Wednesday, June 25, 2014

Sleepy Hamlet--Official book launch

Well it's here at last, The Night of the Village Idiots, my first soiree into the grown up world of book publishing--- my first novel--- and its being self published through Amazons' Kindle programme, and soon to go hard copy with CreateSpace.

A lot of you will already be aware of this long overdue event. I have been talking about it's imminent arrival for probably over a year now, and have even published sample chapters herehere and here.

But the good news is that the moment has finally arrived; it is here folks and now its time to big it up and this is where I need your help and the help of anyone you think would be interested in a piece of countryside tom-foolery.

But first of all, let me introduce those of you who are new here and have no idea what I'm wittering on about to the odd-ball, eccentric, nut-job inhabitants of the village of Sleepy Hamlet by way of a synopsis for their first tale, the Night of the Village Idiots.

Synopsis for the Night of the Village Idiots

How could the removal of a family painting, a childhood fear of thunder and lightning and the pub landlord's flu cause so much trouble?

Simple, add a dotty half wit Lord of the manor, place him next to his short fused and volcanic wife, refer to the butler, who is the very model of decorum and upholder the old ways, as the family pet, ignite the head cooks flatulent backside with a lightning bolt, have Mrs Heppleheimer: a crazy octogenarian Bavarian barm pot run the village pub and bring her own brain battering, soul sapping brew of the Norse Gods, get the villagers to try and get her drunk in an ill fated drinking competition which will eventually end up with the mass hypnotism of the village quoits team,  while all the time have the incumbents of Hamlet Hall running around a darkened stately home that's been blacked out by the worst storms in living memory; have an old suit of armour nearly decapitate her Ladyship while she attempts to head her portly husband off in his search for a stepladder and something to remove a picture with, then add to the mix a nervous maid with a curtsying fixation  and a concussed and amnesic head cook who's wondering around the house covered in fruit preserves and compotes, and you have the ingredients for a stormy night with a village full of idiots.

Intrigued? I hope so. Tickled at the thought of what comes next? I hope that to. Have a bit of money burning a hole in your pocket? I really hope for that.

So now all that is left for you to do is go forth and spread the word, my children. Let the people know about the word, and the word is Sleepy Hamlet (well technically that's two words, but for the sake of omnipotence, which is the look I'm going for at the moment, well say it very fast so it sounds like one word), tell them of the gloriously crazy inhabitants of this Eden, inform them of the very low purchase price, and how through a wondrous blog (that's this one, if you were wondering where I was talking about), you can simply click on the book's cover image atop the right hand column and lo, it will be sent via the heavens to your kindle, android or app within seconds, and angels will sing and sinners rejoice and then you to will have the word.

Okay, so I got a little carried away there, but you get the picture. And if you or your friends really like what you read, please pop along to the review section and leave a few favourable comments and lots of stars.

And if you keep coming back here, I will keep you updated as to the next novel in the Sleepy Hamlet chronicles called Tourists in Season, which is already under-way and of which chapter 1 is published at the end of the Night of the Village Idiots.

Of course I will also be keeping you up to date on all of my other projects and ideas, both art and written, so please, don't be a stranger and keep coming back and I will do my best to entertain you.

Thank you in advance.

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you








Saturday, June 7, 2014

...and finally in the news...

For over twenty years now I've been drawing cartoons to illustrate news stories for the local newspaper market, and its a job I have loved.

I can happily say that some of the best stories you will ever read will come from a local newspaper; mainly because they have to fill their pages with copy, and when that happens you can guarantee some real corkers are going to get printed.

Over the years I've illustrated stories about Orchestras who's instruments are made up of plumbers piping, or tales of the Bog Snorkeling championships--- believe me, I have covered some seriously weird stories.

But the relevance here is that whenever I do one now I will be sharing it with you, and to get you started, here's two previously published gags with a little write up to accompany it, and a bonus one that was never printed, but I just had to do it anyway.

This cartoon covers a story about a perfumier in York, England who have decide to launch a range of deodorants called 'Viking'. The idea is to make the wearer smell just like a real Viking warrior---the only problem is the aromas' vary from, sweat, dried blood, wood smoke and stale mead.


