The year two thousand and twenty two,

a second ago it was how do you do.

A tock followed tick, then Big Ben on TV

Good grief! Two thousand and twenty-three.

(Come on, wakey wakey, it's time to go home. Here let's wipe that port off your shirt. Good lad.

Oops, steady now. Night night. See you soon - with a bit of luck.)

    In 2022 I walked, about 2000 miles. That’s an average of 40 miles per week, more in the summer, less in the winter. Not bad for a fat old git. That means, in the last seven years, since I was told that my health wasn’t all it might be, I’ve walked a total of about 11,000 miles. Fear – a great driving force.

    It’s the equivalent of walking from Lancashire down to Cape town, South Africa (8,300 miles), where I turned round. Now 2,700 miles into the return leg, I’m in The Republic of The Congo, approaching the town of Owando on the N2. Trudge trudge.

    Perversely, I have to keep walking to stand still. In other words, not let the legs get any worse. Touch wood I’m doing OK. A bit of cycling helps too, but not in Africa, more local, up and around the Pennines and Cumbria.

    I’ve written three more books 2022, two are published and a third is with the editor who is probably covering it in red slashes.

    Twice Removed, a novel set in a place I invented up in Northumberland called Thistledean. I needed a place to escape to during the madness of the pandemic and this place cropped up in my head. Then I created some characters I’d like to spend time with.

    The second is called The Boro about our return to Littleborough after about 30 years. I left in my prime and returned with buggered hips and diabetes. In essence, it’s about an older chap trying to come to terms with a new world, summed up thus, ‘Like many people in their seventh decade, I’m haunted by the spectre of how good things used to be.’

    It's a ‘left field’ look at things and writing it brought back some great memories and amusing goings on. For example, this passage…

    “Occasionally something crops up that I could have done without. This tale is about a man I know only vaguely. He’s someone I occasionally catch in the beam of my head torch in the early morning. The other day I asked how he was. ‘Not so good actually,’ he replies, ‘I’ve a nasty abscess low down to the rear. Mighty uncomfortable it is. Having a right old job with the number twos.’

    ‘Oh dear.’

    A couple of days later I see him again and inquire of his difficulties.

    ‘Still bad, but I think it’s slightly better.’ Then, with a straight face, ‘There’s light at the end of the tunnel.’

    What an image that is to take home for breakfast!”

    The third is ‘Let’s be Frank’, written through the eyes of Frank, a dog. It’s a canine take on our complicated world. He touches on education and religion but focuses largely on important stuff like eating and getting on his Dad’s nerves.

    Jan is creating cover artwork. The book should be available to be criticized in a couple of weeks.

    A snippet:

    “It might be worth mentioning where I came from. To be honest, it was never certain I would turn out quite as well as I have. Modest eh? Actually, those weren’t my words, they were spoken by Madalene, an Afghan Hound. She’s known as Mad Lynn for short. McTavish the Scottie nicknamed her that. Ha! Save to say the two have NOT been best of friends since. There’s only an ‘A’ missing from her full name but one letter can make all the difference, take the word clock for example. See what I mean? That’s what Mad Lynn called McTavish!”

    The Boro and Let’s be Frank are mini books, about 1/3 full length, designed for people with short attention spans. If you’re after a longer book, you can glue them together.

    I’ve reacquainted myself with an old school friend or two on the internet, one lives in Florida, the other Bristol, but both have reignited some good memories. Another contemporary pal of mine has been awarded an O.B.E. I’m an early riser and usually spend my best hours alone. For early birds like me I think there should be a Morninghood.

    And, at last, a holiday. We went to Columbia. Er sorry, Cumbria, just as the cold snap began. Lovely to see the family but our visit coincided with the failure of the central heating system so we got a frosty reception. Luckily a wood-burner and a couple of trees saw us through.

    And some other things happened. Probably.

    Happy New Year