Tag Archives: ranting

Oh Lord, not again



Another election. Whoopee, be still my beating heart! Bring it on, let’s be having it. Six more weeks of endless social media bickering as people who hardly know each other slag each off because they believe in the wrong shade of pink.

A bit back somebody posted quite proudly that he’d been to the Britain First facebook page, discovered how many of his facebook friends had liked the page, and unfriended them.

Out of interest I went to the page and looked to see how many of my facebook friends had liked it. I then commented on his wall that I was struck by how young they were.

He asked if I’d unfriended them. I replied that he hadn’t.

Rather huffily he asked why not. I merely replied they were real people and I knew them in real life.

I don’t think that one had occurred to him.


But it’s strange. Writers tend to get a lot of writers as facebook friends, because that’s what writers do, because it’s exposure and getting your name out there.

But other than that, most of the people who I’m linked to on facebook are people I know, and some of them I even meet occasionally. In some cases the discussions on my facebook wall are continuations of discussions that happened the previous evening. Similarly facebook posts can be commented on in real life.

So when I see a friend of mine has ‘liked’ something like Britain First I don’t see a knuckle dragging moron. I see someone who’s probably sick of being talked down to and slagged off by people who had opportunities he hasn’t had.


And now we’ve got an election. Social media will doubtless become horrible and I’ve already started blocking stuff. Not people yet, just the mindless sources they keep trying to share. Life is too short for beaming smugly at yet another toddler proudly displaying the contents of their potty.


One worry is that people are going to try and ramp up the stakes. I’ve already seen people saying that this is the last chance we’ll have to save democracy. Please, stop assuming we’re stupid.


But even more worrying is that each election or referendum since the advent of social media has been more divisive than the last. We’re engaged in a dangerous experiment with our social cohesion. I suspect our problem is we haven’t got enough grown-ups left.

Can June come quickly enough?


What do I know, if you want useful advice on the situation, ask the dog!

As a reviewer commented, “Another excellent compendium of observations from the back of Mr. Webster’s quad bike in which we learn a lot more about sheep, border collies and people. On the whole, I think the collies come out of it best. If you fancy being educated on the ways of the world, with a gentle humour and a nice line in well observed philosophy, you could do a lot worse than this.”

On the road


The weather these last few days been so good, especially for October. So I decided that I was going to get out for a decent walk.

I always find that a long walk gives you time to think, and without people constantly bothering me it’s great for getting rid of stress. I even left my phone at home.

Admittedly that was by accident, I just forgot it, but as it always travels switched off, it didn’t really make any difference.

I decided to get the train to Cark and Cartmel station and walk home, which is, in theory, about 20-22 miles depending what route you follow. I’ve done it before, in the heat of summer, and that got tough. So my idea for today was that I’d play it by ear, I could always get the train home at Ulverston if I was feeling particularly weary.


Technically I’m supposed to be winding up to do some book promoting because I’ve got a new story coming out, but I’ve subcontracted all that to Tallis Steelyard who said he’d do it for me.



So with a light heart and an easy conscience I set off. I got a good start, I was walking out of Cark at about 9am and it’s a long slow climb for nearly an hour up the ridge that runs to Bigland Tarn.




From there you drop down onto the bottoms and across the footbridge to Greenodd



(By the way, these are, as usual, borrowed pictures. I still don’t possess any form of camera. Which is another great saving in time and effort)

Here I got a bite to eat in the coffee shop before going over the tops and down into Ulverston. I decided to keep going at that point but somebody noticed me wandering along a couple of miles further south and gave me a lift home so I obviously looked suitably lost and pathetic. So I probably did fifteen or sixteen miles.

In the first three hours walking I must have seen perhaps four people. In the next bit it was almost crowded, even outside the major conurbations of Greenodd, Ulverston and Urswick I probably ended up saying hi to half a dozen people.

But this area must surely be one of the most unspoiled and empty areas in England, especially at this time of year.

But what did strike me was just how cheerful, friendly and generally nice people were.

So at this point I really must apologise for writing a blog without the obligatory rant. I know I have to do better, and I promise I will try, but frankly after a day like today, meeting people like those I was meeting, it gets awfully difficult to rant.


And here’s the book I got Tallis to promote for me!


As a reviewer commented, “This is a great collection of quirky little tales which are a spin-off from a series featuring Benor Dorffingil. Tallis is his friend, landlord, drinking companion and a jobbing poet. There are some lovely phrases used in here, as you would expect from a wordsmith like Tallis, who presents us with his pragmatic take on life. It’s an example of what happens when a minor character takes the reins and gallops off on his own. A great little book.”