Those telephone calls at lunch time.

I had a long discussion with a gentleman in Morocco at lunch time, they are having remarkably good weather for the season and life seems very pleasant. It obviously induces a feeling of well being because he appeared to be oblivious of the fact that I was bloody furious and find being telephone every lunch time by someone offering the services of an expert to heat my house by solar panels, despite it being obvious I am in a town of historic interest where such things are forbidden and I don’t wish to to be sold things unsolicited by phone. I wish him and his family well, but I wish his employers be hit by a bloody meteorite.

Writing about yourself

IMGP7114Looking at myself

I was for a longtime annoyed by persistent harassment from people who sent me messages from Linkedin, and one day decided to see if I could stop the nuisance on the site itself. In doing so I inadvertently unlocked hours of enjoyment and had some really amusing conversations with writers from around the world.


I found they have groups and some of them are writer’s and publisher’s groups and you can discuss whatever you want. It is great fun to have a meandering conversation with people who have attention spans of more than a nano-second and additionally I have learned a  great deal from established and knowledgeable writers, screenwriters etc.

Why am I writing this? Well the day before yesterday I saw the following message.

Robert Cooper

Director at Lao Insight Books/Owner-manager of Book Café Vientiane

Most writers ARE skint, Brian. Which makes it all the more perplexing that a huge industry has grown up to take money from skint people to edit their ramblings into printed or virtual books, create covers for such books, review those books, create entry-fee prize winning ‘competitions’ for such books, and market them in a world that reads less every day. 

Given the state of writing and publishing today, I would say that any writer who procrastinates is performing morally and logically.

I replied

Robert I spent all morning cooking in my house coat, all afternoon eating with friends in my kitchen and have just awaken from a from a snooze and it is dark. Usually I would feel a tad guilty, but after you wise words I realise I am doing the world a favour.

He reposted with

Douglas, wise man that he be, does the world a favour, and does his friends a favour, by taking the day so easily he lulls himself into restful sleep. Didn’t hurt a fly, didn’t cut down a tree, didn’t kick a dog, and didn’t bugger his neighbour’s wife (as far as I know). And by such altruistic impeccability, he greatly reduces the risk of blowing his brains out at fifty. Good man, Douglas. Carry on.

I could not leave it there and told him

Now Collin I need to caution you on making unfounded assumptions. Having been just raised to the level of a Saint I almost feel the need to confess some of my sins, but that would have an adverse effect on my status so I will refrain. However I have some advise for those under 7?s out there, do all those things before you are thirty, in my experience you can obtain forgiveness when you are a callow youth. Additionally you can lie back in the grass and watch the clouds drift by, re-living those gloriously enjoyable sins, without having to climb out the back window in a state of undress. No risk to health and very zen.

And this my point, in three short exchanges (among others on the same group I would add) I wrote something, off the cuff, which has set me thinking and may give me the kernel of the next book.

Just writing, but to someone, is creative. It drags things out of you that you would never sit down and write for yourself, much like a stimulation conversation , but without the problem of forgetting it when the moment has passed.

There we are, my words of wisdom for today

Gloomy weather.

IMGP7204There is no doubt about it, I am suffering from the absence of sunshine.

I await the arrival of the first flower of spring like a bird waiting to migrate……………I keep looking at the sky for a hint. I better concentrate on some writing, this is doing me no good at all.

Why am I here? What is it all about? Etc.

The dear old iMac, the one that looks like a pumpkin cut in half, is getting a little sad. I keep it because the screen is a comfortable size and it has an old copy of photoshop which I cannot transfer to a later machine, and I’m damned if I am going to fork out the zillions of bobs they demand for the programme nowadays. So I have been shifting through the piles of images stored thereupon. I don’t know if you have ever embarked on that mission, but is soon becomes a hazy meander through lost memories, a honeyed passing of time.

I have been wondering lately why I am here in this small French town not very far from anywhere really, surrounded by friendly folk who have no connection with me whatsoever. Some of my friends, and I can call them friends, close friends some of them, can casually refer to a great grandfather who lived in a house I have passed a thousand times and never really taken note of, which was left to him by his grandfather. They mention this in a casual conversation, perhaps regarding the butcher that used to be in the same street, little caring that they are talking about events that happened two hundred years ago. This fact has no  relevance to their line of thought, it is of no importance if it was yesterday or the century before the last, it is just their daily existence, just part of the fabric that makes up their lives. It is then that I realise I am not from here. I have no memory, direct or passed down that equates to the house down the road that was ………..

So I question myself, do I belong here? Or perhaps, most disturbingly, where do I belong? In fact does it matter? Perhaps not, there are many millions of people who have no roots where they live and a completely content with the fact. I am of that frame of mind, but I still find I am floating in the little bubble where my friends have anchors to the place that can be traced back centuries and I do not.

It was with great joy therefore when I found photos that gave me a sense of belonging and I will drag some of them out to bore you with my memories. This first one is of summertime in France, when it is best to be in the cool of an old building and even better to have a friend bring in a carafe of wine from the sun soaked courtyard. Not long now till summer.Tom 2001

Local criminals

If you want some light reading the local newspaper’s criminal court proceedings take some beating. This week they reported on some guy who used a false identity card and stolen cheque book to buy 15,000€ worth of bits and bobs. In his defence he said he was in need of a few small items. It’s all in the perception I suppose. As a defence it didn’t do him any good, he got two years.

You wouldn’t believe it if I wrote it.


A robber sporting a monster revolver, false moustache and wig was caught after robbing several shops in our local regional centre of Blois by police. They had been watching a suspect closely for some time because of his expertise in this type of crime and on checking his bank account found he made the elementary mistake of paying his takings directly into his bank account after each heist. He should have known better because he was the ex-crime reporter on the regional rag, the Nouvelle Republique. Now I would never dare write that into a book.