THE REAL SNOW WHITE

Snow White is married to Harold, the most innovative of the Fairyland kings. In a moment of madness he rescued her from the glass coffin but it did not take too long to realize they were not exactly suited.

Harold strode into the dining room to find Snow White finishing her meagre take-away from ‘The Greasy Grill’. He was in a foul mood. He kicked the table leg, threw a chair across the room and smashed the mirror over the fireplace, but nothing seemed to appease his temper.

“I looked a bloody fool,” he roared. “A complete idiot in front of the Dillyland ambassador. How could I explain it?”

“It’s difficult to explain foolishness, I agree,” said Snow calmly. “Not a situation I’ve had to deal with, but then I’m not the fool.” She beamed.

“Shut your face,” bawled Harold. “I don’t wish to hear any snide remarks from you.”

“Temper, temper.” Snow was enjoying herself. “Not a good example for the subjects. You should show a little more decorum don’t you think?”

Harold turned puce and pulled the bell rope so hard it came off the wall and flew out through the window into the moat below.

“Where’s the Court Detective?” he roared at the timid page who answered the call. “Send him here at once.”

“Something upset you, darling?” enquired Snow. “Never mind, why don’t you just pop down to The Spotted Cow and drown your sorrows in Mildred, or whatever her name is?”

“Piss off,” replied Harold. “Ah, there you are, come in you doddering old fool, stop cowering by the door. Where the bloody hell have you been?”

“I was just on my way to report to Your Majesty,” lied the Court Detective as he sidled into the room and hovered on the edge of the peasant-skin rug. There was a long pause.

“Well, out with it, man,” shouted Harold.

“Thieves, Your Majesty. The curtains and throne backs have been stolen.”

“I know they’ve been effing stolen you bloody fool! As soon as I saw they were missing even I realized they’d been stolen. The curtains weren’t hanging at the windows, and the throne was left bare, and they hadn’t been taken for cleaning, so it stands to effing reason they were bloody stolen doesn’t it, you cretin? What the hell do I pay you a good salary for?” screamed Harold. He could say some very hurtful things on occasion.

“Yes, Your Majesty,” the Court Detective sank to his knees at Harold’s feet. “Forgive me, Your Majesty I should have bowed to your superior wisdom.”

“Yes, let his Superior Majesty find his own curtains,” said Snow gaily. Harold ignored her.

“So,” he continued glaring at the servant, “now that you’ve realized the state hangings have been stolen, how are you going to catch the criminals? How are you going to do that then?” The detective tried to crawl under the peasant-skin rug.

“I don’t know, Your Majesty. But I do know where they are.”

“Hah! And why haven’t you arrested the scoundrels and put them under lock and key then? We could string them up after dinner.”

“It’s a little difficult, Your Majesty.” The unfortunate man wrung his hands.

“I don’t bloody see why. Have you put the curtains back?”

“Actually Sire, I … uh … can’t.”

“And why not? It can’t be so very difficult to rehang curtains, or are you allergic to velvet?” sneered the King.

“No.”

“What drivel is this? You say you know where they are, but you won’t bring them back, and you haven’t arrested the criminals. What sort of bloody detective are you anyway?”

“Sire, I can’t,” wailed the poor servant. He cast his eyes to the ceiling.

“Why not?”

“They aren’t curtains anymore.”

“Oh, and what are they?”

“It seems, uh … um … they … they’ve become a ball gown.”

“A gown! A dress! A ball gown! My state hangings!” Harold was beside himself with rage.

Lulu the Great Dane scrabbled at the door trying to escape, the Court Detective dived under the sofa and Snow White laughed till the tears rolled down her cheeks.

“That’ll teach you to be so mean,” she howled. “Just think what new curtains will cost, thousands and thousands. Why, you old skinflint, it would have been cheaper to buy me half a dozen dresses in the first place.” Snow clapped her hands in delight and ducked as an early portrait of her great grandfather flew past her head and crashed into the wall behind.

“Ha! Ha! Ha! Think yourself lucky Harold, I could’ve gone to the Ball naked, then everyone would have seen how mean you really are!”

“What, and frighten all the guests, and in front of her royal Trampness? Oh, I think not,” sneered Harold.

The argument raged on, while the Court Detective crawled quietly out of the nearest window and followed the bell rope into the moat thirty feet below, breaking both legs and his right collar bone.

