Category Archives: travel

220 Rides
Simon Fisher

Published: Jan 2024
Paperback: 130 pages
Price: £8.99
ISBN: 9781915972194
Available on Amazon

220 Rides
by Simon Fisher

It’s June 1970. With just a backpack, some dollars and plenty of optimism, a hitchhiker sets off to discover America. This is what happened along the way, told in his own words.

From New England to California, from Vancouver to the Everglades, 220 drivers stopped to pick up the lone Brit. Most were friendly, some were incredibly generous, a few were hostile.

The United States was at war in Vietnam, Richard Nixon was a year into his presidency, and Woodstock was influencing a generation. The National Guard stood in the way of antiwar protesters. The drama of Apollo 13 had unfolded two months earlier and £1 bought $2.40.

It was a classic time to explore the country, the culture and the people. Join our hitchhiker walking down the Grand Canyon, dodging bears and sheriffs out west, gate-crashing a Republican fundraiser, checking out ‘Beautiful Downtown Burbank’ and doing what hitchhikers always do – enjoying whatever is around the next corner.

Anyone who has hitchhiked anywhere will enjoy this book.

Blackpool’s Holiday Heyday
Barry McLoughlin

Published: March 2023
Paperback: 170 pages
Images: 26 Colour, 104 B/W
Price: £11.99
ISBN: 9781914424724
Available in UK
direct from YouCaxton
£11.99 (+ £2.50 postage)
Number of copies:

Available in UK on Amazon

Worldwide on Book Depository
Blackpool's Holiday Heyday
Images of resort’s golden era

Celebrated and sneered at, praised and patronised in equal measure, Blackpool remains Britain’s biggest, brashest and most vibrant holiday resort, drawing 18 million annual visits – despite the rival attractions of the Mediterranean sun. But many of these are day trips and short breaks rather than the traditional week by the sea.

In this lavishly produced pictorial history of the resort’s golden era, former Blackpool Gazette journalist Barry McLoughlin chronicles the six decades up to the mid-1960s when the town was queen of the seaside holiday and overseas stays were only just starting to take off.

The book includes chapters on the Pleasure Beach, Tower, Golden Mile, three piers, theatres, dancehalls, accommodation, railways, the famous tramway and football.

130 illustrations in colour and black-and-white, ranging from rare postcards to high-quality photojournalism and memorabilia, highlight the people and places that gave Blackpool its unique character.

Although the book presents a nostalgic view of Blackpool’s heyday, it also highlights the contradictions of the resort’s identity as the UK’s tourism capital, contrasting the neon glitz of the Golden Mile with pockets of severe social deprivation today.

It examines the dilemmas created by the town’s dual identity over the years. Should it be a genteel middleclass ‘watering place’ or a proletarian playground? Should it be a ‘family resort’ or a party town for nightclubbers? Should the interests of residents or tourism take priority?

It is not intended as a definitive history of Blackpool, more of an impressionistic snapshot – literally – of an extraordinary era.

Reviews of Blackpool..

The Journalist, magazine of the National Union of Journalists (TUC Best Union Journal of the Year)

Life member Barry McLoughlin's book recalls the glory years of working-class tourism.

In this pictorial history, the former Blackpool Gazette chief reporter chronicles the halcyon days of the world's first proletarian playground in the six decades up to the 1960s.

More than 130 illustrations in black-and-white and colour.

Of Peats and Putts – Continental
Andrew Brown

Published: Dec 2022
Hardback: 160 pages
Price: £19.50
ISBN: 9781914424816
Available on Book Depository

Paperback: 160 pages
Price: £10.00
ISBN: 9781914424823
Available on Amazon

Of Peats and Putts - Continental
by Andrew Brown

Having examined the origins of whisky and golf in his native Scotland and followed this up with visiting golf courses and whisky distilleries in England, Wales and Ireland, the author now sets off on an exploration of how they fare on the continent of Europe. This latest odyssey starts in Granada in the south of Spain and ends, some 3,000 miles to the north, on the Lofoten Islands inside the Arctic Circle.

With travel much interrupted by the pandemic, he visits an eclectic mix of distilleries and golf courses many of which have been inspired by whisky and golf ’s Scottish roots and meets fellow whisky and golf enthusiasts of different nationalities. As well as marvelling at the diversity of golfing and whisky offerings across the different countries, he continues to develop his ‘golf and whisky as metaphors for life’ hypothesis and concludes positively that they are both topics on which different peoples will seek common ground and friendships while they even offer lessons on how we can all lead better lives in the post-pandemic world.

