Tuesday, 11 September 2012

The Holy Grail of Writing

Monday the 10th of September was a special day in London for me. Not only was it my opportunity to join the thousands of fans cheering the Olympic champions, it was also my opportunity to see to see what I refer to as The Holy Grail of Writing. I went to The British Library, for the very first time, in London to see an exhibition called "Writing Britain".

From the Library's website.

From William Blake to the 21st-century suburban hinterlands of J G Ballard, Writing Britain examines how the landscapes of Britain permeate great literary works. Over 150 literary works, including many first-time loans from overseas and directly from authors: sound recordings, videos, letters, photographs, maps, song lyrics and drawings - as well as manuscripts and printed editions.

My reason to go to this exhibition was twofold. First was out of curiosity to visit the British Library, after all they hold first and second editions of my book, "Step by Step Guitar Making", and secondly and most importantly, I wanted to see the exhibits of successful writers notebooks. As a not-yet published author of novels I thought it would be inspirational to see how others, who precede me, went about putting down their thoughts and  ideas on to paper. I was so reassured as a writer when I saw, for instance this page of typescript, with corrections, from J G Ballard's "Crash". It could even be one of my pages of writing. 

This example, as are others, are photo'd from the book "Writing Britain" which I purchased when at the exhibition, paid full price for the hardback.

 These pages are from GK Chesterton's "Napoleon of Notting Hill", he wrote with pictures as well as words, the expressions on the faces tell a lot about the characters. In this notebook extract he is writing in pencil which probably allowed him to sketch and write at the same time without having to cart ink and pen around with him. The use of a pencil is unusual compared with the other exhibits that I saw which were written in black ink. This fact is also interesting as pencil manufacturing went back as far as 1565 in Cumberland and by 1662, though inferior to the British pencil, were being mass produced in Nuremberg.

Sketching with a pen wasn't a hindrance for John Betjeman. This is his sketch of Dalston station in London. The station was closed in 1986 and now, sadly, no longer exists. It was destroyed in the building of the East London Line extension which forms the new link from Dalston junction to Croydon.

There were at least one hundred exhibits of notebooks and pages from notepads on display. I used up two fountain pens worth of ink while taking notes on ten pages of A4 paper.

There was a policy of no photography in force and probably for a good reason, most of the writing could suffer from exposure to the light given off from camera flashes, which would have been necessary due to the very low levels of light. This in itself gave me a problem, till I get my new glasses I am reading with 1.5 eyes. The surgery on my right eye has been a success, even improved, unfortunately the doctor does't operate on spectacles.

Some observations about the writing on display, The older the writing the smaller and neater the writing. All written in ink, which probably obviated the use of pencil due to the required accuracy and readability of the prose. Maybe the possible cost of paper had an influence of the size of writing, some as small as our equivalent font size 4. The example of Charlotte Bronte's writing from "Shirley"  chapter 2, first page shows her perfect, almost copper plate, style of writing. No corrections or changes shown in the example. Compare that with the example from J G Ballard's example above.

Seeing a first-hand slice of  writing history, from Shakespeare to J K Rowling, has re-kindled the desire to continue with my writing. As I wandered round the exhibition during my two and a half hour visit I experienced one of those rare, "Coming Home" feelings, I truly believe I belong in the world of creative writing.

Tuesday, 4 September 2012

Hackin at the Hooptedoodle

The picture below is my first novel, working title,"A Rose for Ruth" and represents ten years of work.

Printed at 1.5 line spacing on A4 paper there are 547 pages and 150,881 words.

The first ten years were the easy part, I am now working on reducing the size of the MSS down to sub 120,000 words.

The real work will be to make what's left well punctuated, have no spelling mistakes and most importantly of all, be a good read.

Last week I visited with The No. 1 Writers' Publishing Agency. Kay advised me that most action adventure stories run up to 120,000 words. A quick press of the button on my computer revealed that my story had 150,881. What to do I wondered, especially since writers such as Jane Austin had used some of those very words, though not necessarily in the same order or quantity.

