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Wednesday, 31 December 2014


For those who loved the Narnia books and/or those who have read his papers, the biography on the BBC is worth catching. It paints a poignant picture of the sensitive academic behind the written word. 

There were a number of great writers who emerged at the same time as C.S.Lewis and J.R.R. Tolkien.  If you are not familiar with his works, I highly recommend E.R. Edison - The Zimiamvian Trilogy and The Worm Ouroboros for beautiful prose and wonderful characters.

Xmas Cheer and next New Year ;)

So that was Christmas and a Happy New Year....

Nothing quite like a good family Xmas so it was good to gather the family around and to enjoy each other's company. The house feels so much warmer and like there is something waiting to happen around each corner.  Now everyone has gone and even the nearby family won't be around for dinner until January, the house has fallen silent, losing that soft buzz of voices and thoughts. 

It's still the peaceful house even when it is full of folk. This Xmas, it was so good to be able to sit down and talk about writing styles and content. With my daughter editing a novella and working on a novel, it has been even more of a family subject than normal.

Good, too, to mix a few old favourites amongst our many board and other competition games with some newer ones over the last few weeks.  This year, we all learned to play the Japanese card game, Titchu, which was good fun, had a go at the Star Trek deck builder (we thought some of the criticism levelled at the game was unfair), got to grips with the Pandemic card game, Contagion as well as playing La Cittia, Seven Wonders and Dominion.

One of the gang gave us Thunderstone - The Elementals so we have three sets of the game, now, to torture people with. Such a beautiful game to look at, I have always felt it just falls short of being one of the greats, even with the amended rules that we have introduced.

Something else I wanted to mention. It's always a huge pleasure when an old friend gets in touch. I was thrilled to see an email from one of the finest on-line role players I have ever had the privilege to play alongside and the creator of Ared. Look forward to hearing from you again, my old friend. We have much catching up to do.

I hope to hear from more of you. I long ago lost ,most of the Sigil email addresses when my old lap top went suddenly and I found the backup had been corrupted, also. We saved some of the files using hard disk extraction tools but some data was hopelessly distorted.

Happy New Year to you all.  I hope 2015 brings you things that you wish for.

Tuesday, 16 December 2014

Xmas at Hogenroast Malpractice (Pronouced Hoonroast)

Hello all
I bet you thought I had forgotten you.  Yes, this is indeed Squire Townshend St John De Grincheux signing in to spread a bit of Christmas Cheer.

Maddie and I will be hosting the usual eighteen to twenty odd for dinner.  Cook and her team are all prepared, turkeys have been stored, hams salted and one thing and another.  I have taken the liberty of picking the drinks to be served, of course.

Nothing like starting the day with a bit of a halloo over the moors, before lunch. A stirrup cup of spiced rum or mead and then off to dinner.  "Freddie" Flingstuff is going to be along to add a bit of celebrity colour as well as the usuals, Nigel Snipe-Razzell, Geoffrey Loosely-Gaye, "Bogroll" Bligh, "Wingit" Hershaw and, of course, our new MP for our adjacent county Upper Middleshire & Blazering, "Perkie" Perkins or Sam as he prefers to be called.  Dashed good thing he beat off that UKVIP candidate, Joseph H. Snottham. Borderfolk & Sheepshire is a staunch Conserve-IT seat. We'd like it to stay that way next year.

I did invite Henry Treadsoftly but it sounds like my sister Hildebrande has some things for him to do before they pick up dear old Colonel Somewhat-Vague and Henrietta from Crumbleigh Towers and the Much Vexing mob come to join us for lunch.

At one time, the Colonel would have led the charge, of course but in those days we would have been chasing real foxes instead of a chap dressed as one who the winner "shoots" with a foam lump loaded ina toy gun. Oh well, at least we can use a few hounds.

The economy hasn't been the same since the days of the hunt.  I'm not a lover of blood sports and don't like seeing foxes killed or birds shot but I have to say that a lot of people who had jobs which relied on the extra income from those sports have left the area, now. The kennels are largely closed, the blacksmiths and farriers went,  makers of all sorts of gear, a local brewer, I could go on.   The town folk won't have it until the foxes start on their bins and become a nuisance but we had a delicate control here in the country.  We did know what we were at, even if it looked like we were a lot of rich old farts overdoing it.   No gamekeeper on my estate ever gassed a badger, shot a bird of prey or saw off wildlife.  I saw to that. I still have the odd hen harrier but not like we did since the grouse moor closed. I couldn't have all those protesters stomping about. Same with the fox hunting. We stopped it but I tell you, now, if you live in the country, you get a different perspective and maybe you should think on that. It's easy to make judgements about things you don't understand because you aren't close enough to care.

