Time for more professional animal photos. These are some of the finalists from The Natural History Museum annual Wildlife Photographer of the Year 2019 exhibition that I saw through The Evening Standard. Do you have a favourite?
Big news. Fantastic news. My second book is ready. My first book The Summer of Madness was a novella about a guy trying to win back his girlfriend. This time around it reflects my love of short story writers who challenged the format of the genre. Rather than one story, it is seven short ones, each in a style that deliberately strays from the regular format in order to go for something far more creative and imaginative. Regular readers will have already seen one of them, with my last post Punbelievable, which happily got wonderful feedback. You’ll also notice the incredible cover. My thanks to the very awesome Meg Sorick who drew it.
If you’re interested to read the other six stories, that’s great. I’d be happy to answer any questions. You can get a copy here.
Hey everyone. Hope you’ve all had a wonderful weekend. I’ll be putting up details of my second book in my next post, but as a thanks to you who have been so supportive of my writing I wanted to share one of the short stories here. Please enjoy, and feel free to add any comments on the story below.
Finley Waters: Man, what a day. Thanks for choosing this restaurant Robin. It was very tweet of you to remember it was my birthday.
Robin Foxton: I saw a blog review that said it ofishially has the best seafood section in town. Would have been shellfish not to share it with you. Especially as we haven’t met up since your business trip to Swimapore.
Finley Waters: It shore looks a good plaice. As I was heading out of the office, my colleague looked envious and said “Let minnow what you order.”
Robin Foxton: It’s been ages since they sat us down. Service cod be a lot better.
Finley Waters: Service bad, food great. That’s what I’ve been herring from everyone. I’ll sea if I can get that waiter’s attention. Done! Eel be right over.
Waiter: (comes over) Welcome to The Eating Among the Fishes restaurant. I’ll be your server today. Sorry for the delay. It sardinely got very busy. Water day! I had to clam a few people down. They were getting a bit crabby. Our reservations system had some problems. Thankfully, it’s going swimmingly now.
Robin Foxton: Let’s have a bottle of your finest house white. Just for the halibut. And no need to debait this. I’m having the lobster paella.
Finley Waters: I don’t need to mullet over either. I’m having the sea bass, fish cakes and tuna salad.
Waiter: Grilliant choices. I’ll be right back. (leaves)
Robin Foxton: I swear, that waiter looks like Salmon Rushdie!
Finley Waters: He really does. I wonder if he gets that when he’s trout and about. I was just wondering whether to perchase one of his books. Funny old world. Any fin is possible.
Robin Foxton: Ah nice, I’ve been reading a bit recently. Catfish 22. If you get the opportunaty you just have to read it. I’d add Metamorfifish, Wuthering Pikes and the Jaws of Perception too.
Waiter: (approaches) Here is your bottle. It’s dolphinately a fine choice (pours both glasses and then leaves).
Finley Waters: So how are things at work? That new guy sounds useless. Like he was lost at sea and completely out of his depth. And how are things with your new gillfriend? Come on, don’t be koi. All I know is that she’s a dog lover.
Robin Foxton: Ah yes, Pawline. Mutt have been fate. It’s not like I’ve been active on the dating scene. I’ve been doggedly after that promotion.
Finley Waters: I know! You’ve been alsationable on that score. I’ve not seen you in weeks.
Robin Foxton: Sorry about that. I guess my inner ambition was unleashed after that work trip. Working those long hours has been ruff. I wasn’t the only one trying to move up. Would have made a dramatic dogumentary. Real dog eat dog stuff. Being hounded all the time. But since meeting her it doesn’t seem to matter. I was probably the underdog anyhow.
Finley Waters: Did you and the mastiff dog lover meet at your vet practice?
Robin Foxton: No, I was on a quick lunch break and literally ran into her at the supermarket. You know me, always dachshund around.
Finley Waters: So, what happened after? Pup and running from the get go?
Robin Foxton: We agreed to go to this fancy Italian restaurant. She was late as she had left her handbag behind and had to go back so she could retriever purse and stuff. Almost made her late for the reservation. I was thinking: “Howl late will she be?”
Finley Waters: People being late. That’s my pet hate.
Robin Foxton: It was worth it, though. She looked so fetching. Real elegant restaurant too. The pianist even played Poochini.
Finley Waters: Fur real? That is classy.
Robin Foxton: It turns out we’ve a really similar sense of humour. She’s a big fan of Eddie Lizzard, Tuna Fey, Jelly Seinfeld Anchovy Chase.
Finley Waters: Well she’s got my seal of approval. What does she do?
Robin Foxton: She’s a freelance fundraiser for various animal charities and animal shelters. She does so much. She even organised a huge event to save some rhinos at no extra charge. And she’s so romantic. She’s got into the rabbit of baking me animal-shaped cookies. As the weather has been so much otter recently, she’s been doing jungle ones.
