MAYNARD & SIMS
March 30 2013
Len has now joined the 60 club so as we sit dribbling and talking about how 'fings ain't wot they used to be we can reflect on the first three months that have already gone by of what still feels like a new year .
Don has just confirmed Department 18 book 4 will come out from Samhain in August 2014. A Plague Of Echoes follows Robert Carter in more paranormal adventures. That follows book 3, The Eighth Witch. And Samhain have Stronghold due out July 2013. We've finished a psychological ghost story, Stillwater, this year.
We are reading at the Dead At Dawn festival in Edinburgh. Should be a good weekend, with Peter Mark May and Frazer Lee.
We've acquired a book agent for our thrillers. Dark Of The Sun is going well from Darkfuse. And this year we have finished a thriller, Let Death Begin, to go alongside Falling Apart At The Edges, and Through The Sad Heart, and we've written a new novella, His Other Son. Most of these are out.
We've written two new short stories, for anthology requests, and both are out.
Amazon publishing have invited us to the London Book Fair in April, and apart from dinner we'll be there on the 16th for a meeting and a good look round.
Holidays are booked, days out and family events are in the diary. Life is full and life is good. Granddaughters are a constant delight. The weather over this Easter weekend suggest Spring may actually be about to burst upon us.
My daughter has worked hard at her A level coursework and has her exam to sit in May. I'm confident she'll do well. My wife has a special (50) birthday this year so plans are needed for that.
It still irritates slightly when people ask how am I doing now I'm not in work. I know they mean that after I left full time employment where I actually went into an office (well several as it happens) I am clearly at a loose end. I prattle on about walking the dog, gardening, being a granddad, doing a bit of consultancy work... and then I say something like, but of course my writing keeps me busy the most... and then I get The Look. You probably know the one if you've ever tried to explain that you write. It's a kind of mix of sympathy and ignorance. It feels like a pat on the hand to a small child. A kind of "that's nice, now did you see Corrie last night?"
Wait a minute - I do write. Course you do. No, I mean I write full time, every day, yes weekends as well. It's my job. No, it may not pay as much as the day job I had for 40 years (one month and two days) but it's what I do now. I'm good at it and I love it. (Which is more than can be said on both counts about the old day job). No, I don't have time to walk your dog for you. No, I think you need a gardener to prune your roses. I've got a story to write.
As I get older - though feel l no different from 40 years ago - the rate of writing has increased incredibly. Perhaps it's the realisation of infinity not applying to me, perhaps it's the space and time I now have. Either way it is what I do - so pardon me while I leave you now - I have a character who has written himself into a corner, rather cramped and dangerous one - and I need to work with him to get him out - or kill him, I don't mind.
Mick March 30 2013
January 3 2013
Well it's official, Len has now joined Mick in the 60 Club - we are now officially old farts. Fantastic. There have been times over the last six decades that I didn't think we'd survive that long - at times life can get pretty scary. But with a positive attitude and great family support we have made it.
Not only made it but in very good shape. Maybe a bit overweight but shape generally as in writing and in life. We both enjoy family time and we are both so fired up with the writing now that we are burning ourselves. So hot it stings.
So Len and I have now known each other for 49 years - friends for 40 or more. We've had some adventures, good times and bad, but through it all we ate it and spat it...no wait a minute I think someone already said that.
We've booked into the Samhain sponsored Dead At Dawn festival in Edinburgh in April where we should do our second ever reading - from The Eighth Witch. By then our first non-horror will be out - Dark Of The Sun from Darkfuse. Very excited about that.
Some stories are now on Amazon -
We have a few copies of A Haunting Of Ghosts left - the limited edition hardcover.
Happy New Year to everyone.
Mick, January 3 2013
December 24 2012
What a year 2012 has been.
Two novels published, including Department 18 book three, and two story collections, including A Haunting Of Ghosts. Three novels written, and three screenplays as well. Actually one of the story collections was also written this year. Three novels bought and scheduled for 2013 and 2014, including Dark Of The Sun, our first non-horror book. The first four novels which Dorchester had published have been bought by Amazon Publishing. Our first ever reading from one our books, and another reading booked at a festival in 2013. Two commissions for original screenplays, one of which has been delivered.
