Tuesday, November 03, 2009

Good Friends, Good Beer And Good Books


You will no doubt recall my weekend challenge which was to somehow de-construct this picture and work out what I was doing over the weekend. Whilst many people got individual elements of the answer, nobody was able to put them together to tell the full story. So here it is. Let's start with the picture. The background image is of a bridge over a canal (the more observant of you will have spotted it was a canal by the presence of lock gates). The location of the canal can be deduced by the book cover at the bottom right of the picture which is from a collection of Morse stories by Colin Dexter - such stories are famously set in Oxford. Staying with that book image (it is a triple clue and we will return to it later), just above we can see an image of the launch of the space shuttle. The important word here is "launch" and if you add this to "book" then you will know what type of event I was attending. Move your eyes to the "beautiful woman" (the quote was from AngelMay in her comments on the post, but I have to agree) at the top left who most of you will now recognise as my good friend and occasional News From Nowhere contributor, Jane Gordon-Cumming. If you read the blog description you will know that Jane lives in Oxford and is a writer. So far, so good. The rather ghostly figure at the bottom left of the picture should give you the title of her new book of short stories which is "The Haunted Bridge and Other Strange Tales Of The Oxford Canal". The launch of this collection took place, appropriately enough, on Halloween Night, and the two guests of honour at the launch party were Jane's sister, the novelist Katie Fforde, and - going back to that book for the third time - the creator of Inspector Morse, the famous crime novelist Colin Dexter. There, easy wasn't it?


The party was great fun, even more so because it took place in a pub (my beer-loving friends might like to note that several Wadworth real ales were available). Colin gave a splendid speech and - quite rightly - praised Jane's writing skills, and there were loads of friends, old and new, in attendance. The book will eventually be available via Amazon but, as yet, it has not been added to the site. I will provide a link to the Amazon page when it is available but, in the meantime, if people would like to order copies they can always contact Jane direct and order a copy. Details of the book will also soon be available on her website.


Another book which was available at the launch was a new collection of sea stories edited by Jane's brother-in-law, Desmond Fforde. "A Seaman's Book Of Sea Stories" contains stories that range from the Napoleonic wars, via ships that traded under sail round Cape Horn, to what it was like to take charge of a ship in convoy, serve in the fore-ends of a submarine or fly a Corsair against the Japanese. I have already bought a copy and started reading what is a wonderful collection of tales. The book is available from Amazon and all profits benefit the Prostate Cancer Charity. You can order a copy from Amazon at the following Link.

So a most enjoyable weekend, meeting up with old friends, drinking good beer, and reading good books. I leave you with a picture I took at the launch party which shows (from left to right), Katie Fforde, Colin Dexter, and, of course, Jane Gordon-Cumming.



16 comments:

  1. Alan

    I'm a newcomer to your blog. Didn't work out the puzzle, apart from the the Oxford connection.

    Sounds as though a good time was had by all. Thanks for an interesting and entertaining post.

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  2. An interesting post, and it sounds as though it was a good weekend. I don't read as many novels as I would like, too many histories still to read, but I have enjoyed some sea stories. I read a lot of O'Brian's books but I have preferred the series by Richard Woodman. His character, Nathaniel Drinkwater, serves through the Napoleonic wars like O'Brian's characters. Woodman keeps the technical detail that O'Brian is famous for, but his stories also have more going on. Well, that's my view on these two. Enjoy your new book.

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  3. Beautiful bridge...even if it is haunted!

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  4. You can see the map that's in the book if you look up the Sept 6th entry on this blog entitled "Ghost Stories." (Somebody kindly said in a comment that they'd buy the book - back then - we're waiting!)

    Well, and also for the co-publisher to get the entry set up on Amazon,- far best way to buy it in the USA... should be soon!....

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  5. As when Holmes explains his deductions, it's elementary! Sounds like a good weekend.

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  6. Ok, I had to reread this to catch it all, then I shared it with my wife. We are Inpsector Morse fans and have seen all of the episodes on PBS. This blog reaches pretty far even though it seems close to home. You had a great weekend and I will have to research the books to see if Barnes and Noble is going to be up to date. Thanks for sharing it, I really enjoyed the weekend story.

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  7. How fun... your blog is full of mysteries and clues for us to crack! Of course I was hopeless at cracking these clues but enjoyed reading the outcome :)

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  8. Sounds like you had a perfectly lovely time.

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  9. Good times I love it when weekends turn out just right. You're in good company Alan! I love Oxford. I don't know what it is about University towns but they have a 'buzz' about them. I'm glad you enjoyed your time there.

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  10. OMG--I got that but didn;t feel confident enough to write it down! no way! Yes, really@

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  11. Hi Alan
    I know its 'off-topic' but i just came across this old photo Of The Piece Hall in Halifax.I thought you would be interested.

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  12. Off topic it may be Tony, but it took me back to my youth. It is just as I remember it when it was a wholesale fruit and veg market. Thanks for letting me see it.

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  13. a splendid weekend...book, beer, and buddies!!

    am behind in the bloggyhood and missed the collage challenge! whoops!

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  14. Sorry Alan, I didn't even try to work out the puzzle (kept losing internet access) but I did admire the construction of the pictures. I used to read Katie Fforde's books. You have some really interesting friends.

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  15. I am going to have to start visiting on a daily basis. How did I miss this (and the previous) post?
    I am a big Morse fan, Alan. I was really sad when John Thaw died. I really enjoyed all his work, but Morse was the quintessial role. I've read just about everyone of the books and this photo of the bridge DOES look very familiar.
    I'm watching the "Lewis" episodes, but finding them a bit strained in the writing. What do you think?

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