All posts by Bridgesburning Chris

The older I get the more amazed I am at the simplicity of life and at the same time the complexity of it. I think sometimes we make the simplicity complicated by our own ingenuity and the insistence that something so wonderful cannot be simple. Perhaps our greatest failure is to make complex that which is not.

The Clockwork automaton of Thannial Jett

Rather than his usual collection of anecdotes, this time Tallis presents us with one gripping adventure. A tale of adventure, duplicity and gentility.
Why does an otherwise respectable lady have a pair of sedan chair bearers hidden in her spare bedroom? Why was the middle aged usurer brandishing an axe? Can a gangster’s moll be accepted into polite society?

Answer these questions and more as Tallis Steelyard ventures unwillingly into the seedy world of respectable ladies who love of sedan chair racing.

 As with Sue Vincent, I am honoured to open the Tallis’ tour of the blogosphere to promote his new book of a gripping adventure. Episodes published here:

Tuesday 13th,  Lady Edan’s Fan – Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

Wednesday 14th The Picture of Unter Judd – Annette Rochelle Aben

Thursday 15th The clockwork automaton of Thannial Jett – Bridges Burning

Friday 16th The commode of Falan Birling – Musings On Life & Experience

Finishing on Saturday 17th with The Luck of Bedag Keep – Chris the Story Reading Ape 

