Friday, 28 February 2014

Stranded in the Seychelles

New release today.  Bev and Carol are back!

Sample chapters on Amazon.  Hope they make you laugh.

Monday, 24 February 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

Episode Nine

Back after Christmas.  Straight to Carol’s. 

Welcome back boogie night on the cards.  All manner of lycra and boob tubage.  On the lookout.  Delicious boy with curly dark hair – T Rex type.  Detected interest.  Carol also besotted.  Awkward.  Said she could have friend – tall, blond and gormless type.  Wore mixed fibre jacket (what!) and clean jeans with sharp crease (really?). 

Grapevine info less than encouraging:  Boy named Jerry, music student, attached, far too good looking and knew it.  

Carol poured large bottle of cider down neck and grinned FOREVER.  Went to watch boys on Battle Star Galactica machine.  Nice buns.

First sighting of Dave – Carol disappeared.  Fateful snog in men’s toilets. 

Sidled up to by John.  Didn’t like him much.  Too cocky. Penetrating stare. Not easy to shake off.  Deemed a dish by Carol.  Couldn’t see it.  Invited me to room to drink champagne.  Had picture of girlfriend by bed.  Showed me his willy (I didn’t ask to see it).  HUGE. 

Back to bar.  Told Carol – almost died laughing.

Played hide and seek in Union building, cider induced puerile behaviour.  Ended up being entertained by Rugby club.  Crass nudity (theirs).  Sobering.

Skipped home.  One turned ankle.  La di da!  Carol almost run over by bicycle. HILARIOUS. 

Scary trees.   

Cold. Brrrr!

Tea required and much lounging.  Tittered and impersonated lecturers between splutterings.  Carol passed out on bed clutching phone number from Dave.   

I ate it.

Went to Room – ate Big Soup from small can.  Nasty.

Woke up late for Astronomy class.  Staggered in to find Prof.  not there (infected). Much cursing.  Staggered back and slept.

Bliss.  Microbes I love you!

Thursday, 20 February 2014

Just to let you know that Bev and Carol will be back on Monday with episode nine of 'A Groovy Education'. I know. You can hardly wait!

Monday, 10 February 2014

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Bev and Carol update

If you've popped over for the next episode of Bev and Carol's 'A Groovy Education', I'll be resuming posts in three weeks' time.  For the moment, I'm busy publishing my latest Bev and Carol adventure: 'Stranded in the Seychelles', which will be released on Amazon as a ebook by the end of the month and in paperback shortly after that.  I'm also updating and improving the cover designs for 'One Summer in France' and 'Bunny on a Bike'.

In the meantime, here's a taste of what's on its way:

Excerpt from the final draft of 'Stranded in the Seychelles':

