shotgun, then some cartridges.

                Wozniak lays his hand on the barrel, shaking

                his head.

                                        MASON:

                                If there’s a homicidal nutcase

                                out there, Bessie here could

                                come in handy.

                Wozniak thinks about it. Then…

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                O.K; but if you have to use it

                                – go for a head shot. Nothing

                                else will do. If you don’t

                                kill him with the first shot,

                                you wont live long enough to

                                regret it.

                                        MASON:

                                You make him sound like a

                                superman.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                Treat him as such, and we

                                might come through this.

                                Now let’s get out to the

                                cowshed.

                Wozniak makes for the door. A nervous Mason

                follows, loading the shotgun as he does so.

                                        JANICE: (sharply)

                                Peter.

                Wozniak halts at the latch. He takes Janice in

                his arms.

                                        JANICE: (quietly)

                                Remember your promise.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                I remember.

                They part, and Wozniak exits without another

                word.

 

                8: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 Mason, shotgun in hand, leads Wozniak away

                from the house.

                THEY SPEAK IN WHISPERS.

                                        MASON:

                                Young Janice mentioned a

                                promise?

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                The last time we encountered

                                this sort of…man before, he

                                raped her. I promised never to

                                leave her alone again.

 

                9: EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 THE MUFFLED LOWING OF CONTENTED CATTLE.

                Wozniak and Mason slip along the base of the

                wall toward the main door.

                                        WOZNIAK:

                                (whispering)

                                It’s dark. He’ll not be at his

                                best. It’s his one weakness.

                                He needs to synthesise light

                                to be totally effective.

                                        WAKE:(oov)

                                So – you’ve encountered your

                                future before!

                Startled, Mason swings the shotgun around in

                an arc.

 

                10: INT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE (PANTRY).

                 Janice, Judith, Cavisbury, and Arthur wait.

                TWO SHOTGUN RETORTS.

                Janice leaps at the door.

                                        JANICE:

                                (desperate)

                                Peter!

                FADE OUT.

                                ACT TWO.

                 FADE IN.

                11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Wozniak is urging the frightened cattle toward

                the door. He yells, and slaps at their flanks.

 

                11A: (INTERCUT) EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Mason crashes to the ground.

                Wake leaps upon him, straddling him, baring

                his carnivorous teeth.

                Mason is powerless, staring up at Wake in pain

                and fear.

                                        WAKE:

                                You were once a warrior. Had I

                                not the eye of an eagle, and

                                the speed of a cheetah, you

                                would surely have removed my

                                head from my shoulders. I like

                                you.

                He leaps up, dragging Mason to his feet.

                                        WAKE:

                                Fight me some more.

                He taunts Mason with a series harmless boxing

                moves, then cuffs the man around the ear.

                Mason lashes out a heavy fist, missing by a

                margin as Wake ducks away with ease.

                                        WAKE:

                                Oh, but you have grown old.

                                Past your sale-by-date. For

                                you, I am so sorry to say,

                                time’s up.

                He is distracted by the sound of approaching

                hooves..

                                        WAKE: (impatiently)

                                Now what?

 

                11: INT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Wozniak pursues the last of the cattle from

                the building.

 

                12: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 Janice stumbles about in the dark. She finds

                the garden gate. As she begins to open it, she

                is forced back by the stampeding cattle.

                                       JANICE:

                                (calling desperately)

                                Peter!

 

                12A:(INTERCUT) EXT. NIGHT. FARMYARD.

                 Wozniak unlatches a barn door, then dashes on

                to the next, which he opens to reveal his car.

 

                12: EXT. NIGHT. FARMHOUSE GARDEN.

                 The stragglers from the stampede pass.

                Janice dashes out into the yard.

 

                13: EXT. NIGHT. COWSHED.

                 Janice finds a bloodied, and badly shaken

                Mason pressed against the cowshed wall. He

                stares at something unseen.

                                        JANICE:

                                George…where’s Peter?

                He does not respond. She follows his gaze…

                CUT TO JANICE’S POV.

