Tenerife, here we come.


Right, that’s me and the missus shooting off to the Canary Islands for a week of subtropical sunshine. Somebody has to go there.

While we’re away be good, and if you can’t be good, take a look around the site. There’s plenty to keep your tiny minds occupied, from the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries to the Midthorpe Mysteries or if you fancy something a bit more comically in-depth, why not check out the trials and tribulations of Clint Devries in Celeb.

I’ll see you in a week all tanned and bronzed. I should be tanned and bronzed too.

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Tenerife, here we come.

A Bad Eye & Empty Larder


With two days to go to the holliers, things are as bad as ever at Chateau Robinson. Joe’s eye was improving, but took a step backwards and he needed more work on it. Result, he’s still in the cone, still chuffed off with it and whining to us to take it off. We won’t, so he’s ignoring us. Mind, he ignores me most of the time anyway, so there’s nowt fresh there.

For once, the cases are packed but for a few electrical leads which I’ll need while we’re away. They don’t go into the bags until Monday night, when I’ve done charging up both mobiles, the Kindle, the camera, camcorder and the laptop.

As always, The Empress is running down the larder. It doesn’t do to leave certain foods lying around the fridge for a week, and they’re even less appetising if you forget them and leave them in the cupboards.

A few years back, we shot off for a fortnight and inadvertently left a few white rolls in the bread box. Any student microbiologist could have got a doctorate out of those, and we needed environment suits to get rid of them.

With all this in mind, I went to the supermarket for minimal rations this morning, and liver and bacon were on the list. I’m allergic to onions so it has to be just the liver and the bacon.

The bacon had no bar code on it, so I’d a hell of a job finding a packet I could scan, but that’s nothing compared to the liver.


It cost 37 pence and for that price, you get a generous portion. The missus doesn’t like it so it’s only for me and the dog. Imagine my surprise when the scanner said, “This item is security coded.”


Thirty-seven pence worth of liver has a security tag? If it had been a leg of lamb, I could have understood it. A whole sheep fair enough. But I don’t have enough formaldehyde to make my own artwork with a sheep sliced in half.

The young woman manning the Shop & Scan told me it was a general thing with products from the fresh meat counter.

So what next? Security tagging individual toffees from the pick ’n’ mix?

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on A Bad Eye & Empty Larder

To Cheer You Up on a Monday Morning

We’re busy winding down for the forthcoming break in Tenerife, so just to brighten up your Monday, here’s a throwback to the early spring with…


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on To Cheer You Up on a Monday Morning

I’m Packed and Ready for the Off

Well, almost.


Tis a glorious sunny morning here the edge of the moors and my grand plans for doing zip were scuppered when Her Indoors suggested we start packing for Tenerife.

We fly off a week on Tuesday. Suffice it to say, I could have started packing at teatime a week on Monday, and still been sat down in time for Coronation Street.

As you can see above, the laptop, a clone of its big brother, is fully charged and raring to go. It drops into a rucksack, along with my video camera and Kindle. The stills camera, a Nikon compact, fits in my pocket.

So we began packing, and five minutes later, I was back at the workstation. Look below and you can see I’m packed and ready for the off.


So how is it possible to go for a week in Tenerife with nothing more than a carrier bag from our local convenience store? Simple. One pair shorts, one t-shirt (I’ll be wearing the other one from home) one pair socks (I’ll be wearing the other one from home) two pairs underpants (I’ll be wearing the other pair from home but I have to consider emergencies, especially with all that cheap beer).

That’s it. Can you tell me what more I will need on the Island of Eternal Spring? Shoes? I’m wearing ’em. Soap, shower gel, sun lotion? I can buy, beg, steal or borrow all of it.

Sadly, Her Indoors has other ideas… as below.


She needs to take 14 dresses and 28 tops, Half a dozen pairs of shoes, more knickers than you’ll find in an Ann Summers window display, plus creams ointments, cosmetics, and towels.

“Don’t the hotel have towels?” I whined.

A plea fallen on deaf ears as she proceeded to check the suitcase dimensions to see if the kettle and toaster will fit in it.

And it’s all right carting all this stuff with us, but most of it won’t get used, and we have to bring it back, which naturally means there’ll be less room in the cases for cheap beer and ciggies.

