Charlie's latest newsletter

Jul. 21st, 2017 08:23 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
A real milestone for the Cochranes this week when our youngest girl graduated from University. I have to confess that tears were shed among the smiles. Don’t tempus blooming fugit?


The big news is that “Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour” is now available for pre-order,  with a release date of August 14th. At present, it’s only going to be out as an e-book as it’s novella length, but here’s a question: would any of you lovely lot be interested in a print version? Please let me know, as I’m gauging interest.

I keep being asked when the first eight Cambridge Fellows books will be available again, but at present I don’t have a definite date. Books 9 through 12 are still out, from Riptide, (you can buy all four at a discount) and book one is in audio version. And don’t forget there is a pile of free Jonty & Orlando stories (among others) at my website.

If you’re in the Sussex area, and you fancy coming and annoying me, I’ll be at the Meet the Authors event on the afternoon of August 9th, at the Selsey Centre. The Deadly Dames will also be appearing at a U3A event in Selsey later in the year. No comments about how that’s the right age range for us! We’re also putting our Damely feelers out for appearances in 2018. More news when we have it.

And finally, en route to the graduation, we stopped in Sidmouth. Stunning flowers!


A new Cambridge Fellows story!

Jul. 19th, 2017 07:42 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
I'm delighted to announce that Jonty and Orlando have started to talk to their official biographer (me) once more, having been annoyingly silent these past couple of years. And, in their loquacious manner, they've told me one entirely new story and are bending my ear with another. These will, I hope, be the start of a series of novella length mysteries.

The first Cambridge Fellows Mystery short is 'Lessons in Loving thy Murderous Neighbour' and it's available for pre-order now with an August 14th release date. I'll be blethering on about it between now and then but for the moment here's the blurb:

Jonty Stewart and Orlando Coppersmith like nothing more than being given a mystery to solve. But what happens when you have to defend your greatest enemy on a charge of murder?


New Release – Waters of the Deep

Jul. 17th, 2017 10:10 am
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[personal profile] alex_beecroft
Like busses, no matter how much I try to schedule releases so they’re regular, it always ends up with a long time of nothing and then a glut, so coming soon we have: Foxglove Copse and Heart of Cygnus Five, followed at a distance by Pride of Cygnus Five and Contraband Hearts.

However, today is the release day for Waters of the Deep

Charles and Jasper are brought in to investigate a fatal stabbing in (the cotton-mill town of) Paradise. But this time the only troublesome ghost in the case is their own adopted child Lily. So what’s leaving the glistening trail in the woods? Why did the vicar’s daughter suddenly kill herself? And what is happening to the extra cow?

This is the second novella length story in my Unquiet Spirits series:

  • Buried With Him – short story,
  • The Wages of Sin – novella
  • Communion – short story
  • Waters of the Deep – novella

Charles and Jasper have been living together for a while, having moved in to Jasper’s house and adopted the ghost girl, Lily. They’ve made a name for themselves as the people you call in to investigate when disasters happen that seem to have supernatural elements. But domesticity has been wearing on Charles, especially when he is ridiculed in the public papers for it, and it may take a murder or two to save their relationship.


If you haven’t read the previous stories in the series and you would like to get them for free, sign up for my newsletter

You’ll receive links for Buried With Him, The Wages of Sin (including Communion) and two other novels for free:


My Newsletter

Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

Rainbow snippet - Awfully Glad

Jul. 16th, 2017 07:50 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Here's a snippet from Awfully Glad, which concerns what happens to a certain WWI concert party performer when he hangs up his girdle.

