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:

Available on Amazon

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.
Reviews...

Mashies and Mash Tuns – A Whisky and Golf tour of England, Wales & Ireland
Andrew Brown

Following the success of Of Peats and Putts, this book explores how whisky and golf, ‘Scotland’s two gifts to the world’, have developed across the rest of the United Kingdom and Ireland. Again visiting nine distilleries and nine golf courses -four in both England and Ireland and one in Wales – the author discusses how these two great Scottish exports have fared outside of their native land. Many of the themes of the first book are developed; the importance of location, the role of landscape, the environment and people as well as the author’s contention that these two popular pastimes can be seen as metaphors for the vagaries of life. The author finds that there is always more to learn about both whisky and golf and starts to form a personal manifesto as to how each should evolve.
Published: May 2019
Hardback: 166 pages
Price: £19.50
ISBN: 9-781912-419753

£19.50 (+ £2.50 postage)
Number of copies:


Also available on Amazon

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
Editor
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.

Forty Days in the Greek Islands
Andrew R Black

From their very first visit to a Greek island, Andrew and his wife Morag were hooked and kept going back for more. As they got to know the country and the language better, they ventured further off the standard tourist trail, finding an endless variety of new places to visit. Twenty five years later they are still exploring and learning about the islands. So what exactly is the attraction of travelling around the Greek islands? There are plenty of guidebooks full of factual information to help you find your way about. Instead this book gives you an insight into some typical day-to-day experiences you might have. It is a personal recollection of forty individual days spent getting to know a selection of forty different Greek islands. It shows why Greek island hopping can be so addictive.
Published: Sept 2017
Extent: 294 pages
Paperback: £11.99
ISBN: 9-781911-175841



Available from Amazon

Reader Reviews...


This is a comfortable, pleasing book to read - it feels like a collection of short stories to be enjoyed at will, and not necessarily in order. Each island with a story of its own, as and when. Slow read...slow food. The style of composition was an apt reflection of the 'there's always tomorrow' Mediterranean way of life that Andrew Black has obviously felt and absorbed. So many mythological-sounding place names are mentioned, therefore the maps outlining the islands were really useful, as was the separate and clear list of island names at the end of the book that could be seen at a glance. Sometimes, when you read travel books, you are left wondering, "yes, but do they really know?" Having spent so much time in the Greek islands, it can be seen from Andrew's descriptions that, yes, he does really know, and has looked and lived beneath the surface of the Greek island culture. He writes it well, too. And on crisp, pure white paper.

A very enjoyable book that has inspired me to expand my knowledge of the Greek islands. There are several hand-drawn maps included, however this is not a standard guide book but an appealing account of experiences from many years of travel, including brief notes on Greek history (mythical, ancient and modern) interspersed with observations on geography, birds, plant life and delicious food. Not all tourists wish to leave the mainstream resorts, however the anecdotes in this book describing encounters with friendly, generous islanders should encourage many to step away from the crowds and undertake their own mini-adventures. Just ensure you leave enough time to relax each day in a local cafe to sip your iced coffee and savour the charm of Greek island life! Well worth reading.

Great book - the basis of next years holiday plans, makes Island hopping sound much easier than I had imagined and I may avoid some obvious mistakes (you pay when you get off the bus!). Recommended read in the planning stage of a holiday to the Greek Islands.

This is one of the best books I have ever read about the Greek Islands and as a regular traveller in Greece I am fussy! I only wish he would write some more.

Of Peats and Putts – A whisky and golf tour of Scotland
Andrew Brown

In this book, one man returns to rediscover his native Scotland through its most famous exports; whisky and golf. He finds that both derive from what makes Scotland great – its land and its people – and that the very earth contributes to the essential ‘architecture’ of both.
With an engaging and philosophical approach, the author creates a tour of Scotland, offering insight into the industries behind whisky and golf, as well as the history and experience of both.
Matching distilleries and courses by region, he discovers some hidden gems and some unique experiences, concluding that both pursuits offer more than the sum of their parts. Both simple yet complicated, these two great representatives of Scotland offer insight into this unique country, its landscape, its people and beyond that life itself.
Published: May 2018
Hardback: 174 pages
Price: £19.50
ISBN: 9-781912-419166

£19.50 (+ £2 postage)
Number of copies:


Available from Amazon

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...

