The book club

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  • #138834 Reply

    I must admit I am not a big reader of books but it’s clear that some on the forum are.

    I could of course be tempted and no better time than now when we have very little to do.

    So I thought it would be interesting to hear from members their recommendations.

Viewing 25 replies - 1 through 25 (of 331 total)
  • Author
  • #138838 Reply
    Mike 700

    On The Road to Winterhaven

    This is a piece I wrote some time ago, based on a first book by a fellow Volvo owner.

    On the road to Winterhaven
    Came the homeless man, grubby & unshaven
    Dressed in clothes from the charity shop
    Move along there Hobo said the local cop

    So off he went down the old Main Street
    Holes in his shoes and ice on his feet
    The snow kept blowing in endless flurry
    The wind was biting, get shelter quick, better hurry

    Else frostbite will get to his toes
    What will he do then, heaven knows
    He knocks on doors but no one hears
    So wiping away the frustration tears

    He settles in a shop doorway
    And to keep warm begins to rock and sway
    But In this doorway there was no wind
    Looks like God is being kind

    So sheltered now and getting warm
    He stops the swaying and lies down
    7 hours later he’s up and about
    Been raiding the bins for what, last night’s trout?

    Then he heard what could have been a voice
    But was it wind or person, must make a choice
    Snap out of this cold inspired oblivion man
    Yes snap out & answer as best you can

    Mister, mister are you alright ?
    Don’t tell me that you spent the night
    In this doorway in the freezing cold
    “Well that’s one way to ensure you don’t get old”

    Hooked yet, yeah, we’ll so was I
    So i bought the book, gave it a try
    Couldn’t put it down ’til the end
    The best two quid you’ll ever spend


    Try this, and the follow up, on Amazon

    #138845 Reply
    Mike 700

    Another fellow Volvo driver who has come to writing latish in life is Joe Harding.

    Recommend his books on Amazon.

    The Swordsman of Calais.

    Death in the Last Carriage


    #138927 Reply

    Brydo – you just beat me to it! Was going to start something about books to stop Georgie and me going miles off-topic in the Weather Wafflers’ thread.

    Will be back soon…

    #138929 Reply

    Yes Tharg it was you and Georgies post that gave me the idea.

    #138935 Reply

    probably very popular now, but i was considering “Tomorrow Will Be A Good Day” (Captain Tom) if the book contains anything like the way he came across with his enthusiasm and outlook on life and for others then it will be a very inspirational read.

    #138974 Reply

    JS – I agree.  Captain Tom’s autobiography should make for a fascinating read.  But then, I think a lot of people who fought in, or simply lived through, WWII have some interesting stories to tell.


    #138983 Reply

    Couldn’t agree more, Georgie. One stunning account of service in WW2 is First Light by Geoffrey “Boy” Wellum. He was one of the youngest pilots to fight the Battle of Britain, hence the nickname. Recommend his account to anyone, not just aviation fans. He didn’t write it until he was past 70yrs old and what a waste. Wellum was a natural writer. Reading him is like having him sat next to you telling his tale.

    Quite aside from the incredibly risky business of driving the fighters of the day, Wellum put his life on the line every day. Often he had to take quite ridiculous risks to do the job. One sortie involved trying to catch a Luftwaffe aircraft which was going to bomb a convoy, the weather was solid cloud down to ground level, no radar assistance, dead reckoning navigation. Couldn’t see a thing. Found the Ju88 and “persuaded” it not to attack ships. All this over the stormy North Sea. Equipment failure meant he had to find his way home with no mechanical or radio aids. You will be stunned by this account – just one of many examples of incredible heroism.

    Like Capt Tom, he also reached the century, Died in 2018. No knighthood; Very little recognition of risking his life over and over again. Got a DFC – which seems a bloody insult. Should have been a VC.

    Read it and be amazed. Gave my copy to an 86 yr old neighbour. She was so affected by it that she went out and booked, and took, a ride in one of the two-seat Spitfires doing trios round the bay down here! Be warned!

    #139172 Reply

    Just started Saint Peter’s Fair, the fourth Cadfael tome. Already hooked – Brother Cadfael’s herb garden is to be much envied. Better than my six pots outside the kitchen, not forgetting Bay Tree Lady who is thanked kindly whenever she allows me to pick  a leaf or two. Brother C grows the opium poppy, as a pain reliever and, though it is never mentioned, I’ll bet two groats to the ducat than he brings along the cannabis there as well. Wish I bluddy could. Even though it can be prescribed by  the NHS as a pain killer for one condition of mine, GPs refuse to do it. Seeds anyone..?

    Also, recently started the Kindle thing recently. Find you must be very thorough checking what you are buying. Not just for quality, but for length too. A couple of “books” that I bought were sold as “novels” but turn out to be just big short stories.

