YOUR BODIES MANY CRIES FOR WATER by Dr F. Batmanghelidj

18 11 2017

Probably the single most important thing we can do for ourselves when we are unwell is drink more water.

“You are not sick, you are thirsty.”

But not only when we are unwell. We need water, lots of water, to keep us well, says Dr Batmanghelidj in his best-selling book Your Body’s Many Cries For Water.

Read it, if you can get hold of a copy. But in brief, he tells us that our bodies require an absolute minimum of six to eight 8-ounce glasses of water per day. And that means water, not coffee or tea, or fruit juice, or any other beverage. Water, plain and simple.

These six glasses would ideally be drunk as follows: one half an hour before each meal, and one two-and-a-half hours after each meal.

But that is the minimum, remember. We should also wash our food down with some water, and drink more water whenever we feel thirsty. Not only when we feel thirsty, though, but also when we feel hungry for a snack outside our regular meal-times: the body, especially as it grows older, becomes incapable of distinguishing thirst from hunger. While young people, who do know when they are thirsty, tend to quench that thirst with rubbish instead of water, many older people don’t believe they are thirsty at all and if given a glass of water just sip at it, merely wetting their mouths and throats and convinced that that is all they need.

As simply as dehydration will in time produce the major diseases we are confronting now. a well regulated and constantly alert intention to daily water intake will help to prevent the emergence of most of the major diseases we have come to fear in our modern society.”

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SHROUD OF DISHONOUR by Maureen Ash

17 11 2017

A Templar Knight Mystery

 

Lincoln, May, 1202

 

It was not the third but the fifth book in this series which came my way – I am working serendipitously here with second-hand paperbacks – and this one opens with an unusual and mysterious Prologue: two Knights Templar outside a brothel in the suburbs of Acre (in Outremer, the Holy Land), one reluctant to enter, the other determined to go in and do his business – which is not, as it happens, what you might expect.

 

It is a story that would be all too easy to spoil by inadvertently blurting out “spoilers”; suffice it to say that what happens there, then, is intimately connected with the death a few months later in Lincoln of two prostitutes, and an attack on a third who manages to defend herself with a sharp little knife she carries on her belt (wise girl). (Though no doubt in modern Britain she would be charged with assault and being in possession of a deadly weapon.)

 

Why prostitutes? wonders our hero, Sir Bascot de Marins. Because they are easy victims, peculiarly vulnerable and defenceless? Yet the killer seems to be targeting the Templars rather than prostitutes as a group: he makes each murder look as though it had been committed by a member of the Order.

 

Or is the killer in fact a member of the Order?

 

Bascot, who first came to Lincoln (with Gianni, a starving street-kid he had picked on his travels, tagging along) in order to recuperate after eight years as a captive – a slave – in the Middle East, has now rejoined the Order and is due to sail for Portugal, where the Templars are committed to aiding the Portuguese in their fight against the Moors. But of course he is roped in to assist in the investigation and driven by his hatred of cold-blooded murder of the innocent and defenceless he does so with his usual quiet modesty.

 

But will he go to Portugal when all this is sorted out? Will the next Templar Knight Mystery be set there, among the olives and the orange trees? Or will this be the last of these books? You have to read to the very end to find out – and to find out who has been going around killing working girls, and why.

 

I love this series, which is set in my second favourite period (the 12th and early 13th centuries), in this case during the reign of King John, son of Henry II (though the King himself does not appear in this story). 





THE ALEHOUSE MURDERS by Maureen Ash

17 11 2017

The first of the Templar Knight Mysteries (I have already reviewed the second, here, and another – not the third but the fifth – follows immediately.)

Lincoln, AD 1200

No one had been told why the Templar was in Lincoln. Gerard Camville had said in passing that de Marins had been on crusade in the Holy Land with the now-dead King Richard back in ’91, and had been captured by the Saracens during a skirmish near Acre at the end of that year. After eight long years of captivity he had recently escaped. It was obvious that he had been tortured during his incarceration, for he wore a leather patch over the eye-socket of his missing right eye and walked with a pronounced limp. When, early one morning, he came into the hall to break his fast after attending Mass in the castle chapel, all eyes had turned his way but, although polite, he had said nothing of his past and seemed disinclined to talk about it. […]

As he began to recover his health, he had taken to practising his combative skills in the yard, first with a blunted sword against the wooden stake erected for the purpose, and finally with Ernulf in mock battle using both sword and shield. While he seemed to have regained his former weight, his prowess with a sword was hampered by the lameness of his leg and the blindness of one eye. For all that, he still made a formidable opponent for Ernulf, who needed all the tricks he had learned in his many years as a soldier to keep pace with the Templar

The scene is Lincoln Castle one year early in the reign of bad King John – though no one here seems particularly against him, or to remember his brother Richard the Lionheart with any affection. They do look back on the days of Richard and John’s father, Henry II, and his queen, Eleanor, as “the good old days”, but that is normal, as is one very bright old lady being scornful about Eleanor’s “Courts of Love”.

