Monday 9 October 2023

Authors on the map


I thought it would be fun to see where 'my' authors lived and here they are! It is interesting to see how popular some parts of the UK are. The map will be updated every now and again.

Please note all locations are approximate. As I have only blogged about a few American, Australian and Canadian authors I have not made maps of those countries yet.

Friday 29 September 2023

Irene Soper's house

Kind reader Lynn took some photo's of the house formerly lived in by Irene Soper, who wrote about living there in My New Forest Home. In the garden is a small cottage, which used to serve as a home, lastly for herbalist and writer Juliette de Bairacli-Levy.

I found more photo's on the site of the estate agent who sold the house. On the first one you can see its wonderful location. Source:

Both house and cottage seem to be in a very sorry state.


This is the floorplan of the house:

More photo's can be found on Onthemarket (scroll down the page, all photo's of interior and exterior are still accessible)

Tuesday 19 September 2023

Four Fields, Five Gates by Anne Loris Hill (1954)

At the beginning of the Second World War schoolteachers Anne (the author), Ruth and Mat are evacuated to Oxfordshire. They start looking for a place to spend their holidays. Friends Kath and Iolo who live in Wales find them a house (in 1940) that has been standing empty for a long time, and that will need a lot of repairs. 

The house is called Blaen-y-cwm. On this blog you can see its location on a detailed map. Peter Procter's memories of staying there with his aunt Anne can be found on the same blog.

When the friends first go to see the house they find that there are five gates to open and close to get to it.

 Because the map is very hard to read I have marked gates, house and other buildings in pink.

The book mainly covers all the hard work it takes to repair the house and to transport all the materials they need. Early on Anne decides to make the furniture herself. This involves reading books, buying tools and wood and a lot of trial and error. She becomes really good at it, and later teaches woodwork in school. 

Getting all their stuff to Wales is hard: first there is the train journey (as no more petrol for their car can be had), then everything is loaded on a cart, a bike or a motor cycle, all of which come with their own problems.

The women hardly seem to spend any time just relaxing, which was what they got the house for, I thought. 'The midges were particularly vicious around the stream. They seemed to find the paraffin we had dabbed on our faces pleasant to the taste. On the third day, as we struggled among roots in the dusk, bitten on eyelids, face and ears, Mat suddenly straightened herself, and leaning on het spade said, in the quiet, savage tones of one maddened beyond endurance; 'Has it ever struck you that we come here for a holiday? We spend the whole of daylight digging and delving (this was for the water supply); we work longer than we should ever consider it possible at home, we work every day, we work like navvies, and when we go upstairs to bed, we are so exhausted we are already asleep.'".

Mostly they do seem to thoroughly enjoy all the hard work. Their friend Kath sometimes helps them. She suffers from 'printitis': 'she will painstakingly peel a tattered, yellow, twelvemonth's-old newspaper wrapping from packed furniture legs in order to read last year's news.' I was glad to read about a fellow 'sufferer'!

During the summers life is made extra difficult as the farmer lets a bull live in the fields around their farm, and they sometimes find themselves stuck in the house (with the bull lying on the doorstep) or running for their lives in the fields.

The war hardly gets a mention. Transport is difficult and some materials are hard to come by, but that's it.

After the war they are again able to travel to Wales by car. Once again they spend a summer there. The book ends with Anne describing the process of packing up the house before leaving: rugs, cushions, mattresses have to be hung up or safely packed away, or they will be eaten by mice: 'only a trifle less destructive than termites'.

'To end with departure seems to be the right kind of epilogue, for sometime at Blaen-y-cwm there will be a final Departure, and no future Arrival to anticipate. (...) When that day comes, and the door of Blaen-y-cwm closes, perhaps for another twenty years, perhaps for ever, although it will be a part of my life renounced, the going will be softened by the knowledge that I shall never really leave that valley, and that the years spent among those rocks and mountains, cwms, lakes and woods are too deeply impressed in my memory ever to be forgotten. They are there for all time.'