This next one deals with a North Wales (UK) water authority that wants to cut back on its fuel bills by pumping sea water from the nearby Irish Sea and using it instead of oil to heat up and fuel their main pumping station in the area.

My thoughts are below.


The final one didn't actually appear in any magazine or newspaper---for obvious reasons when you read its content---but when I heard about the Santiago council in Chile who had built a giant lime green condom, the size of a building, to educate the cities people about sex education, I just had to draw a cartoon for the hell of it

Enjoy




Tuesday, June 3, 2014

Marketing the Bear---Part 1, Starting small

Quite some time back I wrote an instructional post on How to Draw a water colour cutie. The character I drew then was a character called Big Ol' Bear.

Since then I have been working up a range of designs to self publish him through the greeting cards market. This process has not only dragged on and on, and seemed to have spent an eternity on the back boiler, it has also made me both realise a major problem and discover a new direction.

The problem I encountered was that to launch a new character into an already over populated greeting card market, and without the advantage of the huge marketing machine and vast sums of money available to the Hallmarks of this world, I was going to have to scale a mountain that even Mohamed would have taken one look at and said, 'Sod that'.

So I looked into sub contracting my idea out.

To do this would've involved me selling my designs direct to the small, independent reps who's job it is to service all the small greeting card concessions in their area; this would've given me a network of agents, selling to thousands of little clients, but at a fraction of what I could potentially realise from this project: not to mention the amount of phone calling, driving to and from these reps all over the British Isles and trying to manage the logistical nightmare of making appointments for all reps in each area, over a 24 hour period and managing the exact right amount of time to have the interview and make it to my next appointment.

After a short while it became obvious that this was not a viable way forward. It became very obvious that there had to be another way of getting the bear to market, a way that was not so cluttered and one that would build a good solid fan base--- that would afford me the luxury of taking a recognised brand to these reps and possibly negotiating a better deal.

So I needed a new way forward. A revolutionary way of taking my new creation, Big Ol' Bear to market in such a way that would not only get him noticed, but maximise his earning potential in a very short space of time; something that was going to be very important for someone who was artist, designer, salesman and publisher all in one unsure little middle aged package.

But its been done before, right? Didn't Hanna Barbera do just that? Didn't they have to re invent the cartoon wheel when their careers came crashing down around their collective ears? And didn't they invent the new medium of TV animation, a concept we take for granted nowadays, but was a revolution back then?

Now I've already said that I think I have come up with a new direction---my ground breaker, as it where---So the aim of this new ongoing set of posts within our Diary of a Cartoonist and Writer is to take you through the process that I'm about to embark upon. Over the next, god only knows how many posts, I will be sharing the journey of me and my character, Big Ol' Bear, with you as we move into the uncertain world of turning a water colour sketch into a greeting card brand---using only my wits and intuition as a guide. Because I sure as hell have no marketing skills or qualifications

So hang on in there and you may just be party to the start of the next big thing.

On my next post I will tell you Big Ol' Bear's back story, and how if it wasn't for the comments of a friend who just happened to stop by my studio for a chat one night, Big Ol' Bear may still be residing in my vast 'dead pile' of scribbled ideas.

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you

Tuesday, May 27, 2014

Creation of a new Character Part 4

Part 1
Part 2
Part 3


Now this really is a simple one, so far as tutorials go. I know you’ve all be patient with me and viewed the other three tutorials in this range and I hope you have taken something or a lot away from them.

In this tutorial I will be talking about how I script a comics’ page. I will not deal with how to make it funny, poignant, dark, sinister, light-hearted or any of the other emotions that go into producing the modern comic book, or graphic novel. But at the bottom of this post I’ll be publishing the page and a half story that is the end result of all four tutorials.

This should help illustrate what I'll be explaining in today's post and hopefully help you when you come to writing your first, all important, comics story

The comics’ page, as opposed to the comic strip, which is a much more compact and tighter version, follows these few simple rules:

1.       Have a beginning, middle and an end
2.       Introduction of the character
3.       Set the scene
4.       Run the story
5.       End it with a summarised point of the whole story


Have a middle, beginning, middle and an end 

Like all stories they must have a beginning a middle and an end. I know this sounds simple and logical, and when you are producing a graphic novel that sprawls over hundreds of pages, that may sound like good practice, but when you are putting out a two page story for a comic, or a collection of short gag pages, or even worse a one pager, this can be a difficult rule to work to. But without it your story loses its structure, and anything without structure will, as I'm sure your are aware, crumble and collapse.

