A composite comic novel; thirteen interconnected stories that take place over forty years. Its setting is Blindefellows, a second rate public school in the West Country
A Blindefellows Chronicle is a comic novel, comprising thirteen interconnected stories that take place over forty years. Its setting is Blindefellows, a second rate public school in the West Country, founded as a charity school for poor, blind boys, but long since converted into an ‘elite’ educational institution for anyone who can pay.
The novel runs chronologically from 1974 to 2014. In the first story ‘The Fair Filles of France’ we see the arrival of Sedgewick who starts his first teaching job at Blindefellows after an unsuccessful stint in shoe sales. Japes, who has been at Blindefellows for a few years following a career in the Royal Engineers, senses the younger man’s inexperience and determines to help remedy it by taking him on the school’s annual World Wars trip to France. Once they arrive in Bayeux, it quickly becomes apparent that the trip is a means for Japes to cavort with one of his many girlfriends.
Throughout the novel, Japes, an older chap, regularly attempts to imbue the younger Sedgewick with his worldly experience and takes it upon himself to introduce Sedgewick to womankind as a means of giving the naïve fellow some sort of fulfilling experience in life. He’s repeatedly thwarted by the timorous Sedgewick, however, who throws his energies into his love of History as a means of sating his rather watery appetite. An unlikely hero through and through, Sedgewick repeatedly finds himself driven to save the day, such as in the next story, ‘The Guardians of The Flock’ where Sedgewick tries to diffuse a siege and is himself taken hostage.
In ‘Of Art and Cheese’, out of necessity, Sedgewick thrusts himself into the role of entrepreneur. Blindefellows’ loathsome Librarian, Francis Fairchild, proposes that the strapped for cash school do away with The Flock, the school’s mascot. Sedgewick comes up with a plan to make them pay their way by establishing a creamery which he will attempt to run, much to the ridicule of the others who hear he needs to read a book on dairy farming to learn how to milk a teat.
In the fourth story it is 1984, the year of the 400th anniversary of the founding of the school, and English master, Tony Tree, bombastic descendant of Beerbohm Tree, has penned ‘A Blindefellows Chronicle’, a multi-media extravaganza to mark the great day, with Sedgewick dubiously in charge on the technical front. Meanwhile, Japes, who has been given responsibility for the social side of the event to distract him from his mid-life crisis, gets entangled in twin flings with the caterer and decorator he has hired, whom he unsuccessfully tries to keep out of sight of one another.
Later, Sedgewick finds himself in a predicament after inadvertently sputtering what is taken to be a proposal by the school’s dowdy receptionist, Yvonne. Advised by Japes to wriggle out of it, Sedgewick tries to pluck up the courage to do the deed. Her ramshackle family farm and her frightening father urge him on until he is touched by the way Yvonne tends to an abused donkey. From that point, he finds himself unable to act on his cold feet and marriage is on the cards.
Other members of the school’s bachelor community feature in the form of Toby and Les, Japes’ colleagues in the Science department. In ‘The Man in the Brown Suit’, Japes and Toby attempt to cure Les, their lab technician, of his imaginary allergies with near disastrous consequences. ‘Toby and the Tree People’ is the story that follows, set in 1989, the year of the White Paper, ‘Roads for Prosperity’. Nature-loving Toby attempts to block the razing of a favourite patch of woodland by inhabiting a tree. The Tree People of the title are a gaggle of itinerant protesters who turn up to help him, but who prove exceedingly trying.
Bachelorettes are key elements too with the landmark arrival of the first female Head of Department half way through the novel in 1994 in “The Fraulein from Brazil”. Matron Ridgeway, Japes’ female equivalent in philandering, is the clear-headed Tiresias of the novel who has to go through her own baptism of fire in chapter two when she starts work at the male-dominated Blindefellows as the school nurse.
It was midday on the 31st August, and the new History teacher had arrived at Blindefellows, former charity school for poor blind boys, now a second division private school for anyone who could pay. Twenty-six year old Charles Sedgewick gingerly carried one little cardboard box at a time into his assigned rooms in Loaghtan Wing, nervously avoiding the oddly prominent incisors of a flock of a few dozen minature black sheep that jostled around him. They'd been there for generations, deployed by the school's founder to crop the grass of the grounds, and were now trotting alongside him, baaing for a possible treat. Sedgewick, who sported tortoiseshell-rimmed glasses and unkempt wavy black hair, had selected a casual outfit suitable for heavy lifting on his arrival - Bermuda shorts, buckled sandals and an orange tee shirt he’d grown out of which rode up as he carried the boxes, revealing the loose musculature of his midriff.
