March 31, 2015
Those of you who followed my travels in Norway may remember that it ended with me arriving back in England and accidently leaving my iPad mini behind in the pocket of the aircraft seat in front of mine. https://peatmore.wordpress.com/2013/12. There then followed a bizarre chain of events which may be of interest as there are lessons to be learnt.
I landed in the early hours of the morning so I was not able to contact Gatwick airport lost property until the next morning. When I did I was informed that they did not deal with the airline with which I flew and I would have to contact the airline (Germania) directly. This I duly did and was asked to contact the lost and found office at the airport on location. I contacted the Lost and found office at Gatwick again and was again given the same story. Then I contacted a website airportlostandfound.com registered my loss and paid them £37 as their website indicated my payment would be returned after six months if my iPad mini was not found. After six months it was still not found so I emailed them for my refund and received no reply.
Two weeks ago I received a phone call from a man who told me he had my iPad mini and would post it to me if I gave him my address. I asked him where he got it and he said he bought it at auction. When he was using it, it locked and a message came up saying to contact me and giving my phone number. This was because I had activated the Apple “find my device facility” on icloud. I was not happy to give my address to a stranger over the phone particularly in such circumstances. So I told him that I had lost the iPad at Gatwick Airport and would contact them so that they could give him and address where he could send it from which I could retrieve it.
I then phoned Gatwick Airport Lost Property, told them my ipad mini had been found and could they arrange for it to be collected. I was informed again that as the item went missing on a Germania flight they could have nothing to do with it. When asked why I was told it was not in their contract. I asked who their contract was with and was told that it was with Gatwick Customer Services. I asked if they could arrange for the finder to send them the iPad mini and was again told it was not in their contract and in any case they could not accept electronic items sent through the post. I asked for the phone number for Gatwick Customer Services and was told they had none but there was an email address. I fired off an email to them and then went to have a cup of tea to calm myself down.
Less than 5 minutes later I had a phone call from a nice man at Gatwick Customer Services who said that he had never heard of this happening before. I gave him the phone number of the man who had my iPad mini and asked him to contact him so they could retrieve the iPad mini for me. This he did and then got back to me saying that the finder would rather send it directly to me. I phoned the finder and was satisfied that he was honest and genuine. He said he had paid £150 for it to the auction house in Bristol and as I felt sorry for him I agreed to pay him £100 by bank transfer. He did not however have the case and keyboard that had been lost with it. Then low and behold a few minutes later the man from Gatwick Customer Services contacted me again and said that he would pay the finder his £150 and also agreed to pay me the value of the missing case and keypad. When I told him the name of the Auction House, the finder gave me, he confirmed it was one the Airport lost property office used to dispose of their unclaimed lost items.
I have not given the names of any of the persons I had in contact with. The people at Gatwick Airport Lost Property have behaved according to their operating procedures which I believe are too rigid and need to be altered. Their contract should be renegotiated. Both the finder and the nice man at Customer Services have behaved exemplary. Apple should be congratulated for their find my device facility on icloud. One wonders about the fate of the many items which pass through Gatwick Lost Property that do not have such a facility. I trawled the internet seeking information about aiportlostandfound.com and discovered they are operating a scam. My lost item is still listed on their site to this day
see (http://www.airportlostandfound.com/lost-property-detail/?listing_id=55157). The man at Gatwick Airport Customer services knew about this site but there is nothing he can do about it.
In the intervening months I bought myself another iPad mini. My lost iPad mini arrived at my house Saturday undamaged and in good condition. I have since given it to my daughter who is about to embark on her own travels. She is over the moon.
Editor, Peatmore Press
March 16, 2015
I do not normally read biographies but having met Tim Hannigan at The Penzance Literary Festival in July where he was running a workshop on travel writing I thought I would give this book a try. I was not disappointed. The author puts the reader squarely in the thick of the action. We can smell the jungle, the smoke and cordite of the muskets and hear the sound of canon fire, the cries of the combatants and the rattling of the sabers.
This is an account of a short lived campaign of the British army at the height of its empire and according to Hannigan, Raffles comes out of it with an extremely tarnished reputation. Raffles is famous as the founder of Singapore and London zoo. But it seems he was an opportunist out to make a quick buck. He was involved with corruption, turned a blind eye to slavery and complicit in inciting the massacre of Dutch citizens. This is all the more shocking because of the high esteem in which his memory is held by many.
This book is an extremely good read and I highly recommend it.
Editor, Peatmore Press
Raffles and The British Invasion of Java by Tim Hannigan is published Mosoon Books and is available as a paperback and ebook
March 10, 2015
10 March 2015
The Literature Festival ended on Sunday 8 February. I was struck by the number of biographies that were on show. Almost all the talks I went to were about or concerned with real people. There were some sessions about writing and self publishing which was heartening and I visited the one about promoting your self published books. However, it seems that it is celebrities that draw the crowds. As a fiction writer myself, I would have preferred to hear more from novelists and short story writers. Still the festival was professionally run and the talks I attended were expertly presented. On the whole it was a very worthwhile experience.
