Lockdown diversification

Just looking around, quite a few people have done interesting things over lockdown. A lot of ‘old markets’ went by the wayside, but there are other ideas whose time might have come.

Whilst catering and accommodation took a kicking during the full lockdown, they could well have seen something of a boost in this twilight world of sub-normality.

For holiday accommodation in England you can stay overnight in a hotel / Bed & Breakfast, campsite, caravan, boat, second home and ‘other accommodation.’

There’s the usual gumph about bubbles, households and six people or not.

The problem with these is that for the farmer looking for a diversification option, they often need substantial investment and you can have all sorts of issues with planners.
But it did strike me that we have something that a lot of people don’t have, space. A seat overlooking a pleasant view, perhaps under the shade of a few trees, might just earn you a bob or two.

The first thing is to organise the parking. Then a gate with a lock (with a combination) and a fence so people know where they can and cannot go. They can book an hour online through a site like Eventbrite, pay by card online, and when they’ve paid they get the combination to the lock.

Yes I know in some areas people will use the combination to steal the lock, but I’ve noticed more and more people using this sort of booking system for events where previously the public just ‘turned up.’

In the era of covid a booking system has advantages. You can guarantee that the person who pays for that hour of peace and quiet will be the only person who can get in during that hour. For events where more people can attend simultaneously (a Maize Maze for example) you can restrict the numbers so everybody can feel safe and socially distanced.

The other advantage is that once people have booked and paid their money, they tend to build their day around it. Whereas previously they might have looked out of the window and thought, ‘let’s give it another hour, see what the weather’s going to do,’ they’re far more likely to turn up for their slot. Especially if they’ve paid for it.

It has struck me that the combination of more ways to book online, a pandemic, and the desire of people to avoid crowds, could well have created opportunities that weren’t there a couple of years ago.

Mind you, I confess that I wasn’t bright enough to spot this latest opportunity. What did I do during ‘lockdown’? Well farming never stopped, if anything some of us have been busier. Also the whole ‘working from home’ debate has rather passed me by. I always have.

But I’ve always enjoyed science fiction. And back in 2013 I talked to a small publisher who wanted me to write some. So the first book came out in 2014. I went down to Loncon, the world’s biggest SF convention that year, and three of us shared a table selling our books. Did OK as well. The second book came out and then the publisher, as small publishers often do, sort of faded. Basically life got too busy and family commitments meant that they had to do the decent thing and gracefully pull the plug.

Anyway I had the manuscripts, I’d got halfway through writing the third book and so I just put everything on hold. I went off and wrote other stuff. Lots of it. But still in the back of my mind there was this story I was telling. Anyway with lockdown, whilst livestock still needs looking after, all sorts of organisations who find ways to inveigle me into doing stuff for them all went to ground.

So not only did I finish the third book but I went on and wrote the fourth as well, so the whole series was done. I know a lot of people are getting wary of buying into a series. The author could get bored, the publisher could pull the plug, and a dozen different things could mean the series never gets completed. Given that it’s seven years since the first book was published, I suppose this series has taken its time, but finally and at least, all four books are out there, published and available

When somebody shoots down a documentary maker, what are they covering up? Haldar Drom of the Governor’s Investigation Office on Tsarina finds himself dealing with illegal population control drugs, genetic engineers, starmancers, and the risk of brushfire wars. Who knows how far up the chain of command the corruption reaches?
You use what you can get, allies in unusual places, reconnaissance by journalist, or a passing system defence boat.

The rest of the books can be seen at

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30 thoughts on “Lockdown diversification

  1. rootsandroutes2012 June 24, 2021 at 4:22 am Reply

    Congratulations on finishing the series!

    • jwebster2 June 24, 2021 at 4:48 am Reply

      Thanks, It’s been one of these things that has irritated me for a while and suddenly there was time 🙂

  2. Doug June 24, 2021 at 8:26 am Reply

    I’m wary of series, because of the common pricing models. So you can get books 1 & 2 for 99p and 1.99, by the time it reaches the climactic episode, it’s 9.99 for an ebook. Now arguably, that’s ok, but if it’s just bubblegum, then that’s pretty expensive bubblegum.

    • jwebster2 June 24, 2021 at 8:35 am Reply

      That’s why I decided to finish the series first. The last one is more expensive but it’s a big one. In paperback it’s 474 pages whilst the others are basically around 300 pages, give or take. So whilst the kindle is £1 more, the paperback has to be more expensive to cover costs of physical printing and delivery

  3. M T McGuire June 24, 2021 at 8:26 am Reply

    At last! Someone who takes about the same amount of time to complete a series as I do! Mwahahahrgh. Great stuff, I’ll be reading.

  4. Stevie Turner June 24, 2021 at 9:27 am Reply

    Congrats on writing a whole series. Good luck with it, Jim, but I must admit, Sci-Fi is not my genre, lol.

