Tag Archives: Gareth

What’s in a name? (from another angle)

Candice: So waity Katie didn’t have to wait too long to pop out the royal heir. She’s in hospital at 7am and out it pops at 4pm.  Not bad really. I’m sure there were lots of massages, generally pampering and all the stuff you don’t get in an NHS hospital.

But now we know what sex it is, it’s now all about what it is going to be called.  Names are very important. Its something the child has to carry with them for the rest of their life so Chanel, Chardonnay, Prince and full stop are out (if you don’t believe me they do actually ban names in New Zealand and someone tried to call their child full stop !) Lets face it, Prince Prince would be a bit silly, almost as bad as Neville Neville.   The current bets are on George for a boy, which is actually what a friend of mine has just called her child.  It’s all about the old-fashioned names these days.

When it comes to creating names for characters it can be just as hard.  For our main characters, Kate was always Kate, and Dave always Dave.  Kate, I don’t know where that came from.  Dave because that was the name of the guy I went out with when I was in America.  We’ve struggled with some others, probably because when we have two writers putting together chapters independently they don’t always know what the other is doing, so we have ended up with similar names for two characters. We are still trying to come  up with an alternative for Gareth’s wife who is called Olivia, which is too close to Andrew’s PA Olive.  She needs to be posh and horsey.

But the name can often get across as much about the character as the story.  Kate -strong, sensible, to the point.  Tracey – slightly tarty, abit wayward, could be rough.  Kelvin – geeky.  My favourite is the journalist in the story – Sheldon Bull.  I don’t know where Phil got that from ( a type of beer perhaps) but its a great name for some one who spouts ‘Bull’

I don’t think the Cambridge’s will go too far from tradition, look at how she became Catherine not Kate when they got married but I’d love to see a Moon Unit Windsor on the throne.


Filed under Candice, Writing

Deleted Scene – Gareth meets Olivia

It’s Comic Relief today so we thought we’d post a funny scene that found its way to the cutting room floor from The Book. To be honest, how Gareth (Kates business partner), met his wife only slowed the early part of the story so reluctantly it had to go. It’s too good to throw away though, so here it is in all it’s rough and ready glory.

Warning: Unlike a ready-meal, Contains traces of cow.

Cow!Olivia Trumpington-Thomas was best described as “Good Country Stock”. Her great passion in life was breeding cattle.

Belgian Blue’s were her favourites, although some had cruelly have suggested that the breeds square set stance and stocky features were not that different from their owner. She hadn’t really wanted to marry but her father had said that it was her duty so the task was set about with the same efficiency that she used when choosing sires for her livestock. The list of requirements was short; good temperament, reasonable features and respectable family lineage.

Sadly, the markets where husbands are acquired wern’t really to Olivia’s taste. She preferred the straw and dung of the cattle version, but there were events where eligible candidates could be found. Some old school friends were persuaded to issue invites to the right sort of parties and after a few drinks, the process didn’t seem quite so unpalatable.

The annual young farmer’s ball was coming up so Olivia slipped into her best black and white ball gown, making her look more Friesian than would normally be desirable, and joined in. Waddling into the marquee someone caught her eye, a rather dashing looking young man lurking standing in the corner, looking a bit sheepish and lost in his tuxedo.

As the evening wound on Olivia kept seeing this young man wandering around, but none of her friends seemed to know who he was other than he had gone to school with someone or other. To honest, she wasn’t really that interested but after the meal and a few gins she was starting to feel a bit randy. Having either shagged or frightened off most of the other members of the local group she felt in the need of new blood and set out to find someone who might be interested in a demonstration of her cattle impregnation techniques.


Gareth had been invited to the do by an old friend who proceeded to abandon him for the first girl flashing her pig tattoo in his direction. He tried propping up the bar for a while but became convinced that the man behind it was eyeing him up. Eventually he took to circling the room until it started to circle him thanks to the amount of scrumpy he had consumed. More of a G and T person he had resorted to the local brew after his attempt to order something more refined had been ridiculed by the locals and seemed only to make the bar man even keener to become acquainted. Unfortunately the drink was more potent than he was used and attempts to soak up the alcohol with something solid hadn’t gone well thanks to cuisine as rural as the alcohol.

The countryside all looked the same to Gareth so finding his friend’s house earlier in the day had been due more to luck than judgement or map-reading. Worse, when he did arrive, he discovered that he’d packed a suit but no shirt and since the local shops consisted of a village store and a farm supplier, there was no chance of buying something so he’d had to borrow one. Unfortunately this shirt had been a bit of a comedy purchase and while the marquee was getting hotter and hotter he really didn’t want to take his jacket off.


