Monday, March 05, 2018


No, I have no idea whatsoever why they thought that funny hats should figure in the greeting I received on the occasion of my seventy-eighth birthday. I suspect the idea came from the crazy canine, Felix, with Mickey, Jessica and Tino happily colluding. 

My own excuse for wearing that beanie indoors is that, felled with the discomfort of lumbago, I am more or less immobilised, unable to shuffle beyond the front door of my flat. In consequence, I feel chilly all the time, especially after our debilitating phase of sub-zero temperatures.

Be that as it may, it was a joy to have all of them come to my place for coffee laden with delights. My 'wish list', I'd told them, was for 'consumables' rather than any tchotchkes as gifts which might contribute to the clutter I am valiantly combating. No, I'll not be munching on the lovely tulips(my favourite flower) but supper in the coming days will be just great!


Sunday, March 04, 2018


In 1979 I was professionally well situated and, I fear, far too smug. I never dreamed then that the day would come when I would be twice as old!

After a week of persistent sub-zero temperatures in Munich, the forecast today is for a high of ten degrees. I'll take that as a positive augury.

Saturday, February 24, 2018


The American presidential election system overhaul comes under fire in a suspenseful political technothriller I recently finished. The conspiratorial villains aim to take over the United States through election fraud brought on by manipulating newly introduced electronic voting technology. But the platform of the feisty female aspirant determined to move into the White House is elaborated at great length and there are extended excerpts from stirring speeches. I think I’d have given her my vote!

But was the manifesto perhaps drafted in comprehensive detail before the thriller attributes were bolted on? I’ve read a few other books which hint at this authorial approach and I must admit I’ve enjoyed them. They allow non-fiction issues to be expounded upon in depth, even if the content is paradoxically fictitious.

There is nothing new about garnishing police and courtroom procedurals with sub-plots and story strands that reflect an author’s concern about real-world iniquities, from climate change denial to people trafficking, from toxic masculinity to the vilification of an underclass.

Recently, however, I as reader get the feeling that sometimes the societal issue is the primary content of a book. A signpost pointing in this direction is a lack of originality in terms of the thriller elements which are secondary when employed by the writer as ’packaging’.

This is something I must think about more as I look for the direction my future storytelling should take. A manifesto thriller?    

Tuesday, February 20, 2018


At the Winter Olympics in Korea, the British contingent is delivering both surprising successes and heart-rending failures. All of this makes for compelling television entertainment. But the sport I follow is curling, since watching it for the first time when the action on the ice was transmitted from Sochi.

That a certain Peter Thomson in Perth fills ceramic miniatures of curling stones with his blended whisky, brings a smile to this Scot of the diaspora. The smile broadens with the realisation that the girls of the curling team representing the United Kingdom all hail from north of the border. Again this year their skip is the delightful and talented Eve Muirhead. She is also said to be a very competent player of the bagpipes and wears the kilt with aplomb! 

As things stand, a medal could well be a possibility. In 2014 it was bronze. Can the lassies better that result this year? 

Sunday, February 18, 2018


There are undoubtedly Ultra High-Net-Worth Individuals, UHNWIs, with homes in Belgravia and other posh London neighbourhoods who wish they lived in a gated community.

From The Guardian
“A meet-and-greet service from your car or nearest Tube station. A hotline to your local bobby, whose location you can track on your iPad. Dedicated patrols. A 100% conviction rate. For up to £200 a month, this is what residents on some of London’s most expensive streets in Belgravia, Mayfair and Kensington can sign up for with TM Eye, Britain’s first ‘private police force’.”


Saturday, February 17, 2018


From TheMunichEye
“Numerous protest rallies are expected to take place today around the Munich Security Conference at the Hotel Bayerischer Hof. Four thousand demonstrators are expected for this, while four thousand members of the police force will be in action around the premises.”

Light snowfall, as I write, and a maximum temperature only just above freezing will probably not discourage the activists.   

Wednesday, February 14, 2018


There is also this year’s second calendrical coincidence to savour as, in 40 days’ time, Easter falls unusually on April Fools’ Day.