The JM Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society was an inspirational read, from the point of giving a brilliant example of living wonderfully into old age – not that I’m aiming to go swimming in icy mid-winter ponds, but for illustrating the inestimable value of belonging to a group of true, female friends – no matter what the challenges. New York glitz and success comes off a very poor second best to British eccentricity and the English countryside.

British actress and comedienne Dawn French has written a wonderfully warm and funny novel : According to Yes. Just the thing for a cold Northern Hemisphere winter to put a smile on your dial and a warm glow in your heart. Works just as well down here in the hot, sweaty South!
In quieter vein was a re-read of a poetry collection by ex-Rhodesian John Eppel: Sonata for Matabeleland. Reading the evocative poems made me thoroughly nostalgic for my past life in that country, and long for the open bush and peaceful way of life that I took for granted so many years ago. A far cry indeed from the current wave of global protests.


Non-fiction Street Spirit : the Power of Protest, came as a surprise. I discovered that street protests have been wrecking our cities, globally, prior to 2017 the date of publication, and certainly vigorously this year.This has been a crowded year for protests: think Hong Kong, France, South America … South Africa, of course, there’s always a protest about something on the go.


The Night Rainbow – Claire King. Quirky happy/sad story of a 5 year old girl neglected by her grieving mother. Summer in the French countryside. Gorgeous writing. Recommended.
A Gap in the Hedge – Johan Vlok Louw . Brilliant, direct, clear writing. One of the best South African novels I’ve read for a long time. Highly recommended.

The Stranger Diaries – Elly Griffiths. A whodunnit with gothic and literary overtones. Mildly creepy. Enjoyable but not rave material.

The JM Barrie Ladies’ Swimming Society – Barbara J Zitwer. New York born and bred architect Joey Rubin is sent to England on an assignment and meets a fabulous group of elderly ladies, the swimmers in the title. An enjoyable light read.

Women of the Dunes – Sarah Maine. Viking myth, Victorian mystery and a complicated family history come to fruition in the early 2000s in a tiny Scottish town in Scotland. Enjoyable.
According to Yes – Dawn French. Cornish cheer breaks through Upper East Side Manhattan ice; cheerful, charming and altogether delightful. An adventurous plot. Loved it!

Walking the Himalayas – Levison Wood. He writes vividly and I enjoyed reading about his heroic 1 700 mile trek throughout the Asian countries in that mountain area. Nomads, militias, farmers, traders, he meets them all. And survives a fearsome road accident in Nepal, but gamely returns post-surgery to resume his trek. He’s made of stern stuff, old LW: he’s a credit to the British Army.
Street Spirit – The Power of Protest and Mischief. By Steve Crawshaw. Coffee table format, and informative.

Sonata for Matabeleland – John Eppel . Nostalgic, reflective. Evocative .