Monday, 30 April 2012

NEW BOOK - Eastbury Halt

My good friend Charles D'Arvelle has a new book out.

A beguiling history of one of the long vanished stations on the Great Western Railway.

Eastbury Halt was never one of the busiest stations on the GWR, and now is no more. There were often more milk churns on the platform than passengers, but the station still had a special place in this tiny village and occupied one of the most scenic sites of any railway station.

In this book we learn when Eastbury Halt was built and why. The impact the station had on the surrounding area is explained and the type of freight and passengers that used the station are explained.

The book also takes a look at the rolling stock of the Lambourn Valley Railway (LVR) on which line this station stood.

In 1905 the LVR was taken over by the GWR and the entire branch line was upgraded and brought to GWR standards. The line remained open until 1964, but is now closed, the tracks lifted and the stations gone. How this station was affected is described.

This book is one of the Lambourn Valley Railway series that looks in detail at the stations along that now closed branch line. The Lambourn Valley Railway series is part of the Stations of the Great Western Railway collection published by Bretwalda Books.

About the Author
Charles D’Arvelle is a railway enthusiast who has a particular fascination with closed branch lines. He has spent many happy hours tracing the locations of closed stations, abanoned sidings and lost railway tracks. He declares it is a great way to get out and explore the British countryside.



You can buy the Kindle version HERE
You can buy other ebook formats HERE

You can join the discussion the FaceBook page HERE

Thursday, 26 April 2012

NEW BOOK East Garston Station

My good friend Charles D'Arvelle has a new book out.

An enjoyable history of one of the long vanished branch line stations on the Great Western Railway. 

East Garston is no more. The site remains, but there is little to show where this once bustling village railway station and its level crossing once stood. East Garston handled a wide variety of agricultural freight, as well as passengers and parcels.

In this book we learn when East Garston was built and why. The impact the station had on the surrounding area is explained and the type of freight and passengers that used the station are explained.

The book also takes a look at the history of the Lambourn Valley Railway (LVR), the little independent railway company that built the branch line and operated it for some years before selling to the GWR.

In 1905 the LVR was taken over by the GWR and the entire branch line was upgraded and brought to GWR standards. The line remained open until 1964, but is now closed, the tracks lifted and the stations gone. How this station was affected is described.

This book is one of the Lambourn Valley Railway series that looks in detail at the stations along that now closed branch line. The Lambourn Valley Railway series is part of the Stations of the Great Western Railway collection published by Bretwalda Books



Buy the Kindle edition HERE
Buy other ebook formats HERE

Join the Stations of the GWR Facebook page HERE

A damning report on a monastery

The vaulted refectory at Waverley Abbey
In 1534 Dr Richard Layton was sent by the English government to investigate the state, wealth and condition of Waverley Abbey in Surrey. His report was scathing.
“Sir,

“May it please your mastership to understand that I have licenced the bringer of this note, the Abbot of Waverley, to repair unto you for liberty to survey his husbandry whereupon consisteth the wealth of his monastery. The man is honest, but none of the children of Solomon. Mr Treasurer has put servants to him whom the poor fool dare neither command nor displease. Yesterday, early in the morning, sitting in my chamber in examination of accounts, I could neither get bread nor drink, neither fire of these knaves till I was fretished. And the Abbot durst not speak to them. I called them all before me and forgot their names, but took from every man the keys of his office and made new officers for my time here, perchance as stark knaves as the others. It shall be expedient for you to give him a lesson and tell the poor fool what he should do. Among his monks I found corruption of the worst sort. Thus, I pray God to preserve you.

“Your most assured servant and poor priest, Richard Layton.”

from A LITTLE BOOK OF SURREY by Rupert Matthews.
Buy the hardback book HERE
Buy the kindle edition HERE

Monday, 23 April 2012

Pheasant in Port

Serves 2
Preparation time: 10 minutes
Cooking time: 1 hour

There are several extensive and well stocked pheasant shoots in Leicestershire. But you don’t need to go out with a gun as these days you can find pheasant in a range of butchers shops and even supermarkets. The season runs from October to February. Most modern birds are fairly young and can be roasted, but if you are worried your bird might be a bit tough you should stew it instead. If you feel that using port is unduly lavish, substitute red wine instead.

