Calendar Boy is a collection of amusing, interesting and emotional stories about the writer’s travels around branches of the UK Women’s Institute, while delivering a talk about his life.
John Stirling has spent that life in the entertainment industry as an actor, director and producer, right back to his childhood days, as a pupil at the Italia Conti Stage School, playing Noddy on stage. John appeared in numerous productions on television, stage and screen, winning awards along the way. He has been involved in many iconic productions, including Coronation Street, The Comedians and the Royal Variety Show.
A chance encounter with a donkey on its last legs lead to John becoming the champion for the Michael Elliot Trust and its Actors’ Donkey Sanctuary which he and his wife ran for over thirty years. This work was completed with the help of many of the nation’s top entertainers, including June Brown MBE, Marti Caine, Patricia Hayes and Brian Blessed. The sanctuary made a significant contribution in the area of donkey rescue and provided many opportunities for disabled children.
As a successful speaker at numerous Women’s Institutes, John has brought together many aspects of his long and successful career. In the book, John describes those experiences and the wide range of audience reactions he received.
John tells of the trials and tribulations of auditioning, the difficulties in locating the WI locations and how he dealt with a fascinating mix of characters within the WI membership. The book provides a captivating read as John and his wife Annie immerse themselves into the world of the UK Women’s Institute.
John’s latest work includes Born in a Hamper a drama for theatre and television (touring). John Stirling is also a popular and sought-after after-dinner speaker with a number of prominent organisations.
After years of successful but hard work within the UK security industry, Martyn Jones had run out of steam. Then a phone call came that changed everything.
Head-hunted by a former Company Sergeant Major from the Royal Marines, Jones made the decision to become part of the personal security detail of the ruler of Haiti.
President Aristide, his First Lady Mildred and their two daughters, code named Dancer and Prancer were all under constant, deadly threat from the dark and elusive forces of Papa Doc Duvalier’s former establishment and remnants of the disbanded Haitian Defence Force. Jones was one of eleven determined men who stood between those that could launch deadly attacks on Aristide and his family at any time.
There was always something disturbing about the Voodoo nights in Haiti, best described as 'gunshots, screams and drums in the night.' Jones communicates this fascinating but frightening world, sharing his personal thoughts through a number of highly dangerous and frightening adventures.
Voodoo Nation is also the story of one man's life reflections through various ups and downs while always dealing with the urge he felt throughout, to follow his spirit and go out into the world in search of adventure.
Peter Barker spent his early years in Kent where his childhood memories included watching ‘dog-fights’ between the RAF and Hitler’s Luftwaffe. It was not surprising therefore that in 1948 he joined the RAF and in 1951 became a Junior Technician. In the following years he distinguished himself in most of the major conflagrations of the time including Malaysia and Suez. In 1955 he was awarded the British Empire Medal. After leaving the service he joined the British Aircraft Company in Preston and for the rest of his working life was involved in conversion and refurbishment of various marks of Canberra aircraft. His story is the history of the aeronautical industry throughout the second half of the twentieth century as seen through the eyes of someone intimately involved. It is a fascinating read on every level.
A brave and courageous portrayal of how one family suffered but ultimately, survived the abusive behaviours of a psychopathic father.
Starting with a definition of a psychopath, the author then relates the details of how his father unleashed a constant barrage of confusing, frustrating, painful abusive treatment on the family. The author, his mother and siblings endured this suffering on a daily basis, over many years.
The way that the author's mother fought to deal with this ongoing, cruel and spiteful behaviour while protecting herself and her children is a central theme of the book.
This is a deeply troubling story of abuse but ultimately, the way the author, his siblings and his mother coped and survived the torments of their father, moving on to live normal and fruitful lives is an inspiration for anyone who has experienced abuse in the past or in their current circumstances.
Call Yourself a Father? can provide a beacon of light for the sufferers of abuse and hopefully, a way forward to deal with the destructive effects of psychopathic behaviour.
Agnes Kaposi was born in Hungary the year before Hitler came to power and she started school at the outbreak of World War II. The Holocaust killed many of her family, together with half a million Hungarian Jews, but a series of miracles and coincidences allowed her to survive. She worked as child labourer in the agricultural and armament camps of Austria and was liberated by a rampaging Soviet army. She struggled through post-war hardship to re-enter Hungarian society, only to be caught up for a decade in the vice of Stalinism. In 1956 a bloody revolution offered the opportunity to escape to Britain, a country of freedom and tolerance, where she started a family and built a career as an engineer.
