As Luck Would Have It

“What’s not to love” thought Reggie Spangler, walking through his living room. “More blue sky than you could drink in a lifetime, lovely warm weather and the wife away for a fortnight’s holiday with her charming sister,”

His heart swelled in a feeling of celebration, but to be fair to our joyous hero’s heart found some reason to swell on most mornings and so, as usual, he threw open the doors to the garden and stepped out onto his freshly clipped grass singing, as he always did, “I’m so lucky, lucky luckiiii,. I’M SO LUCKYYYYY NOWA”

As he sucked his breath in to begin the second line a single shot rang out and Reggie fell without further comment to the ground. He was dead: no longer with us, Doing the mystic shuffle, or however you want to phrase it, but the cause of death was not in doubt. Across the fence stood Dan Growler, his next door neighbour, with a gun in one hand and a mobile phone to his ear. When his call was answered he said, “I’ve shot a man and I’m glad to say he is dead” and then he gave his address.

After a short delay, involving the not to be rushed consumption of bacon sandwiches and coffee, a couple of police constables turned up to find Dan at his front gate and the gun tactfully lying on the wall away from him and with the barrel facing towards the house.

Needless to say he was arrested, tried, sentenced and found himself inside Parkhurst jail facing a sentence of fifteen years. Grumpy his entire life, he was glad to be in a community rich in complainers and those who declared themselves innocent on a daily basis ,regardless of the evidence. He discovered himself to be among kindred spirits and when they asked why he was inside, he told them.

“Every morning. Every bloody morning, my neighbour would stride out into his garden singing “I’m so lucky” and it just drove me mad. I mean every bloody morning, “I’m so lucky blah blah blah” until one day I just stood up, got my gun out and shot the little bugger right between the eyes.”

For the first time in about thirty eight years he smiled. “Oh the silence was bloody heaven. I mean you could almost drink it, and now that little toad will never chant again.”  Heads around him nodded. “Know what you mean Dan.” said the man beside him before turning to the other inmates at the breakfast table saying, ” Do you remember what it was like when old Nobby Savage fell down, dead as a Dodo?” and again, heads around the table nodded in agreement.

“It doesn’t get any better does it?” He turned back to Dan and filled him  on the dead wardens failings in luscious detail, to even more nodding and agreement from this brotherhood of inmates. Dan looked around at him at this sea of faces, revelling in life’s lucky breaks, and almost without warning, a feeling of oneness and joy filled him. At last he was with a bunch of geezers who spoke his language, were on his wave-length and understood the meaning of life, and he had fifteen bloody marvellous years to enjoy their company.

Before he could stop himself, his mouth opened and he found he was beginning to sing that song lodged deep in his subconscious. For the first time in his life he gained a glimpse inside the head of his recently departed neighbour.   “I’m  so lucky, lucky”  he began, and then managed to clamp his jaw shut. “Bloody hell,” he thought.  He felt brilliant. If  Reggie was there, what would he do ? “Life eh. Mysterious or what !”

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The Unsought Memorial To Sir Simon Gutteridge

My uncle, Sir Simon Gutterage lived his whole life seeking that phrase or comment which might  guarantee his immortality. Despite a title, gained by an ancestor for turning a blind eye to the rampant affairs of a long dead and unlamented Viceroy of India, he lived free of the means such an title would suggest, and thus sought entrance to the salons of the notable through turning an unforgettable phrase. Rebuffed, he turned to railway stations, then bus queues, and finally odd gatherings in the park before acknowledging, at last, that the planet would still turn, and people live and die on it,  without his name being uttered in any context whatsoever, at any time, anywhere.

That was his sombre reflection as the last of his youthful looks vanished between plump and unimpressive cheeks and his eyes became rheumy and unfocused after decades seeking a pre-dawn nip of whisky to steady his approach to unavoidable responsibilities: a habit which had done things to his body which doctors were too polite to acquaint him with.

He was a teacher at a private school and taught geography to teenage boys who soon learnt that by asking their focused teacher, “Did Sir Horatio Nelson really pack his own case before venturing to do battle with the French?” they would avoid any further need to concentrate as Gutterage took respite from his lesson plan to reflect at length on the characteristics of his hero.

