No Sprouts!

So, Hazel and I had lunch yesterday. See photos already posted. I’d been on a train all day with no breakfast – which turned out to be a huge mistake actually, because on arrival, without even a cursory glance at the lunch menu, we swept straight in to the bar. Well, Hazel swept – I was more like following on with the dustpan and black plastic bag.

I swear I asked for a tonic water but no one seemed to hear me. I think I repeated myself several times and deafness fell upon the land. I tried again but with the tinkle of Christmas Magic my words were somehow transformed into ‘I’ll have a glass of wine, please.’ I’m certain I could hear the pump-action of a fairy wand from somewhere behind the Christmas tree.

Well, so far – so festive, and determined to shed my Accent-bestowed reputation for being an alcoholic lightweight, I got stuck in.

I have to say it was good wine and I was sipping with enthusiasm when they told us our table was ready. Obviously, I took my wine with me and damn me if there wasn’t another glass on the table because apparently, prosecco automatically comes with the festive meal. So now, I had two glasses of alcohol and, after a rapid machine gun exchange between Hazel and the waiter, yet another wine turned up and I now had three – count them – three glasses of alcohol in front of me.

Actually, after the waiter had run an assessing eye over the state of me, a fourth glass appeared but this one was water.

We ordered. I couldn’t see the menu very well – possibly because I’d had an eye test the day before and I don’t know about anyone else, but I really don’t like it when they puff great hurricanes of air into your eyes. In Turkey, they regard the British test as a bit girlie – the man’s version is to poke each eye with the optician’s hairy forefinger. If you’re eye is soft – congrats, no glaucoma. If your eye is hard – bad luck lady, join the glaucoma queue over there. Sensibly, they do this at the end of the test because it takes an hour or so for the pain to subside and your eyes to stop streaming. I’m betting the hurricanes don’t look so bad now, do they?

Anyway, obviously the effects of the test had lingered on, which was why I couldn’t read the really extremely small print on the menu, so I boldly went for the turkey on the grounds it was a festive menu and therefore turkey was bound to feature on it somewhere. Sharp thinking for a blind, befuddled author, I think everyone will agree.

I sat quietly, combating wine evaporation by building up quite a nice little drinking rhythm. Sip, smile, sip, beam, sip, wonder where I was, and so on.

The food was lovely and everything was fine until I got to the sprouts. Of which there were rather a lot. With the incisive clarity for which I’m famed, I realised immediately that they’d given me everyone else’s sprouts as well, which was a bit mean because while I’m all for heroic sacrifice – especially if it’s someone else heroically sacrificing – this alp of sprouts they’d plonked in front of me was a bit above and beyond. However, I’m British and I know my duty – which is never to complain – not out loud, anyway – and just got stuck in.

Over the years, I’ve developed several techniques – sprouts for the dealing of. There’s putting them on someone else’s plate. Chucking them under the table, is good. Hiding them under the mashed potato works well, but my favourite is to eat two. Only wimps eat just one and eating three or more is plain foolishness. Two, however, demonstrate backbone and fortitude and something else I can’t quite remember at the moment because I’ve got a bit of a headache.

So I ate my two sprouts – well, no, actually, the first thing that happened was that the ends of my scarf fell in the gravy but we got that sorted out and the lovely waiter helpfully pushed my glass of water a little closer, bless him. So, scarf trauma dealt with, I ate my two sprouts – you have to eat them at the beginning of the meal because after you’ve done that everything else tastes great, even the gravy covered ends of your own scarf.

Unfortunately, they’d put something in them. The sprouts, I mean. I know they’ve invented all sorts of new-fangled ways to tempt people to abandon all common sense and spend the next twenty-four hours farting furiously – but I had some sort of reaction to them. The sprouts, I mean, not the farts. There’s no other explanation. The room blurred. The table tipped. Hilariously, I couldn’t pick up my fork while at the same time becoming incredibly witty and clever. I had to keep sipping the wine to take the taste away but top-class stuff though it was, nothing could prevail over the sprouts. Little green monsters.

Eventually, and with no memory of dessert at all, I was decanted back to the station where I climbed onto a train. Don’t ask me which train – the sprouts had me in a firm grip by now – but I do know it was a train. The people in the carriage were lovely and it would have been nice to have had a friendly chat with all of them but I fell asleep just outside Newport so a bit of a missed opportunity there.

Today will, I think, be quite a gentle day. I’ve fired up my laptop and pulled up Doing Time but we all know that’s not going to happen. There’s a cheese and marmite loaf with my name on it somewhere and I intend to track it down.