Friday 25 August 2023

More on Dorothy Campion

Some time ago I wrote about Take Not Our Mountain by Dorothy Campion.

Recently I was contacted by Dorothy Campion's nephew Jonathan and he was kind enough to send me some photo's. Jonathan regularly visited Waye and Dorothy Campion at the farm where they lived (Nyth Bran) and loved it.        

'Waye was a sheep farmer and former WW2 Commando who had been badly wounded at Monte Casino in Italy and his damaged lungs couldn’t work well at low altitudes hence he built Nyth Bran himself and farmed the land. Waye was also a mountain guide, regularly being called out in winter time, I recall. He was a great fellow. He was certainly a tough chap, but very caring and gentle with kids and animals. Fond memories for me.'

Earlier on I received information about Waye found by Clarien on The Commando's Archive . This includes a photo contributed by his son Andy. Jonathan is positive Dorothy never had any more children, so maybe Andy was Waye's son from another marriage.

To continue with Jonathan's story:  'Dorothy was born in 1925.  After divorcing Waye (who died about three years later) she married businessman Dennis Luckham and moved to a large house near Brighton. She died in 1978 when living in Cambridgeshire.  My mother, a year younger than Dorothy, died in 1980.
Dorothy’s maiden name was Johns. She was married three times and was considered quite glamorous and a tad racy'.
Jonathan is almost certain Dorothy wrote no other books, so maybe the titles I found were written by another Dorothy Campion.

Jonathan's mother wrote under her maiden name June Johns. She was a chief reporter on the Daily Mirror national newspaper in London before becoming an author. Jonathan's father, Jack Smith was an international photographer after being a war correspondent in WW2. 

Among the books June Johns wrote were: 
Little Brother
Zoo Without Bars
King Of The Witches
The Mating Game
Black Magic Today
Practical Yoga.

This photo shows Dorothy Campion with her father Peter at their family house near Manchester where Dorothy and June were brought up. It was taken around 1949.  


 This photo shows Dorothy's mother Edna, Dorothy's sister June Johns, Waye Campion, with Dorothy's daughter Jane and nephew Jonathan in front.


Sunday 6 August 2023

Holiday reading

We're back from our cycling trip through northern Germany, Denmark and Sweden. On the way I learnt that Denmark is nót flat, well not to flatlanders like us anyway! We came back a bit early because of the rain, but we plan to take another little trip starting next week. When you are a 'pensionado', as we are called in Dutch, you can do that.

Some time ago, on Sue's blog I discovered some British World War II diaries which I found fascinating. I found a few more to read on holiday. My favourites are:

These Wonderful Rumours by May Smith. A schoolteacher with a sense of humor, May records the goings on in her family, her school, her village and the country. May loves clothes, is always short of money and is pursued by two beaux: Dougie Dear and Old Friend Freddy, or Faithless Fred, depending on May's mood. Her tone reminded me of the Provincial Lady. Though repetitive, I found the diary fascinating and could not wait to find out if it was going to be Doug or Freddy.

A Very Private Diary by Mary Morris. Mary, who was from Ireland, came to train as a nurse in England in 1939. After qualifying she joined the Queen Alexandra's Royal Army Nursing Corps, and served in France and Germany. Nurses diaries from WWII are very rare as keeping a diary was forbidden, but Mary kept one anyway. I am so glad she did, as she writes very well.  Though I have read many books about the war this one really brought home the sheer horror that soldiers and nurses went through. 

Back in a while!

Thursday 29 June 2023

Summer break

As you may have guessed I am taking a summer break. I have already been on two short cycling trips, but next week we'll be off to Denmark (taking our bikes on the train to northern Germany), hoping for not-so-hot weather!




My balcony garden is doing really well this summer. We don't own a car and don't live near a garden centre, but fortunately there is a shop nearby that sells organic compost and plants, so this spring we would visit it several times a week, transporting compost bags on my bike or in our shopping trolley. I grew several plants from seed and bought some wonderful annuals at the Arboretum. I also had a mix of seeds for climbers, which must have included a cucumber, as I now have a very vigorous one climbing up the pergola. 

