It is over. It is done. The end is here and upon us. We have reached our terminus; our final destination. Please remember to take all of your personal ideas with you when you leave the blog. Stories left unattended will be removed and destroyed by security services. It’s been a hell of a journey, but we’re done now. I’d offer you a timetable for the resumption of service, but I don’t have one. You’ll have to keep a weather eye on the horizon and listen to the whispers on the wind; watch for signs, portents, omens and anything that just looks plain weird. Because no matter how hard you may try, some things just won’t stay dead. Some things will claw their way back up from even the most Stygian bowels of the underworld. Although we might have reached the End of the Line. It is not necessarily The End. Opportunities and wonder abound to those will to find them.
Tag Archives: February
With the arrival of February we enter the last vestiges of winter. The sharp green shoots of spring have already begun to break through the chill, dead earth. With the end of winter within our sights my thoughts turn to one of the uncomfortable truths of life: “There is an end to all things.” Nothing is eternal and nothing will last for ever. So it is with mixed emotions I’ve decided to finally call an end to the Pictonaut Challenge. At least for now. I’ve been throwing myself at this challenge for three and a half years, and this month’s will be the 42nd iteration of the challenge. This being a most auspicious number I though now would be as good a time as any.
I want to quit while I’m ahead, to get out before I start to feel bitter and before writing starts to feel too much like work, or a resented obligation. The Pictonaut Challenge will more than likely rear its head again at some point in the future, but for now I just want a rest.
So here we find ourselves, at The End of the Line.
When last we met dear readers it was on a pleasantly sunny day. Being the suspicious sort that I am, I suspect that February was plotting something most heinous and most foul. Which as chance would have it, it was. As heinous and foul most assuredly describe the weather of the last month. Large portions of the country have been transformed so that they are no more a green and sceptred land. Now they’re more of a muddy brown and sort of squelchy. The boffins at the MET office claim that it is the wettest winter on record and I’m certainly not going to disagree. It is times such as this that I am glad to live nowhere near a body of water and be on the 1st floor. But as much as my genetic heritage compells me to talk at length about the weather I should probably get down to the business of short stories and tall tales.
“Why hello there February, aren’t you looking uncharacteristically sunny and pleasant today, what are you up to? WHAT DO YOU HAVE PLANNED YOU GREGORIAN RUNT!? I’M ON TO YOU!”
After the rain yesterday’s rain which could have been described with adjectives like biblical or apocalyptic, the shortest and most excellent of months has begun with a sky of clear and brilliant duck egg blue. A brief respite from the fickle throes of the British winter, or a karmic reward for enduring that which has passed? Who can say? Other than perhaps the Met Office, that is after all, their job. I for one doubt that the rains have deigned to relinquish their grasp on the world, not yet. But for now we can sit back and enjoy what good fortune we have and relish in the knowledge that so far we remain resolutely “not dead.” That day will come, the day where will finally be ensconced behind the Barrow Door.
It’s a sad thing to come to the end of February. February is cool. Cool in the sense that fezes and bow-ties are cool. It’s cool in the temperate sense too, but that’s neither here nor there. I do enjoy February. But all good things must come to an end. I’m closing the month on something of a high-note. I remain physiological intact, if somewhat mentally disparate, and in the last week I have been spectacularly productive. So productive that I think I’ve been the victim of some cruel and insidious trick. An anthology piece is done, and against all odds I managed to finish off this month’s wordascope in record time. The blog is now a whole two years old and I’m still going. All-in-all I think a small “woohoo” is in order.
January is dead. It’s corpse has been stripped of its clothes, jewellery, money and anything of even tenuous value. It now lies cooling in a shallow grave in the middle of the desert of time. That’s just how time roles. It takes you for everything you have and leaves you dead and forgotten. Time is the bastard’s bastard. Cheery today aren’t I? Things were looking up, things were looking good, but then last night dinner went a bit pear-shaped, though not literally, no pears were involved. The cheese sauce bubbled over, it was very messy, it delayed things, it was massively inconvenient. There were no words in any language living or dead that could adequately convey my profound and abiding sense of anger and sadness. It was, in essence, the human condition. These are the trials I face in my life and I am left the worse for it. I swear it was going to be all sunshine and lollipops, unicorns and gumdrop mountains, but now? Now it’s going to be all grim-dark misery and the palpable despair of life in a universe that is as cruel as it is cold. This month we’re going down the rabbit hole and treading where no man should ever set foot. This month we’re going to the Dead Places.
So we finally arrive for but a brief and fleeting visit to the greatest of all months, February. I like February, not simply because it is the month of my birth (although I suspect that does bias me in some way), but because February is unique, flexible, changeable. February doesn’t play by anyone’s rules. With perhaps the exception of the rules of the Gregorian Calender, but you don’t mess with him, for he is well hard. February is the cool month, standing out from the crowd with it’s 28 days. Were February a person it would wear a leather jacket and have the strange and arcane powers of jukebox necromancy. It’s is also literally cool, well more cold really. The temperature of February being, on average, lower than the rest of the months of winter. Winter, of course, being the greatest of all the seasons, and even though having to pay for my own heating has lessened my love of winter, my love of February remains strong.
Not all people share my love of February however. An Old English word for February was Solmonath which means mud month, which if we’re honest is less than flattering. Although wikipedia tells me that the Finnish, for February is helmikuu, meaning “month of the pearl” which is quite beautiful. My blatant theft from wikipedia aside we should probably get down to business. What with it being the first of the month and all, you folks probably want a picture for the Pictonaut Challenge. You can be so needy sometimes!