Waiter: (enters) Here sir, is your lobster bisque. And also, the sea bass, fish cakes and tuna salad. We’ve recently added the collieflower to the dish, so any feedback at the end of the meal would be most welcome. (leaves)
Robin Foxton: It’s only my second time eating lobster. I won’t be wolfing this down! But yeah, things have been going super well. Just remembered. At canine pm, the local store closes and I need to pick up a few things.
Finley Waters: So, pug in the gaps for me. What do you two talk about?
Robin Foxton: She just loves dogs. But she used to have all kinds of pets growing up. Now she has two dogs, Bark Twain and Droolius Caesar. Funnily enough, she also has a cat that shares your birthday.
Finley Waters: You’re kitten me?
Robin Foxton: Yeah, pretty ameowsing really. I’m feline good about this. I think it’s meant tabby with this one. If anything, I’m worried it’s going too purrfectly. But enough about me. I heard there was a bit of a catastrophe on your trip.
Finley Waters: Yeah, we got Cat, our next door neighbour Cat to keep an eye on the house when we were away and water the plants in the house. You know my wife and I went to a tour of Italy for a break. Real romemantic place.
Robin Foxton: I guess once you’re Turin there you forget about life back home.
Finley Waters: Genoally, the best country I’ve ever visited. You have to go. You’re messina out otherwise. Turns out, the neighbour had left the water running. The florence all flooded. Quite a lot ruined. I wanted to give her a pizza my mind. But amid all the comotion you realise it was an honest mistake. Her parents have agreed to cover the repair bill. No point making a fountain out of a molehill.
Robin Foxton: You do live life a lot more Capri spirited than I do. House it going with the recovery?
Finley Waters: You know I believe in karma. If you don’t act kindly now, you’ll pompeii for it later. Yeah, we got all the new stuff fine.
Robin Foxton: That’s wonderful to hear. It will be our six month anniversary tomorrow so I got all this cool stuff booked well in advance, including the biggest bouquet of flowers you’ve ever seen. Didn’t want to leaf it until the last minute.
Finley Waters: Great to see you this happy. You had some tough break ups back in the day. There was Rose, Jasmine, Daisy, Poppy, Violet, Olive, Flora, Iris, Holly, Ivy, Heather and, what was her name again? Oh yeah, Lily. Her mum Hyacinth was always so nice to me. Didn’t Lily go abroad after you broke up?
Robin Foxton: That’s why we broke up actually. She was an environmentalist. I wanted to sweep her off her feet but that relationship was just littered with mistakes. We’ve both moved on now though. She’s dating a farmer. I always knew someone who worked outdoors would a tractor.
Finley Waters: Awesome. Let’s get the bill. Hang on, where’s my wallet. This scampi happening. Oh wait, there it is. Freaks me out when I change pockets.
Waiter: (approaches and takes plate) You enjoyed the dishes? I have to ask. The head chef has been grilling me. I said I’d kelp out by finding out what you thought of the new salad? He’s been fishing for compliments all day.
Finley Waters: I did. Ah yes, your spacific request. Yeah, all great. Nothing to hake at all. If you can bring over the bill as well please. (waiter leaves) Oh before I forget. Did you know I can jump higher than a house? Because houses can’t jump (laughs).
Robin Foxton: (rolls eyes) You and your wordplay. You’d never catch me doing that.
For my whole life, I didn’t know if I even really existed. But I do, and people are starting to notice.
I used to think that my life was a tragedy, but now I realise, it’s a comedy.
Is it just me, or is it getting crazier out there?
Arthur Fleck / The Joker (Joaquin Phoenix) in the brilliantly dark and layered Joker (2019), that tells of a struggling comedian’s spiral and how it brings out his alter-ego. With its minimal use of CGI and standalone story, it is big departure from recent superhero films. I just had to have more than one quote.
There aren’t many actors who had the streak of success of Arnold Schwarzenegger, who had an extraordinary string of hit films in the 1980s and 1990s. And more than a few catchphrases. These days he’s more focused on politics, but he does still makes time for acting. How many of these do you recognise?
Film 1. (1960s)
Film 2. (1980s)
Film 3. (1980s)
Film 4. (1980s)
Film 5. (1980s)
Film 6. (1980s)
Film 7. (1990s)
Film 8. (1990s)
Film 9. (1990s)
Film 10. (1990s)
Film 11. (1990s)
Film 12. (1990s)
In pitch dark
I go walking in your landscape
Trip me as I speak
The opening lines from the song There There by the remarkable English group Radiohead, from their sixth studio album Hail to the Thief (2003). I’m a big fan, including Climbing up the Walls.