“Mr. Hines, isn’t it?”
“Sorry, I was miles away.” Sam came up from daydreams of men he’d known in khaki—and fancied seeing out of it—to find his new client, Browne, hovering.
“I hope you don’t do that when you’re tending my little flock of investments.” Browne smiled, dark eyes flashing.
“I promise I always have my mind entirely on the job when it’s supposed to be.” Sam indicated the empty chair at his table, manners taking precedence over the small voice in his head with its question about what Browne was doing here. “Will you join me?”
“Why not?” Browne parked himself, then beckoned a waiter over. “What are you having?”
“Another glass of claret, I think.” Food and the club would have to wait. “I’ve not seen you here before,” Sam added, once the order was in.
“No, not my usual stamping ground. My father used to come here a lot, which is why I avoided the place. No,” Browne added, rather hastily, “it wasn’t like that. We got on very well. Just both had our own lives to lead outside of home.”
“Quite. Very sensible.” Sam wondered what stories lay behind that arrangement.

Plenty more excerpts at the Rainbow Snippets group.

Awfully Glad final cover small

5 Reasons to love the 18th Century

Jul. 16th, 2017 06:20 pm
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[personal profile] alex_beecroft

My new novella, ‘Waters of the Deep‘ is coming out tomorrow.

It’s a gay historical supernatural murder mystery set in the 18th Century, and I’ve noticed that when I say this to people they generally reply “oh, right; the Regency period.”

While I would certainly like to read Pride and Prejudice, the GBLT version – where Darcy and Bingley end up together – the Regency is very different in terms of dress and social mores from the 18th Century proper.  The French revolution 1789-1799 may have lasted only 10 years, but it made a huge impact on the culture of the time.  In Britain, at least, society became much more anxious, much more inclined to self-discipline and morality, self restraint and prudishness – as if by being conventionally virtuous they could stop the same thing from happening there.

Before the French Revolution, British society had been noisy, bumptious, rude and confident.  You see a glimpse of it in Jane Austen with all those crass, vulgar, big-hearted old people who embarrass their more refined children and grandchildren.  In Patrick O’Brien’s series of sea-faring novels set in the Napoleonic era, Jack Aubrey’s father, who damages Jack’s prospects of promotion by being loud and annoying in parliament, and damages Jack’s prospects of inheritance by marrying his chambermaid, is also a nod to the livelier, cruder days of the 18th Century proper.

Five reasons to Love the 18th Century.


  1. Start shallow and work up 😉 The clothes! This was probably the last period in history when men were allowed to be as gorgeous as women.

This is the era of the poet-shirt with the big baggy sleeves and the neckline down to the navel, with or without ruffles or lace, as you prefer.  Rich men wore multi-coloured silk outfits with wonderful embroidery, contrasting waistcoats and knee breeches with fine silk stockings underneath.  Poor men wore the classic highwayman/pirate outfits complete with tricornered hats.  Did you know that a good calf on a man’s leg was considered such a desirable form of beauty that some men stuffed calf-enhancers made of cork down there?

  1. Pretty deadly gentlemen. The nice thing about all this male peacock display is that it could not be taken for a sign of weakness. All these gorgeously plumed lads had been training to fence and fight and ride and shoot since they were old enough to stand up.  Ever seen ‘Rob Roy’ where Archie Cunningham slices and dices Liam Neeson as Rob Roy, while wearing an immaculate ice-blue waistcoat and extravagant Belgian lace?

There’s something very attractive about a class of men with Archie Cunningham’s ruthless intelligence, masterly swordfighting skills and love of expensive tailoring, but with the ‘evil bastard’ gene turned down a little.  One of my heroes in the Unquiet Spirits series – Charles Latham – teeters on the edge of that refined man of honour/dangerous sociopath divide.  He is less murderous than simply spoiled, privileged and entitled, but at times it’s a struggle not to want to box his ears. Bless him.

  1. Science!

For the first time in history ships and the provisioning of ships had advanced to the point where navigation was relatively reliable.  Enough food and water could be stored aboard so that voyages could continue for months or even years at a time.  From the perspective of the West, this was an age of exploration and discovery, when the old superstitions of the past were for the first time being investigated to see how much was true about them. In Jasper and Charles’s world they are rather more true than in our own.

