Two new releases on AMAZON

DIVAN INSPIRATION: Travels on the Road to Dreamland. Part One: The Good, the Bed and the Snuggly - Bedtime at the movies

A non-fiction bedtime story


BUILDING MEMORIES: Bricks and Murder

A darkly humorous coming-of-age magical realism PI love story thriller

Also: HEMINGWAY'S PUZZLE:Short But Perfectly Formed, an anthology of six-word stories

LOST IN PLAIN SIGHT, a magical adventure for grown-ups and cat-lovers

MAKING OUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT: A Merry Journey - a festive, funny journey back to the origins of our Christmas traditions

Alan Camrose lives in the South-East of England with his family and writes fiction and non-fiction while trying not to mix them up too much...

He loves noodles, Blues music, Terry Pratchett's books, curry, football, a negroni or two, Miles Davis, gnocchi, craft beers, Adam West as Batman, a firepit on a cold night, board games, hammocks, and General Wolfe.



Last day today for FREE DOWNLOAD of


by Alan Camrose

On AMAZON Books – eBook, paperback, hardback…

Just in the St Nick of time for Christmas!

Thank you!

Please come along for a Merry Journey back in time to the origins of our modern Christmas!


Making our Christmas Present: A Merry Journey

Non-fiction Christmas book

Free to download on Amazon for another 24 hours

It’s a humorous journey back in time to the origins of our modern Christmas


Squirrel it away free while you can!



Alan Camrose


Reviews are vital to writers like me.

If you’ve bought/downloaded a copy of MAKING OUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT: A Merry Journey, or plan to do so, then I’m VERY grateful.

Pretty please WACOT: post a review on AMAZON if you like it!


Reviews are free, quick, easy. A few words or click a star rating when u r ready!

Screenshot of actual reviews – you can just enter a star rating if you ‘ve no time to write anything…

It means a lot.



Alan Camrose


Making our Christmas Present: A Merry Journey (around the bestseller lists on Amazon)

Bestsellers update as at 4pm UK time on Amazon Books:

at #2 historical reference

at #3 parodies

at #4 humorous essays


If you like it, please post a review! Many, many thanks…




Alan Camrose




Free to download the eBook for a limited time

If you download it and enjoy it, please support me and please do drop a review!

Free Christmas eBook

Many, many thanks!


Alan Camrose


MAKING OUR CHRISTMAS PRESENT: A Merry Journey is now completely LIVE and LAUNCHED on AMAZON Books in paperback and hardback!

There is a FREE DOWNLOAD OFFER of my eBook – FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT. Don’t miss out!

Kindle Edition – FREE FROM MIDNIGHT TONIGHT – for a limited period

Hardcover – £ 24.99

Paperback – £9.95

Why do mince pies no longer look like coffins?
How do you navigate yesteryear’s family games without a fire extinguisher?
Why did Father Christmas trade in his wagon for a sleigh when he first came to town?
Why should you complain if you don’t receive at least one gold ball from the Big Man?
And how do the best Christmas songs jingle our bells?

A perfect festive stocking filler or present, this delightful book is illustrated with glorious pictures, and can be shared with your family and friends for years to come.

Whoop! This is my 50th Post at my Random Place

I thought it would be a good moment to cast an eye back over my earlier posts to see just how random they are.

It got me to thinking about the purpose of my blog. It is like a diary, a snapshot of where I am in the particular week, an articulation of something that I feel it worthwhile articulating.

I’m not trying to sell anything with my blog, except my words. If you want to buy my books, then that’s great; if you want to buy me a cup of coffee then that’s great too, but I suppose I’m acting like an unstable lighthouse swirling words out into the void to try to connect with other – broadly like-minded – human beings. Not with bots or algorithms, phishers or exotic princes with a sad story to tell involving my bank account details. Just other human beings who may want to tarry for a moment in my lair to see what I have to say about things of hopefully mutual interest.

I’ve taken a look back over the past year’s posts to see any patterns in the randomness.

My posts include various broad categories:

Books and reviews – my posts on audio books, genre mashing, and Hemingway – topical with the new series from the BBC.

Food and drink, including posts on cheese, tomato sauce and – strangely fittingly – pizza and the wonders of a pizza oven. A special mention to the Claw of the Beast.

roast chicken at Hixters restaurant London

Sport, like the Euros, but I want to put that to one side for the moment. Too sad for the glorious defeat and angry at the minority of idiots who have over-shadowed what was a joyful ride for England supporters.

Charlie George Arsenal goal celebration 1971 FA Cup final vs Liverpool

Music is one of my great loves, ranging from the blues to my favourite country crossover song ever to our open air concert in Glyndebourne last year. My piece on Spooky Bob and his Crossroads date with the Devil is the first in my intended series of stuff about my favourite blues artists.

Posts on travel have kept me embracing the wider world at a time when we have been forced to look closer to home, leading mne back to trekking in Nepal and forward to British staycations in Cheshire and, er, Aylesbury. Don’t smirk, we’re going back to Aylesbury this Summer, too. Lily the unforgettable campervan, too.

Trekking in Nepal

And everyday stuff, like uni, diets and the fierce selection of board games to play during Lockdown.

Croquet, anyone? Games and outdoor activity.

And Jasper and Pagoda, our retriever and Burmese – absolutely not everyday stuff.

That’s all for now. I look forward to the next 50, I hope you do too…



Alan Camrose

Spooky Bob walking in the shadow of the Blues

Welcome to my Blog

You are very welcome, and thanks for stopping by.

This time, the Devil has the best tunes, and strikes a hard bargain…

Whitesnake, and for that matter Led Zep, Cream, Elvis, everyone who has made “popular” music that matters, owes the giants of the Blues. Owes them big time. 4/4 time.

