Being on lockdown has given me a lot to think about. Mostly I’ve been thinking about what I would love to do when we are able to move about freely again. So let me introduce you to my bucket list. The ideal situation would be to strike all of these off before I reach the age of forty.
SWIM THE ENGLISH CHANNEL This is something I’ve had in mind for a long time. Despite being a strong swimmer I do realise that in order to do it safely I have some training and preparation to do. One day will be greasing on the pig fat and running into the sea with the aim of reaching France. It seems lucky that I’ve never minded cold water then, doesn’t it?
VISIT PARIS Of all the places in the world with all the fascinating histories, sights and draws, Paris is one city I would love to visit. Again this is something I have been aiming to do for along time. In the course of a short flight I could be ready to experience the Eiffel Tower, the Louvre and a whole host of other things. Over so many other places in the world, Paris has just had a draw for me.
VOICE A CARTOON This sounds like a strange one. I’m not an actor by any stroke of the imagination but ever since I was a little girl I have always wanted to provide a voice for a cartoon, especially a musical one like a Disney flick. I’m not saying I have the talent for it (speaking or singing) but I know I would be a very happy woman if I was given the opportunity to be part of an animated movie. Perhaps one day …
GET A DRIVING LICENCE This isn’t so much a bucket list item as it a necessity that my family keep begging me to do. It’s not that I have an aversion to driving I’ve just always managed to get wherever I need through public transport so I’ve never felt I need it that much. I’m a bit of a clumsy B at the best of times so I can only imagine what kind of menace I would be on the road. Besides, I do love just lying back on the train with my headphones on and losing myself in my own head. Can’t do that when driving. Can you? Ok mum and dad, I’ve added to my list.
BUY A BOAT Who needs a car when you can have an boat, right? This one is cheating a little because I did have a boat before but cutting a long story short it sunk (see above clumsiness). On my bucket list is to have one again, perhaps bigger, prettier and it would be named the Cooper Mare (see KNOCK KNOCK). The adventures I would have! The places I would sail to!
HAVE A PLAY PERFORMED I’ve been a writer/ author pretty much my entire life in greater and lesser extents. I have had written plays and I have been in discussion with the productions of plays and I have had performances but I am still yet to see an entire stage performance. I love the theatre and I would love the opportunity to see an entire play of mine performed.
So that is my list. What about yours? As you are held at home have you been thinking about what you plan on doing afterwards? What things do you miss the most? What are your dreams and ambitions?
A beautiful and rich area of what is for the most part a Shady City. Time Line main is filled with boutiques, high class coffee houses and most importantly jewellers and diamond merchants. The notable Bergman family have been housed there for generations. It is a vibrant area for all corners of the city to flock to and acts as the main access to CITY FACE. When you walk down Time Line Main in the early morning when the traffic is quiet and before the bustling visitors have flooded the area you can hear the noise of the City Face clock.
TICK BOOM. TICK BOOM. TICK BOOM.
Although it is expensive to spend any amount of time there and rental prices in the area are some of the highest in Coldford it is still a highly sought after for tourists and Coldford natives to capture photos. A series of images titled TIME STANDS STILL by photographer DANIEL WEIR were awarded the Penn Photography Prize.
It is called Time Line Main because from the foot of the street which begins at the entrance into City Main lies modern stores such as Coldford City Sports stores and Rose Diamond but as you reach further you fall back in time to the golden age of diamond trading with the Bergman store until you reach City Face itself, one of the oldest pieces of established Coldford’s architecture.
Out Now. Daniel had turned his back on his life as the heir to the Weir Hotel empire in City Main. Sometimes its just hard to run from your true calling. His music teacher boyfriend, Vincent, knew that well and it led to those he loved being hurt.
Coming 2020. Despite its close proximity to the rest of the City, rehabilitation clinic Harbour House seems a world away. It seems the only way to get back to normality is to completely detach from it.
Let me begin by saying that at the tender age of (ahem) I don’t really see myself as having an old mind but for the purposes of this article and for the reasons I am about to discuss I will.
Little kids are like sponges, aren’t they? They are observing, exploring and learning all the time. When you start to reach a certain age that process slows. Where does all that mental capacity go? Well it doesn’t go anywhere. I refuse to believe you can’t teach old dogs new tricks.
Back in 2017 I decided to pick up the cello. I have no musical ability and no previous experience. I just happen to love music and really wanted to learn how to play. Some would say it was too late to start learning how to play an instrument and I admit it was a little more difficult than it would have been if I had started at an early age. The point wasn’t to become an expert. I wasn’t planning on selling out concert halls or anything. What was important was the happiness it brought me to be learning something new, acquiring new skills. It wasn’t brilliant playing but it was my playing and something I had learned to do.
I guess my point it is never too late to try and learn something new. A few other things I would like to put on my bucket list of learning include: Greek, vocals, photography and how to cook. What’s yours? What are those new skills you would love to learn?
