Friday, 2 December 2016

First ebook sale of December - Winter God: The Authorised Biography of Father Christmas

Buy your copy HERE

Some people call him Father Christmas, other people name him Santa Claus, but whatever name he goes by we all know him.
He is the jolly, fat man who comes out only on Christmas Eve. He loads his sleigh up with toys for all the good children in the world. He wraps himself up in a warm, fur-lined suit of red cloth with matching hat and warm black boots. Then he hitches up his magic flying reindeer, leaves behind his workshop at the North Pole and takes to the skies. For hours he gallops across the wintry, frozen landscapes to bring toys to millions of excited children around the world.
He has become the living embodiment of the Christmas Spirit. But where did this loveable old boy come from? How old is he? Has he always been so jovial? And what about the elves, reindeer and North Pole?
Many people think that Santa was invented for an advertising campaign by Coca Cola. Others date him to Victorian times. A few may place him back in the 18th century or even Tudor times. But they are all wrong.
He is much, much older than that.
This book traces the development of our favourite Christmas character from his origins many centuries ago down to the present day. We learn when and how he started giving presents to children, why he is so fat and where the reindeer came from - among many other things.

Saturday, 26 November 2016

A History of Christmas Food - new ebook out now

- With over 20 historic recipes

Buy the ebook HERE

Christmas today is a time of feasting, drinking and all round merrymaking. We serve vast meals that cause our dining tables to groan with the weight and our families to gasp at the luxury.
But it is not just a matter of serving huge meals. Christmas - more than any other time of year - is associated with its own special foods, drinks and eating customs.
Most Christmas foods are widely recognised. Roast turkey graces most tables, which also feature sprouts, roast potatoes, parsnips, bacon rolls, pigs in blankets, cranberry sauce and bread sauce. All that is in due course cleared away to be replaced by Christmas pud and mince pies.
Others are very personal. I grew up in a household where supper on Christmas Eve was always sausages and mash, and where the adults began Christmas Day by trooping down to the kitchen for "Grandma's Special Christmas Tea", which was consumed with much lip smacking and joking. As a tot I found this early morning ritual a bit odd, but when I grew older I learned that "Grandma's Special Christmas Tea" involved my grandmother tipping a healthy dose of whisky into each mug before pouring out the tea.
We take so much of this for granted as part and parcel of our Christmas traditions that we indulge ourselves without thinking. And if we do spare a thought we probably imagine that Christmas has always been like this.
But it hasn't. Christmases of years gone by were very different. Oh, there has always been plenty of eating and drinking going on, but what has been eaten or drunk has varied enormously.
So what did our ancestors eat and drink on the greatest feast of the year?
Read on.

Please note that in producing the recipes included in this book I have adapted original recipes found in books and manuscripts dating back to the times in question. Earlier recipes often did not include either precise measurements or detailed instructions, so I have experimented to find what seems to work best for me. I have generally sought to avoid recipes using ingredients that might be difficult to find these days or have suggested easily obtained alternatives when I have - how could I possibly miss out Mrs Beeton's original Christmas cake of 1861? Enjoy trying out these recipes and your taste of the past.

Wednesday, 20 May 2015

Review of "Once a Priest"

This just in from a reader:
I am recovering from a serious case of metaphorical post coital triste after reluctantly turning over the last
page of your wonderful Once a Priest.It was one of those reads which you wish would never end.

A few comments by way of appreciation which cannot do justice to the integrity of the book as a whole and its
'omniscient'and energetic narrator.

*I was struck by the explosive first page or two which must be a model for how to begin a work.You have parachuted
into the sixties Liverpool in the most intense and realistic fashion which no social historian could hope to accomplish;
capturing the mantras as you propel the actors onto the stage.This is finely honed economic prose rattling its
cage to become poetry.

*Having been a prisoner of the Brent asylum of the terminally mad at the same time as you were in Bolton,I was
particularly struck by your descriptions of the admin apparats in the grip of a plague of wrongheadedness.I was
 touched by your encounters in the classroom;the pupils;always  powerless victims of the top down poison
administered by our heavily politicised educational state educational apparatus.Your survival stratagems would
make an excellent survival guide for any youngster brave enough to enter the educational fray.

*Sauced with Chaucerian wit throughout

*marvellous insight into the inner workings of the C of E, which despite Trollope, has always for me, been veiled in

*Counterpoint.You achieve some well judged a**e kicking in your relentless pursuit of humbug.Yet there are sensitive
episodes of real poignancy.The death of Louie which you were privileged to attend.."I watched her dying......It was like
watching someone being born.She made a good job of it,such fun of it.That was one of her expressions"The nurse."That
woman"she said."That woman-she was an angel!"

