Sunday 29 December 2019

Goodbye 2019 - Looking Back

2019 has been a bit of a rollercoaster year with quite a few ups and downs and, if I’m honest, I’ll be quite pleased to see is fade into history. I’ve totally neglected the old blog this year too having debated long and hard about whether to carry on with it. After a lot of thought, I took a break and have gradually eased my way back into writing my usual nonsense again and I have rediscovered the spark that I thought I had lost.

To ease my way back I’ve spent the last couple of months simply answering questions once a week on Sunday Stealing and have had a lot of fun doing so. I plan to continue in 2020 and also return to my usual absurd gibberish as I talk about life, the universe and anything else that pops into my weird mind.

I usually sum up the year with a standard set of questions but this year I will answer a slightly different set, again from Sunday Stealing that will summarise the past twelve months.

It’s quite cathartic doing so because it reminds me of what happened, where I was etc. and I encourage others to have a go. I have done it every year since 2009, only missing out 2008 – the year I started this blog).

It’s quite long, so get your scuba diving gear on and jump in.

1. First things first, did you have a good year?

As I said above, it was a true rollercoaster. I don’t want to get into specifics but I really hope that 2020 is much better.

2. If you travelled, where did you go?

We travelled to Vietnam and Hong Kong. Also, we had a week in Kefalonia, Greece in September to say goodbye to summer with a little sun.

Finally, my annual university reunion left England’s shores for the first time this year as we all had a weekend break in Barcelona in Spain. My grumpy old university pals and I have officially gone international.

3. Which fashion trends did you love?

I am not a dedicated follower of fashion and the trends of the last few years generally have puzzled me. I am too old for fashion and the nonsense that it entails. I rely on Mrs PM to make sure that I don’t look like a bag of mad badgers.

4. Which fashion trends did you hate?

The weird rubbish I see on “celebrities” makes me wince. If they want to look like arses then that’s up to them.

5. What was your favourite article of clothing this year?

The normal stuff I wear.

6. What song sums up this year for you?

Spirits Will Collide by the multitalented Devin Townsend

7. What was your favourite movie of the year?

That is easy. Avengers: Endgame – an incredible movie. I also loved Joker.

8. Did an actor/actress catch your attention for the first time this year?

I’ve been watching Lucifer this year and there are two actors who I quite like. Mrs PM rolls her eyes and punches me playfully when I mention them during the show (at least I HOPE it is playfully). Step forward Lesley-Ann Brandt and Tricia Helfer.

9. Favourite new TV show?

I really enjoyed The Boys.

10. Did you make any big permanent changes this year?

First, I set myself the task of trying to learn a set of Spanish words every single day using two phone apps and I managed to do so. The bad news is that I have forgotten quite a lot of them, but quite a few have stuck.

Second, I decided to post a photograph on Instagram every single day and I also managed to achieve that.

Third, I forced myself to write every single day in an exercise called Freewriting where, basically, you just write anything that pops into your head with a view to making it a habit. I now have a word document with 150,000 words of pure nonsense, some in diary form, some exposing thoughts from my head and others expanding writing prompts, both fiction and non-fiction. The aim is to just write, even if it is gibberish (and believe me, most of it is). But in amongst that gibberish are several little nuggets, ideas and thoughts that might become blog posts or even more in the future.

Finally, I tasked myself to come up with an idea a day for every day in 2019. Some of the ideas are self-improvement, plans for improvement, new hobbies, etc. Again, some of them are silly but others might just work.

As for 2020, I have a rough plan – but we will see where it leads me.

11. What was one nice thing you did for yourself?

I bought myself a new laptop to replace my tired old desktop.

12. Did you develop a new obsession?

I guess that most of the things I mentioned in question 10 became an obsession.

13. Did you vote?

Of course I did. Sadly, results didn’t turn out the way I wanted and now I see my country turning to the dark side of stupidity.

14. Did you move?

No. I am still in the same house.

15. Did you get a job?

No. I'm just winding down for retirement.

16. Did you get a pet?

No. Sadly we lost a pet – my big fat 17 year old cat Jasper. We are now down to one cat, Jasper’s sister Poppy.

17. Do you regret not doing anything?

Not really. I wish I had more money and more annual leave from work so that I could travel more – but you can’t have everything.

18. Do you regret doing something?

Again, not really.

19. Have you done anything that scared you?

Yes. While visiting the Cu Chi tunnels near Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam, we had the chance to fire an AK-47 on a shooting range. I had never held a gun before and it was a brave decision to have a go at trying to hit a target in the distance. Sadly, I cannot shoot and I missed the target with each of my three shots. It was fun but I have no desire to ever touch a firearm again.

20. Did anyone/thing make you so mad it stayed with you for days?

Days? It is still with me after MONTHS! The nasty, lying idiot we have as our Prime Minister has been lying to us ever since his fat face appeared on my television screen. Boris Johnson and his government make me angry every time they open their lying mouths. I still can’t believe that he has hoodwinked so many people into voting for him, his party and Brexit.

I plan to step back from politics in 2020 for the sake of my sanity more than anything.

21. Did you lose anyone close to you? 

Sadly yes. My aunt Margaret sadly passed this year. She was a lovely fiery lady in her 70’s who spoke her mind and was so funny she always made me laugh. She will be sorely missed by my entire family.

22. Who was important to you this year but wasn’t important last year?

Nobody leaps to mind.

23. Who wasn’t as important to you this year as they were last year?

Again, nobody leaps to mind.

24. If you could have a do over on one thing you did, would you take it?

I would repeat the holiday we had to Vietnam.

25. What was the best moment of the year for you?

Going back to Hong Kong. I absolutely love the city and the events of the last year sadden me immensely.

26. What was the worst?

Mrs PM was quite ill this year and she had to spend a week in hospital. She is back to full health now, thank goodness.

27. What are you most proud of accomplishing?

I am quite pleased with defeating procrastination and forcing myself to fulfil every one of my New Year’s Resolutions from 2018.

28. What have you learned about yourself this year that you didn’t know in the years prior?

I am a lot stronger than I thought I was. I managed to cope with all of the dips in the year, particularly Mrs PM being ill.

29. What do you wish for others for the coming year?

I hope that common sense prevails in 2020 but I cannot see that happening. For all of the ordinary people like me, I hope you all have a fantastic and joyful 2020.

30. What do you wish for yourself? 

I have made a list of things I want to achieve or chip away at in 2020 that is similar but probably more far reaching than 2019.

And I am promising myself that I will be more positive rather than getting angry over politics.

Sunday 22 December 2019

Sleepy Rambles

I have worked my last day in 2019 and Christmas is no here – so I can relax.

Happy Christmas, dear reader, and I hope you have a wonderful Yuletide experience.

