Appearances can be deceiving

Quote

Here are some hilarious photos.

via Appearances can be deceiving

Advertisements

Review of Terry Ravenscroft’s Stairway to Heaven, Book 4, Still Hanging On.

 

 

BLURB

Yet another volume in the Stairlift to Heaven series. Terry Ravenscroft is still at it, accompanied by his faithful friend Atkins (although Atkins shows distinct signs of being unfaithful on at least one occasion). Similarly aged readers, and those approaching old age, will do well to heed the advice offered in these epistles. They will learn, amongst other things, how to deal with Men from the Orient who constantly plague you on the telephone, people who ring you up tell you there’s something that needs fixing on your computer if you don’t want your bank account to be emptied, General Election canvassers who arrive on your doorstep uninvited and unwanted, how to ensure that tarmac layers carry out their jobs in the manner promised and at the agreed price, and how definitely not to behave at a football match if you are seated amongst the opposition’s supporters. And lots, lots more. And, whilst doing all this, have a bit of FUN.

MY REVIEW.

I have recently finished reading Book 4 of Terry Ravenscroft’s Stairway to Heaven books. He has been writing these autobiographical books about his life and escapades for a while now, and they are very funny.

Terry Ravenscroft was, until he retired, a scriptwriter for many well known TV comedians and sit-coms, including such names as Les Dawson, the Two Ronnies, Morcambe and Wise and Ken Dodd as well as Alas Smith and Jones, Not the 9o’Clock News, The News Hudlines and many others.

This book does begin on a sad note when Terry tells of the sad death of his wife, The Trouble, from the earlier books. It is very clear he misses her immensely, and at first, he said he did not think he would write this book. I’m very glad he did,

Terry relates his escapades with his friend, Atkins, as well as tells of some letters he wrote to various pompous organisations. From trying to get Atkin’s neighbour, who has designs on him, to desist from her advances, to an incident with a letter Atkins wrote to David Beckham and Terry replied in Beckham’s place, we are kept laughing throughout the book.

I do not want to spoil it for anyone wanting to read it by saying too much of the events and escapades this book covers. Just let me say it is very funny and well worth a read.

This book is titled, ‘Still Hanging On.’ Keep on hanging on, Terry, long enough to write the next episode

I give it *****

Time on the World of Vimar

The time of Vimar, the planet on which the continent of Khalram stands, is calculated differently from that of Earth. Here is a little about it.

From early times, it was known that the planet Vimar took almost exactly three hundred and sixty days to travel around its sun, the people divided this into twelve months of thirty days each. This number, and the three hundred and sixty days in the year meant that the number six took on a significance, and so they further divided each month into five ‘weeks’ of six days each. This was called a ‘sixday’.

The months were unrelated to moon phases as the planet has two moons, Lyndor and Ullin, each with a different cycle, but the study of the moon phases became important as they were believed to indicate something of the future, both for individuals and the world as a whole.

The year was deemed to begin at the Vernal Equinox when life was beginning to spring anew, and each of the twelve months was named after one of the gods of Vimar. (See Appendix 2)  the first month of Grilldar was called after the god Grillon, god of nature.

The months are as follows:

Spring                            Remit of God               Ruling God

Grilldar                              Nature                           Grillon

Kassidar                             All                                 Kassilla

Zoldar                                Knowledge                      Zol

Summer

Candar                               Weather and Sea          Candello

Sylissdar                            Life and Healing           Sylissa

Allendrindar                 Persuasion and deceit        Allandrina

Autumn

Pardar                               Agriculture                    Parador

Rothdar                             Mining and                     Roth

metalworking

Bardar                                   War                           Barnat

Winter

Bramadar                     Marriage and the family    Bramara

Majordar                            Magic                          Majora

Khaldar                      Death and the underworld    Khalhera

Days used to begin at dawn whatever the season or place in the world, but eventually it was seen fit to begin them at the time of dawn at the Vernal Equinox in all parts of the world, which was the equivalent of 6 am on Earth. Each day was about the same length as that of Earth, and because of the importance of the number six and its multiples, each day was divided, as on Earth, into twenty four hours and hours into sixty minutes. Seconds not usually considered on the planet as timing to that accuracy was neither needed nor for most people possible. Thus the second hour of the day would be equivalent to 8 am on Earth. Noon on Earth corresponds to the sixth hour on Vimar etc.

