I have two connections to this week’s guest. We are both Irish and we are both long time members of the FaceBook group Indie Authors Support and Discussion. (It’s a secret group for authors to do secret author things) I’ll leave that to your imagination! But we are a great bunch of people always willing to help and support each other – just like the group name.

I’d like to introduce you to Max, otherwise known as Patrick, who has sent me a potted version of his life to date and a little about his books.


Born and bred in Dublin, my Irishness influences my writing. I’ve been fortunate to travel the world and I’ve even lived abroad for short periods of my life, but the culture, traditions and language of the little green island I call home, are things I cannot escape. I married a childhood sweetheart which ended eventually in a divorce way too late in life, but I have been lucky to find love again and have been with my darling Joanna for the last 20 years.

All of our children are adults now and while life was tough for me in my early days, I am happy and, to be honest, I feel as though I have been lucky. It may sound odd but I also believe I made most of that luck myself.

My writing is my comfort blanket. It comes easily to me. I sit at the keyboard and I begin. Since I was a very small boy, I’ve loved words. They appeal to me. I love the sound they make, the meanings they express and the secrets they divulge. I love the way they feel in my mouth.


I wrote Darkly Wood with that love in mind. It was my intention to create a book with a style of its own, that told a rather unbelievable tale while somehow making that world real. It was such fun to write and there was so much more to tell, that it has now turned into 3 books.



Bad Blood and Larry Flynn, were long-standing stories that I wanted to tell, and Little Big Boy was perhaps my personal journey that broke me in its writing. I often cried salty tears as new ideas dripped onto the page.




Right now, I have three semi-suspended projects. I thought the whole working from home thing, would give me more time to write but it has had the opposite effect. Before Coronavirus, I came home from work, ate dinner then after walking the dogs, retired to my study to write. Now I spend my day in my study working harder than ever and I find it impossible to go back to the space I love so much at the end of a day working there.

But of course, that’s not the only reason I have taken a short sabbatical. My health is on the surface fine, but I have had a few recent challenges that demand I step back and while I cannot step away from the pressure of work, I need to look after myself or something will give.

That being said, I have a couple of crackers on the boil (I hope) and I am ‘typing away’ albeit ever so slowly. My blog is something I use to keep me fresh and active as this is always a bit of fun and it doesn’t take up much time.

If you’ve read my blog, you probably know a lot more about me than I care to think about, so it might be hard to give you a fresh insight into who Max Power the writer is in any real sense. Of course, Max is a pen name but that’s a practical thing for me, it serves a purpose. So, what can I tell you? Jo is the chief chef in our house but I am the master snacktician. Lunch is my speciality.

Joanna is practical. She plans and makes beautiful dinners which we have in the evening at our house, but when it comes to lunch, she is a heathen. Hunger rules and it’s whatever will sate her hunger in the moment that she goes for. I on the other hand, never get hungry. It is a weird thing. I can go all day without food, wouldn’t bother me. Left to my own devices, I could forget to eat. So, when I decide to prepare a meal, be it simple or elaborate, I will consider taste, flavour, smell, colour, design, and desire. It is always a triumph, but largely because I have the patience to create something a little different, as hunger never gets in the way.

My writing is like that. I sometimes add very thinly sliced strawberries to a salad, something that would horrify many people, yet you really need to try it, you might be surprised. So that’s what I do. I write like I make lunch. Never dull, always with a different twist, I am patient enough to look for exactly what I want – but most importantly, once you’ve had it, you know who has made it, and hopefully, you will come back for more.

OK, I have to be honest here, the Darkly Wood series freaked me out a little, but if you’re a Stephen King fan, you will love them. My favourite book is Little Big Boy.

Here are the links to Max’s books.

Thank you Max for sharing your story with us.

If you would like a guest post on my blog, then leave me a message on Facebook or in the comments box below.


You will be hearing more from me about Tom Benson in the next few weeks as he’s putting a book of short stories together and he’s included one of mine.

I don’t think this is Tom’s first guest post, as we have been virtual friends for years and it’s thanks to him I have a web site. He helped me so much in the early days.


Soldier, Retailer, Author

Saying that you spend your time telling tales is akin to admitting you have an illness.

Hello … my name is Tom … and I’m a … writer.”

