Trees by Joyce Kilmer

I think that I shall never see
A poem lovely as a tree.

A tree whose hungry mouth is prest
Against the sweet earth’s flowing breast;

A tree that looks at God all day,
And lifts her leafy arms to pray;

A tree that may in summer wear 
A nest of robins in her hair;

Upon whose bosom snow has lain;
Who intimately lives with rain.

Poems are made by fools like me,
But only God can make a tree.

Joyce Kilmer – 1886-1918

Batemans and Rudyard Kipling.

“We had seen an advertisement of her, and we reached her down an enlarged rabbit-hole of a lane. At very first sight the Committee of Ways and Means [Mrs Kipling and himself]said ‘That’s her! The only She! Make an honest woman of her – quick!’. We entered and felt her Spirit – her Feng Shui – to be good. We went through every room and found no shadow of ancient regrets, stifled miseries, nor any menace though the ‘new’ end of her was three hundred years old…”

Rudyard Kipling on discovering Batemans, his future home.

Rudyard Kipling’s Jacobean Batemans.

A World Fallen by Nicholas Carter

Today I am delighted to introduce a guest post by Nicholas Carter, who is talking to us about the process of writing and also a resume of his debut novel, published today.

I’ll be honest here, I’ve never written a guest blog post before. I’m not really sure what I’m doing. I have blogged before, moderately, and I am a writer. I am author, and I have a book releasing today. This is the reason I’m here, but it feels a bit disingenuous to just write a few paragraphs about promoting a book from an author no one has heard of yet. So, it is for that reason that I’m just going to talk about myself for a moment, my journey, and of course tell you all a little about my book.

My name is Nicholas Lawrence Carter and ever since I can remember I’ve been writing. When I was a kid I loved to make lists. I made them constantly, and about everything. My favorite movies, TV shows, books, video games, places to go, food, all of it. I even made questionnaires for my friends and gave them out. They loved it, except they didn’t. I’m thirty-four years old and am just releasing my first novel. I took a long, and often quite unsafe, route to get to where I am in life. I’ll spare you all the less interesting details and sum it up with this; I made a lot of bad decisions.

A few years ago I finally gave into the prodding that has always been in the back of my mind. I’ve dabbled in many creative avenues, to varying levels of minimal success. I’ve written and directed short films and sketch videos, produced and hosted podcasts, one which was picked up on local TV for about two years, written for a film website, started my own film critique page, been on the creative team for an Independent wrestling company, along with a few other endeavors.

Notice that writing is a key aspect to all of those ventures? Why, then, did it take me so long to realize that writing novels is what I really should be doing? Honestly, fear. I was afraid of failing, afraid of putting all the time and effort into something and it going nowhere. All of those other creative ventures I’ve been on have involved other people. None of them were carried out by just myself. There was always this small voice telling me, “You did everything you could. You can’t help that the others didn’t put in the effort that you did.” And you know what? That’s a cop-out.

The realization that I wasn’t truly committing fully, even though I was trying to do something creative, changed my entire perspective. You get out what you put in. These days my social life has massively reduced, and I’m actually perfectly fine with that. I want to be an author and I enjoy the process, even when I really don’t want to write on a given day, I always enjoy having written something and making progress. I want to support myself with this skill that I believe I have. Am I still afraid? Yes, of course, but I refuse to let that hold me back any longer. I’ll never know what my true ability is if I do not throw everything I have at it and eliminate all possible doubt. So, that is what my life has been these past several years.

I’m just a person who loves stories, loves telling them, and hopes others will find some sort of interest, joy, emotion, and/or comfort in the ones I tell. I’ll wrap this up here and leave you with a little about my book that releases today.

A World Fallen is a thriller set in a dystopian, post-apocalyptic world. A disease outbreak, that turns those infected into murderous drones, destroys society. The book is a bit of a mash up throwing in elements of suspense, a little dash of horror, a Stand By Me meets The Walking Dead quasi coming-of-age vibe, and it has zombies. Talking zombies. This ain’t your daddy’s George A. Romero flick. I wouldn’t say that I ever intended to write a novel in the zombie/virus sub-genre, but I felt that I had a pretty unique approach to it. To speak on that more would be to spoil aspects of the story, so I’ll leave that hanging there to pique your interest. The book is available on Amazon today in eBook and Paperback, and it’s also available in Kindle Select. It would mean the world to me if you would check it out and leave a review. Good or bad, I read them all, and they’re all helpful to me in further developing my craft. 

Thank you for choosing to spend some time with me and read this guest blog post. Check out my author website and catch me on Twitter. I’m always down to converse!

Link to buy book:

Author Website:


East Sussex Children’s Book Award

East Sussex Children’s Book Award 2020

This year’s winner is:

David Ouimet
I Go Quiet


I Go Quiet

How do you find your voice, when no one seems to be listening? A young girl struggles to make herself heard, believing she is too insignificant and misunderstood to communicate with the people in her life.