1 pheasant, jointed
1 oz butter
1/4 bottle of port
Salt and pepper
1 tblsp redcurrant jelly

In a deep pan gently fry the pheasant pieces in the butter until they are nicely golden.
Add the port and seasoning.
Bring gently to the boil.
Cover tightly and simmer for an hour, or until tender.
Stir in the redcurrant jelly.
Serve hot with jacket potatoes or rice.


from LEICESTERSHIRE FOOD AND DRINK by Rupert Matthews

Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Hitler decides to march in the Rhineland 1936

The Rhineland
Having become F├╝hrer of Germany, Hitler soon found himself in the position of needing a foreign policy triumph to divert attention from the continuing economic problems in Germany itself. He turned to the army to secure the success he needed, but the army was not at all sure it wanted to co-operate.

By January 1936 Hitler had decided exactly what he wanted to do. As ever, he needed a realistic excuse for action, but there was none available. Then the French played into his hands. The Versailles Treaty of 1919, which had ended World War I, had imposed many onerous restraints on Germany. The resentment many Germans had felt towards the Versailles Treaty had been behind much of the support given to the Nazi Party, the only party in Germany openly stating it would repudiate the hated Treaty.

One of the most resented clauses in Versailles was the stipulation that a large swathe of Germany near the border with France was to be closed to Germany’s armed forces. No German troops were allowed on the west bank of the Rhine or within 30 miles of the east bank, an area known as the Rhineland. France had insisted on the clause for the purely defensive military reason that it would take the Germans so long to get an invasion army over the Rhine and into position that should they do so the French would have plenty of time to call up their reserves and form a strong defence. The Germans, however, resented the fact that their entire western border was wide open to attack.

In January 1936 Hitler heard that the French were preparing to sign a treaty with Russia. Hitler believed that this move put France in breach of the mutual non-aggression treaty signed by France, Germany and Belgium in 1925 and known as the Locarno Pact. He decided to use this alleged breach of the Locarno Pact as justification for marching troops into the Rhineland and over the Rhine.

On 12 February 1936, Hitler told his War Minister, Werner von Blomberg of his plans, then summoned General Walther von Fritsch, head of the Army, to his office. He asked the general how long it would take to move a few battalions of infantry and a battery of artillery into the Rhineland. Fritsch told him it could be organised in three days, but warned Hitler that the army was in no condition for a war with France. If the French sent their forces into the Rhineland to drive out the German troops, Fritsch warned, there would be a catastrophe. He advised it would be better to negotiate.

Hitler refused to consider a debate with France, both because it would take too long and because it would be a sign of weakness.

from Hitler, Military Commander by Rupert Matthews
paperback can be bought HERE
ebook can be bought HERE

Friday, 13 April 2012

Billy the Kid

Billy the Kid (1859-1881) was one of the most famous gunmen of the Old West having famously killed a man for every year of his life. He was born William Bonny in New York in 1859. His father died when he was an infant and his mother drifted west, remarried and by 1866 was running a boarding house in Silver City, New Mexico. Young Billy waited at table and helped his mother, but he spent most of his time learning card sharping and how to handle a gun from the rougher guests.

In 1871, when Billy was just 12, he killed a man. The details of this first killing are in dispute, but it seems the victim was a Negro soldier who was either teasing Billy or beating up a friend of his. Whatever the truth, Billy fled and drifted into Arizona, then Mexico, earning money doing odd jobs or gambling. During this time he is thought to have killed between three and seven more men, though he said that Mexicans did not really count. In 1876 he was back in New Mexico leading a gang of rustlers and with a reputation for being “trigger happy”.

When Billy arrived on the scene, the cattle business in New Mexico was split between John Chisum and Jim Murphy. Chisum owned a vast ranch, while Murphy headed a consortium of smaller ranchers. Supporting Chisum was a banker named Alexander McSween, who had business links to some of the smaller rancher among whom was an Englishman named Tunstall. Billy the Kid was taken in by Tunstall who persuaded Billy to give up rustling and become an honest cowboy.

But then Tunstall was shot dead by Murphy, and Billy the Kid went on the rampage. Over the next few months he led a group of Tunstall cowboys on a bloody revenge that saw them ambush, murder and shoot down dozens of men linked to Murphy and the killing of Tunstall. The train of killings came to an end in July 1878, by which time Murphy had died in hospital and most of his men were dead.

