Feeds:
Posts
Comments

Archive for the ‘book reviews’ Category

So this is what Lent feels like…I haven’t had physical contact with a single person for 40 nights and 40 days. May as well live in the desert…

I suddenly realized today that I haven’t had any physical contact with anyone since 22nd March when I said goodbye to my daughter….its bizarre. I’m quite a tactile person and even when I was walking the Camino on my own in 2017, I still had loads of hugs from fellow pilgrims, albergue owners and sometimes just a fist bump with a random stranger.

Much as I’m really glad the earth is getting a chance to heal, I’ll be glad when lockdown is over, although I suspect that hugging and fist bumps will no longer be on the agenda. How awful its going to be, to be afraid of hugs. ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ๐Ÿ˜ญ

I just hope that we won’t lose much enjoyed hugs between family. Talking of family I had a delightful facetime with my daughter and grandson today. Gosh he’s adorable. I was talking to him and blowing him kisses, so he took the phone away from his Mummy and walked around kissing my face ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป oh my gosh it was so cute. All I could see was his forehead and the adorable curl on his head…my daughter was beside herself with laughter…he’s a real charm.

My days in Nether Stowey are numbered now, only 9 to go and I’m off….although of course, all being well I’ll be back in July. Weirdly I’ve been quite happy here and although I’m desperate to see my family, and I’m really quite tired now (and sick of meal planning ๐Ÿคช๐Ÿคช), I’m quite sad to go. It’s a lovely area and once we got past the initial issues, I’ve gotten on quite well with my client. I am not looking forward to the journey though. Its going to be long…I just hope there will be trains ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค”

I’ve started a new book; The Pure in Heart – Susan Hill….one of my favourite authors. So this will be the 9th book I’ve read since being in lockdown.

Had a lovely long walk today; 5.4 kms. I just felt like I really needed to stretch my legs, and the area is so beautiful its hard to resist…although of course I have done quite a lot of that ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

My sister mentioned that the SA government has now started on phase 4 ; a lifting of the lockdown is in progress…means they can now actually go out for a very short walk. It all seems very organized and puts our shambolic government to shame

To see how the number of deaths is mounting is quite terrifying, and seeing how the government is putting a spin on everything is disgusting. I’m so sick of their dishonesty. Even one of the most fundamental issues of getting a grip on this virus; testing, has had their warped spin applied

https://www.hsj.co.uk/quality-and-performance/revealed-how-government-changed-the-rules-to-hit-100000-tests-target/7027544.article#.Xqw3EoFpNi4.facebook

https://www.theguardian.com/world/2020/may/01/ministers-accused-of-changing-covid-19-test-tally-to-hit-100000-goal

I truly hope there will be a public enquiry and that certain members of the party will….I’d like to say hang, but I guess that’s a bit harsh…however if you consider the number of people who have died due to their incompetence…well…perhaps drawn and quartered might suffice.

Piers Morgan wrote a very accurate piece on the Covid-19 timeline and how the Tory government seriously missed so many red flags….while our emperor was cavorting with his latest piece of fluff, Rome, so to speak was burning….or in this case the UK. And now we have the 2nd highest number of deaths in the world, the most shambolic distribution of PPE and a bunch of bald-faced liars who pump up the numbers to make it look as if they’re being ‘successful’. The day of reckoning will come. https://www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-8275365/PIERS-MORGAN-Boris-boast-wants-death-toll-tells-real-story.html?ito=facebook_share_article-bottom

I’m not (usually) a Daily Mail reader and I’m not actually a fan of Piers Morgan, but by golly he’s hit the nail on the head.

And do another day goes by…who knows what the future might hold. With all the saber-rattling going on in the White House, I wouldn’t be surprised if we saw nuclear warheads flying overhead between Beijing and Washington one of these days.

Stay safe folks…

Read Full Post »

At the start of this lockdown, we were told it would be 3 weeks; 21 days, and therefore we would have been 5 days from the end…but with the number of deaths mounting and the daily number of infections increasing day on day, I very much doubt we’ll see the end of this before end April.