You can buy books 1 and 2, The Wolf Pack and The Never Dying Man by following the links below.

http://myBook.to/thewolfpack

http://myBook.to/NeverDying

Aspholessaria

forest
Today I am going to start telling you the story of Asphodel, whom you can find in The Wolf Pack. Book 1 of The Wolves of Vimar Series. You will have noticed I use her name a lot. I like her and the way she stands up for what she believes in, regardless of authority. This gets her into trouble quite a lot.

 

‘Aspholessaria!’ called the young elf’s mother. ‘Are you going out?’

‘I’m meeting Syssillina, mother,’ she replied. ‘There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantisarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and it’s supposed to be good. We’re going there to suss it out.’

‘I wish you’d refrain from using those slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.’

‘Only distantly, mother,’ called Aspholessaria as she skipped out through the door to meet her friend. ‘I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.’

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards where they had heard of the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantisarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

‘My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s really good,’ said Syssillina as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissarillishan, the land of the elves. ‘He says there were some elves there playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.’

‘It sounds fantastic,’ Aspholessaria replied. ‘Did he say how far it is?’

‘Oh, Asphodel,’ said her friend, using the elf’s diminutive name, ‘I told you it’s only a few trees over. Wee, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.’

The elves built their city of Quantisarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not think they had arrived. The elves built so the buildings looked part of the forest. Some of the buildings were even built into the trees themselves with knot holes as windows. Most of the walkways stretched from tree to tree and so to anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways passing residences and workshops until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath and said,’ Well, we’ve come here, so we might as well go in.’
She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. In the centre of the room was a dance floor with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Where could they sit? Then Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. the girls made their way across to it and sat down to listen to the music. Syssillina went and got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks.

‘Isn’t that LLinisharrovno over there?’ whispered Asphodel, naming a young man who had been at school with them. ‘Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.’

Syssillina looked over to where Asphodel pointed.

‘Yes. I’ve not seen him for a long time,’ she replied. ‘His friend’s fit, don’t you think?’

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men started walking across the room towards them.

‘Are they coming to us?’ Asphodel asked, looking at her drink.

‘I don’t know. there’s that group of girls at the next table. Iexpect they’re going to them.’

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

‘I’ve not seen you two since we left school,’ said Llinsharrovno. ‘Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?’

‘If I remember rightly, you live at the opposite side of the city from us. We’ve not been hiding, we just don’t get over there very much.’

Llinsharrovno sat down in an empty seat.

‘This is my cousin, Vassinamorro.’ he said. ‘Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.’

The other young man took another spare seat and smiled a handsome smile that made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was tall for an elf, being five foot ten and had the build of one who looked after his body and exercised regularly.

‘Pleased to meet you.’ he said. ‘I’m new to Quantisarillishon. LLin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of it’s girls.’

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the complement.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ asked LLin, standing.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and the pair went away onto the dance floor.

Vass was a wonderful dancer and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, the butterflies began to dance in her stomach again, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew round her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her round and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

Then the dance ended and the pair returned to their seats.
LLin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

‘My cousin has that effect on women,’ he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. ‘I wish I had his looks and charm.’

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking it in turns to dance with each of them.

Then came the time to leave. It was dark and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

‘I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,’ said Vass. ‘May we walk the two of you home?’

The girls agreed and the four young people slowly wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

‘Will you be going to Allimissoro’s again?’ Vass asked them as they stood outside Asphodel’s home.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass was going to be there.

‘What do you think, Syssi?’ she said. ‘Should we go again?’

‘I think I’ll probably give it another go,’ answered her friend. ‘I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.’

Vass looked at both girls in turn and said, ‘Perhaps we’ll see you there another time, then.’

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.

Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he had looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, Asphodel fell asleep.Aspholessaria

‘Aspholessaria!’ called the young elf’s mother. ‘Are you going out?’

‘I’m meeting Syssillina, mother,’ she replied. ‘There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantisarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and it’s supposed to be good. We’re going there to suss it out.’

‘I wish you’d refrain from using those slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.’

‘Only distantly, mother,’ called Aspholessaria as she skipped out through the door to meet her friend. ‘I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.’

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards where they had heard of the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantisarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

‘My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s really good,’ said Syssillina as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissarillishan, the land of the elves. ‘He says there were some elves there playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.’

‘It sounds fantastic,’ Aspholessaria replied. ‘Did he say how far it is?’

‘Oh, Asphodel,’ said her friend, using the elf’s diminutive name, ‘I told you it’s only a few trees over. Wee, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.’