Mick has spent his first year not working at a day job, and the freedom of writing full time has been wonderful. It has been the old cliché of not knowing how I found time to work at a job. My days are full and fantastic.
Beautiful daughter is making a great job as a full time mummy. Emily had her 18th in February and we all went to Florida. She also passed her driving test in August which, after pleurisy in February laid her low, was well done. She was bridesmaid for the first time in April at her cousins wedding. Holidays with her boyfriend in Venice and Gran Canaria recharged mummy’s batteries, especially after a small op in May.
Granddaughter, Macie was 1 and was Christened in September. She is an absolute delight and keeps me amused for hours. She enjoyed Florida and also a family holiday in Devon where we had fantastic weather. She enjoyed Night Garden at the O2.
Mrs Sims took her mum to Spain in June, and in September we were 25 years married and had a wonderful two weeks driving around New England, where we stayed at some of the best and definitely the worst hotels we have ever experienced.
And to December where I hit the big 60, and celebrated quietly. Now officially an old man, prescriptions are free, rail travel reduced. And yet I am still 24, what are they talking about?
Then the sickness bug hits the Sims household pre-Christmas and we are all ill, ill, ill.
And 2013? Well Len is now a full time writer after leaving his job of 43 years before Christmas. So quality and production is set to increase. A novel will be finished by the end of January. Current projects include a mainstream novella, a crime thriller, and an action thriller. Then there is that second commissioned screenplay, plus another script from one of our books. There are lots of short stories brimming over in our minds and onto the page.
Happy Christmas to all.
A very Happy New Year to everyone and may you enjoy peace, happiness and health as well as success in whatever way you choose to measure it.
December 24 2012
November 2 2012
A VERY BRITISH HORROR EVENT
Peter Mark May
August 31 2012
Amazon Publishing Acquires Publication Contracts to Over 1000 Books from Dorchester Publishing
SEATTLE—August 30, 2012—Amazon Publishing today announced that it has acquired through an auction the publication contracts of over 1000 books from Dorchester Publishing. As part of the process, Dorchester authors were offered the opportunity to join Amazon Publishing and receive the full back royalties that Dorchester indicated were owed.
“Working with the Dorchester author community during this auction process has been a tremendous experience for all of us,” said Philip Patrick, Business Development Director at Amazon Publishing. “We are happy to be able to pay their back royalties and we’re thrilled to welcome them to the Amazon Publishing family.”
“Amazon Publishing is breathing new life into my series, and I’m very excited to see what the future holds,” said Tracy Madison, award-winning author of the Gypsy Magic series.
“I am excited beyond words about being offered this chance to join Amazon Publishing. I cannot thank them enough for stepping in and giving former Dorchester authors the chance to move ahead,” said Deborah MacGillivray, author and agent of the late Dawn Thompson, author of The Ravening. “Dawn literally lived for her writing. Amazon Publishing is helping me safeguard Dawn’s legacy, and to see that new readers can continue to find her books,” said Dawn’s sister, Diane Thompson.
“This new relationship will enable the works of countless talented fiction writers to serve their established readers and reach new ones across the globe,” said Gregg Loomis, author of The Bonaparte Secret.
“The transition from Dorchester to Amazon Publishing means that our authors will now be able to reach so many more readers and markets worldwide than they ever could before. That truly is something to celebrate,” said Vicky Piekarski and Jon Tuska, co-owners of Golden West Literary Agency, in a joint statement.
Going forward, the acquired Dorchester titles will be published under the appropriate Amazon Publishing imprints: Science Fiction, Fantasy, and Horror titles to 47North; Romance titles to Montlake Romance; Mystery and Thriller titles to Thomas & Mercer; Westerns and other titles to AmazonEncore. Titles will be available both in print and as Kindle books. Under the terms of Amazon’s bid, any former Dorchester Publishing authors that chose not to work with Amazon Publishing will have their rights revert back to them to pursue other publishing opportunities including self-publishing via the Kindle Direct Publishing platform.
