Tales from Tantamount: January of the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag, part two

For those of you planning to journey to the wandering town of Tantamount, a reminder of why you should not do that, in the form of things found in the town.


The police are currently searching for an unlicensed Morris dancing side. The side, calling themselves the Tantamount Tricksters, have failed to update their safety registration. They have gatecrashed several Morris events and are believed to be planning a hijack of the Mummer’s Unconvention. Unlicensed Morris is a severe threat to the stability of the Tantamount community, and should be reported in the first instance. The Tantamount Tricksters wear black and red ragcoats, half-painted faces and broken tophats. Do not approach them! Report sightings anonymously to xxxx 262 626

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Police


Register to Vote

Please do not forget to register to vote. If you are not on the electoral roll, you may not vote. Elections are due to be held in May – these will be District and Town Council elections. As most of you don’t have a clue what either the District or the Town Councils are responsible for (and neither do the Councils), people who do not turn up to vote will have their vote randomised. If you actually give a flying flip who is in power, we recommend that you register now to ensure your right to vote, and then actually vote!

It should be noted that last year, despite record voter turnout, Tantamount still elected a bunch of brainless gits and one goat to the Town Council.


The Tantamount Electoral Team

Please fill out the attached form and return it for maximum paper wastage.


MISSING:  Tantamount Library has been missing since January 5th, Year of the Sad Plastic Bag. It was last seen sidling towards the Dumpsy Tump. It is believed that a History Flux may be responsible. Tantamount District Council are doing their best to track down the library, and are working alongside the police, two noted architects and a living historian. Anyone with information on the whereabouts of Tantamount Library should contact us on xxxxx 777 717 – tell the bees it’s urgent!


Weather Report

Sca-da-ba-de-ba-dooo-whop! Baaaaaaaah! Ba-do-ba-do-ba-do-shooooo-sca-ah-do-wah! Be-do, be-do. Bass guitarists were especially affected and the roads were jammed for several hours due to stray jazz chords.



Please ignore the fish. It is only trying to get your attention.


New Chef at Pinprick Cafe

The Tantamount Grapevine (official) has reported rumours of a new chef at the Pinprick Cafe. Her name is Lara, Laura, Lorraine, or Catherine (sources disagree).  She is not interested in stew, but will tell your fortune using leftover salad leaves and broccoli stems. The Tantamount Grapevine can also report that she has possibly spent some time Out Of Town; no further details. Her tagliatelle is fantastic. Don’t ask about the owl. It is possible that she used to live with Aeoife, you know, the one who had the affair with whats-her-face from the Town Council but it was never confirmed because she was Carrioned accidentally. More to follow!



The traditional apple tree wassails have this year been cancelled. This is due to Tantamount’s ongoing maelid problems. These apple-nymphs are already out and about and kicking other nymphs dryads out of their trees. Therefore, they require neither awakening or encouraging. A set of alternative wassails have been compiled, including pear, plum, walnut, fig, acorn, beech, juniper, and others. Tantamount residents are encouraged to partake in these alternative revels , so as not to exacerbate the maelid infestation.

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Council


FOUND: half a child’s shadow, split vertically, approximately 3ft 2, appears to be wearing long coat and have curly hair. Contact Immi xxxxx 352 122

LOST: big cat, last seen making off with a small deer into purgatory woods. Answers to Fridwulfa. Contact Dave xxxxx 798 225

FOR SALE: Chicken coop, large (fits ten hens comfortably), wooden. Painted green with pentagrams of protection over the doors. V sturdy. Last blessed a year and a half ago by Gerard Boblinson, has another six months of guarantee. Comes with a free charmbag, mixed goods. Contact Delia xxxxx 002 003


Tantamount Twinning Ceremony

We are proud to announce that Tantamount will be officially announcing its twinning with the mendicant town of Faethm, which is usually found in the Sussex area, but sometimes Sweden. Faethm currently has many historical ties with Tantamount, although of course this may change. The famous Dumpsy Tump was at one point found in Faethm; we stole it back pretty quick though. Faethm has previously attempted to attach itself to Tantamount and been driven away by Carrion.