As usual, here are a few silly questions to enjoy from Sunday Stealing to help get you in the mood – somehow.

1. Do you ever give things away to your friends?

I have been known to do this in the past. I guess buying a round at the pub counts too, in which case I have given away lots and lots of pints of ale over the years.

2. Does it make you uncomfortable when your parents talk about finding people attractive? If your parents don’t make comments like that, what sort of things can your family members say that do make you feel uncomfortable?

My mum always used to tell me about men she found attractive and she had no shame about doing so. In particular, she liked Tom Jones, which surprised me because the Welsh crooner didn’t resemble my dad is any way. The only thing they had in common was that they were both male.

My dad kept quiet about the people he found attractive, thank goodness. Having one embarrassing parent was bad enough thanks.

3. Have you ever heard of an “alternative spring break”? Have you ever participated in one or known someone who has?

That is an American thing, I believe, so the answer is probably no. We do have an Easter break here in the UK but it’s no different from any other break. The mind boggles about what an “alternative” spring break might be.

4. Is there anyone’s friendship or relationship, in particular, that makes you jealous?

Not at all. I am not the jealous type.

5. Is there a book series where you loved the first book, but for some reason the other books in the series just didn’t measure up?

Stephen King’s Dark Tower series was a major disappointment for me. The first couple of books were okay but by the time I had finished the last one I was angry enough to throw the offending paperback in the swimming pool (I was on holiday at the time). Thankfully, I didn’t though the temptation was almost overwhelming. 

6. Are you a registered voter?

Yes I am – of course. 

Unfortunately, given the result of the last election in the UK a week or so ago, my vote did nothing to stop the nasty buffoon that is Boris Johnson becoming Prime Minister. Next time I will be voting against the power-hungry, hypocritical oaf so that he is removed from office when the time comes. 

Sadly, I think he will do his best to destroy the country before then.

7. Are there any stores/restaurants that you would like to shop/eat at, but there aren’t any located near enough to you?

There was a wonderful Mongolian restaurant in Hong Kong called Kublai’s that I enjoyed when I was working there and I would love it if there were a similar restaurant in Manchester. 

8. How many people would you say you are close with? Who are they?

Far too many people to mention here. They all know who they are.

9. Do you ever have smell hallucinations?

I have never ever had a smell hallucination. What an odd question.

10. Is there something that you did not used to take seriously, that you either now take seriously or wish that you had in the past (e.g., a relationship that you miss, your education, etc.)?

Yes – lots of things. For example, I now take politics quite seriously – and it makes me quite angry if I’m honest so I may just take a break from it. I also take music seriously as well and one of my major regrets is not learning to play a guitar or piano when I was younger. I learned a trombone instead for a few years but that’s no use in a rock band – well, not the kind of rock band I like.

Lately, money is becoming more important as is language learning. These are things I shall pursue more in years to come.

11. Are there any subjects that you are interested in so much that you would read whole books or academic journals about them?

I am more interested in writing these days and have read several books about the art of writing, creativity etc. I’m not sure academic journals on the subject exist but I might be tempted if one crosses my path.

12. Are you physically affectionate with your friends?

Yes I am. I love hugging people, both men and women (as long as they are willing to hug of course).

13. When you were in school, did you witness a lot of bullying? How did the teachers react to name-calling or violence?

Yes I did. I was also a victim of bullying until I fought back. One lad, who used to be a good friend, decided that because he was taller than me, he could shove me about. However, he did something that made the red mist descend (he grabbed my crisps and crushed them), so I punched him as hard as I could. He was so shocked that he didn’t react immediately, so I ran. He chased after me and caught me but I was so angry (still) that I picked up a nearby sports bag and swung it at him, catching him full in the face with it. We then had a fight where he basically beat me (he was a lot bigger). But after that, he never did anything again – and neither did anybody else. 

I was also a cheeky little kid and used to taunt bullies. Sadly, I regarded some teachers as bullies, telling them what I thought of them and their sometimes idiotic questions and observations about me. Hence I ended up in a lot of detentions as a consequence of my actions.

If I liked a teacher I showed respect and there were some quite nasty ones who were on the receiving end of my comments and names. To be perfectly honest, though, I wasn’t a very nice person myself at that time of life. Full of hormones and angry all the time I did tend to lash out.

I’m a nice guy now, honestly.

14. If there is a specific celebrity (or two, or three!) that you dislike, is it because of petty reasons or is it because they’ve done something absolutely damning in your mind?

There are quite a few celebrities that I don’t like. Top of the shop is Piers Morgan.

He is right up there with Donald Trump, tweeting nasty things in the hope that it will get a reaction and, sadly, he has an outlet for his bile as he is a presenter on a breakfast news show in the UK. We tried to send him to America and he annoyed the Americans up so much that they sent him back. He is just horrible.

There others I don’t like (such as James Corden and Simon Cowell) but not one of them winds me up as much as Piers Morgan. 

15. Are any of your friends/relatives actually impressive artists or writers? 

Sadly no. I do have a friend who published a novel and I am quite envious.

Sunday 15 December 2019

Book of Questions

Four more days of work to go until a well-earned Christmas break. What better way to pass the time than to answer a load of daft questions from Sunday Stealing?

1. If you saw a dog locked in a hot car, what would you do?

It depends where it was, whether I knew the owner of the car, how hot it was and whether or not the dog was in trouble.

If I knew the owner of the car (and the dog) I would contact them and tell them. Failing that, I would probably call the police and ask for advice or seek assistance from other passers-by so that I didn’t get the sole blame for smashing the window with a brick or damaging the door to give the poor creature some assistance.

2.  Is it easy for you to accept help when you need it?

Absolutely. I work in an industry where no one person is an expert. I ask for help all the time and other people equally ask me for help. One of my mantras at work, especially when dealing with relatively new people is “There are no stupid questions!”, which not only encourages people to ask but also makes me approachable when it comes to assisting, which is what I like in a person when I need help.

We all need help at some point in our lives and we should never be afraid to ask, whether it is in a work environment or personally.

I sometimes don’t think we help each other enough, if I can be brutally honest.

3. Have you ever been in a fashion show?


Of course I haven’t. As my old mum used to say, I “look like a bag of rubbish!”.

In my life I have either been too skinny or, as I am now, built like that bag of rubbish my mum used to call me as a child when I went out dressed in my scruffy clothes. There might have been a few months in the transition between a skinny little git to the slightly blubbery old git that I am now when I was what you might have called “okay” – but never good enough to parade up and down a cat walk dressed in ridiculous clothes, pouting and mincing.

It would have been more like a comedy show than a fashion show.

4. Would you like to be famous?

Perhaps. I would certainly like the money that famous people enjoy. However, I don’t think I would be able to deal with fame and would end up being a recluse.