He was, in many respects, a familiar tragedy in human history, with an ancestry he lacked the means to glorify, and a public image that was unfocussed at best. Marriage eluded him, despite a number of proposals made, and his “Rooms” might more accurately be described as a bed-sitter in a poorer area of the town in which he lived.

Finally, after a night spent tossing and turning on the edge of despair, he determined to take no more of this humiliating obscurity and emigrate to the United States where his title might open those doors securely closed to him in his own land. The very next morning he purchased a steerage ticket on the Titanic with the last of his savings and it is no news to you, dear reader, to learn that that proud ship failed to complete it’s voyage.

He found  himself, at some unholy hour, in freezing water and with all sense of his limbs lost to him, swimming beside a young couple who were on their way to Washington to share their honeymoon with relatives.  He looked at them with unfocused gaze, presented his card, and said, before finally slipping beneath the uninterested sea, “Never permit a lady to go to a cocktail party in a striped dress” which became his final words.

By chance, just after he vanished from view, a lifeboat appeared and rescued the lucky, and later celebrated couple, who thus completed their voyage to America, albeit with diminished wardrobe, and so became people of note in that exalted city on account of their adventures. They were asked constantly about their experience and every time they spoke of them they told of that strange and portly gentleman beside them in the water who exalted the lady, at all cost, to avoid wearing stripped frocks at cocktail parties just before he drowned.

His advice became legendary to such an extent that the mere allusion to “The Gutterage remark” would draw a smile on any a face. Thus it was, he might have discovered, that immortality is often obtained more by accident than design.

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Life, Peter Wells, values, writing | Tagged , , , , , , , | 14 Comments

The Emergence Of A Notable New Literary Critic


It appears an ever younger readership is attracted to my new book, “The Man Who Missed the Boat” as exhibited by the thorough and unrelenting inspection of syntax and grammar being undertaken by a five month old literary critic otherwise known as my grandson, recently photographed engaging with the novel.

No doubt, as his mother battled with pressing household tasks, our young hero sought escape from boredom and selected a random novel to help pass the time. As yet his extended review is not available, although some notable comments in the form of gurgling and hand waving are with the baby translation services awaiting scripting into comments more intelligible to older and more tired minds .

That being said, some of his initial responses have been made available and read as follows. “This book does not taste nice.” and  “The picture on the cover looks nothing like my granddad: he needs to be quite a lot fatter.” are two of the strikingly accurate observations  leaked by translators to a bewildered public and we look forward to the full rendition of his freshly minted opinions on this, one of the first books which has come to his attention.

We hope that he will not be alone in expressing an interest in the book and that, unlike my grandson, many of you find the book does taste good, or at least is to your taste. That is my hope.

If you read it and review it, be assured waves of gratitude will flow towards you from myself and all the curious characters who find voice in that exotic place otherwise known as my imagination.

A link to the book is situated on the right side of this Blog and a simple click will transport you to Amazonia were a wealth of reading awaits those who seek entertainment.

Posted in character, community, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, writing | Tagged , , , , | 17 Comments

Picture Of A Man Holding Another Book

I’ve already done this post, but I pressed a button and it vanished, which isn’t very clever is it. Anyway, I was mentioning that my new book, “The Man Who Missed The Boat” is now out on Amazon in Book and Kindle form. For those of you who have already commented I apologise for the strange behaviour on Countingducks, and I will be talking to our Technical department shortly.

Here is a photo of a man holding a book, and also smiling, because he’s very pleased to have a copy in his hand

A Boat Picture

The Amazon links are ( USA )

and the UK link is

If any one would like to review the book that would be very nice. Just leave a comment in the box below and I will get back to you.

Thank you all for your encouragement and heart-warming support

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See You Mate

When Gerry fell down while walking back from the match I laughed out loud, because falling down was one of his tricks, but then he didn’t get up. Not at all: not ever. Gerry was a man who often played the fool and “Kept it light,”  while others buckled under the weight of that self-induced chaos some of us call a life.

