Tuesday, 24 December 2013

A Groovy Education with Carol and Bev

Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel.


Location, location, location.

Ten-minute walk onto campus (if late for lecture), twenty-minute stagger back, (if tipsy), circular never-ending maze (if under the influence of Southern Comfort).

Today, exploratory tour of campus (no alcohol). 

Wore bright blue velvet jacket over button-through checked maxi-dress and favourite platform sandals, bought from Dolcis’ during moment of spontaneity into which consideration of outrageous price did not enter.  Rocked myself there and clomped around library, having registered but forgotten to bring reading list. BIRDBRAIN!  Illustrious temple of learning and chewing gum more or less empty – Saturday, before lunchtime. 

Outside, weather behaving very well for October.  Scouted off, noting small but well-equipped laundrette, tiny superette selling produce at extortionate prices. Gasped at sixties monstrosity dominating quadrangle - leggy students’ union, den of iniquity and shrine to political busy-bodies. BRILLIANT!

Entered with intention of flouting authority. Glad of rainbow eye-shadow and ‘Polyblonde’ hair. Edgy.

Found pigeonhole with name on it, stuffed with welcoming literature (secretly pleased).

Notice boards advertising all manner of clubs/forthcoming events, (browse later). 

Behind stairs, treasure trove of games machines. Whines, screeches and bangs, squeak of soft shoes on linoleum - best collection of eye-candy in town. BOYS! Scruffy, hungover, oozing sex-appeal.  BAD!  -  obviously spent great deal of time drinking beer and killing aliens/blowing up cities.  Noted.

Up wide stairs and through to bar, murky/pungent even during day, unhealthy/sticky, EXCELLENT! Realised full potential would only be evident during hours of darkness.  Checked out jukebox for fave bands. LOADED. Resolved to return with bottle of cider, later. 

Visited gig/events room - soon to be favourite disco hothouse.  Congratulated self on very bloody good choice of educational establishment.

Wended way back to Room, tra la, via superette (rice pudding, Ambrosia - lunch). 

Full of joys of autumn, randomly hatching plan to befriend girl in next room (looked nice).

Rocked myself back to hall with enthusiasm.

DISASTER - beloved sandal (left foot) snapped in middle - nearly broke ankle/neck/wind.
Arrived bare-foot. Lay on bed, listening to ‘Rumours’ (Fleetwood Mac) being played in several rooms at same time/not at same time! 

Fabulous start to groovy education.

Brain sparkle.  Deep sigh of contentment.

To be continued …

Sunday, 15 December 2013

A Groovy Education - Episode One

Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel.
 This is the second post.  Introduction posted 9/12/13.



On arrival, was disenchanted.  Central, voice-amplifying staircase - bad design, kitchen - large, functional/heartless, actual Room (capitalisation intended) for next three years – featureless, with miserly bed, stunted wardrobe, ambitiously proportioned desk plus chair.  Surprise ‘extra’ - wash basin inside cupboard - useful for practical jokes.

Ferried up bags and smiled enigmatically at other new arrivals, some of whom flanked by parents, one of whom used toilet just inside entrance to hall, making breathing inadvisable before first floor level.  Red-faced girl did best to evacuate said parent, who seemed unaware of powerful stench he had created.  Overheard (painful) one-sided conversation: ‘Thanks for your help, Dad.  See you in the holidays.  Goodbye.  Give my love to Mum.’ Sorry for girl, propelling.  Sorry for parent, propelled.

Note to self: buy air freshener. 

Unpacked. One shelf for eveningwear (sequined boob-tube, leather miniskirt etc.), one for jumpers (baggy), one for jeans (drainpipe/stretch).  Desk drawer for pants/bras/frillies.  Books, on desk (conspicuously).  Paper, files, new pens, academic miscellany – under desk, awaiting re-location. 

Stashed make-up inside sink cupboard, on shelf (handy variety).  Added Wisdom toothbrush and Colgate (ring of confidence) toothpaste.