My brother in law made some sturdy containers that are attached to the wall surrounding the balcony. I have planted them with perannials that I know can stand the sun and the wind, and they are doing well.


I am happy to see I'm getting quite a few visitors to my blog these days. If you know any books I should write about please leave a message. Have a great summer!

Sunday 7 May 2023

Faint Heart Never Kissed a Pig, by Ann Drysdale (1982)


This is the story of Ann and her children Andrew, and twins Robert and Nancy who live at Hagg House in Yorkshire. They move in in November and that first winter Ann and Andrew explore their surroundings while the twins sleep.  The first animals to arrive are a goat, ducks, chickens and a guinea fowl. Later arrivals are a pig and a Shetland colt. She offers 'a safe haven for the overspill of other people's teeming back gardens, and this furnished many of our most interesting companions". Hoping to build up a flock of sheep she is also keen to look after any orphaned lambs which are offered her. This only works for a while as 'in previous years I had been able to have the pick of the local foundlings. But all at once, the womenfolk of the dale rediscovered this among many other lost arts of farmwifery, and it was more than a man's life was worth to let 'her' have a lamb, no matter how sick and hopeless, so I bought lambs from newspaper advertisements". In this way she does establish her flock and presumably (she's not clear on this) makes a living selling sheep, pigs, eggs etc.

There is hay making and sheep shearing, a long hot summer and the long cold winter of 1977/78. Life is hard. 'In a friend's house, I saw their daughter, struggling with a dropped stitch, throw her knitting at her mother without a word, confident that she would sort out the problem and hand it back so that she would be able to carry on. I think I wanted to drop the whole worrying muddle our life here had become onto someone's lap, just as she did, and have it all sorted out and handed back to me, fresh and ready to start again.'

She ends on a bitter sweet note. Although she has learned a lot about moorland life and wanted to become a farmer because it seemed a way of life that was geared to the community, to working together, to sharing basic tasks, it seems it is not about that anymore. 'I am witnessing the passing of the way of life I have fought so hard to attain.'

Yes, there is more to this book. It is just that it mostly about animals and animals and I found the endless chapters on goats and ducks hard to take, and am struggling to write about this book. This is all the more irritating as I think Ann writes very well, and I wish she would have paid more attention to people instead of animals. Her children, who are very young at the start of the book, only make an appearance now and then. Andrew, who still has to start school in chapter 1, is a teenager on page 46  There are some very interesting observations on being a single woman and mother in the country, but somehow these chapters deteriorate into meant-to-be-funny descriptions of trying to move a piano on your own, or dealing with plumbers.

Ann went on to write two more books about her smallholding, poetry, a memoir, and a guidebook to Newport.

Thursday 30 March 2023

Fields of Orange: a True Welsh Love Story by Johanna Francis, with Jantien Powell and Alan Francis, edited by Stephen Jones (2022)

I was browsing the pages of Y Lofla Publishers, when I came across this title, a story about a Dutch girl who married a Welsh Farmer. Now, being Dutch and writing this blog, that was a book I hád to have!

The publishers mentioned that Johanna (or Hanny) Francis, née Dooyeweerd, was the daughter of one of the Netherland's foremost philosophers. This puzzled me, as I had never heard of him. Looking up information about him I understood why. Herman Dooyeweerd was a professor at the " Vrije Universiteit" in Amsterdam, which was founded in 1880 by a group of Calvinists led by Abraham Kuyper as the first Protestant university in the Netherlands. Being well known in Dutch Reformed circles, he would have been a stranger in mine. Though my mother did go to church, both my parents were firm believers in "openbaar onderwijs" (public education = for everyone and non-religious)). In my street I was the only one to go to a public school. All the other children went to schools of various Protestant denominations. (As a side note: all schools were and are funded by the Dutch government). All this is a long winded way of saying that although both Hanny (born in 1936) and I (born in 1953) were/are Dutch, our worlds would have been completely different. 

