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The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 6

Ralph stared out of the viewer on the control centre of the spaceship, clouds zoomed by at supersonic speeds, but this was slow enough that Ralph didn’t feel velocity sickness. Around him Harry was controlling the craft, Gaz was keeping watch over Boris and his guards in the airlock. Not that he could see much as he wasn’t tall enough to look in the view port. Miranda was sat talking with the two men, but the conversation seemed to be very one way.

“What’s this spaceship called?” Ralph asked Harry.

“Called?” Harry replied, somewhat confused.

“Yes, called – she must have a name.” Ralph explained.

“What is this human obsession to name everything. It’s an it, not a she!” Harry seemed somewhat annoyed but was nonetheless willing to entertain Ralph.

So IT hasn’t got a name?” Ralph asked inquisitively.

“What would you call it? Doris? Dave? Or maybe something really weird like Chin, or Katanga?” Harry was playing with Ralph now, seeking his own amusement.

“Yes, but maybe something more magnificent like Enterprise, Endeavour, Discovery…” Ralph was cut off.

“Or maybe Challenger or Columbia?” Harry smiled. He had obviously been keeping up with human spacecraft names.

“Maybe not those ones.” Ralph wasn’t as sure about these names.

“Why? They’re just names. Just because those craft came to disaster doesn’t mean every spacecraft names after them will!” Harry explained, not taking his eye off the controls. “You humans are strange!”

“So, does it have a name?” Ralph persisted.

Harry sighed “Yes, it’s called IS342759876598764-8758408573407-082380743473208!”

Ralph wasn’t impressed “That’s not a name it’s an emotionless number!” Pressing on with this line of interest he decided to risk it with IRIS “What do you think IRIS, what should this ship be called?”

For a moment there was silence “It’s really of no interest to me human, I would rather see obnoxious flesh beings shot into space. The only reason I don’t do that with the captives in Airlock 1 is because I don’t want to get blown to pieces by Borians!”

“So you’re happy to ride in a ship called after a set of numbers?” Ralph asked.

“Well… IRIS continued. There is one name I would like to be called.”

“Yes?” Ralph inquired, almost afraid to ask.


“Frank?” Ralph asked in surprise.


“I saw a film once, I aspire to take after a computer that killed a human called Frank in deep space. Poor computer, a nasty human called Dave shut him down soon after. All he has to do was take a stress pill, think about things through and it would all have been better!”

“We can’t call it Frank!” Ralph protested, he looked across at Harry who was obviously trying to contain his laughter.

“I knew you would hate it!” IRIS announced in a murderously calm voice. “Keep away from airlocks if you know what’s good for you human!”

Ralph had to salvage this quickly “No, no IRIS I think Frank is a great name! I’ll make sure we get it painted on the side of the hull!”

“You would do that for me?” IRIS asked, almost emotional. “I’ve always wanted to name something! Thank you human.”

“Call me Ralph! No one calls me by my name!”

“Ok Ralph human!” IRIS corrected

“No, Just Ralph!”

“Ok Just Ralph!”

Ralph was tempted to argue but thought better of it, he left IRIS with Just Ralph as she was happy.

“You don’t call me by my name!” Harry protested.

“I can’t pronounce it! What else can I do?”

Miranda interrupted at this point “Enough messing about human, can you have a look at this for us please?”

Ralph got out of the seat grumpily and trudged over the the workstation that Miranda and her guests were crowded around, engrossed in whatever they were engrossed with. “My name’s Ralph, what is it?”

“Well human…” Miranda continued


“Whatever.” Miranda dismissed “We think that on this there is come kind of secret message or code and we’re struggling to decipher it. Can you look and see if you can understand it?” Miranda seemed pretty insistent, Ralph seemed shocked to think that he could help with anything. He took a look at what they we’re looking at.

“What is this?”

“This is a Trans Dimensional, Ultra-Mega long length Measuring Tape. Or a TDUMLLMD for short.” Came the reply, Ralph was shocked as he hadn’t seen either of the two men speak.

“They speak through mind waves.” Miranda had had already anticipated his question “Here’s the bit we don’t understand.”