Now, let's get back to enjoying a good Xmas. Wherever you are, I hope you enjoy the company of your family and some time to relax.  We could do with more time off in this little nation of ours. It's quality time when well spent and we should all have that opportunity.  So grab a bottle of something you like and here's a toast to a great new year in 2015.

Damson where did I put the Damson Gin? Excuse me, folks, I have a couple of important bottles to dig out. The home made stuff is just nicely ready for the festive season. Hope you grabbed some of those bunches of sloes back in the Autumn.

Happy Christmas All
So I got to the end of the second book and set it aside to edit later.  I have a couple of the readers looking at it, already but won't distribute it as widely until I have run through at least once.  I may have edited three chapters or so out of 32.

Onto the 3rd book. I had written an opening some time back but that was amended, then again and then partially returned to the original style.  Getting into the third is proving harder as it's not as interesting a line of plots as the 4th and 5th but I have a lot of material that needs to get out before we get into those two plot lines. Also some new characters to introduce, not least, Finn's muse and love of his life, Sylvander.

Also entering this one are Zira, the arabic blood thief and lightweight magess, Gorwen, the fey dragon with his butterfly wings and low attention span, Goric the dwarven smith and Grimstob, the ex dwarven lord who wants to forget his past, Caliban, a young assassin who becomes Finn's shadow and possibly a few others. There's a rumour that Seabharinn may make his appearance but although a first chapter is written, use of his name is still under negotiation with Ross.

In the second book, we met Thunderchild, properly, Bo, Jeffery, Marcabru and Ylloelae again and Finn's companions who work for him, Targ and Prendar. I would have liked to bring in so many others but there is so little space when it comes down to it.

If any of you ex-Sigil players are reading me and you are happy for me to use the rp characters you created, let me know.  I know I own the rights on Sigil and the copyright to its plots but I regard the characters as yours and won't put them in without written permission. I'd love to feature more of them so... you know the mail addys. They are still the same as ever.

For the rest of you, if you have a character idea you'd love to see in the tale, I'm always open to creative ideas.

Until next time.

Friday, 28 November 2014

November - Writing gone mad

I definitely cannot recall ever having written so much in one month, before. November has been a revelation with something over 60,000 words as well as half a dozen maps and several notes files as aide memoires for the continuing saga.

What had been intended as a gentle re-work of the original second book about Black Finn has become a largely new book. Most of the material has been pushed back for use in later novels.

The issue for my test readers has been that if you tell too much in obviously later retrospect, it is obvious with the narrative set ten to twenty years on, who has survived and what the political situation is. By doing that, you remove a lot of the tension and the wondering about who will come out of the tale well.  You know that Finn must survive to tell the stories but even that does not have to be completely certain.

Thus the original first book, planned to be told from twenty years on has disappeared to be replaced by two books which are tied much more closely to the times when their events unfold.

I am now working on chapter 24, which becomes just the 4th chapter to be a re-write from the original as opposed to the other twenty new chapters.

Finally, in chapter 21, Finn becomes embroiled in the Dalmanian war which was the running theme in the original tale set between chapters about his other companions and adventures. The test readers are giving positive feedback on the re-write so here's hoping.

Here's the new opening for those who have read none and for those who remember "The tight place" opening which I have now scrapped.

The night watchman on the quayside looked around at the sound of feet splashing through a puddle. It was a damp evening in early Autumn and a clinging fog hung over Orsiliath.  In the semi-darkness, the ships tied to the quay lifted and fell as if riding on the gently sleeping chest of the bay. 

Nearby, a single post topped by a droplet obscured glass bulb held a guttering torch. The watchman lifted his own stave with its small candle holder.
“Who goes there?” His voice was muffled in the blanket that wrapped about the town, tonight. 

There was no reply. Oddly, he thought he could smell the scent of tropical mango for a moment but then it was gone and the sour odour of sea salt and old ships returned. He trudged along the quay, heading for the Seagate that led to Harbour Square. He started thinking about the end of his watch and the warm meal and beer at the Watchhouse.

