July 11th 2009

Hello there, Playmates. Welcome back.

I had a great time with the ladies group at Emmanuel Church on Huddersfield Road in Barnsley on Wednesday evening last. I spoke about how I started writing and the adventures of Inspector Angel. The ladies asked a lot of questions and then told me what they looked for in a good crime novel. They also confirmed what I already thought about books laden with foul language. There’s a place for them and it isn’t in Barnsley. We had a few good laughs and an enjoyable evening. They say they’re asking me back later this year. That’s nice, isn’t it?

Yesterday I was busy book signing in Sheffield’s OXFAM Bookstore. I met some delightful people and made a few pounds for OXFAM. I also enjoyed some very interesting but - of necessity - hurried conversations with some of Oxfam’s many disparate customers, and was surprised at the wide range of interests the shop caters for, from Spiderman to Darwin. The delightful manager there, Darren Vogelsang has invited me back in the autumn, so I must be doing something right.

Do you know, my old watch went funny about three years ago. So being near Christmas, the queen dragged me into a jewellers shop to buy one for me, bless her, as if I couldn’t buy one myself.
Anyway, this jeweller had watches on offer from £4.99 to £10,000. Well, I didn’t want an expensive one in case I lost or damaged it. Those under £25.00 tended to be gaudy plastic coloured jobs which I didn’t fancy. She wanted me to have something really expensive, but I was amazed to find out from the jeweller that a watch costing £25 tells the time just as accurately as a £10,000 one. You would have thought that for all that extra money, it would have told you better time, wouldn’t you? But the jeweller told me quite clearly that the time on the £25 watch was exactly the same as that on the £10,000 one. And he showed me them side by side to prove the point. He couldn’t even say that it kept the time for a longer period or that it slowed the good time down so that you got more time for your money. I wondered if I could do a deal with him to have one of his £10,000 watches for an extra years’ worth of time. But no. It was then that I started losing him, if you know what I mean. The queen told me that I should go and see if the car was parked safely. I said all right, but I told her not to spend more that £25.00 and I would be highly chuffed, then I came out of the shop to look for the car.
Of course she bought the watch I liked at £25.00 but also had it fitted with a spring loaded gold coloured wristlet that she also knew that I liked. But she wouldn’t tell me what that cost!
Anyway, I was delighted with it. It kept spot on time, the dial was easy to read, and in every way, it was perfect. However, on Tuesday last it stopped. I was surprised. The queen immediately said take it back to the shop, which I did. Fortunately, it was not the man who served us three years ago. It was a pretty young lady. She glanced at it and said could I come back for it in about an hour. I thought that was quick, but I went back in the hour and was surprised to find it working and telling the right time.
‘Is it all right?’ I said.
‘Oh yes,’ the shop assistant said brightly.
‘How much is it?’ I said.
The shop assistant smiled. ‘There’s no charge,’ she said.
I blinked. I wasn’t used to hearing those three old fashioned, heart warming words. ‘Why?’ I said.
‘All it needed was a battery, Mr Silverwood, and we supply and fit batteries free on all watches sold by us.’
I had to sit down on one of their free chairs and have a sip of their free water.

Take care and come back soon.