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Wednesday, 16 August 2017

The Looking Glass War by John Le Carre (My Goodreads Review)

The Looking Glass War: A George Smiley Novel (George Smiley Novels Book 4)The Looking Glass War: A George Smiley Novel by John le Carré
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Another Cold War story from John Le Carre. It takes place just after his Spy Who Came in from the Cold. It is now 1965 and there is another British Intelligence department gathering dust and virtually inactive since its heydey during the war. They are resentful of the Circus where George Smiley and Control seem to get all the action against the Communist block countries. This other obscure intelligence gathering office is simply known as The Department. They are eager to get into the tussle of the Cold War and win some results of their own. Since the Second World War, they have been cut back and lack any clear direction. Some of the senior administrators have been there since the last war and long for the good old days.

While scratching about, they uncover some information or rumours of Soviet ballistic missiles being set up in East Germany close to the West German border. They employ a foreign airline pilot to stray off course and try to obtain photographs of the area. These photos are passed on but due to an accident in Finland, the photos do not get back to The Department. Anxious to continue with this fact finding mission they get the support of a senior political minister to grant them the right to send an agent into East Germany.

They need advice from the bigger organisation (The Circus) where the notorious and polite George Smiley works. The Department wants to keep the operation strictly under their control. The Circus readily agree and offer what support is required.

So the Department set up a team under the guise of a training exercise. The head of this is Leclerc and he chooses two men from his group to supervise the mission. One is Haldane the other is called Avery.

Haldane is a well-polished man from the war days about the mid to late forties while Avery is relatively new to the Department. He is thirty-two years of age.

They recruit a Polish man who was with the Department back in the war days. He is on the books but has not been contacted since the end of the war in 1945. Twenty years later he is tracked down and asked to do the mission for the Department. The Pole has no idea that the Department is run on a shoe string budget and is kidded up that is still as big and grand as it used to be.

I particularly enjoyed the character of Haldane in this story. He starts off as a very articulate yet negative man with a dislike for most around him. When he speaks he is precise and clear yet he is negative towards his work colleagues. As though he does not have much faith in them. Despite my dislike of Haldane at first, there is a certain reliability about the man. It is not necessary to like him. However, as the story develops and the mission preparations get under way, I think every reader would come to rather like the gloomy Haldane. There is a dependability about him and an honesty.

George Smiley has appearances like in The Spy Who Came in from the Cold, but his coming and going is important to the plot. If you like good old Cold War Spy stories, then I would highly recommend this splendid John Le Carre novel.


The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920


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Shadows Against the Empire by Ralph E. Vaughan (My Goodreads Review)

Shadows Against the Empire (Folkestone & Hand, #1)Shadows Against the Empire by Ralph E. Vaughan
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Great Steampunk adventure set in an alternative British Empire with advanced steam driven machinery and airships. We follow the adventures of Captain Folkestone and his Martian accomplice, Sergeant Felix Hand. The British Empire is policing colonies on Mars and Venus in the year of 1882. It's a wonderfully weird and wacky adventure of a retro sci-fi world from our past. An alternative British Empire in a bizarre space age. The image of Victorian machinery (iron and steam) in a space age dreamed of by people with futuristic imaginations of the late 19th and early 20th Century. H.G. Wells, Jules Verne, Edgar Rice Burrows type Sci-Fi. A story of ancient Dark Gods known to Martians and Venusians from their entwined pasts yet not to Humans who are new comers building empires and colonies upon both planets. The restless natives of these colonised worlds are resurrecting taboo old Gods. Those that must not be spoken of. Their aim (The Dark Gods) to destroy the alternative British Empire of 1882 and bring vengeance upon humanity. Only the dashing Captain Folkestone and Sergeant Hand can thwart the evil as they travel on a quest from Mars to Venus following leads where humanoid and reptilian Venusians live. Plus some work back on Earth, in London, by Scotland Yard’s Chief Inspector Ethan Slaughter as he searches among London's immigrant population of Chinese, Laskers, Martians and Venusian workers in a quest for secrets of the Dark Gods too.

Great adventure for all fans of Steampunk Sci-Fi where even Victorian London's back streets are awash with inter-planetary multi-culturalism. The whole story moves well with its wonderful alternative Victorian feel combined with retro steam-powered machinery from a mythical, dreamed of, age.