Something dripped on his hat. The drops pattered, one, two, three. He cursed, softly, moving a step away. He must have got under an overhanging gutter with a leak. He just glanced up and then he saw the limp arm hanging out over the roof edge. There was a thick flow of liquid dripping off the roof edge. The night watchman took off his hat and inspected it. He felt something thick and congealed on his fingertips. In the half-light, he was sure, although he already knew what it was going to be. He fumbled with the ties and freed the bell on his stave. He began ringing it. “Oi, Oi! Murder! Foul Murder!”

Thursday, 6 November 2014

More writing but not on the wall

It's national novel writing month as you may know. Not that it makes any difference to me as I'd be aiming to write 30-50,000 words a month, anyway with a series of novels as my target.

Eleven chapters into the re-work of book 2 of the Black Finn series, now. Here's a short preview of the opening chapter for those of you who do read my stuff :)

Night Shadows I

The night watchman on the quayside looked around at the sound of feet splashing through a puddle. It was a damp evening in early Autumn and a clinging fog hung over Orsiliath.  In the semi-darkness, the ships tied to the quay lifted and fell as if riding on the gently sleeping chest of the bay. Nearby, a single post topped by a droplet obscured glass bulb held a guttering torch. The watchman lifted his own stave with its small candle holder.
“Who goes there?” His voice was muffled in the blanket that wrapped about the town, tonight. There was no reply. Oddly, he thought he could smell the scent of tropical mango for a moment but then it was gone and the sour smell of sea salt and old ships returned. He trudged along the quay, heading for the Seagate that led to Harbour Square. He started thinking about the end of his watch and the warm meal and beer at the Watchhouse.

Something dripped on his hat. The drops pattered, one, two, three. He cursed, softly, moving a step away. He must have got under an overhanging gutter with a leak. He just glanced up and then he saw the limp arm hanging out over the roof edge. There was a thick flow of liquid dripping off the roof edge. The night watchman took off his hat and inspected it. He felt something thick and congealed on his fingertips. In the half-light, he was sure although he already knew what it was. He fumbled with the ties and freed the bell on his stave. He began ringing it. “Oi, Oi! Murder! Foul Murder!”

We were staying overnight at “The Cock & Anchor”, an inn close to the harbour. Thunderchild, Marcabru, Ylloelae and myself had just got in from Saxburg and had decided to stop in Orsiliath for a couple of days to get to know the town before heading north. At breakfast, next morning, the inn was full of rumour as tradesmen came in and out and exchanged news with the bar staff. We listened, of course. It was interesting to hear the ordinary gossip but the item that was first on everyone’s list was the murder of a seaman. A murder in a sea port isn’t that uncommon but the nature of this one stood out. The man had been found with the top of his head removed and his brains had gone altogether.

Thunderchild sat up, first, when we heard someone mention this.
“What?” I said, intrigued by the story but not drawing any conclusion as yet.
“I have come across a dark race once before, a race that hate mankind, elven and the other younger races with a passion. They live in the deepest, darkest places in the world and prey upon others. They have tentacles instead of jaws with which they open the skulls of victims to feed on their brains. If one such being is here, that would be significant. We should pay attention to this tale. Such a being would be beyond the townfolk and militia. They have powers that rival dark wizards and always they are accompanied by slave warriors to provide muscle.”

“What would bring such a being up to the surface and to an island, especially Gwythaor?” I asked.
Thunderchild shrugged. “I know not, Finn, my friend but I think we should inspect for ourselves.”
“I’m game” Marcabru grinned as he finished and swallowed his fifth quail’s egg. “Once I have finished breaking my fast. I have some bacon coming and a little more toasted bread, some sausage, another egg, what they call black pudding, here, some fried tomato, mushrooms and onion together and a portion of some dish called “haggis”.

We all stared at him. Where Marcabru puts the quantity of food he can eat, nobody ever can work out. He isn’t a small man but he always remains fit and has never run to any real weight.  I started laughing and Ylloelae joined in. “What?” Marcabru spread his hands wide. “A man has to eat.”

Sometime later, we were at the quayside. I was dressed in my usual black studded leather gilet over a black shirt, soft black leggings and boots. Ylloelae had thrown a brown cloak over her buff top and brown leggings, tied her hair back, roughly and put an old battered hat on to keep off the drizzle. She carried a quarterstaff. Thunderchild had taken the guise of an ageing sheriff with grey touched black hair, scale armour and a long grey cloak. He wore a ranger badge to identify him as a lawkeeper. Marcabru was the most colourful with his red headscarf, white lace tunic, bright blue cummerbund, black trews and boots and jewel studded belts. He wore his trusty falchion and several knives that poked from boot sheaths and other places. I had chosen to leave my greatsword, Clave concealed back at the rooms. I had a black light crossbow on my back, a hand crossbow swinging off my belt, my black and white handled daggers and a falchion.

