ABOUT The Adventures of Horace Horrise
It was whilst writing “In You Go! A year or two in the life of a scout leader” that it became apparent that there was great demand for books that tell of the exploits of adventurous young people in a contemporary setting. I had always been a fan of Richmal Crompton’s* “Just William” series of books with their small cast, led by a boy who used to get into all sorts of bother but usually ended up smelling of roses, so to speak. I felt that more than ever there was, as well as a demand, a need for a modern-day William who would carry the torch for young people enjoying themselves in the open air with minimal disturbance from technology and, to a lesser extent, adults.
Naturally, as a scout leader, I had my source material with the scouting programme built to provide enjoyment and fun, participation in activities - both indoors and outdoors, learning by doing, sharing in spiritual reflection, taking responsibility and making choices, undertaking new and challenging activities, and making and living by the Scout Promise.
I also had the setting for my main character, Horace - a boy who wasn’t to start with, but desperately wanted to be, a scout. Horace, like most of my real scouts, lives in Chislehurst in Kent on the London border. Chislehurst is, in the main, fairly affluent and the characters of Horace and his friends are drawn from the people around us with the situations that they get into often based on actual events, but no more than that.
After the dust had settled on my second book, “Sleeping Bags and Tortures. The Private Diaries of an Adventurous Scout and his Scout Leader,” instead of immediately continuing with the third and final book in the series, I picked up my metaphorical pen and wrote nine stories focussing on Horace and his adventures. Scouting binds the stories together, but his exploits are mostly outside of scouting events where his comments are unguarded and his activities are not risk assessed.
Too long to put into a single book, the nine stories are being published as individual novellas or novelettes. Although each one is a stand-alone tale in its own right there are common threads running through the nine and so, to maximise one’s understanding of people, places and events, I would recommend that they are read in order. “Horace Horrise wants to be a Scout” is the first in the series.
As a final comment, although I started writing for my scouts and those of a similar age, I appear to have ended up with stories that may appeal more to an adult market – just saying!
*As an interesting footnote, Richmal Crompton ended her days living in Chislehurst. Maybe some, just some, of William’s breath has been swallowed by Horace.
THE ADVENTURES OF HORACE HORRISE
Book 1 Horace Horrise wants to be a Scout
Book 2 Horace Horrise gets Lost
Book 3 Horace Horrise throws a Party
Book 4 Horace Horrise goes Narrowboating
Book 5 Horace Horrise’s Grandad gets a Haircut
Book 6 Horace Horrise goes to Church
Book 7 Horace Horrise catches a Shoplifter
Book 8 Horace Horrise and the Rickshaw
Book 9 Horace Horrise gets Invested
ABOUT Book 1
Horace Horrise wants to be a Scout
Published: 1st March 2017
Horace Horrise lives in Chislehurst, Kent where he’s a very busy young man, too busy to be a scout. One night when he’s looking up at the stars he fleetingly wonders about becoming a spaceman when he’s older. He decides that soon he will need to start preparing for whatever he’s going to choose to do in life.
Horace’s best friend Charlie tells him that most astronauts have been scouts so what better initial preparation than to become a scout? The only problem is that there appear to be no vacancies in his local troop. He even takes to prayer in his attempts to get a place!
Horace keeps his hopes alive during the long wait by helping Charlie to build a periscope, a project that Charlie started in cubs but hadn’t finished. It’s when Horace tries to source some materials in order to make his own periscope that things start to go wrong.
Horace fails to realise that in his quest for periscope perfection he inadvertently helps rekindle his parent’s relationship with each other whilst learning things about them that he did not previously know.
Eventually Horace succeeds in getting his hands on a periscope and makes a very surprising discovery.
"Horace Horrise wants to be a Scout" is the first in a series of nine stories that make up "The Adventures of Horace Horrise", the 21st century’s answer to Richmal Crompton’s "Just William".
This edition is not suitable for younger children.
Horace Horrise drawing: Anton Brand / Shutterstock