Here we are.
28th. April 2016.
Mark it well.
Official publication day for DOGNAPPED!
Here we are.
28th. April 2016.
Mark it well.
Official publication day for DOGNAPPED!
You just knew there would be another blog along soon, didn't you?
Yes, normal service has been resumed as we consider one of the most important topics of our time.
The answer my friend is blowing, not so much in the wind, but more through the tiny spaces between the ears of our elected representatives. Yes that's what that strange whistling noise has been, it's not interference on your t.v. madam!
It's certainly put the cat amongst the pigeons hasn't it?
There's some of them on the left agreeing with some of them on the right to stay in.
On the other hand them on the right who want to opt out are cosying up to the lefties to whom they wouldn't normally give the time of day.
So the rest of us might as well do the Hokey Cokey and turn around for all the good it will do.
'They're lying,' scream the 'ins' about their opposite number, 'It'll cost a fortune to come out!'
Meanwhile the 'outs' are whinging, 'It'll cost a fortune to stay in, don't listen to those nasty rotten fibbers,' to anyone who'll listen.
The trouble is the only ones listening are the idiots in the other camp and for them to hear the opposite point of view expressed with quite so much vitriol gets them a bit hot under the collar. Inevitably the game of comedy name calling spirals inexorably out of control, whilst the rest of us wonder how the hell we ever got into this mess in the first place.
In essence it boiled down to a vague idea by our own beloved Mr Churchill. Unable to quite believe that we'd actually won the war and probably deeply certain that we wouldn't be able to pull off the same trick again he suggested that it might be a jolly idea if we all sang 'Ging, Gang, Gooley,' around the same camp fire the way spiffing chaps do after a bout of the old Queensberry rules. (After all, we did seem to owe the guys across the pond an awful lot of money for all the nylons and candy they'd supplied since 1941 - so it might be handy to have a bit of a whip round with our new European chums).
Worryingly though, apart from a lot of gesticulating with two fingers poor Winny didn't have much of a clue how to go about it.
Neither did the men from the ministry. The clubs that they used were old, set in their ways and full of overstuffed, careworn, leather wing-backed chairs. They didn't have much of a stomach for any sort of new arrangement and so they left it to Johnny Foreigner to draw up the rules.
And so a few years later up trotted a European superstate, broadly based on the federalist goals of the very bounders that we'd beaten into submission only a few short years before. And lo and behold our old chum Mr De Gaulle wasn't about to let us join in the fun. Having taken cover over at our house while we did the fighting on his behalf he suddenly forgot his manners.
It certainly wasn't cricket, but it damn well was our ball and they couldn't play unless they let us bat first.
So they did.
Out for a duck!
Essentially what happened next was that the 'outs' used to be the 'ins' and the 'ins' used to be the outs. There you are, European politics summed up in a nutshell. What had occurred as usual, was that our leader's perceived view of public opinion appeared to swing against them and so they simply swapped coats. Nothing to do with the good of the country, more a question of maintaining their place at the top of the dung heap.
Politicians know Jack. That's the lesson the rest of us learnt a long, long time ago.
Around the time of Simon de Montfort in fact.
And yes, I do know that many of you will say that our member (appropriately enough) of parliament works very hard on our behalf and perhaps that is true, But collectively? As much as they say they do know, the more it becomes apparent that their ambition is a good deal greater than their IQ.
Will we be better off out? No one knows and anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot.
Will we be better off in? No one knows and anyone who tells you otherwise is an idiot.
Should we shake it all about? Probably, it'll be so much more fun!
Next time I may discuss the geopolitical map - put on your tin hat for that one!
By the way, does anyone remember the words to 'Ging, Gang, Goolie?'
Sadly it's true and not some weird parody of a film title.
By Wednesday evening the fourth funeral of recent times will be over, another soul dispatched to bang on the pearly gates and enquire about the price of admission.
At least the wedding was good!
Perhaps it's a sign of getting older ourselves that we seem to notice that the journey to the precipice is speeding up.
Our shield is gone.
