Serial Suggestions

I am always open to suggestions for short stories. I have used ‘First Line’ prompts and ‘Photo Prompts’ in the past. Yesterday, I realised that I had never done the same with Fiction Serials.

So I am handing it over to you to suggest themes or topics for my next serial, once ‘A Real Spy Story’ has concluded.

You can add your ideas in the comments, or send them to me at

I cannot promise to attempt every one of them, but I will pick the ones I think I can do a reasonable job with. Let me know if you would like to see your suggestion appear on this blog as a daily serial.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Writing For The Sake Of It.

I went to sleep last night thinking about my latest fiction serial. That led me to consider just how long I had been writing. I don’t mean writing stories on a blog, or even in a notebook, and I don’t just mean the writing I embarked on when I retired and thought to keep my brain active.

From a very early age, around seven years old in my case, I felt the need to write. When we had to write a one-page essay at school, I wrote two pages.
I wasn’t showing off, or trying to look better than my school friends, I just couldn’t stop myself.

At secondary school, we got homework in every subject. That came as a shock at first, but I didn’t mind too much, as it gave me even more reason to write. I wasn’t one of those kids who griped that much about homework and deadlines, I just went home and got on with it. Even when the homework was on a science subject, or something like Geography, it involved writing.
I remember having to descibe what a glacier was, and handing in five full sheets of writing that talked about different types of ice, and how it could look blue in a certain light. I didn’t get a good mark, as I missed out the important technical stuff. But it was writing, and I enjoyed doing it.

English and History gave me full rein to write late into the night. In what was supposed to be an appreciation of one chapter in the book ‘Wuthering Heights’, I almost filled an exercise book with an analysis of the destructive relationship between Heatchcliff and Cathy. Given a History homework about the Parliamentary reform in the early 1800s, I wrote a description of the Peterloo Massacre that the History teacher remarked took longer to read than the actual massacre lasted.

At the age of fourteen, I was writing like someone possessed by words.

It wasn’t much different in another language. When studying French, the teacher insisted on taxing our ability to the limit. We were reading a difficult enough book in Englsh translation, ‘L’Etranger’ (The Outsider) by Albert Camus. Of course, our copies were not translated. We had to write some kind of overview of the book, all in French. I worked at it all weekend and handed in a full notebook. Even allowing for my mistakes in the grammar and spellings of a foreign language, it was a complete work, if I say so myself.
The teacher flicked through the numerous pages, shaking her head. Then with a smile, she said. “If Camus was still alive, I would send this to him”.
She said that in French, naturally.

After school came work, and not too much writing. I made do with ideas in a notebook, making lists, and more reading than writing. Marriage followed, and as the years went by, I had little time or reason to write. Every so often, ideas would burst out of my head onto a page in a notebook, simply because they had to. I wrote letters to friends, and even to people I didn’t know that well. Letters became my new form of writing, and were often ten pages long, written on both sides.

In 2012, I retired from work and moved up here. A friend suggested I start a blog, to perhaps note the differences between life in London, and rural Norfolk. Within a few months I was posting daily, and not long after that a lifetime of ideas, experiences, and reminiscences started to translate into fiction on my blog as short stories, then serials. Eight years later, and I just cannot seem to stop writing, even if I wanted to. But one thing has become clear.

It was always going to happen.

Thinking Aloud On a Sunday

Sadness, and Stories.

I woke up feeling a bit sad today.
Nothing specific, just thoughts about some things that make me sad.

Like lost friends that I can’t phone, or meet up with.
And things left unsaid with those now departed.
Or wishing I had made some better decisions in life a very long time ago.
Not to mention my frustration at my inability to get to grips with technology.

Stuff like that.

It obviously wasn’t too bad, because I soon shook that off thinking about ideas for more stories to go with the photos being sent to me.
By the way, if you have thought about sending me a photo to make a story from, there is no deadline. Please send me one, and I will do my best.
(Just a reminder, reduced size files, emailed to

One thing about having to make up stories from photos, it keeps your mind active. In my case, almost too active. I find myself considering stories in my head as I walk around with Ollie, trying to remember if I have posted one with a similar theme or idea before, and just forgotten it by now. But the photos are what they are, and often tell me their own story, which I just have to translate into something readable.

