Life with Arfur

An irreverent look at living with arthritis

November 18, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on The Ongoing Saga of Joe’s Eye

The Ongoing Saga of Joe’s Eye

You all know Joe. You should do. He’s mentioned on here often enough and he photobombs more of my videos than is good for my sanity.

He’s a rescue dog. Found wandering the streets of Manchester, we rescued him from the dog’s home to give him a good home. He came with two problems: pneumonia and recurrent conjunctivitis. A bit of TLC put both right. Mind, the antibiotics helped.

The eye problem keeps on happening and now and again it gets ulcerated. It did last week and as a result, he’s back in a cone.


Sedated and his eye scraped on Monday, we took him back to the vet’s last night and he’s improving but not quite there. At least two more appointments.

Having been cut to the quick by losing an expensive compact camera and an mp3 player a couple of weeks back, I could live without massive vet bills, but what can you do?

Does Joe care about the money? Does he hell as like. He now walks with head up because if he has his head down, the cone hits everything including the ground. The tail still wags, the world is still his to conquer, and his appetite hasn’t suffered either.

But the worst thing is the noise. He’s a barker. Always has been. A noisy little bugger. And the cone acts as a megaphone. I’m very hard of hearing, but the racket of his barking through the cone makes my head spin.

So I’m leaking cash, I have to contend with a dumb dog who can’t judge where thing are thanks to his cone, and the noise he makes is giving me a permanent bloody headache.

I need another life

Do you like giveaways? Well, let me tell you about not one, but TWO freebies.

Fiagara Nights, the first Midthorpe Mystery is absolutely FREE. Simply go to (universal link) and help yourself.

And if you like comedy mysteries, the second in the series, Bumped Off in Benidorm, is also free, and you can learn more about that offer by clicking here.

November 3, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on The Holiday From Hell

The Holiday From Hell

So We’re Back

Clad in shorts and a T-shirt to combat 28 degrees of subtropical heat, we took off from Arrecife at six last night, and just after ten o’clock, we tootled into three degrees of freezing Manchester. And I’ll be brutally honest. I’m glad to be home.


The Lanzarote weather was, as always perfect. But that’s all I can say in its favour. Whatever could go wrong, did.

We left home at four on Wednesday 26th October, and hit the first problem when we got to the airport and realised we’d left the foreign currency at home. All €600 of it. That meant living on plastic for the week, and left us at the mercy of crap exchange rates.


Ever determined to beat the blues, we had a comfortable enough flight but when we come to the other end, the captain aborted the landing thanks to violent weather systems above Arrecife airport. He was on approach and we were getting serious chop, then he put the power on and took us back up. We had to land at Fuerteventura, a separate island, forty miles south of Lanzarote. We were left to our own devices in the departure hall for a few hours before we boarded again, and flew back to Lanzarote.

Were we downhearted? Damn right we were. It was six o’clock by the time we got to our hotel, and we had been on the go for fourteen hours… sixteen if you count the two hours prior to leaving when we were out of bed and getting ready.

Things couldn’t get any worse, could they?

Yes they could. The daytime temperatures were up around the thirty degree mark every day. Just what you want. But air conditioning in the room would have been beneficial, too. We didn’t have it, so we sweltered inside the room and out.


The bed was a cloth-covered wooden board on four legs, with a mattress dumped on it. And that mattress was way past its sell-by date. It was too soft, sagging, with more lumps and bumps than the last bedroom wall I plastered. It was like trying to sleep on porridge, and it was nearly as damp by the time it got soaked in sweat.

Still if, these were the only problems…

No they bloody well were not. I’m like a gorilla, covered in hair. And all that sweat provided a wonderful, swampy attraction to the local mozzies. Result? After two days, I was covered in bites, and after a visit to the nearest pharmacy, the missus was applying ointment to my back, while I dealt with those on the front.

We’d been there forty eight hours and I swear if I could have got a flight home, I would. My blood pressure was up and down like a bride’s knickers, my blood sugar was all over the place, I was in shocking pain from knees and hips thanks to that mattress, and I had more hassle from the healing bites, and my temper was explosive.

