The Big Adventure

I haven’t managed to take in a live Hull City game for several years unfortunately. The last game was an away game versus Leicester City that I decided on the spur of the moment to go to. At the time, my son Liam and I were visiting family in Hull and we were heading back down to London and the airport at Gatwick for Liam to fly home. We set off on the Saturday morning and in the back of my mind, I had a half a mind to jump off the M1 and go grab the game in Leicester. Of course, the M62 was a packed with traffic due to an accident and so by the time we got to the M1 I wasn’t at all sure that we would make it. Nonetheless, I persevered and we were in Leicester with about 10 minutes to go before kick off. We had to buy tickets at the ground of course so by the time we took our seats the game was underway. It was the season for Hull City under the tanned one. The year that we had all been waiting for when via the Championship play offs at Wembley and the foot of Dean Windass, Hull City were finally promoted to the Premier League. Hull won that day 2-0 and we enjoyed a great time before continuing our journey to London. Thus ended a 100+ year wait and question masters had to revise their questions regarding which biggest city had never had top flight football representation.

It’s funny because I had chances to go to the FA Cup semi-final and final last season but in the end the chances came to late to act on and I couldn’t afford it. The few times I have been to Hull also have fallen on away game weekends too. But tomorrow is the day. Tomorrow, we will drive a couple of hundred kilometers into the Slovak Republic where I will watch Hull City’s maiden European appearance. History will be made and for once, I will be there to witness it in person. I can’t wait.

Many people who track English football decide to have it easy. They decide on Manchester Utd, City or Liverpool or Arsenal as ‘their’ team and support them. For me, the only team I have ever supported is my home town team Hull City. It’s been tough at times let me tell you and for years there was not much to cheer about. I haven’t lived in Hull since 1978. It would have been easy to shift allegiance but that isn’t me – I am a loyal person.

It all started back in around 1966 when I was taken to Boothferry Park by Bob French and enjoyed it so much, it became a regular Saturday trip. I recall watching Chris Chilton, Wagstaff, Ian Butler and the lads and I can name the entire team from back then.. Later, at college in Birmingham, I recall making trips to places like Walsall as a student hitch hiking to see the team. When in the US, I was only able to read reports on the Internet but I did avidly each and every game.

I think I am lucky. The club was founded more than a century ago. I often think about all the passionate and loyal Hull City supporters during all of that time that went to their graves without ever seeing the team in the Premier League or FA Cup Final – never mind the Stadion Pod Dubem in far away Zilina, Slovak Republic.

An Excerpt from The Last Observer

The opening of Chapter 10

The breathing was rhythmic. With each breath, she was breathing in fire. All around her were flames, and she could feel the heat and smell the acrid smell of smoke. She inhaled and imagined that the fire was entering every pore of her body like a sponge. She could feel its heat and she imagined herself expanding, expanding and flickering. She was a flame as she consumed the fire. She was rising and floating like hot air and she had filled herself with the element of fire and felt its energies. She was burning her dross, transforming it into pure energy, cleansing herself in the fires. She then began to reverse the process, breathing out the fire through every pore in her body but feeling renewed and almost reborn of the fire as she did so. In her mind’s eye, she could see the Salamanders looking at her. She would soon command them; they would do her bidding just as the Sylphs, Gnomes, and other elemental creatures would too in time. Right now, she was working to strengthen her will through the element of Fire so that she could, in time, command them.

The Last Observer is available on all Amazon sites and many other good book sites. It has a new price on Kindle too. Check it out. Check out what other’s have to say about my debut novel.

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Holiday Characters

There is something about people watching on vacation isn’t there?

I just managed about 10-days of it on Kos and I was once again astounded at the range of characters included under the heading human race. Since we were at an all inclusive resort, the place to begin is with trough behaviour. While I will admit to some over eating myself, it is inevitable I suspect, I saw some absolutely amazing behaviour when it came to food, drinks and places to eat or drink. It wasn’t so much the plates piled like Mount Everest but the jockeying for position in order to be first to get the just put out melon, ice cream or coffee. Elbowing, shoving and other obnoxious forms of behaviour were on full display.

By the pool was also fun. There was a family next to us one day that hailed from the south of England. She was an over weight thing wrapped up in a hideous cotton wrap around her one piece swimming costume who seemed to delight in calling her young kids darlings at the top of her voice as if in doing so, we would all look on and admire her progeny. Her husband looked exactly how I admire a banker to look. Somehow sophisticated but slightly overweight as a result of great lunches and too many gin and tonics. He had what seemed to be a DA hair style and once free of kids and wife, he lay on the sun bed like a pro. He seemed to follow a pattern like a clockwork banker. He would open his eyes and peer at his toes rubbing one foot against the other. Then, he would carefully push his hair back into its DA a few times before rubbing his (hairy) chest. It was at this point that he would squint sideways to take in his neighbours on display breasts before leaning head back, closing his eyes and beginning the sequence all over again. I suspect, it was all about getting a surreptitious eyeful of bare breast. Totally unnecessary as he could of just stared like the Russian men.

