Jury Duty, Codeine Phosphate and Bitches

Published March 16, 2014 by lyndarenham

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Today I was strangely reminded of my jury duty at the Old Bailey in London. Yes, that’s right, only my jury duty could end up at the Old Bailey and turn out to be a murder case. What are the chances of being called up? My parents never were and my ex mother in law always wanted to be but never was. Yours truly gets called up three times. Yes, that’s right three times. I blame it on my constant moving. The first time I couldn’t do it but I can’t recall why. The third time I had a back injury (honest your honour) so couldn’t do it then either. But the second time, well, honestly I’m amazed after that they even considered calling me for a third time but they obviously take any nutter onto a jury. Well, they took me so that clearly proves it.
It began on the Monday morning and someone had already told me not to be late.
‘You’ve got to be there on time, so don’t muck around. You only need one security scare and you’ve had it.’
I dragged myself out of bed at the crack of dawn and got myself ready, my stomach fluttering with nerves and with something else. You’ll be thrilled to hear that the day before I had gone down with a stomach bug, okay a nervous stomach, if you believe my doctor. He prescribed Codeine Phosphate and said take up to 8 a day. Now, all I could think about was what if I get put on an IRA terrorist trial. I could be there for eight weeks. Even worse I may have to stay in a London hotel. Just the thought induced the stomach to complain. I quickly popped two codeine phosphate said goodbye to my then husband (I’ve had one before Andrew. I’ve decided two is enough. I’m too old to think about a third. Anyway I digress. Enough of husbands. I’m sure you have one of your own you could complain about without hearing about my two) after advising him I may have to stay in a hotel I nervously made my way to the station. I’m loaded down with Hello and Ok magazines, several novels, two newspapers and the Sunday supplements. I’ve been advised the chances of me even getting on a case the first day is very slim and I’m likely to spend it in the jurors canteen reading and drinking tea. Oh well, at least I will get paid for it. It will be the first time I’ve been paid for enjoying my magazines.
I arrive at the jurors entrance to the Old Bailey and am given a pass. I then proceed with lots of other people to a huge hall where there is a roll call. It’s like being at school. So far, so good, and no sign of a criminal or murderer but I suppose they are kept somewhere else. I’m led to a waiting area and given a cup of tea. Along with everyone else I pull out my novel and begin to read. I reach page 2 and my name is called. God, this isn’t right is it? I’m supposed to sit here all day. I follow a man along a corridor along with several other people and suddenly I’m in a court room. After a time, more names are called out, mine included and I realise I am on a jury. We are told that we are to judge a murder case. Well, after the word murder my whole body went into shock and my brain switched off. Oh my God, oh my God. We were informed that the case should last the duration of our duty which would be two weeks. I was on a case, on the first day. A murder case. This could only happen to me. Why couldn’t I get a motoring offence like the rest of my friends? Oh no, that would never happen would it? Not to yours truly. Well, I’m bound to bugger this up. Already the codeine phosphate is making me feel spaced out. That’s all I need. My doctor might have warned me. Any hope I had of returning to the canteen before lunch is quickly dashed when one of the barristers begins to outline our role in the case that is to follow. We are all given notebooks to jot things down (I’m later going to thank God for this notebook)
The defendants are rolled out, well not rolled out but you know what I mean. One has dreadlocks and the other is covered in tattoos.dreadlocks

I feel my stomach gurgle and quickly pop another codeine phosphate before the proceedings start. An hour later and the judge is fading in and out of my vision. Great. The second person takes the stand and begins to talk about the defendants and tells us their street names. I scribble the name snake man and numerous others into my notebook and try to get my fuddled codeine phosphate brain to decipher which names belongs to who. It seems life in the Notting Hill ghetto is a million miles from my little life in my nice little flat in Ilford. People don’t get gunned down there. Or if they do it has never happened when I was around. It is two o clock and the judge looks at his watch as a witness leaves the stand.
‘Court adjourned,’ he says.
What already? I’m on the end of the hard bench and stand up too quickly feeling myself sway slightly. I smile nervously at the steward who helps me down.
‘Tiredness,’ I say, while feeling totally stoned as well as constipated.
So endeth the first day. jury 1