Coming May 2020. Bring me your sick. Bring me your troubled. Bring me those that society can no longer cope with. They will always have a home here at Harbour House.
One might assume that the work of a funeral director in Coldford would never be done. The streets of the Shady City are perilous after all with violence, corruption and oneupmanship waiting around every corner. Eugene Morris doesn’t let that distract him though. His job isn’t a pleasant one but it must fall to the hands of someone. He finds himself in homes from the Shanties strips to the mansion houses of Filton. Death is equal in its pursuit.
He treats his clients with the utmost respect, courtesy and dignity. In return he expects nothing less for himself. No matter the name, BECKINGRIDGE, OWEN, DOYLE or FULLERTON, they all lie the same way on the Tailor’s table. Eugene pays no mind to disputes and squabbles rising around him. It is simply his job to clean up the mess and kiss the foreheads of those who would otherwise be forgotten about. No one would want him choosing sides anyway. When death favours, things get really messy.
He earned the title of The Tailor because of the attention to detail he places on his client’s final suit. Exceptionally talented at capturing the life of the deceased in how they are laid to rest, his skills as an actual tailor come in quite handy. He is whimsical in appearance, timeless and elegant. Eugene is a personable enough man, pleasant and kind but like the death which he serves no one really wants him to be knocking on their door.
Coming May 02 2020
Harbour House rehabilitation clinic brings together regrets, losses and life long bonds. If the program doesn’t work then there is always space on the Tailor’s table.
A skilled negotiator for the most part, Evan is charming but also very full on. He started his career in sales for COOPER Garage when he was a budding accounts student at FILTON University. With his proven stats behind him he was head hunted for the advice team for Beckingridge Firm. This suited Ethan. BECKINGRIDGE TOWER was the one place in Coldford he wanted to work. There he thrived and there he also met his wife, Sonya.
So what exactly does the accounts advice entail? Evan, being a proven salesman with a head for numbers formed a formidable team with his wife. They were placed in charge of bringing in wealthy new clients for the financial giants to invest their money. They were also charged with pushing old clients to invest in new projects. All with that ultimate goal – Cold Hard Cash.
Successful at their job and paid well the Heaths bought a lavish residence in Filton. Fancy cars and expensive restaurants like the DELPHINE are all part and parcel. They just can’t get enough which is why their teenaged son is still sent drug errands to the Shanties.
Times change and the flow of wealth in the Shady City can be treacherous. As music teacher, VINCENT BAINES, watched the Heaths leave for work one fateful morning he couldn’t help but notice that Filton had no soul. Who needs a soul when you can sell it for a mansion house?
Music teacher Vincent Baines shudders when he arrives at the home of his latest pupil. Behind mansion walls are where the true skeletons lie.
Mr and Mrs Heath found themselves on the wrong side of the Knock Knock Boss Lady. It was time to take a leap of faith. Complete Season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read here or click below to download for Kindle.
A husband and father first, Reginald is a gentlemen above all else. He is known as the King of City Main. A gentleman he may be but his control of his kingdom can be a violent one when necessary. His strength comes from the loyalists of City Main, the fan group of the COLDFORD CITY football team.
Father of the triplets – MARCUS, SIMON and REGGIE – Reginald’s boys follow in their father’s footsteps in that they will do whatever it takes to keep their name as the resounding power in the busiest part of the Shady City. Reginald’s wife, Rita, has been his partner since their parents introduced them as children. He is wholly dedicated to his wife.
Reginald’s weapon of choice when entering an altercation is a heavy chain which he has named Belta’ . She has been with him since attending the football games as a young boy. Belta’s slinky body was easy to slip into a sleeve and into stadiums into the city. When violence erupted she was heavy enough to deliver head smashing damage.
Reginald pays no mind to the law when it comes to protecting his friends and family. He’s a noble king but not one to be threatened.
They call her The Baroness and her activist spirit is legendary. To some she is the lovable KNOCK KNOCK show girl. To the LAWMAKERS she is the next target and rehab will not excuse her.
Coming May 02: Welcome Tawny McInney to Harbour House.
Complete season 1 of the Knock Knock graphic novel series is free to read HERE.
Like a military parade the nurses of Harbour House were set in a neat line ready to hear their orders for the day. They were waiting for their super star doctor to begin his rounds. The polished wing tips, sharp, well tailored suits and neatly combed hair he was like a film star within the facility. Although, Beverly wished he hadn’t shaved his moustache. He looked so much better with the moustache. Without it his face seemed longer, more angular.
“Good morning ladies,” said he. Beverly handed him a clip board of notes.
“Good morning doctor,” they all rhymed off like obedient school children.
Winslow read through the notes quietly.
“Beverly?” he turned to the burly, middle aged matron. “We need some vitals and a urine sample from Mr Finn.”
“Yes doctor,” she replied.
“He can be a bit of a challenging rascal so if he gives you any trouble call a porter.”
Beverly set off to her task.