Hello, Tom.

Yes, it isn’t easy to be open at first, but when a writer’s work earns a few great reviews, it lends legitimacy. No longer are you one of those strange creatures who spend their time living in another world. You are an author, envied by others. You’re earning money from months of toil—perhaps not a lot, but for authors like me, the real reward is knowing from the positive feedback that you have entertained.

There is a widespread notion that writing is an exclusive, even exotic activity. Still, like many things, you can join the club if you’re prepared to put in the time and effort to learn your craft, plus, of course, accept criticism of, as well as credit for your work.

Consider a cake with elaborate decorations. Anyone can gather ingredients and lay them out on a clean surface. It’s the choices of quantity, how those items are blended, and how the mixture is processed, which creates the basic cake. Only with the foundation can the decoration be added; the edible ingredients with which will make it appealing.

Whether it be a short story or novel, there is a sense of fulfillment when you start with a blank screen and with god-like power, create a world from imagination. It must be a believable world with characters, dialogue, and imagery, supported by narrative, a plot, and subplots.

An author can make a book sound exotic. Among my published titles are Ten Days in Panama and Amsterdam Calling.

Continuing with international intrigue, one of my next books will be Czech Mate. In crime thrillers, I can offer such titles as A Taste of Honey set in the USA, or the Beyond The Law trilogy set mainly in Scotland.

I left Glasgow in 1969 aged seventeen and headed to England to join the British Army. While in training, I thought it might well be a short career. During the next twenty-three years, I patrolled streets in Belfast, manned a helicopter-borne camera over Londonderry, and operated a radio in the military train travelling through East Germany from West Berlin. I worked radios all over West Germany, trained young recruits in the UK, and served throughout the first Gulf War.

At the age of forty, I tackled fresh challenges when I became a retail manager. After six months of training, once again, I was in a uniform. I wore a badge and had a team of people who, sometimes with a bit of gentle persuasion performed as I asked.

I changed jobs a few times, going from food and supermarkets to car accessories and then on to stationery which is where I finally settled. Pens, pencils, paper, binders, staplers, punches, printers, laminators and much more besides and I was happy at work for the first time in a long time. As an artist and calligrapher, I was at home. After gaining experience, I spent five years roaming around the UK. I opened new stores and closed failing stores. I had responsibility for hiring, firing, training, disciplining and developing staff, so I enjoyed my second career, which lasted twenty-five years.

I’d always enjoyed reading, and while still in retail, my thoughts turned to a personal dream—to write a book. I’d tried to produce my military memoirs back in the mid-90s, but the writing was awful. By 2010, having read a lot more, I figured I was ready to try creative writing again. I first read several textbooks on the subject.

My poetry online got lots of good reviews. I moved on to short stories and won prizes, both national and international. My first novel was a crime thriller, but the literary creativity was like a drug, I had a burning desire to write for hours every day, at every opportunity.

It was several years and a few books down the line when I revisited those military memories of mine, and I tried again. I describe the tale as fact-based-fiction, but A Life of Choice is a five-ebook series based on my military career. In effect, I researched it over many years but wrote about it only when I had earned my stripes in writing. The story is my top-selling title.

My latest experiment isn’t doing too badly, my post-apocalyptic survival story Light at The End. Thanks to some great feedback, it’s now the first book in a trilogy.

Perhaps I’m biased in believing that to write convincingly you must have experienced highs and lows in life. I always gave my best effort as a soldier and retailer. I still do.

Tom Benson–author.

Now is a great time to pick up one of Tom’s books as he’s reduced them all to $/£0.99 during the Covid crisis – links below:



Ten Days in Panama:
Amsterdam Calling:
A Taste of Honey:
Light at The End:
Beyond The Law – Box Set:
A Life of Choice – Box Set:

Thank you, Tom.

If you would like to be a guest on my blog, post in the comments below, or drop me a message on Facebook.



There are many of us living here on the Costa Blanca who are writing books. I first met Ray when we shared a table together at a local Christmas charity fair. Since then we’ve kept in touch and attended book launches and plan to travel to Valencia to give a presentation to students about books and writing. (When the lockdown allows). We both worked on the same local radio show until the owners returned to the UK. Ray’s books are based on his years working for Her Majesty’s Prison Service.  – In his own words.