The story is written with compassion and optimism, without self-pity. The tone is light, and there is plenty of irony, even humour. The narrative is underscored by the historian László Csősz and illustrated by several maps and more than a hundred archival images and family photographs.
The life story of the late Philip Stevens, fireman turned educationalist and academic.
In an age when the rights of women are under constant and close scrutiny in the Western world, it is timely to remind ourselves of the appalling conditions in which women still spend their lives, in many parts of the African continent.
Decimating the Goose is the story of Martha Clifford, who in her infancy witnessed brazen discrimination and the shoddy treatment of feminine issues in her patriarchal land of Qasabia. This is made worse by the huge prejudice against women, the marginalization and sexism: women sidelined as the ‘weaker sex,’ told wishy-washy ‘feminine’ stories and conditioned to be perpetually subservient to their male counterparts in the chauvinistic society.
Believing that men are their oppressors and women should fight their own battles, young Martha teams up with like-minded feminists and together, they challenge their country’s discriminatory laws, statutes as well as the dicta of culture, religion, tradition and customs all of which debase womanhood.
Bruised, battered and imprisoned, these courageous women strive on until they are set free by the intervention of human rights groups abroad, a respite which only made them more resolute in their struggle for gender justice and egalitarianism.
Martha’s narrative also renders a critical assessment of her country’s social life: intense corruption of the ruling class, a live-fast-and-die-young approach to life amongst youngsters, filth paraded as morality as well as the marginalization of tribes and ethnic bloc allegiances. This makes the novel an engrossing narrative so much that when a reader begins, she or he is spellbound to read it through to the end.
Working within the funeral business is not what most people would expect. ‘Tradition,’ ‘Care,’ ‘Respect,’ are words that we would normally associate with funeral companies. One man who knows, better than most, what really goes on, is Brian Woodworth. He started his career in Salford back in 1985 and has now penned this account of his working life. He goes into great detail to describe his journey through the last thirty odd years. From humorous stories to tragic deaths; the book encompasses his dealings with clergy, morticians, other funeral staff, gangsters, murderers and people bereft of common sense. It's all here.
‘Wooden Overcoat’ throws a bright light on the shadowy world of those whose business is death. Some of the stories will make you laugh; some will make you cry, and some will certainly shock you. The final message from the author is:-
‘Do today what you were planning to do tomorrow - as tomorrow isn't guaranteed. Health is wealth.’
Sadly, we must announce that Peter Conway died recently at the young age of 52.
This is the story of a Yorkshire lad, who, aged three, was taken to live in South Africa. A rapscallion, or worse, Peter Conway came to the attention of the Johannesburg police and then, the South African Defence Force. As Peter’s scrapes escalated, he was shrewdly manipulated into serving, first the Apartheid South African Government and then, following Nelson Mandela’s assumption of the Presidency, the new masters of this achingly beautiful land. Intelligence officer, infantryman in the Bush War in Angola, Hells Angel, brothel keeper, drug smuggler and mercenary, Peter was all these and more.
In 2004, together with Simon Mann, Mark Thatcher and others, Peter participated in the Wonga Coup, the failed attempt to overthrow the Government of Equatorial Guinea.
Finally, the venality and cynicism of modern South African governance became too much and in 2012, aged forty-six, Peter abandoned the land of his dreams to live in England and write this memoir.
Thy Will be Done discloses a frighteningly violent dysfunctionality, bordering upon anarchy, both in present-day South Africa and elsewhere in that continent. It is no read for the faint-hearted, but for those interested in one of the fastest growing and yet most dangerous parts of our world, it’s a must.