The Deputy Head, Reverend Beaulieu Hareton and William Japes, the Physics master, watched from one of the Neo-Gothic leaded-glass windows of the Oak Room as Sedgewick, assisted by a middle-aged couple, the female of whom kept referring to him as "Charl", omitting the es, ponderously unpacked a purple Austin Allegro Estate.
Sunday, 7 October 2018
We stayed in England longer than anticipated, but now the ferry is booked and we will set sail on our journey back to Spain on Saturday. We've frequented a good deal of country estates, here we are at Wollaton Park in Nottingham, exterior shots of which were used for Bruce Wayne's mansion in the Batman films. The dogs have enjoyed sharing a lead, which is good for the big Pup because she hates…
Bucket List Achievements...
Friday, 31 August 2018
My canine daughters have had so many new experiences since we set out 3 weeks ago. The older Rufus is certainly much more ready to venture into the unknown, embracing the heady bouquet of each new patch of grass, especially those well-trodden by her fellow canines. The Puppy, on the other paw, is more likely to sign and find a soft mossy surface to lay upon. Here are some of their achievements…
mad-eyed dogs in ghost towns
Wednesday, 22 August 2018
Driving through the back roads of Northern Spain and into the central zone of rural France, you can see traces of times past and evidence of hard-earned earlier prosperity. A central square that once bustled with farmers with their livestock on market days now cannot support a rough and ready convenience store. The automation of farming was a wondrous thing, only it made people redundant - literally…
And They're Off!
Wednesday, 15 August 2018
First installment of the dog tour bucket list here...!
Dog Tour Bucket List
Sunday, 12 August 2018
Our dogs are now 14 and 17. Tomorrow we will set off on a dog tour bucket list. The 14-year-old, Puppy, is a frothy sort of Husky mix. (We never got round to changing her name after we found her, abandoned, in her youthful state - I actually met a dog so-named for exactly the same reason on Crete.) Rufus, whose black face is now peppered with grey is 17, and is one of these smaller barrel-chested…
The Posthumous Poems of Leighton Bloom
Sunday, 5 August 2018
Leighton Bloom (1935-2014) was my father-in-law... an enfant terrible in the late '50s, while programming and selling computers for General Electric, he'd predicted that, one day, a computer would be so compact it would take up considerably less space than the average garage. Emotionally detached yet married three times, only valuing maths and science yet obsessed with Downton Abbey, he was an…
selling my soul to an agent of literature
Wednesday, 1 August 2018
Of course, there is so much of your soul in your novel, and banding it around to the highest - no, any - bidder can make even the most stoic among us feel a little shabby. Life as a all-too-swiftly melting particle in the slush pile can provoke desperate behaviour, such as signing up to the first person who makes an offer. (I've heard agents spend an average of 20 seconds looking at each…
Grasping at Sticks
Sunday, 22 July 2018
Here's a picture of Cody whom I met yesterday on a canal walk. He lives on a barge and wants to catch sticks all day. He's one of these border collies with fiery orange eyes who cannot take their eyes off the stick in your hand, no matter how hard you coo at them. I popped this photo on the fb site Dogspotting and it's received over 2 thousand likes so far! It's interesting to see the kind…
Death on the Nile
Friday, 29 June 2018
Seeing the recent disappointing news from Turkey, where I worked for 2 years, reminded me of my sorrows for Egypt as I was leaving after the failed revolution. I worked in Cairo for 5 years and wrote this on departure after the Arab Spring slipped into the Arab winter...
In childhood, certain things imprint on us and lead us to decisions in later life. I would definitely attribute the 1970s film…
Saturday, 23 June 2018
Scattered about the hills north of Madrid, we see this yellow plant growing more numerous every summer. Its bloom, shaped rather like a virus under the microscope, adds a vivid colour, it's true, but what exactly is it and is it the pest we presume it to be?