I looked again at random pages, beautiful prose I observed, (am I biased?) but what to cut and how? I have found Elmore Leonard's advice stark and simple, especially when he says that "readers skip through novels, but they won't skip dialogue", reassuring since when I first started writing, my good friend John, advised me to use dialogue to tell my story.
I subtracted 120K from 150K and saw how to go about it. I am 20% over target so the simple thing to do, initially, is to remove 20% from each chapter, but which of those beautifully crafted words to chop.
By now, most of you writers reading this will be shouting at the screen, dump the parts that have nothing to do with the progress of the story. Fair enough, but just as in black and white photography, when done correctly, can be beautiful, some current photo's of my grandsons for instance,  most people, with modern digital cameras, by default,  take photos in colour.
So, this brings me to the crux of the matter, how much colour to leave in the story and how do I blend the B&W with the Technicolour.
Comments are welcome.

Wednesday, 29 August 2012

Heathrow Airport 3rd Runway Red Herring

Here's the photo of what it's all about, forget London's Heathrow Airport and the fictitious third runway.

There never will be a third runway at Heathrow, or Boris island. It's all been about Gatwick and Its second runway all the time.

It's the typical method used by our modern governments. First they leak a plan, then deny it and before you know what's happening they've gone and done the deed anyway.

Compare the cost and upheaval of destroying all the roads, houses, hotels, car parks and businesses to build Heathrow's third runway. Also has anyone thought of where all those replacement businesses, car parks and hotels are going to go, in between the runways, I think not.


The millions of tons of spoil that will be dumped in the Thames to build Boris island, has anyone said where its coming from, or what environmental damage it will cost transporting the spoil to site.


The simple job of relocating the maintenance hangers at Gatwick and laying down a second runway. Why do you think most of those commercial buildings by the east end of the airport are lying vacant, have a look the next time you pass on the train.

Write to your MP now and demand a NO TO THE SECOND RUNWAY AT GATWICK. Do it now before it's too late.

Why do you think that the Prime Minister Mr Cameron is dithering, he doesn't want to be embarrassed by doing another "U" turn.

Thursday, 2 August 2012

A day in a Life Part 1

After 50 years of continuous employment, with rarely a 40 hour week worked, many of them were 60 hours and more, the great day finally arrived Thursday 26th of July 2012, I finally retired(supposedly, more in my next posting about this) and  by way of celebration I went to London for a cup of coffee. I took the 09.13 train from my local station, Pevensey and Westham, to London. It was the direct service to Victoria, but I didn't go direct to Victoria, instead I changed at East Croydon for the London Bridge service.

Originally I had planed to take the train from Pevensey & Westham and start my day at London bridge and Borough Market then go on to the V&A to look at the paintings of Constable and Turner then find a suitable place to have coffee and end the day at Byrons for a really good burger, a sunny day can change the plans of anyone and I was no exception.
At East Croydon I got off of the Victoria bound train and with stories of packed trains filling my mind, heading for London Bridge, I was pleasantly surprised to find I had almost a whole carriage to myself. However it did slowly fill the closer the train got to London Bridge, everyone seemed to be in the holiday spirit, so much nicer than the usual commuter crush.
I was bowled over by how many people were there to celebrate with me. Everywhere I went there were crowds of cheering people. At least that's what I thought till I found out that the crowds were there to be part of the Lumpick celebrations ( can't actually use the "O" word in case I get sued for copyright infringement) and I thought they were there to cheer me on, oh well it did enhance the atmosphere.

 This building is what greets the visitor to London Bridge station, it is the Shard, at 310 meters high it is currently the tallest building in London and the EU and is the 45th tallest building in the world.
I went to this patisserie for a cup of tea. I will admit it was the delicious strawberry tarts on display that caught my eye. To the right of the patisserie, in the green netting, is the new outbound/inbound through lines for London Bridge station, opening some time in 2018. In the picture I am working on chapter 11 of my detective novel "Poetic Justice", the first in my Jack Buchanan mysteries.
I didn't spend any time in Borough market as I had been there before and there was a lot I wanted to do, and I still hadn't had a cup of coffee.
Across the road from the patisserie was this unusual triangular glass structure. It sits on the site of former shops and offices, on the left in the picture you can just make out the outline of the new bridge. The glass structure is in actual fact an extension to Borough market, open to walk through on Saturday the 28th of July, or so I was told by one of the workmen on site.