There’s no justice.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on I’m Packed and Ready for the Off

Idiomatic Idiocy



It was one of those throwaway remarks from Her Indoors. “I can’t wait to get to Tenerife.” To which I replied, “Well set off now, but I think you’ll find you’ll have to wait. The plane doesn’t leave for another fortnight.”

It got me thinking about these little idioms we throw into our speech. Suppose we took them literally.

We have the garden shipshape and Bristol fashion.

I don’t know whether fashions are any different in Bristol than they are in Manchester, but if you wanna get technical about it, the garden bears no resemblance to any kind of ship. We’ve no bow, no stern, no keel and no sign of any superstructure. And the closest thing we have to a bridge is a washing line, but I wouldn’t trust it to hold my weight from one end of the garden to the other.

I’ll just draw the curtains.

Tone and line, or a full colour sketch?

I‘m making the bed.

The hammer, nails and screwdriver are all in the shed.

I’m dying for a cuppa.

If you’re dying, wouldn’t a doctor be more help?

My feet are killing me.

What are you? Some kind of contortionist?

My favourite is, I don’t believe it.

You open the front door and your car is not there. Someone has nicked it. You turn to the missus and say, “I don’t believe it.”

All right. What’s the alternative?

Harry and Ron were late back at Hogwarts, so they jumped in and Harry said to Ron, “You drive, I’ll wave the wand to get us in the air.”

Or maybe the Starship Enterprise called by and Captain Kirk saw the car and ordered, “Beam that thing aboard, Scotty. I’m having those alloys.”

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Idiomatic Idiocy

Burn In The Bag


It’s experiment time at Festung Robinson (cue theme from Quatermass)

It’s an idea from the supermarket.  Roast in the bag. It’s simplicity in itself. The roast comes in its own specially designed plastic wrapping, and you bung it in the oven exactly as it is.

I have serious doubts about this. The last time I used the oven for anything, we had clouds of black smoke pouring out in a matter of minutes. Mind you, I had had those socks on for a week, and the missus told me I shouldn’t have been drying them in the oven. But as I explained at the time, it was quicker and cheaper than putting the heating on and waiting for the radiators to warm up.

Course, they wouldn’t have got wet if my boots didn’t let water in but there was problem getting the boots mended. I couldn’t find any cardboard to cover the hole. Another week and I would have been fine because we’d have finished the Corn Flakes by then. And who would expect torrential rain in July?

When it comes to burn in the bag… sorry, roast in the bag joints of beef, we’re dealing with exactly the opposite problem. Fire.

The bag is manufactured from some kind of polymer and I know about that stuff. I used to deliver it by the lorry load. When it gets hot it has a tendency to catch fire or melt, and in either event, it gives off noxious fumes. A bit like John Smith’s Bitter after I’ve downed about eight pints.

I’m assured however that the bag will neither melt nor catch fire. Oh yes? I remember some wunderkind telling me the same about the everlasting, indestructible dog lead I paid twenty quid for. “Last you the entire dog’s lifetime, guv,” he told me.

Joe broke it inside a month.

Her Indoors is the culinary expert in our house, so she’ll be cooking the B-I-T-B roast this afternoon. I’ve dug out the fireproof suit, and I have a couple of extinguishers standing by.

And just to be on the safe side, all Fire Service leave has been cancelled.


Here for chuckle? Would like a couple of free books while you’re here?


Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on Burn In The Bag

The First Holiday of the Year

It’s coming up to holiday time again. Marital #humour and the prospect of #Filey with memories of #Cleethorpes.



Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , , , , | Comments Off on The First Holiday of the Year

A Pipe, Some Slippers, but no Boring Cardigan

Here’s a light-hearted reflection on yesterday’s abortive mission to find a cardigan.


You are welcome to follow this blog using Networked Blogs or my Facebook Author page links in the right hand sidebar.

You can also sign up for my newsletter. I guarantee you will not be spammed and your email address will never be passed or sold to any third party… but you will be entertained.

And right now, I’m giving away not one but TWO full lengths novels when you sign up. Click here for more details.

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , , , , | Comments Off on A Pipe, Some Slippers, but no Boring Cardigan

A Travel Kettle and…What Else?


