Life with Arfur

An irreverent look at living with arthritis

November 20, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Of Cat Attacks & Rapper Tracks

Notwithstanding fog and heavy rain, I’ve been out this morning, paying a visit to the optician.

Regular readers will know that a couple of weeks back, I broke my glasses. They proved beyond repair so this morning I went for my eye test, which because I’m diabetic is supposed to happen every 12 months. I wasn’t far out. It’s only 2½ years since the last test.

We went through the usual rigmarole: which line can I read on the chart (printed in Huddersfield) does this lens make the circle appear clearer or fuzzier (what circle) and so on.

Delivering her summary, the optician, a pleasant young woman who reminded me of Mina Anwar, said I had two small cat attacks, but they were nothing to worry about.

I found this slightly disconcerting for the simple reason that we don’t own a cat. True, we do get them calling into the garden, but usually when we open the back door they bugger off.

Determined to get to the bottom of the mystery, I asked, “What do we do about them?”

“Normally, they zap them with a laser.”

I was appalled. I mean, I prefer dog to cats, but I wouldn’t hurt your bog standard moggie. “Isn’t that a bit extreme?” I asked. “And how did these cats get to attack me in the first place?”

The light dawned in her eyes. “Not cat attacks,” she shouted. “Rapper tracks.”

As far as I was concerned, this was just as mysterious. “Well, I can’t understand that. I only listen to classical music, not rap.”

She groaned. “CAT-ARE-ACTS. Don’t you have any hearing aids, Mr Robinson?”

“Course I do. But who takes hearing aids along for an eye test?”


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

November 9, 2017
by David Robinson
2 Comments

Five Hours Of My Life And £15.00 In Taxi Fares I’ll Never Get Back

I started feeling manky about three o’clock yesterday afternoon. Light headed, shivery, excessively fatigued. I couldn’t work out what was wrong. I’ve just come to the end of a course of antibiotics to combat a chest infection, so it couldn’t be anything to do with that.

Time passed and at half past six I finally rang the doctor’s out-of-hours service, and they asked me to come down and see them at the local hospital. We left our house at a quarter to eight. We wouldn’t come back until quarter to one in the morning. And because I felt so rough, I couldn’t drive so we had to poppy up for taxis both ways (total cost, £15.00).

In between times, the out-of-hours GP sent me to A & E where, after hanging around for an hour with the sick, lame, lazy, and drunk, I underwent assessments with the triage nurse, an A & E nurse, and a junior doctor. He ordered a full set of bloods, a couple of paracetamol to get my temperature down, and a set of chest X rays.

And the upshot of all this is another chest infection. An absolutely humongous infection which, if I hadn’t spoken to the medics, would probably have floored me by this morning.

As it is, I’m on a second course of antibiotics: Clarithromycin 500mg, twice a day, and Amoxicillin 500mg three times a day.

One of the most extraordinary things to come out of the entire fiasco is the state of my lungs. I’m a heavy smoker, I already suffer with COPD, and I would have expected the X rays to show some serious deterioration. They didn’t. For someone as clapped out as me, they’re in reasonable fettle. Not good, but not as bad as I would have expected.

So there you have it. Another fun-packed night in the Robinson household. My thanks, as always, go to the dedicated NHS staff who have to put up with pains in the arse like me.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

November 6, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

They Say It Comes In Threes

I was having a good day yesterday. After the exhausting trip around Blackpool on Saturday, I slept really well, but I was still up early and hammering away at the keyboard (or chatting away into the microphone) by seven o’clock. By the time Her Indoors saw the light of day about half past twelve, I’d added almost 5,000 words to my WIP, my Nano project.

As a matter of interest that now stands at 11,500 words, and I’m well on target to complete 50,000 words before the end of the month.

I digress. Let’s get back to the main thrust of this post.

By one o’ clock yesterday afternoon I was feeling the pinch and in need of an hour’s sleep. I shut everything down, drank off the dregs of my cup of tea, and with the intention of hitting the settee for an hour, took my glasses off.

And right at that moment everything crashed.

As I took the glasses off, the arm came away. A couple of expletives later, armed with jeweller’s screwdrivers, I set about repairing them only to discover that for technical reasons which I won’t go into, mainly because I don’t understand them, they were beyond repair.