Amazon Publishing is the publishing arm of Amazon.com. Amazon Publishing’s West Coast Group includes imprints AmazonEncore, AmazonCrossing, Montlake Romance, Thomas & Mercer, and 47North. Amazon Publishing’s East Coast Group publishes adult trade, children's and young adult titles. For more information about all imprints of Amazon Publishing, visit www.amazon.com/amazonpublishing. Amazon Publishing is a brand used by Amazon Content Services, LLC.
Amazon.com, Inc. (NASDAQ: AMZN), a Fortune 500 company based in Seattle, opened on the World Wide Web in July 1995 and today offers Earth’s Biggest Selection. Amazon.com, Inc. seeks to be Earth’s most customer-centric company, where customers can find and discover anything they might want to buy online, and endeavors to offer its customers the lowest possible prices. Amazon.com and other sellers offer millions of unique new, refurbished and used items in categories such as Books; Movies, Music & Games; Digital Downloads; Electronics & Computers; Home & Garden; Toys, Kids & Baby; Grocery; Apparel, Shoes & Jewelry; Health & Beauty; Sports & Outdoors; and Tools, Auto & Industrial. Amazon Web Services provides Amazon’s developer customers with access to in-the-cloud infrastructure services based on Amazon’s own back-end technology platform, which developers can use to enable virtually any type of business. The new latest generation Kindle is the lightest, most compact Kindle ever and features the same 6-inch, most advanced electronic ink display that reads like real paper even in bright sunlight. Kindle Touch is a new addition to the Kindle family with an easy-to-use touch screen that makes it easier than ever to turn pages, search, shop, and take notes – still with all the benefits of the most advanced electronic ink display. Kindle Touch 3G is the top of the line e-reader and offers the same new design and features of Kindle Touch, with the unparalleled added convenience of free 3G. Kindle Fire is the Kindle for movies, TV shows, music, books, magazines, apps, games and web browsing with all the content, free storage in the Amazon Cloud, Whispersync, Amazon Silk (Amazon’s new revolutionary cloud-accelerated web browser), vibrant color touch screen, and powerful dual-core processor.
Amazon and its affiliates operate websites, including www.amazon.com, www.amazon.co.uk, www.amazon.de, www.amazon.co.jp, www.amazon.fr, www.amazon.ca, www.amazon.cn, www.amazon.it, and www.amazon.es. As used herein, “Amazon.com,” “we,” “our” and similar terms include Amazon.com, Inc., and its subsidiaries, unless the context indicates otherwise.
This announcement contains forward-looking statements within the meaning of Section 27A of the Securities Act of 1933 and Section 21E of the Securities Exchange Act of 1934. Actual results may differ significantly from management's expectations. These forward-looking statements involve risks and uncertainties that include, among others, risks related to competition, management of growth, new products, services and technologies, potential fluctuations in operating results, international expansion, outcomes of legal proceedings and claims, fulfillment center optimization, seasonality, commercial agreements, acquisitions and strategic transactions, foreign exchange rates, system interruption, inventory, government regulation and taxation, payments and fraud. More information about factors that potentially could affect Amazon.com's financial results is included in Amazon.com's filings with the Securities and Exchange Commission, including its most recent Annual Report on Form 10-K and subsequent filings.
Blog update July 8th 2012
As the UK waits to watch the first British man in a Wimbledon tennis final for over 70 years the rain of summer continues to crash on down - and we still have a hose pipe ban because there is a water shortage - come on...
We've been busy on the writing. Another story collection is almost completed - Stillwater and other ghost stories is a novella and six very traditional English ghost stories many of which hark back to our roots in Shadows At Midnight and Echoes Of Darkness. There are glasses of port, cigars, chess and roaring log fires. Only trouble is - who will publish it? Sarob are full for a while and I can't see many other publishers of quality limited edition ghost books out there.
Samhain have taken another standalone novel after Nightmare City. Stronghold will come out in 2013. We also hope they will take A Plague Of Echoes which is Department 18 book 4 which follows book 3 (we are nothing if not logical about these things). Book 3 is The Eighth Witch which Samhain are bringing out soon in 2012.
Watch the book trailer for Nightmare City on YouTube
We have written two Department 18 screenplays that are both out there being pitched for us.