We referred to it as Giant Hogweed in the past, but I see now that it is a lesser relative of this particular invasive species, lesser…
The plant with the sticky leaves
Thursday, 14 June 2018
We've had a summer house just north of Madrid for about 15 years and we see these blooms every year, flowering for about a month. Walking through hillsides of the shrubs growing wild, I love the smell of them and, interestingly enough, it doesn't come from the flowers but from the sticky leaves. I often thought, if a perfumer could come here and bottle this stuff, it would be a roaring success…
Bagel Guillotines and other delights
Wednesday, 6 June 2018
Visiting Zabar's on Broadway in Manhattan is one of my rituals on my regular visits to New York. Louis and Lillian Zabar opened the grocery store in 1934 and their sons, Stanley and Saul continue it and are often seen working in the shop. Downstairs there's the cafe, a massive cheese department with free tastes and cramped aisles of high end biscuits and the like. Upstairs is what I basically…
Thursday, 29 March 2018
I wondered for a while why my Amazon UK reviews have been stuck at 42 for a few weeks. Was there any significance in this 'life, the unverse and everything' number never progressing? I then looked for Douglas Adams' explanation of the significance the number had to him and felt okay...
'The answer to this is very simple. It was a joke. It had to be a number, an ordinary, smallish number,…
Wide Blue Yonder
Sunday, 4 March 2018
I had a string of fantastic reviews last week for the Blindefellows blog tour, latest one below. If you have any time to pop a review on Amazon - 3 words is enough! - and copy paste to Goodreads, I'd be most grateful. I'm nearly at 50 reviews on Amazon UK from which point Amazon will ramp up the publicity! Here's the link if you'd like to review...
My Life in Books
Friday, 2 March 2018
Today my favourite books are featured in Anne Cater's blogspot... Here's the first three and you can see the rest on the link below...
My Life in Books - Auriel Roe
Cold Comfort Farm by Stella Gibbons - It's a shame that, after writing this, Gibbons turned to serious fiction as she had a real flair for comedy. It is, in fact, the one she's remembered for. CCF has everything - a penniless heroine…
1st blog tour review is in!
Monday, 26 February 2018
4* review so pleased with that, especially from a blogger whose genre preference is for horror...
I'm excited to be kicking off the tour for A Blindefellow's Chronicle today. My review is written with thanks to Anne Cater for inviting me to participate, and for my copy of the book.
Blindefellow's School opened in the 1800s as a school for the blind, but has now evolved into a school which is…
Sunday, 18 February 2018
This is coming up soon! Blindefellows, the blog tour! Will be interesting to see a week of Blindefellows reviews and looking at the follower numbers of the various bloggers, this will go out to over 10 thousand people. So far, most people reviewing have enjoyed the book so it's good to see my bizarre brand of humour is generally accessible!
Saturday, 6 January 2018
Dear Patrons, Today I reached the 10K word mark of novel #2 which means I'm approximately one tenth into it! It's been a lot of months in the planning and now that I've finally had a stretch of time to write, I've really got down to it and am enjoying it tremendously. It's always daunting to get started on such a big project, but when the writing starts, so many new ideas appear - it's worth starting…
Blindefellows event in Waterstones, Nottingham
Sunday, 10 December 2017
Win a signed Blindefellows paperback!
Monday, 27 November 2017
If you're like me with a preference for something you can put an actual rather than a virtual bookmark in, you might like to enter this Goodreads competition to win a Blindefellows paperback...
Free entry but hurry because it's ending in three days!
Since popping into that #1 spot on Amazon for the humour genre in…
Blindefellows is number 1 bestseller in humour on amazon.com!
Saturday, 4 November 2017
Thank you for the reviews - Blindefellows has been at the top for a couple of days! Help keep the momentum by recommending to a friend!
venturing with caution into Blogworld
Wednesday, 1 November 2017
I have ventured into blog world! I will be giving updates as I write my second novel, paint pictures and project-manage a couple of properties I have that are crying out for revamping. It's going to be a busy year! Here's my new blogpost, An Influx of Flax, find out more here... http://auriel-roe.squarespace.com/new-blog/
PS Thank you to all who are reviewing Blindefellows and those who are…
Another Ping! on the review-ometre
Monday, 16 October 2017
I noticed on Goodreads that 950 people so far have saved Blindefellows to read. Good reviews like the one below by author Madhuika Liddle on Goodreads, who gave Blindefellows 4/5, are helping things along so please add one if you have a moment (doesn't have to be as long and detailed as this one!)...
