Bertram & Gertrude’s Extra Sensory Spy.

A taster for, Extra Sensory Spy

Book opening: Agent Zwaard Calls

It was a winter’s evening, cold and still.  From the study window of his ground floor Gower Street flat in the heart of Bloomsbury, Bertram stood looking out across the barren and leafless vista.  Visible from behind the high brick garden wall were mature trees, denuded of leaf during these bitter winter months.  Their branches, and those of Bertram’s own few small trees dotted here and there, were silhouetted by the yellow lights illuminating Ridgmount Gardens and Torrington Place.  As Bertram’s gaze moved, a thick crust of hoar frost covering everything, sparkled.

“Bloody Hell it’s cold out there,”  he said, shuddering, as he pulled the curtains closed with a tug.  Throwing a few more coals on the fire, he snuggled up on the couch with Gertrude, the love of his life.  They were doing what we all do on evenings like this, keeping warm, watching the telly and munching on a bar or two of Green & Black’s organic chocolate.  Later, as an emergency measure, thick Spanish hot chocolate would be spooned from the cup into eager mouths, in order to keep the cold out when they retired to bed.  Bertram and Gertrude were allowing a bottle of Saint-Émilion to breathe, one of a few that Tarquin, his only chum and colleague at The Ministry, had given them.  The cork and the corkscrew lay on the tray, whilst the bottle and glasses basked in front of the fire.  Not too close, but close enough for some warmth to insinuate itself into the wine as it slowly mingled with the air, allowing its flavour to soften and mellow.  Tarquers, as he had become affectionately known, had bought in a dozen cases to prop-up his cellar.  The Saint-Émilion was for immediate consumption, which eased off on the pressure to break into the more important wines that had been laid down for a future date.

Bertram was in harmonious mood due, in the main, to a previous bottle of the full bodied red Bordeaux, complete with its confident and forthright bouquet.  A little earlier that evening he had adequately extricated himself from a bit of difficulty regarding Gertrude’s sister, Agnes, and the bed in which he and she had both been found by none other than Gertrude herself, in that very room.  The explanation he had given was both truthful and, more importantly, believed by Gertrude and was, he thought, the last obstacle between him and a happy marriage.  Being found in bed with his future sister-in-law was always going to be a source of turbulence beneath the smooth flowing waters of marital bliss had it not been resolved to Gertrude’s satisfaction.  It had all been a terrible calamity but luckily, not one made by Bertram, as he had been sound asleep and comatose after a snootful, when said sister had climbed into bed with him, mistaking him for her boyfriend.  He had remained unconscious to the world until the next morning, when he had awakened with a start on feeling someone unexpectedly grab hold of Little Bertram, in all his morning glory.  He still shuddered on remembering Agnes’ rendition of the child’s nursery rhyme, “Hickory – dickory – dock.  The mouse ran up the cock…”  It was at that point in the poetry recital that Gertrude had walked in and screamed the house down.

The phone rang and Bertram struggled up from the well-worn leather couch, answered it and smiled.  “Hello, old chap!  How lovely to hear from you.  We’ve just written your invitation to our wedding.  What’s afoot?”  Covering the mouthpiece, he turned to Gertrude and whispered, “It’s Zwaard!”

Zwaard was the code name for their friend, the head sherang or Hoofdcommissaris of the Amsterdam division of the Netherlands General Intelligence and Security Service, otherwise known as the Secret Service.  Gertrude couldn’t hear the other side of the conversation and could only guess at what their friend in The Netherlands was saying.

Bertram continued,  “My goodness!  But… but he’s such a decent chap.  He would never do such a thing!  How has this come about?… Oh, of course.  Walls have ears… Yes, I understand.  You can fill us in when we arrive.  I’ll phone for some tickets in the morning, then… Oh, by courier?  That’s awfully decent of you, old boy… Car waiting at the airport… 19:30 hours… p.m… evening time.  We’ll speak then.  Okay Wouter-Zwaard, old chap.  Keep your chin elevated at all times!  Do not fear, we will be with you tomorrow.”

“What’s happening, Bertie dear?  That didn’t sound good.  Are we going to Amsterdam?”

