In Goa

We have road rage. In India or at least in Goa, it seems they do not. Let me clarify.

On the road, everyone is continually in the process of overtaking or of being overtaken, sometimes both at the same time. The horn is as much a part of the driver’s toolkit as, say, second gear. To the left of you may be a scooter or two: to the left of them is the ragged pavementless roadside, featuring pedestrians and a cow or two. To your right, a scooter and a taxi, both overtaking you, the taxi additionally overtaking the scooter. Ahead is a bus and a blind bend and the oncoming traffic. Of course it is now essential that you overtake the bus.

Dual carriageways are a free-for-all. In the right hand lane (India drives on the left, like the UK) may be found a bus. At the next roundabout its driver intends to turn left. He knows this, we do not- he is giving himself plenty of room in which to make his turn. We will of course try to pass him on the inside. This is normal. The preferred default travelling position on the dual carriageway is to hedge your bets along the middle line. This ensures you do not tangle with the scooters who (mostly) congregate in the left hand lane, while being in the slingshot position to overtake on whichever side of the vehicle in front looks best.

All this chaos would enrage even fairly placid UK drivers, let alone our all-important BMW-wrangling kings of the road. But the Indian cacophony of horns and dubious overtaking and pulling onto roundabouts without looking takes place in an atmosphere almost entirely lacking finger-waving, shouting or threatening behaviour. If someone pulls up beside you in a queue, looking to somehow fit his car into the space you’re already occupying, there’s no gesticulation or anger, it just gets sorted out. This lack of road rage is a saving grace.

So should we all adopt Indian standards of driving? A thousand times NO. The accident statistics are appalling of course. Anyone who drives or rides out onto those roads is a better man than I, name redacted.

Hastings LitFest – Writing for Writers


This is the first of a series of blogs also published on the official blog of Hastings LitFest 2018.



The question raised by the tagline “Writing for Writers” is, what is a writer? Can you call yourself a writer if all you’ve written are a few blog posts and some tweets that you’ve been quite proud of? If ‘yes’ then even I am one… although proper writers like Joanne Harris [1] set the bar a little higher and I’ll certainly refer you to her writer’s manifesto:

You don’t have to be a published author or have a bylined column in a newspaper to be a writer, but you do have to have the urge to write and to actually, actively, write, which is the hard part.

There are lots of people who’ll tell you how (or how not) to write: by all means read George Orwell and his six rules , but Elmore Leonard’s list goes up to ten and includes the word ”hooptedoodle”, which obviously means his is better.

Spending your time reading rules made by proper authors is one of the many ways you can avoid writing. Others include: arguing with racists on Twitter, clicking on things that say “You’ll be Amazed at What The Dukes Of Hazzard’s Tom Wopat is Doing Now!” [2] and, apparently, Emptying The Tumble Drier. George Eliot only had to overcome Looking Out Of The Window and Having Cold Fingers, so she had it easy by comparison. I’m sure you can find your own writing-avoidance strategies: why not tell us about them in the comments in my my personal blog?


[1] Incidentally, that’s some good early work there by me in a blog about the Hastings LitFest, your blogger quoting an author who is not only not appearing at the LitFest, but of whom I can find no record of any connection to Hastings. In this respect she resembles the great Victorian author George Gissing who spookily probably also shares with her the same number of steps to Kevin Bacon.
[2] Nothing good, apparently.


Mrs Rose

My parents ran a pharmacy and Mrs Rose came in twice a week to “do” in the house:  vacuuming, dusting and so forth. I was about 13 and watching the Trooping Of The Colour on TV – there wasn’t much on the TV in the daytime then – and  Mrs Rose emitted the following opinion to my mother, IN MY 13-YEAR-OLD PRESENCE:

“The Queen’s always had a good bosom, hasn’t she?”

I repeat: I was 13. I swear you could hear my intestinal mental deckchairs folding themselves up and putting themselves away.




I shouldn’t wade into this. I’ve never even been to the USA. I’m not about to add my voice to the idiotic argument about the 2nd amendment and all that militia stuff which simply makes no sense to me.

I know enough that there are many brilliant things about the USA and that all this nonsense we see about the alt-right and “shock-jocks” is not the whole truth about that huge and various country but just the news porn that gets clicks.

My point in coming on here with this is simply: if you live in a place and a culture in which you don’t feel safe going out without a gun I’m sorry for you. The Wild West was a long time ago.  There’s a fault in your civilisation & I’m staying right here.

Between Crowhurst & Battle


I had a little “out” in East Sussex last weekend that I will share with the agog world. Nothing bad happened and it finished in a pub as usual so you may wish to skip this whole exercise, but I enjoyed it anyway.

The walk was based, loosely on this walk here , but deviates somewhat because I didn’t want a round-trip and anyway I did it wrong and ended up doing some of the coming-back bit going out. However.

Taking the train from my local station, West St Leonards,


to Crowhurst, which doesn’t have any reviews, I walked about half a mile down Station Road until I got to St George’s Church. It is worth detouring into the churchyard to see the yew tree that has been there since before the Norman Conquest.


(If you follow me on #SocialMedia you’ll have seen this tree already. Maybe I have a thing about trees).

Just over the fence there’s this.

This manor House was started by Walter de Scotney in the Twelfth Century. Scotney was a a man who went on crusade with Richard The Lionheart and… look it’s all here.

The name Scotney of course resonates in East Sussex – there’s also Scotney Castle half an hour up the A21 from here, first started by one Lambert de Scoteni. There’s a thing here that tells us that the Scotneys changed their name to Crowhurst after Walter’s execution. There you have it.

This isn’t getting us to the good bit (the pub) very quickly. so move on.

Passing the manor house and the jolly picnicking families, I entered the fields sloping to the Powdermill Stream.