                A figure lays trampled in the dirt several

                metres off.

                RESUME.

                Janice runs to the figure.

                A cat-like eye slowly opens. The voice is

                breathless and pained.

                                        WAKE:

                                My dear, you cannot imagine

                                how much I hurt. Hereon I

                                shall treat the common milk

                                cow with greater respect.

                Both are abruptly bathed in the light of

                Wozniak’s car headlamps.

                                        WOZNIAK:(oov)

                                (calling)

                                Jan, get away from it. Get

                                Mason.

 

                14: EXT. NIGHT. FARMYARD.

                 Wozniak and Jan bundle Mason into the rear

                seat of the car.

                All aboard, the car accelerates across the

                yard toward the rising Wake.

                Wake dives aside as the car sweeps through his

                position.

                He turns angrily, vainly spitting venom at

                the departing car.

                                        WAKE:

                                (sotto voce)

                                You’ll not cheat me, so

                                easily. I’ll identify you soon

                                enough; and when I do…

                THE SNORTING OF A LARGE ANIMAL…

                Wake is hesitant to turn around.

                                        WAKE:

                                Uh oh…

                He turns around to see a bull standing in the

                doorway of the barn.

He whips off his jacket, fluttering it before him.

                                        WAKE:

                                Ole!

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2002

I remember a guy from one of the many production companies, whom I conversed with, being very impressed with my explicit camera directions. Pity I can’t bring that level of care and attention to my ‘regular’ writing.

Four episodes were later re-jigged to become my two ‘Causality Merchant’ books, Captive Echo and Present Imperfect. So it wasn’t a complete waste of my time and effort. And, who knows, maybe I’ll get to finish that third one I started in 2016.

 

Forcing the Grey Matter to Activate

Sometimes, when I’m bereft of fresh ideas for an Earplug Adventure, I utilise a little-known technique for forcing the issue called writer’s block. I visualise a location or scene. Then, having done so, I take one aspect of that location or scene, and create a title for the story that is yet to exist. I did it with The Lines of Tah-Di-Tah, and I’m doing it again. It was this picture that delivered the impetus to create…

It’s the Ethernet Cable End’s mud village from Plunging into Peril. I  thought: “Hang on, I’ve got loads of those cardboard inserts in the ‘studio’: better check ’em out.” And I did too…

Having done so, the title came to me. The Epoch of Dung. Sounds great. It’ll look great on the cover too.

So there it is: the next Earplug Adventure. I wonder what it’ll be like. Time travel, I wouldn’t be surprised.

What is Getting My Earplugs So Excited?

With the Earplug Adventure: Triple Threat now just a distant memory, something is causing the silicon populace of my attic to become even more animated than normal…

The clue to it’s identity comes from those coloured objects that appear to have the nearest earplugs in their thrall. Yes, it’s time to prepare for another adventure…

…which means sprucing up the make-up, and smoothing out the age-lines. Golly, the Supreme Being has his work cut out for him…

…Some of these earplugs are eight years old! But, be assured, they’ll be fighting fit and looking their best when the camera next rolls. All that’s needed is a script. Thinking cap on. Getting those little grey cells agitated is the key. What could the scenario be for the next tale? Surely the possibilities are endless. Any suggestions?

Wattpad Ditched

After weeks of relentless uploading, and half-way through this fairly wondrous tale…

…I said, “Tooty, you only have one reader: why are you bothering?”

So I quit. That was a lot of effort for no gain – spiritual or otherwise. And some of the writing on Wattpad is utterly execrable. Makes the Earplug Adventures look like Shakespeare. Phew, glad to be free of that lot. Still, it was an experience to discover that all the awful things people say about Wattpad are true. Where next, I wonder? Any ideas, anyone?