It is high summer. The Sheriff of Lincoln, Gerard Camville, is out hawking by the river with his wife, Lady Nicolaa de la Haye, and their attendants, when urgent news arrives: four people have been found dead in a local alehouse. It is Nicolaa who goes to sort out the problem. She is the chatelaine of the castle, her father’s heir, and tends to run things her way, with the compliance of her husband, who just wants to be left in peace to enjoy his knightly pursuits.

The man Nicolaa calls upon to investigate the murders, Sir Bascot de Marins, is one of the most interesting sleuths I have come across in years of reading such books. He is a Templar Knight on a kind of extended sick leave after spending eight years as a captive and slave in the Middle East and finally escaping to Cyprus. He is unsure whether he wishes to remain with the Order and his superiors show great (to me surprising) sympathy. D’Arderon, the officer in charge of the Lincoln Preceptory, has introduced him to Lady Nicolaa, and he has been given a room in the castle which he shares with a mute Sicilian street-kid he fed at some point on his travels and who has followed him like a dog ever since.

As you watch this man, wounded in body and soul, deal with these murders, with those around him, high and low, and with his own personal problems, I am sure that you, like me, will be thinking about getting hold of the second (and third!) books in the series while you are still only half-way through this one.

Unpretentious and excellent.





Quotable #27: Reading & Perusing — Learn Fun Facts

14 11 2017

In reading some books we occupy ourselves chiefly with the thoughts of the author; in perusing others, exclusively with our own. — Edgar Allan Poe, Marginalia, 1845

via Quotable #27: Reading & Perusing — Learn Fun Facts





They already have it, love …

3 11 2017





ALL GOOD DEEDS by Stacy Green

3 11 2017

Quite by chance, I started on All Good Deeds while in the middle of re-reading Edgar Wallace’s The Four Just Men, so I had a couple of days of vigilante justice delivered in two very different styles, one set in Edwardian London in 1914, the other in present-day Pennsylvania. And while the heroes of the London story are cultured middle-aged males (there are only three of them, actually) the protagonist of the modern story is a pushy, opinionated young woman who goes rushing in where “just men” would – no, not fear to tread, but certainly think very, very carefully before they trod.

Lucy’s one concern – and It’s become an obsession – is abused children. Years ago when she was working for the Child Protection Services, she was responsible for monitoring a boy of eleven who had been allowed to go on living with his family against her advice and had then murdered his nine-year-old sister. The boy, Justin, subsequently spent several years in juvenile prison but was later released back into society without being tagged as a child-molester. Lucy fought against his release because she considered him a danger but she was overuled by the judge.

Now a nine-year-old girl called Kailey has disappeared, been kidnapped, and Justin not only lives right there in the immediate neighbourhood but turns out to have been in direct contact with the girl prior to her disappearance.

So far as Lucy is concerned, she was right all along and this is an open-and-shut case. When she learns that the Detective in charge of the investigation is Justin’s half-brother and that he insists there is no evidence against Justin, she starts taking things into her own hands. Not for the first time. Several pedophiles who had evaded official justice have already met their maker after a brief encounter with her.

But further developments sow doubts in the reader’s mind about Justin being in any real sense a pedophile, or dangerous. And a young man approaches Lucy in a bar and informs her that he knows her secret: a word from him to the police would result in Lucy being arrested and charged with a whole series of murders.

The reader is torn in two.

Great writing.

But the moral of the story? All Good Deeds is described as “a psychological thriller”. I’m not sure what that means. That the bad guys have psychological problems? Well, yes, but so does Lucy, when judged by normal standards of behaviour in any civilised society.

I wonder where this will go in the second book in the series …

And The Four Just Men? It is a classic. A little slow perhaps (life then was slower) but essential reading. If you haven’t read it, read it. You can download it almost free from Amazon and completely free here.





“Mlle Duchamps”….with a warning about theme.

3 11 2017

A short story written by a poet who is also a loyal follower of this site. Read and enjoy – but heed her warning before you start.

Lady Nyo's Weblog

Image result for young 18th century women

I am putting together a collection of short stories for publication next year.  This is one of them.  I had wanted to post this around Halloween, but missed the date.  Don’t read if you are perturbed by vampires or lesbianism.

Lady Nyo

Many years ago there was an elderly gentleman who lived  with his invalid daughter Marie, in the Vercors region of France, near the Swiss Alps. Comte d’Epinay was impoverished, due to the death of so many relatives by Madame Guillotine, and the taxation upon those of the aristocracy who managed to keep their heads.

For a while, Comte d’Epinay was addressed as “Citizen d’Epinay”, but the country folk reverted to M d’Epinay, and an uneasy peace existed.  M d’Epinay lived without the luxuries of his youth in a decaying house, too small to be considered a chateau and too large for economy.  The roofs leaked, the fireplaces…

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