you know, sometimes we do have something to say that won't quite fit in that little
space at the bottom of the page after the latest update. And Cobweb, who has a
Tidy Mind, thinks that it might be useful to keep a running list of what was updated
when for those Constant Readers who aren't as Constant as all that, and haven't
been back for months (you know who you are, and you needn't think we're rolling
over to have our tummies tickled just because you - oh, well, maybe just this
once). But I'm definitely not going back into the pre-2007 past. That's Work,
and Gnomes don't do Work.
So this is a sort of occasional notes
and comments page, with Useful and Improving Observations for the Edification
of the Common Reader, and also the Uncommon Reader, of whom, we are proud to say,
we have lots.
October 27th. Yes, here we are again, like a bad smell from the drains,
just when you thought you'd got rid of us at last. Although we would never
do anything to contribute to the sad commercialisation of All Hallow's Eve
or Mischief Night (the Gnome says it's been going downhill since it was Samhain,
but he may be lying for effect), we nonetheless have a tale of strange things
in the dark and Monsters Under the
Bed. Which makes a change from monster sessions in it, I think
July 12th 2010. Time flies like an arrow. Fruit flies like a banana.
We'd like to update more often, honestly, but it's the Muses. Just between
you and me, that Clio is a total ambrosia-head, and the others aren't much
better, and it doesn't do much for their productivity. And we get what they
send. Which this time is... well, you know how it is with ambrosia. You think
you're producing Great Literature and what you get is... the 2009
Unwin Memorial Lecture. For those unfortunate enough not to be familiar
with the great Professor's oeuvre, I urge you to seek out the Wikipedia
article. Or perhaps YouTube.
And it's not much consolation that the Muse decided to prod the Gnome into
doing some actual Writing, either, since what you get is not going to be turning
up on the shelves of Southern Baptist universities any time soon. Go read
Fire Down Below for yourself and tell
me I'm wrong.
October 18th. Yes, it has been a while. But as Tolstoy tells us,
happy families don't make for interesting stories, and the boys have been
reasonably happy, and very busy, and haven't had time to tell us what was
going on. And we wouldn't have had time to write it down if they did. But
there has been one particular source of happiness this summer - Fran finally
decided to make an honest Sub of Nick in To
Have, and the reactions to that you may read of in To
Hold. Rugby, of course, has been having a slightly more torrid time of
it here in the UK with the Bloodgate scandal. It has been felt deeply, in
some unsuspected quarters. Well, some unsuspected quarters certainly got felt
in Search Party, anyway. And to round
off a bumper autumn crop, we have Cobweb's slightly gothic take on Love at
First Sight in Reflections.
April 26th. An Easter egg or two for you, only slightly late. Poor
old Phil is taking his lumps in Not Like
This, and he doesn't much. Like it, that is. On the other hand he does
Like That. And as an additional frippery,
there's Cobweb's unbirthday present to the Gnome, the Swish
of the Willows. Any resemblance to a classic of British children's literature
is entirely co-incidental, or so our lawyers insist we say.
January 6th, 2009. The feast of the Epiphany, meaning a showing forth.
Or even fifth. Since it is still the panto season, we offer you that traditional
favourite Pinouchio. He's Behind
You! And the difficulties of peppermint creams in public, and waffles in private,
are explored in Keep Cool, Handle Wet.
December 25th. A
Merry Christmas to all our readers. We decided not to have a Christmas
update this year, because we know you all have better things to do at this
time of year than read this nonsense and send us feedback. Besides, Faery
still runs to the Old Calendar, and we have another 13 days to our Christmas.
But we hope to bring you a little winter jollity early in the New Year.
November 7th. Well, Real Life (you remember it, surely?) has been
keeping us from such frequent updates as we would like, but here's a little
autumnal blaze to keep you warm. Misty watercolour memories of the way...
oh, not mist. Smoke. Shall I call the fire brigade? A blast from the past
ignites an old disagreement between Tim and Jim in Smokescreen,
but good old Hansie is there to throw cold water on it.
September 10th. Well you know how competitive Tim is, and of course,
he wasn't about to let Hansie have the last word when it came to getting into
trouble from that quarter, was he? So by dint of persistence and willpower
he gained Phil's Assent to... well,
read it for yourself.
July 16th. There now, that was worth waiting for, wasn't it? What?