Earplugs Without Pictures 14

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…

 

Needless to say, the former convicts were delighted to arrive at the entrance of the Museum of Future Technology. But they were considerably less delighted when they were confronted by a force field across the door. By now there was a visible path that led along the outer wall of the museum. So naturally they followed it, though Backdaw was not enamoured with the task of following the Mountain Earplug, who had a tendency to produce strange chuffing sounds that proved to be aromatic in the extreme, and Boss-Eyed Bertha felt it necessary to pretend that she wasn’t there at all. After many perambulations and circumlocutions they discovered the interior window that looked out across much of the museum. It was at the very moment as they stepped forward for a better view that a security camera flashed in their eyes. At first they were startled. Then it dawned upon them that the sudden bright light had broken the conditioning placed upon them by Sloshed Antlers’ hypnotic expertise, and a sort of darkness descended upon their souls. Stopping Prince Bucky and the Sewage Workers Union representative – Marty Filledpants – on the main thoroughfare as they scurried between refugee camps and secret shelters, the Jaundice Family quickly absorbed all the pertinent facts concerning Mister Zinc’s take-over of the museum.

“This could be our only chance for a tilt at the big time.” Lockjaw said as he gave the Mountain Earplug a hefty boot in the backside and pushed him into a roadside rain channel. “Let’s go introduce ourselves.”

Although they had absolutely no idea how to reach Mister Zinc, good fortune smiled upon them, and soon they were able to follow Philip and Ingemar as they crept into Zinc’s secret lair…

A short while later the siblings were ushered into the presence of Zinc by Slavemaster One.

“How ya doing, your worship?” Lockjaw said brazenly. “We hear you got a whole bunch of androids working for you: how about you take on a few real live earplugs too? We’re real bad-ass muthas. There’s no depravity we won’t descend to. Heck, we only just broke out of the Sloshed Antlers penitentiary two days ago. Antisocial is our middle name. We’re the real deal. You’d better believe it!”

Zinc looked down at the family. Despite his better judgement he found himself admiring the gall of the little white earplug with mauve stripes. “Okay,” he said at length, “I’ve heard there are some pink monks somewhere in the museum. Apparently they’re great at making war machines. Find them for me.”

“We know the fellas.” Slackjaw piped up. “Leave it to us.”

So four happy brothers turned to leave. But Boss-Eyed Bertha was less certain: she really had a ‘thing‘ for Rodney Bunting, and vowed silently to bugger-up all of her brother’s attempts to capture him.

AND…

Valentine and Wah-Hey hadn’t been idle either. They’d trawled through the security files for information on Mister Zinc. Information that they hoped to use against him. Half way up an Up ramp they summoned the Avatar.

“Good news.” Valentine said – once the beautiful apparition had taken on solid form.

“Yes.” Wah-Hey added. “We’ve got something on old silver-dome. He suffers from a morbid fear of constipation. He uses enemas all the time. He must visit the loo at least seventeen times a day.”

“You catch our drift?” Valentine inquired hopefully.

Avatar’s perpetual smile seemed to widen. “I catch your drift.” She answered.

Thirty seconds later a small white mound appeared in the special enclosure that belonged to the Iceworld immigrants.

“Cripes,” one of them yelled as a crowd began to form, “are we about to lose the final tiny portion of our false home world? Pray to the Saint of All Earplugs that I’m wrong.”

But when they saw who the strange mound actually was they relaxed, and more alien earplugs arrived to hear the Avatar’s words.

“I have word from Philip and Ingemar, the android zombies.” She told them…

“They have contacted me on one of Zinc’s own communication devices. We know where the bleeder is. More importantly, we know where he takes a dump.”

She then drew the listeners closer. “Find Marty Filledpants.” She instructed them. “He will lead you to a place where you can strike back against our oppressor with ultimate force.”

An opportunity to redeem themselves following their panic-stricken flight from one of Zinc’s Terraformer squadrons appealed to the Iceworlders on at least seventeen levels of appealingness. They rushed to the Central Office of the Sewage Workers Union, where the few surviving members were in conference. Shouting through the letter box they demanded that Marty help them. And before long…

“You see that effluent gushing from this outfall pipe?” Marty said.

The Iceworld representatives nodded.

“That contains Mister Zinc’s liquefied excrement.” Marty added. When the Iceworlders failed to react, he added: “If we block his toilet – he can’t use it.”

