Imaginative Stories Created to Entertain

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Look What I Found

In September 2021, I spent 4 weeks in Europe, visiting my family and ancestral home. This was shared with time, between Poland and England.

Needless to say, it’s great to be with family, wherever we are. But I also used some of this time in Poland, to research my novel; ORP Orzel – the Spirit of Poland.

I don’t want to bore you with the technical issues of writing an historical novel, instead I want to share with you a little gem I came across while in England.

Maybe I should start with the pub crawl. This isn’t the gem I came across, because I know there are great pubs with great beer, but a pub crawl along the river Thames drinking British beer is something to rave about.

In case you didn’t know, British beer is the best in the world. You may have different opinions about this, and you may send me relevant comments. I just want you to know that there is no way on this side of creation that you will change my mind.

Anyway, I digress, so back to the little gem I discovered.

As well as pub crawls, I was also dragged, kicking, and screaming on shopping trips. There was one shopping trip that I found to be enjoyable.

If you’re in London, and you’re inclined to do some shopping, you probably want to spend time on Oxford St., Knightsbridge, or Mayfair. I say forget those tourist traps and check out a place called Canary wharf.

Canary Wharf is a modern development in the East London docklands, known as the Isle of Dogs.

Sacre Bleu!

I know, if it was Paris, they would have a more romantic name like: Île Saint-Louis, Île de la Cité, The Latin Quarter, or Saint-Martin.

Get over it ok? It’s an English thing, Isle of Dogs, in the East end of London – Canary Wharf is the best you can say.

It has been developed as a financial center based around Canada Tower, which used to be the highest skyscraper in London. It is now dwarfed by much grander towers, and is surrounded by shopping malls, boutiques, and very expensive accommodations.

You can read more here:

Art & Culture – Canary Wharf

Canada Tower is the building left of center, with the pyramid top

What I found is just too cool to be true (for me anyway). It was a short story vending machine. Who in their right mind could think up such a thing? All you have to do is press a button and out pops a printed short story! My only criticism is, I couldn’t select the genre – but hey, who cares? It’s free! And I can print as many as I like. I can then find a little quiet hideaway where I can read to my heart’s content, without worrying if a blouse is the right color!

This is the short story station, it will print out for free, a short story of 1, 3, or 5 minutes reading length.

Make a selection of your choice…

Some old codger with a short story!

I chose a 5-minute story, and here it is!

OK, maybe I’m behind the times and need to get out more. This turns out to be the creation of a French publishing house called Short Édition. Check out the link below.

The Short Story Dispenser – An innovative printing kiosk to promote reading, writing, and community engagement. – Short Édition (

The romantic French once again get all the credit. Partnering with Francis Ford Coppola, this has spread all over the world. There are quite a few here in America! Look it up on Google if you don’t believe me.

Like I said, I really must get out more.

Je Suis un Ingénieur

Isambard Kingdom Brunel, imaginatively named by his French father, and English mother. Staring nonchalantly, ignoring the camera. Scruffy shoes and trousers (like mine) hands in pockets with time piece hanging low. Cigar held Clint Eastwood style in his right lip. He was a powerful and influential captain of industry of the 1800s.

Q: Do I compare? Me: No where near.

Q: Am I French? Me: No.

Q: So why suggest this French label?

If you must know, it is my love of words.

Born and bred American, I am half Polish and half English. Even my English side is diluted with Irish. So Polish and Irish seems to make a good blend for crazy joviality. Isn’t everybody a big mix of stuff? I think they call it DNA.

So, Je Suis un Ingénieur sort of says, I have an engineering slant. I’ll get back to this in a minute, let me give you some background to explain…

I was born and bred in the USA by this mix of Anglo/Polish immigrant parentage. As an American child, I was awestruck by the moon launches of the 1960s and ‘70s. Little more in our age can surpass this technological achievement. Never mind how the west was won, America won the space race!

From the age of 12, I grew up in the UK, and became indoctrinated to the metric system and many other noble values. If I was any good at school, I would have become an astronaut, or an inventor. I wasn’t, so I didn’t, if you catch my meaning. Instead, I had to imagine such things.

Now take this little kid and his love of technology, and imagine him in the UK – the birthplace of the industrial revolution. Men with flat caps, dirty overalls, and over-sized spanners slung over their shoulder. Ready to fix, fettle, make, or perform ingenious tricks to get the machinery working. Not to mention the many industrialists such as Brunel.

I was introduced to many heroes and heroines. Charles Babbage, the inventor of the analytic difference engine – also known as a mechanical computer.

Ada Lovelace, regarded as the first computer programmer. The original breakage of the glass ceiling? Not many women in engineering these days.

Even the modern electronic computer was first implemented in the UK in the 1940s by Alan Turing. All of these (and more) became great heroes and heroines of mine.

Nowadays, this would be Silicon Valley, Frederick Terman, Russell & Sigurd Varian, to name but a few. You thought I was going to mention the late comers like Larry Ellison or Steve Jobs.

Don’t despair, engineers are not total geeks, we also love the arts. There are other heroes of mine, such as Igor Stravinski, Frank Zappa, Jimmy Page, The Who, but that’s music. I can’t even whistle.

Despite being so dimly useless at school, I eventually graduated with a Bachelor of Engineering in Electronics and computer communications. This led me into a career in software development for consumer electronics, my focus was primarily digital TV – satellite, cable, IPTV. Yes, I helped to bring those hundreds of channels of trivial poop to your living room.

This also allowed me to travel the world.

OK, so that explains the engineering side. But what about the French slant?

Good question. Should I not forget French creators? Gustave Eiffel, or Louis Le Prince (who incidentally preceded the Lumière Brothers).

The point I’m trying to make is to do with language.

In the English language, the word engineer, has it’s root in the word engine. I suppose because the Brits invented all kinds of engines.

In the French language, the word Ingénieur has its root in the word ingenuity (the ingenious one). I suppose because the engines of industry were already there, the French had to figure ingenious ways to use them?

So I am an engineer, but I do not invent engines. I am the ingenious one, who works with engines in new and novel ways. I have proved myself to be a ‘cunning artificer’, or person of unique ‘ingenuity’. Therefore, I like to identify myself with the French root phrase of ingenuity rather than the English root word of Engine.

Je Suis un Ingénieur, is my way of saying, ‘I am a creative one.’

I have left my lucrative career of engineering behind me in order to explore the creation of stories.

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