On pre-order now and publish date Thursday 14th April  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

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One more post to go where you can meet the Green Giant sent to rouse the peasants into revolting.

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THE BIG TRIP V – AND THE DOWNFALL OF THE BOSSY WOMAN

I can’t tell you how terrifying the trip in the little rickshaw was. It felt as if I was being ploughed right into the oncoming traffic and turning right or left was no picnic either. The itinerary said we would see the old quarter with its architecture, diversity of products and everyday life of its inhabitants. Did they mean the huge lorry tyres right next to me and the carbon monoxide fumes from the coach we were following? It’s also tricky to see the beautiful sights with your eyes tightly shut. But I did get a couple of shots in a sudden break in the traffic.

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I survived in time to be taken off to the Museum of Ethnology.

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I whisked round the inside of the Museum but it was rather sparse with not a lot to see and leaving DH puzzling over a piece of fossilized wood went for a walk in the grounds. Now this was something different.

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The various tribes from all over Vietnam had been invited to come and build a traditional house in the grounds and these were amazing. At the risk of being taken down off the internet, I’m including a few pics of the funeral constructions in the firm belief this is art and not that other thing – it’s all to do with fertility in the afterlife – though you would think some of us get plenty of it in this life.

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The finale that day was a visit to a water puppet show – absolutely amazing. I was bouncing up and down in my seat a) trying to take photographs, much to the disgust of the people sitting behind me – don’t you just hate it when selfish people do that? And b) trying to figure out how they did it. The dialogue was a little lost on us as our Vietnamese wasn’t up to all the long words yet – we’d just learned please, thank you and good morning – but it didn’t stop our enjoyment even if we hadn’t a clue what was going on and why other members of the audience were rolling around with tears streaming down their cheeks. Was that a sad bit?

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Well Sarah had to overstep the mark right? I mean it’s not done to tell your sovereign queen to shut up, or mention loudly that her hands were dirty and smelly. No, Sarah had to go, so she was sent packing back to her little cottage in the country

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with only a Walmart discount card and a pre-paid phone for her years of service. Oh, and did I mention a pension of £4,000 a year – which is a tad more than the British old age pension is today. She must have been in a good area for the National Health Service as she only checked out when she was 80.

And what of Queen Anne – she just got fatter and fatter.

A weeny plug for my new release? http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8 on pre-order, so why not be one of the first to read it?

Between now and publication day on Thursday I’ll post snippets to introduce you to Snow White and Harold and the Green Giant.

 

 

 

 

 

 

I’M SORRY – CAN’T RESIST IT

You just may have heard that my latest offering on the shelves is up for pre-order on Amazon – although the paperback is already live. Yes, I’m talking about Unhappily Ever After and here I am again promoting myself, and even as I type this my toes are curling up and I’m feeling most uncomfortable.

But I need to be brave if I am not to sink into oblivion (who am I kidding?)

So if you are thinking about ordering / teetering on the brink / considering it, maybe this might persuade you? A short passage from the book and there will be a couple more to follow before next Thursday April 14th – publication date!

A page stuck his head round the door, flung a scroll at the King and hastily departed, taking great care to keep his eyes on the carpet. The whole kingdom knew what went on in the most royal of bedchambers, but the scroll was marked MOST ROYAL, FOR IMMEDIATE DELIVERY NO MATTER WHAT.

Augustus scuttled over to pick it up. He broke the seal and ran his eyes over the contents.

“Bad news I’m afraid.”

Beauty sprang to her feet, putting her hand on her right breast where she fondly imagined her heart to be. Since her education had not been extensive, limited to singing, piano playing and sewing and spinning with blunt needles, it was amazing she was aware of having a heart at all.

“It’s not …?” gasped the Queen.

“It is.”

“Already?”

“I’m afraid so.”

“How soon?”

“Two weeks.”

“No!” Beauty clutched her head in both hands and moaned while Augustus shuffled uncertainly from one foot to the other like an adolescent on the doorstep at the end of his first date.

“I shan’t go,” shrieked the gently‑reared Queen. “I won’t, and you can’t make me. I shan’t, I shan’t, I shan’t.” Her face turned bright red and she stamped her foot.

Augustus re‑read the invite to the Charmingdon Annual Ball.

