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Month: July 2020

We’re gonna need a bigger car

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose

It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix . You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, just when you thought it was safe to go back in the drive-in….

drive-in movie, view of the big screen for Jaws
Man-eating shark spotted in Marlow

Drive-in movies. Pure American, right?

No! A beautiful Summer’s evening on a showground on the Marlow-Henley Road for an early evening movie on a massive outdoor screen.

We were half an hour early, third in line to get in (can’t trust the M25), it was like arriving four hours early at the airport for a holiday flight, but this time Lockdown-style. Four of us in a reasonably large Volvo SUV, three of us pushing 6′ 3″. What could possibly go wrong?

We were excited to be out out, albeit in in a car-sized bubble, about to be fed and a classic was waiting for us, brooding in the shallows, filing its teeth.

Jaws was on the menu.

I lined up the car within our parking space, a safe distance from the screen: a perfect view for the driver (me) and Mother. For Twins 1 and 2 in the back? Not so much.

Volvo hadn’t really legislated for this cabin configuration. We adjusted the seats, the rear-view mirror and the passenger-side wing mirror; lived with the passenger-side windscreen pillar and non-detachable head-rests, not having packed a chainsaw; slid the back of the driver and front passenger seats down to about 35 degrees each; worked the front seats far enough forward so that the blood supply to my legs started to flatline; regretted – again – not having a convertible.


Food was courtesy of Tom Kerridge / Pub in the Park: cheeseburger and cheesecake. So ethnic, I nearly wore a cowboy hat. Glad I didn’t, it would have blocked more of the screen.

Fortunately, the food was a manageable size…

Yum yum

After that, time for a fun game before the movie started.

Over six foot driver (me), over six foot nineteen-year-olds in the rear passenger seats; less tall Mother in the front passenger seat. Cue an expert session of a combination of Twister and Rubik’s Cube to position all of us to best advantage to watch the movie out of the available windows.

Bonus sessions of movie re-enactment (feeling like we were trapped in a small shark cage) and Ultimate Fighting Yoga in the back were available at no extra charge.

Duly installed, we attacked the food with the enthusiasm of a Great White vieiwng a tasty boatful of humans. And when it came to the line in the movie,

…what we are dealing with here is a perfect engine, an eating machine. It’s really a miracle of evolution. All this machine does is swim and eat…and that’s all.

Jaws (1975)

it gave me a vision of the kids standing in front of our open fridge.

And of Jasper, our eternally hungry golden retriever with his latest helpless prey (above)…

The burgers added a 4-D effect to the chomping sounds coming out of the in-car speaker.

The experience was brilliant.

And I love Jaws.

It’s good that it’s so topical, the tension between keeping stuff open and fending off a dangerous threat.

All thanks to the magic of the movies; and a film that contains one of the best ad-libs in movie history.

Roy Scheider's ad lib when he sees the shark...



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Cuban Cool Cats

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose

It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix . You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, some Cuban reflections.

We were in Cuba in February 2020, a lifetime ago. The sun was out, the sky was blue, the cocktails flowed like, er, wine. Like Freddie, we were Havana good time, Havana ball… Far away from where we are right now after these dangerous months.

When I think of Cuba, I think of cars, cocktails and – slightly strangely – cats. At times, they blend together: when we first arrived in Cuba, a 1958 Plymouth ride back in time to La Guarida restaurant in the heart of Havana, its feline guardian in the entrance hall large enough to hold a dance floor, a rooftop terrace housing the open-air Mirador Bar dispensing life-giving Negroni Habanero cocktails – a mixture that includes aged Campari, red vermouth and the perfume of orange rinds. Plenty of ice.

I thought I would share a few memories like that of our trip to bring a little salsa (and, as you will see, heavy metal) back into life for a few minutes as we mingled with the cool cats of Cuba.

La Guarida restaurant in Havana, Cuba
Paladar La Guarida, Havana with a bonus game of Spot The Cat

More cool cats at the Buena Vista Social Club.

You have to smile when you see this much joy

Music is an enduring part of the place. Take a look at a few moments of this street sweeper practising asome moves to the beat of a nearby bar.

A brush with Cuban music

And in Varadero, a table band in a restaurant playing the final notes of some AC-DC…It’s a matter of great regret that I didn’t hit record sooner; too busy head-banging with the rest of the restaurant-goers…

Definitely not A Touch Too Much…

In addition to hearing some heavy rock on a violin in Cuba, I have also been lucky enough – quite a few years ago – to hear Jingle Bells on a sitar in an Indian restaurant in Sri Lanka to get us in the festive spirit.

But it’s best to leave the last words to the cats and cocktails of Cuba:

Please do not park on this cat

The cocktail below is an El Presidente (there are numerous variations, but this one works a treat):

  • 25 ml Bacardi
  • 25 ml White Vermouth
  • 5 ml Grand Marnier
  • Dash of Grenadine
  • Beautifully cut Orange Peel, preferably sliced very thin and in one piece – the one below was from the maestro who served us at El Floridita in Havana

Shake with ice. Pour into a Martini glass.


Harking back to AC-DC, this cocktail is perhaps a Highway to El…



Alan Camrose with beard

Alan Camrose writes books and a blog:

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Baby steps

Welcome to my Blog at The Lair Of The Camrose

It’s my bespoke stomping ground in the Intermatrix . You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by…

This time, I’ve had a think about how I got going with my new book, based on past experience with the others…

I’ve written and published two books, one an urban fantasy-thriller, the other a (short) book of (ultra-short) stories. I’m in the middle of my third book, a novel, around 40K words in out of probably about 75K…

What have I learned from my earlier forays?

