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Here’s one to look at….

bytheletterbookreviews

Delighted to be able to share with you this afternoon the wonderful cover of Angela King’s novel, The Blood of Kings which is out on the 1st of September 2017. Don’t know about you but doesn’t it look intriguing? You can find out more about the book and the author below. 

Blood of Kings final .jpgBook Description:

  1. A girl arrives in London to search for her brother. Aalia, an awkward, arrogant teenager plans to bring William to his senses, until she discovers that both their lives are based on a lie. Aalia must unravel a web of secrets but has the weight of her past to contend with. Courageous and undisciplined, Aalia gradually comes to terms with the truth that William, her brother, has royal blood. Deciding to undermine the men who want to use him as a pawn, Aalia must negotiate a world where secrecy arms the powerful. But unwilling to ask for…

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The Macmillan Cancer Support Lake District Mighty Hike, 17th June, 2017.
Officially, 25 miles….one GPS said 27.3, and someone else’s 30! Could have been 30! 10 hours walking between 7.00am and 8.00pm. 3,797 feet of accent (in 23 degrees temp). 2 or 3 blisters. Jiggered knee, aches and pains….is that enough?

The rest is out of my hands…but in yours: give here.

My very sincere thanks to those who already have, and to those who are about to!

 

This could be your last chance to sponsor BHDandMe as we tackle the mountain marathon on Saturday 17th June (tomorrow!). Me along with c999 others will be leaving Keswick between 7.00am and 9.00am and heading up Borrowdale into Langstrothdale, over Stake Pass (why it couldn’t be steak pass I don’t know) and into Langdale, through Elterwater to the outskirts of downtown Ambleside! We’re doing all this in aid of Macmillan Cancer Supprt, and if you do want to provide a little cash to that organisation you can go to the link on Just Giving, here.

Well, me ducks (that’s my midland accent)….Twenty Two Years ago today I was diagnosed with Hairy Cell Leukaemia (that’s the first time I’ve spelled that without getting it wrong first time) Since then, in the words of my haematologist (I’m doing well with the spelling today), I’ve been ‘at risk of cure’….Glad to be among you still (hope the feeling’s mutual).

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For fun? Are you kidding? This is what people do to escape pestilence and famine….we’re trekking over the mountains for 26 miles….when the Greek guy did this he popped his jbs immediately afterwards – he was Greek…He wasn’t wearing clogs! (and there was no Macmillan Cancer Support in those days!)

So. I’m walking over the mountains. Would I be asking you for money if I were doing it for fun? Of course I wouldn’t! Why would you be giving me money if I were doing it for fun? That would crazy. Look, I’m going to hate every minute of it, I promise. And if I don’t, I’ll at least have the decency to pretend I do…so come on, up-end the piggy-box, smash the sweet jar, rip up the floorboards, let the dosh see the daylight, get the moths on the wing, and go to Justgiving.com/fundraising/MikeSmith106 and donate something to Macmillan Cancer Support’s Lake District Mighty Hike, June 17th…..here’s the link, in case you didn’t spot it anywhere earlier…..https://www.justgiving.com/fundraising/Mike-Smith106

This is what I get up to when I can’t get out of it…..it frees the mind and binds the feet. Don’t try it at home (unless you have a very, very big home)…of course you could just go up an’ down the stairs a few thousand times…at least you wouldn’t have to look at views all day, I mean grass is grass, when you’ve seen one blade you’ve seen ’em all…I mean, OK, so there’s flat grass and there’s steep grass, but who cares, it’s still grass….I suppose there’s rocks too, but let’s face it, who in their right mind wants to look at rocks?…don’t get me started on sky…

Macmillan Cancer Support helps people in their time of need, and they need you, and me, to help them do it…please give whatever you can, either by sponsoring me, here or in any other way you can. Thank you.

