From the pen of The Cunning Artificer.

portrait, bearded chap with a pipe To all Discettes,

I greet you well.

Whilst imbibing the odd pint with young master Rood, he asked me if I would put some message for your edification and delight in this humble publication.

It was recorded by those present, who still had the vestige of a brain cell left, that I concurred, agreed, said yes, and would he marry me and have my children.

You must understand, we had been drinking. Drinking rather more than was possibly wise. We had, to put it into some form that you dear gentle folk would understand, "Dwelt too long in the Temple of Bacchus".

Now normally I do not drink - at least, not to excess; indeed thanks to the "special effects" engendered by the bucketload of prescribed drugs I imbibe on a daily basis, I am a relative stranger to the grape and grain. So after a mere ten pints or more of Abbot Ale (5.5 percent) one feels rather pissed. But on the basis that the noble Rood would be delving into his little purse, and that Karen was not only gracing the occasion with her presence but also wearing a very fetching little black number that gave me an idea for a rather special piece of sculpture, I agreed on the proviso that we would not be long, I could have a pickled egg and crisps, and we could make it the Gardener's Arms because I still had a slate there and the beer was good.

Picture of candle with the shield of the Assassains Guild moulded on the front. Isobel was very good about it and said she would carry on making the candles, take the dog for a walk, and have supper ready, and insisted we took Tom (a fruit of the loin) to see I didn't get into trouble. Tom, for those of you who do not know him, is one of the brigade; you know, those bright bastards who have brains the size of small planets, speak to each other in tongues, know the position of every comma in the whole Discworld series, and can't tie their shoelaces. He had told his dear mother that their gatherings took place in Christian Science reading rooms, and being a scholarly band avoided the demon drink in favour of Dandelion & Burdock and a meaningful interface across the ether.

Bloody 'ell, thought I - this drunken bum along with us, it's bound to end in tears.

Dear reader, my mind is rather hazy as to a full recollection of the evening, save that several rounds later we took turns to sit in the very chair Terry used on the two occasions he has visited the pub. With awe and some trepidation, we moved aside the red plush cover that has been placed over the hallowed spot, and with a deep and meaningful lowering of the buttocks did gently perch.

All would have been well had it not been for the arrival of the lads from the wicking shed, who, having platted the last basting thong of the day and the muldging tanks still being gurnied, joined us for the evening's festivities.

We in this corner of England do cling to the old customs and country ways, such as interfering with sheep and clog-dancing. It is an old candle maker's tradition to have a clog-dancing team amongst the craftsmen, and we have no wish to break with that aspect of the craft. Therefore, we have sponsored our own team to represent us at the various wicking fairs that our trade is prone to holding every quarterday after the feast of St Agnes, the patron saint of wick dippers and tallow fondlers.

 Having spent a small fortune on the specially made dancing clogs1 we give the lads a few hours off during the night shift to practice. Anyway, in come the team, ruddy-faced with the exertion of the practice shed, ready to show off their latest triple beam step, perfected after many a gruelling hour of training under the watchful eye of Old Joe - the dancing supremo of the inter-war years, and now retired to our village. The step, or should I say sequence, is one not often seen on the dance cobbles these days, and it's only thanks to Old Joe that we can ever hope to replicate it. The steps are said to represent the triumph of man's intellect over his base instincts. This theme is acted out within the dance, culminating in the speeding legs and clog-laden feet of the dancers describing a thirty-degree arch over the cobbles in close proximity to the other team's members, which for some reason, known only to the clog-dancing fraternity, is called a "Flying Bobbitt".

Anyway, this was their plan, until the lovely Karen hove into view through the clouds of tobacco smoke. They lost not only their rhythm, but their composure, stance, and in little Jim's case his dancing truss, which flew fifteen feet across the room to land, still steaming, in Mrs Drubbet's gin. Chaos. Embarrassment. Drinks all round, and me making the absurd promise to write something nice for dear old Rood.

So, here it is:


Well, that's it - back to the wicking shed for me.

Regards to you all,


1For those that are not familiar with this rather esoteric footwear, dancing clogs have five fewer cleats than the working variety, and are therefore quicker on the turn and lighter by some six pounds in weight.

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August 1997