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Just one more month ...

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In just one month's time - August 19th - my third novel Cockerings is released. I've been waiting a long time to see this one in print. Believe it or not, this novel started life as an exam question for police officers. Back in the 1990s I shared an office at Hendon Police College with a mate called Chris Hale (to whom this book is dedicated). We were members of the Met Police's training and curriculum design team and part of our workload consisted of writing scenarios for mock police promotion exams so that prospective candidates could have a practice before they faced the real thing. These took the form of ‘Knowledge and Reasoning’ tests in which a policing situation was described in detail. The candidates would then have to prove their mettle by identifying which, if any, offences were being committed and by describing what course(s) of action they would take.  We wrote a new K&R test, once a month, for several years and it was enjoyable work because it involved a c

Three men on the bummel in a boat (but no dog)

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 I got a call yesterday, quite out of the blue, from an old friend called Sid.  'Hey Colgers!' he said, 'I'm near your manor visiting an old friend. Fancy meeting up for a beer?' 'Great!' I replied. 'Where?' Our rendezvous turned out to be a cricket pavilion. But not just any old cricket pavilion. This one was on the banks of the river Thames near Marlow. Sid's friend is a lovely chap called Matt, a London-based lawyer, and the pavilion - named 'Rosemary' - was left to him and his siblings and cousins by a great aunt when she died. Many decades ago, she and her husband bought the pavilion and had it transported and rebuilt next to the river as a summer house. It's a wonderful thing, deliciously crooked and tin-roofed, that sits sandwiched between the multi-million pound homes of the rich and famous that line this part of the Thames, known as Spade Oak Reach. So, we had a beer at the nearby Bounty pub, a wonderfully eccentric place wi

Painting Oz

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A few blogposts ago (see here ) I mentioned a painting that I did in 2015 of characters from The Wizard of Oz . So today I thought I'd share the painting with you - and the process I went through.  Painting doesn't come naturally to me. I was never very good at it in school and I tended to concentrate on pen and ink illustration or sculpture. However, a few years ago, I decided to have a go and now - almost a decade down the line - I'm starting to produce canvases that I'm satisfied with.  The first decision I had to make was which characters to paint and what they should look like. It's really hard to exorcise the 1939 MGM film from your mind and to do something original; the costumes have become such iconic representations. Therefore, the obvious thing was to go back to the source material and L Frank Baum's books. However, none of them contain a detailed description given of Dorothy. All we get is that she is 'a little girl' and 'a well-grown ch

A Weighty Issue #3 - Why go low carb?

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When I began this weight loss journey I thought that I was fairly informed. However, the one question I kept coming back to was 'Why do certain diet plans work?' And, secondly, what was I doing wrong when I wasn't following some sort of plan? The answer wasn't hard to find. And it's not rocket science.  Whether it's Atkins, Lighter life, SlimFast, Weightwatchers or any other diet plan, success is achieved by putting fewer calories into your body every day than your body needs. Therefore, once all of these new calories are used up, the body has no choice but to start using the reserve tank, which is your body fat. Image: Shutterbug on Pixabay In basic terms, a kilocalorie (kcal) – commonly referred to as simply a ‘calorie’ - is a unit of measurement for the amount of energy contained in food or drink. About 20% of the calories we take in are used by the brain, 18-26% is converted into mechanical energy that’s used by our muscles, and the rest is used by other or

A Weighty Issue #2 - The Meaty Question

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This blog will feature many things that interest me or that I'm involved in. I've also chosen to use it to share my personal lockdown weight loss journey. My  first post on the subject seems to have gone down quite well. So here's Part 2. I'm going to be talking about my approach to the emotive subject of meat. Veggie and vegan chums may want to look away now. I'll start by saying that I am a meat eater. But I'm a picky meat eater. And an informed and ethical meat eater. Much of my attitude towards meat stems from my childhood. It's fair to say that a great deal of  the protein I was served up as a child came fresh and direct from the land or the sea. Growing up in Cornwall, and coming from a family of shooters and fishermen, my diet regularly featured game. I ate rabbit, pigeon, woodcock and pheasant, and I enjoyed freshly caught fish like mackerel, pollock, and gurnard, along with prawns and crab. Some of my earliest memories involve hunting for delicious