A public consultation will be held to decide how to celebrate this twinning. Suggestions so far include a great big booze up, a nice cup of tea, a traditional English Fair, and the sacrifice of a virgin goat.

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Council

Expect to hear more from Tantamount in February, at some point… 
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Reblog from Nimue Brown: What are Stories For?

I really enjoyed this post from Nimue Brown; a short piece about stories, and what they are for, and who decides which stories we get. As someone who works in the publishing industry and is also trying to be an author, this was very interesting indeed!

Stories have many different impacts on our lives, but for the purposes of this blog post, there are two aspects I particularly want to consider. Stories have the potential to show us ourselves and the kinds of problems, challenges and potential we have. Characters who we empathise with and who catch our life stage, feelings […]

via What are stories for? — Druid Life

Tales from Tantamount: January of the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag, part one

Being a continuing found record of the town of Tantamount. May contain newspaper headlines and humour in bad taste. Trigger warning for mention of suicide (remarkably brief).

Headlines in Tantamount, January 1st
The Tantamount Herald
Surprise triumph of Heathens over Anglo-Saxon forces in History Battle: all time losses! Story on p2
Auspicious end to the year with ascendance of local choir, photos on p12
Oakshade Primary shock at first year in Battle: headteacher statement here!
The Tantamount Life
Journalist spots big cat on towpath – cat was wearing a cravat and bowler. Are cats no longer fashionable? p9

RE:RE: Chef required
TO: laurallovelace@hotmail.tan
FROM: management@pinprickcafe.tan

Dear Laura Lovelace,

Following your email and perusal of your references, as well as some intense stargazing, we would like to invite you for an interview at Pinprick Cafe. Please bring any totems that you feel are appropriate, as well as your past life feedback from Aethel and Aelfred. We expect to see you on the fourth.

Best wishes,
Thora Hope,
Proprietor, The Pinprick Cafe.


The Heretical Order of Trombonists will be holding a recital at 5:55am in the town square this Monday. This is in honour of the extended working day, and also celebrating the 60ishth anniversary of the Battle of the Blang, which may have been fought here, and was famously won or lost by a legion of brass players.
Many thanks,
Tantamount District Council.


Cycling, skateboarding, rollerskating, hovering, ascending and scuba diving are all banned from this shopping centre. Penalties include instantaneous electrocution and fines of up to T50.00
Many thanks,
Tantamount District Council.

Proverb of the Day: Give a man a fish, you feed him for a day. Teach a man to fish, you feed him until the incessant pollution of water kills all the marine life and you still haven’t fed any women!!! Found in the abandoned homework of a student at Tantamount College.
Tantamount District Council would like to take this opportunity to remind residents not to feed the ducks while they are in the lake. The bread pollutes the water, and the naiads will only throw the bread back at you anyway.
Many thanks,
Tantamount District Council

Weather Report
Today the weather was as frigid as your ex when they bumped into you outside a coffee shop a week after you broke their heart, and realised that you were already seeing someone else. Poets and serial sleazeballs were especially affected.

A Case for Carrion by Aethel Erdinfast
The Carrion Phenomenon, as it is widely known, appears to be utterly unique to Tantamount. There are some similar phenomenon across the globe; Armenghast, for example, has the Black Cloud which passes daily over the streets and disappears at precisely 12:34pm, taking with it the skeletons of those outside at the time. Records indicate that Carrion has existed in Tantamount since time immemorial, or perhaps since the Year of the Badly Drawn Dog, and that it was not always as well organised as it is now.

Where the name ‘Carrion’ came from is something of a mystery. The word itself is of French origin and refers to ‘the dead or putrid body or flesh of any animal’. This is an interesting association, as Carrion does not typically affect the body (with some notable exceptions, to be discussed later), but rather sets the mind to rotting. It is without argument that a brush with Carrion has terrible consequences, although these can be ameliorated by the correct tiding of magpies and sometimes cured completely if the Forgiveness Well can be found.