Tallis Steelyard and the Sedan chair caper

The Clockwork automaton of Thannial Jett

It has always been assumed that I share the fashionable contempt for mime artists. Frankly I don’t. Indeed I’ve worked with them and once they can bring themselves to get over the ‘trapped in an invisible box’ routine, they can be useful partners. Look at their advantages. Unlike musicians and others I could mention, they are, almost by definition, silent. Not only that but whilst they can be somewhat distracting at times, compared to the lascivious gyrations of some dancers, they are staid and uninteresting.
Finally they are often so pathetically grateful to get any sort of paying work at all, that they can be trusted to follow instructions with almost dog-like devotion to the detail.
Now I wouldn’t go so far as to accuse Virgilio, another of Madam Jeen Snellflort’s gentlemen adventurers of being a mime artist, but it must be said he had studied the art and was modestly accomplished in it. When not following his art, or doing whatever gentlemen adventurers are supposed to do when not actually adventuring, he earned an extremely modest living as an assistant clerk of works to the drains department. This organisation might need some explanation. Some parts of the city do have drains, and of course
the Sump has to be flushed. So there is a small permanent staff of workmen who do the maintenance. Whichever Sinecurist picks up the bill for the department is expected to send their household staff to assist if matters get particularly fraught.
Fate, or his own inspired choice, had given Virgilio the task of acquiring the clockwork automaton of Thannial Jett for Madam Jeen. He spent some time in reconnaissance. Every three days Thannial Jett had his automaton perform in Cross-pein Hammer Square just outside Thacker’s Yard. The automaton, man sized, would arrive in a crate. The crate would initially be screened by a curtain which surrounded it completely, Finally when a crowd had gathered, the curtain was whisked away and the crate was opened to allow the crowd to see the automaton sitting writing at a desk. After a couple of minutes it would put down the pen, stand up and walk out of the crate and perform a range of exercises as if loosening up after being seated for too long.
Finally as the clockwork ran down and the automaton started to move more slowly, Jett would gently catch it. Virgilio noted that at this point Jett always pressed a stud on the neck, which seemed to release any remaining tension in the spring for the automaton always relaxed totally at this point.
Merely acquiring the device wasn’t enough for Virgilio. He wanted to make sure that there was no investigation that might lead to difficult questions being asked. He needed a substitution rather than just a removal.  His first thought was to just produce a crate and substitute his crate for the automaton and crate. This he discarded on the grounds of weight. There was no way he could have lifted it on his own.
He then pondered briefly breaking into Jett’s premises, removing the automaton and taking its place in the crate. This idea he also discarded when casual conversation with one of Jett’s assistants revealed that the automaton was wound up just before it left the premises. The key was pushed unto a hole concealed between the buttocks.
Finally Virgilio hit upon his plan and made his preparations. Firstly, like every assistant clerk of works since the beginning of time, he habitually added the signatures of his superiors to all the work sheets. Hence he invented an entirely new project, ‘The New Drain.’ The first steps in creating the New Drain were to dig six inspection hatches in Cross-pein Hammer Square. These he marked out on the ground and two of the gangs proceeded to dig them, line them with brick, fit ladders, and fit the cast iron hatch covers.
To be fair the gangs did question their work. Normally when you dig a new inspection hatch you dig down six or seven feet until you hit the drain, and that done you work from there. Virgilio’s explanation that this time it had been decided to install the inspection hatches first and then have the drain dug to join them later struck them as typical of the sort of bright ideas you get from university trained civil engineers.
On the day that he had decided to act, Virgilio arrived at the square very early. He was wearing white satin breeches, red jacket, a wig, and a considerable amount of makeup smeared on his face. He opened the inspection hatch he felt most likely to be nearest the crate when it arrived and climbed down the ladder, replacing the hatch cover after him. He then waited in silence until finally Thannial Jett and his assistants arrived. Virgilio
could hear them stamping about and when everything went quiet he carefully lifted the hatch cover and peered out. He was near the crate and better still, the curtain stopped people from seeing him. He hastily clambered out, opened the back of the crate, pulled out the automaton, pressing the stud on its neck to relax it. He then gently lowered it down the inspection hatch, carefully replacing the hatch cover when he was done. Then he wiggled into the crate, pulling the back closed after him, and took his place on the
seat.
He was barely seated there when there was some sort of commotion outside, perhaps the curtain being removed. Then suddenly the front of the case was opened and Virgilio was on display. Mimicking the movements of the automaton he wrote briefly then stood up. Here his training as a mime came into its own. He was apparently very convincing as an automaton, having got the device’s jerky movements off pat.  As far as I can discover, Virgilio is one of those people who tries not to ‘over-plan.’ Up until this point he was not entirely sure how he would end the performance. After all the minute Jett caught hold of him at the end of the performance he’d realise that this was no automaton. Fortunately chance left an opening for him. A small child had wiggled through to the front of the crowd and was watching the performance with scepticism. Finally when Virgilio’s callisthenics brought him near, the child reached out and grabbed Virgilio’s leg.
“Hey, it ain’t real, it’s a man.”
Virgilio didn’t hesitate, he spotted a gap in the crowd and broke free from the grasp and fled through the gap and away. Behind him he could hear shouts as people demanded their money back from Jett and denounced him as a fraud.
When it came to recovering the automaton, Virgilio’s plans had been suitably vague. He had initially intended to go with a handcart and collect it at night. Unfortunately in Port Naain, moving about at night with a handcart merely draws attention to your activities. There is a feeling that no honest man ever trundled a handcart through the streets in the hours of darkness.
But having handled the automaton he came up with a simpler plan. He removed all the makeup and waited until evening. Then, dressed in his own clothes and carrying a cloak he made his way to Cross-pein Hammer Square. When nobody was about he hauled the automaton out of the inspection hatch, threw a cloak round its shoulders and placed the automaton’s arm over his
shoulder. Then, singing raucously like a drunken student trying to get his even drunker friend to bed, he weaved his noisy way home. Next morning, with the automaton bundled in canvas, he pushed it on a handcart to Madam Jeen Snellflort’s abode and she took care of things from then on.
Thannial Jett avoided being charged for fraud, but was instead charged with common assault when he attacked a bystander with the automaton’s key, knocked him down and promised to ‘wind him up.’ The nameless collector who had acquired the automaton was delighted. The knowledge she gained from studying her acquisition pushed forward her own researches. The gratitude was tangible enough to be expressed in the form of three small freehold properties generously donated to the sanatorium.

The clockwork automaton of Thannial Jett_

 

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Tallis Steelyard returns… Schedule below

And as usual I cannot tell if he is an addiction or an itch that just cannot be scratched but I cannot resist him…..

As with Sue Vincent,  I am honoured to open the Tallis’ tour of the blogosphere to promote his new book of a gripping adventure. Episodes published here:

Tuesday 13th,  Lady Edan’s Fan – Anita Dawes and Jaye Marie

 

Wednesday 14th The Picture of Unter Judd – Annette Rochelle Aben

 

Thursday 15th The clockwork automaton of Thannial Jett – Bridges Burning

 

Friday 16th The commode of Falan Birling – Musings On Life & Experience

 

Finishing on Saturday 17th with The Luck of Bedag Keep – Chris the Story Reading Ape 

 

Adriene, That Pain, and Yoga

Self care for some nurses is wanting.  I am a case in point.  If you come to me and describe certain symptoms I am likely to tell you that you should see your doctor.  When I experience a problem  I have a consistent plan of action.