That a rapid lift-off is important. My first novel started as more of a “write one chapter of something and see how it goes”. The longest things I had written before that were long legal opinions. I wrote the first chapter, felt good and just struck out into the ocean from my tiny island beach, trying not to be swamped by churning waves and iffy Internet.

The first chapter proved not to be the first chapter at all in the end. My initial efforts were very much aimed at describing the world and some of the denizens, I suspect more for my benefit (and pleasure) than anyone else’s.

Nothing actually happened in the book when I started it. There was a set-up scene of the main character wandering around his London HQ, bumping into what I thought of as interesting locations and characters.

Nothing changed. It was like painting a mural.

Then, when I’d properly got the taste for it, came the painful evolutionary process of re-organising material and dumping some of it – particularly any over-indulgent scene-setting material that I was too pleased with (or it simply pleased me) but did not fit the needs of a Beginning (I hate prologues, I find them too artificial and jarring with continuity).

The pick-axes and shovels had to come out…What had to go was too info-dumpy, too self-obsessed, too whatever – too needing to be cut and then pasted into an “at some point may come in useful” file. You know, the file that you never look at again, like most clippings from the Good Food magazine or that recipe book based on Madagascan delicacies that Auntie Beryl gave you six Christmases ago.

I have read thousands of books, but had never really clocked how they tend to work. I have simply read them.

Something happens to get the reader interested, the main character is introduced and is hopefully appealing, there is some sort of hook at around the end of the third chapter or so to keep the reader from the book equivalent of channel-hopping to yet another of the millions of available tomes. That all sounds very cold to me, but it wasn’t until I focused on that kick-start that things started to happen a little more fluently. And I had to realise that everything was a kick-start for the next part, phase , whatever of the book…

In my current book, I have three main protagonists, all on a collision course from the off. I have changed the running order of the first three chapters once, and I think that’ll be it. No navel-gazing, just an attempt to make sense of that and the following material. I’m just going along for the ride at the moment.

I’m eager to see what happens.

I have a rough idea of how it will end, but that’s up to Rebecca Slade, Greg Barker and Charles Fitzgerald, Cheung, Unusual Steve and the others.

In the meantime, here’s my proposed (not set in stone!) first line, which I hope you’ll find enticing…

It began with a cat, a single-decker London bus and the First World War, not necessarily in that order.

Guardian Angel

My plan is to give you periodic reports of where I’m at, now that my new book is more than a mere glimmer…

And I’m nearly ready for beta readers of the first half, if you’re interested.

Long way to go yet…!

My website

Alan Camrose with beard

At The Lair Of The Camrose: Everyone welcome!

Alan Camrose

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I write books, articles and my blog


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Alan Camrose with beard

Exciting news!

Another 5 star independent review!

Fresh from my Blog/Book Tour in June:

I freaking loved this!

BookishWoo: 5.0 out of 5 stars

“I freaking loved this! Yes you heard right, if I could sum my review up in 4 simple words that would be exactly what I would write!

So what made this so good I hear you ask?

For starters, Alan managed to bring 2 of my favourite genres together and it just worked, so well. From the 1st page I was sold, it reeled me in and didn’t let go. This was a book I could really sink my teeth into.

Told in multiple POV’s, which trust me when I say it doesn’t always work and you can easily get lost and have to go back on yourself, I can honestly say this flowed with absolute ease. Each Chapter is told by a one of the main Character’s and you know straight away whose POV you are reading as it’s a chapter heading. The main characters are relatable, quirky and I loved getting to know them.

This was really was well written and Alan is very descriptive when setting a scene. As this is not set in a fictitious world and set in Brighton, you can truly imagine yourself there, especially if you know the area well. This is one of the main reasons I loved this so much. As a fantasy lover, I am used to world building and imaginary places, but having the story set in a actual place with the fantasy element running alongside, was refreshing. Everything is there for fantasy fans…..magic, demons, fae folk, The list goes on. For thriller fans there is murder, mystery and an engaging plot.

All in all this had everything to keep me enthralled and not forgetting it had me laughing out loud in places, Alan clearly has a wicked sense of humour which clearly shines through in his writing.

I received Lost In Plain Sight by Alan Camrose for free in exchange for an honest review as part of a blog tour for Love Books Tours

Buy now

New-look blog

Alan Camrose with beard
Beard Me In My Lair!

I’m excited about my recently launched Lair Of The Camrose – my Blog – which has been very well received and I look forward to stuffing the Lair with much more content in the future. Keep those comments and messages coming, and remember to wipe your feet when you exit the Lair in case you stepped in some spilled ichor!

My latest blog post: not about books this time (except Nick Hornby’s classic Fever Pitch!) – my latest post is about the current dangers threatening football…

Charlie George Arsenal goal celebration 1971 FA Cup final vs Liverpool
Charlie George, the Snow Angel – FA Cup final, 1971


I’m in the middle of my current w.i.p, a supernatural thriller.

First line:

It began with a cat, a single-decker London bus and the First World War, not necessarily in that order.

Guardian Angel

More details later, when I will need some help from beta readers, pretty please…


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