Anyway, back to the story. The first part of the book consists of Hanny's memoir, the second part was written by her children.

I found the announcement of Hanny's birth in a Dutch newspaper:     


Soon after her birth her family moved to a large house near the Vondelpark in Amsterdam. Hanny grew up in a very busy household, she had eight brothers and sisters, and her parents had many visitors. Although they had nannies, home helps and cleaning ladies, the girls (not the boys) were expected to do their bit, and after finishing school they had to do a yearlong stint in housekeeping so as " to be ready for marriage". When Hanny is five the Germans invade The Netherlands. Of course, as a child she often does not understand what is going on, though she knows not to talk about her new "aunty" (a Jewish lady) and the men hiding in the attics of the house. During the last winter of the war (known as "the Hunger Winter") some of the children, including Hanny, are taken to stay on farms were there is food, in contrast to western Holland, were many people starved to death.



After the war life slowly returns to normal. Hanny's sister Marja has her heart set on becoming an air hostess and so she goes to the UK to improve her English. She later marries an English policeman. By 1954, when Hanny is 19, Marja and John, her husband, have settled in Pontnewwydd in Wales. Hanny travels to Wales, to help her sister who is pregnant with twins. 

'One day there was a knock on the door. There were two men standing there. One was a friend of John's. The other was a rather scruffy and disheveled tall man with jet black hair and a tanned outdoor face. His name was Robert (Bob) Francis. Oh boy, was he handsome! He had a tray of eggs and told me he was selling them. (...) We clicked immediately, despite my English being so poor. There and then he asked me out for the following day, as he put it, 'to see a bit of Wales'. I was 18 at the time. The good-looking Welshman with the eggs was 33.'



Bob has served in the army for eight years and was now back in Wales trying to earn an living, running a farm, with 15 milking cows, a few chickens, a horse and one pig. Hanny and Bob fall in love, and after a week Bob proposes marriage. Her parents are not amused in the least by the news and tell her to come home at once. However, in the end her parents give in and Hanny and Bob get married on 22 July 1955. I found the ad announcing their engagement:

Hanny and Bob travel to Wales after the wedding and Hanny starts to adjust to life at Glebe Farm: looking after the cattle, the chickens, piglets, growing vegetables, and cooking on the Raeburn. Times are hard and struggling with debts, they are forced to sell off their cows and most of the land. Next they turn to chicken and pig farming and start a company collecting waste from schools and hospitals. Son Allen is born in 1957, daughter Jantien (pronounced Janteen, and called Jant) in 1959. Later they set up a company driving school buses. After his retirement Bob, who is a keen carpenter, spends a lot of time making furniture, including two snooker tables. 'His other love and interest was the garden.(...) Bob created a beautiful garden that looked better and more beautiful every year. ' Sadly, in 1995 Bob becomes ill and after being nursed at home he dies in May 2000. Hanny spends time working as an assistant to the district nurse, before retiring herself. Her son Alan and his family move into the converted barn next door.

This is where Hanny's memoir ends and where her children take up the story, and we learn a little more about Hanny's and Bob's contrasting personalities. 

'Mam so loved a party, she would dance all night.(...). She was an amazing woman of two worlds, a tough and hardworking farmer's wife and, when the occasion arose, she would crack open the wine, put on the high heels and glamour and dance the night away. She was a knockout. 'Dad loved home. 'He'd build a moat around us if he could', Mam would say. He didn't care about personal hygiene or new clothes, dressing in 'his checked shirt full of stains and belting up his trousers with binder twine.'

Hanny died in 2020. Alan writes: 'My lasting memory was that Jant and I had the luck to be born into a family home which was full of love. We didn't have a lot, and during the early years, especially, Mam and Dad were outside for most of the time and not with us. But there was always affection in large amounts, and we'll miss it enormously. Mam was at the centre of that.'

