September 30th 2010

Hello there.

I was rambling through Wikipedia this morning and found that DI Angel was mentioned as a detective created by me. So (vanity will out) I tapped in my name and - blow me! -that was there also. Only a small entry admittedly, but to be mentioned at all in an encyclopaedia was much more than I had expected. My mother thought it was marvellous when I was first listed in the phone book! Hey Ho. THE CUCKOO CLOCK SCAM was also mentioned, plucked out as the 14th Angel book to be written by yours truly.

Moving on ...
I understand that the audio version of SHRINE TO MURDER (15th Angel book) is in the libraries and shops as from yesterday. If you know of anybody who has difficulty seeing or is blind, please let them know. There are books by me (and better known authors than me) available to be borrowed free or for a small fee from most public libraries. SHRINE TO MURDER has been recorded by Gordon Griffin. He records lots of books including Reg Hill’s Dalziel and Pascoe.

I see the mince pies are already in Tescos. What does that tell us?

Keep happy. Come back soon.
14th September 2010

Ah, there you are.

Have you noticed how much cooler it is?
A week or two back as I was thinking of winter and not looking forward to it, a leaflet from our local council was pushed through the letterbox with the post. It said that if we had our loft insulated with special glass wool to a thickness of 10 inches, it would reduce our heating bill by 25%. It got me thinking. 25% would be a considerable amount in this household. What’s more, I had heard that in certain circumstances, this could be done free. Our local council was promoting the scheme so I thought I would look into it. I heard also that most power suppliers are offering a similar scheme to their customers. Although it isn’t means tested, I discovered that because we already had some existing insulation, we didn’t qualify for free (which I didn’t mind, though the logic is beyond my simple mind).

Anyway a young man came last week, humped the rolls of stuff upstairs, pushed it through the little loft hole and spread it to an even thickness of 10 inches, and it cost us £250.00.

I am fully expecting to have a holiday in the Maldives with the saving the experts say we will make this winter. Have you had any experience of this? A saving of 25% off a regular household heating bill is a very substantial claim.

On something else …
Have you heard the phrase ‘EXERCISE IS MEDICINE’? I don’t know what smart arse said it, but I am trying to get with it and stay healthy. I have got that exercise bug. I must be a late developer. I don’t mean serious running, and squash and all that sweaty Johnny Weissmuller stuff (Tarzan to you youngsters). Oh no. But I do believe that gentle exercise is necessary to counter the many hours I spend in my dressing gown and pyjamas in my little room tapping out on the computer.
In the summer I can take my exercise walking round the Park about seven days out of eight, but on the eighth it invariably rains and so I don’t go out. On those days –and there will be many more of them in the coming winter - I should take some other form of exercise indoors. I don’t know exactly what yet, but I have taken the first step in preparation. I have bought a walkman.

Must get back to writing my book. Thank you for looking in and reading the ramblings of this old writer.
6th September 2010

Ah, there you are. Sorry not to have kept this diary up to date. The fact is the queen is not well and has had two weeks in hospital. I have had to be nurse, cook, secretary and message taker for the past month. She still isn’t so bright. It’s worrying when the one you love is not well. Everybody has been so nice, which is making it tolerable for her, but I’d rather like to see her getting out and about again.

It was our wedding anniversary at the end of August, and I had asked her a month or so back what she would like. She said she would like a watch. Now I had bought her a watch a few years back. The leather strap had been replaced and was now tatty and anyway she preferred an expandable bracelet type thing, also she needed a watch with a slightly bigger dial to make it easier to read.

Coincidentally, I had recently pulled off the top of the button on my watch when trying to change the time which had left a sharp point projecting. I had asked the jeweller how much it would cost to repair and was quoted £10 to £17, so, as the watch was only about £25 new, I was not inclined to pay it.

Now you can spend a lot of money on watches these days, but they still tell the same time. I mean a £10,000 watch doesn’t tell you a more accurate time or offer superior time. It doesn’t come with the assurance of sunny weather or a promise of better health for the wearer or anything like that, and gilt ones look like gold even if they are made from reclaimed FrayBentos tins.

The outcome was that the queen and I agreed that we would buy watches for each other for our anniversary, and that, as she wasn’t yet mobile, I would go down town on my own and choose them. I was carefully briefed and we agreed that I should pay whatever was necessary to get exactly what each of us wanted. We expected this to be anything from £25 to £100 each.

I started at the place we had always regarded as our ‘watch shop’, and was surprised to be told that they had nothing in that price range at the moment because they had let stocks run down prior to imminent structural changes and re-decoration of the shop. ‘If I cared to come back in three weeks …’

No I didn’t.

I crossed the road and went into another small jeweller’s shop. There was a beautiful young lady who should have been on a cat walk. She smiled so sweetly that I couldn’t stop staring at her. ‘We don’t sell watches in the ordinary way,’ she breathed. ‘Perhaps the occasional antique watch bought privately … but if you go into the Alhambra Centre there is a jeweller there who sells nothing but watches, I think you will find what you are looking for. Can I help you with anything else?’

She could, and I didn’t want to stop looking at her, but the queen wanted a watch. I had to move on. I reluctantly came out and made my way to the Alhambra Centre. On the way I passed the huge window of a big jeweller’s shop and peeked in. I saw several ranges of watches with price tickets on them with numbers as long as my National Insurance number … I walked on.

I reached the Alhambra Centre, went through the swing doors and quickly spotted a shop with a huge display of watches … several shelves with about a hundred or more on each shelf. There were no prices showing which I found irritating. They could cost hundreds … even thousands. Anyway, they did look interesting. A young man came up to me. He didn’t speak. I quickly saw a watch that looked like the very thing that would suit the queen.
‘May I see that?’ I said.
He nodded and handed it to me. Then I saw one that looked like what I wanted. He handed it to me and I put it on my wrist. It seemed to fill the bill. I had a closer look at each of them. They seemed fine. ‘How much are these two?’ I said.
He pointed to a sign high up over the counter. It read: “Watches - 3 for £10.”
I read it again. I couldn’t believe it. I took a step back. I was stunned, but my training as a husband told me not to show it. I looked back down at the watches. I didn’t know what to say. I checked that both watches were working. They were. They both showed the correct time and the second hand was sweeping round the dial at an even rate.

Eventually I managed to speak. ‘But I don’t want three watches,’ I said.
The young man pointed back up to the sign. Then I realised he wasn’t English. ‘Tree for ten pund,’ he said.
I said, ‘How about these two for six pounds?’
He looked thoughtful, then after a moment he shook his head.
I said, ‘How about these two for seven pounds?’
He nodded.
I pulled out a five pound note and two pound coins. ‘Wrap them up,’ I said.
‘No boxes,’ he said dropping the money in the cash till.
I frowned. But I wasn’t going to argue about boxes. I put the two watches in my pocket and looked up to say, ‘Thank you,’ but he had moved away to attend to another customer.

I came home highly chuffed. So was the queen. Now I’m stuck, trying to think of a Wedding Anniversary present for her.

Well, I have started my new book, but not progressed far due to hospitals and other problems. I still have to get a carpet for the little box room I use as a study, but I have to get motivated for that sort of thing. I want to do it before the winter winds start, and I noticed quite a few leaves on the lawn this morning. Autumn isn’t far away.

I enjoy hearing from you. I seem to have readers all round the world. You can always reach me at, and if you write anything really interesting, I might mention it here on the diary.

Cheers for now, and thanks for looking in.

PS. What do you buy a woman who has everything?