The next day was even more exciting if that is at all possible. I took two codeine phosphate in the morning. My stomach was fine but I preferred to keep it that way. I don’t want to be raising my hand during a crucial evidence moment do I? Oh no, best to take precautions. We wait and wait in the corridor outside the courtroom. Something is holding things up. I tell another juror I have to go to the loo. I like to get everything out of the way so I can concentrate. I follow the sign to the ladies and enter. I’ve only been in there five seconds when the door bursts open and two stewards fly in. I hold my hands up in fear.
‘Out,’ they shout.
I look around to see who they are shouting at and realise it is me.
‘I’m just going to the loo,’ I say shakily.
‘Not in here you’re not. Anyone can approach you. You’re a juror. Didn’t you listen to the rules when you started. All jurors use their own toilet.’
Oh my God, I could have been approached by a member of the murderers family. I could have been murdered in the loo. Not how I had planned my end. I nearly pass out from the shock. I instead pop another codeine phosphate thinking this is bound to upset my stomach.
Back in court. Ten minutes in and I’m confused.com. They keep talking about Snake Man and then Tutu, Rocka and Bo Bo. I’m seriously losing track of who’s who. Then the photos come round. I can barely look. It’s easier to throw a few more codeine phosphate down. During lunch I discuss the case with another juror and she helps clarify and says it will all become clear during the summing up. After lunch we return and watch as the defendants girlfriends give evidence. They pass our bench and the woman who calls herself Snake Man’s bitch stops and gives me and another woman juror a long intimidating stare.
‘He’s my man and I’m his woman, got it,’ she says while on the stand ‘And he aint done nothing and no one better say he did. I’m his bitch and I’ll do anything for him. He aint murdered no one.’
That’s about the only testimony I’d been able to understand so far. All the rest had been in street slang and could have been a rap for all I knew.
Oh dear.
I feel my knees knock and the woman beside me clenches her fists as the witness passes us to leave. But then continues to stare at us intently from the public gallery. At four, court is dismissed and I look down miserably at my scribblings. We leave by the jurors door and the other juror named Helen hangs onto my arm. Waiting outside are the bitches.
‘Oh God,’ says Helen.
‘Just walk,’ I say.
I’m starting to think an IRA case and a London hotel would have been preferable. At least I would have got home safely. We take the escalator down to the underground and she asks if I would meet her at the station tomorrow so we can walk to court together.
Four days in and the judge dismisses the case against one of the defendants. I’m starting to feel a great sense of relief. If he does the same with the other defendant we are home free. Day 7 and the defendant still stands in the dock and wonderful news, the judge is going to sum up. I look up at the public gallery and see the other defendant who was let off, enter and sit down. I look to the defendant who stands in the dock to my right. The judge starts summing up and I begin to relax and start to take it all in when my eyes are pulled to the dreadlocked guy in the gallery. He slowly slides his hand into his jacket. My heart almost stops beating. Oh my God, he’s going to shoot the guy in the dock. My eyes fly from him to the other guy and I freeze. What if he misses and shoots me. Oh God, this is the worst day of my life. I’m going to be in all the newspapers tomorrow. I can’t take my eyes off the guy in the gallery. If I prepare myself, I can duck or something. I feel the perspiration run between my breasts. I wipe a bead of sweat from my forehead and take some deep breaths. The judges voice disappears into the background. I wait with bated breath for the guy in the gallery to pull out his gun and fire. It feels like my whole life flashes before my eyes. It doesn’t seem to matter that I’m missing the summing it. I’m not going to live long enough to help with the verdict anyway. Then the dreadlock guy removes his hand. I hold my breath and feel myself tense. Codeine Phosphate are no good now. A  bottle of wine is what I need. wine for jury

He places his hands in his lap and continues to listen to the judge. Oh no. He doesn’t have a gun. I turn back to the judge who is talking about the gun used in the crime and I start making notes. Just as well I did as that was the critical piece of evidence to which we made our decision. We found him not guilty, due to lack of evidence. I survived to see another day and did eventually go to the loo again you’ll be pleased to know. I set off back home to my man; after all I am his bitch.