I remember him sitting up at the bar with me after one of his divorces singing. “Marriages, I’ve had a few, but then again, too many to remember” and I laughed with him, despite the mangled scanning  of the lines, because he always refused to take life seriously: flippancy was his strength and weakness. Apart from me I think Drink and Gambling were his closest friends and we all know they make unreliable companions.

Still,nothing seemed to get him down. “Rough and smooth mate, rough and smooth” he used to say, and he took most of it in good part.  I don’t mean the guy was without talent, far from it, but he didn’t take his gifts or circumstances seriously, or most of his jobs, or even his wives, one of whom was quite nice, but he was loyal me in his own way, and always willing to overlook his own failings, and some of mine. I remember him saying to me, “Never marry someone you like. It ruins a good friendship” and then he chuckled.  Sometimes he might end up at my door after some self-organised cataclysm, bag in hand, saying, “Got any clean sheets mate” and I’d just open the door and let him in, because that’s what you do isn’t it?.

I’m not saying my wife Jean liked him because, quite frankly, she didn’t; especially after he made a drunken pass at her at my birthday party one year, and you know how these things can lead to awkwardness, but good news for some, he and I agreed to let that go. All in all, I admit his sense of moral geography among politely directed folk, was not what it might have been but he won’t be the last man with that difficulty

But to say he was merely a loose moraled individual is to paint too shallow a picture. Among the poor and homeless, among whom no acting was required, he discovered levels of compassion few of us connect to, and with his death, “Ladies and men of the street” as he called them,  lost a gentleness of caring few have ever experienced. He was good with dogs, for many of us the final friendship in a disconnected world, and never passed a homeless guy without asking if he was alright, unless he was not alright himself, but then he knew what it was to be unfortunate and, among the dispossessed, the truculence and recklessness for which he was known, were replaced by astonishing sensibility.

I can’t say the church was packed by the “Respectable,” but, how they got to hear of it I cannot say, a significant number of the local destitute and their carers attended the buriel as well as myself. Owing to financial constraints there was no wake as such and it may not surprise you to know that Jean refused to go.



This is fiction by the way, and my last post before “The Man Who Missed The Boat” is published and, lets face it, that  title could have been used for Gerry’s biography !

Posted in character, creative writing, Fiction, humour, Peter Wells, Relationships, writing | Tagged , , , , , , | 21 Comments

A Life-Changing Meeting With Dr Odd

I lived in the age of social engagement where we chatted on Blogs and even smiled at dentists before they drilled holes in our teeth: a celebration of biological generosity, spreading our DNA to the four corners of the surgery.  “Being open and friendly,” was MEE.  It’s what I was, regardless of how many teeth I had left. It defined me. It regulated me. It… Oh well you get the picture.

“Making it real,” not letting us become prisoners of our  cultural norms and formalities;”Hanging it out there,”  like it was the last load of washing  before Oblivion visited us in the shape of an impressively large meteorite.   (On that subject, I recall Dr Odd, a notably languid member of the local sub-intelligentsia, saying as his last words, “Impressively large” just before said “Rock” blotted out the sun and then our lives. For the record some noted astronomer was also heard to murmur, “This eclipse is twenty-four years early” as a casual demonstration of academic excellence, which words ended up being his final statement, apart from some screams uttered in the falsetto register which newspapers had no opportunity to record  )

I learnt all this in the waiting room outside the “Infinite Experience”  facility otherwise known Purgatory, before our finale destination was revealed to us,  but that is another story. ( See a previous post ).  This tale concerns me. Did you hear that. Me ME MEEEE. ( Oh God this is fun ) and what I felt about life, you lot, and that troubling pain I got in my wrist every time I tried to use the can-opener; which, to me, was the device which made the difference between starvation and putting on a decent amount of weight  while watching Television: the defining advance in life-style engineering enjoyed by the final generation.

By the way, this rambling post is brought to you courtesy of the “Random-Experience-Process Facilitator ” which I was introduced to at birth. Let me give you an example. I spent a large part of my early employment as a traffic warden, posting tickets on the windscreens of upscale cars. A profession I chose on the basis of material envy, mean-spiritedness and lack of career satisfaction, but which meant I could blight the lives of the successful, until a freak incident catapulted me to national stardom.