The elves built their city of Quantisarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not think they had arrived. The elves built so the buildings looked part of the forest. Some of the buildings were even built into the trees themselves with knot holes as windows. Most of the walkways stretched from tree to tree and so to anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways passing residences and workshops until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath and said,’ Well, we’ve come here, so we might as well go in.’
She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. In the centre of the room was a dance floor with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Where could they sit? Then Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. the girls made their way across to it and sat down to listen to the music. Syssillina went and got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks.

‘Isn’t that LLinisharrovno over there?’ whispered Asphodel, naming a young man who had been at school with them. ‘Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.’

Syssillina looked over to where Asphodel pointed.

‘Yes. I’ve not seen him for a long time,’ she replied. ‘His friend’s fit, don’t you think?’

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men started walking across the room towards them.

‘Are they coming to us?’ Asphodel asked, looking at her drink.

‘I don’t know. there’s that group of girls at the next table. Iexpect they’re going to them.’

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

‘I’ve not seen you two since we left school,’ said Llinsharrovno. ‘Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?’

‘If I remember rightly, you live at the opposite side of the city from us. We’ve not been hiding, we just don’t get over there very much.’

Llinsharrovno sat down in an empty seat.

‘This is my cousin, Vassinamorro.’ he said. ‘Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.’

The other young man took another spare seat and smiled a handsome smile that made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was tall for an elf, being five foot ten and had the build of one who looked after his body and exercised regularly.

‘Pleased to meet you.’ he said. ‘I’m new to Quantisarillishon. LLin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of it’s girls.’

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the complement.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ asked LLin, standing.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and the pair went away onto the dance floor.

Vass was a wonderful dancer and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, the butterflies began to dance in her stomach again, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew round her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her round and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

Then the dance ended and the pair returned to their seats.
LLin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

‘My cousin has that effect on women,’ he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. ‘I wish I had his looks and charm.’

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking it in turns to dance with each of them.

Then came the time to leave. It was dark and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

‘I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,’ said Vass. ‘May we walk the two of you home?’

The girls agreed and the four young people slowly wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

‘Will you be going to Allimissoro’s again?’ Vass asked them as they stood outside Asphodel’s home.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass was going to be there.

‘What do you think, Syssi?’ she said. ‘Should we go again?’

‘I think I’ll probably give it another go,’ answered her friend. ‘I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.’

Vass looked at both girls in turn and said, ‘Perhaps we’ll see you there another time, then.’

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.

Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he had looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, Asphodel fell asleep.Aspholessaria

‘Aspholessaria!’ called the young elf’s mother. ‘Are you going out?’

‘I’m meeting Syssillina, mother,’ she replied. ‘There’s a new place opened across the other side of Quantisarillishon. It’s called Allimissoro’s and it’s supposed to be good. We’re going there to suss it out.’

‘I wish you’d refrain from using those slang words, dear. So common. Don’t forget we’re related to the Elf Lord.’

‘Only distantly, mother,’ called Aspholessaria as she skipped out through the door to meet her friend. ‘I don’t expect he’ll hear about it so don’t worry.’

A few minutes later the two girls were running towards where they had heard of the new bar and dance hall especially opened for young folk. The youngsters had little to do in Quantisarillishon and some of them became a little unruly from time to time.

‘My cousin, Gerralishirondo, went last night. He says it’s really good,’ said Syssillina as they trotted across the capital city of Rindissarillishan, the land of the elves. ‘He says there were some elves there playing music, and everyone was up and dancing.’

‘It sounds fantastic,’ Aspholessaria replied. ‘Did he say how far it is?’

‘Oh, Asphodel,’ said her friend, using the elf’s diminutive name, ‘I told you it’s only a few trees over. Wee, perhaps a bit more than that, but only about half a mile.’

The elves built their city of Quantisarillishon deep in the forest. Many who visited it for the first time did not think they had arrived. The elves built so the buildings looked part of the forest. Some of the buildings were even built into the trees themselves with knot holes as windows. Most of the walkways stretched from tree to tree and so to anyone not looking up it would seem there was nothing but forest.

The girls trotted along these walkways passing residences and workshops until they arrived at a building that stretched over the branches of several large oaks. Music and laughter came from out of the open doors. The girls stopped and looked at each other.

Asphodel took a breath and said,’ Well, we’ve come here, so we might as well go in.’
She matched her actions to her words and Syssillina followed.

