No change today.
This one’s been hiding in the uploads for a while. But at least its wait hasn’t been in vane, err vain…
No, this isn’t a revival of the paused Great Robert Rankin Re-read-athon, which I’ll get back to any year now. No, this is an actual shiny new book from the great man. Not only is it a new Robert Rankin novel, in itself a matter for celebration, it’s the first in a new Brentford Trilogy, which is surely a matter for, err, oh bugger, I don’t know where I’m going with this sentence, so let’s just say that it’s a Very Good Thing indeed.
The only downside to perhaps dampen the celebration is that it’s billed as the first book in the final Brentford Trilogy. Let’s just hope that it ends up being one of those trilogies with more than the traditional number of volumes.
Oh, and there’s one more teeny tiny downside. The image you can see in this post is of the special hardback edition, limited to just 1,981 copies, each signed and numbered by the man himself, and (as you might have guessed), it’s sold out, so I’ve got it and you won’t be able to get it. Well, there will be a Kindle edition, but that won’t have the added value of having been signed, numbered, packed and posted by the author, will it?
But enough of that, and on with the book. Readers of earlier Brentford trilogies will no doubt be expecting Neville the part-time barman to be serving pints in the Swan, while dealing with the regulars and whatever mad scheme the brewery has come up with. Check. They’ll be expecting Norman Hartnell (not to be confused with the other Norman Hartnell, of course) to come up with some low-fi low-tech invention that does seemingly impossible things. Check. They’ll be expecting the great Professor Slocombe to be dispensing sherry and wisdom. Well, of course. They’ll be expecting the accidental heroes Jim Pooley and John Omally to (a) drink a lot and (b) fight ancient forces of evil hell-bent on doing something awful to disrupt life in Brentford. You betcha.
So, yes, it’s exactly what you should be hoping for, does what it says on the metaphorical tin, contains jokes, silliness, and all the usual sanity-sapping Rankin nonsense. It also has illustrations, drawn by the author, and you can’t ask for more than that, can you?
And it ends on something of a cliffhanger, so you’ll just have to get the next one as soon as it’s available, won’t you?
 Quite literally
 Commemorating the detail that The Antipope was first published in 1981
 I was a bit slow off the mark in placing my order, so mine’s number 184
 Many of them lurking in footnotes
Up another bit today, which involved going to work, mutter.
Here’s another one from the archives – an almost excessively ornate bank in Hexham:
Up a wee bit today, which was mostly inactive apart from a trip to Newcastle to do some more product research. Much dithering is likely to follow…
Here’s another one from yesterday, the castle bit of Tynemouth Priory:
 As you’ll see when I fix the typo that I definitely didn’t make on yesterday’s weight figure
Down again today, how exciting…
After the usual shopping, I got the Metro to Tynemouth, then walked along the river to the North Shields fish quay. My plan was to get some photos of the recently installed monument/art work Fiddlers Green, which is dedicated to the memory of fishermen lost at sea. It comes complete with an plaque reading:
To the fishermen lost in the cold North Sea
and the ones who will be so,
I’ll be seeing you all on Fiddlers Green,
be steady as you go.
For Fiddler Green is a place I’ve heard tell,
though no one really knows,
where the fishermen go if they don’t go to hell,
and no Arctic wind will blow.
Even if it didn’t bear his signature, you’d have no trouble guessing that it’s the work of Ray Lonsdale, the man responsible for “Tommy”, the World War I memorial at Seaham.
Here are some photos:
The work has been placed in an ideal location, with the fisherman looking out to sea, perhaps waiting for friends to return, or remembering those lost. Like Tommy, it’s built on a larger than life scale and is an impressive addition to its environment.
Hmmm, up again today.
As the weather has been a bit chilly, here’s something to warm you up. It’s a little otter, anyway:
Down just a teeny bit today.
Here’s another of those unattached images: Bede’s Cross
 And if you’re wondering what he’s cross about, blame 1066 And All That.
It’s another new book in Kim Newman’s ongoing series about a world transformed when Dracula totally failed to be destroyed by Van Helsing and friends, and instead married Queen Victoria and took over Britain, encouraging anyone who was anyone, and quite a few people who weren’t, to also become vampires. This annoyed a lot of people, not least vampires who’d been hanging around for centuries trying not to draw attention to themselves.
Amongst those is Geneviéve Dieudonné, an elder vampire we’ve met before, and she’s one of the central figures in this book, which is set after the events of the original Anno Dracula, though does include some flashbacks to earlier times.
Gené and a load of other vampires, many of them stored in their coffins, are refugees from Dracula’s London, hoping to find somewhere they can stay. Their ship takes them to Japan, where they are informed there are no vampires. Any vampires you might encounter must be figments of your imagination, because the emperor says there are no vampires, and you’re not going to suggest that the emperor is wrong, are you?
They are allowed to settle in a walled ghetto with the local no, don’t be silly, they’re not vampires, and initially, not a lot happens. The early parts of the book are more descriptive, with little actual action, but lots of character, some very nice weirdness, and retrospection.
But things start to become interesting, culminating in a battle between the forces of, err, look. The vampires are clearly the good guys here, and if you can’t deal with that, you’re looking at the wrong author. Anyway, there’s a battle between Something Nasty and the vampires, both refugees and the non-existent Japanese variety.
And it all ends up being a lot of fun, so it’s definitely worth reading, so long as you can deal with the “err, is anything going to happen” part.
As ever, there are cultural references to spot, the most notable being a sailor called Popejoy, who after nearly losing an eye, is noted for his large arm muscles, a need for canned greens and a liking for taller, slimmer women. And a strange laugh.
So, overall, maybe not as totally wonderful as some of the earlier books in the series, but still well worth your time.
 I hope
Up a bit today…
I’ve been working through the unattached images in my WordPress media library. Some of these weren’t really unattached, but they’d been imported through various apps, so weren’t as linked as they should have been, but some are photos I’d uploaded to use later and somehow never had. So I’m going to use those…
This is one from a 2014 visit to Prudhoe Castle