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Great night at Addiscombe and Shirley

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Last Tuesday, I had the pleasure of being the guest speaker at Addiscombe and Shirley Rotary club. They meet at The Chateau restaurant in South Croydon and what a spectacular place it is. The meal I had, sitting next to president Annette, was truly excellent.

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The distinguished audience and me!

It was the first time I had given a talk about the last two of my three novels The Emerald of Burgos and Expulsion and only the second time for many years that I had used Powerpoint. I could tell the talk had gone down well by the sheer number of questions and the obvious interest it generated.

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Joe presents me with an attendance certificate.

It was good to be present when a guest, Shankara, from Bangalore also attended and exchanged Rotary flags with Annette. Shankara invited me to meet him when I will be in India in 2019 and I plan to take him up on that!

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Annette and Shankara exchange flags.

So thank you Joe Baxter for inviting me, the club for their generous hospitality and all those members who bought copies of my books. I hope you enjoy reading them!

 

 

Declan’s new career!

Hello and welcome to my blog or back again if you’ve dropped by before.

Up to now, I have carried out all the work needed to keep my garden in order. However, my good friend Declan O’Doherty, has just changed his job. From feeding us thirsty and hungry golfers at  ‘Declan’s restaurant’, the half-way house set between the ninth and tenth holes of Malden Golf Club, he has become a jobbing gardener and house maintainer. In Declan’s words, ‘No job is too small’.

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Nice clean paving stones and a new path across the bottom

Well, last week, Declan carried out some jobs in our garden and what a great job he has done! He’s put in a new paving stone path at the bottom, painted the summer house, put some new slabs across a new patch of lawn and cleaned up the patio as well as a few other smaller jobs.

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A now sparkling patio

Lovely Jan and I are delighted at what he’s done, so much so, I thought I’d share our transformed back garden with you! Pity I didn’t take some ‘before’ pictures and you’d have got a better idea of the difference he’s made.

If you want to ask Declan to do some work for you, he charges £18 an hour and can be contacted on 0783 3611788. I’m sure he’d be delighted to hear from you!

Back to Woking!

It was a great pleasure for me today to speak about my novel writing to Woking Rotary Club which meets at Hoebridge Golf Club in Surrey. Keith was my host and I sat next to John Goodridge  who acted as president for the day. We had a lovely lunch with a main course of leek and chicken pie, one of my favourites!

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The 17th at Hoebridge. What a challenging hole which I’ve played many times!
What a friendly group of people! I felt really welcomed and everyone listened attentively to my talk. I was quite chuffed because I’d spoken to the club only three months ago about my career in the Home Office. Mind you, I did wear a different set of clothes so I must have looked different, haircut and all!

Anyway, that you very much, John G for inviting me and the cheque for £50 which I’ll give to End Polio Now. And a big thank you to all those discerning readers who generously bought copies of my book!

 

 

‘Expulsion’ for sale in Stoneleigh Post Office!

Welcome to my blog or back again if you follow me or have been here before!

I thought I’d let you know that Mr Shukla, the manager of the Post Office in the Broadway, in Stoneleigh, Epsom is now stocking Expulsion. He did very well with sales of The Harpist of Madrid and was very keen to have some copies of my latest.

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Mr Shukla’s handy Post Office in Stoneleigh

I’ve produced a little advert for him, saying a bit about the book and crucially that I’m giving £1 for every book sold to ‘End Polio Now’ a charity run by Rotary International and the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation. For each £1 donated, the Foundation give twice the amount to treble it, i.e. every £1 becomes £3 for End Polio Now. Not bad, eh?

So many thanks, Mr Shukla, for stocking ‘Expulsion’.

Presentation to PROBUS

Last week, I had the singular pleasure of doing one of my talks to the Tandridge PROBUS Club which meets at the Surrey National Golf Club, near Caterham.

