You, too, can have a body like mine.

 

 

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Jealous or what? Ah, the human body. How many women wished they had a body like this? And how many men wished they looked like Charles Atlas? Who is Charles Atlas? In the 40/50’s all males aspired to have a bod like his. His Dynamic Tension work-out: a series of physical jerks to you and me; done for 10 minutes each day would leave you looking like Adonis.  Then in the early 60’s there was something called a Bull-worker – a ball-breaker more like. Apparently my father had one, God knows why, I’d have thought he got enough upper body work-out shovelling coal all day.

We, the British, are not used to showing our bodies in public, in fact we get arrested for it. The other week we took the grandchildren to a leisure pool in Sweden, it was the best I’ve ever been in: did 5 lengths of the Olympic sized, laned-off, exercise pool, before I needed an oxygen tank. Then I nearly broke my finger on a stone wall as I was washed around the outdoor whirlpool, then nearly drowned under a cascade of water as Niagara Falls suddenly gushed when I was standing at the bottom of a climbing wall. To top it all, I had to hang on to my grandchildren who were being tossed about on a float when the wave machine was turned on, all of us being washed up every few seconds in the shallow end. Such fun. We were in there 3 hours and I came out half a stone lighter and looking like a prune.

I’m going to do a Michael Caine here by saying, “did you know?” – well I didn’t until I googled it. Being in water for so long makes you want to pee. During those 3 hours in the pool I left it 4 times to go to the lav – apparently its the weight of the water on your kidneys. I should have stayed in the hot-tub, or stuck to the baby-pool, it only had about six inches of water in it.

3 hours of water-torture is enough for anyone: even SAS recruits couldn’t stand it for that long. So I took me and my granddaughter off to the shower room to strip off for a hot shower. Every one in Sweden walks about the changing room stark-bollock naked, and I am now accustomed to doing the same. If you keep your costume on you begin to feel like a nurd; and in Denmark an attendant will insist: much to the chagrin of my  sister-in-law, who, last year was ordered to take off her cozzy. My baby-brother: I still call him that even though he’s 6’2″ and built like a brick shit-house: was also severely traumatised when walking into the sauna behind a Dane whose member hung down; he said; nearly to his knees. Baby-brother still gasps when he remembers. I comfort him by telling him: nay lying: the man probably had a penile implant. And, as I always tell Hubby, size doesn’t matter, as he swore blind the surgeon had cut two inches off his manhood during a heart operation last year – come to think of it he does have rather a long scar. But the pièce de résistance to these sojourns is the sauna afterwards where one can lie naked on a towel drifting off into sleep.

Bodies come in different shapes and sizes, as I well know, being flashed once when walking to the bus station with a friend when I was 16. The young man walking towards us wore a mac, and his hands were in the pockets. As he opened the mac we saw his todger hanging from undone flies to flop about as he walked. Instead of screaming, we both laughed like drains at the short, stubby, pink, thing. But it was not nervous laughter: we were laughing at its curvature. Not been bowled a googly like it since.

 

A flavour of Scandinavia.

Those of you who are familiar with my blog will know that for the past few years I have spent my time between the UK and Sweden, where one of my sons lives. This year, though, it will come to an end because he has taken a promotion in the UK with the same company. I shall miss all our friends here, and will miss the place. Below are a few snapshots of a lovely country.

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The Oresund Bridge taken from Malmö. It spans the straits of Oresund and until 2001 you caught a ferry from Malmö to Copenhagen in Denmark. Nowadays it costs about £35 each way to travel by car between the two countries. My son has a bro-bizz so we don’t have to stop at the border to pay our fee as a camera catches his bro-bizz which is attached to his windscreen and they immediately take the money from his debit card. Those of you who are into Scandinavian TV crime series will recognise this bridge as the setting for a grisly murder.

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This building in Malmö is called The Turning Torso, and the architect who designed the Sidney Opera House designed this landmark, an impressive apartment block with offices at the bottom; you can see it for miles around.

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Helsinor Castle in Denmark. As you probably know it is the setting for Shakespeare’s play, Hamlet, but he dropped the H and added an E to the end. There is a bust of him in the courtyard and every summer there is an open-air performance of Hamlet.

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I do not think this is ‘poor Yorick’ but some other poor soul who appears to have fought a ferocious battle. The Danes and the Swedes were always at each others throats in the past, like the Scots and the English. Nice set of gnashers though.

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This is where Hamlet probably sat whilst cogitating before meeting his privy council.

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On our travels through Denmark we happened upon Karen Blixen’s house, now a museum, which is on the coast road from Helsinor castle to Copenhagen. She was a prolific writer, but will always be remembered for her book, Out of Africa, which was made into the film starring Robert Redford and Meryl Streep. I feel honoured to have visited the house where she lived as she was a fascinating woman.  Other more well-known novels/films were Babette’s Feast and The Immortal Story.

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Inside the engine room of a German U boat which patrolled the waters around Sweden during World War 11, It is now in dry dock at the Malmö Maritime  Museum. Well worth a look-see.