5. What is your most compulsive habit?

I probably swear too much if I’m brutally honest. Over the past few years, I have been trying not to, but I wear my heart on my sleeve and sometimes my reactions are a little too honest. At least with me, what you see is what you get.

6. What do you most strive for in your life: accomplishment, security, love, power, excitement, knowledge, or something else?

At this stage of my time on planet Earth I am striving for self-improvement in all aspects of my life. I think, really, as I approach the end of my time competing in the rat race, I am seeking knowledge and enough excitement to keep an older man happy.

7. How close and warm is your family?

My immediate family (Mrs PM and the two boys) are very close. My sisters live quite far away and over the years we have grown closer as we see each other more these days. I get on well with my in-laws as long as politics doesn’t rear its ugly head, in which case I usually have to demand a change of subject or simply walk out of the house.

8. Does that fact that you have never done a thing before increase or decrease its appeal to you?

There are some things I really want to do but simply haven’t had the time, mainly travelling, learning new stuff and writing more. These things appeal.

There are other things that I really do not want to do, such as leaping out of an aircraft protected by a big rag and some rope, attaching a long thick elastic band to my body and leaping off a bridge. Such things do not appeal at all.

My brain isn’t wired that way.

9. If your friends start belittling a common acquaintance, would you defend that person?

Absolutely. I do not like bullies, especially if those bullies are my friends.

10.  Do you make a special effort to thank someone who does you a favour? How do you react when you aren’t thanked for going out of your way for someone?

Of course I make a special effort to thank somebody for doing me a favour.

I don’t necessarily demand thanks back though. I’m just a nice guy, I guess.

11. Since adolescence, in what 3-year period do you feel you experienced the most personal growth and change?

I would say between the ages of 19 and 22 when I was at university. I was away from home for the first time and dropped into an academic environment where I knew absolutely nobody. At the start of that period, I was a shy, timid and spotty little child and when I came out of it, I was so much more.

12. When you do something ridiculous, how much does it bother you to have other people notice it and laugh at you?

It doesn’t bother me at all. One of the best lessons I have learned in my life, is to learn to cope with embarrassment and to laugh at myself. When you can deal with embarrassment, you can cope with a lot of things that life throws at you.

13. Do you believe in capital punishment?

No, I don’t. We haven’t had capital punishment in the UK since the late 1960’s, early 1970’s. We have had people convicted of murder in the UK and then, later, found to be innocent. If they had been executed then that would have been tantamount to murder by the state itself – which is unforgiveable.

14. Do you find it so hard to say “no” that you regularly do favours you do not want to do?

No. People are used to me saying no when they ask for favours that I cannot do or do not want to do.

15.  What, if anything, is too serious to be joked about?

Sometimes laughing at certain things can improve a bad situation like for example at a funeral when you recall something funny about the dearly departed person, it can briefly combat the grief people feel. You can joke about most things but there are places I won’t go, such as religion (but only because people can be really offended by it).

Sunday 8 December 2019


The silly season is now upon us. It is a good time of year but the time when people start behaving differently as we close in on Christmas. We have parties, festivities, food, drink, frivolity, decorations, more food, more drink, gifts, generosity, even more food and even more drink.

And I love it, not least because I get almost a fortnight off work. Alas, I have to wait until December 19th for that to happen but it will be great not to go into the office.

So, while I’m waiting I will answer more daft questions from Sunday Stealing.

This time they are from Pinterest (yet another social media thing).

1. What don’t you share?

Two things. The first is my toothbrush. The thought of using a toothbrush after anybody makes me fill rather ill. I once heard somebody say “if you really love somebody then you will let them use your toothbrush.”


I love Mrs PM but there is no way on earth that I would share my toothbrush with her. In fact, thinking about it, I am almost tempted to buy a couple of spare ones for trips – just in case either of us forget our main toothbrush!


The second this is food. When I order a meal, I order it because I want it. When somebody says “Do you want to try some of mine?” I say “NO! NO! NO! Read my lips! DAVE DOES NOT SHARE HIS FOOD!”.

I am totally with Joey on this.

2. A reason to celebrate?

Like I said at the start of this post, the silly season is upon us so that’s cause for celebration. We had our work Christmas party on Friday and there are another two or three coming up in the next couple of weeks, followed by time off work and New Year – as well as New Decade! Let’s all have some fun.

3. Describe where you are now.

I am sitting in the back room of my house at my desk next to the window overlooking the back garden. It is a nice sunny day too (if not a little cold).

This room is a kind of den for me but obviously it is accessible and used by Mrs PM too. My laptop and monitors are here, with an in-tray shared by Mrs PM. I have speakers and a subwoofer connected to the laptop so that I can listen to my vast music collection whilst writing this nonsense.

There is a fireplace with a gas fire that looks like a wood burner, two settees and a large TV in the corner connected to a Playstation 4 which I can use to either watch TV or play games. It’s a cosy place and when we have friends round we usually sit here because it is right next to the kitchen.

4. A dream that seems impossible.

Nothing is impossible, however my current dream is that in the election we are just about to have, that the British people finally come to their senses and get rid of the parasitic clown that is our current Prime Minister, one nasty piece of work called Boris Johnson. If we can rid the country of this buffoon then hopefully we can stop Brexit in it’s tracks before it is too late.

Sadly, opinion polls seem to indicate that once more the British people are falling for the bilge that comes out of his mouth.

Any foreign people looking in must be laughing at us. Here we are shooting ourselves in the foot over Brexit and being fooled by a man who in public portrays himself as a loveable rogue, a clown and a bumbling buffoon.

"I am a complete BUFFOON!"

I despair. I’m sorry about the rant.

5. Something you hope for.

Personally, I hope that I can afford to retire sooner rather than later. Sadly that may not be possible but at least I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. Plans are in place.

6. A tradition that makes you feel at home.

Sorry to mention it again, but Christmas makes me feel at home. The cold weather outside makes a cosy house seem even more comfortable.

7. The people who make your life better.

I think that’s fairly obvious – friends and family. I am not going to mention anybody specifically but they know who they are.

8. Someone you’d like to meet.

I would love to meet three people. Devin Townsend, Steven Wilson and Mariusz Duda. Who are they (I  hear you cry)?

Devin Townsend is a prolific Canadian progressive metal artist who produces a wide range of musical output from ambient rock to full-blooded heavy metal with everything in between. And he is a very funny guy. Here is a sample:

Steven Wilson is a prolific English progressive rock musician and singer who is dubbed in Britain as the most successful British artist you have never heard of. Here is a sample:

Finally Mariusz Duda is another prolific progressive rock musician and singer, this time from Poland. He is the main man behind my current favourite band, Riverside, as well as having a solo side-project called Lunatic Soul. Here is a sample:

9. A silly thing you’d really like.

Two things. A snooker table and a dartboard. Mrs PM would never allow me to have a dartboard because I would inevitably put a picture of Boris Johnson on it and hurl darts at it all day. Also, she would fear that I miss and put holes in the walls.