You want to argue? Arguing with the ref (or about the ref) can get you into
a lot of trouble, just ask poor old Hansie in Dissent...
Cobweb, who has an orderly mind, and keeps count, says that this is the 79th
story involving our Muddied Oafs. Whodathunkit?
July 6th. Yes, we know. No, honestly, we do realise that it has been
rather a long time between updates. But you see, the boys have been too busy
doing other things to talk to us. They wanted some time to themselves, to
heal, and to have lots of hot steamy sex... what? No, I'm afraid not. At least,
they haven't given us any of the smutty details yet. And Cobweb has been run
ragged showing Evildoers the error of their ways - there seem to be more and
more Evildoers these days. And as for the Gnome - well, the God knows what
he's been up to, but the chances of it involving hard work are remote. But
cheer up. Think how waiting sharpens the appetite.
March 28th 2008. More rugby players, I'm afraid. And people taking
charge seems to be this update's theme. Phil proves he can do so wisely in
Heroes and Villains, and Piet points
out - well, read it and see. And in the Devil's
Picture Book, the tremors of the still-reverberating past find an unexpected
resolution for Hansie and Tim. Just to clarify that we really do work hard
on these things, we had a three-day debate by email as to whether Phil could
be described as a thoroughbred in the Devil's Picture Book, which was settled
when Cobweb, who Knows about these things, pointed out that though, she would
grant, thoroughbreds are beautiful and stupid, they also lack stamina, a thing
of which Phil has never been accused. Get a life, us?
February 19th 2008. Update? What update? We do need a little time
to do other things, you know. Cobweb, of course, is Mistress of both Time
and Space, and usually manages to leave Time exhausted and with a blissful
expression on his face, but in Resolution,
Phil's time management is a little less successful, although, in the end,
he opts for an equally hands-on method. And Piet unbuttons a little - no,
not that way, honestly your minds... no, he reveals a little of his secrets
for man management - oh, for heaven's sake stop sniggering and go and read
December 18th 2007. A seasonal bundle of joy for you all. A near-fatal
experience clarifies minds wonderfully in Spilt
Milk. We offer a little Christmas cracker for Constant Reader in Yes,
Virginia. Cobweb produces a wonderful parody of MR James, master of the
ghost story (and a feature of many a British Christmas TV schedule in years
gone by) in Magister Alberic's Book
of Dirty Pictures. You may find the protagonist oddly familiar... And
Rudyard Woodgnome returns the favour, with The
Brat Who Walked By Himself.
November 20th 2007. And so post-catastrophe life unfolds for our
characters. Phil remembers what it is he likes, and it involves cream and
various sticky substances apparently, as revealed in Cooking
with Gas. The course of true love never did run smooth, though, and Tim
starts seeing another man, as Hansie learns in Couch
Potato. And deprived of a constructed Family, the ties of birth family
are re-examined by Phil in Hand of the
Diligent (it shall bear rule).
October 22nd 2007. Constant Reader seems to have some idea that we
have control over our characters, and can Put Things Right. Our characters
have their own ideas, but they managed to Put Things Right themselves. Eventually.
Sort of. It took a long time, though and here God how they talked,
all the way through Conversation, Conservation,
and eventually Convergence.
16th September 2007. Piet is naughty in Pooling
Resources. Did I really write that? No, Cobweb did, blame her, she's been
dying to get Phil in that pool for months. Wet naked rugby players - what's
not to like? And then Naught for your
Comfort. Don't ask us where that one is going, even we don't know yet.
24th July 2007. Ah, memories! Tim remembers his schooldays in The
Usual Suspects. Nick remembers - practically nothing in Copping
Off. All the blood seems to have drained to quite another part of his
18th June 2007. An Angstfest, for those who like a bit of Angst.
Tim and Phil's first meeting comes back to bite them on the arse, so to speak,
in Serpent's Tooth, and the results
of that are still troubling Phil in The
Heart has its Reasons, until he takes some wise advice, and Piet decides
that it's time for a replay.
7th May 2007. Atchoo! Sorry, it's all the dust from this spring cleaning.
We've had a little re-arrangement, put the What's New links right at the top
of the Stories page for those who are gagging to get to the new stuff, and
created separate pages for the one-off stories so that the intro page isn't
so awfully long. Just tidying up, you know? I expect it's the Mother's influence.
