A chance encounter.

 

Aaron

Aaron in training for his marathon hike.

I usually go cycling several times a week. Nearly always every Wednesday with the local U3A cycling group other times with individuals from the group or on my own. Often, you pass people on the cycle tracks with a hello or other short greeting, occasionally by chance, the opportunity presents itself for longer chats.

On Saturday I was sheltering under a railway bridge from the rain along Southbank. I had stopped to have a drink from my flask when a man came walking in from the Whittlesey direction. He was a tall well-built chap and was carrying a heavy-looking backpack.

We struck up a conversation, Aaron was training to walk around Great Britain to raise money for charity. He thought that the journey around the country would take him two years

When we met up he had walked twelve miles so far and had another four to complete before getting home. I left Aaron to finish his journey and returned home. I said I would mention our meeting and his monumental journey on my blog. Hopefully, Aaron will read this and send me further details of his planned journey. I certainly admire his spirit determination and fitness. I wish him every success.

 

Witch Way a review

Witch Way

Witch Way

Cathy Cade’s book of short stories and poems is a wonderful collection of well-written pieces, each one beautifully crafted.

The range of subjects is wide and eclectic embracing beautifully written children’s stories, fascinating mysteries together with truly delightful poetry. There is something in here for everyone, every item is a brightly polished gem.

My favourite but only just is the beautifully picturesque Witch Way. The characters inhabit your imagination, so beautifully are they drawn. It is for me like watching a film of the story rather than reading the words on the page.

It is a gift few writers have.

Cathy is a writer of extraordinary ability I am looking forward to reading more of her work.

Available on Amazon

Witch Way on Amazon

It will soon be available on Smash Words too:

Smashwords

Cathy’s Blog is always worth a visit:

Cathy’s Blog

An early morning Cambridge.

Close up of clock

Close up of the Grasshopper clock Corpus Christi College Cambridge

I  needed to go to Cambridge to take photos when there was sufficient good daylight and an absence of people. Fearing greater activity with the easing of restrictions, I rose and ventured out early, very early in fact. Leaving my house just before 5 am, I was parked up in Cambridge at 5.57, there was just one other car in the car park when I arrived. Using back roads for the journey in I saw probably no more than six vehicles but I did see a black squirrel, it darted across the road in front of me.

Black Squirrel

Black Squirrel from Dash Cam

I had brought two cameras, just in case, I didn’t want to repeat my journey, normally I use the guided bus, parking at St Ives. Given the current state of affairs and the necessity of an early start I used the car. Walking along Emmanual Road beside Christ’s Pieces another squirrel scampered out to cross the road a grey one this time.

Grey Squirrel

Grey Squirrel crossing Emmanuel Road, no traffic fortunately.

Cambridge was the quietest I’ve known it. The combination of a Saturday, the earliness of the hour, lack of students and the lock down all combined to give the place a sense of total abandonment. The destination was the corner of Benet Street and Trumpington Street, to photograph the Grasshopper Clock housed on the wall of the Taylor Library at Corpus Christi College.

Graashopper clock at Corpus Christi College

Graashopper clock at Corpus Christi College

 

It is for me a beautiful piece of work, functional artistry.The clock is mechanical, using principles first developed by John Harrison in the eighteenth century. The grasshopper sitting on top, gobbling the minutes up one second at a time There was just one person I saw sleeping rough a woman in a shop doorway along Trumpington Street. An improvement from the many I have seen in the city at other times. Why can’t we look after people better?

Deserted Trumpington Street looking towards Gonville and Caius College

Deserted Trumpington Street looking towards Gonville and Caius College

I was back in the car and driving away before 6, the walk back to the car park saw market stalls being set up but I didn’t notice one shop that was open. The same car was the sole occupant of the car park when I left for home.

Christ's College entrance

Christ’s College entrance

 

Hand of the Beast, written by Stuart Roberts, a review.

Hand of the beast2

Hand of the Beast written by Stuart Roberts

We are very fortunate to have a good number of talented authors living in our region some of whom live locally. I have just finished reading Hand of the Beast by Stuart Roberts, one of our very local writers.