Of course, the snooker table would be far to big for any room and I would never be able to fit anything else in – nor have room to actually play snooker if I think about it.

A very silly idea.

10. A book from your childhood.

Thanks to school, I used to have to read some pretty dreadful and overrated books in English Literature. I was never really into kids books – I found them too silly – so I started reading old science fiction novels. I will select The Invisible Man by H.G. Wells. I guess some of you will not regard that as a childhood novel – but I loved it.

11. Something you’re still not sure about.

Thousands of things – all weird things too. What to choose; what to choose. Okay – here goes. I am not sure whether aliens exist or not. I am more of a scientifically minded person and I read a lot of stuff about the weirder sides of science. I suppose aliens fascinate me more than anything else and there is evidence (potentially manufactured) that we have been visited by aliens for millennia.

I guess I will never know until such time that I get abducted, prodded, probed and returned to tell the tale. Sadly, if that happens, nobody will believe me anyway and I will be cast aside as a madman.

12. The best dessert to share with friends.

There is no dessert to share with friends (see my answer to question 1). However, if I were to make a dessert I would probably share a Black Forest Gateau – simply because it is probably too big to eat myself.

13. A story that captures your imagination

The Necroscope Saga by Bryan Lumley. As you may have gathered, I have weird tastes in films and books and this series of thirteen novels (yes thirteen!!) plus five other later supplementary books has everything I love.

It has vampires – not the crap ones in the Twilight Saga – but really nasty scary ones.

It has a hero who can talk to the dead and teleport through space and time.

That is all you need to know.

14. Memories beside a fireplace.

When I was a child, my grandparents had a proper coal fireplace and in the winter we used to sit in front of it to keep warm while watching TV and eating cakes and sweets that they had bought and baked. The thing about a real coal fireplace is that when it gets too hot you can’t turn the heat down, so we all used to move to the edges of the room as it warmed up. The smell of the fire was also unique and is lodged in my mind somewhere so that I will instantly recognise it when I next encounter one. They don’t really exist anymore – which may be a good  thing given the smoke they produce.

15. How do you spend a rainy day?

We get a lot of rain in Manchester and the UK in general so we have many places we can be when the rain comes, such as a pub, at home watching TV or even sometimes just going for a walk in the rain – which strangely can be a pleasant experience too, depending on the amount of rain.

Saturday 30 November 2019

Fill It In

Last weekend I missed my weekly attempt to answer a few silly questions due to a weekend trip to Edinburgh. It was cold and wet but very enjoyable wandering around trying to decipher the Scottish accent.

Now I’m back and can have a go at this week’s Sunday Stealing questions.

Strange ones this time – but here goes.

1. Right now I'm _____.

Right now I am writing this blog post while waiting for Match of the Day to start and listening to Dangerlust by the Wildhearts. The writing part is kind of obvious, don’t you think?

2. _____ is my well known quirk.

Being a little bit weird is my well-known quirk. For example I am now singing along to Alice Cooper and annoying Mrs PM who is in the lounge trying to watch TV. She has just walked into the room so I thought I would serenade her with the following lyrics:

You can burn my house, You can cut my hair
You can make me wrestle naked with a grizzly bear
You can poison my cat, Baby I don't care
But if you talk in the movies I'll kill you right there

“Stop being weird!” – she has just said those words to me.

3. Are you _____?

Are you as weird as I am? Do you think it’s a good idea to serenade the love of your life with Alice Cooper songs?

4. _____ first, then _____!

A cup of tea first, then I will come to your pointless meeting.

5. That's why _____.

That’s why I need a cup of tea – otherwise I will fall asleep and start snoring.

6. _____ is one of my favourite tv shows ever!

Game of Thrones is one of my favourite TV shows ever!

7. And as for the weekend, tonight I'm looking forward to _____, tomorrow my plans include _____

And as for the weekend, tonight I am looking forward to watching Match of the Day in about an hour (it is Saturday night at the moment). Tomorrow my plans include a long walk, some Christmas shopping and possibly Sunday lunch down at the pub with Mrs PM.

8. If I could go anywhere on a road trip, I'd go to _____.

If I could go anywhere on a road trip, I’d go to mainland Europe via the Channel Tunnel and drive through France and around the Iberian Peninsula.

9. _____ is something I don't understand.

The cult of celebrity is something I don’t understand. I mean, for heaven’s sake, why would anybody be interested in the daily lives of talentless rich individuals who have TV programs about their boring existence, yet have an army of fawning fans who hang off their every opinion and somehow believe that there is a point to them? I must ease back before I enter a full-blown rant. All I want to say is that people like the Kardashians for example are awful rich people who don’t care about anything or anybody but themselves.

10. Thanksgiving makes me think of _____

Thanksgiving makes me think of the United States of America because it is something that is only celebrated in that country. Can I just tell any American readers that we do not have Thanksgiving over here in the UK. I have been asked about it several times when visiting America.

11. _____ is the best way to relax!

Listening to music or reading a good book is the best way to relax.

12. It looks like Autumn _____.

It looks like Autumn is now over as the temperature outside now on Saturday night is 0 degrees Centigrade.

13. _____ is one of my favourite healthy snacks.

Flame raisins, Granny Smith apples, plums, nectarines, peaches and oranges are amongst my favourite healthy snacks.

14. The smell of _____ makes me think of _____.

The smell of Chinese food makes me think of the wonderful city of Hong Kong.

15. When I am feeling lazy I _____.

When I am feeling lazy I sit and vegetate in front of the TV for an hour or two.

16. When I look to the left, I see ______________.

When I look to the left I, I see my back garden – although now it is dark outside so I don’t really see anything.

17. ___________ are the room(s) that have the best view in my home.

The back bedroom is the room that has the best view in my home. From there I can see every one of the neighbours’ gardens.

18. _________ was done dirt cheap!

Dirty deeds were done dirt cheap!

19. __________ is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

Saving the planet for future generations is a responsibility that all qualified citizens must share.

20. If you have any __________feel free to share it with me.

If you have any beer feel free to share it with me.


Sunday 17 November 2019

From Facebook

I was considering going for a walk today but looking out of the window and seeing the rain bouncing off the pavement has persuaded me to stay in – at least for a while, giving me the opportunity to answer a few daft questions on Sunday Stealing 

Let’s dive in shall we?

1) What is your favourite TV show (currently)?

I’m going to cheat and name three.

First, The Walking Dead, the ongoing saga of struggling to cope in a post-apocalyptic world full of zombies and nasty human beings.

Second, The Boys, the story of a group of guys fighting back against immoral superheroes. It’s violent and intriguing.