The Last Days of Thunder Child



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Monday, 7 August 2017

Thunder Child Stands Defiant!

video

Prepare for the voyage of HMS Thunder Child as she cruises towards her destiny.

Victorian Britain is in chaos as the Martian fighting machines roam the land.

HMS Thunder Child will make a defiant stand.

adaptation

Sunday, 6 August 2017

Call for the Dead by John le Carre (My Goodreads Review)

Call for the Dead

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first of the George Smiley stories, set in Britain during the late 50s I would imagine. When talking in money terms, it is old pounds and shillings. It also has a wonderfully atmospheric feel of Retro London and a good old foggy pea souper.

I had read the Karla trilogy of George Smiley which takes place in the 1970s. I also read The Spy Who Came in from the Cold in which George Smiley has a minor role. That is set in the 60s. Therefore, I was compelled to learn more of this wonderful character called George Smiley - a cultured and, perhaps, rather snobby English gentleman who works in the British Secret Service.

George Smiley is given a fine introduction in the first chapter, allowing the reader to know all about his beginnings and how he is a rather reserved yet intelligent man - quiet and polite with a softly spoken educated English manner. In some ways, most people might find George Smiley boring – a short tubby man with white hair and glasses when the story actually begins. He is middle aged and has been taken for a ride by his estranged and beautiful wife. No one who knew the Smileys could understand how such a marriage union could have happened in the first place.

We have this boring reserved man (George Smiley) whose wife has run off with a dashing Latin lover. This adventurous lover drives motor racing cars and lives in Cuba. Yet despite all of this, somehow this hopelessly smitten man (George Smiley) is our great hero with a modesty and vulnerability that makes him appear hopelessly week. He is a contradictory type of hero with a certain type of negative view of the world. He trusts virtually no one and has a gift for seeing deep inside people and the ability to keep everything to himself. When he does pick friends or confidants they are rare but usually well chosen. He works in an old and drab London office among clerical staff that all seem equally as cheerless. However, once the story gets going, these dull grey offices and the dreary corridors fade into obscurity. Suddenly, the dower and softly spoken English gentleman will become anything but monotonous.

George Smiley is an absolute peach of a British Agent who can decipher and adapt to his opponents well - very well indeed. In this wonderful story, we are introduced to Smiley for the first time as he tackles the suicide of a colleague and the subsequent involvement of East German field agents. Our little tubby man investigates and unravels with great aplomb. This is an absolute peach of a read and I would highly recommend this first George Smiley story.


The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920


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Friday, 4 August 2017

The Volunteers by Douglas Reeman (My Goodreads Review)

The Volunteers

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

In my mind’s eye, I could see this as something like a black and white matinee flick that one might have seen in the fifties. The story takes place from 1943 to 1944 with an epilogue etc in 1945.

Three men decided to put in for a marine service special ops group. They are on MTB and MGB boats doing missions or raids upon enemy occupied territory at various locations. One is a Canadian from the Atlantic convoys who is called Frazer, another is an English bomb disposal man (Allenby) and the final is an east end policeman. (Ives) They are recruited to replace others that have been killed in action.

As the saga develops we are introduced to some excellent characters and two wrens that are love interests to Frazer and Allenby. There are some great action scenes throughout the story as the fast patrol boats confront the enemy. The way the book is written gives a feeling of actually being there in those times of WWII when the people were said to be at their finest.

Great action and lots of wonderful characters – a read that I would recommend to anyone who enjoys Naval stories and WWII based thriller.



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Tuesday, 1 August 2017

The Bees Are Doing Their Bee Thing with Flowers.


Just sitting in the garden watching the bees doing their thing with the flowers. Then I stray and look about the garden and watch all the other visitors over the fence and in the surrounding trees etc. 

Of course, the Sparrowhawk puts in a brief appearance but the fledgelings are no more. They have moved on into the big world. Perhaps they’ll return next year?

I sit here for a few hours sipping tea, reading a book and then pick up the camera to catch the odd interesting shot of the garden in bloom.








Moving the Bird Box for Next Year.

The bird box was visited by a little Jenny Wren a few weeks ago. It was male and he seemed to be layering the bird box with feathers. I got a photo shot of the bird coming and going and did a blog of this. Sadly, the bird box was not chosen by the Jenny Wren female. Her partner will make a number of nests and she will choose the one she thinks is the most appropriate. On this occasion, my bird box did not pass the test.

