Just me and my words

Most of what you find on this, my personal, website has been produced in my years of retirement: part of an effort to keep my brain from atrophying. How successful I've been, you'll have to judge for yourself.

It's a showcase of my writing efforts, presenting a selection flash and short stories, some previously unseen, some from my books or previously published on other websites. Plus a little poetry and rhyme.

Most months, I will add a little more, sometimes a few items may disappear, to save bloating the website: all in the serendipitous way I tend to do things. Hopefully you will enjoy what you find this time and pay more than one visit to discover the latest additions.

My books span everything from stories of just a few words
to full length novels.
Watch out for a new book, planned for later this year.

The Schooling Chair
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Click images above for more information.

What's New?

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NEW FOR SEPTEMBER
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Just the one flash, so far:
"Beats talking to the water cooler"
A short tale for current times, below.

Short, sharp stories to make you think; to amuse you; most of all to entertain. A few you might have seen on other websites, others are completely new, but collectively they provide a wide spectrum, from just a few words to short stories; and the odd poem or rhyme. Click here to start reading.
A good book speaks volumes. How good you judge mine depends on what you are looking for, but they all seem to have pleased quite a few people, so I'm still encouraged to write more.
There are five, so far. Three Novels and two collections of shorter works.
Click here for all the details and a link to them all on Amazon.
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This is where I sporadically drop in the odd idea or comment, maybe a photo or two, or even a short video. Anything goes. It just depends on my thoughts on the day. Click here to take a look.
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A new book of poems by
John Alcock (1937 - 2018)

futura ventura

This new collection of poems by my late brother has been posthumously published by Cannon Poets Publishing. Amongst its pages you will find the expression and reflection of many moods and observations. There's an interesting review of the book at http://www.margroberts.co.uk/blog and you can learn more about the book on the Oddbits page.

Water Cooler dispensing drink

Beats talking to the water cooler

I’m going to end up talking to the water cooler. There’s no one else around. Just empty workstations, blank computer screens and no tap tapping on keyboards. No shouts across the floor, no murmuring banter. Occasionally a desk phone chirps out. Rings and rings. Nobody to answer it and the silence is even more obvious once it stops. Everyone’s zoomed off to work from home. Except me. I’m maintenance. Have to be here, day in day out. 7:00 am to 4:00 pm, now other lad’s on furlough. The Ted, security, takes over. Finish at twelve on Fridays, though. Still, I appreciate the overtime, when I see how some of my neighbours, around home, are struggling.

Paul from management comes in once or twice a week. Pops in his office, pops back out, gets me a coffee from the one machine that’s been left on, says a few words to encourage my lonely vigil and departs. Haven’t the heart to tell him I prefer tea. From the pot in the storeroom that just maintenance and security use. Or did, when there were others in. Have to wear a mask when Paul’s around. He wears his, but not proper like. Not up over his nose. Which is always wet. Always dabbing at it with a tissue. Nervous habit, I guess. Never known him actually have a cold since I’ve been here.

Eileen comes in once a week, as well. She’s the cleaner. Does a quick dust around, disinfects all the management door handles, ready for a restart. That never comes. All the other doors are automatic. As long as you’ve got an access fob. But no sign yet of making the place Covid-19 safe. Costs a lot of money that. Place was already going downhill, anyway. Reckon it will shut by the end of the month. Don’t even know if I’ll get redundancy. No one to ask. So, I offered to come in Saturdays, as well. Paul said no, he’d have union on his back. I could do with that extra money to put by. Get me through until I find another job. That’s if it all goes belly up.

Place is dismal away from the windows. No lights. Except the ones I trigger, as I walk around the place and they go off behind me, quite sharpish. Anything to save a bob or two. Even had to supply my own toolbox, but I like I could choose my own gear and it all goes with me when I go. When? Two weeks? Three? Four?

Eileen, pops in the storeroom, makes a brew and we sit there chatting. No masks, but a good six feet between us. She’s going domestic. Found some old guy that can’t get out and needs a cleaner who can cook a bit. Someone he can trust not to bring in the virus. His daughter can’t come over no more. Too scared to go out. And I don’t blame her. She’s got kids of her own. Can’t afford to be ill, with little ones. Husbands furloughed, too, scratching around for part time work.

It’s then that Paul comes in. Asks us to come in this Saturday. Double time. Some chap’s bringing in one of those disinfectant foggers. Going to show us how it works. Wants us to be using it next week when a buyer comes around. Keen to show we mean business. We’re doing our bit and worth saving. That will be my job gone, I bet, I say. New owner’ll bring in his own crew. Not a bit of it says Paul. He’s the one moving on. New boss wants to expand office staff, get rid of management, mostly. It’ll be a new contract, though. And only thirty-five hours. No overtime. Am I disappointed? A bit. But at least I’ll have a job. And plenty to do putting up screens, rearranging workstations and IT will be in, too, to move the computers. A bit of chat in the day. And it beats talking to the water cooler. Never get a word back from that.

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