Friday, 7 December 2018

A free lunch???

I recently received this offer from Amazon:

'We’d like to invite you to include the title listed below (Sea Skimmer) in the UK Prime Reading programme on amazon.co.uk. Prime Reading is intended to promote authors and their books to Amazon’s most engaged customers. As part of this promotion, Amazon Prime members are able to borrow an unlimited number of books, from a frequently rotated list of titles at no additional fee beyond their Prime subscription. We have a limited number of spots available in the UK programme and are delighted to offer you the opportunity to increase visibility for your title.

How nice of them, its available for free now and there are only another eight books you can then purchase at very reasonable prices!!

Friday, 3 August 2018

Book launch - the story of how history could so easily have been changed

 As of today, my new book 'Diamant' is available as a Kindle and  as a paperback. The book is a historical novel about the Royal Navy. It's a novel but tells the true story of something that could have easily have changed the course of history:

'The unsung story of superb naval ingenuity and heroism that came close to making the battle of Trafalgar unnecessary. If it hadn’t been for a drunken naval officer and a minor earthquake history would have been forever changed.
1803 and the Royal Navy dominate the Caribbean. However, Commodore Samuel Hood is short of ships. Diamond Rock is a small volcanic plug in the sea south of Martinique. Despite his men’s misgivings and against almost insurmountable odds, he lands a garrison and places cannon on the top.
The Honourable Mathew Turner is in the Caribbean on a diplomatic mission and whilst in Martinique he falls in love with a local girl but they are forced apart. On reaching the neighbouring island of Saint Lucia, the Royal Navy ask him to document the occupation of the rock for the British press.
After eighteen months a French fleet finally arrives. Having not been re-supplied, the garrison is short of water and gunpowder. However, in a ferocious battle, a handful of British sailors hold them off until they are forced to negotiate an honourable surrender For the rock’s Commander, James Maurice, it is seen as a triumph, for his friend Mathew Turner, it is not.
This story is based on real events. To this day there is still evidence of the British occupation. As the rock was never de-commissioned by the British, whenever a Royal Navy warship sails past, the ship’s company are required to salute HMS Diamond Rock.'


Wednesday, 18 July 2018

Final word in the final chapter

Today was one of those days which only happen a couple of times a year. This afternoon at about three, I finished the final chapter of my latest book. There may be a great deal of more work to do, editing, proofing and graphics but the story is complete. It means that for a while I can go to bed without plot lines running through my head, I can walk the dog and think of other things. Mind you I still can't agree in my mind about the final title and as I have several other ideas for other books (including another Jon Hunt) I suspect I will still need a note book beside my bed to jot down ideas just before I got to sleep. I posted a draft cover for the book some time ago but will no doubt change it before publication. Anyway here's the main character again.



Thursday, 21 June 2018

Almost finished

We are now moored at the top the Hillmorton locks which are only an hour away from out new marina.  We will go in tomorrow morning and have a couple of days fettling.  First I need to replace all 4 engine mounts as the engine has been rattling for a while and I've traced it to knackered mounts.  Then I need to get the paint out and touch up all the travel 'scars'.  You can always tell a boat that hasn't been anywhere because it has pristine paintwork around the waterline - we haven't!!  So after two months we've done at least 300 locks, I've no idea of the mileage but we've traveled the:  Macclesfield, Trent and Mersey, Caldon, Coventry, Birmingham and Fazely, Tame, Wednesbury, Titford, Birmingham Main Line, Worcester and Birmingham, Stratford, Oxford, Grand Onion and Ashby Canals.
On Sunday the grandkids are coming down for the day and even more importantly they will be in our car which means that probably on Monday we will he heading home for a while.  Once home I have a novel to finish, I may not have put much down on paper but its all written in my head and of course I will have to see how much better my golf swing has got having had a few months off  (I wish).

One of the reasons for ditch crawling

Monday, 18 June 2018

Last weekend in Narnia

We stopped on Friday at a pretty little mooring between the two villages of Dadlington and Stoke Golding.  The mooring is known as 'Duck Bend' by the locals - because there are load of ducks here all of whom seem to want to peck the boat to death - must taste nice.  One of the key reasons for stopping here was that there are four pubs in walking distance.  Unfortunately one was fully booked for Sunday, two didn't do Sunday lunch and the last one only had tables at midday.  Still at least we got a booking.  The Pub was another 'Mucky Duck' ie the White Swan and at last it served roast spuds that were actually brown!!  In fact it scored a 9 making the it the second best lunch of the trip.  There was also some excitement when on Saturday evening four boats came past with the front one clearly holding the others up.  The chap in the second boat was using some pretty colorful language to the chap in front who apparently was refusing to let anyone past him to the extent that when one tried, he actually forced him into the bank.  Of course standard canal etiquette is always to let faster boats past, especially if you are going really slowly like this guy was.  So our first example of 'canal rage'  something I never thought we would see.
Our last week on board now as we head off to our new marina at Dunchurch Pools - I know where that is on the canal system but have no idea where it is in the real world!!


The White Swan - the first pub in our travels to serve edible roast potatoes.




Wednesday, 13 June 2018

A discovery right up the Ashby


What a pretty canal!  We are almost at the top as I write and it must be one of the most picturescue canals in the country as well as being the most rural. Mind you it didn't stop some idiot not stopping when I was half way through a bridge and pushing me into the arch.  Minor damage in the end but totally unnecessary.  A minor panic last night when we added up the amount of scoff we have on board compared to the likelihood of finding shops.  Luckily my trusty folding bike came into play and I cycled twenty miles up the worlds steepest hill into Market Bosworth to find a shop (slight exaggeration there).  Yesterday we had a great walk around a certain battlefield site - see photos below:

I bet no one looking at this can work out what happened here in 1485.  In fact the area was a marsh and to the left was a dastardly usurper (Henry Tudor) and to the right a dastardly hunchback (Richard the 3rd). Yup this was the actual site of the battle of Bosworth and Richard got his comeuppance withing a few hundred yards of the canal and as we all know ended up in a car park in Leicester for his pains.  Also the actual battlefield site was thought to be in a different place until archeological discoveries of cannon balls and other detritus was discovered here.  

How to recover after a long walk through history.

Monday, 11 June 2018

Sunday entertainment

Saturday saw us moored up at Hawkesbury junction which is where the Oxford canal meets the Coventry.  There is a small basin with a very nice and very busy pub with good outside seating.  The junction requires a very sharp turn under a bridge once you have left a lock, So strangely enough we ended up sitting outside on Sunday waiting for lunch and indulging in that world renowned boating activity - 'watching others cock it up while smugly drinking beer.'  At first there was little traffic but then a boat named 'Elegance' made up for it all.  He came out the lock at just about full throttle which was a little odd and then made absolutely no attempt to turn and rammed the stones below the bridge a high speed.  No one could work out what the hell he was doing but it was great entertainment.  I saw his bow later that afternoon and there was an impressive dent in it - I suspect a fair amount of damage below as well.  It wasn't quite so funny today when we met the same boat coming the other way on the wrong side of a blind bend.  We missed him but no thanks to the idiot on the tiller.
And Sunday lunch was a mere 8, all the food piled on top of itself so you had to 'deconstruct' it, cauliflower cheese with no cheese sauce and once again roast spuds that looked totally anemic.
We are now on the Ashby canal which is a 20 mile dead end and very pretty.  The aim is to be back at our new marina on the 22nd or 23rd.


The Greyhound pub and great boating vantage point

This chap got it right - 'Elegance' elegantly smashed right into the base of the bridge









Mind you at one point I did wonder just how strong the beer was!!