The militia captain was grumbling when we got there. When he saw us he grumbled a good deal more about interfering amateurs and trouble but he let us have a look at the scene, respecting Thunderchild’s claim that he was a senior ranger and we were his companions.  Thunderchild introduced us, “I am known as Thunderchild mostly because I wield a heavy blade, this is Black Finn who is our man for catching thieves and assassins. He has many skills not least being a dangerous man with sword or bow. Marcabru the troubadour is also a tough man in a fight. He is excellent at handling townsfolk and having experience as a seaman, himself, knows ships, too. Ylloelae is our healer. She was trained in Lorefast. She is also the most even handed and will probably lead when it comes to questioning people.”

The captain of Orsiliath’s militia was called Merl. He had two other men with him who answered to Hookes and Jarret. Hookes wasn’t keen to see us and replied with monosyllabic answers. Jarret was the more helpful and he opened up the loft and got a ladder down so we could climb up from inside to look at the roof. I could have climbed up quicker by my normal methods but no point in showing your hand too early.

The body was still on the roof being inspected by a doctor who rather worryingly went by the name “Graves” and a smartly dressed officer of a regular army unit dressed in green leather coat, brown hat with green and white feathers and black trousers. He introduced himself as Captain John Cleaver of the Ducal Halberdiers. He accepted our roles without question. It seemed that the rangers had a good reputation on Gwythaor. I was reminded that Jeffery, my old Gatebrand friend had gone to join them. We knelt and took in the murder scene.

The man lay slumped on the roof. I guessed from the marks that he had slid down after falling so was probably standing on the apex when he was struck. He had been killed by a single dagger blow at the top of the spine that had penetrated the lower head and neck, severing the spinal cord while causing a bleed out at the same time.
That was not so remarkable. Any experienced killer would know where to stab. The striking thing was that the whole top of his head had been ripped off. The bone fragments and shape of the ragged edges suggested incredibly sharp teeth or jagged implements like some kind of heavy saw.  A little way off, across the roof were some spatterings of blood and fragments. Ylloelae examined these.
“I think the brain stem was removed, here. There are bits of spine as well. I’ve never seen any killing so grisly by a human, before. Assuming this was a human killer.”

“The captain has a suspect. Apparently the merchant who owns the vessel “Night Bird” was seen by a cellarman at “The Old Ship” just straightening up with blood pouring down his chin before running off and climbing over a wall. The man called over a militia guard and told him, this morning when the news got out. He seemed pretty sure it was the merchant that he saw. The man had just been at the inn and was wearing a particular jacket that was very distinctive.”

“And where is this merchant, now?” asked Thunderchild.
“Aboard his ship. Most of his crew are back on board, too. We’re watching the ship to make sure nobody leaves while the militia collect evidence.”
“If you don’t mind me asking.” I interrupted, “what’s your interest, sir? You’re obviously a professional soldier. Don’t the militia usually handle these affairs?”
Cleaver looked up briefly, “My men are responsible for securing the harbour and gates, now. Captain Merl has a lot to worry about. I like to ensure that the important matters are well supported.”
There was something in his tone that suggested something else. I exchanged glances with Thunderchild.
“You don’t trust the captain that much, do you?” asked Thunderchild, directly.
Cleaver didn’t answer at once but glanced at Thunderchild. “Do you have any theories, good ranger?”
“I had a particular concern based on a previous experience but this isn’t the same, at all.”

We climbed back down.
“Whatever or whoever killed the man, the blow was struck by someone who knew exactly what they were doing.” I commented, “I would suggest a trained assassin or similar but certainly someone who makes a living from murder and subterfuge. The only odd part is the way the brain was removed. Some less savoury mages will pay well for such things but I would have expected a neat hacksaw job. The way the head was opened looks more like the work of a lycanthrope than a man.”

“It crossed my mind that we may be dealing with a were-creature.” Marcabru nodded.

“And mine” said Thunderchild, “but why the brain? Lady Healer, any thoughts?”

Ylloelae shook her head. “Not yet. We should talk to the crew members and this merchant, also the cellarman who says he saw the merchant.”