This was a disaster. Aside from a matching pair of sunglasses made up to the same prescription, they’re the only glasses I possess. I can’t drive without them, and because they’re varifocals, I can’t read or use the computer without them. I didn’t fancy working on the computer or reading or even driving in sunglasses, so we shot off down to the opticians at the supermarket where I always go for my glasses, where they carried out emergency surgery, knocking out the lenses from the sunglasses and putting the plain lenses in that frame.

I’m diabetic. I’m supposed to have my eyes tested every year, but working on the principle of if it ain’t broke don’t fix it, I tend to go every three years. So, after much finger wagging and tut-tutting from the optician’s assistant, I’ve made an appointment for an eye test and new goggles next Monday.

The missus insisted on coming with me yesterday. God knows why. She doesn’t drive so it’s not as if she could take over if the mangled glasses fell off my nose. When we got to the supermarket, while I negotiated with the optician, I learned precisely why she’d come with me. She wandered off looking at the Christmas goodies. And as I came away with my repaired speccy-takels, she insisted on picking up a few things in the way of Christmas gifts.

Now remember, at this point the only thing that is gone wrong with my day is a pair of broken face irons.

I always use shop and scan, and as she picked up these bits and pieces, I scanned them and grumbled about the price. The missus handed me three items of female persuasion, which I scanned and dropped into the trolley. Then she saw a better deal, and swapped the items over. Because we’re using shop and scan, the original items have to be removed and the new ones added, which I did. Then she changed her mind again, so I went through the same process again.

As luck would have it, I’m a Yorkshireman. People accuse us of being tight-fisted. Nonsense. Cautious is the word I would use, especially where money is concerned. So, as I made my way to the checkout, I looked at the amount she’d spent on these ‘Christmas bits and bobs’ (her description, not mine). It came to coppers over £47.00.

The next stage of the process is scanning everything into the checkout. Because some of these things were security tagged, I had to call an assistant to remove said tags. While this is going on Her Indoors shows up with a bottle of scent for herself, priced £12.00. I’m grumbling that I’ve already scanned everything in, she’s grumbling then she wants this bottle of toilet water, and the assistant is grumbling that it’s time for her tea break, and somewhere in amongst all this confusion, the bottle of scent was added and the price rocketed to over £70.00.

Call me old fashioned, but when I was a lad 47 plus 12 came to 59, not 71. It took another 10 minutes to sort it all out, I got the price back down to £59.00, and I still don’t know what went wrong. I do know that the assistant had missed her tea break and that my temper was on the up. So much so that I walked out of the shop and scan area without paying for the goods.

I’ve been accused of many things in my life, sometimes justifiably so, but I’ve never been a thief. Fortunately, I realised the mistake before I got to the tobacco counter, went back and paid for the purchases.

Driving home in high dudgeon, confident that my glasses wouldn’t fall off my face, I figured that was two strikes and I had another one to go. That happened later in the afternoon, but it’s of a confidential nature, so I can’t tell you anything about it. Suffice to say, it put the seal on what had started as a fine day and ended up nothing short of an unmitigated, bloody disaster.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


 

The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

November 5, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

It’s not that time again is it?

November 5th. Today is the day when we in Great Britain celebrate the anniversary of the last man to enter parliament with truly honourable intentions: Guy Fawkes.

He was a bit of a berk, mind you. Apparently when he laid his barrels of gunpowder, he tapped the sergeant-at-arms on the shoulder and asked, “Have you got a light, chum?”

I know all about this because my granddaughter is a historian.

With Guy Fawkes Night out of the way, we turn our attention to the dreaded big C… Christmas (cue theme from Jaws).

I’m not religious. The last time I was in church it was to give the vicar a quote for re-grouting the tiles in the lavatory. I don’t ram my atheism down anyone’s throat, and I don’t appreciate them trying to ram their faith down mine. So to me, Christmas is a secular event.

It’s also a humongous drain on finances. Her Indoors spends money like it’s about to go out of fashion and she needs to get rid of it as quickly as possible. Contrary to popular opinion, and not simply a tightwad; I’m a professional tightwad. I’m one of those who switches the gas off to turn the bacon over. Where the missus will snap up a tube of toothpaste for £1.00, I’ll walk another half mile through the rain, fog, sleet and snow to get the same toothpaste for 99p.

