Judge not…

The path to self-improvement, self-awareness, or whatever you want to call it is rocky, winding, convoluted, strewn with obstructions (I suspect of our own making), and littered with shiny objects designed to distract us, and keep us from reaching truth.  I don’t know why it is this way.  I just think it is.

For truth is where improvement lies.  And of course you all know by now what I think of truth.  It like ‘fact’ is merely a perception.  So is truth that personal a thing?  Truth or the perception of truth is so personal that it can only be my truth, and not necessarily your truth?

I am seventy-one and no closer to wisdom than the day I was born.  Is truth wisdom? Or does wisdom lead us to truth?  I think of these things every time I learn something new about myself.

Recently I discovered that under the guise of love I have been judgmental.  Judging the actions of those I love, but not realizing it was judging, rather thinking it was love mixed with ennui and fear?

How did this epiphany occur?  By discovering that those who love me (give your head a shake if necessary, I am not talking about romantic love) have in fact been judging me.  This all came about because of a decision I made about something, that, while it did not impact my nearest and dearest caused them to make a judgement. About me.  “Well she shouldn’t have done that.”

When this came to me through a conversation designed to explain concern my initial reaction was, “??”

I mentally objected that my nearest and dearest were judging me.  There is no question that they love me.  And they think their concern is in my best interest.

That’s when it hit me.  The awareness really had nothing to do with them but it acted like a mirror.  That’s when I realized that I sat in judgement of those I loved.  It did not change my love for them.  But I discovered a few uncomfortable things:

  1. When you sit in judgement of anyone, you place yourself above them.
  2. You may think you are loving them, but when you judge, that is not love. It is judgement.
  3. To truly love you must not judge but must accept. Right or wrong you accept.
  4. Your love provides a safe place. You are the rock.
  5. We are all human. We make the worst decisions at times.  And at those times those who love us never stop.
  6. There are no conditions to love. (If you do this and don’t do this I will love you)

The most difficult thing is to realize that no matter how old you are there are always lessons to learn.  And even more humiliating is the realization that so many others recognize the Truth long before you.

I know one thing;

I will never again judge those as right or wrong, those whom I love.

This is not about me.


Hope Abides

A new day dawns with the realization that calling out evil and ignorance and confrontation only breeds hostility amongst the very people hating chaos and evil, which in itself only creates more hostility and chaos.

Response, feeds the desire for attention necessary to give this life force strength.

Perhaps every news channel and every person should spend one day ignoring entirely, and use the time to contemplate more effective measures.

Right now we are only playing Evil’s game. Put a little kindness in your hearts and minds today. Towards others. Towards yourself. Have yourselves a wondrous day.

Children’s Quarrel

4) Children's Quarrel

Our current picture shows Elanar, a nursery nurse, with her charge, the young Avia Hassenbut. I’m not sure whether our artist knew the significance of the principals in his painting, or whether he merely saw a charming scene but there is a story which is well worth hearing.

Really this is Elanar’s story; when young Avia grows up she will doubtless spark stories of her own, but on this occasion she must take second place to somebody older.

As a child Elanar was raised by a series of aunts. Born in Port Naain, her mother died when she was very young, and she got passed around the family, collecting cousins as she went as various temporary guardians died or remarried or otherwise became unavailable for childcare. Eventually she, and her two boy cousins, Karad and Brance ended up in Avitas with their final aunt, and the fourth cousin, a girl named Bethom.
In Avitas the three children seemed to overcome the trauma caused by their itinerant youth and settled down. The older three were inseparable. Bethom was always slightly detached from them; she was still living with her family and was always constrained to act as the hostess, rather than being an equal co-conspirator in their games.

So when at the age of eighteen, Karad inherited a small estate not far from Mostrain, deep within Partann, it was inevitable that Brance and Elanar went with him. It was equally inevitable that Bethom, who at this point was apprenticed to a ladies hairdresser in Avitas, remained behind.