The club meets at lunch time and what a great bunch of guys they are. During the meal, I sat next to Peter Whittle, the chairman, an author in his own right, and we exchanged thoughts on getting books into print, selling film rights and so on. Peter presented me with a cheque for my charity, End Polio Now. And I really enjoyed delivering the talk and answering some excellent questions!

So thank you members of the Tandridge PROBUS club for inviting me to talk to you, to John Jackson who invited me, Peter who gave me the cheque and to all of those discerning readers who bought copies of my books!

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The spectacular Surrey National

So to speak…

…at the Shepperton and Sunbury Rotary Club is what I did. Last Monday, in fact!

You’re right, I haven’t been posting for a couple of weeks now but only because lovely Jan and I have been on a little holiday to the Canary Islands.

Back to my talk. The Rotary Club invited me to talk on ‘A latecomer Novelist’, which is what I am, I suppose! What a friendly bunch they are, too. As soon as I arrived, Oliver dashed of to buy me a pint. And throughout I sat next to President Geoff as we exchanged notes on running Rotary Clubs. Did I tell you, I become president of our club, Nonsuch Rotary, later in the year?

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The sumptuous Holiday Inn, Shepperton

The club meets at The Holiday Inn Shepperton, a new venue for them and this was the first time the Club met in this particular room. As usual, I spoke after a really nice dinner, obviously enjoyed by all, including me!

I sincerely thank Shepperton and Sunbury Rotary Club for inviting me and especially Carl Phillips, the speaker secretary, who made all the arrangements. And many thanks to all those discerning readers who bought copies of my books!

 

Expulsion now on sale at Regency Bookshop, Surbiton

That’s why I’m so chuffed! Pat the owner agreed to put it on sale so I took some along today!

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Pat’s friendly and welcoming shop! It’s right on Surbiton Station so will attract commuters on their way to and from their work in town.

This is the second shop where it is for sale. The other is WHSmith in Kingston-Upon-Thames. We’ll see who sells out first!

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My new company logo – or at least the first shot at one!

Thank you, Pat. I’m really grateful, especially as you’ve taken some copies of The Emerald of Burgos as well!

Like a dinner Party!

Last week I had the most amazing Rotary experience. It was to visit Feltham Rotary in Bedmont, near Staines-Upon-Thames. The club meets at the Assembly Hall in the Fairholme Estate off Staines Road and which was built in 1934 by T Cecil Howitt as low-rental housing from a bequest by Elizabeth Jones, a Fulham resident. The Hall is a beautiful building which has an incredible curved, vaulted ceiling.

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The magnificent Assembly Hall, Fairholme Estate

The best part of the meeting was the Rotary Club itself which has a mere 8 members. Seven attended and each introduced themselves to me. I had rarely felt more welcomed anywhere. We all sat around a table and it felt like being at a dinner party of old friends rather than at a club, none of whose members I had ever met before. A rare characteristic was that unlike any other Rotary Club I had visited before – and I’ve been to about thirty up to now – was that the members prepared and cooked the dinner between them in the kitchen next to the hall!

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Just look at that curved ceiling!

I had a wonderful evening chatting with these lovely people and talking to them about my novels. Nearly everyone of them bought at least one for which I was so grateful. So thank you members of Feltham Rotary and a special thanks to Daphne Cass who invited me. I sincerely hope I meet you all again!

 

Carnahan Conference 2017 is in Madrid

Welcome everybody who has been here before and welcome all newcomers.

As many of you know, I am closely associated with the International Carnahan Conference on Security Technology (ICCST). In fact, I chair the Executive Committee which is a group of 20 of us, from all over the world, who set the direction and manage the conference policies.

This year the ICCST is to be held in Madrid Spain. This is after the amazingly successful conference we held in Orlando, Florida last year which was the ICCST’s 50th,  yes, it’s golden anniversary.

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Call for papers, ICCST-2017

Here is our call for papers for Spain. It is being organised by a dedicated, enthusiastic group, led by Professor Javier Ortega-Garcia at the Universidad de Autonoma de Madrid. The Call contains all relevant info. Please submit an abstract or come along!