Friday, January 25, 2013

Cardboard Cathedral

We arrived in Christchurch last night at the start of our annual 3-month migration to New Zealand. It is always a long journey but this time it seemed especially arduous with delays to both ferry and air trips. This morning we walked into the city centre, or at least as near to the centre as one can go, which is a bit nearer than last year. The forbidden zone has shrunk a little as more dangerous buildings have been removed. Reconstruction of some of the major buildings is well under way and removal of others continues. The pictures below show work in progress, including construction of the famous "Cardboard Cathedral" and also the chair memorial - each chair representing one of the many fatalities in the earthquake nearly two years ago. Seismic activity has slowed. Last week Christchurch suffered its 11,000th earthquake since it all began about two and a half years ago. Last year when we were here in January the 10,000th shock was clocked up so things are definitely improving. He said, ironically. It is a terrible shame to see this poor stricken city. And the damage is not confined to the city cenre. Thousands of homes are damaged and there is a time-consuming programme of inspection and insurance decision before repair or demolition takes place. One family of our acquaintance has just been able to start repair work. Another has just been told that their house has to come down and be rebuilty. As always, clicking on any one picture will give you a gallery of all the pictures enlarged.

Sunday, January 13, 2013

Best Anthology Award

Indie Book Bargains Best Book of 2012
A Splendid Salmagundi
Best Anthology
"A Splendid Salmagundi" - the anthology of stories, poems and other writing pieces from authors who are members of the Goodreads UK Amazon Kindle Forum, has won the "Best Anthology" Award from Indie Book Bargains website. I wrote two of the items in the Salmagundi so I am able to claim two fragments of the award. The list of awards can be seen HERE

Tuesday, January 8, 2013

Enjoyable Read

I have been asked to do more talks about my walk and my books. I am happy to do this because it usually means selling some signed copies (and thereby raising funds) and it gives me a chance to raise awareness about the horrors of pancreatic cancer and the need to find a cure. 

One lady who has asked me to go over to Provence to speak at a literary lunch used to have a bookshop. She sent me an email the other evening which included these kind words:

I sat down this evening and have had a very enjoyable hour or so reading, your exploits and loved that way you slipped in the history of the places you went through. I shall be continuing my reading tomorrow.

I am particularly interested to read the travels of a fellow Lancastrian, I was born in Wigan and lived my adolecent years in Southport before starting my travel at 20, since when I have never lived again in the UK.

Saturday, January 5, 2013

Mist, Mississippi, Mauritius, Morecambe and Moving

A couple of scenes locally this misty morning. You can get bigger versions of the pictures by clicking on one of them.

I have removed the Goodreads Giveaway competition from this page because it has now finished and the signed copies of "Living In The Real Cyprus" have been posted off to the two winners in Mississippi and Mauritius. Clearly, in order to win, you have to live somewhere beginning with "M". One of the winners of the Giveaway for "Vic's Big Walk from SW France to NW England lived in Morecambe.

We are off to New Zealand in 10 days time for a 3-month sojourn. We stunned our neighbours the other day by telling them that when we return we shall be putting our house on the market with a view to moving 100 kms to an apartment in Narbonne. It seemed sudden to them but we have been thinking about it for some time. And they shouldn't hold their breaths - the housing market here is pretty brain-dead.