    • jwebster2 June 24, 2021 at 9:44 am Reply

      Thanks Stevie, it would never do if you all read the same stuff 🙂
      Having sold books at a convention which was mainly lady romantic novelists, I have a serious amount of respect for their abilities and professionalism

  5. V.M.Sang June 24, 2021 at 10:41 am Reply

    Hi, Jim. Coming from a farming family, myself, although not a farmer, I appreciate the hard work and long hours all farmers put in. Thus, I admire you for managing to finish your series. Well done.
    I like series, but sometimes get frustrated when an author takes forever to finish one. (My pet gripe! George R. R. Martin not finishing his Song of Ice and Fire in book form. I didn’t see the tv series.)
    I’m in the process of writing a series, too. Books 1-3 are out. I then took time to write several other books, and am only just getting back to the series. It was a good idea of yours to release them all at once.

    • jwebster2 June 24, 2021 at 10:57 am Reply

      Having been stymied once over getting things done, I decided I’d just finish it and publish all at once. After all in theory at least some people have been waiting since 2014! So I didn’t want to feel I was stringing people on by just publishing the subsequent books every few years

  6. OIKOS™- Art, Books & more June 24, 2021 at 11:35 pm Reply
    • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 6:39 am Reply

      when I go to the page all I get is “Available soon”
      What am I doing wrong? 😦

      • OIKOS™- Art, Books & more June 25, 2021 at 12:53 pm

        Sorry, Jim! Its new at: https://books.eslarn-net.de
        I only have to find a solution for commenting,sharing,reblogging,liking …
        All this is provided by WP-Jetpack(R). But just this is not allowed, according to the German “unimplemented” GDPR-template. Have a nice weekend! xx Michael

      • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 1:28 pm

        technology is wonderful isn’t it 😦

      • OIKOS™- Art, Books & more June 25, 2021 at 5:11 pm

        For sure, Jim! 😉 I just don’t know why cookies and traffic to the US should be so dangerous. Have a nice weekend! xx Michael

      • Doug June 25, 2021 at 5:21 pm

        Traffic to the US and data storage on US servers is dangerous because of the lack of protection for citizens and non-citizens privacy thanks to the Patriot Act.

        It’s not the worst country for protecting privacy, but it is one of the biggest providers of services, so unless there are SCC in place, there are no protections for your data if it resides on servers located in the US or elsewhere if they are owned by a US registered company.

        Microsoft literally does not own any of its servers in Europe, just so they aren’t subject to US law, and they can therefore comply with GDPR in protecting personal rights.

      • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 5:54 pm

        Thanks for that Doug. Amazing what you learn 🙂

      • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 5:55 pm

        Fear not, Doug has explained it. I hadn’t realised either!

      • rootsandroutes2012 June 25, 2021 at 1:42 pm

        GDPR! Who’d have guessed it?

      • Doug June 25, 2021 at 4:22 pm

        In all fairness, I was a designated DPO responsible for GDPR for a government body. There were folk who were hugely risk averse, and very happy to use GDPR as a mantra when asked why something couldn’t be done. And in 99% of cases, they were clueless about what the legislation actually required.

      • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 4:34 pm

        I think that’s the problem. Much like some health and safety. We don’t want to do it and this is our excuse!

      • rootsandroutes2012 June 25, 2021 at 7:02 pm

        Most people are.

      • OIKOS™- Art, Books & more June 25, 2021 at 5:10 pm

        Yes, it’s cruel. But it is our German government. The only entity that hasn’t adapted the GDPR for its citizens. All other states did it.

      • rootsandroutes2012 June 25, 2021 at 7:04 pm

        Adapted or adopted?

  7. Widdershins June 25, 2021 at 5:05 am Reply

    Well done, sir! Birthing a book or two is never an easy endeavour. I tips me ‘at to you, I does. 🙂

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 6:40 am Reply

      I think writing is like carpentry, more more you do, the better you get.
      And the better you get at covering up the mistakes 🙂

  8. Jane Sturgeon June 25, 2021 at 7:19 am Reply

    Congratulations on publishing a series, Jim, especially within the pandemic, Brexit changes and all your normal farming activities. Me thinks you have superpowers…. 😉

    • jwebster2 June 25, 2021 at 8:48 am Reply

      Ah, but the ‘real world ran off an hid’ leaving me time to do something useful 🙂

  9. Eddy Winko June 29, 2021 at 5:37 am Reply

    I still haven’t read the first on your books I bought! But then I’m busy planting up 2 acres of lavender and other botanicals for all the visitors we are entertaining since lockdown 🙂

    • jwebster2 June 29, 2021 at 5:44 am Reply

      So that way you’ve got the lavender AND you’ve still got the books to read when the weather worsens 🙂

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