Daily archives: December 7, 2006

The tale of the Sadistic Children's Author

Deep down, was Beatrix Potter just a bit nasty?

I can’t remember ever reading any of Potter’s books, though I’m sure I must have. You can get them all in Beatrix Potter Complete Tales, a hardback featuring her stories in the order they were published and four others published after her death. Better than all the merchandise is The Tale of One Bad Rat, one of the most incredible comics ever published.

I just found my review of One Bad Rat on Amazon-

One Bad Rat is a beautiful comic, entirely unlike anything I have seen before. With no fantasy elements (well, apart from the giant imaginary rat) the story stands on the telling and the art. A young girl escapes her abusive father and unloving mother, running first to London and then the Lake District, where she finds a surrogate family. It all sounds like a TV movie, but is far superior to subject of the week fodder. The story is less melodramatic, the detail better observed, the colour more vivid and (yes) the acting is more believable.

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So Much To Answer For- Part 24

“You should just put my number in your phone and call me directly.” Wood told Joe. She had taken his and Rachel’s statements on a digital recorder to save them a trip to the Police station. The scally had been carted off to hospital under armed guard, the gun was bagged and about to be sent for finger printing and the scene of crime officers were discussing removing the bullet from the tree it had hit. Rachel was sat on a wall coming down from her adrenaline high.

“That’s the way rumours get started. Do you know who he is?”

“We have a tentative ID. He was arrested and did time because of Hill’s last deal, the one with…”

“My money, I know.”

“He had a knife with blood on it that might link him to Hill’s killing. And he had a picture of you and your address. We don’t know where he got that from. How do you make so many enemies?”

“Clean living.”

“My…… What I think is he killed Hill.”

“With a knife? Not the gun?”

“He got the gun from Hill, before Sarah got back to him. This is just a theory, mind. He got the gun from Hill after killing him with the knife. And then he came looking for you. Just like so many others he thought you were involved in the deal that went wrong and put him in jail. He could have found the picture of you on your website, I guess.”

“How many more of these guys are there? Just waiting to get out and get even?”

Rachel came over and draped herself over Joe. “I’m starving.”

“Are we done here?”

“I guess so. I’m getting tired of saying it, and it obviously has no effect, but take care. Both of you.”

“We will. Let’s go order Chinese.”


“Okay, curry. But it’s a small room and not very well ventilated.”

Part 23
Part 1

Notes And that wraps it up. A bit of an odd final line, but it might make it into the next draft. This bit clashes a little with Sarah’s description of what happened a few parts back, but we’ll put that down to her being emotional and not keeping track of time so well.

Other fiction- check out Heavensent, the propeller-punk sci-fi war novel I recently wrapped up, or download Another Education/Ruby Red or Ten Years Asleep.

Donate Now I’ve started writing again I’m unlikely to stop, but it would be nice if I could eat during my breaks. So please feel free to donate some money to my starving author fund by clicking on the PayPal button below.

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Towards zero carbon new builds

When I wrote the piece about net energy producing social housing last night I hadn’t seen all of the proposals in Gordon Brown’s pre-Budget speech. Amongst the plans is the aim to have all new build homes zero net carbon producers within a decade. The carrot for this is a rebate on stamp duty for all new homes deemed to be zero carbon, to start next year.

There’s no definition of what constitutes a zero carbon home, we’ll have to wait for the Budget proper for that, and builders’ groups are already weighing in with complains about the rebate not covering the extra cost and house prices going up. Of course, house prices are rising regardless, and I’m sure there’s a case for larger mortgages on such properties because the savings on bills will make the buyers better off on a payment to payment basis.

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In over 16 years of cycling around Manchester I’ve only been knocked off my bike twice. This morning was the second.

Despite the fact that it was entirely the driver’s fault I can’t help but blame myself. I usually pay a lot of attention to cars pulling up at side roads ahead, expecting them to be idiots and just rail out without spotting, or looking for, me. (To their credit, most drivers don’t live down to my expectations.) Going through the Sharston industrial estate this morning I let my mind wander. I may have been worrying about the large roundabout up ahead, or thinking about sex (it had been at least 14 seconds) or relationships. Whatever it was, I didn’t do my usual assessment on the metallic orange Fiat Punto that was approaching the end of the side road ahead and didn’t realise it was sailing straight on until it was too late.

I did just enough braking and dodging to avoid broken bones- the car missed my leg but still hit the front wheel and took the bike out from under me. Turning the air blue I bounced off the car’s A pillar and managed to get my hand inside the open driver’s side window as I went down.

Sat on the wet ground, but certain I’d suffered no worse than bruises, the first thing I did was inform the driver that he really should watch where he’s going. He just stared at me blankly, shock just beginning to filter through his beanie hatted head. He asked a few times if I was okay. I guess I should have taken contact details in case the collision has damaged the headset (the wheel still spun fine), but you never think of these things when you’ve just dodged harm. I sent him on his way with a final admonition to pay more attention in future, remounted and carried on the ride to work.

There’s very little I can do to become a safer cyclist. I could, and plan to, mount more lights and reflectors on my steed. But this collision happened in near total daylight when lights would have made no difference to my profile. I’ll just have to remember that some drivers are idiots and I must judge them all by the standards of their worst if I’m to avoid future injuries.