Therefore, I decided on a new plan of action for next year. The bird box was too exposed and the Jenny Wren likes to be more concealed. Also, I was told the box was a little too high. I have now moved the box by a trellis with Jasmin growing up and gradually covering the potential nest. It is also lower. The Sparrowhawk would have definitely discovered their exposed nest as it is still visiting all the gardens on a daily basis. It seems to hunt for the fledgelings. 

A Frog Moves into the New Garden Pond.

A Frog Moves into the Pond.

Our little garden pond is coming along nicely. We added some pond plants and they have taken very well. The fish are swimming around contently and the little waterfall that works via the filter pump is trickling along nicely. We get a regular visitor who is a male blackbird. He loves to bath in the waterfall most days. He seems to have got used to us watching him from the decking where we sit.


To my delight, a Frog has moved in too. I knew it would not take long and do hope it will find a partner for the next spring so that the frog spawn will come about. Then we will have tadpoles and such. Perhaps newts too.

Monday, 31 July 2017

Death To The French by C. S. Forester. (My Goodreads Review)

Death to the French

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

The story is set during the Peninsular War in Portugal. The British Army under the Duke of Wellington is retreating behind the Lines of Torres Vedras during the French 1810 offensive. A rifleman (Matthew Dodd) of the 95th Regiment of Foot is caught behind the retreat and is cut off in the wilderness. With the help of some Portuguese guerrillas, Dodd wages a small campaign against the Napoleonic French forces as they try to manoeuvre through the mountain passes to lay siege to the Lines of Torres Vedras.

This is a most enjoyable story as Dodd and crew fight the occupying French forces waiting for the British counter offensive to come. I read it many years ago, but remember the schoolboy enjoyment I got from the novel. Well worth reading, especially if you enjoy Napoleonic history.


The Last Days of Thunder Child



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The Pearl by John Steinbeck (My Goodreads Review)

The Pearl

My rating: 3 of 5 stars

Kino is a poor man who scrapes a living by diving for pearls somewhere in Mexico. One day, he finds the perfect pearl of his dreams. It is the answer to all his needs. He can make enough money for his wife and baby son to live happily ever after. They would want for nothing and can afford doctors that would not look down on him or his family's low station in life.

The pearl brings Kino more trouble than he could ever have envisaged. The auctioneers try to con him but he refuses to sell and decides upon a better market inland and into the mountains. meanwhile, those who covet the pearl are bent upon devious methods to obtain the prize from Kino.



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The Wind in the Willows by Kenneth Grahame (My Goodreads Review)

The Wind in the Willows

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Mole, Ratty and Badger are the exasperated yet devoted friends of Toad. Friends that are far more worthy than reckless Toad deserves. Yet, we can't help feeling sorry for the poor, spoilt, big headed and extremely foolish Toad. He means well but is a fool. One five minute wonder after another leaves Badger shaking his head constantly in disbelief.

When Toad's reckless pursuits lead him into trouble with the law he falls from his high society perch and sinks to an all time low. Only his devoted and often complaining friends can help him. And so, with great aplomb, Mole, Ratty and Badger come to Toad's aid in his hour of need.

An absolute peach of a story.

The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920


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Sunday, 30 July 2017

War of the Worlds Adaptation Novel.




Join the crew of HMS Thunder Child as she embarks upon a most dreadful journey of uncanny adventure.

Martian Tripods - the alien fighting machines are stalking the land and destroying everyone and everything in their path.

Friday, 28 July 2017

The Age of Invincible: The Ship That Defined the Modern Royal Navy (My Goodreads Review)

The Age of Invincible: The Ship That Defined the Modern Royal NavyThe Age of Invincible: The Ship That Defined the Modern Royal Navy by Nick Childs
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This book about the development of the reduced Royal Navy is very gripping reading. To be honest, I thought the book was going to be about the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible – the ship that became iconized in the Falkland’s War and mainly, just that topic only. Maybe some details of the building and design etc. What I did not expect was the in depth account of how the Royal Navy began to diminish with the break-up of the old empire after World War II.

At first, I thought I would not be too interested in the politics of all this, but as I continued to read the book, I was engrossed by the way the Royal Navy had to fight in the government’s corridors of power to define its new standing in the world.

There were projects for new aircraft carriers throughout the 1950s and 1960s but each time defence ministers seemed to think that aircraft carriers were too vulnerable and expensive. In the end, the Royal Navy actually put forward plans for a Cruiser with a flight deck. (A small aircraft carrier in all but name.)