4th May 2007. Yes, we know it's been a long time. Yes, we know you
thirst for innocent blood. Real Life gets in the way. But here we are at last.
Hansie has been getting into trouble again in Black
and Blue, which gives us an insight into where he stands on a Big Question.
And Cobweb and the Gnome - well, you just shouldn't dare Cobweb to write things,
because Brat in a Trap is the sort
of thing that results. And it isn't, in any way, shape, or form, a birthday
present for the Gnome because we know he doesn't do birthdays, all right?
Anyway, it was late.
16th February 2007. Well, they've all been bothering us for ages
to tell this one. No, not the readers, the characters. Cobweb has Spoken Severely
to Nick on at least one occasion because he wouldn't leave her in peace when
she was trying to write something else, and he normally has pretty good manners.
Admittedly, he has gone through some trying times, but with him and the Muddied
Oafs all talking at once, and even Bateman, for goodness sake, trying to get
in on the act, we ended up with a stonking great novella, at which point the
Gnome, with an evil leer, took his scissors to it and... well, see for yourself.
Officer Down kicks off proceedings,
then Officer Resurgat, and finally An
Officer and some Gentlemen in which, amongst other things, Fran finally
gets her own back for that unfortunate remark of Phil's. On top of that we
have the Gnome himself getting into trouble playing D&D. Drunk and Disorderly,
that is, not Dungeons and Dragons. Although he is more than familiar with
both. For the ultimate in Unreality TV, phone in your votes for Top
23rd December 2006. A Christmas update for you all. A standalone
from Cobweb (Terms of Engagement)
a Nick and Fran story (Spice Route)
and our mutual Christmas presents, opened early at great personal sacrifice
just so they could be shared with you, a Thurber parody from the Gnome (Thirteen
Brats) and an Urbane Myth from Cobweb (Fa-la-la-la-la)
be a stranger
If you'd like to be emailed when we do an
update, drop us a line, using the email address at the bottom of the page, and
ask to be added to our update list. And if you think you ought to be getting update
notifications and you aren't, then maybe it would be a good idea to let us know
that new email address you changed to, hmm?
(and some of the longer-standing ones might
find it useful too.)
Some people apparently worry about
things like where the Fran and Nick stories fit into the timeline of the Team
Trials universe (or the Muddied Oafs, as Cobweb will refer to them in a fit of
exasperation). The Gnome thinks that this means that some people don't get out
enough, or at least don't get spanked enough, but as I said, Cobweb has a Tidy
Mind. So this is what she says:
All right, we
might as well admit to it: the rugby players got away from us a bit. There was
one story about Viper de Vries. We weren't sure that we liked him: he seemed a
bit scary. There was one story about Hansie; unfortunately it seemed to require
another one, and suddenly there was not only the Viper, but also Fran Milton.
She had started off quite cheerfully on her own; she admitted to being acquainted
with some rugby players but not to knowing them well. Next thing we knew, they
were all having dinner together, telling each other secrets, telling us secrets,
looking out for one another and generally taking over our lives. Never mind, we
thought, that just means that we have two sets of stories running.
the stories have a dreadful tendency to interlink, and things that happen in one
series have consequences in the other, rather the way it happens in Reality, and
someone new and of a nervous disposition, could, the Viper told us, become Very
Confused about What Happened When and to Whom. We, not being entirely stupid,
realised that he was telling us this so that we could do something about it.
we have done, and he can stop Looking at us that way. Constant Reader will find
it easier to follow what's going on if the explanations come in some sort of sensible
order, and it goes like this:
Fran's first and second stories,
'October' and 'Picture This' are independent of 'Team Trials'. Her third, 'Under
Investigation' comes any time after TT 'Wilful Damage' and any time before 'Sed
Quod Amem'. 'Nicked' comes after 'Foreign Aid of Adornment'; then 'Rewards But
No Fairies', 'Debriefing', and 'Brother-in-Law' come any time before TT 'Coach
and Four'. 'Copper Bottomed' comes after 'As The Sparks Fly Upwards', and then
'Drowning In Cream' and 'If You Go Down To The Woods Today' come together any
time before TT 'Implementing Changes'.
'Making A Mark'
comes after TT 'Sunday, Bloody Sunday'; 'Good With His Hans' comes after 'Reach
Out And Touch Someone'; 'The Spice Route' comes after TT 'The Cane Mutiny'.