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Monday, 12 December 2016

Look at Book Beaver Cover Design


Look at Book Beaver Cover Design

I was looking for a fresh and dynamic cover for my adaptation science fiction story. I looked over many different cover design companies and emailed a few. One of them was Nik of Book Beaver. We had an online chat where I was invited to put forward the type of idea I was looking for. Something with a steampunk, retro, feel. An age of Victorian iron and steel with other things etc.  

All questions were answered and the financial package was great and quickly agreed upon. I got a few examples of what the finished product would look like. I have to say I was impressed from the word go. However, the biggest surprise was to come as the presentation book cover came to completion with all of the most intricate background detail. I found the artist’s impression absolutely mind blowing. It exceeded all of my expectations and I am so proud that the design really catches the eye.

I am due to launch my title in the UK in January. However, I’m allowed to sell in the USA now and was thrilled to see the books sales rise. There is definitely a lot of interest generated by the new cover design already.

I would highly recommend Book Beaver to any author or publication works who are looking for that eye-catching cover. 

Science Fiction Lovers Indulge This Thought.







Imagine, if you will, how it would have been to be a Victorian sailor from 1898. You are on board HMS Thunder Child and the ship is picking up strange semaphore messages from the shore stations. Invaders from Mars are striding about and destroying the entire fabric of your nation. Would you believe such outrages things? The entire ship would be alive with speculation and disbelief. These sailors were destined to see three and confront the colossal edifices in battle.

Friday, 9 December 2016

Imagine If You Owned This Derelict House.


Carole and I had been sitting at a cafe on a raised balcony walkway that overlooked the sea at Funchal, Madeira. The very sea one can spot beyond this derelict and abandoned house. We had been enjoying the coffee and chatting about how great this warm winter weather was. How idyllic it would be to live in such a place with this panoramic sea view. 

Such was the nature of our idol banter when we paid the waiter and walked up the lane to spot this very place. It was empty and in need of some TLC. However, the grounds and the building, as one can see, held nothing but grand promise. 

Carole and I fell in love with the house and dreamed on for a while. We fantasised about living in such a wonderful place with a gorgeous view. It was only a dream but we indulged ourselves for a few moments with the good old "What if..." thoughts.

No doubt someone would buy the grand place in the near future. It is, after all, a prime house in a prime location.

Our Cruise Ship Docked Behind HMS Scott in Funchal, Madeira - An Island of Portugal.

We made our first port stop of the cruise holiday in the port of Funchal, Madeira - an island west of the Spanish Canary Islands that belongs to Portugal. It is a wonderfully green island and I have to say it is one of the most favourite overseas places that I long to visit. It is vibrant and green and the town of Funchal is a bustling happy place that enjoys a fabulous climate. It was December 1st and the afternoon temperature was in the early eighties. It was a glorious little place. 

To make my morning start off with a happy feel good factor, our ship The Oceana moored right behind a British Royal Navy vessel called HMS Scott. I watched from the top aft deck of our cruise liner. I saw two officers and a navel hand hoist the naval ensign flag. It seemed to be a morning ceremony.   

It was great to see our lads flying the flag and we delighted in watching the flag being hoisted dead on 0800 hours. Great stuff and a good start to the wonderful day that was to come.

The early cloud cleared and the day turned bright blue. Carole and I know Funchal rather well now and we enjoyed the walk from the port into the town centre.

Winter in the Sun - Lisbon Portugal.



The last day of the holiday going ashore was in Lisbon, Portugal. I've been here before and love the place. It was December 6th and the day was glorious touching the eighties in the afternoon. City workers were sitting along the dock area basking in the sun. It was smashing as Carole and I walked about the city.

Afterwards, we sat on the top deck of our ship looking out at the city and watched the sun go down. There was more daylight for the time of year than we get in England. I suppose it is a little closer to the equator. I kept commenting on what a smashing day it was. I would love to spend winter in Portugal when I'm older. I would still like to go back to Britain in the summer, but I prefer the winter in Spain or Portugal. 😊







The Old Port Town of Cadiz in Spain



The first thing I noticed as the ship docked in the port of Cadiz, was the rain. 

"Oh, blast! It's raining," we said.

But we went ashore and walked the quaint narrow streets anyway. We found a coffee shop and killed some time watching the drizzle. It soon stopped and the sun came out as we began to explore the wonderful narrow lanes of the old city. It was a beautiful day and the shopping area was grand. Soon the wet morning had become bright and sunny.