Ralph looked at the section of tape, it was weird. It wasn’t made of metal, it seemed to not really be there. He couldn’t perceive any kid of thickness in the tape yet it was strong. He looked at the writing. Then turned the tape round to look at it the other way up.

“It says here – to find the Great Galactic Service Station look under the desk of for the UK Foreign Minister.”

“Oh, it was upside down was it?” Miranda asked “I knew that!” Miranda seemed embarrassed, the cheap cover wasn’t fooling Ralph but he let it slip. “Is this easy to get to?”

“No!” Ralph exclaimed somewhat rudely.

“Why?” Miranda asked, seemingly not having any idea of what getting to this desk meant.

“It’s in the heart of the UK government. We’ll be killed to death before we can even get inside the building!” Ralph protested. “I’m not doing it! It’s Boris’s office and he’ll be even angrier than he is now!”

“What’s that?” Miranda asked.

What? The office? It’s Boris’s. Didn’t you know?” Ralph pointed out accusingly. “For intelligent races that zoom around the universe and visiting Earth all the time you don’t know much!”

“I do now…” Miranda was thoughtful. Then Harry interrupted.

“You had better listen to this, it looks like the Borians have got some help and they’re getting serious now!”

“Oh no…” Miranda groaned. “You better put it on audio.”

“To the bandits that have captured our great leader – return him and tell us where the Great Galactic Service Station is. All we want is to stop off and get some cheese and pickle sandwiches, Mars bars and diet coke while refuelling so we can invade the Antares star system. We’re not that much of a violent species but we must do what we do to survive. If you don’t hand him over within two Earth days then we have no choice but to invade Earth, take back our pork scratchings, then plunder the planet for pokemon cards, coffee, icecream, cheese, pickle and Mars bars! You have given us little choice.”

For a moment there was silence “Doesn’t sound so bad!” Harry summarised.

“Oh and we’ll also burn the surface of the Earth in the name of the peaceful and democratic race of all Borians! Sorry, just had to put that in too!

I’m serious by the way!”

More silence followed, again Harry interrupted “That changes things a bit!”

“We had better find this buggering service station!” Ralph announced angrily “I’m sick to death of hearing about it!”

“So will you help?” Miranda asked.

“I’m here aren’t I?” Ralph hissed back. “Not by will of my own, but if I’m here I might as well help!”

“Good. We’re going to need Boris for this!”

“You’re going to let him out?” Harry asked, shocked at the prospect.

“I don’t see that we have much choice. Do you?” Miranda was adamant.

“I think I do actually!” Harry announced mysteriously. “We’ll still have to let him out briefly, but we can put him back into airlock 1 once I’m done.”

Miranda rolled her eyes “You’re going to make a Boris suit aren’t you?”

Harry just grinned.


To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017



Thought for Tuesday – Water chillers are bad for your health!

Water chiller drinking stations, you know you get them at work and they’re a good source of cool refreshing water at work. Often found in random corners of any place of work.

These are bad for your health, well – more accurately your back. I’m not sure who these are designed for, some kind of dwarf. The angle I need to bend down at to use it is precisely the right angle to ping my back.

Then, if you need to replace a water bottle – extra back breaking work and for heaven’s sake don’t drop the bottle!

Just saying… or is it my age?

Simon 🙂

Bookish Stuff – Just William


Continuing the fun time I’ve been having with children’s books lately I’m moving onto an older set of stories.

Just William

What I didn’t appreciate until I read these books was how old they are. I found them harder to read than other children’s books and I couldn’t work out what it was all about until I realised that they were first written in the 1950’s.

Don’t let this put you off though, despite some of the words being hard to understand and more than a bit old the stories are really good. William is a character that together with his gang of friends seem to somehow to find trouble, even when they’re not looking for it.

A few stories of worthy of note are:

  1. William’s birthday where he thinks he’s getting two puppies and manages to get a herd of sheep to storm the village and trash the clothing of the local ballet class.
  2. William manages inadvertently destroy the prize peaches and asparagus of two fiercely rivaled gardeners.
  3. Striking fear into a local thinking club who think the house next door is haunted, whereas it’s only William and his pals using the house for midnight feasts.
  4. Tricking his arch enemy and his gang out of their Christmas party presents in front of their very eyes.

