So, we were about to spend the night in the airport. I’ve done this several times before and always managed to keep myself amused and even grab a quick nap or five. This time we were doomed. DH settled himself in a chair – well it was supposed to be a chair, more an instrument of torture. Rows of little plastic non-human shapes were welded together with immovable arm rests.


I wandered off to do some shopping. Ha! Wouldn’t you know it, they were all closing. I drooled in a jewellers with the assistant giving me very suspicious looks. I think this was because nothing in there was under $10,000 dollars and I didn’t look as if I could afford the door mat. He was quite right of course, but then I spied the perfect watch. I wanted it, oh how I wanted it. I asked him the price and his lip curled up as he casually flicked over the price tag and I left the shop at speed as he slammed the shutters down behind me with more force than necessary I thought. Then it dawned on me, we were about to spend a month in knock-off land!watch

The only shop open was a W H Smith, so I killed an hour or so making a very careful choice of the various paper hankies for sale.

After that thrilling experience, I wandered the full length of the transfer lounge which was ginormous and had a cup of coffee. I popped back at regular intervals to check that DH had not done a runner. I sussed out every nook and cranny but nowhere was there a single comfortable chair.

After another cup of coffee – only one place was open – I decided that I would visit the washrooms and then wished I hadn’t – but I had to by now.

This was the one downside of travelling in the Far East – the washrooms. In most of them there were several local loos and only one or at most two western ones. At my age, it’s enough for me to keep my balance on two feet without any acrobatics. Thoughtfully they posted pics on the back of the doors to show people how to use a western loo – you should not stand on it. I did take a photo of this but felt it might be a bit tasteless to post it here. If there are requests I will.

Each cubicle was equipped with a hose attached to the wall – and I’m still trying to work out how these are used without soaking yourself and your clothing from head to toe – and the drainage systems were not able to cope with such large flows of water. Even entering the restrooms was like paddling through a small river.

So, I had the choice coffee and restroom or dehydration and no restroom.

I did spy a couple of places where the passengers had literally ripped off the chair arm rests so it was possible to lie down, but as these were right outside the restroom I decided it wasn’t worth it. Not only that they were all occupied and I couldn’t find the fire alarm button which might have dislodged them.


Soon we were airborne again, tired, hungry and thirsty. And guess what, this time there was no meal at all, we’d had two  on the first leg – the result of a misplaced key stroke on DH’s pc.


We landed in Hanoi, the capital of Vietnam to be met by our bubbly tour guide and driven to the hotel. Our first priority was to get something to eat, but before that we had to have a lesson in crossing the road. No Green Cross Code here, you walk, yes walk from one pavement to the other. You don’t look, you don’t stop and you don’t change pace, you just keep walking to the opposite pavement. Well that’s not quite accurate, because every pavement is nose to tail scooters so you can’t walk on them, you have to hug the kerb. After our quiet, peaceful well ordered traffic it was a huge culture shock. Cars, scooters, coaches miss you by a whisker front and behind, but the mantra is keep walking, keep walking.



Back in history, ‘Queen’ Sarah didn’t have a scooter, but she was a very bossy lady. She ordered the Princess Anne around as if she was a 2 year old. But hey, whatever it takes. Her husband was really good at winning battles and each time, it was lots more loot in the bank that Williamnmary had so thoughtfully set up for them.

In the meantime, Queen Anne was desperately trying to produce an heir. She enjoyed the practice and had one baby after another after another. Only one, Little William survived and sadly, he didn’t look too strong. This time the answer wasn’t to lop off the heads of husbands, (as King Henry VIII had done) as Prince George wasn’t really to blame, you could see he’d played his part properly. Apparently he enjoyed practicing as well.

PRINCE GEORGE OF DENMARKPrince George of Denmark

To really put her nose out of joint, Queen Sarah Churchill had 6 healthy, squalling offspring.

When Ann wasn’t getting pregnant, she spent her time drinking chocolate and stuffing herself with sweets till she grew so fat she could hardly walk.

