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June 2003
Writer - Mike Ball
Mike Ball - Writer
Mike Ball - Writer
Writing mainly short prose fiction, I’m only halfway to fossilization. Rarely do I see a penny but cherish high hopes for my first novel.
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There are several kinds of writer. The young, the not so young and those who make a fossil seem downright nimble. Writers of fact or fiction, prose or poetry. There's the type who knocks off a bestseller at the drop of a quill and makes a fortune. And the sort who earns a steady income from a host of lesser books. Then there's the writer who does it just for fun and makes the occasional penny.

Writing mainly short prose fiction, I’m only halfway to fossilization. Rarely do I see a penny but cherish high hopes for my first novel.

Writer's Work - Wings Over Nottingham
The Prologue.
Thirty nine to forty five, we were fighting to survive, and life, for Nottingham, was pretty ominous. The dirty, rotten Fritz had failed with the Blitz. In forty three, another enemy started bombing us.


The pigeons in our city had a habit, more's the pity, of swooping down and painting people's hats. Then some new birds came along, big and fierce and strong and loaded with a V-2 size of splatts.

They arrived here on a Sunday, which normally is a fun day but, this time, Nottinghamians missed the joke. The pigeons in the air, diving down toward Slab Square, scored hits on many different kinds of folk.

They came in anger from the clouds to just above the crowds of passers-by who, blithely unaware, when the leader cooed ''Attack'', looked neither fore nor back and got the benefit of dollops from the air.

There were decorated trilbys and the pillbox of Miss Gilby changed from red into a mottled shade of grey, while the fire-chief’s brassy helmet grew a dripping, sticky pelmet and the milkman's horse turned piebald for the day.

A baby's pretty bonnet had revolting stuff upon it. His mother's snood was pebble-dashed as well. And lawyer's jet-black toppers, bombarded by white ploppers, grew much paler by the minute. It was hell.

An airman's fore-and-aft was swirled up in the draught as falling bombs of refuse passed it's way. And a comic, Tommy Boyle, who was starring at the Royal, had nothing much to laugh about, that day.

A refugee from France did an angry foreign dance when he received a layer of muck on his chapeau, While a turncoat out of Hamburg wore a polka dotted Homburg and decided, ''Back to Hitler I will go.

''Sister Mary's well-pressed wimple had broken out in pimples of pigeon waste before the day was done. And many a fine fedora had had it's day before a halt was called when the pigeons faced... the Gun.

The Council, in alarm at the headgear-wrecking harm the birds had caused, did something quite absurd. They called in Major Morris who arrived with khaki lorries and swore that he'd eliminate those birds.

Turning to the soldier, the Council said, 'We're told ya can reduce these bird's antagonistic ranks.'' ''Don't doubt it,'' cried our hero, ''Population…Zero. I've got guns, grenades and military tanks.''

''We hope you'll not be hasty,'' said the Council, faces pasty at the sight of all that regimental might. ''Don’t worry,'' said the Major. ''I'm an Alamein old stager. If there's one thing I have learned, it's how to fight.''

So he set up his offensive and was not the least bit pensive. After Rommel, this action seemed quite tame. Major Morris ringed Slab Square with an elaborate affair of ack-ack guns and rifles and yelled, ''AIM!''

Soft Sam, the bird food seller, a mardy little fella, squealed ''Crikey!'' and he dropped his tray of nuts. The pigeons, seeing food, forgot their feuding mood and set off down to fill their empty guts.

The Major, with a frown, ordered ''Barrels …Down,'' forgetting that the birds were on the ground. They were not down there for long 'cos the military throng sprayed shells, grenades and bullets all around.

The pigeons sensed their doom at the armament's first boom and they flew to Griffin's roof, (bar those who'd died). Some escaped from there as well, when a high-explosive shell removed their perch and half the shop's inside.

Saint Peter's prized pilaster was denuded of it's plaster when a mortar bomb unwisely lost it's way. The statue of Victoria had no reason for euphoria, and the Carlton crashed down on a Shipstone's dray.

A striker on a podium, just outside the Odeon, was blasted off his feet and he saw red. ''Hey up,'' he yelled, soprano. ''Whose army's that? Fred Karno's? I got a ton of shrapnel up me trouser leg.''

A doctor's Rolls Royce motor, it, too, received it's quota and diminished 'til it was a Sunbeam Nine, while a chap from Austin Reeds's found his ears were full of seeds's from a windowbox up the Lodge of Yates's Wine.

The upshot of it all was that the Albert Hall disappeared in steaming clouds of acrid smoke. The Council House? A goner. The Black Boy Inn went on a lengthy flight and crushed the Major Oak.

When the soldier'd had his fill, well, he returned his troops to Chilwell and told them to say nothing of the fight. And the Council did a runner and spent the rest of summer up a tree, in Sherwood Forest, out of sight.

You very well may wonder, when the army made that blunder, what happened to the pigeons that were left? Some took themselves to Newark and their numbers quickly grew, according to statistics that were kept.

Most others went to Lincoln and reduced the local's income by eating all the crops the farmers ploughed. But a few, when it was dark, flew straight to Wollaton Park and started all the pigeons we have now.

Nottingham was rebuilt and, with just a little guilt, the Council swore the Nazis hatched the scheme. Said the pigeons were all German, sent here by Goering, Hermann. But he failed. Our city is still the Midland's Queen.

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