We had a great time reading all the books for the East Sussex Children’s Book Award. A librarians dream task. This week we were delighted to announce author David Ouimet a very worthy winner with ‘I go Quiet’.

Touring Tuesday

Today we made our way along the South Coast from Eastbourne to Dungeness. Dungeness spans Dungeness Nuclear Power Station, the hamlet of Dungeness, and an ecological site at the same location.

The weather was hot, the top was down on the car and we hit the road.

Dungeness Power Station

Dungeness has one of the largest areas of vegetated shingle in Europe and is internationally important. It’s landscape is barren and wild with a mishmash of living accommodation made out of old railway carriages, mobile homes, sheds and old mobile homes alongside more traditionally built houses- wood and stone, all with beach sympathetic and inspired gardens . An artist’s paradise.

It’s bleak, unique, fascinating and one of my favourite places on Earth, whatever the weather.

World Music 🎵 Day

It’s World Music Day today! The event is celebrated in over 120 countries including its country of origin France where it is known as ‘Fête de la Musique’ and is to honour both amateur and professional musicians. In cities worldwide, under normal, pre COVID-19, musicians would perform for free in public places.

Below is a whole gallery of my travelling music highlights.

“If music be the food of love, play on” William Shakespeare. Twelfth Night.

Down to Earth by Monty Don

Reading Down to Earth was a journey back to my childhood. A nostalgic trip down memory lane being in the garden with my dad, also a horticultural by trade. Working with the seasons, preparing and working the ground, planting and harvesting. Learning to live with nature, not against it.

‘… all good gardens are as much about the people that make them as the plants growing in them.’ 

Monty Don. 

Judenrein by Harold Benhamin

Today we have a guest post by Harold Benhamin, writing about his just published novel, Judenrein. Over to you Harry:

When I started writing Judenrein, a thriller that imagines the destruction of America’s Jews as white supremacists seized power in Washington, the plot seemed like a paranoid fantasy. Now, with “Bugaloo Bois” openly calling for a civil war as they violently disrupt black anti-police demonstrations, the notion doesn’t seem so crazy all of a sudden. Indeed, 2019 had the most anti-Semitic incidents of any year in the US.

Hate is rising and becoming increasingly normalized. Neo Nazis are tugging at the levers of power in Washington. The president calls them “Good people.” They haven’t gotten themselves into control—and may never get that far—but they are closer to their goal, and far more open about it, than they have been in decades.

The basic plot of the book is borrowed from what happened in the 1930s to German Jews. They were set up as scapegoats for Germany’s problems. The Nazis stripped Jews of their German citizenship and wealth. Jews were rounded up an eventually murdered. The word the Nazis used to describe their “success” was “Judenrein,” meaning “Free of Jews.”

Judenrein updates this story to present-day America. However, the book is for anyone who cares about what’s happening in the United States. I’ve tried to make it a fun, suspenseful read, but it delves into the issue of hatred and white power and its dangers for all Americans.

Willemstad waterfront in Curaçao.

The vividly painted architecture lining the Willemstad waterfront in Curaçao did not happen by design. The capital city developed after the Dutch claimed the island in 1634. The only materials available for construction, mismatched bricks scavenged from ship ballast, were finished with lime plaster made from crushed shells, which dried to a dazzling white facade in the intense Caribbean sun. Apparently a former governor of the island suffered from severe headaches and thought this was made worse by the sun’s brilliant reflections off the white buildings. He ordered that building exteriors be painted any color but white. Despite later discovery that the governor was a shareholder in the island’s only paint store, the tradition of painting in vivid colors has endured, making Willemstad’s Dutch and Spanish colonial style architecture a stunning Caribbean sight.

Willemstad, Curaçao, the last of the ABC islands to visit, was the final port of call on our Six week West Indies and American cruise. A cruise that had it’s ups and downs due to the start of Covid-19. Unfortunately although we could dock here, we didn’t get to go ashore. Another time, another cruise…!

Cartagena, Colombia.

Cartagena is a port city on Colombia’s Caribbean coast. The walled Old Town, founded in the 16th century, has squares, cobblestone streets and colorful colonial buildings. It was a South American stop on our Caribbean and American cruise. During the fabulous sail into port my head was full of Pablo Escobar and his drug charged career. This was soon forgotten when we hit the streets of the Cartagena, the Colombian capital. A riot of colour and noise filled the senses and left me reeling. The atmosphere was electric, the weather hot and sultry. My only regret for this beautiful and vibrant city was that I didn’t buy an emerald!

The Trees by Philip Larkin

The trees are coming into leaf 
Like something almost being said; 
The recent buds relax and spread, 
Their greenness is a kind of grief. 

Is it that they are born again 
And we grow old? No, they die too, 
Their yearly trick of looking new 
Is written down in rings of grain. 

Yet still the unresting castles thresh
In fullgrown thickness every May.
Last year is dead, they seem to say,
Begin afresh, afresh, afresh.