Chapter One

     Older but not wiser, we perused the Times Educational Supplement for jobs, on a dull afternoon in August at my house in Milton Keynes.  Carol was back, and suddenly, living in Milton Keynes didn’t seem to matter as much!  My bosom buddy had spent the previous year working in a school in the Himalayas, and had finally flown back to somewhere nearer sea level. 
Outside, nothing was happening.  Inside, the walls remained perfectly aligned and painted magnolia. Carol sighed and looked out of the large, double-glazed window onto a square patch of lawn penned in by a chest-high, cheap, wooden fence.  “How can you live in a place called Pennyland?”
As I didn’t know the answer to this question, I hedged.  “It’s only a name.”
“It’s a stupid name.”
I had to admit that Carol was right. It couldn’t have helped that she had been used to living in a mountaintop retreat in Tibet, above the clouds and as remote as you can get from affordable housing, inadequate porches and gas central heating.
“How do you stand it?”
“It’s not that bad,” I said, half-heartedly.
A man cycled past.  “Christ!  It’s worse than science fiction!”
Baffled as I was by this particular insight, I laughed, and Carol gave me a look that I recognised instantly.  It was a look that said it was time to set out again into the world, united against the banal, the drab and the superficial, determined to have some fun and wreak some havoc.  I went back to the newspaper and kicked off with something contentious:
     “There’s one here for a maths teacher in Bejing. I could be the stay-at-home housewife.”
     “No thanks,” replied Carol.
     “Too much of a culture shock?  Don’t want the Saturday morning military training?”
     “Nah.  Can’t stand Chinese food.  All those wriggly bits. And oyster sauce – can’t eat oysters since Alice!”
     “In Wonderland?”
     “The Walrus and the Carpenter?”
     “The very same.  Poor little oysters…”
     I realised that, cartoon horror apart, and allowing for Carol’s sketchy knowledge of proper Chinese cuisine, this would be a deal breaker.  Food was top priority.  Followed closely by sunshine, a great beach and a good library.  Good looking, intelligent men of independent means were also a consideration.
“No blokes there, either.  Too short.  Too Chinese.”
I could not argue, although I would not have put my feelings in quite the same way.  Carol spoke her mind, whilst I generally harboured my sharp-edged opinions.  I didn’t mention the fact that, this time, she was indulging in a stereotypical assessment of a nation containing over one hundred million people, not all of whom would be too short or, indeed, too Chinese. 
“What about this one?” I suggested.  English teachers required by the Seychelles government.  Sounds interesting.”
     “Aren’t they in the Indian Ocean?” Carol sat back in her chair and poked a finger into her ear.  She was as beautiful as ever.  How I had missed her! 
     “I believe that is correct, you lovely tart,” I replied, pretty sure that Carol knew a lot more about the Seychelles than she was letting on.
     “Capital?” she asked.
     “Fish. Creole style.”
     “I think it’s more likely to be rice,” I said, although I was not entirely sure.
     “Fish and rice with curry sauce!”
     “We can make our own chips,” I said, reasonably.  “Just need a chip pan and some Trex.”
     “Granted.” Carol chewed the pencil we were using to circle ads.  It had also served as a coffee spoon and more recently, to kill an ant.
     “Shall I read the rest of it?”
     “Don’t see why not,” she said. 
     The National Youth Service of the Seychelles seeks-
     “The National what!”
     “Youth Service.  Must be something like the Department of Education.”
     “Doesn’t sound like the Department of Education.  Go on. Let’s hear it.”
     The National Youth Service of the Seychelles seeks qualified teachers of ESL to instruct secondary school students on the island of Ste. Anne.”
     “Never heard of it.  There’s Mahé and Praslin and some kind of bird island.  Let me see.”  Carol grabbed the paper. “Twelve-month contracts. Flights and accommodation provided. Interviews to be held in London on 14th/15th August.” She closed the newspaper and got up.  “Want a cuppa?”
     I followed my friend into the kitchen, thinking that the interviews would be at the end of the week, in three days’ time.
     “Where d’you keep the biscuits, you bugger?  Hope you’re not still buying those Poptarts!” Carol was opening cupboards, rummaging.
     “There are some Jammy Dodgers in the cutlery drawer,” I told her.  The mention of Poptarts had brought back a momentary nostalgia.
     She eyed me and I eyed her back.
     “Are we going?” I asked.
     “Book it, Danno,” she said.