Busy working on a third crime thriller (after Mere Mortals and Touching The Sun).
My daughter and granddaughter continue to be a constant source of pride and pleasure for me. Having them live with my wife and I gives a whole new depth to our lives that we didn't think possible.
2012 has been a good year so far. Daughter 18 in February - hot Florida holiday. Granddaughter is 1 in September and there is a combined birthday and Baptism ceremony and party organised. Wife and I are 25 years married in September as well so that is a trip to Boston and New England - road trip kind of thing. Daughter has already been to Venice with her boyfriend this year (after taking her baby to Spain in January) and they are off to Gran Canaria in August as well.
Watching the hype build up about Andy Murray is a little like the Euros and the chances of the England football team. We want, we expect, and in the end (hopefully not today) we pluckily accept.
Olympics and Paralympics soon in London - not going myself but it will be a great occasion sporting event. We have the torch/flame through our town yesterday and there was a great carnival atmosphere surrounding it with fairs and festivals going on.
Been working on the Nightmare City book trailer this morning so better get off and showered and ready for the day.
all the best
Sometimes, when I look at my children, I say to myself, 'Lillian, you should have remained a virgin..' - Lillian Carter (mother of Jimmy Carter)
I had a rose named after me and I was very flattered. But I was not pleased to read the description in the catalogue: - 'No good in a bed, but fine against a wall.' - Eleanor Roosevelt
Last week, I stated
this woman was the ugliest woman I had ever seen. I have since been
The secret of a
good sermon is to have a good beginning and a good ending; and to have
Santa Claus has the right idea. Visit people only once a year. - Victor Borge
Be careful about reading health books. You may die of a misprint. - Mark Twain
By all means,
marry. If you get a good wife, you'll become happy; if you get a bad one,
I was married by a judge. I should have asked for a jury. - Groucho Marx
My wife has a
slight impediment in her speech.
I have never hated a man enough to give his diamonds back. - Zsa Zsa Gabor
Only Irish coffee
provides in a single glass all four essential food groups:
My luck is so bad that if I bought a cemetery, people would stop dying. - Rodney Dangerfield
Money can't buy you
happiness .... But it does bring you a
Until I was thirteen, I thought my name was SHUT UP . - Joe Namath
I don't feel old. I don't feel anything until noon. Then it's time for my nap. - Bob Hope
I never drink water because of the disgusting things that fish do in it.. - W. C. Fields
We could certainly
slow the aging process down if it
Don't worry about
As you grow older,
Maybe it's true
that life begins at fifty .. But everything else starts to wear out,
By the time a man
is wise enough to watch his step,
PREGNANCY Q &
A & more!
BLOG UPDATE May 20 2012.
2012 has been a great year so
On a personal from Mick started 2012 having left Lloyds Bank after 40 years 1 months and 2 days and for most of January drifted about aimlessly. February was a great holiday in Florida to celebrate daughter Emily's 18th birthday and since then plans have been made to mark granddaughter Macie's 1st birthday and Christening, and Mr & Mrs Sims reaching the 25 years married milestone, not to mention - do not mention this - Mr Sims reaching the 60 mark later in the year. Niece Janine got married and Emily was bridesmaid for the first time and looked lovely, as did Janine.
Mick has been getting started on some possible business ideas to raise some extra cash - business advice to small business owners (or large ones for that matter), outsourced admin / organisational support, and writing / editing / proofing services.
Len and Mick have been very busy writing. The 4th Department 18 book, A Plague Of Echoes has been delivered to the publishers, who also have a standalone book, Stronghold. Three screenplays have been written following interest for possible TV work - a Department 18 script, a Witch script and a ghost story short for a potential series.
In the last week we have started another collection of ghost stories that we hope will be traditional in spirit, and we should have that completed by the beginning of June.
One day soon the British summer will start and we can have some warmth and sunshine so we can really enjoy the drought.
She was in
the kitchen doing the boiled eggs for breakfast.
NINE WORDS WOMEN USE THAT MEN NEED TO LEARN
21 Economic Models Explained
May 20 2012
As Christmas approaches and everyone says "I can't believe it's here already," and "It doesn't seem like 12 months ago," I suppose it's natural to look back at the year just rushing to a close and see what life has given us.
