Author’s Note…

You know, when you’ve got family and friends, you just have to show’em off once in a while. Mine are no exception. From the left is Steve Redding, Callum D. Weller, Anya Callaghan, Adrian Callaghan (Aige) Jenny Coles and Shannon McGivern… And you know, they are about the best friends a guy could have. Ok, some you lose along the way, but you take root and hang on in there…In tribute to dear Jan 1945 – 2018

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 66… The Farewell  (Part Two)

‘Father!…Mother!’ Tears began to well up within Charles. He rushed forward and hugged them both as they stood up to greet him. They were just how he remembered them…. Pictured exactly, those long ago years.

‘Son, it’s wonderful to see you again.’ Frank Hepworth stood back, then shook his son’s hand vigorously. He was a slightly rounded man of medium height, nearing his early fifties. A man who sported a magnificent handle-bar moustache.

He looked at his father. It was inside his mind what he would say. He had struggled to recite it to himself, over and over. Now, the words, just would not come. Charles garbled something, then suddenly his confusion was gone. He realised in that moment, he was being supported by Rebecca once more.

He sat beside them on that ornate seat. The feeling of joy was overwhelming. They talked and talked and smiled together, over so much that had been missed.

Finally and apprehensively, Charles said. ‘Will you return with me… To our time. Our time together?’ Deep down he knew this was not possible, but he asked in lost hope.

Softly his mother replied: ‘We cannot my dear son. I think you already know that. Our course is only a single passage. But in time. You will know this passage and you will recognize it without pain. At the end of your voyage, you will meet us again, and we will be together once more. We know this, because Rebecca has told us so.’ She looked deep into his eyes. She could read his thoughts. ‘There is nothing for you to worry yourself with. We are happy. You must accept the present and meet it as a man like yourself would.’

His eyes began to glaze over. Thoughts raced in his mind. ‘I can’t just let you go like this.’ His voice sobbed wantonly, he looked at them.

Then their images were gone, and he was quite alone once more. He sat for some moments in order to collect his thoughts. In that time, he again heard Rebecca’s voice. “Charles, listen to me. I have given you this window into life beyond our earthly existence. You must accept this for what it is. You have many years to live your life to the full with Esme and your friends. You will because you have my blessing.”

Her voice quietened his thoughts. “You will live your life in the simple satisfaction of understanding that there is no apprehension in life now and your life thereafter.”

He did not remember how he had returned to the small bedroom that overlooked Moscow road. This did not seem to be questionable. He could feel the warmth of Esme gently sleeping beside him, unaware, it seemed of his adventure. She was warm to their bed. He stroked her gently and she gave a gentle sigh, just as if she had been there always. This was where he wanted to be. He knew this instinctively. To spend his life with this beautiful creature would mean true happiness for him. Sunlight began to peep through a small gap in their curtained bedroom window. The morning had arrived heralding a new day and fresh new life.

Charles sighed to himself. “You have worked your spell Rebecca. You have kept your earthly promise. You are truly a wonderment.”  Slowly and gently, he fell into a deep and rewarding sleep.


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Snap Around… Special Feature

Recently, I had the wonderful opportunity to make a visit to Britain’s Wartime Code Breaking establishment of Bletchley Park near Milton Keynes. So clutching my Chinon/Kodak camera and accompanied by six other members of the family we headed for Milton Keynes. In the operational days of Bletchley Park, Milton Keynes was just a small nearby Village and not the City we know of today. Bletchley Park…This most secret of places was made up of a Grand Manor House surrounded by heavy woodland in the heart of rural England, then coupled with dozens of disguised wooden out buildings and where hundreds of specially trained service and civilian personnel would painstakingly decode German communications.

Today, the site is a national museum, open to the public, and the price of a one-off ticket will give you a year of free membership entry.

Ok, there has been much written on this subject and a movie, so I guess, I won’t go down the technical road, remembering the Director saying: “I’m not making a documentary. I’m making a film!” So, I’m just wanting my readers to enjoy a couple of delightful shots that I took of this glorious setting, that’s there to be enjoyed by all, who enter this very personal step in time.

