Tag Archives: Eccentricity

Cracking Up Over Christmas

Before we go any further please apply yourself to puzzling out some of the most humorous jokes you will ever come across. Ever.  Answers will be provided at the end but don’t skip the rest of the post though, let the anticipation build and then feel the buzz drain away from you as the answers are revealed at the end:

  1. On which side to most chickens have their feathers?
  2. What goes up and wobbles?
  3. What type of dog has no tail?
  4. What is green and goes to a summer camp?
  5. What’s a Grecian Urn?

After pushing back the plates of Christmas dinner, my thoughts naturally turned to blogging and it was then that I remembered a much lamented missed opportunity from last year which was to talk about Christmas crackers and the contents therein.  As is tradition around these parts, the pulling of the cracker has been an integral part of Christmas since 1847 and features a wealth of goodies to delight even the most Scroogiest of Scrooges at Christmas.

Fainty sinister example of a cracker pulling found at

Faintly sinister example of a cracker pulling found at

Nothing beats the smell of gunpowder of a lazy Christmas Day afternoon as is attested by the thousands of crackers that go off each year.  It is the ultimate family diversion, of little consequence but always strangely enjoyable and something not to be done without.  Those who fork out lots of money for the so-called luxury crackers with prizes worth ‘winning’ miss the point, it’s the tackiness of the whole ordeal that is so beloved of households everywhere.  For those of you not familiar with this particular treat, here’s a brief and fairly passable explanation of what it all consists of. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 27/12/2015 in Eccentricities, Humour, Life


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The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb – David John Griffin

StubbsyThe turn of the last century and Theodore Stubbs’ manor house resides in the quirky village of Muchmarsh. A renowned entomologist, he is often within the attic adding another exotic specimen to his extensive collection of insects. But Theodore is also a master hypnotist, holding the household in thrall to his every whim. Theodore’s daughter-in-law Eleanor returned from the sanatorium two months before is a haunted figure, believing that her stillborn child Alastair lives and hides in the shadows. Then she falls pregnant again, but this time by the hypnotic coercion and wicked ravishment of Theodore. A dreadful act begets terrible secrets, and thirteen years later the boy Alastair Stubb begins to lose his identity. It is not long before mystery, intrigue and murder follow gleefully in his wake. The Unusual Possession of Alastair Stubb is a gothic terror of the highest order, delivering a dream-like and hallucinatory reading experience that promises to reveal secrets both disturbing and astonishing. Do you dare meet the Stubbs?

Thanks to Matthew from Urbane Publications for sending me a review copy of this elegantly Gothic tale, one that feels familiar in all the right places – in a good way – but also has a fresh sort of rampant fiendishness running through it that kept me engrossed right to the end, with its thoroughly entertaining denouement.

The precisely constructed plot is chock full of seduction, blackmail, murder, depravity, madness and secrets aplenty which can’t fail but to appeal to any reader. What makes it more pleasurable is the interspersing of dark comedy from a supporting cast that sound like they are the offspring of characters from a Dickens novel, it’s a fine balance but the comic aspects never ruin the brooding feeling of the novel, if anything it makes the sinister more effective.

The first half feels very reminiscent of Mervyn Peake’s Titus Groan, the protagonists live almost separate lives in a big, aged house, yet they contrive to make their shared endurance feel like a claustrophobic and uncomfortable existence. This works well with the slow build up, that takes its time to reach a memorable boiling point. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 14/12/2015 in Fiction


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In Possible Proximity to Madness

Waiting for a bus on one’s lonesome is usually a fairly boring experience but seeing a bus pull in with the destination Halfway emblazoned on it had me amused for at least the five minutes it took for mine to show up, on time I might add as well.


The natural first thoughts of any sane person is to question the nature of reality when confronted with such a questionable vision, of which challenge I gleefully accepted.  Of course it would be foolish to concede to the obvious explanation that there is in fact a place called Halfway, for its much more interesting to indulge in some exercise of the musing muscle instead, of which I did:

  • If Halfway is a destination then surely it is indeed the whole way and so halfway is a different destination contrary to what is being advertised?
  • Halfway would be a stop en route to the real destination but how do you define where that would be with no clue to the actual distance?
  • Why is the imposter Halfway masquerading as the last stop, wouldn’t a more subtle con trick be to change the name instead?
  • Perhaps Halfway is a staging point, a hub for ultimate destinations somewhere, paradoxically being both a destination and a stopover.
  • But then the question would be what constitutes halfway in terms of the word?  Mirriam-Webster defines it in two ways, one being not total or complete, so to some extent if you will.
  • So that means that the actual Halfway, be it the ‘destination’ or the actual distance on the route to a place cannot be clearly understood without some prior knowledge.
  • Is it perhaps halfway to all places in the same distance radius as it is from where Mansfield is situated from it?
  • If you asked for halfway, would you have to pay the full fare for Halfway?
  • How could they charge you when the above definition means halfway doesn’t have to actually mean halfway
  • Is there a place called Fullway?

