Tuesday, 28 August 2012

Hamsterley Hoppings and Kindle

Another Bank Holiday has come and gone with its usual mix of sunshine and showers.
Between visits to Hamsterley Hoppings and Bowes Museum, I spent a wonderful day uploading my second novel to Kindle. "Bridge to the Moon" now has a bright new cover with yellow lettering, an appropriate colour for the young characters, so full of hope for the future.

Hamsterley village was fortunate to have sunshine for their annual Hoppings - a lovely olde worlde fair with strong men competing in a Tug-of-War competition; a gaggle of ducks parading round the Ring and music from the band playing for most of the afternoon.  To cap it all, tea was served in the village hall with a china tea pot for each table and charming old-fashioned cups and saucers . . and of course the cakes melted in the mouth.
Bowes Museum is as inspirational as ever, attracting plenty of visitors on a wet afternoon. Its updated shop and cafe provide a calm and elegant place to end the visit.

Tuesday, 21 August 2012

Animals in Fiction

An old copy of Aesop's Fables
For many years the public's knowledge of animals came from the stories they read in books.
My own treasured copy.
From Aesop’s “Lion and the Mouse” and Rudyard Kipling’s “Mowgli Brothers,” set in India telling the tale of a boy adopted by wolves, to Beatrice Potter’s gentle portrayal of farmyard animals.  In 2002 Yan Martel won the Booker Prize with “Life of Pi,” the strange tale of animals being transported by boat to new surroundings after a fire at their zoo, with all the terror of beasts in close proximity and the fear felt by the boy in charge of them.  Far fetched, perhaps, but convincing enough to win this prestigious award.

In this present day and age people travel the world much more easily and see animals in their natural environment. Television has familiarised us with animals of every size and shape - the last surviving Giant Tortoise in the Galapagos Islands, aptly named Lonesome George, had the sympathy of the world.
And yet the public still visit zoos in this country.                        

Two's Company

Family Outing
Reflected Glory
Paignton Zoo is one such place, helping to save threatened species from extinction and return them to the wild.  In a hilly setting, shaded by trees they are cared for and bred. On my recent visit there, a zebra foal, only one day old was hidden from sight by its mother, while a four-month old giraffe walked with the others in the Devon sunshine

In the Reptile House brightly coloured birds flew freely between tanks of exotic snakes and crocodiles, while at the opposite side of the site, two magnificent Rhinos were obviously thriving.
Long may this last.
A Good Life

Saturday, 4 August 2012

Olympics and Spelling

I wonder how many people noticed the spelling mistake on the OLYMPICS timetable this afternoon.
Heptathlon was spelt HEPTHATLON!

In a  holiday hotel recently, the guests certainly noticed a glaring mistake and there was great speculation about the PORK STAKES offered on the menu.

Wednesday, 1 August 2012


It was sad to hear that the well-known author Maeve Binchy died this morning. She was 72 years old and had delighted readers across the world with her homely stories.
According to her friend, Jilly Cooper, she'd never wanted to use long  words and clever phrases – she simply wrote as if she was talking to somebody. She was a natural story-teller because she was interested in people.
Originally she was a teacher then a journalist and wrote fiction in her spare time.
Her first novel “Light a Penny Candle” was published in 1982 and sold a million copies.

1st of August brings news of another death.  That great American author, Gore Vidal died at the age of 86.  Since 1948 his novels have been published, starting with “Williwaw.”
Amongst his many other titles were “The City and the Pillar,” “Lincoln” and “Ben Hur.”