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Author’s Note…

Back to Back catch-up episodes of ‘The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp’ are available @

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Snap Around… Looking Back

Lovers by the lake at St. Albans. You know, there are times when you remember a glorious summer and the moments when you simply sat and chatted with a very dear friend…

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 65…Rebecca’s Spell… The Farewell (Part One)

The blackness began to clear. He found himself in the park. The green park he had seen from his bedroom window. He felt Rebecca was with him, but could not see her and yet her gentle voice was inside his mind. Sunshine, now spread down upon him and wrapped his body and face with pleasing warmth.

“Just walk Charles, until you reach the Garden of Remembrance, soon to be within your view.” Rebecca’s voice guided his footsteps forward. “You will know, when you have reached it. Your parents will be there. Just waiting for you. Waiting to give you their love. They will listen to your thoughts.”

He walked on, quickening his step. Then, apprehension filled his head. “What would he say to them. How should he greet them. What could he say. “No! He would be himself. That’s how Rebecca would want him to be.”  Her voice now inside his mind. “Yes, he would be himself. That’s what they would expect of him. Yes, of course.”

The path in front of him began to curve slightly to his left, fearing he would soon be nearing the Garden of Remembrance. A bead of sweat ran down from his forehead and then down one side of his cheek.”It’s this dammed sunshine” he argued himself.

The path, then forked to the right, and yet, he felt he had to stay with its left. Tall high green hedging now formed his way. Then, suddenly there was an opening to his left. He stopped for a moment to pull his thoughts together and catch his breath. Then with courage… He stepped though its aperture.

It was a beautiful garden, massed of colour and light. Every blossoming flower he had ever known feasted upon his eyes. A march of variety adorned every corner of this somehow tranquil eclipse.

In its far distant corner and surrounded by its high lush green hedging, sat two figures, upon an ornately carved marble seat.

Here were those he knew and loved. Here were his loving and caring parents.


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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…

You know, there is one TV western show I never tire of watching. With my clutch of the first three series and series four and five on route from the US… Rawhide has for me, to be about the most enjoyable outing from around that era of the sixties cowboys.

It made household names out of Eric Fleming, Clint Eastwood, ‘Sheb’ Wooley and of course Paul Brinegar as the lovable Wishbone. I watched ‘Wishbone’ in a recent ‘Knight Rider’ and really, little had changed, aside from a change of clothes and the lack of a gun and holster!

It must have been a colossal undertaking in terms of production. To keep a large cast of actor drovers, hundreds of wandering cattle, in conditions of extreme heat and dust, and to get the actors and cattle, all to play their part just as scripted must have been a truly mammoth task and one, that clearly required a high level of talent and discipline to make it work so well.

Singer Frankie Laine, with his memorable opening title song ‘Rawhide’ was to become a smash hit, earning him a star role in one episode, as a likeable and sympathetic character  of the team.

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The Shriving of Miss Esme Stamp…

Episode 64 …Rebecca’s Spell….

‘An adventure?’ Charles echoed the thoughts of the others. ‘That really sounds grand. I think we all can do with a sense, now of purpose.’ They grinned enthusiastically and Rebecca beamed, as if with a fortified new energy and life.

‘I shall take you into an adventure, such as you have never known’, she said. That will be my gift to you all, each and everyone sat around this table. It will be your alternative path that you may wish to tread in order to reach your dreams. I will give you those thoughts of your past and I will give you a sense of your futures. We will embark on our voyage in the morning. Today, I want to hear all about you. Your lives, your loves, and above all… Your dreams.’

The remaining day was spent first in idle chatter, then of personality, of likes and dislikes, and as the day wore-on to mid afternoon, talk became more honest and more serried.

Charles… And Rebecca’s Spell

It became light and slowly Charles opened his eyes to a brightening dawn. He could hear the call of hungry birds some distant away, then the sound of low voices. The wheels of some sort of vehicle would sound to his ear, reflected through that thin shielding glass of his bedroom window. Now and then, a distant honking horn could be heard.  He was not quite sure where he was. It were as if he was in some strange dreamlike state. The familiar sounds associated with his life in Bayswater were not there. He tried to focus his hearing and then his eyes. Nothing seemed to make sense. The bed upon which he lay and the room he was in became strange to him. He would have recognized the clatter of milk bottles on the front step or the snap shut of the letter flap downstairs. But there was none. Nothing to tell him where he was. The bed was small, he could feel its sides easily, just room for his body. Things were the same and yet they were not. There was no Esme beside him… He felt completely alone.