Above is another photo of the new glass façade of Borough Market with its very fancy fixings for the glass. 
Over the next several years, the whole of the London Bridge Station complex is being re-developed. This building, reflected in the Shard, sits right beside the new lines in and out of the station. According to TFL, platforms 7 through 11 will be expanded by adding two new platforms as well as rebuilding the existing tracks and platforms, just as well by the looks of this picture, in the top plate most of the rivets have long since rusted out, note the gap in the two steel flanges below that are supposed to be riveted tightly together, wonder if there'll be a platform 13?
Walking over the real London Bridge I realized how quiet the City was. I had expected massive crowds of foreign visitors jostling shoulder to shoulder with City workers.

Walking across the river and looking south, down the Thames I was greeted by this site. I always thought that HMS Belfast was large, compared to the cruise ship she is quite small, yet perfectly formed.
There is a very detailed description of HMS Belfast and its history on the Wicipedia website,  http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/HMS_Belfast_(C35)

 Looking across the river, there is evidence of still more building work.This building is going up on 20 Fenchurch Street, it has the nickname of The Walkie Talkie Tower. It is set to go up to 35 floors, below is a link to a website that has some conceptual renderings of what the building will look like when complete,  http://www.skyscrapercity.com/showthread.php?t=321409

The photo, above right, shows a worker tying up the safety netting on the 18th floor, he just propped the ladder against the building frame and scooted up the ladder to tie off the safety netting. Not sure what was keeping him safe, hopefully he had a harness on at the time, 18 floors are a long way to fall.

By now I was starting to feel a little hungry so I walked over to Charles Street to this Pret A Manger shop and went in for a sandwich, tuna and cucumber with some sea salt crisps and a cup of tea, still no coffee. The reason I chose this Pret is that it is here where we used to eat when working in London. Next door at No1 Charles street is Gerling Insurance one of our customers when I ran our family IT business.

 From Pret I headed for St Katherine's docks and to see if the Tall Ship fleet was still there from the Queen's Jubilee celebration. On the way to the docks I took a detour into the church called All Hallows by the Tower. There was Bible exhibition and when I was there, a fantastic Organ recital.
St Katherine's dock was buzzing with activity, mostly business people having their normal two hour lunch. I wandered round the docs looking for a place to have the cup of coffee and a slice of chocolate cake. Everywhere I looked into had either coffee or cake but not together, not even Starbucks, pity as I do like their coffee. Disappointed I headed for the underground and the west end of London via Victoria Station.

This photo on the left was taken at 2.45pm and shows just how empty London Victoria was the day before the Lumpicks. One of our favorite places to eat in London is a Mexican restaurant just outside Victoria Station. The last time we went there we passed a patisserie that had lovely strawberry tarts on display in the window. I said we would come back after dinner for a coffee and tart, when we returned they were closed so I said to myself the next time I was in London I would come back for one, although this time i was after chocolate cake and coffee. Not quite the slice of cake I had in mind, the search goes on. I finished the day by heading over the Tottenham Court Road (and Byrons for a burger) via Buckingham  Palace not realizing that the Lumpic torch was due to pass by for a visit. Bit of a ho hum moment but did pass an amiable forty minutes talking to an Essex policeman about what it was like to be a modern day policeman. I finished off by taking the bus to the station and the train home.
This blog was completed with 1.5 eyes, almost. I had eye surgery Wednesday and due to the medication my right eye wont focus properly, doc says it will sort itself out when I complete the medications in three months!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

Friday, 6 July 2012

Poetic Justice Chapters 4 and 5

Especially for Collin, the master mandolin maker and he makes some fine guitars as well, here is chapters 4 and 5 of Poetic Justice.