It was a very oldy world place in many ways and was a great way to pass the time of day before setting off for Lisbon in Portugal. As the afternoon wore on the temperature climbed to the upper seventies. It was hard to believe this was winter December 5th.

Spain is a wonderful country where the pace of life seems a little less hectic then we Brits are used to. Perhaps this is a good thing. The Spanish people seem a lot more laid back as they go through the day. I think their weather is so much more agreeable than Britain's.



Wonderful Birds of Prey Gathering Cause Welcome and Instant Karma



Carole and I were getting very stressed out in the car. We were driving from the port of Southampton in England to our home in March Cambridgeshire in the Fenland. It is usually about a three-hour drive. However, it took almost an hour and a half just getting out of Southampton. Then on the M1 we hit another traffic jam. We turned off on the A461 in the vain hope of getting onto the A1 to Peterborough. Usually, not a bad idea at all. However, we hit another jam at the roundabout going from the A461 to the A1. Our three-hour journey had become a five-hour stress out. We had been on a wonderful two-week cruise to the Canary Islands and totally unwound. In five hours the whole thing had been turned around with this nightmare journey home.

I thought the last straw had come when I missed the small country road turn off to Ramsey – a small town close to our home of March. Carole told me I had driven straight passed the country lane leading to it.

By this time, I’m spitting razor blades and other colourful metaphors at God. You know what I mean. I’ve suddenly turned into John Cleese as Basil Fawlty.

“Why me?” I’m ranting. “I’ve got off of the ship and in no time, I’m totally stressed out.”

Carole is trying to calm me down. “Don’t worry there is a lane that you can turn around up ahead where those crows are flying about.”

“Yes,” I agreed, looking at the strange way the birds were circling about. “They are turning like birds of prey, but there are too many of them.”

“They don’t look like crows replied Carole. They turn and glide like raptors.”

All the stress was blown away in an instant as Carole swore in delight. She let rip with a colourful swear word that rhymed with clucking bell.

“They are red kites,” I said with delight. All the stress dropped away with excitement. My camera was in the back and I parked the car on the grass verge.

The next moment I was clicking away as Carole caught them on her iPad too.

“There are fifteen of them,” she said. “I never knew they gathered in large numbers.”


I laughed. “Some almighty all-knowing something allowed Karma to give us something back. I’m so pleased we missed that turning.”  
















Friday, 18 November 2016

An Outstanding French Artist. (Bernard Buffet 1928 - 1999)




I will hold my hands up and say I know nothing about art. I don't know what is expressionism or abstract. I've never taken the time to learn because the world is full of wonderful and variable things. I like it when something strikes me in a raw and sometimes rude way.

In one of my blogs, I wrote how Vincent Van Gogh just happened to me. His artwork grew and somehow I liked the work of this fine painter.

Well, I was looking through Google and tapped great French artists into the search engine. I was flooded with many great artists with little portraits to click onto. Then I came across a photo of Bernard Buffet. I was a little surprised by the surname of Buffet because it did not sound that French to me, and I, was probably pronouncing it wrong by letting the '...et' at the end of the word sound like 'it.' You know the way working class English might say it: 'Bernie Buff-it'

Perhaps in French, it might be Bernard Boofay in sound, I don't know. I suppose I'm being a bit of a pleb. 

Well, I clicked onto this French artist and what joy. I was mesmerised by how striking and compelling his paintings are. I'm always perplexed by drab looking things that draw me in with other points of interest. I thought Bernard Buffet's paintings were like George Orwell's writing. Stylishly dull but full of wonderful detail. His work has clear and defined lines and the observer can clearly see what his picture is of, but there is also a clean drab look about everything that goes on in his work.

His name does not sound French to me, but his gorgeous art most certainly is France in all glory. That special word that the French say, 'jour ne se qua.'

This great French artist lived from 1928 to 1999 when he committed suicide because of the onset of Parkinson's disease. He could not longer work and create his wonderful paintings. He was classed as an artist of expressionism and ant-abstract paintings. Whatever this actually means, I don't know but the man's work has the jour ne se qua for me. 

Bernard Buffet's paintings are truly wonderful to behold.  I enjoy his landscapes most of all. There are thousands of paintings by the man in museums all over the world and one museum in Japan dedicated to him.








Looking Forward to Another Cruise


Carole and I spent yesterday morning packing the luggage for our holiday cruise. We are going to the island of Madeira first and then onto the Canary Islands. It's a two-week cruise and we've been looking forward to this since we booked up in the summer. It also breaks the winter up for us.  

