About

Hello…

On the right: a very silly photo of me as a model for a failed cosmetics firm.

I guess humour and curiosity have always been important to me, probably in that order.

I grew up on Merseyside and then nipped over to Nottingham to do a degree in Slavonic Studies. Met my wife there.

Then moved to Darlaston, in the Black Country, to teach French and Russian at the local Comp.

Then back to Nottingham to do an M. Phil titled The Role Played by Women in the Terrorist Movement in Russia in the 1870-80s. We ran out of money, so I never did finish the degree, but I was very moved by some of the women I was studying, and determined to one day write the story of Sofia Perovskaya. It would make Dr Zhivago look like Noddy Mucks About in the Snow. But I never did write it. Perhaps someone will make the movie one day. Oscars guaranteed.

I was roped into writing some sketches for the University revue, which we took to the Nottingham and Edinburgh Festivals. And again the following year.

I found that I really enjoyed writing humour, and spent a couple of years writing and performing weekly three-minute daft bits for BBC Radio Nottingham, based on the news of the week.

Meanwhile I needed to earn a living and got a few hours’ work at West Bridgford College of FE teaching bits of languages. The M. Phil no longer appealed (not least because of lack of money) and I was lucky to get a full-time job at the College, branching out into English, EFL, Gen Studs, and Communication Studies.

Meanwhile, on the family front we had two kids and a dog. And a hamster. Cat or two. Gerbils.

The Big Change happened in the late 1970’s when Anne stirred my interest in the new Green Movement. We got an allotment and became fascinated with the possibilities. Eventually we thought we really ought to have a bash at smallholding, if possible.

An opportunity did turn up, and we moved to Newcastle Emlyn, in West Wales, in 1982. The plan was to be as self-sufficient as possible on our five acres of green space, and to grow garlic as a cash crop to pay for petrol and the telephone.

Within a couple of years we had two disasters. Just before Christmas I buckled at the knees and was hauled off and poured into bed with what was eventually diagnosed as M.E., and the following spring every one of our 60,000 garlics were wiped out by an endlessly rainy summer.

I couldn’t work, and Anne soldiered on magnificently on her own for the whole of the next spring, sowing thousands of plants, and coping with the sheep and the twice daily milking of dear old Daisy, not to mention caring for the kids, poultry, cats and dog. And me.

Anyway…. All of this, and much more went into my first book, called Scenes from a Smallholding, which described, with as much humour as I could muster, how we set up and ran our small farm for those first three years. If you’d like to read a couple of excerpts from Scenes, please click here.

I self-published Scenes, and was pleased when it was re-printed by the Ebury Press who commissioned a sequel called, rather nattily … More Scenes from a Smallholding.

The M.E. stayed with me, receding and returning year on year, so I was now officially unemployable (‘always have been’, thinks wife. Har har) so I needed to find a way of earning my keep that didn’t involve carrying poorly sheep around or digging trenches to bury them in. No energy, you see.

After the modest success of the Scenes books, writing now seemed like a possibility, but I was very green then, and knew little of the vapidity of the publishing world. My first attempt was rejected by my agent as unsubmittable, as it was a humorous philosophical novel. You can’t do that, apparently. It won’t fit neatly enough into the publishing pigeonholes of ‘Philosophy’ or ‘Humour’. I’m not kidding. As far as the publishing world is concerned, philosophy and humour do not mix. Philosophy has to be incomprehensible and boring; and humour has to be trite and boring. No wonder so many of us are so miserable.

Anyway….

While I was laid low with M.E. I decided to try to try to answer a question that had always baffled me: ‘Why did science not take the paranormal seriously?’ I had had one or two slightly paranormal experiences myself, and knew of several other people who had, too, from ghosts to the Ouija board. I had also been a science student and knew all about scientific method. There was no inbuilt reason for this consistent refusal of science to investigate spooks. So what was going on? And why did my old biology teacher delight in telling his students that we are nothing but a few kilos of water, a pound or two of carbon and a drizzling of phosphorus, sulphur, zinc, molybdenum etc. Clearly there was something missing from this masterly analysis, as piles of carbon, sulphur, zinc etc can not talk or think, or make half-baked judgments about Reality.

So while I was laid up, with no physical energy, and precious little other energy, I read, and read, and thought, and read some more.

This process went on for some twenty years, continuing even when my health (sort of) returned. Why? Because what I discovered was so fascinating and exciting that I absolutely needed to follow it all through to its logical conclusion.

I made thousands of notes on slips of scrap paper, and one day began sorting them all out into what I thought was a rational pattern for writing a book from, as I was certain that a few other open-minded people would be very interested in what I had discovered.

It took a very long time.

Anyway.. the finished product is finally available for anyone interested in taking a peep at it. I’ve called it DarwinPlus! Evolution, Science, Religion and the Paranormal, not because it’s a brilliant title, but because every other title I thought of seemed to be worse. I quite liked A Candidate for Burning for a while. There was a very good reason for picking this (explained in the book) but someone pointed out that it sounded far too much like a John Grisham novel. I guess he was right, so boring old DarwinPlus! it is.

However, the concept of ‘DarwinPlus’ itself is very far from boring, as I hope you will discover for yourself. More details on the DarwinPlus! page.

That’s about it. I’ve got a couple of other offerings on the way. Scenes from a Vegetable Plot has just this month been released into the wild. Take look at the SfaVP page if you think it might appeal.

Guide Yourself to Happiness is on the stocks as an ebook, and also as a paper book if there is any demand.

And I’ve not forgotten my humorous philosophy book. It’s called Your Dog as Philosopher and is a (hopefully) funny story about a man left alone for a weekend with his feisty toddler and his barmy dog. Stuff happens, as one might expect, and he falls to realising that dear old Fido, with his simple and realistic attitudes, copes rather better with life’s snot and daggers than he himself does.

I’ll add a bit more to this page now and then. Not that there’s much to add. I’m a happy man and thus don’t have a life of reckless adventure to report on. I guess my blog is the proper place for such stuff anyway, anyway.

I wish you joy.

Chas G.