Author: Robert WHANSLAW

Author of Lauren's Story with the first draft published on line. http://robwhanslaw.com/

More people in the UK today live in poverty compared to the 1950’s

We now have in the year 2017 more people in the UK living in poverty than in the 1950’s.

Living standard for those on low incomes in the UK is pretty poor and there is over 20% of the population, compared to just below 2% in the 1950’s, in this position. That is a number of around 13 million people and this number has been increasing year on year for the last seven years.

Closely linked to this is the increase in the numbers of homeless or rough sleepers, now living in London and other cities throughout the UK. In a city that boasts over 50 billionaires with a combined wealth of £200 billion it feels a social injustice there should be such extreme diversity.

The number of food banks and people using them continues to increase in tandem with these trends. There are many reasons for homelessness and when living on the poverty line and with no safety net in the case a sudden need for money to use for some unforeseen circumstance can push a family or individual into this situation.

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Whatever your political view it is the facts that unless this issue is addressed it will only get worse. When there are those with so much it is surely morally and unjustifiably wrong to have such poverty and homelessness within our towns and cities.

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Book Review – Beneath the Earth by John Boyne

This is a book of twelve shorts stories and I read this book in two days. And that is going it some for me as I am a normally a slow reader but loved it so much I just couldn’t stop reading.

The themes are interesting, mysterious and dark and one of them even written in the second person – You don’t come across that every day. The style of writing is humorous and funny and not wishing to give you too much of a disturbing image, but I was reading this book whilst lying in the bath and my wife was beginning to wonder who I had in there with me when she could hear me laughing  to myself behind the locked door.

Great booked loved it and totally recommend this one.

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This is the first John Boyne book I have read and have noted ‘Must read more of his!’

Book Review -Heroes by Robert Cormier

This is an excellent story with a dark theme running through it. The book starts with the protagonist, Francis Cassavant describing his injuries and how his face is disfigured from injuries after returning home from the war. He returns a hero, although he hides his identity as he has mission to enact a plan to the kill the man who only he knows of his evil.

The story moves back to before the war when Larry Lasalle arrives in Frenchtown and is loved by everyone. He has a style about him that everyone admires. There is however something that Larry tries to hide from them all, but in his weakness fails to control himself, and here his dark morality is eventually revealed. Larry then leaves the town to fight for his country and becomes a war hero as well as Francis.

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Eventually Francis confronts Larry and his true nature is revealed. This is an extremely moving story, with a strong theme of deception and how someone’s image can hide a multitude of sins. This is a great book that raising a lot of questions.

Book Review – After The Storm by Jane Lythell

This book is one you can sit back with and get totally absorbed into the atmosphere of the setting. I found myself pulled into the pages on a tranquil wave lazing on the deck of a boat, in the beautiful Caribbean sun, but every now and then there was a sense of unease that alerts you to the more sinister unveilings that are to come. It focuses on four main characters and starts in Belize City when Rob and Anna meet Owen and Kim who have their own boat. Rob and Anna decide to charter the boat and the three of them set off on a journey from Belize to Roatán a small island off the northern coast of Honduras.

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The characters gradually build throughout with each exposing flaws as time sails on making them believable and real. A combination of the setting that is cleverly portrayed envelopes a feeling you are there and with the strong character depiction the plot drifts along that as the reader you roll with it needing to know what happens next. This is a psychological thriller that is definitely worth a read as it builds to it climactic ending.

Battle of Agincourt – Friday 25th October 1415 – The End of Chivalry

 

On Friday 25th October 1415 Henry V and the English defeated the French at the Battle of Agincourt against all odds. They were outnumbered and with the French sensing victory they celebrated the predicted slaughter of the English the night before.

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Two months both prior to that date the English had set sail from Southampton to France with 11,000 men including 8,000 archers in a fleet of 1,500 ships. They arrived in Chef-de-Caux near Harfleur where they battled to take the town. The French resistance was greater than expected and the English lost a great number of men. Eventually the English gained victory, and from there, made their way northwards 100 miles to Calais. By now, the English were short of food and, the conditions led to dysentery and illness that took more lives depleting the English army to half its size.

The French blocked Henry’s route at Agincourt and waited to bring the English to battle. The battlefield was narrow and heavy rain made the terrain thick with mud. The two armies stood off and waited for the other to attack. The English mocked the French, and before the order to attack was given, the French broke ranks and charged forward. This worked perfectly in favour of the English, with the mud and longbows they were able to kill thousands of the French before they made it to the English lines. The professionally trained archers could shoot six arrows a minute and injure the enemy at 600 yards and kill at 300 yards. With the hail of arrows coming down on the French, panic set in and in the narrow area of the battlefield, they ended up crushing and disabling themselves from the number of advancing French from the rear, leaving them stuck in the mud.

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The English seemingly had victory in their sights when news arrived of a French attack coming from the rear. Henry, now had a problem, due to the French outnumbering the English they had taken more prisoners than they could control. The fear the prisoners may fight back, Henry gave the order to have them killed in cold blood, perhaps bringing an end to chivalric ideology

The victory at the Battle of Agincourt goes down as one of the greatest English victories with loss of only 600 men compared to the French that was in the region of 6,000.

In 1420 Henry was accepted as heir to the throne of France; however he died two years later from dysentery during the siege of Meaux.

Best Book Dedications and Acknowledgements

I am near to publishing my first book and, was suddenly hit by the fact, traditionally it is in good grace to write an acknowledgement, thanking those for their help in writing my book, and to dedicate my book, I have spent months and months agonising over to someone who once said ‘Oh, are you writing a book!’.

Oh well, not one to break from tradition, I thought I would check out a few from other authors. Here are some of my favourites I came up with.

Silly Verse For Kids by Spike Milligan
This book is dedicated to my bank balance.

Ship of Magic by Robb Hobb
To caffeine and sugar, my companions through many a long night of writing.

Heart of Goof by P.G. Wodehouse
To my daughter Leonora without whose never-failing sympathy and encouragement this book would have been finished in half the time.

My Shit Life So Far by Frankie Boyle
To all my enemies,
I will destroy you.

Visions of Cody by Jack Kerouac
Dedicated to America, whatever that is.

Austenland by Shannon Hale
For Colin Firth
You’re a really great guy, but I’m married,
so I think should just be friends

Dark Places by Gillian Flynn
What can I say about a man who knows how I think and still sleeps next to me with the lights off?

I may have to add to this list but if you have any good one I would love to hear them.