Good Friday, April 22nd 2011.

Hello there, and very Happy Easter Eggs to you.

I had an interesting chat with that delightful old shaver Rony Robinson, on BBC Radio Sheffield on Wednesday. We talked – with the charming Cath – about the closing down of some library branches in the South Yorkshire area, and indeed across the country. All to do with the cuts the government keep on about. I made a plea to keep all the branches open. I pointed out that 77.9% of 5 – 10 year olds now use libraries, that children’s borrowing has increased progressively for six years, and that one in six people in the UK struggle with literacy. Libraries build people’s literacy levels, educational attainment and employability; they develop confidence, self-esteem and well being, and best of all, they’re FREE. Closing even one library could be disastrous for the education, career and future livelihood of some members of our community, and denying children particularly, the magic of a library is wrong.

All those big tomes bursting with information could enrich their lives immeasurably … whatever their interest ... the solar system … the stars … history … how to make fireworks … how to make ice cream … the Just William books … Oliver Twist … Bertie Wooster ... Roald Dahl and THE GREAT MOUSE PLOT OF 1924 … it’s all pure magic isn’t it?

If it hadn’t been for our bulging local library, and indeed our widely diverse school library, I swear I would never have had enough ability, imagination and confidence to write a single word, and I don't want our children to grow up to be square-eyed morons.

Have a great Easter.
8th April 2011

Back again, and what do you think? Great news.

Angel is going to be on Kindle, Sony Reader and iPad this coming Autumn. That is in addition to the traditional hardback, paperback and large print versions. This new move is to accommodate those who prefer to read from a screen instead of the printed page. I don’t know how popular this new system is, but they can’t say that old Silverwood is behind the times. I hope that it means that Angel will reach a much bigger audience. The gas bill still has to be paid, and in my house (and his), it is always bigger than the preceding one. Anyway, wish me luck. And if you are going to the Grand National, have a great day out. And I'll wish YOU luck! I shall break off writing my book and watch it on the TV.

Have a great time, and come back soon.
3rd April 2011

Hello there.
My grandmother said that ‘disappointments were good for young folk’. I don’t know what she meant by that exactly. Disappointments never did me any good. I have had a lifetime of them. And to find out that I had only lost two pounds in three weeks (23 days to be exact) was a big disappointment I can tell you. What I have suffered and gone without to achieve that, you wouldn’t believe. I have been to the gym twice a week and knocked myself out on those machines, and I have forsaken all sorts of goodies. True, I have replaced them with healthier foods, and I only remember going to bed hungry on one occasion … and I could have cheated and demolished the remainder of a packet of shortbread biscuits and maybe a layer of luxury chocolates one of my lovely nephews had bought us for Christmas, but I didn’t.

Anyway, there it is. Our session leader, sexy Linda, pointed out that even at that rate, in a year I could lose 2 stones. Put like that, it didn’t sound too bad. And she added that I should remember that I have made lifetime changes. If I maintain those changes, there is no reason to put the weight lost (23 pounds in all) back on. And overall, I do feel better for it.

Well, what do you think? Have you had any success losing weight? Have you made lifetime changes to lose weight, become more active and, hopefully, become healthier and happier? If you want to write to me, I will reply personally and I’ll put the best letter on this blog. My email address is:

My new book, THE DOG COLLAR MURDERS, came out on March 31st. It is in the libraries and for sale at Waterstones, Amazon and other shops. If it isn’t on the shelf at your local library, smile sweetly at the librarian and ask her to get it for you. They really are the most charming ladies.

I once went into Barnsley Library and I wanted a particular book. I couldn’t remember the title or the author, and I hadn’t a clue about the publisher. I told them that it was about a rogue from the 19th Century who was in the British army fighting somewhere abroad.
One of them said, ‘And was the author Scottish?’
‘I believe he was,’ I said.
‘I think I know,’ she said and rushed off.
Two minutes later she returned and handed me a book. ‘Is that it?’ she said.
It was a copy of “The Flashman Papers,” by George Macdonald Frazer.
I glanced at the cover. I blinked. My mouth dropped open. ‘That’s it,’ I said, in amazement. ‘Thank you very much. Thank you very much indeed.’
She smiled modestly, wriggled her shoulders with pride and said, ‘It’s my job. That’s what I do.’
And at Barnsley, they do it very well.

Following Weight Wise has put me way behind with the Angel book I am currently writing, called THE CHESHIRE CAT MURDERS. I don’t know when I will ever finish it. And I am ever so excited about the plot. I must get back to it.

If you can stand the meanderings of this old writer, please keep looking in.

Take care.