Sunday, 21 August 2011

Remembering Slovenia

This past week or so I've been working on some articles about Slovenia, one of my favourite European countries. I first visited it on a day trip from Italy when it was still a part of Yugoslavia. On that trip we went to Lipica and the caves at Postojna before being driven to the coast to take the ferry back to Italy.

My next visit was two weeks at Kranska Gora, a ski resort - except that I was there in the summer. Unless you are into walking and climbing, not a lot to do but, as a writer, I was able to keep myself occupied in this beautiful village. Since then my trips have been press ones and I've now covered almost the whole of the country from Maribor in the east to the Adriatic Coast and, of course, Lake Bled in the north.

If you want to read about some of these places then I suggest you go to my page on The three articles which I put on this past week have proved to be very popular - the number of people reading them even surprised me! One article is about Maribor and Ptuj, another about Lake Bled, Lipica (lovely picture of a Lipizzana) and the caves at Postojna and the third article about the capital, Ljubljana which has a wonderful mix of architecture and loads to do both during the day and in the evenings.

An update on Homicide in Hampshire - still selling well. Thanks to everyone who has bought a copy. This is available in all formats including downloading onto the computer (using Adobe Digital). Also thank you to everyone who has contacted me with their lovely comments. I'm so glad you like the flamboyant Cleo.

Now it is time to get on with writing another book.

              Lake Bled and the Julian Mountains


Wednesday, 10 August 2011

Homicide in Hampshire

Pleased to report that people are buying this e-published book……

"Late one evening Cleo Mainwaring comes home from London to find that her housekeeper has apparently drowned in the swimming pool. The housekeeper's husband and Cleo's Volvo are both missing.

"They are both found - the husband dead, and the Volvo in the Forest.

"Later in the book the village gossip is found dead in Cleo's garden. She had been strangled with one of Cleo's scarves in an attempt to frame her. That failed as Cleo was known to have been in London that day.

"Towards the end of the book there is a very strange car chase - keeping to speed limits and obeying traffic lights…..

"The DCI in charge of the case is 'Steaming' Kettle - a one time neighbour and schoolfriend of Cleo's. Yes, they do get it together."

The advantage of having published it through Smashwords is that it is available for all e-readers. And that includes Kindle!

As well as that it is gradually appearing on various e-book sites such as Apple, Diesel e-books and several others. It will also shortly be on Amazon and Sony.

The price is only $1.99(99p.) so it won't break the bank.

Later in the year I am planning on e-publishing another crime novel so, as they say, watch this space.

Tuesday, 2 August 2011

Swan-upping on the River Thames

The Queen's Swan-uppers with David Barber,
The Queen's Swan Marker
My day on the press boat was great fun, sometimes we'd be following, sometimes ahead and sometimes alongside the skiffs carrying the swan-uppers. Needless to say I managed to get some terrific shots on my camera.

It was fascinating watching the six skiffs manoeuvre around a family of swans to either lift them into the boats or lay them on the river bank. There would be much squeaking from the cygnets and anxiety from the parents but swan-uppers are experts in calming them down so you feel the swans realise that it is for their own good - health checks, weighing and ringing the cygnets.

A couple of times David Barber, the Queen's Swan Marker, came on board the press boat for interviews. As a large part of his job is conservation and education, it was fascinating talking to him.

I asked how he got his job. "When the previous Swan Marker retired, twenty-two of us applied and were interviewed at Buckingham Palace. I got the job."

A part of that interview dealt with the future and as David is avid about the River and the swans, his aim is education, particularly with schoolchildren. He often goes to schools to give talks. The major problems for water fowl, especially swans, are swallowing fishing hooks, getting entangled in discarded fishing lines, people throwing stones and kids with air rifles. Not an easy life being a swan.

When we had embarked at Eton Bridge I noticed a huge flock of swans and asked David about it. "That's the singles club. Shortly they'll pair up and move along the river to claim their territory."

Swan-upping takes place in July. For details of observations points log on to