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Colin Brown’s Trolley Dash

November 11, 2018

Pale autumn sunshine fought its way into the shabby room through grimy windows, highlighting piles of dusty clutter. A sprawling figure picked up the tv remote, killed the credits, and hauled himself upright. Wandering into the kitchenette, he opened the cupboard door, stared blankly at a handful of out-of-date packets and a couple of tins of cheap baked beans, then looked into the similarly stocked fridge, and back to the cupboard again. ‘Time to go shopping.’ he thought, as he reached for a battered tea caddy, which contained what little cash he had left.

Arriving at the supermarket, Colin Brown rummaged in his pockets, found a pound coin, and collected his trolley, but as he was about to enter the store he noticed that one of the wheels was wonky, and stopped dead, wondering what to do about it. The man behind almost walked into him, and scowled as he dodged past…Colin didn’t notice. Instead, he did an about-turn, swinging his trolley round and almost knocking an elderly lady flying, which caused the people around him to tut, and exclaim in disgust at how careless some people were!

Back at the bay, he returned the trolley and collected his coin. Undecided as to what to do next, he noticed a couple who were headed back to their car, their trolley running smoothly, so he waited until they had offloaded, and almost ran to the next bay to grab it before anyone else did. Happily, Colin returned to the store and managed to get his shopping without further incident…that was until the wheel jammed as he was about to turn into the next aisle.

Shopping almost done, he decided that he could afford a couple of cans of beer, so he headed for the beer aisle, but stopped suddenly, the handle connecting abruptly with his midriff. Cursing under his breath, he gave it a shove, and it released, so he continued on his way.

Beer chosen, and stowed in his trolley, he headed for the checkouts, but as he was about to turn into the main aisle the wheel jammed again.

Oh shit!” he exclaimed, as he pushed and pulled to try and release it. It didn’t budge. He was beginning to get annoyed, so he gave it one hard shove…it released, shot forward and knocked the elderly lady, that he’s narrowly missed previously, flying across the floor, her basket and shopping spinning in all directions.

Oh, my god! You idiot!” and similar shocked exclamations came from the people in the vicinity, who quickly ran to the lady’s assistance, as a red stain began to seep through her coat. Colin was just as shocked as he stuttered an apology, which sounded feeble to his own ears, as well as everyone else’s, and he stood rooted to the spot, not knowing what to do, as shoppers looked at him in disgust.

The…the wheel jammed…I’m sorry…it…it was an accident…I…”

You should be ashamed of yourself!”

Knocking old ladies over…whatever next!”

Running his hands through his unruly hair, colour beginning to rise, along with his temper, he blurted “I told you, it was an accident…the wheel jammed!”

There’s no need to take that attitude with me, young man!” barked an upright, elderly gent, whose wife was trying to sooth the dazed woman on the floor, and get her to wait for a paramedic.

Just then the manager arrived with a security guard in tow, but before he could open his mouth people were crowding round telling their version of how Colin had knocked the poor lady flying, then tried to flee the scene, which Colin hotly denied. He stepped back, raising his hands in order to quiet the crowd, and in that moment moaning and grunting was heard. All eyes turned to where the ‘victim’ was attempting to get up, but was being restrained by the well-meaning ladies who tended her, telling her to sit still, as she had had a terrible shock.

The manager nodded to the security chap, who marched forward and man-handled the old lady to her feet, amid shocked gasps from all, as a strange green stain also began to seep through her coat.

Hello, Cyril, fancy seeing you here!” more stunned gasps from the crowd as the manager stepped forward and pulled off his wig. “This, ladies and gentlemen, is a shoplifter that we have been trying to catch for the past couple of months. Take him to the office, Dave, the police are on their way”

Er…what about this one?” asked a burly lad who held Colin in a vice-like grip.

Ah, yes, we have you to thank for apprehending our miscreant. Come with me, young man.” Colin shook himself free, squared his shoulders, and followed the manager without looking back, relieved that the old lady wasn’t really an old lady.

Waiting for his taxi home, paid for by the manager, along with several bags bulging with shopping, he couldn’t help but smile that the day had turned out much better than he thought possible. Just when he thought his day couldn’t get any worse, and he thought that he’s almost killed a poor old lady, it turned out that he had caught the thief, instead, and had been rewarded handsomely. Then, his belly rumbled loudly, reminding him that he hadn’t eaten since breakfast, and his problem now was deciding what to have.

grocery cart with item

Photo by Oleg Magni on


The Hairy Detective and Other Stuff

November 10, 2018
black pen on white book page

Photo by Pixabay on

Ten weeks.  That is how long I have been working through an online writing course, on FutureLearn.  The course itself was eight weeks, plus two extra weeks to finish it.  I am now missing the exercises and assignments, the conversations, and the feedback…it certainly challenged me at times, as part of the assignments included reading, and giving feedback on other people’s work.  That definitely dragged me outside my comfort zone!  But you know what…I will do it all over again if that course is ever repeated!

