20th July – Review of The Saint-Fiacre Affair

Another excellent book from Georges Simenon. This one is personal for Maigret as he goes back to his childhood home and village as a note is received by the police in Paris indicating a crime will be committed at the Church of Saint-Fiacre during first mass on All Souls’ Day. Sure enough a crime isContinue reading “20th July – Review of The Saint-Fiacre Affair”

17th July – Treasure Island

It’s a classic and rightly so. A tale of pirates, the high seas, and of course a treasure map created by the buccaneer Captain Flint. The many memorable characters include Long John Silver, Jim Hawkins, Ben Gunn, Billy Bones, and Blind Pew. Robert Louis Stevenson’s original title for this book was ‘The Sea Cook’ asContinue reading “17th July – Treasure Island”

Covid Vaccines

Another great point from New Internationalist is that $100 billion of public money has been poured into private companies so that they can produce vaccines. Just in case you thought that the state was good for nothing and doesn’t support research and development! If this surprises you, find out who developed the touch-sensitive screens weContinue reading “Covid Vaccines”

New Internationalist – History of Vaccines

New Internationalist is a wonderful magazine, very engaging and very educational. Find out more about it here In the May – June 2021 edition here are two interesting facts that I didn’t know. Although Edward Jenner created the world’s first smallpox vaccine in 1796, he had some considerable help from a man who’s largely unsung,Continue reading “New Internationalist – History of Vaccines”

29th June – As I walked out one Midsummer Morning

I suppose this could be referred to as the sequel to Cider with Rosie. This book is superb as it’s equal measures of memoir, travel book, and historical reference. Laurie Lee leaves the Cotswolds, heads to London, and then determines to head further afield, arriving in Vigo in Galicia before taking a year to walkContinue reading “29th June – As I walked out one Midsummer Morning”

21st June – The Levellers

This is a review of the book “The Levellers: The Putney Debates” by Geoffrey Robertson QC. The Levellers were polemicists and pamphleteers rather than politicians, notable for their criticism of anyone in power, whether King Charles I or parliamentary leaders or generals in the army or the heads of city guilds in London. The LevellersContinue reading “21st June – The Levellers”

20th June – In a Sunburned Country

Darwin hoteliers don’t come out of it too well but generally Bill Bryson is enamoured with Australia and the writing shows it. There are wonderful stories such as the one about the Desert Rat Kangaroo which outran white people on horses for 12 miles, yes 12 miles non-stop in desert heat. The consensus is thatContinue reading “20th June – In a Sunburned Country”

1st June – Paint Your Town Red

Paint Your Town Red by Matt Brown and Rhian E Jones tells the story of how one city in the north of England decided to level up without waiting for London to do something about it. Community Wealth-Building is a growing movement in the UK and elsewhere, aimed at transferring economic, social, and political powerContinue reading “1st June – Paint Your Town Red”

31st May – The Amazing Maurice

This is one of Terry Pratchett’s Discworld novels though don’t expect any of the usual characters to appear – there are no wizards – apart from Death and the Death of Rats, who make only a fleeting appearance. Yes, some animals do perish in this book, but don’t worry remember how many lives cats have.Continue reading “31st May – The Amazing Maurice”

29th May – The Sign of Four

One of the classic Sherlock Holmes’ books written by Arthur Conan Doyle, the one about India, missing treasure, a boat chase on The Thames, and Dr Watson meeting his wife. The only thing I don’t appreciate about these tales is how weak the female characters are written, as though they’re just useful for creating plotContinue reading “29th May – The Sign of Four”