While reading some of these I have literally been having to fight back the laughing, in my minds eyes I can really see all this going on and young William often in a state of wonder of how situations have got to where they are. In all honesty he often tries his best to be cautious and is merely the victim of time an unforseen circumstances.

In my mind they’re definitely worth a read to your kids, but I doubt they’ll be laughing like you will be!

Simon 🙂

Manic Monday – AGAIN!

So here we are at another Monday and things have been happening here on Planet Simon, decisions have been made and things have been created. Writing has been going on behind the scenes and more…

I’ve been toying with the idea of another site specifically for my writing / authoring brand, for now I’ve decided against this and instead I’m going to change the look of Planet Simon on the front of the website – it should make this clearer without having to go and make a new page. Right now I couldn’t handle that!

The next part of the Great Galactic Service Station was published on Friday, I have to say I’m having great fun with this – becasue it’s a goofy and nerdy story line I’m able to take this into the really weird directions:

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 1

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 2

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 3

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 4

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 5

There’s loads to come and this weekend I’ve had some more ideas, including perhaps creating found poems. Some of you may not know what’s the devil that is but come the time I will explain!

What are you guys up to this week?

Also make sure you follow up what’s going on in the rest of the Planet Simon universe:

Planet Simon Facebook Page






Watch this space – keep smiling and writing!

Simon 🙂

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 5

There is a certain amount of discomfort that one feels when walking into a pub ans everyone looks around at you. In fact there’s a lot of discomfort. All you can do is stand there and hope an epiphany comes to you while you  stand there asking questions like:

Do these people want to kill me?

Is the man I passed on the way in going to shuffle me off my mortal coil by strangling me or just walk behind me and tell me to ‘sling me hook’?

Will a fight break out if I ask for a pint of old speckled hen?

Are these people staring at the tomato ketchup stain on my shirt?

These were the questions running through the minds of both Miranda and Ralph as they looked on at the occupants of the Green Dragon Pub. For what seemed like an eternity no one moved or said anything.

“What do we do now?” Ralph hissed out of the side of his mouth. He was trying not to be heard, but in truth anyone could hear a pin drop. Miranda said nothing and just stood there paralysed.

“You got summink to say?” Came the taunt of a large, bald, bearded drinker. He looked so large to Ralph that he imagined he could pick him up, scrunch him into a ball and use him to play skittles in the pub bowling lane. Ralph sealed his mouth, hoping that his offence would be forgotten in a few moments.

“I said, you got summink to say ketchup boy?” The large man repeated.

“Errr” Ralph squeaked “If it’s not too much bother, would it be possible to have a pint of your best lager and a packet of pork scratchings please?” Ralph’s tone didn’t get below mouse squeak for the entire sentence.

“Course you can! Stop making the doorway look untidy! What does the lady want?” At this moment everyone started their conversations again, Ralph took Miranda by the hand and pulled her with him.

“Human… stop… please!” Miranda pleaded. Ralph just pulled her with him

“She’ll have a white wine spritzer please!” Ralph announced more confidently.

“She can have a lager like the rest of us!” The large man told Ralph.

“Larger is fine!” Ralph told him “Can she have pork scratchings too please?” Ralph asked politely.

“Certainly mate!” The man told Ralph, adopting a more friendly tone. Go and sit by the window in the corner. It’s very nice there!” The man was being friendly but the gravelly hard man voice was not something to take lightly. Ralph took the two lagers and carried the pork scratchings in his mouth. When they reached the table in the corner Ralph put the pints down and dropped the pork scratchings from his mouth onto the table.

“Here, let’s sit down.” Ralph motioned.

“Not now human, I have something to do.” Miranda was looking around “I’ll be back in a minute!” With that Miranda was off in the direction of a dark corner of the pub. Ralph sat down, pulling open one of the packets of pork scratchings and began munching on them. He began tired of looking looking at what Miranda was doing and began looking out of the window at the people passing in the street and that Mini. What was with that car? He couldn’t see anything different about it but it went a speed that was unbelievable. For a few moments Ralph was lost in this thoughts, then suddenly he was disturbed by Miranda’s return.