“Yes, my dear, we are.  Post-haste.  Young Agent Dolk has gone and got himself into a spot of bother.  He’s been accused of murder and they’ve suspended him from duty!  By the sound of it, their Minister is masking his disconsolation by performing some chipper little back-flips of triumph.  Reading between the lines, it looks like Agent Zwaard is going to be next if we don’t do something to help them.”

“That Minister is completely off his onion!  I’ll get the bags packed.  Be a dear, phone Mrs. Creevy next door and ask her to feed the cats while we’re away.  Sir Binky, Mr. Patch and Master Henry will need someone to come in and read them an uplifting story each evening.  We’ll leave the heating on for them during this cold snap.  It’ll also help to stop the pipes freezing.”

“Oh, ah, yes, the pipes…” said Bertram, as he tried to weigh the cost of what he considered to be an unnecessary burden on his gas bill against the cost of repairing a burst pipe.  He could not understand why Gertrude wanted both the central heating to be switched on and to have a coal fire as well.  Apparently it was something to do with visual focal points and the beneficial effect that sitting around a fire has on the human psyche, a hang-over from our caveman days.  But, thought Bertram, cavemen didn’t have to pay gas bills, did they?

“Bertie, dear, I know what you’re thinking.  Remember that you are on expenses in Amsterdam, so there is absolutely no additional cost in leaving the heating running for the cats.  Do try and stop being such a tight arse.  If you remember our discussion of yesterday, where I outlined areas of your life in which I can see room for improvement?  Well, this is one of them!”

“I’m sorry, dear, I must have forgotten that one.  There was such an abundance of them…”  Bertram picked up the phone and called Mrs. Creevy, wondering how his beloved could identify so many areas of his life in which he could be improved.  There were far too many to be attributed to one man in just five and a half decades of ambling around this mortal coil.

. . .

Gertrude had two cases packed within the hour and was wheeling them into the hall when there was a knock at the front door.  She answered it and a bustling Mrs. Creevy entered.  “I was out in the back garden making sure that my bees were snug and warm in this nasty, cold weather.  I’ve put extra insulation around the hive and given them some nice sugar-syrup in case they get hungry.  They’ll need the extra energy in this cold.”

“Thanks for calling around Mrs. Creevy, we’re most grateful.  I’m afraid that Bertie’s business commitment is likely to be a little open-ended.  We really have no idea how long we’ll be away in Amsterdam.”

“That’s not a worry, my dear, as I’m not going anywhere for the next few months.  When the boys run out of food, I’ll just add it on to my shopping list and we’ll settle up when you return.  Now, where are the little rascals?”

They went through to the living room where, lying right in front of the fire next to the wine, were three somnolent cats.  There was Sir Binky, an all-black retired gentlecat of some standing amongst the local feline community: Patch, a ginger chap who was as loving as a cat could be to his staff; and Henry, a very private black and white confirmed bachelor type of chap, who seemingly couldn’t quite get up-to-speed with current events.  Mrs. Creevy fussed over them lovingly, “Don’t you worry now, boys, I’ll be in twice a day to prepare your meals and I’ll read you the latest in the adventures of Sir Humphrey, the Downing Street Cat, during the evenings.  You like to hear about him.”

“Knowing this lot, they probably knew him personally,” smiled Gertrude.

“Well if they hopped on the Northern Line at Goodge Street and got off at Embankment, its just a hop, skip and a jump over to Downing Street, so they very well may have known Sir Humphrey.  But of course, he had to move when the Blairs took up residence.  Cherie had an allergy, apparently…”  She said the last sentence with a disapproving look.

The cats gazed at Mrs. Creevy as though they were thinking, ‘Oh goody, more treats!  And a story each evening!’  They remembered well that Mrs. Creevy was a good and reliable source of nice, fishy nibbles and they would be sure to get far more cuddles from her than from Bertram and Gertrude, their usual servants.

After being appraised of current cat food stocks, Mrs. Creevy returned to her home, next door.  She was obviously looking forward to spending time with Bertram and Gertrude’s moggies as, like Cherie Blair, her own husband was allergic to cat saliva and sadly they could not have any pusses in their flat.  This was a cause of constant frustration in their ageing relationship, as now the passion had dwindled, it needed to be replaced by something else – and what could be better than cats?

