The Last Days of Thunder Child

The Last Days of Thunder Child
War of the Worlds - spin off adaptation novel.

Thursday, 14 June 2018

The Beautiful Red Kite is Chased Off by Crows.

Late in the afternoon, I was chatting with Carole on the garden decking. We were interrupted by a commotion. The overexcited sound of crows. Almost in panic. 

In the distance and coming towards us was a cluster of the carrion above a Red Kite that seemed to lazily twist and turn from the harassing carrion. Almost as though the raptor could not be bothered.

As it passed above the garden, I was able to grab the camera and take some multiple shots. As usual, after about twenty-five photo shots, I selected the ones I thought best. It was rather high and I used the computer to magnify.

It was taken on my Nikon D3100 at 300mm. I'm still toying with the notion of buying the Nikon P900. It has a range of 10,000mm. I can't help wondering how such a camera would have captured this fine bird in flight.

Tuesday, 12 June 2018

The Mauritius Command by Patrick O'Brian (My Goodreads Review)

The Mauritius Command (Aubrey/Maturin Series, Book 4) (Aubrey & Maturin series)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Another fine Aubrey/Maturin story. Every bit as good as the others. This time Aubrey is a temporary Commodore and in charge of a small squadron of ships. He must confront a skilled French enemy operating out of Mauritius. The enemy is attacking and capturing British ships upon cargo routes from India to Britain. The islands of Mauritius are strategically placed to capture a wealth of British plunder. Bonaparte's Navy is making good use of the advantage. The Royal Navy is intent on eliminating this French ability. What follows is some strategic confrontations. Battles, where advantages are won, lost and then won again in an ever continuing cat and mouse adventure game upon the high seas. Splendid action scenes throughout and wonderfully atmospheric.

Wednesday, 6 June 2018

My Mad Garden Patch is Full of Colour.

It is grand to sit on the decking with a cold beer and chat with my wife as the summer days linger. The decking overlooks this wonderful mad display of flowers. It will be like this until September. Various flowers will bloom and die as the cycle goes on. 

With a few days off, I'm going to the market at Ely. Perhaps I will take a fancy to a new shrub on the garden stalls.

Monday, 4 June 2018

The Thief Taker by C.S. Quinn (My Goodreads Review)

The Thief Taker (The Thief Taker #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this book way more than I was expecting too. I'm always lured by historical thrillers. Especially if it is set in Britain's past. This story was most unusual. It is about a Thief-Taker who must take on a task way out of his normal perimeters of work. He must investigate a serial murderer stalking plague-ridden London of 1665 during the Restoration era of King Charles II.

The story is unashamedly farfetched, but that is what makes it. There are all sorts of boundaries that the writer presents. Like checkpoints in various districts of London. Outside of London, in the countryside, there are groups of vigilante patrols hell-bent on killing refugees fleeing the plague. This is to contain it.

The author makes a wonderful and diabolical way of showing the dying plague-ridden victims. They are contained in districts. They look like something from the walking dead. Like zombies, except in need of help and desperate to beseech anyone for spiritual or any other type of charity. Obviously, uninfected Londoners are desperate to be out of their way. It gets rather claustrophobic at times as one pictures these wretched and diseased people crawling and staggering towards you. This is a crime/historical/horror story. In parts, it is rather gory. We have a serial killer dressed as a plague doctor. A Thief Taker who is well out of his league trying to hunt the killer. He is also well out of his league with the gorgeous well to do lady who has hired him.

I can't help thinking this would make a grand modern Hammer House Horror production as a movie. I suppose it is classified as a historical crime story. However, I would class it as Horror too.

My only nitpick is one. The beginning was great. The first third of the story was engrossing. The middle third of the story petered down a bit. I thought it was going to lose its way. But then in the final third the whole tale bounced back with a second wind. A very good read and a rather unusual and compelling story.

Saturday, 2 June 2018

A Place of Greater Safety by Hilary Mantel (My Goodreads Review)

A Place of Greater Safety

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I was engrossed from the start. I had some idea of the way the events went from history, but this was up close and personal. Camille Desmoulins, Georges-Jaques Danton and Maximilien Robespierre, are three main historical figures from the French Revolution. This story gives a reader the view of their households and friends over the years before and after the cataclysmic event that sent shock waves throughout Europe. The uprising left a profound change in the Western world. From the storming of the Bastille to the Reign of Terror.