He stretched out tired limbs beneath the bed covering, then at once, threw them back and staggered himself to the beckoning window. He looked out.. Nothing became familiar to him. What lay before him was a huge grassland park of people walking, and resting  sometimes in pairs, smiling beneath a glorious sunshine. In the distance he could make out some sort of track, perhaps the roadway that he thought he heard, but there was no sign of any sort of transportation along its path. It simply wound away into a blue distance.

‘This is my world Charles. My world beyond the darkness. I have created those images from within your own deep thoughts and your feelings.’ Her voice he knew. It was familiar to him. He turned from the window. Rebecca stood before him. A creature of exquisite beauty, of loving eyes and warming lips.

In that moment, he felt he wanted to kiss her. Somehow, any burden he felt he had carried, lifted from him. Energy seemed to soar through his veins and into every sinew of his soul. “This is her spell” he told himself. “This is my dream.”

Her body was warm and soft to his touch. Their kiss was long and took him down a path of delicious enticement. His small bed seemed to grow much larger now and their bodies clung together for such of an eternity that awoke them both to a new dawning.

They lay together. Rebecca’s head resting gently on his chest. ‘Charles.’ She asked at last. Her voice was soft and thoughtful. ‘I know that you miss your parents so dreadfully. That you were an only child. Both your parents died from illness, and yet, with all those years gone… You still grieve and suffer inside?’

A watery tear began to well in Charles. ‘Yes,’ he murmured. ‘The consumption took them both.’ He sat up and looked at Rebecca. A question arose .’You know all this?’

‘Would you like to say goodbye to them for the very last time. To say, what you really feel about their departure from you. Do you want the reassurance that they are both truly happy and above all, that they miss you and love you. I can arrange those images for you Charles. It will be real to you, and real to your loved ones. This would be my thanks to you.’

‘You can do this for me?’ His eyes were full of her beauty. He tried to look deep into her soul and was pleased.

‘Yes I can.. she replied, ‘Take my hand and close your eyes. Let your thoughts here and now simply fade into nothingness. There will be darkness for a few moments and then you will awake to a warming and compelling world.’


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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…


Ok, I guess,  I’m still working on the next episode of our popular “The Shriving” so meanwhile, I’m going to give you something that I’ve held back for a long time because it’s not that far back in TV time land. Now, Richard Dean Anderson just knocks my socks off with his portrayal of MacGyver in the named TV show. I first watched this on UK Freeview and it just swept me out. so much so, that I rushed out a purchase for all 139 episodes of the show from 1985 to 1992

Each episode is carefully and skilfully written, with all the ingredients needed for a successful production, those of action, help and love, just where its most needed. It’s a show that has youth, vitality and conviction. This is a young adventurer who believes guns are a menace, a downfall to humanity, and that people are more valuable than bullets. Perhaps, that’s a gospel we should all try and live by.

I’ve not watched the later remake of the series starring a different actor, in not wanting to tarnish the images I have of Richard’s acting skills. I guess, the new guy, would be just as compelling to a newer and younger audience and technology would play its important part. But for me, I’m just in my own comfort zone with RDA and knowing he shares the same love of Ice Hockey as I do!




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Happy Memories of Earlier Television…

Tales of Wells Fargo… 1957-1962 NBC

It all came back to me over the years, when I sat down to watch a disc of the opening series of ‘Tales of Wells Fargo’ featuring Dale Robertson as the company’s investigator. I must admit, that I had rather forgotten these productions long ago and it was only the reference to Wells Fargo in another western that got me thinking to myself… “Wasn’t there, a western TV series entitled thus. Well, a quick check with Amazon has now provided with a reasonable priced disc of the first series.

These 25 min slot fillers are an enjoyable romp, much in the style of ‘Whiplash’, with Dale as Jim Hardy giving justice to the company’s problems by a left handed gun belt or simple logic that is much of the backbone of any respectable and successful western.

Dale Robertson’s lay back, easy going style, is quite engaging. An approach, I feel, that was very much of his own real life character. A man that women loved and men admired and who only recently departed from us, and yet, left for the rest of us, his lifetime legacy.

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