NaNoWriMo first draft- Dinner Date

“Please tell me you’re not vegetarian.”

“If you’ve got meat I will eat it.” Sally replies. She’s wearing the paint spattered one piece again, wiping her hands on a rag. She’s had to rush all the way down the stairs from the top room.

I brandish the bag of squirrel and rabbit and she smiles. “Bugs and Nutkin.” I announce, “I thought I might do a stew.” I wheel the bike into the back room and lean it next to hers. She follows me and picks up a bag from the mantelpiece.

“I’ve got something for you as well.” she holds out a pair of keys, “Front door and back door.”

“Cool.” We stand there for a few moments, searching for something to say. Eventually I hold up the bag, “I’ll get on this, then.”

“Cool. I’m going to make the most of the light before it goes completely. I’ll be back down in a while.”

None of Sally’s knives is sharp enough to fillet the carcasses, but a bit of searching finds a sharpening stone. I get distracted from cooking by putting an edge onto all the knives, to the extent that when Sally runs out of light and comes down I still haven’t started making the meal. I look around to see her leaning against the door frame watching me. “I’ve been meaning to do that for ages. Do you need any help?”

“Could you start on the veg.”

Sally eyes the knife I give her with some trepidation, as if the newly sharpened blade might twist around and slice her palm through the handle. She lays it carefully on the chopping board and goes to wash carrots and potatoes. My knife slides through the onion that I’ve picked and then makes filleting the rabbit and squirrel simple. They all go into the pot with a little oil to sizzle.

Sally slices her first potato at arm’s length, but quickly becomes confident with her chopping abilities. Within a few minutes she has a board full of vegetable chunks for the pot. I stir everything up and she goes under the sink to produce a bottle of cloudy cider. “What do you think? Will it work with rabbit?”

“There’s only one way to find out isn’t there.” We pour in equal amounts of water and cider, put the lid on and leave it to simmer. Sally pours the rest of the cider into glasses.

We take our booze through to the living room. There’s only the one seat, a large sofa across from the fireplace. We sit at either end, almost facing each other.

There’s a strange piece of furniture in the corner of the room. “You have a television?”

“Yeah. But there’s never anything on.”

“Literally? Or in the old way?”

By way of answer Sally gets up and tuns the television on. She hands me the remote. “Apart from the news, there’s not a lot of new stuff on. The BBC keeps promising new material, but I haven’t seen any yet. Since the internet’s been back I’ve been getting most of my news from there.”

She’s partly right. A lot of this stuff is old, but not all of it. And I’ve spent most of the last five years with little or no television, let alone English language television. So I could watch this stuff for a day or three. But there is an attractive woman on the sofa with me, and I’m conscious that she’s sitting closer to me since turning the television on.

The scrumpy is very strong and I’m soon feeling light headed. “Where did you get this stuff?”

“It’s from the tree in the garden. There’s a group that brings a press around and sets up in schools or halls and presses any apples or pears you take them. I set up demi johns in the basement and brewed this stuff. This is the last of last years. You don’t drink it often, so it lasts for a while.” She curls her feet under her and leans over to take the remote. “Actually, there should be some news on now. Let’s see what’s going on in the world.”

The first piece is about the first people to make it back from the continent in the last few years. They’ve been doing it for years, of course, people shuttling back and forth across the Channel for various reasons. I was tracked down a couple of times with messages and care packages. Of course, when you’re in a war zone and more involved than you ought to be, care packages don’t tend to contain cake and new socks.

Sally looks askance at me. “So how come you aren’t in this report?” she asks, with a smile.

“I bribed a few people.”


“No. I just managed to avoid the news crews.” And I called in a few favours and somebody else bribed a few people on my behalf. I’m not sure she believes me, but I’m also sure she doesn’t seem to care.

Next up is a piece on speculation over who has control of the former United States’ nuclear arsenal. There are subs still not accounted for, and no-one really knows what happened to the intercontinental ballistic missiles in their various bunkers. Thinking about what that means, my balls crawl up into my body and I’ve got that sick feeling in the pit of my stomach.

“Are you okay?”

I motion at the television, “All the time I was in Europe. Everything I saw. Everything I did. I never once thought about all the nukes that could have been dropped on us. It’s like it was all for nothing. Some fucking idiot could still wipe out most life on Earth. And we know there are people that stupid and dangerous out there.

“I never thought of it.”

