Archive for October, 2010


Horns In Paradise

Horns in Paradise

I was sitting on a beach in North Goa, pure white sand, glorious sunshine the Arabian Sea spread out before me. Walking towards me were some women selling fruit, baskets on their heads. I ended up buying a whole water melon, not that I wanted it all but that’s the way it goes in some places. As I hacked at it digging out chunks, a delight in the sunshine juice running down my face and through my fingers, I was suddenly aware of movement close by.

Looking up I was face to face with a herd of cows. Large eyes staring with even larger horns making an intimidating sight. Not exactly small creatures, something I had not considered when buying the water melon. Eyes were staring at me from all sides as I continued eating, who would blink first?

Surely I am more intelligent than a cow? but those horns were big. By now I had eaten several pieces and a plan formed. I threw a piece of rind and some of the cows chased after it, success! So the remaining pieces were thrown along the beach cows scattering in all directions.

A quick movement of the towel covered the remnants of the water melon. Now it was hidden the cows wandered aimlessly looking for food. Which goes to show that even in paradise there are things with horns.

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Oh! Careful girl.

Sorry madam.

The girl continued filing.

Its terrible this economic down turn, my husband has had to take shares instead of cash this year.

It must be most inconvenient madam.

What do you do with twenty million in bank shares.

As you say madam terrible.

The girl thought of her own wages, not exactly bread line but a lot of hours for not much money.

Yes times are hard on Wall Street, they are talking about making you keep the shares for five years; restrictions, restrictions.

It must be very awkward madam.

My friends husband is vice president of an investment bank, they are talking of moving to the Cayman Islands because the S.E.C. keeps interfering.

Yes madam.

Beaurocrats. They don’t understand business, you need freedom to make the right decisions.

No madam.

God, this woman is boring, every time she comes in here it’s moan, moan, moan; and she doesn’t even tip us after listening to her drivel.

No madam.

She’s a pain.


This woman, all she thinks about is herself.

There standing on her shoulder was a devil.

It’s alright she can’t hear us and even if she could she is not interested, listen to her.

My husband thinks the FOMC has got it all wrong, quantitive easing, giving our taxes away to those lazy good for nothings.

Yes madam.

See, she really cares for you, I bet you would like to get back at her.


Yes, if she had to live by her own rules.

That would be a good idea.

If the government hadn’t leant them all of your money the country would be in a lot better condition.

Certainly would.

If you could make a wish so that had happened she would be on the same level as you.

I don’t like to spoil people’s lives.

You are not spoiling her life, listen to her.

It’s terrible, we only had three cruises last year, and the people who get on those ships, it shouldn’t be allowed.

No madam.

See what I mean, she doesn’t enjoy what she has, all you need to do is wish for the government to have kept all the money they gave to the banks, because everyone says it’s not working properly, all the experts agree, you will be together, all the same.

I suppose it wouldn’t really hurt.

No! just that one wish.

She was going on and on.

Very well: I wish the government had not given the banks any money.

That’s it, now you can all be together.

The wind was cold, blowing around the empty streets.

The queue gets longer every day Doris.

Did you get any food from the Charity Store Roberta?

 A little, just enough so you don’t starve.

Hope there is some soup and bread left.

God look at my hands, havent had a manicure in two years.

I used to be a manicurist I could do them for you…..

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I have been asked why I write about sex in my stories. Why not, all books have some sexual content but most leave the reader with waves crashing on the shore at that time.

I however, believe that a little gentle erotica is a good thing. There is nothing wrong with sex and never really has been. It is when its portrayed as hard and vicious with no feeling that it becomes wrong. Sex should be a careing gentle thing with a feeling of enjoyment by both parties otherwise its just rape.

I try to impart this feeling in my books, whether between a husband his wife or lover there is still that feeling of care. In the late 1700’s early 1800’s it was accepted that women took ‘companions’, this was their way of sexual fulfilment and not having a baby every year as contraception was not exactly a priority.  This left the men able to have a mistress who did not mind having children but who usually knew about preventing babies.

Society in those days accepted the situation especially when in the tropics. Many offspring of famous males sired on their mistresses have either taken over the family title or proved to be famous themselves. Obviously there were ‘rotters’ there always are, but usually these men looked after the mistresses and their children. I have tried to relate these situations in A Soldier’s Wind and hope to have achieved my aim.

In A loving Son, I have taken the attitudes of post war London and entwined the story of Stanley and his mother with the conditions of that day.  East London was not the rosey place depicted in some films, it was hard, and for those who had no husabnds or means of supporting themselves it was even harder.  Women did take to prostitution to provide a home and food for themselves and children, there was no social then, no child benefits or tax credits like there is today and the NHS was only just starting up.

What there was were criminal gangs, robberies, sex clubs (for the rich), bent coppers, mayhem and murder. So Stanley became a skilled killer, honing his skills whilst protecting his mother, an assissin in the making, A Loving Son indeed .


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When I started writing A Soldier’s Wind I included two prostitutes who were ‘upper class’.  These ladies were not at all unusual, it is recorded somewhere that two sisters actually married into nobility.  Prostitution in the 17th and 18th centuries was mixed, both in the chances of catching disease and the type of woman involved.  At the top end were classic beauties who charged vast amounts of money, were extremely wealthy and meticulously clean, and accepted in the highest levels of society some even marrying into it.   Next came what might be termed ‘The Casual Professional’. A woman selling her body to put a loaf of bread on the table, or a roof over her head; perhaps an officers widow who took a position in a ‘gentleman’s establishment’.  Then there were the street walkers, in every doorway in London a woman was available with the chances of diseases almost 100%. Boswell, Johnson’s biographer, was constantly with prostitutes. London bridge was one of his favourite haunts, with him having to be treated for the pox on many occasions.

