Practice Makes Perfect

Yesterday Allan had practice managing this blog, assisted by a Happiness Engineer from WordPress, the outfit that hosts this website. The job title is their choice of jargon, not Allan’s, but the engineer was quite a happy chap – a Spaniard working in Japan. Such is today’s global community! They used a third site called Zoom, which enabled the Happiness Engineer to demonstrate some functions, using a shared screen. The tutorial lasted three quarters of an hour and cost about $US 1.00 / min (about the same as a not-so-good lawyer, though Allen has never used a lawyer and hopes he never will). Allan thinks it was worth it, especially since a written summary of the tutorial was emailed afterwards, including links that follow-up the main issues. The proof is in the pudding, as they say, and this blog should be a better pudding for the experience, or at least Allan’s head should be a better pudding, with intellectual nuts added to it, and maybe some kind of attitudinal brandy, enough to jazz things up, technologically speaking.

Anyway, this post’s practice theme is a good excuse to mention a scene in Mirrored Sword, where the legendary Beast of Ferrybridge (Tom) instructs the Shrew of Southwark in the proper use and management of the crossbow. The lesson occurs in her home, a converted warehouse, leased by her father (Farthings). So here follows a sneak preview.

Preview from Day 18 (the book is sectioned into 31 days, each subtitled with a historical date)

He strapped on the loading belt then took up the crossbow, determined to continue the lesson as before.

            “The archer places one foot in the stirrup at the end of the crossbow,” he declared, acting out the lesson for Farthings. “Next he draws back the metal arms–”

            “We have already been through this,” the daughter objected.

            “Not with me,” her father reminded her.

            “I’ll keep it short,” Tom promised, inserting the bolt already.

            “It is my turn,” she said, reaching for the weapon.

            “Not till I say,” he insisted, keeping it out of her reach.

            “I can show Papa without your help!” she cried and next somehow managed to grab hold of the barrel.

            “It’s loaded!”

            Not to be denied, she wrenched the barrel from his bandaged fingers. He still held onto the stock with his good hand but lost control of the trigger. There was another loud twang and another loud thud and this time the bolt buried itself deep in the floorboards, midway between his feet. He shot her a look that was part horror and part fury – safety had always been his number one priority in weapons training, his own not least of all – but what did she care!

            “Close enough,” was all she said by way of apology, then withdrew to her nearby room, and slammed the door shut.

            “She has always been highly sensitive,” Farthings observed. “Fortunately this is a carpenter’s house, so no lasting harm done.”

It seemed lasting to Tom, the bolt stuck in the floor as fast as a rivet, resisting all his best efforts to pull it out.

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