The ranks of those that went before us have largely been decimated, taking with it casualties from our own peer group and also, sadly, a few from the ranks of the younger generation. But now we are next in line, grabbing like a drowning man at each new day and then relieved as it dawns, marvelling at our own temporary immortality whilst trying to push to the back of our minds the inevitability of the human condition.
It's been eighteen months since my own battle with the grim reaper. As they cracked me open like a lobster and plucked out my still beating heart to re-plumb it I swear that I heard him sharpening his scythe.
Perhaps two years before that I would have let him slice me like a lemon.
Things can sometimes get that bad.
Certainly six months before that I would have helped him to buff up his blade.
Isn't it strange how life turns around?
That moment when they thrust the bloody organ back into my chest really was a rebirth. My old life had gone, for better or worse and a different road lay ahead. Oh, I tried to rejoin the race, but I'd already been lapped and I needed a new track following my pitstop.
I think I've found it.
To be sure it's not the motorway of youth along which I careered without stopping to admire the scenery or even a cursory backward glance. Pink Floyd warned me that I'd miss the starting gun, but although I heard the words I failed to heed the message.
But then neither is this the rutted cart-way onto which I had strayed, lost and without a map to guide me. This is a path, smooth on the surface which suits the more sedate pace I now choose. It is broad, allowing those who wish to accompany me to join at their leisure, but not so wide that the shysters who would steer me wrong nor the highwaymen who would rob me can travel alongside.
Inevitably there will be obstacles, but they will not be allowed to grow into barriers.
Without doubt some of my fellow travellers will not complete the journey with me.
Certainly I will one day join them.
But it was a bloody good wedding!
You'll never guess what.
Remember the other day when I told you about John Gilstrap following me on Twitter.
Yes, o.k., remember that annoying conversation I inflicted on you, honestly you're hard work sometimes!
Well I've got another bit of news.
Yes it is.
Very perceptive of you.
Another Twitter follower.
Bet you can't guess who?
Donald Trump - no!
Nor the Queen.
Who said David Beckham? No, it's not him either.
That was uncalled for. It's not sodding Gervais, no. You know how I feel about that tosspot! Incidentally, have you seen him lately? He seems to have gone a bit quiet. Not that I'm complaining about that.
In fact about this Twitter thing, I am teasing a little bit.
Yes I am.
You see it's not a person at all.
No, it's not Lassie.
Or that lion off the old MGM movies.
No, hold on. You're missing the point. This is a bit like one of those animal, vegetable, mineral questions.
My new follower is not a sentient being at all.
No, not that either - you're thinking of senile.
You'll kick yourselves when I tell you.
It's an organisation.
No, not MI6.
Nor the CIA.
Why on earth would any of you think that I should be under surveillance by the secret services? I ask you!
It's not the cast of 'A Game of Thrones,' either. Don't get me started on that farce again for heavens sake!
I don't blame you, 'cos you'll never get it.
It says on their website, 'Russian railways official travel information.'
No, I don't know why they would want to follow me in a million years either!
But they do.
I had a bit of a theory. You see DOGNAPPED! does take place on a canal barge.
Travel related see.
Well it's hard to tell. I did delve a bit deeper into the website but it's... well it's in Russian. All those upside down and back to front letters.
It is, I agree with you - very confusing.
Well I suppose life does get a bit strange if you live on the wrong side of the Urals.
You know what? You may have been right before. MI6 and the CIA may be watching me now after all. They probably think that I'm a spy. After all my middle name is James, yes that's what the 'J' stands for. Shaken not stirred, that could be me. Perhaps they think that DOGNAPPED! is a code book.
Strange this should happen after my old mate John Gilstrap turned up isn't it? He is a thriller writer after all. Is this life imitating art?
It's all beginning to make a sort of sense.
If you remember I did a blog only a few weeks ago about my Sky box and mentioned Chicken Little and the SKYFALLing in.
I've previously mentioned my heart attack and my second chance. You Only Live Twice - geddit? Knowing me under anaesthetic it is entirely possible that I could have screamed out Dr. No! You're scaring The Living Daylights out of me. I'll Die Another Day! And I am still here, so that does give me a quantum of solace.