In  A Soldier’s Wind Jason and his Uncle enjoy being in the company of upper class prostitutes, money being no object. Sheathes were available for purchase usually made from animal intestines which were stored in a saline solution. Sexual equipment could also be purchased, dildos, douche’s etc., it was also possible for women to have an operation to restore their hymen, the first night of marriage was important to prove their virtue, blood had to be seen on the sheets.

Sheath’s were used purely to prevent infection not as a means of stopping pregnancy, most innovations came from Italian immigrants who opened shops in London.

One of the main reasons for disease was a lack of hygiene, bathing and regular washing was something of a rarity.

There is nothing new in sex!!!

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Although we do not have water on our finca after it has rained we are entertained by the singing of some rather fat toads who are out on the pull.


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We first saw one when I was moving some wood and found underneath a large spotted yellow toad next to a black curled up snake. The snake went flying via a long stick and the toad decided to hop it. Then a few days later we saw a brown toad by the wall.  These toads are here all the time they hide away during the hot weather but when it cools down and the mornings are laden with heavy dew, they come out. After dark they start their mating calls hoping to find a willing female. This year the cicadas had only just finished their nightly chatter when the toads took over. They have been happily singing for several nights now sexy little dears.


As for Jimmny Cricket. I was looking at the young walnut tree when I noticed a large insect sitting on a branch. It is about 3-4 inches long, strong hind legs, with long feelers, it was its head that told me who it was. (Walt Disney can be useful). Anyway, there he was sitting there quite content and utterly convinced he was invisible – the walnut tree is a very young one and he is almost as long but not quite as the branch he was sitting on. I have taken photos, only not with a digital camera so it will be a time before I can post them. This evening when we came home Jimmny decided to play ‘you cant see me’. As we walked past the tree he moved round the trunk in the hope he would be invisible. It is now midday and I have just looked, he is still there enjoying the weak sunshine. Nature can be wonderful.

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Olly the owl is a small owl. Not just small in size but that is his title in nature. He is brownish with wide eyes and a knowing stare. We first noticed Olly when my wife saw a ‘baby owl’ sitting in one of the fir trees which grow alongside the drive and yes as always she named him. He sat perfectly still making little noises which convinced us at the time he was someones baby. Then he took flight and we thought he’d gone.

 A few nights later we were sitting on the roof beneath a bright moon, under the frame of the small gazebo watching the stars and looking for ‘sputniks’ sorry still stuck in that era; when I noticed Olly sitting there not taking any notice of us but looking for his supper. We sat there in rapture at being so close to him in his own environment and for the next 30mins we watched as he came and went noislessly gliding away then returning to survey his teritory. That was one of the many magic moments we have had here.

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Buzz, Wine & Rosie


Thanks to Rosie I have found a new site called Buzz. It’s for peeps living in Spain and appears to be a friendly and informative site. Even if you do not live here check it out. Rosie and a friend on Buzz have found a very nice Vineyard near Barcelona http://www.jmiqueljane.com/. (or visit my Facebook site & read her comment there) as I discovered when checking out the link, the wine we had at that fish restaurant is one of theirs Blanc de Blanc and it is a very nice smooth wine not acidic and well priced. We will be visiting the vineyard, hopefully before Xmas.  It has been a while for us to get around to various areas and try the wines, we have one favourite which is in Corbera de Ebro. The red there is good, smooth but not too heavy.  My wife is fond of white and they do a nice one Vinas del Tio.  I look forward to hearing more about the wines from Rosie and her friend, and will notify you of any reports that are posted.  There is one more vineyard I would like to mention although it is not in Spain, St. Etienne. This is a co-op in the Bordeaux region, the rosat and red are excellent and the prices range from  2.75€ to 200€ so you have a wide range to choose from.   If by any chance you are travelling up to Barcelona via the 340 you will find lots of Cava houses  if you stop and enjoy remember  watch out watch out there’s a Mozza about.  Cheers

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Barrack Obama was elected on a strong emotional upswell within the United States supported by such luminaries as Ophra and Teddy Kennedy, however, no one really looked at his policies or politics. With a large number of African Americans voting on the basis ‘lets get our man in’.

I do not believe that Obama thought he could win the Democratic Primary, Hilary Clinton had it sewn up. I believe  he was testing the water for eight years hence when economic problems were more settled. But Edward Kennedy saw a golden opportunity to go down in history as the man who put a black president into office, with the added bonus of kicking the Clinton’s in a very soft spot of their anatomy. There was only room for one dynastic family in the Democratic Party, and so an incompetent campaign by Hilary in throwing away her strongest card – her surname – and distancing herself from Bill allowed Obama in.

The moral of the story is this. If you are going to vote, check the policies and throw the emotion away.

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On Monday I took my wife to lunch in Ampolla a little seaside town about 35 mins away. We decided to eat at a beach-side fish restaurant which we had noted on our previous visits. We sat overlooking the bay and started with a fish salad which comprised of various shell fish and TINNED tuna on a bed of lettuce and tomatoes with a seafood sauce. Then came a very nice paella all washed down with a bottle of white wine followed by coffees. Unfortunately we will not be eating there again. On Tuesday morning we both felt rather unwell I had a bad stomach so had to leave the shopping to my wife. She was not well either and was sick while she was out, needless to say we have spent the rest of the week regretting our choice of eating place. We are taking it steady and hoping that by Monday we will feel a lot better, its sad really that a very pleasent little restaurant could be so haphazard about the cooking of its food.  It made a small dent in my pocket which had we not been ill I would not have minded. However…. a thought has just crossed my mind its our birthdays this month and we usually go out for a meal!!!!!

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