Category Archives: Scribbling & Stuff

…you likee soupee?… #TBSU…

…having lived in the Far East and Middle East for the last 35 years, it never ceases to amaze me when I hear expatriates attempting to converse in English with people whose native tongue may not be the same as their own… the garbled ‘language’ they utilise when they talk to folks of other nationalities is painful to the ear… a sort of mix between pidgin English and a slowing down of the speech delivery, almost like the slowing down of the old vinyl records from one speed to another, with excruciating long drawn out vowels and all the rest of it… harks me back to a story I heard when I first arrived in Hong Kong in the late nineteen-seventies… at that time, the colony was still under British rule and administration… a thriving Hong Kong Chinese/British Association was an active business body, with members of some of the top Chinese and British corporations among its executive officers… it seems a delegation from Hong Kong embarked on a business foray to Noo Yawk in ‘Merika… a productive couple of weeks was spent in the Big Apple, with visits to factories, corporate plants and banking institutions… the hosts were, not surprisingly, a prominent Noo Yawk Business Liaison group… side trips to Museums, and Art galleries were included… after this whirl of two weeks, the final event was a Gala Dinner in a swanky hotel’s banqueting hall… the local outfit arranged for partners to be present at the dinner, one of whom was a celebrated Noo Yawk society dame…

dame

…on the evening of the Dinner she arrived, jewellery-bedecked, expensive gown and all, with her husband, and as is the custom, she was designated a seat next to one of the visitors from Hong Kong, a diminutive Chinese gentleman, togged out in his immaculate tuxedo… problem for the lady was that, being accustomed to hobnobbing as a society hostess to counts, lords, and captains of industry, she was at a loss as to how to make small talk with a Chinese man…

chinaman

…as the evening began, she quickly pounced on the printed menu as a source of conversation, and started a series of interlocutions with her table guest, along the following lines… ‘…you likee soupee?…’..the response was a repeated nodding of the head by the gentleman… next came the meat course, ‘…you likee roastee beefee?’, with similar silent nodding on his part… having struggled like this through to the end of the dinner, she thought she had coped admirably… the head of the Noo Yawk delegation then asked for silence as he introduced the Head of the Hong Kong group and asked him to address the assembled guests… to our heroine’s consternation, her seating partner pushed back his seat and made his way to the rostrum… from his inside jacket pocket a sheaf of notes appeared, from which the Chinese gentleman proceeded to deliver an excellent, erudite, and witty twenty minutes worth of faultless English… the room gave him a standing ovation as he returned to his seat… she didn’t know where to put herself… as he took his seat once more he turned to her and, with a knowing smile said quietly, ‘…you likee speechee?’… I hear similar stuff every day now… see yeez later… you likee bloggee?…LUV YEEZ!

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…pass me the flame-thrower, Mabel… I’ll soon sort this rabble out… #TBSU…

 