Some people theorise that Carrion, much like lightning, is the result of a build-up of particular energies… (here the leaflet becomes rainwashed and unreadable, crumpled from time spent in uncaring pockets)

Weather Report
Today the weather was inexplicably dull, as if everything you saw was overlaid with a veil of smoked glass. Interspersed with hail and overly hopeful barbecues. Everyone was affected except the one insufferably cheerful neighbour who always talks to you and who you secretly loathe.

Warning: Live Rail!

Do not disturb the traintracks by stepping on them! Trespassing on the railway may incur a T1,000.00 fine, and may result in injury and serious disturbance of the traintracks, who are temperamental at best. IF YOU ARE ATTEMPTING SUICIDE we recommend you contact the Tantamount Suicide Counsellor, who can help you with your plans and who also has a collection of extremely fluffy animals on hand. Contact the information desk for further information.

Contact your past lives!
Run by an experienced practitioner, this course is a practical and down-to-earth workshop on making contact with and understanding your earlier selves. Taking place near the renowned Dumpsy Tump, we will use the energies gathered in this place to facilitate conversation with earlier versions of you. This course will allow you to begin on a true soulquest, to finish unfinished business with earlier iterations and to make friends (old and new). Completion of this course will also upgrade your employability and comes with a Level 2 Communications Skills Certificate, endorsed by the IPLA (International Past Lives Association).

Aelfred has 36 previous lives and is on friendly terms with all of them. He has been running past life workshops for fifteen years, often in tandem with his sister Aethel. He is a strong advocate for Nationalised Spiritual Development, and last year survived a trip to Glastonbury.

Expect to hear more from Tantamount in mid-January. If you enjoy this silliness, consider fuelling my blogging habits by buying me a drink.
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Poem: The Duke is Dead

I found this poem while going through my filofax – I think it’s a few years old. This is a tribute to one of my favourite villains, Roger of Conté, from the series The Song of the Lioness by Tamora Pierce. At some point, I plan to do a big re-read of all of Tamora Pierce’s Tortall books with reviews of them all. In the meantime, enjoy this slightly aged poem.

The Duke is Dead

Commemorating a favourite childhood villain; Roger of Conté.

He was handsome
and brilliant;
Gifted and loved.
It seemed whatever he touched
turned to gold.
He was a wolf in the skin of a Duke
and his heart was cold.

Her world was simple,
his was complex.
He dazzled kingdoms
with his success.
She walked in the shadows
Of his spiderweb
with a sword in her hand
and a cat.

Throughout my childhood
I read their story
again and again and again.
Building myself on her stubborness,
her resilience – aged ten I wanted
to be a warrior.

Now after falling so many times,
after sinking and rising I know;
She set me up in good stead
but I’ve seen places she could not go.
The world is vast
and vastly unfair.
I’ve felt the lusting for power.
Seen real villains;
not as charismatic as he was
in his sorceror’s tower.

His descent into madness was stunning
His fall from grace complete –
I’ve felt something of madness now,
yes I’ve stood a while in his feet.

There are things that heroes can’t teach –
that evil is a point of view not a state.
Wherever light falls it makes a shadow
and reality is something we fabricate.

He fell to her sword at the end,
tumbling down, a laughing wreck.
In four dog-eared books that I still keep
he dies without a fleck of remorse,
buried beneath her feet.

So a toast
to childhood villains,
to shadows lurking under the bed –
learning to walk in the smiling darkness.
All hail; the Duke is dead.

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Tales From Tantamount: December of the Year of the Abandoned Shopping Trolley

This post is a story! A strange story, but a story! The first installment of Tales From Tantamount. Don’t worry, I will still do book reviews as well. Enjoy the weirdness. I’d recommend readers be 13ish and up – there’s going to be the occasional swear and some “mature themes”.

Tales from Tantamount

Being a found record of the town of Tantamount, starting in December of the year of the Abandoned Shopping Trolley and continuing into the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag.

