Blowing away the cobwebs

I was walking round checking heifers the other morning and my route takes me across a field where there were potatoes. As I walked along the headland I did a double take. I could have sworn there was ice in the tread marks left by the tractors.

It was only as I looked closely that I realised that it was dew on cobwebs.

But since then autumn has tilted more towards winter, I suspect the next time I see the phenomenon it will be ice, or at least rag. On the other hand, stock still outside are looking well. Today the dry cows looked relaxed and happy in the chilly early morning sun.

Mind you, that’s more that can be said for a lot of people. After six months people are starting to get a bit stowed of it all.
I was reading the paper the other day and a lass who works in a lot of ‘interesting’ places was writing about this. Apparently if you’re trapped in a stressful situation for six months you ‘hit a wall.’ You’ve had enough and need a break.

It appears that the army discovered long ago that troops who served six month tours in a war zone were more likely to re-enlist than troops who served twelve or eighteen month tours. Even if the lads who’d done the six month tours had actually done more tours and put in more time in combat than the others.

Her advice was to ‘get away.’ But she admitted that it isn’t always possible. Indeed travelling anywhere at the moment can be more stressful than staying at home. When she couldn’t travel, what she did was to ‘escape into a good book.’ In her case, she loved Lord of the Rings’ and would just have a long weekend off at wherever she was living at the time. There, she would just shut out the world, sit and read. It felt like having a few days holiday and she emerged from it feeling better.

Funnily enough I can empathise with this. For me, the Foot and Mouth outbreak was far more stressful than the current medical unpleasantness. The fact that my lady wife and I have almost certainly had coronavirus before it was fashionable means this particular madness is a lot less stressful.

But during FMD I got to a point where I couldn’t even settle to read. So I sat down and read my way through the Asterix books.

After them, I was up to methodically working my way through the Terry Pratchett Discworld series. These carried me through.

So really, that’s my advice to people. If you can take a break, do. I drove across the country last weekend to see my daughter who we’ve not been able to see. She’s been stuck on her own in a flat. It did us both good to meet up. But thanks to the regulations, what is possible one weekend might not be possible the next. But you can always get a good book. Even if you don’t feel up to venturing into a bookshop, there’s plenty on line. But actually now might be the time to re-read the books you love. My late mother was very fond of the Miss Read books, and would re-read them. I’ve always felt that a good book ought to be a holiday you can take without the hassle of travelling.

But if you fancy something new, I could recommend some of my own stuff. After all, Port Naain is a city where you can still walk the streets without worrying about social distancing or wearing a mask.



Hired to do a comparatively simple piece of mapping work Benor should perhaps have been suspicious when the pay seemed generous.
Will he ever get to the bottom of what is going on?
How rough is the rough justice of rural Partann?
How to clean out a privy with a crossbow. Welcome to the pastoral idyll.

As a reviewer commented, “Benor the cartographer is offered a job away from home with unusually generous pay. It all has to be done on the quiet, too. Something’s up. Benor has a murder to solve. I thought he had, but there’s more to come. This story is a murder mystery and a comedy of manners, set in a world of fantasy. If you like a genre mashup, this is brilliant. The characters and their relationships and banter would make it worth reading even if it didn’t have a plot – but it does. Another winner for me.”

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26 thoughts on “Blowing away the cobwebs

  1. jenanita01 September 26, 2020 at 8:44 am Reply

    It’s not always easy to crawl into a book for a few hours. I managed a few minutes the other day, and will try to do better next week!

    • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 8:46 am Reply

      It’s an effort worth making, but I do wonder if writers find it more difficult than some? After all when we’re reading we’re not writing

      • jenanita01 September 26, 2020 at 6:16 pm

        Good job most of us like both!