q

…there are days, and I’m sure yeez all get them from time to time, when I just  can’t hold my tongue… I know, I know, I know, some of yeez think I’m a born bletherer, but I mean the days when it’s impossible not to ‘go right ahead’… I had one of these this morning… yeez’ll be well aware of my predilection for accosting the ‘dozens-of-items-and-a credit-card’ Johnnies in the ’ten-items-or-less-and cash-only’ line at the supermarket checkout… I’ve found their cousins… down at the bank today, a nice enuff office, lovely seats to wait in for your turn in the queue to arrive… a turn, it has to be pointed out, dictated to by an orderly system of ticketing… when yeez go into the bank, yeez click a wee machine and it gives yeez a stub with a number on it… if the screen shows the current customer number being served is, say, ’82’ and yer own stub is, say, ’87’, yer wait should be short… sum’times  however, yer number can be scores away, say, ‘112’… then the comfy seats are a welcome fixture… not so welcome, however, in amongst all of this regularity is the ingrained ‘career queue-jumper’… we had one of these charlatans this morning… all was going steadily, and into the bank struts an agitated-looking gentleman, flailing cheque-book in his mitt… completely ignores the ticket machine and stands shoulder to shoulder with the nearest customer being served at counter number three… as soon as the current client is finished, this clod proffers his cheque book to the teller… the teller, bless her, points him back toward the ticket system.. he grunts and retreats for a coupla moments… the next properly in line lady goes to the counter… does our man give up? does he bluudy hell… he nips along to teller number four and waits to try the same stunt… what happens next is straight out of a Keystone Cops script… other sitting clients realise this ploy might WURK, so a stream of up-until-now-patient customers descend on all five tellers… like wee clusters of money-seeking bees they swarm the poor teller staff… I look across at the alleged ‘security guard’ and gesture toward this rabble, indicating for him to step in and restore some order to all of this … he disappears back toward the staff room… in the movies yeez would expect this to be the bit when guys come through the doors with guns blazing… up steps Master Gallacher… I march to the middle of the banking hall and wave my numbered ticket stub in the air and call out as loud as I can, ‘Hey! DOES THIS TICKET SYSTEM NOT APPLY ANY MORE?’… yeez could have heard a pin drop… the guard reappears double quick time and starts to usher the crowds back to their seats… I approach the original culprit and ask him to his face, in my edgiest Glasgow accent… ‘do yeez own this bank or what? everybody else has to line up, my friend’… he looks a million miles away from being ’my friend’… he gets the message, turns on his heel and leaves the bank… a space clears at the teller in front of me and she asks me for my transaction… I reply, ’what number are yeez serving now?’ it was two before mine… I declined the service and told her I’d wait my number’s turn… oh my, I felt so bluudy righteous… so, if yeez are looking for yer next Dirty Harry, ol’ Dirty Seumas is primed and ready to go… …pass me the flame-thrower, Mabel… I’ll soon sort this rabble out… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

 

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…Author Allan Bott Guest Blogs and tells us of an exotic new WURLD… #TBSU…

… my pal, Author, Allan Bott tells us a wee bit about his book, and the WURLD he creates in it…  I’m always amazed at the ability of we scribblers to continue to conjure up those wonderfully exotic place names… kinda makes my hometown,‘Govan’ look a bit tame… over to you, Allan:

 

ALLAN BOTT

Hi all!

I’m a new author residing in Swindon Wilts! I’ve been following Seumas for some time now and he’s given me the privilege to appear on his blog!

My debut novel ‘James Knight and the Orb of Ziarn’ is now ready for the masses to enjoy. Here’s a bit of background on it:

James Knight, a young adult with an average, working-class lifestyle has a life-changing experience when his late grandfather leaves him an artefact of mysterious power that leads him to another world where he befriends Valeria Flintlocke – An Airship Captain from the Kingdom of Tairen. With her guidance and friendship, he’s taken on a roller coaster journey of magic, mystery and treachery. He meets many new people and is approached by the Crown Prince of the mighty Halandrian Empire to embark on a mission that could shake the very balance of this strange and fascinating world.

The book itself is a Children’s Fantasy novel aimed at ages 11+. If you like your books light-hearted, and full of fun and adventure, then this is the book for you.

orb

 

It’s available on Amazon UK’s Kindle store

http://www.amazon.co.uk/James-Knight-Ziarn-Allan-Bott-ebook/dp/B00K941X44/ref=sr_1_1?ie=UTF8&qid=1405946373&sr=8-1&keywords=james+knight+and+the+orb

And the paperback version can be had from Waterstones or direct from the publisher

http://www.ghostlypublishing.co.uk/shop/James-Knight-And-The-Orb-Of-Ziarn_50.html

The official launch and inaugural signing takes place on the 16th August at 1pm at Waterstones’ Swindon Store.

 

More info about the event can be found here:

https://www.facebook.com/events/264230517102400/?ref_newsfeed_story_type=regular

Thanks for your support and I hope to see you there!

All the best!