One of the things that I was already doing, before the course, was keeping a writing journal, but it was an ordinary exercise book, which I kept losing.  The solution – I bought a thick, hardback notebook that is not so easy to lose.  This has been invaluable throughout the course for making notes, character studies, ideas, etc., and I really must try to keep writing in it. 

Before Weekend at the Asylum, at the end of August, I had actually made a start on the first rough draft of my novel, The Hairy Detective, but had to put this aside to concentrate on a colourful patchwork jacket that I was making.  After Asylum came the Jane Austen Festival in Bath, then the writing course began, which was excellent, and I thoroughly recommend it.

So, back to Colin Brown.  Where did he come from?  Who is he?  What does he do?

To answer those questions I will have to go back to the 1990s, when I worked at a school as a cleaner.  There I was, minding my own business, cleaning the assembly hall, when I was suddenly stopped in my tracks by ‘Muchgrott-on-the-Green’ suddenly popping into my head.  Er…what…??  I wrote it down, and carried on with my work.  Over the course of time, this was joined by ‘The Hairy Detective’, and later, Mavis Baggott. 

arranged bookcase books indoors

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Gradually a short story formed, with Mavis telling how she went to the Muchgrott library and found the latest Hairy Detective novel, only to later find that the last few pages had been torn out.  She then sets out to track down another copy, which then sees her traipsing round the village on a wild goose chase. Finally, she tracks down her prize at the scout’s jumble sale.   A happy and triumphant Mavis then sits down and reads the last few pages. 

Later, as other Muchgrott stories appeared, (Portaloo Massacre, Mopaholics Anonymous, and Non Compost Mentis), The Hairy Detective started to grow…it seemed to be telling me that is should be an actual novel, as this was when Colin Brown, and his friend Tony Sharp, appeared to me.  I knew what they looked like, where they lived, and lots of things about them…then Colin’s landlady popped up, too. 

Now all I had to do was work out the story, and how Colin got his nickname…simple, right?  Wrong!  I tried adding characters, scenarios, and different ideas, but nothing worked, so I just put it all away, and forgot about it!  Then a few years ago, I found it and looked through what I had put together, so I had another go at adding to the story…it still wasn’t working.

Earlier this year I had yet another go, and was talking with friends about it, saying that I really needed something to work with, and ‘body in the freezer’ was mentioned, among other suggestions.  Boom!  That was it!  Ideas then flowed, and I now have the story worked out, plot twists, new characters, chronology, the lot! 

As I mentioned earlier, I have started the first rough draft…time to get on with it!      

This is Not a Catch-up!

April 13, 2018

woodland-road-falling-leaf-natural-38537.jpegIt has been quite a long time since I blogged last, and I have been saying over and over that I must get back into it, but, somehow, it never happens.
Well, here I am…don’t expect anything of interest, this is just a random post of randomness…what else did you expect from a madwoman?!!

Where to begin? How about the weather?  Yes, the weather is a good place to start…it’s cold, and dismal, and this fog has been hanging around for most of the week…it can go do one!

Next…I seem to be hopping from one project to the next, at the moment.  First I was making a mock-up for the Simplicity steampunk coat, then doing a bit of embroidery practice, followed by some more work on my novel, now I have picked up one of my unfinished sunbonnets, and carrying on with that.  I should be clearing stuff out of the living-room so we can order out new sofas!

A trip to Hobbycraft, last Wednesday, when it opened…bought a few bits, then decided to have a look in another store.  DFS was the store chosen…wandered around loving the most expensive sofas, until we both actually liked the same one!  The weird thing was…these were actually in our price range! So now we have to clear the living-room, and get rid of the old sofa first…and order the new sofas withing the next couple of weeks, while they are still half price!

What else?  I have washed lots of fabric…I must now go and iron that fabric, and get on with some boring stuff, like washing-up…TTFN.

Of Dummies, Festivals, and Promenades – 2012 – Commencing Major Catch-up!

January 21, 2014

In June, the weekend following the visit to the castle saw us heading down to Norfolk to pick up a dressmaker’s form, that Robert bought for me from eBay for a song.