Andrew Brown was born in Edinburgh, brought up in the Borders and educated at Loretto School in Musselburgh. After reading history at Cambridge University, he pursued a career in the food industry, marketing many famous brands such as Bisto, Hovis and Mr Kipling.
He has three grown-up children, is now retired and, outside of his regular visits to Scotland, lives in the Chilterns. Apart from playing golf he is an enthusiastic dog walker, a very average tennis player and a novice gardener.

Reviews of Peats and Putts...

Charles Maclean, Whisky Writer and Master of the Quaich
It is astonishing that until now nobody has sought to bring together Scotland’s two greatest gifts to the world – whisky and golf.
This little book is a personal journey of discovery. In ten chapters, each devoted to a region or county – from Sutherland in the north to East Lothian in the south and Islay in the West - Andrew Brown reviews a golf course and a locally made malt whisky.
As he travels from one place to the next he ponders how and why these two products developed in Scotland and what it is about the country, its landscape and people, which connects them. As he writes: “Both whisky and golf are more than just a drink and a sport; both can be seen as metaphors for the vagaries of life itself.” Indeed!

Golf Quarterly Review June 2018
This is a delightful, well-written little book – part travel guide, part history, part personal philosophy, and part unwitting nationalist tract (what better way, after all, to celebrate Scottish distinctiveness than through writing about its two most famous exports?). It takes the form of a tour of nine regions of the country, in search of the author’s favourite distilleries and favourite golf courses along the way.
I can imagine peripatetic golfers with a fondness for an evening dram, or whisky aficionados with a set of clubs in the boot of their car, packing this little volume and reading up on pleasures planned for the following day. It will be equally enjoyable, though, with a glass of single malt to hand in the privacy of your own home.
What gives the journey special significance is the author’s playful exploration of the similarities and connections between whisky and golf. Andrew Brown, a native Scot who spent most of his career in the food industry south of the border, suggests that location, history and architecture are crucial to the two experiences. History, for instance, is an important part of the narrative that accompanies both playing and drinking. Just as we like to know the origins, ownership and social impact of a particular whisky brand (notwithstanding the marketing hype), so hearing about how and when a golf club was founded, who played there and who designed and changed it invariably enriches a round of golf.
Perhaps design is the most striking common factor given the simple, limited and seemingly unpromising ingredients that course architects and whisky manufacturers both start with. All golf courses are hewn out of sand and soil, while the essential elements of any whisky are also the same: only malted barley, water and yeast are permitted in anything that calls itself Scotch. What produces so many different and unique variations of the spirit is everything from the distilling process to the local landscape, whether it be the taste of the water, the quality of the soil, or the extent of the annual rainfall. In the case of golf it’s the eye and skill to use nature to best effect.
Each chapter describes the idiosyncrasies of a favourite course and distillery. The golf choices are far from predictable – Brora rather than Dornoch in Sutherland, Kilspindie rather than Gullane, Luffness New or Muirfield in East Lothian, the Eden rather than the Old Course in Fife. These reflect not just a conscious decision to stay away from Championship venues but those the author considers best meet his three criteria for selection: a tough but enjoyable (and affordable) test for all levels of golfer, delightful surroundings and a welcoming clubhouse. There is an equally diverse spread of distilleries, old and new, large and small, ranging from multinational owned enterprises such as Glenmorangie to independent Edradour in Perthshire (20,000 cases of which went down off the island of Eriskay in 1941, inspiring Compton Mackenzie’s wonderful book Whisky Galore).
Wisely, the author does not take prior knowledge for granted though spelling out a three-shotter for golfers or mash tuns for devoted whisky drinkers may mildly irritate some. I liked his many diversions - musings on what makes a good golf hole and a good malt, for example, thumbnail sketches of important golf designers like James Braid and Harry Colt, and reflections on the history and practise of naming golf holes. There are plenty of surprises (at least to this non-expert whisky drinker). Did you know that eight of the world’s top ten whisky brands are Indian, while the country that consumes the most whisky on a per capital basis is France (the United States being second and the UK third)?
Tim Dickson
Golf Quarterly

Simon Marquis, Cornwall
Of Peats and Putts will appeal to anyone who enjoys golf and/or malt whisky. Andrew Brown is an enthusiastic amateur of both and his enjoyment shines through this delightful scamper across nine of Scotland’s finest golf holes, and a rather more leisurely trundle around nine of its distilleries. The real pleasure of this short volume though is the author’s drawing of nice parallels between these twin pleasures and life itself. Golf has its ups and downs as do our lives, some of them at least, perhaps smoothed away by a late evening dram or two!
The book is a pleasure in itself. I eagerly await volume two.