Journeys with Open Eyes is not a travel book although it provides a wealth of information about places far-away and sometimes very close to home, both locationally and psychologically.Nor is it a history book, although the author, Hugh Roberts, was present in or around many of the world’s trouble spots immediately before or after some of the epoch-making events of the 20th and early 21st centuries.‘Journeys’… is a book about people. As such it is concerned with Hugh’s empathetic approach to members of the human race, be they indigenous residents of the High Andes, Soviet functionaries, Arab princes, white South Africans of the Apartheid era and numerous others. There can be no doubt that empathy helped him in his career as an international Urban Planner but empathy like this is only found in those with a genuine love for humankind. He judges systems of government but rarely the people operating or imposing them. As a result, he invariably gets the best out of his fellows whether as friends, work colleagues or chance acquaintances.Journeys… will entertain and educate the reader in full measure and should be required reading for all who care for the inhabitants of this planet.
A WONDERFUL REVIEW OF A WONDERFUL BOOK (see all the reviews on Amazon UK)
5.0 out of 5 stars 'Journeys' works wonderfully well on so many levels
By Mr. Robert Barneson 26 May 2017
'Journeys' works wonderfully well on so many levels. Firstly, the font and point size choices make it an easy read on the eyes. Secondly, it's a genuinely well-written and interesting 300+ pages of one man's experiences out in the big wide world. It's hugely readable, from the author's description of his formative years, and how these influenced his attitudes, to his living in, and many expeditions to, parts known and relatively unknown. He never gets bogged down in unnecessary detail, but the pictures he paints of national character traits from Africa to South America, the Middle East and to the South Seas could not be more incisive. I was left laughing on many occasions at the absurdities he encountered along the way. Businessmen would do well to tuck this into their suitcases on their continental travels, and I have the distinct feeling that the world would be a happier and safer place if politicians took leaves out of it, and sought their own empathy with strangers. I thoroughly enjoyed the style of writing - it's approachable, never flowery, always down-to-earth and informative, and never academic. Excellent!
The third in the Little Jack series:
A true story:
Being rescued was only the beginning of Little Jack’s adventures.
Imagine a home with the pitter-patter of scampering and stampeding paws during fun-filled, rambunctious, frolics.
Imagine a home where the felines rule!
How will Little Jack, a blind rescue cat, respond to the new invaders that are about to be introduced within an already colossal brood of feline friends?
Will there be anarchy among individuals? Or will special friendships develop?
‘Little Jack and the Ginger Invaders’, the third in a collection of stories about Little Jack, is told from both Little Jack’s and Tiny Tim’s perspectives.
A true account, it tells of Little Jack’s fascinating journey and unfolds the truth as to why Little Jack is just so special.
This is a story full of love, challenge and loss and it encompasses just how much this once unwanted, abandoned and unloved cat has touched the hearts of so many.
An emotive read this is, brimming with hilarity and at times, profound sorrow.
The name Cliff Slade will be instantly recognised as a frequent and indefatigable correspondent to the Letters to the Editor columns.
This book is written in the first person, as being most appropriate for someone who is speaking directly to his audience. This is a very personal journey in letters.
It is touching and different insofar as it provides detailed insight into the life and mind of a man, the author, his relationships with his family and his take on local society, business, and politics. This is accomplished through the sharing of letters, only some of which have previously been published. However, this is not just a book of letters, along the lines of ‘The Times Great Letters’ as there is depth, emotion, pain, laughter, joy, sadness, and a progressive personal and emotional journey of accomplishment and enlightenment.
Each correspondence is introduced, and most have accompanying explanations and information about the background and reason for each of the letters that have been included.
Beginning with what motivated his writing, he reflects on his upbringing by delving into his childhood and the reasons that explain why he finds it easier to communicate through the written word, rather than verbally.
An excellent sense of humour is clearly evident in the self-depreciatory letters written to the paper under a pseudonym and in his letters to himself. The account of when the author met his wife and their marriage, ups and downs and all, along with his thoughts about life as a parent and his children, is very touching in its openness and honesty.
He doesn't’t claim celebrity status and claims to be from an ordinary walk of life. In this remarkable book, Cliff shares his life and part of himself with the audience with a great deal of emotion. With an auto-biographical narrative, we are regularly moved from tears to amusement and back again.
Ivy Rose was the oldest of three sisters and had a wonderfully happy childhood with a father who doted on her. There was however, an impenetrable distance between her and her mother which Ivy accepted as a difference of personality from her outgoing dad. It was only after she had started to carve out a life for herself as an adult that she discovered 'the big secret'. Her adored and adoring father was not her biological father and that distinction belonged elsewhere. Eventually curiosity became almost an obsession and she set out to find and meet the man who had initially fathered her.