Before I sign off, Truth, Lies and Propaganda, the first of my crazy life in the media in South Africa, how I became a writer is on Kindle Countdown this week at $/£ 0.99 here is the link – well i can hope can’t I? 🙂

Joanna Lumley proposes Thames ‘Allotment Ferry’

I just had to share this – my kind of humour. 🙂

The Whitechapel Whelk

joanna lumley allotment barge meme

Actress, Joanna Lumley, has announced plans to finance an ‘allotment ferry’ to cross The Thames at East London using taxpayer’s money it was revealed last night.

Lumley, 95, whose controversial Thames Garden Bridge project has attracted much criticism from Londoners – most of whom feel that the £170 million budget for the bridge could be far more wisely spent elsewhere – spoke excitedly to The Whitechapel Whelk last night:

“I know many people think The Garden Bridge is an expensive folly, designed solely for skinny latte-sucking toffs; and to a large extent, it is. This is why I’m proposing an allotment ferry. It will give the poor and underprivileged of the East End a chance to grow foodstuffs as they make the crossing from one side of the river to the other. They could then use the produce to feed their large families, or they could open market stalls and…

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Featured Author- Lucinda E. Clarke



Meet Lucinda E. Clarke, author of Amie: An African Adventure. 

Lucinda’s experiences in her 30 years in Africa offer an authenticity to her book that can’t be beat. She has several published works, and this is but one of them. I encourage you to check out all of her books!


Amie was just an average girl, living in her home town close to friends and family. She was happily married and she had her future all planned out. They would have two adorable children, while she made award winning programmes for television.
Until the day her husband announced he was being sent to live and work in an African country she’d never heard of.

When she came to the notice of a Colonel in the Government, it made life very complicated, and from there things started to escalate from bad to worse.
If Amie could have seen that…

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We flew from Hong Kong to Perth Australia via Singapore. Looking at a map this seems a ludicrous roundabout route but that’s airlines for you. We had a short stay in the transfer lounge in the middle of the night and it was very, very quiet so I noticed the acres and acres of pristine carpet – and have you observed their carpets never seem to look worn out or shabby or go into holes? If we ever need to put carpets in our house, I shall ask for ‘airport quality.’



Christmas and New Year was the time for family and there were two extra highlights.

Living in Africa all those years I know you don’t encounter lions and elephants in the main streets – in fact you have to look very hard to see anything very much in the game parks. But I thought Australia would be different – maybe koalas are a bit shy, but kangaroos? And what about the odd emu?

Every time we went out in the car I strained my eyes. Lots of signs for kangaroos, fooling silly visitors into thinking they would be hopping across every road. But there was not a single animal in sight.

I was getting pretty desperate as the days passed, and even a huge highlight as such….












..yes, that’s me!! In the co-pilot’s seat having a quick flip over Perth … wasn’t quite enough to stop me worrying.

We went to stay with friends up north and I was ecstatic to hear that kangaroos came into their garden every night. They put water out for them but they were wild, so it was the next best thing.  They were incredibly shy whereas I thought they were quite pushy creatures ready to barge past you if you got in the way.


OK, the koalas were in a kind of sanctuary and there is one in the picture somewhere.


And we went to visit these rather phallic stones out in the middle of nowhere. Apparently, no one can agree what caused them to be these interesting shapes.


After a few weeks it was time to fly north again and the first leg to Vietnam was via Kuala Lumpur. Due to a slight er, mix up on DH’s part we were served 2 meals on the flight.

Can you imagine it? It’s bad enough on a plane with one meal with all its little boxes and cartons and plastic containers and cutlery and paper hankies and fresh wipes but two – each!! We looked like an occupied rubbish dump before we were half way through.


And then we landed at Kuala Lumpur around midnight for our lay over – in the airport. I could go shopping – maybe. I was already up to 19.2 kg luggage weight, but I’d had a sneaky peep when DH weighed his case and he had a measly 14.8 kg. I’d slip in stuff when he wasn’t looking.