There was also a German who made me laugh quite a lot. Whatever he did he did it in a short burst and then looked at his wife smiling seeking approval. His wife ignored him the entire time sitting in the shade doing a crossword. The man had a smile on his face the entire time and spent his day either throwing his kids about in the pool, racing them across the pool or snapping shots with a huge camera with an even bigger lens attached. Everything he did he checked with his wife. She never looked up nor gave him any attention whatsoever. Poor guy seemed genuinely a nice bloke to be honest.

The Russians were interesting too. They came in all shapes and sizes from the one muscular chappie who looked like he competed for Mr. Universe and who had a super tan as well but, to his credit, he was only interested in playing with his small child who he obviously adored, to the strange looking people that were either massively over weight, looked totally under nourished or, in some instance, a bit of both! They seemed to have no manners at all in the main and on at least one occasion, I was shoved and man handled out of their way in order to get to the bar/food/toilet without so much as an excuse me or apology.

The highlight for me were the Dutch. Well organized people the Dutch. Their kid’s club had at least 3 times the number of people working for it and three times the number of kids. Their activities were imaginative and I will bet a lot of fun and it put the meagre offerings for Czech, British and other kids squarely in the spotlight as having failed. What I want to know is how all Dutch peoples kids seem to be blond and how given their fair skins, they all tan so well?

Finally, I must mention the Brits. In this instance, mainly Scottish and based on accent, I would say Glasgow. The men would sit in the shade by the bar drinking beers and chasers while laughing and joking unintelligibly while their kids played havoc in the pool and the women were nowhere to be seen. I heard one father tell his unruly kids about the life guard – “ah shit, ignore the bastard, what the hell can he do, throw us out?”

Now what all of these people made of the tall British guy with a big belly that seemed at times grumpy and other times lazy with his significantly younger and attractive partner and young golden haired daughter I don’t know but I am sure some people found me pretty weird too.

The Lord of the Elements

Last night I reached the milestone of 10,000 words written for my new novel – The Lord of the Elements. I guess then, I am about 1/4 done with the first draft but I do hope to make more progress on it this month and perhaps complete the book by end of September.

It would be good to have it out and ready for christmas. The Lord of the Elements is the prequel to The Last Observer and features Edward primarily. It starts with Edward as a young student with a strong interest in mathematics and the occult and follows Edward as he discovers a long lost manuscript written by an initiate named Gallivar in the late 16th Century. In his attempt to decipher the book, Edward comes into contact with The Lord of the Elements, the demon behind the black magic lodge at Grosvenor Road. To tell you more would be to give too much away but I think you will enjoy it. My early proof readers seem to be doing so anyway.

I am trying to make this one a bit more scary and disturbing from an occult thriller point of view. Let’s see how successful I am.

Meanwhile, I have had an idea for another novel that most likely will become my next project. Tentatively titled ‘Summer Holiday’, this one will definitely be a sci-fi novel.

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The Question Song

Am I alone in thinking these things?
My imagination stirred not shaken
Is it just a feature of disintegration?
Do I run and hide or simply wait
On the inevitable.
Is action now too little too late?
And simply horrendously regrettable?
How will I know right from wrong?
How do I tell true poetry from a lyrical song?
What happens when we die?
Why are we even born?
Why are people so brutally cruel?
Why do little children suffer?
Why do the words that I utter
Fail to find a mark?
Is anyone really listening?
Does anyone really care?
Is anyone out there?
Or am I all there is
Alone
Forlorn
And ultimately
forgotten.

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Review: Moon Whispers – G. Michael Vasey

A nice review by Dani…..

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I received this book as part of Rosie Amber’s Book Review Team.

Moon Whispers – G. Michael Vasey – 4 stars

I was so excited to receive the anthology, as this will be my first time reviewing poetry! I couldn’t have been offered a better collection to begin with; Dr Vasey drags the reader onto a roller-coaster of profundity from the word go. I can honestly say that I devoured every poem.

While each poem is a text in its own right, the book is held together by recurring themes like God, life and death, media, and current events. His style of writing screams of intelligence, and he invites the reader to join him in his thought processes. That said, you’ll have no difficulty understanding the language; the words have a clarity to them that makes them both refreshing and all the more challenging on a practical level.

The poems…

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Paradise or Prison?

We had selected a place called Kipriotis Village on Kos mainly for its kid’s facilities. It turned out to be very large – too large in retrospect – with 1378 beds or when full, over 3000 people. It had 4 or 5 pools, 4 water slides, 4 or 5 bars, three restaurants, an outdoor theater and, outside of toilets in rooms, I counted just 14 toilets per sex. I would say it was short on toilets and I can only assume that management expected guests to pee in the pools – which I am sure they did given the stink of 14 toilets to serve over 3000 guests. After the first day in which we discovered row upon row of sun beds festooned with towels but no people, we too began the practice of rushing first thing in the morning to claim a sun bed by the pool returning later after a leisurely breakfast, to claim our hard won resource.

