Randall’s Ramblings, July 31, 2022

While some parts of the UK are struggling with a lack of rain and hosepipe bans have been put in place, we continue to receive showers compliments of Mother Nature. Even though the rainfall is less than the average, it’s still persistent enough to keep things green, although potted plants still require watering. As I look outside, a light shower is now upon us.

Craig finished his visit this past week. We did two more outings: Callendar House, which has played host to many great historical figures over the centuries, including Mary, Queen of Scots, Cromwell and Bonnie Prince Charlie. It dates from the 14th century. It is set in the nationally-important historic designed landscape of Callendar Park, which also contains a section of the Antonine Wall World Heritage Site. Permanent displays include the story of Callendar House, a history covering the 11th to the 19th centuries, the Antonine Wall, Rome’s Northern Frontier, and Falkirk: Crucible of Revolution 1750-1850, which explains how the local area was transformed during the first century of the industrial era.

Our last stop was to the Culross Abbey. It was founded in 1217 by Malcolm I, Mormaer or Earl of Fife, and was first colonised by monks from Kinloss Abbey. Culross may have been chosen to establish an abbey because this was the birthplace of Saint Mungo. It is evident that the abbey was built over the earlier Pictish church supposedly founded by Saint Serf in the 6th century. During Craig’s next visit, we’ll be checking out places that were currently closed for safety checks.

At last we’re starting to see the upward trend of gasoline (petrol) prices retreat. During the past two weeks, prices have dropped from £1.92 a liter to £1.85. This make the equivalent price of a U.S. gallon at $8.68 based on the current exchange rate.

Here’s this week’s quote (Compliments of http://www.wisdomquotesandstories.com/):

“Obstacles can’t stop you. Problems can’t stop you. Most of all others can’t stop you. The only one who stops you is yourself.”

So who was born on this date in history? Let’s find out who in the writing world was born on July 31st, the fifth and final Sunday of the month:

Peter Rosegger, Austrian poet and Nobel Prize laureate; Harry Northrup [Henri N.], French-born American poet and actor (The Heart of Maryland, The Unchastened Woman); Munshi Premchand [Dhanpat Rai], Indian author; Grete Gulbransson, Austrian writer and poet (Geliebte Schatten); Arthur Daley, American sportswriter (NY Times-Pulitzer 1956); Brett Halliday, American writer (Dividend on Death); Louis De Funes, French actor and writer (The Mad Adventures of Rabbi Jacobs); Sibte Hassan, Pakistani activist, journalist and writer; Norman Del Mar, British conductor and writer (Conducting Brahms); Primo Levi, Italian chemist and writer (Survival in Auschwitz); Walter Vogt, Swiss writer (Wüthrich) and psychiatrist; Oriana Fallaci, Italian journalist and writer; Lynne Reid Banks, British author (The Indian in the Cupboard); Cees Nooteboom, Dutch writer and journalist (Rituelen); Yvon Deschamps, French Canadian author and humorist; Mort Crim, American broadcast journalist, author, and inspiration for the Ron Burgundy character in the “Anchorman” films; João Barreiros, Portuguese writer (Um Dia com Júlia na Necrosfera); J. K. Rowling, English writer (Harry Potter novels);Elizabeth Wurtzel, American author (Prozac Nation); and Ahmad Akbarpour, Iranian writer (The Train of That Night).

Any names familiar to you? There was one for me: J. K. Rowling, who should be familiar to everyone. Whether you recognize anyone on the list or not, if today’s your special day I hope you have a great one!

My Work in Progress

Slide1Things continue nicely with my next WIP, Frozen Conquest. Chapter eight was posted this week. There were another sixteen chapter reviews this week, bringing the total to 120, some from long-standing reviewers while others came from new people.

Here’s the next snippet:

After a quick meal, they headed back to the off-base house and gathered once again in the living room. This time, August retrieved the drinks.

Rufus unlocked a cabinet, pulled out his laptop, and booted it. While they waited, he turned to the others. “I placed all the applications on here. Eight are prior military, while the other two are FBI agents looking for a career change.”

“Aye.” CC sipped his German beer. “We’ll give you our opinions, but in the end, the choice is yours.”

Rufus nodded. “Admiral Blakely said we should pick four people, for now, giving us a decent QRF staff as we could split into two three-man teams, if necessary, although I think eight would be better.”

Trevor glanced at CC. “Fully agree with you. However, in our recent team building, the admiral indicated changes would need to wait for additional funding.”

“Aye. If everything works out, we’ll get the necessary funding in the next budget.”

“I recommend picking four people you want right away.” Evelyn sipped her white wine. “Choose two others as alternates—they can be added to the team when the budget is sorted.” She smiled. “Of course, it depends on how many met the threshold for being offered positions.”

“Makes sense.” Rufus clicked on the first file and opened it. “I’ve blocked the names in case any of us know the applicants and might show inadvertent favoritism. For now, they’ll be known as one through ten.”

“Aye. Excellent idea.” CC scooted forward.

* * *

Over the next three hours, the five Bedlam personnel reviewed the files. Two were rejected outright due to a lack of operational experience. While well-trained, they were desk jockeys and never served in a high-tension environment.

They took a short restroom break and replaced their empty drinks.

Rufus led them outside for a breath of fresh air.

“Will you keep this place when you’ve assembled your teams?” Evelyn glanced at the other houses on the street.

Rufus nodded and pointed to two others, both larger than their current one. “Yes. Those houses over there each have three bedrooms. Each member will have their own bedroom but will have to share the common areas. Meanwhile, August and I will stay here. It’s only two bedrooms but plenty of space for us.” He yawned. “Shall we get back to it?”

Everyone agreed, and they returned inside.

After an additional two hours, they reached a decision: one, three, four, six, eight, and nine.

“Shall we uncover their names and faces to see if we know any of them?” Rufus unblocked the hidden information and stepped through the six applicants.

“Wait.” CC raised a hand. “Number nine—I recognize his photo and name. In my opinion, you don’t want him.”

“Any valid reason? He seems very qualified.” Rufus frowned.

“Aye. He’s qualified, but that’s not the problem. He resents authority from those he considers junior to his abilities. In Afghanistan, he killed an Afghan captain after a disagreement. Charges were never filed—I think the rest of his team didn’t want to deal with any repercussions as they could end up like the captain.” CC gazed into each of their faces. “He also trilled to kill an American army colonel looking into the Afghan captain’s death—me.”

More next time.

This brings us to an end for another week. I hope you found something of interest. If you have any suggestions for a topic you’d like to read about, please let me know. Until the next time, thank you for reading and hope you drop in again.

© Copyright 2022 Randall Krzak. All rights reserved


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