*Remarkable capturing of local language idiosyncrasies...."It weren't were alreet..."the leaden vice of Leeds.I
think it was Lord Salisbury said "Always believe in stereotypes"And the memorable "affat"...And after 'Romeo and Juliet'
"Will we affat write about it tomorrow.....?.....not forgetting "allus"The Dickensian Broadstairs "Have a look at....."the
girl guides etc

*Such a variety of characters as if you were in receipt of an EU rights injunction to include them all!The maverick James....
I am looking forward to hearing more about him and the Uriah Heap senior curate, destroying the bogs with his bike.Characters galore, like a Dutch painting ,and like Shakespeare,minor characters all have their importance.

And the land and townscapes so economically and memorably delineated...

*Then the style;varied but always moving musically as the book progresses;fusing naturally into poetry at the most
appropriate times

*This book is no trivial self indulgence.It takes on the big subjects.Most of all God,worship,prayer,salvation.And the forces
that militate against the latter.Imposters in the Church.The real danger of the abuse of power in the charismatic movement
The age old evils of those who seek preferment by aligning themselves with secular government and the zeitgeist, neglecting their flocks.

*The unity of this marvelous book;the narrator;cheerfully, courageously,overcoming difficulties,armed with that life saver, a sense of irony.Once a priest and by the grace of God,always a priest!

Much much more to say

In appreciation



Get your copy HERE

Friday, 1 May 2015

First Ebook sale of the month - East Anglia at War

First Ebook sale of the month - East Anglia at War

In both world wars the British confidently expected Germany to mount an invasion through East Anglia. During the Great War enormous numbers of troops, who were desperately needed on the Western Front, were tied up defending East Anglia against an invasion that never came. In spite of this, in World War II, once again it was East Anglia where the confidently predicted German invasion would take place.
In both Wars East Anglia was a hive of activity with soldiers, sailors and airmen frantically preparing for an invasion that never came, and latterly striking back at Hitler’s Reich through RAF Bomber Command.
This book looks at East Anglia in those desperate, bloody years. It shows how the people of the area coped and survived, or sometimes made the ultimate sacrifice. The book also looks at the relics of those years - gun emplacements, airfields and other structure built while East Anglia was at War.

Chapter One – The Scene is Set
Chapter Two – Encore Une Fois
Chapter Three – The Agricultural Revolution
Chapter Four– The Beginning
Chapter Five – When will they arrive?
Chapter Six –The German invasion plan
Chapter Seven – Local Organisation
Chapter Eight - The Home Guard
Chapter Nine – Military Readiness
Chapter Ten - The RAF before the Battle
Chapter Eleven – The Battle of Britain Begins
Chapter Twelve – The fight to the Death, Douglas Bader and the Big Wing
Chapter Thirteen – Some Iconic Airfields of East Anglia
Chapter Fourteen – The American Intervention – The early Days
Chapter Fifteen – US in Britain
Chapter Sixteen - Keeping the North Sea Open
Chapter Seventeen – Air Raids
Chapter Eighteen – And Finally

About the Author

Michael’s home is in East Anglia. After many years based near Cambridge, he now lives close to the North Norfolk Coast.

Always a prolific writer, during more than twenty years as a head teacher he managed to combine his writing activities with running a school. Educational writing continues to play a significant part in his output, but he has also written widely on topics relating to 20th century military history. This book combines his interest in military history with his love of East Anglia.

This is Michael’s twelfth book and his third covering a World War II topic. The other two: RAF Duxford and Douglas Bader were both published as part of Bretwalda’s Heroes of the RAF series.

Get your copy HERE

Wednesday, 1 April 2015

NEW EBOOK - Once a Priest: The Memoirs of an Unconventional Vicar

NEW EBOOK - Once a Priest: The Memoirs of an Unconventional Vicar

Once A Priest is the first of two volumes of memoirs by outspoken traditionalist Church of England priest Peter Mullen. Everyone who loves true, amusing, touching and insightful stories of English life in town and country will love this book - as much as it will outrage the trendy liberals who dominate the Church today. This book is nothing if not controversial.

This fast-paced and vivid book follows Peter as he moves from naive first-tiem curate to world-weary vicar, covering curacies in Leeds, Stretford and Oldham; to a chaplaincy at a downtown secondary school in Bolton. Here the author teaches philosophy to young ruffians, puts on a version of Mozart's "Magic Flute" with the same ruffians; writes his first three books and sets up Britain's first "A" level philosophy course and exam; takes assembly every morning for four years; attends all the usual outings, comedies and tragedies of school life. From there to be Vicar of two country parishes in Yorkshire and the whole gamut of parochial experience (huge amusement at weddings and the crematorium/graveside), teaching extramural classes and the kids in a village junior school. All recorded here in anecdotes which are by turns hilarious and deeply moving. All human life is here.

