Saturday, September 26, 2015

Giveaway reminder

Five days left for a chance to win a free paperback of Tiamat's Nest.

Goodreads Book Giveaway

Tiamat's Nest by Ian S. Bott

Tiamat's Nest

by Ian S. Bott

Giveaway ends September 30, 2015.

See the giveaway details
at Goodreads.

Enter Giveaway

Also, Ghosts of Innocence e-book is available at all outlets for US $0.99 up to the end of the month, then it reverts back to full price.

Sunday, September 20, 2015

Liberation calamity

Has anyone out there moved away from where they grew up, leaving family and friends behind? Do you still keep an eye on local news from “the old country”? I still check out the Guernsey news from time to time because I like to keep abreast of things that affect my family and which might come up in phone conversations.

This summer, I’ve been watching an unbelievable saga unfold over the ferry service to the island.

Being a small island, air and sea links are a vital part of island life. Obviously. And the volume of traffic is too small to sustain a free-for-all competition so the passenger/vehicle route is granted to a single monopoly operator.

You’d think that the Guernsey government, which grants licenses to run the route, would want to ensure a good and reliable service on this lifeline route.

You’d think, when they put the route out to tender and sign a multi-year contract on behalf of islanders, they’d insist on a decent service with enforceable service levels.

You’d think.

You’d be wrong.

The current operator introduced a new fast ferry to the route in March, with huge fanfare and promises of “an even better” service than before, replacing two vessels with one larger boat. i.e. No backup. The story since then has been a farcical catalogue of delays and cancellations due to mechanical failures, inability to dock if even the slightest breeze is blowing from the wrong angle, inability to handle waves a fraction of the height it’s supposedly designed for (and remember, this is the English Channel we’re talking about, with winter approaching), complaints of violent see-sawing in a following sea (and suggestions from the harbor master that passengers need to “retrain their stomachs”) and challenges with loading/unloading its full load of vehicles in the scheduled turnaround times.

I can’t lay my hands on reliable statistics, but anecdotal evidence suggests it has stayed on or close to schedule on only half its crossings. The ferry was even cancelled over the Guernsey Liberation Day weekend, arguably the busiest and most significant public holiday in the island’s calendar. Just Google “Condor Liberation” for a litany of disaster.

People are naturally fed up with this, and tempers flared when the ferry was cancelled yet again leaving people stranded at Poole harbor over this weekend.

The Guernsey government’s response?


Ali is planning to take a trip back there with the kids next summer for her father’s 80th birthday. The itinerary includes her parents (who live in Bristol) taking the car over on the ferry to Guernsey. We’ll be keeping a close eye on this fiasco hoping things will improve before then.

Right now, I wouldn’t trust any important trip to this ferry. Would you?

Sunday, September 13, 2015


After a flurry of rain and wind at the end of August coinciding with our last camp of the season, summer is making a brief rally, but it’s noticeably surrendering to the darker mornings and cool evenings. Not long now before we’re back to lighting the wood stove, I think.

In readiness, we’ve just moved our deck furniture off the deck and to its winter home in our bedroom - a cozy seating area near the stove. This is a sure sign, and always brings a tinge of sadness after months of practically living out on the deck.

Back to school - a few groans but also anticipation. Big change for Matthew, now starting high school. Megan is excited to be starting field hockey, and puppy-training. No, nothing to do with school. She’s training our new arrival to the family. Meet Ellie, an Australian shepherd.

Now that Tiamat’s Nest is out in the wild, and my talk at the library is out of the way, I’m taking a breather before picking up my next writing project. Time to have some fun with iDraw...
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