Finally, Star Trek: Discovery, the latest series in the Star Trek franchise. I much prefer Star Trek to Star Wars, much to the disgust of certain geeks who think that everybody should bow down at the feet of the Jedi. I’m looking forward to Star Trek: Picard in 2020 too.

2) Would you like to be a child again?

I would definitely like to be a child but with my brain as it is now. It would be amazing to be reincarnated in the body of an eleven year old with my current experience of life. It would give the opportunity to change certain things and take a slightly different path through life.

3) Has anyone ever told you that school times were the best period of his/her life? Would you say that to someone? Why?

No. I hated school. You may think that is strange given my answer to the previous question, but back then I was a naïve young idiot who over the course of a few years turned into a hormone-ravaged arse before finally sorting myself out.

Don’t get me wrong; my school was arguably the best school in Walsall and it contributed massively to my success at University and my career to date.

However, my own background, the background of the other kids, the drive to academic perfection and the strictness of the teachers all combined to turn me into a sometimes obnoxious rebel who grew to hate authority of any kind.

That’s why I would like to go back there with my mind as it is now.

Boy would I change a few things, I can tell you.

4) How's the weather?

As I stated above, it is raining. We are now in the grip of late Autumn and early Winter so this is due to become the norm for the next couple of months. Christmas aside, I hate this time of year.

5) Do you like camping?

I have only camped once when I was a kid. I didn’t enjoy it.

6) Do you believe in paranormal phenomena?

I had a weird experience as a young man just after my dad died which made me consider paranormal phenomena, but I am not convinced that it was anything other than my own imagination. However, I love the idea of this kind of weirdness so I would like to believe it is true.

7) If you would create a holiday, what would it be called and how would we celebrate it? When would this holiday be?

I would create a day that celebrated all the good and weird things about Britain. It would have to be in the summer months so that we could enjoy the weather – some time in June perhaps.

8) What word(s) do you dislike? Can you tell why?

First, I actually dislike the misuse of the word “like”. The youth of today seem to use it as a comma when speaking or a way of thinking about what they are about to say (if you see what I mean). Here is an example.

Second, I’m not keen on the word “moist” either – or “moisten”.

Third, the word “literally” is often misused as in “I was literally shaking with rage.” What do you mean? You were either shaking with rage or you weren’t.

I also cringe when Americans mispronounce English words (I’m so sorry American readers). I find myself correcting them when I watch American TV programmes.

American Actor on the TV: Do the math

PM: It’s maths! MATHS! PLURAL!!!

Mrs PM: For heaven’s sake, STOP CORRECTING THEM!

American Actor on TV: It’s made of aluminum.


Mrs PM: I am going to punch you if you don’t shut up.

British Actor on an American Show: It’s scheduled for Fall.

PM: You’re BRITISH!! Say Autumn! AUTUMN!!!

Mrs PM: I warned you.


9) What colour do you dislike? What do you associate with it?

I am not fond of pink at all. I don’t really know why to be honest.

10) Do you believe in otherworldly creatures, eg. ghosts, etc?

See my answer to (6). I think I once saw a ghost – but then again I am not sure. Nevertheless I would love otherworldly creatures to exist. In the words of Fox Mulder: "I Want to Believe".

11) Pick two of your favourite fictional characters. Where are they from (what movie, book, etc?) and why are they your favourite?

I’m going to pick characters from TV shows I think.

First, sorry for the geekiness but I like Worf from Star Trek. He is an honourable warrior with no fear and an all-round good guy. I wouldn’t cross him.

On the other side of the coin, there is Negan, one of the bad guys from The Walking Dead. He is evil, but funny with it. In the interests of good taste, here are some of his less offensive quotes.

12) If you could change anything or add anything to your body would you? (this can be interpreted however, but, think, would you like to have fins or extra hands?)

I would like wings as well as the ability to fly fast. Think of the petrol I would save getting too and from work.

13) What are some family traditions you have/had growing up? Do you still continue them, if yes, why, if no, why not?

The only traditions I can think of are those that surround Christmas. We usually go to the pub on Christmas Eve for a couple of beers and then spend the next two days with family eating and drinking far too much while falling asleep at various points due to over-indulgence.

14) What do you think of tattoos? Do you have any?

I hate tattoos and I would never have one.

15)  What is the most disgusting habit some people have?

Picking you nose, spitting and eating with your mouth open are pretty disgusting.

16)  If you could bring back one TV show that was cancelled, which would it be?

Babylon 5. I loved that show. It was better even than Star Trek.

17) What was the most unsettling film you have ever seen?

The Exorcist. At the time I saw it, I was 19 and, although I had stopped going to church three years earlier, the doctrines of the Catholic church were still prominent in my mind. I was considering my relationship with the big fellow in Heaven when I sat down to watch this in a university film club. The idea was that we watch the movie and then talk about it afterwards.

At the end of the film I was terrified and the only reason I stayed to discuss it was that it was dark outside and I was too scared to walk about three hundred yards back to my Hall of Residence alone. I didn’t sleep all night.

I have never watched it since.

18) What book has impacted you the most?

No book springs to mind if I’m honest. In the world of non-fiction I’ve read a few self help books over the years and adopted a few of their techniques, but generally I find a lot of what they say is common sense when you think about it.

19) You're on Death Row and get one final meal: What is that meal and why do you choose it?

I would probably order something that took days to cook.

20) What is the first profession you remember wanting to become as a child?

For some bizarre reason, I wanted to be a fireman. I have no idea why.

Oh – and I also wanted to be an actor – and to be perfectly honest, part of me still wants to do that. I would love to star in a major film (even though that would probably be quite scary for me).

Sunday 27 October 2019

Free Talk

Today is a good day to talk about Rugby Union and England’s amazing semi-final victory in the World Cup having beaten New Zealand (the current world champions) yesterday and Australia last week.

South Africa stand in our way on Saturday next week.

I will shut up until we win (because I don’t want to boast prematurely). Instead I shall answer a few questions from Sunday Stealing.

1. If you were offered a job in another part of the country, would you take it?

It depends on which part of the country the offer was. If it were Liverpool then the answer would be yes because I love the city, having spent three years of my life at university there, and it is only about 35 miles away from home and is therefore quite easy to get to. Anywhere else would be a struggle.

I would however consider a job abroad. I have worked for several weeks at a time (on business trips)  in various countries including a three month stint in Hong Kong and I loved it all. I could still do that if required.

2. If you were in a bank and someone started to hold it up, what would you do?

I would marvel at the strength of that person. A building is very heavy, after all.

Seriously, though, it depends how they were armed. If they had a gun I would comply with everything they wanted me to do (within reason), But it depends how many people were in the bank and how many were prepared to try to overpower him.

