Tom Kane's Blog

A word can change a mind. A sentence can change a life. A book can change the world

image of our dog Harvey

Poor old Harvey has certainly been through the wars and now his latest problem has become something huge.

As mentioned previously, read here, Harvey has a problem in his nose and is sneezing a lot. The vet has taken a biopsy and put Harvey on steroids. This last week he’s taken a turn for the worse and seemed to be in a lot of discomfort and a little pain. So we popped into the vets to see about pain-killers and were told the biopsy hadn’t come back yet, it was sent to Greece because there’s nowhere on the island to do biopsies. However, the vet’s own investigation makes him think the tumour is a malignant cancer.

It’s uncertain how far this has spread in his nose. It could be a small tumour or it could be all the way along the nasal passage and inoperable. There is little point in a CT or MRI scan at this point as we all will be revealed if the vet operates and opens up the top of the nose. If he operates and the tumour is removable then all well and good. If not, then we lose Harvey on the operating table as his life is now getting more miserable on a daily basis.

We have a simple choice, but a hard choice. Operate or not? If yes, are we prepared for losing Harvey.

It’s been a traumatic six months when Harvey’s Ataxia was first diagnosed. Now it seems that is solved and we have another, more life-threatening crisis on our hands.

Harvey’s steroids have been increased and he now has a lot of snuffling and dribbling going on. It’s a bit like living with Darth Vader’s dog. But he is full of life during the day and can still manage a little run around the garden. It’s evening-time when he suffers the most. The evenings have always been his prima-donna time, with his constant throwing himself around the sofa and making strange little whining noises. Eventually he would sleep, but not before letting us know he was around. Now he’s restless and breathing is noisy with a constant dribbling nose. However, as I’ve already said, he has a real zest for life. It’s five in the morning and dark and cold, here in Cyprus. But Harvey’s been out twice, done his business and had a little run around. Yes he’s snuffling, almost as though he has a cold, yet he carries on with living his life with great gusto.

This week is going to be make or break as we have decided to see what the increased steroids do for him and make a decision on going ahead with an operation. What we don’t want is for him to suffer, but we do want him to have a chance at a good life. And as the vet said, if the operation is a success, he could have another year or more of good quality life.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

 

image of Holly and Harvey spriger spaniels

When your dog has been ill, life for that dog can not only be life changing, it may even be life ending. I have two English Springer Spaniels, Holly and Harvey. Holly is the liver and white in the picture and she is 13 this month. Her ever present companion, Harvey is 14, going on 15. Harvey has had a bad time health-wise lately, having suffered from Ataxia and consequently two operations, one for his back and the other for the removal of a large cyst discovered from an MRI scan. You can read about this here.

Though his illness had the potential to change his life, even losing the use of his back legs, he has pulled through with remarkable courage and fortitude. Harvey is a fighter with a real zest for life. He loves his life here in Cyprus. But at his age it was inevitable that something else was going to happen to his health, only I wish it hadn’t been so soon after his recovery from Ataxia.

Harvey started sneezing a lot a couple of weeks ago. Initially we put it down to the damp in the house. We have a problem in Cyprus where most houses are concrete with no damp course, which means the winters being wet and cold can lead to damp. Especially this winter which is the wettest since 1902. So we kept him as warm and dry as we could, but it got worse. Our brilliant vets at 3VETS in Larnaca gave us steroids to boost him and that seemed to work for a while. But when that medication finished he became worse. Yesterday we took him in for a scan on his nose. He was put under with a general anesthetic and then an instrument was used to show he had a tumour in both nostril passageways.

They took a biopsy and will determine in a couple of days if it’s malignant or benign. Either way, there is little they can do to help except a cycle of steroids which relieves his nasal congestion and helps him to breath a little more easily.

If the tumours are benign he could go on for quite a while with no problems. But if malignant then the options are really non-existent. Surgery is extreme which will cause massive stress to Harvey. There is no radio-therapy on the island, the closest being the UK, but in it’s own way this is also going to cause him massive stress.

So, we sit and wait for the prognosis and whatever the outcome from that. But we know that it’s maybe not going to go well for Harvey. There is little we can do except hope.