We collected the form, which I named Mathilda, and headed for home…then the trouble started…car trouble! 

Mathilda, cleaned up and stripped of peeling tatty cover fabric

We were going slower and slower, until we came to a complete standstill the other side of Sutton Bridge!  A long wait for the recovery truck, and the drive back to Lincoln, and Robert ended up missing an evening’s work.  That was one expensive dressmaker’s form!!

Mathilda has now been padded out with wadding, to make her near enough my size and shape, and covered with an old polo-neck top.

In August, it was nice to see some of the boys and girls of the 44th East Essex again, and this time we didn’t have to travel far, as they had come to Lincoln for the Festival of History at the castle.  Also there were Romans, Vikings, WW2 re-enactors, and Mr Churchill…

The 44th guarding His Majesty King George III

Camp followers




Mr Churchill

Also in August is the Lincolnshire Steam Rally, which I was looking forward to, as I had never been before…but we had to miss it…either due to finances, or the car being off the road, I cannot remember which.

Maybe we were saving our pennies for The Asylum.  I covered that over on my other blog Sandi by Gaslight, but here are a few photos anyway…

Thursday evening at Widow Cullen’s Well

Punknic in the Arboretum

Steampunks in Castle Square

Lots of steampunks in the castle

What’s next?  Oh yes…the Jane Austen Festival in Bath.  I will blog about that at length in Roundgowns and Reticules.  This year the route through Bath had been changed, starting from Queen Square instead of from outside the Pump Room.  It made a change, but it just didn’t have the same atmosphere as previous promenades that culminated in the beautiful Royal Crescent.  This time the Parade Gardens by the river was our destination, where there was a lot more room for promenading, dancing from Steps in Time, and generally seeing and being seen.

In October, we headed for Louth for the Victorian Market.  I was expecting a few stalls in a hall, or market place, but was surprised to find that most of the town centre was closed to traffic, and filled with stalls…

Just one of the streets full of stalls

Just one of the streets full of stalls

Some beautiful Victorian outfits

Some beautiful Victorian outfits

Robert posing with the Lincolnshire Victorians

Robert posing with the Lincolnshire Victorians


The end of October, Hallowe’en, and what better way to spend the evening than going on a Ghost Walk around uphill Lincoln, followed by our usual Wednesday evening meet-up at Widow Cullen’s Well…complete with apple bobbing and a pinata.


Well now, as I have left this so long, I will have to leave off here, and re-commence this major catch-up in another post! 

2012 in Review

December 30, 2012

The stats helper monkeys prepared a 2012 annual report for this blog.

Here’s an excerpt:

The new Boeing 787 Dreamliner can carry about 250 passengers. This blog was viewed about 1,500 times in 2012. If it were a Dreamliner, it would take about 6 trips to carry that many people.

Click here to see the complete report.

An Update

August 2, 2012

It’s been a long time since I last blogged, and quite a lot has happened…some sad, some happy, some exciting, but mostly boring.  😉  So, I will attempt to make this as quick as I can, or I will spend the next year trying to catch up!! 

My last blog post was about our St George’s Day Pub Crawl in London…that was last year!  Sadly, Ian Rayment, one of the organisers, and all-round nice guy, died of leukemia just a few weeks later, so our next trip south was for his funeral.  He was one of those people whose interests were many and varied, so he was able to find something in common with most people that he met. 

In May, we made another visit to Newstead Abbey for the NAs battle re-enactment.  The weather was much, much better than the previous year!!  It was a brilliant day out!


September saw us back in Bath for the Jane Austen Festival’s Grand Regency Promenade, a picnic in front of Royal Crescent with friends, and a visit to the Fashion Museum.  The weather was very iffy, and we actually had rain…what happened to the promenade sunshine??

Scott, Aurora, Jo, Robert, and Rhiannon

A Regency picnic – Royal Crescent, Bath

Beautiful gowns crammed into shady display alcoves…not impressed! 😦


Then a trip down to London for another pub crawl, this time as a memorial to Ian, and in aid of Jo’s charity.

Next came Robert’s annual school reunion at The Bridge Hotel in Greenford.

Robert’s school reunion at the Bridge Hotel, Greenford

Last year we were introduced to some of Lincoln’s steampunks, at the Christmas Market, by Scott and Jo, (who we met in Bath, and also live in Lincoln!) and now we try to get to the weekly steampunk meets at Widow Cullen’s Well, and the monthly get-togethers at the Jolly Brewer…

Widow Cullen’s Well, Steep Hill

Hat stack


This year, we attended the first Horncastle Regency Festival…more about that in my other blog, Roundgowns and Reticules.