It goes against the grain, therefore, to lash out literally hundreds of pounds, most of which is spent on other people, to celebrate a festival which as far as I’m concerned isn’t festive. I meanersay, it comes at the darkest, coldest time of year, a time when common sense tells you that the best policy is to stay indoors. And what do we do? Trail here, there and everywhere for family parties. And because taxi fares are so outrageous (where does anyone get the brass balls to charge the thick end of £20.00 for a six-mile journey) I have to drive, which means I can’t have a drink. For me, then, Christmas means celebrating with a glass of lemonade, and since I’m diabetic it should be a glass of sugar-free lemonade, which as we all know, tastes like cat piss and soda on the rocks.

And as we move through November, my missus, will ask the inevitable question, “What do you want for Christmas?”

QWell, I’d settle for an hour with the young lass across the street. She’d probably bring on a heart attack, but the undertaker would never get the smile off my face.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

November 3, 2017
by David Robinson
1 Comment

Cough, Cough, Ouch

It’s been a while, but yesterday I woke up in some considerable pain, which I recognised immediately as a chest infection, and I had to go dashing to see the doctor.

I was right. I’ve had so many of them that when it comes to these things, it’s not often that I get it wrong. I’d been feeling manky for a couple of days, but the cause only made its presence known yesterday morning when I woke up to a stabbing pain every time I took a breath.

It’s self-inflicted. I’ve been a heavy smoker for almost 50 years. You can’t do that without inflicting serious damage, and I have breathing difficulties all the time. I can’t leave home, not even to go to the shops, without carrying my Ventolin inhaler. And I keep promising myself I’ll do something about it but it never seems to happen.

I did stop two years ago. A similar situation to now. I had a serious chest infection, a lot worse than the one I’m suffering now, and over the space of three days I reduced my tobacco intake to zero.

I went three months without a smoke, and it didn’t trouble me one iota. Then one fine Saturday morning we were out shopping in Manchester, and we got into a blazing row. Don’t ask me what the row was about. Like all our arguments it’ll have been something trivial like the cost of sausage rolls rising by a penny. Anyway there we were arguing like hell, she stormed off in one direction, I went in the other, and said to myself, ‘Why do I bother?’ Whereupon I ducked into a newsagent’s, bought a pack of 20 cigarettes, and before you knew it, I was back on 40 a day.

Before the bombardment of well-intentioned advice begins, let me tell you that I know and have tried every anti-smoking method in the book. I trained as a hypnotist specifically to deal with the pain of arthritis, but found it just as useless when it comes to stopping smoking. I’ve done all the other ‘tried and tested and certain’ methods and none worked.

You see, there’s a little secret to stopping smoking which none of these methods stress. You have to want to stop… and I don’t.

There are those situations where I’m quite comfortable without. A long flight, for example. You can’t smoke on aircraft these days, and it doesn’t bother me. Theoretically then, if I can go without a cigarette for hours and hours on end, I should be able to go without forever. But I don’t want to.

I don’t drink, I don’t gamble (the missus took care of that by pinching all my money) I don’t seek out the company of loose women (if they’re that loose, they’d probably fall off me) so smoking is the one vice I permit myself.

And before you tell me that I’m a drain on the NHS, forget it. One course of antibiotics every 18 months is not likely to bankrupt the state healthcare system, and there are bigger drains on it than me.

Naturally, I intend stopping. I just haven’t found the time to fit it into my busy schedule yet. I’ll get there. In the meantime, I’ll keep swallowing the penicillin and coughing up crap.

Yesterday wasn’t all bad. I got back from the doctor’s just after ten o’clock and found an Amazon parcel on the doormat. It was my paperback copy of The Squire’s Lodge Murders. The ebook is scheduled for release on December 13th, but it’s available for pre-order right now (see below). Paperbacks are not subject to the pre-order system, so the moment they’re posted to the Amazon site, they’re available for purchase, and if you feel like treating yourself to six quid’s worth of Sanford 3rd Age Club mayhem and mystery, you can find it at:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/Squires-Lodge-Murders-16-Sanford/dp/197929805X/

Alternatively, if you’d rather wait for the ebook, you can pre-order it on one of the links below.

