The Green Horse written by Stuart Roberts a review

The Green Horse written by Stuart Roberts

Although many of us have heard of the Spanish Inquisition few of us know much about it. The suppression of Islam and the forcible removal of Muslims, the Moors, as Spain violently re-established the supremacy of Roman Catholicism was one of Europe’s darker chapters.

Stuart has set his story in Pamplona, famous for its Bull Run and the area around it. The story is a classic tale of good versus evil, referencing the events of the turbulent and violent times when the Moors were the subject of the most horrendous cruelty. It is a fascinating blend of fantasy, psychological thriller and a love story.  

The book engages from the start and takes on a journey backwards and forwards in time, exploring the very nature of life and humanity.

A good, interesting and thought-provoking read.

The Green Horse is available on Amazon

Book Review – Killing Time in Cambridge by Philip Cumberland

A book review and a Q&A, thank you for your kindness and generosity Eva.

Eva Jordan

“AI is likely to be either the best or worst thing to happen to humanity”­­––Stephen Hawking

This month I interviewed local author (to me) Philip Cumberland (see here), who is also one of the coordinators and founding members of a local U3A Writing Group, Whittlesey Wordsmiths. As well as a contributing author of several anthologies written by the group, Philip has also recently published his debut novel, KillingTime in Cambridge, and this is my review.

The story opens with an axe wielding knight of old, dressed in full body armour, clanking down the corridor of a software company, who then hacks down the office door of the managing director, demanding to know who the ‘master’ is. The poor MD then has a heart attack, the knight disappears, and a short time later the building is besieged by medieval catapults. At this juncture, we are introduced to…

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Eva Jordan in conversation with writer Philip Cumberland.

A fantastic review from the outstanding author Eva Jordan.

Eva Jordan

This month I’m chatting to local author Philip Cumberland. As one of the founding members of a local writing group, Phil reached out to me several years ago to ask if I’d be interested in reviewing a book the group had put together called Where the Wild Winds Blow: an eclectic mix of fact and fiction, featuring short stories, poems, and memoirs, contributed by the various members of the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. Honoured, I said I’d love to. Since then, Philip has released his own debut novel, Killing Time in Cambridge, which was also my choice for this month’s book review.

Welcome Phil, thanks for being my guest. Can you tell everyone a bit about yourself?

Thank you for inviting me, Eva.

I grew up in Huntingdon and have lived in Cambridgeshire all my life, the last thirty-five years in Whittlesey.

I was originally a motor mechanic, then an…

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Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche a review

Beyond Good and Evil by Friedrich Nietzsche

Some of us of a certain age and with a certain sense of humour have a great affection for Monty Python’s Flying Circus. There is a sketch in one episode featuring a fictional, (hopefully fictional) Australian University and the induction of a new member of staff. For the sake of simplicity and to avoid confusion everyone on the teaching staff has to be called Bruce. Having established the protocol with the new staff member they go on to sing the Philosopher’s Drinking Song. It starts with; “Aristotle, Aristotle, was a bugger for the bottle and was very rarely sober”, the lyrics continue through a list of philosophers and their supposed drinking habits. At a certain point, Nietzsche gets a mention, “There’s nothing Nietzsche couldn’t teach yer about the raising of the wrist.”

I was looking through some books on the local supermarket’s charity shelf; you take a book and leave a donation, there among the books was Nietzsche’s Beyond Good and Evil, in remarkably good condition I handed over 50p and took it home. A week or so ago I listened to part of a lecture my daughter was watching on Zoom, she is studying for a PhD and due to the Covid problems most lectures are online. As her broadband was being unreliable at the time she watched it at our house, one point the lecturer made was that a thesis should be clearly structured and easy to read.

I wish Neitzsche had been given this advice or if he had been, followed it. To say it was badly written would be an understatement. It rambled, digressed and seemed full of contradictions often within the same paragraph, some of these paragraphs consisted of one long rambling sentence several lines long. As a philosopher, a man of ideas you would think he would want his thoughts to be accessible, not so Nietzsche.

This is a translation from the original German and has one assumed been edited; that a translator couldn’t make it any more readable speaks volumes; it was obviously beyond their comprehension too.

Whereas most scientists willing credit those who have gone before them, Newton said. that he was able to see further as he was able to stand on the shoulders of giants. Not so, Nietzsche, he has no one’s shoulders to stand on apparently and if they were there, no need to stand on them, such is his arrogance. He dismisses Darwin’s work without a shred of evidence, it doesn’t fit in with his view of the world. Supposedly as a “man of reason” he seems to seriously fall short in that department, unresearched theories are asserted as fact without any evidence to support them for example, he dismisses Socialism without any reasoned argument.

He was blatantly a misogynist, a supporter of a master race and a ruling elite, again without any research to support his assertions. Although it is fair to say that he was in many respects racist, he wasn’t, certainly if this book is a reflection on his views anti-Semitic.

There is much within the book that gave ammunition to those of the National Socialist movement in 1930s Germany, Hitler probably read out sections of this book in some of his speeches.

I wish in many respects I hadn’t wasted my time reading this book.

This is, without doubt, the worst book I have ever read, a fellow reviewer on Amazon summed it up in one word, “Nonsense.”

I couldn’t disagree with that at all.

Oliver Cromwell – The Sketch – Wednesday 26th April 1899

An interesting article

Grumpy old fart!!!

OLIVER CROMWELL’S THREE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY.

