There are loads of new short stories in More Ports More Storms, my second book of the Zander Trilogy, and I wanted to share with you one such story which involved Zander, many years before he got involved in Sailing. How much is Fiction, I will allow the reader to decide, but let me say that I was there and have the T-shirt to prove it! In the late 1960’s, Zander was training to be a Chartered Engineer and was required to work at a place called Harthill, where construction was underway to create the first Motorway Service Station in … Continue reading Explosives and Jewellery!
I made up the following clip from photos I took during a visit to the Crimea with my wife in 2007, during the period of a few years that tourists were allowed to visit. No one is allowed to visit there now and even Russians need special authorization to be allowed in. The Defence of Sevastopol was a significant event in the Crimean War between Russia and the military alliance of Turkey, Great Britain, France and the Sardinian Kingdom. (1853-1856) The 349-day long siege, which lasted from October 1854 until September 1855, is depicted on one of the largest panoramic paintings in … Continue reading Panoramic Video – Crimea
For anyone who has sailed a boat, anywhere in the world, the joys of heading into a berth for the night, after an exhausting experience is very welcome. To view the scenery, on the route whether familiar or not, stays with you forever. “Late afternoon found the despondent Emeraldeers south east of Arran puttering up the Firth of Clyde in almost flat calm conditions, the sun scattering diamond like reflection on the surface of the sea. Their intended route would take them between Bute and the Cumbraes, past Wemyss Bay, with Dunoon on the port side then turning to starboard … Continue reading Sailing home
A wee bit of advice for any visitor to the Highlands and West Coast of Scotland, is to take suitable insect repellent/ clothing, as these wee beasties have a habit of appearing just when you least expect it and interrupt your plans. Midges, pronounced Mijjee, The Scottish midge belongs to a family of midges known as Ceratopogonidae – biting midges. Other members of this family are known as ‘no see ums’ in North America Clegs also known as Horseflies cause piercing burning sensations and can take a long time to heal, and may become infected. One of my chapters in … Continue reading Midges and Clegs
The Puffer featured here in my books is the Auld Reekie, one of the last to be built for the Royal Navy in 1943. It was built by Isaac Pimblott at Northwich on the River Weaver in Cheshire. When it was subsequently demobbed, it plied its civilian trade around the western seaboard of Scotland. Victuals Inshore Craft (V.I.C. No 27) was initially designed, fitted out and registered as a shore-to-ship water carrier. She originally worked out of Rosyth then later at Scapa Flow before moving to the west coast of Scotland. She was one of a number of different types … Continue reading Auld Reekie – Puffer
The following relates to Chapter 56 and 57 in my 1st Book A Storm in Any Port describing some of the places the crew visited. The crew of the Emerald sailed back across the Firth of Lorne, up the west side of Luing, before steering through the narrow channel that separates the islands of Easdale and Seil. They were all in need of some light refreshments, which invariably means finding a Hotel where they can sample some beer and local spirits, so it was Grunt, who suggested they head for Puilladrobhain – translated in Gaelic as ‘the pool of the … Continue reading Puilladrobhain
Joe Biden gave a nod to the film Chariots of Fire, in his first address as president-elect, in January 2021 – “Now, together, on eagle’s wings,” Biden told the crowd in Delaware, “we embark on the work that God and history have called us to do.” This line, via Isaiah 40, mirrors the climax of Liddell’s sermon in the film: “They that wait upon the Lord … shall mount up with wings as eagles.” (1) When I read the content of President Biden’s first address as president-elect and saw his quotation from the Eric Liddell and Harold Abraham biographical film … Continue reading My Dad’s reunion with Eric Liddell
The following relates to Chapter 53 in my 1st Book A Storm in Any Port describing some of the places the crew visited. The crew of the Emerald looking for a place to drink, that had a wee bit ‘atmosphere’, ended up at the Kilmartin Hotel, near the Crinan Canal, where they had their first (and last) experiences of a Scottish Ceilidh! Apart from the warm welcome and customary hard drinking that was going on, Zander learned another traditional skill, of Playing the Spoons! So, what exactly is a ceilidh? Modern ceilidhs (pronounced kay’lee in case you were wondering…) tend … Continue reading Ceilidh Night!