I was born in the early hours of 17 July 1949 in Peckham, South London. My early years seem to go from bad to worse and I would describe my family situation as broken. I´m presently writing about those early years and hope to let it see the light of day before too long.

My working like began in 1965 at Daily Mirror newspapers in High Holborn. I left for pastures new at Charles Barker Recruitment in 1973. In 1975 I joined HM Prison Service and it turned out to be my life´s work.

When I retired in 2005 I was a governor. During the 30 plus years, I had worked in 25 prison establishments as well as HQ. I met some incredible people, both staff and prisoners.


We moved to our new villa in Spain one week after I retired, a decision we have never regretted.

I have been writing poetry since 1965 and decided to have a go at writing a book in 2010. A creative writing course put me on the right track.

My first novel Lock-Down Blues was published in 2014. It was a crime thriller based in a prison in NE England. My second novel Unlock These Hands was published in 2018 and is available on Amazon in paperback and Kindle formats. I still have copies of both books. I´m presently working on a third which will complete the trilogy.

We love to travel the world and are happy when we return home to Spain.

You can contact Ray on his web site    

Ray’s books are one of the few paperbacks I have on my shelves. Look him up.



I have read so many posts and laughed at dozens of cartoons about this lockdown. So, let’s add a bit more.


I mentioned in my last blog I felt guilty. Yes, I do because I loved the serenity. The guilt comes from knowing that so many people out there are suffering the loss of loved ones, or are panic-stricken about work, or losing their businesses.

Huddled away here in our little rabbit hutch in Spain we have avoided all that. While I may worry about the future of our pension, for now we can cope.


The peace and quiet were exquisite – though one friend did mention that life was very little different for me as I am constantly welded to my laptop. No planes flew overhead, no traffic on the road and although we are rural since they re-tarred the road between the villages the noise has gone up.

virus cartoon stay with girlfriend

As the figures of Corona Virus case rose alarmingly in Spain, I heard from people I’d not spoken to in years. They wanted to make sure we were still alive.

Here, we were in total lockdown and the Spanish were fantastic. Only one person allowed out just to the nearest supermarket and pharmacy, up to twice a week. No couples or families. No walks outside, except 50 metres if you had a dog to exercise. I saw one fantastic clip of a lady lowering her pooch swathed in a sling from her third-floor balcony.

It’s a long time since I’ve seen such creativity. There was singing and other entertainment from balconies, and the police and ambulance vehicles drove around with lights flashing and horns blasting to entertain the children who were locked in – especially on birthdays. Police even serenaded residents from the streets.

The police also found time to erect numerous roadblocks and there were plenty of fines. If you were turned back, you dared not argue. You do not mess with the Guardia Civil.

We found limited supplies in the shops, but managed to get everything we needed and we saw no panic buying.

lockdown horoscope

Slowly we are being released, but slowly. We have moved from Phase Zero to Phase One and can drive within the province and some shops are open. Social distancing and masks are obligatory, and the size of the fines encourage me to obey even if my glasses fog up and I can’t see where I’m going. We were told we were going into Phase 2 last week, but this has now been rescinded.

There has been a sense of camaraderie which may not be accurate, as our Spanish is too poor to understand the probable infighting among the politicians.

Despite it all, the local people have remained cheerful and upbeat, even shocking DH as they identified him as eligible to go to the head of the queue outside the supermarket. I have mentioned to him he does not look 21 any longer, but not sure he believes me. He’s busy growing the lockdown beard which will come off, he tells me, the day ‘The State of Alarm’ is over. It’s now been extended until June 9th.


Having no idea how long this was all going to last, I planned to learn fluent Spanish, de-clutter the house – spring clean throughout and plan the rest of my year.

What did I actually do? What else but write, write and write some more for most of my waking moments except for three short outings since March 13th. I launched my latest book last week, though it was more a slide out, and I’m 12 words into the next one.

We are due out to supper next week and it appears a momentous occasion.

I’m a bit of a cynic in that I think we will not learn too much from all this. It will be too easy to slip back into the old ways although some people will prefer to work from home, I guess. And with the new apps for conferencing, what a lot of time and travel that would save. But then it’s fun to jump on a plane isn’t it? You feel more important than sitting in bunny slippers talking to some CEO on the other side of the world. I’m not sure man has learned very much since he was off hunting mammoths.