Allan

…thanks for that, Allan……there yeez have it, Lads and Lassies of Blog land… a newbie author… go support the man… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!…

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…waiting for the Godot Agent/Publisher… TBSU…

…another of my wee chestnuts to share today with yeez… I’ve blogged on this before, but it’s been a while since the last time, so time to freshen it up… I’m not 100% convinced that I’d be any better off in real terms with a formal Agent or Publisher relationship (what a strange WURD it seems to me, to use in this context, ‘relationship’…p’raps ‘arrangement’ suits better?)… however, I don’t like to give up completely on anything until I test it myself… having just bored yeez all silly with the recent five-day Amazon Kindle Promo for my most recent Jack Calder crime thriller, SAVAGE PAYBACK, it may well be worth a ponder… from a standing start, with no paid promotional activity (all my own WURK, Mabel), the downloads for the promo hit a tad above 6,000… so, comes again my perpetual question, ‘if all these good folks wanna download and read it, why isn’t it attracting the aforementioned invisible Agent/Publisher creatures?’ … let me remind yeez of my last blurb on this, coz some of yeez may be experiencing sum’thing similar… my pitch covered what I’m reliably led to understand are all the elements that these possibility extinct industry persons like to see in a potential new author signing… the blurb:

‘… yeez know me by now, I’m not one who generally wants to cause any trouble for anyone… no, seriously, I’m not… but I think I may have just had a  flash of the blindingly obvious… this ol’ Jurassic has spent approximately 88.88 % of my WURKING career in real-life business… then I allowed myself to be seduced into the hypnotic WURLD of independent self-publishing… the miracle of Amazon Kindle and the SOSYAL NETWURKIN universe still feeds that powerful growing addiction to quill-scraping and the whole nine yards of building the platform... like tons of other wannabee Steinbecks and Rowlings out there, I did the query letter/synopsis/sample-chapters/follow-the-submission-guidelines rigmarole … and as with so many other Lads and Lassies of Blog Land, that entire effort has produced from the ranks of willing Agents and Publishers precisely NUTHIN… many of yeez who honour me by reading my diatribes occasionally will know that my life-long hero is the redoubtable Sir Winston Spencer Churchill… he of the ’never, ever give up’ filosofie... now, here’s the epiphany … it’s about high bluudy time that some of the other side get taken to task on this …. if they want the business of a decent author, p’raps they should be the ones to proffer a query letter and demonstrate their credentials as to why I should give them my business… daft? … no, Mabel, I’m not so sure I am… let me list what is on offer from my side:

1. in two and a half years, from a standing start, with less than zero computer-competency, my books have now downloaded 80,000+ times (I can assure you these are not all bought by my Grannie, Aunties and Uncles…) —COMMERCIAL SALE-ABILITY

2. in the same two and a half years, from a nil-knowledge base of the SOSYAL NETWURKIN universe, I’ve created 17,500+ DIRECT contacts through Twitter, Facebook, Goodreads, LinkedIn other channels, and this here Blog.—ROBUST PLATFORM ALREADY BUILT

3. with three Jack Calder novels under my literary belt, I’m reliably informed that I’ve now created a franchise of characters that readers LUV to see—CONTINUED POTENTIAL EARNINGS FOR AGENTS AND PUBLISHERS

4. I’ve self-published paperbacks in the country of my residence, the United Arab Emirates, (including clearing the National Media Council publishing criteria) and negotiated personally to place them in the major book distributor chains in the country —PUBLICITY DRIVE AND COMMERCIAL STAMINA

5. I personally visited and had five-star hotel lobby shops carry the paperbacks for sale— MORE PUBLICITY DRIVE

6. I continue to engage in extensive speaking engagements in readers’ book clubs, and social groups about writing and self-publishing—AUTHOR PRESENCE AND COMMITMENT

7. I’ve held well-attended book launches for each of the first two titles —EVEN MORE PUBLICITY DRIVE

…so, the question is — are any of YOU Agents and Publishers good enough to carry MY stuff?… I will wait with interest any response… but will not bate my breath in the process…

ONWARD AND UPWARD !!! NEVER, EVER GIVE UP !!!! ‘

…let’s see if the response is any different this time! …see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

wall copy 2

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…another wee glimpse of a Celtic past in the Scottish Hebrides… #TBSU…

…a couple months or so ago, I posted a blog piece about my time as a teenager, employed as a trainee banker in Tobermory, a township with less than a thousand souls, nestled at the edge of the beautiful Tobermory Bay on the Scottish Hebridean Island of Mull…

 

tobermory

 