CH 04

It was a wet and windy Monday, Buchanan's first day back to work after three days in hospital and a week to consider his situation. He drove into the staff car park and saw that his personal slot had been commandeered by Fergusson's BMW, so much for the gentle farewell, he thought. He parked in the visitor bay, went up the lift to the second floor and the staff canteen, he needed coffee.
On the way to the lift his path was blocked by a young PC. He was holding an empty beer glass, collecting for something thought Buchanan.
Buchanan lifted his coffee cup to his lips in an attempt to avoid reaching in to his pocket, but failed.
'What's it for,' he asked, dropping his loose change into the almost empty glass.
'Someone is leaving, works on the fourth floor; rumour has it the ACC is glad to be rid of the old duffer.'
Buchanan raised his eyebrows in surprise and asked, 'what's he done, this old duffer?'
The PC shrugged and said, 'not sure, only been told he's being put out to pasture.'
'What's his name?'
'Thanks sir,' he said looking disappointedly at the assortment of pennies and five pence pieces, 'I think his name is Buchanan; don't know his first name. Would you like to sign the card?'
Buchanan grinned, took out his Conway pen and selecting a nice open area on the card wrote, Will ye no come back again, best wishes, Jack Buchanan.
The young PC looked at the card then blushed and said, 'Oh it's you.'
'Aye laddie, it's me, an see ah get that money back.'
Coffee in hand Buchanan headed up the lift to the fourth floor and his office. Fergusson's feet were on his desk, his backside in Buchanan's chair.
'Your back,' said a startled Fergusson.
'Didny realise I'd gone,' replied Buchanan leaning against the door frame.
'The chief said I could have your office, said you were off down south.'
'The rumours of my departure are much exaggerated,' he replied.
            Fergusson got up and said, 'just remembered I have a meeting to go to.'
Buchanan put up his hand, shook his head and said, 'don't bother yourself, sit back down, I'll be away in the morning, just stopped in to get my briefcase. I'll find a hot desk down on the second floor if a need one.'
Fergusson sat back in the chair, relaxed, and asked, 'how's Karen?'
'She's fine, talked to her last night.'
'What's she say about you going down to Sussex?'
'She thinks its great news. Her mother lives just outside Dieppe and Dieppe is only a short ferry ride from Newhaven.'
'That's you scuppered then, she'll never want to come back up here to Glasgow.'
'I'm scuppered anyway, why do you think you've got my office and car parking space so quickly? It's like the lad downstairs said, I'm being put out to pasture; I'm an embarrassment to the division. Do you know what Karen called me?' he said laughing.
'I could come up with a few guesses,' said Fergusson.
'An anachronism in the 21st century—me,' Buchanan said pointing to his chest. 'The best DCI on the division, at least that's what the old duffer on the fourth floor said.'
Fergusson laughed and said, 'old duffer, that's a new one on me. Oh have you sorted out your accommodation down south yet?'
'Yes, Karen's sister owns a house in the marina. She and her husband are off working in Paris and won't be back for four months so we've rented the house till the summer.'
'Sounds perfect,' said Fergusson standing, ' but Jack, I really do have a meeting to go to.'
'Ok then, away you go, I'll see you around some time,' said Buchanan.
He listened to the sound of Ferguson's footsteps going down the hall. He took a slow look round his office, now Fergusson's he reminded himself, it had been thoroughly sanitised. Gone were his books from the oak bookshelf, now in cardboard boxes in the post room, waiting for a forwarding address, as was no doubt, the pictures of his passing out parade, along with his photo of him meeting the Prince of Wales. The photo of the Carrick, tied up at Clydeside still hung from the wall between the windows.
He shook his head, swallowed the last of his coffee, took a deep breath, screwed up the paper cup and threw it in the bin and thought, that's me, screwed up and tossed in the bin.
Buchanan walked slowly down the stairs to the second floor, changed his mind and headed for the car park.