Lanterns wreathed the room and gave a festive air to the surroundings. Seats surrounded small tables, most of which had young elves sitting and chattering. In the centre of the room was a dance floor with a number of young folk dancing to the music.

The girls looked around. Where could they sit? Then Syssillina noticed an empty table close to the band. the girls made their way across to it and sat down to listen to the music. Syssillina went and got them fruit juice from the bar and they sat sipping their drinks.

‘Isn’t that LLinisharrovno over there?’ whispered Asphodel, naming a young man who had been at school with them. ‘Who’s that with him? I’ve not seen him before.’

Syssillina looked over to where Asphodel pointed.

‘Yes. I’ve not seen him for a long time,’ she replied. ‘His friend’s fit, don’t you think?’

The girls started to giggle, but stopped quickly as Asphodel noticed the pair looking at them. The two young men started walking across the room towards them.

‘Are they coming to us?’ Asphodel asked, looking at her drink.

‘I don’t know. there’s that group of girls at the next table. Iexpect they’re going to them.’

But they weren’t. They came and stood in front of Asphodel and Syssillina.

‘I’ve not seen you two since we left school,’ said Llinsharrovno. ‘Where’ve you been hiding yourselves?’

‘If I remember rightly, you live at the opposite side of the city from us. We’ve not been hiding, we just don’t get over there very much.’

Llinsharrovno sat down in an empty seat.

‘This is my cousin, Vassinamorro.’ he said. ‘Vass, this is Aspholessaria, known as Asphodel, and Syssillina, known as Syssi.’

The other young man took another spare seat and smiled a handsome smile that made Asphodel’s stomach turn over. He had blue eyes and blonde hair. He was tall for an elf, being five foot ten and had the build of one who looked after his body and exercised regularly.

‘Pleased to meet you.’ he said. ‘I’m new to Quantisarillishon. LLin has been showing me round. It’s a beautiful city, but it pales into insignificance next to the beauty of it’s girls.’

Both girls blushed and muttered their thanks for the complement.

‘Can I get you a drink?’ asked LLin, standing.

The girls accepted and as he walked away, Vass asked Asphodel if she would like to dance. She accepted and the pair went away onto the dance floor.

Vass was a wonderful dancer and Asphodel felt she had wings on her feet, he was so easy to dance with. When his hand touched hers, the butterflies began to dance in her stomach again, and she thought she would melt into his blue eyes. Her black hair flew round her head as he twisted and turned her in the dance. He lifted her up and swung her round and she gasped in surprise, which made him laugh.

Then the dance ended and the pair returned to their seats.
LLin danced with Syssi, then with Asphodel as Vass danced with Syssi. Asphodel watched them as they danced, treading on Llin’s feet a few times, but he laughed.

‘My cousin has that effect on women,’ he whispered in her ear the fifth time she missed a beat and trod on his toes. ‘I wish I had his looks and charm.’

The girls danced with Vass and Llin all evening, the two young men taking it in turns to dance with each of them.

Then came the time to leave. It was dark and the few lamps on the walkways gave only a little light.

‘I don’t like the idea of you walking alone in the dark,’ said Vass. ‘May we walk the two of you home?’

The girls agreed and the four young people slowly wended their way through the treetop walkways to the girls’ homes.

‘Will you be going to Allimissoro’s again?’ Vass asked them as they stood outside Asphodel’s home.

The girls looked at each other. Asphodel had to restrain herself from replying too quickly. She would certainly go again if Vass was going to be there.

‘What do you think, Syssi?’ she said. ‘Should we go again?’

‘I think I’ll probably give it another go,’ answered her friend. ‘I enjoyed myself tonight. The music was excellent and the drinks. They’ve done wonders with the decor too.’

Vass looked at both girls in turn and said, ‘Perhaps we’ll see you there another time, then.’

The two young men left the girls, walked a few paces and turned to wave.

Asphodel entered her home and crept up the stairs to her bedroom. She threw herself on her bed, smiling, then she turned on her stomach and groaned.

Does he like me? Does he like Syssi better than he likes me? Oh, I can’t tell who he likes better.

She thought of the way he had looked into her grey eyes when they danced and her stomach turned again. She thought one minute he liked her best, then the next she thought of how he had looked at Syssi and decided he liked Syssi best. With her thoughts in turmoil, Asphodel fell asleep.

Does Vass prefer Asphodel or Syssi? Find out in the next installment at the beginning of October.