From here the story moves to Amsterdam and adventure…

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Trump – new year’s message from William Frederick.

I need to get something straight at the outset of this short piece. I am not a natural Trumpite.  There it is – I’ve said it!
However I am a Spy and I do have access to intelligence that most folk do not.
As a person who believes in fair play, and as a chap who is ambiguous towards The Donald, I shall probably be called a Racist, Fascist, Hitler and all the other puerile labels that the Progressive Liberals use to shut down debate and avoid having to think-through their carefully recited, posturing, virtue signalling, rhetoric but I shall not remain silent as this whole debacle has gone too far.
I knew long before the election campaign, that the Clintons were dodgy to the point of utter corruption, just as surely as I knew also that I would in all likelihood never invite The Donald around for a meal.  However, I watched the TV news campaigns with increasing alarm as their traditional non-partisan approach was hurled out of the window in favour of a ‘Let’s stick it to Trump’ campaign.
Now, I know that The Donald can be an abrasive man and his manners could do with a little polishing but this turned into a libellous Progressive Liberal onslaught of gargantuan proportions.
It begged a question, “Have the cognoscenti lost their blooming marbles?”  This was quickly followed by another question, “Do the cognoscenti not realise who owns the news media and who it is that is organising this anti-Trump hate campaign?”  (If you can’t think who it is please write in to and I will elucidate further).
An image of Hillary Clinton being threatened with a term in jail.
Donald Trump could prosecute Hillary Clinton for corruption.
The behaviour of the Progressive Liberal Left since the election has been simply shameful.  To say that these pathologically altruistic limp wristed loons went into meltdown would be the understatement of the year… and the year has only just begun!  When, in a civilised society, has it been acceptable to riot because you don’t like the outcome of a democratically run election? Who do these people think they are?
I hope that the traditional American way of “We all stand behind the President,” soon reasserts itself or we will have troops on the streets!
Get a grip, you great big cry baby mamby pambies!  You lost and you lost despite your vicious campaign of defamation against Trump.  Hillary Clinton proved to be as electable as Pol Pot!  There’s no point bleating on about “The Popular Vote” like it has ever had any significance before.  The rules are the rules and your side lost in a truly monumental fashion.  Deal with it and deal with it quickly because the devil rides out and he’s heading our way!
AMERICA AND EUROPE ARE UNDER THREAT and you degenerate losers will all be converting to Islam if you don’t stand up and fight. We have a common cause and if we don’t act together we are done for!

The Agent Bertram Christmas Message by William Frederick

The Agent Bertram Christmas Message by William Frederick

Dear readers, friends, and even the folk to whom I owe a few quid, Christmas is on us once again.  I will not bore your socks off with a load of tosh about this great country of ours here in the UK.  I wont tell you how strong, loyal and dedicated is our important relationship with our brothers and sisters in the United States, including President Elect Donald.
I will take a moment to tell you that a bunch of shit kicking, clueless, pinko wimps have been running the European Union and that they got into power by stealth, aided by slimy blood sucking lawyers.  But their days are numbered.  They are done for.  It is only a matter of time.  They are yesterdays men (and women).

We look forward to a new era of prosperity and freedom for both the UK and our chums in the USA.  Freedom to not say what is politically correct, freedom to call a spade a spade!

Happy Christmas to one and all!  The plum pudding is singing in the copper kettle, the brandy awaits and a huge jug of cream has… dammit!  Tiddles has made off with the blooming cream!  Come back Tiddles right now this very moment or you will be a fur hat by new year!

I’m dreaming of a white Christmas


Agent Bertram provided that white Christmas


God bless us one and all this Christmas!  Merry Christmas everybody!







What should we do about the BBC?

William Frederick, on the BBC

I’m a British chap.  Well, someone has to be, don’t they?  In the UK we have the BBC.  The BBC are our national broadcaster, funded by the good old TV Licence paying public.  The BBC are known for constantly whining on and on about their funding.  “How can we produce quality output without another £100 kazillion quid (compounded up of course, year on year, just like what the bankers do).  It’s only what we deserve for our balanced, tolerant and enlightened, artistic genius”.  This author disagrees.

