A day in the life of William Frederick, author.
Today started as most days do, much too early. I swung my warm feet out of bed and into my cold slippers, made sure that my nightshirt was not held above see-level, stuck between my bum cheeks, and headed for the coffee pot.
Beloved was already up and by the look of the way that she threw yesterday’s stale bread at the birds, rather than to them, I surmised that she had got out of bed from the wrong side. Luckily, I am a very deep sleeper and didn’t notice her clambering over me.
“Good morning, dearest!” I cried in vain, as I attempted to focus on the kettle.
“That bloody mouse has dug up one of my potted plants and munched the roots. You have to do something!”
Visions of a light breakfast of coffee with a side helping of Cumberland sausages, fried eggs, hash browns, bacon, black pudding, a couple of slices of fried bread, and baked beans with additional fried tomatoes and mushrooms (for health reasons) wafted away, as the harsh reality of life here in the wilds of Scotland hit home. The 8:30 mouse had struck again!
Beloved and I had noticed an incursion of insurgent mice making forays into our self-built, log home paradise and we had taken decisive action. Not wishing to hurt the little blighters, I authored a hard-hitting leaflet campaign but as time marched on, and as mouse numbers increased, I realised that these were extreme hardliners, not interested in our reasonable pleas. So we changed tactics and attempted to block up their holes, a task that proved quite difficult as they would not stay still for long enough.
In the end, we fathomed exactly where they were gaining access into our living space and we made a foray of our own into the solum space under the floor and blocked up three mouse entry points with wire mesh and builder’s foam. This proved to be quite successful except for the family of mice that had set up home beneath our huge, old, oak, Victorian armoire situated in the study. These mice had effectively been locked in the house!
So, we bought several humane mouse traps and baited them with peanut butter and shortbread, a big favourite with Scottish mice. After a few days, we had caught most of them and had relocated them outside, into the wilds of the glen. One mouse, a delinquent, loony mouse that either did not appreciate peanut butter or knew that the traps meant enforced relocation, declined to be caught.
He (Beloved said that the mouse was so stupid, he had to be male) appeared at 8:30 every evening and ran across the living room heading for the kitchen, ignoring all of our thoughtfully placed humane traps. Beloved was getting more exasperated by the day. A plan of action had to be formulated as the 8:30 Mouse, as he’d become known, was nibbling things that should not be nibbled and making a general nuisance of himself. Was that a blackened Cumin seed on the kitchen floor or a mouse poop? When biting into them to find out, one had a fifty-fifty chance of it being a most unpleasant experience.
I hit upon the idea of upturning a translucent plastic bucket and propping it up on one side with a small, wooden clothes-peg attached to a long length of string. Under the bucket we placed a tasty assortment of nuts and sunflower seeds – a feast fit for a furry little mouse king! This was accompanied by a suggestive, miniature, holiday brochure.
At eight o’clock that evening, I had gone for a quick shower and was duly attending to washing the assorted bits of William and building up a good lather of suds in my thinning hair, when Beloved shouted, “Got him!” Thankfully, we are blessed with living in an area of countryside where there are no neighbours to spot rotund, soapy authors releasing mice into the undergrowth.
About the author:
I got into this writing malarkey because ill health forced me to find a new way of making a few bob. Finding myself with champagne tastes and a water income, the world no longer dovetailed with the lifestyle to which I aspired. A new way forward had to be sought, preferably one that avoided such things as getting out of bed in the morning, before a day spent in toil.
So, one day not so very long ago, in a land not so very far away, just across the Atlantic Ocean, I picked up a pen and quickly decided that this was way too much like hard work. A realisation arrived, as these things do, causing me to take another look at the laptop I was using to hack into the computer systems of MI5, MI6, the CIA and more courageously, the Girl Guides (a more guileful bunch of female teenage delinquents there has never been).
Whilst marshalling my thoughts over what to write about, I gazed idly out of the window. Hailing a passing troop of monkeys, each carrying a typewriter, I asked for some help but was told, “Sorry William, we only do work for William Shakespeare.” This was indeed a blow, but heroic authors refuse to be daunted, so I continued bravely with my window gazing.
Asking myself over and over, “What should I write about?”, I remembered that the teachers back at school were always advising us to write about what we knew. As advice goes, I thought, this sounded like a complete dud.
Why should I wish to reveal that I know nothing about anything and then broadcast it to all and sundry? “So, what do I know about?” I asked myself. Eventually, a big idea trotted up and tweaked my nose. “I know!” said I, “I’ll write about MI5, MI6, Amsterdam and good old rumpy-pumpy! And to give me a competitive edge, I can make it amusing.”
Whilst digging for material in the MI5 and MI6 computer systems, I received a curt email from a Mr Bertram Mainwaring, a Ministry Intelligence Analyst. Mr Mainwaring was not at all pleased when he found that I was digging around in our country’s Official Secrets and insisted that I stop forthwith. “After all, we can’t have every Tom, Dick and Harry finding out what a bunch of incompetent idiots the Secret Services are, now can we? Have you any idea what the penalty is for such an act?”
I was left with no option but to hold my hands up and offer Mr Mainwaring a bribe, which was accepted immediately. After the pay-off, Twenty Pounds… of prime, Cumberland sausages, had been handed over, I told Bertram of my idea and we started to collaborate. Soon afterwards, we recruited Bertram’s former ex-girlfriend of twenty five years ago and now bride-to-be, Miss Gertrude Wusser.
One sunny afternoon, somewhere in the middle of Chapter One, Bertram announced, “You know what, old boy? Regarding your ‘ideas for the book’ strategy, I’ve always found that the best way to tackle such things is to meet them head-on, with no sort of idea or plan at all. Why don’t we adopt that as the stratagem for the book?”
The result of our directionless roaming, is Bertram & Gertrude’s Steamy Amsterdam Weekend!
This weighty e-tome will soon become known as Book One in the Bertram & Gertrude series of books, as Book Two, ‘Bertram & Gertrude’s Extra Sensory Spy’ is about to be published!
William would love to hear from you! Your comments are also welcome on Gilda’s Facebook author page at https://www.facebook.com/girltalkwithgilda or send them to her on twitter at https://twitter.com/gildaevans, @gildaevans.
Your “likes” and follows are welcome!