Danny Kemp.

The very first ‘Pub’ that my wife and I took, was in the idyllic village of Headcorn in The Weald of Kent. We followed all our belongings, carried in the back of a furniture lorry, along the congested Motorway, turning off at Leeds Castle, then through the blossoming apple orchards that bordered the hedge lined lanes. The sun was warmly shinning as spring lambs jostled for attention and leaped high in delight. Sheer beauty to comprehend on the way to a completely new life style that beckoned away from our once dreamt of detached home in Belvedere London, and the perception of mundane lives of a London Taxi Driver and Dental receptionist.

Six months earlier, based solely on a whim, we had applied to ‘Courage Brewery’ to become tenants of Licensed Premises within their Estate eager to please and with creativity overflowing in their direction. The world lay at the feet of an ambition shared by two thirty year old’s on a newly acquired quest to become successful business entrepreneurs. They, in their largesse, advised us to look at this possibility or the potential awaiting there, but no, we had chosen well and knew exactly what we were doing. A run down, flat on its back, establishment that would rise from the decline it had suffered to shine as forcefully as the sun that now burst through the open top of our car.

In our minds, we were minor league celebrities on our way to impose the Capitals standards on its rural neighbours, bearing the same initials as the stars of ‘THE QUEEN VIC’ in the BBC television show of Eastenders. Whatever ‘Den’ and ‘Ange’ could do in the East-End of London Dan and Anne could do far better amongst the fruits of the Garden of England.

We cleaned, we polished. We installed new furnishings and furniture for the yet to be enticed clientele, as those that had stayed wondered why wine coolers had replaced Dart League agenda and notices of forthcoming Pool matches. They thought we were mad. We knew we had vision. Food was coming, glorious fare that my wife was an expert on and where she bulked, a cook was to be engaged. Plans had been drawn and no amount of distaste of the cooking of rabbits would stand in its way. Except one.

There were not enough electrical power points for all the preparation machinery required. We called the architects department requesting help. We called again when none sped to our aid. We listened politely to the reasons and excuses until one day I jolted not only their world, but that of my wife’s.

I somehow found the telephone number of the Director of “Courage Brewery” He who was Chief of all the Chiefs and Lord of all he surveyed. I dialed the number and waited to be answered.

“Hello Mr. Charles Gadd’s secretary.”

“Good morning could I speak with Mr. Gadd please” I asked, adding softly as though I was being overheard “It’s a rather delicate matter.”

“Could I take you name please and could you roughly outline what your call is about?”

“Certainly if you’re sure. Tell him that it’s the husband of the woman he’s having an affair with then dearie if you would be so good.” Curly and with vengeance in my voice I replied.

The new power sockets were put in the very next day and Anne knew nothing of how it had come about. Sometimes it pays to ruffle feathers worn loud and large.


About Danny Kemp

I was at work one sunny November day in 2006, stopped at a red traffic light when a van, driven incompetently, smashed into me. I was taken to St Thomas' Hospital and kept in for a while, but it was not only the physical injuries that I suffered from; it was also mental ones. I had lost confidence in myself let alone those around me. The experts said that I had post-traumatic stress disorder, which I thought only the military or emergency personnel suffered from. On good days, I attempted to go to work, sometimes I even made it through Blackwell Tunnel only to hear, or see, something that made me jump out of my skin and that's when the anxiety attacks would start. I told my wife that I was okay and going regularly, but I wasn't. I could not cope with life and thought about ending it. Somehow or other with the help of my wife and medical professionals, I managed to survive and ever so slowly rebuild my self-esteem. It took almost four years to fully recover, but it was during those dark depressive days that I began to write. My very first story, Look Both Ways, Then Look Behind, found a literary agent but not a publisher. He told me that I had a talent, raw, but nevertheless, it was there. His advice was to write another story and that I'm delighted to say, I did. The success of that debut novel, The Desolate Garden, was down to sheer hard work, luck, and of course, meeting a film producer.
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