Three hundred years ago (April 25, 1599), Oliver Cromwell was born in the good town of Huntingdon, and to- day the thoughts of the English-speaking world are turned towards him. His father, Robert, was the second son of Sir Henry Cromwell, of Hinchinbrook, and grandson of one Richard Williams, who had risen to fortune under the protection of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex. Cromwell went to the Grammar School at Huntingdon, a very interesting institution, where the first seeds of Puritanism were sown in his mind, and his old schoolmaster, if he did not send Cromwell to Parliament, certainly influenced the future Lord Protector’s Parliamentary career.

The school stands in the High Street, opposite All Saints’ Church, where the register with the entry of Cromwell’s birth may be seen. Cromwell was born in a house in Ermine Street. This house has been rebuilt several times…

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Unleash Your Dreams Written by Stephen Oliver a review.

Unleash your Dreams written by Stephen Oliver

After reading several self-help books of which this is one, I was sceptical. Most of those I had read promised much but delivered very little in the way of help.

Stephen thought there was a gap in the market, a gap between planning and implementation. While there is any number of books about setting goals; grand plans and ideas remain just that; unless there is a clear strategy to turn those plans, ideas and dreams into reality.

Unleash your Dreams is different it gives clear guidance, with links to further useful tools and forms online. It clearly explains the way forward in clear unambiguous language and is an easy read.

Mr Oliver has brought his experience in writing guidance manuals and teaching, often complex subjects to this useful book with great effect.

If you want to unleash those dreams; lose weight, write a book, run a marathon or have settled on some other goal, this is the book to help you make your dreams a reality.

This is the link to Stephen’s blog: http://stephenoliver-author.com/books/

Battle of Britain Air show Imperial War Museum Duxford

Catalina Flying Boat.

My brother treated me to a visit to Duxford Imperial War Museum recently. There was an air show taking place, commemorating the Battle of Britain. The flying displays were fantastic, one can only marvel at the skill and airmanship of the pilots involved. Planes in action included not only Second World War veterans but also some from world war one, both British and German.

World War 1 Biplane

Duxford was itself a front line fighter station in world war two, The legendary Douglas Bader flew from there. All over East Anglia are the remains of airfields brought into action for the conflict a few remain as working aerodromes and airports.

I also had time to wander around some of the hangars, looking at the hardware of war. A young girl in RAF uniform, possibly a cadet was marching up and down a short piece of the road by one of the hangars, perfecting her movements?

Coastal defence gun from Gibraltar

There is a huge Coastal defence gun outside, on display from Gibraltar. In the hangars, I was filled with immense sadness as I moved from exhibit to exhibit on display. Humanity can always find more and more money to kill one another. If the money was more wisely spent on looking after one another, it would save a fortune and millions of lives.

V1. A lady I worked with had gone right through the Blitz in London, she told me these were the only things that had frightened her

We owe that at least to those who so generously sacrificed their lives for a better future for those who lived after them.

Hurricane

Light on Leeds Podcast

Killing Time in Cambridge book cover

I was honoured and delighted to be invited by Hazel to be interviewed for her podcast Light on Leeds.

She wanted to ask me about my writing, my book, the Fens and Cambridge.

Here is the link to her podcast:

https://www.lightonleeds.com/episodes/light-on-episode-4-philip-cumberland-author?fbclid=IwAR0Rqhq61E1ObUfbHK4-Hy2xcySyImPWf4qCk0wfW-HS1UIqFrBSLHzx1VA#

To hear more of Hazel’s podcasts please visit her site.

https://www.lightonleeds.com/

Humble Boy at Tolethorpe Hall

Humble Boy (photo Credit Nick Farka (Red and Round).
The terrific set for Humble Boy

This was my third visit to Tolethorpe Hall, had the Covid crisis not intervened it would certainly have been more. All three visits have one thing in common, the performances were outstanding.

Humble Boy written by Charlotte Jones was exceptionally good, I thoroughly enjoyed it as did all of our party of eight.

The weather was unkind with sporadic heavy showers, luckily most of the heaviest rain fell during the interval.

The play was new to me, it is well written and extremely funny. The acting was excellent the characters were believable, the timing, brilliant.

The set also deserves a mention, as with all the sets for the plays I have seen at Tolethorpe it was beautifully designed, well made and the build quality appeared outstanding.

It was a very professional production.

A truly magical evening, thank you Stamford Shakespeare Company.

I am looking forward to next year’s season of plays.

If this has aroused your interest, please visit Stamford Shakespeare Company’s website: https://stamfordshakespeare.co.uk/

Cambridge Black by Alison Bruce, a review.

Cambridge Black written by Alison Bruce

I find it is always a balancing act when writing reviews, trying not to spoil the plot for would-be readers but giving some sense of what lies between the book’s covers.

Cambridge Black is the seventh in Alison Bruce’s DC Gary Goodhew series. I am sure most readers will like myself have read some, possibly all of the preceding books and have a familiarity with the characters.

The story centres around three quest’s, Amy’s for the truth concerning her father’s conviction for murder, Sue Gully’s search for her father and Gary Goodhew’s hunt for those responsible for his grandfather’s murder.

The story is well-plotted and paced.

Cambridge is as all the Goodhew novels the setting for Cambridge Black. Alison Bruce has a great affection for the city which shows in the writing. I enjoy the familiarity of many places in the story, probably something I share with other fans.

I thoroughly enjoyed the twisting turning story as DC Goodhew and the team pursue the perpetrators of a current and simultaneously two other historic unsolved cases. The writing as always is exceptionally fine, the descriptions and scene-setting excellent. I was racing through the pages towards the end as the story reached its nail-biting climax.

This was retiring DI Marx’s last case; I hope it won’t be the last case for DC Gary Goodhew too.

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