The Iceworlder’s comprehension was instantaneous; and after they’d stopped off at a cryogenics plant, they proceeded to visit a nondescript cast iron pipe that no one but Marty Filledpants would have given a second glance, upon which they laid several lumps of frozen carbon dioxide. They then called back to Marty, who had remained behind a safety rail: “Are you sure this is the pipe that leads from Zinc’s lair to the outfall pipe?” The Iceworlder’s spokesplug, Fergus Bambeeno, said.

“Absolutely certain.” Marty called back.

“That’s alright then. Soon the super-cold of this frozen carbon dioxide, which exists at a temperature of minus one hundred and nine point three degrees, or minus seventy-eight point five C will permeate the ironwork; freeze the water inside it; and create an unbreakable plug of cack and ice that will back up Zinc’s plop right back to its source – though obviously not all the way to his rectum. But very nearly.”

©  Paul Trevor Nolan 2016

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 Unity (Vol 2) 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 on the sidebar by clicking on the cover images.

 

Revel in the Ribaldry 37

Time, methinks, for an extract from a Hamster-Sapiens book. If I had my way, I would have chosen to display the wonders that are The Psychic Historian; but that could possibly demean other fine works of hamster fiction, such as this one…

So, purely at the whim of randomness – or randominity, as I prefer to call it – appease your literary gut with this extract…

A waiter arrived moments later to inquire after Stubby’s requirements. Stubby recognised him as the former assassin – Malingerer Stench – and duly ordered a raspberry soufflé, which he was certain would anger the gerbil by reminding him of how he came to be living in Prannick, and in such a frightfully lowly social position too.

Felicity’s inquiring tilt of the head persuaded Stubby to explain that Malingerer Stench had once held the position of chief be-header in Sandy Desert Land, but had been lured to Prannick by the love of a travelling raspberry sales-girl, who subsequently left him, which forced the former death-merchant into a new vocation – that being bar-staff. Stubby hoped that by ordering a raspberry soufflé he was insulting the gerbil twice: Most obviously by the raspberry connection, but also by requesting a dessert – the spelling of which is almost exactly the same as desert.

“Oh, Primrose – you can be so cruel.” Felicity gently scolded the false harvest mouse.

“Stubby, please.” Stubby scolded in return. “You should only call me Primrose when my breasts make their presence felt. At all other times I should be referred to as Stubby.”

“Felt?” Brenda yelped and stood upright at the same moment, “You’s aint suggestin’ that my girl’s gotta squeeze your tits, is ya? Joan was thinkin’ you might be one of them lesbians: Girls don’t go squeezin’ tits ya know: That’s boy’s jobs.”

Brenda suddenly became aware that the bar had fallen silent and that everyone was looking at her. She gave a sickly smile, and then added, by way of explanation, “I’s from outta town. We talks a real whole load’a shit where I come from. You’s best be ignorin’ me. Now drink ya fluffin’ beer, ya nosey bastards.”

“Oh dear, Stubby,” Darkwood spoke above the startled exclamations of offended patrons, “I do believe that our proposed discussion of things most important will have to be put off for another time and another location.”

Indeed this was the case, and in three seconds flat the landlord had the six of them thrown out on their furry arses.

“An inauspicious beginning to our renewed endeavour together I fear.” Quentin opined whilst very obviously blaming Stubby entirely for their altered situation with looks that closely resembled daggers.

“You didn’t help either, mum – you big dopey twat!” Felicity sought to spread the blame.

“Never mind, never mind.” Stubby said in hushed tones as he quickly dusted everyone down. Then in a conspiratorial whisper he added, “I rather hoped that would happen actually. It was entirely deliberate, you know. I just wanted to make sure that none of you were being followed.”

Felicity responded with a whisper of her own. “Why would anyone be following us? Who knows that we’re here at all?”

“You’d be surprised.” Stubby replied, and then eased them all in the direction of a travelling fair as it clanked and clattered its way through the main street.