Writing purely personally for a while 2011 has been fairly momentous. 2012 was supposed to be the Sims year - daughter Emily is 18 (February), wife Clare and I married 25 years (September), I hit 60 (December) not to mention the Olympics (total disinterest I'm afraid). As it has turned out 2011 has tried it's level best to upstage 2012 and then some.
So at the risk of sounding like those round robin letters we all get from people in their Christmas cards where they crow about how wonderful their lives are let me give you a quick rundown on a typical Sims year.
January saw an aged aunt - the last of my dad's era - pass away and so for the next seven months it was regular trips to Kent to clear and sort out. February and daughter gave us her news that culminated in the September birth of Macie Rose - a much loved and very precious granddaughter. I would be lying if it wasn't a shock when the news was first announced and we had a few weeks of stress while we got used to the idea. November and my job of 40 years was taken away and here I am seeking re-employment at the ripe old age of 59 and moving into the self employed world which is a new adventure for me.
So 2012 is still an exciting prospect but now for some added reasons. Whoever says we never know what life will throw at us speaks wise words.
Announcing I was leaving my job I was overwhelmed by the messages of support and love that came out, many from friends of years passed. I have always believed that if you are fair to people and treat them with kindness and respect they will return it. And that has certainly been shown to me in recent weeks.
2011 saw Len and I part company
with our agent of the last two years. Regrettably those were two years
that didn't see us get published much - well actually not at all. So as
Autumn grew near we set out to rectify that as best we could. We had a
fair body of completed work - supernatural and thriller - novel and short
story. As I write this we have achieved a fair bit -
So I hope everyone has a great
Christmas and a very Happy New Year. Len and I are having our works do
tomorrow - Pizza Express will suffice - and we'll raise our glasses of
Coke to a successful year and a bright future.
and speaking of those blasted round robin letters....
CHRISTMAS NEWSLETTERS – MY LIFE IS SO MUCH BETTER THAN YOURS.
‘So how was your summer?’
Come September that seems to be the universal greeting from friends and family who haven’t been seen for the past couple of months, while school was out, holidays were taken, and time drifted by with the warmer weather and wine.
‘Do anything exciting?’
You start to tell them about the long break in Florida, or France, and the things you’ve been doing, but then you realize their eyes are glazing over and the inquiry was really just another polite conversational tool we all use, like when we ask, ‘How are you?’ when what we really mean is hello. Or when we say ‘you’re looking well.’ When what we actually mean is ‘for your age’ or ‘considering the life you lead.’
Summer ends when the kids go back to school. If you are blissfully childless you can recognise the end of the season when the traffic begins to build up on the school routes.
So what comes next? Obviously in chronological order, according to the traditional seasons, next comes autumn. Once upon a time there may have been some pleasures to be found in the season of mellow fruitfulness and russet leaves, by and large though, and certainly in comparison with the summer idyll of long days and warmth, autumn tends to be less than welcome.
Spiders invade; webs are walked into in the most unlikely places. Central heating clocks are turned up for the first time in months. Paths, drives, lawns are coated thick with leaves that might have had some attraction when turning red on the branch but they give no pleasure when they’ve been turned into a sodden mess by the frequent rain showers.
No, after summer, it’s Christmas. That’s what really matters. Halloween is a diversion, Bonfire Night an inconvenience. Christmas is the true occasion after summer.
Not just in terms of the Christmas day itself, but what’s become the whole Christmas season, and of course the planning. In our house the least used room in the house gets taken over by bags and boxes of presents. We’ve been buying for months now as we see things that they might like. Interpretation of that means it was in the sale, and who they are could mean anyone.
And it’s once summer is over that the buying and the planning can begin in earnest. Last weekend a visit to a local craft fair, a big professional affair with decent quality bargains. Result? A good dozen presents bought and stored away until nearer the time. Presents bought for friends who might buy us one back, or worse, might buy us one when it is too late to reciprocate.