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At this museum they have an indoor children’s adventure playroom. The main feature of the day is feeding your grandchildren to the crocs at noon.

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Love this. Gives a whole new meaning to under the thumb. Can be seen in the Louisanna Art Museum, in Denmark, along with other huge sculptures.

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Outside Lund railway station. HELP! where have I put my bike?

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Lund Domkyrka, or cathedral to you and me. A lovely place to visit as they have dungeons where religious artefacts are kept. But what attracts the tourists is the very large clock which stands roughly 40ft high and chimes at 12 and 3 every day. The time piece goes on for two hundred years before it needs setting again. The last time it was set was 1923.

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A snapshot of my family taken at Kulturen, a Swedish cultural museum in Lund: can you spot me in there?

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The stones at Ales Stenar which have been shaped to resemble a long-boat.

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Descending the cliffs from the stones, looking down onto the harbour and the Baltic Sea.

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This is from another historical museum in Lund. We’ve had the skull, now for the Mummiefied Hand.

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And last, but not least, a bit of Roman erotic art The Flying Phallus. Sorry, but can’t resist dragging this blog down to basics, but are you wondering, too, is this where the phrase couldn’t give a flying fuck came from?

This gets worse, just found out they were original carved from bone.

I’m ending here before it gets too Carry On.

 

 

 

 

Confessions of a sex addict.

Anthony Burgess of ‘A Clockwork Orange’ fame, has made many quotes, one of them being ‘literature is all, or mostly, about sex’, and I tend to agree with him. Sex features in all my books: how else can the world keep turning without it. And for me PST (pre-sexual tension) leaves me very snappy indeed. To relieve these symptoms, I would prescribe sex, two, or – if you’re lucky – three times a week.

A recent conversation with a virtual friend got me thinking. He asked me if I had written my two books recently, both of which can be found on Amazon and Goodreads – plug. I have been writing for years and am the sort of author who releases novels like a depot releases it’s busses; in a queue. We then got to talking about how we write and where or what we draw upon.

My first novel Tale of Two Women

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was written about 25 years ago. It started out as two short stories. When going through my ‘trunk’ one day where I keep note books, ideas, poetry; I re-read them. After realising these stories didn’t work in third person I began reworking them in first person, they seemed to read better: more powerful. Part One : the short story about Laura: didn’t change very much. Part Two: Sarah: just would not come together. My male character wasn’t strong enough and was not working for me. At some point authors draw upon their own experiences, so, I threw caution to the wind to draw upon my own love life.

Although I have had a few boyfriends in my time, there have only been three men in my sexual life. The first was also a virgin when we met.  We were together for about three years until he joined the Army and the relationship fizzled out when he was posted to Germany. The last is my Hubby, whom I have been married to for over 40 years. But the one I could draw upon was a love affair I had before I met and married Hubby: yes, he does know all about it. I know what you’re thinking, if he doesn’t, he will now.

Like my character Sarah’s affair, mine was torrid and intense; with mine lasting a few months, not a couple of days. Because loyalty was not one of his strong points, I dumped him. However exciting the sex was at the time, I could not spend the rest of my life fucking: well I could: but when its sometimes 3 times a day, you just don’t have the time or the stamina to get any work done, so I had to re-think what I wanted out of life; and that was not cystitis. It’s true you have to kiss a lot of frogs before you find your prince, but I will quickly point out here I only kissed a lot of frogs, I didn’t fuck them all.

The key to writing, and one that works for me, is to mix a little bit of fact in with a hell of a lot of imagination without it sounding like some treacly concoction you used to have at school for pudding. Sarah’s lover: a character I knew could be expanded: was then the main protagonist in To the Edge and Back. This novel tells of the character’s life from the age of 16, up until 43, and how it shaped him. And for any other sex addicts out there, there is quite a bit of sex in it.

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The two novels are linked by this one character, John Rhys Thomas, and I am in the process of thinking: yes, just thinking at the moment: of another book. My thoughts are for him to go free-lance for MI6 whilst trying to maintain a personal life with his partner Sarah, and their daughter. What do you think? Comments are always very, very welcome on any subject, especially sex.

Before I go, I will leave you with another of Anthony Burgess’s quotes, ‘laugh and the world laughs with you, snore and you sleep alone’. This I wholeheartedly agree with, as I despatched Hubby to the spare room months ago, but I can still hear him sometimes through the wall. When he was in the hospital last year even the patients in the ward complained and the nurses had to move him.  He put it down to the morphine. But I’ve put up with the noise for 40 years and enough was enough. I would point out, though, this arrangement makes for some very pleasant afternoons.

Keep your eye open for book number 3 Am Beggar-Poor Again, which should be out soon. And yes, there is a little bit of sex in it.

Am Beggar-Poor Again Cover

If you want to know more about this book have a look-see at my previous blog. Comments appreciated. And please, no sympathy, my kids think I’m touched anyway.