Copyright © Tom Kane 2019

 

image header

With Book One almost finished, I’ve had to start Book Two in order to know how to end Book One. I know, sounds a bit mad but trust me… I hope I know what I’m doing. Here’s a first draft taster of how Book Two starts:-

The Brittle Sea – Book Two

One: Darkness

She woke with a start and gulped for air. She lay on her back, her mind a blank. Tears welled in her eyes as she opened them to an ebony darkness. Panic plucked at her heart and suddenly attacked her mind. Her hands gripped convulsively, coarse wood scratched her fingers. She had no thoughts, only raw fear.

Branches scraped against a window pane and suddenly she realised she didn’t know where she was. The last thing she remembered was a ship, the cold, the ice, the brittle sea. Then the thought slipped away into the darkest recesses of her mind, to sit there, elusive, waiting to tantalise her waking moments with unknown and unremembered images and thoughts.

She lay on a rough pallet in an empty room. Was she home, was this her home? Where is home? Was this her mother’s… Mother! She knew the word and remembered a face and then this fleeting and tantalising memory withdrew, fleeing quickly back into the darkness. Pain and misery engulfed her, she feared she was alone, abandoned by… by who? Somebody she knew? Questions were all she had and not knowing who she was or where she was made her scream out loud, the sound echoing in her mind and in the room. She moved her legs and realised she was shackled at her ankles, unable to free herself from the pallet. Was she a prisoner, is this a jail?

She woke with another start and felt nothing but exhaustion. She must have fallen asleep while she vainly pulled her shackled ankles back and forth in a weak attempt to free herself. She gave up and realised it was still dark. There was no sense of time, she had no sense of time, didn’t even know what time of day it was let alone what the actual day was. She tried to raise her weak body up on one elbow but fell back as pain shot through her body. It was then she remembered being pregnant and her hands shot down to feel her stomach.

‘My baby!’ she cried weakly. Her baby was gone, she knew it was gone, just as she knew she had been pregnant. But that was all that reality would allow her to know, that she had been pregnant… but was pregnant no more. “Richard,” she said with a sob and then wondered who Richard was. All was confusion, images, faces suddenly appeared and then disappeared and then her mind was a blank.

Her long hair was slicked with sweat. She pulled the curtain of wet hair from her face. A scraping sound made her eyes dart toward the window. Tree branches thrashed against the dark window pane. Then a small shaft of light entered the room as a creaking door opened, a tiny crack of flickering lamplight. The opening grew bigger and then the light was stifled by a small figure. Someone stood… in a doorway!

“Good,” an old woman’s voice said, “you are awake.”

“Da,” she said weakly and then the light was gone as a creaking door was shut and at the same time her mind closed and she fell back into a delirium.

Tom Kane © 2019

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £3.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

 

 

image cartoon slug

It looked like an alien invasion and it was the space crop that was their target. Okay, perhaps alien was taking it too far. Snails more like, but what a size they were and I have never had to deal with snails that size before. But it was the space crop they were targeting, my OurREDgeous Romain lettuce. I sowed the seeds a few weeks ago and they were coming up nicely, read about it here. These lettuce seeds were the first salads grown and eaten in space, on the ISS, the International Space Station.

It started off small fry. One plant out of about 20 disappeared one night. This was followed by another a few nights later. Finally, a few days later the culprit, or a relation more like, came back and munched the rest in one sitting. And I caught the little git at it early one morning.

What had been happening was a minor invasion of snails. More snails than usual due to the rain here in Cyprus. My concrete garden was a sodden mess. Naturally, snails love the damp and bit by bit they chewed their way through my Indian Marigolds. Next came a couple of sweet red pepper plants and then they went for my Space Lettuce. But slowly, slowly or siga siga as the Cypriots say, I was catching them and giving each snail a free flying lesson – over the wall into the very long grass a long way away, soft landing ensured. I don’t like to kill or harm other creatures for no reason at all, and eating to survive is no excuse for killing living animals.

But it got worse, a lot worse, and I hate to say, to my shame, I had to resort to a cull by using beer as a trap. Apparently snails and slugs love beer… except my lot do not like KEO, the Cyprus beer I used. and I only managed to trap two slugs that were not eating my lettuce anyway!

What to do?