There is much debate about about nurture and nature and this charming book comes up with some quite amazing answers.
Bryan Charnley's last portraits are amongst the most powerful and moving statements in the history of art. The words above hint at the scale of the artist's ambition. The discovery of the painter's self-investigative journals prompted
his twin brother, the author James Charnley, to write a full account of Bryan Charnley's life accompanied by an in-depth analysis of the paintings. Bryan Charnley: Art and Adversity combines biography and monograph.
The painter's life defined his art, his art defined his life. James Charnley was witness to the adversities experienced by his twin and the evolution of his art. His book surveys the artist's childhood, adolescence and the madness
that was to afflict his life and found consummate expression in the paintings. Augmented by interviews, journals, medical records, letters and diaries this book provides an informed and fascinating study of a turbulent life and
the art this inspired. Bryan Charnley was a gifted artist who applied his painterly skills to describe the invisible: mental anguish is largely internalised. The works he created use metaphorical imagery to describe existential dilemmas.
It was by such devices the artist intended to restore painting to its inceptive purpose and conviction. Bryan Charnley: Art and Adversity presents his paintings with all their colour, intensity and eloquence.
A rare, realistic and entertaining insight in to a world shrouded by embedded suspicion and judgement. Sahera Patel writes about her year living and working in Saudi with a refreshingly honest determination. She reveals the reality of Gallardos and glamour juxtaposed with a deep reverence of religiosity and spirituality. Her tales of strong women with independent minds slap the exaggerated media image across the face whilst her personal experiences of a subtle tyranny reveal a dark reality. From the tales of the taxi drivers to the exploits of the powerful, Sahera Patel provides a refreshing reality told through amusing anecdotes. Her ability to show humour in the most uncomfortable and even dangerous situations is a rare talent and guaranteed to entertain whilst unveiling an Arabia hidden from the Western eye.
In everyone’s life there’s the pleasures, adventures, challenge and memories of growing up, the play and friendships and the influences that people and places have on our lives.
Rise & Rise Again is set amidst a time of tremendous change, times and experiences that are past and live on in the memories and tales we tell and hear. It’s of a time and place, of a background that will resonate with people and families from villages, towns and cities across the land.
The building, management and leadership of an inner city school could never have been expected to make such an impact and relate to social investment and change, but indeed that’s just what it did.
This insight into a social journey leads to many a place – whether in memory or imagination – it’s a journey that has humour, love, ambition and frustrations. Throughout, the reader is placed in a world that on the one hand seems so distant yet was so recent. Enjoy this journey, its various courses lead to many a new story.
Can you remember a time when there were no mobile phones or computers?
When TV sets had tiny screens that only showed a picture in black & white?
When there were no MacDonalds or KFCs?
When our currency was Pounds, Shillings and Pence?
Well Dennis Platt can remember, and he is writing about his youth in Salford only fifty to sixty years ago.
Millennials and those born in the last two decades of the 20th century will be astonished by the wealth of information he provides.
Fortunately, Dennis has an amazing memory for detail and it is this that makes this book a fascinating read.
Unexpected Answers is Dee Rivers' debut novel, based on a secret that her parents took to their graves. Many people, on hearing the amazing story suggested a book and as Dee had written a few unpublished children's short stories many years earlier, she was encouraged by her family to 'give it a go'. While working in an extremely quiet furniture showroom, she began writing in a notebook, transferring and editing her words to the computer in the evenings at home. After many rejections from publishers the story lay in a file on her computer for a number of years until she was encouraged to dig it out again and finally complete it!
LEGENDS IN MY LUNCHTIMES is the story of how Mike Newlin and his team brought laughter and pleasure to business guests all over the country by providing them with the best of sporting personalities as speakers at these eagerly awaited events. Mike estimates that his company must have provided a welcome break from the pressures of corporate life to over a million hungry executives. The chapters of this book read like the Who’s Who of British sporting and entertainment life over the last three decades and the stories he relates will have you smiling and chuckling as you enjoy them.
