Friday, 24 February 2017

Tomorrow’s Anecdote - reborn

The reinvention continues.

To coincide with Storm Doris, I’m happy to be re-releasing Tomorrow’s Anecdote – this time under a new author's ID. Henceforth, all my historical fiction will be under the name of A. J. Monkton.

I’ll be keeping my actual name for fantasy books and short stories, plus any random journalism that comes my way.

In an eerie loop of circumstance, the story is about the Great Storm of 1987 and how it wreaked havoc on a provincial journalist, upturning her assumptions of the past and changing the present.

It was odd this morning, seeing all the images of fallen trees and debris that haunted me at the time, so much so that the event inspired the book.

Check out the Tomorrow's Anecdote website for more information and some 1980s nostalgia.

Is it autobiographical? No, no, no. Of course not.

Here’s the new cover and blurb ...

Just another day in the newsroom? Hardly.

It is October 1987.

Clare Forester is an overworked and under-appreciated features sub on a provincial paper in Somerset, cheerfully ranting about her teenage daughter, her spiteful mother, her reclusive lodger, the Thatcher government, new technology, grubby journalists, petty union officials, her charming ex – and just about anything that crosses her path.

If things aren’t tempestuous enough, on Thursday, October 15, the Great Storm sweeps across Britain, cutting a swathe of destruction across the southern counties. At the office, Clare is pushed to breaking point by pushy bosses and inept colleagues, and loses her temper with gale-force fury. She is suspended from work and finds herself in therapy for stress, while her union embarks on strike action. Worse is to come.

Black Monday follows and the markets crash. But it's not just the future that's giving Clare grief.

Dark family secrets come back to haunt her. One thing she learns ... Never trust the past.


Wednesday, 22 February 2017

When you can’t see the view for the trees

I need to start by saying I’m a paid-up member of the Woodland Trust. Many years ago, I placed myself in front of a large oak tree being menaced (both of us) by a big bloke with a chainsaw. Can’t believe I did, but it’s true. And we stopped it getting chopped down without permission.

I’ve planted sensible British trees in my various gardens over the years and I can tell a whitebeam from a hornbeam. A tree fan, I am. With a surname like Kelt, its not surprising.

But I had a bit of shock the other day. You may have gathered from previous posts that we used to live in Bath. One of favourite walks, especially after a broiling day at the old Chronicle offices in Westgate Street, was Primrose Hill. 

Wed drive up Lansdown Road, and before you get to the Hare and Hounds,  turn left and down a short road, over a style and then we were in open fields. Our dog Amber loved sproinging over the tussocky grass, as we followed behind in a cloud of butterflies. Down below, the city of Bath was laid out in its golden glory. 
Getting a breath of cool air and looking down on the busy streets was a great way to get some perspective on a busy day.

Imagine our surprise when we found the whole area covered in trees. Quite tall, well-established trees.
Very few views to be had. There was much birdlife, of course, and evidence of a wonderful community project. Bees in summer, hopefully.

It was rather muddy, so we’ll go back on a spring day and dutifully applaud the careful work.

Times change. Cities change. And I know the planet needs more trees, I really do.

But I have to ask ... Did the whole area have to be planted up? Why are so many  trees in rows and not in natural clumps? And why didn’t someone leave a little more space for walkers get some air and take in the panorama below? Just a thought. Perhaps this is a perfect example for some drastic wildlife management. Some was already happening, but is there a case for returning some of the land to meadow?

The last shot is the best one I could get, squeezing against the fence.