Sally is looking at me, nodding. “I have been thinking about it too much. With everything that went on, and then Keith dying I sort of pulled back from people. It wasn’t Keith’s friends who stopped talking to me, it was me who stopped talking to them. When every day could be your last you don’t want to form any long term relationships.”


“That is so fucking dumb. I have wasted years.”

“You’re thinking you should treat each day as a blessing rather than a potential ending?”

“Something like that. It’s time to start thinking about the long term and start making relationships again. Did Keith ever tell you I wanted to fuck you?”


“That’s probably because I never told him.” With that she leans in and takes my glass. When it’s on the coffee table beside hers she kisses me. Just a gentle peck on the lips at first, but she likes the taste and dives straight back in. She’s keen, and I’m certainly willing, but she’s taken me by surprise and I freeze. She pulls back, “I’m sorry. I shouldn’t have…”

Now it’s my turn to lean in and kiss her, “I just wasn’t expecting it.”

She has grabbed the front of my T-shirt and bunched it up. “I’ve got so many condoms and I thought I wasn’t going to use them before they went out of date.” She tugs the T-shirt over my head and then stops. “Oh.”

The scar is an upside down L. It runs from my right shoulder most of the way across to my left, and all the way down my ribcage on the right side. Sally runs a finger along the top scar. “I’d forgotten about this. I never saw it before.”

“Five years in a war zone and my only scar is the one I took with me.”

“I don’t have any interesting scars.” She’s fascinated by the scar, tracing it with a finger of each hand.

“I’ll have to check that.”

“Okay.” She stands up, unzips the one piece and shrugs out of it. “How long till the stew is done?”

“A half hour or so.”

“Time enough for a quickie Come on.” She offers me her hand and leads me upstairs.

Happy Birthday to PV

Happy Birthday to PV, originally uploaded by spinneyhead.

Though orange email’s being so crap that this probably won’t arrive until her next birthday.
Alex has outdone himself with the cake decoration.

There is no obligation to consider making an application for this vacancy

Job Title




Work Pattern
Days , Evenings , Nights , Weekends

Angels Entertainment Agency

No details held



No experience required as full training will be provided. Applicants must be reliable. Duties include turning up at venues and entertaining the clients. At the beginning of remarks: Vacancy not suitable for under 18s.At the end of the vacancy text: Please note that there is no obligation to consider making an application for this vacancy. However, if you feel it is suitable for you, please discuss it further with an adviser. Other, suggested, warning straplines for jobs connected to adult entertainment, sex and related industries and/or involving nudity are:o Licensed sex shops and unlicensed shops selling similar adult material – add the phrase

What phrase? What phrase? I need to know.

Job Title




Work Pattern
Days , Evenings , Weekends

Angels Ambulance Limo’s

No details held



Vacancy not suitable for under 18s. You must have a good sense of humour. Duties include interacting with customers within converted party Ambulance. Duties may involve personal contact and semi nudity. Please note that there is no obligation to consider making an application for this vacancy. However, if you feel it is suitable for you, please discuss it further with an adviser. EXEMPTED VACANCY – EMPLOYMENT EQUALITY ACT (AGE) REGULATIONS 2006.

Job Title




Work Pattern
Days , Evenings , Nights , Weekends


No details held



Previous experience is not essential as full training will be given. Must have good general hygiene. Duties will general lap dancing and general socializing with customers and working in the presence of semi nudity which may cause embarrassment. Vacancy not suitable for under 18s. Please note that there is no obligation to consider making an application for this vacancy. However, if you feel it is suitable for you, please discuss it further with an adviser.

Job Title




Work Pattern
Days , Weekends

Classic Celebration Cakes

Pension available



Experience or City and Guilds in cake decorating is preferred but not essential. Will be manufacturing and serving customers with celebration cakes. Will consider part time hours for the right applicant. Employer flexible regarding hours and will fit in with applicants with domestic responsibilities This is a good opportunity for someone who wants to add to their cake making skills.

If you feel you could do any of these jobs just go to the Jobcentreplus website and enter the job code in the search box.

A little market research

For want of a better description, Post & Publish is going to be a “relationship comedy”. It’s not just about romance, friends play a bigger part and family is important. I thought I’d pick up a couple of books and see how others have covered similar material. I couldn’t be bothered to finish either of them.