I could have gone on all day with such thoughts had my own wheeled demon not fortunately arrived  and I had to do battle with sleep as seems to be the way of late on a bus at mid afternoon but there you go, a little insight into the mind of Ste J and it didn’t cost you a penny.


Posted by on 27/10/2015 in Life, Travel


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Town Encounter

It begins, as it always does.  A sudden recognition of my situation, this time sitting outside on a bench in the sun.  The bench is one of those metal ones that retains its coldness despite how long you sit there and has a lattice back, it’s also blue but the paint is flaking.  At right angles from me is another bench and a man sits there, he has long blonde hair and for some reason I know he is Australian.


Looking at my surroundings, there are plenty of shops lining the thoroughfare, it’s quiet here despite that, perhaps it is not one of the main arteries of the town.  There are trees at regimental intervals with lush green leaves which seem to revel in the sunshine they bask in.  I have a book naturally,  and it rests on my knees open, the ideas of page leafs and tree leaves amuses me.

I hear a bang above me and look up, the buildings rise three stories and one of the windows opening has startled the peaceful scene.  There is a lady there  with dark hair, she waves at me, well I assume its me but in these situations you never know, so that mortified do-I-acknowledge-said-person-or-not worry kicks in.  After waving back like a reckless fool, a bit of paper is thrown from the window which flutters towards me which I expertly snatch out of the air. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 23/02/2015 in Blogging, Eccentricities, My Writings


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The Sword in the Stone – T. H. White

47-1For those of you who don’t want a complete plot summary in the synopsis avoid the below brightly coloured writing, I will say though that the plot and its inevitability is secondary to the whimsical nature of the story.

Probably only the magician, Merlyn, knew that his pupil, the Wart (to rhyme with “Art”) would one day be the great King Arthur.

For six years Merlyn was the boy’s tutor and the Wart learned all manner of useful things; such as what it is like to be a fish or a hawk or a badger.

Then the King Pendragon died without heirs.  And King Pellinore arrived at the court with an extraordinary story of a sword stuck in an anvil, stuck to a stone outside a church in London.  Written on the sword in gold letters with the words Whoso Pulleth Out This Sword of this Stone and Anvil is Rightwise King Born of All England.

The last person anybody expected to pull out the sword was the Wart but then he had had Merlyn as his tutor for six years…

Having grown up with the Disney film, I couldn’t leave this book resting unloved on the shelves of a second-hand bookshop, I assumed a fun and magical tale which would provide some escapism and nothing more than an amusing diversion.  It did more than that, it made me smile and introduced to me to some really big words as well.

What sets this story apart from other Children’s books is its denseness, by which I mean the number of interesting facts and the language, which add layers to the nature of its plot.  It has all of these in abundance and is a book that adults will enjoy as much as children.

I say plot, it’s a less a singular story rather a selection of scenes which offer lessons about nature and life lessons to the character of The Wart (to rhyme with Art, of course).  In fact the title is almost an afterthought but that makes sense as the understanding and attachment to Wart has to be built for the books that are to follow, this being book one in a series of five.

For children, there is am amiable story, which is a different take on the parentless boy coming of age being around magic theme and it is perhaps no surprise that J. K. Rowling cites this book as one of the inspirations for the ‘arry Potter series.  The world is populated with comical and eccentric characters and religion, nature and time are all touched upon in the adventures, it is a book that will certainly intrigue the younger mind with the mysteries of the world and its philosophies.. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 20/02/2015 in Children's Literature


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Square Wheels

An impromptu trip out is always a pleasure, especially when it leads to a blog post.  My latest jaunt to Nottingham started happily enough, I made sure I was there about two hours earlier than needed,  just to have a walk around and soak up the day without needing to rush.  I’ve grudgingly admitted before that there is something a little bit romantic about towns and cities if viewed in the right way and even my latest book didn’t get a look in when a chance encounter with inspiration struck.

When out pottering, I like to use all my senses to appreciate something, a touch of old stone, a deep breath welcoming various cooked food smells to my nostrils, the sounds of cutlery and all that, lends me the feeling of being anonymous, almost out of time.  I get to see the magic of the day, as everybody else passes by oblivious, heads deep in their coats trying to avoid the biting wind.

Meeting at the Old Market Square is always a pleasurable pastime, being the hub, hive and plughole around which everyone seem to gravitate and swirl making it ideal for letting the thoughts gather and recede, leaving me to potter slowly along putting the good ones in a bucket whilst getting – to ridiculously stretch a metaphor(?) way too far – grains of revelation between my toes. Read the rest of this entry »


Posted by on 06/02/2015 in Life


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Mind Over Matter

I find I am at my most alone in the company of other people and it is worst when queueing.  I hate standing there, feeling awkward, it’s not worth reading a book and there is little else to do but people watch.  Naturally my thoughts turn inward, which is an interesting concept if you think about it.  Inward would imply outside boundaries yet my thoughts can conjure up anything I wish and are therefore infinite so I have to assume that if the universe is also infinite and I am in the universe but have no boundaries, then logically it follows that my mind must actually be inside out in order for this to be accommodated.  Just a thought but I believe I explains a lot.

Found at

Found at


Posted by on 13/11/2014 in Eccentricities


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