These thirteen short stories range from comedy to drama and horror, and from the mundane and everyday to the downright bizarre.
Excerpt from ETHELBERT'S SUNDAY MORNING :
Ethelbert was past ninety but had never really picked a direction in life, or a gender. He/she had undergone so many sex change operations that he/she couldn't even remember which way they'd started out. Therefore Ethelbert now compromised: a typical daily wardrobe consisted of black trousers and lilac jumper, cream skirt and football shirt, or leg warmers and a lumberjack shirt. A wispy beard was ever present. Time was spent veering randomly between woodwork and knitting, 'Top Gear' and 'Loose Women', 'The Sweeney' and 'Murder She Wrote', Andy McNab and Barbara Cartland. Two cats shared the house, one male one female. There was a vague memory of having been married once or twice but to what was unclear.
Having the first name Ethelbert was unfortunate enough but, such were the vicissitudes of having been born in 1920, that Ethelbert Gaylord had been cursed on both fronts. All thirty six cats over the years had been called Leslie to simplify matters and to use up the job lot of engraved collars Ethelbert had purchased during a drunken afternoon in Brighton in 1951. Recollections of the exact reason for this fortuitous purchase had gone for good now but Ethelbert was still occasionally plagued by random memories of a small shop that only sold pet collars, envelopes and surgical trusses. That would explain why Ethelbert had written four thousand letters during 1952, but not why they had all been addressed to Lord Mountbatten and all contained a vociferous complaint about the lack of toilet facilities on Hampstead Heath.
Ethelbert cleared away the breakfast things, having, on principle, eaten a sumptuous fried breakfast every single morning since the day they abandoned rationing. Once again it would be a running battle between clogged arteries and flatulence, but the flatulence would probably win again today and Ethelbert would live to fry another day. The two Leslie's ate a far healthier breakfast of smoked kippers and exhibited far less flatulence.
The kitchen was unchanged since the day in 1943 that Ethelbert and Leslie's one and two had moved in to the house. The smell of washing up liquid and Gin mingled with the dense cigar smoke that swirled around the room; the cats were very lucky to be at ground level with only the smell of damp slippers and mothballs to distract them from their opulent daily diet. Indeed, bearing in mind the amount of cigar smoke, fried-bacon- meets-burnt-saucepan smoke, and the occasional Gin spill ending up in their water bowl, it was surprising that the average lifespan of all thirty four previous Leslies was nineteen. This meant that, at their peak, there were seventeen Leslies resident at once – that was when Ethelbert bought the trunk.
Colin yawned expansively and looked at his watch but the hands had stopped – so had the feet. The decision to buy a watch that was also an eighteen inch scale model of Arthur Mullard was one he had seldom regretted during the last seventeen years but he had to now admit that, as the battery had run out eight years ago, it may be time to invest in a more practical timepiece. Nevertheless he estimated that about seven hours had passed so it was probably safe to come out from under the kitchen table.
Gingerly and pedantically he stood up, banging his head on the kitchen table.
“Thatcher!” he exclaimed, which was the generic, all purpose swear word he now employed in all situations since an unfortunate episode in a Basingstoke crematorium in 1987 had forced him to fore go all foul language.