Well, mosquito netting clipped over the garden tub is my plan for today. Which is fine if the crop isn’t taller than the tub. Otherwise it’s a rounded cloche I’m going to have to create. But not being adept at DIY or Origami or anything that needs creative fingers I’m not overly hopeful of success. All I can hope is that the weather picks up and the hot spring and summer kicks in, which means the snails etc., will have to hibernate.

Who said take up gardening, it’s nice and relaxing?

Copyright Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £3.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of a giraffe grabbing an airliner out the sky

Aircraft Safety

Aircraft safety is the number one concern for anyone wanting to fly, and no, I’m not suggesting there’s a risk a giant African Giraffe can pull aircraft out of the sky. I may be nuts but I’m not that crazy.

In any event, it seems that giant animals being a danger to passenger jets is the least of anyone’s worries. You should be more concerned about the company that builds the aircraft.

Aircraft Design

The design of a passenger jet tends to be similar between different manufacturers.  In designing an aircraft, the main considerations are aerodynamics, propulsion, controls, weight and the structure. All aircraft designs involve compromises of these factors. Passenger jets have low swept wings with engines mounted under and ahead of the wings and with a conventional tail. This is the most efficient known layout. Any designer will have to take into account multiple factors. In terms of getting the design right and ensuring safety. But there have been many mistakes made since the first passenger jet aircraft entered commercial service, carrying passengers from London to Johannesburg, South Africa. This was the de Havilland Comet, flying for British Overseas Airways Corporation. The Comet was an instant success and much loved by the first passengers who could afford to fly on the aircraft. With comfortable seating and large, almost square, windows, the aircraft was, by all accounts, good to fly and very quiet for passengers.

image of a Mexicana de Havilland Comet


Mexicana de Havilland Comet APM
Wikimedia Commons

But there was a design flaw and stress in the air-frame, in particular around the large square windows, which led to an in flight break-up of a Comet one year to the day after the inaugural flight. A BOAC (British Overseas Airways Corporation) Comet with 43 passengers on board disintegrated at 10,000 feet after leaving Calcutta. Eight months later a flight out of Rome broke up at 26,000 feet. BOAC grounded all Comets the following day.

Since that time there have been many crashes of passenger jets.

image of a crashed jet

According to Forbes, as at March 2017, there have been “1,525 passenger jet airliner accidents, involving 29,165 on-board fatalities (crew and passengers) and 800 innocent bystanders, with 717 of those accidents involving destroyed aircraft.”

This begs a question. Despite the claims that air travel is the safest form of transport, why have so many aircraft crashed? Well it’s obviously down to a number of reasons but is there one overriding reason? Is there evidence of aircraft manufacturers cutting costs by cutting corners.

Boeing 737 MAX

Take the recent crashes and subsequent loss of life on the two Boeing 737 MAX passenger jet crashes. The Ethiopian airways flight that crashed in March 2019 killing all on-board was found not be pilot error. Instead, the finger is being pointed toward on on-board piece of software that is designed to keep the aircraft properly trimmed in-flight. This is because the 737 MAX has heavier engines fitted, which means that in flight the heavier engines tend to make the plane’s nose rise up. If the angle of the nose up becomes too high the aircraft can stall and crash. The software, called MCAS, automatically pushes the nose down if the sensors on the planes nose reports the aircraft’s nose is too high. It now seems likely there could be a glitch in the software or the sensors on the nose that tells the computer the nose is up too much. If this is the case, the computer software would try to lower the aircraft nose. But what if there is nothing wrong with the angle of flight. In this case the software would automatically push the nose down, putting the plane into a dive. The pilots don’t seem to be able to stop the software working, so even if they manage to raise the nose back to a correct angle, the software will automatically make the plane dive again. The result of such a scenario would be catastrophic.

So heavier and more fuel efficient engines are fitted to an already well established and safe aircraft, the Boeing 737, and it’s renamed the Boeing 737 MAX and probably advertised at being more fuel efficient, thus saving the airlines money.

Is maximising profit taking precedence over aircraft safety?

Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

 

image of whisky

Treasonist: Someone who betrays his country by committing treason.

Throughout history there have been many instances of men and women commit acts of treason against the country of their birth or their adoptive country.

In the fledgling United States of America trouble was brewing when a new tax was introduced. Two simple men from poor backgrounds were set to become the first men accused of treason in this new democracy.  