The things nightmares are made of

Published March 7, 2014 by lyndarenham

It’s been over a year since we had the builders in. That’s the right phrase isn’t it? I’ve only finally recovered. I think I will be scarred for life. But I have reached that stage where I could actually consider having builders in again.

At the time though, my excitement at having an extension I have to admit dwindled by the day.

I stupidly escaped to Cambodia for three weeks in the vain hope it would all be over when I got back. Instead I came home to a demolished kitchen and a living room that looked as though squatters had moved in. My lovely husband had shoved everything onto the couches, into corners, and in piles on the floor. I stared aghast.  The corner of the room that had once housed my couch and a little table with romantic candles now had a makeshift sink and washing machine. My living room in a matter of days had become lounge, kitchen, bathroom and junk room.

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‘The tumble dryer finally broke,’ says my husband.

It just gets worse.

‘But we’re on the way.’

To madness I find myself thinking.

‘The builders arrive every morning at 7, so you’ll need to be up.’

‘But I’m jet lagged,’ I whine.

Oh God, did I agree to this. Can we go back?

‘Oh and the bathroom is coming down today. Come and meet the builders and see the portaloo.’

Why is making it all sound so glamorous? I just want to lie down and die. I’m so jet lagged. I don’t want to meet builders.

‘This is Dan, and Steve,’ says Andrew introducing me.

My lovely garden looks like a building site. I look at the portaloo and want to cry.

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Lovely Dan

Lovely Dan

‘I need to lie down,’ I say only to find the bed unmade, Why is it men cannot make a bed? Is it that hard?

‘Well, there’s no point, we’ll be getting in it again later. ‘Says Andrew casually.

I groan.

Now, I should tell you I am one of those women who clean up as people work. If Andrew does DIY, I’m there with the vacuum cleaner, vacuuming the dust as it falls. I’m dead serious. I can start working and if there is some mess on the floor I have to remove it otherwise I can’t concentrate.

To top it all. I’m right in the middle of a novel.

‘How can I write?’ I moan.

Honestly I’ve never moaned so much in my life.

‘You’ll cope,’ says Andrew.

He’s very understanding as you can tell.

I take another look at the living room and decide we can’t live like this and spend the next few hours sorting everything out. Dan and Steve keep looking at me and I see fear in their eyes. Oh yes, things are about to change. I’m home now.

I had these builders in my home for six months. During that time I had five periods. It’s no fun, trying to change a tampon in a portaloo when the builders are sitting outside it having their tea break.

I wrote a complete novel with them here. It was ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’

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Dan became my own personal little helper. He would run out and bring in the washing when it rained. He took in parcels for me and the whole six months had me calling, ‘Dan,’ numerous times.

Then we had a little holiday. Just a week but we were so stressed that it became an emergency to have a break. We stayed at a lovely cottage in Cornwall which had a bathroom and a kitchen. I was in heaven. While we were away we arranged for the heating people to come in to install our new heat pump…

Right, I need a minute, a cup of tea and a Valium if I am to carry on. Just the word heat pump reminds me of that horror. Forget Freddie Kruger and nightmare on Elm Street. Forget Norman Bates and Pyscho. Just think heat pump and a company called Verdalec. There I’ve said the name. I’ve actually said it. I have never wished evil on anyone but If I could perform spells on these people I would do it tomorrow.  We were doing well. Dan was wonderful. Steve was excellent. Kevin our main builder was brilliant. Everything was going according to plan and then along came Verdalec. There I have said it twice now. I emailed Dan to ask if they had been and whether the heat pump was installed. It took a long time for lovely Dan to reply. Of course, I understand why now. Finally, a text.

‘Hi Lynda, yes they have been. They were everywhere so we couldn’t do much.’

