Friday, 8 January 2010

Utter failure

Of course, Mr Priestley's Cumbria Book Appeal was an utter failure. An utter, utter failure.

It was a good cause and I suppose some credit must go to Mr Priestley for initiating the enterprise, but I wonder whether it might have been better never to have thought of the idea than to attempt it with such a degree of incompetence.

Never trust an author.

Thursday, 7 January 2010

Cumbria book appeal

My 'colleague' Mr Priestley has asked that I say something about an appeal he is organising. As you will no doubt be aware, the good people of Cumbria were subjected to a biblical deluge at the end of last year and all the misery that accompanied it.

Mr Priestley's idea was to ask his fellow authors (and illustrators) of books for the young, to sign and wrap a copy (or copies) of their book (or books) and deliver them to the children affected by the flooding.

Of course, it came as no surprise to me to discover that Mr Priestley had failed to think this idea through. The local council had far more urgent matters to attend to. Mr Priestley's partially baked scheme has been put on hold.

He has asked me to impress on my many readers, however, that the scheme is still very much alive. More than a dozen authors have chosen to look beyond Mr Priestley's organisational failings and agreed to send their signed books once the details have been finalised.

I wish them all the very best of luck.

Wednesday, 6 January 2010


Bless you!

Very funny Franz.

Snow is falling on Pity's End. It is always still and quiet here, but a covering of snow adds yet another layer of stillness to this place. Some would say it was as quiet as the grave. But then some people don't know much about graves.

Anyway, it is time to take down the crystal skulls from the tree and put them away for another year.

Tuesday, 5 January 2010

I got chills

They're multiplying.

Even by the unnaturally frigid standards of Pity's End, it is bitterly cold. I can scarcely remember a time when I was quite so chilled, though it was possibly on a long distant winter visit to Hawton Mere, Sir Stephen Clarendon's moated manor house in the fen country.

The old house is gone now, of course. The circumstances of its destruction are detailed in Mr Priestley's upcoming novel, The Dead of Winter, as a matter of fact and his small but loyal readership will no doubt read all about it when it is published in October of this year.

Mr Priestley's account is a trifle sensationalised, but as he heard the story from me, I can vouch for its veracity. After all I heard the story from poor Michael Vyner himself.

But the cold deepens. It is almost as though it is gnawing at the very bones of my legs. Oh - it's you Franz. Come out from under there!

How many times must we have this conversation?

Monday, 4 January 2010

In which Mr Priestley pays me an unexpected visit.

Mr Priestley came to see me today. He seemed even more agitated than usual. He is such a nervous fellow. The least little movement from Franz or the children causes him to leap to his feet, his voice higher than Mr Simon Cowell's waistband.

I took this likeness of him using the eye-pod Franz bought me for Christmas. I ask you in all seriousness: is that the face of a sane man?

Saturday, 2 January 2010

Here we are now

Entertain us.

The children are getting bored as children will at this time of year. We all know those tell-tale signs: the whining, the moaning, the scratching at the door, the whispering in beshadowed corridors, the wan faces at the study window.

It is all attention-seeking behaviour of course and I try my best to ignore it. But the children can be devilishly persistent. Even as I write this they will insist on running about the house snickering like ring-tailed lemurs. It is most distracting.

Oh very well, then. Who wants to tell their tale? The young fellow at the front perhaps? Yes, you holding the severed arm.

Friday, 1 January 2010

Let's hope it's a good one

Without any tears

Out with the old, in with the new. Let me take this opportunity to wish you all a very happy new year. Perhaps you are looking forward to a holiday or an adventure of some sort. Perhaps you are anticipating some new achievement or reward. Perhaps you are thinking that this year will be the special one - the year in which your pair of twos becomes a Royal flush.

Or perhaps you are an accursed old man, doomed to live a half life listening to the grisly tales of spectral children.

Who can say?