Things settled for a few days, then came the task of organising the trip home. First job, find out where our airport transfer bus would pick us up. There were two alternatives; one on the sea front and the other two hundred yards away round the corner in front of the hotel. I asked our rep, he didn’t know. He suggested we wait at one, with a lookout on the corner and if we got it wrong, we leg it to the other stop. I’m crippled with arthritis and the missus is in her seventies, and he is two slates short of the full fucking roof.


Luckily we’d become acquainted with a young woman who was getting the same bus, and her daughter was in her teens, so we managed to sort it out.

Yesterday, on our way home we checked out at twelve, and left our luggage in storage until the pick up at half past three. In between times, the hotel lost the key for the store room. We had to wait for an engineer to come and break in.

So we got the airport and at last, boarded our return plane. Problems over and done with. Right? Wrong.

As we climbed out of Lanzarote, I checked my bags and learned that somewhere between checking out of the hotel and settling into our seats aboard the airplane, I had lost a camera worth £80 and Sony Walkman mp3 player, worth £40



Fortunately, I’d downloaded all the images from the camera to a memory stick and the music form the Walkman is all on my hard drive. But I’ll still be out of pocket £120 replacing them.

If anyone ever mentions going to Lanzarote again, I won’t be responsible.

October 21, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on A Week From Hell

A Week From Hell

I’m thinking of turning to disaster novels… based on my life.

Everybody hates Monday morning. I don’t usually because it means all the factory fodder have gone off to their daily toil and I get some peace. Not this week.

On Monday I had a dentist’s appointment. Routine check-up, twenty quid, thank you, see you in six months. But a filling had gone AWOL during the last month or two, and replacing that bumped the bill up to over fifty nicker.

There’s something strange about paying people large amounts of money to cause you pain… or maybe not, depending on your inclination.


Tuesday saw the dog limping like Long John Silver, minus the parrot. He’d caught his toe somewhere, bang goes another forty quid at the vet’s. Wednesday I tried to pay a credit card bill online and the system chucked me out when I tried to confirm the payment. Extended credit on the mobile, which lets me ring high-priced, geographic numbers, was low, so I had to make a hasty visit to the bank to pay said bill.

We’re away to the Canary Islands next week, so yesterday, aside from having my corns hacked, everything was going smoothly, until I got to picking up foreign currency, only to find that the pound has sunk lower than an MPs morals when it comes to voting for an unjustified, inflation-busting pay rise. I’m sure I’d have got a better rate if I’d changed groats and duckets for euros.


I got home with the foreign dosh stashed safely in my wallet, only to learn that Her Indoors has blathered our brown, leather settee with black permanent marker ink. Worse, she tried to get it off with Vim.

“Why didn’t you just use nitric acid?” I demanded.

“I didn’t know I could,” she replied tartly.

Today it’s Friday. (Trust me. Check the calendar and you’ll see I’m right.) Aside from chasing up cleaning materials that might remove the offending in stain, the car goes in for service, the cases still need weighing, and I need a haircut.

I also need another life.

Are you in the mood for a Friday freebie? All my output from Crooked Cat is in Kindle Unlimited and if you’re a member, you can read them absolutely free.

If you’re not in KUL, how about a Midthorpe Mystery for free? Check out Fiagara Nights at

If you’ve read it but you still fancy a free book, check out my special offer HERE.

And don’t forget to tell your friends.

October 14, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on Marmite Manoeuvres

Marmite Manoeuvres


tankHad to go to Tesco, as I usually do, but not being a lover of Marmite, I knew nothing of the furore that was Marmitegate. Imagine my surprise, therefore, when I turn into the relevant aisle to find a squad of armed Royal Marines on guard.

“Authorised personnel only in this aisle, mate,” said the sergeant in command. “Hop it.”

“I can’t hop,” I told him. “I have arthritis. I can limp though.”

“Well then, limp it.”