The last time we did this cruise was three years ago and we saw a man dressed as Father Christmas sweating in the warmth. This was December. God knows how hot it can get in the summer months.

I'm hoping to see the man in the Funchal, Madeira with his eagle again. This time, I'll hopefully get a good photo with me holding the wonderful raptor. 

We'll also visit the Spanish mainland at Cadiz and Seville. Then Portugal's capital city of Lisbon. All in all, it should be a fun winter break. :D 

Thursday, 17 November 2016

Never Meet Your Heroes - You'll Only Be Dissapointed.

Geoff Hurst holding the World Cup
I always remember my Dad saying; ‘Never Meet Your Heroes, You’ll Only Be Disappointed.’ Well this was so for me in 1970 or 1971 when I was a kid of nine or ten. I lived in Poplar, East London. Almost everyone around the district was a West Ham fan. 

Of course, West Ham had three main England players of the 1966 World Cup winning squad. Bobby Moore, Geoff Hurst and Martin Peters. To be fair, I think Martin Peters had just transferred to Spurs, so he was a former West Ham man.


Word came about that Geoff Hurst, who scored a hat-trick for England in the World Cup final, was coming to a local public house to knock over a pile of pennies. This was for a charity, though I do not know what one it was. It was a mid-week night and we kids all went to the pub and waited outside for the grand hat trick scoring England man to arrive.

When he did pull up outside the pub we all eagerly gathered around to look at our real life English hero. He never said a word to any of us. He just parked up and went inside while we all looked on disappointed. I suppose we expected him to say a few things before going into the pub.

Then after a short time we were allowed in, one at a time, to get an autograph off of this football star who seemed bored with all us snotty nose little hero worshipers. He went through the chore and we got a quick and silent autograph then ushered off of the premises. As I went out the door, I felt exceptionally let down. As kids we all expected him to say a few words. It was as though we were irritations – little unwanted pests. I remember walking back with my friends and we all agreed that Geoff Hurst was a bit of a let-down. Even today, when I see him on TV doing a rare interview, I look away.


I’m glad England won that day and I think Geoff Hurst and his team played well. However, the disappointment of meeting him as a flea or a minor inconvenience sticks with me to this day. If I saw him walking along the street, I would cross the road to avoid the man. I do not regard him as a gallant English hero anymore. Not since that day.

Wednesday, 16 November 2016

Floyd's First Pike Fish.


Floyd and Lloyd went over the Star Lane Fishing lake in Great Wakering, Essex. It was Sunday and my son, Lloyd had gone back home from my house after doing some pike fishing along the rivers of March in Cambridgeshire. He got the taste for pike fishing, even though he is more of a carp man. 

He told me he would take Floyd over the Star Lane lake when he got home as the youngster is getting a taste for fishing. So has Lloyd's wife Claire. Soon, I can visualise the whole family going fishing. Lloyd and Claire and all the five children. 

Floyd caught this pike within the first few moments of arriving. It set him up nicely for the day. There were other fish too, but I think Floyd was pleased most by his first pike. :D

My Son Lloyd and His Amazing Mirror Carp.




It was just under 30lb on the scales. But hey! We'll still say 30lb. In reality, two ounces under. But what a great fish.

Lloyd was with his wife Claire and was getting ready to pack up, after a disappointing day. Then as they were putting their things away, they had left one rod out. Suddenly the bite alarm started screaming out and Lloyd quickly moved forward and struck. He had hooked this fine specimen and took a little time playing the fish towards his landing net that Claire had put into the water for Lloyd to guide the Mirror Carp over.

Suddenly it was landed and both Lloyd and Claire were full of glee. It was the biggest fish caught to date and is rumoured to be the biggest Carp in Star Lane Lakes at Great Wakering pits in Essex, England.

The day before this, Lloyd took his son Floyd over the same lake and within moments, Floyd had caught himself a nice little Jack Pike. It was his first Pike and he, of course, was very pleased with himself. 

Fishing can get everyone out and about. My son Lloyd is hoping to come back to March and fish the lakes and rivers here in the Fenland again, in the near future.

Sunday, 13 November 2016

Splendid, first class, excellent - Love it to bits.



I came home from work yesterday evening and as I walked through the door, I could smell the lovely roast dinner being prepared. The aroma was gorgeous and my belly began to rumble.

"What's cooking?" I asked.

"Lamb shanks," replied my wife, who is a vegetarian.

"Oh wow! One of my favs," I replied. It's a standard joke. Whatever she cooks, I always reply, "Oh wow! That's one of my favs."