Please leave a comment about this story. I appreciate all feedback, good or bad. I can’t learn and improve if I don’t know what I’m doing wrong.

 

Interview with Basalt Strongarm

newcoverwolfpack

 

Me: Thank you for allowing this interview. I know you are a
busy man.

Basalt: Fine, but be quick about it as I have work to do. I
am working on a particularly difficult piece of metalwork for
the Duke and I want to get back to it.

Me: OK, I’ll try to be quick. Tell me how you came to be in
Grosmer please.

Basalt: Hmph! I should be working my own mine now, not
doing wrought ironwork for someone else!

Me: Please explain.

Basalt: My parents owned a fine mine in Ghraali. They had
just one son, called Schist, but always wanted another child,
they said. When I was born many years later, they were
delighted.

Me: Where is Ghraali?

Basalt: It is the dwarven homeland at the southern end of the Western Mountains, just to the west of the Inner Sea. Fine ores and gems can be found there. It was once volcanic, but not any more. Not like the Mountains of Doom!

Here he shuddered as if he was remembering an unpleasant experience.

Me: Did the mine fail then?

Basalt: Not at all! It was all my brother and his wife.

Me: Please explain.

Basalt: Well, my brother was very caring towards me at first. He was nearly fully grown when I was born. He used to make wooden toys for me. He was a very good wood carver and he taught me how to carve too. Then he met HER.

Me: Her?

Basalt: His wife! She was called Opal. He met her one day in the town. She was visiting a relative or something. Oh, she was beautiful, of that there is no doubt, but she was hard and cold inside. She had ambition. Her ambition was to be rich.

Me: So how did that affect you?

Basalt. She poisoned Schist against me. She wanted him to have sole control of the mine, see. My parents were going to leave it to us jointly. After they were married, she came to work with us in our mine, of course. One day, there was an accident in the mine. Mother had taken me with her to the face. This was common practice with youngsters as both men and women work in the mines. I was playing with a small hammer a little distance away, tapping at a little rock when I heard a terrible rumbling and the rock face fell down covering mother.

Here he paused and sniffed. I waited for him to continue.

Basalt: I ran and tried to clear some of the rocks with my little hammer and bare hands. Others came to help, but when we finally pulled her out it was too late.

Me: I’m sorry, Basalt. It must have been dreadful for a small boy.

Basalt: Yes, it was.

Me: But you still had your father.

Basalt: Yes, for a little time. Then a similar thing happened again. This time it was my father who was killed. So here was I with only my brother and his wife to look after me.

Me: Did she show you any animosity at that time?

Basalt. No, not really. she was cold, did all that she had to for me, but no more. Schist tried to do as much as he could at first, but gradually he froze towards me too. I swear she poisoned his mind with false tales. I know she did tell him some things against me.

Me: But you were now part owner of the mine.

Basalt: Yes, but still a minor so had no say. Schist did all the decision making and day to day running.

Me: What happened when you came of age?

Basalt: That was when the worst started. There were a few falls in the mine and Opal accused me of causing them. Firstly she said it was carelessness, then she began to imply that it was sabotage–that I wanted the mine for myself and was trying to kill her and Schist. Eventually a fall, quite natural this one, just missed Schist. She took her opportunity and somehow managed to convince the elders of the town that I had engineered it. She even got some of the workers to testify that they had seen me interfering with the workface. They were believed and I was told that I could face the death penalty or exile. I chose to leave and that is how I came to be in Grosmer.
I am beginning to think that Opal also had something to do with the death of my parents, but I have no proof, and after all these years I cannot possibly prove anything.

Me: Thank you for your time, Basalt.

Basalt: Thank you. Now I must go to finish that job.

Re-launch of The Wolf Pack

newcoverwolfpack

 

The Wolf Pack has now gone live on Amazon for Kindle, complete with new cover and some alterations to the story. It will be on special offer from June 11th to 17th. £0.99 or $0.99.

This is very exciting. Now for The Never Dying Man and then Part 3, Wolf Moon, which hasn’t been published yet at all.

Here is a bit about the story

The Wolf Pack

To end his apprenticeship and be admitted to the ranks of the mages is all that Carthinal wants and so he is excited to travel from Bluehaven to Hambara, where the tests will take place. He did not expect to end up travelling far beyond Hambara on a quest to find the long lost sword of the legendary King Sauvern.