So – take heed, gentle readers. For heaven’s sake, lay off the sprouts. No idea what they’re putting in them but they won’t catch me again. My life, will, henceforth, be gloriously, wonderfully sprout free.


This is the last blog of the year. And my last blog with Accent Press. So, to everyone there – many thinks for everything over the years. And there have been a lot of things, so thanks for every one of them. To Accent Press, to my new overlords at Headline, and to all my lovely readers – and you know who you are – a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year.



44 thoughts on “No Sprouts!

  1. A question, actually, rather than a comment. I can see your latest story And Now For Something Completely Different is out. I have all your stuff on my Nook in electronic format, but I can’t find that one in Nook format. Will that be coming later?

  2. Wonderful Jodi – thanks for the warning on the sprouts! I had no idea that was what was causing my festive lunches to affect me so! Looking forward to hearing more from you in 2019! All the best

    • I don’t think it’s generally known, but sprouts are usually at the root of most people’s problems and it’s our duty to tell as many people as possible. Perhaps we could get the Queen to mention something in her Christmas message. Jodi.

      • Have a wonderful Christmas, please carry on writing very quickly, can’t wait for next book. Always knew there was some sort of evilness lurking round the sprouts. Thanks for the warning !!!

  3. Sprouts are the illegal spawn of the devil. Now that I have Christmas Dinner alone (from choice), I never even give them houseroom, let alone put one in my mouth.
    Jodi, I snorted with laughter, I do not know how you manage to make a simple story about lunch turn into something so totally, incredibly funny.
    Thank you so much.
    I am so looking forward to Christmas Day and the new book – again, being alone, I can read when I want, and if I eat too early or too late, what does it matter, reading is best.
    Have a wonderful Christmas and I wish you the happiest – and most successful – of New Years with your new people.

  4. Will you still be writing a blog here after you change to Headline? Or will we have to hunt you down elsewhere? Either way, thanks for all the hilarity thus far, and I can’t wait to read the next offerings. Have a great Christmas (sans sprouts) and a fabulous New Year xx

    • Hi, Jodi here, no matter what the IP address – which seems to think I’m someone else. I have no idea what’s happening with blogs and things with Headline, but I had no idea what was going on with Accent, either. Someone will tell me, I’m sure, and I’ll let you know then. Here’s to a sproutless future.

      • If the new people don’t offer you a blog space, you know you can always write to most of us on our/your Facebook space. You are more than welcome there anytime.

    • If you won’t have a managed blog at Headline, it’s very easy to create your own WP blog (I have 4!), even for the teensy bit technophobic. Just holler, as we say Stateside, if you need any tips.

      • “It is easy!” they say… “Nothing to it!” they bellow as they give you a hearty slap on the back. Just imagine you don”t have the heavenly mother-in-law you do but instead have a critical, lacquered umbilical cord,, relentless mother-in-law. Tilt your head and nod now and then, jot down notes and let your mind make a shopping list. I don’t recommend indulging in food fight fantasies on her pristine self because it is important not to laugh. Nodding is the power move especially with a tiny frown of deep concentration.

  5. Have a wonderful Chirstmas Jodi, thank you for making me snort with laughter, cry and cringe!! Looking forward to more of your writing in 2019 xx

  6. Well done Jodi, you’re very sensible to avoid sprouts, I’ll only eat them if I’ve cooked them so I know they will be harmless. My partner and I have been invited by my ex and his wife for Christmas dinner…. NO!! Do you think that saying I’ve got to stay home and read your new book is a good reason to decline? 😀

  7. Admission: I love sprouts. They are not traditionally served in the US, at least not in my corner. No one else in the family likes sprouts, so I have to inflict them on myself from time to time. So, you know who we are, do you? Guess we need to do a bit more camouflage in the future. 😉 Thank you for the lovely blog post. Congratulations on the move to Headline (who I’ve never heard of, so I do hope they’re good to work for and don’t insist you eat sprouts).

  8. I love sprouts, but then I love cabbage and sprouts are just bite-sized cabbages, (like Daschunds are just pocket-sized Dobermans) 🙂 I finished White Silence this morning and was quite aggrieved at having to go to sleep before I’d read it all (having started it) yesterday.
    All the best with your new publisher and a very merry Christmas to you 🙂

  9. Ignoring all sprouty thoughts as they are the spawn of the devil, cheese and marmite loaf!!!….Where would one get such a delight?? It sounds delicious and I wish to trot forth and locate one this very second. Well after I have snacked upon my marmite and salad cream sandwich which you have made me eat at the thought of that bread.