     We were not the kind of girls to pass up an opportunity like this.  We had been through university together and worked for Playboy in London, as blackjack dealers. After that, Carol had left England to sell encyclopaedias in Germany and had thrown it in after meeting a businessman at a party who offered her a job teaching English to Buddhist monks in the Himalayas.  I had gone on to work as a secretary in London at various establishments which were practised in the art of exploiting as little as possible of a person’s potential and where, at my lowest ebb, I had slavishly typed out legal contracts for solicitors who patronised both me and their clients.  Later, I had worked for a very nice family with a business just off Oxford Street, in a small office, up some rickety stairs, where I had learned all there was to know about high-tensile low-density bin bags (didn’t take long), including how to fold them and label them, before sending them off with a quote for anything from a couple of hundred to tens of thousands.   And, after just over a year of knowing that I didn’t want to be in plastic for the rest of my days, I had applied for and, to my utter amazement, been accepted by Queens’ College to do a postgraduate teaching certificate at Cambridge University.  I subsequently took up my first post in Milton Keynes, where I discovered that I was no good at controlling a class of secondary school kids who didn’t care about Keats, and I gradually came to realise that the next proper adventure was long overdue.  All I had needed was the return of my best friend and sparring partner.
Carol had descended from the mountains under slightly mysterious circumstances, which she refused to divulge, but which had probably involved some kind of extra-curricular activity with one of her students.  She had telephoned me to say that she wanted to come and stay for a while. So, with my probationary year as a very eager, but more or less ineffectual English teacher at Stantonbury Campus mercifully completed, and with no one begging me to stay, there was nothing to stop us, apart from fear of the unknown and crushing financial limitations.  We were in the market for some excitement and risk.  A teaching job in the Indian Ocean, with all expenses paid, seemed an opportunity too good to miss. 
     We looked up trains to London and, in the meantime, found out that the Seychelles was a group of volcanic and coral islands stuck in the middle of nowhere, with a language that was based on French, due to the fact that they had been colonised by… France.  Following this, the islands had been subjected to British rule, before gaining independence in 1976. I wondered vaguely whether we would be welcomed by the locals, until Carol pointed out that anything “we” had done to them was bound to be better than the treatment they would have received at the hands of our closest allies, the French, who, according to Carol, had used the inhabitants as slaves to work on their plantations and probably taught them to roll their ‘Rs’. 

I dialled the number in the advertisement and asked to be put through to Roseline Bananne.

All of the Bev and Carol adventures are stand alone books.  Chronologically, the order would be:
'One Summer in France' (free for one day only on 14th February)
'Bunny on a Bike'
'Stranded in the Seychelles'

Monday, 3 February 2014

A Groovy Education with Bev and Carol

Bev and Carol are chane Summer in France' and 'Bunny on a Bike'.
 Episode Eight

Astronomy practicals – Saturday 9.00am to 12.00am (shouldn't it be at night?).  Why did I choose this option? Maybe because only (obligatory) science subject that didn’t incite fear and knee trembling.

Bloody hard work/utterly fascinating (suspect some of it made up viz. ‘singularity’ – not falling for that one).  First assignment returned last week (Evidence supporting Big Bang),  B- Pleased with it. 

Walked in.  Raining.  Fluffy jacket killed.

Julian (study partner) worried I wouldn’t come.  Bounded up like giant poodle.  Nearly broke/choked me with fragrant hug. 

Dr. Maddison tolerant of bimbos and excessive makeup (Julian’s, not mine).

Today’s subject – star spectra.  Julian effervesced on spot. ‘So pretty!’ 

Looked for dark lines (absorption lines) on spectra (all colours of rainbow – Julian beside himself).  Difficult at first.  Categorising types of stars – not ideal Saturday morning activity.  Then EASY.  Hot ones, cool ones, red, blue, white.  Doppler Effect – LOVED it.  Considered changing degree course.

Prof BRILLIANT!  Dr. Ron Maddison  - friend of Sir Patrick Moore and ace teacher.
First person (apart from Dad) responsible for life-long interest in astronomy.

Carol’s for tea.  Only ever drank tea. Carol – infinity cups per day, strong and hot (tea).  Toast (must be hot/not burnt). 

Room similar to mine.  Bemoaned location off campus. 

Nosed into wardrobe.  Jumpers, jeans.  Lack of dresses.  Boots (sensible).  Scarves –mystery to me (still are).

Description of new buddy: bit taller than me (5’ 8”), bit slimmer than me (no measurements available/allowed), bigger nose than mine, bigger brain than mine.  Funny, (brash at times), easy-going, hard-worker, hater of literature, destroyer of pretensions. 

Talked.  Discovered: one year younger than me, from Devon, one sister, one brother, parents perfect (teachers), good at maths/physics.  No serious boyfriend (love of life, Marc, French, split up six months previously).

Invited Carol to Room following day for rice pudding fest (she has homemade jam).  Hooray!

Happy days.

To be continued…   

Bev and Carol are characters from my two (soon to be three) humorous memoirs.  See right side panel for direct links to Amazon.  'One Summer in France' and 'Bunny on a Bike'.