  1. Filth, pamphlets and pornography.

Unlike Jane Austen’s time, when a well brought up young woman could be horrified by the idea of acting in a play, or writing to a young man who was not her fiancé, the 18th Century was much more… robust.  Filthy, in fact.  Literally filthy – streets full of horse manure and dead dogs, through which live cattle were lead to slaughter at the markets every morning (sometimes escaping to break into banks and terrorise the bankers).  But also redolent with filthy language; swearing, f’ing and blinding, referring to a spade as a spade, and various bodily functions by their Anglo-Saxon names.  The 18th Century style of vocabulary in a gentleman’s coffee house would be too crude for me to subject refined persons of the 21st Century to.  But because of this overabundance of filth you do also get a great sense of vitality and humour, of people who are unashamed and determined to squeeze the last particle of enjoyment out of the world.  People who cannot be cowed.  Their pornography reflects this; bumptious but strangely innocent (or perhaps just plain strange.)  Very much not safe for work link:

5. The Gay Subculture.

By the early 18th Century urbanization had reached a point in London that there were enough gay people in one place to begin to recognise each other and form a subculture of their own.  There were well known cruising spots such as the Inns of Court, Sodomite’s Walk in Moorfields or Birdcage Walk in St. James’ Park.  The technical term for homosexual people at the time was ‘sodomites’ but they called themselves ‘mollies’, and there were molly houses where they could go to meet up and ‘marry’.  Famous mollies like ‘Princess Seraphina’ – a London butcher – spent a great deal of time in drag.  He seems to have been accepted into his community without a lot of fuss, as there are records of him dropping round to his female neighbours’ houses to have a cup of tea and borrow their clothes.

I really recommend Rictor Norton’s ‘Mother Clap’s Molly House’ as a great guide to that culture; scholarly but easy to read, generous and fascinating.  So fascinating I had to set at least one of my stories around a fictional molly house in Bermuda.  That’s Desire and Disguise, in the ‘I Do’ anthology, in which an unwary straight guy stumbles into the house by accident and gets a little more than he bargained for.  You might also be interested in this ‘choose your own adventure’ site:

Mother Clap’s molly house, you’ll be relieved to know, was so called because it was run by a gay friendly lady called Margaret Clap, not because that was something you were likely to get there!

In short, the 18th Century in which the Unquiet Spirits series was set could not be more different than the prim and refined era of the Regency novel.  I can’t offer a comedy of manners, only a fair degree of lust and violence, badly behaved ghosts, bad language, and dangerous men in gorgeous clothes. But if you enjoyed The Wages of Sin, this is both more of the same and something a little bit different. I hope you enjoy it!


Mirrored from Alex Beecroft - Author of Gay Historical and Fantasy Fiction.

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The answer to that and other questions is over at my Elm Books interview. Better still, Undeath and the Detective (including my short story, Secrets) is among the books on offer this month at Smashwords.


Guest author George Loveland

Jul. 15th, 2017 12:24 pm
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So delighted to have George here today on the eve's eve of his release day for Up in the Air.

When you were last at my blog we chatted about watching your first story fledge. What does it feel like this time round?

Scarier! I was published in Anthologies before, so I didn't feel the pressure because there were other stories around mine. This time it's just me, so I am excited but scared to see what people will think. This story is also the first in a series, as I knew I wanted to write more about the guys. So I have a whole series planned which features the two main characters in this novella, James and Darren, and then the next story out will be James' best friend, Max and his adventures.

What do you think you've learned since you were first published?

I've learnt to stand up for my characters and story, but also listen to the feedback I receive. I've been very lucky to work with great editors and beta readers who've helped me strengthen my writing. Each time I get edits and comments back I read through them, let them settle then go back to read them again. I'll admit to scoffing at some things, but then appreciating the changes suggested. I've also been adamant at keeping things that feel right to me, not just because I want them there, but because it will be more relevant to the story later on.


What inspired the latest book?