Introduction of the character


Unless you have an instantly recognisable character, like Superman, Mickey Mouse or Bart Simpson, you will have to introduce your character within the first few panels and do it in such a way that your characters personality, or character trait, is established from the off. This is so much more important when introducing a new idea to a largely sceptical audience.

Set the Scene

This is the only chance you'll have to lay the solid foundations that will give your story or gag the desired punchline or ending.
In the page below this is illustrated when the refuse collector is trying to complete a simple task that Captain Alzheimer's problems and issues will turn into a mountain that Mohammed would think twice about. So in this case, the simple task not only set the scene but lined up the punchline.

Run the Story

Once you have the character introduced and the scene set you can then put in as many sight gags, comments and situations around that theme as possible---depending, of course on space. Once again the page and a half below illustrates the growing confusion and forgetful nature of the strips main character.

End it with a summarised point of the whole story

Put simply: when you think you've said all you wanted to, or exhausted the stories themes and gags you will need to fold the tale up.
Once again, in the tale below, I used the introduction of another character to remove the strips star away from the main scene and inevitable dead end. This enables the reader to clearly delineate from the main thrust of the tale to the story's end game; in this case his release into his long suffering wife's custody. The story then ends with a re enforcement of the main character's personality trait with the promise of what more strips on this theme would be like.

Now I know the subject matter may not be to every one's taste, but like I said in the first post, this character was created for a specific market. A market that relies on the off colour humour that is beloved by so many.

I hope you have enjoyed these tutorials and will want to see more. If you do please click on the tutorials page and soak up a whole load more. And if you really like what you see and read then please, please mention me on your social network sites, link this page and let your friends know of our little corner of the web; a place where the mind of this writer and cartoonist dribbles out all over the pages and gives you segmented cartoon stories, tutorials, humorous short stories and just plain silly stuff and nonsense.

Anyway, by way of a thank you for trawling through these tutorials, I have, as promised, posted the finished page and a half of the completed Captain Alzheimer strip.

Enjoy and Bonn Appetite



Wednesday, May 7, 2014

Do I come here often?

Now before I go any further, I want you all to know that what I am about to recount is not a sign of ageing or the onset of senility. I have been doing the stuff I describe below for as long as I can remember; it is a result of having too much stuff flying around my head, which in turn gets me into more sticky situations than I probably deserve to be in.

That said, here we go:

I got into the house this morning and shook off the effects of a momentary rain storm that had liberally sprinkled its presence all about my person. I wanted to put my phone on charge and went instinctively to my back pocket, only to find I’d left it in the car. So I went back over the road, along the street and into the car park only to discover I had forgotten the car keys. I went back home, took off my shoes, got the key, left the house; realised I’d forgotten my shoes, came back in, put them on went over the car and realised I’d put the car keys down while I was putting my shoes back on.

I went back to the house; kept my shoes on and returned to the car; stood there for a while, trying to remember why I was over here, opened the door, picked up my laptop and came home. Got to the house realised I’d put the house key down while getting the computer. So I went back over the car, got the key, came back, got in the house and realised I’d forgotten my phone and the laptop.

Over I went again, opened the car door and an alarm I didn’t recognise went off. It wasn’t until a very large, red faced gentleman--- who came charging over with intent sparkling out of one eye, murder flaming from the other and a baseball bat swinging from his hand--- that I realised I was sitting in the wrong car. Or to be more precise: His car. When I explained to him--- in what I considered to be perfectly innocent banter--- that I was looking for a laptop and a mobile phone, he seemed to become even more agitated and proceeded to chase me around the car park; his baseball bat flying about his head like an unstable fair ground attraction.

I, for my part, was trying to multi task by locating my car keys, evading the bloated heathen and his gyratory baseball bat and the commentary on what his hearts’ desire and fondest wishes were, vis a vi, him getting hold of me. I must admit they weren’t very imaginative and seemed to revolve largely around his baseball bat and my skull.