The cards were bought in January, half price, even the big ‘special’ ones. But when to write them? Do you get in first, be the 1st December kind of card sender? Do you wait until you get a few then send yours, so you don’t miss someone out? Every year you resolve not to send a card to that couple you never see any more, what’s the point. Then sure enough, theirs arrives, a computer generated label so you know all they’ve done is gone through the address book sending to everyone. So you send them one again and the cycle continues.
What wording do you put into your Christmas cards? A few truly special ones might justify some thoughtful phrases or even some sincere message of affection. Most though surely fall into the ‘all the best’ category. Just a ‘to’ and a ‘from’ should be sufficient. Some people though go heavily overboard as though they’re a Mafia victim with their feet encased in concrete and chains wrapped around their waist.
We’re given their address, implying they expect a card in return. We get the ‘must see you in the new year’. Why? We’ve managed without seeing you for a decade now and memories of meeting you on that Greek holiday have retreated into the background of our lives where they’re almost forgotten. Or the urgent ‘must see you before Christmas’ as though the calendar date of Christ’s birth will falter and fail if we don’t spend an interminable evening over warm Pinot Grigio and flatulence inducing nibbles within the next month.
But the new trend, the card fashion that is encroaching on civilisation with increased volume each year is the family newsletter. As if a card isn’t enough contact on an annual basis. As if their news is so important to us that we have to have it shared in a typed sheet of news and usually accompanied by photographs. It’s the Christmas card equivalent of the home movies of our holidays that used to take place before people stopped seeing one another.
You know the type of newsletter; you’ll have had a few each year. Usually from people you really don’t see any more, and there is usually a good reason for that. They bore you and you probably bore them. Life is too short and we are far too busy.
Not too busy though to revel in other people’s glories. ‘Suzy got 11 A stars in her exams. Think what she’d have done if she’d revised! Ha ha.’ ‘Bob has been promoted at work, fairly senior now, if you can call 100k and a beamer senior. LOL’ ‘I had a bit of a health scare in May. Triple organ failure including heart, kidneys and lungs. Luckily our youngest, sweet Milly, you came to the Christening. Luckily Milly was a match and she donated. Bless her.’
These newsletters always contain huge successes. Bad news is glossed over as though it happened to someone else. They lead such successful and purposeful lives. They do so much. ‘Les has taken up karate, twice a week so he can fit it around the school governor’s work, the Samaritans telephone centre and the scout troop.’ ‘Sally has started up a youth group in the village, three nights a week. She wants to give something back.’
They are always so patronising, so supercilious and sneering in their portrayal of a life only glimpsed at in Midsomer Murders without the murders or that nice John Nettles. My family’s newsletter would be full. It’s a busy life. But I don’t think we’d quite match up to the achievements.
THE 2011 CHRISTMAS LETTER
Well is it really 12 months ago that we had Christmas 2010? It often seems as if we have Christmas every year doesn’t it? It’s been a marvellous year, so much has happened, so many wonderful events to tell all our friends and family about that we’d better get started straight away.
The year started with Charmagne on the run from the FBI in America on holiday. Bless her. She came back to England in January and almost immediately decided to go on an outward bound course. Luckily the secure unit there had a vacancy so Charmagne was able to stay for three months. During that time she helped out around the house by climbing out of windows to test the home security, she is so thoughtful. She also tested the smoke alarms with cigarette smoke, and gave them a chance for spiritual guidance by arguing with everything they said – they said it was a life changing experience – but couldn’t find anyone who wanted to change lives with them. Also during this time Charmagne helped medical research – it’s a Nobel Prize soon I expect – by chatting to various psychiatrists and psychologists about the meaning of life. It helped them out with their work no end.
A birth was announced. No stars, angels or Wise Men, though the father did go to extraordinary lengths to make an impression on the world. He left town and we haven’t seen him since. The mother, our darling youngest, Croydon – what a weekend break that was – has been selfless after the baby was born. She hasn’t hogged her all to herself. No. I as grandmother have been able to use my experience and I’m bringing up the baby as if it’s my own. I’m pretty sure it’s not though, lol.
