Sometimes it’s great to be a fettler, a messer, a bodger and  and a general tinkerer of things that have little gears and cogs. It’s a man thing generally, but woman can also be mechanically minded and there’s a real sense of losing yourself within the intricate mechanism of Victorian pocket watches.

waltham 1

I’m an amateur at this, but I love to have a go at rescuing old watches that tick, then stop after a few minutes. Sometimes it’s a simple partial stripdown and clean the parts in petrol-ether type of job, then all is well.

Other times the balance staff is out of alignment as the cap jewels are worn out, or there might be a collet or washer missing from behind the cannon pinion. On older Victorian watches there’s often a fusee chain, which is like a miniature bike chain and is prone to breaking its hooks after a century or more of use. That can be the end of the watch – nobody makes new chains or hooks, you have to scour ebay for serviceable items and there are myriad sizes when it comes to fusee chains…yes, I can feel your eyes glazing over, as sleep claims you.

I made a mindfulness-friendly, soothing video with my iphone, which insomniacs can view here.


Modern life is full of terror attacks, vicious politicians backstabbing each other, celebrities vying to own the biggest ass cheeks in the world, or similar mithering problems. I escape it by writing books, or trying to make a piece of beautiful engineering history mark the minutes and hours once again.

Glorious echoes of the past.

pocket watch polished 2



A MERE THREE WEEKS AWAY YOU CAN MEET ME IN MANCHESTER!!!! Get tickets to meet 50 authors following this link:… Watch a video about the event: 50 or so fellow authors, hosted by Scarlett Enterprises, will be there on Saturday 13th August at the Red Rose Steam Society Ltd. Mining Museum in Astley Green, […]

via Meet me in Manchester #‎MAEG2016‬ August 13th — writerchristophfischer

Hallo, it’s Nigel Fortesque-Everard here, Chairman of Little Muffin-on-the-Maypole golf club and Keeper of The Queen’s English.

You may have seen my newspaper advertisements back in the 1970s, where I attempted to offer guidance on why your spoken English was rather poor. Not to say crass, regional and vulgar too.

ad spoken english

Nowadays, I’m employed personally by our new Prime Minister Theresa May, to head up a new Department of Correct English for Johnny Foreigner, as part of our Brexit strategy. It’s exciting, interesting work and I get to shout at lower class people too, so it’s win-win, as our American cousins like to say.

An Introductory Lesson to Introductions

Let me start with some basic tips for anyone visiting our wonderful British Isles to attain a  worthless degree, get a job in one of our many Dickensian warehouses, or perhaps simply to claim all the benefits needed to maintain your life of religious and misogynistic hatred. Now, in Britain, people say hello to strangers and generally make small talk, which breaks the ice nicely.

english tips bone

Here is a classic example;

British person; Hello, how are you today?

Foreign person; I am well, thank you, but my friend works on a farm and injured himself today, trying to wring the neck of a big cock in a shed. He’s gone to hospital with a very swollen bone.

British person; Oh dear, does it hurt much?

Foreign person; Yes, it’s gone red raw and throbbing, but the nurse said she has something to make it go down.

British person; Oh that’s good, now would you like to buy some cigarettes?

There – surprisingly easy eh? Now let’s try Lesson Two.

Lesson Two – How to Make Friends Down The Pub

Pubs are where British people enjoy traditional pastimes like drinking until they fall over, casual racism against permitted targets like France, Wales or the USA, swearing at football matches on TV and assaulting their ex-partners, bar staff, or any family members trying to intervene. Here’s how to blend in;

pool table english

Here, British men encourage the women to play pool, in order to study their cleavage more effectively.

British Lager Drinker; Alright mate, it’s your 50p on the pool table, do you wanna rack `em up?

Foreign Person; Actually I’m still choosing my pool stick; Hmmm, this one has a long smooth shaft, but I like the purple tip on the other one – which type of wood do you prefer in your hand matey-chum?

British Lager Lout; Listen mate, just set the balls up – do you know how?

Foreign Person; Yes, in my country I have handled many red balls, and coloured ones too, so I will set my wood around them, like so. Now they are ready for you to shoot your wood at the balls, and knock them into my hole, yes?

By this time, most of the bar will be laughing and joshing with you, and you will make firm friends for life this way! Yes indeed. OK, here’s the final lesson –

How To Deal With The Police After a Road Accident

The British Police are not generally armed, so it’s fine to make fun of them, swear, spit, punch them or simply call them racist names – they are trained to like this behaviour in fact! Here’s a typical conversation following a minor road collision;

car post english

Many British people make their living by staging accidents, then claiming £1000s – you should do the same thing, if only to blend in with the locals, they will respect you for it.

British Copper; Now sir, you appear to have had a bit of a bump – what happened?

Foreign Person; Those f***ing idiots at the council put a lamp-post where I usually park on the pavement. I need to make a compo claim, my neck is stiffer than Mick Jagger’s knob.