The Whisky Rebellion, sometimes known as the Whisky Insurrection, was a tax protest against the imposition of a domestic tax by the newly formed federal government of the United States of America. The protest began in 1791 and ended in 1794, during the presidency of George Washington.

Desperate to generate revenue after the Revolutionary War against Great Britain, the tax applied to all distilled spirits, however it was American whisky that was American’s favourite distilled drink at that time.

Treasury Secretary Alexander Hamilton suggested that the federal government should take over the debt incurred by states during the War of Independence. He claimed that an excise tax on whisky would prevent further financial difficulty. President George Washington was opposed to Hamilton’s idea of introducing a whisky tax. However, he was persuaded otherwise and Congress soon passed the new tax into law.

The whisky tax, as it became known, was opposed by farmers of the west who distilled their whisky from any surplus grain they had, fermenting it and distilling it into grain whisky. The tax burden on large producers amounted to 6 cents to the gallon, with extra tax breaks for those producing more and they paid annually. Small producers on the other hand paid a flat rate of 9 cents on the gallon.

Many of these farmers were veterans of the war, stating they had fought a war against the British crown on the principle of no taxation without representation. On the other hand the US federal government insisted it had the right to set taxes as it was a legal expression of the Congressional powers of taxation.

The arguments on both sides were loud and becoming louder and the scene was set for an angry confrontation.

Resistance to the tax manifested itself in direct action on 11th September 1791. A tax collector named Robert Johnson was tarred and feathered by a gang in Washington County and a man sent to serve court warrants on Johnson’s attackers was also tarred and feathered.

Alexander Hamilton regarded these and other actions as a serious threat to the federal government, and in September 1792 he appointed tax official George Clymer to investigate. Clymer decided it would be safer for him to travel in disguise. But this clumsy attempt at subterfuge and his attempt to intimidate local officials into accepting the governments demand simply made local officials dig their heels in. Clymer’s report made waves in the government. Add to this that the incidents of resistance were in Pennsylvania was embarrassing to the fledgling government, as the nation’s capital at that time was located in the same state.

The resistance to the tax came to a head in May, 1794. Federal district attorney William Rawle issued subpoenas to more than sixty distillers in Pennsylvania who had not paid the excise tax.

A Federal Marshal delivered almost all the writs without incident. On the evening of 15th July the Marshal and his guide in Allegheny County, General Neville, were roused by shots being fired at the farmhouse where the men were staying, Miller’s farm. After this incident the Federal Marshal returned to Pittsburgh while his guide, General Neville returned home.

The following day, about thirty militiamen surrounded Neville’s fortified home at Bower Hill. The militiamen believed the federal marshal was inside and demanded his surrender. Neville’s response was to fire a gunshot that mortally wounded one of the militiamen, Oliver Miller. The militiamen returned fire but were unable to dislodge Neville. The militiamen retreated to Couch’s Fort to gather reinforcements.

The next day a full rebellion was in the making and the rebels returned to Bower Hill, their force swelling to over six hundred men. Their commander was Major James McFarlane, a veteran of the Revolutionary War. Neville had sent for reinforcements and ten U.S. Army soldiers from Pittsburgh under the command of Major Abraham Kirkpatrick had arrived. Neville took to hiding in a ravine close to his home while Kirkpatrick took command of his forces. The women and children were allowed to leave Neville’s house and at that point both sides opened fire. After an hour a ceasefire was called. But as McFarlane stepped into the open, a shot rang out from the house and McFarlane was killed. Enraged, the rebels set Neville’s house and its slave quarters on fire. Kirkpatrick surrendered. Three of the rebels, including McFarlane, were killed and one U.S. soldier was reported to have died from wounds received.

After McFarlane’s funeral on 18th July, rebels saw his death as a murder and radical rebels incited for further bloody violence. Emotions were running high and on 1st August a noisy crowd of over seven thousand people gathered at Braddock’s Field. Mostly the people in the crowd were poor and not land owners and most didn’t own whiskey stills. But the whisky tax had unleased resentment to other economic issues. Radical protesters wanted to march on Pittsburgh or even attack a local fort. A new feeling of revolution was in the air and the French Revolution was much cited as a new model for freedom. Others though wanted full independence from the US or even a return to joining with Great Britain. Confusion and emotions were much in evidence. It was Hugh Henry Brackenridge who managed to calm the crowd and persuade them to limit their protest to an angry and noisy march through the town, thus defusing the potentially violent demonstration.

