Thursday, 11 January 2018

Places to avoid # 6: Swindon

"Welcome to Swindon" boasts the sign, as you join the outskirts of one of England's finest piles of proverbial shit.

There's not much to get worked up about, as you approach the bowels of a town which has little to offer in the way of green fields, fancy flower displays and neatly-arranged trees. Instead, drab concrete fills the landscape, poking out of the ground or sending you around in circles with its excessive number of roundabouts.

Indeed, here in this abortion of a town planner's sick joke, you will find the magic roundabout - a series of mini roundabouts spinning out to one another, like a spider's web - designed to test the limits of the most advanced driver, and designed to completely wipe out any foreigners who, for some reason, have ventured into town.

The natives are a violent-looking lot, who have the air of "I'll stab you if you park in front of my house one more time" about them, and who, after all of these years, still remain loyal to oversized tracksuit bottoms and grey-coloured tops, which blend in nicely with the concrete surroundings.

Wild dogs shitting freely and 24/7 mini-markets are what this town is all about. A place to buy a retirment home is not what Swindon is about.

My thoughts on this wonderful town are not fabricated nor exagerated, as I spent six years of my life living, breathing and eating Swindon. My terrace house was situated in -according to the estate agent who sold me the house - a "nice part of town." Sure enough, apart from a brick thrown through my car windscreen and several altercations with my Italian neighbour, I did manage to scrape through life relatively unscathed.

Saturday mornings were spent at the shops, where the tracksuit-bottomed masses congregate with the unemployed ones and the young-girls-with-babies-in-arms brigade. Typical fodder is to be found in boutiques selling everything and anything to entice the mindless youth. Then there's the endless stream of coffee shops and dougnut parlours, which have made the journey from the other side of the Atlantic.

Friday nights were sometimes spent at the greyhound stadium, watching dogs run very fast around a track, chasing after a mechanised rabbit. Sunday mornings were sometimes spent at Swindon indoor market, watching mad fools run very fast around in circles, chasing after another pair of tracksuit bottoms. Monday mornings were spent going to work, bumper to bumper in a motionless mass of cars, lorries and public transport.

Behind my house there was a small park, where we walked the dog every evening. It was a small patch of countryside in a world of thundering traffic and foul-mouthed yobs. Still, to be fair, we never got mugged once.

Swindon's history is built on trains, and it is equally important as York. At the Outlook Centre - a shopping centre on the edge of town - you will find a museum, the odd locomotive and carriages from a bygone age, nestled between McDonalds and another bloody doughnut parlour.

Come here if you want to see what the real England is built upon. Stay away if you want to save the surprise for another day. It's bad and it's good. It's grey and it's grey. It's about wild dogs and indoor markets. It's about finding the way out once you're in. It's home to thousands and not the best of ways to start the day.

But there is worse...

Wednesday, 22 November 2017

Clare & Tina

As the number sixty-three bus made its way from Canterbury to Margate, Clare wished that she had stayed at home – even if her mother was a pain in the backside, and asked too many questions about her daughter's past and plans for the future – instead of agreeing to spend the evening with Tina. She liked Tina, but she didn't like the things which surrounded her. She enjoyed her friendship, but Clare hated the fact that Tina's father was a hopeless alcoholic, her two small brothers were little terrors and worst of all, she loathed the fact that Tina lived on a council estate in Margate. Sure enough, Clare acknowledged, as the bus entered Margate, she also lived on a grotty estate, in Canterbury, but at least Canterbury had a bit of class and a cathedral, whereas Margate had nothing to offer.

Extract taken from "Those Margate Days, Those Lonely Nights" - part 3 of the "But Bloody France!" trilogy of ebooks - available now for Kindle

Sunday, 5 November 2017

Gobshite 2

"...and nobody speaks English anymore. I think my street is what they call cosmopolitan - there's a bit of everything except your typical English family. My niece came home from school  in tears the other day, upset that she's the only white girl in her class. In ten years from now the English language will be forgotten. I mean, I took my niece to McDonalds the other day, and I wished that I had stayed at home.

It took me ten minutes to get my order across to the spotty-faced girl behind the counter. Apparently she's Polish and has no grasp of the language of Shakespeare. I'm not racist, but if a man can't order a Big Mac and all the trimmings, in east London, without the need to hire an interpreter, what is the world coming to? It's a bit like the guy at the garage where I do my weekly lottery. He calls everyone mate, as though we're his friends. I told him - I think that he's an Iraqui refugee - that the English are a reserved race, and that friendships aren't forged in ten minutes. Of course, he didn't understand a word that I said, but who would have expected him to?

 We're not even allowed to put a Christmas tree up in the community centre this year, because apparently the sight of a jolly fat man giving out presents offends certain religions. I wrote to my MP to complain, and he replied that I should accept change. Meanwhile, at the mosque at the end of the road anything goes. It's like we're strangers in our own country. They're banning porn more and more, but the government turns a blind eye to suicide bombers and the immigration crisis.

It will all end in tears. The world's gone bloody mad."

