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"Journalism: A profession whose business is to explain to others what it personally does not understand."
Lord Northcliffe, 1865 - 1922

 
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Travels with my Hat, by Christine Osborne

 Christine Osborne’s Travels with my Hat

 

travels_with_my_hat.jpgAfrica and the East have changed dramatically since Australian photojournalist and Associate member Christine Osborne first visited in the ‘60s. So her latest book – Travels with My Hat: A Lifetime on the Road – is a fascinating journey through a fast-evolving world.

A qualified nurse, Christine arrived in Europe in 1964, hitchhiking through France, Spain and across North Africa before working in Chelsea restaurants during the ‘Swinging Sixties’. Once she had saved enough, she sailed down the Swahili coast of Africa to Kenya and took a variety of jobs in various African countries.

By 1970, Christine had begun to make a name for herself in the Australian press as a writer and photographer, but when she arrived back in London in 1974, she was unknown and advised to write a book to make her name. That first book about the Gulf States, published in 1977 was ground-breaking. Businessmen were flocking to the developing Arab oil states but little was known or published about the world of coral stone houses and traditional Bedouin life.

Other commissions followed and Christine has since written some 15 guides to countries as varied as Thailand and Egypt, Bali and Morocco. Many of her best traveller’s tales are told in Travels with My Hat: A Lifetime on the Road, which includes stories and letters from Morocco and Tunisia, Uzbekistan, Yemen, Sudan and beyond.

Many of the places she visited – always wearing her favourite, trademark hat - were dangerous for a woman alone and life on the road was rarely easy. One extract in the book is from a letter written in 1984 to her mother in Australia from the shores of Lake Gaililee:

‘The picture of a fish mosaic is in a church built on the spot where Jesus is said to have performed the miracle of the loaves and fishes … The tourists are nice simple folk – I feel such a heathen … Don’t think I can stand the Middle East much longer – the loneliness is too great. After this trip, I think I will give up being a travel writer. It is not a normal life.’

Ten years later, she still hadn’t given up her unusual lifestyle, and a letter from her mother revealed the concerns of her family in Australia:

‘It’s not like you to go on a press trip but good to have the company for once. Julia and I discussed the dangers of working alone in some of the wild places you go to. We agreed that one day Chris will just disappear and that will simply be that …’

Fortunately, Christine didn’t disappear but we can read how easily her mother’s fears could have become reality in this absorbing new book which is illustrated from Christine’s own extensive photo library.
www.travelswithmyhat.com
Paperback publisher: Christine Osborne Pictures
e-book publisher: A Sense of Place Publishing (available from Amazon)

 
Savannah Diaries, by Brian Jackman


Savannah Diaries, by Brian Jackman


savannah_diaries_jackman.jpgFor 40 years Brian Jackman has wandered across sub-Saharan Africa, meeting legendary characters such as George Adamson who have dedicated their lives to its conservation. Savannah Diaries (Bradt Travel Guides, £9.99) is distilled from decades of Brian's notes and press clippings, a celebration of Africa's wild places and creatures. Beautifully illustrated by leading wildlife artist, Jonathan Truss, it also features an introduction by actress and wildlife campaigner, Virginia McKenna."

"I suppose the one standout moment I recall from all my time in Africa is the day I first met George Adamson and his lions,’ said Brian. ‘We were down by the Tana River in Northern Kenya and he called out to one of his lionesses who was hiding in a thorn thicket.

‘As soon as she heard him she ran out to him, then stood on her hind legs and draped her huge forepaws over his shoulders, grunting with pleasure while he hugged her tawny body and made little moaning lion noises in reply. All this I watched from his decrepit Land-Rover, where he had left me.

"Shouldn't get out if I were you, old boy," he said casually - not that I had any intention of doing so as the lioness now wandered over to inspect me. Her muzzle was still wet with the blood of a waterbuck she had killed not long ago, and I could smell her warm breath as she panted through the open window only inches from my face.

That was in 1980, when I was still new to Africa, but I suppose that is when my obsession with lions first took hold, and these glorious carnivores have continued to wander through my life and my dreams ever since."

Savannah Diaries is the latest addition to Bradt’s narrative series and is written for a popular audience with minimal scientific jargon - a great present for armchair travellers as well as anyone planning to go on safari.