For a while, it looked like there may be an armed insurrection in Pennsylvania, but President Washington was determined to maintain governmental authority. He sent a delegation to meet the protesters, while at the same time raised a militia army in case the protests became a rebellion. Washington left the capital, Philadelphia, on the 30th September. He planned to review the progress of the forming of the militia and if necessary lead a military expedition himself. Washington traveled to Reading in Pennsylvania and met with the rest of the militia.

The large army was placed under the command of the Virginia Governor Henry Lee and Washington returned to Philadelphia. Daniel Morgan was promoted to Major General and was charged with leading part of the militia army into Western Pennsylvania.

It was a massive show of force for s fledgling government and the potential for an armed insurrection was quashed and ended without a shot being fired.

Prominent leaders of the uprising fled to safety into the mountains. The militia could do little more than arrest a handful of those caught and send them to trial for treason. The government wanted to set an example and wanted a trial in Philadelphia, with a hoped for outcome of seeing a handful hung for treason. In the end, ten of the accused rebels were tried for treason at the U.S. District Court for the Eastern District of Pennsylvania. But most were acquitted and the only two convicted of treason and sentenced to hang were John Mitchell and Philip Wigle, also known known as Vigol.

Mitchell and Wigle were the first Americans convicted of federal treason in American history. But after lengthy deliberations and discussions, as well as medical examinations, one of the accused was considered to be a simpleton and the other insane. Neither were fit to hang and on 2nd November 1795 Washington pardoned both men.

Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

 

image of home made butter

I’ve never been a fan of margarine, either in cooking or on bread when making a sandwich. Something that’s been invented as an alternative to butter, that tastes nothing like butter, is a waste of time and space. Especially as I can make my own butter for less than the cost of buying butter.

I use a local dairy, here in Cyprus. Lanitis dairy products are good quality and good prices. The cost for a litre of full cream is about €3.35 and it’s what I usually buy for cream in my coffee. I’m not a tea person and don’t drink milk at all due to Lactose intolerance, so as cream is low in Lactose it’s ideal for coffee and now for full fledged butter production for home use.

Okay, so you can buy butter, British butter at that, from any Lidl supermarket for about €2.60 per block of 250gms and it’s either salted or unsalted. But with my new food mixer I can make my own butter for a Euro less than buying it. One litre of cream can make over 520gms of butter. This means 250gms of butter for €1.60 and you also get the added advantage of buttermilk as a by-product. Buttermilk is great for making soda bread, which tastes great with real butter and a cup of coffee. What’s not to like.

The other plus here is that with my herb garden I can now make herb flavoured butter, like garlic butter,  parsley garlic butter or sage butter. With my lime tree I can now also make lime & coriander butter. The sky is the limit.

You might think making your own butter is a waste of time and messy. Well, it can be messy if you don’t have a splash guard on your food mixer. As for time, well it takes about 30 minutes. All you have to do is pour a litre of cream into the mixer’s bowl. Fit the correct paddle. Make sure the splash guard is secure and switch the machine on. It’s about as simple as that. Make sure the machines going fast enough, there are more than enough videos on YouTube for this, and there you have it – done.

I’m making plain & cheese scones with my buttermilk leftovers later today. A nice cup of creamy coffee with a scone with homemade butter and raspberry jam. Now that’s what I call a job well done.

Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image broken brexit egg

There have been more votes in the British Parliament to do with Brexit than any of us can keep up with, and yet we are still uncertain as to what exactly, if anything, will happen on 29th March 2019. Brexit, it seems, is on a cliff edge and indeed it may happen sooner, or more likely it will happen later. It could be that it doesn’t happen at all and Britain becomes a wraith like entity always on the edge of being a part of the EU, but never being invited to the party. Nobody knows.

One thing though is certain, Brexit has come about in part due to many, many, older people voting to return Britain to a time when the UK was in charge of its own destiny. When Britain mattered as a force in its own right and didn’t need to pander to any ‘foreign Johnnies’ as my Granddad used to call people across the Channel.

