Pied Piper review

Pied PiperPied Piper by Nevil Shute

My rating: 4 of 5 stars

Nice little read was this one. The story is about an elderly man embarking on a fishing trip to France. Once there, the inevitable happens, WWII erupts, and feeling the need to be home to do his bit, decides to return to the UK as soon as possible.

Heading home on his own would be easy, but having befriended an English couple living in Switzerland, he is requested to take their 2 young children with him. Believing this would hamper him only slightly, and with little knowledge of how quickly the Germans are moving, he agrees. Within hours things start to go wrong, and quickly the number of children in his charge grows from 2 to 3, and eventually to 7.

As war intensifies, so the routes and transport they need become non-existent. Food too. And of course safety. Left to little more than a broken pram and determination to keep the children safe, John Howard sets out to achieve what many will see as unachievable.

Pied Piper


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Great piece from WP missmelissawrites


(photo credit )

I don’t do enough of this, but will do so from now on – reblog and promote others that is.

I’ve known Melissa for years, meeting online when we both enrolled for one of the Get Smarter Writing courses. Subsequently we met up for coffee with other course participants, and over the years we have met and shared, and supported.

Melissa not only blogs, writes, mother’s children and a husband, she also paddle surfs. Her stories are great fun, and I hope you will enjoy reading this latest piece published in Zigzagsurf magazine. She’s a great read




Run rabbit, run rabbit, run, run, run

On a previous post I mentioned  how since being in the UK we have been enjoying the countryside and all that comes with it. I also said that I’d seen a couple of wild rabbits and that Hubster refused to believe it until he too had seen them hop, hop, hopping along.

So here you go, proof! Jeepers not sure how I managed to get this short clip. But I did. Ha, that little fluffy tail just keeps bouncing



Pants on fire

Hubster and I are staying in a great little place called The Old Stone Barn in Warrington for a few weeks. Set on a working farm, you can only imagine how beautiful it is here. Call me biased, but for me the home counties of Bedfordshire/Buckinghamshire/Hertfordshire are really special. See the photos further on and you’ll maybe understand why I feel that way.

Well we’ve been pretty busy the last 4 months, house hunting, furniture shopping, paperwork chasing, and occasionally arguing over whether my right is hubsters right, and whether our TomTom has an altogether other right than either of us, or mankind for that matter. So when we can, we take a break from hitting our heads against the same wall and walk.

Hello, who are you? – photo RuthBH2Day

This evening on our stroll then, I spotted some wild rabbits, which hubster is refusing to believe exist until he sees them himself. (Hang on, does that mean he is toying with liar, liar, pants on fire? Hmpf!)  While yesterday’s leg exercising had us come across  a lama amongst a field of sheep – hoping to get a photo tomorrow. Oh yes, and also today, hubster swears some noisy flappy things who crossed our paths were Guinea Fowl – will also try to photograph them. Not sure on that one, but to be fair, if all I can come up with is flappy things, then who am I to argue.

One of many wonky stiles we used – Photo RuthBH2Day

Anyway, one of the great things to do in the countryside is to follow the public footpaths and bridle ways that can take you in every direction imaginable, over and through fields and farmland, until you end up hopefully where you intended.

Lavendon then. Another village. That was our destination as we headed in the direction where Fiona (the proprietor) had pointed and shared. “30 minute walk, straight down there.”

Wonderful walking across this field – photo RuthBH2Day

Straight down there then took us over wobbly stiles, through fields, past feasting sheep who didn’t seem to care a hoot we were in their space, past several farms, had us engaging in conversation with a local couple who confirmed, “yes straight down there, across the bridge, to the left.” Fiona never mentioned a bridge, or a left? 2.5kms later, parched to say the least we arrived and headed straight to The Green Man for alcohol, err um, refreshment.

photo – RuthBH2Day

Sufficed we headed back. Followed the same route, took a wrong turn and ended up walking another 3.4kms to get home again.  We were pooped, but my goodness we enjoyed every minute of it.

Ah, refreshment at The Green Man Lavendon – photo – RuthBH2Day

#lavendon #olney #Theoldstonebarn #holiday #homecounties








A tribute to Women’s day by the very, very clever and witty Niki Malherbe

Niki Malherbe



At the risk of revealing anything too private about my life (though it must be said that the concept of menopause, at this stage, is entirely mysterious and reserved for a select few whom I seldom meet or have heard much about) or my husband’s penis, I thought it necessary to impart the discussion I had with my gynecologist last week. It reinforced my belief that unless we talk to people and are excited to explore ideas about life, there doesn’t seem much point in it– though even more urgent for me is clearly the need to write about it.

Before I assumed the indescribably humiliating and mortifying position of undergoing a routine check- up with my Dr. when he nonchalantly says, ‘OK let’s take a look’ and…

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returning to pen and paper


When earlier this year we returned to the UK, after living in South Africa for a million years, I was more heart sore than I let on about leaving my girls behind. And despite them being young women, one married, one about to be, both happy, that wasn’t enough to allow me an easy “leave”.  Even before boarding the plane I was wondering how on earth we would be able to stay in touch. How would we be able to deal with not having our treasured meet up for shopping and dinner nights, or go to a movie, or visit a winery in the glorious Cape?  Even an opportunity to sit outside a changing room as they tried on clothes was going to be missed. Even harder would be the “are you home, popping round” calls.

Of course we have Skype and email and Whatsapp, which have been fantastic, and are the three things I wish had been available to me when leaving the UK for SA in the 1980s. Back then it was about pen to paper, email quality to keep the weight and cost down. Red and blue edged envelopes. Licking small, blue, airmail stickers, whose glue would leave you pulling a face, and wishing there was an easier way to communicate!

air mail envelope

And then it struck me. Why not write to them? I like writing. I can throw a few words together. Let’s give this a go. It could be good, just what I need.  And it is.


Once a week, often Monday morning, I take hold of my pen, sit in a quiet spot, and write. Not pages and pages. Instead I fill a blank card, the sort you buy in a bookshop with beautiful photo images, often purchased from places we’ve visited, or a card that caught the eye at the supermarket. It’s enough space to have a nice chat, without rambling. If there is a little more to say, and space allows, the back is also used. I tell them about what we’ve been doing, what we are planning, and even things I’ve seen which had me chuckling – a lady outside her house, covered in what looked like ash, shaking herself off while yelling at her children to go to their room was one such chuckle moment.


Writing to them somehow makes me feel as if I’m chatting directly to them, more so than taping at a keyboard. And while we continue to electronically communicate regularly, the writing to them is treasured. As is the moment I hand over the colourful envelope at my local post office. For it’s at that point I know what I’ve said is on it’s way. And as I walk away, I’m already planning my next card purchase, but never the content. That only happens on Monday morning when there is time to reflect on the last seven days.

I’ve lost count of how many cards have been written, but I’m guessing 8 to each of them so far. The aim being for them to receive a letter/card a week. Sometimes it works, and sometimes they get 2 at once. But so far so good. The SA postal system has not let me down.

And then there is a magical moment when I receive a card back. I held one in my hands today and beamed.

And as I did, I hoped they both do the same when they receive mine.