Have you read any of my books? If not why not grab as it’s free.

And if you enjoy it, check out the others here

Till next time, take care and stay safe.

Since my free edition of WordPress doesn’t allow videos, I can only post this link here. I laughed till I cried – it may strike a chord with you if you remember the Ladybird Books in school.




We stopped off for a quick bite at this cute little restaurant where we were the only people. In fact, most of the area was pretty deserted – possibly because they heard I wanted to take photos without crowds.



If there is a castle to go in, then I go in.


It’s not just a single building but almost a small town, with interlinking courtyards and of course the St Vitus Cathedral up there as well next to the palace.


They began building all this in the 9th century and was home to Presidents, Kings of Bohemia and Holy Roman Emperors. A World Heritage site it’s the largest ancient castle in the world occupying 70,000 square metres.


The lovebirds, Isabella and Ferdinand, spend two hours together and renew their betrothal vows before Ferdinand returns to the town of Dueňas to wait for the wedding. The next few days are nerve-wracking. Henry’s forces could arrive at any minute. There is very little money for a wedding, how can you celebrate a royal wedding without money?  The couple are forced to borrow from members of the noble houses.

isabella 3

But, as they say, that’s not all! There is the little problem of consanguinity – yes the pair are both descended from the same ancestor. It will mean a dispensation from the Pope of the time allowing them to marry. And the Pope is friends with …? You guessed it King Henry and the Marquis of Villena who are against the marriage.

Isabella gets a bit difficult at this stage and says that she cannot marry without this dispensation.  She is deeply religious, and although she believes in the divine plan for her nuptials with Ferdinand, if it is not done properly, then God will not look on favourably. Are they ever going to share a bed?


Last week I told you how we moved 450 kms north taking with us our new Ayah or maid or housekeeper whichever term you prefer. Agreeing she could bring her boyfriend, or husband, I never really found out which he was, at first was a boon. He helped light the Rhodesian boiler every morning. A stone built contraction with a shelf to place logs which were then burnt and heated the oil drum above which was connected to the hot water tank in the house.

rhodesian boiler

It was the only way we could have hot water indoors. But I also mentioned there were long queues of eager looking men outside our gate every afternoon during the hours Ntebling was not working. It took me a few days to work it out, but then the penny dropped when I saw money changing hands. Whether he was married to her or not, Ntebling’s male friend was also her pimp. With two young daughters in the house I just couldn’t risk it and sadly paid them an extra month’s wages and waved them goodbye. It would be cold showers for us until we found a replacement to work that Rhodesian boiler.


Having stared this year fighting a variety of unwelcome bugs, I’ve not yet launched my latest book. I’ve been dithering whether to just slide it out quietly or make a huge splash and scream about it from the rooftops.

Amie 5 cover 1 hyena

Watch this space, it will be out soon. In the meantime, this is the blurb.

Rare minerals have been found in the north of Togodo and representatives from six of the world’s most powerful nations are desperate to win the contract to mine and export them. The new president Ben Mtumba invites them on safari to bid for the rights. 

 MI5, aware of Amie’s old friendship with Ben, fly her back to spy on him and ensure Britain’s success in the mining venture. Should the new president prove uncooperative, they will support any one of several ministers who are more than willing to replace him as president.

 Between pressure from her own government and her loyalty to Ben, Amie is put in an impossible position, aware that both her life, the life of her unborn child, and Ben’s are all at risk.

 To add to her problems, her fiancé Simon has been sent back to England and she has lost all contact with him. He is unaware of the drama unfolding in Togodo and has information, which, if it came to light would have drastic effects on the safari and the auction.

Till next time, take care.




Of course, the main attraction in Prague is the castle. And, I know why they put castles on top of hills – so they could see who was coming to attack – but I don’t do hills. Luckily there was a bus that took us most of the way up, and dropped us in this square.

3c10fff7-dc28-4c4a-91a8-ca0ecd4fe7cd - copy




Considering Isabella had never met Ferdinand, I can only think she decided he was the ‘one’ as they were about the same age – she is 19 and he’s all of 18. She would have seen a portrait I’m sure, but boy did the painters in those days lie through their brushes.

fedinand 3

But their royal marriage will be one of the few where the bride and groom are so close in age. Remember, while Disney tells us they lead happy, delightful lives, in reality they were just marriage fodder for the good of their country.