James Holder - Author of The Great War's Sporting Casualties
Andrew Brown's second book, Mashies and Mash Tuns, has all the same charm as his first book. He describes the golf courses highlighted in his book leaving you wanting to play them and writes about whiskey in a way which, because of my own aversion to whisky (and whiskey), leaves me regretting I cannot taste them.
And not content with just writing about golf courses and distilleries, he expresses in no uncertain terms how he thinks golf should be played, views I share but views which I fear too many golfers choose to ignore.

Nature of Wollaton Hall
Oliver Smith

This book shows how Wollaton Hall and Park is a key part of our natural heritage, and a leading contributor to natural history education in the Nottingham area and beyond. Nottingham Natural History Museum, housed within the Hall, allows visitors to identify and explore many aspects of the natural world, whilst the surrounding park affords sightings of some of the living creatures that call it home
Once you have visited the museum and viewed the diverse collections of preserved specimens, you can test your newly-acquired knowledge while walking around the park. Exploring the park you should see the deer and other wildlife active by day, although the museum is probably the best place to view examples of some of the park’s more shy, nocturnal or otherwise elusive wildlife, such as stoats, foxes and moles. After a visit to the museum, you might be surprised at what wildlife you can identify in the future.
Published:December 2020
Hardback:102 pages
Size:229 x 178 mm

Available on Amazon

I have always been passionate about wildlife, having spent my early years as a child growing up within a game reserve in Kenya where my father worked, surrounded by lions, elephants, black rhinos and many more of Africa’s iconic species. Returning to live in Cambridgeshire with my family, I Studied Animal Management at college and Marine Biology at Hull University, with the aim of embarking on a career involved in wildlife photography. This lead me to undertake a Master’s Degree in Biological Photography and Imaging at Nottingham University.

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Stately Lancashire
Barry McLoughlin

Stately Lancashire
A county better known for its industrial landscape and urban sprawl, Lancashire in fact contains some of the finest country houses in the United Kingdom.
This book – a sequel to Stately Homes Alone: Independent Country Houses in the North West, published in 2021 – explores another eleven great houses in Lancashire. They range from much-visited National Trust properties to lesser-known mansions, a romantic ruin and a huge stately home that virtually vanished overnight.
Stretching from Lancaster in the north to Manchester in the south, and Liverpool in the west to Burnley in the east., they span Tudor gems such as Speke Hall and Rufford Old Hall, the just-restored ‘Jacobean Gothic’ jewel Bank Hall and undiscovered Heskin Hall.
The Wars of the Roses, the Reformation, the ‘witch trials’, the Civil War and the Jacobite Rebellion… Lancashire’s stately homes have witnessed a catalogue of major historic events.
Illustrated in full colour, the book includes richly detailed descriptions of the houses, their owners and their gardens, their restoration and how to contact them. Several of the chapters first appeared in Choice magazine.
Published:May 2022
Hardback:94 pages
Colour images:35
Size:6 x 9 ins

£9.99 (+ £3.50 postage)
Number of copies:

Available from Amazon

This book also examines how some of the houses have attempted to deal with the growing recognition that their owners were involved in the transatlantic slave trade.

A journalist, editor and author since 1973, Barry McLoughlin has worked for local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, including four years as editor of Steam World, Britain’s biggest-selling historical railway magazine, and a spell as a parliamentary lobby correspondent at Westminster. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, on subjects ranging from railways to politics. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.

Stately Homes Alone
Barry McLoughlin

Stately Homes Alone
The three counties of north west England – Lancashire, Cheshire and Cumbria – contain some of the most handsome and historic country houses in Britain.
As they seek to bounce back from the Covid-19 pandemic that has devastated their income, Barry McLoughlin profiles fifteen of the region’s finest stately homes, plus one spectacular castle. They span a millennium stretching from the medieval to the Edwardian, with Tudor, Jacobean, Georgian and Gothic Revival in between.
What they have in common is that they are all independently run, whether by the original owning families, or by trusts or local authorities.
First featured in Choice magazine, they range from the highprofile, with tens of thousands of annual visitors, to the smaller and quirkier, but their walls are often permeated by centuries of intrigue, politicking, dynastic struggle and religious persecution. The book also features two neo-classical houses off the tourist trail, and one building that has vanished altogether.
Published:Apr 2021
Hardback:184 pages
Colour images:72
Size:6 x 9 ins