…many of yeez have asked for a few more snippets of what it was like living there… and I must confess, when I sit back and think of these days, I yearn for them more and more… folks had time to talk with each other…emb’dy remember what that was like?… the internet and SOSYAL NETWURKIN was a thing of the far-distant future… the stuff of H.G.Wells-type novels… what sticks with me most clearly are the mem’ries of people… every one a character… every one a real personality…. Gaelic music sat at the heart of the informal house ceilidhs, or gatherings at home with neighbours and friends… from that day forward Celtic music has been tangled round my heart, it never fails to pull me toward the nostalgia of a time a mere fifty years ago… I put on here a wee while ago the beautiful ‘Ubhal As Airde’ (the Highest Apple) by Runrig… the video that comes with it is as poignantly stirring to me as the music… here it is again;

…the reason I play it again is that it reminds me so vividly of one old ‘bodeach’ (older man) singing an old gaelic tune in a house ceilidh one evening… his eyes were kinda half-closed… the voice strong for a man of such vintage… but yeez could hear and yeez could feel the timbre as he sang… his soul was singing to us… everybody present took up the chorus… half love song, half a lament for past times…haunting… it was among the most engrossing song renditions I have ever heard… if yeez click on the video, yeez’ll get some idea of what I mean… so yeez will have to forgive me if I indulge this stuff every now and then…  if we have no real sense and love of some of the beautiful things of our past, then I think we have no real future to pass on to our children, nor they to theirs… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

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…Authors on Kindle… to promo? or not to promo? that is the question… here’s my tuppence WURTH on it … #TBSU…

…the Sherlocks amongst yeez will prob’ly have noticed by now that I’m Scottish… as in, ‘no sh*t, Sherlock?’… by derivation, my ancestral DNA rails against giving stuff away for NUTHIN… (just try to find emb’dy out-of-doors during a street charity collection in any town North of Hadrian’s Wall)… comes then the question, ‘why would this ol’ Jurassic even think about indulging the Amazon Kindle Free Promo Program?’… handing over virtual copies of my wee crime thriller masterpiece babies for zilch, nowt, nada, rien, zero, nil?… well, as with most things, it isn’t quite as straightforward as that, Mabel… over the past few years, I’ve dabbled with the various Promo mechanisms on the Great God Amazon, and have found a rythym that suits me… let me tick off for yeez, the various points…stay awake at the back, there…

1. What are yeez actually ‘giving away’? 

virtual copies of yer WURK which would prob’ly never ever have found their way onto the freebie downloaders’ Kindle devices… so, in physical terms, NUTHIN lost… in intangible measure, p’raps… and only p’raps, lost potential money sales to the same downloaders … but I very much doubt that…

2. What do yeez get in return?

…notionally, and this is only conjecture, mind… yeez may just be planting seeds of a follower base for yer ‘back list’… the other goodies that yeez continue to produce and serve on the ‘price-tagged offerings’ lists… also, Amazon includes free downloads as part of yer ’sales’ figures… that begins to have a powerful impact when yeez get some ‘critical mass’ building up… then, if yeez are lucky (and if yer WURK merits it) some of these good downloaders may see fit to render a review on the Amazon pages… always good to have, the more the merrier…

3. Is the effort involved WURTH it?

…the answer to that is like trying to reply to, ‘how long is a piece of string?’… my take is that if yeez put NUTHIN in, yeez are likely to get precisely NUTHIN back out… I look on the mental sweat and time as investment in my business of writing… part of the bigger schematic of being present on the Literary Webo-sphere… as a side benefit for me, it gives me oodles of opportunities to interact with my fellow scribblers in the vaious SOSYAL NETWURKS I employ to propagate the stuff…

… so, the proof of the pudding is in the eating, they say (daft saying, but there yeez have it)… I can only point to the comparative success of the promos I’ve done thus far…the current one for SAVAGE PAYBACK enters its fifth and final day today, July 20… I targeted from the outset an average of 500 downloads per day, for a total of 2,500… with about 18 hours still to run, the gratifying figure is now a touch above 5,500 downloads… also, I’ve recorded readers in the UK, USA, BRAZIL, JAPAN, CANADA, AUSTRALIA, GERMANY, SPAIN and ITALY this time around… not a bad marketing/promotional reach from the comfort of my own laptop desk… and, total aggregate sales/downloads for all of my books now exceed 80,000 copiesNET total reviews across all Amazon pages and Goodreads tops 200…

