Travels in Southern England – Folkestone, Kent

November 22, 2015

I do not recall ever visiting this seaside town before but when I was looking for places to go I was delighted to see that it had its own literary festival which was about to begin. I packed the car, off I went and here I am.

The majestic Grand Burstin Hotel overlooks the harbour and I was lucky enough to book a room here for most of my stay. There were problem’s with the lock on my door on the first day and I had difficulty in locking it but the hotel management kindly transferred me to a much grander room with a magnificent harbour view.

The Grand Burstin HotelThe Grand Burstin Hotel

View from Burstin Hotel room windowHarbour view from my Hotel Window

Sandy Beach FolkestoneSandy Beach with Mermaid Sculpture near sea entrance to Harbour

The Old High Street FolkstoneThe Old High Street

Folkestone Book Festival – Saturday 21 November

Mindfulness – Linda Blair
This talk by psychologist, Linda Blair, was the first I attended at the festival. On the way in the conference hall I was handed a pine cone. Other people were given pieces of stick. Later in the talk we were asked to begin breathing through the nose and out through the mouth and then study the object we were given for two minutes. It was certainly a way to clear our minds of the clutter that builds up in our hectic modern daily lives. We were told that humans only have a few basic needs. The rest of our lives is taken up by wants. I must say I agree with her but I am not sure I will buy her book.

Crime Without Borders – a discussion between three women crime writers and one serving police officer
The three writers were MJ McGrath (who chaired the conversation), Erin Kelly and Louise Millar. International crime across borders has been increasingly occupying the minds of writers, police and the public given the recent terrorist attacks in Paris. The writers referred to the TV drama’s, The Bridge, and its Folkestone set remake, The Tunnel, in their conversation. It was a bonus that DCI Keith Roberts was able to participate as he gave an interesting insight into how the police service in Kent cooperates with those in France. He was also of the opinion that the chief topics often neglected by crime writers were cyber crime and money laundering. All four participants were experts in their fields and the books by the three women writers are well worth a look.

The Folkestone Book Festival continues to 29th November.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press


Book Review – Frankenstein Scooters to Dracula’s Castle by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round

November 21, 2015

The scooters in question were made by piecing together scooter parts with motorcycle engines and likened to the way Mary Shelly’s fictional character created a monster out of pieces of dead humans. The horror analogy was complete because the author, his family and two companions passed by the castle owned by Vlad the Impaler (said to be the inspiration for the fictional Dracula) in Romania. The book is a guide on how to take your family through Europe to Turkey on self built two wheeled transport and as such is both an instructive and entertaining read.

I travelled a great deal myself in the 1970s and 1980s by motorcycle not scooter. However, I have a great deal of understanding of some of the perils that can occur and the amount of planning involved. Sticky Round has a distinctive writing voice and conveys his technical expertise and descriptions of the people he encounters in a most amusing way. The modern digital age is very different from the days when I travelled by two wheels but I am sure I would find this book extremely helpful should I be tempted to try similar two or even four wheel journeys again. This was an exceptionally good read and is highly recommended.

Keith Jahans
Editor, Peatmore Press

Frankenstein Scooters
Frankenstein’s Scooters to Dracula’s Castle by Martin ‘Sticky’ Round
is published by Fingers In Pies Publications and is available in paperback
and as an ebook from the Kindle Book Store