Photo-Prompts are very different to the complex discipline of a long fiction serial in many parts. They don’t require notes about time-lines, character’s names, or historical research. But the basic idea is the same. I think of the ending, come up with a suitable title, then work it all back from there to the first line of the story.

After more than six years of regularly posting fiction on this blog, I wonder when the day will come when my imagination fails me, and I run dry of ideas. But for now, as long as you keep reading them, and most of you enjoying them, I am inspired to continue.

Do you ever wonder?

Do you ever wonder how people who have no arms are able to get dressed?
I do.

Do you ever wonder why so many drivers find it almost impossible to park their cars in a space?
I do.

Do you ever wonder why so many people are obsessed with the lives of so-called celebrities?
I do.

Do you ever wonder why some insects only live for a few hours, mate, and then die?
I do.

Do you ever wonder what the world would be like, if ants were as big as Spaniels?
I do.

Do you ever wonder why some people are geniuses, but most of us can just about count our change?
I do.

Do you ever wonder why we don’t all speak the same language?
I do.

Do you ever wonder why animals like crocodiles have never evolved since the time of the dinosaurs?
I do.

Do you ever wonder about a world with no Internet?
I do.

Do you ever wonder how early man decided to combine ingredients to create bread?
I do.

Those are just ten of the things that I often wonder about.

What do you wonder about?

Walking and thinking

I read a post by Phil from War On Diabetes recently. It mentioned that walking is found to boost the process of thinking, and having creative thoughts. I had to agree, as most of my thoughts and ideas for posts on this blog do come to me when I am walking every day with Ollie.

Having time to think is a luxury, living in our modern world. I have been lucky that I have always made time for this, but walking for two hour periods and more definitely assists with this process. Much of what I write comes to me during those walks. Often, it is about the walks themselves, but sometimes it is about many other things. Ideas, old songs, reminiscences of the past, or just something that I need to get out of my brain, or off my proverbial chest.

It can be a little strange, going over ideas for posts as you walk a dog. The words and structures form in my mind as I stroll; and sometimes it all comes together so well, once I get back to the keyboard. There are other times, when I discard certain themes, or consider that they may be better expressed on my ‘other’ blog. Generally though, they develop well, and by the time that I have returned home, it is simply a matter of committing them to the screen, and hitting ‘Publish’. On a very few occasions, I wish that I could get these thoughts and ideas from my head. They interrupt the flow of the dog-walking, and the interaction with people I meet on the way becomes an irritation, a diversion from what I was thinking about.

In general, the walking develops the ideas though, and they flow into my mind like an unstoppable torrent. This forces me to choose the best ones, and to cast aside the mundane. I walk every day, unfailingly, come rain or shine, so the ideas come at the same rate; a daily surge of thoughts and subjects, all crying out, at least in my thoughts, for publication and consideration. If I didn’t walk, would I still write? That question occurs to me often. I might still write, but it could be less involved, less rounded, less considered; perhaps not worth reading.

So, fellow bloggers. Start walking.

The Blogging Mojo

When Austin Powers famously realised that he had ‘lost his mojo’, it was an amusing theme for a whole comedy film.

In the world of Blogging, the loss of the Blogging Mojo can seem like something much more serious. After a great week up to the 24th January, I have lacked inspiration, and ideas, failing to get much down on the blog. Despite having three posts still in drafts, and notes for a good few more, they are just not happening. Even this short post, essentially to explain the absence of other, potentially interesting articles, is having to be dragged out of the keyboard, as if I am typing, and thinking, underwater.

I could blame the weather, as I have often done for other moods, and inactivity. Grey days, cold, constant rain, perhaps not conducive to creativity. But that would be wrong. This weather is usually a great incentive for blogging. Shut away from the elements, in the small room grandly called the office, is the best place to be, when it is forbidding outside. Also, the weather is the same all over the UK at the moment, yet other bloggers are prolific, and posts are appearing in my Reader at a steady rate.

I have been doing some volunteering, but not enough to use as an excuse to be away from my blog. Ollie’s tail problems, hopefully concluding today, with removal of the stitches, have been bothering me, naturally. However, they have provided me with ideas and thoughts for posts about that very subject, so I can’t blame it on his tail. I haven’t even got around to clearing the last of the leaves, despite having a good crack at it recently. So, I can’t use the excuse of gardening, at least not in such bad weather.

