Delusions of Grandeur

More about working on a building site back in the day…

Have We Had Help?


Over the three years I spent working in the housebuilding industry in England, Keith, Garry and I worked on numerous sites, not always together. My last job was back with Keith once more, as back-up forky on a site southeast of Arundel in a little place called Angmering. The houses were in the higher end of the market in terms of value, half a million quid bought you a narrow two, or three storey brick box, with a postage stamp for a back garden and usually only a hard stand to park your car, because the garage supplied would have struggled to accommodate a couple of bicycles!

Personally I would not give you ten pence for one of those dwellings; to call them a house is laughable. Back in New Zealand the average double garage is much bigger, not to mention better built!

Steve the site forky was in his…

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Smorgasbord Posts from My Archives -#Memoir #Waterford #Ireland #History – The Colour of Life – The Shop and Bakery – Family 1840s -1940s by Geoff Cronin

Read all about it…

Smorgasbord Blog Magazine

My father-in-law, Geoff Croninwas a raconteur with a encyclopedic memory spanning his 93 years. He sadly died in 2017 but not before he had been persuaded to commit these memories of his childhood and young adulthood in Waterford in the 1920s to the 1940s.

The books are now out of print, but I know he would love to know that his stories are still being enjoyed, and so I am repeating the original series of his books that I posted in 2017. I hope those who have already read will enjoy again and that new readers will discover the wonderful colour of life in Ireland nearly 100 years ago.

The Shop and Bakery – 1900 – 1938

My father, Richard (Dick) Cronin, born in 1881 at 12 John Street Waterford, set up business at that address under the style and title of Cronin’s Bakery. His father Owen Cronin, born…

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Every day building site problems

More on the trials and tribulations of a ‘Forky’…

Have We Had Help?


Because of the cool temperate climate the UK is subjected to, most building sites are bitterly cold quagmires of mud, ice, and snow during winter, and a suffocatingly hot dust bowl in summer. With all the heavy vehicles delivering tonnes of bricks, concrete blocks, cement, scaffolding on a daily basis, and the many other items needed in the construction of the average British brick dwelling, the ground soon becomes impassable.

To add to all of that, the typical site is constantly being dug up by JCB’s to lay services, while 360’s fill large trucks to reduce the amount of the spoil by groundworkers. And, telescopic forklifts continually bump out heavy packets of bricks, blocks and the like to the various teams of sub-contractors across the site each and every day.


 When Keith’s site just up the road from Garry’s was ready, I was transferred there to drive the telescopic…

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Book Review: Life and Other Dreams

Book Review: Life and Other Dreams

Richard gets another review….

Author Kayla Krantz

Title: Life and Other Dreams

Author: Richard Dee

Narrator: Gareth Richards



Who are you when you dream?

Rick isn’t sure anymore….

Is he Rick, living in the here and now? Working a boring job, married to Cath.

Or is he Dan, living 600 years and half a galaxy away? Exploring an alien planet with Vanessa by his side.

Two worlds, one man. While he’s awake in one place, he’s asleep in the other.

Simple enough, until people from Dan’s world start turning up in Rick’s life.

Confusing? But then it gets worse. Dan is accused of a crime he didn’t commit. Ricks wife leaves him and both realities are falling apart.

Which life is real? Will either go back to how it was?

If you had a choice, which would you choose.

My Review

5/5 Stars

Rick is just a boring run of the mill guy. Until…

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Building Site Blues

The first in a series about building sites in and around Hampshire…

Have We Had Help?


Thanks to my mate Keith, I got my first job in the house building industry in the UK as a telescopic forklift driver on a site in a new housing area on the Gosport peninsula, across the busy navy dominated harbour from Portsmouth. This was where I first met a great bloke who became a good friend – Garry. Like me he had emigrated as a child with his parents; in his case to South Africa. Times were tough and he had returned to the UK to find work, bringing his family with him. Garry was my first true boss on the sites in the UK and we got on like a house on fire from day one. We may have been born here in England, but because of our upbringing in the southern hemisphere, neither of us thought or acted the way the English do. We used to laugh…

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How do you count?

