Archive for the ‘Random wifflings’ Category

Haley: The Next Generation V

Posted: February 13, 2015 in Random wifflings
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On Monday my sister-in-law gave birth to this lovely little lady here.

IMG_2738This is Louisa May Haley, my new niece. May is for my grandma, Louisa just because.

Louisa’s advent signifies two important things. Number one, although I have female cousins, she is the first female Haley in my immediate family. I have four brothers, a son, and three nephews. My mum knitted Garth (Louisa’s father, and the second brother in our family) a full set of clothes in girly pink just before he was born. He was a boy (obviously). She’s taken them out again for each subsequent birth in the family only to put them away again. After 41 years of waiting, our mum finally has someone to give the outfit to. Secondly, together my brothers and I now have five children, and so have reached replacement rate. Our plans to make sure every third person in the north is a member of our clan by 2200 AD proceeds apace.

It’s lovely to have a girl in the family. I can only hope she grows up into a world where women have a lot less nonsense to put up with.


510MnSuGPtL._BO2,204,203,200_PIsitb-sticker-v3-big,TopRight,0,-55_SX324_SY324_PIkin4,BottomRight,1,22_AA346_SH20_OU02_A couple of years ago I wrote about my youngest, football-mad brother Ralf’s epic quest around Europe to play in just one professional football match, anywhere. He was accompanied by my middle brother Tristan (whose floorboards I spent some time under today, funnily enough. It’s a family thing. We live like borrowers), a film cameraman, who shot the whole enterprise for a documentary – when he wasn’t trying to get them both drunk. Much hilarity ensued.

Although the film is (still) not finished, Ralf has actually managed to complete the accompanying book, and here it is! A very amusing tale of Ralf’s heroic idiocy and somewhat misplaced belief in his own sporting skills, it is available to buy here. Early reviews compare it favourably with Dave Gorman and the like, which is high praise.

Hang on a minute, I’m supposed to be the author in this family, why I oughta…

Ahem. Anyway. If you want to see Ralf in action for real, here’s a repeat of the film trailer. This really is worth seeing.


Last April I wrote a review of The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.  Do the thing and click the words to read it. Yesterday, I went to see The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies. This is the only one of the three that I saw at the cinema. I kind of wish I hadn’t. Partly for parenting reasons; having watched the first two and found them adventurous romps more or less suitable for six-year-old Benny (as with many other 12 certificate films featuring fantasy fights), we took him with us. He loved it, but my wife was quite shocked at how much more violent than the other two it was, and that made me a bit uneasy. There is a shift in tone between films two and three. That’s a failure of judgment on my part, though. It says 12 on the packet for a reason, kids.

Despite my shocking parenting, Benny will be okay. He’s only ever been frightened of Spooky Spoon from the Numberjacks, and not even that any more. I pointed out to Emma that much of our formative viewing experiences were super-violent Westerns, where although the many men that died fell bloodlessly and easily, they still died. Furthermore, such films and shows culturally sanctioned racist violence by celebrating the genocide of the original Americans. No one in fifty years, I think, will pen a post-post-modern retrospective on the unjust portrayal of the orc as Savage Other.

Instead they’ll bemoan the awful CGI said orcs were presented in, but more of that later. (more…)


Well, not in a wonderland. I love Yorkshire, but I draw the line at “wonderland”. But I’m stuck for a header.

Yesterday I was up on the moors in the snow. Very pretty, and delightfully cold. Here’s a picture of Stoodley Pike Monument from Erringden.

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The kind of snow we had looked like that fake stuff they spray on things in films and television. As in this wall here.

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There’s more on the way, so they say. I look forward to it.

Today I went up the other side of the valley, cycling this time, up the Jumble Hole (it’s a valley, or more precisely a gorge – see below) to my parents’ house. I took an inadvisable route and had to lug my bike up a mountainside like Klaus Kinski did with that boat in Fitzcarraldo. Kind of. I wanted a cup of tea when I got to the top, but my parents were out. Ah! The agony of the writer’s life.

I was reading the Transactions of the Halifax Antiquarian Society the other day (it’s more interesting than it sounds). In one article, the Calder Valley is described as a “gorge”. I never thought of it like that before. I suppose it is. It makes it sound much more exciting, and also slightly forbidding. Orcs should live here.


I’ve been away from the blog. Again. I now apologise. Again. Despite a resolution in late summer to post regularly, I have wholly failed. Again. Still, I’m back (dare I say, again?). A belated Happy New Year to you all.

I had a marvellous Christmas, the best in years. My entire immediate family was gathered together in one place. For a few days before, we had Emma’s father visiting, which was pleasant. Over Christmas, we had a house guest, which was also very pleasant. And for the first time in ages, I spent both Christmas and New Year’s Eve with my wife.

Hebden Bridge is a fantastic place to be during the festive season, made all the finer by not having to spend hours on the sodding M6 to get there.

So, I will try to post regularly despite having a bunch of books to write in the next six months. There’s another one coming today (a post, not a book).

2015 promises to be a busy and exciting year for me. I’ve a number of projects coming to fruition, none of which I can tell you about yet. But I will, I promise.


Mars Attacks, Uruk-hai and Black Templars.

Mars Attacks (Benny did those, not bad for a six year-old), Uruk-hai and Black Templars. And a random dice I found in a bag pocket, dropped on the floor and then kept painfully treading on. I should just put it in the tin with the others. Lazy.