…in summary, I look on the promo mechanisms not so much as a free handout, but much more of an ‘exchange’ for the intangibles outlined above… and I don’t care what emb’dy says, as an author, I’m over the moon just to know that people out there want to read what I’ve crafted…

…I trust this may be helpful to my fellow quill-scraping Lads and Lassies of Blog Land in yer deliberations whether or not to jump on the Promo Wagon… the current promo link for SAVAGE PAYBACK is clickable below… fill yer boots…see yeez later… 

http://bookShow.me/B00G00GZEO

Savage03-1

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…the Authors’ equivalent of ‘WURKING the room’… anatomy of an Amazon Kindle Free promotion…#TBSU…

…many of yeez who’ve spent any time in business where yeez were expected to attend ‘events’ will know what I’m talking about here… corporate functions… organised cocktail parties for business partners and prospective clients… sports days, with or without celebrity faces to bolster the prestige… for the invitees, a relaxed afternoon or evening enjoying corporate hospitality is the norm… on the flip side, the executives and officers of the outfit sponsoring (read ‘paying for’) this company largesse, it’s quite a different slant… they’re there to ‘WURK the room’… to ‘press the flesh’… to ‘pump the handshake line’… to exchange as many business calling cards as possible… to build potential ‘leads’… to ‘develop the relationships’…. emb’dy see any similarities there for we self-publishing quill-scrapers?… this week, my third wee Jack Calder crime thriller, SAVAGE PAYBACK graces the Amazon Kindle Free Program for the first time…

Savage03-1

http://bookShow.me/B00G00GZEO

…I’ve used the Kindle Free Program for previous titles… this time I did it without indulging paid advertisements… money’s tight enuff for we scribblers without throwing it at the ‘vanity pedlars’… so, I got stuck into my own organised program of promotional activity (by the way, Amazon does not do any of this marketing stuff for yeez other than carry the titles)… flurries on Twitter RTs… cascades of posts onto Facebook… placements on Goodreads, Stumbleupon, Pocket, Digg, Pinterest, Google+, Tumblr have run their contributing course… wee tags on to my pals on LinkedIn… it’s an intense five-day action plan… and d’yeez know what?… so far it’s been just wunnerful!… my ‘business’  target was to achieve 2,000-2,500 downloads… here we sit just into the third day, and already the numbers are a gratifying 3,600+… I have to confess, I know marketing and such is not everybody’s delight, but I embrace it 1,000,000%…. this is our writing business, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… I hope this might help some others debating whether or not to go down this route… and a wee plug for my SELF-PUBLISHING STEPS TO SUCCESSFUL SALES won’t go amiss either ( hey! it’s my blog, what do yeez expect? :) see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

 

http://bookShow.me/B00JBL6K80

cover2

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…Awesome Amazon Australia… simply Awesome!… TBSU…

…when yeez have been at the self-publishing independent scribbler bit for a wee while, yeez kinda expect the ‘firsts’ to recede… not so, Lads and Lassies of Blog Land… how unforgettable is the very first time yeez type or write the WURDS ‘The End’ on yer masterpiece… I can’t speak for emb’dy else, but it took me more than a week to come down off the pink cloud I nearly floated away on… happily, the exhilaration repeated in getting to the finales of subsequent novels… then there’s the very first sale yeez make on Amazon… it may well be yer Granny who downloaded it… but there yeez sit—a published, purchased author… grand isn’t it?… following that, the very first review that gets loaded onto yer pages on Kindle… hopefully at least a four-star, coz for the first wee while, these reviews seem to matter… until yeez learn to take the roughs with the smooths and coat them all in a healthy dose of salt… then, after a while, don’t discount the splendid feeling the very first time sumb’dy asks yeez to sign a copy of yer wee literary baby… or the very first time yeez get asked to speak in front of an audience as ‘an author’… if yeez are Kindle Select Program practitioners, the temptation prevails to launch yer first ever Kindle Free Giveaways… the freebies still count as sales by the way, and it means watching for the very first time as copies go flying off, theoretically into the hands of future readers of yer WURKS… I’ve done several of these Freebie programs now, and the excitement never palls of knowing people are downloading yer stuff… and it’s all over the WURLD and many other places… here’s another coupla firsts, this time around… I shared yesterday that Amazon Japan saw fit to house their first ever download for me… but today, more goodies… Amazon Australia seems to have found its antipodean feet… my downloads growth there is mega-multiples of their first ever time around… bring on Amazons India, Mexico and Brazil… JUST LUVVIN IT!… see yeez later… LUV YEEZ!

