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Scouting

Expedition Challenge – Surrey Scouts Competition 2019

I spent my weekend helping with the Surrey Scouts Expedition Challenge weekend. Our scout troop entered this competitive event for the first time, and we had two teams. The elder scouts, including my son, were the competition team. Five younger scouts made up a training team, and I accompanied them on their walk through the Surrey Scouts Expedition ChallengeThe Surrey Scouts Expedition Challenge has been running for several years, more than eight. It's a competitive event that is scored. The basis are the requirements of the Expedition Challenge badge. The expedition challenge badge is one of the precursor awards to the Chief Scout's Gold camp for two nights, and hike on Saturday and Sunday. On both Friday and Saturday night they are given a set of waypoints and checkpoints as six figure grid references. It is up to the scouts…
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3 Novels That Exemplify The Best Of Historical Fiction [Guest Post]

After my recent comments on historical fiction and its problems, I was offered a guest post by Elizabeth Caskey. Here's her take on three novels that show the best features of historical fiction. Feel free to add your own comments on your own favourite historical fiction below. 3 Novels That Exemplify The Best Of Historical Fiction Historical fiction is a deceptively tricky genre of writing. An author has to do a breathtaking amount of research, often over the course of several years, just to make a story possible. Then the story actually has to be written. On top of the ordinary challenges of constructing a plot that moves, developing characters in a satisfying manner, and all the rest, the subjects of the research have to be threaded in deftly but comprehensively. A good work of historical fiction needs to live…
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guest posts

How to Increase Your Amazon Marketability [guest post]

Laptop (image: ) How to Increase Your Amazon Marketability It’s no secret that Amazon is a great place to sell nearly anything. The platform alone accounts for nearly half of all e-commerce sales in the United States. But such a crowded marketplace also means that you’ll face stiff competition in nearly every sector. In 2014 alone, there were more than 2 billion items sold on the Amazon Marketplace. To succeed in such a tough environment, you need to take advantage of every possible opportunity. Writers have focused on everything from images to copy to marketing tactics, but it’s also important to capitalize in all situations. Just like Facebook advertising firms look to optimize campaigns and entice users through various strategies, so must Amazon vendors. These quick tips will give you an edge and have a significant impact on your bottom…
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On not blogging

I've not written much since I was in hospital. I found it harder to concentrate when I was recuperating. I also think that I might have gone back to work a little sooner than was ideal. I did manage to publish a couple of posts about my hospital stay, and there's a third one in draft that I didn't manage to finish. I don't think that's anything to do with having been unwell. I've not lost enthusiasm, but I do seem to have a lot of things going on. It's been the same at work. I had been writing one and a bit blog posts a week for work before I was off. In two months I've managed three. Writer's block? I haven't got writer's block. I've just run out of time to write things. I've worked a fair number…
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garden

To the Brink of Death (part 1 – becoming unwell)

I am back from the brink of death thanks to the heroes of the NHS who pumped me full of industrial quantities of antibiotics and other drugs when I felt unwell last week. This time last week I was in hospital, overnight on Wednesday I was so ill that if it hadn't been for the medical intervention there is a high chance that I could have died. My temperature was over 40C and my heart rate was over 120. My blood pressure was really low. I got IV fluids, oxygen and antibiotics injected into me. However that's not where the story starts, and we should start at the beginning. Demolition Job The old shed in the aftermath of demolition and its contents (photo: James Kemp) On Monday afternoon my wife and I set to demolishing our old hut. This was…
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