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
Editor
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.


An Army Veteran’s Journey by Narrowboat
Martin Farmer

9781911175797 Looking back a furniture van would have been a more practical and much quicker way to relocate, but not so much fun. Convinced by watching far too many Youtube “The end is nye” documentaries the author decided that drastic measures were needed to safe guard his future. At the same time and probably more realistically fulfilling a long and growing need to escape from his institutionalised lifestyle and exile in southern England. Financially the only options available to him were a cardboard box, or a boat. It was a close run thing but he eventually settled on the life a float choice. As an ex soldier extensive travel and a nomadic life style were familiar. Although |other than the Harwich to Hamburg ferry clueless about anything that floated The story begins in a marine in Watford where a suitably priced boat was purchased. It was decided after a year or so of getting the hang of things and wasting lots of money, that a change of scenery and a different boat was becoming more than just a dream…or nightmare! 
Published: Jan 2018
Paperback: 222 pages
Price: £9.00
ISBN: 9-781911-175797
Available from Amazon
After getting reacquainted with an old buddy the decision was made to travel the two hundred and ten miles by canal to chirk in northeast Wales, alone…almost. Not a romantic tale of hot and sunny days filled with relaxed and tranquil cruising. Trying his hardest, the entire journey was completed in nineteen days, despite boasts from some that the journey could be completed in around four to six days. If the time taken wasn’t a record then the number of mishaps, encounters with interesting characters and the abysmal weather surely was. A slightly tongue in cheek account of a sometimes reluctant and of course grumpy-ish boater. The adventure takes us via one or two tangents from a “lock virgin” to almost expert helmsman… who still hates canals and boats!
 
Reader Reviews... B GIBSON A book that kept me on the edge of my ... A book that kept me on the edge of my seat waiting for the author to join the fish, or see what other bit of boating equipment he would loose next. ie tennis balls on a boat? A must for anyone thinking of taking to the water for the first time with information on what to do and what not to do. Amazon Customer Excellent read, witty and funny it gives a great ... Excellent read, witty and funny it gives a great account of what it is really like on the water, (canals). A must for all Narrow Boat enthusiasts.  

A grown-up gap-year spent in New Zealand
Godfrey Wilkinson

9781911175766 “Oh Bugger it! Why don’t we just go and live there?” Next morning we left our home behind and set off on the first leg of our great antipodean adventure.This is the story of a ‘grown-up gap-year’ spent in New Zealand. A melting-pot of recollections, reflections and abundant digressions, it is, by turns, tangentially informative, subjectively insightful and forthrightly irreverent. The author recounts, with frequent characteristically acerbic asides, the trials and tribulations, highs, lows and flat spots of stepping ‘outside the box’ and thirty years back in time, into a new life on the other side of the world. Along the way, he touches upon a diversity of nebulously related topics, amongst which teaching, long-distance walking, bureaucracy and drinking beer are recurrent themes. Anyone who has ever harboured a desire to seek out distant horizons will relate to the inherent urge to ‘up and go’ encapsulated in this account. Anyone who has never felt such wanderlust may find themselves re-evaluating their perspectives. Reading this book is unlikely to change your life but it just might change the way you think about it.  
Published: July 2017
Paperback: 278 pages
Price: £10.50
ISBN: 9-781911-175766

£10.50 (+ £2 postage)
Number of copies:


Available from Amazon
Godfrey Wilkinson grew up in Lichfield, Staffordshire in the English Midlands: a city with a proud cultural heritage and an established tradition of landlocked introspection.In his mid-50s, after some 30-odd years as a Secondary School teacher (with occasional forays into the real world of Business and Commerce), he decided to get off the grid and realise a long-held ambition to experience the New Zealand dream. His occasional newsletters prompted friends to say, “You should write a book about it.” So he did. He currently lives with his wife, Jayne, and their New Zealand sheepdog, above a taverna overlooking the harbour of a small Greek fishing village.
Reader Reviews...