We rejoined the militia. Captain Merl had already moved on with Hookes but Jarrett was still waiting for us.
“The captain is heading to the Night Bird to arrest the merchant. Do you want to go along, as well?”
We said we did and set off along the quay at a pace.
“I doubt a merchant would be capable of the murder we’ve just examined unless he is a somewhat unusual one.” I said.
“How do you know that?” Jarrett asked, not rudely but just inquisitively.
“Finn is our specialist in that area.” Replied Thunderchild, diplomatically. “He’d know.”
“Oh. You might find the captain hard to convince. Once he has a name in mind, he just likes to close things off without further ado. It gives him a good looking record.” Jarret nodded.
Again, we exchanged glances. “Not necessarily a good record for seeing justice done,” commented Thunderchild.
“It wouldn’t be for me to say, sir.” Jarret replied, mildly but I sensed at once that he knew that to be the case.

We found Night Bird about half way down the quay. It was a large ship with several levels and a host of lateen sails. There was a loud argument coming from the main deck. 

We marched up the gangplank. Merl, Hookes and two other militia were standing with their backs to us, backed off from a large individual with a hook nose dressed in a purple jacket with yellow edging over a rich robe of purple silk. Between he and the militia were five men with assorted daggers, cutlass and clubs brandishing them and refusing to allow the militia to remove their boss. The outcome looked like it could turn ugly as more militia began to gather behind us.

“Ah, here’s the ranger and his men. I need immediate assistance arresting this man” Merl pointed at the man in the colourful jacket, “will you seize him and arrest or put down any of his crew who try to prevent us from doing our duty?”

All eyes turned to us. Thunderchild folded his arms. “We will not help, no. I suggest that there are no arrests until there is more proof.”

That deflated Merl. He had looked so sure of himself when we first appeared. Now, he sank back.  “These seamen are obstructing an officer of the law going about his duty.”
“Technically that is true” Marcabru said with a smile.
“Everyone put down your weapons and back down, now” Thunderchild’s voice rang out.
“Who are you to start giving orders?” asked Hookes but his question kind of taled off as Thunderchild fixed him with a stare that was truly fierce.
The seamen shuffled back and lowered weapons. The merchant spread his hands, “there must be some mistake. I haven’t killed anyone. Why would I? I am a trader, just a poor and overworked man trying to make a living.”
Captain Cleaver pushed through the gathered crowd below, “what in the hells is happening here?”
“He won’t help us make the arrest.” Merl pointed at Thunderchild, “and now he’s taking over as if he’s in charge, telling everyone to put their weapons down. It’s not right.”
Cleaver looked around and then calmed considerably.
“There are questions to be answered.” He said.
“And so they shall be.” Thunderchild replied, “but not in Captain Merl’s way. I’d like to speak with the cellarman who saw,” he broke off and waved at the merchant.
“Fargus, Fargus Mardona. I am just a…”
“Yes, yes, a poor overworked trader trying to make ends meet. We know.” I finished his sentence and got a round of laughter from some of the crew and the crowd.
“And who the hells are you?” snapped Merl
“Black Finn at your service.” I gave a slight bow, “friend of the rangers and Duke Gwayne.”
“Willis, Franks, get the cellarman and bring him here,” snapped Cleaver.
“Perhaps it would be better if the crowd were dispersed peacefully and we continued in a more private place.” Suggested Ylloelae.
“The harbourmaster’s office?” Cleaver asked, annoyance creeping back into his tone.
“That would be acceptable.” Thunderchild answered.
“I will come if you guarantee my safety, big man.” Fargus said to Thunderchild, “and if I can take one of my men with me to see fair play is done.”
Thunderchild looked to Merl and Cleaver.
“Oh fine, just as long as we get on with it.” Merl snarled.
“I have no objection.” Cleaver added.
“Carew, you had best come. Captain,” he turned to one of his other men, “Get the ship ready to depart and make sure the animals are all secure. I am sure this will be easy enough to sort out.”
“What about the Valcorians?” the man addressed as captain said. “If they arrive, they’ll expect to see you and transfer the animals across as soon as they have made payment.”
“You’ll think of something.” Fargus winked and turned back to us.
“Come gentlemen and lady. I have pressing business and need to get back here soon. Perhaps we can dispel this nonsense and I can be back on my ship before nightfall.”