If there were several armed robbers then I would be on the floor until it was all over.

3. If you found a suitcase filled with $1,000,000 what would you do

I would probably take it to the nearest police station. Nobody would carry that much money around legally so my guess is that it would be stolen, therefore there might be a reward associated with it.

4. If you had a 25 hour day what would you do with your extra hour?

I certainly wouldn’t work my day job. I would probably do something enjoyable and constructive, like write something.

5. If you had the opportunity to be different, what would you change?

I would change my life expectancy to add another fifty years of healthy life with a youthful appearance.

6. If you received a lottery ticket as a gift and won a lot of money, would you share with the person who gave you the ticket?

I think I would be insulted if somebody were to give me a lottery ticket as a gift if I am allowed to be brutally honest. If by a miracle I won millions from the ticket, I might give them a small amount as a reward.

However, if that person were Dr Who or some other time traveller who could guarantee that my numbers would come up, I would of course share the prize with them.

7. If you spoke two languages and your spouse spoke only one, would you raise your children as bilingual?

Absolutely. I would love to be bilingual.

8. If you were candy, which candy would you be?

I would be a Smartie because I am quite smart.

9. If you were a toy, which toy would you be?

Probably a Playstation 4 or some other games console. I do dabble with a PS4 occasionally, even at the age of 57.

10. If you were abducted by aliens, would you tell anyone?

Yes – but I would do so in the form of a book. I think people would consider me to be a nutter if I tried to convince them that I had been prodded and probed by aliens. But in a book it would at least be enjoyed by those who love fictional accounts (even though it may be true).

11. If you could go to the moon, would you?

Not a chance. It is cold, dark, dangerous and it has no atmosphere. I love a place with a good atmosphere.

12. If you had a time machine, where would you go and why?

I would go to the future. I would visit the next 500 years a decade at a time to see how technology evolved and how the environment is coping with the human race trying to turn the planet into a toilet.

I might even pop to next Saturday to find out the numbers of next week’s winning lottery ticket. But I wouldn’t give the ticket away; I would keep it for myself.

13. If you saw a robbery, would you report it?

Definitely. We all carry smartphones these days too so I would try to take photographs to make sure the criminals were brought to justice.

14. If you were to speak to a graduating class, what would you say?

I would tell them that it is alright to change your mind about your chosen career path if you wish to. I would also wish them good luck.

15. If given the choice between being given great wisdom or great wealth, which would you choose?

I would choose great wisdom in the art of finances and business so that I would inevitably and eventually acquire great wealth that way. You can have your cake AND eat it, you know.

Sunday 20 October 2019


After another weekend away, I can return to Sunday Stealing.

I was in Barcelona for a university reunion. We’ve gone international now. So what do we have this week? Firsts?

Let’s dive right in.

1. When you looked at yourself in the mirror today, what was the first thing you thought?

The first thing I thought was “What an ugly old bastard!” This was closely followed by “How can my hair get itself in such an unholy mess?” Finally, “I really need to put on my glasses before I look in the mirror!”

2. Where did you go on the very first vacation of your life?

The first one I recall was a two week holiday to the south coast of England, to a resort called Brighton. If you are British you will know all about the place. If not, then it is a pleasant seaside town that has changed over the years. I haven’t been since I was a child but I would love to pop back sometime.

3. Open the door of your refrigerator. What is the first thing you see?

A pint of skimmed milk.

4. Tell us about your first kiss OR your last first date.

I will tell you about my first kiss. I was about 7 years old and at school. It was raining outside during a break so we all had to stay indoors rather than running around like lunatics outside.  I was sitting at my desk next to an Irish girl of the same age. We were very good friends and were reading books together. We stacked them up so that nobody could see us. I don’t really know who instigated it but we just found ourselves in a tiny embrace. I still remember it well – I’m sure she does too.

5. If you had wings to fly about the universe, where is the first place you’d land?

I would stay on planet earth because there is no air in space. I’m scared of heights so I wouldn’t fly too high. I would probably go somewhere with an amazing view armed with my camera and take thousands of photographs.

6. What is the first thing you do when you get in your car?

Close the door.

7. What is the first thing you ever said to your firstborn?

I remember it well. I said “Hello!”.

8. What is the last thing you heard about your first love?

I can’t remember who my first love was so I will revisit the Irish girl from question 4. I went to a wedding in the 1980s in Knutsford and met a guy from my home town of Walsall. It turned out that he knew her brother and a little later he mentioned my name to him. Her brother then asked the first kiss whether she remembered me. And she did! Not only that, she asked about me I heard that she was a nurse in the south of England somewhere.

9. If you had created the world in seven days yourself, what would you have created on the First Day?

I think I’ve answered this before. I would create rock music so that I had some entertainment while I created the rest of the world.

10. What is the first song in your IPOD or song list?

Hang on – I shall switch it on and hit play on shuffle.

Here it is.

Disappointed by Nine Inch Nails:

11. What is the first tangible thing you lost that you could never find again?

I rarely lose things. The one thing I remember is a set of keys way back in the 1980’s and I only remember that because I was absolutely furious with myself (as I always am when I lose something).

12. Who is your favorite First Lady of all time?

I do not have a favourite First Lady.

13. Post a link to your first blog post.

Here it is.

14. When was the last time you needed First Aid?

On Friday I went for my usual lunchtime walk and when I got back to the office, I discovered that one of my fingers was covered in blood. I had somehow managed to acquire a tiny cut. A plaster soon sorted it out.

15. Can you explain what a first down is in football?

No because it is clearly American football you are talking about (or as I like to call it Rugby for wimps). 

Sunday 6 October 2019


It’s Sunday and time for another set of Sunday Stealing questions.

Looking at today’s questions, I feel that I may have to rein myself in as I do tend to give long answers. Let’s see shall we?

[ 15 things that make you smile ]

Many things make me smile – I am a happy person on the whole. Here is a selection…

(1) A happy Mrs PM is a happy PM.
(2) Kittens at play.
(3) The first pint of ale after a long and tedious week at work.
(4) A decent comedy show.
(5) A win for my favourite football team, Walsall FC (a rare event this season).
(6) The sun setting or rising above a calm ocean in southern Europe
(7) Seeing one of my favourite rock bands live.
(8) A relaxing holiday walk.
(9) Leaving work on a Friday afternoon.
(10) A sunny day.
(11) A great science fiction novel.
(12) A brilliant movie.
(13) Progressive rock music.
(14) Writing down my thoughts.
(15) An evening out with friends.

[ 14 things that make you frown ]

This list is almost endless but I will try to be short …

(1) Brexit.
(2) Boris Johnson and his Conservative Party.
(3) Nigel Farage.
(4) Piers Morgan.
(5) Nasty people generally, particularly malignant narcissists.
(6) Bigotry of any kind.
(7) Donald Trump.
(8) Being ill.
(9) Reality TV.
(10) January and February.
(11) Rap “music”.
(12) Tabloid newspapers.
(13) Wasps.
(14) Rhubarb.