T-Shirt and Genes is, as one reviewer on Amazon puts it a “blokey, mid life crisis, lose girlfriend, analyse life, get girlfriend back” book. Tony Parsons thought it was hilarious, but I should have paid more attention to the handwritten review in the front that said “This book is crap- read it at your peril”. Charlie Ellis, biology teacher and idiot, loses his job and girlfriend after not taking sensible precautions whilst having sex in the staff room. He then goes on to blame everything except himself and eventually turns into an inept stalker. As I’d had little sympathy for the character to begin with, I gave up at this point. If you’re looking for this formula done properly, then read High Fidelity (or watch the film, even).

The Trials of Tiffany Trott is the sort of rubbish people mock when they’re deriding “chick lit”. I hope it’s not representative, because I can’t imagine any woman wanting to identify with such a vacant space of a character as the eponymous Ms Trott. She’s supposed to be a terribly successful advertising copy writer, but I’m not convinced she could even tie her own laces. 37, single and childless she sets out to find Mr. About Right, blind dates, clubbing, holidays, blah, blah, blah. I just couldn’t be bothered.

So my challenge is to write strong characters,capable of making mistakes and bad decisions without losing the reader’s sympathy. Then I have to put them in a strong narrative with funny set pieces and a believable resolution. Piece of cake, obviously.

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Wednesday, Orange Wednesday

Last wednesday, Members of Team Spinneyhead made the trek to the local cinema to watch Daniel Craig in his new film, Casino Royale.

Daniel Craig has been in some memorable films such as Layer Cake and some not so memorable ones (such as Tomb Raider).

So… On to the nitty gritty, what did Team Spinneyhead make of the new James Bond…

Tim: The film is a bit oddly placed when compaired to the rest of the bond movies, given that it is the first, but set in the present. The DB5 makes an appearance and does the new Aston Martin DBS. Gadgets are light on the ground (Bond does has a few, but no Q). Apart from the scene where the Aston DBS gets destroyed, I liked the film (I liked the DBS too much to enjoy that bit). Not as funny as Woody Allen’s Casino Royale, but well worth the money any day of the week. Overall: 9 /10

Ian: It was definitely trying for a back to basics feel, and the action sequences are great. It’s been suggested that they were going for a Bourne Identity/ Bourne Supremacy kind of grittiness to make the series more relevant. I have to say they didn’t quite succeed if they were- the glamourous scenes in the casino and beach resort.

Highlights- the free-running chase, for more of the same see the fun District 13, the DBS crash (it takes a lot of nerve to write off three supercars for the sake of a good shot), “You died scratching my balls!” and the revelation that M has a home life.

Less good- without spoiling the plot for you, there’s a bit toward the end that just doesn’t fit comfortably into the film, everyone is acting at odds with their established characters and you just know it isn’t right. And the camp Swiss banker was hamming it up way too much.

Amazon Links:

James Bond Ultimate Editions Collection
Casino Royale – The Novel

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American Jesus

Writing avoidance is in full effect. I’m ripping all of my albums to MP3 and drinking a lot of tea.

However, this can just about qualify as being related to what I’m planning to write for NaNoWriMo. The USA In Bible Prophecy: The Foundation on which the Answers for Today will come to Light!. I’ve decided to do a silly allegory about Global Wierding, how the increase in belief in the supernatural and denigrating of science is speeding up a break down of reality. I get to have elves and imps and The Rapture whilst making fun of the sort of people who believe in them- cake had and eaten. This book is a prime example of the sort of nonsense I’ll be taking pot shots at.

Did Christ know of this North American Continent? … Sure he did. Did He know this great nation would be Christian from its beginning? … Of course he did. Is it possible that this nation, the greatest Christian super power of all time, known to Jesus Christ, was never mentioned, indicated, or foretold in the Bible?

Many Christians today have not been exposed to what our forefathers believed and understood. Whether through God’s purposeful blindness or due to modern-day revisionists intense desire to rewrite our Christian American history, the fact remains, we have lost our true identity, our heritage, our Israel roots. It’s time our people awakened from their sleep and learn not only their true history but also their destiny that is unfolding, even now, according to God’s Divine Plan.

This book clearly shows that America (Zion) is the land set aside by God Almighty to be the place of regathered Israel. Sermons and documents by the Founding Fathers testify to their belief that they were the Israel people of the latter days, and that the Old Testament prophecies were being fulfilled in their undertakings. It would be wise for us who are living in these last days to take a closer look at the past generations of our great nation to relearn what they knew about America’s critical role in Bible prophecy.

