top of page


The man behind, or rather underneath, the flat cap is none other than Bert Entwistle. A poorly educated man Bert was 32 before he learnt to bath himself. He goes everywhere by public transport and has never owned a car. No stranger to the world of celebrity, in 2009 Bert put in a quote to paint the front of the house of singer / songwriter Badly Drawn Boy, but he lost the job to music promoter and railway enthusiast Pete Waterman who had his own van and a set of aluminium ladders.

Bert occasionally shops at the same branch of Wickes as sandwich shop owner and part time comedian, Justin Moorhouse. Bert has a pathological fear of bats after one collided into his shed door and accidentally locked him in. It was a full two days later before a passing council bin man heard his cries for help and let him out.

Bert's favourite saying is "Calm, not Carnage" and he tries to avoid dramas in his life by maintaining a healthy diet, going for long walks and drinking plenty of dandelion and burdock. A lot, but not quite all, of what Bert writes is completely fictitious; due mainly to the fact that he quickly gets bored. Plus he finds it a lot easier just to make up stuff rather than properly research articles.   

The Flat Cap’s website and social media campaigns are designed and maintained by Madge Orgreave whose global business empire is run from a one bedroom flat above a shop in Barnoldswick, Lancashire. As well as The Flat Cap her clients include William Hague, Abba and The Hairy Bikers. Madge is a workaholic and regularly survives on four hours sleep a night supplemented by a diet of fish finger sandwiches and fizzy Vimto. She relaxes by making homemade jams and indulging her passion for needlework. She has darned the socks of band members from McBusted and inadvertently appeared in a crowd scene on an early episode of Hollyoaks. Madge’s twin sister Edna is a former Miss Todmorden.

In order to get better at writing The Flat Cap  wrote to celebrated author Jeanette Winterson CBE and the text of his letter is published below.

Dear Ms. Winterson,

I hope you don't mind me writing to you but I'm just after a bit of advice. Like you I like to write and like you I have my own website ( if you want to take a look. Here's the thing;  up to now I haven't had anything published so I could do with a few pointers on the whole writing books malarkey.

I came across your name after doing an internet search of 'authors from Lancashire who are not dead yet, and have won some prizes for writing'.  I then did a bit of research and discovered you're also a Professor of New Writing at the University of Manchester, whatever that is. The university is just up the road from me and easy to get to on the bus from my house so if you fancy a chat about writing over a cup of tea and an Eccles cake let me know and maybe we can compare diaries. I appreciate you're probably busy thinking up ideas for your next book and that being a professor is quite a busy job too; although I've no real idea what it entails. The only other professor I can think of from round here is that Brian Cox but he's always doing science programmes, or going on tour so he's probably a bit more difficult to pin down. Hard to believe that he used to play keyboards for one hit wonders D:Ream eh?

The sort of things I could do with advice on are (in no particular order):

  • How do you go about getting into print, and are there any publishers you'd steer clear of?

  • How do you overcome 'writer's block'? Maybe there's some super foods you can recommend that help you to be more creative, and less inclined to sit around watching daytime television (Bargain Hunt & Tipping Point aside of course).

  • Is there a best time of year to write books? I only ask because during the summer I'm quite busy in the garden or out playing crown green bowls. If however summer is say better than winter then something will have to give.

  • Where are the best shops to do a book signing, and how long is a signing session on average? I was thinking that if they go on a bit WH Smith might be the best bet as you can usually buy snacks in the bigger branches, plus some of them also sell drinks and sandwiches which would save you making your own.


That's probably enough to be going on with for now.


By the way my friend Alan has his own greengrocers and after seeing a copy of your book "Oranges Are Not The Only Fruit" in our local charity shop he used it as a slogan in his own shop. This led to an upsurge in sales of other types of fruit; even the more exotic ones like pomegranates and mangoes. He is now looking for ideas to promote his vegetables but so far all we have managed to come up with are "A sprout is for life not just for Christmas" (which strictly speaking isn't true), and "Greens means Beans" (which ignores other stuff like cucumbers and courgettes, although Alan says that they are both technically fruits too). Any ideas would be really welcome.


As Professor Brian Cox used to be fond of saying, "Things can only get better".


Thanks for reading , and I look forward to hearing from you when you're not writing books, or doing interviews and stuff.


Yours sincerely,


Bert Entwistle B.A.


N.B. the B.A. stands for Budding Author

Bert will let regular readers know if he gets any top tips!

To be continued

bottom of page