What a treat!

A heart-melting review of The Quite Contrary Colin Pluck by a 10-year-old girl, complete with a portrait of the main character! How good is that?

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The Quite Contrary Colin Pluck

The Buccaneers of Backwater

Gulliver’s travels… on a midget scale (2015)

I look out of my study window, and I see rooftops. If I stand up, I can peer into people’s gardens: multi-coloured pegs on a washing line, a black cat on a brick wall – next door’s dog is barking at it. I know he is protecting the gold fish in his owner’s pond from the cat’s winter offensive. On the other side, where the sun is as bright as morning frost there is a field: stretching down to Quaker’s Walk. That’s where the wood stands. They are proposing to build new houses over that field – my last resting place for the eye. People have to live somewhere. I am hoping it will be a sweet little retirement village, not a night hub for crazed-eyed early morning commuters suffering from road rage and constipation. Retirement village is all the developer has the permission to build, but I don’t trust developers just like I don’t trust bankers.

One has to seek refuge from time to time. In October, we went to the Lakes. Grasmere. Mist lifting from the water, mist falling to the undergrowth, incessant drizzle. Such a fluid world! Your breath becomes mist. I forgot about the developers and the bankers. Someone once said, and he/she must have known what they were talking about, that if the human race had perished from the face of the earth, within 100 years there would be not a trace of us. It’s reassuring. Looking at the misty lake, I felt relief, the same kind you feel when you flick the fuse back on after the lights have gone out – and, presto, there is light again.

lakeme on the laketrees on the lake

Steve wasn’t quite taken with the drizzle and in his unerring extravagance decided to hike up the steep hill… with his umbrella. Raising a few eyebrows. Here is my faithful rendition of his trek:


Last week, we soaked in some ancient mythical air on top of the Glastonbury Tor. Again, I was able to rise above my earthly worries about developers and perishing woodlands. There I stood – top of the world – with the magnetic, miracle-making strips running beneath my feet and philosophically inclined sheep grazing on a slope. Life is still beautiful.


My fat lazy Muse

Of late she has been putting on weight and hardly getting out of bed. I keep telling her that if she carries on in this manner she will develop a heart condition or diabetes. And I will have to take up knitting. But she won’t listen. The thing with muses is that they are so unpredictable. When she bothers to get out of bed life makes sense. I follow her to the study and work, work, work. Sometimes I even enjoy it. Not often. It’s a damned hard labour – writing. But even if it’s hard, it is fulfilling. And I can’t live without it.

Now I just have to get that fat lazy muse out of bed!


The day the Earth stood still…

…is today. Every Tom, Dick and Harry is watching England v Uruguay. Streets are deserted. Traffic lights seem to be frozen on a permanent green in all directions. The human race appears altogether extinct. Even the birds aren’t tweeting as they used to.

For a few daring seconds I contemplated running naked in the streets to see if anything would happen, but in the end I went for a bicycle ride. It felt like some mysterious epidemic had hit the Earth or Rapture, long promised by Jehova’s Witnesses, had suddenly come to fruition. Dead silence. And stillness. The air seemed thinner than usual. There was this lightness to it. Perhaps, with every one of the aforesaid Tom, Dick and Harry holding their breaths there is indeed less CO2 pollution in the atmosphere?

I think there should be a World Cup every day. It’d be good for the environment.

Unfortunately there are the druids, especially around Summer Solstice. You have to watch out for them as they can pop from any random ditch and hit you with a staff. I was lucky to miss them tonight, but I know there is a mass druid migration proceeding in the direction of Stonehenge. Roads will be blocked in the morning, pointy hats and long beards in evidence in the many a corner shop. Oh well, we can’t have it all. I’d rather have throngs of druids than hangover football fans (in foul mood!) littering the countryside.


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