    • They’re handmade and sold in our local market. I think it’s bread dough rolled flat with a mixture of grated cheese and marmite spread over it and then rolled up and baked. It looks like a giant swiss roll. The cheesy mixture falls out of both ends and ends up both crisp and gooey. Delicious on its own or with butter but you have ti eat it on the day it’s fresh. Or toast it the next day. Fabulous. Jodi.

      • Well that sounds jolly delicious, unfortunately it’s a tad too far for me to go out and get one (for quality control purposes obviously) I hope you enjoyed munching it anyway and I will carry on enjoying my marmite and salad cream sandwiches knowing there is something equally as tasty across the other side of the country (kentish lass here). Carry on the good work young lady, festive felicitations to you and yours x

  10. Have a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year, Jodi. I look forward to reading your blog posts and future books. They always bring me joy!

  11. You are brilliant, I am saving my pennies to tempt you across the pond for a Chateaubriand. There will be no sprouts but lots of wonderful wine in case and unexpected reaction occurs when you have finished your cheesecake.

  12. Sprouts were banned here about 25 years ago.
    I played the prologue of LDL&H in my MA creative writing class last week as my favourite voice in literature. I think I found a few new St Mary’s converts. I’m going now to make sure I preordered my Christmas Day listening.
    Merry Christmas, happy new year and good luck with your new publisher.

  13. On behalf of the Sprout Appreciation Society (SAS) I would like to say that young, fresh sprouts, properly prepared and cooked are delicious. And good for you. Though not necessarily recommended if you’re sharing a trench ….

  14. Wishing yourself , Hazel and all your minions a very Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year . Looking forward to the coming year and all the new adventures that will eminate from your keyboard. . PS the follow up story to “the letter” has been posted on VSM

  15. Thanks you for all your entertaining blogs Jodi and of course all your great books. May next year be as good to you as this one has been ( or maybe a bit better). Have a very merry Christmas and a happy and healthy new year

  16. In a rare show of wisdom, we seem to have dodged sprouts being traditional here in the US – and substituted green bean casserole made with cream of mushroom soup and topped with dehydrated onion slices. Um, I did say “rare show of wisdom”. Anyway, Merry Christmas and a Happy New Year to you and yours. I’m looking forward to the new adventures!

  17. Hello Jodi, thank you for another extremely descriptive blog aof your Christmas lunch and the dreaded sprouts. I have heard them described as “little balls of wind” or “fart balls”. both descriptions are perfectly apt. I am looking forward to my Christmas Day treat of your latest short story and of course have pre-ordered the next St Mary’s disaster due for release in April on Amazon. Good luck with your new publishers and I hope they will let you continue with your wonderful blogs. Merry Christmas

    Janey Nice

  18. I am coming to realize that you across the pond use that term for Brussels sprouts. Here in our benighted land we use that term for a wad of seeds that has just sprouted and therefore has some miraculous power. Think of a jumble of interrupted seedlings. It tastes a bit like nothing I know.

  19. OK. I was once severely criticized for cheese and strawberry jam butties. BUT Cheese and Marmite… You have to be joking!

    Thank you for all your efforts to keep us entertained this year Jodi. Looks like you are reporting to a new ‘Dr Bairstow’ in future. Well, start as you mean to go on and get him/her firmly under control .. bit like the sprouts really.

    Thank you from Sue and Bob xx

  20. Dear Jody,

    Since there is no thread about your latest literary offering yet, I would like to digress from the sproutocentric conversation (was there perhaps a link with the lingering smell in the Pods ?) to thank you for giving an entirely new meaning to the traditional British expression  « taking the p*ss » St Mary’s style…

    The names of the Mars spaceship crew, as well as of the Rice/Burroughs tandem, were an additional nudge-nudge moment. As for the final, shocking revelation (bombshell is the word usually cherished by tabloids)… it will no doubt give sleepless night to conspiracy theorists… and I can hear you heartfully chuckling, nay, cackling in unholy hilarity !

    Thank you Jody, it was a real treat !

    Wishing you the best for the holidays, and the coming year.

  21. Hi Jodi. I love your blog but especially your Chronicles of St Marys series. I am reading them on my Kindle in Australia. I just tried to purchase “My Name is Markham” and then “The Long and the Short of It”. I couldn’t purchase either because it says they are not available for purchase. Is this an error? I am cognisant it has just clicked over to 2 January 2019. Are your books no longer available to Kindle readers in Australia? Thank you.

    • Hi – no cause for alarm. I moved to my new publishers today. The full length novels have transferred across but I think the short stories might take a little longer. Please have patience. And actually, crossing your fingers might be helpful too. We all know how these things usually go. Happy New Year! Jodi.

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