The BBC Logo
The BBC. A national asset or just a bunch of over privaledged toffs sponging from the TV License paying public? You must decide!

I used to be a supporter of the BBC but now I have slipped away from them and joined the ever growing throng of people that think they are nothing but a great big fat waste of money.  (Or what our American cousins would call a boondoggle).  No longer do the BBC stand for truth, honesty and fair play.  Now they have their own political agenda.  The BBC have become the home of the luvvie.  A club for posturing leftie do-gooders.  A shrine for the lacklustre.  A haven where interns (the useless offspring of the well connected) stand around all day, drinking lattes.  You can identify an intern very easily by simply asking their name, which will be something like Lettice, Peregrine, Epiphany or Rafferty.  Of course, if you listen to their ‘heads-of’ (everyone at the BBC is the ‘head of’ something or other), they are all fabulous and we should consider ourselves grateful to have them.  …Okay Yah!  What’s more they are criminally over paid!  (See comments for clarification)

Let’s take a look at some of the issues that have recently made off with my goat.  The Beeb or Aunty (to use their 1970s sobriquets) is a nationalised broadcasting organisation that used to be known for its quality output.  This must be true because Whoopi Goldberg used to say so in one of their self-advertisements.

That quality has at the very least become questionable and some would say that it has simply gone, which will become more apparent as I progress through the following few topics.

Continue reading What should we do about the BBC?

Hooded Crow attacks the home of William Frederick author.

Hooded Crow (aka Hoodie) attacks the home of William Frederick! (Author and decent chap).

On Monday, Beloved had a frantic cleaning frenzy which included washing most of the windows in our home.  Whilst this was occurring, I of course, snuck off and lurked by my Froggie Pond, threatening the Dragonfly Larvae with dire consequences should I catch them with my specialist equipment, a tea strainer taped to a walking pole.  I chanced to notice a Hooded Crow raucously cackling at me from a large tree nearby.  “Kwark… Kwark…” the Hoodie said.  This translates as, “I’m going to crap all over your windows, fatty!”  On my return, I was duly impressed at Beloved’s progress and made appropriate noises when I sidled in from our wilderness garden.  “Cor!… Wow!…” and “Phew!” said I approvingly.

image of Hooded Crow outline on window
Hooded Crow Splat mark showing the outline of a Hooded Crow impacting the window.

The place was punishingly tidy and clinically cleansed in a way that only the fairer sex can achieve.  The windows were so clean we could see for miles, well, at least as far as the hills over the other side of the loch and that’s quite far enough for me.  Any further and you’re into the realms of Johnny Foreigner!

Yesterday we ventured north and drove our trusty steed up to Oban, filled it with food and wine and came back again.  A sensible sort of foray done on a day when we thought that Oban might be quiet and devoid of kids running around like a hoard of horrid little snot goblins.  It wasn’t and I was soon knee deep in screaming kids.

Continue reading Hooded Crow attacks the home of William Frederick author.

Agent Bertram called to Buckingham Palace!

Agent Bertram called to Buckingham Palace!

It was a Saturday

It was early morning and someone was knocking on Agent Bertram’s front door.  ‘This can’t be good.  It has to be bloomin’ Buckingham Palace.  If I’m wanted at the Palace, it’s always on a bloody Saturday, in my own time,’ thought Agent Bertram dragging his dressing gown over his crumpled nightshirt and stumping downstairs to the front door.  ‘The one day that I get to have a nice lie in and then traipse around the shops with my Beloved… and that’s the day they choose to knock on the front door at eight in the morning just when normal decent folk are settling down to a few more zeds!  However, as traipsing around the shops looking for wedding paraphernalia is not quite my idea of heaven, this could be a blessing in disguise…

Outside, standing on the front step of Bertram’s Gower Street home in London’s Bloomsbury area, was a middle-aged man dressed in a chauffeur’s outfit.  He, being from Buckingham Palace, looked immaculate.  Bertram scowled at him and glanced over his shoulder towards a Bentley Mulsanne car that positively oozed the colour black.  This black was so deep and the paintwork so scratch-free that if it were not for the colourful Royal Crest on the passenger door, subtly announcing the vehicle’s provenance, it would have been difficult to determine if the car was really there at all.