At school Charmagne was asked to see the headmaster in July and we were so proud when he told her he wasn’t going to expel her but he would next time – he’s a kind man. Charmagne was delighted with her progress and promptly celebrated with friends – just a few packs of fags and a few bottles and cans, it was a school night after all. The local paramedics made sure they were all safe, and the local police popped them home and came in for a cup of tea as we think of them as friends by now.
Dwayne found the Army not to his liking, or was it the other way round? Time flies by it’s hard to remember details. He came home early from training – there was little left he could learn. He decided to take a gap year, and a few other possessions as well, and lived rough and with the wild creatures for a while – a bit like that David Attenborough – only more tramp like really. He made sure we were okay from time to time but didn’t make a fuss about his caring – he camped out in the shed so we didn’t have to worry. Bless.
Summer was holiday time. After helping us with some home decorations – you should see her bedroom walls, talk about Banksy – Charmagne went off to America for 5 weeks. How we sobbed – we would have given her longer, bless us.
Back home Croydon had an attack – well several from the father – but it was an attack of post natal depression. Quite severe as it meant staying in bed and watching DVD’s all day and partying all night but selfless to the last she let us take over completely the care of little Petunia. The house now resembles the toy and clothes department at Mother Care – very Changing Rooms, bless.
Gramma helps when she can. But between expeditions with Doris, Doreen and Delilah on her coach trips, feeding the hedgehogs and training for her selling of Everest double glazing she is quite busy. She hasn’t lost her marbles yet and if you speak loudly you can almost have a decent conversation with the poor dear. Bless her.
At this point in the year we all realised that no one was going to pass A Star exams this year, no one was going to be elected for the local council, no one was going to do anything that vaguely resembled success that could be boasted about in the more pompous versions of these round robin cards you see every single year.
But there were enough medical emergencies to make up for that. Mother continues on the HRT patches – her mood dictated to by the amount of stress and hormones surging through her body. Speaking of which Charmagne was in hospital only recently with drips and painkillers. Probable overdose, silly poppet. Croydon continues with her depression after the birth – but baby Petunia is doing very well under grannies guidance. Dwayne seems well though living in a skip outside MFI in town we are concerned as the company has gone bust so he may be evicted. Father still has the rash but we try not to talk about it. Gramma is well apart from the obvious dementia.
Now as the year draws to an end we can laugh about it all. Such fun we had. I think there was a day or so when we did have fun. At New Year we all make resolutions. This year it is for our children to respect and love us as we would want them to love and respect themselves. We’d like occasional Friday nights where we don’t have to scour the streets looking for them to come home. We’d like cigarettes, alcohol and anti social behaviour to be things we can watch on Eastenders not in our homes. We don’t want to get to know the police any better than we already do.
We don’t want to learn any more swear words as we think we know them all by now.
We’d love Charmagne to be school star, Croydon to be a star mum, and Dwayne to wash occasionally.
We’d love us all to live in peace and harmony so next year we can write to you all about how much better our lives and our families are than yours. So stick that in your Christmas turkey and lump it.
Love and kisses, Mother, Father, Charmagne, Dwayne, Croydon, Petunia.
and while we're at it...another thing...
MARITAL AWARENESS PACKS
By all accounts the home information packs introduced to help home buyers buy houses and house sellers sell them weren’t an unqualified success. They were unqualified, yes, but successful, no.
Of course it didn’t help that they were introduced during the worst housing downturn in living memory. A downturn that occurred during the worst economic slump globally that anyone can remember.
Houses weren’t selling in the normal course of events and as an inducement to buy a house the prospect of paying extra money for a pack of dubious information was never going to boost estate agents chances.
The packs were provided by the seller for the buyer and the questions in it had to be answered truthfully. As a problem in a new system that was quite a big one. ‘What are the neighbours like?’ It might be Fred and Mary West so is ‘Sociable,’ an untruth? They might be building a Tesco superstore behind your garden so is ‘Close to the shops,’ so wrong?
The price of the packs varied as well, although a higher price was no guarantee of better or more truthful information. As a procedure the flaws were many but that isn’t stopping other organisations jumping onto the Information Pack bandwagon. Concerned at being seen to lag behind the times the Church of England is introducing MAPs or Marital Awareness Packs to prospective couples to help them plan for the Big Day with the minimum of nasty surprises. The MAPs will include a wealth of information about the institution they are about to enter, including warnings about what the handsome, charming and loving man will be like within five years of marriage, and what the young man can expect from his laughing, carefree bride to be within five weeks of the Happy Day.