Olivia saw Gareth attempting his fourth lap of the marque. By this point he had begun to look green as the hosts well manicured lawns. Stumbling and half falling into a chair on the table next to her, she watched as he begin to put his head into his hands, and then seemed to be struggling to remove his jacket.

“Bugger this,” she thought, “Everyone is coping off and it’s about time I wrapped my lips round someone.”

She marched over to his table. Gareth, by this point, was fighting to keep his head between his knees and try get his jacket off at the same time. Olivia grabbed the back of his tux and practically ripped it off his shoulders.

“Oh,” she screamed, as the design on the back of Gareth’s shirt was exposed. Being a comedy dress shirt, from the front with a jacket it looked plain white. However, the sleeves and back where covered with a pattern, which happened to be cavorting cows in various positions only seen in a bovine version of the karma-sutra.

Gareth looked up in surprise, partly to find out who had so rudely ripped off his jacket also to find out who was screaming his ear. At the same point the numerous pints and pastries all came to a head and he proceeded to vomit them down the front of Olivia’s frock with some force.


Olivia, now covered in pints of the local brew mixed with several partly digested pies, screamed. “What are you doing!”

Gareth looked up sheepishly at the rather large girl looming over him and started to mumble a string of apologies. He desperatly hoped she would not berate him too hard as a roulade and several champagne cocktails might be making their way up at any moment.

Olivia was about to let rip. Who did this boy think he was? Her dress had been specially made by her mother and now it was covered in something that looked like you would only encounter while wearing wellies. As she turned to give Gareth what for, her gaze was met with a pair of soulful brown eyes that bore a startlingly resemblance to her favourite cow, Winny.

And with that she was lost.

Many years of working with animals meant that Olivia had been covered by much worse than a bit of posh vomit. Grabbing Gareth, she dragged him off to the toilets and proceed to clean herself up. After letting him be sick a few more times, it was time to test the staying power of the portaloos. Stories after the evening always included comments about the particularly loud mooing that seemed to be coming from the direction of the next field, though no one had seen any cattle.

Perilous Portaloo

After checking Gareth’s family credentials, Olivia was quick to hook him. A quickie wedding, didn’t give him the chance to change his mind even if he had been brave enough to consider it.

The required heir and spare rapidly followed to ensure continuation of the family name, or blood line as Olivia refered to it. Barely had the cords been cut when the boy’s names were down for all the right schools and they were dispatched to the care of a nanny. Neither parent had come from families where their mother or father had been fans of modern “hands on parenting” and saw no reason to do anything different with their offspring.

She returned to bovine matters and it being explained that he was under no circumstances to come between a lady and her herd, Gareth looked around for something else to occupy his time…

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Filed under Candice, Phil, Writing

Stratford Literary Festival Part 2

Candice: Phil has given his thoughts on the Stratford Literary Festival so I though I’d give mine.  As always, I am as much interested in what people are saying as what they are wearing.

As we sat down, my first thought was “someone’s got my coat on”.  Sat in the next row was a lady in a cobalt blue coat not my exact coat but a similar colour – so I took mine off rapide, as we can’t have that.

I sometimes judge a book by its cover, this is one of the reasons clothes are important to me.  As our three authors lined up, plus chair, my first thoughts were.   Author one was channelling the cool university professor vibe, with turned up jeans, funky specs and jacket, our second was more of a mystery as she was clad in all black with her hair up (but in a slightly messy cool way), and our third was more wafty hippy, with maroon tights and boots.  Well in two cases the book matched its cover, with author one (SJ Watson) being a NHS boss gone author and exclaiming he’d had a mid life crisis to get there, Rachel Joyce being the more intellectual writer type (having already written Radio 4 plays) and very slow and deliberate (but posh) in her delivery.  And then there was Julia – who would be more suited to bright colours than black as she was sweet, depreciating and fun, and very much in awe of the fact she was on to her second published book.

And the Chair – well he had the funkiest snake print shoes on with a more sensible outfit, but I think it went well with his PR head but also intellectual book knowledge.

However, there were no good Mulberry handbags to be seen (other than my own).

The experience was interesting and informative, as Phil has said, backing up some of the things that we already know and adding some other juicy insights that might help.  Though Gareth, the chair, pointed out afterwards that the three authors seemed to have had a charmed life compared to other authors he dealt with as far as being picked up and their deals with agents and publishers.  Oh, to have that experience.

I think the biggest shame of the evening was that they didn’t not tell you anywhere how long the event would be, so we didn’t know we could have gone to the Sue Townsend event afterwards.  Though it did give Phil and I time to cogitate in the very nice One Elm Pub over the way, and for him to down enough strong local brew to have a sore head the next day (I stayed on the water!).

Hum, where to now?


Filed under Writing