Something from a good friend of mine – Biola Olatunde


I am looking forward to my 70th birthday. I am confused though. How do I count? The day after my 70th I will technically be on the first day of 71st right? When a child is born he spends his first day on earth His first year when he moves from 0-1? So I am looking forward to completing the last day of my 70th year should be my consideration right?
Am I frightened by the approaching date? Am I looking forward to it in these days of COVID 19? When being old has become a cause for concern for government and relatives? Before the pandemic became a scourge on our thoughts and plans, we looked forward to joining the senior citizens club. You looked at your grey hair and reviewed your journey. Your sense of gratitude notches every day you open your eyes to gross matter and you thank…

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Lunch at the Oval Office

Remembering good times…

Have We Had Help?


The Ship and Bell, Horndean, Hampshire

Here is another glimpse into my personal life. In this case when I lived in a Hampshire village while briefly working as a ‘forky’ on British house building sites, after I came back to the UK in 2000. More about that later…


Until I returned here, I had lived most of my life in New Zealand. At the ripe old age of fifty-two I decided to pack it all in and go and see something of the land of my birth – England. I discovered that I was not the last of my family after my favourite aunt passed away, as I had been wrongly led to believe by my father for reasons known only to himself. In actual fact I found I had cousins living in the southern English county of Hampshire.

After arriving at Heathrow tired from the long trip via…

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Is the written word dying?

If the content of the above picture is any indication, the answer has to be in the affirmative.

I was talking to a friend of mine in South Africa earlier. I had sent him the link for the latest review for one of my books I wrote back in 2017 – Autumn 1066. When he congratulated me I said to him ‘Getting people to read is nigh on impossible these days, let alone writing reviews – positive or not!!!!’

The truth of the matter is that the number of books being read is in serious decline, despite the number of books being given away to attract readers by desparate writers and publishers.

Unfortunately until people want to read, there is no chance for the written word being enjoyed by today’s low IQ individuals who would far rather watch television or take drugs while playing video games than improve their minds.

Meanwhile as writers we will keep on writing our books, our poetry, our blogs, in the vain hope that the illiterate and those with a low IQ realise that without the written word, as a species we are destined to become ignorant savages once more.

Before you write me off as a doom monger, ask yourself this simple question – how many of the books you or your publisher have given away recently were read, let alone reviewed.

If we’re honest, we all know the answer…

Don’t Let Your Characters Sit On The Fence – by Zara Altair…

Don’t Let Your Characters Sit On The Fence – by Zara Altair…

How do you treat your characters?

Chris The Story Reading Ape's Blog

As a writer, you want your characters to feel human. One of the best ways to do that is to give them opinions. Opinions, large and small.

Whether your reader agrees with your character’s opinions is not as important, as making that character feel real to your reader.

Mystery writers have multiple opportunities to create character opinions. As your sleuth navigates the victim’s world interviewing suspects and discovering clues, give them opinions about suspects and their social place, emotional reactions, and smoke screens.

One of the reasons readers love Michael Connelly’s Harry Bosch is because Harry has opinions…about everything.

Opinions make characters relatable. And, the reason they are relatable is because the reader understands their attributes both positive and negative. So don’t be afraid to give a character an opinion that might not resonate with everyone. The humanity of the opinion is what resonates with your reader.

Continue reading HERE

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Rust in Peace

A story from back in the day…

Have We Had Help?


Garry and I worked briefly for a small family run company operating out of a satellite town of Southampton. The site which was only a few yards away from the busy waterway leading to the city’s container port, had formerly been occupied by an old cinema and now had a row of new small brick semi-detached houses along its front, with their front doors opening out onto the narrow pavement, and a pair of slightly larger semis behind with barely enough room to swing a cat between them. There was no room on site for a forklift so most of the carting had to be done the hard way by ‘hand-balling’ the heavy material. I’m convinced to this day that the son of the company owner who supposedly ran the sites was a used car salesman, because he knew damned all about building houses nor how to work with other…

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