Ernest Bywater: Blog

Boone - The Early Years and notes - updated 12 Oct

October 8, 2017
Posted at 2:46 am
Updated: October 14, 2017 - 1:19 am
 

This is a western in US English posting in 8 parts with a new part every other day. There is a Foreword - please read it as it's important. As usual, the story is available now on Lulu as a print book and an e-pub at:

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/boone-the-early-years/ebook/product-23358102.html

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/boone-the-early-years/paperback/product-23358069.html

If you send me an email arguing about any of the politics in it I'm not likely to answer it. I hope you enjoy the story. Yes, a sequel is planned, but it will be quite a while coming due to other pressures.

................

About the wagon. These wagons are built for long distance, rough country, hauling and are not intended for easy handling close to buildings for loading and unloading on a daily basis. The same sized wheels means they only have to carry the one sized spares, and it means they have a slightly higher ground clearance than the arrangements with smaller front wheels gives them. Boone makes six wheels for each wagon, to have two spares on each wagon.

By the mid 1800s most wagons used in cities and near warehouses had the tongue fixed to the front axle mounted on a Pivot Point which connected to the bottom of the wagon, this extra unit lowered the front axle by about two feet, so they put smaller wheels on it to keep the wagon level and to allow for a tighter turning circle. Other wagons where turning in a tight circle wasn't so important had the front axle mounted on the wagon the same as the rear axle, this gave a higher ground clearance. Often, the team pulled the wagon using a harness or chains, or the tongue was fixed to the wagon with a pin at the wagon end to allow the team to go to the side and drag the wagon around in a turn - most farm wagons were like this. A Conestoga Wagon used a Pivot Point, where as the wagons in the story don't. I thought the mention of the same sized wheels would make it clear it didn't have a pivot point, but it seems that's not so, thus this explanation.

Banks. During the mid to late 1800s there were two major types of banks. One type were registered with the government and recognised by them - Chartered Banks. These were only in larger cities and were very strongly built. They issued Letters of Credit, Bank Drafts, and Promissory Notes - like Wells Fargo Bank, the Hibernian, and the First National Bank. These are the banks the government kept records and statistics on. The second type of bank was a local bank run by a local person which were basic savings and loans banks for the local community. In a lot of cases all they consisted of was a safe and records in the corner of some business. As the towns grew big enough they often had their own building and one or two staff. The only records on these banks that were kept were the mentions in the local newspapers and their own account records. That were not recognised or regulated by the government the way the other type of banks were.

The first type of banks weren't robbery targets due to them being in the middle of large cities and having a lot of staff, including armed guards. The second type of bank is what the bandits and crooks robbed during the 1800s. Often the robbery from a local bank would leave a community broke. Due to the differences between the way the banks operated there are no reliable statistics or information on actual bank robberies. The only solid records about robberies of the local banks comes from the numerous Wanted notices issued on people for bank robbery. This is clear from the issue of notices for bank robbery in places where there were no government recognised banks at that time. If the local banks were lucky enough to grew they became a Savings Association and then grew to be a recognised bank. The Savings Associations had the misfortune to be big enough to target but not big enough to have great security to stop the robbers. The Younger Gang did well robbing the smaller banks, but failed to rob the Charter Bank known as the First National Bank of Northfield. The Wild Bunch did well robbing the smaller banks to. Due to the difference in the types of banks some people think no bank robberies occurred, because they only look at the Chartered Banks.

Reloading the .44 shells - Yes, it can be done, and it's not easy. What you need to keep in mind is Boone knows he's going to an area where resupply is going to be an issue, so he takes precautions to ensure a supply, if he has to regardless of how hard it will be. However, in the course of the story he doesn't get around to doing any reloading, so don't worry about it, please.

Mules. I did a lot of research on how much a mule can carry, and could only find two sets of confirmed figures, one for a pack on the animal, and one for pulling a wagon. The Wikipedia website on mules says they can carry a pack of up to 353 pounds but commonly carry around 150 to 200 pounds or 20% of it's body weight. While the Wikipedia article on the Twenty-mule Team pulling the Borax wagons says they pulled a tandem wagon load carrying 10 tons of Borax with a total weight of cargo and wagons being 73,200 pounds which comes out to 3,660 pounds per mule. This is what I faced my figures on, but I cut it back a little.

Bathrooms in my stories

July 3, 2017
Posted at 6:52 am
 

Due to a question from a reader I'm now aware that many people in the USA have a different idea of what is or isn't in a bathroom. Here in Australia we have a number of arrangements for a bathroom.