Carole always replies, "Food, in general, is one of your favs."

As the plate was put on the table, I decided to take a quick snap so all you lovely peeps could see the prize awaiting my devoted attention. I, of course, managed to rise to the occasion. My performance in doing justice to this dinner was; splendid, first class, excellent.

In short, I Love it to bits. 

Thursday, 10 November 2016

DALEKS, DALEKS, DALEKS! It's all happening with POWER OF THE DALEKS.






The big kid inside this 55-year-old body got all excited this week. A missing Doctor Who story from 1966 was brought back under an animation. I remembered watching the first ever Patrick Troughton story when I was five years of age. I can remember near Christmas time with pictures in the newspaper of Ben and Polly (The Doctor's travelling companions) They were kneeling down with the dreaded Daleks in the background. It was the final episode of the six-part story and the Daleks went on an extermination spree. I was looking at it from behind the armchair. Not daring to turn my eyes away.

I eagerly bought the BBC download the other day and have been watching an episode each day. Today was the sixth and final animated adaptation and the Daleks went on that good old killing spree. I was back in 1966 again in my old house in Limehouse, East London. Good old days and the adaptation via animation made me swoon with nostalgic little boy memories. GREAT STUFF! :D

A Pirate's Dinner





A Pirate's Dinner

The Grand children came in and looked at the curried vegtables with rice. We were not expecting them and they usually like kiddie things.

Jokingly, I said, "That's what pirates have for dinner,"

"Do they," said the pair of them. They like pirates.

"Oh yeah," I replied. "They love this sort of thing."

They decided to have some with rice and ate the lot. :D


Lloyd Fishing the River for Pike, Perch and Roach.

My son Lloyd, is mainly a carp fisherman. He likes to go to all the various lakes in his area of Southend-on-Sea in Essex. He decided to come and visit me this week for a couple of days to try out the various rivers in Fenland, Cambridgeshire. He found himself a spot, just outside of March by a road bridge.

I helped him get his roads and other fishing equipment down the bank and left him there for the day. Previously he had been in the local fishing tackle shop to buy different baits. He loved the shop because it had so many different things to do with the hobby he enjoys.

When I went to get him at the end of the day, he had caught a pike and two more had escaped his hook, and broke away as he tried to play them in. He had also caught several Perch and Roach. It was a different type of fishing from the lakes that he is used to. However, he was pleased with the size of some of his Perch. He said the were the largest of the Perch he normally catches in the lakes.

Also, he said he was not used to river fishing, but had learnt a lot during the course of the day. He says that when he comes again he will try for more Perch. He seems very excited by Perch fishing in this area now. 




Sunday, 30 October 2016

Dusty the Cockerel Introduced to the Hens.




Dusty the Bantam cockerel is introduced to the garden. The hens in the coop are not happy and neither is the single ostracised hen living in the garden with the ducks. The first encounter is with Chickie the lone hen. It is a gradual process, but soon Dusty will be among the hens. 
Hopefully, this will harmonise and stop the bickering among the hens. However, on first appearances, there seems to be a long way to go yet.
Dusty seems to like walking on hard surfaces and appears a little disoriented at the moment. That is to be expected. As I go out and check on him, he seems to be gradually working his way towards the chicken coop wire. 
He and the hens are getting used to one another with a barrier there. 

Tuesday, 25 October 2016

Is a Marsh Harrier Hunting the Fields in Front of Our House?



I'm sure this was a Marsh Harrier. It could have been a buzzard or Sparrow Hawk, but there is a black line going around the white of this bird of prey's head. A bit like a Lone Ranger or Tonto mask. However, I'm no expert and could be wrong. This hawk was in the fields across the road from my home. It was some distance and the 300mm lens captured it, though not as good as a more powerful lens.

If it is a Marsh Harrier, it would mean that the bird of prey is also using our fields as a hunting ground. This is exciting as birds of prey numbers are increasing rapidly in the Fenland.







Walk with Us Along the River Nene into March Town


The autumn is coming and the leaves are falling down as we walk the river into town. Everyone likes to go to shops via the river bank because it takes you to the complete centre of the hamlet where the road bridge passes over the river. Suddenly there is the hustle and bustle of the town's traffic and then quite again, once we cross the road and carry on along the river and out of the other side of March town.

There are all sorts of quaint houses and houseboats along the river. Everything slows down and becomes carefree. I'm clicking away with the camera. Just for fun. Most of the snaps are of little use but some can give the reader an idea of the river walk to the town of March in Cambridgeshire.