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Kate vs the Dirtboffins – Chapter One

“Simon, come back from the edge, there’s a good chap.”

Kate inched her way across the roof, sliding stomach first on the tiles as she went.  When choosing an outfit that morning, the plans hadn’t involved dragging her best Armani skirt suit and Madden heels across a roof in the lame attempt to save someone.  She’d have worn something much more suitable from her extensive wardrobe, trousers at least.

“Look Simon, this is getting silly, you’ve made your point, now slide back towards me.”

Hanging on to the top of the roof of the Horticulture Investigation Agency offices, Kate wondered again how she got herself into these scrapes.  A successful business woman, with a wardrobe to die for, she was in this godforsaken part of Cambridgeshire to close a poxy little government outpost down. That’s what she was being paid to do anyway, but instead she was now teetering on the top of a rather unstable stately home, trying to save an equally unstable employee.  For God’s sake, she thought to herself, he was going to get a nice redundancy package, what was the problem?

Looking down towards the ever-growing crowd watching the display, she was glad of her old climbing experience. The height didn’t bother her, but a crampon and some rope would have been better than grappling with roof tiles and messing up her recent manicure.

A tile slipped and she nearly lost her grip. The crowd below gasped as she wobbled before finding a new handhold. Sprawled flat across the roof she yelled at the cause of her predicament.

“Simon, I’ve really had enough of this.  Can we just talk about it inside, over a nice cup of tea and perhaps a biscuit?”

The wind had started to get up just as the young employee decided to shakily stand up.  Looking past him, Kate could see a line of cars approaching, being led by a black Mercedes.

Oh bugger, she thought, that’s the MP arriving, I need to move this idiot NOW!

Risking one final lunge towards her quarry, the combination of rain and slippery ancient tiles made her lose her footing. Flailing to regain a grip on the building she punched the protester. For a moment he tottered on the edge. With horror, she could only watch as he disappeared from view.

“He’s jumped!” Came a voice from below.

“She pushed him!” Responded another.

A resounding ‘Oh’ echoed across the collective standing in front of the building as Simon fell slowly towards them.

There was a crashing sound. Kate looked over the edge, fearing the worst.  A sea of upturned faces stared accusingly in her direction. In the middle of the crowd, there was a large black car. In the middle of the car roof was a large green blob with legs. The door opened and a man got out, rubbing his head. He followed the gaze of the crowd and looked up.

Hang on, Kate thought, he looks familiar.

Forgetting her predicament for a moment, she peered through the drizzle and for a moment thought; that looks a lot like Dave. What is he doing here?

Chapter 2 next week. If you can’t wait, get the paperback  or buy the e-book from Amazon now.

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By Gove, I hope he’s got it!

GovePostPhil: You have to feel sorry for Michael Gove. Being the Secretary of State for Justice is a pretty thankless job. Your “customer base”, the criminal population, is never going to like you. Worse, the people who should support you in the party are more interesting in bringing back whatever punishment their kids have read about in a Horrible History book read to them at bedtime.

There’s also the constitutional stuff which at the moment is going to involve a lot of European Union documentation. None of that is going to be a bundle of fun to read at the end of a long day.

What MG needs is something light and entertaining, which is why he will be so pleased to receive a package including this letter:

Dear Mr Gove

You are probably wondering why anyone has sent you a novel, especially one that appears to be as far removed from your normal reading as it is possible to get. The reason is simple, without you, this book wouldn’t exist and neither myself nor my co-writer Candice, would have ever had the pleasure of writing anything like it.

The story starts in May 2010. You had just become Secretary of State for Education and we both worked as contractors for Becta.

When you announced Becta’s closure, we found ourselves in an unusual position. We had to come in to the office every day or we wouldn’t be paid, but obviously there wasn’t anything to do. So, we and the other contract staff chatted and joked about setting up a “Change Management” company to handle other similar situations. This gradually morphed into the idea of writing a novel. We shared a similar sense of “Tom Sharpe” humour and found ourselves sharing ideas. Before we knew it, we had half a book.

New employment found, we couldn’t leave the book alone and continued to work on it. Along the way we started a blog, interviewed other authors learned an awful lot about publishing and eventually self-publishing. It’s been a fascinating process.

Now Candice is Head of Propositions with an electricity generator and I’m a features writer for several hobby magazines. At Christmas last year we finally launched the book so people who had politely listened to us excitedly talking about it could see what the fuss was about. We’re now firing up the marketing machine to try to see if we can have some success, there is an appearance at the Stratford Literary Festival in the diary already. Beyond this, a second book in the series is already half written as we are enjoying the process so much.

So, it seemed only fair to send the person who got us started a copy. You’ll appreciate that six years ago we weren’t exactly happy but the passing of time has shown that something good can emerge from adversity.

Yours sincerely

Well, it’s the very least we could do. We’ve sent a copy to his boss as well. He’s probably also looking for something to take his mind off meetings with grey eurocrats.

Of course this story has formed the basis for a special Nolan-crafted press release which hopefully makes it more interesting that “local person writes words”. We’ll find out how well this works in a few days.

Beyond this, there is the matter of our literary festival appearance. I’m not sure we can advise people who fancy writing a novel to get made redundant first, but we’ve proved it can be a starting point.

Happy reading Michael!

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