CH 05

'Lew-is this is Lew-is,' intoned the conductor in a pleasant Edinburgh accent, 'please mind the gap between the train and the platform when alighting and make sure you take all your personal items with you when you leave the train.'
While the conductor continued with his ad hoc lecture on which platform for which train, Buchanan pulled his bags from the luggage rack, pushed through the throng of students getting on, and stepped out of the train and onto the platform.
Buchanan was told he would be met at the station, but as the train left for Eastbourne he was the only one left on the platform. He stood for a moment, wondering whether to go up the stairs to the booking office or down into the car park. He chose the car park; after all it was easier to go down the short flight of steps and they would just have to come and find him.
Five minutes later he saw a silver Mitsubishi Evo turn into the car park, head his way, and stop in front of him.
'Inspector Buchanan?' asked the tall, slim, female driver as she got out of the car, her long brown hair pulled back in a pony tail revealing a face that would look quite natural smiling out from of a copy of Vogue.
'Aye, and for your information lass, it's Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan.'
'Sorry sir, I'll remember that in future. I'm to drive you to headquarters, the ACC wants to have a word with you; I'll put your cases in the boot for you.'
'Thank you, I'll do the other case, it's heavy, and fragile,' he said picking up the smaller of the two cases. 'Nice car you've got there.' said Buchanan, stepping back to have a look.
Opening the boot and picking up the larger of his cases she said, 'and for your information, Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan, it's Detective Sergeant Street.'
'Oops sorry lass, I thought you were just a chauffeur.'
'No I'm not and this is your car, you've got it on loan from Traffic till you are finished with your investigation, I hope its good enough for you.'
'Point taken, sorry,' said Buchanan.
The sound of bottles clinking together could be heard as he carefully placed the other case in the boot.
It was a strange experience for Buchanan to be chauffeured to work. He could get used to this he thought, if it wasn't for the fact that he did enjoy driving and especially powerful cars like this one.
‘Please don’t touch sir, that’s the NPR computer,’ said Street as Buchanan reached over.
Street parked the car in a reserved slot and escorted him into the building, through security and up the lift to Assistant Chief Constable's outer office.
The secretary looked at her phone and said, 'Assistant Chief Constable Atkins is busy on the phone, would you take a seat.'
Looking round the room Buchanan realised there were certain benefits to higher ranks, one's own secretary, private office with carpets on the floor, even fresh flowers and if the view from the ACC's window was anywhere as good as from the secretary's then he might just be tempted to go for a promotion.
 He looked away from the view of the Cuckmere valley; his eyes settled on the roll of honour, photos of past Chief Constables, the only one he recognised was Henry Solomon, the only Chief Constable to be murdered on duty while interviewing a suspect. Buchanan's  face could be there on the wall one day he mused , then the thought of a rolled up trouser leg floated up into his consciousness and he shook his head, you daft auld bugger he thought, you don’t belong behind a desk.
Moments later the lamp went out on the desk phone and the secretary called through to say Detective Chief Inspector Buchanan had arrived. 
The ACC stood when they entered the room and walked round her ample desk to shake hands with Buchanan.
'Welcome to East Sussex Buchanan hope the flight down was comfortable, no turbulence?'
'Actually it was the 07.37 from Glasgow Central, I don't fly if I can avoid it; you get a much better breakfast on the train.'
Atkins smiled and thought, hmm, this is going to be interesting, hope we haven't made a mistake.
'Please, sit, let's talk.'
'I'll be waiting downstairs ma’am,' said Street.
Atkins nodded to her as she closed the door behind her.
'Fine girl that,' said Atkins, 'I'm sure you two will get along very well.'
'I work alone,' said a startled Buchanan.
'It might be the way things are done in Glasgow, but while you're working for me, you'll work as a team, do you understand?'
Buchanan nodded in agreement, no point in upsetting her at their first meeting, plenty of time to do that later.
'And another thing,' said Atkins, 'it's common knowledge that I'm being considered for promotion to the position of Chief Constable and having this mater of a dead DCI in the news is not good, especially since the government is hell bent on having the position of Chief Constable being an elected one.'
Through years of service in the police force Buchanan had learned that ranks above inspector spent most of their working day behind a desk, while as an Inspector, he had a virtual free hand in the field, and he wasn't intending to change his motus operendi now.
'What are your plans for the investigation Buchanan?' she asked.
He felt like saying, rounding up the usual suspects, but instead said, 'I'll read the case notes first, then set up an incident room and go from there.'
'I don't want you spending too much time on the dead woman; coroner says it was either an accident or suicide, stupid girl, should have watched where she was going.'
Buchanan's first reaction was to say something in defence of the dead woman but kept quiet while the ACC continued with her edict.
'The death of one of our own is another matter, saps the energy from the force, cripples moral, everyone spends the day looking over their shoulder wondering will they be next. What's needed is someone who can get to the core of the problem, not be deflected by innuendo or rumour, someone with a thick skin.
Anderson says you're the man for the job, and I trust his judgement. It won't be easy for you Buchanan; my people close ranks when trouble camps at the gate. In view of that fact I've sent a memo round telling everyone to extend whatever help you require.
We're well equipped here at HQ. You can have an office on this floor and there are a couple of rooms on the second floor to choose from for your incident room, both fully equipped with the latest technology, and of course there's the canteen on the ground floor.'
Buchanan was about to decline the offer but said instead, 'I would like to get settled in to my accommodation first and have a look around the scenes of crime before deciding what resources I will require.'
'Good man, I'll hear from you tomorrow afternoon then. Just give tech services a call and they'll set things up for you. Where are you staying?'
'I've taken a house on the marina, thought it might help to be close to the action.'
'Hmm, not sure that's wise, the drive along the A27 in the mornings and returning in the evening can take up to 40 minutes each way, two hours if there's an accident and Traffic close the road. It's the worst section of highway in the county, it's the main east west rout along the coast and at best you can't average more than 45 miles an hour during the day, no wonder industry is leaving Eastbourne.'
Oh dear, thought Buchanan.
'Have you signed the rental agreement yet, if not we'll find you somewhere here in Lewes, much closer to HQ,' she said.
Buchanan put on a suitable worried face, shook his head and said, 'Oh, if only I'd known before all the arrangements had been made, I can't cancel now.'
'Well it'll just have to be, I pity you though, I've driven that road before, you'll have to make an early start in the mornings to get here on time.
I'm giving you two PC's for the legwork, can't afford any more than that, I've got the new Amex stadium to look after now. Will there be anything else you require Buchanan?'
'No ma’am, four's a nice round number and should do nicely.'
'Right then,' she said standing and reaching out to shake his hand, ' good to meet you Buchanan, keep me posted on your investigations.'
Not bloody likely, thought Buchanan as he made his way to the stairs, no way was he ever going to commute to an office, he was an outside man, work the coal face, never polish your arse in a chair, his old sergeant in the Gorbals had said.
Buchanan smiled to himself at the memory as he walked down the stairs to collect the case notes. It was going to be an interesting evening, a new case, a new car, a new town, a new partner, now that was going to be very interesting indeed.