Personally, I’d be quite okay with another week or two of lockdown…it’s giving nature a chance to flourish and the planet to repair itself. However, the impact of this is going to be horrendous for small businesses. So many sad stories emerging…and its only going to get worse. Frankly I think it’s going to be a long uphill struggle for years to come and many are going to fall through the cracks.

Meanwhile, trying to distract myself from the TV and the news and bloody Facebook ๐Ÿคจ๐Ÿคจ๐ŸคจI’ve been reading a lot….did I say ‘a lot’!! Bit of an understatement really ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚ I finished the 5th book today. I thought I’d read 4, but no….its 5 in just over2 weeks….hmmm. Although this job started off really badly, things have settled down and now I have more free time, so I’ve been reading…a lot

Talking of the job, I’m halfway through and from tomorrow its countdown and I’m on the downward slope.

Andddd talking of slopes ๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„๐Ÿ™„ I didn’t go out today during my break; too many people about, so instead I had a lovely long snooze and went out for half an hour this evening at sunset. I walked up the hill and onto the ramparts of the castle where I saw a stunning sunset. Not many people about thankfully, just a few dog walkers.

Sunset over the Quantock hills

I did another quick video for my grandson so he could see the sunset where I am. The Bristol Channel looked a fabulous shade of blue on the horizon and of course I could see the coastline of Wales in the distance.

The Bristol Channel

I had the best delivery from the mailman today….a postcard with a photo of the cutest little Easter bunny you ever did see โ˜บ๏ธโ˜บ๏ธ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿฅฐ

The cutest bunny ever โคโค

We also had a very brief hello via facetime earlier this evening and it’s such a joy to see that gorgeous little smile. He’s such a little busy bee and doesn’t sit still for long before he’s off…here and there. Apparently they had a bit of a drama in the garden this morning…he was walking about with barefeet in the grass because he’s outgrown his shoes, and poor wee poppet stood on a thorn ๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช๐Ÿ˜ช ouch. Too painful for words. Children give you grey hair ๐Ÿ˜‰…..worth every one.

I was delighted this evening to get a reply from the albergue in Arcade where I stayed one night on my Camino. I’ve been really concerned for Miguel and his family but thankfully they’re all well, although really struggling with the terrible situation in Spain. I’m looking forward to seeing them again when my younger sister and I walk the route again next year.

So other than that, nothing much happening….I’ve got the grandparents WhatsApp facetime tomorrow to look forward to, which is always fun….4 adults all talking over each other due to time lags and the grandson looking bemused ๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚๐Ÿ˜‚

Its so quiet outside and just before I got into bed I stood at the bedroom window and just enjoyed the pure stillness….all I could hear were the faint sounds of the farm animals and the rushing water in the nearby brook. But what amazed me was that I could smell the very strong perfume of honeysuckle….not sure where its growing but the perfume was so strong. The benefits of no traffic….

Folks, I hope you’re all well and keeping safe. It was lovely to get a message from America on my Instagram today ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ๐Ÿ˜ƒ

Take care everyone…wherever you may be and remember – April’s distance is May’s existence. Be safe

Read Full Post »

Insidious Intent

Just finished the 10th in the series featuring Carol Jordan and Tony Hill (Robson Green) of Wire in the Blood. Val McDermid is one of my favourite crime writers and I always find it hard to put the book down….brilliant twist in the tale again. Loved it.

The only problem I have with reading a good book is that it eventually comes to an end….and then I wish I didn’t read so fast so it could last longer. I found this copy in a charity shop in Taunton.

One day I’ll get all the books in the series under one roof and read them in order ๐Ÿฅฐ๐Ÿฅฐ

Read Full Post »

Okay so this post is a bit out of date LOL. I really didn’t get to do much blogging once baby arrived. However, since I am no longer living at ‘home’ I’m working my way through my drafts and updating as I go…..so this particular evening dates back to 23.01.2019….10 months ago LOL…blimey talk about slow….anyhow