For the past couple of months, I have been working on my 3rd book of the Zander Trilogy, A Storm in A Tin Cup and I apologise that I have not been able to keep up to date with all the kind comments received on the website posts, and throughout social media platforms that I am connected to. I have become engrossed in getting A Storm in a Tin Cup finished and the daily re-reading and checks take up most of my time. I am hopeful that I can get this to the publisher within the next couple of months, … Continue reading Thank you!
The crew of the Emerald set of for the Isle of Gigha, after their high-jinks on Islay, now looking forward to some rest. Ch52 – A rock or a soft place, in A Storm in Any Port. The Isle of Gigha is an island located off the Kintyre peninsula’s west coast (Argyll and Bute, Scotland). Gigha island has a total area of approx 14 km2 and a population of around 200. Gigha Island features mild climate, more than average sunshine hours and fertile soils. In 2002, a “community buy-out” transformed the island, whose population is constantly growing and new commercial activities complement the … Continue reading Isle of Gigha
The ding-a-ling of a bell gave warning that the bar of the Jura Hotel was about to close and also brought the triumvirate’s evening of serious drinking and even more serious ‘blethering’ to an end. As usual, the intensity of opinion, on the most inconsequential of matters, had increased in proportion to the amount of alcohol they had put away. Now it was time to get back to the boat. All evening Grunt, not a seasoned drinker, had been matching his messmates, measure for measure and quaff for quaff, so by the time they left the hotel, he was by … Continue reading Lost Youth – Jura
Excerpt from Chapter 44 – A Stand In – Ardfern With his mind still full of what he had just seen, Zander went into the Estate Office where, as promised, his client gave him maps showing the positions of the lodge and the loch. They were copies of the 1906, six inches to the mile Ordnance Survey series, and although beautiful examples of the draughtsman’s art, they had no contours. All they showed was a scattering of spot levels and even fewer benchmarks1. Nonetheless, from what Zander could see, it looked as if his task might not be too difficult. … Continue reading Ardfern
Excerpt from Chapter 42 The Battle – Coll A Storm in Any Port – Book 1 of the Zander Trilogy “Looking along the road, the Emeraldeers could see that the hotel was on the near horizon and a fair way off and unfortunately, there was neither a bus stop nor a telephone booth to call a cab. In their desperate rush to make their futile advances towards Seonaidh, the would-be smoothies had forgotten to ask her if there was any public transport on the island. The long walk to the hotel did not appeal to any of them but they … Continue reading Island of Coll
The nearest island to the north of Barra is Eriskay and to Zander, that was probably the best place to go. His mind made up, the skipper went back up on deck and informed the crew of his decision; it was either Eriskay or turn back. Having come almost one third of the way towards the Outer Hebrides, his crew were not in the mood to be going back anywhere. To them Eriskay was an island of intrigue, romance and adventure and was not only the focus of the song, the Eriskay Love Lilt, but it was there that Bonnie … Continue reading Something Galore – Eriskay
Prologue from A Storm in Any Port West Coast of Scotland – Fairly recently The skipper, mate and two deck hands who made up the crew of the chartered yacht, were feeling the effects of their combined ages of more than 300 years, as they motored into Puilladrobhain on Seil, an island just off the west coast of Scotland. Although none of them would admit it, the day’s motor sail from Crinan had taken its toll on both bodies and minds. The slightly corpulent, white haired skipper firmly believed he was a good sailor and had an inshore certificate to … Continue reading Four Men in a Dinghy
In the top photograph, my wife and editor of all my books, Ann. Imagine the grief I got for omitting this information from this post! Continue reading Eigg grocery store then and now
An island 10 miles off the west coast of Scotland, Eigg was hosting their annual Highland Games, and the fictional crew of the Emerald took part in the events of the ‘games’, including Tossing the Caber, Hammer throwing, the 100 yard sprint and the 400 yard relay race. For some fun stories surrounding this event, see chapter 32 and 33 of A storm in any port. Continue reading Eigg Highland Games
“Zander claims to have been the best of pals with Sean ‘Big Tam’ Connery, (seen here at an East Lothian swimming pool in the 50’s.)And while one went on to become a fantastic world acclaimed actor and personality, the other could only act out his own little fantasy of fame!” Continue reading Sean Connery