This is a charming story, but I wish editor Stephen Jones had checked some facts. For instance, Hanny writes (page 26) that 30,000 people were killed during the bombing of Rotterdam. In fact, around 1200 people died.

Persondy, the original name of Glebe Farm, which it reverted to later, became a listed building in 1975. It has a Wikipedia page.

Friday 10 March 2023

Dorothy Campion: Nyth Bran revisited

Photographer Mark Palombella Hart (find his work here ) very kindly sent me photo's of Dorothy Campion's former home Nyth Bran, near Capel Curig in Wales. I wrote about her book Take Not Our Mountain here .

The poor house looks like it could collapse any minute.


Monday 20 February 2023

The Letters of Rachel Henning, edited by David Adams, illustrated by Norman Lindsay


I bought this during my stay in Hobart, Tasmania, Australia in 1971. I wonder if the Penguin Australia logo (see top right hand corner) is still in use?

Rachel Henning was an Englishwoman, born in 1826, who in 1853 waved goodbye to her sister Annie and her brother Biddulph, who were emigrating to Australia. A year later Rachel and her sister Amy boarded ship to visit them.    


 Rachel writes long letters to her family about life on board ship (the journey took about two months)      and in Australia. At first Rachel finds little to approve of there, and she is homesick: 'I like this autumn weather, for it feels like England. .... An English letter makes me feel miserable for at least a day'.  After three years she returns to England (Amy stays in Australia).   However, she misses her brother very much and after two years once again boards a ship for the long journey to Sydney. Meanwhile Biddulph has moved to Queensland where he has established a sheep station (= farm). I quote from Norman Lindsay's introduction: 'From that moment, it seemed, Rachel shed the shell of her class-conscious spinsterhood and emerged to discover that life could be an exiting adventure, once freed from all its petty little restrictions. She took to pioneering with amazing gusto. (...) The thrill of opening up new prospects inspired her with a lyrical love for the beauties of Australian landscape,'

Travelling to Queensland takes a long time: first Rachel, Biddulph and Annie sail to Rockhampton. From there it takes them about two weeks, travelling on horseback,  to reach Exmoor station. Rachel enjoys everything about the trip: 'We had some very good damper (= bread), fresh beef, cheese and jam and I was never so hungry in my life, having had nothing since breakfast and ridden twenty miles. When it got dusk we all drew round the fire. (...) I never slept in my life as I did in that tent."

"Annie and I had to drive the nineteen horses, no sinecure among those ranges and gullies, where they kept bolting out of the road in search of feed and we had to gallop after them among rocks and roots and in all sorts of indesirable places. ' All this while riding side saddle!

Once in Exmoor, Annie is Biddulph's housekeeper, while Rachel keeps his books and accunts. She often goes for walks and rides, makes a garden and looks after pets and stray animals. While she roughs it in the bush, she is hardly ever without servants in her home. Although they live a fair distance from villages and towns, they have a lot of people working for them and there is a constant stream of visitors, so there is always something going on. During the wet season though, the station is often isolated, because the rivers swell and become impossible to pass. This means letters from England, anxiously awaited, take even longer to arrive.

'The shearing began yesterday, amd everybody is busy in the woolshed all day. Biddulph had hired six shearers; they can shear about seventy to one hundred sheep a day each, but as there are about 8000 to be got through, it is a long business. (...) Since the lambing season I have been quite overwhelmed with pet lambs; there is a flock of seven now lying on the veranda waiting for the next feeding time. '

'There is hardly anything pleasanter than a gallop over a plain with the wind rushing by you and the ground flying under your horses feet. '

'I never in my life saw so many strangers, and that, too, from all parts of the world - some fresh from England, some from Sydney, Adelaide, the Far North, and all parts of Australia. A Mr. Steward, who was lately here, had spent half his life in Madagascar; another had just come from India, another from California etc. etc. We have had quite a houseful lately.'