I had the privilege of reading his draft manuscript  of Hand of The Beast a little while back as a Beta reader. I was really keen therefore, to see this the published version. Stuart’s second novel, like his first, All Time Lowe, it is a psychological and supernatural thriller.

The story is centred around the troubled Danny. An orphan traumatised by an abusive childhood he struggles to deal with life. His adoptive parents help him navigate his way through into adulthood but it is a chance meeting with a Goth girl that changes his life completely.

The police after discovering two murders, quickly find they are on the trail of a serial killer responsible for many more deaths.

A twisty journey of a book a really good read, five stars from me.

If you would like to buy a copy, (one of my US readers wanted a copy of All Time Lowe which is why I posted this link) the Amazon link:

Hand of the beast

For my review of All Time Lowe:

All time Lowe a review

Beau Death by Peter Lovesey a review.

Beau Death cover2

Beau Death written by Peter Lovesey

There is usually at least one of Peter Lovesey’s books in my “to be read pile”.  Of the Peter Diamond series, I now have only one more to read, unless of course there is another ready to publish.

I have enjoyed all the Peter Diamond novels but for me Beau Death is the best so far.

Following a cracking start, literally, a wrecking ball smashes into the top of an old house in Twerton, exposing the remains of a long hidden body. The beginning of a herculean quest for Deective Superintendent Peter Diamond and his team. Not only to establish the identity of the corpse but to discover the circumstances of its death.

As with the majority of the Peter Diamond novels the city of Bath is the setting.

With each new book there is a new visit, for us readers. Each time we learn a little more about the place and its rich history. This outing introduces Beau Nash to those of us, who know little, not only of Bath but the characters which helped shape the city.

As with all good books it is difficult to put down, resolution waits until the end of the story and is satisfying. I will be ordering Killing with Confetti, the latest Peter Diamond book, shortly. Ready to be placed on the TBR pile.

Easter visits to LatterseyNature Reserve

Easter

Easter visit

A few times recently I have had a solitary leisurely stroll around Lattersey Nature Reserve, not that my strolls  are ever much more than leisurely. I suppose leisurely with a bit of purpose is as fast it gets.

Easter2

Cattle grazing

There are cattle grazing the field, they will probably soon be moved to pastures new, the grass is getting very short and they are being fed hay.

Easter3

A lot of water around still

The water levels around both sides of the reserve are fairly high still, with places normally dry by now well inundated, in the North side of the reserve the level in the pit is high enough to cover the paving slabs of the fishing places. It was fantastic to see a large brood of young ducklings with their mum, she was doing her best to shepherd them around.

Easter4

Mum watching her ducklings. I counted at least eleven.

I am always fascinated by the way fallen trees often resurrect themselves.  Branches which had been horizontal on the growing tree now reaching upward from the fallen trunk. The branches themselves becoming eventually trunks in their own right.

Easter6

Partly resurrected, partly recycled

Easter5

Resurrected, this is a big tree

Other fallen trees, beyond resurrection, are recycled by nature. The insects making homes by boring tunnels into the fallen carcass, fungus, moss and other plants taking the opportunity to root on the remains. Eventually what remains of the dead tree rots away and enriches the soil.

Easter8

A patch of Dog Violets

Early Dog Violet compressed

An early Dog Violet?

There are few patches of blue Dog Violets appearing here and there,  the clumps of daffodils that brightened everywhere have now died back. Much of the blossom has now fallen from the trees, soon other flowers will appear as spring moves forward and summer approaches.

Easter7

Not much blossom remaining

Switching on the leaves.

Reflections on the approaching Spring compressed

Reflections on the approaching Spring

I went to my local Lattersey Nature reserve today, signs of spring are beginning to appear, the trees and plants are readying themselves for what I think of as the big leaf switch on.

Early Dog Violet compressed

An early Dog Violet?

I always liken the reappearance of leaves the annual greening of the trees and hedgerows to someone throwing a switch. All around the leaves are starting to appear furled up ready to explode into their final full size.