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The food, at first, wasn’t bad at all. As its all inclusive and free, the temptation is pile the plate and pile the plate I did – at first. By about day 4, I began to sicken of the food. Whatever it was, it tasted somehow the same. The pizza tasted like the chicken that tasted just like the salad. Strange I know, but true. Furthermore, I spent much of the vacation having to make rather urgent trots to find one of those 14 toilets that was free periodically and I suspect too much olive oil to have been the culprit. Of course, one could try the Greek restaurant or the Italian restaurant by booking the night before but, other than a change of scenery, it was the same food.

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Next time I do this, I will check the meaning of all inclusive carefully. The drinks were also included but it was only a subset of the drinks and they were all made with local produce. I did ask several times if there was actually any alcohol in the cocktails to which the waitress usually smiled and showed me the bottle which, proclaimed 30% alcohol. I suspect this to be a lie as I never experienced the remotest feeling of being giddy, drunk or tipsy the whole time I was there and I drank a lot of these cocktails – until they too began to taste the same.

Another thing about camp life is that you are in close proximity to several thousand other people not all of them the sort of people you would desire to share a vacation – or a toilet – with. The Russians in particular were the most obnoxious people I have ever met outdoing my fellow Brits and the ever present Germans by a long haul. They shoved in, jumped queues, were loud and simply didn’t fit in at all. I know a number of Russians and these tourists must have come from some deprived housing estate outside of Moscow because they were not at all like the people I know. ‘Russia First’ seemed to be the only English words they knew and that should give you all the information you need to back up my assertions….

By then end of week 1, Kipriotis village began to take on the characteristics of a prison camp complete with its guards who in this instance were the so called life guards. The life guards appeared to have been instructed to do their best to stop anyone from having fun. Make so much as a splash in the pool and the whistle blew along with a stern look in your direction. No jumping, no diving, no horseplay, no coming down the slide anyway but alone and on your bum….. The highlight for me was when we notice our daughter on the other side of the pool obviously struggling just below the oblivious guard. My partner leapt immediately executing a near perfect (9.9) dive into the pool, gliding underwater effortlessly towards our daughter to help her to the side only to have the same guard blow the whistle and lecture her on diving. He felt the full wrath of my tongue let me tell you.

So, it was with some glee that on day 8, we made our bid for freedom. A two-day car rental for 50Eur was our opportunity to explore Kos and change diet, location and toilet use. It was heaven. We toured almost the entire island and what an exquisite place it is. The car was however a bit of a disappointment. We asked for a ‘topless’ car – it was on special. We thought it would be fun. Mistake.

The car was the smallest vehicle I have ever driven and that includes a go-cart. It was advertised as seating 4 however. It had been well used just like Kipriotis Village. When the roof was opened it rattled so noisily that you couldn’t hear each other shout. The roof stayed shut and topless was not allowed. The engine warning light was on the entire rental period. I told them too but the rental lady smiled and told is it was an additional feature of the cheap rental. Mustn’t complain too much, despite only managing 3km/hr up the hills and having to stay in 2nd gear most of the time to accelerate, it did its job and was returned after the rental in the condition we found it along with several empty drink bottles, a ton of sand and sweet wrappers.

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We then found ourselves with 4 more days of the prison I mean holiday camp…. That’s when we discovered the bus. Ah, the bus. We managed to escape each day into the lovely town of Kos where we shopped, ate and drank and found toilets quite easily for the remainder of the trip.

Love is all it Takes

Violence flares
Bombs fall and rockets rain
No one cares
No one seems to give a damn
Taking sides
Pointing blame
Both sides
Are exactly the same!
The only winner here
Is the policy of hate
Perpetrated by both sides
Closed minds
Innocents die
Children cry
No one gives a damn
Love bleeds
Hope dies
Truth lies
Evil stirs them on to war
Stop this insanity
No more
Love is all it takes
So simple a solution
So hard to implement
The resolution
Is love.

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Kos its Nice

It is funny how the mind works isn’t it?

On arrival on the Greek Island of Kos early in the morning after a night of no sleep and continuous road and air travel, Kos seemed to be a scruffy wasteland of a place unkempt and even perhaps dilapidated. Arriving at the resort we had selected admittedly without much thought other than it catered for kids, it seemed large, impersonal and frankly, as if it had seen better days. I felt a rising sense of disappointment.

A few days later and perhaps with a sleep refreshed mind, I was wondering how I could possibly wangle a permanent move to a place like Kos. The island now seemed ruggedly beautiful sitting in an arid heat haze. The volcanic origins of the island plainly observed in its angular and rugged mountains and in the rocks and boulders strewn over the landscape. Its beaches comprised of volcanic rounded pebbles or in many instances, a fine grey volcanic sand were lapped by a deep azure and amazingly transparent Aegean. Periodically, small remnants of its former glory peaked from small areas set aside of preservation of its ancient Greek past and small stone columns seemed to be everywhere. Yes, as my mind adjusted to Kos, I began to like what I saw there. Even the resort grew on me – a little.

By the time we left, I was of course, sad to leave. I love Greek food but it doesn’t agree with me – too much olive oil perhaps? So there was a part of me that yearned for normal food and my own bed but other than that…. I wished I could have stayed.

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