London’s Mayor appeared on Radio 4 recently, talking about immigration and the projected quotas. Quoting government figures, he suggested that London, on a pro-rata basis, might be ‘allowed’ just under forty thousand immigrants…less than needed to supply the building trade alone (where over 10% of workers will retire over the next five years, apparently). He suggested a special measure for the city that would allow it to have more immigrants, while the rest of England (and of the UK) could continue with its exclusions.

The interesting element in this, which wasn’t picked up by the interviewer, was how, and by whom, this arrangement would be ‘policed’. Presumably some sort of line would have to be drawn around London, and ‘surplus’ immigrants prevented from crossing it , at least so far as moving to other jobs, and to living elsewhere would be concerned. Days out, holidays, and visits, presumably would be OK? Who would draw this line? Who would control its crossing points? London? Or we Provincials? Would we need internal passports to get into, or out of whichever side of the line we inhabited? Would Londoners, wishing to move in to the rest of the UK, or Provincials wishing to move out to London, count as immigrants, and who would be counting?

Either way, it would be the first step in a discernible road. I seem to recall that both Ken Livingstone and Boris Johnson, during their time as Mayors of London, remarked in public, that they thought it entirely feasible the city could maintain itself as a City State, without the aid of the rump of the UK.

In Trieste last year I encountered some campaigners for a sort of ‘free Trieste’. They were convinced that the city – much smaller than London – could successfully go it alone.

When things start to break up it’s not entirely predictable where the fragmentation will stop. We have a surplus of water in this part of the UK, which, global warming continuing, might support the local population if sold at a high enough price to those living in the soon-to-be-drier parts of the present country… Of course, we’d have to seize the reservoirs etc(Just a thought!). 

 

There’s a review by me of Vivien Jones’ story ‘Sorting Office’ up on the Thresholds site. 

Churchill is reputed to have said that the only thing you needed to know about an Englishman (I think he must have meant only the orficer class) was which side he would have stood on at Naseby. In my generation that might have been amended to actually knowing which side he would have stood on, and perhaps to even knowing what Naseby was.

Today there could be another test: which side did he vote for over Brexit?

Anywhere is just a bigger version of somewhere. Just back from Venice.

I’m undertaking (sic) a marathon hill walk on June 17th, in aid of Macmillan Cancer Support. This is a Good Cause. Undoubtedly. We aim to raise fahsands of pounds. You wanna help? Go to JustGiving page, and well, Give. What more is there to say?

After failing to read to the end of any of the stories in A.S.Byatt’s Sugar and other stories – something that has never happened to me before – I began to look at the cover blurbs with fresh eyes, especially the bit that said she ‘displays all her talents as a novelist.’ Was somebody, Penelope Lively in the London Evening Standard, in fact, just ever so slightly putting their head above the parapet and whistling a faint bar of ‘The King Is In The Altogether’? It might also explain why I had trouble with some of the stories in Henscher’s 2 volume British Short Stories collection (dedicated to Byatt), and to the Oxford English Short Stories which she edited (in pencil on the title page of my copy…’some poor stories from writers who have written better ones’… and over the page…’the tedious listing of what is seen oin the background’. I must have been having a bad day. (three OKs, two goods, one goodish and one liked it. Plus the wonderful Little Brother, by Mary Mann)). Sheesh!

I wouldn’t have dared, perhaps, to have raised the issue, if it were not for the fact that recently I had been reading Simon Heffer in The Daily Telegraph, exhorting us to boo when the Art we are encountering simply isn’t doing its job.

I have also been reading L.A.G.Strong’s (not in the Oxford) collection of short stories, Travellers, winner in 1945 of the James Tait Black Memorial Prize for fiction. Strong, it seems to me, is largely forgotten now, but if this collection of thirty one stories is anything to go by, he knew his way around the form. Some carry uncomfortable markers of a time when language could be less than politically correct, but all have a story to tell, and several have a very good one, told with a good telling.

Whether or not one likes something is, according to some, not the point. But to those of us doing the liking, and disliking, of course, it is the whole point.

And all the talents of a novelist, I suspect, are about as much use when writing a short story, as all the talents of a golfer would be when making fairy cakes.