“And you can bog off” I told him. “I want—”

“Listen to me, sunbeam, the only Marmite in this aisle is under secure guard. You’re not getting any.”

“You’re damn right, I’m not getting any. The missus says we’re too old for that kind of thing.”

“I’m talking about Marmite, not your legover.”

“I don’t want Marmite. I want a jar of strawberry jam.”

Judging from the way he looked down his nose, he obviously saw me as a communist infiltrator and the supermarket as the last bastion of freedom and democracy. “And how do I know that if I let you near the jam, you won’t try nicking one of the few remaining jars of Marmite in the Western world?”

“I don’t like bleeding Marmite,” I told him. “If it came with a voucher guaranteeing me a night of rampant how’s your father with the blonde from the betting shop, I still wouldn’t buy it. I wouldn’t wash your feet in Marmite, never mind mine. I wouldn’t spread it on the cabbages in the back garden, never mind a sandwich. All I want is a jar of strawberry frigging jam.”

He gave the matter a moment’s thought, and then turned to his squad. “Corporal: one jar jam, strawberry, for the use of, to me. Now.”

The corporal in question removed a jar of jam from the shelf, pulled an imaginary pin with his teeth and tossed it to the sergeant, who missed it, and it fell to the floor, where, being glass, it naturally smashed, spreading jam everywhere.

“Now look what you’ve done,” the sergeant grumbled as he tried to scrape jam from his toecaps.

“Me? You’re the one who didn’t catch it!”

“Just get out of here. And if I see you here again before the end of this war, I’ll have you shot.”

And that, reader, is why we’re having Spam instead of jam for our afternoon snack.

October 11, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on Back Again With A Giveaway (or Two)

Back Again With A Giveaway (or Two)

Hello. Did you think I’d done a runner?

It’s a while since I’ve used the blog. Why? For a start off, I’ve been ill for the better end of two years, and its most marked effect has been through this last eighteen months or so. The problems are not particularly serious, but they are debilitating and they’ve been an absolute nightmare to bring into balance.

In addition, most of my blog output has taken the form of humour and is on video; “vlogging” as it’s known. If you want to catch up on my idiocy, you can do so on my Facebook timeline at:

I’m now starting up the blog again, and I’m using it today to bring you up to scratch on the various bits and pieces, mostly to do with my books.

Firstly, my publisher, Crooked Cat has moved all my books into Kindle Select. What difference does this make to you?

Well first, it means the books are exclusive to Amazon. It’s part of the deal. You can’t (legally) buy them from any other source. Tough for those people who don’t own a Kindle, right?



Well, no, actually, it isn’t. Amazon have a couple of apps, one for the computer, called Kindle for PC (or Mac) which you can download free of charge, and which allows you to read Kindle books on your screen.




They also offer Kindle for smartphone (android) again free of charge, and it’s the app I use to read e-books. So you see, it’s not necessary to own a Kindle to read Kindle books.



There are two advantages to Kindle Select. First, anyone who is a member of Amazon Prime can borrow books from the KUL library free of charge, and finally, authors and publishers can set a book’s price at FREE for a specific number of days per quarter. The terms and conditions surrounding these options can be found on the Amazon site.

So which of my titles are in Select?

The whole of the Sanford 3rd Age Club Mysteries. That’s fourteen mysteries for Joe and his pals to solve, from The Filey Connection to Trial by Fire. And there’s a fifteenth in production (but no firm publication date yet).  More on that when I have more news.

What else is in Select? Both the Spookies titles, the hard-boiled Croft/Millie works and finally, for lovers of sci-fi/horror, Voices.


What about my other efforts, The Midthorpe Mysteries and Flatcap?

Because these are largely experimental, I self-publish them and they are not in Amazon Select. But that doesn’t mean there’s no offer on them. Right now, you can download Fiagara Nights, the first Midthorpe Mystery and the book that introduced us to Raymond Baldock and Lisa Yeoman, absolutely free. It comes in any format of your choice, and there are no strings. Just click on the link.


Beyond that, if you want more, you can also get Bumped Off in Benidorm, the second Midthorpe Mystery, free of charge too. Just go to this page for the details.