I somehow think that many of my fellow Brits have rose coloured lenses in their spectacles. It may have been a glorious time of self determination when Britain stood alone at the start of World War 2, a time of Churchill and the famous ‘we will fight them on the beaches’  speech. But the modern world works in a very different way.

I’m not old enough to remember World War 2, I was born ten years after hostilities ended, and missed rationing by a few years too. But my parents both lived through it, indeed were to a greater and lesser extent involved in the struggle. My mother worked in a factory making radio sets for the armed forces and my father was a front-line tank commander who served in North Africa and Italy, eventually heading an army group working with the SOE to capture high ranking Nazis in Austria after full blown hostilities had ended in the European theatre of operations.

Both parents sustained injuries due to their war efforts which was a constant and permanent reminder of the struggle against the Nazis and their Axis allies.

What has this to do with Brexit? Bear with me.

For a long time Britain struggled at the outbreak of World War 2 to get itself onto a war footing. It’s armed forces were woefully unprepared, except maybe the Royal Navy, and the fight was a hard test for all, civilians included. It was a time of great uncertainty for nobody knew what the outcome would be. What made matters worse that for a long time after the fall of France in in June 1940, Britain stood virtually alone except for soldiers, sailors and airman of the British Empire and those who escaped occupied Europe, and a handful of American pilots in the Eagle Squadron. It was a time of great fear among the civilian population, indeed many thought Britain would succumb to the Nazi onslaught. But in the end, and after America joined the war in December 1941, the tide turned in the Allies favour and eventually victory was assured. But the cost was high. People died and were injured on an enormous scale and on top of that there was the monetary cost of the war. In fact Britain didn’t pay its war date off to America & Canada for loans made during the war until 2006. The payments of $83.25m (£42.5m) to the US and US$22.7m (£11.6m) to Canada were paid on the final day of business 2006.

Again you are probably asking what all this has to do with Brexit.

Two things you can take from the struggle of World War 2. The first is that Britain has a long history of ‘going it alone’ and getting on with the job in hand. Britain has always had a ‘can do’ attitude. The second is that Britain has always tried to do the right thing in paying its debts. Yes, there have been instances of disagreements with other countries on the hows and whys and whens of paying back what was owed. And for many years, probably even more so now, Britain has often been described as Perfidious Albion, particularly by the French. We Brits have a special love-hate relationship with France.

But at the end of the day, whatever happens with Brexit, and it looks more and more likely there will be a no deal Brexit, Britain will ‘get on’ with the job in hand and make a success of whatever history and circumstances throws at us. The British do not to sit back and throw their hands in the air and loudly gnash their teeth, they will quietly make the best of whatever deal (or no deal) comes before Brexit.

Despite the fact I live in Europe and voted for staying in the EU, I don’t worry if there is a no-deal. Such a scenario will offer the UK a fresh start and a clean slate. After all, before Britain joined the European Union, what was then called the Common market, it had trading partners all over the world. I remember it being quite a sad day when Britain’s trade as a stand alone nation was halted and replaced by trade deals negotiated by the EU. Our long time trading partners in Australia, Canada, New Zealand, to name but a few, were no doubt slightly miffed as we turned to the Common market.

Having said all that, trading practices have changed since the UK joined the EU in the 1970s. When I was a boy, Anchor Butter from New Zealand was the best butter around. Over the years it seemed to be replaced on supermarket shelves by Lurpak, a Danish brand. But that’s actually untrue and is only the way I perceived much cherished brands being usurped by foreign goods. In fact In the UK, Anchor butter was still imported from New Zealand up until August 2012 when UK licensee Arla Foods transferred production to a factory in Wiltshire, using British cream. So Anchor butter in Britain is no longer New Zealand butter, it’s British butter. Maybe I too have rose coloured spectacles on.

So what does all this mean to Britain if and when the politicians get their act together and make a decision. I predict after the UK leaves the EU prices on many goods will go up and we may well see a resurgence of brands such as Anchor with lower prices than equivalent EU brands. But over the coming months and years life will settle down again and we can all look forward to a time of peace and calm… except that is when French farmers and fishermen go on the rampage and block British goods arriving at French ports. As I said, life will return to normal.