“I say, we’re all likely to be deafened by this frightful racket.” Darkwood complained as they walked beside an iron-wheeled wagon that was being drawn by a team of argumentative stag beetles.

“We may be deafened.” Stubby shouted above the din, “but so are those with inquiring ears.”

“Do you really think that we were being followed?” Felicity had to screech like a tortured lathe to make herself heard.

“The two miserable-looking curs in the corner by the window were giving you rapt attention.” Stubby bellowed like a loony, “And there was another standing beside the condom vendor’s sack taking notes.”

Darkwood was amazed. “But who might they be? Why would they expect us to be here? Might they be some kind of wizards? Oh my heart’s all of a flutter at the thought.”

“I don’t know.” Stubby roared, but already his voice was weakening, “Perhaps if you tell me all about your problem, and why you sent for me, then perhaps I can hazard a guess.”

So for the next five minutes they all took turns to shout informatively at Stubby as they strolled alongside the clanking wheels of the travelling fairground wagon – painfully apprising him of the situation.

When eventually the tale was told, Stubby guided them into a deserted laundry, where he was able to verbalise his opinion without the aid of a megaphone, and out of sight, just in case someone who might be following them could read lips.

“I’ve no doubt at all that Lucas Cleats fully intends to slay the inhabitants of the abbey. I don’t doubt his motivation or conviction either. What I do doubt is his free will. I remember Lucas when he was a cub. I watched him grow up. I think he has a great deal of latent psychic talent. The Lucas Cleats that I knew wanted to free Prannick of its pious overseers more than anything: But he would never stoop to murder.”

“You’s meaning some guy’s got control over this Cleats’ guy’s brain and stuff?” Brenda exclaimed in a brief moment of mental clarity.

Stubby wasn’t entirely familiar with Brenda’s speech patterns. “Ah, I think so.” He replied.

“And you believe that we are also pawns in some Machiavellian plot?” Quentin added.

Stubby was doubly impressed with Quentin Blackheart: Firstly for being able to say ‘Machiavellian’: Secondly for using a word that was utterly meaningless in both Hamster-Britain and Prannick.

“Indeed.” He replied, deciding that he would delay an investigation into the unexpected phenomenon until the current crisis was dealt with. “There are greater plans afoot than the mere extermination of a few monks. And it’s our task to identify and thwart it.”

“The best way that we can thwart such an affront to decency is by saving the monks.” Felicity snarled at some imagined monster.

So Stubby repeated his “Indeed”, and then led the way back into the street.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2013

Wasn’t that lovely? You can buy the e-book (very cheaply) by visiting the Tooty’s E-Books Available to Buy Here page. It is a veritable Aladdin’s cave of literary fabulousness.

Triple Threat – Now Available As a Free PDF E-Book!

Although I originally wanted to produce the complete version in EPUB form, WordPress’s inability (or unwillingness, I don’t know) to accept an upload in this format, means that I’ve been forced to back-track to the usual PDF version. It’s not terrific, but it’s not the end of the world either. Please click on the cover photo to access the file, which you can either read in situ, or download for later visual consumption. It will certainly save you lots of time rummaging through all my posts to find the complete story.

A “It Features in My Book” Wallpaper: The Sunken Lane

When, long ago (2004 actually) I wrote the first draft of the book that was (after several re-writes through the years) to become my best-selling creation, namely this one…

…I based the locale of a very significant part of the story on the place of my birth and upbringing. I had no idea that, eight years later, I would return to live there again. In the book, the English village in question was named Brambledown, and this sunken lane (see above) was the means by which the central characters gained access to the village whilst remaining unseen by those besieging it. As you can see – even though the passage of years have worn the banks down somewhat,  and half the trees are missing – if you were unfamilar with the area, you might well fail to notice this tarmac  artery amongst the surviving trees and adjacent farmland. Well that’s what I thought, back in 2004. Here’s an extract from the aforementioned book that includes the sunken lane…

Lee indicated that we should keep low, and join him. As Kevin and I scrambled to his side we both noticed that a small thicket stood in the lee of the hill. A thin column of smoke curled into the air from it, but quickly flattened out and dissipated.

