Gift idea for Christmas

With Christmas fast approaching, and a lot of uncertainty about how the pandemic is going to affect our Postal services, why not consider purchasing one or more of the books as a gift for someone here or abroad? A Storm in Any Port – Have a read of the Prologue  – Click here 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 … Continue reading Gift idea for Christmas

Deep Water – Chum Hong Kok

  Next day their wives tried to press-gang the boys into going on a family day out to the GCHQ Club at Chum Hong Kok, a small resort on the south side of Victoria Island. Here in its  spacious grounds the traditional colonial club atmosphere still survived. The members could, swim in an open air pool, play tennis on well kept courts, eat in a fine restaurant or just have a picnic. In this comfortable home from home environment, the families of the British civilian and armed forces community were able to relax, or just top up their tans. However, … Continue reading Deep Water – Chum Hong Kok

Sailing the South China Seas – Hong Kong

In his early thirties, Zander was posted to the Crown Colony of Hong Kong as the Senior Ranking Engineering Civil Servant attached to the naval dockyard there, HMS Tamar. His workload left him with a fair amount of leisure time, with the salary to enjoy it. At last he had all the ingredients in place to follow his dreams; for the first time in his life Zander would be able to do some serious sailing. Not long after taking up residence with his wife, Jane and their young family in the plush Government flat allocated to them, the former acting … Continue reading Sailing the South China Seas – Hong Kong

An American Cup boat in Tayvallich

On the puffer’s bustling approach into the sheltered waters of Tayvallich, Zander gathered an eager audience on deck as he pointed out the Americas Cup boat, tied up not far away. To whet the guest’s appetite for their forthcoming adventure, he provided them with a running commentary on her perceived ‘finer points’, enthusing over her slim racing lines, her tall masts that could hold up acres of sail and even gave an impromptu lecture about her alleged peerless past performances and achievements. He ended the diatribe with his text of the day, “She is a superb relic of the history … Continue reading An American Cup boat in Tayvallich

Who is Zander?

Chapter 5 – The Man As Zander grew up it was only natural that he should take a keen interest in the sea and ships. To him they were symbols of happy times, adventure, fun and freedom. Whether on the deep blue sea, canal or river, given half a chance, he would clamber on board any vessel and feel immediately at home. However, even in maturity, his ability to attract trouble was always there or thereabouts. Perhaps, Zander had been near the end of the queue when common sense was handed out. His friends and acquaintances used adjectives such as … Continue reading Who is Zander?

Tayvallich No More

Excerpt from A Storm in Any Port – Chapter 15 The shipping forecast had just started and everyone listened intently as the un-modulated voice of the announcer went through the sea areas; “Viking, North Utsire, South Utsire, Forties, Cromarty, Forth, Tyne, Dogger, Fisher, German Bight, Humber.” When he got to, “Rockall, Mallin, Hebrides”, the guests’ ears pricked up. “South westerly gales, seven to nine, occasional force ten, showers increasing to persistent heavy rain, visibility poor.” The announcer went on to give barometric highs and lows, but by then the guests were looking apprehensively at Zander for his interpretation. Their spokesman … Continue reading Tayvallich No More

Gilbert Show’s His Metal!

Major Gilbert Bernard Humble is oblivious to the fact that his initials form the acronym for Grievous Bodily Harm. He was a fearless (more likely insensitive) soldier who, during his career, had no opportunity to do any sailing. His postings had all been to inland bases where, as he was wont to say, he was a ‘loyal defender of the Empire’ a role similarly claimed by Zander. If either of them had been what they purported to be, there are those who might be tempted to think God help us all. Grunt maintains, disparagingly, that they were more likely referring … Continue reading Gilbert Show’s His Metal!

