Cuba February, 2017. We did a bike tour. Only Germans do things like that. 30-34°C, headwind, heat reflecting from the tarmac, more potholes than roads. And 14 from 17 people got Delhi Belly. The hygiene standards in the hotels put me off eating. I ate toast and bananas for breakfast and only stuff that was grilled with a flame thrower for the rest of the time. And escaped the bugs. I got most of my calories from Rum. Havana was OK. Like a fifties Hollywood set. The façade is there but one street behind the set everything is crumbling. And of course the association with Hemingway. Mojitos in La Bodeguita Del Medio. Fifty years of zero investment and since the breakdown of the eastern European complex, no customers for sugar cane anymore. And the oldtimers of course. Exhaust fumes you can chew. Lots of Amis and all-inclusive hotels with top drawer prices and bottom drawer guests. The farther east you get the poorer the people. The area at the extreme eastern point of the island where the hurricane hit is still largely devastated. I took T shirts for the adults and coloured pencils for the children. It’s heart-breaking to see how little these kids have and just how limited there chances are.
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Moscow Bound by Adrian Churchward
Old Game; New Players – A Great Read. 5 Stars
If you’ve lived in a country where a knock on the door late at night can only be an unwelcome guest your nerves will be tingling after Scott Mitchell’s first interrogation by FSB’s Colonel Yakovlev. In my case it was South Africa in the seventies. If not, you’ll slide into a sheath of uncertainty which will soon have you looking over your shoulder when you are out on the street.
Fast forward to Moscow at the beginning of the 21st century. Post Glasnost. Post Cold War. The fear is tangible whether the strings are being manipulated by the FSB or GRU. Wasn’t it once the KGB? Plus ça change…
Having set up this chilling framework Adrian Churchward unfolds a political thriller in which you expect the main characters to disappear without trace at any moment. But they don’t. They weave a tale of intrigue and distrust which holds you spellbound until the last page. We see the puppets. But where are the puppet masters?
Ghost and Ragman Roll by Pete Adams.
A five star review in Amazon.
Masterclass in Crime and Comedy
From the opening in Honfleur I was captivated by the colourful characters and, not having read the previous three, surfed through the fourth book in the series on the crest of a wave of bellicose humour woven into the multifarious storylines. Having chuckled my misspent youth through P.G. Wodehouse’s witty tales of his hapless hero I slipped easily into the world of DCI Jack (Jane) Austin who, having exchanged Wodehouse’s Edwardian slang for his cockney brand, became my wide boy Bertie Wooster. Ghost and Ragman Roll was exactly the right companion with whom I laughed away a(nother) rainy weekend.
Dear Reflection I Never meant to be a Rebel: Jessica Bell
The next great read: 5 Stars on Amazon UK.
Life on a knife edge
Jessica Bell’s dialogue with her reflection is a brilliant way of describing an internal therapeutic process which enabled her to resolve the chilling personal crisis which threatened to bury her before she had a chance to realise what an amazing future she could have.
While many young people drink too much, stumble into their first sexual experiences and struggle to find their identity in this period of hormonal induced chaos complicated by the parallel requirements of psychosocial maturation, the additional insecurity imposed by a severly dysfunctional family background stack the odds against survival so high that the reader is left wondering where the strength and resilience came from that enabled the author to develop into the successful, multitalented author, singer, songwriter, designer she has become.
Although a memoir, the narrative style is in the tradition of the finest storytellers.
Read this book if you are struggling or have struggled with your own demons. It will give you courage.
If your path through the torments of adolescence was easier this book will help you understand those who lived on a knife edge.
Respect! And respect for the family for agreeing to it being published.