 

 
HMS Belfast, by Richard Johnstone-Bryden

HMS Belfast, by Richard Johnstone-Bryden

Richard_Johnstone_Bryden.jpgRichard’s latest book is a fascinating insight into the history of the UK’s biggest historic ship, now a major London tourist attraction. Published in paperback at £14.99, HMS Belfast 1939 is the fourth volume in Seaforth Publishing’s historic ship series, and as well as writing the text, Richard has taken an extensive selection of contemporary images.

HMS Belfast was saved from the scrapman’s blowtorch in 1971 to act as a lasting reminder of the powerful big gun armoured warships that formed the backbone of the Royal Navy in the first half of the 20th century. Her action-packed naval career included the Arctic Convoys, the D-Day landings, and the Korean War.

‘I’ve been interested in the rich heritage of HMS Belfast since I visited her for the first time when I was eight,’ says Richard. ‘I subsequently covered her return to Portsmouth for dry docking in 1999 and the 40th anniversary of Belfast’s opening to the public in 2011 for several magazines.

‘As a result, I gained the enthusiastic support of the Imperial War Museums to write a book about the ship as part of Seaforth Publishing’s historic ship series. These full colour books include a detailed profile of the featured ship, together with a comprehensive set of contemporary images that are accompanied by extended captions, which enabled me to pursue my passion for historical research and photography.’

Through words and pictures, Richard reveals some often unexpected facts about the ship and life on board for the 700 men, not to mention several cats – the 18,000 meals that were prepared every week by 26 cooks; the chapel; the Chinese laundry; and the operating theatre.

‘Belfast is not a ‘dead ship’ either,’ he reveals. ‘She still has a small crew consisting of employed staff and volunteers who are as much a part of the cruiser’s history as the sailors who travelled around the world in her. They welcome at least 250,000 visitors on board, who each take about 2.5 hours to explore the ship. Food is prepared for 18,000 people attending 375 private events, and Belfast’s chapel is still used occasionally for christenings and private services.

‘Sadly it’s not practical for the public to see all the ship, so I particularly enjoyed the chance to see some of these areas, such as the steering equipment in the tiller flat, the 4-in magazine and the Admiral’s harbour quarters.’

Visit: www.seaforthpublishing.com or www.richardjohnstone-bryden.co.uk.

 
Silent Paws, by John Carter

 Silent Paws by John Carter
John_Carter_Silent_Paws_cover.jpgJohn’s latest venture is not a travel book, but a story he wrote for the entertainment of his twin granddaughters – now 12. ‘They were convinced a few years ago that one of our cats could speak, on the basis of a noise he made which sounded remarkably like "Hello",’ explains John, who has just published Silent Paws as an e-book.

‘And from such innocent beginnings was born Rory McTab, a Special Agent with Feline Force - a secret department of the Home Office that helps the police to solve crimes that cross the boundary between the human world and that of the fur and feather community.’


Silent Paws is the story of how Rory and Detective Sergeant Blunt track down an evil Master Mind called Jasper Quill. The cast of characters includes a retired police dog, a pair of bantam cockerels called the Beverley Brothers, and a celebrity chef called Jamie Prickles who is, of course, a hedgehog.


‘I don’t think that drug smuggling, night clubs and a gang of crooks headed by squirrel twins Ronnie and Reggie Gray are the usual stuff of children's stories, but I rather hoped that grown-ups would get some fun from it too,’ says John. ‘Especially if they read it aloud to their children - or, better still, grandchildren.’


Just type the name into Amazon’s search box and for just £1.99, Silent Paws can be winging its way through cyberspace to your Kindle or tablet today …

 
Confronting Poseidon and others by Clive Tully

Confronting Poseidon and others, by Clive Tully

Confronting_Poseidon_cover.jpgLonger standing members of the guild will remember Clive Tully's
expedition powerboating trips just over 10 years ago in the 33ft RIB
Spirit of Cardiff. They include the official world record for the
fastest powerboat transatlantic (set in 2001, and which 12 years on
remains unchallenged), and an attempt on the round the world record
in 2002 which wasn't broken, but which turned out to be a voyage of
truly epic proportions.