“We are commanded to attend, Beauty,” he said. “We simply must go. Can you imagine what they would say if we didn’t?” Beauty wouldn’t have an idea, but he could imagine it very well. “My butterfly, my rose petal,” he put his arms around her.

“No, Augustus, you can’t get round me, even like that.” Beauty flounced away, but not before she’d permitted herself a hearty grope, leaving Augustus crumpled in agony on the floor. “You can’t force me,” she continued from a safe distance. “Why should I mix with that common upstart? She hasn’t got an ounce of breeding in her. Who does she think she is?”

Augustus crawled to the bed and pulled himself painfully to his feet. “Only the wife of the most important king in the land.”

Beauty changed her tactics. She slipped her nightdress down and slid across the satin sheets to her husband in what she thought was a provocative manner.

“Gusty won’t make his little Beauty go, will he?” She ruffled his hair.

Gusty winced. She squirmed against him, pressing her breasts to his arm. “My big, handsome prince won’t force his delicate little flower to go to nasty old Cinderella’s party now, will he?”

The small, ugly prince cringed, jammed between his wife and the bedhead.

He thought fast. “Maybe,” he said craftily, “we could take a few children – the daughters – get them off our hands.”

“Marriage!” Beauty was astounded. “Oh no, Gusty, they’re too young, too fragile.”

“Gladys is in her nineties, high time she flew the nest. If we delay much longer, we’ll never get her hitched. And,” his brain was working overtime, “there was that unfortunate business with the pig slaughterer last year. Dangerous to take the chance of her marrying someone unsuitable.” Beauty was visibly upset.

“Oh yes, oh well,” Beauty paced the room. “How many can we take, four, five, six?” Once Beauty accepted an idea she gave it her wholehearted support.

 

Next time I’ll introduce you to Snow White and King Harold, they have problems as well.

Oh almost forgot the links.

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

UAE KINDLE COVER

Have a great weekend

THE BIG TRIP IV – HANOI AND A BOSSY WOMAN

Vietnam was my first visit to a communist country, and the first difference I saw was the reverence paid to Ho Chi Minh. I just had to google this man, I thought he was not much loved in the West. I was surprised to learn that he had died in the 1970’s but he is still remembered, you simply can’t forget him. Everywhere you look, there are statues, pictures and places named after him.

Oh. Before we go any further, a word of warning. If we thought this was going to be a gentle, relaxing holiday we were in for a shock. Our bouncy, friendly guides – Ming and Ling – insisted on collecting us around 8 am. At my tender age that meant rising around 6 am, to allow time for a shower, dressing and breakfast. So, just as I was being swept off my feet by George Cloony telling me I was the woman he’d been looking for all his life, I was rudely awakened by the wretched cell phone screaming its little heart out.

I just love the presentation in the bedroom. I was tempted to sleep on the floor so I wouldn’t disturb it all.

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We went first to the mausoleum where Ho’s body lies fully preserved. The streets around are kept clear of traffic and the area around is beautifully maintained.IMG_3210

 

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However when we arrived the mausoleum was closed, I understand for cleaning. But these friendly soldiers were guarding it. Don’t you just love the white welly boots?

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Next it was off to visit Ho Chi Minh’s house on stilts – built for him by a Frenchman so it looks as if it was transported straight from the Champs Élysées.

The first pic is the place he refused to live in

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and this is the one he preferred.

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That was very pleasant, except there was also a party of school children in school uniform also visiting and they were not doing it quietly.

Then we gawked at a pagoda standing on a single pillar.

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It’s a Buddist temple, as most of them are of course in this part of the world, but I’m still puzzling as to why they wanted it to build it on a pillar. The steps were quite steep and it is very tiny inside.

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We then peered at the Tran Quoc Pagoda built on an island and yet another pagoda called the Quan Thanh Temple.

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And then it was time for lunch after which, we were informed, they were going to take us by rickshaw round the streets. I nearly sent my lunch back to the kitchen. They were going to put us in little wheeled vehicles and push us head on into all that traffic! I trembled and concentrated hard on the excellent electrical wiring systems that hang in picturesque bunches as they led us to what I was convinced was my last ride ever on this planet.

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(Some naughty pictures coming next week).