    #139212 Reply

    I tried cannabis 3 times in my youth: the first time it did nothing, the second time it did nothing but burn a hole in my new silk skirt when a lump of hot resin fell out of the end, the third time I sat on the sofa next to my best friend and we laughed our heads off at nothing for 5 minutes – at which point I decided it was a waste of money and never bothered with it again.  Not being purple suede, it’s just not my bag, man. 🙂

    On the other hand, I think it’s possible Brother C. could have laid hands on some cannabis during his time in the Holy Land (there’s archaeological evidence that it was burned on alters in Israelite ceremonies during that period), but I’m not sure he or anyone else in the region at that time, would have known of any use for it beyond ‘getting high’.  I think it was used medicinally in the Far East, but not the Holy Lands.

    Book-wise I’m still on ‘Ten Second Staircase’.

    #139243 Reply

    Yup. Know what you mean, Georgie. Sampled the stuff in Holland when writing for a Dutch publisher. Not impressed. Sometimes did nothing. Sometimes made me giggle a bit and talk nonsense.  Preferred a glass of decent wine. Would have thought its pain-relieving properties were known during Brother C’s period – after the Crusades and all. And it is ridiculously easy to grow; not for nothing is it known as weed.

    I might try going to a pain-consultant private doc who, I’ve been told, will follow the rules and actually prescribe the stuff.

    Hope you are enjoying Bryant and May. I find them most refreshing when everything else is trying to be Young Thrusting and Next. Or maybe it’s just that I think I am becoming Arthur Bryant, even though striving to dress more live Mr May!

    #139294 Reply

    I think I’ve been a ‘Bryant’ for years.  I bought one of these back in the 80’s (in cream, not pink) and I still wear it, even though it’s unravelled around the bottom and sleeves, been patched up and has loops of pulled thread all over:

    Cost me £25 from BHS and I’m ‘darned well’ getting my money’s worth.

    Also keeping my ultra fashionable boots from the same time packed away, eternally optimistic that I will fit into them again one day.  Along with my tasselled suede jacket.

    Btw, I checked my Cadfael Companion and there’s never any mention of cannabis.  Lots of other good stuff though, relating to medical herbs of the time.


    #139320 Reply

    Love the jumper. Own a cardigan which might have fallen out of Arthur’s wardrobe. Madam refuses to be in same room as it. There is also a hat. Will post snaps when camera comes out next.

    One of the reasons why I believe I’m becoming Bryant is that, as he mentions at least once, I can remember standing on Westminster Bridge, looking east towards The City. St Paul’s dominated the skyline; the only things competing with it were innumerable church spires and steeples. No office blocks.  But there were odd eccentric survivals like the Monument and the Lead Shot Tower on the South Bank.

    The docks were alive, too. Can remember my auntie’s council flat on the Isle of Dogs which had a huge hull of an unloading massive steamer looming over it. Funny place, London. At least, it was…

    #139325 Reply


    and cardy…

    …pure Arthur. Cardy was a Charity shop for £1.50 (be rude not to wouldn’t it?). No excuse for hat!



    #139432 Reply
    Mike 700

    I must admit I am not a big reader of books but it’s clear that some on the forum are. I could of course be tempted and no better time than now when we have very little to do. So I thought it would be interesting to hear from members their recommendations.


    this one is different each week for the duration of the Six Nations and Is full of short stories- the Match Program, 80 plus pages for about £6-7 in paperback Or a free download approx.  1 day before the game.



    #139436 Reply
    Mike 700



    Uncle Tubby Vielle ,

    Recommend his books , the latest was ‘ Almost a Boffin’

    Bombs away: Tubby’s mission to expose the third man sabotaging the RAF
    A centenarian who helped develop the technology to take the fight to Hitler tells Marcus Scriven his work was undermined by communist traitors who came close to costing Britain the war..

    Sunday March 09 2014, 12.01am, The Sunday Times

    “The dining room can be bloody noisy. I’ve arranged sandwiches and a mug of beer in the library. Would that be the answer?”
    Group Captain EE “Tubby” Vielle OBE, parade ground moustache imprinted on upper lip, has been up since 5.30am, a self-imposed reveille followed by ablutions, exercises, breakfast, appraisal of the news and the markets (“online”), before starting writing, “till about 12.30pm, then again from about 2.30pm till about 5pm”.

    #139451 Reply

    Sounds fascinating, Mike. Will definitely put the Group Captain on “must read” list.

    #139498 Reply
    Mike 700

    There is a Wikipedia entry on ‘Tubby’ which also lists his books.


    Wiltshire Times.

    Group Captain Eugene Veille OBE

    A remarkable 100-year-old resident at Chantry Court Retirement Village in Westbury celebrated the publication of his memoirs about his eventful life and 25-year career in the RAF last week.

