What I did on someone else’s holiday

I am a little behind. Some prefer to call me a short arse, but really I’m just a little behind.

I have copies of Mark Ellott’s latest book to send him and a couple of other things to send out which I will get done before Monday. I’m now down to two books to deal with, one novella and a collection of wonderfully surreal short stories that Roobeedoo is editing. I have a week before the next visitor…

One big mistake I made was the overuse of ‘open in new tab’ for the Leg Iron Books site. There’s no need for internal pages to open in new tabs because they are all accessible from the top menu. It’s not a hard thing to fix, it’ll just take time. One of those ‘kick yourself’ realisations.

The last week, we have been visited by CStM’s father. He travelled all the way from Denmark, he saved for ages for the trip and he hasn’t been to Scotland before – and might not get another chance for years. So we went all-out on the sights. Mostly the weather was okay, sometimes rain and thunder, but we managed to time things just right for indoor and outdoor things. We did get caught in rain a couple of times, can’t be helped, it’s Scotland.

The visits all had some kind of liquid theme but again, it’s Scotland. Wet is normal here.

So we have been to…

Loch Ness – that’s Urquhart Castle on the north shore.
Fyvie Castle, which has a lake.
Haddo House, which has a pet cemetery. Also a lake.
Dufftown, which has the Dufftown/Keith private railway and is home to Glenfiddich and Balvenie and a host of other distilleries. If you visit the Glenfiddich distillery shop you can marvel at a bottle, on open display, with a price tag of £1600! I didn’t buy that one.
Aberdeen. Naturally.
We toured the distillery at Glen Garioch, a small one that produces some excellent and often rather expensive whiskies. My budget ran to a bottle of the 12 year old which, at 48%, has to be approached with caution.
Finally, the one every visitor wants to see and the one I’m terrified they’ll want to see – the most inaccessible castle in Scotland. Dunottar. There’s no bridge. You want to see it close up, you walk down the cliff path and then up the opposite cliff path. I did it once, 20 years or so ago. I’m not keen to do it again. This is where the Scots hid the Royal Treasure from Cromwell because at the time there was no way to attack this place without getting minced. Your army is in single file down the cliff path, in full view of the archers.

I have also discovered something about driving an automatic car. When you do it a lot, and the Loch Ness trip was 8.5 hours of driving, your left leg can swell up. Your right leg is busy with pedals but your left leg is doing nothing. It’s on a long haul flight. It’s going down now but it’s something I have to keep in mind for the next trip to Wales. Frequent stops and walking about.

Now I have a week until the next visitor – CStM’s aunt – who will also want to see lots. Then we visit Denmark for a week and then it’s Halloween anthology time. So this week is going to be some intense work to get the novella ready and thank whatever Gods there are, Roobeedoo is dealing with the short story book.

I’ll very probably have to take the laptop on holiday… won’t be the first time.

Unfortunately CStM’s aunt, unlike her father, isn’t interested in tasting whisky so I won’t have an excuse to buy a different one for every day.

But I probably will anyway.

#What’sThePoint?

So the Lib Dems have voted in some hyperactive tart as leader, who has already shouted about the ‘Big Bus Message’ as if it was a lie, which it has already been proven not to be. She will do ‘whatever it takes’ to stop Brexit and in the process, destroy all faith in that voting system that is the cornerstone of democracy.

Well I didn’t vote for her. I wasn’t asked to vote for her – in fact I wasn’t allowed to vote for her because I am not a member of the Literal Dribblycraps and never will be. It’s hard to believe they descended from the Whigs of old, once one of the two main parties of Parliament. Now they are just a bunch of wishy washy whiners intent on getting their own way and capable of no more than a public tantrum if they don’t. Which, to be fair, doesn’t make them any different from any other modern party.

The general public voted for Brexit, wench. We didn’t vote for you.

Next we get to hear who will be the next Prime Monster. The smart money is on Borissio the Clown, but the Utter Hunt might yet win it. We’ll know soon. Again, I didn’t get a vote because I am not a member of the Terminal Decline party and never will be. The way they are going, soon, nobody will be. The Terrible Maybe is busily salting the earth for her successor anyway so whoever wins is facing a shitstorm. Get the popcorn in.

