Lines drawn in sands of old…

The fascinating Horatio Clare book, A Single Swallowfollows his experiences travelling with and staying amongst indigenous peoples as he travels through the African continent on the trail of the migrating swallows.  His friendships, trials and triumphs make good reading, as do the descriptions of his mixed local accommodation and various modes of travel. Through his perceptive writing, he shows he has a particular empathy with those he meets and their circumstances – from his fellow travellers to border officials and local transport drivers. He neither judges nor seeks to compare his world to theirs, just enjoys living in the moment amongst those from whom he can learn. A rare and fascinating book in all these respects.

Having grown up in many countries, amongst many different peoples and cultures, I have always felt it a privilege to do so, with a sincere respect of the people and their customs and traditions; this comes through strongly also in Horatio Clare’s book.

His intriguing account of the ‘bandit laws of imperial cartography’ in his second chapter, on Namibia, where he describes how the country came to have such an unusual shape when common sense and the topography (rivers, ocean and mountain) should have dictated otherwise, culminates in the following conclusion: ‘The upshot is that Namibia looks like a child’s attempt to make a paper rectangle, a distracted child, which did not bother to tear off the last strip jutting off the top right corner: Caprivi.’

The author’s own experience of one such instance of the strange plotting of official cartographers at times of political change is noted in An Unexpected Journey in the tenth chapter on the formation of pre-independence Botswana boundaries in the 1950s. ‘We left on the train for Mafeking in the Transvaal which is located close to the South African border with Botswana. Only a few years earlier South Africa had also been a British Colony so the administrative headquarters of the British Bechuanaland Protectorate was therefore still located in Mafeking… The whole area was within a heavily wired enclave, with the Union Jack flying and an armed sentry on the gate. As someone explained to us, it was a bit of old England in a foreign field!




Digital archive Beyond the Bungalow covers British, French and German colonial homes

This digital archive covers British, French and German colonial homes in sub-Saharan Africa as well as other former colonies worldwide.

Dr Britta Schilling, Assistant Professor, Department of History & Art History, Universiteit Utrecht writes: “Since I am not able to travel and interview as many people in as many different areas of the world as I would like, I am hoping that this website will provide a forum for people with relevant experiences to upload their photographs and share some of their stories. I realise that a website might at first not seem to be the ideal medium for this age group. However I am hoping that it will be a chance for several generations – parents, children, grandchildren – to come together and talk about memories of colonialism through the memory of colonial homes. If people have trouble uploading items they can always just email or write to me direct.”

Dr Schilling goes on to say: “I would be delighted if you would consider contributing to the project’s latest incarnation and spreading the word to others who may be interested. It could be an interesting way of getting to know even more people with similar family experiences, but would also be a very important contribution to a unique archive for future researchers.”

Dr Dr. Britta Schilling | Assistant Professor | Department of History and Art History | Universiteit Utrecht |
Drift 6, 3512 BS Utrecht | Room 0.17 | | the Bungalow


#Beyond_the_bungalow #sub-Saharan #German colonies #French colonies #British colonies #colonial homes

Community spaces – what I found in Kiribati

Wonderful islands and their people, it was a privilege to grow up amongst them. The University of Cambridge Anthropological Museum is featuring Kirabati weaving and armour in April.

Journey into the heart of humankind

Excerpt from the book “Families of the World: East Asia, Southeast Asia, and the Pacific”

9 am  – “Ritang, take the baby,” says Grandmother. She goes to sit in front of her old rotting house and starts weaving pandanu leaves. Her own house badly needs repairs, but the leaves she weaves this morning are for the maneaba, the village’s large meeting house, where all decisions are made, in the presence of the elders.

10 am – Bakea goes to the maneaba with her neighbour, both women pulling their piece of leaf work for the roof repairs. A week from now, the whole population of Tabiteuea South, the neighbouring island, will visit in their canoes, and Tab North is getting ready for the great event.

In the village of Utiroa, the whole community answers the call to take care of the community house. This is the group’s central space, where…

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View of an Outpost

Fascinating pictures

Reluctant Memsahib

My brother wants to know what an Outpost looks like. He says pictures tell a thousand words. I think he is politely asking that I describe with my camera and not with the keyboard. He once queried why I used 2,000 words when two would do. He’s right.