'Blindefellows, established several hundred years ago as a charity school for blind boys, is now…
exceeding two thousand
Tuesday, 10 October 2017
Pleased to see this rush on Blindefellows! Over 2,000 entries to win a paperback on Goodreads! Will those who don't win run out as a 'single woolly body' (Blindefellows quotation) and buy a copy? I'm hoping and dreaming this will be the case!
Giveaway ends in:0:07:19
Availability:5 copies available, 2318 people requesting
Try b4 you buy!
Monday, 9 October 2017
Did you know there's a 'Look inside!' Try b4 u buy button on the Amazon Kindle edition of Blindefellows enabling interested parties to read the first chapter? Feel free to forward this link to friends... https://www.amazon.co.uk/dp/B0744N4DND/ref=rdr_kindle_ext_tmb#reader_B0744N4DND
Looking forward to reading your review! Let's make this little book grow to the size of young Rufus here (she's…
the bluebottle who took a wrong turn
Saturday, 30 September 2017
Before I started my novel, I had a slightly naive idea that the hard work in publishing a novel was in the writing. Looking back to two years ago when I began Blindefellows, the writing was the easy bit, and, as I mention in the interview below, writing was my comic relief in the evening after doing a challenging day job. I now see that the tricky stuff is marketing, from page to stage, so to speak…
Call for reviews, if you have a moment
Saturday, 16 September 2017
Dearest Patrons, Since publication a month and a half ago, it's lovely to see the reviews starting to come in, like this one today by a top Goodreads reviewer. I know it's hard to find a moment of free time these days, but I'd be grateful to you if you could pop a review or even just a rating on Amazon and/or Goodreads - it will help the book along. I had such fun writing it and I hope many will…
5 star Amazon reviews from both sides of the pond!
Tuesday, 22 August 2017
‘As soon as I had finished reading it, I wanted to start again.’
‘A delight to read, funny, endearing and poignant.’
‘The characters were well fleshed out, funny and quirky.’
‘This is an eminently enjoyable, ending-too-soon book.’
‘I could see this amazing book expanding into an entire new literary world.’
I'd love to hear your views on Amazon, Waterstones and Goodreads!
Wednesday, 9 August 2017
Paperbacks should be on Amazon, Waterstones, etc. any day (Kindle already available). Thanks so much to mecob designs for this excellent look with subtle indications of what the book's about. Hope you chortle inwardly and outwardly as you read - I still do. Please help boost this little tale of boarding school life by rating, even reviewing on Amazon and Goodreads. Auriel
Monday, 31 July 2017
Dear Patrons, Your ebook should be with you now. If you have a moment, please could you pop your review onto Amazon and Goodreads? I hope you enjoy reading A Blindefellows Chronicle as much I enjoyed writing it. I'd love to hear your thoughts on the book via my facebook page - I'm the only Auriel Roe in existence, I believe.
See this offer through Goodreads!
Friday, 28 July 2017
Here's a chance to win a signed first edition of my new novel... Sign up for this and Goodreads will randomly select in October... 300+ requesting since the offer went live yesterday but have a go - you're in with a smidgen of a chance!
Sent to Press!
Thursday, 20 July 2017
A Blindefellows Chronicle has been sent to press! Digital editions will be in your mailboxes imminently and paperback editions available from Waterstones, Amazon, etc. in approximately two weeks. Thank you for your patience... the meticulous editors at Unbound have made this fairly polished novel into a highly polished creature and I'm delighted with it along with the excellent cover by the renowned…
Why I love PG Wodehouse
Saturday, 1 July 2017
Hello Supporters! The end is nigh and fingers crossed by August A Blindefellows Chronicle will be in your fine hands. The editors at Unbound have been splendid with their amazing attention to detail - surely that should be a dash there and not a comma? etc. etc. - how right they were! I feel that, as a new author, I've had a writing course with all the tweaks they've suggested.
Interview out today!
Friday, 12 May 2017
A Blindefellows Chronicle is currently having its final creases ironed out then it's into the the type setting phase which pretty much locks it in place. Hoping it will be out before the end of May! The editors at Unbound have suggested some excellent little tweaks and I think it's looking wonderful. Please see the link below to my interview, out today, conducted in usual exuberance…
Wednesday, 22 February 2017
A very nice little tweet from my editor Jamie Groves who is now giving the manuscript a final check through... 'A Blindefellows Chronicle by @auriel_roe (@unbounders) - definitely one to watch. Hilarious, heart-rending, a joy to read.' Cover design is underway so fingers crossed for a late Spring release!