Oh yes, anything to get out of working and having another tea break with doughnuts. Of course, I was later to discover that lovely Dan had queried their mess and had actually gone behind them to clear up so it wouldn’t look too bad when we returned home. Bless his cotton socks. Because I cannot begin to tell you what it looked like when we returned home and this was after Dan had cleared up. I walked into the living room and my stomach sank. I don’t know why. It had looked like this for some time now but after leaving the lovely cottage in Cornwall it just looked a hundred times worse somehow. I went upstairs to take our suitcase and unpack and must have groaned so loudly because Andrew and Bendy came rushing upstairs. If only cats could talk. Bendy would probably tell you he seriously considered leaving home. The poor little bugger had no cat flap and was forced to stay out all night. His food was left outside as there was nowhere in the house for it. His kitchen had gone, which had once been his sleeping place. Our little cuddles on the loo (best not to go into those) had gone, as we no longer had a loo. Plus these big burly men came every day and scared the shit out of him so that he spent most of his time under the duvet. I can tell you I came close to joining him often. We were now all staring at the hole in Andrew’s office door and the scratches along the stair wall. I leaned on the bannister for support and nearly went down the whole flight of stairs as it came away in my hands. Andrew rescued me. I stumbled into the bedroom for a good cry and then saw the black footprints up the bedroom wall leading to the loft.

Bendy explores the building work.

Bendy explores the building work.

‘I’m phoning Dan,’ said an angry Andrew.

‘It’s not his fault,’ I hiccup.

‘Come on let’s go into the summer-house,’ he suggested. ‘That’s our sanctuary.’

Now Is the time to hide behind the cushions. This is worthy of a movie, I tell you. The summer-house was the one place not touched by builders. A place to relax, escape it all. I opened the door, a cup of tea in one hand and my laptop in the other. I opened the door and gasped. Someone had been in there. You know how you just know these things? Of course there were the giveaway signs. Bearing in mind I had cleaned the summer-house thoroughly before going away. It wasn’t just a feeling that someone had been in there, it was more the dirty footprints that gave it away and the throw on the chair all messed up. Of course the mud on the carpet was a complete giveaway.

‘I’ll kill them,’ I cried.

‘Right,’ said Andrew with that look on his face when he means business.

Oh, why did I ever go on holiday?

Dan explained that there had been about six people who came to fit the boiler and heat pump. That they made some mess and that he queried it but they said some mess is to be expected. So Dan, vacuumed and did his best to put the stair bannister back.  Andrew then left a stroppy message on the answer phone of the director of the heating company. Two days later someone came to see me and the damage. We went upstairs and he looked at the door and the boiler.

‘Well you can see the size of that.’ He said.

For one awful minute I wondered what it was we were talking about the size of. Fortunately it was the same thing. The boiler.

There in moments in life when you have to bite your lip isn’t there? This was one of them. I chose not to bite mine.

‘Yes,’ I said.

‘Well it was difficult for the guys to get that in here. It’s a small cottage in all fairness.’

‘Yes but in all fairness, the guys could have removed the door,’ I said.

He looks thoughtful.

‘How can you be sure hour guys did it?’

Now I saw red. Was he blaming it on Dan or the other builders?

‘I’ve had my builders here for three months. Dan even tells me when he spills water anywhere. I somehow think he would let me know if he bashes my door in. Your guys did it.’

‘Okay, we’ll obviously pay for the damage but you understand that damage happens when things like this are done.’

Finally he went. After agreeing to the pay the cost of painting the bedroom wall and fixing the door. I then decide not to go away again while I have work being done in the house. Of course it stupidly didn’t occur to me that they could do just as much damage when I’m in the house as when I am out of it.

Even this sight of me doesn't drive the builders away

Even this sight of me doesn’t drive the builders away

To be continued…

The Dogs Bollocks Mug prize

Published February 14, 2014 by lyndarenham

 

 

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Win ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ mug, Happy Valentine Day

Okay here is the next competition to win yourself ‘The Dog’s Bollocks’ mug.

All answers can be found in the ‘look inside’ excerpt from The Dogs Bollocks on Amazon, or better still in the book.

What are the names of the three Jacks?
Mrs Mollard calls Alistair ‘A ‘something’ pervert, tell me what?
Who is the wealthy man at Harriet’s table at the wedding?