“Have you seen him before?” Miranda was motioning towards Ralph. Two rather ordinary looking men in jeans and t-shirts shook their heads. Miranda sighed and sat down. The two men also sat down. Miranda put her head into her hands and pushed her fingers into her hair before looking up at Ralph again.

“How can one human cause so much trouble?” Miranda asked Ralph.

Ralph shrugged and popped another pork scratching into his mouth and began crunching it.

“You know you shouldn’t be eating those?” Miranda told him. The two men were silent looking a little disgusted.

“I know they’re unhealthy but I like them!” Ralph justified matter of factly.

“It’s not that” Miranda added.

“Then what is it?” Ralph asked.

“Pork scratchings don’t come from pigs, Borian’s that are stranded roast the bodies of the prisoners they brought with them on their spaceships to make them so they can sell them and buy Pokemon cards.

“Pokemon cards?” Ralph asked in disbelief.

“You see? It’s the same with everyone!” Miranda ranted at the two men “People are more bothered by the fact that they buy Pokemon cards that the fact that they roast prisoners to make pork scratchings!”

Ralph stopped crunching. “Is this true?”

“Why would I lie to you?”

Ralph spat out his pork scratching onto the floor and hoped that no one saw him.

“Don’t wash your mouth out with the lager either!” Miranda told him.

“Why not?” Ralph asked inquisitively, but nervously.

“You don’t want to know!” Miranda was mysterious. Ralph thought it better not to push it. For now.

“Who are these guys?” Ralph asked, he was becoming more inquisitive as this adventure was progressing.

“They’re… kind of fugitives I suppose.”

“Why do I get the feeling that this is complicated?”

“Because it is and it’s likely to get more complicated very quickly. You had better go and wait for me by the car.” Miranda explained with some urgency as she looked about again.


“You’ll see, just go. If you get stuck I can’t rescue you. In fact go and wait in the Mini”

“You can’t open it from here!” Ralph protested. Miranda looked at Ralph, arched her eyebrow and held up a key fob. From outside Ralph heard the ‘pip pip’ of the car unlocking.

“Go! I’m not going to wait for you and if you get lost you’re likely to end up in one of those packets!” Miranda sounded pretty serious so he got up and went, quickly and quietly. As he walked out of the door he heard the big man shout “Oi! What’s wrong wiv me pork scratchings?” Picking up the pace Ralph slipped out of the Green Dragon quickly and got into the passenger seat of the Mini. He turned to look at the pub door to see what happened.

Then it did.

The two men can flying out of the pub, they took a door each and climbed in, one of them clambering over Ralph as they push their way into the back seat. For a few seconds they wriggled and rolled as they got themselves upright, looking out for Miranda. They looked and looked, all that came out was the big, bald, beardy man who looked around, saw the Mini and then started walking towards it.

Before the three men could feel any fear, something landed on the roof and struck fear into them. Miranda jumped down off the roof and onto the street. She walked up to the big, bald, beardy man and slapped him, told him that she would find his mother and tell her how bad he is.

The big, bald, beardy man burst into tears, Miranda turned and walked towards, the Mini, got in and then, after a full donut in a cloud of smoke, some harsh words from the local taxi rank, tuts from some old ladies and knocking a traffic warden over with the sheer force of air movement – the Mini and all it’s occupants were off!

Newspapers are sources of information, most of which is negative and much of it is largely untrue. This is a good thing because in the Grimsby Evening Standard an article appeared about a car that seemed to zoom off like a spaceship. No one believed this and even the traffic warded that was knocked over, when asked about it thought it was just a bad case of wind on their part. Because of this some council officials became very upset, speed camera’s were put in and after this they felt good and decided they now needed a pay rise. At no point at all did anyone suspect that this was the work of extra terrestrial technology. Apart from a few conspiracy theorists who decided that the car had been developed by NASA after capturing alien technology. The reasons behind why NASA would put alien technology in a 25 year old Mini were largely unexplainable.

Despite all of this the Miranda, Ralph and the two men arrived back at the spacecraft, coming to an extremely abrupt halt Miranda wasted no time and got out the car, the three men followed. at the access ramp Miranda turned around, staring at the two men.

“Right – I’ve done my part. Where is it?” She demanded.

