Life with Arfur

An irreverent look at living with arthritis

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

 

October 15, 2017
by David Robinson
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Blackpool, Saccharin & Baffling Books

You must have heard the old saying: all work and no play makes a man healthy, wealthy and too tired to spend any of his money. Something like that, anyway.

Well, I’ve been working seriously hard these last few weeks, and as a professional insomniac, I haven’t slept properly for almost a week, so yesterday the missus persuaded me to have a day off and take her to Blackpool. More truthfully she told me we were going to Blackpool whether I liked it or not.

As it happened, it didn’t turn out too bad a day. The weather was fair to middling, the motorways were busy but the traffic flowed fairly freely, and when we arrived in Blackpool, while all the other silly buggers queued up for parking spaces in the central car park that don’t exist, I found a spot in the public car park near Bloomfield Road football ground, and while the aforementioned silly buggers were still hoping for that non-existent parking space near the tower, the missus and I were strolling along the prom looking for a cup of tea.

So far so good.

That cup of tea provided the first argument of the afternoon (note: there had already been half a dozen arguments during the morning, most of them because I didn’t feel like driving to Blackpool, and I felt less like paying £50.00 in train fares). Getting back to the cup of tea, I made the mistake of letting Her Indoors go to the counter, where she spotted free saccharin pills for those who don’t take sugar, and a cream-filled chocolate éclair, both of which she took advantage of.

Notwithstanding being in possession of her own saccharin, she clicked a few pills into one of the cups of tea, paid a ridiculous amount of money for the chocolate éclair and brought the lot to the table, by which time she couldn’t remember which cup she’d put the saccharin in. She didn’t bother testing them, but pushed one cup my way and dropped even more saccharin into the other cup. You’ve probably already guessed that we ended up with two cups of tea loaded with saccharin, and I can’t stand the bloody stuff. Worse still, because I’m diabetic, I couldn’t have my half of the chocolate éclair. Result: another stand up battle of forcibly expressed opinion and counter-opinion in the middle of the tram tracks.

That aside, it was a pleasant afternoon and evening, and by the time we got home late-ish last night, I was so tired that it corrected my sleep pattern, and I’ve just got up from the best night’s rest I’ve had for a week.

But the day wasn’t without its puzzles, coming from no less a source and STAC #15, Peril in Palmanova.

Although it’s not due for release until October 26th, still nearly two weeks away, it is available for pre-order (details below) and yet it’s had its first 5-star review, from Janet Gifford Wills, who sings its praises and is eagerly awaiting the sequel. Well, Janet, first of all thanks for the review, and secondly the sequel, The Squire’s Lodge Murders, is with the editor, and should be on its way to Crooked Cat by the end of next week.

So where is the mystery? You’re not supposed to be able to review books while they’re on pre-order.

Naturally, it didn’t take long to solve. The e-book is on pre-order, but the paperback is published and already available for purchase.

So there you have it. For all you purists who prefer your reading matter in paper rather than electronic form, you don’t have to wait while a week on Thursday. You can pick up your copy now. Just follow the link below, and when you get to the Amazon page, click on paperback instead of Kindle.

As for me… After I finish this cup of tea (without saccharin) I’m off back to bed.

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 10, 2017
by David Robinson
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Just Like Buses

The Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries are a bit like buses. You wait ages for one and two come along at the same time… or very nearly the same time.

Peril in Palmanova is on pre-order in advance of the official release on Thursday October 26th. The Squire’s Lodge Murders went off to editor, Maureen Vincent-Northam yesterday and we wait her opinion with bated breath. What we’re using as bait, I don’t know, but whatever it is, the breath is set up with it.

Squire’s Lodge has been a pain in the nether regions, hanging round my bloody neck like the proverbial millstone for the last two years.  In the grand scheme of things, it should have been written and published within the three months after the release of Trial by Fire (STAC #14).  I had the broad outline, I knew what was to happen, and technically it was simply a case of getting on with it.

And I did get on with it.  At least half a dozen times.  And each one proved to be a false start.  I set it in Whitby, I set it in North Wales, I set it Northumberland, I brought it back to West Yorkshire, and none of them made any difference.  There was something lacking, and it wasn’t the location.