Send your answers to mug@raucouspublishing.co.uk
Tweet and Facebook the competition. Thanks and good luck xxxx

 

Prizes prizes prizes

Published February 14, 2014 by lyndarenham

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YOU DON’T NEED A COPY OF ANY OF MY BOOKS TO WIN A ‘IT HAD TO BE YOU’ MUG…
Here are the competition questions. To find the answers you can look at the sample of ‘It Had to Be You’ on Amazon by clicking the ‘Look inside’ on the cover. Below is the link. Or better still get your own copy.
The questions are
‘What does Ben Newman have on his nose?’
‘Where does Binki keep her M&M’s!
‘Who wrote the Round Robin that annoyed Binki so much’
Then PLEASE put a message on you Facebook page saying I have just entered the ‘It Had to Be You’ comp by Lynda Renham and the link to the book. Plus Tweet if you’re on Twitter. Thank you and good luck. xxx

Send your answers to the three questions
to mug@raucouspublishing.co.uk
The winner will be pulled from a hat… and there will be a keyring runner up prize.
Here is the sample link
http://www.amazon.co.uk/Had-Be-You-Romantic-Comedy-ebook/dp/B00ICRVC2S/ref=sr_1_6_bnp_1_kin?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1392369553&sr=1-6&keywords=renham

9780957137288 - Copy

FAB PRIZES FOR VALENTINE’S DAY (Check it out)

Published February 12, 2014 by lyndarenham

FAB PRIZES FOR VALENTINE'S DAY (Check it out)

On Friday 14th Feb, Valentine’s Day you can win yourself one of these. All you’ll need is a copy of the kindle version of ‘It Had to Be You’ I’m adding a hot chocolate sachet, so you can enjoy reading your book. The questions will be a place, a thing, or a food mentioned in the book. So you will a need a copy to enter.
Don’t worry there will be more in March when the paperback is released. Stay tuned. I’ll be setting the question on Friday the 14th Feb here and also on my blog.

Lynda xx

 

It Had to Be You (Kindle Launch)

Published February 11, 2014 by lyndarenham

9780957137288 - Copy

It only seems a few months ago that I was telling you that my new book was being released. Of course, now I look back, it was actually September.

Thank you to everyone who bought ‘The Dog’s Bollocks.’ It actually made number one in the Australian Amazon chart. Very cool. It is now number 8 in the UK humour chart. I am thrilled.

So with Valentine’s Day looming, I thought you would enjoy the new one and what great timing than to have its Kindle release today. It’s titled ‘It Had to Be You’ and here is a little taster for you. Do enjoy and if you would like to receive my newsletter, do subscribe in the box on the right. Scroll down and you can’t miss it.

Love Lynda xx

Chapter One

 

Don’t you just hate Christmas bonuses? Well maybe you don’t and generally I don’t either, so when my boss drops a subtle hint about giving me one I didn’t for one minute imagine he was talking about a quickie up against his desk. Well you wouldn’t would you? A bonus normally smacks of a little brown envelope with a nice wad of crisp new notes inside doesn’t it? Well it does from my experience but maybe it smacks of a quickie up against a desk for you. I avert my eyes from the developing bulge in his trousers and scan the desk for the said brown envelope.

‘It’s Christmas,’ he says, like I’ve somehow overlooked the fact, and takes my hand, rubbing it erotically over the bulge. God, I feel sick. I fear the overload of Christmas sausage rolls, turkey sandwiches and mince pies that I had guiltily consumed thirty minutes earlier at the office Christmas lunch will burst forth and decorate the lovely oak desk I am pressed up against.

‘I’m not sure what that’s got to do with it,’ I say hesitantly. Well you have to agree I do have a point. The boss is supposed to give me the present isn’t he, not the other way around? Although, on reflection perhaps he considers a quick shag over his desk on Christmas Eve is a good present; I’d much prefer a Body Shop voucher to be honest, or a family bag of M&Ms.