Ferdinand is introduced to her as “His Highness Don Ferdinand, King of Sicily and Prince of Aragon.” Unbelievably, he is indeed the man of her dreams. She is enchanted and Ferdinand? Ferdinand believes she is malleable. However, Isabella does not forget that Castile and Leon are more important than Aragon, Ferdinand will be given the title of King but out of courtesy only. I’m sure he was already planning how to change all that.


The girls and I grew very fond of Ntebeling and she said many times that she wanted to go on working for us when we moved into a place of our own.


I was happy about that, but then we were moved, from Gaborone the capital to Francistown 450 kilometres to the north. I was surprised when Ntebeleng said that was fine she didn’t mind moving. A couple of days later she asked if her husband could come too and I agreed. She also added that he could help around the garden if I liked. I liked.

We’d been there less than a week when I began to notice long queues outside our gate every afternoon. Something was going on, but I couldn’t figure out what. Have a guess before next week.


I have managed with the help of a kind friend to link my web page to my blog. So you can easily hop from one to the other – and view all my books on my site (hint). I have published 12 so far in 3 different genres, so there is something for everyone.

The link, just in  case 😊

Till next time, take care



This week another author from the Reader Recommends Facebook group. I love the books this author writes and I think I’ve read every single one of them. For someone who says they have lived a very conventional life, her imagination is exceptional.  Not only are they great reads, but the royalties go to a very good cause.

paulette 1

paulette 2

paulette 3

paulette 4

paulette 5

paulette 6

You can connect with Paulette here :



Amazon author page:



If you are an author what is your greatest wish? It must be the same as mine.

There is a ring at the doorbell, you open it and there stands Steven Spielberg holding a copy of your book. He begs you to allow him to make it into a major motion picture and thrusts the contract into your hand together with a cheque for an obscene amount.

If you are a reader, what could be better than telling all your friends that the writer of the latest blockbuster that’s breaking all box office records is your friend on Facebook and you knew them when they were just a poor little indie screaming ‘buy my free book.’


We can all dream.

I’ve mentioned before that when the dinosaurs roamed the earth I wrote for radio and television. This gave me the weird idea that I could write. Once I started with the books, I was soon told my grammar was appalling, my commas were all over the place and I disgraced myself by beginning sentences with adverbs. You don’t have to worry about all that kind of stuff writing for other media. For the next three months, in my rambling blog on the first Monday I thought I would show the difference between the media.

I’ll use a passage from my comedy book as an example. The scene is where The Green Giant, sent by the Red Party to ferment unrest in Charmingdon chooses one of the peasants to lead the revolution.TWEET 2

The printed version:-

“Come,” he commanded, “you will lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate their ills. You will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.”

“Me!” squeaked the man gazing into the Green Giant’s face. “Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.”

The Giant pulled the man to his feet and led him to the front, amid cheers, hand clapping and stamping feet. If there were some peasants who looked a little startled by the Giant’s choice, he failed to notice.

“Here is your leader,” he boomed, waving the man’s arms in the air for him. “Greet your Comrade in Charge.” A renewed burst of cheering ensued and under the commotion the Giant bent to ask his name.

“Englebert, sir,” he replied bowing low.

“No!” exclaimed the Giant, “you don’t make obeisance to me, we are all brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.”

“Ooh,” replied Englebert, “can I have this nice coat then?” he fingered the green jacket.

“No, you bloody well can’t,” snapped the august Party emissary, “and get your filthy paws off it, you’re making it all dirty. You can bloody well earn it like I had to.” He slapped away Englebert’s hand and turned to smile at the audience afraid of what they might think of his behaviour.

“Shame,” sighed Englebert, “it’s such a pretty green.”

The Giant turned back to the crowd and held aloft an imperious hand. The peasants subsided and were quiet.

“Now is the time,” he announced, “for your chosen brother to address you all. I give you Comrade Englebert.”

“I don’t know where they all live,” complained Englebert.

“What’s that got to do with it?” hissed the Giant in a low voice.

“Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I can’t write addresses, I can’t even write me own name,” the peasant protested.