Having settled my health issues, at least to the point where I can work, there are fresh titles in the pipeline and I hope to pick up where I left off a year and half ago. So why not subscribe to this blog and ensure you’re up to date with the news as it happens?


August 17, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on A Family of Olympians

A Family of Olympians


The Rio Olympics come to a close this weekend, and it’s been a fine performance from the British athletes. Many congratulations to all those who picked up medals, but I think it’s time I detailed our achievements.

It’s not something that’s widely known because I don’t make a big deal of it, but I come from a family of Olympic athletes, and the number of sports at which we excelled was legendary.


It should probably read ducking and diving. There was no one better than my old man when it came to shifting hooky goods.


A team effort. Sailing close to the wind went with membership of the family.


This was one of my brother’s specialties. Whenever there was work to be done, he’d say, “I’ll wait here while you lift that.”


To be fair, it should read re-cycling. A team effort, there was no family who could match us when it came to shifting lead, brass, copper, to the local scrapyard, even if most of it was nicked from local churches, building and demolition sites.

5,000 Metres

This was one of my brother’s most skilled performances. The 5,000 is estimated number of units he nicked by making the gas meter run backwards.


My brother again. He was a champion at sinking balls into a hole. His gold medal performance was with three sisters one after the other on three consecutive nights.


This award went to my ex-missus who was a true Olympian at handling balls. Especially when I was working away from home.


This was my magnum opus, achieved in 1972 when I put by boot into some guy’s crown jewels after I caught him rogering that same ex-wife.


Usain Bolt move over. In his prime, no one could touch my dad for running when the rent man and/or police came knocking on the door.


Another team job, after we nicked a car, stripped out all the good bits and sold the rest for scrap all in the space of six hours.

High Jump

What the cops said we were up for when we were arrested for nicking a car, stripping out all the good bits and selling the rest for scrap all in the space of six hours.

So what happened to all our medals? Turned out they were made of mild steel, so we melted them down and sold them for scrap.

July 6, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on A Sunny Day

A Sunny Day

I have to apologise for this one in advance. It didn’t turn out as good as I expected, but I hope you’ll still get a few chuckles from it.

In my defence, we haven’t had much sun round here recently, and when I began filming yesterday morning, I could see cloud building over to the west, so I had to move quickly. I shot the whole thing in less than two hours, by which time, the sun had all but gone.

Still, it’s here for your entertainment, and as usual, it stars that classic, middle-aged berk, Flatcap, doing his thing in the back garden. And it’s all right, missus, you can watch. Flatcap’s thing is never naughty.


And if you enjoyed that, why not take a look at Flatcap’s classic… THE CAKE 

June 29, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on Giving It Away? Me?

Giving It Away? Me?


It doesn’t even sound right, does it? But it’s pointed out to me that I am a tightwad, a classic Yorkshireman. I never give anything away.

Take, for example, the recent referendum. I got stopped in the street by one of these pollsters who asked, “Would you give me your opinion on the current campaign?”

“Certainly not,” I replied. “But I will SELL you my opinion.”

The rationale is quite simple. These pollsters make a fortune from the people who commission them. Why, then, should I not take a tiny share of that?

She refused to pay for it, so she never did get my opinion. Not that I know much about it. I don’t drink champagne.

All of which detracts from the point of this post. In a critical mood, Her Indoors read some of my work and said, “You couldn’t give that away.”

Oh no? Well let’s see.

Right now, I’m giving away not one but to volumes of my work. Fiagara Nights, the first Midthorpe Mystery, and Flatcap’s guide to UK Holidays. If you’re at all interested, and I know you are, then go HERE and learn a bit more.

Right. That’s it. Now that we’ve had a Referendum Champagne, can we have a pint of Pollster’s Old & Mild?

Note to self: I really must dig out some batteries for me hearing aid.

June 14, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on Tenerife, here we come.

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.

June 11, 2016
by David Robinson
Comments Off on A Bad Eye & Empty Larder

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?