The Criminal endeavours of Shadon Ramscrake

An entertaining and humorous character study told by Tallis Steelyard and penned by Jim Webster. Also the offer of a book with more tales by Jim Webster.

Tallis Steelyard

The Criminal endeavours of Shadon Ramscrake

Shadon Ramscrake is, as I’ve mentioned before, a mediocre poet. Still, to be fair to him, he does try. He would sit in his garret, scrawling his mediocre poems in the dim (perhaps even mediocre) light produced by a low quality candle. In fact it wasn’t even a proper candle. He made his own candles by melting down stubs of old candle, tallow and cooking oil and allowing them to set in a shallow pot, around a coil of string which acted as the wick. Honesty compels me to report that whilst they gave little light, the stinking smoke could generally be relied upon to drive away most vermin.

Eventually even Shadon admitted he was getting nowhere in his poetic endeavours. But rather than lay the blame firmly at the door of his lack of ability, he blamed the lack of illumination. I remember him saying, “If only I could…

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Symphony for buzzards

About buzzards.

Jim Webster


Back when I was in my teens I went on some holidays with a young naturalist group up in the Inner and Outer Hebrides. One thing I remember was buzzards hovering high above. As we were told at the time, they were very rare and you wouldn’t see them elsewhere. (as an aside, the picture isn’t mine. I’m borrowing it)

Now there are tens of thousands of them pretty well everywhere. Looking sheep the other day Sal disturbed a pair of them who were cawing affectionately to each other. If you’ve never heard a buzzard

This morning I took some feed down to a batch of lambs. Don’t think cute, think 35kg thugs. Anyway a week previously a bunch of bullocks had broken in to join them, and when they were chased out a dozen lambs and cull ewes had left with them. Anyway this morning I noticed that…

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Living Under the Winter Ice~

Some pictures from historical Iceland by Cindy Knoke.

Laufas is an old turf house in Northern Iceland. There are many of these partially underground historical sod houses in Iceland. The house was built between 1866-1870. The houses are very large and multi-level, with one floor completely underground. In this photo you can see the sod brick construction which has withstood the test of time and Iceland’s formidable winters.

Laufas house facades are made of wood which is quite scarce in Iceland.

There are underground passages,

and underground rooms.

These houses are snug,

but quite spacious,

and not at all claustrophobic inside.

20-30 people lived in Laufas House.

The houses give one a sense of communal underground living,

that was heat efficient during Iceland’s unforgiving winters.

Laufas House was a wealthy priest’s house, and some rooms are more polished and finished than others.

This was a working farm, on a gorgeous site, with a church that was originally built…

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Free for Four Days: ‘Love, Desire and Betrayal’

LOVE, DESIRE AND BETRAYAL is FREE for four days beginning 14th September.

Margaret's Classic Posts

eau de parfum (1)Four young women: Michaela, Sally, Amelia and Lauren. All Australian. All destined to find that the course of true love never did run smooth, not even when flowing through the rivers and streams of the romantic Antipodes.
Four separate tales, here, exploring a universal theme: will career ambitions jeopardize the future of these young trailblazers?
This is a series of compelling, short and highly readable works by Sydney author Margaret Lynette Sharp, whose skill as an artisan of short works has won her two literary awards, and #1 bestseller status on Amazon for one of her more recent efforts — not to mention the acclaim of numerous well-respected critics. These four tales, written earlier in Sharp’s career, are no less captivating.

Starting on 14th September, this title will be free to download on Amazon Kindle for four days.

eau de parfum (1)

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Invitation — Virtual Art Gallery Showing — Under the Sea — the work of Robert M. Goldstein

A new art show.

Teagan's Books

Save the Date! It’s a virtual #ArtShow of images by Robert M. Goldstein, the illustrator of Hullaba Lulu. 

The venue is the #SteamPunk submarine of Cornelis Drebbel!

You are invited to join Rob and me at my blog for the showing — Under the Sea, all next weekend, beginning September 21st.

Invite draft 1

Stay tuned for Straightlaced Saturday this weekend and Copper, the Alchemist, and the Woman in Trousers chapter 6.  Cheers!

No Cornelis, not yet! The art show is the next weekend.  And remember — the show is for Rob’s other artwork.  So do try to behave, Cornelis…

Cornelus - 9th and Harrison-2Art by Rob Goldstein

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Sometimes one has to cheat

Another amusing tale told by Tallis Steelyard and penned by Jim Webster and a book offer by Jim Webster.

Tallis Steelyard

Sometimes one has to cheat

I have previously mentioned Gisset, clerk of works to Tildus Thallawell. I would rate him as perhaps the best organised man in Port Naain. But occasionally even he needs the help only a poet can give him.

His problem started with the Wibblethrone statues. These adorned the front of the Wibblethrone family’s rather grand villa. There were nine, representing the muses. Given that the Wibblethrone family had never invested a dreg in the arts in living memory and probably picked up the statuary cheap in a bankruptcy sale, I always felt they did not deserve to own them.

It seems that Tildus Thallawell shared my opinion. He had seen these statues when invited to attend upon the family in a professional capacity and had decided they were utterly unsuitable. He had instructed Gisset to have them removed and replaced by an array of hanging baskets and raised beds.

I enter…

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At least Herdwicks have the sense to get in out of the rain

A walk through sheep and a book about Sal the Border Collie.

Jim Webster


Well they say travel broadens the mind. But don’t worry; I didn’t go far, just across into Scotland. We had a brisk look round Edinburgh and then down to Newton Stewart because we’ve always liked Galloway.

But we finished off in the Lake District and there I met these, huddling under a tree out of the rain.
I was talking to people the other day. Apparently they felt that we should give up keeping hill sheep, because it wasn’t economically viable. Hill sheep farming only exists because of the support through various environmental schemes.

Yet I’d seen some figures some days before. Defra produced a nice chart; it shows the various sectors and their ability to survive without subsidy.


Specialist pig and poultry farms can survive, they have to, they don’t get subsidies. Admittedly they’re also the most intensive, efficient and productive sectors of agriculture. But do people want the…

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Today in the ‘Alternative Universe’ …

If he’s emptying the swamp someone must be refilling it at twice the speed.

Filosofa's Word

A few headlines caught my eye today …

Trump’s FEMA chief under investigation over use of official cars

I have to ask the question:  Is there anybody in this administration who is not under investigation???  A quick 10-minute search turns up …

  • David Shulkin – Former United States Secretary of Veterans Affairs – spent more than $122,000 of department money on a 10-day trip to the UK and Denmark in July 2017—which involved only three and a half days of meetings. A government investigation into the trip found he had committed several “serious derelictions,” including bringing his wife on the trip at the taxpayer’s expense and improperly accepting free Wimbledon tickets.
  • Steve Mnuchin – Secretary of the Treasury – requested a government plane to take his wife on a honeymoon to Europe, and has come under fire for spending nearly $1 million on just seven trips.
  • Scott Pruitt – Former…

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