This story came from an exercise in a NaNoWriMo book called 'Ready, Set, Novel'. I had to write a list of 20 items that I loved, then pick three out of a hat. I picked flying, kissing and mountains. I've flown a lot for my job to Johannesburg, and the idea of a passenger nearly missing a flight and then falling for an air steward came to me.

Did you know where 'Up in the Air' was going from the start or did it take an unexpected turn?

This story, and the subsequent stories in the series, have been in my mind for years. So the general plot has been there and I knew what was going to happen. However the journey the characters take has often led me to wonder who the writer is. They go their own way sometimes and I love how things evolve. Sometimes they do things I don't want them to, but I usually let it flow and see what happens. What I've discovered is that when something doesn't work in one place, it will usually work in another area of the story, so the characters usually get their own way.

Have you ever been writing and discovered something totally unexpected about one of your characters?

In this story, there's a scene in the hotel restaurant at breakfast, where at the end Darren said something which had me chuckling. It also showed another side of him which I hadn't expected to see. It was sweet and made me love him even more.

Which book do you wish you'd written and why?

Oh my gosh - I don't know if I could. I love to read and one of the things writing has taught me, is to appreciate how much goes into writing a book and the author's themselves. That said, The Signs of the Zodiac series by Vicki Petterson would be one! She is an amazing writer and the world she created is so rich, I'd love to have her talent and written those stories. Also, Sean Kennedy and his Tigers and Devils series, I've read them countless times and love the characters and world he has built too.

Have you got a secret you'd be willing to share?

I think I am quite open, and I probably post more on Facebook than I should! How about I was the boys dancing champion back in the day ... I think I was seven or eight. I remember looking around my competition and watching them copying me, which didn't make sense. However, I won and I still have the photo - somewhere! I wore this red trouser and white shirt combo my mum made me! I looked fab!

Thanks for dropping by, toots, and good luck with the book!


Musings on mum

Jul. 15th, 2017 02:02 am
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[personal profile] busarewski
Here I am again, almost five months later. Mum died on February 19th, she took her last breath at the hospital, with me and my sister by her side. Life became so much emptier when she left us. She never did regain consciousness after those last words to me in the living-room on the 18th of February - "Det blir bättre" - "det blir bättre".. it's mum in a nutshell, but how can it get better? Time pass, and now it's not everyday that I start crying because I see or hear or find something that reminds me of her, it's not even every week, but then something happens, and the loss is there. The realization that I will never speak with mum again, that she won't answer, even if I will continue to talk to her.. 

I logged on to livejournal for the first time since mum died and went back and read old posts. So very few were tagged "mum" even if she was mentioned in many more. Dad's illness came and took over, he was, and is, always the one that got the most attention. But mum was always there, and she was our steady rock, the one that fixed everything, that made life bearable, that made the house beautiful, the one who got all my literary talk, who finished my sentences, and who had the best laugh ever. How on earth will we be able to celebrate Christmas this year? she was so ill last year, and she didn't really manage to do her usual stuff, but she was THERE, she sat in the sofa, and we got our hugs.. it was terrible to have Easter and Midsummer without her. Mum's and dad's wedding day passed and we could only be happy that they got to celebrate their 40th anniversary last year.All these special days that now will have to be remembered in another way..

In some ways it's been extra good that we still have dad to take care of.  We haven't been able to wallow in sadness, which at least I probably would have done otherwise. Dad misses mum a lot, but I think he was more prepared than we were, since mum apparently talked to him several years ago. In hindsight I can see that some of his anxiety over where mum were probably came from this. But sometimes I think he forgets that she's gone. And it feels terrible to have to tell him she isn't here. 