Wednesday, 4 October 2017


Résultat de recherche d'images pour "picture of fat guy drinking beer"

"...and I sometimes wonder what winning the war ever gave us...yes please love, when you're ready, another pint please, and one for yourself....I mean we're no longer in control of ourselves...I blame it on those European dogs who tell us how to do what we've been doing for years...hello Bob, how's things...a pint for Bob when you're ready love...I mean when I was a kid it was pounds and knew where you were with five pounds of potatoes...but what's five kilos of it more or less to carry home in your paper bag...because they don't give out plastic bags any more...the world's gone fucking mad as a teapot...lovely my darling, another two pints when you're ready...I would love to go to work....but what with my back and the influx of Polish labourers...they've stolen what's rightly mine...awful people...should get the next boat back home...leave us our jobs...I could knock up a wall in no time...and I speak English....ooh lovely, look at don't get pints like that in's litres over that more than a pint...seems right to me if it is...can't stand the French....they won't speak English over there...that's the thanks you get for saving them from Germany...two more pints when you're ready love...every time I switch on the tv it's all blacks and makes you feel like a stranger in your own country...where have all the normal people gone...hello Bill, a pint for Bill please love...and they get free housing, telephones and bus tickets...I get nothing for my back...all I get is enough for two nights drinking in the pub...that's the spirit of a real public know what you can do with your coffee houses and pavement cafés...I can't even afford to go on holiday...that lot have seen to that...and the pensioners are treated worse than that...a whisky please Bob...that's very kind of's my friends that keep me all went wrong when we abolished the death penalty...that was a green light to rapists and perverts...make them sweep the streets...they'll think twice about doing it has ruined everything...there's no more honest people left...we're an island in a sea of misery...nobody speaks English in my street..."

Sunday, 1 October 2017

The Last Immigrant

So it's time to wheel the barbecue back into the shed, neatly arrange the garden furniture and thank the Almighty one for giving us a few sunny days in what was otherwise a misrable summer.

Goneth are the last rays of sun as the rain clouds cometh from all sides. The beer was good and the banter was of Brexit, Trumpy Trumpy Trump and those damn pesky immigrants who seem intent on staying for free in our magnificent land of milk and honey.

A lot of those immigrants would give their right arm to taste some of the food that makes our country great; you know, food like curry, fish and chips or a decent English breakfast. Thoughts of fine British nosh must fill their minds, as they attempt to cross the Channel hiding in a refrigerated trailer or clinging on for life under a forty tonne truck.

The numbers getting in are dropping quicker than flies in winter, and those already here have probably had a gutfull of being spat at and shouted at by drunken thugs, fuelled by strong lager and patriotism.

"FUCK ORF BACK HOME YOU GRUBBY BLEEDER!" cries Mister Smith, from number 42 Willow Drive, Bournemouth - a town as British as eggs, bacon and fried bread. "WE DON'T WANT YOUR LOT 'ERE!" adds little Timmy Spicer, an eight-year-old boy who's well and truly into Brexit and all it means.


He WILL build his wall and we will make Britain GREAT again. We will rule the waves and stand up for ourselves in a world of dodgy, spineless leaders.

There's a change in the air...and it smells GOOD!

Tuesday, 19 September 2017

If only...

To earn a pathetic wage, Clare now worked in Asda, in Margate, which is certainly nothing to shout about. Before, when she was with Deano, she had worked in an office in Canterbury, which was certainly better than stacking shelves in a supermarket in Thanet. She also used to drive a red VW Golf, but now, because of the situation in which she now found herself, she was forced to go everywhere by bus. It's no wonder, then, that on the day of her thirty-second birthday, Clare Green was depressed.

If only she could have turned back the pages and avoided doing the things which had put her in such a terrible predicament. If only she hadn't cheated on Deano, with another GIRL, if only she hadn't blown all of her cash on white wine and comfort food and if only things in France had worked out much better, Clare Green would still be living in Normandy. If only...

Extract taken from "Clare's Holiday" & "Those Margate Days, Those Lonely Nights" - a book about love, life and missed opportunities.
Out now in paperback and ebook format for kindle.

Friday, 25 August 2017

Do you speak English?

 When the pretty girl returned with more drinks, Phil said that he was starving. He then looked at the girl, and smiling at her, he launched into conversation with her.
“Can we eat here, sweetheart?” he enquired, as Clare looked on. This, she thought, was going to be fun. The girl shrugged her shoulders, as she struggled to understand what Phil was saying.
“Eat,” he repeated, motioning with his hands that he was cutting imaginary food with a knife and fork.”
“Ah, mais oui,” replied the girl, smiling at the tattooed beast, before putting on her best English accent. “’ere we ‘ave some fine foodz. What does it you want?”
“Yeah!” replied Phil excitingly. “We’re getting there. Have you got any cheeseburgers?”
Clare burst out laughing. “Oh, Phil and his cheeseburgers. How lovely.”
“Comment?” replied the girl. “What is this cheezburgers?”
“You know,” said Sarah. “C H E E S E B U R G E R S.”

“Oh, mais non,” said the girl, registering at last what a cheeseburger was. “’ere we ‘ave steak and frize or just a sandweech.”

Extract taken from "But Bloody France!" & "Clare's Holiday" - a tale about friends on holiday in deepest Normandy, where there's not a cheeseburger in sight.
Out now for kindle & in paperback.