By the time it was built it was referred to as an aircraft carrier and two more Invincible class carriers were to be built to allow the Royal Navy a compliment of three. Then under another new government things changed again as more cuts were to be made and one carrier to be sold to another country.

This to and through for ships comes to a head with Naval staff perusing a minister across the country to try and persuade the government to allow the Royal Navy its ships. All the way through the decades there is the need to adapt to new demands and the new world order. Much of the focus is on NATO and nuclear submarines.

Then comes the chance to convince the government that aircraft carriers are necessary. Argentina invades the Falklands. The whole thing was tailor made for the Royal Navy in a far off place.

I recommend this title for anyone who enjoys the Royal Navy and ships. Also for the politics of the situation over the decades leading up to the building of HMS Invisible.


The Last Days of Thunder Child


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Friday, 21 July 2017

Imperial Sunset by R.F. Delderfield (My Goodreads Review)

Imperial Sunset

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

After reading the first historical account of The Retreat from Moscow, I could not resist this one. It was equally as good with Napoleon trying to reform his diminished and shattered army to stop the retribution of allied nations that were gathering to destroy his Grand dream for Europe, once and for all.

This is an incredible account of endurance of Napoleon's Grand Army. It is awesome and heartbreaking - even for the enemies of Napoleon's France. Some of the feats that the master of campaigns and his Marshals manage are mind boggling.

I would highly recommend this book to anyone who enjoys Napoleonic history.

Meeting Boudicca



C.A. Powell
The Last Days of Thunder Child


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STAR RANGERS by Andre Norton (My Goodreads Review)

Star Rangers

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

This was the first Andre Norton book that I read. I was about thirteen or fourteen at the time. I did not realise that the Author was a lady. I just thought the person an American man with a French sounding name. The reason is that it is very young male orientated in my opinion. The very start grips the reader with a space ship crash landing on this planet with breathable oxygen and a surrounding forest etc.

The crews are a mixed group of Terrans (Human) Zachurian (Reptilian) and other. An expedition is sent out to explore and the reader is quickly made aware of some vast empire or something called Central Control. A Unified type of Federation that is in the process of falling or declining after hundreds of years. Our band of shipwrecked explorers are from this Space Union.

As the story unfolds, the crew make discoveries of a past civilisation and piece by piece the shipwrecked explorers begin to find out more about the planet they have crash landed on.

A very exciting sci-fi story written (I think) in the 1950s or there about's. It has a wonderful retro feel about and I would recommend it highly.




Wednesday, 19 July 2017

Who Needs Men? by Edmund Cooper (My Goodreads Review)

Who Needs Men?

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Edmund Cooper does love to invent Post Apocalyptic worlds of Britain in most of his stories. This is one of my favourite E.C. novels along with All Fools Day.

According to a magazine article, I read about him just prior to his death, he said he managed to upset a few feminists with this story. This dystopian Britain of the future is one of Females ruling the world and the few men left alive are hunted in the Highlands.

It's all pulp sci-fi and I read it back in the late 70s. It's rather cheesy but hey! I was a sixteen year old just going to work at the time. If Ed Cooper was trying to have a go at feminists and I think he probably was, then it was very exaggerated. However, the story was rather good and I suppose I must be a little weird for liking it so. Well worth reading if you enjoy dystopian style stories.


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Tuesday, 18 July 2017

The Unexpected Day Off.


The Unexpected Day Off.

I had to take an unexpected day off work today. It was quickly sorted out because I still had leave days from last year’s holiday allocation and the full set of this year's to do. After the problem was solved, my wife and I had the rest of the day to do what we desired. It was a very hot day in the upper eighties. So we decided to go to one of the many market towns about our area. We settled upon St Ives in Cambridgeshire. We had not been here for some time and we always like to walk the town square and then along the river to the church. It passed a few pleasant hours and we unwound a little before making our way home via the village of Ramsey.


We drove down all the country lanes, then on to Benwick as the flat Fens started and further on to the village of Doddington, Wimblington and eventually, our Fenland town of March. Here we stopped and bought a few more things for supper. I had Chinese and Carole went for a Vegetarian Biryani.

Then into the garden to enjoy the lovely summer evening in England's Fenland.