I haven't been able to write about mum's death until now, and it still feels inadequate and quite strange to make this post. But I think I need to try to write about it a bit more. Mum, and life after mum. The strange sensation I had in the weeks just after her death of someone touching my feet to wake me up in the middle of the night, and then waking up and hearing dad crying. Mum continues to look out for him, and her love is around inside us. Finding old postcards with her handwriting. Bickering with my sister over what to save and what to throw away. Not being able to make those decisions so instead putting quite a lot of mum's stuff in boxes in the attic instead. Crying tonight when we watched Father Brown and they sang Christmas carols, since I realized I'd never visit St Andrew's Anglican church with mum for their carol singing at Christmas again..

So many small things that just won't happen again. 

In mum's obituary we quoted one of her favourite poems by Emily Brontë, it's mum for me in so may ways:

No coward soul is mine
No trembler in the world´s storm-troubled sphere
I see Heaven´s glories shine
And Faith shines equal arming me from Fear

Selsey Meet the Authors

Jul. 14th, 2017 07:41 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Looking forward to the afternoon of Wednesday 9th August - Meet the Authors at Selsey Centre. If you're nearby, do come and say hello.
charlie_cochrane: (Default)
[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
this recent one for Awfully Glad made me very happy:

The amount of information and the depth of plot in this short story is remarkable--a Charlie Cochrane specialty that draws you in an doesn't let you go.

Awfully Glad final cover small


Want to win a copy of Tumble Turn?

Jul. 12th, 2017 02:12 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Then nip over to RJs release event where she's got a load of guests bearing gifts. Comment here with the name of your fave sportsman for a chance of winning a copy of my Olympic swimming romance Tumble Turn.


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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
At Twickenham, there's a painting based on a photo of the England rugby team just pre-war. The red roses of those who died have been greyed. One of these chaps (scrum cap in the back row, I think) is Arthur Harrison, or - to give his rank - Lieutenant Commander Arthur Leyland Harrison VC.


That VC was posthumous, gained in the raid on Zeebrugge, which he'd volunteered for. A notice pinned at Scapa Flow had asked for single, athletic men to put their names down for 'a show' and Harrison had taken up the challenge. He was killed leading his men along a parapet under machine gun fire; that wonderful lantern jaw had already been smashed by a shell.

The state of the tooth

Jul. 10th, 2017 04:37 pm
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[personal profile] aunty_marion
It's a goner. Well, that was what I expected. Sat in the dentist's waiting room for over an hour, with my word games book and my knitting. Called in, sat down, she took a look and said there was nothing there to have anything done to. Also, the one behind it, which has been root-canalled, has a cavity appearing, which will need to be fixed. She's arranging me a referral to somewhere that does extractions under sedation (which they don't, and which I need), which will be some time in the next 6-8 weeks. Also, I have an appointment in August to have the cavity re-filled, which I hope will not lead to *that* tooth also collapsing.

I spoke to her about ... *whisper it* dentures. Apparently I'll need to give the extraction between 3-6 MONTHS to heal, and then (assuming no other teeth have collapsed in the meantime) I'll be due for a checkup anyway, and we can discuss the possibility of filling a gap or two. It would be nice to have molars again.

So I went into Iceland on the way home, and bought more eggs (easy to eat), a pack each of sandwich thins and sourdough crumpets (soft bready stuff, sigh), and some half-price triple-choc-chip cookies. And then because I only had a cup-a-soup for 'lunch', I've had 2.5 frankfurters and a fried egg for Fud, and am following that with a cookie.

I tell you, teeth are one of the worst-designed parts of the human body. Why can't we just grow extra teeth like sharks do?

Rainbow snippet - Broke Deep

Jul. 9th, 2017 07:57 pm
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[personal profile] charlie_cochrane
Been a while since I posted done of these; must get back into better habits. Here's a bit of flirting from Broke Deep.

“Come in, you bloody idiot.”
“Do I still deserve a cup of tea? I’m parched.” Dominic dumped his bags in the hallway.
“I’m not sure you do, after that remark about how I look. I’ve been working hard to make myself presentable.” That was a lie, a flirtatious lie; Morgan felt strangely elated.
“You don’t need to work at that. You’d be presentable at three o’clock in the morning, stumbling out of a club and into the gutter.”
“I’m not sure that’s a compliment, either.” Morgan rolled his eyes. “But I’ll take it.”
“I seem to be talking myself out of that cup of tea.” Dominic hung his head in mock shame.
“You are such a plonker.” Morgan ushered them into the kitchen, before busying himself with kettle and pot and all the paraphernalia. “Did you get anything to eat last night?”