  1.  Ignore as long as possible and wait to see if the problem goes away. (This step may take weeks)
  2. Consider carefully all steps not requiring medical care and implement accordingly.
  3. When it dawns that no this problem will not go away without some kind of intervention, then activate the result of step two.
  4. When it is obvious that your friends are sick and tired of your whining and sniveling, go to a doctor and shut up. ** The shutting up will occur, the doctors visit rarely.

Several weeks, dare I say months?  No, several weeks ago I developed headaches, something very unusual for me and on occasion dizziness.  I noticed it when I moved my head, and on waking the pain would be at the resting point in my head.

It must be my brain I thought.  But then not to long ago I took notice that the pain was not just IN my head but in my neck and shoulders.  I was unable to turn my head right or left to any degree.

So one morning after someone had mentioned Yoga in another conversation it came to me that perhaps I should try some exercises and I googled my symptoms and the word exercises.

Naturally a plethora of remedies popped up, most of them on YouTube.  I watched a few and realized there were no Downward Facing Dogs in my immediate future but then I found Adriene.  Fibromyalgia precludes some types of exercise but this particular exercise seemed made to measure.

You can sit on a mat or in a chair, and there are days I do one or the other. The first time I thought, ‘Oh Oh, I can’t do any of these.’  It seemed nothing stretched the way it should.  But Adriene says, ‘Listen to your body.’  So I did.  If nothing was going to stretch at least I could strive to get into the starting position.

Well guess what?  That very first day, I got up, got on with  my day, and found myself in awe that I could move so well and so comfortably.

I have done it every morning on rising without fail (no I did miss one day and was quite miserable with pain for the day), but otherwise for a week, I have felt wonderful.  I make note of my discomfort on waking, where in my head or neck it is, just in case I ultimately do see a doc but my quality of life is wonderful.

So please meet Adriene!

Inconsequential Consequences

consequences

The consideration of consequences is what gives society a leg up on decency, even more so than the aesthetic consideration of what is right.

We not only have abandoned rightful consequence we have suspended the due process of justice.  Guilty on accusation.

Rampant accusation and rampant and often illogical consequences.  People are guilty on accusation.

Matt Damon made a logical statement and was castigated.  Not only is the right to free speech gone (unless you are a white supremacist speaking at some college aimed at creating chaos then all bets are off), individual rights and freedoms have been relegated to the gates of hell.

The President of the United States boldly lies, denigrates humanity, and abuses and disrespects many, not the least being women, without consequence, and has made Alternative Facts and misrepresentations of truth and decency acceptable.

In Canada a political leader of great promise has two accusers come forth, one from when he was a teenager and dropped his drawers leading to a consensual event, and once from some bimbo who when he tried to kiss her said no and he accepted no as no and took her home at her request, has resigned his post.

We not only have abandoned the consideration of rightful consequence we have suspended the due process of justice.  Guilty on accusation. Guilty on accusation.

It cannot be said enough.

The Evil of the world loves this.  Give the masses something to rage about and they will not notice what else  is taking place until it is too late.

 

 

Time for a New Adventure

I am happy to introduce any of you to my dear friend and cohort for those who might not have made her acquaintance!

I choose how I will spend the rest of my life

“…there was a new voice
which you slowly
recognized as your own,
that kept you company
as you strode deeper and deeper
into the world,
determined to do
the only thing you could do —
determined to save
the only life you could save.”
― Mary Oliver

Once again in this aged adventurer’s life, a new phase is opening up.

I am fortunate that many years of proofreading, copy-editing and/or beta reading for friends and acquaintances has turned into a business opportunity.

Now, for your viewing pleasure, I offer

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I am an established Proofreader/editor with many years’ experience in proofreading and copy-editing fiction and non-fiction novels, short stories, manuscripts, Children’s books,, theses, E-books, and more.