These early problems coincided with a marked deterioration in my health, for which I alone accept responsibility.  I don’t look after myself as I should do.  Aside from a couple of hastily written, scrambled together self-published titles, I wrote nothing of any substance between the summer of 2015 and the spring of this year when Crooked Cat put out my comic look at Life With Arfur.

And still Squire’s Lodge hung over me like the sword of Dan wossname.  You know who I mean.

Laurence, one of the founders of Crooked Cat, often asked, ‘Any sign of Squire’s Lodge?’ And I kept assuring him that it would be, ‘Soon.’

The missus and I were on holiday in Palmanova, Majorca, in May this year, and we were staying at one of the most bizarrely designed hotels I’ve ever come across.  Walk into most Spanish hotels and you’re on the ground floor, you check in and you take the lift up to your room.  In this case we walked in on the fifth floor, which was at street level, and took the lift down to our room.  The place was an architectural conundrum, made even more puzzling by the arrangement of elevators.  One of them was arranged to stop at all floors, another one only went down one floor, and yet another only went up two floors.  It was as if someone had given the architect a blank sheet of paper and said, ‘There you go, pal, have a bit of fun.’

Lazing about on the sun terrace, which gave us some spectacular views of Palmanova Bay, it occurred to me that the absurdity of the building’s arrangement would provide the perfect confusion for someone like Joe.  The same can be said of the determination of the entertainment staff to dragoon you into their fun and games, which reminded me of the Redcoats at Butlins, and I gave them the same answers as I used to give the redcoats at Butlins.  ‘Sod off.’

It was exactly the kind of answer Joe Murray would give them.

And there you have it: the genesis of Peril in Palmanova, and it was only a short step from there to using Peril in Palmanova as a springboard for The Squire’s Lodge Murders.

I’m not gonna tell you anything about the storylines in either of the two books.  What I will say is that they represent a slight change of direction for the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries.  Less a paradigm shift, more wandering off on a tributary, and it’ll be interesting to see where that tangent takes us.


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 5, 2017
by David Robinson
1 Comment

Shutting One’s Trap, Opening One’s Ears

They say you should never reveal a lady’s age.

Today is my first wife’s birthday and she 67 years old.

We’ve been divorced 40 years, so how come I remember her birthday? Well, you tend to remember the important events in history, don’t you? The Battle of Hastings, the Black Death, the Great Fire of London.

And this year, her birthday coincides with another major event.

There are exactly three weeks to the release of Peril in Palmanova.

All right, so it was all leading up to a plug, but give me some credit for creativity. At least I managed to get a link in so it made a bit of sense, which is more than some of our TV adverts do. There’s one running right now with Arnie’s head running round the shop on a little tractor telling everybody to make their minds up about buying underarm deodorants and other stuff. And what’s it all about? It’s a reminder that there are only two years left for these cold-calling pains in the arse to nag you into claiming that you were mis-sold PPI which you either a) never had in the first place, or which b) covered your payments when you fell ill or were made redundant.

A few years ago it was accidents, and I remember getting collared by some silly tart in town who noticed I had a plaster cast on my right wrist. I’d slipped and fallen at work. My own fault. I wasn’t watching where I was going.

This young woman went into full sales mode. “If you’ve had an accident at work, it can’t possibly be your fault.”

I told her she was talking out of her backside, she insisted, but like a Jack Russell worrying a dead rat, she wouldn’t let go. In the end I said to her, “Put the claim in if you want. As long as it doesn’t cost me anything, I don’t care.”

So she did.

Fast forward two years, by which time I’d forgotten all about her and the broken wrist, when I received a letter from them, which told me in no uncertain terms that I couldn’t claim for the injury because it was my own fault. I wasn’t watching where I was going.

There’s a lesson for salespeople in all this. Selling is not just about the gift of the gab. Try shutting your mouth and opening your ears now and then. You’ll save yourself a lot of wasted energy and potential abuse.


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 3, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

A Worrying Time

Like many people in this world, I read of the appalling atrocity in Las Vegas yesterday and my thoughts are with those who lost loved ones, and the multitude of injured caught up in this senseless attack.

We were especially concerned because my wife’s sister, Anne, is on holiday in Las Vegas right now.  The time difference meant that it was the early hours of the morning over there when we learned of the attack, and for many hours we didn’t know whether Anne was safe.