“Campfire.” Lee stated needlessly as we hid behind a thick bush and snatched brief looks over it. “But who are they?”

Kevin rummaged through his haversack, producing a respectable pair of binoculars. It showed great forethought. My admiration for this simple survivor increased.

“These help?” He smiled as he offered them to Lee.

Lee gave him a wink of thanks, and then put the glasses to his eyes.

After a few moments, “Just as I thought; it’s some kind’a paramilitary outfit. They know what they’re doing though: They’ve posted guards while the rest are havin’ a bit of grub.”

“Can we get past them?” I inquired.

From our vantage point we could see little of the village, but Lee scanned what he could. He sounded positive when he asked, “You said you knew this place?”

“I don’t suppose it’s changed much.” I heard a slightly defensive tone in my voice. ‘Am I making excuses for failure already?’

“There’s a sunken lane somewhere over to the left.” I said. “In the opposite direction to the thicket.”

The sunken lane to which I referred was just as I’d remembered it. It wasn’t until you almost fell into it that its existence became obvious. Beeches had grown about it – their massive roots forming high heavy banks and disappearing beneath the patchy, undulating tar macadam surface. To anyone who wasn’t local it was merely a line of broadleaf trees much like any other, and of no significance. To the inhabitants of Brambledown it was a defensible position.

I wasn’t surprised when a disembodied female hailed us:

“All right:” She spoke in a broad rural accent.

‘Clearly one of Katherine’s ‘serfs’

“You can stay right there, and don’t move a muscle.”

There was no mistaking the threat in her tone. We all stood as if rooted.

“Lose the firepower.” The next instruction followed.

With a clatter Lee dropped the shotgun.

“And the old pop-gun.” The voice, slightly amused, insisted.

Lee didn’t know in which direction to turn his attention.

“It don’t work.” He called, then held out the revolver, “No firin’ pin.”

“Only got your word for that.” The tone became sterner once more, “Drop it, or drop your trousers: I aint fussy.”

The revolver joined the shotgun in the leaf litter.

Moments later the voice gained form, and a sturdily-built girl – whom I judged to be about seventeen, and wearing filthy combat fatigues – stepped into view from behind a cleverly disguised hide. She was unarmed.

“Well!” Lee exclaimed as he bent to pick up the shotgun.

“Now-now!” A young male voice warned us from behind.

We spun to face a man of about nineteen years, who held a shotgun levelled at us. He hid the lower half of his a face behind a mask.

“Hello.” Kevin smiled at him, “My name’s Kevin: I live in Lutchins Farm. It’s me dad’s farm.”

The well-spoken voice warmed. “So you do. Hello Kevin; I’m afraid the hairdressers are closed right now. Who are your friends?”

Kevin introduced us. “This is Lee, and this is Flissery.”

“That’s Felicity.” I corrected him.

“Felicity, eh?” The young man looked me up and down. “Knew a girl of that name once, you know. Looked a little cleaner than you I seem to recall. Then I suppose the same could be said of all of us.”

There seemed a hint of sorrow in his tone. His voice seemed familiar. I watched his eyes as he instructed his associate to collect our weapons. Then recognition struck:

“Thomas.” I blurted. “Thomas Kingsbury!”

Lee looked surprised. “You know this bloke?”

Thomas winked at me before pulling down his mask to reveal his face.

“I thought it was you, Fel. My – you’re a big girl now! I mean that in nicest possible way, you understand…”

For a brief moment it hurt to hear my abbreviated name so soon after losing Sarah; but then I recalled all of Katherine’s family knew me by that moniker. Somehow it brought with it a sense of ‘belonging’.

“And you appear to have increased your mass too.” I replied – running to him and being swept into the air by surprisingly powerful arms.

Dropping me again, he introduced me to his associate. “Fel, meet Fred.”

We made our greeting. Then I introduced Lee to them both. And Kevin shook every one’s hand, including my own.