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From Channel 4’s money pages, some of the things that are VAT exempt-
# Funerals
# Children�s clothes (up to age 13)
# Submarines
# Houseboats � as long as they don�t sail anywhere.
# Jaffa Cakes � even though topped with chocolate, the sponge makes them a cake.
# Chocolate spread
# Frozen food you have to defrost or heat before consumption (fish fingers, pizza, gateaux, etc).
# Bottle/tube of ice cream topping sauce.
# Milk drinks (including milkshakes).
# Tea, coffee, cocoa & drinking chocolate.
# Potatoes
# Microwave popcorn
# Tortilla chips
# Direct flight on Concorde (When they existed)
# Limousine to/from the airport as part of a flight
# Encyclopaedias
# Comics

And some “luxury items” that aren’t-
# Headstones and commemorative memorials
# Children�s clothing that could be worn by a small adult
# Boats weighing less than 15 tons designed for �recreation or pleasure�.
# Touring caravans
# Chocolate biscuits � classed as confectionery.
# Frozen food you eat frozen (ice cream, lollies, sorbet, etc)
# Ice cream topping sauce sold on an ice cream.
# Alcohol
# Alcohol-free beer & wine
# Carbonated drinks (Lemonade, cola, tonic & soda water, etc)
# Potato snacks (crisps, chips, French fries, etc)
# Ready-to-eat popcorn
# Hoola-Hoops
# Pleasure �flights to nowhere� on Concorde (While they lasted)
# Flying lessons
# Private hire of a limousine to/from airport
# Book tokens
# Business cards

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Slow Blues Day

I’ve been in a wierd mood all day. The realisation that I’m three days away from being unemployed again struck me this morning and, along with some other stuff (lots of little things, which is the way it works with me) brought me down.
Hopefully I can get some writing done soon. Heavensent is on sporadic updates and I’ve had an idea for something a bit more biographical (in fact it’ll be stealing and then fictionalising some stuff I’ve blogged.)
The Friday Five never appealed to me, but this long list of questions has been doing the email rounds recently so I think I’ll share my answers-
1. What time is it? 21:44
2. Name as it appears on your birth certificate? Ian Pattinson
3. Nickname: None that I know of
4. Parents name/s: Jen & Ron
5. Number of candles that appeared on your last birthday cake: 33
6. Favourite food : Food
7.Date that you regularly blow them out? 11 Jan
8. Eye colour: blue
9. Hair colour: black/ dark brown
10. Piercing: no
11. Tattoos: no
12. How much do you love your job? My job loves me so much it has set me free. If I come back then it was meant to be (Hah!)
13. Favourite colour: blue
14. Hometown: Born in Bridgend, but family home is in Cumbria
15. Current residence: Victoria Park, manchester UK
17. Been to Africa? no
18. Been toilet papering? no
19. Loved somebody so much it made you cry? yes
20. Been in a car accident? yes. They weren’t all my fault.
22. Sprite or 7UP? sprite
23. Favourite movie? The Italian Job
24. Favourite holiday: Chamonix last year
25.Favourite day of the week: Saturday
26. Favourite word or phrase: Arse! (or Buttocks if I’m being polite)
28. Favourite restaurant: Haven’t gone to enough to really decide/ Yo Sushi, cause that’s where I went last.
29. Favourite flowers: Daffodils
30. Favourite drink : Alcoholic- Jennings Sneck Lifter, non Alcoholic- Fresh ground coffee
31. Favourite sport to watch: skate boarding
32. Favourite ice-cream: vanilla- with my own insane concoction of chocolatey bits and sauces slathered on the top
33. Favourite Sesame Street character: cookie monster
34. Disney or Warner Bros.? Warner Brothers
35. Favourite fast food restaurant: Lahore
36. When was your last hospital visit? I work in one, so Thursday. For real, Christmas ’99 after being hit by a car.
37. What colour is your bedroom carpet? green
38. How many times did you fail your drivers test? none
39. Who is the last person you got e-mail from before this? Feed back to my blog, the New York Times and lots of spam offering me mortgages, septic tanks and porn.
41. Which single store would you choose to max your credit card? Forbidden Planet
42. What do you do most often when you are bored? surf and blog
43. Name the person that you are friends with that lives the farthest away? My sister in Val d’Isere
44. Most annoying thing people ask me? When are you going to ask her out?
45. Bedtime? 11pm-1am
46. Who will respond the quickest? Dunno
47. Who is the person you sent this to that is least likely to respond? Jenny, Brian and Emma, because this is a reply to the ones they sent me.
48. Favourite all time TV show: Buffy
49. Last person you went out to dinner with? Jenny, Brian, Damian, Elke, Daz and Emily, or, if you extend it to mean any meal, my parents today.