Just begun to self-edit The Turning Stone

I wrote The Turning Stone in late 2016. It’s YA Fantasy set in an alternate present day where the leading powers of the world are NuWrld, Angevie, Hanan and Muscovy.

It begins in the fictional town of Saret, not far from Urumqi in the fictional nation of Uighuristan. An ancient rune stone has been found by an archaeological expedition. Their teenaged offspring having accompanied them, are waiting back at Saret in the caravanserai.

Eastern Mysticism plus superhero themes.

Self-editing is a chore – hunt down the typos and fix other problems so it reads well. There’s a mechanical side – some monitor plots, others tune the characters. I create track-changes edited files – one for each chapter. When each chapter is done I redo word count and note it – that’s how I track my overall progress. My edit progress by chapter is as follows:

Title chapter.docx Edited date
Saret, Uighuristan 3853 3888 28/03/18
Dark Web 3709 3774 29/03/18
Bandits 3184 3237 30/03/18
Deals 3571 3624  31/03/18
Cavern 3173 3200  31/03/18
Spell of Unbinding 4394 4695  01/04/18
Aftershocks and Secrets 3330 3427  01/04/18
Totals 25214 25845

In the above table, chapter.docx means a docx file for each chapter, named to the chapter title. (docx: I don’t write in Word but it has useful editing functions).

When naming a chapter I select a title to convey a sense of the events taking place – just the same as a book title. The Turning Stone began life as Elf War. When I realised it could be a series and the elves hadn’t turned up yet (not to mention there is already an Elf War out there)  The Turning Stone suggested itself to me. As a series seems likely, that makes it The Turning Stone Chronicles, leaving a question mark for the title of this first book. It’s not Elf War as there’s no elves :-). Front runner is to name it for my Tuvan heroine Arshaana.  Thus: Arshaana’s Quest


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ZimQ update via Kirbyesque

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The Tarkowski decision and the Italy goal

Should be doing other things but here’s my view of the passage of play:

1 Chiesa is losing control and Lallana is coming in like a train

Chiesa-losing-control Italy friendly penalty

Italy friendly penalty

2 At this point Lallana become favourite to collect

Lallana-becomes-favourite to collect Italy friendly penalty

Lallana-becomes-favourite to collect
Italy friendly penalty

3 Chiesa is losing his balance – still no contact

Chiesa-losing-balance still no contact Italy friendly penalty

still no contact
Italy friendly penalty

4 Moment of contact

Moment-of-contact VAR review makes this a pen - bad luck Tarko Italy friendly penalty

VAR review makes this a pen – bad luck Tarko
Italy friendly penalty

In my book the ref read VAR wrong

Bad luck Tarko

my screenshots are from slow-mo review

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An Office Life 10: What’s in a Label?

What is a Label?

There are various definitions for a label, for the purposes of Belwoven a label was a bespoke design and weave job lot for customer purchase. Job size could range from 500 labels to half a million. Most labels were for clothing – shirts, jackets, ties, trousers, dresses, underwear. Sometimes a job ventured into different markets. Badges were a case in point; they could be for pop groups, scout associations, motorcycle clubs… artistic design rendered into 80 picks per inch lengthways x 144 ends of warp per inch on the width. Which pop groups did do Belwoven do? Whoever was on tour at the time, remembering that as there were only 4 woven edged businesses on the UK, and as Weaving was a complex, multi-stage process, an order through Belwoven was unlikely to result in cheap counterfeits on the market.
Large designs required considerable design work; these ultimately went through the hands of our Head of Design: Stuart Hartley who would ensure they were successfully plotted onto the plotting paper used by the Jacquard department. Punching these out on jacquard was a time consuming and often thankless task, especially when it was determined that the jacquard set needed adjustment to prevent elements of the badge design from distorting. Fixing the jacquard was invariably carried out while the set was loaded into the loom – twelve to fifteen feet above ground – the loom would be stopped, a jacquard technician would climb up and make an adjustment, climb down and then the loom would be run until the effect was clear. In effect this was fine tuning the design, on the loom. The looms of choice for badges were looms 5 and 6. These were both 18 strip, each strip being 3″ wide (76mm for the metric heads) four shuttle looms. Four shuttles meant three colours for figure work plus the background colour. Once woven, badges would go off-site to be backed and to have the edges sealed.
For the most part however Belwoven labels went on clothes.

What are clothes made of? Where are they made? How do you care for clothes? Not the first questions that might come into your head when you’re out on a shopping trip, but labels have been put to use in order to answer these and more.
Let’s take an example: an old tie (bought many years back from Marks & Spencer).
Note the label figure work (in this case text) is gold on black.

St Michael Tie

St Michael Tie

Back in those days one of my mini projects was to analyse how labels were used.  Zooming in tells me this label served a number of purposes including forming part of a complex manufacturing – customer information system. The first point is identifying the lable manufacturer. If it came Belwoven, there would be a small discrete insignia in the shape of an ‘L’, generally in the hidden part of the label – the folded in ends. In that way we could determine if a reject label was from Belwoven.