[ 13 things you see every day ]

Assuming I am not travelling somewhere …

(1) A laptop of some description, either my own at home or my work laptop.
(2) My toothbrush.
(3) My phone.
(4) My wallet.
(5) My car.
(6) A television of some kind.
(7) My glasses.
(8) A cup of tea.
(9) My bed.
(10) My watch.
(11) My IPod.
(12) My Kindle.
(13) My front door.

[ 12 things you have always wanted to try ]

(1) Learn to play a guitar.
(2) Speak at least one foreign language fluently.
(3) Write and publish a novel.
(4) Drive a super car around a very easy racetrack.
(5) Write a rock song.
(6) Go on a round the world trip.
(7) Brew my own beer or wine.
(8) Living abroad.
(9) Being an extra in a blockbuster movie.
(10) Spend a week in The Peninsular Hotel in Hong Kong.
(11) Research my family tree.
(12) Go on a complete tour with one of my favourite rock bands just joining in backstage.

[ 11 objects that mean a lot to you ]

(1) My CD collection.
(2) My house.
(3) My photo collection.
(4) My leather bound Bible inherited from my grandparents (they were religious and I am not but it is a beautiful book that reminds me of them).
(5) My football programme collection.
(6) The watch I was given for 25 years of service at work.
(7) My terracotta warrior (a prize won by my mother-in-law; she didn’t want it and offered it to us. I almost bit her hand off. I have kept it even though Mrs PM wants to get rid of it now – it reminds me of my trip to Xi’an to see the real thing).
(8) Various souvenirs I have picked up on my travels.
(9) My book collection (the reference books Mrs Pm cannot persuade me to get rid of).
(10) My phone – I would be lost without it.
(11) My glasses – I would be blind without them.

[ 10 places you have been ]

I have been to some very interesting places. I shall go for some of the countries…

(1) Russia.
(2) China.
(3) The United States of America.
(4) Australia.
(5) Brazil.
(6) Japan.
(7) South Africa.
(8) Vietnam.
(9) Thailand.
(10) Canada.

[ 9 of your favourite foods ]

Off the top of my head …

(1) Cheese.
(2) Steak.
(3) Pork.
(4) Bangers and mash.
(5) Roast chicken.
(6) Paella.
(7) Any Chinese stir fry.
(8) Most curries.
(9) Pasta.

[ 8 things you would rather be doing ]

(1) Travelling.
(2) Not working (i.e. having retired).
(3) Watching a football match.
(4) Watching a live rock band.
(5) Having a pint or two down the local pub.
(6) Lounging around on a beach with Mrs PM.
(7) Walking in the countryside.
(8) Spending quality time with family and friends.

[ 7 things you would take to a deserted island ]

(1) A decent infinite electricity supply so that I could use electrical equipment and charge all of my gizmos.
(2) A music player of some description with all of my CDs.
(3) A Kindle crammed full of books.
(4) A massive tent with a fridge.
(5) A very loyal pack of vicious dogs to protect me.
(6) A laptop with a backup drive and a connection to the internet.
(7) A vast collection of clothes.

[ 6 things you wish you never had to do ]

(1) Go to work.
(2) Iron.
(3) Cook.
(4) Clean.
(5) Rant at politicians.
(6) Gardening.

[ 5 people that mean the world to you ]

Mrs PM, my two sons and my two sisters.

[ 4 of your biggest fears ]

(1) Heights.
(2) Public speaking.
(3) Big spiders.
(4) Pain

[ 3 words to describe how you feel right now ]

Happy, hungry, thirsty.

[ 2 things you're excited for ]

Planning next years holidays and a university reunion in Barcelona next weekend.

[ 1 thing you want to say to someone ]

To Boris Johnson: Stop lying and resign now you scruffy, arrogant, bullshitting, embarrassing clown.

Sunday 29 September 2019

Thought Provoking Questions

I arrived back home from Greece yesterday. After a week in the sunshine, I am now staring at  pouring rain bouncing off the ground.
I love Manchester – honestly.
Anyway, time for a Sunday Stealing post to make me feel better. 
The questions seem pretty deep so I will have to switch off my light-hearted outlook on life to delve into the matter at hand (or perhaps not).
If you could instill one piece of advice in a newborn baby’s mind, what advice would you give?
Look for the best in people and do not under any circumstances judge anybody by the colour of their skin, how many limbs they have or what gender they are. Treat people as you wish to be treated yourself.
What is the most desirable trait another person can possess?
People who have love for their fellow human being and feel empathy for others. Empathy, compassion and love.
What are you most grateful for?
I’ve been quite healthy for just about all of my life so far (if you discount sentient hair trying to take over my body and eyesight so poor that without my glasses I am likely to talk to a stranger thinking that person is my best friend in the whole world). 
Also, my friends and family have helped make life peachy.
Is stealing to feed a starving child wrong?
Absolutely not. I would go further and say that stealing to feed a starving person full stop is totally correct. I will go even further and state that stealing from somebody who has so much money they don’t know what to do with it should be positively encouraged if that person is a malignant narcissist.
What do you want most?
At this moment I want to retire. I want to turn my back on my career of 35 years and do something that I want to do instead of being forced to work for “the man”
I am at a time in my life where I feel like just quitting right now and doing something for me instead of arseholes who have no clue. The truth is I have felt like this for quite a while now (probably at least the duration of this very blog) and I am happy to say that I can see the light at the end of the tunnel. 
Let’s hope it’s not a speeding train.
Are you more worried about doing things right, or doing the right things?
I want to do the right thing because it spawns happiness in myself and others.
What has life taught you recently?
Events of the past three or four years have emphasised that life needs to be enjoyed and that we do not really focus on the important things until, sometimes, it is too late.
What is the one thing you would most like to change about the world?
I have to breathe deeply to answer this one. We have too many arseholes in power at the moment. We have Boris Johnson in the UK and Donald Trump in the US as well as others like Jair Bolsonaro in Brazil, Xi Jinping in China and Vladimir Putin in Russia. They all need to go. Right now.
Where do you find inspiration?
I find inspiration from lots of places. For example, holiday, a good long walk, a relaxing half an hour listening to music, diving into a good book and many other related things. Work is not one of them.