TANTAMOUNT, adj: equivalent in seriousness to. Italian ‘tanto montare’= ‘amount to much’

noun: a small, strange town somewhere near the Severn, known to move about.

Welcome to Tantamount!

Population: undefined/nebulous.

Visitors to Tantamount are required to attend the orientation classes held at the Tourist Information Centre. Failure to attend these classes will be punished by Carrion. Tantamount takes no responsibility for injury, loss of life, spiritual dislocation or other harm caused to visitors who have not attended orientation.

We hope you enjoy your stay

Tantamount Tourist Board.

Do not feed the maelids!

Tantamount has a serious maelid problem. Please do not exacerbate it by feeding them. Maelids are quickly driving out the native dryads in the area, and feeding maelids will undermine our conservation work. Maelids are encouraged to remain in their own trees.

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Council.

Proverb of the Day: To have time, you have to make time. Chinese. Found on a teabag in a bin outside the Pinprick Cafe.

Tantamount District Council hopes that, in this difficult time, you will take some comfort from this proverb of the day. Tantamount District Council would also like to remind all residents that feeding time for Carrion is at 9:49pm sharp, and we advise residents to stay clear of the designated feeding zones at this time.

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Council.

A Short History of Tantamount, as recounted by A. Larksbjorn, infamous historian, to a live audience shortly before she fell foul of dislocation.

“History in Tantamount is notable due to its capricious nature. Native residents of Tantamount often find it hard to believe that in other places, history sits still and allows itself to be merely observed. Here, history is alive. It  moves. It changes daily depending on current and future trends.

“The current founding history of Tantamount is much unchanged, as the records are held in a Dead Zone. This means that it only changes in extreme circumstances. Other details are more changeable. For example, at the moment the earliest records of Tantamount are of a village that resisted Roman invaders. In fact, the Romans believed it to be cursed and would not go near it. The natives knew it as Inge, or possibly Ingenuk (although this could be a misspelling). It was left alone by common consent.

“There is currently a dispute as to whether Tantamount eventually capitulated; the Italian-based name suggests that it did, but there is little other evidence. Perenially, it seems that Tantamount moved for some time in order to be part of the Danelaw, and currently that is very strongly favoured, although the evidence for this tends to vanish at full moon.

“There is, of course, a founding myth. This myth goes that a tribe were lost and wandering in a storm. They prayed. And something delivered them – in most versions a female something. For many years there was prosperity. And then someone did something: this varies greatly. The chief refused to sacrifice his bull. The chief’s daughter sacrificed the chief’s bull without permission. The Chief tried to sacrifice his daughter, who was then turned into a bull. Somehow, insult was caused. In almost every version the daughter is transformed into a magpie or a bull. Tantamount was cursed to wander, or was blessed with wandering, or was simply cast out by the Something.

“Of course, with the advent of the internet and other…..

[at this point, A. Larksbjorn is attacked by a violent fit of dislocation. The crowd summoned a first aider, who performed a lovely song, but the dislocation was of such strength that A. Larksbjorn was lost. A memorial to her stands in the town centre. It sings at 43 minute intervals.]

Chef required

Must have own insurance. Karmic training preferable, but will accept past life experiences. References required (references from pigeons will not be accepted due to high levels of spamming). Enthusiasm about vegan food, stews and fortune-telling essential. Apply within.


Pinprick Cafe.

Please Note

The public marijuana fountain is not recommended for the use of anyone under the age of sixteen and/or expectant divinities and/or those recovering from accidental Carrion. The public marijuana fountain has been installed for the enjoyment of residents, and must be used responsibly. Please report any adverse reactions, including hallucinations, paranoia, illusions of grandeur, the sensation of linear history, or itching to your nearest Council official. Alternatively dial xxxxx777 777 and give your message to the bees.

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Council.

Weather Report

The weather today has been foxy with slight showers and a side of smooth jazz-folk fusion. School children were especially affected.