British Copper; Right, I’ll take some details. Is this your car?

Foreign Person; Yeah today it is, but tomorrow my brother needs it. Listen mate my neck really hurts – can you gently rub me, just below the head, with an up-and-down motion? Ah, that’s great man, cheers Porky!

jeremy hunt english

In London’s Cockney Quarter – which is actually in Essex – genuine Cockneys prefer being called a `right Jeremy Hunt.’ What larks.

So there we have it; a handy guide to making friends whilst using the Queen’s English. Good luck and one final tip – when meeting a genuine London Cockney, always call him a `right old Jeremy Hunt’ – they love that type of banter.

Good luck and cheery-bye!




It’s a satisfying feeling getting the first part of the Grievance trilogy written down and penning those legendary words `The End’ on the laptop screen. Well, strictly speaking, it’s a first draft, but I’m nearly there, and very happy with it.

grievance 1 v2 red author jpeg

Couldn’t have finished the book, or even attempted the series, without visiting Northern Ireland and getting my boots wet on the shores of Carlingford Lough, walking the streets of Newry, driving around Louth and Armagh, or taking a Troubles Tour in Belfast.

There is a unique atmosphere in Ulster, and although times have changed, you can still feel how different it is to mainland UK. The Grievance trilogy is a tale of truth, revenge and balancing how much of the past you can really let go, to find a peace that you can live with. Forgiveness often comes at a heavy price.

Now it’s time to get busy editing and proofing, which is always the hardest part of writing for me. I can sometimes read a piece of work three times and still not see repeated words, missing words, or something that just sticks out of the plot, like a dinosaur in a bible story.

Book Two of the Grievance trilogy will be called Broken Vows and the final part is titled, The Reckoning. The first part is on the old Amazon pre-order thingie right now.


This clip from CNBC looks at the potential upside for gold bullion prices globally. Interesting that the guy describes Brexit as a `a sideshow.’

I work in the jewellery trade and we have seen a big surge in people bringing us gold to weigh in for a cash offer. People in the UK are worried, not only about Brexit, but the long term, structural decline of the UK, which will continue, in or out of the EU. They see a possible collapse in value of the euro, not just sterling and a natural end to the ridiculous house price boom in certain parts of the UK.

gold bullion 2016 price

Where are gold prices heading later in 2016?

Here are five reasons I think gold will hit $1500 later in 2016:

One; There are no well paid, full-time jobs around, except in London/SE and everyone else across the UK knows this. Poor people who work hard and face a crisis, like a broken down car, divorce, loss of job etc will be tempted to sell gold, rather than take out an expensive Pay-Day type loan.

Two; The wheels are coming off the bus for the UK/Overseas buy-to-let landlords. How can rents keep increasing if wages are irrevocably falling, and sterling is `corrected’ at a level of say £1=1 euro? Even in the crazy country of London – where landlords can make money out of empty properties – some analysts like Deutsche Bank are predicting a fall in the buy-to-let market, as new tax rules are applied.

Three; Demand from Asia and the Indian sub-continent will continue to fuel global demand for gold. People in countries like Pakistan, India, China, Thailand etc hold gold as a family asset. They don’t trust banks, or governments. It is the same story in the volatile Middle East – gold is a portable, highly negotiable, asset, so in time of war, you can flee with your gold. Or diamonds.

Four; Donald Trump. Let’s be brutally honest and say that this guy could have a shot at the President’s job, because there certainly is a groundswell of support as politics is polarising in the USA. However, Trump is a loose cannon and international markets hate that level of unpredictability. If we get to November and Trump is still alive, and in the race, then gold will push up as the fear rises on Wall Street that bought `n’ paid for Hillary ISN’T going to get the top job. Oh the humanity.

Angela Merkel

One day Merkel could resign, or fall ill, and then what will happen to the EU project?

Five; European financial meltdown. OK, this sounds over-dramatic but the EU is a complete debt-ridden basket case in economic terms, and everyone around the world knows it. Mass migration will continue this summer, another default by Greece, Italy or Spain is possible and then there’s the Brexit problem…fact is many EU states have high unemployment, high debt/GDP ratios and several nations want out.

Let’s add another plot twist – Merkel is forced out of office due to ill-health? Nobody in their 60s gets to stay in power for over a decade without a colossal strain on their health. If Merkel retires, then watch the stock markets stutter and fall.

We live in interesting times.

Yes, I’m being a pedant, but it really bugs me when I keep seeing rogue apostrophes in all kinds of big brand advertising and press material.

80s punctuation rule

Now, if a market stallholder wants to scrawl `Potato’s £1 per bag’, then that’s fine with me, because his trade is selling veg, not producing marketing materials for big companies. But when I keep seeing T&C’s Apply, or 70’s, 80’s or 90’s being used, by paid copywriters, journalists or advertising agency staff, it really grinds my gears, Peter Griffin style.