At Cadogan Hall for the ‘Evening with Levison Wood’ in aid of Tusk Org. Looking forward to hearing more about the adventures of @levison.wood #WalkingtheNileย &ย #Arabia – disappointing to discover that the books are presigned and there’s no ‘book signing’ at the event as such, as I understood it would be. ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ I brought both mine with. ๐Ÿ˜๐Ÿ˜Ah well. Still, I’m sure the event will be interesting. (update: Mr Wood graciously agreed to sign my books after the event, which I thought was super cool) Actually its quite weird to be in #London again, haven’t been for what feels like ages. The last time I was at Cadogan Hall was for the Scarlet and Gold Military Band event a few years ago. Time just flies

A most enjoyable Evening with Levison Wood at Cadogan Hall listening to tales of derring do and adventure. Loved watching the snippets of film and hearing anecdotes of people and places while travelling around Arabia, as well as his work with Tusk. Its shocking how many beautiful animals are being slaughtered for the greed of a few. ๐Ÿ’”๐Ÿ’” After my initial disappointment apropos the book signing, after the show, I decided that I would ask once again if it was at all possible for Mr Wood to autograph my books… One of the Tusk ladies asked on my behalf and I’m delighted to say that he very graciously agreed to sign them for me, albeit a bit hush hush. ๐Ÿ˜Š๐Ÿ˜Š I shall treasure these books and one day I will read them to my little cherub Jamie and hopefully awaken a sense of adventure and world travel in his soul.

walking the nile levison wood, books to read, book recommendations

such an interesting albeit scary book at times. a very good read

Travel travel travel… It really does change your perspective and perception of other people’s lives, values and beliefs. I wish more people could/would travel and adventure in other countries, I’m pretty certain the world would be a better place. Meanwhile, I’m back on Granny duty while Mummy and Daddy catch up on sleep, and as I write I have a wee baby boy cuddled up in my arms. I’ve been singing him a lullaby and he’s fast asleep. He’s already changing and I’m pretty sure he’s put on a bit of weight ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ergo my arm is getting tired from holding him up. I’ll have to do some weight lifting to keep up. ๐Ÿค—๐Ÿค—๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™๐Ÿ’• Thanks again to @levison.woodย for a most enjoyable evening and for signing my books ๐Ÿ“š

Said goodbye to my Mountain Warehouse backpack tonight. I bought it nearly 2 years ago intending to use it for theย #Camino2017ย pilgrimage from Porto toย #SantiagodeCompostelaย but bought theย #Ospreyย Tempest instead, which was much lighter, and therefore never used this one. I tried to sell it since I paid nearly a day’s pay for it ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜ฏ but no success. I was going to donate it to a local charity shop but the thought of someone who could afford to pay a decent price for a backpack, buying it for next to nothing, I decided instead to donate it to Centrepoint, the homeless people’s charity. They assured me it will go to a person who would get the best use of it. I’m well happy with that ๐Ÿ˜Š I’ve sent it onto its next journey with god-speed and good-luck.

Read Full Post »

I’m going to have to start getting up earlier in the morning if I want to catch the sunrise ๐ŸŒ… Got to the promenade at just before 8am but the sun was already above the horizon albeit behind the clouds.

The weather is amazing once again, its so mild out. And we’re still waiting to say #Peanutisonthewayโฃ๏ธ ๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป ๐Ÿ’™ This lad is surely taking his own sweet time…. although actually it’s exactly 40 weeks tomorrow, so perhaps will arrive he is ready and not when the NHS say he should arrive.

I went to see the film ‘Wildlife’ last night. Its an incredibly weird film and the jury is out on whether or not I actually enjoyed it… I didn’t. ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ™„

It was such a mild evening I decided to take a short walk along the beach… What a blessing to live so near to the sea.

I could hear the crashing of the waves behind the harbour wall so walked over to see what I could ‘sea’… Which wasn’t much, but I could hear it and that sound is like music to my ears.

Afterwards my daughter (the very pregnant soon to be Mummy), her hubby and I took a slow midnight stroll along the promenade in the hope it might encourage baby to start his journey…

The evening air, albeit only 2 degrees out, was perfectly still with a 3/4 moon and a canopy of โœจ crispy clear and really mild.

