The Photograph – Penelope Lively

The Photograph - Penelope Lively
The Photograph – Penelope Lively

Glyn finds a photo of his (dead) wife surreptitiously holding hands with another.

This novel traces the fall out as he proceeds to question family and friends about his wife’s fidelity during their marriage.

Why did Glyn feel the need to persist in his selfish pursuit for The Truth? I’d say it’s part of his nature. At least he continued his compassion-free quest to the bitter end, and I would love to know what happened next.

Author’s page: The Photograph – Penelope Lively

Vanished Kingdoms – Norman Davis

Vanished Kingdoms - Norman Davis
Vanished Kingdoms – Norman Davis

I put this book aside in the middle of Rosenau, the account of the Duchy of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha, and the intertwined lineages and lives of Queen Victoria and Prince Albrecht (Albert) of Saxe-Coburg and Gotha. A rare event, to abandon a book.

I’d been drawn to this hefty history of lost kingdoms by the earlier chapters – the Britons and the Kingdom of Strathclyde, Tolosa and the Visigoths – and whilst I enjoyed the overall concept and the three part structure of each chapter, as we moved into the early modern period and beyond and the quantity of sources expanded, the wealth of detail this afforded grew too much for me: the later chapters were just too heavy going.

Author’s page (warning: slow to load): Vanished Kingdoms: The History of Half-Forgotten Europe – Norman Davis

Manaslu & Tsum: Mini Update

Two months before I go to Nepal, this story blows up and major travel insurers threaten to pull their cover unless Nepal puts a stop to helicopter rescue insurance fraud.

First on twitter:

(Excellent summary from Alan Arnette there)

Then in the wider press:

Here’s the original story, by Annabel Symington, AFP’s Nepal Bureau Chief:

and some of follow up coverage:


All of  which brings back memories of our enforced helicopter ride from unlovely Lukla to KTM back in 2011 which marred the end of the otherwise wonderful Three High Passes to Everest trek. A different scam, but still a scam involving trekking tourists and helicopters.

It looks like a scene from Apocalypse Now. It felt like one.
It looks like a scene from Apocalypse Now. It felt like one.

In the meantime (and looking ahead!) I’m starting on my kitlist spreadsheet, checking Air India’s baggage allowance (2 x 23kg – should be plenty!!) and gradually getting my USD from Thomas Exchange Global. Turns out they can provide Nepalese Rupees too.

Oh, and starting to plan next year’s Nepal trek with Val: Mera Peak 6,476 metres (21,247 ft) – Amphu Labsta Pass 5,845 metres (19,177 ft) – Island Peak / Imja Tse 6,189 m (20,305 ft).

Update – 18 September 2018

Annabel Symington’s blogpost on her investigation into helicopter rescue fraud in Nepal:

Home from our eleven day stay at 40A

Phil and I are back from a super eleven day stay in Herefordshire.

Walked a bit, read a lot.

15 jars of August Apple Chutney – various varieties – made from Train Set Red Delicious Windfalls.

Learned how to use the sit on mower and cut all the grass. Perfected the three point turn at the grass cuttings escarpment.

Me and my mower
Me and my mower

Failed to find the lost tortoise, and marvelled at the range of the Lost! poster locations.

Lost Tortoise poster - Kerrys Gate
Lost Tortoise poster – Kerrys Gate

Caught the bus into Hereford and made friends with Dominic, the bus driver. In town, Sensory & Rye provide such a hit for morning coffee that we went back for lunch. Yum.

The local buzzard quartet provided regular afternoon displays, and one blue sky morning we received a visit from what looked like all of Herefordshire’s house martins, sitting along the wires strung out over the sheep field.

Buzzard in the blue sky
Buzzard in the blue sky

We started our holiday with a slap up Sunday lunch with dad and Jean and had a local food-tastic Friday evening meal with them at The Temple Inn, Ewyas Harold – AA Friendliest B&B of the Year Winner 2018-2019!

A leisurely mooch around Dore Abbey, and a last lunch at Abbey Dore Court Gardens….

Dore Abbey
Dore Abbey

Bargain bird’s eye chilis and ginger from the Allensmore Aladdin’s Cave that is Lock’s Garage, and the best Raisin and Cherry Tiffin this side of Offa’s Dyke helped pass the time on the three hour train journey home.

Sunrise over Grey Valley
Sunrise over Grey Valley

My photos are in this Flickr Album: Forty Acres, August 2018.

The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Worst Journey in the World - Apsley Cherry-Garrard
The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard

The Worst Journey in the World has been on my reading list for a long time.

It’s Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s account of the 1910-13 Nova Terra Expedition to Antarctica, where he was part of a three-man scientific research team that undertook the harrowing Winter Journey to collect the first specimens of Emperor Penguin eggs. This is The Worst Journey in the World of the title.

However the Nova Terra expedition is better known for the explorations undertaken by its leader, Captain Robert Falcon Scott, together with Edward Wilson, Henry Bowers, Lawrence Oates, and Edgar Evans, who succeeded in reaching the South Pole on 17 January 1912, only to find that Norwegian Roald Amundsen had beaten them to it. All five men died on their journey back from the pole.

I had hesitated to embark upon The Worst Journey in the World, fearing that Apsley Cherry-Garrard’s autobiographical  analysis of the expedition would be a heavy going account reflecting the attitudes of Empire and the Edwardian era.

Sara Wheeler‘s introduction to the Vintage Classic edition I read dissolved my concerns, and I found this to be a fascinating and heart breaking read.

I’ve added Sara Wheeler’s biography of Apsley Cherry-Garrard – Cherry: A Life of Apsley Cherry-Garrard – to my reading list.

Publisher page: The Worst Journey in the World – Apsley Cherry-Garrard