I followed the stream, and this is where I deviated from the walk suggested. probably because I miscounted the footbridges or something. It didn’t matter, it’s not exactly the Gobi Desert, Where One Mis-Step Means DEATH. Basically follow the stream and you won’t go wrong.

This is nice,

Farm with donkey

It is Pepperingeye Farm. I suspect it is Got Up for the tourists because there are holiday cottages just around the corner, and that the donkey is there for eye-candy. It was just luck I had a tree behind me or there’d be my shadow ruining the photo. All these photos are all pretty awful anyhow. I’m tempted to blame the app. Yes let’s blame the app. The name of the app is (cont. overleaf).

Proper vintage road sign.

Across Powdermill Lane, you pass the back of the Battle Abbey grounds (“Strictly No Entry” etc. If they’d had those signs up in 1066 it might have changed history).


There was a cricket match going on in Battle at the richly-named Upper Stumblets. It appeared to be between a team of men who in former times would have been farriers & inn-keepers, and a team of 14 year-old boys. The 14 year old boys appeared to be having a fairly dour time of it so I moved on.

Incidentally when I was about 9 I thought the cricket match chapter from England Their England was the funniest thing I had ever read. I don’t know whether to test if it is still so or whether to let it lie.

A pint in The Bull Inn to finish, then past the Abbey to Battle Station & home. I thank you.

Obligatory Shot of Battle Abbey




Hastings United 2016/2017

Here’s a short review of the season just gone as I saw it. I can’t believe that Other Leagues are still playing: what’s the matter with them? I’ve lost interest.

I say “as I saw it” because I’m just this guy, watching my 3rd full season at Hastings United, who hardly ever gets to away games (just the one this season at the Dripping Pan). To give some context, I was only just aware of the club when the game at Middlesbrough happened, but by the time relegation came along at the end of the same season I was mourning on Twitter, knowing that my big move to Hastings was ON. (In a bloody-awful alternative world I might have moved to Bognor or even East*****e. Imagine the horror).

We had some great days didn’t we? 4-1 v South Park. 6-1 v Guernsey, followed by 7-1 v Herne Bay, then 4-0  v Aylesbury, all in the space of a few weeks.

I took my mum (who is as old the Main Stand, but much less decrepit) to see us blatter Lewes 3-0 on Boxing Day. Harry scored his Goal of the Season that day. She called it “proper football”.

Then there were those stupid games where we’d score 3 but the opposition would march down the field and equalise every facking time and then win. (Corinthian Casuals)  Or when we contrived to let in 4 at home to bloody Three Bridges.

Top scorers in this or many other leagues. That’s worth an asterisk in a yearbook.

We got into the playoffs by the skin of the teeth then lost on penalties against a team that had acquired more than 20 points more than than us, and that in any fair world would have gone up anyway: good luck to Dorking Wanderers next year.

Have a great summer, all the people I’ve chatted with this season. There are some lovely people around the the ground who I’d like to get to know better. I’m sorry that Steve Thorpe didn’t get on the County Council. I know that 3 votes came from my household but it obviously wasn’t good enough.

I can give a couple of Saturdays for work at the ground, if needed. A DM to @colin_davey will galvanise me! (note: DM received! Bluff called!)


I am sure it can be arranged

You’re bored with voting all the time are you?

So sorry you have to spend half an hour every couple of years deciding our future. It’s not as if there was ever a great movement to give us all a vote or anything. The people in power never wanted you to have a vote: they were quite happy with the way it was. If the people who campaigned for us all to have this right, because they thought it was important – yeah they were mostly middle-class and educated, but that doesn’t make them always bad people – had realised what a great bloody burden it would be to you, maybe they wouldn’t have fucking bothered and gone and written more poncey poems instead.

They are “all the same” are they? Well, they’re not, but let’s say they are. Whose fucking fault is that? You have some power in the world if you only choose to use it. But you can’t be arsed can you? So the people who smell the chance to get on and get a bit of influence, and who know all the best people in all the best circles join the party and get elected. They think you’re all plebs, and you are, because you let a lot of chancers do what they like, and because you’re so bored with politics and have so many better things to do, they get away with it.

There are people who get involved in politics because they give a toss about how society could be a bit better. The papers call them do-gooders: the new American term is Social Justice Warriors. They tend to be concerned about boring bloody wishy-washy shit like how people in power should pay their taxes, how the world gets dirtier and shittier and how nobody cares so long as they’re making the dosh. But fuck that.

You’ll vote (if you can be bothered) for a STRONG LEADER. That’s what we need!

We’vc had STRONG LEADERS before. We had Henry the Fifth. He was good. He attacked Rouen. He won the BATTLE OF AGINCOURT. He was nearly King OF FRANCE, which would have been great, obviously. Go, Henry the Fifth!

It’s a shame that Henry the Fifth and the other STRONG LEADERS we’ve had didn’t give a flying one about you and me (well, your and my great great etc. grandparents), about whether they had enough to eat or jobs to do. Not one iota of a flying one. They played power games, they attacked France and each other and at no time did they think of us poor sods except when they wanted tax or soldiers.

SO much has changed. Well we’ve stopped invading France anyway.

Here is when we need a STRONG LEADER: when we are likely to be INVADED. When the country’s up against it. That’s when we need Winston. The rest of the time he’s a liability: we need a thinking, visionary government instead.

Why not do away with all the boring all-the-same politicians and get ourselves a king and just let him rule us strongly? Admit it, that’s what we really want. Arise Henry the Ninth (or whichever wins the drowning-your-brother competition) and lead us strongly! Then we can sayBugger voting, let’s go to Wetherspoons”, and we won’t have to be bored with voting any more.