Me and Kate got engaged, so diamonds really are forever. And with the next ring she'll have a gold finger. And what do I get her as a wedding present, the world is not enough.
Perhaps they're watching Kate. She could be the spy who loved me!
Gervais keeps turning up stroking his pussy. A bit Blofeld-esque don't you think.
And now a retweet from Russia. With Love? Your guess is as good as mine!
No wonder I have the spectre of someone on her majesty's secret service looking over my shoulder with a view to a kill. No doubt that'll be the man with a golden gun and a licence to kill.
Well you never know.
Oh, you do know! Sorry, I'll never say never again.
You can call me James.
Get me a pint of Martini.
Do I look like I want an olive in that!? I'll have one of those little umbrellas though. And a slice of lemon, a glassy cherry, ooh, ooh and some lime. Ah, lovely. Have I got some of that sugar from around the rim on my top lip?
Yes? Pass that serviette.
Is that better? Good!
P.S. For your eyes only, I know that I didn't get them all, but could you have done any better?
Oh, sorry. Just clearing my throat.
Well yes, as a matter of fact I have got something to say. I just wanted to be sure that you were listening and I didn't want to butt in. Didn't want to appear over keen.
Or needy, no. Have it your way then.
But now that I have your attention - I've got a new follower on Twitter, is all.
No I've never really understood it either, all those hashtags or whatever you call them.
Yes, that's it. End of message.
A new follower.
Of course I've got more than one following me! I've got just over three hundred actually, seeing as you've asked.
At the moment.
O.k. then, I just thought that you might like to know.
That's all I wanted to tell you.
Woah! Wait a minute.
Yes, I'm still here.
Excuse me interrupting again, but don't you want to know who it is?
Well, I don't like to name drop.
Oh, all right then.
It's, erm, ready for this - John Gilstrap.
I knew you'd be impressed.
What? No! Not that guitarist from the seventies.
You must be thinking of Gordon Giltrap.
Yes, Gilstrap - you've got it.
'THE' John Gilstrap actually.
He's a novelist.
Yes, I know it was only a kids book. And yes, I do keep harping on about it.
No he doesn't write 'that sort of stuff' too. My mate John writes thrillers. In fact he's a New York Times bestselling author.
How about that then?
I can tell that you're impressed.
Although you do hide it rather well.
Well he felt compelled to 'follow' me, so I think that I can technically call him a mate.
No, we haven't been 'down the pub' together. He lives in America.
We obviously have a long distance relationship.
I don't know exactly where his house is, no.
America's a big place.
Well, as you point out, we might bump into each other next time I visit Disney. Somehow I doubt it.
Isn't it in Paris?
Oh, there's another one!
And California as well!
Bet they're raking it in then, eh?
At least that's trebled my chances of meeting him.
What do you mean, meeting who? John of course. Gilstrap. Honestly you've got the attention span of a...
No I don't know why he wants to be my pal. Perhaps he'd like a few tips.
No, not about drinking, writing! Yes, I see what you did there. I can tell you thought that was funny! Bloody hilarious if you ask me!
I'll agree, there is a bit of a gulf in genres. He writes about this private investigator bloke, Jonathan Grave, in fast paced, explosive action - I've written about my dog Misty and her adventures on a canal boat. But you know what, if he's ever at a bit of a loss, got the old writer's block - yes, we authors all go through it from time to time - I might be able to help.
Sorry, you're not..? You're not impressed because you know..?
Well good luck with that one! Didn't you read my blog back in February? Oh, and in November last year come to think about it. Don't say I didn't warn you - it's not my fault if you don't keep up!
Come to think of it I did wonder where he'd gone.
You'll get no rent off him for being on your Facebook page you know. Tight as a duck's bottom!
Yes, I know him of old.
Ricky bloody Gervais!
He did pop back to my page the other day actually.
Yeah, cheeky bastard! Only wanted me to share photo's of posters plugging his latest film.
Can you believe it!
My mate John wouldn't do that.
Proper gentleman he is!
I think I've got a far better class of friend, don't you?