She contacted her daughter early in the afternoon (our time) to let the family know that she was safe and well.  Her hotel was nowhere near the Mandalay Bay, and she did not get caught up in the incident or its knock-on effects.

But it’s worrying when you read of these things, and you have family members in the vicinity and you don’t know one way or the other.  In my opinion, for what it’s worth, this is just another mindless act of savagery in a world that seems increasingly crazy and hell bent on its own destruction, and I feel for those who have been robbed of their lives, but I have to say I’m relieved that Anne and her partner are okay.

By way of surreptitiously changing the subject, yesterday’s events, coupled to the collapse of Monarch, one of my favourite airlines, caused my day’s work to grind to a halt before it got into high gear.

With STAC Mystery #15, Peril in Palmanova currently on pre-order and doing quite well, thank you, I’m deep into the next in the series, working title, Death at Squire’s Lodge.  I’ve made a huge amount of progress over the last week, adding about 15,000 words to what is the first draft.  Yesterday put paid to that.  I’d written barely 300 words when the news broke, first of Monarch, quickly followed by Las Vegas.

The demise of Monarch is particularly saddening for us.  We’ve flown with them many times out of Manchester, to either Malaga for the Costa del Sol, or Alicante for Benidorm and the Costa Blanca.  We always found the cabin and cockpit crew very friendly, helpful, and patient (something which is particularly important when you are dealing with a crumbling, arthritic pain the arse like me) and I’m very sad to see them go.

Still, life goes on, today is another day (add as many more clichés as you can think of) and it’s time I was getting back to Squire’s Lodge to see what the Sanford 3rd Age Club the can do to solve the latest series of murders.

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

 

September 22, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

We’re Back

Home again from our travels. Mablethorpe was its usual thrill-fest. While we were there, the traffic lights changed, drawing a massive roar from the crowd… all thirteen of them, fifteen if you count me and the missus.

In fact, it was quite a pleasant stay and if nothing else it got us out of this bloody house for a few days. Unfortunately, the weather changed yesterday. It was legging it down at six o’clock last night, so we cut it short and came home. We were walking into the house just after nine o’clock.

There’ll be a couple of video reports to come over the weekend and I’ll post the links here when they’re up and running.

I came home to a couple of surprises, one good, the other not so good.

One of my thrillers has been rejected for the umpteenth time. That’s the bad news, but maybe not bad as you might think. If nothing else, it’s been persuaded me that hard-boiled thrillers are not my forte. It puts my plans back a little, but I can cope with that.

There was better news on the cosy crime front. Peril in Palmanova, the 15th Sanford 3rd Age Club Mystery, is on pre-order. When we left for Mablethorpe or Monday morning, it was ranked about number 10,000 in the overall Amazon chart. When I got back last night it had leapt to number 540. That is an incredible leap of 9,500 places in just three days.

As usual, I have all you wonderful readers to thank for that. You’re making an old man very happy… or a happy man very old.

It persuades me that I’m best working with cosy, light-hearted crime and/or humour, and David Robinson will be working in this area from now on. Robert Devine’s debut is deferred for a while and when he does put in an appearance it will probably be working with sci-fi/horror. More details when they’re available or when I can work out what it is I’m supposed to be doing.

***

Peril in Palmanova is still on pre-order, scheduled for release on October 26th. To secure your copy now, at today’s price, go to:

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

September 18, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

A Few Days Away

It’s that time again when the Robinsons are off on their travels, toddling off to Skegness (Mablethorpe actually, but no one admits to going to Mablethorpe) for a few days.

After a stressful summer during which we lost our beloved Joe, my daughter was diagnosed with MND and also got married, we need a break and a poor flight back from Majorca at the end of May persuaded us that we didn’t feel like going abroad again this year.

So, Mablethorpe it is.

I had an interesting little event yesterday morning.  Running errands for Her Indoors (what else am I but an ageing errand boy?) I was leaving the house when I found a small parcel on the doormat.  This was a Sunday, remember.  Who delivers parcels on Sunday?

Amazon, that’s who.

As you can see from the photograph, it’s my advance paperback copy of Peril in Palmanova.  Good, innit?  It shows you how well I keep up with what’s going on around me.  I didn’t even know it was available in paperback…  Well, it isn’t available.  Not yet.  Not until…

October 26th.