Eventually I realised that I’d left the car keys in the house again; so now I had to put him off the scent, as it where, lest he discover where I live and call upon more help from other baseball bat wielding members of his rather excitable but shallow gene pool of a family. Suddenly I shouted ‘Look, an England Rugby fan’ and with his anger momentarily miss-directed, I slipped out of the car park and into my house.

I waited for a while, checked to see if the coast was clear--- and that I had my car keys and shoes on--- tentatively headed back over to the car park--- where the large ginger man appeared to have either lost interest or widened his search for the elusive England fan--- nipped over to my car--- made sure it was my car--- opened it, picked up my phone and laptop then rushed home, thoroughly soaked but with everything finally under the same roof.


And people wonder why I get in the house at 7:00 but don’t get into bed until 10:30.

Saturday, January 11, 2014

The Birds and the Booze

Two young girls walk up to the bar...

No this isn’t a joke about nuns or crocodiles; talking dogs or bears who do un-comely things with bowel movements in densely wooded areas.
 
I've taken a job to pay the bills as I work on my various projects and I had just started my night shift and had taken over a packed bar when a delegation of drunken womanhood broke free from the main body of the local vets’ Christmas party and headed, very unsteadily, towards the bar.

By the determined way that they bobbed, weaved; zigged and zaged and bravely ran the gauntlet of groping hairy farmers hands across the packed room, it was obvious they were now regretting the stupidly high shoes they were wearing and the dresses that ended two point five inches below the dental floss that passed for their knickers.

But eventually they arrived at the bar and made a half hearted attempt at pulling their dresses down. Sadly they were woefully unaware of Newton’s law of the little black number; that states quite clearly: what comes down must also follow, ie; when they pulled the dress down at the bottom, the top half followed suit and only narrowly prevented their inadequately secured breasts from making a surprise guest appearance.

The girl with the little black numbers friend piped up and slurred her concerns as to the fact that she was ‘shinning’. Her little blond compadre turned--- a little too quickly as it would turn out--- to find out what she had meant and sank ignominiously, and wide eyed with shock into a pack of rugby boys, who, at that very moment had been discussing their respective Christmas lists; chief desire of which was for the sudden arrival of something blond, comely, loose of morals and with inebriated senses, directly onto their laps, when seemingly out of nowhere the little blond appeared in their midst with her legs akimbo and still grasping her depleted glass of J├Ągermeister and port slammer.


There was a brief moment of calm while the pub held its collective breath. The pack stared blankly at her as she tried to get her legs to stop waving around in such a come-hither-to-fashion, then the rugby boys erupted into a shark feeding frenzy. Drinks flew everywhere as they closed in on the helpless little blond like a collapsing scrum. It took three night porters, two barmen, fifteen waiters and a referee to break it up; four of the boys were sent immediately to the sin bin and at least two were deemed to have been caught offside.


Once we had the girl safely upright, and her hair facing vaguely in the right direction, we began the task of reassembling her eye lashes. The right one had slipped furthest away and gave the impression that she was sporting a nifty goatee, while the second was reposing under her nose, looking like one half of a handle bar moustache.


Her friend, who was still banging on about how unfair it was, and what a martyr she had become to her ‘shiny’ predicament (we never did get to the bottom of that little conundrum), hadn’t noticed her friends disappearing/reappearing act, while the blond, after our sixty second makeover, slipped effortlessly back into her friends drunken conversation as though nothing had happened.


They then continued to order their own body weight in Sambuca and Malibu before returned into the bosom of the happy throng of hammered vets. But moments before they re docked with their fellow party goers, the little blonde’s heels finally gave up the ghost and parted company with the main body of the shoe and she went down like a sapling in a storm.


Once again the Rugby boys headed towards her like heat seeking hormone missiles, howling at the blood moon as they did so. But luckily one or two of the vets saw their approach and with the deft movements, worthy of a police marksman, they darted most of the front row and were holding back the wingers and props with fully charged cattle prods.