Along with three strangers that he met on his journey, the beautiful but headstrong elven cleric, Asphodel, Fero, a dark foreigner from lands far to the south, known as the Black Ranger and a fearless dwarf, Basalt, Carthinal reluctantly sets out on this seemingly impossible quest.

Followed by Randa, the snooty aristocratic daughter of the Duke of Hambara and a very young runaway thief, known as Thad, Carthinal has to decide whether to send them back or allow them to continue on this dangerous quest. There will certainly be fireworks as Randa will try to take over the leadership of the group.

Faced with floods, wolf attacks and near death in the mountains, Carthinal and his friends will have to accept help from the least likely sources and face their innermost fears.

But this is more than a simple adventure. The fate of a nation hangs in the balance.

I’d love to hear from you in the comments section.

Jovinda and Noni Part 4

wolfpackcover (2)

 

Jovinda had promised herself that she would tell her parents of her pregnancy the very next day.

 

The following morning, Jovinda got up with a feeling of dread in her stomach. How was she going to tell her parents of her pregnancy and how would they react.
She put it off until after the mid-day meal. When they retired to the sitting room, she screwed up her courage.
‘Mother, Father, I have something to tell you,’ she said. She paused and took a deep breath.
‘What is it, Jo?’ Kendo asked.
The girl’s eyes filled with tears. ‘There’s no easy way to say this,’ she said as the tears fell. ‘I’m pregnant.’
Her mother gave a gasp, then surged to her feet and slapped her daughter across the face.
‘You little slut,’ she said. ‘Who’s the father? If you even know!’
It was Jovinda’s turn to gasp. The tears that had started to fall at her mother’s reaction turned into anger at the implication held in those words.
‘Are you saying I’ve slept with lots of men?’ she said. ‘I would never sleep with anyone if I was not in love with him. There’s only one man and that’s Noni. He’s the father of my child.’
‘That’s immaterial,’ her mother retorted. ‘One man or ten, you’ve brought disgrace to our family. Your father was likely to get re-elected to the leadership of all the guilds in the city in the next few months. A scandal like this could lose that for him. And what about our friends and neighbours? What will they think?’
Kendo gently took hold of Ellire’s hand as she raised it to slap her daughter again.
‘Let’s talk about this calmly,’ he said, leading his wife back to the chair she had occupied.
He looked at his wife. ‘First, Ell, my dear, our daughter’s mistake is unlikely to have any impact on my election to the guild leadership. Secondly, there are things that can be done about this.’
Jovinda looked at her father. She was still angry at her mother’s reaction and she did not like what her father was implying.
‘Are you suggesting going to a witch and getting rid of the child? This is a new life growing in me. I refuse to kill it.’
Ellire had calmed down a little at her husband’s words.
‘Jovinda,’ she said. ‘That is the perfect solution. No one need know. Have you told anyone yet?’
‘I’ve told Noni and Salor. And it isn’t the perfect solution. This child has two parents. Me and Noni. He has the right to have a say in what happens to it, just as he would if it had been born. He says that elves revere life and will not take it unnecessarily. Abortion would be unnecessary in this case. Anyway, he wants to marry me.’
At this, Ellire began to cry. Kendo took her arm and led her to the door with the instructions to go and lie down, then he came back to talk to Jovinda.
‘Darling, please don’t take any notice of what your mother says. This had been a big shock to her, as it has to me, too. I didn’t think it of you. Still, it’s happened and we must decide, calmly, I might add, what the next step should be.’
Jovinda looked up into her father’s eyes.
‘The next step is that Noni and I will get married. I would truly not have had it happen like this, but it has. I don’t regret what Noni and I did. I don’t think I really regret being pregnant except for what you and mother think. Noni and I will get married whatever you say. I don’t need your permission as I’m over sixteen. I would like your blessing, but with or without it I will marry him.’
Kendo sighed. ‘I see we have no choice. There will be a scandal for a while, but people will forget. There will be something else to take its place. I wish this hadn’t happened, but it has. I will go and talk to your mother now and see what I can do. You’d better keep out of her way for a bit.’