Hat and I do school every morning whilst Orlanda – who began life as Orlando until the vet when asked to please come and remove the bits and pieces that makes Toms spray and stray told us s/he didn’t have any – lazes in the dugout by the pool watching lizards whilst she sunbathes. When Hat and I are battling with grammer or science we wish we were cats too.


 When we’re done, though, with battling, we sometimes escape to ‘town’. We drive down our little potholed lane which joins the road at a roundabout which is alternately – depending on the…

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A visit to London Book Fair

It was a fascinating first visit to this book fair on Wednesday, where we attended several seminars, all of which were really oversubscribed which meant that there were crowds of people sitting about in the corridors or standing for the talks. Hopefully next year the organisers will allocate much more space for this element of the fair.

The talk Using Social Media to Build Community and Maximise Sales with Katie Clapham and Lynsey Sweales was excellent and set out some great criteria for overall business goals and social media planning.  There were good tips on effective posting, blogging and tweeting; highlighting the strengths and shortcomings of the various social media options available to authors and self-publishers. Lots for us to think about and judging by my notes, plenty of homework to do now too!

The seminar later in the day on How to Reach More Readers and Make More Money from Your Books with Oma Ross (author and Director of the Alliance of Independent Authors) chairing a panel of Adam Croft, Gabriel Mercer and Joann Penn, built further on this theme and talked about what was working now as the best marketing and promotion channels for authors and self-publishers. It was great to get such helpful advice on how effective certain strategies had been for authors, the protocols of social media and tips on what to avoid.

We also managed to find time to hear two fascinating talks; the first by the Turkish author, Elif Shafak, who spoke about the situation in Turkey these days for writers, including journalists, and the situation for women in Turkey. The second talk on Graphic Novels: The Last 10 Years and the Next was an interesting insight into this genre by the panel of Emma Hayley, David Hine, Steve Walsh chaired by Alex Fitch.

It was a great experience walking around the various stands, chatting to people, and soaking up the atmosphere of all things literary!  Towards the end of the afternoon, we decided to relax and talk about the show over a pot of steaming delicious Turkish tea and home made baklava in a cafe near Olympia…   Picture of Catherine Armstrong, Self-Publisher of An Unexpected Journey: A Woman’s Role (left) and her friend Sue Barby (right) at London Book Fair.

Continue reading A visit to London Book Fair

Get ready for the ALLi Indie Author Fringe at the London Book Fair 2017

Have you heard about the Indie Author Fringe, organized by the Alliance of Independent Authors (ALLi)? This is a free, online global conference for authors, run fringe to the major book fairs: London, BEA & Frankfurt Bookfairs, broadcasting 24 sessions of author education over 24 continuous hours, so that authors around the world attend some live sessions, no matter where they’re located. There are also competitions, giveaways and discounts, contributed by sponsors.

The folks at ALLi have pulled together some of the top advisors on the indie author scene to bring you the most up-to-date self-publishing education and information available. Here’s the link to the Indie Author Fringe Speaker Page where you can see the speakers and topics we have lined up for our March 18th event, fringe to the London Book Fair.
Registration couldn’t be simpler, just enter your email address here and you’ll get all the information you need straight to your email inbox. You can also visit the event home page for more information about how to enter our Book Description Competition.
See you at the Indie Author Fringe on March 18th!

#indie author, #self-publishing# London Book Fair#


Continue reading Get ready for the ALLi Indie Author Fringe at the London Book Fair 2017

Book Presentation to Centre of African Studies Library

We welcomed another distinguished guest, and her daughter Catherine Armstrong, to the library last Thursday afternoon for tea, and to receive a signed copy of her autobiography: “An unexpected journey. Life in the Colonies at Empire’s end : a woman’s role” by Margaret Reardon. Margaret supported her husband Patrick Reardon O.B.E. whilst he was posted in […]

via Margaret Reardon donates signed copy of her autobiography — caslibraryblog