That’s it for now. Have a good weekend and I’ll catch you on the flipside.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

November 1, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

My Nano Approach

November is National Novel Writing Month, usually shortened to Nanowrimo, shortened even further (by me and many others) to Nano.

The idea is you write a novel in one month – November. By ‘novel’ they mean 50,000 words.

I don’t normally bother with it, on the grounds than I can beat that target any month I choose. That’s not just an idle boast. I don’t do anything these days but write, and my typing speed is fast enough to produce well over 1000 words an hour. Since the Nano target is less than 1700 words per day, hitting it is quite easy for me. In theory.

I’m best known for my cosy crime series, the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, but I’ve had a hankering for writing darker, grittier material for some time. And therein lies the reason for taking part in Nano this year.

Most writers come in with a plan. I have one too. My plan is to have no plan. I know where to start, I know where I’ll finish, so all I have to do is fill in the bit in the middle.

Most writers will also work linear. In other words, they start at the beginning and make their way methodically to the end. I don’t work like that. Instead, I carry out random sorties. I might right the opening, then the ending, then chapter seven, then a section of chapter nineteen… and so on. It may seem odd, working in this manner, but it ensures that I will never dry up.

The new work will be entitled Womanhunt, and it will be produced by Robert Devine. If you don’t know who Robert Devine is, it’s because you’re not paying attention. He’s me.

Womanhunt is the second in a series of planned works with the central character Wes Deakin, a general counsellor and therapist, who has suffered more than his fair share of psychological problems after his wife was murdered by a serial killer four years previously. The first in the series, Hunter’s Moon is complete, awaiting revision, editing and publication. I’m hoping to put that out before Christmas, and Womanhunt will follow sometime in the New Year.

I’m not gonna tell you anything more about them right now, but I will keep you posted on my Nano progress as we go through November.

And with that, I’d better get back to the keyboard. The 50,000 words won’t write themselves.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

October 27, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Worn Out But Worth It

I don’t sleep well most nights. It’s a combination of factors: diabetes, which tends to get me up two or three times a night to visit the bathroom, arthritis pain, which even with strong analgesics is impossible to subdue totally, and the sheer boredom of retirement.

That last is the most important factor. I’m possessed of a jackrabbit mind, which leaps into high gear the second I wake up, and it can be difficult to subdue.

I had no such problem last night. I hit the sack just after midnight, and was asleep in minutes and aside from the one time I needed the smallest room, I didn’t wake up until gone seven.

It’s not difficult to work out why. Yesterday was simply one of the busiest days I’ve had for a long time. It was, of course, the official release of Peril in Palmanova, the long awaited fifteenth in the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery series.

I spent most of the morning faffing with my webcam, trying to cure audio/video sync problems, and I didn’t have a great deal of success. As a result, when the launch party started on Facebook, the live videos I put out left a lot to be desired.

Notwithstanding that, the day went quite well. The afternoon proved lively and entertaining, with plenty of input from the people who attended, but it effectively manacled me to the computer from noon up until eight o’clock in the evening.

It’s not physically demanding work, but it’s surprising how tiring it can be, and by the time I brought it to a close, and sat down to watch Professor Noel Fitzpatrick work his surgical miracles on a range of dogs, I was absolutely worn out.

But it was worth it. By the end of the day, Peril in Palmanova had climbed into the top 60 of the Amazon UK cosy crime chart. Over and above that, pre-orders had lifted The Squire’s Lodge Murders, STAC #16, into a healthy position in the overall rankings.

I don’t take any credit for that. Books, whether ebooks or paperback, are not sold; they’re bought. It’s not like selling home improvements where you can bring in high pressure techniques to secure the signature. As the author, having written the tales, it’s my job purely and simply to raise awareness of their availability. The rest is up to the readers. Fortunately for me, Joe and his pals in the Sanford 3rd Age Club have a core following of dedicated fans who had been waiting two years for the next instalment in their adventures.

For that, I apologise, and I hope the wait was worth it.

And it is to those devotees that I say thank you. It’s you who have set Peril in Palmanova on the road to success.