Read more excerpts at the Rainbow Snippet group.

Herewith, a list of sorts.

Jul. 9th, 2017 12:49 pm
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[personal profile] aunty_marion
Item: A ST:TNG pin badge. No sound effects (or transporter function), alas. (Keep?)

Item: Two ST:TOS (?) trading cards - Sciences Insignia, and Vulcan Idic. (Keep?)

Item: A plastic pouch for, I assume, some sort of pills - blue, says Tenormin Atenolol Tablets 100mg Calendar Pack on it, two pockets inside. Never taken that, so I can only assume I acquired it when I was on The Pill, and used it as a carry case... (Bin.)

Item: (or rather, Items) Passbooks for my various Halifax accounts, starting with the earliest one, opened in 1974 where the entries are handwritten! I think there should have been one prior to that, as I had the account before then; it was opened by cashing in my National Savings Certificates, bought for me by (I think?) Granddad Beet when I was a baby. Most of what went in on the first page, at least, is interest - I was getting an insane amount by today's standards! e.g. Balance (as at 31 January 1975) £356.02, interest on July 31 1975 £13.04! I wonder why I had to withdraw £150 in July 1979? I assume that's the one that's become my Halifax current account; balance entirely transferred 'out' in July 1991. Three passbooks for that one, then another three starting in 1992 with the opening of an account into which the first deposit was my redundancy cheque from CA - started as a 90-day Extra account, then became a 'Solid Gold' (when Halifax and the Leeds combined, I think?). That seems to have been closed down (or transferred to another current account?) in April 2002; it looks as though I transferred quite a bit of money out of it into, I believe, the ISA I had around then. And one book for a 7-Day Extra account, from 1984 to 1989. No idea what happened with that one; again, it may have been transferred to another account or combined with one. I suppose I could dig out a bank statement or two and see if any of the numbers on any of these passbooks correspond... (Also a letter about opening a current account, but I can't tell which one easily.) ETA: And in looking for other passports, I found the ISA passbook too. I closed that down, I know.

Item: Old Blood Transfusion Service booklet, with certificates from 1973 to 1997. Might keep that.

Item: Letter from Blood Donor Service to confirm that if I had my ears pierced by my GP, I could carry on donating. Had them done (according to note by GP at the bottom!) in January 1997.

Item: MY BIRTH CERTIFICATE! Well, I should definitely hang on to that. And put it somewhere safe, preferably somewhere where I remember where it is... Short form? "I, {Morris Thomas Clark} (? handwritten in copperplate!!! Could be Church or Glunk, or something...) Registrar of Births and Deaths for the Sub-district of [stamped] LINCOLN do hereby certify that the above particulars have been compiled from an entry in a Register in my custody. Witness my hand this {27} day of {January} 19{54}." Also, apparently, "Sex" = {Girl}.

Item: Letter from Mum, postmarked 27 Sep 1982, written to me after Pat and I took rather impromptu leaves from work to go and look after Grandma Beet, after she was discharged from hospital following a fall or stroke (I forget...) and Aunty W refused to have anything to do with her, and Mum and Dad were on holiday abroad. Sentimental value.

Item: Documentation regarding entries into and closure of (I think?) my PO savings bank account (which at the time probably was National Savings? Certainly all the paperwork says National Savings on it. 1973 to 1994.

Item: Somewhat melodramatic letter from sister about husband's work situation, 1988. I think that can be shredded.