Noni’s father was no more pleased than Jovinda’s parents, but all three came to accept that the marriage would, no must, as Ellire said, take place as soon as possible. The baby would be due in the spring.
Jovinda wanted to wait until Bramadar 1st, the first day of winter and the feast of Bramara, the goddess of the familt. It was thought to bring good luck to couples who married of that day, but all the parents thought it would be too long to wait. After all, it would not be possible to pass off the birth as premature if they waited so long.
It was not the wedding that Ellire had foreseen for her daughter. She had thought of a large wedding with lots of guests, her daughter looking radiant and beautiful and her husband a shadowy figure in the background. She would have been the perfect hostess dressed in beautiful clothes bought specially for the occasion.
Now, instead, was this shady marriage. Oh, it was in the temple of Bramara, but there were few guests. Salor attended Jovinda and a young elf she had not seen before attended Noni. Salor’s parents were present as well as Noni’s father and another couple of elves. The only thing that was as she had foreseen was Jovinda’s radiant expression. Her daughter did look beautiful, she had to admit, with her hair flowing down her back, brushed to a gleaming copper. Her eyes shone, as did Noni’s deep blue ones. There was no doubt they loved each other deeply.
After the ceremony they all went back to the house she shared with her husband and ate a meal before Kendo stood up and tapped his spoon on a glass.
‘I would like to just say a word, please,’ he said. ‘We all here know of Jo’s pregnancy, and I must say that we were none too pleased when she told us, but we have come to terms with that now.’ He looked hard at Ellire as if challenging her to argue. ‘We are now looking forward to welcoming our grandchild in the spring. So, to show that we are now happy with our new son-in-law, we have bought a house for them.’
Jovinda stared at her father open-mouthed and Noni’s eyes opened wide.
Kendo was continuing though. ‘The house is not large but it is big enough for three and has a garden. What’s more, it’s not too far from here so when our grandson or daughter arrives, we can see lots of him or her. Here are the keys, Jo and Noni. I hope you like it.’
Before he could sit down, Jovinda jumped up and threw her arms round him, nearly smothering him.
‘Oh, Thank you, thank you, father,’ she cried. ‘I know you didn’t mind us staying here, but to have our own place…’ She broke down crying with happiness as Noni hugged her and said his thanks to his father-in-law.

Will Jovinda have a boy or a girl and what will her parents think of their new grandchild?

The next episode will be on the third Tuesday in May.

Please leave a comment as to what you think of the story of Jovinda and Noni so far. I will get back to you as soon as I can.

 

Thoughts on entertainment for young people.

 

055vivpatdereckjohndam

This is the fifth Tuesday in the month and so I will be digressing a bit. I think I want to be a bit controversial. Not too much though, and I risk sounding my age, but here goes.

Today, on the radio, I heard something about a group of young people in Cornwall who want to make music. They have been practising in a garage. I assume it’s the garage of one of their parents. Needless to say, there have been complaints about the noise.

The council has told them to cut the noise level. Now in the discussion on the radio the following was said (predictably). ‘There is nowhere for the young people to go and nothing for them to do.’ (This is probably not a direct quote, but that was the essence of it.)

Firstly, why do people think that something should be provided for them? What’s wrong with sorting something out for themselves?

Secondly, this has been the cry for donkey’s years. I heard it when my own children were growing up. It is often an excuse for the bad behaviour of the said young people. I dispute this.
054terencevivpatmikehunter
When I was growing up in the 50s and 60s, we had a youth club to go to once a week on a Friday evening. That was IT. Nothing else. We had to find our own entertainment. What did we do? Well, I remember going for bike rides at the weekend and in the school holidays. I expect someone will say that it was different then. The roads are too busy now, but there were no dedicated cycle ways made from old railway lines then. We had to ride on the road.

We also went round to each others’ homes and played records (as they were then). We went into the woods and built camps. We went for walks in the countryside. OK. All young people don’t have access to the countryside, but they have parks. We walked the dog too. Where I live, I rarely see a young person out with the family dog. It’s always the parents.

My own children did many of these things, and my son was in a band too. They rehearsed in our house or the garage of one of his friends. My daughter went to youth club, like me, once a week, and my son was in the scouts. He went camping with them. These things still exist.

So why the constant moaning about ‘nothing to do?’ I argue that there is more for the youngsters nowadays than in the past, and middle class parents seem to think that they must provide something for their kids every day, taking them here there and everywhere–swimming, riding, judo, dancing, etc etc.

The result of this is that youngsters today don’t know how to entertain themselves and can’t cope with boredom. As I said to my own granddaughter the other day,  ‘There’s nothing wrong with being bored.’ It’s from boredom that ideas spring. If we are constantly entertained, we have no time to think for ourselves and to come up with new innovations.

Thank you for putting up with this little rant. Please leave a comment as to what you think.