£12.50 (+ £3.50 postage)
Number of copies:

Available soon from Amazon

You’ll learn about their history from the author’s richly detailed descriptions, their sometimes eccentric owners, their gardens and ghosts, their restoration and how to visit them. Fully illustrated, the book is the perfect companion on a visit to some of the North West’s most memorable mansions.
A journalist, editor and author since 1973, Barry McLoughlin has worked for local, regional and national newspapers and magazines, including four years as editor of Steam World, Britain’s biggest-selling historical railway magazine, and a spell as a parliamentary lobby correspondent at Westminster. He is the author or editor of fourteen books, on subjects ranging from railways to politics. He is a Life Member of the National Union of Journalists.

A Butterfly On My Wine Glass – Travel guide to Nouvelle – Aquitaine
Annie jefferies

Travel guide to Nouvelle - Aquitaine: the Gironde and Dordogne areas of SW France
This book is for all who want to explore the delightful area of Nouvelle-Aquitaine in south-west France, focusing on the Gironde and parts of the Dordogne regions. This is an anecdotal guide to many unique places of interest and as well as describing something of the towns, it takes the reader off the beaten track and into the beautiful countryside. In some cases, places of interest are referred to in both summer and winter months to illustrate how they differ outside of the tourist season.

An essential guide for both first time visitors and seasoned travellers to the area.
Published: Aug 2020
Extent: 102 pages
Paperback: £9.99
ISBN: 9-781913-425340
Available on Amazon

Annie Jefferies lives in Devon with her husband, Mike and their black Labrador, Harry. Annie is a Chartered Physiotherapist who retired 10 years ago and this is her first book. Her interests are varied and include walking on Dartmoor, learning Spanish, music, sports, cooking, travelling with family and friends and supporting the Diocese of Exeter as a member of the laity.
Reader Reviews...

Keith Thornborough, Geneva
This small pocket sized guide to the SW France is a delight from beginning to end.
Annie Jefferies takes us on an anecdotal tour of pretty country towns, old villages, ancient castles and the beautiful rural scenery that has captured her heart.
I read this charming and humorous book with absolute pleasure.

A Devon resident ( Renata Hopkins)
I read this book in a day as I couldn’t put it down ; the local information is useful and very relevant if you are visiting the area , but I so enjoyed the little stories that unfolded along the 2 month journey and again during the winter visit ! I would have appreciated a basic map that would have illustrated the area and the relationship of one town to another . If the author is encouraged to write another book that would be my only suggestion
Thank you

Diane Kersey - resident of Tavistock, Devon
This book is charming and a lovely read .It is very interesting if you are visiting this area of France, but it is also enjoyable to read the tales that intersperse the textual facts. I particularly enjoyed the illustrations . I am buying 10 copies to give to friends at Christmas !

Born to Run: the Story of Hector & Jason
C J Hill

The fascinating adventures of two extraordinary brothers - Golden Retrievers - and their human carers. Hector is the cleverest and craziest of his race; his twin, Jason, is the loveliest and, bizarrely, fastest dog on the planet. Together, they are in the vanguard of mischief and mayhem. Beginning in Wordsley in the West Midlands, and in rural Staffordshire, Born to Run: the Story of Hector & Jason tells the story of Hector and Jason’s mad-cap adventures throughout England and Wales and beyond. The ‘boys’ were amongst the First recipients of ‘Pet Passports’ and we follow the intrepid duo from their home in France’s ‘Suisse Normande’ in a gallop through the French countryside – exploring the delights and riches of Normandy, Brittany and the Loire Valley. Above all, this is the story of the author’s struggle to come to terms with the revelation that his ‘boys’ are endowed with special, indeed unique, ‘gifts’. In Hector’s case, happiness lies in his heart’s desire: to seek, to chase. Jason’s passion is pure and simple: he is, joyously, ‘born to run...’. In accepting and embracing his boys’ natural genius, the author gives Hector and Jason full-rein to attain their true potential - and to fulfil their destiny.
Published: May 2020
Paperback: 528 pages
Price: £18.00
ISBN: 9-781913-425098

UK Only
£18.00 (+ £3.50 postage)
Number of copies:

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This wonderful book explores the intense relationship between Man and his favourite four-legged friend. The book is a paean to the special bond – the deep love – that can develop between two species – Man and ‘Dog’. By turns amusing, powerful and poignant, this is a ‘must read’ for anyone who enjoys the English – and French – countryside. And for everyone who loves, or who has ever loved, a canine companion.

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