Rachel sees it as her duty to help Biddulph. 'I do not think I am likely to return to England unless Biddulph were to marry, much as I wish to see you all again; and fond as I am of home, I do greatly enjoy the lovely climate, good health and free outdoor life that we have here." But before her brother finds a wife,  Rachel gets married to Mr. Taylor.

'My Dearest Etta, This is not my usual fortnight for writing home, but I will not let another mail pass without giving you a piece of information which will, I fear, seriously disarrange your hair if you have not a very tight elastic to your net, and cause Mr. Boyce's hat to be lifted several inches above his head, if it is not a tolerably heavy one. It is neither more nor less than that I have been engaged for the last six months to Mr.Taylor, Biddulph's sheep overseer. (...) He has friends in the south, and hopes to get an overseership or managership somewhere down there."

Rachel travels south with het sister Annie (who is also getting married) on 'one of those dreadful steamers'. 'You will hardly believe how sorry I was to leave Exmoor. However, I could not draw back, for Annie rejoiced to go. So I took a farewell of my favourite walks in the scrub, put collars with conspicuous red streamers on the pet sheep and exhorted everyone on the station on the subject of their welfare, took an affectionate leave of my great kangaroo-dog and white cat, and about ten o'clock on the eight we left the dear old station where I certainly have spent three very happy years.' In 1866 she and Mr. Taylor marry and they go to live near Stroud in New South Wales, where Mr. Taylor manages a timber logging business.



'Things grow like magic here. Every stick that is stuck in seems to take root. I hope we shall have a nice garden in the spring.' Rachel enjoys married life and her new home very much, and I expected her and Mr. Taylor (as she refers to him in her letters) to stay in Stroud. But no: 'we shall both be very sorry to give it up; but we have both come to the conclusion that is too lonely a place to grow old in. We are nearly three miles from the nearest farm, eight from Stroud and almost three days' journey from Sydney.' And so they move again, to be near a railway station and near her brother and sisters.

Rachel was to live long enough to see the outbreak of the first world war, to ride in a motor-car and to see and aeroplane in flight. She died in 1914, at the age of 88.

I found Rachel's letters fascinating, very detailed and sometimes funny ('You must excuse me if my letter is a little unconnected, as the Irishman said of Johnson's dictionary") but I wish the editor would have provided more background information on life in Australia in the 19th century, particularly on what life was like for aborigines, who Rachel seems to regard as silly children who cannot be trusted.

Rachel's letters can be found at Project Gutenberg

 Interesting background information, including criticism of David Adams' editing can be found on the   Australian Women Writers Website


Monday 6 February 2023

The Farm in the Green Mountains by Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer (1987)



In the 1930's Alice and Carl Zuckmayer ('Zuck') and their two daughters are forced to flee Germany. After living in Austria and Switzerland they end up in the USA where they then spend five years living in Backwoods Farm, near Barnard in Vermont. Alice wrote letters to her family, and these letters became this memoir, which was published in German in 1949.


After arriving in the US the Zuckmayers live in in Los Angeles and New York, but during the summers they spend time in rented properties in Barnard, Vermont, slowly getting used to a relatively simple life. After three summers they decide to move there permanently. As Elisa Albert writes in her introduction: 'These were urbane sophisticates, mind you. These were celebrated artistic intellectuals with connections, good clothes. (..) These were not people who knew from farming. They had no clue if or when they might ever return home. The very idea of 'home' had become impossibly muddled, if not permanently eradicated. They were emigrants. They were immigrants. They had no choice. They had to find themselves a new home, and they had to get to work. They chose  the farm in Vermont. They got to work.'

They decide to rent Backwoods Farm and it seems this is where they find their new home.  They learn by necessity. They learn by doing, with help from the many brochures published by the US Department of Agriculture that they order. Again I quote from the excellent introduction: 'Farm life turns out to be a never-ending cascade of chores. Backbreaking, spirit-bending labor. But 'making the best of a difficult situation' is what New-Englanders do, apparently and Alice fits right in.'

