The Last Days of Thunder Child

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

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+ 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 - a wonderful retro British summer scene.

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.