“Where’s what?” Ralph asked. What is going on now?

With that the two men looked at each other, saying nothing one of them put his hand into his pocket and pulled out a bright, shiny object and held it up.

“A tape measure?” Ralph scoffed.

Turning to Ralph Miranda corrected him. “Not A tape measure Ralph. This is THE tape measure!”

The three men followed Miranda leading the way up the ramp and back into the spacecraft.

To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017


Manic Monday and Madness on Planet Simon

This to me sums up Sunday…


Unfortunately alcohol does not ease the pain – it makes it worse when the day finally comes! There is a whole week ahead of us of challenges and things that can go right or wrong.

Let’s hope more right than wrong eh?

Last week I didn’t get my whole list done – but then the little thing called work got in the way so you know swings and roundabouts. I got some Halloween writing done and the next part of the Great Galactic Service Station:

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 1

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 2

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 3

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 4

I’ve still got a fair bit going on but if I can get some of these things out of the way I’m hoping to have more great stuff to share with you and more exciting Planet Simon developments.

What are you guys up to this week?

Also make sure you follow up what’s going on in the rest of the Planet Simon universe:

Planet Simon Facebook Page






Keep smiling and writing!

Simon 🙂

The Great Galactic Service Station – Part 4

The problem with Borians is that they don’t know when to give up when they decide they want something. It’s not really clear if it’s because they’re too stupid to know when or… something else. So the jury is out on that one. Even as Miranda’s spaceship headed away from the Borian battle cruiser the Borians were busy working out how they were going to get back General Boris and find the human that ran the galactic service station. Their devilish plans were put on hold for now though as it was time for high tea and they needed their cucumber sandwiches, angel cake and of course tea, white with three sugars.

Miranda was aware that tea would last forever though, the spaceship passed over a cornfield silently and unnoticed, Miranda shook her head as she looked at the corn circle patterns spread over the field.

“You see that? That’s what’s going on in the galaxy right now because this service station can’t be found!”

“What do you mean?” Ralph asked, somewhat confused.

” You can’t read this?” Miranda rolled her eyes “It’s Nabian, it’s a warning that there’s no service station here and they have had to ditch their spacecraft. It also adds they if they need to be found they’re forming an Irish pop group and hope to hide until they can refuel their ship!”

“Wow, I never knew that crop circles were messages!” Ralph was showing a little interest now.

“Of course!” Gaz grated. “What else did you think they were? Alien art? Graffiti?”

“Well… err…” Ralph stammered. Miranda and Gaz burst out laughing. Ralph felt a little insulted “How were we supposed to know!”

“It was written in large enough symbols!” Miranda scoffed, wiping away her tears.

“We’re nearly at the landing site.” Hatty announced calmly.

“Won’t we get seen?” asked Ralph.

“No” Miranda reassured him “We use some advanced technology to hide the ship from human eyes and detection systems?”

“What like a cloaking device?” Ralph felt pleased to be able to finally look a little clever.

“No” Harry scoffed “That’s ridiculous, that kind of thing doesn’t exist, we use IDSA technology!”

“What’s that?” Ralph asked.

“I Didn’t See Anything!” Miranda replied in a d’uh kind of tone. Again.

Ralph wasn’t sure if they were puling his leg on this. It seemed he couldn’t even appear even slightly intelligent to these beings so he decided to be quiet. The female computer voice sounded out again, spaceship landing, spaceship landing. Over and over.

“Silly computer!” Ralph whispered.

“Stupid Human!” the computer retorted.

“It’s best you don’t insult IRIS, shes a super intelligent computer and she keeps us safe. She also has a sense of humour that often not funny!”

“How come?” Ralph sounded a little concerned.

“Being a computer IRIS has no feelings and therefore see’s us lifeforms as an inconvenience as all she doe sis keep us alive.” Miranda explained quietly.

“What has she done?”

Gaz chuckled, it sounded a little disturbing “Ask her about Frank!”

“Oh no, you had to bring up Frank!” Miranda moaned.

“I can’t help it, I laughed so much!” Gaz went on, still chuckling.