Bath is a fascinating city to visit because of its Georgian architecture. Most of the city’s attractions, The Abby, The Roman Baths and the Pump Room, are in a few yards of each other and easily accessible on foot. Parking is a problem but there is an excellent “Park and Ride” service and train station. The Central Library is one of the best I have visited and is not far from the Guildhall and the Abby. I spent a of number hours working on my laptop there utilizing its excellent internet wifi connection. To show my appreciation I donated it a copy of the Peatmore Press novel, “Gifford’s Games” part of which is set in the city.
Editor, Peatmore Press
Bath Central Library not far from the Abby and next to Waitrose
Gifford’s Games published by Peatmore Press and available in paperback or as an ebook
March 7, 2015
7 March 2015
My last visit to the Festival was to hear a talk by an author of yet another biography. The author was Richard Davenport-Hines and the biography was of the economist John Maynard Keynes. The presentation was not about Keynes’s economic ideas but about the man himself and what motivated him. It seems he only received eight weeks formal training in economics the rest of his knowledge and ideas were gained from experience.
He was bisexual but succeeded in settling down to a stable married life to a woman who was once a ballerina. He knew many of the influential people of his day. The thriller writer John Buchan did not like him and even based one of his villains on him. But he could be very charming and was an incorrigible flirt.
He thought that money was for spending and that product supply and demand should be the only influences on economics. However, it is a different world now. Markets are more global. Banks and financial markets are difficult to regulate as they can simply move to another country.
The author seemed to imply that if you want to know more about economics then you should look elsewhere. However, if you would like to know more about one of the most influential thinkers of the twentieth century then this could be the book for you.
Editor, Peatmore Press
Universal Man: The Seven Lives of John Maynard Keynes by Richard Davenport-Hines
is published by William Collins and is available in hardcover, paperback, as an ebook and an audiobook
March 6, 2015
6 March 2015
This year is the 800th anniversary of the signing of the Magna Carta. I am afraid that is not quite accurate because despite the many representations of King John sitting before it with a quill in his hand it was not signed but was, according to the speaker Sir Robert Worcester at today’s Festival, in fact sealed. It is the first document to set out the fundamental rights of western people which is why it is so important and would probably never had happened if King John had not been such a bad King.
John has been spoken of earlier in the week (see my report of Marc Morris’s talk on Day 2). He was not only bad because he was wicked but he was also bad because he was incompetent having lost practically all of his lands in France in a poorly waged war. The charter brought about the separation of powers and ensured that no one including the King was above the law. Nothing should be taken without consent and no one should be imprisoned except by the judgement of their peers. These rights are enshrined in British law today even though the locking away of terrorists and illegal migrants without trial is currently allowed for specified short periods of time.
Sir Robert explained how up until now the teaching of Magna Carta was hardly mentioned in British schools. All is about to change this year with commemorations being planned to mark its coming into existence. Coins, postage stamps and a number of books are being issued to mark the event. Details of these and much more can be found at http://magnacarta800th.com.
March 5, 2015
5 March 2015
Books about real historical figures are very much in evidence at this year’s Festival. This afternoon I attended a talk by Matthew Plampin about the artist Turner. However the book he has written is a historical novel about one week in his early life when he competes for a commission against fellow artist Tom Girtin. The author showed slides of both artists’ paintings and compared their styles.
Girtin died at a much younger age than Turner (probably from asthma) and had he lived longer might have become the more famous but for some reason Girtin was not motivated to paint for posterity. The contrast between the two seems to be a fascinating idea for a story which I suspect is well worth a read.
Editor, Peatmore Press
Will & Tom by Matthew Plampin is published by The Borough Press
and is available in hardcover, paperback and as an ebook.
March 4, 2015
4 March 2015
Having been a working microbiologist for almost 40 years I knew that Helen and William Bynum’s talk about their book, “Remarkable Plants That Shaped Our World” would be too good to miss and I was not disappointed.
They split the plants they discussed under different headings: Transformers, Taste, Healing & Medicines, Technology & Power, Cash Crops, Landscape, Revered & Adored and Wonders of Nature. While these categories had nothing to do with the accepted nomenclature of scientific biological classification they certainly worked as a way of looking at how plants have been utilized by humans over the centuries.
More than half of the talk concentrated on the ways they have been used in medicines and how new medicinal properties were being developed from them in the modern day. It was a commendable presentation as both speakers expertly conveyed how important plants have been in developing our world.
Editor, Peatmore Press
Remarkable Plants That Shaped Our World by Helen Bynum and William Bynum is published by Thames and Hudson Ltd and is available in hard cover and as an ebook.