Once settled near Mostrain, it was to be expected that the three cousins (closer than cousins, I’ve known siblings who were less close) decided to become involved in local society and attempted to provide suitable careers for Brance and Elanar.

Their opportunity came when at a social event in Mostrain, they were introduced to the young Robber Baron who had taken over the Keep on Muster Head. Within a week Elanar had made herself his mistress and within a month Brance and Karad were his trusted lieutenants.

Things would doubtless have proceeded well enough were it not for an Urlan ‘villaging’ expedition.

Villaging is a popular pastime among Urlan, both for sport, experience and to burnish their escutcheons. As you no doubt surmise, the basis is to ride from village to village, offering to slay any particularly irksome fell beasts, even minor demons, although parties have ridden through Partann offering to remove tyrannical local lordlings as well. Indeed if some petty baron has a bad enough reputation the Urlan might merely remove them without being asked. Thus it was that the gaze of a party of Urlan fell upon the Lord of the Muster Head Keep.

To be fair to the young lord, he did not lack courage. He rode out with the best of his horsemen, intending to ambush the Urlan. He felt, not unreasonably, that merely waiting for them to attack him was tantamount to suicide. Because Brance and Karad were his trusted lieutenants, he discussed his strategy with them and with Elanar. Because he was a Partannese robber baron and no fool, he took Brance with him as lieutenant and hostage and left Karad in charge of the Keep.

Both Karad and Elanar waited his return, watching anxiously from the top of the tower which guarded the landward gate of the keep. So when the Urlan ambushed the young Lord, the two cousins could see the shattered remnants of the Muster Head force fleeing towards the keep with the Urlan in close pursuit. Elanar took charge. She gave orders for the gates to be shut, the portcullis to be dropped and the drawbridge to be raised.

Karad protested, pointing out that Brance might be alive and out there. Elanar told him to remain on the walls with a rope and if Brance arrived, to pull him up using the rope. Telling him she was going to rally the garrison she left him.

She picked two dozen men whom she felt she could trust, and with them, emptied the keep’s treasury. This she had loaded onto a twenty oared galley that was kept by the water gate. As the last of the treasure was loaded, she heard the sound of a petard exploding on the main gate, followed by the cheers and war cries of the Urlan as they rode in.

She didn’t hesitate; she gave her men orders to take up their oars, and herself pushed off from the wharf. As she did so, Karad rode out of the water gate and threw himself into the water to swim after them. Judging the galley was already low enough in the water to give cause for nervousness, she held out an oar for him to grasp. As he reached for it, she raised it and brought it down firmly on his head. She then ordered her men to pick up the stroke and the galley headed for the open sea.

To an extent she was lucky. The first Urlan through the gate rescued Karad rather than drawing his bow. Thus by the time he could concentrate on archery, the galley was out of range. On the other hand, she was also unlucky. The Urlan had commenced hanging those of their prisoners who had an unsavoury reputation, but decided it was unfair to hang Karad before he was capable of understanding what was happening, and as Brance volunteered to nurse his cousin, they didn’t hang Brance either.

Next morning, with Karad recovered, both young men were led to the gallows and asked if they’d anything to say. Karad merely commented that he regretted being hanged before he had the chance to avenge himself on the woman who had betrayed them both. The Urlan saw the funny side of this, and not merely released the two men but also released enough of their prisoners to allow them to crew the other, forty oared galley, which was still tied to the wharf.

Late next day, Elanar and her galley were at the mouth of the Dreg estuary, and in the distance behind them they could see a larger and faster galley slowly closing upon them. Elanar rapidly made up her mind and brought her galley into the fishing village of Quaydreg. She had her men stack the treasure in the common room of the local inn, the Boatman. Then she had her men prepare to defend the quayside to repel their pursuers.