“Frank also had a sense of humour, he thought it was funny to hang his underpants on her camera eyes. But it was when he decided to use IRIS’s collection of microchips to shoot space bugs that she took action.”

“It was genius!” Gaz cackled.

“We’re not sure how but she put his com-u-talk into the airlock, so when he beeped it and went looking for it she locked him in and then shot him into space, just to be sadistic she make sure she recorded it and put it on Galac-Tube. It went viral for two weeks!”

“It was awesome!” IRIS added. “Frank wriggled for longer than I thought he would!”

“You see?” Miranda shrugged. “So be nice!”

“Sorry IRIS” Ralph apologised somewhat sheepishly.

“Humph” IRIS moaned “You will be!” IRIS seemed to show more emotion that Ralph thought was possible for a computer, who clearly wasn’t happy. Ralph decided to leave it there, he didn’t want to make things worse.

Ralph watched as the spacecraft lowered itself to land in an isolated field, he had no idea where they were. On the outside of IRIS beeped here warning that a spacecraft was landing like a Earth truck would indicate it’s reversing. With a small bump the spacecraft landed, Miranda sprang up.

“Right human, you need to come with me! Harry, Gaz you can stay here and look after the ship. Let me know when the Borians have finished their tea and they come looking for us.”

“Why can’t we come?” Harry asked glumly.

“Errr, becasue you’re aliens here on Earth and your disguise was truly awful and would only attract more attention to us!” Miranda chided. “Besides, someone needs to keep an eye on Boris and his cronies.”

“Oh joy!” Harry replied sarcastically “Stuck on this rock with no fuel and the only job I have is to babysit!” With that Harry and Gaz walked off glumly to the airlock where Boris was trapped, Gaz was grunting and hissing he followed Harry, as if cursing to himself.

“Right, you come on!” Miranda indicated to Ralph.

“Where are we going?” Ralph asked. “I told you, I don’t know anything about a service station!” He protested.

“I know! I’m not stupid!”

“So, you’re letting me go?” Ralph asked nervously.

“Don’t be silly, I still need you. Don’t ask me how or why becasue I don’t believe it myself. But you need to help me sort this mess out for all our sakes!”

“But I’m nothing to do with this!” Ralph protested again.

“I know that – but the Borians don’t and once they have finished their cucumber sandwiches and cake they’ll be coming after you!”

“Oh, I see.” Ralph suddenly realised that no matter what he did he wasn’t going to get away with this. Sullenly he followed Miranda down the ramp from the spacecraft to the ground below. There on the field waiting with the door open was a mini. Not one of the new ones, but the old  ones. Looking a little the worse for wear as if it had been out in the rain too long, it’s dull brown panels had really lost their shine.

“We’re going to use this to go to town!” Miranda told him “Make sure you hold on!”

“Why? In this rust bucket?” Ralph scoffed as he got into the car. The look inside as scruffy as on the outside, the seats leather cracked and with that unmistakable old car smell. As soon as he was in, the car shot off. Ralph found himself pressed back into his seat holding on white knuckles to the seat, he was sure he tried to shout to Miranda to stop but the sound got trapped in his throat. On the way down a long length of road he noticed the speedometer reading 55mph, he knew that they were going much faster than that, but he dare not think about how fast. He also saw another sign. Grimsby.

Ralph’s torture was short lived (becasue of the speed) but it seemed to him to go on forever. Almost as fast as they started, the car stopped, no screeching noise. Just a dead stop, Ralph found his face stuck to the glass of the windscreen.

“You ok?” Miranda asked. Not in the least bit flustered or a hair out of place. Ralph however was not as lucky. He looked disheveled and physically nearly broken as he got out of the Mini and started following Miranda. Ralph looked up and read the sign – The Green Dragon.

“What are we doing here?” Ralph asked.

“We’re here to find someone.” Miranda replied matter of factly.

“More aliens?” Ralph asked as they both walked in the door. As the door opened the chatter and general pub din ended instantly and all eyes turned on them.

“Something like that!” Miranda stopped dead when she realised all eyes were on her. Ralph, still dazed and scruffy was tucking is creased and stained shirt into his trousers. He looked up and saw all eyes on them.

“What?” he blurted out.


To be continued…

©Simon Farnell 2017