I haven’t written much this year. In fact I am saddened to confess that I haven’t even read very much. In the month of NaNoWriMo I suppose any writer worth their salt should have produced the outline of at least one great novel but quantity was never my forte, least of all when blocked by a combination of family bereavement and seasonal affective disorder. However I gave myself a kick in the butt and managed another short story this week.

The Nefarious Deeds of Flautobel: Tales from the Edge of Darkness – 3 is a very British story. You won’t find Webster’s spellings here and you may be easily offended by the “ing” words in the writing, but it is a little piece of English humour, with a “U”.

The Nefarious Deeds of Flautobel: Tales from the Edge of Darkness – 3 is firmly set in the East Midlands, Lincolnshire and Nottinghamshire to be specific, and it deals with the surprises that real people can often spring on you. There is no magical realism, no vampires, evil empires, talking spiders or spaceships just a growing relationship between a young forensic science student and a blind baglady who turns out to have a few little tricks up her frayed sleeve. Is it literary fiction? Who knows, “literary”, like beauty, is largely in the eye of the beholder. All I know is that Flautobel spoke to me early one morning when she could have chosen a myriad of far more highly regarded authors. God bless Flautobel for dragging me out of my lethargy and I hope I have done her character justice.

Yes, I admit it I am a bit of a curmudgeon. I should have been born in the days of Queen Victoria. Despite my mental youth I belong firmly to that school of “children should be seen and not heard” and I don’t like having my routine disturbed by other people’s precious dears. So yesterday when we fancied a late Sunday lunch I was disappointed to see a car park filled to the brim at my local hostelry. Apparently everyone in the world had gathered there to rush out and watch the Magna Carta being taken past unseen in a convoy of dignitaries and security guards.
Noting our usual table was free, we went to sit down. Now I have a bit of a thing about sitting in the “pub end” where the chairs are wide and cosy as opposed to the “restaurant end”. The manager on the other hand has recently decided that food belongs in the restaurant where modern reproduction tables and carvers designed for skinny minnies and children dig their cruel sharp side posts into my muscular back and shoulders. In our usual comfy spot we would happily have waited our turn for a menu (the pub recently having acquired table service) but no, we were to go to the far end out of everyone’s way and wait to be seated at a table.
I remonstrated with the staff. Nobody was actually sitting there and we wouldn’t mind the wait in our usual spot (in fact we would have happily had an extra pint while waiting) but no… the landlord has decided these tables will not be used for serving food. As we were not allowed to sit down where we wanted for a drink, we left hungry and disappointed. You see, we knew the plan. When our local is busy, people who arrive in pairs are squeezed into the uncomfortable end near the toilets where peace is shattered by small children (and not so small children too) who rush around showing off to an audience much bigger than usual.
We were not going to comply with their evil plan. Now our local pub probably will not miss the several meals a week we purchase there (because, as a writer, I find cooking distracts me from my work). Nevertheless I refuse to be shoe horned into an unsuitable environment that has pretensions. We left and will not return while they have their busy June period. The Chinese takeaway we ordered instead was cheaper, home booze was available if required, and there were no toilet smells, sharp seats to poke your back or screaming kids to hurt your head.
When my local pub gets its first Michelin star I won’t mind waiting to be seated even though I see free tables, in the meantime, like Matilda, I just say F.U. Unlike Matilda, I doubt the dragon will scorch my fairy dress and eat me up. I was brought up to be seen and not heard!

Of Matilda Who Told Lies: Tales from the Edge of Darkness – 2 is the latest short story in the collection Tales From The Edge Of Darkness and is available to borrow free with Kindle Unlimited and Amazon Prime.