David Parkin on some absurd holiday reading, changing the face of board rooms and going downmarket

ANYONE who tells me they enjoy reading my blogs and then invites me to an event is almost certain of my attendance.

And so it was when a complimentary email arrived from Douglas Adamson, inviting me to the launch of his second novel.

Having never read the first one, I thought I ought to play catch up and go along to the impressive Mercer Gallery in Harrogate last Friday to find out what former advertising man Doug is up to.

I liked the idea behind his books – comic crime novels.

As Doug explained: “My novels are dark comedies set in an imaginary North Yorkshire town during the 1960s.  Life in the 1960s was another world from today but the same human traits were writ large, often under a veil of genteel respectability.”

When he then went on to tell the audience at the book launch that the town he has created, Windelton, has been described as Cranford meets The League of Gentlemen, then I liked it even more.

I knew the compliments wouldn’t last. He told me that I would enjoy his books as they featured an enterprising local newspaper editor who spends much of his time inebriated.

Why would I like that?

North Yorkshireman Doug, explained a bit more about his fictional creation.

“I have based Windelton on an amalgam of small Yorkshire market towns I know well and where hierarchical societies and deference were still thriving in the 1960s. Whilst the young people were throwing away their parents’ values, there was still a distinct pecking order of the good and the not so great.

“Today they seem like characters from another world but still no less funny for it. Passion, intrigue, secret pasts and outrageous behaviour spill out of the pages as the story culminates in a surprising and dramatic finale.”

The first book is called The Windelton Absurdities and is about a local bank manager who decided to fleece the branch where he has worked for years.

Doug recreates the world of the 1960s well – all Morris cars, untipped cigarettes and think worsted three-piece suits.

His second book is called Windelton & The Bavarian Incident and a third is already planned to complete Doug’s Windelton Trilogy.

He writes under the name D A Adamson and his books are both available on Amazon in paperback or as Kindle downloads.

If you fancy something a little offbeat, absurd and with a distinct retro Yorkshire eccentricity for your holiday reading then these will do the trick.


LAST week’s blog featured a photograph of the retirement lunch for long serving Yorkshire Bank executive David Maybury.

It prompted this comment from one reader, Christopher Acton: “A bunch of white middle aged blokes sitting around a board table. Great photo.”

Do you think he was being sarcastic?

My first thought is that his words are a tad unfair to the two women in the photo, Paula Dillon of law firm Bond Dickinson and former broker and now non-executive director of companies including developer Henry Boot, Joanne Lake.

But both of them are slightly obscured in the picture, so hopefully no offence was meant.

Essentially what Mr Acton pointed out is true, but isn’t that the reality of much of business today?

I’m sure most people would welcome more diversity in work places, particularly at the highest level of companies, where board rooms are dominated by white, middle aged men.

Unless we are to subscribe to an enforced policy of positive discrimination, then the complexion and sexual orientation of boards of directors are not going to change very quickly.

But businesses work best and deliver most when individuals are promoted and rewarded on merit and talent.

That might mean that it takes longer to change the make up of our boards of directors, but hopefully, at least all those there will be there for the right reasons.


THERE was something of a kerfuffle in genteel Harrogate last week when German discount retailer Aldi opened its first shop in the spa town.

Local media took photos of queues of shoppers waiting to get in and grab its bargains and some commentators even ruminated on whether challenging financial times had been the prompt for Aldi to open in this leafy North Yorkshire town.

I’ve spent years poking fun at Harrogate. Pointing out how locals have dubbed drinking spots like the Hotel du Vin the Golddiggers Arms and the Coach & Horses, the Coach and Divorces, was always fun, when it was from the safety of nearby Leeds.

But now I’ve bitten the bullet. I’ve just moved to Harrogate.

Those who chart the socio-demographics of Britain’s towns and cities may want to look again at upmarket Harrogate, once named the ‘Happiest Place to Live’ in the UK.

What with the arrival of both Aldi and me, it can’t be a happy coincidence.

Have a great weekend.

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