The general public voted for Brexit, whichever of you idiots wins. We didn’t vote for you.

Meanwhile in North Korea they had a vote on the leader with only one name on the ballot paper. Not surprising – would you put your name up in opposition to Kim Jong Jinglejangle?

And the EU voted in a new Empress with only one name on the ballot paper but apparently that’s somehow different…

It’s rapidly reaching a point, I’ve noticed, where all the leaders of the West are blondes. Didn’t someone, once, have a dream of Aryan supremacy? Hmm… probably just coincidence. I think Ken Clarke might know who it was.

Being a short ginger, I never had a chance at power anyway, although I’ll steal their souls if they ever get close enough.

On Twitter there is a hashtag #NotMyPM where people are already declaring they will not recognise Borissio as PM if he wins. Why? What the hell is the point?

This came from the USA, as do most mad ideas (they have a long way to go to catch up with Japan on mad ideas but they are trying). They had a NotMyPresident thing going where they pretended Trump didn’t win. Now we have NotMyPM where, if Boris wins, they’ll pretend he didn’t. Both of them have the power of their position, pretending they don’t changes nothing.

It does tickle me when these people say they are repressed. Try #NotMyGreatLeader in North Korea and see what happens. Or something similar in China or Russia. You know, the ultimate socialist dream states. Go on, give it a go in Venezuela. What could possibly go wrong? I mean, nobody stops you doing it in these repressive Western states so those wonderful free Socialist states will tolerate it even more, right?

I don’t trust Borissio the Clown but from the choices available he is the lesser of two evils. The Utter Hunt will not implement Brexit and will carry on the Terrible Maybe’s stupid authoritarianism. Borissio might not do that.

There have been a few Cabinet members saying they will resign if Boris gets the job. Including the Chancer of the Exchequer, Phil Hammond. Well so what? Every new Prime Monster chooses their own raft of Underbed Monsters so most of them will get sacked anyway. And let’s be brutally honest – none of them have a clue what they are doing.

They are so full of self importance they cannot believe anyone could fuck up the job better than they can. They really believe we will be terrified by their threat to resign. We don’t care. We know you get the job through arselicking and not by merit, we know you are all useless and only ever get private sector jobs because of who you know and can influence in government. We know that we would never, ever employ anyone like you. So resign. Just go away. We’ll be out waving hankies and smiling as your truck heads into Oblivion Road.

There will be a replacement who will be just as fucking useless as you are. You don’t need to worry about that.

Not one politician matters. Every one of them can be replaced by a new, power hungry control freak utterly selfish avaricious bastard and it will make no difference at all. Threaten to resign? Yes. Go. Do it. All of you. We don’t like you anyway.

In a matter of hours we find out if this country is going to be run by Borissio the Clown or an Utter Hunt.

Next election, I’m voting for an invertebrate. The funny part is… so are you.

The difference is that I know it.

Can you hear, can you hear the thunder?

Not a competition this time. It would be too easy anyway. Competition responses have been poor, most likely because I am rather intermittent with blogging these days. The next one will be an amalgamation of all the previous ones.

Okay, a lot of it is because Leg Iron Books, my retirement ‘hobby’, is at the stage where I have to seriously consider taking on some part time staff. Freelancers, ideally, because I can’t guarantee regular work. Yet.

We are also in thunder season. A big one fried the router and landline phone recently. There was another batch Thursday and more forecast for later today (Saturday) which didn’t happen. Even so, I go to bed never knowing if I will have phone or internet in the morning.

I’m tired. We have CStM’s father visiting, he’s no trouble but it’s an extra drain on time. He is at least keen on trains so we have something in common. I am at least down to two books in the works now that Mark Ellott’s latest book is completed and online.

Ah well, we have the spectacle of the EU having a comic vote on Drunker’s replacement using a ballot paper with one name on it. Then the media ignore this while reviling North Korea’s elections that have a ballot paper with one name on it. You know, Kim Jong Jinglejangle won by a much wider margin than the EU’s new bimbo. Yet he is the illegitimate leader. Figure that one out.

