THE BIG TRIP III HONG KONG TO OZ PLUS QUEEN ANNE

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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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.

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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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THE BIG TRIP II HONG KONG + ANNE

I got it all wrong – we didn’t spend the night at the airport till later in the trip. As I was describing our route to friends, DH gave me a hard stare and explained I had it all muddled up. So let’s jump straight to the first destination.

We landed in Hong Kong, took the airport express bus and then a taxi to the hotel. It’s one of those upstairs ones in a busy main street – but I’ve got used to that in Europe.

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I wasn’t expecting a long, sweeping, maple tree-lined drive, even I know that Hong Kong is just a small island – except it’s not. Half of it is on the mainland with China, which is a bit confusing to someone like me with limited brain power. The two are linked by a ferry which is very famous. I know, I’ve read about it in books. Now here is a view of HK you’ve probably not seen before.

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That was taken from the cable car as we went up to the Peak – well you didn’t expect me to walk up there did you?

HK blew me away. I have a sneaking suspicion I was an architect in a previous life – Sir Christopher Wren springs to mind – as I have a fascination with tall buildings and HK is full of them.

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What also blew me away were the hotel facilities. I was amazed to see they provided us with a free lap top and it wasn’t even chained to the wall either! Imagine that in most cities.

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Since I was already going into a deep depression about leaving my lap top at home, I hastily checked to see if there was a price for it. There was certainly a price for everything else. A first, and one we were to see in lots of places. It intimates that you don’t steal the soap, bed linen, fluffy towels, even fluffier bath robes etc but pay for them at the reception desk.

I’m still trying to work out how someone would take the safe? It was bolted to the wall for a start and you could hardly pop it into your pocket and sneak out the door.  I thought some of the stuff looked quite cheap while HK$ 1,000 for a phone seemed a bit steep.

I was also quite amused at this reminder that you should not hang your clothes up on the sprinkler – in case of fire I guess.

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As this was not part of the tour – we were on our own – we bravely ventured out for our first meal in one of the cute little back streets. This will be fine, we thought, HK is a very civilized place. We will order ‘safe food’ for our first night. It would not be a good idea to get a bad tummy on the first day of the holiday.

So we bypassed this restaurant. I know these pictures are not very clear but I had to include them – unselfishly we chose to prolong the life of these cuddly crustaceans.

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DH ordered Indonesian fried rice with a fried egg on top. No problem, except they only had chopsticks available and you try eating a rubbery fried egg with those!

I was more sensible and opted for scrambled egg and spam, which I’d not had for ages. It came floating in a bowl of soup of an indeterminate origin – my chopsticks were equally redundant. Since we were the only diners in there, maybe the locals knew something we didn’t?

We went for a wander round the streets, crowded, vibrant and cluttered until it was time for bed where we slept a full 12 hours.

While I’m boring you to death with the intimate details of our Big Trip, I’ll keep the history thing short. I’m fed up now with WilliamanMary so let’s move on to the next one Queen Anne.

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Anne (centre) and her sister Mary (left) with their parents, the Duke and Duchess of York, painted by Sir Peter Lely and Benedetto Gennari II

Her Daddy had been James II & VII of run-a-way fame so you can guess that her elder sister Mary of WilliamanMary fame did not have any surviving children. Having also been brought up as a Protester, it was fine to pop Anne on the throne without upsetting anyone.

When Anne was about 6 she made friends with a girl called Sarah Jennings, who married John Churchill and his sister became the Duke of York’s mistress. Later he became of course James I & VII. Confused? Well I am.

Author Talk with Lucinda E. Clark

Don Massenzio was kind enough to interview me. And that’s not the reason I bough his book ‘Blood Orange’ today, but because I enjoy his books. 🙂

Author Don Massenzio

Welcome to the 2nd featured interview on my blog. Today, author Lucinda E. Clark is featured. I posed a series of questions Lucinda so that she can tell us about herself and her wonderful work. Lucinda has had powerful personal experiences and an interesting career both of which she draws upon for inspiration. Please join me in thanking her for sharing her story with us.

DM: What is the title and genre of the book you want to tell us about?

LC: I’d really like to tell you about all of them, and this is difficult as I’m just about to publish book #6 and they fall into 4 separate genres. There is the partly serious one about my mother who had a personality disorder, and two light-hearted memoirs in the Truth, Lies and Propaganda series about my career in the media. But I guess I should focus on my…

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