Tag Archives: Romance

And so it begins!


When we were scanning between Christmas and New Year, one ewe was ostentatiously more heavily in lamb than the others. So she was brought in and pampered a bit.

Because the weather has been so wet and disgusting, one of the hoggs that was running with the ewes was starting to look sad and bedraggled as well, so she was brought in to keep our expectant mum company.

Then the handful of fat lambs left were fetched in as well. In spite of being fed outside they were just spending more time huddled under the hedge than they were spending eating, and they gave the impression they were losing weight rather than gaining it. So they were brought in for a final week or so. So our expectant lady didn’t lack for company.

Anyway, yesterday morning when I went in with the bucket to feed them, there she was, standing with her two new lambs. OK so they’re born a month before any of the others are expected to arrive, but she’ll not be the first lady to manage this sort of thing without enquiring too deeply into the plans of others.

Indeed she does rather give the lie to those who think that it’s farmers who force sheep into early lambing. Sheep won’t lamb earlier than they will lamb. We can keep the tups separate, put them out later, to ensure ewes lamb later in the season, when hopefully the weather will be better, grass will be more plentiful, and lambs cheaper to rear. The alternative is to let tups in a bit earlier, let nature take its course, and have the lambs born earlier. This means that you have to feed them more. On the other hand you might get them away at the higher prices you see earlier in the season.
However a quick look at the graph will show that whilst you might hope for decent prices early in June it’s very variable, and is it worth betting the farm on?


But anyway, the rest of the ladies are still out at grass, we’ve started giving them some concentrate feed because now they’ve got lambs to feed and you’ve got to build up both mother and her unborn lamb. But not too much. There’s an art to feeding sheep at this time of year. You want ewe and lamb to be in good condition, but at the same time you don’t want to have the lamb grow too big or the ewe get too fat so that you end up having a difficult birth. We’ve got to get the jelly-baby through the hole in the polo mint, without damaging either the jelly-baby or the polo.

A red red rose



Some of us are born romantic; some have romance thrust upon us. Some of us occasionally get it right by accident. I suppose honesty compels me to admit that I’m firmly in the third category.

Once upon a time, (but not actually in a galaxy far far away) my better half was in hospital after having a kidney operation. Anyway I did the whole dutiful husband thing, visiting and whatever. Yet on the horizon, Valentine’s Day was lurking. I pondered this. Admittedly not particularly deeply, and not particularly long, but I did ponder.

So I decided I’d buy a card. I went into the local ‘stores’ and looked at their selection. The problem with Valentine’s Day cards is that they’re either grossly romantic, the sort of thing you’d buy an aged aunt or grandmother, or virtually obscene. This card would inevitably be on display amongst the get-well cards by the side of a hospital bed so I wanted something appropriate. I found it, it was romantic, it was witty, and I snapped it up, happy to pay over a quid for it. I was even happier when it turned out to be only 26p.

So, card purchased, the job was sorted.
That evening, when I went to visit, I was ambushed. At the time there was a flower stall as part of the hospital entrance area and as I entered I was accosted by a young lady with a clip board. She obviously saw the panicked look in my eyes because she uttered the words I hoped to hear. “Don’t worry, this won’t cost you anything.”

I relaxed. Only a little, but I relaxed.

The young lady asked, “Who are you visiting.”

That seemed an innocent enough question, so I thought I could answer it safely, “My wife.”

“We’ve got a free prize draw, win a single perfect rose. Would you like to enter?”

I’d heard the magic word, ‘free’, so I nodded boldly and said yes.

So she asked, “Who would the flower be for?”

“My wife.”

Pen poised, she asked, “Why are you giving the flower to her.”

I’m afraid I must have looked at her as if she was wet behind the ears. “Because if I gave it to anyone else she’d kill me.”

With the younger generation put firmly in its place I smiled and walked on.

Next morning was the 14th, when I visited that night there was a ripple of applause in the ward. It seems that there had been an announcement on hospital radio that morning; my lady wife was to be given a single perfect rose.

A male nurse, dressed mainly in sheets as a cherub, presented her with the rose and then fished about in among the sheets for the message.

“You husband sends you this…” here he checked his note, “Because if he gave it to anybody else, you’d kill him.”

But still, not bad value, the full Valentine’s Day experience for twenty-six pence.


Should you wish to be wildly extravagant, you could treat yourself to this perfect rose



As the reviewer so sagaciously commented
“In this new adventure in the `Swords’ series, we again follow Benor and watch and feel as though we take part in his hectic life. He both pursues and is pursued when he `liberates’ a prince’s concubine (and keeps her!) and the prince, naturally, doesn’t want to let the matter rest. As well as being an excellent fighter, one of his companions on the journey is a master of the haute couture trade and manages to combine these two rather successfully.