The true story of a Jewish refugee boy, Erich, who arrived in this country from Nazi-occupied Europe three days before the start of the war. He was just four, and would never see his parents again.
His earliest memories are of the tiny room he slept in off the bedroom of the couple he called mutti and fater but who were the Kreibichs, his foster parents. Traumatised by the separation from his birth family he blocks out, from then to now, all memory of his life before, even failing to recognise his eldest brother when he turns up years later.
Erich must come to terms with the realisation that the Kreibichs are not his real parents, to learn of his past, his family and how he came on the Kindertransport.
The book follows his unusual journey from orphan refugee boy to man, and from Vienna to Buckingham Palace!
The Return of Little Jack: ‘Spits, Hisses and Furbaby Kisses’.
This true, moving and humorous story, the sequel to best-selling ‘The Life of Little Jack’, provides an insight into the life of a remarkable blind rescue-cat.
Little Jack’s fate changed suddenly when a small rescue charity accepted him as a small kitten. Through the support of this charity, Jack found his ‘forever home’. This book, spoken through the voice of Little Jack, encapsulates his personality and those of his furry peers; it explores feline integration with emotive candour, hilarity and sadness alike.
With much feline, predatory frolic, will Little Jack cope amongst a furry brood of superlative specimens?
Within his short life, Jack has already been subject to many a challenge…is he resilient enough to overcome these?
This remarkable little cat has already touched many a heart. What exactly is so special about Little Jack and his furry family?
Read on to discover more about Little Jack’s extra-sensory perception. Experience his trials and tribulations, laugh and cry at his fun-filled frolics as he overcomes barriers he encounters.
Ian Paul Lomax regards himself as an ordinary man but in truth, he is an extraordinary man.
His first book, FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTOPHER, required him to bare his soul to write about the heart-breaking consequences of having his child kidnapped while on holiday in Greece. This book, THE HOUSE ON THE HILL, requires an even greater degree of bravery. He tells of a childhood in 20th century England where poverty and deprivation were the norm and far worse, he tells us of the violence he experienced from a drunken, gambler father, from being a toddler right up to his mid-teens. This upbringing made him, against his own nature, into a violent troubled youth and but for the one shining star in his life, his mother, there can be no doubt that his adult life would have been a series of catastrophes, culminating in a life of crime.
This book does not make comfortable reading but the amazing strength of his mother and her love for him made Ian’s story into one of which he can be justifiably proud.
For most 21 year olds, being sent to work as a rep in Ibiza for the summer would be a dream job. I, however, was devastated by the news. I was a teetotal virgin recovering from an eating disorder, with an active dislike for socialising. I didn’t want to go to Ibiza, but I needed to go to Ibiza. I needed to escape the monotony of life back home: my recent illness, my tedious job, the mundane routine. I took the plunge, accepted my new role, embraced the challenge and moved there. Living in a quiet village away from the notorious bright lights of San Antonio, I saw a different side to the island, and I fell in love with its serenity and air of acceptance almost immediately. In return, it loved me back, and from day one, the beautiful island cast its spell on me, and I rediscovered the confident, happy girl I used to be. My four months spent living in Ibiza were the best, the worst, the most testing, rewarding, heart-warming, eye opening and liberating of my life.The only way I could fathom the craziness going on around me on a daily basis was to keep a journal...
I never imagined I would be sharing it with the world, but here it is: an insight into my thoughts, feelings and all of the weird and wonderful occurrences that went on during a season on the party island.
It is all here, from the time I went on a date and was given a watermelon as a ‘present,’ to the day a guest ‘broke wind’ in the face of our receptionist...
Doug Roberts, has lived through one of the most tumultuous periods of our history. Born (1919) and raised in the early 20th century in a country that now bears little resemblance to the land and the world in which we now live, his story gives insights into life in those far-off days. As a young man he spent more than six years in the air-force and in Venice, in 1945 he met Margaret serving in the ATS, with whom he was to share so many years of his life.
This book is about hardship and conflict but it is also about love and the reader will be privileged to share many of Doug’s precious moments with Margaret until her death in 2012. It
was then that he decided that his memories should be shared and the idea of this book was born.