A bathroom may contain a bath, a shower, a basin sink in a bench, a toilet, and space to dress - or any combination of them. Also, a bath may or may not have a shower over it. The simple rule is if any one of the above is shown as having its own room, then it's not in the bathroom. Thus the bathroom in Survivor: Moving On has a bath (in this case with a shower over it), a basin sink area, and space to dress. We also have a thing called a four way bathroom where there's a sort of central basin sink area with three doors off it to have the bath, toilet, and shower each in their own little area to allow privacy and multiple users. A three way bathroom is the same but no separate shower.

An en-suite is a cut down version with a sink, toilet, and shower or bath with a shower over it.

I hope this helps you to understand the plans I include as a memory aid.

Survivor: Moving On - update

July 2, 2017
Posted at 8:20 pm
 

Survivor: Moving On - 51,500 words in six parts to go up every other day, all uploaded to the Wizard. It covers Pat going to college and the life events there. As usual, it's also available on my Lulu page as both an e-pub and a print book:

www.lulu.com/spotlight/ernestbywater

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/survivor-moving-on/ebook/product-23242625.html

www.lulu.com/shop/ernest-bywater/survivor-moving-on/paperback/product-23242610.html

Apartment Phone System
had a few messages about it. It's simple to do using a mini-PABX and normal phone handsets. A unit like this should do it.

kookye.com/2016/09/08/kookye-pabx-pbx-telephone-switch-system-control-exchange-2-x-8-extensions-for-small-office-home-office/

Rivers Region Series Story Notes

March 15, 2017
Posted at 12:54 pm
Updated: March 19, 2017 - 1:03 pm
 

This is very loosely based on the Riverina Region of New South Wales, Australia and extended into the mountains to cover towns like Tumut and Batlow. Rivers is based on Wagga Wagga, Bowen's Creek is based on Junee, Wood Valley is based on Batlow, and Ryan's Ridge is based on Tumbarumba - - all are very loosely based on the real places. Please, no more emails asking me about where it is.

Time-line: I've been asked for a time-line for these stories. However, because some of them cover decades or lifetimes of those in them it's very hard to set an exact time-line for them that neatly weaves them all together, that was never intended. The best I can say is the majority of the current activities has the main characters as contemporaries and the most significant parts of their lives as being in the current decade. To that extent you can picture A Farmer's Life starting in the late 1990s, Mack also starts in the late 1990s, Michaels Mansion starts in the early 2010s, Flames of Life starts in the early 1990s, and Interesting Times starts in the early 2010s.

Michaels Mansion

Sidewinder vs Stinger Missile - Yes, technically the Sidewinder is an air to air missile only (although I have heard there is a ground fire kit for firing them - a reader told me there is one for some models but it's not a shoulder mount kit), and it's likely in real life a Stinger or a Strela would have been used. However, the people involved in the story are all retired Air Force and much more familiar with a Sidewinder than a Stinger and are calling it what they know. Due to the comments I considered doing an update to cover this point while leaving it as what they said, but I looked at it and it would cause major issues with the print book version so I'm not making any changes for this.

Pat's Age - He's in his third year at university, that puts him in the 22 to 23 year old bracket when the story starts. I didn't state this as I figured most people would work it out for themselves. In Australia most people finish high school at 18 or 19 and then go onto university (what some call college in the US) where most courses are 4 years plus post graduate studies after that (some are 3 year courses).

Mack

Archery and Shotgun loads: Mack taught himself how to use a bow from watching it on TV and Internet research, he was NOT trained by a professional

The use of rock chips in a shotgun. Shotgun barrels are essential unchanged for centuries and are simply smooth-bore metal tubes of quality steel. Mack uses chips about the same size, or smaller, than that of No 4 bird-shot - a typical shot used for rabbit hunting here in Australia. They are not likely to do any worse damage to the inside of the barrel than steel shot. And if they did it'd take an awful long time to do so. They feel and fire the same as a normal load and the effect at close to medium range is the same. Firing rock loads does have a less compact and wider spread at longer ranges than steel or lead shot. I know people who save money by self-loading with local granite rock chips. For the ranges normally used when rabbit hunting with a shotgun you see no difference, but the longer ranges for duck and bird shooting can see the spread a bit too wide for a good hit.