Farage has said the win was illegitimate because of the narrow margin. Is he insane? Surely it was no vote at all, since there was one name on the paper. Yes or no were the options.

Humanity is crashing. The species is done. The human race is over. Nobody won.

In Canada a man who pretends to be a woman is sueing a fanny-shaver for not shaving his balls. Just like the poofs demanding a Christian baker make their cake. It has all become very silly.

They have an inflatable Boris to join the inflatable Trump now. They think they are right-on and cool. I think they are children having a tantrum.

Is Boris the saviour? No, there isn’t one. Among all the politicians we have now, there isn’t one. They don’t care about us, any of us. They want power. Over us.

I think, about now, it’s time for another King Charles and all that it brings. It is not going to be nice.

But it might well be neccessary.

Killing yourself to live

Okay, the Freddo competition still hasn’t happened because I’m dealing with two novels and a short story collection while preparing for visitors and getting ready for a short trip to Denmark and battling a garden that looks like Chthulu’s extended family rising in the rain.

Nobody noticed the last one so this time it’s up front. Where did I steal the title from? Band, album, year. And what did the song actually reference? Up for grabs – a print copy of ‘you’ll be fine’ plus a bit of Leg Iron Books crappy merchandise – which is not on general sale so far. First answer in the comments gets it. The book is a funny one, not a scary one.

Right. To the real point. The Green God and the Church of Climatology.

I have argued with them on Twitter but no longer. There’s no point and it’s too late anyway. They call me ‘climate denier’, the new word for ‘heretic’. They believe what the High Priests of Alleged Science tell them, they believe in The Models (the digital version of a remarkably inaccurate religious book) and they talk of nothing but the End of Days unless we all live as they direct. No discussion is allowed, the ‘science’ is settled and is now Gospel.

And they scoff in smug self-righteousness when I call it a religion. Then they want me burned at the stake for heresy.

Well, the real truth is that there has been no global warming for twenty years and we are now in a sharp cooling period because the Grand Solar Minimum is already underway. The Apocalypse has indeed started and the Church of Climatology has made it far worse than it needed to be. We could have adapted, as we have in the past, but that option is now deleted for most people.

Let’s put my positions on the line.

Climate : The climate changes. All the time. It does this in cycles, a complex set of cycles with big cycles of hot and cold overlying a shorter warm/cool cycle. Anyone my age knows this because we have experienced it.

In the first few years of the 2000’s I could grow six foot tall tobacco plants outdoors. I live well north of Aberdeen. It was legal back then, it’s not legal any more but it doesn’t matter because I’d struggle to grow tomatoes in a greenhouse this year. In those years I’d have to use an electric fan indoors because even opening a window was no use – there was no air movement for weeks and the air outside was hotter than inside anyway.

In the early 1980s I went out to drive to work and couldn’t find my car. All I saw was a row of white mounds along both sides of the street. Deep snow in between them, deep snow on the pavement. I walked in to work and it turned out not many others had bothered.

About eight years ago we had two successive winters that started in October and continued into May the following year. It wiped out my fish pond and gave me cracked ribs because it would get just above freezing in the day and then freeze again at night. So every outside surface was frictionless. You just could not walk on it. Especially after a few whiskies.

Last winter was pretty mild by comparison. The one before wasn’t. The next one might or might not be. It is not warming. Human activity is not affecting climate. We are just not that important.

Pollution : This is always a bad thing. Plastic islands at sea (tell me which song that line came from and I’ll send you a copy of the next book I publish) are always, always a very bad thing. It should not be happening. We nag our teenagers to clean their rooms while we bung plastic into the ‘recycle’ bins which are really nothing more than a magic portal to the middle of the Pacific.

Yes, I know, most plastic enters the sea from rivers in China and Africa but that’s because we send our recycling there to be processed. It’s not their own waste they are dumping. It’s ours. Anyway it’s changing, China at least has had enough of getting blamed for this.