Sunday, 16 July 2017

Blitzfreeze by Sven Hassel (My Goodreads Review)

BlitzfreezeBlitzfreeze by Sven Hassel
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Our usual crowd of vagabond heroes are at it again. The characters of Porta, Tiny, the Legionnaire and, of course, Sven the Danish writer who tells these stories in the first person singular.

These soldiers are in Hitler's German army on the Russian front. They are a cannon fodder and a penal battalion of political deviants, murderers and other criminal elements. Sven is a deserter who fled to Denmark, his country of birth. When Germany occupied the country in 1940. He got a knock on the door for going AWOL.

All the men of the penal battalion have their own stories to tell. Some of the antics are so comical; you will hold your stomach trying not to laugh. These are kind moments during leave or lulls in the battle of the Russian steppe. The other side of the coin is the horror of the war and the violent and often heartbreaking things that happen to the men as they become more brutalised in their endeavours to survive the madness and Hell on Earth about them.

There are many Sven Hassel stories with the same characters we all grow to love. They are meant to have really existed. However, perhaps some of the stories are made up more with old friends entered into the tales. Great read and easily hooks many readers for this type of genre.



C.A. Powell
The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920


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Monday, 10 July 2017

A Sparrowhawk Has Discovered the Dunnock Fledgelings

The Sparrowhawk Finds My Garden a Good Hunting Ground.
I was called on my mobile while at work today. It was my wife concerning the Dunnock chicks. I have written about them in the blog on several occasions.  Today, Carole told me that the birds had fledged and were hopping around the garden. However, one had been taken by a male kestrel. (We later found out this bird of prey was a sparrowhawk. So the mistake was ours.) 

It was the Fledgelings first excursion into the world after leaving the nest. Unfortunately, the cruel side of nature starts to bite straight away.

When I got home, I sat in the garden and saw the two remaining baby Dunnock chicks hopping about. I went to get my camera in the hope of getting a few photo shots of them. When I came back out in the garden, Carole said that the two fledgelings had returned to the Ceonosis Bush and everything went quiet.

As I sat down I realised why the birds were no longer chirping. On the fence sat a male Sparrowhawk. I told Carole and she confirmed it was the very raptor that had killed one of the Dunnock fledgelings in the afternoon when she phoned me at work. I managed to get a few photo shots of the bird of prey, but it shot off across the garden and attacked something in a tree over in the garden next door. It was so quick that I'm unsure whether it got a small bird or not. It flew away from the area very instantly after the attack. 


The Dunnocks are learning to hide. Hopefully, they’ll live to fly off into the world.

Sunday, 9 July 2017

The Journey of the Ultimate Brexiter

The Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed EverythingThe Purple Revolution: The Year That Changed Everything by Nigel Farage
My rating: 5 of 5 stars

Nigel Farage takes us on a journey from his senior school days to his work buying and selling non-precious metals for fridges, cars and other products etc. How to spot an opportunity and how to get off the bus at the right moment. How from here he went into politics as the Europen Parliament began to stifle London with unwanted regulation. On his first excursion to Brussels as an MEP he began to think he was not getting himself heard by people back in the UK. He found this vexing until social media and YouTube catapulted him to the world. His hard and frank outspoken criticism of the EU went viral on many occasions. Mainstream media were out in the cold. Great read and I would highly recommend this gripping book.


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Thursday, 6 July 2017

The Baby Dunnock Chicks are Developing Well.

Dunnock Chicks in the Ceonosis Bush.
Checked the Dunnock chicks today and they are coming along very well. It will not be long before they fledge and leave the nest. In the meantime, I can't help keeping an eye on the distant crows and other types of carrion that are about. Especially the Jays. If they get sight of the nest they will clear it out.

I notice how the Dunnock parents always seem to land in the duck coop and skip about below the Ceonosis Bush before entering the nest from below. The little hedge sparrows (Dunnocks) are very secretive and careful. I've a strong suspicion and hope that the chicks will fledge. It can't be too many days now.



Lloyd's Trip into Norfolk.


Lloyd by the Mill Bridge.

My son, Lloyd, is staying with me. Today, my wife, Carole and I decided to go for a drive along the coastal road towards Hunstanton and Wells Next the Sea. The last time we did this, it was with my second son Paul. This time, Lloyd decided to come along and see for himself.

It was a hot day and we managed to get in a few kind sightings of birds of Prey. I always take my camera. We, of course, had to stop at cafes for coffee and baguettes etc. It was a pleasant outing and I think Lloyd enjoyed the tranquillity of the Norfolk countryside.