Tuesday, 24 April 2012

Weekend in London, and an evening with the Tyrones

What a lovely wife I have. For my birthday she treated me to a weekend break in London. We travelled up on the train and took the underground to Holborn and stayed at the The Doubletree Inn by Hilton. The room was at the back and was sold to us as being a quiet room. Well it was till about six thirty on Sunday morning when the laundry lorry showed up outside our window and started to unload the wire baskets with the clean laundry. The shower was excellent, very hot and plenty of water. The bed was extremely comfortable and Sunday morning breakfast was all you could eat, started at 0600am. I had grapefruit juice, scrambled eggs, toast, tea and marmalade finished off with a strawberry yoghurt. Nice addition to the hotel location was there is a Tesco mini market next door open till eleven at night, just perfect for a jug of juice.

 We managed to avoid the marathon by walking over to Goodge street and visited Pollocks toy museum. Several floors of antique toys catering mostly to the doll and teadybear afficenado.
Originally I  wanted to go to the London Toy Museum but that closed several years ago and all the toys went to China, another case of choose it or loose it, well our loss is their gain.
We spent the rest of the afternoon walking, yes I said walking up and down Oxford street, through Soho and ended up at our restaurant for our dinner. The food was hot and quite tasty and not overly expensive. I started with the soup, tomato with croutons and slivers of cheese, funny thing was it had a hint of Campbells about it. For the main I had salmon fish-cake, very tasty. I completed my meal, Nancy shared, a slice of cheesecake and a cappuccino. Nancy started with parma ham and rocket with sun ripened tomatoes and for a main she had Linguini and seafood.

Next it was off across the road to The Apollo Theatre to see Eugene O'Neil's play, Long Day's Journey Into Night. The cast was very good
and worked well together. What a roller coast of emotions I experienced as I watched a family I had never met go from strangers to people that I will never forget. It is a pity that today's society hasn't learned any lessons about drugs and alcohol and the insipid destruction it can bring.

