Tag Archives: Venice

THANKS – An Award !

To Fethiye and Beyond …     recently awarded me theirSunshine award


Thank you so much to The Smidge – I’m honoured .  Of course, as with every award it is now my duty to pass it on along with a set of rules which are:

  • Include the award’s logo in      a post or on your blog.
  • Answer 10 questions about      yourself.
  • Nominate up to 10 other      fabulous bloggers.
  • Link your nominees to this      post and comment on their blogs, letting them know they have been      nominated.
  • Share the love and link the      person who nominated you.

So, here goes:

What inspired you to start blogging?   Probably a combination of  wanting to have a platform (& on occasion a soapbox) for my writing, and just because I could …. you know, if not, why not ? 

How did you come up with the name for your blog?   After a great deal of effort, after making a list of possible names all of which were awful, suddenly despatches from timbuktu just fell into my head! I liked the fact that it referred to Africa, to faraway places, and the word despatches  had the ring of  bulletins from battlefields, or progress of daring explorers.

What is your favourite blog that you like to read?  Difficult to answer but probably another wordpress blog : life to reset, which has marvellous pics & accounts of Japan, and sometimes Taiwan.

Tell us about your dream job:  The thought of having to work again after 12 years of retirement does not appeal, but … hmmm … owning my very own small, quirky bookstore crammed with all the books that I like (not to worry about prospective customers!). There’d be shelves of cookery books, travel books, poetry books, futuristic/speculative fiction/SF novels, comic novels, and art books. So if business was slow, I could just park off & read. Now that couldn’t be bad, could it? I might even make some money, if I wasn’t careful …

Is your glass half full or half empty?   Neither – it is absolutely overflowing. I love my life. That’s right, LOVE it. And when you love your life setbacks are merely little hiccups that can be easily overcome. As Terri Guillemets said ‘How can something bother you if you won’t let it?’  (Thanks to the Smidge for this response – I couldn’t have phrased it better)

If you could go anywhere for a week’s holiday where would it be?   Oh the agonies of choice.  Just a week? Venice, I think. But mid-Autumn. I don’t want to be fighting off hordes of tourists.

What food can you absolutely not eat?  Tripe –  a horrendous experience at boarding school, which I won’t go into.

Dark chocolate or milk chocolate?   Dark, laced with orange, please. Alas: strictly on the forbidden list now … sigh.  

How much time do you spend blogging?   Not that much – it depends. I spend more time writing my blog posts, I think.

Do you watch TV – if so what are some of your favourite TV shows?   Yes, I watch TV. Sherlock – both the British & American versions; Big Bang Theory;  Northern Exposure; Blue Bloods; Master Chef Australia. Pretty much anything on Travel Channel.

My Sunshine Awards go to…

  1. Life to Reset
  2. Soulshine Traveller
  3. The Fantastical Voyages of Flat Kathy
  4. Dharmagiri
  5. Travelling Mudskippers

Yes I know there are only 5 but I felt it made it all the more special to award just a handful of the wonderful bloggers I follow rather than just award them all – although I enjoy  each and every blog I read, these 5 are  that I read regularly and enjoy the most.


Filed under Uncategorized, WRITING


TWILIGHT by Stephanie Meyer

My bookish friend Norma and I were discussing the popular series of vampire novels for Young Adults, written by Stephanie Meyer. Neither of us had read any of her books, and were wondering what made them such a huge success. So I read ‘Twilight’ for research purposes. My curiosity is now satisfied. However, had I not seen the movie version, I don’t think I would have persevered with the book. I enjoyed the movie, which I saw prior to reading the book. There were pages and pages of dialogue consisting of vapid teenage mumbling or angst, which didn’t advance the plot one iota. Teenage preoccupations and obsessions are not very interesting at best. But then, I’m not a teenager. The dialogue reminded me of murky marine encrustations on a sunken ship’s hull. The best thing about the books are the covers. They are dramatic, sexy and striking in their black, red and white artwork. In fact, the book covers are absolutely brilliant. What a pity the contents don’t follow suit. Again and again the author has her characters sighing, or (worse yet) smirking, followed by numerous repetitive descriptions of the Vampire’s marble beauty, perfection, glorious eyes, etc. etc. I discovered to my utter amazement that the author is a Mormon, and attended BYU (Brigham Young University). I wonder what the Mormon position is on the topic of the Undead? Much has been made of the Abstinence Factor in her novels, it’s been hailed as a bright beacon of purity in the hormonal swamp of teenage lust. If we’re talking about lust and the Undead I’m much more enthusiastic about Anne Rice’s vampire novels – they have a lush, erotic sensual quality which is truly bewitching. And the quality of the writing is a hundred times better. No more Stephanie Meyer for me. Lead me to the Vampire Lestat, please ..


Another Inspector Brunetti detective novel, set in Venice. It’s as much about the city, its streets and canals, its citizens, its food, as it is about the actual crime. In fact the crime only appears on page 99 of this 276 page book, which is an interesting approach for a crime novel. A sub-theme to the murder of the gypsy child was a religious fraud scam, which I thought was quite daring for an Italian based novel. The info and the chapters on the “nomads” (PC-speak for Gypsies) was fascinating. They really are a tribe outside of middle class European life, and slip like water through societies’ nets of rules and admin. I loved the portrayal of Brunetti as a family man. He’s always nipping home to lunch, and the reader is given a rundown of the dishes prepared by his wife. We also hear about his kids’ homework, and school life. Donna Leon gives plenty of domestic and local detail which give her novels authenticity without the ponderous thoroughness of Stieg Larson. It sounds as if I’ve really got it in for poor old SL : not so – I thoroughly enjoyed his Millenium Trilogy, but phew! they can be hard work.

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