Apparently, when questioned by a very impressed Policewoman who was attending the scene later, the vet said:
“We never leave home without a cattle prod or a tranquillizer gun, as you never know when it will be needed”
And as the rugby boys were led dazedly away to the JPR Williams home for the slightly bewildered, I thought about my youngest daughter as she totters around town on sixteen foot heels, glowing a little too much for her own good; tanked up and turning her blood from a life giving liquid into 400% proof alcohol, I closed my eyes and whispered through barley parted lips:
“Please Santa, let there always be a vet and his cattle prod near my little girl this Christmas”

Monday, November 25, 2013

Still here folks!

I am so sorry for not having posted anything for what seems like an eternity but I have been busy.

First I was in somewhat of a quandary as to whether I should do another Brabbles & Boggitt story, but comments on Facebook and Twitter have put paid to that; Brabbles & Boggitt are definitely coming back, and within a few weeks, if I have my way.

I also wondered if I should revamp my blog over worries that it was getting a little too confusing, but having taken a few weeks out to reflect I have decided to keep it just as it is; although I'm still a little unsure as to if I should give Brabbles & Boggitt its own site with links from here: what do you think?

Also I'm still pondering over giving, or rather re launching, a Sleepy Hamlet site that would be devoted to the countryside eccentrics, and push that a lot more?

Naturally any thoughts you may have will be gratefully received, this site is, after all, all about me doing stuff to entertain you.

And finally, the Brabbles & Boggitt story you have just finished will be in print soon with an added, never before seen, six page mini tale called 'Profit or loss'.

So do keep coming back and I promise to get back on board and start sharing my thoughts, art and life with you all again

Cheers

Karl

Friday, November 1, 2013

Brabbles & Boggitt Page 46

This is it, folks! The final page!!

 Well there we go, 46 pages and a few panels re-draws later and we have the final page.

It's been a great year and these little characters of mine have more than done their bit to grow the traffic to our little corner of the web. You've taken them so much to your hearts, in fact, that I've decided to make them a permanent feature of our world and continue to write and draw even more of their crazy tales and modern twists on fairy tales and folklore.

All that's left now is to put it all together and offer it up as a complete story collection, and to add to it I will be re illustrating more panels, giving you a back story to this very popular feature and producing a six page, never-before-published-anywhere Brabbles & Boggitt story.

Also, come back next week when I can tell you what plans I have for the next Brabbles & Boggitt tale, including the new format. Interested? I hope you are, because I'm doing it for you.

See you then.

Karl

New to Brabbles & Boggitt? click here and start reading from the beginning.

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you


Sunday, October 27, 2013

Heap Big Rubbish Writing

 Just been watching a typical western where some native American Hollywood Indian--- sounding like he was from the Bronx--- called He who jaxcars, is chasing a runaway bride on behalf of some jealous cavalry General called Ornery William Cuthbert Custerstone III, or something like that.

Anyway, the Indian halts the whole platoon of soldiers as he spots something in the distance, he charges across vast and open prairie only to leap off his horse and study a horse track that he has spotted from five miles away. The cavalry come charging behind him with the bugler sounding the charge, followed by a meddle of hits from Showboat and the Pirates of Penzance, and they in turn stop to take in the near miracle hawk like abilities of this native American with the strange lower east side accent and study the hoof print. 

He grunts one word which sounds faintly like bita-bing-bita-bong and the Colonel looks meaningfully into the misty mountains beyond and states, while taking his hat off and mopping his brow with the back of his sleeve:

"He says she passed here two days ago carrying a saddlebag full of her worldly possessions, a ruck sack, two guns and a bootleg copy Debbie does Dallas"

With that the Indian saddles up, grunts and they all charge off to a rousing accompaniment of Pappa's got a brand new bag, played on the bugle, and we are left looking at the solitary hoof print.

All I'm thinking is: isn't finding a hoof print in the middle of cattle driving country a little like discovering a tyre track on the M25 and what happened to the other four hoof prints? Surely they should be looking for a severely disabled horse or one on a pogo stick

I lost interest in the end and wondered, not for the first time, does no one keep an eye on the scripting rooms in Hollywood, or do they just keep on feeding them bananas and hope for the best?!


Friday, October 25, 2013

Brabbles & Boggitt Page 45



NEXT WEEK: The Judge's sentence and the final episode in this Brabbles & Boggitt tale

New to Brabbles & Boggitt? click here and start reading from the beginning.

