Hello to all you fellow motorhomers and welcome.
I hope you get as much fun reading this as I do writing it.

Thursday, 11 April 2019


Pearl's season was almost finished so I decided to plan a trip.

No worries about the state of the motorhome.  I had found someone to clean the outside of it.  What a fabulous job he did.

Surely deciding where and when to go would be easy. 

I had a list of the campsites I wanted to visit.  Deciding which one to go to was difficult.  I was unsure how far to travel and how long it would be convenient for me to be away.  Another factor was the proximity of other campsites I wished to visit.

Having finally made a decision, contrary to my usual custom, a few days in advance of my intended stay I phoned to book a pitch.  I was staggered to  be told the campsite was still closed for the winter season and it would more than a week before it opened. 

This rather took the wind out of my sails. 

Then the curse of emails.  I had to attend to some urgent matters regarding the upcoming book signing. (More about this in the next blog).

Finally all was quiet and I could get away.  I eventually decided where to go. I phone the campsite to book a pitch for the next day.  I was told they would have to look and they would phone me back.

I waited and waited not sure quite what to do. Uncertainty is a major de-motivator.  Ultimately I phoned them twice more only to be told they was insufficient space for me.   Now to find somewhere else.  My third choice campsite was much more efficient and accommodating.  Yes they had space for me.

Then the evening before I was due there was a family setback.  As a consequence I decided to delay my departure by 24 hours.

All this shilly-shallying meant I missed the best of the sunny weather.  I just hope all goes well for tomorrow and the next few days are not too cloudy

Monday, 1 April 2019

Read of the Month (April 2019)

So it is the first day of another month. April.

As it is April I was tempted to suggest an "April Fools" book.  
Unfortunately I could not think of an appropriate one.  

I decided instead to review the "Read of the Month" books to date. 
I was surprised to discover that there are 5 "Read of the Month" books and 1 extra.  

They are;-

November 2018 "Read of the Month"

The Secret Life of Bletchley Park 
Sinclair McKay

This tells the story of the  secret work which took place during WW2.  It is extremely interesting and thought provoking.  If the opportunity arises do go and visit Bletchely Park. It is an amazing place.

December 2018 "Read of the Month"

23 Things They don't Tell you About Capitalism" 
Ha-Joon Chang

Well it is a commentary upon current political thinking.  I read it long before Brexit and Trump but it seems even more relevant now.

January 2019 "Read of the Month"

Cream Teas, Traffic Jams and Sunburn 
Brian Viner.

An engaging and enjoyable read especially if British.  It is at time very amusing.

February 2019 "Read of the Month"

"Authentic Happiness" 
Martin Seligman

I am generally skeptical of books like this. However if you are scientifically inclined and can overlook the "Self-help" section a very enlightening book.

March 2019 "Read of the Month"

 The Veiled Kingdom 
Carmen Bin Ladin

The book is not especially well written but I found the content so mesmerizing this did not matter unduly.  It gives an insight into a world which I have very little experience of but which occupies many column inches in the Western press.  It made me really thankful that as a woman I live in the "West".

Extra Book

Quiet Heroes 
Rita Cosby.

 It recounts some of my father's experiences during the war. My father came into the book because Rita's father and my father met up in a "hospital" and became buddies doing everything together until peace-time.

If you are thinking of buying any of these books please DO NOT use Amazon.  I do not like their working practices (exploiting the customers; underpaying their workers; failing to pay ethical taxes).  Support bookseller, especially British ones like  

Monday, 25 March 2019

House Bound

Well Summer is on the way;

  • Spring flowers everywhere, especially snowdrops and daffodils with some tulips competing for attention.
  • Spring equinox has come and gone.  Now there are more hours of daylight than darkness.  Hooray!
  • Soon the clocks will go forward.  That signals to me it is time to be out in the van and exploring far and wide. 
BUT  -  this is not possible.


Pearl is in season.