“No, no,” said the Giant, “talk to them, make a speech.”

Englebert smiled. “I can talk all right, nothing wrong with me tongue.” He turned and beamed at the assembly. “Hello,” he said.

“Hello,” they chorused back. Englebert promptly sat down looking very pleased with himself.

The Green Giant hauled him to his feet just as fast.

“You must say more than that,” he hissed. “Tell them what you do.”

“I’m the third-under-trainee front doorstep polisher at the palace,” announced Englebert proudly.

“You do you what?” His new mentor’s eyebrows shot up.

Englebert looked puzzled. “I polish the front doorsteps.”

“And how long, Englebert,” boomed the Giant, “have you been under trainee front uh, step polisher?”

Englebert thought for several minutes. “Oh I dunno,” he said, “as long as I can remember. All my life I ‘spose.”

“This man is typical of the injustice of this class system. He has never been given the opportunity to advance his position, to rise to … er, second-under-trainee front step polisher, to first polisher. Will he ever have the chance of polishing the steps all by himself, maybe to rise to the heights of being in charge of the very front door!”

As the oratory flowed, those who knew Englebert well, wriggled uncomfortably in their seats. They were very aware of his capabilities, or rather lack of them. He was very lucky to hold the job he had, it was only through the kindness of King Charming that the poor dolt was employed at all. He certainly wasn’t any good at polishing anything, they always gave him the bits at the side behind the pillars which wouldn’t show.

“Now Englebert, tell your people for what they will be striving.”

“I don’t know,” he mumbled miserably. Englebert wished this fascinating, well dressed, charismatic visitor wouldn’t use such long words. He really didn’t understand him at all.

The Green Giant gave him a nasty look. “What are your personal plans for achievement?” Englebert looked at him blankly.

“What would you like to be? What would you like to do?” the comrade asked with as much patience as he could muster.

“I don’t know,” Englebert paused. “I’m very happy,” he added.

“No! No, you’re not. You’re not supposed to be happy, that defeats the whole object of the exercise,” exclaimed the giant.

This confused the step polisher. “So you want me to be unhappy?” he asked obligingly.

“No! I’m here to make you happy! Can’t you understand that?”

Englebert couldn’t.

“Look, you’re not happy now, I want to make you happy, but you can’t be happy until after the revolution.”

“Why not?”

“Because that’s the whole point of the struggle, the result of which will make you happy.”

“It will?”

“Of course it will.”

“But why do I have to struggle first?”

“To achieve happiness. True contentment only comes after true suffering.”

“But I told you before,” protested Englebert, “I’m already happy.”


“Yes, I am.”

If he’d had any sense, the Green Giant would have given up there and then, and departed for more fertile minds in less fertile lands. But a sense of obstinacy made him stand firm.

“Let’s start with the basics,” he said. “Money. Who would like to double their wages?” One or two hands were raised.

“Come on,” he exhorted, “everyone wants to spend, everyone wants a higher standard of living.”

“What for?” enquired Englebert.

“What for! New clothes, more to eat, better houses, a television in every home.”







act 1 scene 5

RAY:   (FROM OFF MIKE CALLING) Evening peasant Loco, an’ peasant Fred and peasant Sam, you here too?

SAM:  (ON MIKE) Yeah, sneaked off work early well afore midnight.




SAM:  (LOUD WHISPER) ‘ere ‘e comes now.



GG:     (ON MIKE) Welcome peasants to this inaugural meeting. Thank you all

for coming.

RAY:   (UNDER) Inorg…? What does that mean Fred?


GG:     (ON MIKE, LOUD) My name is the Green Giant, and I have been sent by

the Red Party across the border in Monrovia to lead you in your glorious

revolt. I am here tonight to choose a man to lead you in your revolution

for freedom! I am coming to choose a man among you worthy of the

honour of leading you.


FRED: A revolution? Was’ that Loco?

LOCO: Never ‘eard of such a thing Fred.


RAY:   Ooo Sam, he’s coming over here! I’m scared.

SAM:  I aint’ leading anything what I don’t understand.


GG:     Come, I choose you to lead your people out of bondage. You will liberate

their ills. You, will speak for all the downtrodden in Charmingdon.

LOCO: Whose ‘he got there? I can’t see!