2nd Book of the Zander Trilogy is out now!! Here the mischief takes place in and around the towns, harbours and marinas of the East and West Coasts of Scotland and Zander even gets to Algeria. Travelling on a number of yachts, inflatables, rowing boats and a cruise liner, Zander and his gang of miscreants rub shoulders with; Kamikaze seagulls, head hunters, paratroopers, a dead fisherman, the Loch Ness Monster, ships’ pipers, terrorists, Oil Sheiks, a Clan chief, a Spanish Armada Galleon, Japanese tourists and a North African President. They also meet up with night club bouncers, ferocious dogs, pickpockets, … Continue reading More Ports More Storms – On sale now
Plockton Village from the Emerald Continue reading Plockton
Photos relating to Chapter 12 – A Drop in The Ocean, Puffer Tales from A Storm in Any Port: The Paps of Jura (Scottish Gaelic: Sgurr na Cìche) are three mountains on the western side of the island of Jura, in the Inner Hebrides of Scotland. Their highest point is 2,575 feet (785 m). They are steep-sided quartzite hills with distinctive conical shapes resembling breasts. The word pap is an ancient word of Old Norse origin for the breast. The Paps are conspicuous hills that dominate the island landscape as well as the landscape of the surrounding area. They can … Continue reading A Drop in The Ocean
Sunday just passed, and a visit from my son and granddaughter to our home – well not exactly into our home due to social distancing, so we agreed to meet on the top of our building. It is supposed to be summer here in Edinburgh, yet it turned out to be a wee bit cold and windy, however we had a great time catching up with family news. It was a welcome relief from sitting hunched over the laptop for the last 4 weeks, reading and re-reading my second book More Ports More Storms Now it’s away to the printers, … Continue reading Time to relax, at last!
Hi everyone Just thought I could share some positive news around, as all we have been subjected to recently in the media, has been quite depressing. It has been difficult to switch off from the TV news, as we hoped a vaccine would be found and this virus would have been eliminated by now. Being stuck indoors has had it’s positive though, as I have been working hard editing, and preparing my second book, More Ports More Storms, for release. Continue reading The positives of Lockdown!
We are very happy to announce that A Storm in Any Port is now available in print, after a successful release through Amazon Kindle. Set principally in Scotland’s beautiful Western Isles with side trips to Hong Kong, the Lake District and the Balearic Islands, the narrative is an expose of an ambitious, accident prone Scot with a sailing bug who leads his scallywag crew and breathes life, fun and nostalgia into these comic misadventures of derring-do, or don’t! A Puffer, a Sampan, and Americas Cup and other yachts provide an exotic and convincing storyline link, packed with outrageous, unexpected and … Continue reading A Storm in Any Port now published
PROLOGUE Four Men in a Dinghy West Coast of Scotland – Fairly recently The skipper, mate and two deck hands who made up the crew of the chartered yacht, were feeling the effects of their combined ages of more than 300 years, as they motored into Puilladrobhain on Seil, an island just off the west coast of Scotland. Although none of them would admit it, the day’s motor sail from Crinan had taken its toll on both bodies and minds. The slightly corpulent, white haired skipper firmly believed he was a good sailor and had an inshore certificate to prove … Continue reading Prologue
This Website is now under re-construction, in preparation for release of the paper version. I am well into producing a complete rewrite of the original e-book. Principally to significantly tightening up the text and thereby improve the flow of the action Ann, my wife, is finished the thankless task proof reading, and having a well earned rest. Our project is now at the stage of; engaging the services of professionals, to do the things I can’t do myself. Things like cover design and the actual printing of the book. Looking to ‘hit the shelves’ this summer. JJ – 20th May … Continue reading Preparing to Publish
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2015 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A New York City subway train holds 1,200 people. This blog was viewed about 3,900 times in 2015. If it were a NYC subway train, it would take about 3 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the complete report. Continue reading 2015 in review
Spotted alongside the 1st fairway on Murrayfield Golf Course, Edinburgh recently…… Continue reading Where’s Bernard Langer when you need him ??!
The WordPress.com stats helper monkeys prepared a 2014 annual report for this blog. Here’s an excerpt: A San Francisco cable car holds 60 people. This blog was viewed about 1,900 times in 2014. If it were a cable car, it would take about 32 trips to carry that many people. Click here to see the complete report. Continue reading 2014 in review