March 9th, 2020

Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Some More This and That

Making progress on the writing.  Just about complete with Chapter Twenty-Five.  Didn't get much done over the weekend, but did get a newsletter done for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club.  Usually I'd say to visit the web-site to see it, but our web-master has had some health issues and hasn't put newsletters up since last March.  You can check that one out if you wish.
Have a small slot this evening when there is no TV I'm particularly interested in, so I just might get the current chapter finished.  Then I'm thinking there will be one or two more before the story is complete.

Yesterday we had a crew come in and take out a tree that sprouted between our garage and the neighbor's garage a few years ago.  I'd gone out way back when to cut the sprouts down, but the wood was so wet and heavy enough that it pinched the saw, and I gave up.  Then (I was still working) I just forgot about it.  For the last couple of years it's been big enough that it's been coming close to some power lines and also in contact with the garage roof.  I've been able to trim it back some, but couldn't get to the top.  Had someone do an estimate last fall, but it was more than we wanted to pay.  Friday we happened to notice someone in the area trimming trees and we asked about getting this one taken out.  They priced it at about half of what the other crew had offered, so... the tree is gone and we have a bit of firewood if we want it... or we told the neighbor they could use it if they wanted it.

We have two fireplaces in the house but we've rarely used them in the 20 plus years we've been here.  Usually have gone to the store and bought a "presto" log, just to try it out.  Like most fireplaces, they aren't meant to actually heat the house, but more as a decorative touch.

Weather has been nice for the most part, the past few days.  Raining on Saturday, and often there's enough wind to put a chill in the air on what otherwise could be fairly nice days.  Looks like I won't get to check out my new snow shovel/snow pusher until next year.  Probably should have ordered it sooner, but I was trying to see if I could find one locally, rather than ordering from that on-line company whose name is the same as one of the world's largest rivers.  Looks like it should do the job quite well, and will save me from having to lift and toss snow.  The only thing that's wrong as far as I can tell, is the wheels need to be larger, or the main frame/extension needs to be stepped down to the wheels.  As it is, that part slopes down from where it attaches to the shovel, to the wheels.  That means the pivot where the blade can angle leans backwards, and when the blade is angled to the side, it's not level.  If the wheels are both on the ground then one side of the shovel is raised.  If the shovel is level, then one wheel is not on the ground.  That may not make much difference in actual use, but I've been trying to figure out how to remedy the situation.  Either by installing larger wheels, or by modifying the frame.

Currently reading something called Dragon Fall by Katie MacAlister.  Fantasy Romance as near as I can tell.  Think it is something I won as a door prize at a Spokane Authors and Self-Publishers meeting.  I don't read Romance on a regular basis, but I do read fantasy, and it seems to be very well written.  And I believe one should read as many different genres and types of books as possible.

That's probably it for now.  Might have a bit of an excerpt to post next.
Beyond the Ocean's Edge

Story Excerpt

For the most part I've been trying to post something from the Stone Island Sea Stories in a progressive manner, something from each chapter in order.  But I'll step away from that today and give you a bit from Chapter Thirteen, "The Diplomatic Voyage," of Sailing Dangerous Waters: Another Stone Island Sea Story.  In included this same excerpt as filler material in the March issue of the REAR ENGINE REVIEW, the newsletter for the Inland Northwest Corvair Club that I completed and sent out yesterday.

"Helm, Steer Between Them!" Cover art for Sailing Dangerous Waters

Chapter Thirteen
The Diplomatic Voyage
            Pierce fidgeted, looking at his watch, anxious for the last members of the official delegation to be aboard.  They milled about on the quay, halting the loading of their dunnage as time and time again it seemed, a needed item was discovered to be in a chest destined for the very depths of the hold.  At the same time, as members of the group tried to make their way on board, they were waylaid by residents or those being left behind with some sort of authority.  In the not so distant future, a future measured now in portions of an hour, they would lose the tide and sailing would have to wait.
            Why had he agreed to convey the results of the vote and the island’s representative to the Vespican capital?  Why could he not have insisted that Island Expedition sail for England as soon as repairs had been completed?  That had been his original plan, but at the insistence of Smythe and others, he had been convinced to remain and make this additional trip to the Vespican mainland.  Quite possibly he could have refused the request, even though his orders placed him in service to the British Island Expedition Organization and those in charge on Stone Island.  As the delays mounted, and as each small sign of progress conversely brought forth additional detours, he sincerely wished he had followed his initial desires.
            Now he would have to make the voyage to Bostwick and wait while the delegates from the newest Independent Land of Vespica proceeded through the ceremonies of diplomacy and annexation.  Then there would be a return voyage to Stone Island, against the prevailing westerly winds.  More time would be lost before they were ready to sail on their homeward journey.
            Exasperated by the endless delays and tired of watching the circus being staged on the quay, Pierce all but gave up hope of sailing on the current tide.  He forced himself to stand immobile along the starboard rail and gaze idly across the bay.  When his patience could wait no longer, and he was about to check his watch once more, Hotchkiss approached him.
            “Sir!” the first lieutenant said quietly.  And when Pierce did not respond, he said again, “sir!”
            “Yes, Mr. Hotchkiss?”
            “I am happy to report that everyone and everything is aboard.  With your permission, we may get underway.”
            “The tide?” Pierce asked, even as he looked at his watch to check for himself.
            “Still time, sir.”
            “Well then, let us be at it.  Allow Mr. Townsend the honor of taking us out.  Quite naturally we shall have Mr. O’Brien as well as ourselves nearby to see that all goes well.”
            “Aye, sir!”  Hotchkiss tipped his hat in salute and turned to the master.  “Mr. O’Brien, we shall proceed to sea.  Mr. Townsend is to have the conn.”
            “Aye aye, sir.”
            “Mr. Townsend!” shouted Hotchkiss, for the midshipman was forward dealing with a last minute problem.  “Leave that until later!  You are to take us out!”
            “Aye aye, sir!”  Townsend hurried aft, shouting as he came.  “Cast loose fore and aft!  In the boats, take up the slack!  Put your backs into it now!  Pull!”
            Because the wind effectively pinned the schooner against the pier, the boats would pull her far enough away to allow a minimum of sea room and permit them to sail on a starboard reach or tack, roughly parallel with the shore.
            “All free forward!  All free aft!”
            “Shove off, lads!” roared Townsend, directing his voice to those hands standing by with spare oars and sweeps.  Their push against the quay would help give the schooner an initial impetuous to move away from the dock.  That first push would also impart some momentum and make the work of those in the boats just a little easier.
            “Damn it, sir!  The brow!” shouted Davis, the bo’sun’s mate.  In trying to make the tide, the boarding plank had not been detached and set ashore.  Now, as the slightest movement came upon the vessel, that walkway betwixt ship and shore twisted in the entry port and drug across the quay’s stone pavement.  The lines that secured it to the rail grew taut.
            Pierce had been watching the procedures with a certain detachment, confident in young Mr. Townsend’s abilities, and the knowledge that several senior and experienced individuals were there and ready to assist if he should face any difficulty.  But with Davis’s shout and his own notice of the problem, Pierce became more attentive.  Still, he did not take charge, and for the moment he sincerely hoped that no one else did either.  He wanted to see how Townsend would deal with it.

And if you've had a chance to read my short story, Mr. Townsend's Chronometer, this is the same William Townsend.  You can find the story on my web-site.  He's a bit younger here than in the short story.