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 6:24 pm

        An you really need to read to be a writer so it’s research, and therefore work, so you’re not just slouching about reading 😉

      • jenanita01 September 27, 2020 at 8:07 am


      • jwebster2 September 27, 2020 at 9:00 am

        It fact it’s virtuous and evidence of a sound work ethic 😉

  2. Cathy Cade September 26, 2020 at 11:28 am Reply

    I do miss having a new Terry Pratchett to read every year. I must re-read more of them when I’ve got down this TBR pile.
    I’ve read a couple of your stories and a novel… perhaps I should start from the beginning. Sadly I don’t get a lot of reading time. Maybe I should give up some of the blogs.

    Like you, we’re fairly certain we had the bug back at the start of February. What a shame we can’t get tested and go around wearing some kind of badge to show we’re safe to walk past. (I know the doom-n-gloomers say you may be able to get it again, but how many people have you heard of who’ve had it twice?)

    • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 11:53 am Reply

      Apparently there are several people who have had it twice because they’ve been properly tested both times. The second time they were asymptomatic, didn’t know they’d had it and were picked up with random testing, but again, the tests were checked.
      I think there was one somewhere in the far east and a couple in the low countries. Which given how many people have had it, and how widespread the testing is, shows it’s not a major problem 🙂
      Especially as it’s asymptomatic

      Glad you liked the stories 🙂
      This blog gives the ‘story so far’ but is now two years out of date, other stuff has been written

      • Cathy Cade September 26, 2020 at 2:24 pm

        I’d heard of the one in the Middle East (a while ago, wasn’t it?) but I’m not following the news v. closely just lately.
        Thanks for the link. Starting at the beginning.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 2:58 pm

        There could well have been one in the middle east as well, but like you, I’m not following the news too closely. That was madness lies 🙂

        Enjoy the trip through the books 🙂

  3. M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 1:44 pm Reply

    That’s basically how I wrote 50k in lockdown. Because I needed to escape and since then, I’ve been hankering to escape back into innerspace and write my new series. And there’s a short to ease me in, or the dementia book.



    • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 1:55 pm Reply

      Yes, during the first lockdown I got a lot done, even through I was working normally though it

      • M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 4:34 pm

        I think that maybe the thing that saves the time is that the people and organisations that stuck it away from you aren’t at work. So you get back the time you’d normally have vampires away from you while you are dealing with them.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        As I read that I knew you were absolutely right. A lot of the people we didn’t see during lockdown, we didn’t need anyway!

      • M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 6:51 pm

        🤣🤣🤣 yep

  4. M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 1:46 pm Reply

    I should add, I tend to save all yours up over the year and read them on holiday. But at the moment it looks as if I’ll have to start scheduling reading sessions into my day at this rate, the prospect of actual holidays being a bit thin on the ground.



    • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 1:56 pm Reply

      I think we have to build holidays in to the normal day at the moment
      Scheduling a reading session sounds wise. Glad mine act as a holiday on holiday 🙂

      • M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 4:34 pm

        Yep. Looking forward to the next lot.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 6:25 pm

        There’s another Maljie about to come out, and probably another Tallis collection before Christmas 🙂

      • M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 6:50 pm

        Nice. 👍 The new K’Barthan novel is resting now but it’s finished.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 7:56 pm

        That’s good. I’ve got the three SF waiting three months for me to forget what I said and so when I edit them, I’m reading what is actually there, not what I thought I wrote

      • M T McGuire September 26, 2020 at 8:27 pm

        That’s what I do. Works a treat.

      • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 8:30 pm

        Yes, it’s the technique that works for me as well.

  5. Audrey Driscoll September 26, 2020 at 6:59 pm Reply

    You’re right about Miss Read. Books that create a world that becomes a refuge to readers are perfect. Your books do that too; of course the goings-on in Port Naain and environs are a bit more racy than those in Miss R.’s villages.

    • jwebster2 September 26, 2020 at 7:58 pm Reply

      Yes, and being a teacher since she was 19 (just after the war) from a rural background my mother could slide more easily into that world than some.
      But somebody described Port Naain as Jane Austen met Terry Pratchett (which I thought was nice)

  6. Americaoncoffee February 10, 2021 at 1:03 am Reply

    Lots of unpleasant things today and cobwebs hide some of the most grotesque bugs… we have to keep safe and sane. Well wishes for your good week!

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