Visitors to the launderette are reminded that the management accepts no responsibility for incorrectly fed dragons. Please follow the instructions exactly. Singed clothes are not our responsibility. Remember to leave a sock for the Laundry Lady.


RE: Chef required

TO: management@pinprickcafe.tan

FROM: laurallovelace@hotmail.tan

Dear Madam, Sir or Mx,

I am writing to enquire about the advertised chef position at your establishment. I have insurance with the Yoga Alliance, which I understand is generally accepted for minor kitchen accidents. I have informal karmic training, and have recently gone on an extensive past life workshop with Aethel and Aelfred at the Tourist Information Centre. They said that I have a knack for fire. I am, to be honest, only a little bit interested in stews but I’m sure I could learn more about them. I love fortune-telling.

Please find my references attached.

Best wishes,

Laura Lovelace

Attachments: references.doc

anitiviral blessing.doc


This road, commonly known as Pinfarthing Way, will be shut on the 31st of December for the traditional Old Year festivities. Residents are invited to partake in the procession, beginning at 5pm from the A. Larksbjorn memorial and ending outside the Subscription Rooms with a performance from a local choir. There will then be a Dance of Mockery, complete with Mummers, signifying the utter uselessness of the last twelve months. Fires will be lit along Pinfarthing Way, and the history battles will be enacted by schoolchildren of Oakshade Primary. Bodies are expected to be cleared by 1pm on the 1st January; we recommend that residents plan alternative routes if they wish to travel that day.

Many thanks,

Tantamount District Council.

Expect to hear more from Tantamount in early January.

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A new thingmabob

AHOY THERE! It’s been a while, and I am, I promise, still here. Just a bit caught up in all the pre Winter Doom Festival busyness and struggling to find space in my mind.

Ages back, I mentioned two things that I was thinking of putting on the blog. One was a sci-fi series full of happy queers, and I’m still slowly writing that. The other was an odd found maybe-story set in a strange town. And that, I’ve made some progress with. Enough to start sharing some of it anyway. I’ve never before written something while sharing it, and even with the amount of cushioning I’ve got in it’s a bit scary. But I figure what is this blog for if not to do new things with my writing (and also book reviews).

So, tomorrow you get the first installment of Tales from Tantamount. There will be at least one post per month, hopefully more. It’s not precisely a story so much as a wander around an odd place that lives in my head sometimes.

Here’s a little bit of introductory blurb about it.

Tales from Tantamount

Being a found record of the town of Tantamount, starting in December of the year of the Abandoned Shopping Trolley and continuing into the Year of the Sad Plastic Bag.


TANTAMOUNT, adj: equivalent in seriousness to. Italian ‘tanto montare’= ‘amount to much’

noun: a small, strange town somewhere near the Severn, known to move about.


Welcome to Tantamount!

Population: undefined/nebulous.

Visitors to Tantamount are required to attend the orientation classes held at the Tourist Information Centre. Failure to attend these classes will be punished by Carrion. Tantamount takes no responsibility for injury, loss of life, spiritual dislocation or other harm caused to visitors who have not attended orientation.

We hope you enjoy your stay.

Tantamount Tourist Board.


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Wednesday Update: reading, writing and DnD

Hello all! A quick midweek update for you 🙂

Reading: I am slowly reading Snow Sisters by Carol Lovekin. It’s very enjoyable, however one of the main characters is a Meredith and this has slowed me down a lot. Far more than I thought it would actually, which is interesting. I rarely have to deal with characters with my name, so it’s an odd one. But the book is very enjoyable, and interesting to read after White is for Witching

Writing: I’m working on a short story at the moment – no idea if I’m going to make the submission window that I want with it, but mad writing anyway.


Playing: An absolutely wonderful DnD campaign, in which I playing am a goat-faced tiefling barbarian with a criminal background. My character’s name is Pansy Hellspawn, and this is roughly what she looks like.Pansy Hellspawn

And that is all today folks – got some reviews coming up in the near-sh future. Take care, be well, survive the winter…

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