Can you describe your life in a six word sentence?
An idiot who is doing okay.
If we learn from our mistakes, why are we always so afraid to make a mistake?
When it comes to mistakes, I have a sliding scale of how they affect me. If the mistake is totally stupid, I am usually furious with myself. If the mistake is because I am trying something new or learning something, I am delighted because such mistakes help to improve you as a person. Making mistakes can be embarrassing, but these days, I can handle embarrassment much more easily – usually by laughing at myself.
What impact do you want to leave on the world?
That makes it sound as if I am about to board a spaceship and blast off to a far distant planet.
I would like to hope that kids and descendants look back at this blonde, short-sighted old fool and think that he was a good man who helped to steer them in the right direction to influence the world in a good way.
What is the most defining moment of your life thus far?
There are far too many of them to list here. I’ve been lucky in some things and unlucky in others and all of them have steered my life in the direction it eventually took and is continuing to take.
In the haste of your daily life, what are you not seeing?
I could and should take more risks. I don’t think it is too late to completely switch my life over to the parallel one that I have envisaged for myself over the past ten years or so. Sadly I am quite risk averse – perhaps I should change that.
If life is so short, why do we do so many things we don’t like and like so many things we don’t do?
I have no idea. I get a buzz out of making people happy, sometimes at the cost of my own happiness. Perhaps that’s the reason why I do things I don’t like.
What lifts your spirits when life gets you down?
Mrs PM usually lifts my spirits and music always helps too. If I’m feeling down, which is fairly rare if I’m honest, I find that a good walk clears my mind and helps to put things in perspective.
Have you ever regretted something you did not say or do?
Oh God – of course. In fact, this has happened on too many times to mention. I try not to dwell on mistakes of the past and endeavour to look forward. I have no doubt that I will put my foot in it in the future – it is human nature to have regrets – we can’t help it. Why dwell on such things?
Has your greatest fear ever come true?
Life is peppered with fears that eventually come to pass, for example the loss of a loved one. So, whenever somebody I care for becomes ill or sadly passes away, my fears come true.
Why do we think of others the most when they’re gone?
I don’t think that is a necessarily true statement. You may reminisce and look at the good times but in my case, it is usually no more than when the person was here.
What is your most beloved childhood memory?
There are far too many memories to try to rank them all. I’m quite grateful that I was born (though I don’t really remember that – thank goodness).
And finally - here's a nice thought provoking song for ya ...

Saturday 14 September 2019

Book Tag

Another week; another set of questions from Sunday Stealing.

This time its all about books – an interesting subject that I don’t usually cover that often. I guess there is always a first time.

Let’s dive in shall we?

Who is your favourite author?

That’s a tricky one because I like and have liked lots of authors. Here are a few.

Stephen King, Iain M. Banks, Dean Koontz, Dan Simmons, Robert Ludlum, James Herbert, Stephen Baxter, Peter F. Hamilton, H.G.Wells, Bill Bryson, Bryan Lumley and many more.

Generally if I really like a book I will look for others by the same author.

What was the last book you read?

The last novel I read was “Dust” by Hugh Howey, the third novel in a science-fiction trilogy set in a dystopian future.

The last non-fiction book I read was “How To Be Right … In A World Gone Wrong” by broadcaster James O’Brien. If you want to try to understand why the world is turning to shit and how to trap people into thinking about their horrific views based on spoonfed lies, this is the book for you.

What book reminds you of your school days?

“The Invisible Man” by H.G.Wells.

I hated English Literature because we were forced to read classic drivel and then write critical essays on them. For example, I was forced to read “The Mayor of Casterbridge” by Thomas Hardy, a novel written in 1886 that  was as boring as hell.

Worse, I had to suffer Shakespeare – plays written in a form of English that was routinely spoken in the pubs and palaces in 16th century England but means nothing today at all. Reading Shakespeare is like reading a book in your second language – except the plays are utter claptrap.

If you have read this blog before you will know my thoughts on Shakespeare so I won’t rant too much about him.

The one blessing for my English Literature O-Level exam was that we could select a couple of books to write essays about and I chose “The Invisible Man” – a classic novel by an amazing author.

I had such fun with that book.

What book releases are you looking forward to?

Nothing in particular. Stephen Baxter has written the official sequel to “War of the Worlds” called “The Massacre of Mankind” but that has been out for a year or two. I intend to read it soon – so I shall say that.

What movie releases are you looking forward to?

I love superhero movies and sci-fi so here are a couple due for release soon.


Godzilla versus Kong

Wonder Woman 1984

There will be other that are less sci-fi and superhero of course but I will judge them when I see the trailers.

What 3 books are you planning to read?

As mentioned above, I am planning to read “The Massacre of Mankind” by Stephen Baxter.

I also enjoyed “Sapiens” by Yuval Noah Harari so I plan to read the follow up, “Homo Deus”.

Nothing else leaps to mind so I shall probably go for a trashy sci-fi novel after my current book.

Have you ever damaged a book?

Not only have I damaged a book – I have damaged a human being with a book.

When on holiday once, I dropped my current novel into the swimming pool. I tried to dry it out but it was ruined.

The poor human being was a passenger on an aircraft. He was sitting in the aisle seat and, as usual, I walked up and pointed to the middle seat and said “I’m there!”. As he unbuckled his seat belt to let me through, I decided to throw my 1000 page paperback science fiction space opera onto the seat. I somehow missed and hurled it straight into the poor man’s face, cutting the bridge of his nose.

Thankfully, it was only a minor cut and he accepted that “accidents happen” as he tried to stop the  bleeding. I was so apologetic and apologised so much that he ended up more angry with my apologies than being socked in the face with a heavy book.

Worse still, it was a long haul flight to Beijing so I had to sit next to him for over 12 hours.

I have rarely been so embarrassed and angry with myself.

How long does it take you to read a book?

It depends on the length of the book, how much I am enjoying it, or whether I am on holiday or not.

Books you haven’t finished?

Only one – and it was so bad that I can’t recall the author or the title. By the time I finally threw it away (yes it was THAT BAD), I didn’t give a hoot about whether the characters lived or died. The only thing I cared about was whether the author was going to write another book and inflict the same pain on other people.

Popular books you didn’t like?

As I said above, anything by Shakespeare. When people sing the praises of his plays, I immediately think of “The Emperor’s New Clothes”. I don’t understand the appeal – at all!!

Is there a book you wouldn’t tell people you were reading?

Yes – any self-help books. I have read a couple out of interest and actually found them quite useful. But if you admit to reading a self-help book and you are a bloke in the UK, you will be ribbed mercilessly by your mates.

How many books do you own?

I have owned hundreds but have been accused of being a hoarder by Mrs PM. So I have given them away to charity shops – but only if they are fiction books. This is one of the reasons why I have forgotten a lot of the books I have read.

I keep all of my non-fiction books.

Now I have a Kindle, I can keep as many as I want.

Are you a fast or slow reader?

I think I am pretty quick.

Do you read better in your head or out loud?

It would annoy Mrs PM immensely if I read out loud. Therefore I read better in my head – just like everybody else.