Monday, 31 August 2015

Open the doors.

I am weary of the attitude of our government. We have people who have made long and dangerous journeys to escape from persecution and death, men women and children who are kept in horribly insanitary conditions in Calais, waiting for a chance to risk death yet again to enter England. And our government sends razor wire to keep them out.  These refugees must be among the bravest and most enterprising people on our planet and, given the chance, would contribute their lives and labour to the prosperity of our country. There must be many educated people among them - teachers, lecturers, nurses, journalists, doctors - all willing to work and support themselves and pay their taxes. But our government calls them a swarm. They are not locusts or wasps - they are people just like us and we should be ready, eager and willing to admit them to our country. We have much to learn from them. I cannot imagine what it must be like to leave my home carrying whatever I can, and, holding my wife's hand, step out on a journey of thousands of miles, longing to reach a place of peace and freedom, only to be halted by razor wire when almost in sight of salvation.

Saturday, 15 August 2015

Going fishing?

Going fishing? No! They wouldn't let me! All I wanted to do was mess about in boats but because I was two years older than an old, old man I was too old! If I wanted a fish one of the women would catch it for me - and cook it and serve it on rice with a delicious sauce! And that's what happened! Thank you, Adama, it was delicious - almost as nice as if I'd caught it myself ... maybe I can get used to the idea of being two years older than an old, old man ...
But not just yet!
 Best wishes,
Tendaba Camp on the North bank of the Gambia River. Basic but friendly. Wish I was there now! The little hut at the end of the jetty is a great place to watch the sun go down ...

Thursday, 6 August 2015

Will be available on free offer from Sunday 09-08-2015 for five days
Stories about children living in a Gambian (West Africa) village. Please feel free to change names to suit you location!
It seems that inspirational stories for children are in short supply - hope this collection helps.
Please give positive feed back if you enjoy these stories.
Published by GOES, Gambian Occasional Emergency Support, a charity which operates in education and health support in that country.
Best wishes,

Back to the grindstone!

After a couple of weeks feeling sorry for ourselves - we expect to be in good health and get quite annoyed when we're not - we're back to work. I'll be 80 at my next birthday and retirement still seems a long way off. We were back to
Gladstone's Library yesterday, not just for the cakes and coffee (though they are worth the journey) but to start work again on the latest Malinding book. As a working title I'm using 'The Malinding Village Archive' and it is a collection of memories, poems and stories written by people of the village and collected together for posterity by Sirra, the Alkalo. It's up to about 12k words now and should serve as a good introduction to the Malinding series - six books to date, all available as Amazon Kindle eBooks. As I may have mentioned before, all proceeds from the sales are sent direct to the GOES bank account for distribution to good causes in West Africa.
Gladstone's Library is about a 30 minute journey from home and was set up by William Gladstone, 4 times Prime Minister during the reign of Queen Victoria. Towards the end of his life he donated his collection of 32,000 books, together with buildings to accommodate them, to the nation. He decided to set the library in his home village of Hawarden, about 5 miles from Chester, instead of locating it in London. He wanted to unite books which had no readers with readers who had no books - it worked! The collection has thrived and is still growing, the buildings include a couple of dozen very comfortable study-bedrooms, a kitchen which uses locally sourced ingredients to make delicious meals, several meeting rooms, a chapel and a glorious lounge with two fireplaces! Gladstone was a Liberal politician and the Library is a home to liberalism. A recent development is the provision of a collection of books about Islam, together with a room dedicated to their study. I have used this collection to improve my own insight into a religion which is followed by the majority of my Gambian friends,
Gladstone appears across the years as a very caring, dedicated professional man and a family man devoted to his wife and family. I like in particular a story about him which tells that on one occasion when he was due to return from Parliament very late at night he gave instructions that nobody should wait up for him - he would climb into the house through the dining room window!
Perhaps you can see why I arranged for two of my characters, Ed and Sirra, to spend their honeymoon at