On the way back he wanted to stop by the old mill where a small stream flows. There are trout in the river and he made a note of such for a special occasion when he next ventures into Norfolk County.









Tuesday, 4 July 2017

The Retro Steampunk Ironman




I loved this wonderful retro/steampunk Marvel Ironman from K.B. Burnfield - Google+ http://buff.ly/2tcEkGI I think the cool 1930s Retro USA look is smashing. A time when the glamour of America was captivating the world. It's strange how certain periods of time have a signature art that leaves the observer knowing he or she is in the past and experiencing an era before they were born.

This image has it all on the nostalgia front. A frozen time that will live forever in the eternity of our minds.

Monday, 3 July 2017

Plodding Along During the Hot Summer Day.


Benwick is a very quiet and tranquil little village in the Fenland. While driving along the country road, one dare not blink as the village could be missed. Driving through without noticing. I stop by the river next to a church graveyard. The birds are singing in the trees and the whole place is alive with nature's summer glory.

This spot is always a great place to have a cup of tea, so I time my arrival for when it is such. As I sip my tea, I look out and think, "This is what it is all about." To borrow the words of Father Ted. lol.

Sunday, 2 July 2017

The Marsh Harrier of the Fen.


We had a fine evening over the bird hides of Manea. As it was getting towards late evening, there was a lot of activity. However, it was at distance and most of my shots across the fen were no good when magnified and enhanced. I think I'm going to need a camera with a little better magnification than 300m which is my maximum on this.

Through the binoculars, we got clear sightings of a couple of Common Buzzards and a Barn Owl. Also, a good sighting of a Kingfisher too. Everything was tranquil and silent. We drank a few cups of coffee while watching the Buzzards for some time. 

Then on the way home, I got a splendid shot of a Marsh Harrier over the field. All in all, we had a very good couple of hours in the fen.

Friday, 30 June 2017

Rise of the Cornflowers



As the summer moves on, the garden looks better all the time. As I often say, the cornflowers are splendid and in various colours. The usual blue it there, but the other colours are about in wonderfully mixed clusters. I always think they have not taken at first. But then one starts to bud. Then another. I get happy when a couple of blue ones open. Then all of a sudden, everything seems to explode with colour.

We have had a few heavy rainfalls but once the sun comes out that seems to be the remedy. Lots of water followed by bright sunshine. It does the trick every time. 

Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit by Craig Oliver

Unleashing Demons: The Inside Story of Brexit

My rating: 5 of 5 stars

I enjoyed this fly on the wall account of the losing Remain team's efforts to win the EU referendum. One is taken through the various stages of the build up to the referendum. The negotiated new EU deal etc. It obviously points out the reasons why the Remain team wanted to stay in the EU with its economic argument. There still seemed to be the failure to recognise why the majority of the UK electorate would not be swayed. What I mean is they accept they lost and why, but there still seemed to be a refusal to understand the non-economical reasons. Almost like it must remain irrelevant.

My enjoyment is perhaps more warped because I know they are going to lose and I want Brexit to happen. I know it will happen and these guys are going to lose. Still, I do feel some sympathy for them. It is well written and I would recommend this account of well-intentioned British politicians who accidentally let a horde of apathetic gremlins out of the box to claim a nation back. Or so we hope.

The Black and Tan Summer: Ireland's Turbulent Year of 1920


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The Dunnock Eggs Have Hatched.



The Dunnock eggs have hatched and I'm hoping they'll grow strong and be able to fledge off into the waiting world. Nature is wonderful but cruel. Our world is a harsh mistress, yet it is full of beautiful things.

The dutiful Female and Male seem very devoted to the tiny things and constantly come and go gathering food to bring the little infants closer to the time of fledging.



Labradoodle Puppy Dogs.




Went to visit my sister's farm. She loves Labradoodle dogs. They look like big poodles. One of her dogs has had a litter of Labradoodle pups. I had to get a few quick shots of the noisy little bundles of fluff on my mobile.

She has three fully grown Labradoodles and they love life on the farm. The oldest, named Daisy is the mother of this litter's mother. Therefore, these pups are her grandchildren.

Daisy is grey and Millie is chocolate colour, while Rosie (The mother of this litter) is white.