Jim Webster has created a credible fantasy world here, populated by its own races, both rivals and allies, and with an intriguing group of wild creatures which you can almost taste when they are described as food species! There is a good deal of action in this book but also some softer, `Ahhh!’ moments which I won’t describe for fear of spoiling the story. Needless to say, he has once again used his own writing style to give us some wonderfully memorable phrases. I like his style and his gentle humour.”

Chick lit Special

A heart tugging, tear jerking romance. Grab a box of tissues; open the chocolates and white wine. Except of course I’m male so you know it’ll end badly.
If it’s any consolation, it isn’t my story as such. It was told me by a lady of my acquaintance, rather more years ago than I care to remember. To prevent embarrassment I shall merely say it took place in a south coast town with port facilities and occasional US Navy presence.
My friend had just enrolled at a local higher educational establishment. (I told you I was being discrete here.) She, along with a bunch of other female students rented a house. It was an OK sort of house, the area wasn’t that salubrious but there again, more and more students were moving into it so it wasn’t about to improve much, whatever you did.
Anyway they got themselves settled in and started their courses. Life was a sharp learning curve. They soon learned that a lone female sitting along in the front room with the curtains opened was presumed to be advertising certain services of a ‘personal’ nature. This problem was easily solved, merely drawing the curtains seemed enough to change the signal sent out.
Still, they weren’t prepared for the next incident. At about 2am in the morning there is a hammering on the door, and before any of the girls occupying the house have time to do anything about it there is a crash as the front door in smashed down. This is followed by a male voice, bellowing (with authentic American accent) “US Shore patrol.”
Hastily this group of young ladies gathered at the top of the stairs and peered down at the group of US servicemen gathered at the bottom. Now here we have to have a technical digression. Had I been a witness to the scene or indeed had I invented the story; at this point a definitive statement would have been made. I would have made it my business to tell you whether these were US Marines, US Navy personnel or whatever. But alas the lady of my acquaintance was totally ‘lost at sea’ as we might say over these details. Purely for narrative ease I am going to assume the shore patrol was composed of marines. Anyway back to the story.
The Marine Sergeant in charge was looking for defaulters whose ship was sailing later that day and he was following the time honoured procedure of working his way through the brothels and similar dens of iniquity. The house whose door he had smashed down was on the list and the fact that the door hadn’t been thrown open immediately he knocked was a suspicious sign.
The fact that the only occupants appeared to be a group of young ‘ladies’ wearing night attire probably did nothing to convince him he was mistaken.
Eventually he allowed himself to be convinced. Whether it was the realisation that the night attire consisted predominantly of pyjamas and fluffy bunny slippers rather than baby doll nighties that swayed him I don’t know. Whether it was the vigour of the argument, or the simple fact that there were no young men present; but once proved wrong the Sergeant was not too proud to admit his mistake. He apologised and he and his shore patrol left. But he did leave a particularly burly marine standing in the doorway so that the girls weren’t bothered and could sleep secure until the door was replaced later that day.
Late that morning a young (and apparently charming) US Marine Lieutenant arrived bringing with him appropriate tradesmen. He apologised sincerely, drank coffee with them and the door was fixed to everybody’s satisfaction. A good job done and life reverted to its old tranquil routine.
Until three weeks later when there was a crash, the front door was smashed down and the bellow of “US Shore patrol” was once more heard.
Again there was the discussion with the initially sceptical sergeant; again there were the honest apologies, the leaving of a marine, and the arrival next morning of the charming Lieutenant with yet more apologies and suitable tradesmen to fix the damage.
Apparently the US navy had a list of brothels, bordellos and similar, and their house was still on it. As each ship sent out its own shore patrol with its own copy of the list, the problem was that the mistake kept getting made. But, as he drank coffee and soothed ruffled feathers he promised them that he was on their case and would do his best.
It has to be admitted that try he did, indeed it got to the stage where the Sergeant leading the shore patrol would be met by one bored female whose sole response was “Phone Lieutenant Rivera.”
It was only later that year, when the Lieutenant had been going out with one of the girls for over six months that he admitted he could have got the list changed after the first incident. But he hadn’t because he couldn’t think of any other way to keep on meeting her.
Isn’t young love beautiful?



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As a reviewer commented, “Having read many of Jim Webster’s Historical Fantasy books, I looked forward to seeing what he would do with a Science Fiction story.
I was not disappointed.
Webster’s trademark style of weaving the main storyline with several, seemingly unrelated sub-plots was in evidence throughout, all of which are neatly brought together in an unexpected, but satisfactory, finale.”