Item: (Oh, this is a good one...) Old passports. My first full one, issued in 1972 (British Passport, navy, occupation: Student); second full one, 1982-92 (British Passport, black, occupation: Typist); third full one, 1997-2007 (European Community, red, machine-readable). Did I not have a passport for five years, then (92-97)? Elsewhere I have the last full one, November 2005 to August 2016 (I overlapped to temporarily avoid biometrics, I think), and the current one. I might post photos of the pictures somewhere at some point... I don't seem to have the first temporary one I had while I was at school, though.

Also found in check for other passports:

Item: Premium Bonds. I know where those are, and I have a note of my holder's number so I can check them occasionally. (Just checked now, and no win. As usual.)

Item: Various Inland Revenue documents.

Item: 'Medicard' booklet, supposed to be kept to show hospital treatments, inoculations, medications, etcetera etcetera etcetera. Now hideously out of date, but it has got dates of my childhood vaccinations, so I might keep it.

Item: Various optical prescriptions going back ... years. To the 1980s, anyway. I should put those in an envelope. (I think the most current is in my handbag.)

Other odds and sods I don't think it's worth keeping - physiotherapy appointments at a hospital that no longer exists? NatWest folder for chequebooks without stubs?

Adventures in trouser-patching

Jul. 9th, 2017 11:37 am
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[personal profile] aunty_marion
My nice cotton summer trousers are mostly beginning to fall apart. (They're all coming apart at the top of the inside leg seams!) And I can't get any more, they don't seem to be being made; the last 2 pairs I got from the little clothes shop on Junction Road, where I got all the cotton ones, are more viscose than cotton. Adequate, but not as nice. Though they do have POCKETS.

Anyway. So I had a brainwave, and thought about patching them. The first pair I did was the dark brown ones; couldn't find a perfect match, but I did find some reasonably dark brown, rather poplin-y, fabric, which seems to have worked OK. So then I tackled one of the pairs of mid-blue trousers, and for that I found what seems to have been a strip cut off the bottom of a skirt or dress, back when I was making clothes, to shorten said garment to the right length. Again, a poly-cotton, slightly crisper than the trousers, but fine.

Now, this weekend I've been wearing one of my pairs of beige trousers. I think this is the pair I accidentally spilled wood dye (or something?) on, which mostly washed out, but I deemed them unfit to wear to work; of course, now I'm not working, they're just as good as the other pair... But they are beginning to disintegrate in the usual places.

I thought about sheeting - I do have some old sheets around, that were worn too thin in the middles but would do for patching/mending/costumes, one of which at least has already been cut up; and I think one that's a single sheet that's *just* too small to tuck nicely round my mattress topper (I have a four-foot bed, so a single sheet often fits OK round the mattress topper pad!). I dug those out, but none were the right colour. Bother, thought I.

...And then I had a brainwave. I pulled out the entire top drawer of my bedside cupboard, which houses HANKIES. (And a few other things, of which more later.) I have hankies of all colours and designs (and shapes, occasionally...), and at the back I discovered two old men's hankies (bought for when I had more frequent streaming colds). One is off-white (it may have *been* white originally, but certainly isn't now), the other has a brown stripey border and a beige centre, and is a very good match, colour-wise! It's perhaps not quite as firm fabric as the trousers, but it will certainly do to keep them going this summer, and maybe next. So that's something I can do this afternoon before they go in the wash.

Also, while drawer-excavating, I found: several old savings-account books (expired, I assume!), my old blood donor card, various sets of bookmarks of different styles (I like the clip-in ones), the ancient digital watch that I used to wear while mine was being cleaned/repaired, and my old electronic su-doku game - that, I've changed the batteries in, checked it worked, and put it (with the instruction booklet, which was also there!) on the pile for the charity shop. (I seem to recall it was a present, many years ago, but I don't really use it, so it might as well go to someone who can.)

And having been interrupted in the middle of typing the previous paragraph, by a phone call from ex-boss Suky about next week's Mum-sitting, I'd better go and look at that old paperwork stuff and maybe shred/throw out some of it. And then ... patch the trousers!


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