C’est la Vie.

Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £3.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

image of the Brittle Sea Book One cover

The Brittle Sea will be published in three parts, Book One, Two and Three and these will constitute the completion of The Brittle Sea. Once these three parts are published and if there is enough interest I will then publish The Brittle Land followed by the completion of the trilogy, The Brittle Air. The trilogy will take the storytelling from the sinking of the Titanic to the end of World War 2.

The Brittle Sea – Book One is currently standing at 90 pages in length fully completed and edited and should be around 140 pages on completion and publication. Books Two and Three will be of a similar length and the final and full version,The Brittle Sea Omnibus, will be close to 450 pages in length.

Proof reading commences soon, and that’s going to be nerve wracking as the initial proof reader is my wife – never one to shirk from calling me out on shoddy writing and simple mistakes.

After the proof reading is another edit and then a final proof read. I would prefer another proof reader other than my wife so will be looking around to see who out in the real world would like to fulfill this role. If you have experience or would like to offer your services let me know by using the Contact form and type Proof Reading into the subject line. I’m always grateful for any help offered and if accepted I can send a free copy of the finished book as a gift.

More information coming soon and more on the actual publication date as we get closer to that time.

Tom Kane © 2019

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £3.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

Download my FREE books on iPhone

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

 

 

 

image of the night sky

The stars in the night sky in Cyprus are something to behold. If you’re on holiday in Cyprus in the spring or summer (or any time if you can stand cold nights) then put your glass down, take your shades off and move away from the bright lights and look up. It’s the stuff of dreams, music and poetry all rolled into one. Especially later in the Summer, around August time, when you can see the Milky Way and even the odd shooting star or two, you may even see the Perseid meteor shower which reaches its height around the 13th August this year.

Of course, as with any clear night, you may see a few odd, unexplained things. Rest assured most odd sightings are usually something benign, like a satellite moving slowly and silently across the night sky. I’ve seen numerous satellites and even the occasional drone, most likely from a US Navy carrier group somewhere in the Med, taking a look at nearby Syria. I’ve even seen a flying dog, which isn’t something you see every day, but you need to read the book A Pat on his Back to see what this was. But sometimes, just occasionally, you may see something that is way beyond odd and which cannot be explained away. Of these multiple sightings I’ve had, I think the weirdest thing was what I thought was a star suddenly fly away. It was very early one morning about five years ago, dawn was nowhere near breaking and my two springers, Harvey and Holly, wanted a toilet break so Harvey did his barky thing to wake me up… he still does. Anyway, out we went and looking in the direction of where dawn would eventually make its presence known, I could see what looked like a bright star low in the sky. After a while I realised it wasn’t a star, because it wasn’t twinkling. Stars twinkle when you look at them through the Earth’s atmosphere. If it’s not twinkling then it may be a planet, like Venus. So, as I watched I wondered which planet it was and made a mental note to look it up on the internet. It was at that point the planet moved. It went across the sky quite quickly, stopped and then shot up getting smaller and smaller as it did so. It was so quick from a standing start to moving that it took me a while to realise I had just seen something leaving Earth’s atmosphere, very quickly. There was no noise, no vapour trail from a rocket and no navigation lights, nothing to indicate it was anything but a planet low in our sky. Clearly, in order to move that fast, it couldn’t have been a planet. Don’t ask me what it was, I have no idea, but it certainly wasn’t something I’ve seen before, or since.

Twilight zone, here I come.

Tom Kane © 2019

As a English expat author living in Cyprus, you may think my life revolves around cocktails by the pool. You would be wrong. In ten years on the island I’ve had my fair share of adventures and interesting experiences.

Read a free sample of A Pat on his Back – Only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle.

Living in Cyprus: 2018  is out now, packed full of photographs and over 230 pages in length. This book is three books in one with details of my recent trip to Australia and Italy’s Lake Como. This new release is three times bigger than any of the previous five volumes, 2013 to 2017 and at only £1.99 on Amazon Kindle is still a bargain price.

Download my FREE Books on Amazon Kindle

Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here

 

Download my FREE books on iPhone
Living in Cyprus: 2015 here

Hitler’s Secret Atomic Bomb here

An Indie Author Quick Guide to Blogging here