And now I’d better get back to the coal face. The next book won’t write itself.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

October 26, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Out

Today’s the day. Thursday comes round once a week. Releases in The Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery series only come round once a flood and today just happens to be the day when a new one comes out.

Yes, as of now, Peril in Palmanova is on sale in Kindle format and paperback. It’s exclusive to Amazon, which means if you’re a member of Prime, you can read it for nowt.

You might think that because you don’t own a Kindle you can’t download it.

Wrong.

If you go to the Amazon website you can download the Kindle app for PC, MAC, and even android for reading on your smartphone. I have plenty of e-books and I read most of them on my phone. Never has the humble novel been so versatile.

We’re holding a bit of a thrash on Facebook starting at 12 noon. Everyone is welcome, even if you don’t have a formal invite. Just pop along to the page, click on ‘going’ and chip your two pennorth in.

You’ll find it at: https://www.facebook.com/events/293014261214608/

The news, however, doesn’t end there. Just as Peril in Palmanova sets sail on the choppy seas of popular crime fiction, so STAC #16, The Squire’s Lodge Murders, comes online.

Scheduled for release on December 13th, The Squire’s Lodge Murders is available for pre-order right now, and it’s already in the top 500 of its genre.

So what are you waiting for? You’ve just got time to nip over to Amazon and order your copy of The Squire’s Lodge Murders for delivery just before Christmas, before you join us at the Peril in Palmanova launch do.


Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, exclusive to Amazon at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide


The Squire’s Lodge Murders, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16 published by Crooked Cat Books, on December 13th 2017, is available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

October 24, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Slow, Slow, Quick, Quick… Quick

Things are happening at breakneck speed. The trouble is, at my time of life, I’m no longer built for speed.

To look at me now, short, fat (I’ve never been politically correct) permanently out of breath, you’d never believe I was a sprint champion. Mind, it was over 50 years ago.

Back to the plot.

Peril in Palmanova is released on an unsuspecting world this Thursday, October 26th, and I finally managed to get around to setting up a launch do on Facebook. It runs from noon to eight o’clock in the evening (UK time) and everyone is welcome. You don’t need an invite. Just cut along to the page and invite yourself. You can it find it at:

https://www.facebook.com/events/293014261214608/

And while all this is going on, I signed the contracts for Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #16, The Squire’s Lodge Murders, and a little while later I received the cover image, as below:

I’ll be updating be STAC page on this site later on… when I’ve got my breath back, been to the supermarket for the day’s shopping, hoovered the carpet, put food on the bird table, and shifted the house a bit to the left, all of which will be done with a brush up my arse, so I can sweep the streets as I’m going along.

Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, on October 26th, is now available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

 

October 19, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Hammer, Tongs and a Sore Throat

 

I haven’t put up any of my world-famous videos recently. Well, I say world-famous, there’s a bloke in Mogadishu who comments on them regularly, but I don’t know what he’s saying cos I don’t understand the language he writes in.

You’re probably wondering why I’ve stopped making them. On the other hand, you could be wondering why washing powder is so bloody expensive.

Well, I’ll tell you… why I’ve stopped making videos not why washing powder is so expensive. My voice has been rough as a bear’s arse ever since we came back from Mablethorpe. I’m not blaming Mablethorpe, although as whipping boys go, Mablethorpe tends to be very useful. It can be blamed for a large range of issues.

According to other people, my problem is caused by smoking. I can’t see it. I’ve been smoking for 50 years, but I’ve only had a sore throat for the last three weeks.

Be that as it may, plans are afoot to pack the weed in… again.

It’s all a bit inconvenient. Y’see, the launch of Peril in Palmanova is just seven days away. Yes, the excitement is building here at Festung Robinson because one week from today, the 15th Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery will finally be on sale after what seems like months on pre-order.

And there’s more news. The 16th Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, The Squire’s Lodge Murders, is with Crooked Cat Books, and I’ve had an email, literally just a few minutes ago, saying they’re ready to work on it, and could they please have the blurb (which makes life awkward because I haven’t written it yet).

So you see, it’s all go and to add to the complications, we’re fresh out of Weetabix.

As if there isn’t enough trouble in the world already.

Peril in Palmanova, Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery #15, published by Crooked Cat Books, on October 26th, is now available for pre-order at:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide