RSS Feed

Tag Archives: WW2

Book give away ends in less than 8 days

One copy of Letters from Stalag VIIIb is being given away on Goodreads.

letters cover

The offer ends on 9th March 2014,  over 500 people have entered already, there is just one copy and you’ll need to be in it to win it!


Recently discovered a world I once knew.

We have just recently been reconnected to the internet after 3 week hiatus at home.  On 6th August we experienced the most violent storm we’ve witnessed here in France, this was the last of a 3 night storm fest.  We’d become complacent over the years and had forgotten to make sure that the modem was unplugged or at least protected by a safety cut out adapter.  On the night in question, as we sat in bed reading, the house was shaken by a couple of terrifying claps of thunder and of course there would have been lightening along with that.  We didn’t lose power and carried on reading for a while whilst waiting for the storm to abate.  After about an hour we drifted off to sleep.

The next morning we had no internet, and we established that the modem was kaput!  I think at that point I felt rather anxious and lost.  We knew that we could go and connect at my daughters, but it’s not the same as having ready access whenever we wanted it.  Over the next few days, whilst we waited for the expensive replacement modem, we fell into an hourly or two hourly habit and began to discover a world that doesn’t revolve around Facebook, Twitter and other web pages of choice.  I also found myself playing a few moves in my many Scrabble games and then coming home.

The modem arrived a few anxious days later, and with much swearing and frustration we found we were still unable to connect.   We had several very tedious and frustrating calls with our internet provider Nordnet who were as helpful as the proverbial chocolate fire-guard.  I find it incredibly frustrating when faced with this type of French lack of  customer service, as my French is not good enough for me to kick arse.  I am known for my arse kicking and have found my assertiveness very useful over the years, here I cannot use it and I get quite despondent.  So, with them not coming forward  with a solution and us not knowing what to do next, we contacted an English IT man and over a few days had conversations with him, and he in turn conversations with Nordnet.  Still no joy.  Eventually he had to come here, talk to Nordnet, whilst they and he made adjustments to various signals.  Internet was restored, but my life had changed.

Meanwhile during this 3 week hiatus,  thankfully sunny and warm weeks, we spent a lot of time reading in the garden and just enjoying the space created by the internet dearth.  I had to work hard to remember how long it had been since I’d not had internet at home.  I think I first had it in 1998/9.  Of course back then it was dial up, so I wasn’t connected for long, and I certainly didn’t spend hours playing Scrabble and chatting to virtual friends.  I think I began to spend longer on the net from around 2004, and then became a member of a Poultry Forum just before getting chickens and then a French forum just before moving to France, a few years later along came Facebook and my life had changed forever.

I really appreciate all that I have had, and all the people I have “met” virtually, and I know that Facebook (and subsequently Scrabble) has given me many things I wouldn’t have without them.  However, Facebook has also given us stuff we’d rather have not had, there is also a negative side to Facebook.  Over the past 3 weeks I have really come to recognise how addictive it is and I have made some decisions about how I will use the internet in the future.

I am incredibly relieved I don’t use or own a Smart phone.  I know how easily I could become addicted to always being connected.   I was half  listening to a piece on Radio 4 this morning about Smart phone addiction, and from what I could make out, people are actually going to get help to break their addiction.

So, today is Sunday, and I have been here on and off.  My intention for the next week is to not be here during the day and wait until after dinner.  I know for most people this is probably their norm,  I don’t often do norm.   So, if you don’t see me, you know why.  I have rediscovered reading, and have read 6 books whilst I’ve been waiting.  I can feel a book addiction coming on though!

I am also feeling a little lost as I have now finished blogging Dad’s letter home from his German POW camp Letters from Stalag VIIIB  At the moment it’s in the process of being published as an Ebook with some extra’s.  I am looking forward to that being completed, but now find myself wondering how to fill the gap.

Anyway, back to my book.

a bientot.


Sojourn in Silesia

Posted on

The Amazon Kindle version of Sojourn in Silesia by Arthur Evans CBE will be free for the very last time between 11th and 13th May on Amazon. It won’t be given away free again, so don’t miss out!

Sojourn in Silesia has 5* reviews on Amazon and is also available in paperback. It was first published in 1995 and the 4th edition was published in July 2011 with some added extras at the front of the book.

The book will be free on all Amazon websites, UK, US, France, Germany, Italy and Spain. Here are the UK and US links below:



Musings from Outside the Asylum

Douglas Adams, in his book, Hitchhikers Guide to the Galaxy describes an inside out house and it’s owner,  John “Wonko The Sane” Watson.

He lives in an inside-out house overlooking the Pacific Ocean. That is, to visit you park on the carpet. There’s a sign on the wall that reads, “Come Outside.” He considers the rest of the world to be “The Asylum,” because it seemed to him that any civilization that had so far lost its head as to need to include a set of detailed instructions for use in a package of toothpicks was no longer a civilization in which he could live and stay sane.

Wonko knows more about the dolphins than any other human being alive.

Mark, my husband is the reader in this house of the Hitchhiker books and insisted that once we had completed putting our boundaries in place and hanging our gate, he would be putting a sign on the inside of the gate  saying, “The Asylum”.  I have to say, I was unhappy for quite a while about this, as I couldn’t quite get my head around it, not being a Hitchhikers fan (books that is).

Eventually, I realised that he was determined to do this, and he spent months looking for and not finding, small brass letters.  He looked both here in France and over in the UK. Thankfully, on a day trip into Poitiers, he found some small, wooden letters and this felt slightly more subtle for me.

I hope this goes some way towards explaining the name of the blog.  We, according to Douglas Adams, Mark and Wonko the Sane, live outside the asylum….it is apparently,  a nice place to be.

I don’t know what will be written here….but I felt I wanted to do something, to blog something aside from using Facebook and the limited blog I am doing with Dad’s letters home from his prison of war camp in WW2.  That blog will end of course, and I think I may feel bereft.  It got me to thinking I might quite enjoy my own blog, after years of avoiding other people’s (for which I now humbly apologise).  I think I got caught up in Facebook, Scrabble, a slow internet connection and lots of other distractions.  I feel that life has settled more now, and we have a faster internet connection, a whole 2.6mgs (yes, I can hear all those sharp intakes of breath, it is very, very fast, NOT).

I search for and found my old MySpace musings today.  This is now called a blog, I am sure it wasn’t back when I started in 2007.  Anyhow…to aid continuity, I shall link somewhere to that (once I can work out how) and to Dad’s blog. Life has been interesting, in the Chinese sense, and yet I feel we’re approaching a much calmer period.  We won’t be holding our breath though, so I suggest you don’t either.

Off now to work out how this works, add some links and maybe a photo or two.

KathytheSane (I have had many years of therapy, so feel I can call myself this, tongue in cheek).  It reminds me, back in 1997, I was travelling home from a therapy weekend, my mother had picked me up in her car.  Her question to me, “Kathy, when will you be cured?”……(I am so used to adding smileys on forums, I am wondering how to show my feelings about this question.)  Anyhow, that was then, this is now and I do believe I am reasonably sane.