An extract from The Boy and the Briefcase and the Moose
Author Andrew Batty. Copyright 2021 all rights reserved.


Gradually, the plates emptied, and attention turned to dessert.

‘Is Manchester tart a real thing?’ Quinlan asked.

‘Of course it is a real thing. It is there, on the plate, in front of you,’ Tarquin replied, looking at Quinlan somewhat bewildered.

‘I know it is there, on the plate. But does it exist outside this school?’ Quinlan clarified.

‘It won’t explode if you take it outside the gates,’ I said, nonplussed.

‘How do you know? Have you tried?’ Winston enquired.

‘I mean, outside this school, would anyone recognise a Manchester tart?’ Quinlan asked.

‘Ask the people of Manchester,’ Winston said.

‘Ask a tart,’ I chipped in, unfortunately whilst looking at Josephine.

‘Ask a twat,’ Josephine said, looking at me.

‘You know what I mean, like a Bakewell tart, or a Chelsea bun,’ Quinlan explained further.

‘Or an Eccles cake,’ Tarquin added.

‘Or a Rugby bun,’ I proposed.

‘Rugby buns are not a thing,’ Winston said.

‘Yes, they are,’ I stated.

‘No, they are not,’ Tarquin replied.

‘You buy ’em at the baker’s in the centre,’ I said. ‘They've got a rugby ball on the top.’

‘That is the game not the town,’ Quinlan said.

‘Oh, we’re doing towns, are we?’ I asked.

‘Yes, we’re doing towns,’ Quinlan confirmed.

‘So, Eccles is a town?’

‘Of course it’s a town. What did you think it was?’ Winston said.

‘I thought eccles were small freckles,’ I said honestly.

‘Small freckles? Why small freckles?’ Quinlan asked.

‘You know… icky bicky freckles… eccles,’ I explained. ‘The currants are like little freckles.’

‘You’re nuts. You don’t get buns named after mad things,’ Josephine stated.

‘What about Bath buns?’ Winston said.

‘What about them?’ Quinlan asked.

‘They’re named after a bath,’ Winston said smugly.

‘No, they’re not,’ Tarquin said.

‘They’re just a bun made in a bath, aren’t they?’ I queried.

‘Why the hell would you make a bun in a bath?’ Josephine said.

‘No mixing bowls? I dunno,’ I said, shrugging.

‘A Bath bun is a bun, made in a place called Bath,’ Quinlan stated.

‘There’s a place called Bath?’ I asked.

‘Yeah,’ Tarquin advised.

‘Weird,’ I replied.

‘Anyway, I was just saying, this school is the only place in the whole wide world I have ever seen a Manchester tart,’ Quinlan proclaimed.

‘Have you ever been to Manchester?’ Winston asked.

‘No,’ Quinlan admitted.

‘Maybe that’s where you should look first,’ Winston suggested sensibly.

‘Is this it?’ Josephine asked.

‘What?’ I said.

‘Is this what I’ve been missing?’ she asked.

‘What do you mean?’ I asked, dumbfounded.

‘Is this what boys talk about?’ she said, looking sorry for us.

‘Cake? Yeah, mostly,’ I confessed.

‘Cake and ponies and knitting and dollies and make-up,’ Winston added.

‘And the latest fashions,’ I chipped in on theme.

‘Latest fashions? Really? And where’s the evidence?’ she responded sharply.


Author: Andrew Batty - Copyright 2021 - All Rights Reserved


 I was a fledgling on the ledge

Gripping tightly to the edge

Wondering as I looked down,

Will I fly or hit the ground.


Mummy bird said don’t you fret

Pretend you are a jumbo jet

Or a big hot air balloon

Floating up towards the moon


A flying pig with hairy knees

An autumn leaf upon the breeze

A fluffy cloud up in the sky

Or a comet zooming by


But mum these are the strangest things

Surely I should flap my wings

Flap them very, very, fast

Leap off the ledge and fly at last.


Son it’s good to have a dream

To go where we have never been

But flying is a crazy whim

We are penguins and penguins swim.


Author Andrew Batty +. Copyright 2021 all rights reserved


It’s story time and I’m in bed

Racking my brain, scratching my head


The story teller’s a hungry beast

And needs ideas on which to feast

Three things to wind its tale about

Before the words come tumbling out


I make a list; the beast looks sad

‘These are the worst, I’ve ever had.

I cannot eat them, not with stew,

Find me better, or I’ll eat you.’


I need your help. I must insist

Just add three things onto my list

You look quite bright, you’ll do just fine

Three things, two rows, and make them rhyme


Send them via the ‘contact’ feature

I’ll add them on and feed the creature.



Tombstone, train, refrigerator

Elephant, auntie, alligator

Igloo, seal, policeman’s cosh

Biscuit, toad and butternut squash

Gooseberry, boat, a wiggly worm

Custard, window, pachyderm

Whirlwind, clown a weeping willow

Chimney, oast house, armadillo.


The creature burps, 'Hmm so tasty

It seems that I was rather hasty

These things are gorgeous, so divine

I’m sure it must be story time.'


Only nice suggestions please, anything offensive won’t make the cut.

Let me know you’re happy to add them and they’ll go up.

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