I really do have to hand it to Amazon. When it comes to customer service, they’re hard to beat.

Allow me to explain. As a natural born Yorkshireman, one who knows that money is not for spending but counting, I refuse to pay for delivery when there’s a free option. And when I say free, I mean free, no strings attached. I’m not interested in trial offers on this that or the other (especially the other) so whenever I order anything, I make sure it’s over £20 and I opt for standard free delivery in 5 working days.

About two o’clock yesterday afternoon, I ordered new travel kettle. Expedient since the old one has done more miles than my car, and it got broke in Lanzarote so we chucked it away.

Remember: two o’clock yesterday afternoon. The driver delivered it half an hour ago. Less than twenty four hours from ordering to delivery. Beat that.

Course, the order didn’t come to £20, so I had to put something else with it, and that’s where the bottle of sniff in the picture came from. Her Indoors has been nagging the pants off me for weeks about a bottle of Inspire from Christina Aguilera. The old bottle ran out. This is what comes of actually using the stuff. I meanersay, 100ml gone in less than three years. And it’s not as if I take her anywhere to warrant using expensive perfume. I wouldn’t care but I don’t even know who Christina Aguilera is. Come to think, I don’t believe the missus knows, either.

After considerable haggling yesterday morning, my DVD of The Thing From Another World (1951) got forgotten in favour of her scent.

And it won’t last a fraction as long as a DVD of The Thing From Another World (1951)

Posted in Uncategorized | Tagged , , , | Comments Off on A Travel Kettle and…What Else?

What’s That Title All About?

I have a low threshold of boredom and a lot of empty hours in the day to fill, so I tend to keep a number of projects on the go at any one time.


Right now, I’ve just finished re-cutting a short video, The Cake, a slapstick silent-ish movie, which you can have a chuckle at below. I promise you the drink was only Irn-Bru.

Having done that, I’ve returned to writing novels and I have no less than three simmering on the burners.

First it’s a sci-fi thriller, working title 499. I’m better known for my light whodunits and ribald humour, so that will appear later in the year under the pen name Robert Devine.

Next is the fifteenth Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, working title The Deaths at Squire’s Lodge.


It was originally planned as a Spookies novel, but I couldn’t get sufficient variation on the paranormal angle, and as a part whodunit, it’s fairly easy to transcribe. By the time it gets to Crooked Cat, it will be nigh on a year since we left Joe homeless, and the hard core STAC fans (yes, there are a good few) deserve a fresh volume.

Finally, it’s Midthorpe Mysteries #3, working title…

And that’s where I come back to the main thrust of this post. Set in a country club and spa, we find Raymond and Lisa up to their necks in chuckleworthy mayhem and dead bodies, but I couldn’t think of a suitable title. The Spa Murders or The Country Club Killings were fairly obvious, but because the Midthorpes stress humour as much as crime, I wanted something less Agatha Christie

Enter Trevor “I wrote Tracy’s Hot Mail and Tracy’s Celebrity Hot Mail” Belshaw.

Trevor has recently been plagued by Russian spam (aren’t we all) of the promiscuous kind, and he posted the text of one such laughable email last week. In it, the young woman (or old man posing as a young woman) indicated that (s)he was seeking “adequate man”

Note adequate man not an adequate man. As if he’s some kind of superhero. Is it a bird? Is it a plane? No. It’s ….ADEQUATE MAN!!!  (cue stirring music from Superman, Batman, Indiana Jones, etc.)

We all had a good chuckle at it, and posted our tittering replies, but later, as I settled own to work Midthorpe #3, it dawned on me that An Adequate Man is the perfect title.


I’m not going to tell you. It would give too much away.

In the meantime, thanks to Trevor’s mystery correspondent, and keep an eye open for An Adequate Man, coming to an e-reader near you very soon.


While you’re waiting, why not entertain yourself for a few minutes with The Cake?

Comments are open, so please feel free to have your say, and I’m quite happy for you to share if you so wish.


Did you know you can grab not one but TWO free books by signing up to my email newsletter.

I guarantee you will never be spammed and your email address will never be passed on or sold to a third party.

Learn more HERE

Posted in Uncategorized | Comments Off on What’s That Title All About?