This is a story from Tallis Steelyard about Port Nain and the indomitable Maljie. Her Maljie sets about trying to do something about the terrible state or the orphanages.
Thanks to Chris, The Bluebird of Bitterness for making me smile
via Face value
Here are some hilarious photos.
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.
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 *****
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
Candar Weather and Sea Candello
Sylissdar Life and Healing Sylissa
Allendrindar Persuasion and deceit Allandrina
Pardar Agriculture Parador
Rothdar Mining and Roth
Bardar War Barnat
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.
Me: Thank you for allowing this interview. I know you are a
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
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
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.
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.
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.
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.
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.