Queen Sarah would never have had to spend a whole night in an airport to save some pennies on air fares. You’ve not heard of Queen Sarah of England? Before you rush off to Google, she wasn’t listed in the history books as a queen, but she ruled England, Scotland and Ireland for most of the time that Queen Ann was on the throne – and I should know I’m doing a history presentation on her right now – a serious one with correct dates and all!

Sarah was born Miss Jennings, so didn’t she do well for herself as she ended up as the Duchess of Malborough.


Sarah Duchess of Malborough

She hooked up with Ann when the latter was about 10 and she was a terrible bully. She told the princess, and later queen, exactly what to do. She was rude to her and really nasty, but Anne was a placid little thing and as she liked to keep the peace she did exactly what Sarah told her to. Ann much preferred to sit around on her throne, nibble sweets, drink chocolate, play cards and get pregnant.

Bit by bit Sarah asked for more and more and more and she had a good reason to turn the screws as she was married to quite a clever guy who liked killing people.







Church Bulletin Bloopers

We all need a good laugh.

Thank God for church ladies with typewriters. These sentences actually appeared in church bulletins or were announced in church services:

1. Bertha Belch, a missionary from Africa, will be speaking tonight at Calvary Methodist. Come hear Bertha Belch all the way from Africa.

2. Announcement in a church bulletin for a national PRAYER & FASTING Conference: “The cost for attending the Fasting & Prayer Conference includes meals.

3. The sermon this morning: “Jesus Walks on the Water.”
The sermon tonight: “Searching for Jesus.”

4. Our youth basketball team is back in action Wednesday at 8 PM in the recreation hall – Come out and watch us kill Christ the King.

5. Ladies, don’t forget the rummage sale. It’s a chance to get rid of those things not worth keeping around the house. Don’t forget your husbands.

6. The peacemaking meeting scheduled for today has been cancelled due to a conflict.

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You may have noticed that I rarely talk about my books and try and flog them on my blog site.  So this is an extra blog just to tell everyone that I am shortly going to publish book #6.

If you have ever read any one of my biographies you will be aware that I have written about subjects as diverse as splitting the atom, health, investments, advertisements, mayoral speeches, set books in English literature, rural life in Africa and toilets in townships. The list is endless, and even I can’t remember all the topics.

I hold the view that writers should be capable of writing anything, in any genre for any media.

Why all this blurb? Because my next book is something entirely different.

In 1989, when it was almost complete, I put it under the bed and it has remained there until late last year. Why? Firstly I didn’t have time to write for my own pleasure – too busy writing for clients. Secondly, a film called Shrek was released and I was not going into competition with Hollywood – ha! Guess who would come out worse?

So this is a preliminary warning for any readers, who may notice and read this blog, that the latest offering is a politically incorrect political satire set in Fairyland – think Tom Sharpe, The Carry On films or the Black Adder series.

The cover picture might give you a clue.


And the back blurb

Fairyland is in chaos. Cinderella is desperate to divorce Charming – Snow White and Harold quarrel constantly about his whoring and drinking – nymphomaniac Beauty has worn her husband out. There’s a dearth of available princes, an overabundance of princesses and the time for the Grand Royal Annual Ball is approaching. Into all this, comes the Green Giant, bent on rousing the downtrodden and illiterate peasants to revolt against their royal lords and masters.

And even this hint inside the front cover:


This book is not suitable for children, nor is it recommended for adults who are of a gentle or nervous disposition. The opinions as stated by the characters are neither politically correct, nor in fact even kind or considerate. The author takes no responsibility for their appalling actions. It should be remembered that it refers to a time before the new laws about correct speech were promulgated. No offence is intended to any race, gender, creed or belief of any persuasion, and as such this narrative should be treated as a work of fiction.

I’m hoping to publish at end of this month or in April and I plan to upload to Amazon as a pre-order.

