Author Archives: James - Page 3

Onward to 2022!

Me in Glasgow Central for a work trip in November 2021. (Photo: James Kemp) I'm carrying on a theme for my blog, of at least one post reflecting and looking forward every new year, and for once I'm keen that we move onward to 2022 and what it will bring! At the tail end of 2020 I made a few suggestions for 2021 (I didn't go as far as labelling them resolutions, for reasons I explained in last year's post). Always make sure that there is something to look forward to. Keep the scale of ambition realistic (given what I know I can control) Keep up the exercise/activity. Make the most of the situation, whatever it is. Reflections on 2021 Despite everything 2021 has been a good year for my family and me. Looking back through my pictures we've had…
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The Charioteer: A Roman Adventure Story by Jemahl Evans [Book Review]

The Charioteer: A Roman Adventure Story by Jemahl Evans My rating: 5 of 5 stars The Charioteer by Jemahl Evans is the first in a new series. It is set in time of the emperor Justinian when the Roman Empire becomes the Byzantine Empire. Based on a marginal note in Procopius’s history about the first recorded industrial espionage. The Charioteer uses real characters from history that Jehmal Evans has skilfully woven together into a story as fine as the silk his characters are stealing the secret of making. The Charioteer There are three main characters, including the Charioteer, and a small cast of important supporting characters. We find them thrust into a quest to redeem themselves, or their family, by Narses, the Emperor’s treasurer. This quest sends them off along the silk road to meet a contact with silkworm eggs…
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Flower – [Short Story] [Write Club]

I wrote Flower for September's Write Club session. The prompt was to write something that was about what happened either before or just after the passage in Tess of the d'Urbevilles where Mrs Brooks (their landlady) spots a red spot flowering on the ceiling, and is suspicious about what has gone on upstairs. This is towards the end of the book, and marks the point where the narrative viewpoint changes from Tess to Mrs Brooks. Flower The crimson red spot on the ceiling had grown and darkened into a burgundy flower in the silence of the morning. No sound came from the apartment above, not since the shouting had ended half an hour after the mysterious visitor had left late yesterday evening. The silence was so unnatural that I dared not break it. It felt sacred, like the silence of…
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How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe [Book Review]

How To: Absurd Scientific Advice for Common Real-World Problems by Randall Munroe My rating: 5 of 5 stars How to explain how to: absurd scientific advice for common real-world problems is probably "don't try this at home!" How to is a follow on to What There's a fantastic set of well-researched out of the box suggestions for alternative solutions to things we've probably all done, wondered about, or will need to do sometime in our lives. How The science is very real, and plausible, and totally absurd. I laughed out loud a lot when reading How to. Another fab book from Randall Munroe, the genius behind xkcd. It's a perfect follow on to What I think my favourite set of advice was the chapter on moving house. It offered some advice on packing, and then on what you needed to…
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