Beautifully honest and wickedly funny, 'Lucy on Leave' is not your typical journal about illness and recovery. It is certainly not for the faint hearted, either, but not for the reasons that the reader might expect. For those who are going through, or have been through, similar experiences with cancer, this book might be cathartic and even helpful, but mostly delightfully funny. For those who are not, this book, which can be read as a whole or enjoyed as a series of short essays, goes far beyond the subject of Lucy's illness to muse on the ups and downs of motherhood, marriage, childhood and Yorkshire life. If you want to know what the game 'butt waves' entails or how to play 'I demand the Di-mond!' Or why Wakefield, West Yorkshire, beats Paris for culture, hands down, or even what happened when Lucy forgot to wear any underwear to school, you will have to buy this book to find out.
The Life of Little Jack. This true and moving story provides an insight into how Little Jack was found as a desperate kitten on the streets of Manchester, requiring emergency surgery to his eye.
Alone and abandoned, his fate suddenly changed once he was accepted by a small Rescue Charity. However, concern for Little Jack’s vision was growing. Would he regain full sight or would he be destined to a life of darkness?
What unfolds is Little Jack’s journey to recovery following the loss of his eye and his integration into his new home with twelve other furry friends. Cats are notoriously territorial; would they accept or reject Little Jack being in their midst?
Little Jack has already stolen the hearts of hundreds in his tiny life. Read on to discover what exactly is so special about this amazing little kitten.
Most holiday romances have no conclusion good or bad. Just a few lead to fairy-tale weddings and ‘happy ever after.’ Ian Lomax went to Corfu and fell in love with a Greek girl called Helen. They married in England and had a lovely little boy called Christopher. Blissfully unaware that his mother-in-law had plotted with his wife to abduct his son while on a trip to Greece, Ian found himself alone and broken-hearted in a strange country. This book tells the true story of Ian’s struggle through the Greek courts to recover his father’s rights to be part of the life of his son.
Ian Lomax has shared the story of his personal struggle discussing the pains of parental alienation and international child abduction.
FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTOPHER shows the depth of a father’s love and his uphill fight to simply be in his son’s life where international borders add to the complexity of family court litigation.
Attorney Joseph Sparacino, Law Offices of Jeffery M. Leving Ltd. Chicago Fathers’ Rights Attorneys
Were you an abused child?
Did you ever think of running away and joining the French Foreign legion?
Were you ever a gang member and a football hooligan?
Did you ever have your child abducted and your marriage in ruins?
Did you ever contemplate suicide?
All of these things happened to author Ian Paul Lomax and they are related in painful detail within this, his autobiography RETURN FROM THE ABYSS (sequel to his first book FOR THE LOVE OF CHRISTOPHER.)
His story is also the story of a tortured child and young man growing up in a large industrial town in Greater Manchester in the second half of the twentieth century. This is a story not to be missed.
Over four million people in the UK have been made redundant since the onset of the Global Financial Crisis. Brian Keith did not expect to be one of them - he had recently been promoted to an executive role in a fast expanding international bank, receiving glowing performance reviews and increased responsibility. Things were looking up - until the day his boss suddenly announced he was retiring. One week later Brian was made redundant.
With six children to support, a mortgage to pay and a self-image and dog to worry about, Brian sets out trying to make psychological and spiritual sense of his situation. What follows is the searingly honest account of his personal journey as he comes to realise that more important than finding a job, Brian must find himself.
Prompted by what he learns from his remarkable wife and a fascinating cast of friends, guides, memories and characters, Brian looks deeply inwards, challenging many of his own beliefs and assumptions about his career, leading to a profoundly new understanding of himself and the implications of being made redundant. Ultimately, Brian’s story teaches us that rather than being something to fear, redundancy can provide the catalyst for immense personal growth and development.
Infused with humour and self-insight, this book contains inspirational and universal lessons, not just for those navigating the harrowing journey through redundancy, but for anyone who has ever felt as if they have somehow lost their way.
Janine Allen’s book AWAY WITH THE FAIRIES, is far more than just the autobiography of a girl born just as the final three decades of the twentieth century were unfolding. Of course it is amusing (she has a great sense of humour) and quite personal but behind all this, she is living through a period of great social change. This gave her a life-style that her grandparents and even her parents could never even have dreamed of.
If you want to be entertained and enjoy Janine’s insights and comments, this is the book for you.