Recently a few friends and I have got together for a’write-in’. We meet at someone’s house (usually mine) and just sit and write, fuelled by tea or coffee and biscuits. I’ve found it very productive… I would feel guilty slacking or faffing about with other stuff when my co-writers are busy working away!

It has been very useful for my latest book, another story of Thomas Radwinter…. here is a little extract. He and his wife Kylie have gone to a small hotel so she can discuss some projects with the owner, Sylvie. The hotel which is actually more of a guest house is called Saltern House.

There were four chaps sitting along the bar, definitely chaps not blokes, I could hear their plummy tones and braying laughter. In actual fact they were quite friendly and harmless and Sylvie introduced them as her friends. They had been to the races they explained, in fact they explained several times…  There were other guests sitting by the window, in what must have been a lovely seat to look out across the sea… Saltern House was not quite opposite the pub, so there was a wonderful view – at this time of night with a full moon reflecting of the ripply sea it was just gorgeous! In the distance were the twinkles of the lights on Farholm Island, and the regular sweeping flash of the light house at the end…

I got a bit on the muddle with the names of the men at the bar, it was a rather drunken introduction and there were nick-names and silly names, and other names were mentioned so afterwards I could only think of them as the kindly red-faced bushy bearded doctor (who bore an unfortunate resemblance to the mass murdering Dr Harold Shipman) a very thin bald man with a long lugubrious face who I think was called Weasel, although that obviously was a nick-name… well, I think it was, I must look up Weasel as a surname… unless it was German, something like Wessel, but he was also Stoat – and the old joke about the difference between a weasel and a stoat (weasilly distinguishable and stoatally different) was repeated several times so I ended up very confused. He had no beard at all but a rather long chin which may have been improved by a beard.

There was a very tall guy, (was he really called Syracuse or was that another joke?) – he was younger than the other three, and he looked a bit rackety compare to them, especially since they had been to the races and they were wearing suits. He was wearing black jeans and trainers and a grey jumper without a shirt, and a jacket which looked as if it might belong to someone else. However, he was the poshest, and I know I have a bit of a thing about people wearing glasses – I sometimes find them a bit sinister, well, he had very sinister glasses! Harold Shipman had glasses too, but they were kindly school master glasses (school masters in old films, not any teachers I ever had)

The fourth person was short but very bulky, quite powerful looking with a phenomenal beard, bigger than Harold Shipman’s bushy  face fungus and it turns out he was a yachtie and had a big boat in Strand… He was called Arnold, I think, and he asked  if I was into sailing, well, no, I wasn’t, I was a bit of a fatty for that – he laughed and slapped his own fine belly, and then all the others did too – a sort of juvenile horseplay which was a bit strange for blokes their age. Later in the conversation when I said we had children he said that his yacht club ran classes for kids, from quite a young age  if I thought they might be interested… well, actually that sounded quite a nice idea… they now had wet suits, they could both swim…

They were all very jolly, the yachtie was very drunk, and Syracuse (that can’t be his real name) may also have been, but they were all jovial and there was a lot of banter and storytelling. They bought another round and insisted on buying us another too.

“So, Thomas, what sort of line are you in?” asked Arnold.

I explained I mostly looked after the kids but was a part-time solicitor, which they all seemed to find interesting and funny and there was a lot of banter… I’m used to all the jokes, and as long as no-one is rude about Kylie I don’t really mind. I asked them what sort of line they were in; Harold Shipman was actually a doctor at the hospital, Weasel was an ex-teacher, Syracuse (I must have misheard that, they all called him Sy) had a removals company and yachtie Arnold was in logistics.

They were very friendly, but to be honest not really my type, all seemed a bit posh and ‘old boyish’ and I thought my old boss Gerald would fit in well here. They told me they’d had a smashing day at the races which was why they were all a bit ‘on the squiff’, as yachtie described it.

I suppose I had an OK evening with them, but hearty drunks with in-jokes are a bit wearying, and as some of the jokes might have been about me  which I didn’t quite get, it wasn’t an altogether comfortable way to spend my time…

© Lois Elsden 2017

Here is a link to my other books and you can find all the Thomas Radwinter books there as well as other things I’ve written:

https://www.amazon.co.uk/s/ref=nb_sb_ss_c_2_6?url=search-alias%3Dstripbooks&field-keywords=lois+elsden&sprefix=lois+e%2Caps%2C159&crid=34JGIWWL3WPQJ

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