The Republic will be born but maintaining the new French Republic is an endeavour that demands strict and diabolical things to be done. The guillotine begins to work overtime at an absurd rate as The Reign of Terror begins. The champions of maintaining the new and hard-won democracy will become consumed by the dreadful events. Despite good intentions to deliver the will of the downtrodden people of France.

I really enjoyed this book. It took a little while to get used to the style of presentation as we flit from various scenes concerning the main three characters. I quickly got used to this. There is a whole host of other historical figures too. It is hard to say more without accidentally putting spoilers in. So I must leave it there. Suffice to say, well worth five stars - splendid reading.

Thursday, 31 May 2018

Back to the Garden After Rain and Sun.

Each a day there are new colours. It is a pleasure getting up of a morning and looking at that little patch by the garden pond and the little greenhouse The Lupins are up and now the Foxgloves are growing too. There are Cosmos and Cornflower. The Snow on the Moutain white is growing around the fish pond and waterfall. Wild Red Poppies and the Orange California Poppies too. Soon I hope to see a big Sunflower starting to grow. 

Tuesday, 29 May 2018

The Fat England Man in His Garden.

He seeks them here,
He seeks them there,
Mad growing plants everywhere.
A little rain,
A little sun,
Food for plants and all is done.
The verges around,
The wildflowers abound,
Dig a few up and plant elsewhere.
Elsewhere in my garden,
So to the farmers beg my pardon,
Cascading and portraying our summer sun evening.
Even in summer, 
Our weather goes duller, 
But tomorrows will come.
Second to none, 
The next day has begun,
More flowers more colours,
Yet to come.

Friday, 25 May 2018

Crime on the Fens by Joy Ellis (My Goodreads Review)

Crime on the Fens (DI Nikki Galena, #1)

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

I like a good crime story. Especially if it is UK based or historical. I live in the Fenland and this title caught my attention. It is the first of the DI Nikki Galena stories set in the Fenland Constabulary. This was a gripping tale with strong characters and a plot that held the reader's attention. The dialogue was good too. I obviously, don't want to leave any spoilers. But I'll definitely read more of the DI Nikki Galena stories. This was a very good paced thriller. I would recommend it to people who enjoyed stories like Happy Valley or Prime Suspect.

Thursday, 24 May 2018

The Fenland Garden Colours are Getting Ready to go Wonderfully Mad.

The Fenland garden colours are getting ready to go wonderfully mad. Every morning I go out and see the Lupins are blooming to life. There are all sorts of colours coming about. It is very exciting. The cornflowers too. The Snow on the Mountain white around the pond and at the front of the house. It all makes for a glorious show. 

The German Submarine Known as U-534

In May 1945, Germany was all but defeated. The caretaker head of state was Admiral Dönitz who presided over the last few days of National Socialist Germany's existence. On the 5th of May, Admiral Karl Dönitz ordered a partial surrender to his forces that still remained in Denmark.
The U-boat crew of a German submarine (U-534) was at sea. Presumably, they had got these orders via their enigma communication. They surfaced and joined with two other U-boats. Together the submarines were forming a convoy. One assumes to return to base. They were in the Kattegat sea - a narrow strip of water between Denmark and Sweden. It was the 5th of May 1945. Two days before the war would officially end on the 7th of May. The subs were about 14 miles Northwards of a small Danish island called Anholt.
The RAF was flying over the sea with impunity by this time of the war. The German Luftwaffe was none existent. Two RAF Liberator aircraft were patrolling the area. They spotted the convoy of submarines. By this time of the war, the allied air forces were attacking anything in enemy territory. Even horse and carts were being strafed. Three German submarines on the surface were plum targets and the RAF Liberators went into the attack with depth charge bombs dropping. The submarines tried to return fire and a fierce naval to air battle ensued.
The crew of U-534 fired upon the attacking British aircraft that were coming at them with machine gun fire and bombs. The u-boat firepower was successful in shooting down one of the RAF Liberators. However, many depth charges were dropped and the surviving Liberator managed to get a direct hit. The explosion caused fatal damage to the U-534 and the craft began to take on water at an alarming rate. The 52 crew had to abandon the sinking vessel. Five of the submarine crew were trapped in the torpedo room as the vessel sank. They escaped through the torpedo tubes. One of the young submariners - Josef Neudorfer held his breath all the way up to the surface and damaged his lungs. He needed to exhale breath before surfacing. The lung damage was fatal and the seventeen-year-old youngster died. Two more of the five men perished from exposure. Therefore forty-nine crew members survived.
Many years later, in 1993, the U-534 was brought to the surface and towed to Birkenhead in Liverpool. Much of the U-boat was repaired and displayed as a museum piece.