 ‘Goodwill to all men and all that crap,’ he whispers, launching his open mouth towards my neck like a vampire, engulfing me in champagne fumes. I think a vampire would be preferable, at least it would be over quicker. I don’t believe this is happening. I mean, this sort of thing doesn’t happen to women like me. Don’t get me wrong, when I say women like me; I’m not saying I’m twenty stone with unsightly moles on my face. Not that there is anything wrong with being twenty stone of course, or having moles on your face come to that. If you’re happy that’s what counts right? But you know what I mean. I’m just your standard size fourteen, ordinary looking woman. I wouldn’t call myself a blonde bombshell by any means. That’s the thing with Christmas, isn’t it? Things happen in offices that would never happen at any other time of the year. When else would you consume alcohol at lunchtime and it be deemed acceptable to continue working half-pissed for the rest of the day? Not to mention that secret Santa thing. I always get unstuck with that bugger, and this year has been no exception. I usually pay over the odds too. Well, what can you buy for a fiver these days? And what happens? The one who was supposed to buy my present didn’t bring it in and is now off sick, with a hangover no doubt, which means I go home empty-handed. Obviously I shrug it off as no big deal and I don’t really mind, but I know I won’t get anything now and it does seem a bit unfair. I’m Binki Grayson by the way, and that’s Binki with an i by the way. I don’t mean I only have one eye obviously. I most certainly have two and I’m not off the telly. I live in Notting Hill which I assure you, is very different to Chelsea. Just as nice you understand but different. I may as well tell you this now while I’m pinned up against an office desk by my sleazy boss as I may not get a chance later. You’re probably wondering how I came to be in this pickle, and I’m wondering that too. My boss, who I have to say is very much a wolf in sheep’s clothing, has taken me totally by surprise. I never imagined he had it in him. I’ve worked at Temco Advertising for five years now. Three of those I was a junior sales assistant but the past two years I have been working as the senior sales assistant directly under Ben Newman; not literally under him you understand, that would be a bit gross. In all that time he has never had me pinned up against a desk. I’ve worked really hard to get here too. I don’t mean pinned up against Ben Newman’s desk with an unsightly bulge pressed against my thigh, just in case you thought I did. I mean, I’ve worked hard to climb my way up in the company and this is the last thing I need. I am, after all, a soon-to-be-engaged woman. At least that is what Oliver has been hinting. I know he has visited Hatton Garden on the quiet because my friend, Muffy, saw him there in her lunch break last week. I’m expecting him to propose over the Christmas holiday, and I can’t begin to tell you how excited I am. Oliver is my boyfriend by the way, but I expect you guessed that.

‘I’ve wanted you for months,’ Ben Newman mumbles, salivating so much that I feel sure that’s a dribble running down my neck. I shudder and attempt to duck under his arm but he pushes me back and I feel the desk cutting into my buttock. His hand slides up the inside of my thigh and I start to panic. Good heavens, this has never happened to me before in my life.

‘You know you want it,’ he says huskily. He releases one hand to yank down the zipper on his trousers.

‘Your gorgeous silky blonde hair and cute little dimpled cheeks really turn me on, and that tight little arse of yours. Ooh sugar, you drive me crazy.’

‘Oh,’ I hear myself squeal. I don’t think I have ever driven a man crazy in my whole life, and that includes my boyfriend Oliver.

‘I’ve seen you giving me the come on,’ he slurs.

He has? I wonder when that was. I hope he isn’t mistaking me for someone else. I don’t know if I should be relieved or insulted if that is the case. It is rather flattering to be lusted after, it’s just a shame I couldn’t do any better than Ben Newman.

‘You want it don’t you?’ he dribbles as his hand swoops down the front of my dress and grabs a breast.

I’ve never wanted it less in my whole life.

‘Surprisingly enough I don’t,’ I say firmly as my elbow squashes a sausage roll that sits drying up on his desk.

What is it with these creeps? And what does he imagine I find so irresistible about him? He surely can’t think it’s his disgusting alcohol and tobacco breath, or his greasy floppy brown hair? Or maybe he thinks it is his enormous erection that I want so desperately. I can’t think of anything worse than being rammed by that awful … Oh my God, he’s got it out. It’s all purple and veiny. Now I am going to be sick. I slide sideways and get a prick from a cocktail sausage stick. It seems pricks are everywhere but this one is way out of control. I so wish I was back, thirty minutes earlier, at the lunch eating a cocktail sausage rather than being pricked by one.