I love the blues

They tell my story,

If you don’t feel it you can never understand

Whitesnake – Walking in the shadow of the Blues

Robert Johnson (1911-1938) was not merely one of those giants, he was an unlikely Titan. He was from the home of the Blues, the Mississippi Delta. With his dapper black suit and hat in the pictures, cradling his guitar like it was part of him, he was a Blues player way before electric guitars and synthesisers. By all accounts, he wasn’t a very good guitarist at the beginning. Then, one day, he changed. A flash of light, a moment of revelation. Legend has it that he didn’t rely on technology or practising to improve. He went old school.

Very old school.

Did he go to that crossroads near the Dockery Plantation, Mississippi, just before Midnight, in dusty silence and start to twang at his guitar? Did he meet a man there who appeared out of the shadows with horns hidden under his fedora and a spiky tail draped under his long black coat? Did that mysterious man croon to the guitarist as Robert stared upwards into the black night sky aching for the priceless gift of talent? Did the song tempt him with the promise of fame and fortune if he would only commit to a devilish pact?

Whether or not Bob succumbed to any such temptation at the expense of his soul, he became the legendary guitar player captured in precious recordings from 1936 and 1937, which have held their value ever since and influenced generations of guitarists and singers.

One of his songs, echoing this story, was ‘Crossroads‘ (or ‘Crossroad Blues‘):

I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
I went to the crossroad, fell down on my knees
Asked the Lord above, "Have mercy, now, save poor Bob if you please"
Yeah, standin' at the crossroad, tried to flag a ride
Ooh-ee, I tried to flag a ride
Didn't nobody seem to know me, babe, everybody pass me by
Standin' at the crossroad, baby, risin' sun goin' down
Standin' at the crossroad, baby, risin' sun goin' down
I believe to my soul, now, poor Bob is sinkin' down
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
You can run, you can run, tell my friend Willie Brown
That I got the crossroad blues this mornin', Lord, baby, I'm sinkin' down
And I went to the crossroad, mama, I looked East and West
I went to the crossroad, baby, I looked East and West
Lord, I didn't have no sweet woman, ooh well, babe, in my distress

Source: LyricFind
Songwriters: Robert Johnson
Crossroads lyrics © Concord Music Publishing LLC

He fell on his knees and prayed to the Lord because he knew what he was about to do. A last chance for him to back down from the awful, delicious prospect of a trade with the Devil. He flagged a ride at the crossroads all day long but no-one noticed him, no-one saved him. Then, the sun went down and he was left there alone, to sink down with his insecurity and frustration and pain.

And then he received the poisoned chalice of the Crossroad Blues.

He was able to play the guitar like an…angel?

For a while.

Afetr two years, he died. Suddenly and painfully. Some said he had been poisoned.

Others thought he had simply paid the price for the shooting star of Godlike talent that he had been temporarily granted, and the Devil had come for his due, taking everything with him that remained of Robert Johnson.

To this day no-one knows where his body lies. If anywhere.

Waiting for the Devil

But he has left an imprint on the world that extends far beyond that mysterious crossroads.

What are you prepared to buy and sell to the Man in Black at the crossroads near you?



Alan Camrose

PS Treat yourself to a different take on that song, by eric Clapton

Add genius to genius and you get extra genius

I beg your pardon, punk, I never promised you a rose garden

I am peculiarly distraught today. Here’s my train of thought:

The Sun’s out, the roses are out. Capture them before they fade and die. So I did.

That got me to thinking about rose gardens and that tune announced itself in my head and has done a series of encores.

Bits of song lyrics came flooding back from Lyn Anderson’s 1970 single. God help me, I loved that song when it came out, and I‘m the world’s worst country music listener. I think it was the simple, gentle lyrics and her pristine voice that did it for me.

Along with the sunshine
There's gotta be a little rain sometime

Not many songs have done that to me, and I don’t really understand why this one did, but there it is (others include B.B. King’s The thrill is gone, Two Minutes to Midnight by Iron Maiden, Hoosier’s Take me to Church, John Lee Hooker’s Boogie Chillun, Texas and their Summer Son, the first time I heard Thunder Road and, while we’re on roads, Telegraph Road – there are many more, come to think of it). Rose Garden was the first.

I understand that Lynn Anderson had other hits, but I have never heard of any of them. for a while and let's be jolly
Love shouldn't be so melancholy
Come along and share the good times while we can

A mantra for not just love but everything else. And the best use of the word ‘jolly’ that I can think of in a song.

So why distraught?

My aunt had one of those record players that used to sit in the corner with a long central spike that ate singles and automatically played them one by one, the stylus following the grooves to the end of the record, flipping back to the side, another single was dropped down and off we went again. I used to play with that record player for hours. I kept coming back to Rose Garden. My aunt gave me the record as a present and I was delighted with it, kept it in my record collection for probably 45 years.

I wanted to post a picture of it, but it has vanished. I cannot find it. It must have been thrown out or lost when we moved house a couple of years ago. I’m hoping it will turn up after I’ve posted this, just to spite me.

I played the single very little over the tears, but I knew it was there and I could play it whenever I wanted. And now it’s gone. Hence my distraught mood. I don’t need to play it right now, but if and when I ever felt a sudden urge to do so instead of some Nina Simone, then I’ll have to rely on Apple Music. That will do the job, but not with that personal, deep touch of a classic 45.

I happened upon the Suicide Machines punk version of the song, which reminded me that there’s always something that will come along and sweep any blues away:

A punk country song. What’s not to like?

There, that cheered me up no end…



Alan Camrose