A year and a half ago I had this strange little thought... what if an older man, rather…
My First Fiver!
Saturday, 12 November 2016
I've just realized something - this week someone bought my book I earned my first ever fiver as a writer! Earlier this week, I reached the publisher's funding target which covers their costs and thereafter I will receive 50% from book sales, so thank you Derek Wilson, I don't know you personally, but this is a landmark fiver.
Of course, like most writers, I burn the midnight oil writing, doing…
and the winner is...
Tuesday, 8 November 2016
Rufus T Flycatcher, pictured, has stepped in to nudge my three month grovelling fest toward its happy completion; (Rufus is a fan of just about everything I do). Art teacher by day, writer of begging letters by night, but worth it in the end because I wrote the book I always wanted to read and now it's going to be read by lots of people and I hope it'll make them as happy as it makes me. I'm 99.95…
Latest Goodreads Top Review!
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
'This was a very fine read that follows a few friends through the years, beginning and remaining mostly at the Blindefellows school and ending on a very personal note at the end.
It's rather charming, through and through. :)
I frankly found the characters a hoot and the evolving nature of the private school, its history and how it changes through the years, a character in itself. It was great…
Another great Goodreads review from top ten reviewer
Tuesday, 1 November 2016
Just 9 days left! Please pre-order and help waft my book into publication! https://www.goodreads.com/review/show/1776703213?book_show_action=false&from_review_page=1 'Quite delightful, cleverly written, and just plain fun. :)'
Saturday, 29 October 2016
Ten days left! Three-quarters of the way there! Any last minute flutters greatly appreciated! @unbound
Misadventures in Publishing
Saturday, 22 October 2016
"Everyone’s got a novel inside them”, so the saying goes. “And to bring it to market is a misery”, so should it conclude. In my befuddled attempts to reveal to the world my “baby”, as the more cuddly variety of literary agent will refer to your book, I have sometimes found myself wishing it had never been born.
The summer before last, a peculiar notion burst into my mind… “What if a man in his…
5 star review for A Blindefellows Chronicle from a top Goodreads reviewer
Monday, 12 September 2016
5 star review for A Blindefellows Chronicle from a top Goodreads reviewer (her average review is 3.75)
'Many novels out there follow a pattern. The same style of illustrations, the same stories... but this one, soon to be released from Unbound Publishing, is nothing short of spectacular. At times hilarious, at other times very profound, A Blindefellows Chronicle is a collection of stories taking…
5 star review for A Blindefellows Chronicle
Sunday, 11 September 2016
5 star review for A Blindefellows Chronicle from a top Goodreads reviewer (her average review is 3.75)
Many novels out there follow a pattern. The same style of illustrations, the same stories... but this one, soon to be released from Unbound Publishing, is nothing short of spectacular. At times hilarious, at other times very profound,A Blindefellows Chronicle is a collection of stories taking…
Today's fine morsel...
Thursday, 8 September 2016
'Sedgewick brought them all back around eight and, having checked everyone in for the evening, stretched out, still dressed, on his bed. Several hours later, he awoke in the dead of night and had to recall his whereabouts in the darkness for a moment or two, going over his last known movements in a hurried whisper, before he remembered where he was. He stumbled about and groped for the light switch…
A Blindefellows Chronicle...reviews are coming in!
Friday, 2 September 2016
So pleased to have some great feedback on my novel from director Brian Trenchard-Smith, renowned for being Quentin Tarantino's favourite director! 'Auriel, Yes, amusing, very Waugh, very Woodhouse, and somewhat reminiscent of my old school, Wellington, albeit at a later period than my tenure. Well done.' More soon from a top ten reviewer on Goodreads who is reading my book at the moment...
A Blindefellows Chronicle
Friday, 19 August 2016
Welcome to my shed!
Tuesday, 9 August 2016
Thank you for your interest in my new book, A Blindefellows Chronicle, and welcome to my shed. (If you look closely, you'll see a fine aviary of budgerigars to the rear, slightly obscured by those soiled garden implements.) Sheds are good places for writers to be alone, largely due to them not being large enough for two people. A favourite writer of mine, George Bernard Shaw, had a writing shed…
These people are helping to fund A Blindefellows Chronicle.