Before long two more youngsters arrived to relieve Tom and Fred. This allowed the five of us make our way to the village. What we found in the village dismayed us. It was an armed camp under siege, though it was heartening to see many tethered or corralled young animals too. We learned that the adolescents and children of several nearby villages, farms, and outlying houses had collected together in mutual need and for the defence of the village. But from whom came such threat?

Fred, rather inaccurately, referred to them as ‘The Army’. Others called them ‘Bandits’ or ‘Killers’ – though as of yet no one had been actually killed.

Tom, alone, called them what they actually were:

“A bunch of frightened cadets, Fel: That’s what they are – led by an absolute lunatic.”

“What makes you say that?” I enquired.

We were sitting together upon an old, lichen-coated, stone sarcophagus beside the largest Ewe tree in the village churchyard. I enjoyed the physical closeness. As a twelve year-old I dreamed that one day I might marry Tom, who was always out of reach, being three years my senior: Now at Sixteen perhaps… The thought struck me like a thunderbolt: ‘He must be nineteen by now: Old enough to die!

He didn’t notice my involuntary gasp. Instead he indicated the village about us. “Notice something missing – other than adults of course?”

It took me several seconds to re-gather my wits. I covered by looking from right to left and back again.

“Or should I say some one?” He added.

I was speechless. I looked into his grime-smeared but boyishly handsome face.

“Katherine.” He spoke as though I had merely made an enquiring lift of an eyebrow, “Katherine’s not here.”

Inside my head this new data did not compute. What my expression must have been, I can only guess; but the strength seemed to slough from Tom’s shoulders.

“They’ve got her, Fel. They’ve taken my only sister – and three more girls from the village. And what’s more they intend to take the rest. That’s how I know they’re led by a loony.”

Neither of us had heard Lee’s approach. We both jumped when he said, “So what are you doing about it?”

With Tom potentially at death’s door, and Katherine kidnapped by armed delinquents, this situation seemed impossible. Shangri la was rapidly turning into my idea of hell.

© Paul Trevor Nolan 2014

If this book looks interesting, check it out by visiting the sidebar on this post, or the Tooty’s E-books Available to Buy Here! page beneath the header.

My Literary Gift Plans Lay in Tatters

I’d promised you all that, unlike the preceding Earplug Adventures, Triple Threat would be made available to you in EPUB form – all free and lovely. So much better than PDF thought I – though PDF isn’t actually bad. It just isn’t a ‘real’ e-book. But when I tried to upload the EPUB file to go with this cover…

…a warning notice made it very clear: EPUB files cannot be uploaded to WordPress. Generous authors cannot give away their works, obviously. Just when I was beginning to enjoy using the platform again too. Spoilsports! So, when the serialised version is finished, I’ll be uploading a PDF copy for everyone to download – just like the other Earplug Adventure books before it. Oh well – not the end of the world I suppose.

P.S Of course you could always upload the file to an on-line conversion program: it’s how I created the EPUB file to start with.

Saved by the Nook

Call me silly and impatient if you like, but for the last couple of years I haven’t bothered to cash the royalty checks from my publishers because (after the bank has taken their cut for translating U.S Dollars into GBPs) I didn’t feel the amount earned was worth the effort. But my last one surprised me, and I duly carried it along to a pleasant teller and put it into my bank account. It wasn’t a lot; but it paid for a few groceries. And for those groceries I have the users of the Barnes & Noble Nook e-reader to thank. For years now, it has been Nook users that have made it worth my while to keep the books on sale. Without them, I wouldn’t have bothered. Of course potential readers could go straight to my publishers, Lulu Press to download my wondrous literary offerings in regular EPUB format – those being this little lot…

But, in recent times – like the last five years –  only the following B&N sites have been utilised…

Tooty Nolan: Hamster Sapiens books

Clive Thunderbolt: Causality Merchant books

Paul Trevor Nolan: ‘Silent’ books

And I’d like to thank every one of those Nook users. You keep my spirits up. Were you one of them?

Tooty

P.S You can find extracts from all of the above books beneath the site header.

P.P.S  The Psychic Historian: The best book ever created in the history of the written word!