Promenading in Horncastle


Newstead Abbey was no longer the venue for the Napoleonic Association’s battle re-enactment this year, which has now moved to Thoresby Hall near Nottingham…but we couldn’t make it, as the car decided to die on us!  😦  

In June we had a Special Steampunk Wednesday…Frenchy and the Punk at Charlotte House Hotel, The Lawn…definitely a splendid evening’s entertainment!

Frenchy and the Punk at Charlotte House Hotel, The Lawn, Lincoln

I almost forgot another splendid afternoon’s entertainment!  The Victorian weekend at the Castle with the boys of the legendary ‘Devils in Skirts’, otherwise known as the 3rd Foot and Mouth…

The women are getting rowdy

Here come our brave boys to sort them out!

Clash of the Titans?!

This year has definitely been more interesting and entertaining, and we still have a Regency dance class (hopefully!), a Festival of History at the Castle, the Lincolnshire Steam Rally, and the Jane Austen Festival in Bath to come.

I keep saying this, but I really, really must make more of an effort to write new blog posts, then I won’t have to rack my brains in an effort to remember what we have been getting up to, will I!  😉

St George’s Day – London 2011 – Part 2

May 26, 2011

Millenium Bridge

Oops!  I almost forgot about this blog about our little trek around London last month, visiting various watering-holes on the south side of the Thames!  Well, here I am again with the long-awaited part two…

Where did I get to??  Oh yes…I remember…the Founders Arms!  We left there and headed for our next destination, passing such landmarks on the way as the Tate Modern and the Globe Theatre..

Tate Modern

Globe Theatre

By this time I had developed a bit of a headache, and Robert’s hand had gradually swollen more and more due to a bite received the evening before.  I had suggested that he take his wedding ring off before his finger got too swollen, and it was just as well he did, because by the end of the evening his hand and arm looked like an inflated rubber glove!!

We arrived at The Anchor, where most people were crowded onto the terrace/beer garden area, so we found a table inside…

The Anchor

When we left, the skies were beginning to darken, and it was feeling quite oppressive…which would explain my headache!

On the way to our next port of call it began to rain, and as we turned down one little street there in front of us was the Clink Museum…I wanted to go in, but everyone just sailed straight past…it was a pub-crawl after all!  A recent episode of Mud Men featured this interesting-looking museum.

The Clink Museum

The rain turned into a downpour, but didn’t last long, so we wended our merry way to a beautiful 17th century hostelry called The George…

The George

There were plenty of tables outside, but after the rain were a bit too wet to sit at, so we struggled to find a table  inside as the place was packed!  Eventually a table became vacant, but chairs were in short supply.   This is where Graham finally caught up with us.

Random madwoman finds a shield!

Anne-Marie, John, Ian and Jo

We actually stopped here longer and had more than one drink.  (By the way, I didn’t actually drink that much…several J20s with lots of ice, and one half pint, then I had the odd sip of Robert’s).

Next we headed for the Bunch of Grapes…

Random woman, Pete, Ian, and Graham

I found this pub far too noisy (must be my age!), the music was so loud I couldn’t hear what anyone was saying…or should that be ‘shouting’?  It didn’t do my headache any good either!  Besides, by this time I was ravenous and in need of food, and Robert had mentioned stopping somewhere several times, but it was always on to the next pub!

When we left, it was dark out, and The Shard looked quite spectacular…

The Shard

The next pub had a rather odd name…The Barrowboy and Banker…

The Barrowboy and Banker

I couldn’t work out what this had to do with the pub name though…

The Charge of the Royal Scots Greys above the bar

Anne-Marie and Pete departed from here, and the rest of us headed for…

The Mudlark

…The Mudlark…also seen on Mud Men as their base after grubbing about on the shores of the Thames.  Johnny Vaughan and Steve Brooker (AKA Mud God) used the upstairs bar…we stayed in the downstairs bar.

A full-sized replica of The Golden Hinde was moored near our last port of call, The Old Thameside Inn…

The Golden Hinde

The Old Thameside Inn

No, that isn't Johnny Vaughan...!

Graham, Jo, Ian, Pete, and Random Woman

The Thames at night

We stayed here until kicking-out time, then made our way back to the station…taking in one or two more sites…

Fishmongers Hall, London Bridge

The Monument

Next day, I could look back and remember a great day out…headache and sore feet forgotten.  🙂