Pablo & Jackson – On Tour

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eBook | £9.99 | ISBN: 978-1-9993373-6-0

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Paperback | £15.99 | ISBN: 978-18381425-0-6

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Hardback | £17.00 | ISBN: 978-1-8381425-3-7

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A lighthearted adult ‘graphic novel’ journey by our two fictional giants of the art world, as they encounter and influence historic, cultural and iconic events in recent history. Subjects trampled on, include ‘Peace In Our Time’, the jet age, conquering boundaries and human endeavour, revolution and Hippy culture, Pop and Rock music, consumerism and excess, leisure time and travel, animal rights, US and European politics. As to be expected with unconventional and highly volatile egos of genius proportions, the ‘Tour’ has an undercurrent of edginess and the impending disaster of a hastily reformed supergroup – a road manager’s nightmare.

The WW2 Battle Honours of Private Eric Riddy and 1st East Surreys

Paperback | £15.00 | ISBN: 978-1-9164418-0-4

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eBook | £9.99 | ISBN: 978-1-9999811-8-1

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Battle Honours is a poignant diary and historical commentary of my Dad’s World War 2 military life and experience in the 1st East Surreys and 78th Division. From Call-Up Day and South Coast defences, to invasion and combat in North Africa, Sicily and Italy. This is the relentless tsunami of a burgeoning war machine that consumes all foreign borders in its wake  –  along with innocents and soldiers alike. My Dad’s story portrays, on almost a daily basis, the personal pressures of life in the balance, that he and his fellow soldiers endured. Advance or fall, there was no way out. Luck was everything.

Regimental records are invariably written by officers, giving their accounts in the style of ‘a grand day out’. My dad’s WW2 experience is very much a Private’s war of intense inner conflict and endurance. Surviving three beach landings and participating in all but the last of his Regiment’s major battles, Dad was then taken prisoner of war in northern Italy, but eventually made a remarkable escape from Germany. While the 1st East Surreys were honoured for sixteen major battles and campaigns, my dad like so many fellow surviving soldiers, was left mentally scarred but resolutely hid both his achievement and darkness well.

Carte Rouge: Living with the F Plate

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When the idyllic dream of living in France meets reality and frustration, the result is a ‘car crash’ of cultures and expectations. At this point, your schoolboy French from 50 years earlier is as rusty as your neighbour’s 2CV. To make yourself understood in deteriorating circumstances, you could either try shouting your Franglais even louder – or for a quicker reposte, simply brandish this book, known universally as Red Card or Carte Rouge. Voila

Lost for words? Pas probléme. Place your two fingers over the rear red cover, and repeat after me, ‘Vous êtes une imbécile monsieur/madame!’ If you know them personally, then use ‘tu as’ instead of ‘vous êtes’. They will like that. Ignored by your waiter? Leave a cut-out piece of Red Card with your appropriate tip. Bound to be better service next time. Waiting for hours in the wrong Post Office queue? Paper clip a cut-out piece of red card to your letter – and see if one, or both or none gets delivered. Expecting your money back on an item purchased? Should have paid by Carte Rouge. Did the cheese on your plate just move? Actually, that’s not a red card offence. 

Surprisingly, it is now a criminal offence in France to drive while using your mobile ‘phone (le portable). However, at the time of going to print, it was not a driving offence to brandish the rear red cover of this book, at any or all local drivers who slipped below your own high standards. The rear red cover comes complete with genuine and original Anglo Saxon ‘two fingers’ salute, believed to be the very ones used by my ancestor Archie at Agincourt. Always keep a handy copy of my book on your dashboard, in your handbag or shopping trolley. You’ve got the idea. Un blague! This book is a light-hearted stroll through the minefield of French etiquette and peculiarities, with just a sprinkling of political nonsense. Without doubt, it will put you right in the driving seat of madcap do’s and dont’s. But don’t expect any answers soon – the French are still debating the result of the Revolution. 

I do admit, that having spent more than sixteen years living and travelling in France, our French friends around Narbonne still continue to welcome us with open arms and with a warm embrace. I think we are all enriched by coming together – in the nicest possible sense! 

A Helping Hand: The Lives of Eric Alexander Riddy

Hardback | £20.00 | ISBN: 978-0-9558103-6-7

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When growing up, you rarely give family history a second thought. Decades later you recognise how the imprint of your parents and previous generations shape your own character, mannerisms and traits. But how would I have played my Dad, if our roles were reversed? How would I have survived the relative poverty of the 1930’s Great Depression, the resultant global social revolution of World War II, and the almost ten years of rationing that followed? Perhaps my parents even asked similar questions relating to their forebears who, for generations, lived a subsistence life as lacemakers and farm labourers.

Then on the other hand, they may have decided never to look back and curse the hand that life had dealt. Surely life could only be an improvement after war? And so it proved. Life for my parent’s generation, became a jetpropelled technological journey towards the millenium, while hanging on to us kids along the way.

My book came about as family cousins and I became more and more interested in researching and documenting our history. While our earlier generations are now known and appreciated a little more, the central character is my dad and how he adapted to life’s desperate challenges.

Above all, the intention of the book was meant to convey Dad’s indelible influence on my life’s opportunities. On reflection it was also inadvertently a portrayal of successive generation’s ‘leg-up’ in the world. After all, we are just standing on each other’s shoulders. Or in my case, as is noted on the rim of some £2 coins of Our Realm, ‘Standing on the Shoulders of Giants’.