Should this not be a book for you, don’t panic. I will be starting Amie 3 just after Easter, sitting at my pc waiting for her to tell me what to write.







Hong Kong is one of the places I had always wanted to visit – and Singapore is another. I’ve read so many books set in these places and I wanted to see both of them. The whole purpose of the trip was to spend time with DH’s family in Perth, Australia and it seemed sensible to include a little side visit on the way there and on the way back. So I made a total nuisance of myself as it’s likely to be our last big trip – unless the world goes mad and buys millions of my books or they phone from Hollywood tomorrow – and I decided I wanted to see both.

I wasn’t disappointed in Hong Kong. I learned that it’s more than one island and the airport is on one, called Lantau – they have a Disney world there too, but there was no way DH was going there.


The island next door is Honk Kong Island itself and then there is a large area called the Kowloon Peninsula which is also Hong Kong? Confused yet? Well you should be, if, like me you thought it was just one island.  To the north of the bit on the mainland is an area called the New Territories, and I think you need to travel north through that area to say “I have been to China.”  Hmm, not a politically correct statement I guess, as it all belongs to China now, but HK is still an autonomous area.


We did all the touristy things, cable car to the peak, ride on the White Star Ferry which possibly gave Noah a ride on his way to the Ark. The night market looked a bit scruffy so we didn’t explore that but we saw an amazing laser show against the backdrop of skyscrapers which really took our breath away.

To our shame, and please don’t tell anyone, we had a Big Mac for breakfast – noodles just didn’t seem right at that time of day.


This is the Taoist temple we visited. I would have liked to stay longer, but the smoke from all the candles made even my eyes water.

The people in the streets seemed to be constantly rushing, focused and quite serious. Many wore face masks, although the air appeared quite clean, and there certainly is a buzz.

This was an impromptu concert on the steps of some colonial building and the oldest can’t have been more than 10. Such concentration and they played really well.

The Christmas decorations made the city extra special and three days wasn’t really long enough to explore the whole island(s) and it was sad to drop off our luggage in the centre of town where it would be taken to the airport ready for our flight later in the day. Now if that’s not efficiency, I don’t know what is!

Back in time, and I was just checking out about Queen Anne and I realized that she was born in 1665  –  (I am putting together a talk on her for the History group).  Now you know how I hate dates and being even the slightest bit accurate about history in this blog, but I did notice that this was the year of the Great Plague in London and that’s exactly where Anne was born. So she must have been a tough cookie. Of the other 7 children born to her mum and dad, the only two to survive to adulthood were Anne and her elder sister Mary. Now what does that say about strong women?

In those days Mummy and Daddy were not to be bothered with screaming kids running riot round the palace, and getting underfoot, so Ann was shipped off to live in France and only came back home when she was five. Then she and Mary had their own establishment quite separate from their parents, who were taking no chances of being bothered by their play stations, and constantly ringing cell phones. Like most sensible adults they enjoyed their peace and quiet.


Where Mary and Anne lived in Richmond. the rumours that this was a shed at the bottom of the garden are untrue.




So You’ve Just Self-Published Your First Book and it isn’t Selling?

Some interesting and true facts in this blob. Straight talking.


Indie writers, eh?  We’ve all been there, we’ve put the finishing touches to our first novel, our veritable masterpiece, we’ve uploaded the files and ticked the boxes to complete the self-publishing process, we’ve converted the files for Kindle and now … now we sit back, checking our Amazon reports every 5 minutes, rubbing our hands together as we wait for the sales to start flooding in.  Which they don’t.

Don’t be disheartened.  This is how we all begin.  We’re one among millions and nobody knows who we are or why they should risk their hard-earned cash and time on us.  We have to learn how to make our book noticed, how to make people willing to take a chance on reading our work.  It takes time and effort.

I’m not pretending to have all the answers, because I simply don’t.  Seven years on from the publishing of Rampant Damsels

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