Background to the Sample story

I wanted to share some background to the sample story from my upcoming book, A Storm On Any Course. The main two components of this Sample story happened in other and quite different places. 1     The collapse of the motor bike line happened during a parade day in Rome. The riders, all policemen, had parked their bikes just as described and gone off to act as crowd marshals. I did not see what started it, however I did witness the spectacular and noisy domino effect of the bikes falling down! 2     The seagull was hit by a lone … Continue reading Background to the Sample story

A Waterfall in Tobermory!

Excerpt taken from chapter 17, The Wee Wee Waterfall – Tobermory in the second book of the Zander Trilogy by Johnny Jones – More Ports More Storms. On sale now. Topographically, a significant part of Tobermory lies on the high ground above the harbour and it is there that the Western Isles Hotel occupies a prominent site. The hotel’s position allows its guests to enjoy magnificent panoramic views from Tobermory down the Sound of Mull.  Access to the hotel is via the Back Brae, a road that doubles back on itself up a steep hill.  To landward, the road cuts into … Continue reading A Waterfall in Tobermory!

Fast Lady

Zander and his crew could not believe their good fortune, to ‘manage’ the luxury 45 foot yacht the ‘Fast Lady’. It had everything they were not used to having aboard a boat! Zander was amazed to find digital controls in the bridge, including a GPS! Everything was in pristeen condition, not like what he and his crew were used to in previous yachting adventures. Their job was to take business associates of the yachts owner, on scenic trips around the Western Isles of Scotland and to ensure they were all well fed and hydrated, with the finest foods and whiskies. … Continue reading Fast Lady

High Jinks on the High Seas!

Now some of you must be wondering what is fact and what is fiction from reading the stories about Zander and his crew, throughout my first two books in the Zander Trilogy. I can tell you that the following ‘trick’ is based on fact, however the names of those responsible will never be revealed! In my second book More Ports More Storms, the crew decide to have some ‘fun’ with a rival skipper of another nearby yacht, as part of an on-going fued with Zander. After enticing the rival and his crew ashore to have a peace-making drink in Tobermory, … Continue reading High Jinks on the High Seas!

Iona Abbey and Beyond

From the second book of the Zander Trilogy, More Ports More Storms, chapter 12, Zander and his crew’s itinery was set to take in a number of beautiful places on the West coast of Scotland, aboard their ‘borrowed’ 45 foot luxury yacht, the Fast Lady. The following places were included in their planned trip: The Sound of Mull, Iona Abbey, Ganavan Bay near Oban and Loch Buie Iona Abbey is an abbey located on the island of Iona, just off the Isle of Mull on the West Coast of Scotland. It is one of the oldest Christian religious centres in … Continue reading Iona Abbey and Beyond

To the Pub!

The pub visited by the yachting crews from More Ports More Storms, in chapters 17 and 18 was based on a real place, the Mishnish Hotel and Bar, on the seafront in Tobermory. ‘The Mish’, near the pier on the harbourfront, is a favourite hang-out for visiting yachties and a great place for a pint, with a very convivial atmosphere. Wood-panelled and flag-draped, this is a good old traditional pub where you can listen to live folk music, toast your toes by the open fire and enjoy some local banter. Tobermory was built as a fishing port in the late … Continue reading To the Pub!

Fastest promotion ever!

Excerpt taken from Chapter 4, Do it in style get out fast, in More Ports More Storms; On one occasion, by virtue of an unpredicted passage through the transit area of an airport in a war zone, the army awarded him a Campaign Medal for active service there.  This went some way to make up for the one denied him by the sea scouts.  In a service career littered with ups and downs, Zander experienced occasional minor ‘ups’, but principally major ‘downs’, the most significant down being his spell of two years National Service, that put his professional career on … Continue reading Fastest promotion ever!

Explosives and Jewellery!

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!

Panoramic Video – Crimea

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

Auld Reekie – Puffer

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

Puilladrobhain

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

Ceilidh Night!

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!

Isle of Gigha

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

Lost Youth – Jura

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

Ardfern

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

Island of Coll

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

Something Galore – Eriskay

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

Eigg Highland Games

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

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

More Ports More Storms – On sale now

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

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

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

The positives of Lockdown!

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!

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