It’s been longer than normal since I last posted. To be honest I’ve been busy. Yes, Jim has been working for a living. It’s something I’m supposed to do from time to time. But anyway, at the start of the week I had to go down to London for agricultural meetings. They were interesting. Agriculture is in a very unusual position at the moment. Defra is consulting and because two years ago nobody expected us to be where we are, nobody has ‘a plan.’
This is a good thing; it means the consultation is real. The cynic in me normally reckons that you read a standard Defra consultation document, as produced under all governments (party makes no difference here) and you’ll find three options.
One is too hot,
One is too cold,
And one is just right.
And it’s obviously the Goldilocks option that they want to implement and you are supposed to agree with.
But this time it’s obvious that Defra is listening and happy to seek guidance. Which is surely a good thing?
But when I was down in London, the world changed. Obviously London is always too hot and unpleasant, but it was merely a taste of things to come. When I arrived home, Spring had finally arrived. No ethereal maiden elegantly reclining amidst the early flowers. No this year we got the harassed young mum, frantically juggling far too many things at once, who passed through at speed, smelling vaguely of nappies.
But still it was good to see her and everybody is enjoying it. Previously, Sal had abandoned running behind the quad when I went to feed ewes and lambs. Mainly because she had had a bellyful of the general unpleasantness. Now she comes with me again. Whereas previously ewes glowered at the lamb eating wolf descendent that was threatening to prey on their darlings. Now they smile beneficently at her as she stalwartly patrols the fringes of the flock guarding them from some untold peril. She’s still doing exactly what she had been doing, but even the sheep seem to have decided that spring is in the air and the world is suddenly a better, indeed a more wonderful, place.
Not only that but somebody borrowed a loadall and we’re spring cleaning with a vengeance. Plastic in that skip for recycling, metal in that skip for sale. I’ve spent the day cutting up the scrap wood that has emerged out of the various heaps, getting ready for winter.
I’ve been busy in other things as well. I launched a new collection of stories, and obviously I had to tell people so they knew it was available for purchase. (This is a courteous way of saying I did my best to make the internet hideous for people with constant adverts screaming ‘buy my book.’)
One way I do this is produce stories for other people’s blogs. They tend to be people who like the tales of Tallis Steelyard, and so they’re pleased to host a story.
I’ll do a number of stories, and try and link them to a theme. This means that people can follow the story from blog to blog, getting to see a lot of interesting blogs in passing. Effectively it links them together as a ‘tour’. Even more importantly people get to see my stories, like them and invest 99p in a collection of them!
This time, I took my inspiration for the promotion from Mussorgsky – Pictures at an Exhibition. I kept the vague theme of Mussorgsky’s pictures but found some of my own and had Tallis Steelyard write a story for each picture. For other people’s blogs this works well, the internet needs pictures and I’m using the highest quality of art.
Half way through the tour I realised just how much work I’d done on these stories. They were virtually a novella on their own! So I collected together all these stories, and put them together into an ebook. So what you get is thirteen stories plus the pictures that inspired them. Go on, treat yourself, what else can you get for 99p
As an aside it strikes me you might not have come across the Tallis Steelyard blog, which is an endless collection of his stories. It’s here