"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!" (Mary Quallo, St Louis)

"Who in their right mind wouldn't want to read a book by Mark Barry!"  (Mary Quallo, St Louis)
Coming next week - Carla Eatherington

Thursday, 3 May 2012

Two of the Green Wizard books - Issue 3 and 5 - are set in the fictional town of Wheatley Fields. 

More are planned as a new world is created. If The Daughter of Satan sells as I expect it to when the marketing kicks in, then I'll write a sequel so maybe there is a serial coming after all.

Wheatley Fields is loosely based on Southwell in north Nottingham, one of the most prosperous towns in the country. 

In a recent survey, it was classed as the best place in the country to bring up kids in Northern England. It has the fourth best performing non-fee paying school. If you have to ask the price of a house here, you can't afford it. Rents - I live in a flat, before you start envying/detesting me - are increasing annually. The kids here - up to eighteen years old - are generally wonderfully behaved, polite and well mannered. A credit to their parents and their school. 

Not one of its eight pubs has closed. You can eat spilled kebab meat off the pavements. It is a beautiful looking place too, with the famous Minster at its centre; the bird sanctuary, cherry blossom everywhere and miles and miles of rural trails to walk along.

The problem is, as in the film Hot Fuzz, it is populated by some of the most ignorant human beings on the planet. 

Case in point: I've taken up spinning and have been going to classes twice a week for three months. 

If you want to lose some weight fast, try it. It's fantastic. Spinning beats running and the gym hands down if weight loss is the goal. 

I've been to approximately twenty classes and I must have "spun" with fifty different people, mostly women. Apart from two blokes who I get on really well with, only three other people have even said hello and even then, one of those is erratic. I'm not too bothered - I've lived in Southwell for nine years and I know what the locals are like. My less than rapturous reception didn't surprise me in the slightest.

So today, I'm in spinning class with fourteen other people and toward the end of the session, just as we're about to carry out the concluding uphill sprint, my foot slipped out of the stirrup and I fell off the bike. 

Embarrassing or what? 

I trapped my leg, gouged the skin on my shinbone and sprained my ankle. The bike nearly fell and I got a bit tangled.

With the exception of the instructor, only one person stopped what they were doing to see if I was alright. 

Several didn't even look over in my direction. One speeded up. I heard one woman mutter about interrupting the class. I came off the bike with an almighty clatter so it wasn't as if they didn't notice. 

I was getting in the way of their exercise. You have to laugh. I did, a bit later.

The really nice woman who stopped to ask if I was okay was an Incomer from Yorkshire and she actually waited outside the changing rooms to see if everything was ship shape.

In The Daughter of Satan, there's a chapter where a recovering alcoholic bus driver is appallingly abused by irate travellers into Nottingham because he is seven minutes late. It's based on something I witnessed last year. 

I wonder whether this is the same the world over - the sociability of people being inversely proportional to the beauty of their surroundings. I'm sure it is. 

What's the estate where "Shameless" is filmed? I'll see you there...

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