Next in turn it has Brand

M&S brand highlighted on Tie label

M&S brand highlighted

Fibre (more fibre content of garments later)

M&S fibre content of garment

M&S fibre content

Origin – country of origin (who’s done the work? who gets to be employed?)

M&S country of origin (label tie detail)

M&S country of origin

Care instructions – these can go beyond simple washing instructions

M&S care instructions  how to wash this garment care instructions can of course be more complex

M&S care instructions

Item code (the bit that connects into the M&S manufacturing system)

M&;S product code

M&S item code


At Belwoven, labels with weaving faults were waste. Waste can also be using more resources to achieve the same objective. Take this more recent tie from ASDA:

Label face from George tie

Label face from George tie

Let’s turn the label over.

George tie label reverse

Plainly it uses more white weft than is needed; the design covers less than 50% of label length. If this George label had been done on a woven edged loom, the circled bits of the label reverse would be the same colour as the label face: black. This George label is from a rapier loom. Rapier loom technology as a rule uses more weft than the woven edge to achieve the same result – but it’s quicker and more technologically advanced.

Waste is all about us. It is what we throw away – whether packaging, food that’s gone off or can’t be bothered to eat, clothes we dump because they’re the wrong size, out of fashion, damaged or simply stuff we can afford to replace. Technology plus fashion have a hand in determining what we throw away. Talk of waste takes us in the direction of pollution.


A label can tell you what makes up a garment. In the examples above the M&S label gives this information, the ASDA label doesn’t. This can inform your decision making. When you buy products with artificial fibres consider the following: Significant amounts of everyday clothing contain artificial fibres. Artificial fibres degrade slowly and there is some public doubt over whether they become fully reabsorbed back into the environment. Were you to ask the question, the short answer (from our resident industrial chemist) is the ever more controversial NO. Artificial fibres are convenient, flexible, endurable, not reliant on agriculture (they are chemical industry by-products) and as such can be imbued with special properties. They are very endurable.¹
There are processes that can reduce polyester to a carbon char. These involve the release of undesirable gases which require a considerable controlled effort to scrub clean (before release back into the environment). The use of these processes is the exception and in the main, discarded clothes degrade down to polyester fibres but no further. This is part of the legacy that current generations will pass on to the future. It will be a great deal easier for future archaeologists (or external visitors) to study our everyday activities than it is for us to study our ancestors. Our lives will not be a great secret.

¹ This health warning also applies to consumer products packaged with difficult to get rid of synthetic materials such as polythene, bubble pack, polystyrene foam (the little plastic beads used to pack IT equipment). Our thoughtless lifestyles will not be thanked.

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An Office Life 9: Intermission (images)

We rarely keep the things of our lives. Peeking through my archives I came across a little black book with some notes to my earlier blog post:Intermission. I reproduce these below without further comment. Continue reading

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Memories of Doris Lessing

While I was trawling my archives for notes I’d made on Sufism in Burnley (in vain so far), an unpolished, unpublished draft post on Doris Lessing came to my attention – I was conscious I hadn’t said all I wanted to say about Ms Lessing. It is dated late 2014 – around that time I was writing the draft for an early excursion into YA (Tengrism, other nomad themes, an alternate Earth, all part of a Dark Fantasy). Continue reading

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An Office Life 8: Intermission

1) Learning the work.

Work is easy – find the pattern and fit in. Do the job better, faster, more effectively and cover all the bases; create space to do more. Everything that goes without saying. There are barriers to effective performance. Firstly there’s the employee: many aren’t in the right place – work is a lark or it’s an adjunct to a busy social life or a just a stepping stone to better money a career move… or maybe they feel life owes them a living. Then there can be impediments Continue reading

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An Office Life 7: Stock Take

When I started at Bell Woven (often contracted to Belwoven) textiles was still a significant employer in Lancashire. Although the writing was on the wall for functional specialisation and careers in it, there were still opportunities for those who looked around. Bell Woven was one of those. It was in a niche market but played correctly it was a haven from the meltdown in textiles. My boss told me that many companies had been offered an inducement to textile business wishing to get out; subsidies for Continue reading

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My Top Ten SF Spaceships

My Top Ten SF Spaceships

Let’s make this clear, no mention of SF is complete without Frank Herbert’s majestic Dune. Right that’s sorted. Let’s begin.

1) EE ‘Doc’ Smith: Skylark – Continue reading

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Revolution Day

Regime Change!

The cosy, smoke filled rooms of wannabe revolutionaries are fleshed out here to dwell on what happens after.
It’s South America; the revolution was fought and won long ago, consigning the evil dictator, Salgado, and his henchmen to the rubbish bin of history. You’ve won the revolution but what about the hearts and minds of those you purport to serve? No matter, because the country is rich Continue reading

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