RAY:   He’s chosen … oh no!

LOCO: Ray, who, who’s he chosen?

RAY:   Looks like it’s Englebert. Lawd, what a choice!

SAM:  No, never! Englebert?


GG:     Yes you. Stand up.


GG:     Come up on stage with me now to address your people.

ENG: Well, aw right, if yer want me to. I’ve always done as I’m told.




MUTTERS: Well really.


GG:     I give you your leader! Greet your Comrade in Charge.


GG:     (UNDER TO ENGLEBERT) What’s your name?

ENG:   Englebert Sir.

GG:     (SHOUTING) Quiet, quiet everyone!


GG:     Englebert no! Stop bowing! You do not make obeisance to me, we are all

brothers together, one and the same. We share everything, we are all equal.

ENG:   Ooh, can I have your nice coat then? It’s such a pretty shade of green and

looks so warm, I’m, sure it would fit me, if I tucked it up, you are much taller

than me.

GG:     (WHISPERS) No, you bloody well can’t … and get your filthy paws off it,

you’re making it all dirty.



You can bloody well earn it like I had to. (LOUDLY TO AUDIENCE)

Now, is the time for your chosen brother to address you. I give you Comrade



ENG:   (UNDER ON MIKE) I don’t know where they all live.

GG:     (LOUD ANGRY WHISPER) What’s that got to do with it?

ENG:   Well, it wouldn’t matter anyway, because I can’t write addresses, I can’t

even write me own name.

GG:     No! You just need to talk to them.

ENG:   Thas’ all right then I can talk, nothing wrong with my tongue. (ON MIKE) LOUDLY ADDRESSING AUDIENCE) Hello.

AUDIENCE:   Hello Englebert.


GG:     (HISSES UNDER) What are you sitting down for? Stand up you stupid man.

You must say more than that. These are your new faithful revolutionaries,

you must inspire them.

ENG:   Like what do I say?

GG:     Uh, tell them what you do.

ENG:   (PROUDLY) I (BEAT) am very proud to be the third-under-trainee front

doorstep polisher at the palace.

GG:     (HORRIFIED) You’re what!


front doorsteps of course.

GG:     (CLEARS THROAT – BOOMS) Ah. And how long, Englebert have you been

under trainee front uh, step polisher?

ENG:   (BEAT) Oh, I dunno as long as I can remember. All my life I ‘spose.

GG:     (ADDRESSES CROWD) This poor man is typical of the injustice of this class

system. He has never been given the opportunity to advance his position,

to rise to … er, second-under-trainee front step polisher, to first polisher.

Will he ever have the chance of polishing the steps all by himself, maybe to

rise to the heights of being in charge of the very front door! (FADE AND

HOLD UNDER RAMBLING RHETORIC) Advancement in later years …

opportunity for fulfilment … a new future …

RAY:   (ON MIKE) He better not get promoted, he can’t even do the job what he’s


FRED: (ON MIKE) That’s true, they always gives him the bits round the side as won’t

show. If it was not for our beloved King Charming, he wouldn’t have a job

at all.

SAM: (ON MIKE) This ‘ere Green Giant is loopy I reckon.

LOCO: (ON MIKE) Can’t make head nor tail of a word of it.


GG:     (ON MIKE) Now Englebert, tell your people for what they will be striving.

ENG:   I don’t know, you use all them long words as what I can’t understand …


As you can see, I’ve added in the extra peasant characters so they can tell us what is going on through dialogue. In radio you only have sound to work with, so it is either voices or special effects. Ha, I found I was a bit rusty, it’s a while since I’ve written a radio script. But I would welcome your comments. Would this work for you if you were listening? Apologies for the formatting which didn’t hold properly on the way into WordPress.

I have not transposed the whole passage but left it there either for you to try it out for yourself, or as a fun read.


UEA PB+K squared clear bg small

Next time, I’ll use the format for a video script, which will be different again.

Till then, take care.



To make up for not being able to have a seaside cottage for the summer holidays, the Habsburgs built lovely gardens round their holiday shack which stretch way into the distance. We were there in May and the flowers, despite me not knowing a dandelion from a tulip, were delightful. I was rather surprised I didn’t see a single gardener as we walked around – they don’t mow the lawns and tend the gardens at night do they?