My services focus on making your words look, sound and appear polished. I will check spelling, grammar, syntax, punctuation, etc. If your document is longer than 1000 words (which…

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Fibromyalgia and It’s Sisters

There are many sufferers of Fibro, Chronic Fatigue, Epstein Barr and while progress has been made there is still a lot of ignorance and misunderstanding about it, even by the best intentioned.

I am one of the fortunate. I can be laid low in pain and suffering and know it will pass. For many the passing never occurs and is constant.  If you know someone who suffers learn as much as you can by it. Understanding is the best support.

This me six years ago. It still happens a couple of times a year but many are worse.

via Laid Low By Fibro Major Flare Up #1 2012

A Personal Canadian Peek Mid-War

By August 1942 the Second World War was in full stride.  The Americans had not yet officially joined the fight but Canada had continuous training programs, turning out young men.  One young man who had enlisted at the age of seventeen on Friday, March 13, 1942  found himself at the Niagara training camp in August awaiting deployment.  While thoughts of preparation and defense were put into action, back home in Kitchener, Ontario, a young mid teen boy sends a letter to his older brother detailing the concerns of his life.

This is a glimpse, the vernacular of yesteryear is as heartwarming as today’s seems cold.  It smacks of Andy Hardy, but alas most of you will not know who that is.  That’s okay.  For some of us, ‘old lady..’ and ‘swell’ just bring back a wash of simpler times.

Enjoy!

via A Personal Post

An Old Message with Kick…

Things change from year to year but in doing so in many ways, it stays the same.  There was, and will be struggle, and what seems to count most is not what happens but how we deal with it.  How we survive I guess.  After all survival can be victorious, making us stronger, even if in our minds, or it can minimize us making us wonder what the hell happened.  Life has never been promised to be a nirvana/ heaven, or permanently happy.  Life is hard work.  Happiness and joy are more a by product of surviving that hard work.  It’s temporary but oh my so sweet.

via Closing Off One Year – Believing in Another

Don’t some mothers ‘av ‘em.”

Well this whole thing of course is Bryan Thomas’ fault.  Here I am working hard to close down my computer for the night and after quickly packing in some work I need done for tomorrow.  Procrastination? You bet.  Love it! Own it!

Then before the big shut down I peek at my email.  Why there is one from the Intrepid Optimist, the previously mentioned Mr. Thomas.  Oh please I beg my pretending Mom in my head, just a peek.  I am then made to suffer a lecture about how one I look I am lost to the world of Useful Things.  No NO I persist.  Just a pleasant short read to tickle my brain.

Also I must admit I have already taken my sleeping pill so typing is like slogging fingers through very thick fog are frequently required me to repair and repeat until I get the damn thing right.  Because his title is Lack of Consideration found here  got me thinking about how entertaining a blog on insults – only the very best ones- would be fun to right. I will  think tomorrow, I say to my self, but suddenly WHAM! one the best from the past comes to mind. And….yeah….I have to do it TONIGHT.

The only hope is that it will be very short, because what came to mind is no biggie.  I have a very very loved and cherished Aunt.  Actually a Great Aunt.  When I was young, much much much younger my family disowned me for a time – not long you understand – I mean how could their lives possibly go on forever sans moi.  Anyway in that time Uncle Jack and Auntie Fran took me under their wing, loved me without judgement and to this day I am most devoted to them.  Dear Jackie Bugs as Frannie used to call him left us 12 or 13 years ago and Frannie has carried on with great dignity, and pain, and between the two of us we keep wonderful stories about Jack and thereby keeping him somewhat alive.  But this is not about them sort of.

Jack and Fran and I and whatever husband of the moment I was with socialize frequently.  One day they drove from Toronto to our house in Cambridge.  “Ah” she said in her formal Australian speech style, “Your Uncle Jackie parked in a lot on the way up here to pick something up.  When we returned to the car there was a note on the windshield.  Someone had not been happy with his parking skills.  I thought the note was a perfect scolding.  It read:

“MAY THE FLEAS OF A THOUSAND CAMELS INFEST YOUR ARM PITS.”

See?  Nothing to go to war or even scuffles for …point made.  And a chuckle.

So you are right my fine Intrepid Optimist friend……Don’t some mothers ‘av ‘em?