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you

Friday, October 18, 2013

Brabbles & Boggitt Page 44



Once again I am really sorry to have missed out a week with Brabbles & Boggitt, but when you see the change I made with the last large panel I think you will agree it was worth doing; I've also had a panel change for next week. Enjoy the page and the copy of what it was changed from is set out below.
Cheers




Next Week; The penultimate page with another panel re draw---don't miss it!

New to Brabbles & Boggitt? click here and start reading from the beginning.

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you

Tuesday, October 15, 2013

Reject or not reject, that is the question.

Over the years I've submitted a lot of material to the British comics industry; some have been accepted and others not.

It's always been a tricky thing to know what to send: how can you work out what is on the editor's mind? Why can't they just send all the regular contributors a list of what they're looking for, rather than the usual oblique and beige email that simply states: We are looking for new ideas, please feel free to pitch.

Anyway, the reason for this post is, I thought you might like to see see a sample of my artwork and see if you can work out which piece, or pieces, the editor commissioned and which he rejected, but don't be fooled by the completed stages of some pieces of art; I've been known to send in both character sheets or full blown pages of artwork.

Have fun.



















Hope you enjoyed that

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you




Friday, October 11, 2013

Brabbles & Boggitt update

I know I'm not always bang on time with my Brabbles & Boggiitt updates but today is slightly different.

I was about to post the page---once again from a story that was completed in 2007---when I realised that I just was not happy with one panel.

So in my never ending quest to give to you all my very best, I've pulled the page and hope to be publishing it next week, with the new panel and the old page to show you why I made you wait.

Once again, sorry for the delay but I'm sure you will thank me.






In the meantime, here's an extra Friday treat: this is part of a short Sleepy Hamlet tale that will make up a collection of five such stories, due to be published by March 2014

Enjoy

Tora, Tora, Tora


Mrs Markle, the village post mistress, stomped heavily down the street that ran through the village of Sleepy Hamlet. She cornered violently and turned into her post office causing the little bell to spasm with shock.

“Something must be done” she shouted to Miss Vera, her frightened little field mouse of an assistant. “this simply cannot be allowed to continue; the very existence of the countryside is threatened and from a foreigner. A foreigner, I tell you, and the very worst kind of foreigner ---an invasive foreigner!” She stood, stock still like a frizzy haired Mussolini, hands on hips in the middle of the fruit preserves section with her herculean bosoms quivering like two very angry jellies.

As usual, Mrs Markle had spotted something on her afternoon walk that had offended her to the very core of her being; not a difficult thing to do when you had a fuse as short as Mrs Markle’s and were a puritan, and as such felt it your moral duty to become agitated at least four times a day.

“Well, aren’t you going to ask me what I’m so fired up about?” Miss Vera didn’t want to ask at all. She knew that it would lead to an out pouring of futile anger and frustration on behalf of her employer. She knew that if she asked ‘what was the matter’ Mrs Markle would stomp around the store, shouting so loud the shops’ mullioned windows would vibrate, her ears would ring and her nerve endings would jangle. But she also knew that to deny Mrs Markle her valve releasing moment of fury was tantamount to mutiny. So she gulped the gulp of the nervously dispositioned and asked:
“What is upsetting you so much, Mrs Markle?”
“HIMALAYAN BALSAM WEED!”

The sudden outburst sent Miss Vera crashing into a display of Arran Island Knitting Patterns, causing them to scatter.

Mrs Markle ignored her shrew like assistant as she scrambled around, picking up the slippery plastic pattern cases while attempting to re assemble the stack. Instead Mrs Markle stomped and stamped her way around the shop, snorting like a bull at her inner turmoil.

“HAVE YOU ANY IDEA HOW INVASIVE HIMALAYAN BALSAM IS?” Miss Vera shrugged her shoulders and gave Mrs Markle a weak smile before continuing with her re construction duties.

“DO YOU EVEN KNOW WHAT HIMALAYAN BALSAM IS, MISS VERA?!” Once again, the timid shop assistant shrugged her shoulders in the universal expression of ignorance.