Tuesday, 27 June 2017

The Little Jenny Wren Bird


I spoke of the Goldfinches and their rescue after the House Sparrows attacked the nest. I was happy to blog about the Dunnock in the shrub with its nest of tiny turquoise blue eggs. Then this morning, when my wife went to the chicken and duck coops to gather eggs; she noticed the bird box we had put up. A little Jenny Wren flew inside carrying a feather for nest building.

I was pleasantly surprised because I had been speaking to Carole about moving the box where it might be hidden by the crawling plants on the trellis work further along the garden fence. I was thinking that the birds would like somewhere hidden and not exposed as this bird box is.


I’ll have to abandon that idea now because the little Jenny Wrens seem fine with the nest. I’m just worried that carrion birds might spot it. Especially the Jays. We’ll keep our fingers crossed and hope for the best.

Sunday, 25 June 2017

Working Between Chatteris and Manea with Raptors Above.


I cursed my bad luck for not having my camera with me, but I was at work. The day before I was coming out of the village of Manea when I saw a Red Kite flying very low over the rooftops of two houses. I could make it out so clearly and was very excited to see a Red Kite in Manea. There are plenty of Buzzards and Marsh Harriers. But this was my first Red Kite in this particular vicinity. 

I got out my mobile phone and tried to get a photo shot, but the raptor caught the wind and was too far gone and could only be made out as a tiny dot.

The today, I was about five miles out on the other side of the village close to Chatteris when I saw another Red Kite. I can't say if it was the same one, but it may have been. I checked the van mirrors and nothing was coming along the country road. Once again, I tried my mobile and again the bird caught the wind and sped off. I managed to get this shot and one can tell the Red Kite by the shape of the tail.

When I talk to the Fenlanders, they are all adamant that they never used to see this many birds of prey and it is only over recent years that these Raptors have started to come back in numbers. There have been sighting of Sea Eagles in Norfolk - the next county that has a border is only six miles from this photo location. Perhaps Sea Eagles in a year or two?

War of the Worlds Fans Look at This!

video

THE LAST DAYS OF THUNDER CHILD - A War of the Worlds pastiche in paperback and on Kindle.

Thursday, 22 June 2017

Thunder Child vs The Martian Fighting Machines.



War of the Worlds pastiche
Britain in 1898.

The Martians really came and this is the alternative history of that dreadful event. Join the crew of HMS Thunder Child as she prepares to embark upon her doomed voyage, before her demise and courageous battle with three Martian tripod fighting machines at the River Blackwater in the county of Essex, England, UK.

Captain McIntosh and his brave crew can hardly believe the semaphore messages sent from the shore stations. The news is so uncanny and fantastic that none can accept the stories of Martians falling from space. All hands of HMS Thunder Child must keep a dreadful appointment with destiny as they cruise towards the dire outcome awaiting them.

The War of the Worlds first terrified audiences in book form in 1898, as the first-person narrative tells us the adventures of an unnamed protagonist and his brother as Martians invade Earth. But there were other characters with stories to tell.


C. A. Powell delves into H. G. Wells’ War of the Worlds and offers fans of the original novel a brand new perspective on the invasion of Earth. In The Last Days of Thunder Child, we see this classic through the eyes of the Royal Navy crew members of HMS Thunder Child and the land based Ministry of Defence. With this pastiche novel, you will have an even greater understanding and appreciation for the original classic. 

Wednesday, 21 June 2017

I Love the Garden

 

I know I keep banging on about my garden of late. I can't help it and this is a scrapbook blog where anything goes. Therefore, while the heatwave continues, I thought I might as well take advantage of the kind and warm days sitting in my garden with some gorgeous chilled draught Guinness. 

Add to this, my laptop by the bedroom window where our garden decking is, then there is my garden table with shaded brolly etc. Oh, and my camera because of the various birds and flowers that are in abundance. Who could want more?

All in all, my little rural bungalow as got it all. Meadows out the front and a nice garden at the back with a stone drive to the side with car port and other areas.

My wife, Carole, and I enjoy the garden immensely and we chat about all sorts of trivia during the summer months while working on projects to do with the garden and the house. Then we will stop and enjoy the visits of our various natural friends. Even Buzzards and Red Kites that often fly above.  

Of course, I had to get a few shots of the little Dunnock (Hedge Sparrow) Who has made a nest that contains eggs in the bush to the back. I mentioned this in another blog. 

Dunnock



Robin


Greenfinch

Fledglings

Adult Greenfinches
Greenfinch & House Sparrow