Comedy Planning Punchline and New Wordplay On The Road to Bucharest

After mentioning Andrew Marr’s documentary about fantasy fiction writing last week I watched it again this week, along with the third and last in the series, which was about the spy genre. The main interest for my writing in the latter was Trade Craft. Many spy novel writers were said to be former spies, such as Frederick Forsyth.

My Trade Craft for XaW Files

That’s why I think I’m ideally placed to write travel quest fantasy fiction, and especially to pioneer the new idea of fantasy travelling by web maps. That’s because for the travelling knowledge I travelled on a shoestring to all the populated continents between 1987-1994, and have continued travelling on shorter trips to this day.

Now that I’ve finished the greenYgrey trilogy, maybe I’ll finish that blog’s travelling back to 1987, although it will be time-consuming, as I reached the end of the digital photos era. With its 30th anniversary next year, it might be good timing.

Then for the writing, I spent a decade in further education, and this XaW Files book was written at the end of a decade of creative writing.

So, while I may seem like an overnight sensation to new readers, or an aberration to prejudiced ones, as even Kerouac was in his day, three decades (3-D) of experience and learning have gone into this book… maybe you now think it should be even better?!

Chapter 4 Episode 19

It was brilliant to reach Bucharest and give Buck a rest.


It had been a long trek from Tiraspol, and made more difficult and tiresome by Alexander Suvorov’s precise planning, methodical examination of every detail, openness to all outcomes, and suspicion of all.

I think it was absolutely necessary with hindsight, but I’m just not used to that kind of travelling, what with my usual freestyle random rambling style.

Giving Buck a Rest in Bucharest

Suvorov’s suspicion included you readers I’m afraid, so I was ordered not to write a XaW File until we arrived safely in Bucharest.

I hope Buck’s extended journey to Bucharest rest is evidence that I can plan a little myself, and it’s not all random rambling, or Kerouac-style spontaneous prose; which is an amazing skill when writing a complete book in such a way; but a bit of both, now several, greenYgrey style.

Manta Mantra

Instead of travelling on the R34 we travelled on the E584, and then across to Manta on the R38. We overnighted at the Azalia Hotel, and were treated to a traditional stork nuptial dance known in Romanian as “a bate toaca”.

Local birds such as cormorants, egrets, mallards, cranes, pelicans, seagulls and swans were joined by raccoons, foxes, wild cats, turtles, wild boar and deer at the dance. It was a very peaceful and enjoyable evening, as we were all alive allies, joined in battle against the undead.

Vampire Fever

I think you will be able to guess how we travelled across the lake, if you think of the lake’s name, and suspend any knowledge of Earthly creatures going by that name’s normal habitat.

Yes, if you guessed we were carried across the lake by a fever of giant manta rays you’d be right. Don’t worry if you weren’t right, because I only just learnt that the collective noun for manta rays is fever!


After saying muchas gracias and hasta luego to the manta rays, who had originated in Baja California, we returned to land. Suvorov led us through Vlădeşti and Brăneşti in silence, as he suspected they could be vampire frontier towns with the start of both their names having vampire connotations: Vlad Dracula and Bran Castle.

Swapping Names and Numbers

From Fârţăneşti to Focşani I travelled alongside Suvorov, although that didn’t mean travelling at the head of our band of musicians and assorted animals, as he liked to remain at one with his soldiers, leading by example rather than looking down on them from up on high.

Passing through interesting place names inspired me to ask Suvorov about his, although I had of course read about it on Wikipedia. Suvorov confirmed his name ‘comes from the Finnish, or Karelian, words “sywe” and “wara,” syvä meaning “deep” and vaara meaning “hill” or “danger.”’

I observed that ‘deep danger’ was quite apt for our destination.

Suvorov laughed, agreed, and asked about my name.

I said I named myself from my colours, after awakening with amnesia in Canada, and told him some of my life story, which regular readers will know all too well by now. I thought for a minute or three, before adding that it must be great to know your ancestry, like he does, although my existence is already quite old in the current digital age.


Manta Lake and Stork information:

Available to buy or borrow on Amazon and some great big bookshops.


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