“Well I’ll tell you what Himalayan Balsam is, Miss Vera. IT’S AN INVASIVE RIVER WEED OF THE FAMILY IMPARTIENS WALLEREIANA--- A PLANT THAT USED TO BE CONTENT TO LIVE IN THE PLANT POTS OF A GRATEFUL AND JOYOUS NATION. THAT WAS UNTIL THE LITTLE SUBVERSIVES GOT BITTEN BY THE NOMADIC BUG AROUND 100 YEARS AGO AND MOVED ONTO THE NATIONS RIVERBANKS AND BEGAN A CHOKING COLONISATION OF THEM. AND ON MY WALK TODAY I NOTICED THAT A LARGE GROUP--- PROBABLY AN ADVANCE SCOUTING PARTY---- HAS TAKEN UP RESIDENCE ON THE FAR BANKS OF OUR VERY OWN RIVER BRIMSMAL!”

And with a petulant huff worthy of an over pampered pop star, Mrs Markle stormed off to the back of her village store.

Miss Vera, who had tightened her eyes against the tirade, slowly began to open them. Gingerly, she first opened the one, then the other. She began to check the room and having satisfied herself that everything was as it should be she turned to where her employer had been standing a few seconds ago.  But Mrs Markle was no longer there, and when she heard the familiar noises of the little hand printer being pumped into action, she raised her eyes heaven wards and sighed.

Mrs Markle had inherited a small hand printing press from her grandfather who had run a successful print business and Village Newspaper many years ago out of what was now the village stores. Mrs Markle lovingly looked after the antique Adana print press and made great use of it for her many leafleting campaigns on behalf of the damned and gossipy souls of her fellow villagers.

Miss Vera put the last few knitting patterns down and followed the ‘chugga-kachugga-kachuga-kachuga’ noises into the back room. When she peered around the door frame Mrs Markle was violently pumping the printer and churning out a hastily prepared leaflet. One of them came out at such a velocity that it cleared the collection tray and flew towards Miss Vera before halting mid air and dropping to a soft landing where it slid along the sparkling storeroom floor to a halt at the sensible shoes of Miss Vera. She picked it up and read what was written

NOTICE TO ALL VILLAGERS.
WE ARE BEING INVADED BY FOREIGNERS
PLEASE COME TO THE VILLAGE
HALL TONIGHT TO DISCUSS TACTICS!

A TALK TO BE GIVEN BY MRS MARKLE
Free cup of tea and individual
Cherry Bakewell on entry
8 til late

Miss Vera would have liked to tell her employer that the leaflet was a bit over the top and that the language used was a tad emotive. But before she could pluck up the courage to question the indomitable wall of tweed that was Mrs Markle, she was being brushed aside by her employer, who had grabbed the freshly printed bundle of flyer's and was heading towards the door.

“I shan’t be long, Miss Vera. Mind the shop for me will you, I’m going to put these up all over the village” and before she could raise a finger of enquiry, the door had been opened, slammed shut again and the booted feet of Mrs Markle were disappearing into the village.
Miss Vera looked at the leaflet again. ‘Oh my’ she thought ‘I just know this isn’t going to end well’


As the afternoon rolled on and the villagers began to file into the store to find out more about the invasion force that was being unleashed against them, Mrs Markle held court but stayed tight lipped, insisting that yes, they really were under attack and yes she would explain all later and yes there really was going to be Cherry Bakewell’s with the cup of tea and no, Mr Barton couldn’t have an extra one for his wife who would’ve loved to come but was too busy grouting the bathroom walls. She even managed to keep the terrifyingly Germanic Mrs Heppleheimer at bay, who’d turned up prepared for war--- resplendent in her World War 1 helmet, topped off with the spike. To each and every one of them Mrs Markle insisted they wait until tonight to hear all the facts.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Brabbles & Boggitt Page 43



Next Week: The big fight! Really, don't miss it!

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If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you

Friday, September 27, 2013

Brabbles & Boggitt Page 42



Next Week: Scribbler McNib makes his expose

New to Brabbles & Boggitt? click here and start reading from the beginning.

If you like my blog and the things that I say and do, please tell your friends; mention me on Facebook, Twitter and any of the other fine social media networking sites you use. I would love to have my work reach a much larger audience and although I could no doubt eventually get there under my own steam, I'll get there a lot quicker with your help, so please, please spread the word.

Thank you