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Dreams of Gold

Dreams of Gold

Jonathan Chamberlain

How the London 2012 Olympics were saved from the bizarre schemes of a mad dictator.

‘P.G.Wodehouse meets Tom Sharpe with a dash of Spike Milligan.’

Wales – the land of poets and sporting heroes. Rowan Jones, the up-and-coming Welsh poet, accidentally finds himself attracting a motley crew of disaffected athletes from all over the world to his eccentric farmhouse deep in the heart of Wales.

There’s Jeremiah the Tennessee backwoodsman, Marguerite the existentialist, Yoshi and Toshi the Japanese identical twins, Leonardo the Italian hunk, Solomon the Hassidic weightlifter, and Mad Mike and Jade and Kono and Ayesha and all the rest of them ...

And then there is the mad dictator, Osmanakhian. And Perkins, the quintessential English butler, is not all he seems. And what about Anna? Well, Anna is ... Oh dear, it’s much too complicated. I’m afraid you’ll just have to read this book to find out.

Excerpt from the book

I

t was evening. The gentle wash of waves lapped against the harbour walls of the small and unbearably cute fishing village. Lights and music both poured out of a friendly pub nearby. An almost tangible excitement pulsed through the air as Charlotte Church’s scheduled arrival was imminent.

Rowan Jones was seated at the bar with a pint of dark beer in front of him. There was already a largish crowd and Rowan could be seen to be waving at a number of people. There was a podium and a band was tuning up. The background noise was already too loud for comfortable conversation. And then there was Charlotte herself-warmly Welsh, bubbly and buxom. She had to push her way through the crowd and Rowan found himself in close contact with the Church protuberances.

‘Sorry,’ she said as she forced her passage past him.

‘No, no,’ he said gallantly. ‘My pleasure!’ He beamed his delight into the following face – that of Miss Church’s athletic ex-boyfriend and international rugby player, Gavin Henson, himself. Or someone who looked very like him. (Had they not separated? Somehow this snippet had slipped through the defences that kept Rowan Jones safe from the intrusions of popular culture.) Mr Henson, or whoever he was, was not pleased – at least he did not appear to be so. He gave Rowan a hard glare and Rowan suddenly felt an urgent need to turn back to the bar and savour his drink. When he saw the Henson-like person move on, he heaved an exaggerated sigh of relief. The barmaid had seen everything.

‘Naughty, naughty!’ she said wagging her finger at him. ‘I‘ll tell Bronwyn on you.’

Rowan grimaced at the thought and in a loud voice tried to change the subject.

‘You’ll never guess what happened to me today.’

‘What’s that then?’ she asked brightly as she poured a drink for another customer. The bar was packed today. Charlotte Church had brought them all out of the woodwork. There were people she had never seen before – like the funny crowd sitting next to Rowan who were pretending to be the Welsh basketball team. ‘Did you ever see anything so ridiculous in your life?’ she thought. So she only had half an ear to give to Rowan and missed what he said.

‘What was that?’ she asked cupping her ear.

‘I said they’ve made me Poet Laureate,’ he shouted.

‘Poet what?’

‘Laureate.’

‘You mean Poet Laureate of England?’

‘No, not that!’ he shook his head and smiled. ‘Just of the Olympic Games.’

‘I didn’t know the Olympic Games had a poet.’

‘Me neither. Actually, I may be the first. Imagine that! The very first ever Poet Laureate of the Olympic Games. Me!’ He laughed with becoming modesty at the absurdity of it but in his heart he was besotted with the pleasure of it. He‘d been dying to tell someone. He was sure that she would now spread the news and soon everyone would know and he wouldn’t have to explain it. People would point him out. ‘That’s the Poet Laureate of the Olympic Games,’ they would say.

‘I’m off to London tomorrow. It’s going to be announced at a press conference. It’ll be on the news, I expect. Imagine that. Rowan Jones the poet on the six o’clock news. That’s something isn’t it? My fifteen minutes of fame.’

To tell the truth, despite his feeble attempt to be blasť, he was still quivering with the excitement of it. He still hadn’t got used to the idea. He was under no illusions. Uncle Ivor had swung it. Against what odds, against what competition he didn’t know. Now it was up to him not to let the side down. It was up to him to make the most of it. This was his opportunity. A lifetime’s make or break. If he fluffed this chance then it was back to ... he didn’t know what. He’d never done anything else except poetry. Never been anything but a poet. He’d be one of those backwater poets that people sniggered at. He couldn’t bear that. He wanted to be in the mainstream of cultural society, desperately wanted that more than anything else. Almost. Excepting anything to do with Bronwyn who was the love of his life. Thank God for Bronwyn. And as he thought these thoughts he had another sip of beer. He was so far into his thoughts that he didn’t notice that the gorgeous Charlotte Church had begun to sing. Nor did he notice that the Welsh basketball team had heard what he had said and had gone into a huddle of discussion. In fact he only noticed them when they very nicely, very politely, but very firmly, displaced him from his bar stool and carried him to the back of the bar and out the back door.

‘Hey up!’ he said, taking it for a prank. He was still in celebratory mode. He had only just managed to grab hold of his glass and down its contents as they took him off. Someone took his empty glass from his hand.

‘I‘ll have another ...’

Before he was able to finish the sentence he found himself being bundled into the back of a van. The door was shut on him.

‘Hey!’ he protested. ‘A prank‘s a prank but really! This is ...’

The engine started and the van manoeuvred out of the pub car park. It was only then that he realized he was being kidnapped. ...

 

This book published by Long Island Press, design and production by Bramley Press.