http://bookShow.me/B00G00GZEO

 

Savage03-1

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…どうもありがとう… there’s me showing off now… it’s Japanese for ‘thank yeez very much’… #TBSU…

bowing

‘duomo arigato’… that’s the Anglicised version… so when yeez hear it traditionally shouted at yeez by the staff when yeez go into a Japanese restaurant, they’re not hurling Nipponese abuse yer way… far from it… genteel-mannered folks in the main they are from the land of the Rising Sun… and it behoves this ol’ Jurassic to respond in kind to the fact that my first-ever recorded download from Amazon Kindle (Japan) happened today…(triumphant blaze of klaxons, trill of trumpets, skirl or three of a bagpipe, surely, as background, p’raps, Mabel?)… on the first day of the current freebie offering of my third Jack Calder crime thriller masterpiece, SAVAGE PAYBACK, Tokyo Trumps… Osaka Oscillates, Kyoto Kracks it,  a single download, it may be…costing NUTHIN, it may be…but a first is a first… now, all we need is for Mexico, Brazil and India to step up to the Amazon plate… if yeez know emb’dy in these geographies with half an inkling for a free read, nudge them this way… see later… LUV YEEZ!

SAVAGE PAYBACK… absolutely FREE until July 20th:

http://bookShow.me/B00G00GZEO
Savage03-1

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…yer first wheeled collision should always be a memorable event… #TBSU…

superman

…there’s those who think me a tad strange that I’ve never possessed a driving licence in my life… indeed, there’s also those who deem me a tad weird for many other reasons, but that’s another story… so far, I’ve survived into that age category classified as, ‘my WURD, yeez are looking well’ without the need for a drivers docket… thinking back, I sense that my first-ever attempt to commandeer a wheeled vehicle may have had much to do with the lifelong antipathy to motorisation… as a mere sixteen-years-young lad, employed at the time in Tobermory on the beautiful Hebridean Island of Mull, my rented accommodation was with a family who lived in a croft, a small farm steading… the croft was some three or four miles out of the town, along single-track roadways, a traffic medium which I don’t think has changed much in the last hundred years… customary means of transportation each morning was a lift with the garage mechanic who lived in the same house… the desire for a bit more personal mobility enticed me to purchase a motor scooter… second-hand of course, with a massive staff loan from the bank of about thirty pounds of Her Britannic Majesty’s sterling… a further investment outlay on a ‘skid-lid’ and proper leather clothing caused a deeper bite into Master Gallacher’s non-existent savings… came the day to get on the bluudy thing and learn how to manoeuvre it… the mechanic, well-versed in such matters, took it upon himself as Chief Instructor to impart that knowledge to me… we (wisely as it turned out) chose not to go on the common roadway, but to make the maiden ride along the driveway of the house… he must have told me a hundred times the difference between the throttle handle, and the brakes… but, but, but… no sooner did I try to ‘gently’ ease the throttle, than the Vespa took a life of its own… my nervousness contributed in large part to the ensuing melee… instead of throttling ’back’, my right hand sum’how turned it to ‘full’… like a startled stallion, Vespa, Master Gallacher, crash helmet, new leathers and all, accelerated forward at the speed of a helluva sound… ground covered must have been all of seven yards… straight slap bang into a rowing boat, lying up on the grass verge…

boat

…disaster at sea for marine people is one thing… shipping collision on dry land quite sum’thing else… the impact of the machine on boat produced enough firewood to keep Guy Fawkes roasting for eons… Master Gallacher vied with Nadia Comaneci for gymnast of the month with somersaults (plural), landing miraculously feet first into a thistle bush… the Chief Instructor had metamorphosed into an imitation of the Laughing Policeman, with a lucrative tale to tell in the pub for months later… the ad appeared two days later in the Oban Times, ‘Second-Hand Vespa–Hardly Used’… see yeez later… drive carefully now,yeez hear?… LUV YEEZ!

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