This morning, although I was tempted to stay in bed, I made the effort to get out to capture the sunrise. I really want to be sure to have a photo for Peanut’s book…on the day that he is born. I hope that’s soon ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™โฃ๏ธ

Meanwhile I’ve started reading Simon Reeve’s book Step by Step. He’s my favourite travel presenter and I’ve watched all his travel documentaries which are a real eye-opener. By page 33 I’ve concluded he was a naughty little shit ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ย whichย explains the ever present twinkle in his eye and the quirky smile.ย  I also discovered quite weirdly that his Dad’s name was Alan which is my middle name. His Mum’s name is Cindy ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿค” and his brothers’s name is James (my grandson’s name). Totally weird.

Meanwhile I shall get back to the book I’m compiling for said grandson and hold thumbs that soon I can say with absolute certainty that Peanut is on the way ๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ˜€๐Ÿ‘ถ๐Ÿป๐Ÿ’™โฃ๏ธ

Read Full Post »

This morning I finished reading the book; Arabia, A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East by Levison Wood – curled up in bed, snug and warm with a cup of tea (me that is , not the author haha), I settled in to finish the last 100 pages of this incredible story….and from that, you can deduce that I did not go walking today…it’s cold and grey out and I’m still shattered after all the stress and trauma of yesterday’s morning visit to the labour ward…more about that in a separate article.

book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Viking Bay, Broadstairs after lunch

As with Walking the Nile I am left feeling just a little bit bereft at reaching the end of this particular journey. Even if the book had been a massive tome of 900 pages or more, I would still be feeling sad that I’d read the last page…. this time even the acknowledgements had to be pored over – their names all bear witness! Of the many characters met along the way, their personalities briefly revealed, the one I liked the most is Nada. My kind of fiesty lady. Whereas the name of Khaled al-Assad left me in tears. I remember reading about this amazing man at the time…over 3 years ago already ๐Ÿ˜ฆ My heart aches for him and his family. My heart aches for us.

I feel as if there is a story waiting to be told for each country visited. Delving deeper into the lives of people met, the places they live and the fabric of their lives. Imagine what a collection that would make on the bookshelf!! I feel as if I would like to meet each and every one of them – even the bat-shit crazy ones, linger over a meal and learn more about who they are and where they live. After all, regardless of location, race, colour, creed, religion, beliefs or values, at the end of the day we are ALL just people living our lives with hopes and dreams.

I am left both inspired and saddened by this journey through Arabia – A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East. I have learned SO much and it infuriates me that we in the West are fed so much misinformation. It FRUSTRATES and angers me that there are so many factions, and frictions, old betrayals and new. That we, the UK, have even had a part to play in this over the centuries is both heart-breaking and sickening. I’m not going to delve into my political thoughts and feelings, since it’s not appropriate for this particular article, suffice to say that my eyes are just a little more open and I can’t imagine the conflicting emotions the author must have felt at certain times considering his background.

I am inspired to learn more about the adventurer TE Lawrence (aka Lawrence of Arabia), who travelled those paths before Levison. To learn more about the Victorian explorer Richard Burton and Wilfred Thesiger, and to visit some of the places mentioned in the book; Jericho, Bethlehem and Damascusย  in particular, as well as the many, many wondrous and ancient places he visited, to stand on top of those mountains and see the verdant valleys below in Lebanon and to spend a few days in the desert with a Bedouin tribe. Petra has always been high on my list of places I want to go…..

The Middle East seems to be a real contrast of expectations and reality, and there is so much more waiting to be discovered just below the surface. I was left bemused, terrified and exalted at various points along the way. I also cried at times….tears of despair and joy – the event in Bethlehem in particular brought me to tears…in a good way. The risks the author took in order to follow through with his journey and to reach his destination were extraordinary. The people who helped him along the way, sometimes at great risk to their own personal safety are extraordinary. Where there is a will, there is indeed a way. And how lucky are we, the reader, that they all did take those risks.

This particular book; Arabia, is not your usual travel journey that paints a pretty picture of places explored. No, it’s gritty and harsh and at times you are left feeling devastated at the destruction of a people and a place…and I’m talking in particular of Syria and Palestine. (p.s. if you have myopic views about the situation in either of these two countries please do NOT feel the need to express them in the comments).