In April 1879 Billy the Kid was arrested by Pat Garrett, who had been a fellow cowhand at the Tunstall ranch and knew Billy well. The Kid was convicted of murder and sentenced to death. On 17 April Billy slipped his thin, delicate hands out of the handcuffs that restrained him, grabbed a gun and shot dead the two lawmen who were guarding him. Grabbing a supply of ammunition and stealing a horse, Billy the Kid went on the run.

The gunman went back to his traditional past times of rustling and card sharping, backing up his side of any argument with his gun. He was helped by his undoubted charm and friendly manner which induced many men and women to help him. Among these were the owners of the Maxwell Ranch just outside Fort Sumner.

On 13 July 1881 Pat Garret was in Fort Sumner on other business when he heard that Billy the Kid was in town. Guessing that the outlaw would head for the Maxwell Ranch when he heard that Garrett had arrived, Garrett rode out there. He arrived before dark and went in. He forced the Maxwells to sit with him in darkness and wait. A few hours later the door opened and a figure appeared silhouetted against the star light.

“Quien es?” [Who’s there] called out a voice in Mexican. Garrett recognised the voice and figure as that of Billy the Kid. He fired a single shot that hit the Kid in the heart and killed him instantly. Billy was just 21.
from HEROES, ROGUES AND VILLAINS by Rupert Matthews

Tuesday, 10 April 2012

NEW BOOK - Great Shefford Station - Stations of the GWR

My friend Charles D'Arvelle has a new book out.

An engaging history of one of the lost branch line stations on the Great Western Railway.

You can buy the ebook HERE


 Visit the Facebook Page for this series of books HERE

 

Great Shefford Station is no more. Although it was once a bustling village station with a thriving trade in timber felled in nearby woods, there is little left on the ground to show where this railway station once stood. Some of the older residents can still remember the trains rattling through the station and on up to Lambourn

In this book we learn when Great Shefford Station was built and why. The impact the station had on the surrounding area is explained and the type of freight and passengers that used the station are explained.

The book also takes a look at the timetables and operation of the Lambourn Valley Railway (LVR) on which line this station stood.

In 1905 the LVR was taken over by the GWR and the entire branch line was upgraded and brought to GWR standards. The line remained open until 1964, but is now closed, the tracks lifted and the stations gone. How this station was affected is described.

This book is one of the Lambourn Valley Railway series that looks in detail at the stations along that now closed branch line. The Lambourn Valley Railway series is part of the Stations of the Great Western Railway collection published by Bretwalda Books


About the Author
Charles D’Arvelle is a railway enthusiast who has a particular fascination with closed branch lines. He has spent many happy hours tracing the locations of closed stations, abanoned sidings and lost railway tracks. He declares it is a great way to get out and explore the British countryside.

Wednesday, 4 April 2012

NEW BOOK - Sleeping Beauty, Another Grandma Chatterbox Fairy Tale

My good friend Barbara Hayes has got a new ebook out.

A retelling of the classic fairy tale for 21st century youngsters by a master storyteller. 

We are all familiar with Sleeping Beauty, of course, but there is a lot more to her than a good long sleep. She did not just marry the handsome prince who woke her up and live happily ever after. Dear me, no. The story as we usually hear it today is a very much shortened version of the original.

Fairy Stories have been told for hundreds and hundreds of years. No one really knows when they started or who first wrote them  - or told them I expect. They probably started before many people could read or write.

Anyway they have been told and retold and everyone who tells them alters them a little bit to suit themselves or to please the people listening.
So Grandma Chatterbox when she was younger (which was a long time ago) went round and about and over the hills and far away searching for the oldest versions of Fairy Tales which she could find.

So now Grandma Chatterbox is going to tell you Fairy Stories as close to the oldest versions that she can get. After all it is part of every child’s education to know all the traditional tales.

Grandma Chatterbox just loves the old stories, and simply adores telling them to young children. The vocabularly and grammar in these stories is specially adapted to be suitable to younger children. When your children get a little bit older and start to learn to read you will find that the vocabulary contains words that they will be learning. Increase the type size on your tablet or other device and you can read along with your children.

So, are you ready for a story? Good, then I will begin..

Join the Conversation and find out more on the dedicated FACEBOOK PAGE for the Crandma Chatterbox ebooks.