Make a note of that in your diary.  It’s a Thursday, in October.  Course, it would be, wouldn’t it?  It would be bloody awkward if October 26th fell in April.

You don’t have to wait until then to order the book. It’s available for pre-order right now, and if you whip over there and put in your order, you’re guaranteed the price it’s selling at today.

So why are you sitting there reading this drivel? Get over there and get it ordered while it’s hot and cheap.

Closer to the time, I’ll be setting up a launch thrash on Facebook, and I may do some planning for that while I’m in Mablethorpe…  If I can find the time…  If I can be bothered.

That’s it for now.  We’re off to Mablethorpe.  While I’m gone, don’t do anything I wouldn’t do.  And that gives you huge scope for getting into all sorts of trouble.

September 11, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Rainy Days & Brighter News

Monday morning, again.

I’ve been retired for a good few years now, and I still get that Monday morning feeling… Even on a Thursday. It’s worse on Mondays especially when the weather is as bad as today. It’s absolutely hammering down one minute, and the next I’m having to turn the vertical blinds to keep the sun off the monitor screen.

I’m also having to use the keyboard. I can’t use speech recognition because I’m waiting for an electrician to arrive, and I won’t be able to hear him knocking while I have the headphones on.

Still, there is some good news, particularly for those amongst you who are fans of the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries.

Crooked Cat announced last week that STAC #15, Peril in Palmanova, will be released on Thursday, October 26th. That’s a little over six weeks from now on. The good news is, you can order it now, and guarantee yourself a price of just 99p/$1.31.

I don’t know what the eventual price will be. That’s a matter for Crooked Cat, not me. But I do know that if you order it now, you pay the price as it is now, and you will automatically take delivery at midnight on the day of release.

There will be a launch shindig on Facebook. I just haven’t got round to setting it up yet. Well, these things take time, and you know how I’m fixed. Last Of The Summer Wine is on the telly at half past six, and we’ve also started packing for Mablethorpe next week, on which subject I’ve had to put my foot down. We take either the lawnmower or the tumble dryer, but not both.

In between times, while waiting for the forklift truck to charge up and so I can lift the cases into the car, I’m pushing on with STAC #16, Murder At Squire’s Lodge (working title).

So why are you sitting here reading this tripe. Get over to Amazon and pre-order your copy of Peril in Palmanova while it’s hot and cheap.

Amazon UK

Amazon Worldwide

September 5, 2017
by David Robinson
0 comments

Live. For One Day Only

Tomorrow, eleven in the morning, UK time, I will be live on Facebook.

It was a challenge laid down by Crooked Cat Books to its authors. Am I up to the challenge? What? You’re looking at the man who sang Mack the Knife while dressed as Darth Vader… I mean I was dressed as Darth Vader, not old Mackie.

So along with a few others I picked up the baton and I’m running with it… well, I’m sitting in my chair with it, and tomorrow morning, at eleven o’clock our time, in a dazzling display of lights (I’ll get the wife to switch the living room reading lamp on and off) I shall be prattling live on Facebook for all of ten minutes… if you’re lucky. And if you’re really lucky, it’ll only be five minutes.

And what am I gonna be talking about?

I did think of entertaining you with horror stories from my visits to the chiropodist and dentist, but I figured you get enough laughs out of me without checking my corns and dentures. So instead, I’ll be waffling about the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries, and with very good reason. Peril in Palmanova, the fifteenth in the series is due for release October 26th.

I’m not gonna tell you anything about, but I will be detailing how it came about after a two year gap when it looked like there might never be any more tales from Joe and Co. I will let you in on the secrets of how a hill in Majorca provided the catalyst for the tale.

As it happens, the release coincides with plans for a revamp of the existing titles in the shape of new covers. Peril in Palmanova is an example, and here we have the new cover for The Filey Connection.

They may look bland and samey, but the key to them is their unusual, near exclusive design. I couldn’t find anything like them anywhere, and congratulations go to Laurence Patterson of Crooked Cat for his design work.

So there it is. Tomorrow eleven in the morning. Be there or be not there. You will have the opportunity to comment, but it’ll be in the comment boxes only, and naturally, any comment you may have should be clean, printable, and suitable for mixed company.

I shall see you on the morrow. I might even shave for the event.

You can catch me tomorrow from about 11:00 BST on my Facebook timeline