Getting ready to be switched on compressed

The leaves getting ready to be switched on

The passing of the seasons is something that ignores our worldly preoccupations nature is not affected by our human concerns its only regulator the weather. Although that is something we as humans seem to be affecting.

A sleeping pond compressed

A sleeping pond

The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne, a review.

The Red House Mystery

The Red House Mystery by A. A. Milne

I was surprised to learn that as well as writing Winnie The Pooh, A. A. Milne had also written an adult novel, The Red House Mystery, apparently his third I learned later.

Curious I decided to track down a copy, by mere chance I found a copy in a charity shop in Huntingdon. This particular edition was a paperback “A Rediscovered Classic” issued by The Times. The Red House Mystery was written before the Winnie The Pooh books, A. A. Milne’s more well known works.

It is an interesting book, undoubtedly, of its time, a time when the lives of ordinary people were, of no consequence. In this book like it seems so many others, murders took place in large country houses, inhabited mainly by the great, the respectable and the good. The fact that the great, the respectable and the good numbered among them the murderers doesn’t seem to be the contradiction it ought to be, perhaps just a better class of villain. The Red House Mystery  is not badly written but for me lacks pace. The plot is dependent on the unlikely as much as the probable. I had difficulty in finding the enthusiasm to continue reading and was able to put it down for long periods of time sometimes for days. It was a shame it wasn’t a better book, it could have been, should have been.

On a side note in a book that is nearly a hundred years old and reissued it should have been possible for someone competent to proof read it and remove the typos.

 

An Inconvenient Death by Miles Goslett (a review)

an incovenient death web

An Inconvenient Death by Miles Golett

 

Those of us old to remember the build up to the ill conceived Iraq war are familiar with the name Dr David Kelly.

At the time of his death, 45 minute warnings, talk of Weapons of Mass Destruction (WMDs) and photographs filled the media supposedly showing large missiles on lorries, ready to be blasted at Saddam Hussein’s enemies, us, the UK or the U.S.

In this rush to war there were however, dissenting voices, a desire for certainty before committing lives and resources to a conflict which could perhaps be avoided. One of those casting doubt, was Andrew Gillingham, a BBC Radio 4 journalist, who’s well placed source cast doubt on the government narrative.

The hunt was soon on for this well placed source and within days Dr David Kelly’s name became known. His death in the midst of parliamentary enquiries by the Intelligence and Foreign Affairs Committees closed down lines of enquiry.

Although the book’s title is An Inconvenient Death, at the time of Kelly’s demise it seemed to many of us it was all too convenient. Goslett’s book is a meticulous attempt to try and establish a semblance of the truth, to clear away the clutter. He casts doubt over the whole investigation of Kelly’s death gaining and sharing information not disclosed at the time. He also exposes the shortcomings of the hastily established Hutton Inquiry held into Kelly’s death.

This book may not of itself get the Kelly case reopened but it ought to help, we owe it to Dr David Kelly to find the truth and if that truth is inconvenient to members of the establishment so be it.

 

 

Bad to the Bone a review.

Bad to the Bone

Bad To The Bone by Tony J Forder

I met Tony J Forder at a book signing hosted by Waterstones in Peterborough last year, I was there to buy a signed copy of Eva Jordan’s new book Time Will Tell.

After listening to  a reading from Tony’s latest book I succumbed to the temptation and bought a copy of his first book, Bad to The Bone, which he kindly signed for me. My to be read pile is diminishing slowly it was therefore only recently that I managed to read this, his first novel.

A good indication of the quality of a book for me is the reluctance to put it down and the eagerness to resume reading as soon as any opportunity presents itself, Bad to the Bone easily fitted into this criteria. It is a cracking read and those of us who know the area feel a great affinity with the places the story occupies.

We are introduced to Detective Inspector Jimmy Bliss and his colleague Detective Constable Penny Chandler. The characters are well drawn and they weave their way through a convoluted finely drawn plot. An excellent book and a cracking read, I will track down a copy of The Scent of Guilt, the second in the series with the intention of getting to read it at the earliest opportunity.

 

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