As a rule of thumb a bitch's season lasts 3 weeks.

  • Week 1;- dogs are interested in her but she is not interested in them
  • Week 2;- dogs are interested in her and she is very interested in them.  I have to be careful.  I have found that after the dogs have had a litter they  are inclined to run off after a dog they fancy.  Fortunately Pearl is not nearly as bad as Ruby so it is not too much of a problem.
  • Week 3;- dogs are interested in her but she is not interested in them.

The best way to avoid this inconvenience is to have the bitches spayed.  

I have not done this with my dogs until they were quite old because I have had a couple of litters with each of my dogs.  
I first did it because I wanted to keep Ruby's line going. Well a bit of her is in lots of puppies now. 
Later I did it because although it is a full on intense enterprise I enjoy seeing the whole experience.

So I will have to wait a while before I can go out in the van.

Sunday, 17 March 2019

Photo of the Month (Mar 2019)

March is a special month for several reasons.

1. March 1st is considered the first day of spring.

2. Spring equinox is towards the end of the month.  This year it is Wednesday 20th March.

3. Summertime begins (the clocks go forward and we all lose an hours sleep) at the end of the month.

As the daffodil is the flower of spring so my photo includes daffodils.
I hope you enjoy it.
What is your favourite photo of spring?

Thursday, 14 March 2019

Report on First Book Signing

Well a significant occasion; I have just completed my first book signing.

It was an informal occasion, chiefly providing the opportunity for friends and family to come and inspect the book.  As a consequence I took all three books;

  1. "Wonderful Walks from Dog-Friendly Campsites" (my current book)

2.  "My Friend Ruby" (about the first dog I  had as an adult.  She was especially important because she started the whole process of searching out campsites where I could walk dogs).

"Quiet Heroes" by Rita Cosby  

(This book is about my father, only because he was a very close friend of the author's father.  It was my meeting and association with Rita which planted the seed that I too could write.  Rita was enormously encouraging).

The event started by celebrating the publication of my second book with several Pucklechurch friends.  

It was a most enjoyable occasion.

After this was the book signing in another part of the pub.

I was surprised at how many people came and of the number of books I sold. 

I really enjoyed the occasion.

I hope a book signing is forthcoming at WH Smith in Bath.  I am waiting to finalize details.  I hope it is as successful and enjoyable as my first.
I am also thrilled to learn "Caravan" magazine wants to use my book as a prize.
All very exciting

Tuesday, 5 March 2019

Read of the Month (March 2019)

I thought choosing a book each month would be difficult as I have so many I am happy to suggest.  So far it has been straightforward.  Obligingly my Reads of the Month seem to tie in with current events or happenings. 

This is also so for my March selection which offers a different perspective of;

  •  a country, 
  • "the War on Terror"
  •  international affairs.   

Sounds heavy going but it is not.

The March Read of the Month is.......................................

 The Veiled Kingdom 
Carmen Bin Ladin

Auto-biographies are not my favourite genre and this is unequivocally an auto-biography.

Carmen Bin Ladin, a Swiss national, is the sister-in-law of the notorious Osama Bin Laden.  The book recounts her meeting and marriage to his younger brother Yeslam; her life in Saudi Arabia and her reasons for moving to the US with her two daughters.

The book is not especially well written but I found the content so mesmerizing this did not matter unduly.

It gives an insight into a world which I have very little experience of but which occupies many column inches in the Western press.

It made me really thankful that as a woman I live in the "West".

I felt distinctly uncomfortable at the hypocrisy of the men who were quite happy to indulge in the freedoms the "West" allowed them but then were so autocratic in their countries.

It also made me reassess the countries of the Middle East and our relationship with them, especially Saudi Arabia.  It has also made me think seriously about holidaying in these places.  Dubai may have skyscrapers and be modern but has it really changed?  Food for thought.

What do you think? 

I would end with"Enjoy".  I'm not sure this is a book one enjoys.

