A fresh approach to crime fiction

Poop unscooped

Last weekend, for the first time ever, Harvey refused his food.

The warning signs started when his food went into the bowl. The sound of this is guaranteed to have him hurrying into the kitchen to take up position by the door, where his bowl is placed. A few whines and hints follow as impatience takes over, followed by a furious wagging of the tail when his bowl is carried over and placed on the floor.

No, this time he only walked into the kitchen after his bowl was put down. He made a few tentative sniffs and then walked back to the living room, looking very sad.

Clearly in shock, Carol and I looked at each other, knowing something was wrong.

Harvey was clearly not well and slept for most of the evening. Sunday morning, he had diarrhoea, which confirmed our suspicions.

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On Friday, while strolling along the River Cuckmere near Alfriston, Harvey had found some particularly interesting smells in the long grass. When he refused to come when called, Carol went back and found him eating poo. We think he tried sheep and cow poo during the walk. While it could have been bacteria, I suspect the acidity of the poo did the damage as he started to recover Monday. On Tuesday, I knew he was back to normal when he resumed his favourite sleeping position on top of the sofa.

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I’ve no idea why dogs eat poo. Have you?

Gold rated

With normal service resumed, we could enjoy the beautiful gold, yellow and rust colours that only
autumn leaves can bring. While Acers and maples put on the best shows, you don’t need trees for a fine display. Some shrubs can also catch the eye – like my viburnum with its red leaves, and all those red berries on the pyracantha and cotoneaster.

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And you can’t beat that feeling of swishing through a carpet of dried leaves in the woods, especially when there’s a squirrel or two for Harvey to chase. Thank you, Alexandra Park in Hastings for both.

Running on frustration

The chilling north wind and dark evenings heralded a change of running clothes to leggings and high-vis jacket. A few runners still venture out along the seafront in shorts and vest tops. Maybe they’re oblivious to the change in weather or lacking in alternative running wear.

Or maybe there’s another reason?

On Friday, I powered along the seafront and around Sovereign Harbour in the early morning sunshine, frustration and annoyance blinding me to the crisp breeze and most of my surroundings. Carol’s new phone wasn’t playing ball, thanks to the vagaries of Windows 10. It just wouldn’t copy over her contacts or display them correctly.

It took Carol till Sunday to find the solution.

Why is changing phone or computer never simple?

Why is the help offered on the internet often unintelligible or completely useless?

No Bodies

editing

I started the first edit and revision of No Bodies this week, making the improvements identified by my recent read-through. The pace is not as hectic as No Accident, but there are plenty of issues from the first novel to resolve, along with three women who have disappeared.

Or have they?

I’m sure you can guess the answer to that, but you might still be in for a surprise.

Editing in the morning leaves the afternoon free for admin, housework and meeting up with friends and fellow writers. It doesn’t leave me much time to write my Case Files, but they’re coming along.

Case files

In the last couple of issues of The Tollingdon Tribune, my monthly email newsletter, I’ve returned to my early days in environmental health, starting with some of the funnier moments and escapades I had as a student EHO. I followed this with my early days as a qualified EHO, including a couple of challenging jobs and a manager who felt threatened by me.

What I hadn’t expected when I started this trip was the depth and breadth of what I remembered. As soon as I recalled one job or event, another sprang into my head. They were also very different times back in the late 70s and early 80s, when working for a local authority was considered a good job. Those days have long gone, I’m sorry to say.

If you’d like to find out more about the fascinating, and often humorous, world of environmental health, then it’s easy to subscribe to The Tollingdon Tribune using the form below.

I’m expanding these issues and events into more detailed Case Files. Like Fisher’s Fables, the Case Files will focus on the more humorous adventures I had, including my first day at the slaughterhouse and the curious case of Dr Windbreaker’s Fart Powder.

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I will be offering my Case Files to subscribers in the near future, so don’t miss out.

 

Please let me know what you think