The Bluebottle Boys, Chapter 13, Part 3 — Birmingham, 26 March 1962: “Showdown at the Cemetery” [Section 3 of 5]

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We were finishing the last bit when our adversaries descended the now shadowy stairs. Doofus and Silla, like us, were still in uniforms and overcoats, yet somehow resembled a malicious, pint-sized, nawse version of Ski Party’s Frankie and Annette, with Quentin, as a combination of King Kong, the Abominable Snowman and the Creature from the […]

The Bluebottle Boys, Chapter 12, Part 1 — Edgbaston, Late March 1962: Radio Luxembourg, Attempt 1

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[Note: In 1962, “Radio Caroline,” Screaming Lord Sutch’s “Radio Sutch” and the rest of British pirate radio were still two years away. The BBC’s de facto ban on rock music meant young people in the UK turned to “border blaster” stations, particularly Radio Luxembourg, for their music. Throughout most of the 1950s an analogous situation […]

Why Fantasy? Why Bother?

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So many people – and Andersen must have known a fair few – seem to believe that fantasy tales, in whatever form – actually any fiction or any idea without immediate tangible utility, or which can’t be parlayed into some sort of marketing scheme – are utterly worthless. It’s a view that’s spread in recent […]

Veggie Pakoras

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They certainly caught our young hero Reggie’s eye at the Diwali celebration in Walking Backwards for Christmas (and nearly spoiled his appetite for the desserts). Here’s a recipe for them – but careful, they may spoil your appetite for the sweets too.   Ingredients 1 cup chickpea flour 1 teaspoon ground coriander 1 teaspoon salt […]

Christmas Lamb Pie with Samosa Filling

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As promised, this is the recipe for Christmas meat pie that Reggie’s mum would have adapted from Mrs. Gupta’s samosa recipe, and then given to Reggie’s grammer for making Christmas dinner. In adding “sweets” to the ground lamb, it’s important to remember that this isn’t a mincemeat pie – the elements provide a tint, a […]

Pea-Mushroom-Onion Samosas

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As Walking Backwards for Christmas: A Tale of Woe from Soggyhall was being written, a lot of people took an interest in the food that’s mentioned throughout the book, and wanted to know more about it – particularly about the ingredients and how it’s prepared. This blog is my attempt to answer these questions. In […]