They decide to keep chickens and have chicken houses built. Later they add geese, ducks, pigs and goats. Goats, 'with an unquenchable taste for roses, shoes, green apples, lawn chairs, pieces of laundry, and cigarette butts',  are not easy animals to look after: 'they became the object of our hearfelt love and the reason for our wildest outbreaks of rage. They were fun and trouble, joy and vexation. They subjected our feeling to rapid swings between a desire to murder them and a wish to hug them tenderly.'
For three years the farm is infested with rats. They try everything to get rid of them, with poison as a last resort. 'Two years after their arrival they suddenly disappeared. Whether it was that we had really fooled them a few times, and a few of their elders had themselves gotten poisoned corn, ot whether it was that we had put up too many fences even an eel couldn't wriggle through, or whether it was simply that they were seized with wanderlust and went in search of a better farm, we never knew.'
Alice clearly enjoys life in the country, with friendly neighbours, a local newspaper that tells you who has been staying where and why, and deliveries to your mailbox. 'Only after we returned to Europe did it occur to me how unusual it was that nothing was stolen from these widely separated mailboxes standing by the open highway. At our mailbox treasures such as whiskey, tobacco, meat, coffee, etc., were often deposited by the letter carier, and in all the years we were there we always found everything just as it had been left.'

As I mentioned, the book is made up of Alice's letters home and of course the people she wrote to would have known things the reader does not. I would have liked some more explanation here and there. For instance, I kept wondering: what did these people live on? Setting up the farm and buying the animals must have cost a lot of money, as would sending their daughters to boarding schools. Alice mentions selling eggs etc. but I doubt they could live on that.  Perhaps they lived on Zuck's earnings as a writer? Being a librarian I loved her chapters on (or 'ode to') the Dartmouth Library but I wish she would have told us more about her research. Why was she researching the early Middle Ages? And so on... I also would have loved a map.

The Zuckmayers have a daughter called Winnetou ... Now, I don't know if he is well known in English speaking countries, but generations in the Netherlands grew up with the books of Karl May, a German author who wrote a seemingly endless stream of adventure stories. The two protagonists of his books set in the American West are called Old Shatterhand and Winnetou. I read Carl was a big Karl May fan and so he named his daughter Winnetou. I couldn't help feeling sorry for the girl. I notice that in later life she went by " Maria".

At first I had trouble getting to grips with this book, as parts of it are not written in paragraphs but in a series of sentences/statements, which I found odd and had to get used to. Have a look at a page to see what I mean: 

Because of the fact that no information is added to the letters I constantly had the feeling that I was reading snippets of a story that I just would not get to know completely, but in spite of that I found it an enjoyable read.


Monday 23 January 2023

Ruth Janette Ruck: Llama photo's

 In my post on 'Along Came a Llama' by Ruth Janette Ruck I mentioned that my edition did not contain any pictures. Reader Pippa was kind enough to send me photo's of her book and here they are: 



Monday 16 January 2023

Two years of blogging

 I have been blogging for two years now and so far I have reread my way through most of the books on my shelves. There are a few left, most of which are obviously the ones I am not very keen on. We'll see: will I get round to them or will I indulge in some book buying? After all, I have dozens of new (to me) titles to choose from, thanks to all your comments and emails.

Recently I took a look at the statistics to see which posts are the most popular. Much to my surprise the most read post is the one on My New Forest Home by Irene Soper, a book that, until last year, was unknown to me. Other popular posts are on Copsford by J.C.Murray and, of course, on two of the Elizabeth West books.

This year I plan to feature a few unusual books in this genre, such as The Farm in the Green Mountains by Alice Herdan-Zuckmayer (German refugees take up farming in Vermont in the 1940's) and No Matter How Many Skies Have Fallen by Ken Worpole (about Frating Hall Farm, set up in 1943, which provided a settlement and livelihood for individuals and families and a temporary sanctuary for refugees and prisoners-of-war). I also hope to receive information on the life of Dorothy Campion (author of Take Not Our Mountain).