Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – Toby Clements

Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims - Toby Clements
Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – Toby Clements

The first in a four part series set in the Wars of the Roses starts with a young canon and nun fleeing their Lincolnshire Priory in the hard winter of 1460. They soon take on new identities to escape charges of apostasy.

Jean borrowed my Frinton purchase when she and dad stayed in the summer and thoroughly enjoyed it. So, spotting a copy in my pre-Christmas whizz around Barbican library, it was an easy choice. A good one too – and not simply because it turned out I’d read the other three novels I picked up!

Plenty of adventure as Thomas and Kit find themselves travelling around the country, and across the Channel, on boats, horses and foot.

I particularly enjoyed the Welsh section, and the chapter spent in Hereford, when the Chained Library gets a mention.

Handily I have the next two – further Frinton purchases – at home. Less handily I’ve already promised to let Jean have them when we get to 40A in January. She’s been waiting patiently to find out what happens after the Battle of Towton….

The only disappointment was discovering that the author is/was a literary critic at The Telegraph. No wonder there’s such a glowing review from them on the front cover…. It’s not what you know, eh?

Publisher page: Kingmaker: Winter Pilgrims – Toby Clements

Watching the English – Kate Fox

Watching The English - Kate Fox
Watching The English – Kate Fox

Inspired by social anthropologist Kate Fox’s Passport to the Pub: A guide to British pub etiquette, I picked up the 2014 update of her book on the English from St Helena Hospice’s bookshop in Frinton.

I’m still reading, dipping in and out a chapter at a time. I read the first few chapters back in October and took Watching the English to Nepal with me, where I read one more – about Horse Racing. It’s an excellent read, and highly “dippable”. With Christmas and New Year holidays approaching I am feeling the need for fiction, hence putting this to one side, for now….

Well I never, she’s married to Henry Marsh….

Publisher page: Watching the English: The Hidden Rules of English Behaviour – Kate Fox

Deadly Web – Barbara Nadel

Deadly Web - Barbara Nadel
Deadly Web – Barbara Nadel

Picked up in Frinton, Deadly Web reflects two of the key historical developments of the early years of the 21st century – the widespread availability of internet and the web, and the build up to the Iraq War – all the more interesting given the Istanbuli perspective.

The third theme is ceremonial magic and the line of witches and others with the sight in police Inspector Çetin İkmen’s own family.

Inspector Mehmet Suleyman’s personal life is a mess – his second wife has left him after he had to take an AIDS test having slept with a prostitute. And then he meets gypsy Gonca….

Publisher page: Deadly Web – Barbara Nadel

Mera Peak – Amphu Lapsta Pass – Island Peak: We are back!

A great trip.

I made it to the top of Mera Peak (6476m) and Steffi got to 6300m. Magic views, as Charles promised.

Stuart, Chhering, Nicola and me, Mera Peak
Stuart, Chhering, Nicola and me, Mera Peak
Looking north from Mera Peak
Looking north from Mera Peak

The Amphu Lapsta pass was hard – clipping/unclipping on fixed lines, abseiling / lowered over a huge rock outcrop – with lots of the snow/glacier had gone on both sides, making it harder. A sheer drop down from the precipitous pass (5845m) down into the valley, 600m below.

Val, Amphu Lapsta Pass
Val, Amphu Lapsta Pass
Steffi and Bhudi, Amphu Lapsta Pass ascent
Steffi and Bhudi, Amphu Lapsta Pass ascent

Too tired to attempt Island Peak. Also that’s become far more technical with snow / ice loss too.

BIG congrats to Nicola for managing all three.

It was the hardest trip I’ve done – eight days / nights over 5000m, including Mera Peak High Camp 5800m and Amphu Lapsta Base Camp 5600m. Walking out was 4 l-o-n-g days too. One evening we ended up doing the last hour in the dark, with head torches. Uphill, OF COURSE!!!

Very, very pleased I was able to get to the top of Mera, but Amphu Lapsta was a whole heap more complicated than anyone anticipated. I loved working with crampons, ice axes and ropes. Could do with more practice abseiling mind you!

Map with our anticlockwise route from Phaplu and back
Map with our anticlockwise route from Phaplu and back

I shall be making good use of Günter Seyfferth’s excellent website – Die Berge des Himalaya (The mountains of Himalaya) – to identify the mountains we could see on our Mera and Amphu Lapsta days.