The MAPs will come with a sub-section of relevant information depending on the circumstances of the couple involved. The CofE have been fairly innovative here and seem to have catered for the vast majority of arrangements that may be encountered.
The early signs are that their HIPs, or Husband Information Packs, will be the most popular of the packs that are being introduced. These by law have to include testimonials of a truthful nature from previous girlfriends, including live-in partners, male friends including at least two who have shared a foreign holiday with the groom to be, and at least one employer. The packs will be made available before the date for the Wedding is finalised so that the bride to be has the option of choosing a. continue with the arrangements b. cancel all invitations and never see the groom again or c. choose the best man after all.
It will have been noticed that the HIP does not include any family references. This has been a deliberate policy of the MAP instigators. It was felt during initial research that family opinion might be biased – in favour or the opposite – and also that the family information might prove to be a lucrative sideline in packs.
Hence why the MOP is being brought in. Mother’s Opinion Packs, include vital information for the prospective bride around such delicate areas as toilet hygiene, washing habits, eating likes and dislikes, and remembering key dates such as birthdays, and Christmas. There has to be a Government warning on the inside covers of the MOPs as examples given in the original presentation slide show were considered dubious. ‘He’s always been good to his mum,’ from Mrs Shipman, Harold’s mum, was not considered helpful.
Equally the TIPs that had been proposed are currently under review. These Teacher Information Packs where teachers gave their opinion of their former pupils were not felt to add much to the marriage ceremony. ‘Keen on geography,’ from Hitler’s teacher may have been accurate in terms of how he liked to know which countries to invade but didn’t help the future Mrs Hitler understand if he would help with the washing up.
C of E personnel have tried to keep things up to date, They recognise that couples do live together outside marriage so they have provided LIPs, Living Information Packs, where former living-in partners can provide real data about what this person is like in the mornings, the habits that will infuriate the new partner and the amount of financial stability they brought to the previous partnership. Again there is a caveat issued with the LIPs to cover the acrimonious break-up reports that might be more spite that truth.
GASPs, Girlfriends Actual Scenario Packs, are a sub section of the LIP where real life former girlfriends are asked to be truthful about the romantic nature of the prospective groom, what their parents really thought about him, and what their friends said he was really like after they split up. ‘I never liked his eyes.’ ‘I hated it when he did that thing with his mouth.’
With divorce so prevalent Church officials have sadly recognised that a large body of people with vital information about potential grooms exist with ex-wives. As many divorced people now marry again in Church it is very important for the experience of former spouses to be shared before mistakes are made. Health warnings about jealousy, betrayal, and sheer bitchiness will accompany the WIPs, Wife Information Packs, but the information a bride to be can get from someone who has actually been there and done the man can save many a heartache. A sort of bride who was.
While not felt necessary by some in the clergy it was passed by a small majority that SOAPs, should be included. These Sexual Orientation Appraisal Packs, cover a wide range of diversity issues from gay men who shield behind womanising ways, lesbians who want a child so get married first, and men and women who crave a separate bedroom for no sexual contact whatsoever.
PIPs, Parental Information Packs, are slightly different from MOP’s as they provide information for the parents of the bride from the grooms’ parents. These cover the traditional areas of his intentions, his prospects and his track record, but also include more modern aspects of his behaviour such as freedom from rashes, likelihood for good parenting skills and his unit intake of alcohol.
Often derided for being behind the times and lacking relevance for today’s society, the Church of England feel they have tapped into a raw nerve of modern life with their MAPs. Each parish is being equipped with a full set, and plans are underway to make them available for download from the Internet. A website is being created for the very purpose.
It is sincerely felt that the introduction of full facts information before the Wedding service will help lower the rates of divorce. Whether it succeeds by reducing the rate of marriage remains to be seen.
December 13th 2011
Copyright © 2013 L.H. Maynard & M.P.N. Sims