Tuesday, 4 November 2014

The Newsroom

I was watching some old back numbers from Sorkin's series, last night and it struck me how far the BBC had drifted from the giving the news in a seemingly impartial or at least informative manner.  I think it started when Princess Diana died and they seemed to go into meltdown, chasing the story so hard that they had to resort to interviewing the boyfriend of the next door neighbout of the cleaner of the lady's house who used to go to school with someone who once met Diana at a party.

I recall that week, there was no other news and nothing objective that  they could find to say.  Since that day, the Beeb have majored on a number of other stories to the exclusion of everything else.   What they have lost with that is any ability to offer two sides to a story, any real ability to inform or have an adult debate and with those, the ability to hold my attention or respect.

News can never just be factual because there is always an angle but what we need more of is questions, debate, hearing differing opinions and not having one view crammed down our throats by bias newspapers, tv stations and self interest groups.  Come on BBC, you aren't owned by an individual with a political affiliation. Start doing the job you were created for. Win back the respect of the world for independent reporting.

Wednesday, 29 October 2014


It's a time to celebrate for me. (and perhaps cerebrate?) because I'm having a Summer and Autumn when the writing is flowing. Every time I sit at the keyboard, the fingers start to fly across the keyboard and the stories pour out.

I have recently finished a novel that I have been working on, on and off for several years. Although I keep picking at bits of it, I think it is ready for the professional editors to have a look, now.

And the second novel which was originally planned to have been the first (and was ready) is back under review with eight new chapters written and a good few more planned.  The third is alreday two chapters in and the fourth sketched out in broad terms.  They are all one series about Black Finn.

Yes, I have finally sat down and written the back story (as they say) and added many full-length tales to construct a novel rather than snatches and fireside style shorts.   I also have other books in development that are not about Finn including two straight fiction stories and one space fiction.

I have to give a big thanks to those who have read for me and returned notes or had conversations about the books. Also to the larger number of you who have read and commented on my short pieces over the last twenty odd years.  I hope that you will start seeing my first full novels published sometime soon.

The Debt Owed by a New Generation

I was propping up the bar down at the Surfeit of Lamprey last week with my old friend and fellow Peterville & Gonewylde man, Nigel Snipe-Razzel when we were joined by Henry. I should be more specific. I mean, of course, my long suffering brother-in-law, Henry Treadsoftly who is married to my sister, Hildebrande.
"Given a pass for an hour, old boy?" asked Nigel, with one of those grins.
"Oh, er, yes" Henry nodded "Hildebrande has gone off with the ladies of the Much Vexing Music Society to London. Apparently, they are seeing the premier of a new piece by Godfrey Overblown-Blythe."
"It's atonal" he added in a tone of dry distaste.
I digress, though. The issue I wanted to get onto was student costs. It came up because Henry and Hildebrande had laid on a meal for our nephew, Paul, my youngest brother's boy. He has just finished his last year at Warwick and is expecting a two-one or first in Business Dymanics & Demographic Accountancy. I am told it's going to be the in-demand skill over the next decade. William, being William refused to come to the rest of the family either to get the boy into a decent Cambridge college or for money so the lad is in debt to the tune of 16k before he has even started.
What I don't understand is why sucessive governments of this country thought that everyone needs to go to University in the first place. In my day, the top one to two per cent went, they were supported by grants and they came out and got decent jobs. Now, we are told that over half the pupils in the country are to go on to further education. At that level the country cannot afford grants or other intervention. Instead, we have a scheme that sucks them into a cycle of debt that many of them will not get out of for years after they qualify.
You know what this is about, don't you? It keeps the unemployment figures down while the interest fills the coffers of government. The losers are the students, of course. Set high goals, they go off, believing they have a bright future, come out the other end of this educational sausage machine and find the job pool won't support that many graduates so they end up working as agents in a call centre or in a pizza bar earning under twelve thousand a year.
And do you know how much it costs the parents if they choose to pay the fees and expenses for their progeny? About twenty thousand a year, I'm told, now. That's a fair whack even for us supposedly well-heeled types.
What I don't understand is why there is any problem with leaving school and becoming an electrician or a plumber. Lord knows, they cost me enough to bring in when there is work at the manor. I don't believe I have ever met a poor plumber, electrician or tree surgeon. They all tell me they are in demand and I can now believe it. The chaps who would have joined those ranks have all gone to university to study Applied Psychology or worse, Politics. (Although the latter isn't what it used to be. You can't even get your moat cleaned out on expenses, these days)
I have some sympathy with the young despite their noisy music, taste in clothes and that facebook thing. To be given aspirations and then let down is no way to begin your working life.