About the Author
Rev'd Dr Peter Mullen retired from his post as rector of St Michael's, Cornhill in 2012 and he has now semi-retired to the south coast to enjoy the sea and the Downs and to concentrate on writing. He has retained his chaplaincies to three City of London livery companies and to the Royal Regiment of Fusiliers Chapel. He is a columnist for The Northern Echo, Church of England Newspaper and The Salisbury Review. Peter Mullen is the author of more than forty books, including five novels.

get your copy HERE

Sunday, 29 March 2015

NEW EBOOK - Inside the Tank: A Personal View from Inside Prime Minister Thatcher's Policy Unit

NEW EBOOK - Inside the Tank: A Personal View from Inside Prime Minister Thatcher's Policy Unit
"Few people, even Whitehall insiders, really know how Margaret Thatcher's Policy Unit worked and how it made her so effective in getting her will to prevail. “Inside the Tank” is a first hand account of how Mrs Thatcher made decisions and how she took advice, particularly on controversial issues where vested interests were pulling in different directions.
Written by a former member of the Unit, seconded in 1986 from the executive board of an international conglomerate, Consolidated Gold Fields, the many similarities between the issues and conflicts in business and government are striking.
George Guise had been responsible for the international development of the Cons Gold Group working in South Africa, the USA and Australia where he restructured the group's operations. He was "borrowed" in 1986 by HMG and immediately hit it off with MT, both having short patience with delayers and nay sayers.
The areas upon which he advised were initially commercial, especially nationalised industries, privatisation and the City of London. This soon expanded to include science policy, in which both he and MT had a deep personal interest, and eventually to South Africa where he had extensive experience.
Inside the Tank focuses exclusively on matters where the writer had direct personal involvement with Margaret Thatcher and does not speculate or philosophise in the way of so many recent publications, some by people who never even met her! "

Privatisation from 1986
Science Policy
Arts Policy
South Africa
Epilogue - Overview of Thatcher’s Style

About the Author
George Guise served as Margaret Thatcher’s adviser from 1986 to 1991. His advice covered key areas such as industry, privatisation and science policy but also included the City, the Arts and South Africa. Following the overthrow of MT in December 1990, he declined the new PM's offer to remain at No 10 and spent several years advising foreign countries, including South Africa, Venezuela, Poland, Hungary, the Czech Republic and Turkey on electricity privatisation.This was often in conjunction with National Grid or Deloitte & Touche Consulting on whose London board he served. After leaving Downing Street he returned to private business. Although now officially retired, he is an active participant in debate about the way forward, both in the UK and in Europe.

Get your copy HERE

Friday, 27 March 2015

NEW EBOOK - A Life at the Chalkface: A Memoir Of A London Headteacher

NEW EBOOK - A Life at the Chalkface: A Memoir Of A London Headteacher
Foreword by Sir Timothy Brighouse.
A realistic but touching look at school life at a tough inner city school by the headteacher who turned the school around and is an acclaimed columnist for the Times Education Supplement and other publications.
‘In the early eighties, Mike Kent took on the headship of a tough, inner city primary school and built it into one of the most popular primary schools in London.
In ‘A Life At The Chalkface’ Mike describes with humour and insight the challenges he experienced as English primary education changed beyond belief during three decades. Never a stranger to controversy, Mike survived a racial tribunal, an eighteen month battle with Ofsted, local school inspectors who were determined to make him conform, and bureaucrats who viewed children merely as outcome units.
His love of teaching and teachers shines through as he describes the many unique characters who passed through his school… the boy who wanted to be a bus, the ex-pupil who became a society thief, the teacher who couldn’t throw anything away, the fire officer who described children’s art as hazardous wall substances and the parent who was determined to enrol his three month old daughter in the Reception class.
A Life At The Chalkface gives a unique insight into the trials and tribulations of headship, and it will be thoroughly enjoyed by anyone with an interest in education and a sense of humour.’

Foreword by Sir Tim Brighouse
Chapter 1 - A School Of My Own
Chapter 2 - Finding My Feet
Chapter 3 - First Day At The Chalkface
Chapter 4 - A Term Of Trial
Chapter 5 - A Test Of My Leadership
Chapter 6 - Walking With Dinosaurs
Chapter 7 - The New Inspector Calls
Chapter 8 - A Tidal Wave Of Change
Chapter 9 - Appeals, Appointments and Questionable Governance
Chapter 10 - All Children Great And Small
Chapter 11 - No Parents Past This Point
Chapter 12 - The Computer Revolution
Chapter 13 - Challenging Ofsted
Chapter 14 - The Bureaucratic Nightmare
Chapter 15 - Polythene, Pigeons and Eccentric Electrics
Chapter 16 - Troubling Teachers
Chapter 17 - The Roar Of The Greasepaint
Chapter 18 - Winding Down

About the Author
Mike Kent has for the last 13 years been a featured columnist on The Times Educational Supplement. For two years running, he was a runner-up for the PPA Columnist Of The Year award. He has written over 400 articles for educational magazines and newspapers, and 27 musical plays for children. He recently retired as headteacher of a tough inner city school.
Print book out soon