‘You can’t tease me all these weeks and then start playing Miss Prim,’ he hisses as he tugs at my knickers. ‘You know you want my thrill drill in your pussy. I know you’re gagging for it.’

Oh purleese, thrill drill? I’ve heard it all now. I really can’t imagine being thrilled in the least by this veiny looking drill. I bring my knee up and thrust it roughly into his well-exposed groin. He falls back groaning and I quickly pull my panties up. Oh dear, I somehow feel this is not helping my job prospects.

‘For fuck’s sake, what was that for?’ he cries, clutching the pink and now very soft appendage.

I can’t believe he has the cheek to even ask.

‘You can stick your thrill drill somewhere else Mr Newman, Christmas or no Christmas,’ I say haughtily, straightening my dress.

He gives me a filthy look and zips up his trousers.

‘Playing Miss Innocent are we? I tell you what, why don’t you think this through, we’ll discuss it again at the New Year’s Eve party,’ he says breathlessly, tucking in his shirt before taking a brown envelope from a drawer.

I don’t think we will. He leans towards me and I back away. God, he’s so ugly I swear he would win the world finals of the Ugliest Man competition. I mean, that wart on his nose, what’s that about? He scoffs and flicks his hair back with his hand.

‘Here’s a little bonus, but I expect you to work harder next year. Do you get my drift? Put in a few extra hours, that kind of thing.’

I seriously don’t believe this. Christmas Eve and I’m about to throw my job in. What else can I do? I can’t have this moron drooling over me for the whole of next year, it doesn’t bear thinking about. I snatch the envelope just to be on the safe side.

‘Mr Newman, I really can’t do any extra hours. Forty hours a week is more than enough, and my boyfriend would be really unhappy.

His hard eyes meet mine and I realise, right there right then, that I really have no choice but to resign.

‘I think you will do extra hours Miss Grayson. I really wouldn’t want to tell the powers that be how you threw yourself at me, a happily married man with two children, on Christmas Eve because you couldn’t hold your drink.’

What a pig.

‘They would never believe you,’ I say lamely, knowing full well they would. He’s a bloody director after all. He gives me a smug smile and I cave in.

‘Under the circumstances, I think perhaps you should find yourself another sales assistant for the New Year,’ I hear myself say and cringe inwardly. What am I doing? Oliver and I have only been in the new luxury apartment in the most sought-after residential area of Notting Hill for two months. I’m twenty-nine years old with ten months on a tenancy agreement. I’ve a gorgeous boyfriend who is climbing the surveyor’s ladder and is most certainly going to ask me to marry him over Christmas because men do that at Christmas don’t they? I mean, they do, don’t they? All I need is to be out of a job now with a wedding coming up. I hold my breath, you never know, Christmas may just bring out the good side in my boss.

‘Well, if that’s how you feel Binki,’ he says, leaning forward and reaching for the envelope.

I quickly push it into my bag and head for the door.

‘Thank you very much,’ I say shakily. ‘Shall we say it is for services rendered? Or shall we take our chances in court, sexual harassment and all that. What would the wife say?’

‘Why you …’

The thing is I can’t stay, can I? He’ll make my life unbearable and the last thing I want is the stigma of sexual harassment. Everyone at work looking at me and thinking, maybe she asked for it. Like anyone would choose to throw themselves at wart-nose Newman but all the same, you get my drift don’t you?

I dive out of the office faster than you can say Father Christmas and wonder if I offer Oliver sex when I get home he’ll take the bad news better. Maybe he’ll even storm up to the office and punch Ben Newman’s lights out; then again, knowing Oliver and his bad back, maybe not.

Available here from Amazon. In book shops from March.

Morcambe and Wise. We have nothing on you. Comedy writers meet.

Published January 29, 2014 by lyndarenham

Wednesday, 29 January 2014 (Blog posting re-printed with permission by Sue Watson.