Of course the highlight for me was to see David Suchet on stage acting the part of James Tyrone and the pièce de résistance was to go back stage after the show and meet David Suchet in person and have our picture taken with him, what a lovely man.

Sunday after breakfast we took the underground to Nottinghill gate underground and walked over to  the Museum of Brands, Packaging and Advertising, brought back lots of memories.

For lunch on Sunday afternoon we went to Byron's in Central St Giles. The service was given with a smile. The burgers are probably the best I have tasted outside the USA, I don't consider the greasy, shriveled up mess sold by the high street chains proper burgers. Try one at Byron's the next time you are up in the smoke, you'll be delighted. They have restaurants at several locations around the city.

Sunday, 26 February 2012

Poetic Justice Chapter 2 plus Chapter 3

CH 02
'Oh, you're awake Inspector Buchanan,' said the nurse.
'Whur am I?' asked Buchanan.
'You're in the Royal; you fell and hit your head.'
'How long have I been here?'
'Two days.'
'Geeze, two days, ma wife.'
'Not to worry, the hospital contacted her and told her it wasn't serious, you'd just bumped your head. I'll get doctor Aswan,' said the nurse.
She was back in four minutes with the diminutive Dr Aswan.
'How are we today Inspector Buchanan? '
'Ma heed feels like there's a bunch of Clydeside riveters on piecework bangin aroon in ther, what happened tae me?'
'That's what we hoped you'd tell us. You were found lying in a pool of blood on the floor of the men's toilets in Porters bar. Apparently you slipped and hit your head on the floor.'
'So it wasnae a dream then'' said Buchanan gingerly touching his bandaged scalp.
'We did a scan while you were unconscious,' said the doctor, 'don't worry, you have a thick skull, nothing wrong that a period of rest won't cure. We did have to staple your scalp back together though and that will be tender for several weeks.'
 'Whit aboot the pain in ma heed?'
'We'll give you something for that,' said the nurse as the doctor moved on to his next patient.
'A wee dram would go down nicely,' said Buchanan, pleading.
'This is the Royal Infirmary inspector, not your local'.
'Pity,' replied Buchanan closing his eyes.
 'Inspector Buchanan,' said the nurse waking him from his afternoon nap, 'there's someone here to see you,'
'Good afternoon Buchanan.'
Buchanan opened his eyes and focussed on the uniform that was Assistant Chief Constable Anderson.
'Good afternoon sir, sorry I can't stand to attention, layin doon is the best I can achieve.'
'What on earth happened man; my best DCI found laying on the toilet floor in a pool of blood, and drunk to boot—and two dead men in the street under a police car? Every five minutes the Chief Constable's on the phone wanting to know just what the hell is going on, the newspapers are having a field day, and I've got to give a news conference in front of the cameras this afternoon.'
Anderson walked over to the window, looked down to Warnock Street and smiled, a harried TV crew were arguing with a traffic warden.
'Do you realise,' he said to Buchanan while continuing to watch the street spectacle, 'I've got just four months to go to retirement and me with an unblemished record.'
'It wasny ma fault.'
'No—so whose front teeth were spattered on the toilet floor then?'
Buchanan said nothing for a moment, and then said, 'they were lookin at pictures on a mobile phone.'
'That's not a crime; my grandchildren are on theirs, texting, all hours. I'm sorry Buchanan, but I've got no choice, the press are baying for blood and I need a scapegoat.'
'And am it, do you know who those two shites were?' said Buchanan grasping for a straw.
'Who, the men under the police car—no—forensics are still working on it.'
'One was Davie Shelton, can't remember the name of the other one.' said Buchanan.
'Shelton, that name rings a bell, wasn't he the child molester, got off the charge if I remember rightly, had a good solicitor?'
'Randal, that's who the other bastard was, he was Shelton's lawyer,' said Buchanan, sitting up in bed, momentarily forgetting the pain in his head.
'Well,' said Anderson rubbing his hands together, 'this puts a different light on the matter. All the same we can't have you wandering around being ambushed by the press.'
Anderson looked at his watch; 'right, I've got to go back to headquarters. First thing, must get forensics to confirm the identities and then, oh and then, I think a discrete leak to the press before the press conference and finally, to find somewhere to hide you till this all blows over. Oh, by the way, how is Mrs Buchanan?'