She glanced in the window of the room to see artist, David Finn, lying on his bed sketching on a scrap piece of paper with a blunt charcoal pencil. She knocked on the little window and he looked up. She pointed to the back wall. David grinned and raised his middle finger at her. She frowned and darted her finger more severely. David rolled his eyes but he stood and put his back against the back wall. It was rules in Harbour House that addiction residents had to keep away from the door when nurses were bringing in the carts. A nurse had been attacked recently when one of the addicts tried to steal medication from her trolley. Beverly didn’t feel unsafe around David. Having his back against the wall wasn’t going to make much of a difference anyway. If he really wanted to feed his addiction he would and the cameras watching wouldn’t stop him.
“How are you feeling today?” she asked as a nurse’s general enquiry as she wrapped a blood pressure cuff around his arm.
“Been better,” David replied. “Been worse.”
The cuff began to inflate to the point he felt his arm was going to pop off. It made him self conscious of the track marks the needles had left behind. He found this strange because they never seemed to bother him before. When the blood pressure was taken and pulse checked she handed him a urine cup.
“I need you to fill this,” she instructed.
David made to take it from her and head to the bathrooms.
“Sorry,” she said stopping him. “You have to do it here. They weren’t happy with your last results.”
“That’s abuse,” David protested with some humour.
“When you are sufficiently clean and sober you can take it up with the city Medical Authorities. In the mean time fill the cup please.”
David wrinkled his nose. “I’m a nervous pisser.”
Beverly shook her head. A smile traced her rosy lips. “Hurry up Finn. You haven’t got anything I haven’t handled before.”
David giggled like a school boy. “Okay nurse kinky, you said just fill the cup.”
Beverly checked the watch clipped to her breast pocket. “And if you could hurry along I’d appreciate it.”
With raised eyebrows David filled the sample cup. The nurse wiped it, stored it and finished checking temperature and pulmonary rate.
Down the hall the beautiful cry of the violin sounded. A group of nurses sat along the bed listening.
‘So handsome,’ they cooed. ‘So talented.’
Vincent Baines had first picked up the violin at age six. It called to him in a way no other instrument did. It cried. It laughed. It covered a whole range of emotions and from the first time he struck the bow across the quivering strings there was love between them. His relationships with people were fraught with emotional turmoil but the violin always hit the right note when needed.
He loved to write concertos for the cry of the violin because only its soft strings seemed to understand him. Sure, the piano had a lot to say and they were well acquainted but it didn’t fill Vincent’s heart and mind they way the violin did. Even with everything that lead him to Harbour House the violin still made sense. It never changed. It never judged. Highs, lows, soft and harsh the violin concerto had it all and for as long as he could play it would always love him.
After the last note was drawn the emotion of the piece still lingered.
A nurse wiped a tear that was forming in her eye. Thy all applauded. Vincent, holding the bow in one hand and the instrument in the other bowed graciously.
“That was beautiful,” one of the nurses gushed.
“Thank you,” Vincent responded politely, storing the black violin with red trimming back in its case. “Just a little something I’ve been working on.”
A bell rang.
“Time to get back to work,” announced the self appointed leader of the group. They filtered out chatting merrily. Vincent followed behind them but took a right in the corridor towards the rec room.
In another part building lay a dressing table. It was old, well used. A special addition to make the occupant of the room feel at home. Tawny was a longer term resident so the good doctor gave some special allowances. The mirror was covered in old fliers from the Knock Knock club as well as photos of old friends, Agnes and a young Tabitha.
The lady herself was found on her way to the rec room. She had her arm linked in that of Glenn’s. “You spend way too much time in here,” she was saying. “You’re a big, handsome fella. You should be out there.”
Glenn smiled shyly. “Between two jobs and my wee lass to look after I don’t really have time …”
“You must be going blind old girl. He’s an ugly cunt,” Curtis teased, sauntering along beside them.
Tawny laughed. She patted Glenn’s arm. “Don’t you listen to him.”
“I don’t,” Glenn assured.
They reached the rec room. “Anyway boys, this is where I get off.”
Vincent was seated at the piano preparing to practice some exercises. Tawny wrapped her arms around him and kissed him as she passed.
“Good morning, gorgeous,” she said. Vincent smiled and patted her arm.
David was leaning over the sofa trying to find the remote so he could switch off a Coldford City football game. City were up three nil against Swantin and he couldn’t bear to watch the celebrations of the arch rivals of his beloved Coldford Athletic. Tawny slapped his backside.
“Good morning, handsome,” she winked. She held out a cigarette. “Ciggy?”
When he looked up he could see Beverly waving the remote at him.
The three took seat at their usual table by the fireplace. Winslow watched them from the door way. Like a fine, oiled machine his beloved facility ran. It was his passion project and like all his other pursuits, Harvester Farm for example, things had to run a very particular way.
Time is ticking by for the residents of Harbour House. A unique rehab facility with standards, laws and regulations all of its own.