What, another winter!


You have to admit it, Cumbria is so beautiful that even the view from the motorway service stations can be impressive. Before anybody starts talking about their national parks, there are about ten million people who live within a hundred miles of where this photo was taken. Mind you, the motorway service station I took the photo from has become a journey destination with a big farm shop and food counter. It is now possible to organise meetings there because those possible attendees who also organise the family shopping will comment in an environmentally sound manner that ‘it’s central,’ whilst gearing up for the shopping experience.

Still, it has to be said, winter is starting, we’re getting a mixture of days like the one in the photo, where there’s that touch of frost in the morning and there’s mist coming up from the river valleys.

But nearer home it’s obvious that winter is here. Yesterday when I was feeding heifers out in the field I looked north and I could see a dusting of snow on the hills above Langdale, which are about thirty miles north of here. There’s not been anything nearer, but to be fair the rain was damned cold when it came yesterday. There were traces of ice on the puddles in the yard as the sun came up.

So from a farming point of view, we’re pretty much in full winter anyway. The only livestock left out are a handful of dairy heifers who’re just moving round the farm cleaning off the last of the grass. I have no doubt they’ll be in soon because the ground is getting too wet, and there isn’t a lot of grass left.

But when the rain stopped this morning, it actually felt quite mild. We’re lucky in that, unusually, we’ve not had the rain they’ve had further east. So we’ve no sign of flooding, but the ground is definitely wet. After feeding heifers I went for a walk round the bottom land to just see what it was like. It struck me that we’re in a ‘waiting period.’ Autumn is turning into winter, but round here, we’re unlikely to get anything too cold until after Christmas. So we’re in one of those periods where you just get your head down and plod on. November is a month we get through, rather than a month we expect anything special from.

Essentially everything at the moment is in a ‘holding pattern.’ Yes the real enthusiasts are gearing up for Christmas, but as one meme I saw on facebook commented, “Remember, all you over-enthusiastic Christmas decorators, Mary hasn’t told Joseph she’s pregnant yet.”

Then we’ve got a general election as well. Again we’ve got the real enthusiasts who’re all over social media like a bad rash, flogging their particular dead horse. One advantage of social media is that, in reality, it means a lot of people who might otherwise be a damned bore in the real world can just brag of their virtue in a facebook echo chamber. I’ve spent the last week quietly ‘snoozing’ people who really ought to know better than think people cared about the articles they’re posting.

I must confess that during this election I’m getting less news coverage than I normally do. This is because once the news stops being news and becomes election coverage, I just switch it off. So if your home town disappears beneath the waves and I don’t write to commiserate, it’s not that I don’t care, it’s just that the BBC covered it between ‘discussions’ between party spokespersons and I’d already left by that point.
After all, when you stop and think about it, I’ve seen all these politicians and their parties in operation over the years. So why am I going to be impressed by anything they promise to do for me now?
Oh yes, I saw a comment I enjoyed, “a voter is a person being bribed with their own money.”


Because I’m a thoroughly decent chap and don’t want you to suffer from terminal boredom in the election season, I published three novellas.
Thus might I recommend to you


When mages and their suppliers fall out, people tend to die. This becomes a problem when somebody dies before they manage to pass on the important artefact they had stolen. Now a lot of dangerous, violent or merely amoral people are searching, and Benor has got caught up in it all. There are times when you discover that being forced to rely upon a poet for back-up isn’t as reassuring as you might hope.

When he is asked to oversee the performance of the celebrated ‘Ten Speeches’, Tallis Steelyard realises that his unique gifts as a poet have finally been recognised. He may now truly call himself the leading poet of his generation.
Then the past comes back to haunt him, and his immediate future involves too much time in the saddle, being asked to die in a blue silk dress, blackmail and the abuse of unregulated intoxicants. All this is set in delightful countryside as he is invited to be poet in residence at a lichen festival.

And a review! The reviewer commented “A dangerously good author.

This author has created a rich world, filled with interesting characters – of whom Maljie is one of the most colourful. Her life and adventures are presented though the gossip of the poet Tallis Steelyard who has a sharp eye and a sharper tongue. Reminiscent somewhat of Pepys’ diaries about the small and large events of London, Tallis is a better writer. And why is Mr Webster dangerous – too much of my money is being spent on his books.

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9 thoughts on “What, another winter!

  1. Stevie Turner November 17, 2019 at 5:50 pm Reply

    I can’t wait for springtime – then Sam and I can make more trips to our new ‘van’ on the Isle of Wight.

    • jwebster2 November 17, 2019 at 6:19 pm Reply

      I can well imagine. It strikes me that with the van, and an area like the Isle of Wight, you’ve managed to strike a nice balance 🙂

      • Stevie Turner November 18, 2019 at 2:13 pm

        Yes, I’ve no desire to travel abroad anymore, and am happy with our upgraded van that we bought last month. Roll on summer!

  2. Widdershins November 18, 2019 at 1:28 am Reply

    Mrs Widds and I chortled at both those quotes … witty and true. 🙂

    • jwebster2 November 18, 2019 at 5:53 am Reply

      it’s not bad when I can manage both 🙂

  3. jenanita01 November 21, 2019 at 7:43 pm Reply

    Jim, I am so sorry, I have been away from my desk today and only just noticed that our post for your stories has only just gone live. I scheduled it for this morning, so don’t understand what went wrong. I will run it again in the morning, just so you get good coverage!

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