Football Field, in rural NSW most local football fields are big enough to play all four codes of soccer, rugby league, rugby unions, and Australian Rules - with Aussie Rules being more common the closer you get to the Victorian border. A typical full-sized Aussie Rules field can run out to 250 m x 200 m to give plenty of room around it and the actual playing area can is 185 m x 155 m. Check out wikipedia on it.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Australian_rules_football_playing_field

Flames of Life

Leg injury: The front muscles that are used to straighten the leg. But from discussions with a physiotherapist and other medical specialist the use of the front muscles are what allows him to mimic walking because he can use the muscle to provide some leg movement. However, with the back muscle totally useless he hasn't enough muscle power in what's left in the front only to hold the leg straight and put weight on it. That's why the mention of the frame at one point, to overcome that issue - but would be very cumbersome. He can and does move about with a cane on level ground by balancing his hip on the hand on the top of the cane and pivoting on it.

Building Owners - criminal conspiracy. I've had a few people mention they should be arrested and charged etc. One problem there is there is no legal evidence to do so.

Interesting Times

1. Waste - Maybe it's just Australian usage, but waste is anything I have and don't want, while garbage is what gets thrown in the landfill. Thus the recyclable containers are waste in the room and go into waste bins, they'll be recycled later. Remember, he made arrangements to have the recycling done.

2. The quotation is listed as an apocryphal Chinese saying, which means it's of doubtful heritage. Urban legend has it as being Chinese, but it can't be tracked down as such.

3. Figures given in dialogue are not always given as exacts, thus when the bikes are sold one person is using only the figures before the thousands.

4. DVDs and tech levels - blu-ray is only just starting to get some market penetration here in Australia, and it was almost non-existent 4 years ago when I wrote that part of the story. Also, those who do have blu-ray here still call them DVDs.

5. Mortgage release - I've had a couple of people say it takes the banks several days to release documents on payment of the mortgage. When I worked in the banks (many, many moons ago) all the mortgage documents were kept at the local branch the mortgage was lodged with, and immediately the sum was paid up the documents had to be handed over. If the payment was being organised via another mortgage and the documents sent to another lender, then it took days to organise the payout, but a cash payout requires an immediate hand over. I asked a local bank manager about this and was told some banks still keep the documents in the local branch safe, while others store them in the state headquarters. From a legal point of view once the mortgage is paid out the bank has to hand the papers over a.s.a.p. and once the person offers to make an immediate payout the bank has to accept it, if they refuse to do so for internal administrative reasons they can't charge interest from then on and can't take the money until they're ready to process it - neither suits the banks.

Comments on Damsels in Distress Stories

March 13, 2017
Posted at 11:49 pm
 

Chaos Calls: Learning Visit - The opening does give away a bit of what's to happen in Finding Home as it's the end of Finding Home. That's there to set Al's character up in Chaos without having to make a new one.

Release of Prisoners: In the section where the main camp is attacked, after the attack Al and Joe are speaking to Colonel Bond, the next paragraph mentions the teens get down from their positions and release the prisoners. They help clean up the site.

Return Home: I mention the travel home is faster than the travel through the forest. I say that as when they bypassed Bridgetown and worked their slow way to the enemy camp they travelled in the forest amongst the scrub and trees, making their way with great care and working hard not to leave a trail while scouting ahead before moving. On the return trip they travel on the road that goes through the forest, that's open and no scrub in the way, making for a faster trip. The return trip has a lot less in the way of natural obstructions and makes for easier movement.

Chaos Calls: First Rescue - Up North, I've had a few people say that US citizens would use the term Back East when talking about going from New Mexico to Frederick. One editor raised this, so I do have the US CITIZENS use that term; but Al is an Aussie and would never say it that way, to him it would be 'up north' as a purely descriptive term, and the same for Eduardo as he's a Mexican. So, please, no more emails about Al saying up north.

Chaos Calls: Dragon Dilemma - Bearings, the bearings I use are steel roller or needle bearings in a steel race - not ball bearings. These can be cast metal. Bearings will never be common on Chaos, it's metal poor, as the metal bearings of the wagons are worth a lot. A rich person like Al can afford them for a special project.

A troop is a basic military unit and has varied a lot between countries, forces, and time periods. The earliest use of the term was for an organised group of warriors on foot. Today, more people are used to a cavalry troop. In more modern usage it varies between being the equivalent of a platoon or a company and has varied in size from around 30 to 70 members. On Chaos Al is setting up a troop to be the equal of a platoon, but with 65 members as that's what he sees as a reasonable sized force to safely act on its own. In older times military units had larger numbers than they do today - think pre gunpowder period, please.

The carts I mention are something like a dog cart modified for use by a horse, they are only as wide as an average horse. Here's an image of roughly what they look like in real life:

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:Dogcart3.jpg