Thursday, 28 February 2019

First Book Signing

My first book signing is a local affair at

The Rose and Crown
BS16 9PS


Sunday 10th March 2019

When my first book "My Friend Ruby" was published I held a book launch for friends and family.

I did wonder if the publishers of my current book "Wonderful Walks..." would organize a book launch.  Apparently this is not the custom.  They prefer authors to hold "book signings".

I have approached various other organizations about using their premises for book signings.  Discussions are ongoing.
Watch this space.

If you are in the area on Sunday 10th March around 4.30 do drop in to the Rose and Crown.

I would love to see you.

Available will have all 3 of the books  that have been an important part of my transition from teacher to writer.
I look forward t seeing you all at my first book signing.

Another thrill is the article about my books and the forthcoming book signing in the local rag   "emersonsgreenvoice".

The article can be found at  https://www.emersonsgreenvoice.co.uk/local-authors-latest-book

Tuesday, 26 February 2019

A Quandary

The weather has been exceptional this past week or so.

Ideal for taking bright photos of the countryside and for walking.

Exactly the conditions I hope for when doing research for a book. This lovely weather was too good to pass up so I decided I would take the motorhome out for a jaunt.

There were, however, a couple of problems;-

1. My motorhome was at the garage having a big service ready for trips.  I was not sure what state it was in.  Would I be able to take it out on the road.

2. The van was totally empty of everything in preparation for me giving it a big spring clean. Just putting things back was going to be a time consuming task.

3. Because of time constraints the campsite had to be within a reasonable distance.

Despite all this I decided the weather was too good to pass up.  So I checked out the feasible campsites. 
They did not open until 1st March.  Those which were open were too far away. 
So decision made for me.
I have spent this glorious weather cleaning the motorhome (inside.  I am still hoping to find someone to clean the outside) and doing the gardening. 

At least I will be ready for the next spell of good weather if or when it comes.

Tuesday, 19 February 2019

Photo of the Month (Feb 2019)

This is my first "Photo of the Month".

This February has been exceptionally warm and sunny.
The spring flowers are blooming so I thought this picture of snowdrops appropriate.

                                  My website www.annachelmicka.me has more of my photos

Taking photos is so easy now with smart phones incorporating increasingly sophisticated cameras .  I, however, use a DSLR, especially for the photographs to accompany my articles and books.

Having used one for a considerable time  I am not nearly so proficient with the camera in my phone.

Over the years I have taken some photos which I really like.  I decided it would be delightful to share some of them,

Hope you enjoy my photos and do comments if you wish.

Tuesday, 12 February 2019

CPRE (Campaign for the Protection of Rural England) 2

This week did not start off so well. ( I don't like starting in such a negative manner as there is enough doom and gloom about.  Sometimes it is unavoidable).

  1. I received the CPRE's "2018 Review".  Though much has been achieved during the year we cannot afford to be complacent.  This I know first hand from the people I have met whilst researching form my book as well as from the issues raised at our local CPRE meetings.
  2. A news item in our local freebie paper which suggests the M4 junction 18a is a serious development consideration.  Despite assurances from a whole range of organizations if this is so it WILL slice through a swathe of green belt and our village.                                                                                                                                                                                                                  As an individual one is able to do very little.  One way is to join the CPRE (Campaign to Protect Rural England).                                                                                                                    PLEASE PLEASE join the CPRE.  It is only £3.00 a month; the price of a cup of coffee or glass of beer.                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                                            I find the meetings of our local committee rather depressing because  there are so many plans for various developments and buildings on the Green Belt.  The people who read the detail plans and then make them comprehensible to the likes of me are amazing. (They are all volunteers).  However money is needed for legal fees in order to challenge these plans,.  Having a larger membership means there will then be more funds for legal fees.

Help protect our countryside.

Please join the CPRE.  It is only £3.00 a month; the price of a cup of coffee or glass of beer.