After the first three thousand years we’ve about got it right.

It’s winter, it isn’t raining, and I’ve been laying a hedge again. (Actually round here we call them dykes, but if I write about laying dikes I’d probably crash google in the USA.)
But no, I’ve just finished laying a hedge that my grandfather never got round to. The weather has been atrocious, at times I’ve gone down when the wind’s dropped, done the next length and hastily hammered stakes in and secured the laid hedge to them because otherwise they’d have been blown away.
And water? One reason for doing this length of hedge is that if I do, next door can clean the gutter out on his side and it’ll drain both fields a bit and do a bit of good for both of us. It’s not something new or contemporary; indeed it’s something farmers will have been doing for at least three thousand years. Most of the tools haven’t changed a lot, save that steel is probably better than bronze, and frankly a chainsaw is better than an axe for some jobs.
So buggerlugs here has been trimming elderly hawthorn with a chainsaw, dragging the stuff I’ve cleared out across the sodden ground, often in standing water nearly a foot deep. This is real agriculture, necessary, hard work and with no noticeable financial return.
Anyway it’s done, and is fenced and sheep proof (if anything can be said to be sheep proof.) Indeed we even had a couple of roe deer down the other evening, inspecting the results. Admittedly they cleared the whole lot with contemptuous ease but I’m not trying to fence in deer.
But because I’ve been busy, somehow I never got the blog done, which is a pity, because apart from bad taste jokes about laying dikes I’ve got some real news for once.

‘Justice 4.1 (Tsarina Sector)’ is to be published in paperback on the 1st March 2014.
The Amazon page is here in case you cannot contain your enthusiasm.

It is being published by Safkhet, and their page about it is here, with a sample of the story.

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21 thoughts on “After the first three thousand years we’ve about got it right.

  1. […] After the first three thousand years we’ve about got it right.. […]

  2. M T McGuire January 14, 2014 at 9:36 am Reply

    Yahoooo! Congratulations. Official date and ting. I’ve reblogged this….



  3. Lyn Horner January 14, 2014 at 3:29 pm Reply

    Howdy, Jim, from Fort Worth, Texas. Our mutual friend MTM alerted me to your blog. It took me a while to envision the “hedge”, but I think I understand what it is now. I’m curious as to where you live. Is it in Ireland, by chance. While visiting there several years back I saw some dikes/hedges that looked like what I imagine yours to be.

    • jwebster2 January 14, 2014 at 3:49 pm Reply

      I’m in South Cumbria, find the Isle of Man and go straight west to the English mainland and I’m about a mile from the coast, in three different direction 🙂
      Some of our hedges lean to the east because of the prevailing winds, I know there have been times I’ve been working on some of the fields during spring when the wind is a bit brisk and I could taste the salt in it 🙂

  4. Lyn Horner January 14, 2014 at 3:57 pm Reply

    Thanks for explaining. I’ll look for your location on a map.

    I forgot to say your book(s) sound very intriguing.

  5. jwebster2 January 14, 2014 at 4:15 pm Reply

    Forgot to mention, Tsarina has its own facebook page as well!

  6. Lyn Horner January 14, 2014 at 11:12 pm Reply

    Fantastic pictures! You live in a beautiful place. By contrast, I live in a dry climate, very hot in July and August, but we have mild winters. Can’t have everything!

    Thanks for following my blog. I’ll like your FB page.

    • jwebster2 January 15, 2014 at 7:11 am Reply

      Dry climate 🙂
      We have five feet of rain a year 😉 But there’s places to the north of us who are wetter.
      We’re on the southern edge of the ‘Lake District’ so we need a lot of water to keep them full

      • Lyn Horner January 16, 2014 at 12:10 am

        I’ve read one or two books set in the Lake District. It sounds like a beautiful area, if a bit soggy at times. I wish we could have some of your rain here in Texas. We live under drought conditions much of the time. Most of our lakes are man made reservoirs, and many are way, way low. Just a fact of life in this part of the country. New Mexico and Arizona, to the west of Texas, are even drier and hotter.

      • jwebster2 January 16, 2014 at 12:21 pm

        It is a fabulous area, in autumn we can be almost as beautiful for colours as New England (so so some New Englanders have told me 🙂 As for reservoirs, some of ours are lakes, here’s Thirlmere which supplies water to Manchester from the lake district

  7. Lyn Horner January 16, 2014 at 5:09 pm Reply

    Lovely picture and interesting caption about the history. Thanks for sharing, Jim. Lake Texoma is one of our primary reservoirs. My dad grew up in Denison, Texas, near where the lake is now.

    • jwebster2 January 16, 2014 at 5:54 pm Reply

      In Cumbria we have Mardale which was flooded to produce a reservoir, it never was a lake, just a farming valley. A couple of times since the water level has fallen so low that we walked down the road and across the bridge into the village, all of which would normally be deep under water.

  8. Lyn Horner January 16, 2014 at 9:34 pm Reply

    That’s sad about the village being flooded out. That’s happened in the U.S. too. Years ago I read a novel about a farming family who fought being removed from their land when the Tennessee Valley Authority was preparing to dam the river. It was a tragic story.

    • jwebster2 January 16, 2014 at 10:29 pm Reply

      We get that sort of tale quite a bit in this country, we’re a small country with an awful lot of people in it, and it’s difficult to fit everything in at times 😦

  9. Lyn Horner January 17, 2014 at 6:58 pm Reply

    Many people are displaced in the name of progress. My husband’s parents were forced to move when their property was needed as part of a school building project. They were paid for their home but it was not fun having to move from a house where their children grew up.

    • jwebster2 January 17, 2014 at 9:39 pm Reply

      There’s a lot of grief now in this country about them putting a high speed rail line through from London to Birmingham, there’s going to be a fair few people have to move etc. And so it continues 😦

  10. Lyn Horner January 17, 2014 at 10:45 pm Reply

    We have been enduring highway construction around us for years and it will go on for several more years. The Dallas-Fort Worth metroplex is huge and many people drive 30, 40, even 50 miles to work each day. This causes terrible traffic back-ups. We need the new, wider highways, but it’s a pain while they’re being constructed. Of course some businesses and private homes are being claimed under public domain, forcing them to move.

    • jwebster2 January 17, 2014 at 11:01 pm Reply

      Commuting is interesting. If you were chatting to a Londoner, a 50 mile drive isn’t too impressive. However round here I know someone who moved from the south with his work, found somewhere to live and then discovered his new workmates considered he was some sort of idiot because he lived fifteen miles from his place of work, whilst the rest of them lived at the most two or three miles away.
      It’s very much a cultural thing. But yes we’re seeing concentrations of people which brings problems. However what struck me was when I went onto google street view in Dallas, just how much space and how few houses there were and how space everybody has. Just put ‘yarlside road barrow in furness’ into google maps and then look at the street view. That’s a nice area near here, quite desirable, people living there are probably doing OK, here’s the average house prices, 🙂

  11. […] After the first three thousand years we’ve about got it right.. […]

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