If you have read this far, then I can highly recommend both these books; Arabia and Walking the Nile. So what’s next? Well I guess I am going to have to track down Walking the Himalayas….no pun intended LOL and Walking the Americas and make a plan to watch the Channel 4 documentaries.

Unfortunately for them, the charity shops won’t be seeing either of these books, Arabia or Walking the Nile from me LOL. Instead I shall treasure them and encourage my grandson to read them when he is ready; hopefully to inspire him to travel the world. I will most certainly be delving into them again….hopefully at a slower pace next time. As with all journeys, I’m sad it’s over.

I am left with the words of the John Lennon song in my mind; IMAGINE – all the people living life in peace….

I can highly recommend this book as a damn good read; Arabia; A Journey Through the Heart of the Middle East and while you’re at it….why not readย Walking the Nile. Author: Levison Wood.book reviews, book recommendations, walking the nile levison wood, arabia levison wood, travel adventures

Meanwhile back at Planet Thanet, I have the book I’m writing for my grandson to complete. He’s due within the next 2 weeks and I’d like to complete it before he arrives. The Incredible Journey of James Alexander McKenzie-Hoult aka Jamie aka Peanut ๐Ÿ™‚ I am SO looking forward to saying for real….. #Peanutisontheway

And I have An Evening with Levison Wood to look forward to next week…my tickets have been purchased and I’m ‘praying’ that Peanut doesn’t decide to arrive on that day…..before would be good and after just as well. LOL We’re focusing on the 18th…..

Alhamdulillahย and RIP Khaled al-Assadย may you truly have found peace, I’m sure you will never be forgotten.

Read Full Post »

And so the inevitable has come to pass…. I’ve reached the end of the book. There is a certain sadness when you reach the last page of a story in which you’ve been, on a journey if you will, a journey you wish could continue for longer. But inevitably, no matter how long the book, you would finally reach the end of that too. When I first saw this book I got really excited about reading it because its one of my dreams to walk the length of my beloved River Thames and the River Severn, so to read this book became imperative and made a superb Xmas ๐ŸŽ„ gift from my son-in-law.

This slideshow requires JavaScript.

I started reading it immediately and have barely been able to put it down…..I got so much more than I bargained for.

Being a long distance walker myself (albeit not on the scale of Levison’s walks by any means) it struck a chord and I had certain expectations of how the story would progress…it turned out to be completely different to what I expected…a journey through Africa’s turbulent history and meeting her people, as varied as what they are, and I have learnt much that is both intriguing and horrifying. I also remember many of the events that took place in recent history.

walking the nile levison wood, books to read, book recommendations

such an interesting albeit scary book at times. a very good read

There is one sentence in the book that sums it up perfectly for me, a sentence I can so identify with since it is an emotion that has caught me out at the end of my walks, most especially when I finished the Camino de Santiago last year… “There was nowhere left to walk”. I remember feeling absolutely bereft when I realised that, as excited as I was to reachย Santiago, it meant I was at the end of my journey…and there was nowhere left to walk. Of course the context is completely different and I could have walked on to Finisterre and Muxia, but for that particular time, it was the end.

If you enjoy long distance walking, adventure and reading, and even if you just enjoy a damn good story, I can recommend this book. I plan to read it again….albeit at a slower pace than normal ๐Ÿ˜‚ ๐Ÿ˜‚ and no, I have no plans forย #WalkingtheNileย myself ๐Ÿค”๐Ÿ˜‰๐Ÿ˜‚

 

Read Full Post »

Older Posts »

A Polish odyssey and other stories

The all too infrequent adventures of an Englishman in Poland and, as it says, other stories...

The Art of Blogging

For bloggers who aspire to inspire

ExploreOurWorld

Travel, Adventure and Exploration

The Partying Traveler

Survival of the Littest

retiredmartin

On permanent exploration of places, pubs, people and new music.

Ruth's Coastal Walk (UK)

Coastalwalker.co.uk - walking around the British coastline, very SLOWLY.

Raising My Rainbow

Adventures in raising a fabulously gender creative son.

A Guy Called Bloke

Storytelling My Life For You!

the traveller's path

The blog of L.A. Smith, writer