“Something’s up at The Palace then, eh?”  ventured Bertram speculatively.
“I can see why you are Her Majesty’s Special Agent… and I am merely the chauffeur,” drawled the man in the thickest of soupy tones.

Image of Buckingham Palace
Agent Bertram visits Buckingham Palace

Continue reading Agent Bertram called to Buckingham Palace!

Agent Bertram vs Jason Bourne

Jason Bourne / Agent Bertram – the comparisons.

Master the Spy Field Craft of Agent Bertram and Jason Bourne, learning how to emulate them in the field.  We make comparisons between Jason Bourne and Agent Bertram, man of mystery and pizza.

This post has been adapted from an article by The Lone Iguana to whom we are deeply indebted.

Continue reading Agent Bertram vs Jason Bourne

Midnight Raid by Pine Marten!

Midnight Raid by Peter the Pine Marten.                                      Shock horror exposé probe! – William Frederick

Before I launch into the exploits of our local Pine Marten I would like to mention the weather.  We seem once again to be following in the footsteps of our American Cousins in that we, in the UK, have started naming our storms.  The Cousins must find it hilarious that the Brits feel compelled yet again to copy what they have done.  In fact I have it from a colleague in the Foreign Office that the Whitehouse have a monthly meeting were hilarity oft ensues as they think up ever more bizarre things for us to imitate.

Yesterday and today we have been mauled by autumn storm Abigail which, if described as wild, would amount to an understatement of epic proportion.  As I write this deathless prose, our slatted wooden ceilings are heaving up and down and creaking like a pensioner’s back, due to the the pressure changes in the loft as one wave of wind crashes against the house, followed by another.  The wave analogy works just fine for me, I know full-well that it’s not water but invisible air crashing onto the roof and walls which behaves just as though we are in a wild tumultuous ocean.  In compliance with the alphabetical storm naming of our Cousins, we will no doubt soon be visited by some more seasonal storms, given in our case, wimpish names like storm Bartholomew followed storm Camilla.

before the storm
the view over the loch before storm Abigail

Continue reading Midnight Raid by Pine Marten!

Autumn storm blows in, William Frederick

Autumn storm blows in

Early this morning at the crack of ten, I was in the kitchen manfully holding a mug of nearly hot coffee whilst looking out of the window at the majestic array of autumnal colours that bedeck the mature trees lining the banks of our local river.  In its turn, the river was tumbling joyously down the glen to pass by our isolated home at a distance of some thirty yards before it headed on down to the loch.  The leaves displayed every hue and shade of earthy red, turmeric yellow and brown selected from the brief autumnal colour spectrum.  The rich golden ochre of the silver birch gave way to the golden red foliage of our rowan trees.  The golden brown oaks blended into the golden bronze of the hazel, which in its turn vaulted purposefully into the deep golden brown of the alder before being brought to an abrupt halt as the author had run out of autumnal colours, even golden ones!

An image of autumnal trees by a Scottish loch
Autumnal trees by a secret loch in Scotland

Continue reading Autumn storm blows in, William Frederick

Three blind mice, with jolly good eyesight!

I hates meeces to pieces!

Further to my recent post regarding a foreign and completely unauthorised mouse found living the high life in our car, Beloved and I thought that the sorry story was now over, especially in view of my bit of advanced mouse whispering.

meeces to pieces
Picture of Mr Jinks

As a precaution, we put the humane traps back in the car on a ‘just in case’ basis, feeling sure that this was more of a belt and braces precaution than a concern, as I’m sure that you will understand.

Imagine our horror when on jumping into said car this afternoon we discovered THREE MICE in one of the humane traps!!!

Mouse whispering was once again employed. But today, it was at full volume!  I opened the trap and placed it into the long grass shouting, “Fu** O** you furry little bas****s!”

I think that it’s time for a new car…

Please donate vast sums of money to William Frederick, Author and thoroughly skint chap… or buy my books!  :O)

[For our American cousins who may not know the word skint, it means broke, having no money and being completely without funds].