Tuesday, January 21, 2014

From the Top Shelf - Vanilla Fiction

I recently read a novel by British author Alan Titchmarsh called Love & Dr Devon. It is a not particularly riveting story of three men in their fifties who meet once a week for a pint and a chat. The book explores each of their lives as they examine their personal relationships and their careers. They also combine efforts to solve a crime.

One of the three is Gary, who works for MI5 and is rather James Bond-like, not in his appearance but certainly in his attitude towards women. He is still single at 50 and has never had a permanent relationship. He currently has a romantic interest in his much younger colleague, Sarah, who continually rejects his attempts at seduction.

I wasn't particularly taken with the book and considered putting it aside for something more interesting when I came across this titillating passage. Sarah and Gary are having a conversation in their shared office, and Sarah is questioning Gary about what he and his mates do when they get together once a week. She makes several unsuccessful guesses of various sports.

Gary stopped and looked at her. "Dominoes."


"You heard. We play dominoes over a pint. Nothing glamorous, no high stakes, just a bit of fun."

"But dominoes is..."

"If you say it's an old man's game Sarah Perry I shall chase you round this office with a rolled-up newspaper and beat you on the bottom until you can't sit down."

..."It wouldn't do any harm."

Okay, I admit I cheated. That last line was actually a reference to her wanting to join Gary and his friends on their evening out. Anyway, this was enough to encourage me to keep on reading.

Things progress between the two, possibly because of his proposed bottom-beating fun. Eventually they end up spending the night together in his flat. The morning after, Gary says what any gentleman would:

"Do you want some coffee?"

Sarah shook her head. "No. Tea. Please."

Gary bent down and kissed her on the cheek, then slid out of bed and walked down the few steps that led into the living area. He crossed to the kitchen in the far corner.

Sarah watched him go. "Nice bum."

"Thank you."

"For someone your age."

He turned and looked at her.

Sarah rolled over in the sheets until she was lying on her stomach looking directly at him. "Nice other things as well."

Gary picked up a towel from a pile of washing in the kitchen and wrapped it round himself.

"Well, well..." said Sarah.

"What?" asked Gary, filling the kettle at the tap.

"That's not a word I would ever have associated with you."

"What isn't?"


He walked back towards the bed. "How do you know I'm embarrassed?"

"Because you've gone just a tiny bit pink."

Gary...pulled the sheet away from her and gazed at her body. "And you've gone quite a lot pink," he said.

Was there some spanking involved the night before? I suspect there was. At least. I'd like to think so.

Later on in the story, after some more romance, petty crimes, murder, and foreign espionage, Gary prepares to go out, masquerading as a Harley Street surgeon, to expose an international crime ring.

Sarah examined the sky. "it looks a bit grey. I wonder if you should take a mac."

Gary smiled sarcastically. "Don't worry. I'll take my paddle."

So he's going to spank the criminals once he's exposed them? This wasn't a kinky book by any means, but the brief references kept me going in an otherwise rather strange novel.

I will close by sharing the epigraph from the beginning of chapter 18.

A spank can be a comma, a question mark or an exclamation point.
That's basic spelling that every man and woman ought to know.

(A slightly altered quotation by Mistinguette.)

From Hermione's Heart


Roz said...

Love it Hermione! :) "Don't worry. I'll take my paddle" LoL. Love the epigraph!


ronnie said...


It was only recently that I found out Alan Titchmarsh wrote books other than gardening ones:) Sounds like some amusing parts.


Aimless Rambling said...

I love trying to read between the lines.

Great story, thanks for sharing.

Hermione said...

Roz - I thought that line about the paddle was a dead giveaway.

Ronnie - HE talked a good deal about gardening in this book too.

Sunny - My pleasure.


Terpsichore said...

vanilla with a little spice :-)

Hermione said...

Terps - Exactly!