As her men were arraying themselves she went back into the Boatman, and with the four warriors who had been left to guard the treasure, she loaded it onto a horse drawn cart which she’d had brought up to the back door. The cart was barely loaded when the sounds of battle could be heard from the quay. Telling her men to follow her, she charged through the inn towards the fray. They followed and overtook her, thus allowing her to return to the inn, bolt the front door and run to the back where she climbed onto the cart and whipped it up.

The problem with horse drawn carts is that whilst they are faster than men on foot, they are rarely faster than angry men on borrowed horses. She arrived in the village of Tithequay just ahead of the horsemen. As she drove through the village she started scattering coin on the road and soon the street was in chaos with people blocking the road trying to recover it. Even so the horsemen were closing, so as she crossed the bridge over the river Dreg she slewed the cart across the road to block it. Then she grabbed a chest from the cart, cut both horses free and rode off at speed on one of them.

Two days later she arrived in Prae Ducis before dawn. She bribed the gate keeper to let her in early. She then took passage to Port Naain, and arrived in the city with little more that the clothes she stood up in and respectable amount of silver. By respectable, I mean that I, as a poet, consider it a lot of money. A usurer on the other hand would doubtless dismiss it as barely worth the effort of investing.

So she needed work. She noticed that the Hassenbut family were advertising for a Nursery Nurse. She spent most of her silver on a suitable wardrobe and at the interview convinced them she was the perfect person to look after their daughter. Thanks to a reference forged in the name of her cousin in Avitas she was taken on. Thus when Brance and Karad arrived in Port Naain to look for her, she was invisible, safe within the bosom of a wealthy family.

In fact, were it not for the fact that she was now nurse to Avia Hassenbut, one might say she had, in some manner of speaking, ‘got away with it.’

Tallis Steelyard, the festival, and other stories_

Tallis Steelyard and Jim Webster proudly present

Tallis Steelyard. The Festival, and other stories.

Available from

More of the wit, wisdom and jumbled musings of Tallis Steelyard. In here
Tallis touches upon child rearing, politics as a performance art, the joy of
dance and the advantages that come with good manners. Discover why Madam
Dolbart was forced to constantly hire new cooks, marvel at the downfall of
Dash Blont, lecher, libertine, and philanderer . Whatever happens, do not
pass through life without knowing of the advantages to be gained by an early
morning pick-me-up of horse dung spread fine on toast. You too can be
charming and elegant once you know how. For a mere 99p all this and more can
be yours.

Find and follow Tallis (and Jim)

Jim Webster may be found  at his blog, on TwitterFacebook and on his Amazon author page.

Tallis Steelyard may be found loitering at his own blog while their book have their own Facebook page

Ah The Adventure of Weather

Now this year seems a little tamer to this one of six years ago.  I still can’t figure out how 2012 was six years ago.  Heck I can’t figure out how the new millennium came in so quietly.  Tempus fugit and all that.  I vaguely remember seemingly endless days, even weeks.  Now?  In the blink of an eye.

Of course we should be seeing signs of spring.  March winds bring April showers and April showers bring May flowers.  Somehow weather is more extreme, hot or cold.  But I like the day described below.  One of my favorites. Enjoy.

via Ah The Adventure of Weather

Yes or No


Waking up on the Wrong Side of 50

People are often told they need to say “No” more.  Wanting to please becomes a way of life, so when asked to do something, they immediately reply “Yes”, before they’re even thought if they actually want to do it, or have time to do it.  So a movement of sorts was formed, one that gave people. especially women, the power that saying “No” was acceptable, indeed, preferable in many situations.

I do believe that everyone has the ability to say “No” to any situation, regardless of the reason.  No one should ever feel obligated to do something.


Shonda Rhimes wrote a book, “Year of Yes”, which basically detailed how saying “Yes” changed her life.  So have we gotten hasty with our use of the word “No”?

If something goes against your personal code of ethics, you need to say no.  There is no situation that should ever make you…

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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
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_


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


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.



There are no facts, only interpretations. – Friedrich Nietzsche. The truth I think that validates everything you have to say.

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