Nothing belongs to the Term and Condition, so the short version should be T&Cs Apply. No apostrophe is required because there are conditions, lots of `em in fact. That means it becomes T&Cs, plural. You could quibble and say it should read Ts&Cs Apply, but it looks a bit odd and people tend to say things like “I was on the old vodka and Red Bulls” last night, not “vodkas and Red Bulls.”

two fat terms n conditions

They got it right in the small print, and wrong in the main ad copy. Oh well, 50-50 is great odds…

Just to be clear modern media kids, the apostrophe denotes possession – in other words something belongs to the word that the apostrophe is attached to. The man’s wallet, for example. He owns the frikkin’ wallet. It does NOT belong in a plural, like the woman’s shoe’s. That’s because the woman has a pair of shoes, two of them, or more, so therefore shoes is expressed as a plural.

90s apostrophe

Nothing belongs to the year 1990. It’s 90s, got it? Also EMF will NEVER belong in any rundown of the best 1990s bands.

I hope that has clarified things for those who simply copy and pasted their GSCE English coursework and couldn’t be arsed learning boring stuff like grammar.

You can still; see some of them, if you look hard enough. Con Club Cheadle, Farndon Sports & Social Club, Haydock and Thatto Heath Labour Clubs. They’re hanging on, by the skin of their pork scratchings, but their days are numbered. The British Social Club is raving against the dying of the light.

electro 80s club stage

Fact is, people under 40 simply don’t go out anymore, and if they do spend money it’s at festivals, where it costs £300 to pitch a Go Outdoors tent in piss-stained mud, and suck on nitrous oxide for breakfast. In the world of the young – or not so young -hipster, gigs are cool, but clubs are like…places where old people go and wait to die.

For the young, the notion of going to a social club seems like some sick tribute to Peter Kay’s Phoenix Nights, where no amount of ironic tweets can assuage the whiff of casual racism, Brut 33, middle-aged divorcees looking for love action, or the sight of the `turn’ performing a medley of hits by The Bee Gees.

ash green club

One by one, social clubs are being bulldozed into history


Part of the reason for the decline of the social club is the destruction of traditional working class communities. There are no jobs for most men aged 50 or over, and only part-time, low paid menial work for many women over 40 too. The big factories have nearly all closed across Britain, Thatcher began the process of shutting down the 20th century `smokestack’ industries like mining, shipbuilding, steel, pottery, railway works etc and Blair’s elitist, London-centric, Labour regime continued the grim business.

Those who have the intellect, social connections or an employer-friendly birthdate on their passport, can escape these post-industrial towns and cities, and they do. That leaves a disconnected, impoverished population, struggling to make sense of a place that they barely recognise, as posh flats are built next to canals for all the Family Law solicitors, Teachers, Project Managers & App Developers – the service sector mandarins of the new, mobile economy. The people who simply go where the work is, and when it’s finished, up sticks and leave.

st marys batley club

Whether you are an older `professional,’ or younger hipster, neither tribe is interested in a night out watching a band play 80s and 90s chart tunes, a bit of bingo and maybe pie and chips. The whole experience would be horrific to them; a Dr Who type trip back in time to an era when Britain was an ugly, racist, sexist, bath-night-is-on-Sundays, kind of Hell.

Those communities clinging onto such centres of local entertainment are loathed and despised by politicians, who cannot wait to tear down the social clubs and build flats, takeaways, or betting shops, in their place. Look carefully around poor parts of Britain and you’ll see a Betfred, a Subway and an off licence all in a row together. So you can eat with one hand, gamble with the other, and then buy 8 cans of Stella to drown your sorrows as you shuffle home, penniless.


Here’s the thing; a social media profile, 120 Likes, RTs on your post, or 2,000 Followers is NOT a social life.

The interactions online are often slow, measured, calculated and sometimes completely fake. Real socialising requires skills like good conversation, ready wit, dancing ability or perhaps just a tolerance for the foibles of others. A night out once a week is also an escape from the Simon Cowell circus of humiliation, or mind-numbing tedium of soaps like Casualty, Corrie, Emmerdale, or the utterly miserable Eastenders. Don’t get me started on `reality’ shows where the young take turns to bonk each other like Bonobo monkeys, inbetween bouts of plastic surgery.

park field club preston

Live for the day; go out, have fun. You might like it.

So I say, go out while there is still time, and still a few places where you CAN go dancing, or watch a live singer, who can actually hit a high note! Treasure the opportunity to socialise and get to know some of the people who live nearby, because in the end, humans, of all ages, want much the same from life; a few laughs, some good music, a chance to share local gossip, family news or chat about things happening in the area.

When the last social clubs in Britain close forever, and all the Post Offices are shoved into the back of WH Smiths, where bored youngsters on zero hours stare into their phones as they serve you, where will people interact in the real world?

Nandos? Wetherspoons? God save us.