I have been active blog-wise, as far as commenting on other people’s blogs goes. I have kept up with those that I follow, and even sent in work to be published ‘over there’. It is just beetleypete, lacking mojo, feeling directionless, and perhaps having almost run its course, in the present format. I have successfully managed to disregard dramatic blips in readership. Those very quiet days have been contrasted by some of the busiest ever, so the average is actually higher. It is not that I want, or need, a bigger readership, or following. I just want my blog to be better, and more satisfying.

It could all just be a slump, and I will soon appear on the other side, back to the same form as before. I am prompted to ask though, particularly of my regular followers and readers, ‘What do you think?’ Should I carry on the same, posting about all sorts, as and when. Or, should I be doing something different? Now is your chance to pour on your unbridled criticism of this blog. Tell me what you like, what you hate, and what you would like to see more of, if anything. Should I just scrap it, and start over anew? Feel free to be harsh, or kind, depending on your mood. I am asking for some directions, like a motorist who finds himself lost, in a town he thought he knew well. The place I am looking for might be as easy to discover as the next on the left, or as far away as the ring-road.

See you all soon. Pete.



Blog becalmed.

In the days of sailing ships, and even today, where they are still sailed, the term ‘becalmed’ would be familiar to all sailors. When there is a lack of wind in the sails, the ship can make no progress, and will drift with the current, or must be anchored, awaiting freshening wind.

My blog has been a bit like this lately, the blogging version of ‘becalmed’. It is not that there is no wind in the sails, as I have some posts partially completed in draft. To continue the metaphor; it is as if the wind is coming in short bursts, from different directions, so it is impossible to plot a course that I can be sure of following.

My notes for posts are equally up to date. I have ideas for some music themed posts, as well as more reminiscences of my twenties, and of the three marriages that have charted the course of my life. The weather, and life in Norfolk, continue to supply ideas, and my love of films and cinema maintains blogging fertility. I just cannot seem to focus at the moment, and lack direction. Part of me feels a political resurgence. Angry at injustice once again, harping back to the extreme views of my youth, and espousing a cause that was lost long ago. I feel my head spinning, baffled by the apathy, and acceptance of the mundane, that have become the norm in society today. But inside, I know a truth; those views are unpopular, old-fashioned, and almost forgotten. I would do no favours to myself, or anyone else, by expounding them in this forum.

I have been urged by many people to write a book, a ‘faction’ novel about my years in the Ambulance Service. This would be a major undertaking, and I currently see little point, as I would reach more readers on this blog, than I could possibly ever hope to by publishing a book.  Anyway, in these days of reality TV, endless programmes about A+E Departments, 999 crews from all services, and fictional shows like ‘Holby City’, does anyone really want to read the truth? Is it not more entertaining for them to see the sanitised versions, that tend to confirm their own inexperienced view, rather than the unacceptable face of what actually happens?

The blog is drifting, because I am drifting. I have so much to say, so much to tell, that there is literally not enough time to spend typing it all. So, in the true tradition of writing, I have stopped instead. I have gone back to reading other blogs, and in particular, those bloggers that kindly follow me.

I doubt that this lull will last. Like gloomy weather, it passes in time, and is then forgotten. Until it returns.

100 and not out.

Forgive the cricket metaphor, as it won’t mean a lot to anyone who isn’t English, Australian, West Indian, New Zealander, South African, Sri Lankan, Indian, or Pakistani.

100 posts reached at some time yesterday, or earlier today, so this should be number 101.

When I started this blog in late summer, I thought that I might write a post a day. Then I decided that was too much, and thought I might manage 50 or 60 in a year. Now I am at 100, and it is time to have a few days off, I think. The brain needs refreshing, ideas could do with a rinse and spin, and too much of a good thing is never to be recommended.

Over the past couple of days, I have returned to the original format, of unconnected, random posts, thoughts and ideas; something a bit controversial, and other things reflective. It has been well-received, and given me food for thought. I have also realised that I have been neglecting other things, things very easy to neglect, like housework, ironing, and clearing leaves. I have films recorded, unwatched, and I need to make some notes about ideas for this blog.

So, a few days off. Back soon.