A new attempt at the world circumnavigation record has been in the
planning for over four years, but with a first boat scrapped last
year before it even hit the water as a result of an arson attack, and
various letdowns from investors, getting to the start line has proved
a pretty bumpy ride. At last everything is falling into place ready
for an attempt in 2014. Boat number two has been designed by
Professor Bob Cripps, the UK's top naval architect, and designer of
(amongst many others) the very fast boat used by the Special Boat
Service, and the current generation of RNLI lifeboats.

In the meantime, Clive has just made Spirit of Cardiff's fascinating
history available as Amazon Kindle books. His acclaimed 2002 book
"Confronting Poseidon" follows the round the world voyage,
interspersed with details of the entire Spirit of Cardiff project.
"It reads like a movie," says Clive. "One day, maybe it will be. I'd
quite like Ralph Fiennes to play me." http://amzn.to/18jbHVV

Blogging_all_over_the_World_Cover.jpg"Blogging all over the World" was published in recognition of the
fact that, while he didn't realise it in 2002, Clive was one of the
first adventure travel bloggers. What at the time was published as
daily website updates or journals, uploaded via tortuous satphone
links, would now be regarded as blogs. The journals covering the
entire round the world trip are presented together, and while a
certain amount of the writing did ultimately find its way into
"Confronting Poseidon", its immediacy and lack of hindsight makes
fascinating reading as the adventure unfolds. http://amzn.to/1f1b4S5

The last book in the trilogy is "Memoirs of a record-breaker", a
collection of full-length magazine and newspaper features which chart
the fortunes of Spirit of Cardiff from the initial attempts at
setting the first ever record for circumnavigating the British Isles,
through the record 2001 transatlantic and round the world voyage in
2002, to the final transatlantic in 2003, which set an unofficial
record for the fastest ever transatlantic by a RIB (again, never
challenged). http://amzn.to/17wYdbN

 

 
Richard Johnstone-Bryden: HMS Belfast

HMS_Belfast_book_Johnstone_Bryden.jpgRichard’s latest book is a fascinating insight into the history of the UK’s biggest historic ship, now a major London tourist attraction. Published in paperback at £14.99, HMS Belfast 1939 is the fourth volume in Seaforth Publishing’s historic ship series, and as well as writing the text, Richard has taken an extensive selection of contemporary images.


HMS Belfast was saved from the scrapman’s blowtorch in 1971 to act as a lasting reminder of the powerful big gun armoured warships that formed the backbone of the Royal Navy in the first half of the 20th century. Her action-packed naval career included the Arctic Convoys, the D-Day landings, and the Korean War.


‘I’ve been interested in the rich heritage of HMS Belfast since I visited her for the first time when I was eight,’ says Richard. ‘I subsequently covered her return to Portsmouth for dry docking in 1999 and the 40th anniversary of Belfast’s opening to the public in 2011 for several magazines.


‘As a result, I gained the enthusiastic support of the Imperial War Museums to write a book about the ship as part of Seaforth Publishing’s historic ship series. These full colour books include a detailed profile of the featured ship, together with a comprehensive set of contemporary images that are accompanied by extended captions, which enabled me to pursue my passion for historical research and photography.’


Through words and pictures, Richard reveals some often unexpected facts about the ship and life on board for the 700 men, not to mention several cats – the 18,000 meals that were prepared every week by 26 cooks; the chapel; the Chinese laundry; and the operating theatre.


‘Belfast is not a ‘dead ship’ either,’ he reveals. ‘She still has a small crew consisting of employed staff and volunteers who are as much a part of the cruiser’s history as the sailors who travelled around the world in her. They welcome at least 250,000 visitors on board, who each take about 2.5 hours to explore the ship. Food is prepared for 18,000 people attending 375 private events, and Belfast’s chapel is still used occasionally for christenings and private services.


‘Sadly it’s not practical for the public to see all the ship, so I particularly enjoyed the chance to see some of these areas, such as the steering equipment in the tiller flat, the 4-in magazine and the Admiral’s harbour quarters.’
Visit: www.seaforthpublishing.com or www.richardjohnstone-bryden.co.uk

 
New Books

Normandy by Andrew Sanger

Footprint_Normandy_9781906098940_99px_300dpi.jpgOn the travel front, Andrew has had two volumes published recent in the Footprint series of travel guides, one to the Normandy Coast and one to Rouen & Upper Normandy. Both are available on Amazon, as is Andrew’s second novel entitled The Slave.