The Viral Spark

The Viral Spark The trigger for a second wave of a viral infection can be likened to the aftermath of an enormous inferno that has gobbled up everything in its devastating path and the flames of which appear to be exhausted, completely damped down and no longer active. Unseen and deep within the blackened mass, lie embers that need only the slightest puff of wind for them to spring back to life and initiate a recurrence of the dreadful scenario. It is in that fatal instant, when the firefighters take their eyes off the blackened carnage, that a little flame … Continue reading The Viral Spark

The Worm Turns – Crinan

On a fine, if lightly clouded, blue-skied day, the puffer was tied up to the stone jetty outside the western basin of the Crinan Canal, ready to fulfil a charter. To the west of her, the sea spread away over the Sound of Jura towards the shimmering outline of the blue-grey mountains that marked the islands of Jura and Scarba. On board, the crew was awaiting the arrival of the client, top man of a well-known international corporation. He and the last of his guests were driving over by car from Edinburgh. As soon as they arrived, the puffer would … Continue reading The Worm Turns – Crinan

Murdo’s Measure  – Foyers (Loch Ness)

Murdo’s Measure  – Foyers (Loch Ness) Scratched into the surface of the bar counter in the Foyers Hotel, is a strange scale. At just over two feet long, it has marks across it, dividing it into a number of units of irregular width. Under it are scratched two lengthwise arrows, one with a capital ‘H’ pointing left, the other a capital ‘T’ pointing right. Written in uneven letters in chalk underneath this puzzling piece of primitive art is the title, ‘Murdo’s Measure’. Any visitor intrigued by this almost indecipherable marking and curious to know what it was for, would be … Continue reading Murdo’s Measure  – Foyers (Loch Ness)

Elsie Inglis Hospital – Edinburgh

Anyone born at this famous hospital? Zander Duff was born on a stormy night, in this Edinburgh hospital, 1934. As he grew up, he asked his mother the classic question which children the world over ask ‘Where did I come from?’. His mother had spent a large part of her life in and around the theatre, so recounting the following description, was second nature to her!. “It was on the Titanic in 1912, that your grandmother, heavily pregnant, was helped into one of the lifeboats by none other than Captain Edward J. Smith himself, which allowed your mum here to … Continue reading Elsie Inglis Hospital – Edinburgh

Schellenberg’s Rolls Royce in Eigg

Keith Shellenberg’s Rolls Royce Station Wagon, which was burnt to a shell not long after this photograph was taken. He was known for his legal disputes related to his ownership of the Scottish island of Eigg. Shellenberg also stood in the 1964 UK general election in Richmond (Yorks) and the October 1974 UK general election in Moray and Nairn as a Liberal candidate. Schellenberg competed in the two-man and the four-man Bobsleigh events at the 1956 Winter Olympics.  He also competed in the men’s singles in the luge at the 1964 Winter Olympics. He also played on the Yorkshire rugby … Continue reading Schellenberg’s Rolls Royce in Eigg

Visual help

I recently heard from a friend who practices the New Age philosophy called the Law of Attraction. You visualize a wish in your mind and ‘attract’ it to come to you. He was adamant that can work for anyone, and in hearing that the sale of my first book in the Zander Trilogy was not selling by the dozen, as I hoped, he suggested that I try out this new philosophy and see where it takes me. So, please bear with me here as I put this into practice. How do I get thousands of sales of my book? Well, … Continue reading Visual help

The island of Coll

On page 238, the chapter named The Battle, takes place on Coll, which is a small island situated around 2.5 hours off the West Coast of Scotland. Recently a news story appeared on the BBC Website, relating to a former Scottish rugby international, Rob Wainwright, who has lived on Coll for the last 21 years. Once the world gets back to the way it was before the COVID 19 outbreak, it would not be unreasonable to think that Coll will become a major tourist destination in Scotland, as people wanting to sample the beautiful scenery and hospitality of its residents, … Continue reading The island of Coll

The Firth of Forth, Scotland – Fred Olsen cruise liners in limbo

One has to wonder if Zander and his crew on board the Emerald were in the vicinity, what mischief they would get up to, no doubt trebling the price of local produce which only they could supply! Outcomes on a less grander scale are described in my first book A Storm in Any Port, which is on sale here and at selected outlets – click Continue reading The Firth of Forth, Scotland – Fred Olsen cruise liners in limbo

More Ports More Storms

The Second Book in the Zander Trilogy will be available to purchase by September 2020. 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. Traveling 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 … Continue reading More Ports More Storms