Overall though, apart from plastics, pollution has been declining. Vehicle engines are a lot cleaner than they used to be, there is a lot to do still with cargo ships who pump out more pollution than all the cars, trucks and buses in the world. They should be fitted with sails as well as engines – free propulsion, with no emissions, when the wind is in the right direction – but why should they? Greenpeace ships don’t do this. They all run on diesel.

Factories don’t produce smog in London any more although some places still have that problem.

Green driving? Sure, it works great in town and that’s where it’s needed. A high concentration of vehicles produces concentrated traffic fumes. Replacing most of them with electric or hydrogen fuel is going to make a big difference.

However, for long journeys it’s not viable. Imagine waiting for a delivery when the large truck bringing it has to stop-over for 12 hours or more to recharge. Imagine driving across country when that ten minute stop to refuel becomes a few hours of recharging your little car. If you can find somewhere with a charging point. And… where do you think that electricity comes from?

Still, if you live in a city and don’t want to drive long distance, all you need is an electric car to get to the shops and back. I’d be okay with that as long as it doesn’t ramp up fuel prices for people in the countryside, like me, who live half an hour’s drive fom the nearest shops and whose electricity supply can be shut off by a lightning strike.

I drive a 4×4 because anything that isn’t 4×4 isn’t going to get to this house in winter. I do not drive it for any kind of showing-off, I drive it because it is necessary. Sure it has emissions but there are combine harvesters and tractors here. Even their emissions don’t produce enough to taint the air. My little 4×4 is making no difference. It is not like the cities those who moan about ‘clean air’ live in. It’s the place where ‘clean air’ is normal.

There is a lot we can do about all forms of pollution and really, a lot of it has been or is being done already.The biggest problem pollution control faces is that it is now linked to climate change when they are actually totally different things. Yes, we should get the plastic out of the oceans but no, it does not affect climate.

And so we come to those killing themselves to live.

Maisy Rohrer, a 22-year-old developmental researcher at New York University, has been struggling to cope with climate change for years. “I guess the despair started when I was 18, and I began learning about how much the earth was changing, and I’d have full-blown panic attacks about the arctic sea ice melting, and the polar bears starving, and I’d call my mom telling her life was pointless,” she said. She believed at the time that the human race “should be wiped out.”

But… if she believes climate change will do that, what’s the problem?

“I became very suicidal, and a large part of my justification for feeling like I’d be better off dead was that humans are hurting the Earth so much, and I as one person [couldn’t] make enough of a positive impact so it would be better if I were not around to cause any more damage,” Rohrer said.

This is what the Church of Climatology has done. No hope, no redemption, only despair. Unlike every other religion there is no way out for the followers of this one. They have no Heaven or Hell, only oblivion and no hope of changing it unless… everyone follows their religion.

You think Islam is a bit strict? Islam is a summer hayride compared to the Green God’s religion. At least in Islam you still have a chance of Heaven by killing unbelievers. In the Church of Climatology, unless every single person on the planet believes, everyone will die with no Heaven, no redemption, nothing but rotting corpses on sun-baked sidewalks. Even if everyone does believe… it’s the same.

Gritty Thunderbird, the latest wheeled-out child advocate, is now dictating climate policy to the idiots in charge. Yes, I know, I’m ‘attacking a child’ and that is the reason they use children. Any dissent is ‘attacking a child’, in this case an Asperger’s child with well orchestrated hair braids. She looks so innocent and naieve and unfortunately, she is.

She is being used and abused by the Church of Climatology in the most disgusting way possible and yet criticising the message she has been fed is ‘attacking her’.

I do not attack her. She is a child and she is being used. The message she relays is lies. She does not know this. She has been convinced of it by much darker forces. One day she will realise and on that day she is going to feel things nobody should ever be made to feel. I sympathise, but sending lies through a child is not going to silence me.

Barmy Prince Charlie has been out with this crap too. ‘We have 18 months to save the world’. Oh dear. We’ve had a few years to Armageddon since the 1950s and nothing at all has changed. Well to be fair, in the 1970s, rising CO2 was going to cause an ice age, now rising CO2 is going to cause warming. Why?

Because that’s the only thing they can tax.

You know what rising CO2 really does? It makes plants grow faster. It’s currently 0.04% of the atmosphere and all plants on the planet use it in photosynthesis. Reduce it to zero and all the plants – every one of them from giant redwood to dandelion – dies. And then so does everything else.

Increase it and the planet gets greener.

So, Steering a large asteroid into the plent is prohibitively expensive and very difficult, or so I am told.

Erasing 0.04% of the atmosphere can be done if someone has enough money to buy the right chemicals and place large batches of them in the right places.

Bill Gates once said he wanted to reduce atmospheric carbon dioxide to zero. He has the money to do it.

And I have the know-how.

Hey, Bill…

Is anyone in charge?

Tessie Maybe is signing us up to ridiculous demands we can’t possibly meet without going bankrupt. She has ditched all pretence at Brexit and is salting the earth for her successor.

Well, she is setting up Boris to take the blame as a climate denier and general Nazi if he tries to roll back her insanities. If the Total and Utter Hunt becomes PM he’ll ignore it all and carry on fucking up Brexit where she left off. Do I trust Boris to deliver? About as far as I could comfortably spit a rat. But that’s more than I’d trust Hunt.

There is no actual government in the UK. No opposition. The Tories are shouting ‘Nyah, you hate Jews’ at Labour and Labour are shouting ‘Nyah, well you hate Muslims’ at the Tories. It’s like watching a kindergarten fight. Meanwhile, nothing is happening in Government beyond name-calling, race-baiting and smear and counter-smear. What do we need any of them for now? We could replace them with five year olds, pay them in lollipops, chicken nuggets, ice cream and comics and probably have a better and more effective government.

Brexit should have happened in March. They had over two years to sort it out and they didn’t fail, they didn’t screw up, they deliberately made it into a hell of a mess. Now we are told it will happen on Halloween. Does anyone still believe a single word any of our politicians say now? Forget ‘V’, I think we should all have Michael Myers masks for Halloween.

Oh sure, Boris says that if we don’t leave on October 31st it’s the end of the Tory party but that party’s end was secured the moment they put Tessie in charge. They’re doomed anyway. They’ll take the country down with them. Tessie is making sure of that.

Labour are about as Labour as the Tory party is Conservative. Not at all. Both parties have become total-control freaks with only the face at the front to show any difference between them.

There really is nobody to vote for now.

Brexit party? Farage has one policy. Leave the EU. He actually ditched UKIP when he thought he had done that and to be fair, every Brexit MEP took up their position with the intention of putting themselves out of a job. But… run the UK? I don’t think Farage would be a good Prime Monster (think diplomacy) and I don’t think he really wants the job.

I suspect that if the Brexit party got any kind of power in Wastemonster, they’d get us out of the EU and call a general election to let someone who knows how run the country.

The flaw in that plan is… we don’t have anyone left who knows how.

Our politicos have spent too long letting the EU run the show, collecting their salary plus expenses and rubber stamping every EU directive. They couldn’t be trusted to run a bath.

It’s no different in the USA. The Democrats’ only policy is ‘Get Trump’ and the Republicans don’t seem to say much at all.

You know, spending much of my life close to Balmedie where Trump has one of his many golf courses has not made me like him much. His staff are gits which makes me think he might well be one too.

But… he is the duly elected president of the USA and to see our politicians making childish tweets about ‘orange man bad’ and the silly Trump balloon does not make me proud. This is how infants debate. Trump is, I suspect, trying to do what he thinks is right. Can you say that about Saudi Arabia or any of the other despots who have been lauded on state visits to the UK? We saw no MPs bleating about how horibble they were. Not even Mugabe.

We have been treated to the spectacle of Trump being banned from Sheffield. Why in the name of all that is holy would anyone want to go to Sheffield? No visiting dignitary, ever, has gone there and most of the UK have never been there either.

I have. It’s not worth it.

You can ban me from Sheffield if you like. I won’t mind at all.

It’s all so damn childish now, it’s at the stage where primary school kids are wincing. Except the ones promised world travel and loads of money to be the face of the Latest Thing. They are loving it. Until they realise how they are used.

To coin a phrase… Winter is coming.

In more ways than one.

Plausibility

This post is about writing. Not about Leg Iron Books, but about the act of writing. About where I get ideas and how I try to make the utterly bizarre appear plausible. It has been said that fiction has to make sense, a constraint that does not apply to reality. It’s true. Unless you are going to invoke actual magic, you need a plausible reason for things to happen in a story.

Note that while it has to be believable, it does not have to be true. Don’t take anything here as if I have personally applied scientific rigour in a long and detailed research project, I only need plausibility for stories. I don’t necessarily need facts. Although, if you can look up details and find them, that does add weight to the possibility that my scary ideas might actually be real. That’s kind of the point of writing a scary story. To scare the bejesus out of you and to set you up so that if you decide to check it out, it gets even scarier.

Ideas come from anywhere. I had the idea for a story called ‘The Hand that Feeds’ from listening to the groaning of a dishwasher. ‘Telephone Pest’ came from all those marketing calls that use autodial and if you’re late picking up, you just get silence. An awful lot of them come from dreams, especially the dreams I used to get when I was drinking really hard. ‘One Stop after Marchway’ was a very toned down version of one of those dreams.

I have now discovered the deeper recesses of YouTube, which I access through Google Chrome because there is a YouTube adblocker for that browser, and the conspiracy/alternate history videos tend to be riddled with ads.

In there are all the stories of an ancient Utopia, long forgotten by modern man, with technologies we can’t even begin to figure out now. Is any of it true? Doesn’t matter for story purposes, it only matters that it can be made plausible. Some of it would be nice if it was true, some of it leads to Hellish bouts of imagination of what could happen if it was true. Those are the ones I’m looking for.

‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’, in Underdog Anthology 8 (Transgenre Dreams) came from one of those YouTube sessions. The story is fiction of course, but if you look up the basic, tangible facts, they are all there. I think there’s enough to put that little seed of doubt into most minds… is it fiction? That’s all I need.

Tonight I have found a real gem. There are loads of ‘stargates are real’ videos, I suspect they appeared after the SF film of that name and no, nobody has found a big ring that turns into what looks like a vertical swimming pool so you can walk through to other planets.

Incidentally, it’s all a bit old-school Star Trek, isn’t it? Every planet they visit has breathable air and the right temperature and gravity for humans to act normally. They never visit a planet with double gravity that makes even walking feel as though you’re carrying a clone of yourself on your back. Someone should write that. Maybe I will – I have done one or two SF-style stories in the past.

Back to tonight’s find. One of the big issues with all this ancient technology is… what powered it? There has never been a find of a ruined power station, certainly not bird-chopping windmills or silly solar panels. Sure, we find walls made of huge stones put together so you can’t slip a sheet of paper between them and we wonder how they a) cut them so close and b) lifted them into place. Nobody has found any ancient cranes or any kind of machinery or tools that could do it, so how was it done? Aliens? Why would aliens come all this way, build a few walls and then just bugger off? It makes no sense.

Another ‘incidentally’… I did once come across a video that suggested the ancients had a recipe for a kind of cement that, when dried, looks exactly like rock. That theory suggested the stones weren’t cut at all, they were biodegradable bags filled with the cement, stacked up and left to harden. The bags rot away, the resulting blocks fit together perfectly.

Is it true? I have no idea and there’s no evidence but then if it is true, there wouldn’t be. All they’d need are shovels to fill the bags and they could place the bags and fill them in situ. No lifting equipment beyond buckets of cement, shovels and a chain gang to pass the buckets up. Whether it’s true or not, it’s plausible. All it’s missing is the recipe for the cement.

This latest one is another ‘stargate’ one and most of it is bollocks, as usual. However, I did lift one useful bit of plausibility out of it.

The idea that these ‘stargates’ are powered by piezoelectricity. They are, indeed, all situated on areas containing a lot of quartz (incidentally number three – so am I!) and their idea is that pressure on that quartz through tectonic plate movement or gravitational interactions with other planets and more pressure idea things… could cause the quartz to generate a local electric field.

Okay. I can work with that. They have the watches the wrong way round though, quartz doesn’t power the watch or we wouldn’t need to change the batteries. The quartz is what keeps time.

But… ever used a piezo-electric lighter? The spark is generated using peizoelectricity – when you press, you compress a quartz crystal that then produces enough electricity to make a spark to light the gas. No batteries, the power is indeed coming from the quartz.

You can get a spark from a tiny quartz crystal. Imagine compressing a hundred tons of it.

If rock pressure, gravity, whatever, were to compress and relax and compress and so on… a huge quartz deposit, would that produce a detectable or maybe even substantial electric field? Well, yes, most likely, but that is not the real question.

The real question is – did ancient humans know how to make use of it? Could they harness it and direct it? Will we ever know whether they did and if they did, will we ever work out how? We can’t do it but then we can’t even build a pyramid, so who knows?

See, if that really works and can be harnessed, it’s free electricity and the ultimate in renewable energy. You don’t even have to mine it out, just stick two wires in the ground.

I’m drifting away from fiction into a wild theory of greenness. Back to the point.

In ‘Pandora’s Lost Luggage’ there was a vibration device, not revealed in the story, that had been operating with no apparent power source for thousands of years. Was the power coming from a quartz deposit?

This links to the ‘ghost’ story that isn’t a ghost. The repeat, recording-type manifestation that does not interact with the observer at all, it’s like watching a short film replay over and over. Exactly the same every time. Could that be a recording made on a quartz deposit, where the action seen took place during a time when the quartz was being pressured and open to taking a recording? When similar pressures are reapplied, maybe that’s when the recording plays back.

Yet another digression there, but the idea links to so many other ideas… and I still have the old Romulus Crowe thoughts that if you can work out how to make those recording phenomena to order you’d soon be very rich indeed.

I have added piezoelectricity to my lexicon of plausibility for the bizarre. I do not care whether the stargates are real, the idea that the ancients could harness the electric fields of quartz deposits is a plausible one whether it’s true or not.

Since I live on a fairly chunky quartz deposit and have a holy well as my water source (Thanks are due to Dr. Dan for pointing that out) I now have the bones of the next Halloween anthology story which, like last year and the year before, will be based on the weirdness of the house I live in. I love this place, but I doubt I could ever afford to buy it. Renting will have to do.

Ideas in writing come from putting together the apparently unconnected in ways that are fiction but which could be true. It does not matter whether they are true, it only matters that they will be believed.

It’s something the modern Puritans understand all too well, unfortunately.

To finish, how about we open that Pandora box?

It’s just entertainment, nothing to fear here. It’s all just fiction.

Probably.

Reliance

I know, it sounds like the next Mark Ellott novel, following ‘Ransom’, ‘Rebellion’ and the almost-ready ‘Resolution’ and who knows? Maybe it will be.

Well, the replacement router arrived today and it’s much improved over the one I had before. Four years of technology can do that, I suppose. It linked much more easily to the wifi booster and it has a stronger wifi signal than the old one. So four days without internet was worth it.

Just in time – I had almost used up my data allowance on the mobile by using it as a mobile hotspot. I have been considering reducing the data package since I normally rarely use it, but I think I’ll leave it there. It was very handy in this emergency!

It’s amazing how much you can get done when your internet access is severely restricted. I have both Mark Ellott’s and Marsha Webb’s novels formatted and returned to the authors for last checks and I have a short story collection from another author that I can now start sorting out. I’m really going to have to limit my forays into the mad world of the internet in future.

These days in the Internet wilderness also showed me just how reliant I am on it now. Oh I remember when the only phone available was the phone box at the end of the street. I remember when I bought a mobile phone for the first time – I was in my early thirties and scoffed at them until a pheasant flew into my windscreen on a country road and shattered it. Suddenly they seemed like a potentially useful thing to have.

I was, of course, travelling at a perfectly sensible and sedate pace along that dead straight and empty road. It was entirely the pheasant’s fault.

I remember when it became law to fit front seat belts to cars so my father did. It was not yet legally required to use them, so he didn’t. I remember when I was sent, with my younger brother, to the corner shop to by my father’s cigarettes. I remember very well the day they couldn’t sell them to us any more. He wasn’t happy.

We used to buy things with money. Now we just wave a plastic card at a machine and soon we’ll have the card chips in our hands.

Now, of course, the Phone is God. You can use it to pay for things, watch films, browse the internet and if you can figure out how, you can even still make phone calls with it. That feature, once the only reason for a phone’s existence, is now buried in the mass of icons on the screen and in the 48 gigabytes of memory it contains. Ah, I recall fitting a 16 kilobyte memory pack to a ZX-81 and thinking it was amazing.

So many of us are absolutely reliant on the internet. Leg Iron Books could not function without it – the days of high street printers are pretty much gone and the thought of having to cut and paste with real scissors and paste is horrifying. And yet that’s how I wrote my PhD thesis. My mother typed it, on an actual typewriter, I cut and pasted pages together for the retype.

Money, as pretty much everyone knows, no longer exists. Well, you can still (so far) get cash but most of the money circulating in the world is just numbers on a screen with no physical reality at all. If everyone decides to withdraw their money form a bank they will soon find the bank doesn’t really have all that much actual cash. It’s mostly just binary digits.

And to think, these same banks poo-pooh the likes of Bitcoin. Their methods have been the same for years!

On it trundles, the world based on unreality, and it works, sort of. At least for now.

All it will take though is one solar flare, one coronal mass ejection, and it’s all gone. Wiped. Cleaner than a Hillary Clinton email inbox. All evaporated like the dew on a summer morning.

Heck, I was put on restricted access this week by a lightning bolt. To be fair, it was four hours of lightning bolts and a pretty intense blast at the end. It was enough to fry a router and a landline phone. I couldn’t do too much through the mobile phone. I could check and send emails but sending/receiving large documents or image files was a ‘no’.

If that had hit the bank computers I could have been wiped out along with a lot of other people. How could I prove how much money was in those accounts? It didn’t really exist in the first place!

I have been paying a lot of attention to the sun recently. It has three cycles that go from high activity to low and it is now entering what is called a ‘grand solar minimum’ where all three cycles go low at the same time. It’s nothing to get all worried about, it’s happened before. Humanity survived.

It does mean it’s going to get colder. That’s why the Climatologists have rolled out the Unassailable Weapon in the shape of a highly suggestible autistic child. Argue with what she’s been told to tell you and you are attacking an autistic child. I feel sorry for her. Autism does not equal stupid. One day she will realise how she was used and she is going to go through hell. You think the Church of Climatology cares? Once they are done with her they will discard her with not a single look back.

But yeah, it’s getting colder and it will get worse. So the push is on to get as much funding as possible for the pretend science of man made global warming before the lie becomes obvious. Millions will die but hey, the Climatologists will make a load of money so that’s okay with them. It also helps their depopulation agenda which naturally does not include them.

I, and many others, have tried to tell the Church of Climatology what’s really coming but that just makes me a ‘Climate Denier’ which is their new word for ‘Heretic’. I stopped bothering, let the buggers freeze. Anyway it’s too late now, it’s already started and there is not a damn thing humanity can do about it. Light up the fireplace, get the popcorn and watch them shiver while they complain about the heat.

There’s always a silver lining. Low sun activity means a much reduced chance of a solar flare or coronal mass ejection coming our way. It’s never zero, of course, but the odds are in our favour as long as we can keep ice off the wires.

A mass ejection or flare would have to be pointed right at us to have an effect. Well, actually pointed a little bit ahead of us since we’re a moving target. A flare on the opposite side of the sun won’t bother us at all. This means the chance of being hit by one are always reasonably low anyway.

The chance is never zero. Never. Probabilities go up and down but they never hit zero. One day it could happen – in fact it’s safe to say that one day it has to happen. When? Tomorrow? Next month? A decade from now? A century?

There is no way to know. And there isn’t likely to be much, if any, warning. Go to bed rich, wake up a caveman. Go to bed connected to the world, wake up alone and isolated.

As people rely more and more on online comunication, the latter is going to be the hardest to bear, I think.

We really should have a backup plan in case of such an event.

But nobody has.