Now I mentioned last week that Sarah was a very bossy lady. That social ladder soared onwards and upwards. She managed to drag herself up from this

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To this

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She was no wilting violet. First she asked for a title – Lord and Lady sounded so much better than Mr and Mrs. They were now Lord and Lady Churchill. Next she asked for shares in Walmart and Tesco and a platinum American express card. Ann gave her wads of cash instead.

I just have to include this as it is so amazing. The coat of arms for Ann’s husband Prince George of Denmark.

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He was quiet, easy-going and what we would call today “a drip/idiot/nonentity,” that’s before the politically correct get to us. Of course the king could say what he liked. “God’s fish, what have we here? I have tried him drunk and I’ve tried him sober but can make nothing of him, but the Princess Anne seems satisfied, so it may be she has been more fortunate than I.”

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George was called “Est-il-possible?” as that was all he was heard to mutter. But he and Ann had one thing in common, the love of food. Lots and lots and lots of food. So they both grew fat together.

Just one line about my new book up for pre-order  http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8 it’s very funny.

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FED UP WITH BEING POLITICALLY CORRECT?

Once upon a time in 1989, I sat down to write a book in the pre-politically correct days. It was my very first attempt to write a full length novel – this was before I gave up teaching to write for a living – so that’s how long ago it was. Ha, I bet some of you were not even born then. Now, I’m really depressed.

Of course I was going to take the literary world by storm, you know the stuff, gala performances, entertainment on mega yachts, people queuing round blocks just to get a peek at me – only the lucky first 5,000 would get the signed copies. I’m sure it must have saved so many getting nightmares after the shock of actually seeing the real me.

But guess what happened? Hollywood – yes Hollywood!

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Not for my book you understand, but someone else’s book. How dare they! They made a film called Shrek and that bore similarities to my masterpiece. You see I had also come to the same conclusion that Cinderella, common as muck, brought up in a pigsty doing manual chores would not really jell with Charming with his upper class true, blue blood lineage. And who is so say that the prim Snow White wasn’t married to a king who couldn’t keep his hands off anything in a skirt. Let’s not forget the Sleeping Beauty who’d got a name for herself as a raving nymphomaniac before she fell asleep?

Hollywood got in first, and so my masterpiece went under the bed.

Two countries and 276 years later I dusted it off and was about to shred it, when I thought – why not?

For all two of you who like my weird sense of humour on this blog, now there’s a whole book of it.

Outside the sun blazed out of a clear blue sky, the birds twittered in the trees and the peasants called happy greetings to each other as they toiled unceasingly in the fields. Inside the palace everything hummed with its usual efficiency as servants hurried to and fro, brushing the acres of carpets with toothbrushes and dusting the furniture with Q-tips.

Only those who are truly in love could sympathize with Charming’s problem. Only those who lived from second to second thinking of the object of their affections, could understand the despair in his heart. But he must be brave, tell her now, today, this morning, at breakfast.

His melancholy thoughts were interrupted by the bugler, who drew himself to his full height, clicked his heels to attention and began the fanfare.

“Oh, stuff that bloody ‘orn in yer ear” snapped Cinderella, as she attempted to sweep into the room. “Yer gives me an ‘eadache every time yer blows it. Mornin’ Charmin’.” She approached the table, padding across the blue carpet in her bare toes. “I bet there ain’t a room in this palace smaller than a football field. By rights, I should lose pounds every day wiv’ all this bloody exercise.” She flopped into a chair.

It was not a pretty sight. Large areas of royal flesh protruded from the royal housecoat, her hair was a mess and traces of last night’s make up were still clearly visible. She looked as if she’d been dragged through several hedges backwards.

“Bring me the royal kidneys, an’ the royal kippers, an’ the royal kedgeree, an’ a royal pot o’ tea,” she shrieked.

Charming winced, his darling was not in a good mood. But the very sight of her brought tears of love to his eyes. He was so lucky, where else would a man find such a perfect woman?

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At long last, Unhappily Ever After is up for pre-order – very different from my other books, but I’ve had to be versatile in the past so why not now?

http://www.amazon.com/dp/B01DPVB4M8

http://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B01DPVB4M8

Can I do the grovelling bit here and plead and beg and exhort – you get the picture – to please re-blog this and spread the word. I will be eternally grateful. Please send your bribes in a plain brown envelope and I’ll write out the checks.

Have a great weekend.