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

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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.
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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

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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.
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Skiing With Demons
Chris Tomlinson

9781909644663 This flagrantly honest book documents the ascent/descent of an ageing ski-bum from city-living executive to garage-dwelling chalet-host. It describes how the ski-bum’s escape from the rat race is affected by means of a rented chalet in the French alpine town of Morzine, where his ‘Chalet Project’ teaches him new and strange domestic skills and he learns a lot about Land Rover maintenance - it also causes him to lose his home and his wife and to stare down into an alcoholic crevasse. On arrival in chalet land he is frequently abducted by the ‘Après Aliens’ and hears voices in his head - his ‘Ski Demons’. Enter the world of ‘girlfriend skiing’ and of the ‘Ski Nazis’ and other such weird creatures and find out what ski-bums do in the summer. Feel for the author as he attempts to qualify as ski instructor and Ski Club of Great Britain Leader – only to discover that he’s not actually very good at skiing!
Published:1st Oct 2015
Paperback:267 pages

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This book is also a useful manual for skiers. It examines skiing philosophies and looks at common skiing phobias. Finally, rejoice as our ski-bum exorcises his demons and also his fear of avalanches and an infamous run called the Swiss Wall.
Amazon No1 Best Seller tag in Winter Sports - UK and France

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An excellent read!

A great book. I read it all in one go, so eager was I to follow the story. It is funny - I had a few laugh out loud moments which are unusual for me - and poignant too. The author is disarmingly honest about his exploits, the end of his marriage and his struggle to get back on his feet. I passed it onto my 17 year old son who also read it in one go and loved it and to my 80 year old mother-in-law who is reading it now. So, a book for everyone and a great little stocking filler!

Witty page turner of how one man started living the dream of many avid holiday skiers.

A great book. I read it all in one go, so eager was I to follow the story. It is funny - I had a few laugh out loud moments which are unusual for me - and poignant too. The author is disarmingly honest about his exploits, the end of his marriage and his struggle to get back on his feet. I passed it onto my 17 year old son who also read it in one go and loved it and to my 80 year old mother-in-law who is reading it now. So, a book for everyone and a great little stocking filler!

Photo-location guidebook to some of the UK’s most photogenic mountain scenery.
Paul Allen

9781909644922 Landscape Treks is a photo location guidebook that takes you round some of the UK’s wildest and most photogenic mountain scenery. The walks are based around getting the best images from a visit to an area by delivering in depth and well researched route descriptions, getting you off the beaten track. They set out a number of key photographic locations along the route with compositional pointers for each location. Also included are a number of wild camping locations which allows you to stay out in some stunning places and maximise your time in the hills. The routes can be split into short (few hours) sections, full day walks and two day overnight trips. These walks cover some of the finest mountain scenery in the UK whilst visiting lesser known viewpoints.
Published:1st Dec 2015
Paperback:238 pages

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The guide is aimed at walkers, with a love of taking photographs, and landscape photographers, of all abilities, who are looking for new ideas on where to visit to capture their own stunning landscape images. With 16 locations around the UK, in The Lake District, Snowdonia, The Brecon Beacons, The Peak District, The Pennines and The Scottish Borders, this book has 140 images to inspire you to pack up your rucksack and go explore over 70 photogenic viewpoints.
Paul Allen has many years’ experience mixing wild camping and photography as well as arranging trips for clients. These have taken him all over the UK and Europe.
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Retraces the footsteps of St Columbanus of Bangor, a modern pilgrimage.
Barry Sloan

Why would a Northern Irish Protestant, raised in a staunchly loyalist community, hitchhike through Catholic Europe on the trail of medieval celtic monks? Why is the seaside town of Bangor in Northern Ireland largely responsible for Europe becoming a Christian continent? What role did an Ulsterman play in the creation of the European Union, and what can be done today to break down walls and bring people together? Who was Columbanus of Bangor and why are present-day librarians from all over the world indebted to him? Why does God not like zebras, has Murphy's Law anything to do with chaos theory, and why are the Germans the reason Ireland had to wait 1,900 years to get decent, straight roads?
Published:20th Nov 2015
Paperback:206 pages

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Answers to all these questions can be found within these pages, the story of the European travels of sixth-century saint, Columbanus - and of a twenty-first century sinner, the book’s author. Weaving history, politics, theology, and personal narrative together in a humorous and readable way, Sloan tells the fascinating story of Columbanus and his legacy in uniting Europe. Profound moments of reflection and insight are punctuated by hilarious episodes: of breakfast with Vikings, of an attack by monster bees - and lunch with a talking horse! When the Saints go Marching is funny, thought-provoking, informative, inspiring and challenging - and all without being preachy.

Barry J. Sloan, born in Carrickfergus in Northern Ireland, is married and has two children. He is an ordained Methodist minister, currently serving as mission partner with the United Methodist Church in Germany.
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Travels of a Hard-Rock Mining Engineer
Martin Stoakes

TOAHRM_Cover Travels of a Hard-Rock Mining Engineer is a chronicle of the travels and experiences of a hard-rock mining engineer during the last half of the 20th century. It gives a vivid and an instructive insight into the generally little known subject of hard-rock mining, often in remote locations. Various mining projects are described in detail and provide a fascinating insight into the complexities of mine design and evaluation. Martin Stoakes worked on 125 mining projects in thirty-seven different countries over a forty-four year period. His graphic account of the sometimes nerve-racking conditions and locales that he experienced includes encounters with Shining Path guerrilla fighters in Peru, MNLF Islamic fundamentalists in the Philippines and the RPF guerrillas in Rwanda/Uganda. Hard rock mining was never for the faint-hearted.
Published:1st Feb 2015
Paperback:638 pages

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Murderous fighters notwithstanding, the author's passion for narrow-boating, walking, cycling and his love of dogs give a tranquil balance and, from the early 1980s, there is a touching account of the trials and tribulations of first fostering, then adopting and raising a son into his family.

Pounds and Pinfolds
Nigel Mills

cover Ask most people about pounds and pinfolds and they look blank. They may not have noticed the small, round or rectangular building that likely stands at the edge of their village. And yet these modest structures, now often reduced to piles of stones, were once an essential part of rural life in what is now Cumbria. They were where stray stock, and any animal found grazing on land for which its owner had no proper grazing rights, were once confined - until the owner paid a fine imposed by the local court. For hill-farmers and others, pounds or pinfolds were indispensable for ensuring community harmony. In this scholarly and well-researched account, Nigel Mills provides us with a comprehensive and unique insight into a little-considered aspect of our rural heritage and into the way of life of the men and women who farmed our hills in days gone by. It will be of great interest to local historians and to all who take an interest in the social history of Cumbria.
Published:28th Nov 2014
Paperback:94 pages

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