'She's fine.'
'Does she know about your injury?'
'Apparently the hospital has called her and said there was no need to rush home.'
'Where is she?'
'In France, she's visiting her mother; as soon as my head clears I'll give her a call.'
'Great, I'll be off, and Buchanan, good work.'
Anderson walked of muttering to himself, 'two paedophiles off the street, that's one for the good guys.'
CH 03
Suitably anesthetised, Buchanan sat up in his hospital bed and watched the televised news conference. Anderson had stage managed the situation brilliantly. The identities and histories of the two men had been leaked to the press prior to the news conference, so instead of the police actions, Buchanan's in particular, being the focus of the press's attention, it was instead the activities of Felton and his lawyer that took the brunt of the questions.
Anderson, with a grave look on his face, announced that their mobile phones had been located and Anderson was able to confirm that there were indecent photographs of children contained in both of the phones memories, and as such would have been enough to get both men convicted and sent to jail for a long time.
Pressed for confirmation of the name of the injured policeman, Anderson said his name was being withheld till he had recovered from his injuries and all police enquiries were complete.
Three hours later Anderson was seated at Buchanan's bedside.
'You watched the news conference?' asked Anderson.
'Yes,' said Buchanan smiling, 'it went off quite well I thought.'
'I thought so too. The press are after you though; you won't have any peace when you get out of here.'
'How did they find out my name?'
'Guesswork and a pub full of Rangers supporters?' said Anderson.
'Ah, I forgot about that; who won by the way?'
'Haven't a clue, golf's my game, ever play it?'
'Me, chase a wee ball round the green, never.'
'That's a pity, it's a great way to network and meet the right kind of people.'
'Am not rolling up my trouser leg for anyone,' said Buchanan indignantly.
Anderson shook his head and said, 'you don't understand, how are you ever going to get promoted if you don't mix with the right people?'
'Listen, am a policeman first, the only people I mix with are honest criminals, it's those people that think they are above the law that I stay away from.'
'I'm sorry you take it that way, but if you ever change your mind, all you have to do is ask.'
That'll be a snowy day in hell, thought Buchanan.
'Right, down to business,' said Anderson. 'We've had a talk at headquarters; you said your wife's mother lives in France?'
'Yes, just outside Dieppe, why, you're not sending me on sick leave, are you?'
'No, of course not, we've got something better in mind,' chuckled Anderson, 'we've arranged for you to be seconded to East Sussex.'
'East Sussex?' said a worried Buchanan.
 'Yes, East Sussex division has a problem, a woman's body was fished out of Eastbourne Harbour last month and their senior DCI was found in his car just last week.'
'Asleep, or was he drunk?'
'None of those, he was in his car when it was pulled from the same harbour.'
'Are they related, the deaths that is?'
'That's what their Internal Affairs wants you, if you accept the secondment, to find out.'
'What choice do I have?'
'Disciplinary hearing, your record being leaked to the press, career finished.'
'I'll go home and pack my bags.'
'I thought you'd see sense.'
'Don't they have someone in house that could take care of it though?'
'They were going to get someone from the Met but he came down with measles.
The ACC and I go back many years, last week she told me she was looking for an outsider to take over the investigation, felt an outsider would get better results.'
'And that's how I come to get volunteered?'
'That and the fact that Shelton had friends in high places, I thought it would be good for your health to get some sea air—do you understand where I'm coming from?'
'Let me stay here, I'll sort it out.'
'No, we have a team already working on the case, almost ready to make arrests, in fact your presence could jeopardise the whole investigation, that's why we need you out of the limelight.'
'Two birds with one stone, eh?'
 'Knowing how you work Buchanan; I really think you're the man for the job, except for one thing.'
'And what's that?'
'You're use of English, or should I say Glaswegian. If you want to get ahead down south, you'll have to moderate how you speak, they don't provide interpreters for staff.'
Buchanan smiled, nodded his head and thought to himself; the same old bullshit.