Malcolm Cowburn
Beyond drudgery: there is life after teaching


The title of the book is in Māori (‘Whā Kaupeka’) and then repeated in English (‘Four seasons in New Zealand’). Some chapter titles are in English and others in Māori indicating the emphasis of each section, I briefly offer the translation of the Māori words (with thanks to maoridictionary.co.nz): Pae Tawhiti (cast far away), Ngahuru (Autumn), Hōtoke (Winter), Kōanga (Spring) and Raumati (Summer). The attention to, and respect for Māori culture is one of the many strengths of this book.

In part personal memoir, drinking diary, nature journal, walker's log, cultural commentary and social polemic, this book is entertaining, informative and thought provoking. The author and his wife, both experienced teachers jaundiced with teaching policy and practice in the UK, decided to emigrate to New Zealand. The book is, in part an account of their experience. It captures, with humour, the frustrations of dealing with bureaucracies managing emi/immigration, house sale and purchase and employment in two countries at opposite ends of the globe. The acerbic eye of the author looks back in anger on the KPI driven world of English education managed by acquiescent careerists, and initially enthuses about the simple candour of staff-pupil relationships on the other side of the world. It is also an account of a long-distance walk undertaken by the author with two friends and his dog. The Cleveland Way is a 110 mile walk in North Yorkshire, England. The book is unified by the way it encounters the natural, cultural and historical worlds of both locations; these are well researched and expressed in an easy and accessible manner. The text is liberally punctuated with 'drinks breaks’ which the author manages with eloquent ease, savouring the new and relishing the familiar. The pains of emigration are not ignored, sadness and sorrow are economically yet powerfully expressed. Family ties and memories of England recur regularly throughout: humorously, for example, in the author’s early naturalist experiments that disturbed the, rhythms of family life, and poignantly in the references to his father. The book ends as it began with a refusal to accept life-numbing work conditions and a quest for adventure. The strength of this book is its clarity, and full-on engagement with the complexities and challenges of living fulsomely in the moment.  

Insight into a country of huge diversity, its climate, topography and different peoples.
Roger Stoakley

9781909644977 Few visitors to Kenya travel far from the beaten track; there’s all those lions to contend with.
Roger Stoakley travelled widely into remote areas of the country over a period of many years, while setting up a fund for destitute children. What he found is a revelation. He describes in compassionate and often humorous detail a society torn between the trappings of a modern state and a multitude of die-hard tribal customs and traditions that are difficult to reconcile.
The joys and sufferings of the traditional and often impoverished families that the fund was designed to help are portrayed in vivid colours, together with Roger’s experiences while living with them.
Through Kenyan Doors shows how, as a result of colonial rule, widely differing peoples of Cushitic, Nilotic, and Bantu backgrounds have been thrust together with those of European and Indian origin to form the modern state, and how big-city earners and hunter-gatherers must somehow act as fellow citizens. It demonstrates some of the huge barriers that must be overcome if they are to succeed.
Published:20th January 2016
Paperback:306 pages
Price:£11.99
ISBN:9-781909-644977

Available from Amazon
and Kindle e-books


Living in Somerset, married to a Norwegian and with four children, Roger Stoakley has travelled widely in Europe, Asia and East Africa and lectures on a number of topics. An interest in the welfare of the young, led him to set up projects for children in both Kenya and Nepal. Other interests are gardening, photography, the arts and racing a small dinghy.
Reader Reviews...