    Eugene Vielle’s book, Almost a Boffin, gives an account of the Second World War, including mysterious happenings between scientists and some, previously unpublicised, treacherous attempts to prevent the RAF from operating effectively.

    Mr Vielle, whose nickname is ‘Tubby’, retired from the RAF to become managing director of a company in Switzerland set up to develop his invention of an airborne anti-collision system for aircraft and ships.

    He also wrote two novels, based on his own flying experiences, which were world-wide best sellers and translated into over 20 languages, after being edited and published by ghost writers.

    Mr Vielle, who moved to Chantry Court two years ago, said: “I started writing my memoirs in 1962, a few years after I left the RAF, but I only finished writing them and considered publishing them while at Chantry Court, after encouragement from family.

    “It goes right from my birth through to now, but the main focus is on how I discovered that three highly placed communist scientists in the RAF had deliberately sabotaged Bomber Command.

    “My previous books were fictional accounts based on some of my experiences, but this book is factual, which in some ways is much harder.

    “I worked on finishing the book pretty much all day every day after arriving at Chantry Court and I have found it to be a great place to write.

    Mr Vielle, who has three daughters, seven grandchildren and 15 great grandchildren, is not looking at putting down his pen any time soon, with an outline already drawn up for his next book.

    He added: “It’s an amazing thing, people ask me what I did last week and I can’t tell them, but my memory about things that happened in the past is absolutely fantastic

    #139562 Reply

    Okay, fess up – anyone else here toyed with the idea of writing a book?

    #139566 Reply

    Er… Yup. Done a couple. Not novels though. Looked at that and it is a nightmare going through agents, publishers and all manner of other who want to take your money for nothing. Had some fiction collected into album-type works. Fiction in general and novels in particular is a hard way to make a living. Don’t recommend.

    #139587 Reply

    “Had some fiction collected into album-type works.”  Oh, Bravo!  Not sure if I should ask for further details – anonymity being the default for a lot of us here. 🙂

    Mike’s poems are also worthy of wider recognition, imho.

    #139591 Reply

    Been writing stuff all my career. Latterly, mainly factual feature material. But started writing sci-fi picture-strip for boys market. Need say no more on that count, I think, bearing in mind my moniker here. But, as above, have had a number of good novel ideas. Been totally put off actually doing them as the field is nearly as bad as TV (which I also did, a bit). Full of exploitative shytes who’ll tell you your idea is crap. Then nick it for their own use. Mrs T has a complete novel in the can, has had for 20 odd years. It is a good book but the same factors put her off. She also has a volume of quite stunning poetry, some of which was published along side works by Larkin and similar. Funny stuff, poems. You do them for yourself. Then they’re done. Publish? Hmmm. Feet over grave sort of thing.

    Anyway, back in Cadfael country:

    …the evening breeze coiled about them very softly and gratefully, and the view into the garth was all emerald turf and pale grey stone, and azure sky melting into green through a fretwork of briars blowsy with late. drunken-sweet roses.

    How can you not just love it? Would have driven Vaughan Williams mad trying to put it into music. I think Fen Country or the Tallis Fantasia come close.

    #139645 Reply

    Oh yes, of course – 2000AD Tharg.  The Mighty One.  My friend Sarah had every copy of 2000AD, and my sister was a huge Sláine fan, but it wasn’t my thing.

    I think I was into ‘Dragonlance’ at that time.  Wrote tons of short stories to amuse my friend’s cousin, who had been a professional dancer until she got whacked over the head with a length of pipe by a mugger.  Gave her something to laugh about, anyway, during her recovery – which was the purpose of it.

    #139650 Reply

    That sounds a great use for creative writing; helping someone feel better – great idea, Georgie. Especially since short stories are much more difficult to come up with and write than series or serials.

    Good spot on Tharg. Best left there, I think, in case I say anything libellous about certain other publications which get interesting cars taken away from the scheme…

    #139672 Reply

    . . . the mind boggles . . .

    #139782 Reply

    Just finished Saint Peter’s Fair. What a delight… could see where it was going almost from start but who cares? To lose oneself in 12th Century England, well, mainly England with a bit of Wales thrown in, is good therapy in these 21st century troublesome days!

    Would really like to know more about Brother C’s time as a sea captain (pirate?) and his time in the Holy Land. Does she touch on these later?

    Still intrigued about the absence of cannabis in the herb garden. The opium poppy seems well used as a medicine would have thought weed was too. However, a quick googling seems to reveal that it use does not seem widespread, at least it was not mentioned in written source, until the 14th/15th century and then largely in the Middle East. Does not seem to have reached Western Europe until later as a medicine/leisure substance. Odd. Hemp was widely grown as a source of fabric and rope; one would think other uses might have been exploited.

    As an aside, I used to use hemp strands making plumbing joints (no pun). Before PTFE tape you would it round joint threads with boss-white paste to make a waterproof seal.

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