There was also another surprise attraction I’ll share with you next week.


Last week I left poor little princess Isabella growing up lonely in a huge, dark, empty, dank castle in the middle of nowhere. (You may get the tissues out here).

Henry IV 3

Her father John II had arranged in his will for his children to be financially well cared for, but half-brother Henry doesn’t comply – either from a desire to keep his half siblings restricted or simply through ineptitude. Like his father before him, he is a totally incompetent king.

He just likes playing all day long and letting his advisors run the country (as you do when you’re king). Come on, be honest. Would you be bothered by your insane sister in law and her brats miles away when you could hunt, sit for your portrait, whore and play with your crown jewels all day long? Of course, you wouldn’t. So, he didn’t either.



There is a pharmaceutical company in Germany (I suspect there are several) who have discovered the benefits of a root growing in Africa that helps control arthritis. It’s called the Devil’s Claw. We were sent to make a programme about this which led to one of my most embarrassing moments.

The moment we stepped out of the car, we were greeted as we often were, with a group singing and dancing in national costume. I was then led into the village hall and to my horror up onto a stage and a paper thrust into my hands. It read “REASON FOR DAY MRS (REAL NAME)”

I was then asked to make a speech and I had no idea what to say. What I knew about their work digging up the Devil’s Claw roots you could write on a pin. This often happened to us, budget and time were so tight there was no chance of researching beforehand and no internet to take a quick peep.

This is what the root looks like and I’ll tell you more next time.

devils claw


WRS 13 FEB 2018

Till next time, take care.





Now because I’ve decided we need more pictures in here, these are two statues in Vienna, but sadly I can’t tell you anything about them.

I thought I would be really mean and pop up a couple more pics of the scrumptious cakes they have in Vienna. Austria is renowned worldwide for its cakes and hot chocolate.

Saturday, we got up early and walked to Karlsplatz and got on the underground for a trip out of town to visit the Schönbrunn (beautiful spring) Palace.


This is the tiny country cottage that Empress Maria Theresa inherited and then extended it a little (as you do). She enlarged it to 1,441 rooms in the Baroque style making it one of the most important monuments in Austria. It’s been the summer holiday home for the Habsburgs, and it’s very sad they couldn’t play on the beach or swim in the sea as Austria doesn’t have a seaside.


These days, in fact since the mid 50’s they let any old people wander around it, so we were let in too. The palace reflects 300 years of history, reflecting the changing tastes, interests, and aspirations of successive Habsburg monarchs.



Over 500 years earlier in Spain, in the castle of Avila, the Dowager Queen constantly tells her young daughter “If your stepbrother Henry dies without heirs, then your younger brother Alfonso will be king.  If Alfonso dies, you, Isabella will become queen.”  This is a little daunting when you’re only 6, but the really scary thing is that the Dowager Queen is terrified that the new king is out to harm the little Princess Isabella. Don’t forget she is mad.Henry IV 6

So, she whisks the kids off to the lonely castle of Aravelo to keep them safe. Princess Isabella has lessons and, under instruction from her mother spends an awful lot of time praying. She spends hours and hours each day on her knees.  Court etiquette is rigid, it’s more nunnery than a royal court.

Aravelo castle 2


I thought that as all but one of my books is set in Africa I would try and include an interesting fact that you might not know.

Ask anyone which animal is the most dangerous in Africa and they will probably quote one of the Big 5 – lion, Cape buffalo, leopard, rhinoceros and elephant.

However, many local Africans living in rural areas will tell you it’s the Honey Badger.


Many Africans will tell you they are the fiercest of all the animals. They’re not really badgers and though only 28 centimeters high, they’re notorious for their strength, ferocity, and toughness. They have been known to savagely and fearlessly attack almost any kind of animal when escape is impossible, even repelling lions. They will also attack horses, cattle and Cape Buffalo and their skin is so thick that bee stings and porcupine quills rarely penetrate it. When they attack they are virtually tireless and urban legend has it they will jump up and grab a large animal by the testicles and refuse to let go.

I scripted a video for National Geographic a few years ago, where a couple hand reared a cub before releasing it into the wild when it was old enough to fend for itself. It was one of the best projects I have ever worked on.

Finally, a quick reminder about my books with this advert.


Till next week, take care.