During a general election, when politicians were pretending to be nice, and not gloating over their status and fame at the “Your Vice Is Safe With Me Sir” nightclub for decadent Notables,  Sir Reginald Worthless, leader of the “Honest Laundry Party” came across me as I was ticketing his Bentley Continental, while being followed by TV cameras.

In order to make his point, He waved his arm towards me and said, “Should I be elected as  your next Prime Minister, this finely groomed gentleman will become my Minister of Transport. I turned towards the camera, and smiled in a way which says, “I am too modest to reveal everything I understand about life but it’s quite a lot you know,” and somehow I grabbed the public imagination as an example of an extraordinary talent trapped in an ordinary job, house, marriage and salary.

The rest is history, or embarrassment, depending on your point of view, but suffice it to say, after a brief period of notoriety as a minister in Her Majesty’s government  and the chance to explore Vice on the basis of an inflated salary, I was sacked for telling the visiting President of the  United States that his car was parked illegally outside a small hot-dog stand in the West End of London where he was engaged in buying a snack with  small change supplied to him before he left 10 Downing Street, while  smiling for the cameras to show he was just an ordinary guy at heart, albeit one with strong opinions on catering, and integration strategies in a multi-muddled society.

My last words to you before I am moved to my final meeting with Dr Oblivion are . “Just because it is in the brochure, does not mean it’s real”  I was invited to experience the world beyond my station and lived, or died, depending on your perspective,  to enjoy the consequences.

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The Creative Abyss

I spent my twenties, which seems like youth to me now, working as an unpolished clerical worker for a paper merchants. In those days they tried to define your job in terms of its function and status and “clerk” seemed correct to them and the inescapable truth to me. Nowadays, no doubt, I would be called a “Success Liaison Consultant,” or some other rubbish, but we hadn’t fully discovered the selling power of self-importance in that unpolished era.

Through lack of money, connections or social presence, my life was pretty much free of  intercourse with females, though once my head lay on the pillow it filled immediately with dreams of sweet romance; and girls who identified with me as if we had a secret pact: I never played the hero, even in my dreams.  My musings were not strictly carnal but more to do with recognition, tenderness and coming home; a place with which I had little familiarity.

In the evening , sometimes and for no reason, I would attend a  “Creative writing course” at the local college as a way of marking myself out as someone who sought for self-improvement. There I met Maurice Le Garde, not his original name I’m sure, who eked out a living teaching ‘creative writing’ on the back of a couple of undiscovered novels. On account of his being a lecturer and a writer of sorts, he had a kind of “allure.” “mystique,” or whatever you might call it, and he was at that perfect age for creative girls, it seemed to me: somewhere in his early-forties where he could impress as the spiritually well-travelled older man but still with enough stamina to follow through on his promise, and yet not too old to unsettle, or too young and gauche to disturb that subtle beautiful women with presence and sensibility who was my obsession. No names because I will admit none, but in my day-dream I could describe her to the final hair.

He talked a lot about “defining the moment” and could look towards the window and say, in his slow drawl with a hint of foreign accent, “Life is just a moment, and the colour of it changes with our understanding and experience” and then he would turn from the window and look towards us, or more particularly Helen who was an artistic truth-seeker in her early twenties. She had played a guest role in my dreams, I admit, but there was a sense that she played a larger role in the ennobling life of  Maurice Le Garde.

On those grounds alone I developed an anger towards him which I lacked the character to express until one day, when he was going on about “Moments” and “Inner sensibility” I said, “What do you think about social progress and responsibility. That is more than a ‘moment’ surely?” I noticed with inner satisfaction that Helen turned to look at me, and I had drifted towards becoming a “Person of note” in this class at least.

As I began to celebrate this brief elevation, that disturbing sub-foreign accent cut across my thoughts saying, “After dark, when your thoughts are free of inspection, there is no social responsibility.” and Helen moved her gaze from me back to our noble teacher. It was the nearest I got to gaining her attention, and the last time I attended his class

Posted in Fiction, Life, Love, Peter Wells, Romance, writing | Tagged , , , , , | 34 Comments