The opening lines of One Autumn.
“Benny, come over here and tell us summat funny. We could all do with a good laugh to cheer us up.”
It was Friday lunch time in the Eagle and Child and six members of Wilkinson's Drawing Office were sat in their usual spot in the bar.
Benny put his pint on the table as he pushed in between Alan and Colin, sat down and said:
“Well, I don't know. I can't think of anything. It's all been a bit quiet this week on the Preston front.”
He took a gulp from his glass, looked at them all sat there looking pretty miserable and went on:
“I could tell you what I heard on my way home last night if that'll do.”
“Aye, go on then.”
“There were two old women sat behind me on the bus. I heard one say to the other:
“I'm so lonely at home now. I'm really missing him. We used to go everywhere together. We'd go for a walk every morning no matter how bad the weather was. If I went in a shop, he'd always wait outside for me. When I was watching the telly, he'd cuddle up beside me on the settee. I don't know how I am going to manage. I just don't know what I'm going to do without him.
“It was obvious what had happened to her, her husband had died or so I thought.
“Then the other one said:
“So when are you going to get another dog.”
Just a brief note to say how much I have enjoyed reading your series so far. They are more warming than an Uncle Joe and cosier than a hand knitted muffler. It is difficult to select any single one from your series for each one gives something different and the rugby gives them added value.
Please keep the characters just as lively.
Les Birchall from Whiston.
One Autumn should appeal to anyone who thinks Rugby League is the greatest game but also to people who don’t like any form of sport. It’s easy to read, highly entertaining and with some very interesting story lines.
Mike Stephenson (Stevo) Sky TV commentator
I’ve found it fascinating that Rugby League should form the setting for what is now a major fictional series. There is much in it that will ring true to any long time follower of the game.
Dave Hadfield The Independent.
Extracts from One Autumn
Friday lunch time in the Eagle and Child.
As soon as he had finished his dinner, Benny took his plate back to the bar, returned with another pint of mild in his hand and with a puzzled look on his face said:
“I don't know what's wrong with Mavis today. Somebody must have upset her.”
“Well after she had pulled this pint, I said to her could she put a whiskey in it. She said that she could so I said well could she fill it up to the top with beer please”.
Then he continued.
“I suppose that you have all heard the latest news. Aliens have landed in Yorkshire. Yes it's true. It was on the wireless. There were four of them in a spaceship. They landed inside that Don Valley stadium where Sheffield Eagles play. As soon as they stepped outside, they all dropped dead. Well there's never any atmosphere in there, is there?”
Then Cliff asked him if he fancied coming to Ken Holliday's stag do that evening.
“Not tonight, Cliff. The wife has gone to her mothers' in Doncaster for the weekend and I've promised to show our new Swedish au pair girl how to play bagatelle.”
Friday afternoon in Wilkinson's drawing office.
The phone rang. It was a call from India for Benny, the transport manager. They all listened as he began quoting dates, times, order numbers, delivery note numbers and quantity schedules. Suddenly he started to sound like Peter Sellers. They all knew what had happened. Whoever was on the other end of the line had hung up and Benny was doing his usual trick of pretending to talk in some obscure language. Then he moved the phone a couple of feet away from his mouth, wafted the air in front of it and said:
“Bloody hell, he must have had some curry for his breakfast.”
“Who was it.”
“Haven't a clue. It's pitch black over there. I couldn't see.”
Alan and Thelma are in the Colliers' Arms one evening sat next to a group of students, some of whom were at uni with their son Robert.
Alan listened to them talk for a while and then decided to join in again.
“You might be interested to hear that I find philosophy a fascinating subject. It is something I have studied in some depth over the years, although I haven't read all of them just the main ones like Pluto and Harry Stottle, Weber and Durkheim, Marx and Spencer, St Augustine and St Helens.”
Not a bad opening gambit, although by this time he was well into his second pint in a company that was providing him with a real challenge.
“Do you know what was the most important bit of philosophy ever written.”
No one said a thing so he went on
“It was Ludwig Feuerbach when he wrote:
“Nothing exists outside nature and man, and the higher beings created by our religious fantasies are only the fantastic reflections of our own essence.”
And with a wave of his hand, imitating a typical university professor he said:
At this point Harry Potter, a wireman in the assembly shop at work, walked into the room. He looked at Alan and all the young people he was sat with and said;
“Are you all right, Alan?”
“Yes, we are just about to discuss the ideas of Charles Darwin. You can join in if you want.”
“No thanks, I've only come for a game of darts.”
The concluding lines of One Autumn.
The suspicions of corruption on Ashurst Council which had been around for a long time finally came to light a few weeks later. It happened when a chambermaid at the Hemsley Hotel walked into one of the upstairs room in order to clean it and had seen the chairman of the transport sub-committe in bed with the wife of the owner of the Hop Along Transport Company.
What a scoop for the soon-to-retire editor of the Ashurst Reporter to go out on.
“Never a dull moment in Ashurst” his headline thundered. “Not even at bed time”.