‘It’s set in London and there are loving descriptions of the City,’ he says. ‘But most of the action takes place in the humble surroundings of Golders Green in NW London where I live.

‘The book is concerned with forced prostitution and what to do about it, and the whole point of the quiet suburban setting is that this horrific crime can take place everywhere and anywhere. Although the book is fiction, the captive woman in The Slave is based on the women in several real cases.’

If anyone is able to write a review of The Slave, Andrew is happy to arrange for a review copy (email him on This e-mail address is being protected from spam bots, you need JavaScript enabled to view it ).

 

Only In... Paris by Duncan Smith

only_in_paris.jpgWomen are probably working as slaves in Paris too, but Duncan Smith’s latest city guide Only In Paris tells the story of the city through an original and eclectic mix of unusual historic locations. Discover quiet cloisters and eccentric museums, covered passageways, secret gardens and unusual shops as you find out about the real Hunchback of Notre Dame, the best bistro in Paris, Foucault’s pendulum and a subterranean necropolis.

Duncan’s ‘Only in …’ guides are perfect for travellers who want to discover something different and for city dwellers who thought they already knew the city but are prepared to be surprised. More information from: www.onlyinguides.com or www.duncanjdsmith.com.

 

 

 

Only in ... Zurich, by Duncan Smith

zurich_en_cover.jpgAfter years of working in the publishing industry promoting other people's travel books, in 2003 'urban explorer' Duncan Smith began writing and illustrating his own. Now his 'Only in ….' series of European city guidebooks are essential reading for travellers wanting to discover hidden corners of cities such as Budapest, Berlin, and Prague, whether they are first-time visitors or residents wanting to learn a little more.


Latest in the series is Only in ... Zurich, a guide to the unique locations, hidden corners and unusual objects of Switzerland's largest city (published by Christian Brandstätter Verlag, price €22, and available through Amazon, ISBN: 978-3-85033-547-8). This comprehensive illustrated guide covers more than 80 fascinating and unusual historical sights from ancient walls and secret gardens, to curious museums, converted factories, and shops with a difference.


Duncan 'walks' readers through Zurich's 12 districts in a journey through time from Roman Turicum and the Old Swiss Confederacy to the Helvetic Republic and the Industrial Revolution, pointing out along the way, a variety of weird and wonderful objects that range from a complicated clock to an elephant in the woods, an emperor's paddle steamer to the original 'Dark Restaurant'.


Duncan is now busy discovering the hidden corners of Paris for the ninth 'Only in …' book, due for publication next year. For information on all titles in the series, visit Duncan's website, www.duncanjdsmith.com

 

 
Australia by Penny Watson

discover_australia.jpgAustralian member Penny Watson has had a busy year with Lonely Planet, co-authoring the latest edition of Australia, East Coast Australia, and Discover Australia Lonely Planet guides. For research, she spent nine weeks on the ground in Australia's NSW, a varied landscape of beaches, hinterland, bush and outback. 

On the way Penny found some great pubs including Russell Crowe's Nymboida Hotel in the small town near Coffs Harbour; old homesteads such as Mt Tenandra, an old pastoral station near the Warrumbungles National Park; and quirky hotels like PJs Underground Hotel, a cavernous place in the desert that maintains a constant 22 degrees.

'I clocked up nearly 10,000kms by car, and bunny-hopped through the Outback in a six-seat Cessna aeroplane - nice if you can handle the 46 degree heat!' she says. 'For the south coast leg - one of Australia's prettiest and most overlooked stretches of coast - I hired a campervan and found a string of unknown bush campsites with ocean-views that you'd pay five-star rates for anywhere else in the world.'

Penny has also contributed recipes to Lonely Planet's The World's Best Street Food from her experiences in Hong Kong, where she is currently based. She's written various articles for the Sydney Morning Herald too about her adventures on the road for Lonely Planet, and about her travels in Asia. You can read many of them on: www.theage.com.au/execute_search.html?text=penny+watson&ss=Travel

 
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“By the Singapore River the skyscrapers of the Central Business District flash through momentarily, unreal and unnatural, wearing their windows like twinkling chain mail. If there exists any beauty in this vision, it is not the Creator’s; it is the elegance of geometric lines and curves fashioning a horizon shaped by Man as master of the jungle’s anarchy.” 

John Malathronas, Singapore Swing, (Summersdale, 2007)

 

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