Lynda Renham, Live and Unplugged!

 blog tour 2

Recently, I agreed to meet an online friend. In the flesh. In their home. 
Now this online friend may be Lynda Renham, a fellow author with many books and sales under her belt – but what’s to stop her also being an axe-wielding-serial-killing-best-selling-author? She might well be the literary ‘Queen of Comedy’ and has delighted us all with her best-selling books, ‘Croissants and Jam,’ ‘Coconuts and Wonderbras,’ ‘Pink Wellies and Flat Caps’ and the thoughtfully (and sensitively) retitled ‘The Dog’s Bollocks,’ but what does she do when she’s not writing best-selling novels? Does she lock people in her attic? Eat human livers with a fine chianti and fava beans a la Hannibal Lecter? Or is she simply as lovely and funny in the flesh as she is on social network?

blog tour 3

Chaperoned by my husband and 14-year-old daughter, we set out to discover answers to our questions at Lynda Renham’s pile in darkest Oxfordshire. Along the winding roads my husband kept asking me how well I knew these people who’d kindly invited us to lunch as my daughter warned me (in a voice not unlike my own) of how we shouldn’t mess with  ‘online Stranger Danger Mum!’

Arriving in Oxfordshire, imagine our concern to find the house didn’t exist, no-one was around except a man waving frantically at cars in the middle of the road. Is this a local Oxfordshire custom we wondered, putting up the car windows and locking all doors.

A text and some directions later we were finally ushered into Lynda and her husband Andrew’s home. And after a lovely warm welcome, Lynda and I talked and didn’t stop. For hours. It’s amazing how similar we are and how we can laugh… and talk … and laugh and it all started online with a few clicks of the mouse. It was a wonderful afternoon, the first, I hope of many, with fine food, lovely wine, and delicious company… and not a fava bean or fine Chianti in sight!
blog tour 4

Here’s Lynda’s version of events…..

A Sunday, not many moons ago I arranged to meet another author. Of course, we knew what the other looked like but you know how we all put on those old photos on Facebook. Yes, exactly. She might turn out to be ninety for all I knew. Not that there is anything wrong with someone being ninety of course, but you know what I mean?

So, there was Andrew and I waiting, panicking about the food. We’d checked lasagne would be okay but things have a tendency to go wrong don’t they? We usually do have lumpy sauce. But this time everything was going well. The house looked tidy, the food was cooking nicely. If only I could stop looking out of the window and relax.

Our house is not easy to find. There are no street signs. So, when I received a text telling me they were near both Andrew, I and Bendy (our cat) had our eyes fixed on the window. Then a car went by slowly and I saw the woman passenger looking closely at the house names.

‘That must be them,’ I said to Andrew.

He hurried out to direct them to our cottage and I felt the first stirrings of nerves. What if she dislikes me? What if my house is too small? I watched as the car turned around by the local pub and Andrew throwing himself in front of it. Good God, has he gone mad? He waved them down, chatted through the window and then walked back as they drove off. Oh no.

‘What happened?’ I asked worriedly.

‘They didn’t like me so have decided to go home.’

‘What!’ I said. I thought she seemed nice.

He laughed.

We strolled back to the cottage and waited for another text. Then we get one and they are at the pub. The right one this time, not pub I don’t mean but the right person. All pubs are the right ones aren’t they? And then they were here, hugging me at my front door. Sue Watson and her husband Nick and their lovely daughter and what a fab day we had. It was like meeting myself.

I think we chatted so much that we almost didn’t get to dinner.
Confessions of a Chocoholic 1
You can win one of Sue’s books ‘Younger, Thinner, Blonder’ over on my Chocolate fun day here.http://www.facebook.com/events/275421782582579/?fref=ts We are celebrating my collection of thoughts and chocolate musings ‘Confessions of a Chocoholic’ and I am thrilled Sue is on board.
We are going to have lots of fun on the day. So join me and my lovely author friend Sue on the 8th Feb. Join now! Chocolate galore for everyone.
Plus you can a copy of The Dog’s Bollocks’ Who wants to miss that?
Thank you Lynda! Looking forward to our next get-together very soon! And if you LOVE the amazing pictures of Lynda’s book, ‘The Dog’s Bollocks,’ featured in this article they are available from the talented team at Pics R Ushttps://www.facebook.com/pages/Pics-R-Us/275163365968926
Lynda’s book cover is illustrated by Gracie Klumpp at http://gracieklumpp.com/

 blog 6

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