Grundig cassette player/radio (silver machine) – pride of place in centre of desk (vague tremor of wicked delight).  Cassettes – stacked in purpose-built rack (not provided!).

Switched on radiator.  Opened window (global warming not yet discovered). Looked out onto car park and beloved Renault 4TL.

Happy sigh.

To be continued…

Monday, 9 December 2013

Living in the Past - A Groovy Education

(Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel for links.)

Three years at university were awesome (always wanted to use that word and now feel strangely let down).

But… they very nearly didn’t happen!

First off, (excuses, excuses) didn’t get the grades I wanted.  Big surprise. Blame (oh, there has to be blame!) psychological torture and lack of faith on part of  middle-class educational establishment of the elite, grammar school variety.

Other possible factors: hedonistic tendencies, narcissistic wearing out of mirrors, lack of ‘application’ (memories of comments in margins – notably: ‘satisfactory’, 'grammar?'  'No!'), plus, penchant for copying out tedious articles from Reader’s Digest for school projects, notably: ‘Write about a Favourite Holiday Destination (with pictures)’ – Afghanistan was a bad choice, even in the seventies, (excellent drawing of camel, although  can now reveal it was traced…from National Geographic). 

Unfortunately, was pigeonholed (nice but dim) and packed off to secretarial school (bilingual course) clutching two (not three) A’ levels, having been ASSURED by elements of  afore-mentioned establishment that university entry was, is and will always remain the domain of the THREE A’-levelled candidate.  (Dubious compound).

This turned out to be a BIG LIE. 

Two years later, after exercising accredited secretarial skills in various contexts, most boringly as  legal dogsbody and appalling speller/typist, it was back to the drawing board.  Duly informed by (normally unreliable) friend that university entry was and always had been viable with only TWO A’ levels. 


Strangulation of former headmistress and/or careers’ advisor impracticable and, arguably, disproportionate.

Sulking ensued.  Much contemplation, much going down pub.

Eventually, arrived at decision – would make belated application to take up  place at Keele University (famous for lakes) to study English and French literature, with subsidiary Astronomy (one science subject required).  Astronomy least frightening/prettiest.

From 1977 – 1980 undergraduate/scholar/bimbo/jam aficionado and expert in procrastination. 

Will attempt to record best bits in coming weeks, months, years.  Bouts of lethargy, extreme alternative activity and/or mood swings may result in casual scheduling of posts.

To be continued…

Tuesday, 3 December 2013

Books Direct: "My Grandfather's Eyes" by B. A. Spicer

Books Direct: "My Grandfather's Eyes" by B. A. Spicer: ON SALE for $0.99 My Grandfather's Eyes by B. A. Spicer My Grandfather’s Eyes by B. A. Spicer is ON SALE for only $0.99 (s...

Sunday, 1 December 2013

Countdown Promotion for 'My Grandfather's Eyes'

'My Grandfather's Eyes' is a book that I feel very pleased to have written.  On re-reading it recently, I was surprised how single-minded I had made Alex and how much I had made her suffer, too.  Some people have said that she is egotistical, self-obsessed, even evil!  And yet, it is clear that she has caught the imagination of my readers, who also describe her story as riveting.  

She is not a conventional protagonist, certainly.  Her story is that of a young woman of unusual appearance, who discovers that there is more to her family history than meets the eye.  The people who surround her are not all they seem, and she is drawn into a world of secrets that will ultimately change her life.

I have the greatest respect for Alex, even though she may seem cold, even ruthless at times.  She is an intriguing character, who learns quickly and adapts to what is possible in a world where what we want is generally conditional on the wishes of other people.  While her aspirations may not always be attainable, she is an intelligent and pro-active human being, who will always find a way forward.  

Is Alex Crane evil?  I'll let you decide.

'My Grandfather's Eyes' will be listed in the Amazon Countdown promotion from 3rd - 6th December, at a starting price of 99p/$0.99.  Just click on the link to read the sample chapters: