Ode To A Gnat

gnats for fun

 

O you assailant of non-Euclidean flight!
Why must you always wait for night?
Why won’t you attack when the sun is bright?
O vampiric smidgeon of the night.

 


First posted in 2015: reposted in aftermath of massive gnat attack.

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The Colours of Summer

So here we are, post-Solstice, and no matter what the weather might do, it’s summer. I know it is, cos every beach-front store has a bright display of beach toys.

Beach Toys

Beach Toys on sale in Southwold: Photo 26 June 2018

#2018picoftheweek challenge: Summertime

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Helas, Hobbits and Anthropology

GA by SergelJeanette

Image by CP, on an original photo by Sergel Jeanette

Now what strangeness was this? Klukelunnen stared at the glass. But where was his reflection? And where was the room behind him? He turned to check that it hadn’t changed. No, it was still as it was; not suddenly grown vast, a green-laid floor lidded in blue, and the source of that light.

He nodded, grimly, with understanding. So, the jawmen told it true in their tales. There was a Land of Giants, and his ill-said spell had brought him to it. Yet … no, it couldn’t be. Only heroes went there, and he wasn’t that. He was just Klukelunnen, and marred, to boot, with his invisible scar.

At the sight of a beast he backed away. Long-legged, it must have stood thrice his height at the shoulders. A horse, was that its name?

Youch! Granny’s Drawers, now it had sighted him. It charged towards him, growling and barking. No, Klukelunnen wasn’t a hero; he quaked in his blue high-polished boots.

“No-no, please,” he pleaded when the giant Jace opened the glass (What, a door in the glass?) and in leapt the barking beast.

It was all over everything: leaping on furniture, knocking over glasses of smelly stalked stars (water splashed him despite he’d hidden himself behind the fabric hangings). He watched, disgusted, amazed and awed, as it licked—aye, licked, not bit—the two giants. And they laughed. Aye, laughed!

“Helas, Helas, quieten,” Jace the giant told it.

“Sit!” Neat Fleur added. And incredibly the beast—Helas—sat (though on its haunches, not as he and the giants might sit). But the gigantic beast ‘Helas’ didn’t sit long.

It began with a sniff at the air. Klukelunnen guessed what that was about. He’d heard of it, once, in one of the jawmen’s stories. The beast was scenting the air. Klukelunnen particularly remembered how the Nixies had laughed at that term, ‘scenting the air’. “What with, what with? Rotting weed and retted linen?” “Nay, with ancient dead fish that haven’t been eaten.” “Mmm, delicious,” they both had agreed.

Klukelunnen thought he’d like to pee now, before the beast ate him.

“Helas, here!” Neat Fleur commanded.

Phew! With glum expression, the beast returned to her side where it slunk to the floor.

“He won’t hurt you,” Neat Fleur assured him. “Though he does like to chase cats. Have you not seen a Great Dane before?”

“Don’t be a looby, Fleur,” said the giant Jace. “He’s told us, he’s not from this land.”

“Yea, but,” she said, “they have Great Danes in France, don’t they? Are you from France? Parlez-vous français? Allemand? Italien? … Polanais?”

Klukelunnen clutched the deep-piled fabric hanging and stared back in incomprehension.

“So where are you from?” the giant Jace asked.

“Home,” he said. “Our land.” He knew no other name for it. He knew stories that told of other lands, but always when the hero returned, he returned to ‘Home’. Though, he supposed, this Jace might have meant which part of his land. There were four parts to the land. Dols, they were called. Dolnixen, Dolpixel, Dolfernan, and Dolstone. “Dolstone,” he offered.

“Is that in Cornwall?” Neat Fleur asked which earned her a clip round her head from Jace.

In the short time spent in their company, Klukelunnen had discovered this pair of giants were ‘unrelated sibs’; that’s what Neat Fleur had called them. They were of the same age—20, though 20-what she didn’t say—and born almost the same day. “But don’t think us twins, cos we’re not.’ That’s when she’d said of being ‘unrelated sibs’. And “We’re not usually together. We’re usually at Uni. But this being the Hols …”

“So, little fellow,” the giant Jace said, “what are we to do with you?”

Klukelunnen thought to feed him might be a good idea, and show him where he might pee. The need was increasingly pressing.

“So he’s not one of your—”

“Oh, for crying out!” Jace answered his ‘unrelated sib’. “We’ve been through all this.”

Well, as far as Jace had insisted that, no, Klukelunnen wasn’t one of his computerised manikins, adding that he didn’t know how to construct one anyway. “Not with skin and hair and things.”

“I think it best we take him to ‘Anthropology’,” Jace said. “Let them study him. Maybe he’s a Hobbit like those they found on Flores.”

“Oh yea,” Neat Fleur flopped down on the floor beside Helas. “Like they’re extinct these past thousand years. Nothing but bones now, aren’t they.”

“Yea but the School of Anthropology has to be best,” Jace insisted. “Let them have the problem. After all, did we invite him into our home? And best be rid of him before Pops and Curly Tops come home.”

When Klukelunnen was still young and forming he had found an attractive if rather dead pebble and brought it home. Oh, the fuss that did cause. Where was he to put it? Who was to mind it? Nay, lad, it cannot stay there; it’ll be tripping our feet. In the end, it had become such a trouble he’d had to return it to where he’d found it. He could see the same thing happening to him. Moved from here to there to there and back again, with no one wanting to have him around. Aye, and that was fine with him—if only they’d find him a way to go home. So perhaps Jace was right, and the School of Anthropology would solve it for him.

“Off you go then,” Neat Fleur commanded Jace in the same tone as she’d used for Helas to sit.

Jace remained where he was, slouched on a huge, highly slouchable sofa (Klukelunnen assumed it a sofa, though it wasn’t exactly as described in the stories). Jace mimed pulling the pockets out from his trousers. Honestly, Klukelunnen so wanted to ask if he’d no better clothes to wear? ‘Work-wear’ trousers and an undervest? Really! He hadn’t even donned his shoes!

“Curly Tops has the keys,” Jace said. “Hers is in the garage for its M.O.T. Remember? Your call.”

“I’m not going,” said Neat Fleur, suddenly sullen. “I don’t know the geeks there. I’m at Leeds, remember, not here at Cambs. No, your Uni, you go.”

“Don’t reckon we’ll either be going,” Jace said. “Look at that weather. Coming on to a storm.”

Klukelunnen followed the giant’s eyeline—to outside the glass-door. What with his concern about Helas, and then all the hoohah of what the giants were to do with him, he hadn’t noticed how much the outside light had dimmed. Drastically, he’d say. Now beyond that glass all looked dark and heavy.

“It’s going to pelt,” Jace said.

“Well I’m not going out in a storm,” Neat Fleur said, clearly not open to further argument. “Come on, Kluky, my sweetie, let’s go up to my room.”

Hmm, Klukelunnen grunted. Perhaps she’d have food up there. Perhaps she’d also have somewhere where he could pee. Though what else they’d do there … maybe she’d tell him more about ‘Hobbits’, and these studious geeks at Anthropology. Would they be able to send him home? Only, he was beginning to remember a particularly scary tale he once heard, of The Giantess and the Stone.

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Sea, Sand and Shelters (must be England)

Last week I took my camera for a walk around Southwold, a former fishing town in Suffolk, a one-time Georgian resort, all elegance, Jane Austin and … stuff. So many photos, which to share?

Beach Huts at Southwold

Beach Huts at Southwold: 26th June 2018

 

 

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Asaric Tales e-book update #8

July already, and what have I to report?

Asaric Tales update 8

Asaric Lies, Book One

Asaric Lies has been beta-read, critiqued, amended, critiqued again, and beta-read and … I am now waiting for the last three critiques to be in, before I consider the results and make my final amendments. My thanks to those who have offered their services and have delivered, and to those who are still in the process. Words cannot express how much I appreciate your time and your efforts. I kiss your feet! You are gold!

Update on Critters.org.

My submission of the three new chapters and request for a dedicated reader for Asaric Lies to Critters fell on the same day as Critters closed membership to EU residents because of the complications with the new data protection acts. (see Update #7)  I thought Asaric Lies wouldn’t now be listed. I was wrong.

I have received five critiques. But with the first received it seemed Critters wouldn’t credit their work. However, since then I’ve received word that they have received credits even though I’m no longer a member. Alas, the situation doesn’t extend to the dedicated read. I’ve had two offers for that and have had to refuse them.

LadiesWhoCritique

Blocked from membership of Critters.org, I looked for an alternative source of critiques and beta-readers. And found LadiesWhoCritique, a bulletin-board type site with provision to advertise for critique partners and beta readers and, despite its name, open to men as well. I joined up, advertised, and now have a mutally agreeable partnership with another ‘lady who critiques’. However, for the past two weeks that site has been offline for maintenance. Drats, just as I want to advertise again.

Asaric Axis (Book Two) Call for Beta Readers 

Yep! Book Two is ready to enter that never-ending process of beta readers and critiques. And so, the blurb …

Kerrid is an Asar, one of a handful of people with unusual traits and abilities. In Book One, Asaric Lies, the all-encompassing oracular Spinner charged Kerrid with the eradication of Neka, the demon-snake that has stalked Kerrid since she was a child. To do so, Kerrid believes she must discover the truth of the Asars.

Thus, when “big brother” Olun summons Kerrid’s husband to a family meeting with the expressed purpose to discover this truth Kerrid jumps at the chance.

Kerrid’s success in this stage of her quest depends upon her gaining the approval of Olun, who never has liked her, and that of his brothers. This would be easier without her husband’s repeated efforts to undermine her, in part motivated by his jealousy of the second-born brother, Jiar.

If the above blurb teases your interest and you’d like to volunteer to read the book then please use the form here to contact me.

Asaric Axis currently weighs in at 73,000 words ( lightweight compared with the first book).

Asaric Skies, Book Three

And while you helpful, much-appreciated, more-precious-than-gold beta-readers tackle Book Two, I will be busy on Book Three, Asaric Skies. I am hoping (ha ha) to reduce its wordcount by some 25,000 words. I also need to ensure changes made in Books One and Two are carried into this next book. Then there’s the copy-editing, and getting rid of the ‘-ing’ words (the fast-track diet); a general knock into shape, ready to pass through the same procedures. I sigh. Only another two books after that, then I can get down the mechanics of e-book publishing.

July. Hmm. Yet I am making progress. Slowly.

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Southwold, 10:30 GMT 52° North

26th June, at 10:30 am (GMT), at 52.3° North, the sun peeped from behind the tower of St Edmund’s church at Southwold—just as I took this photo (and effectively bleached out the sky!).

West face St Edmunds Southwold

West face of St Edmund’s church, Southwold, Suffolk: Photo taken 26th June 2018

#2018picoftheweek: Sun Flare

St Edmund is one of East Anglia’s own saints. King at the time of the Great Heathen Army, in 869 he was slain, reputedly, by Ivar the Boneless and his brother Ubba. Thirty years later he became the first venerated saint of the newly converted Christain Vikings of East Anglia with a cult centre at Beadoriceworth (now Bury St Edmunds). His is one of the most common dedications amongst East Anglian churches.

 

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Ring around … with Roses

hamelin by falco

design by CP on original photo by falco

Ringed around with roses
With tissues wiping noses
Plague has brought the sneezes
Bubonic, black, with wheezes

Eastern rats we hold to blame
Held in ships awash with shame
Fleas that carried, heat restricted
Came with cold, released, inflicted
Swelling bubos in axial joins
Painful armpits, painful groins
Sweating, coughing, life depleting
Into town and country eating
Numbers rising, mass graves seen
They didn’t know of quarantine


Sammi’s Weekend Writing Prompt #61: Quarantine in 67 words.

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