Tuesday, 24 July 2012

Books 'n' Trains 'n' Champagne

I hope I've now caught up with everyone The good news is that T is continuing to improve, and he walked about 4 miles yesterday without too much trouble.

I have three writing trips planned. Two are in the UK, one is in Switzerland. The latter takes some hefty organising, dealing with several different cities and also trying to figure out a train route. I'm not one of life's natural timetable-readers so I am terrified I'll end up on a cog railway going up the Jungfrau when I should be taking the express to Lucerne. Or vice versa.

(Image from http://seeingcomplexity.wordpress.com - a fascinating site)

And talking of trains.... like many other bloggers, I get approaches from PR and advertising companies wanting to run competitions. I don't usually do them, but I liked the look of "InterRail" by Alessandro Gallenzi. And, if you go to their site you can put in a bright suggestion of where you'd like to travel to in Europe by rail, and the most interesting wins a Eurail train pass. I like the idea of winning a prize by being creative and interesting.

I've been offered 2 copies of the book for a contest. I don't plan to review, as I don't have time to read many new books right now. I think it's one of those "young man takes a trip and finds himself" books. (But just after I typed that sentence I took a look at the extract on the website, and the very first sentence I saw was this:
"Don’t worry,” the man added with a smile, stubbing out
his cigarette with his foot, “I’m not suggesting we play naked
twister in the shower.”

Which looks promising. So I might read it and review it after all if I ever get time.)

If you want to win a copy of the book, my giveaway is simple. You simply tweet the link to this contest or post it on FB or on your own blog. And then leave a comment on this post in the usual way.

If you don't want to enter the giveaway, just say so, and I won't count your comment.

BUT there are TWO copies to give away. So I'll choose one winner at random and the other winner will be whoever makes the most interesting, funny, creative, stupid etc. suggestion as to what the mystery picture below is. (Nothing to do with trains)

I have posted at high res so I think you should be able to enlarge it to get a better view. And it's pretty easy to guess anyway, there are only a few things it could be!

(PS. Someone has spotted my title for it which shows it is a well. Still, I am looking for imaginative and creative ideas, so at least you know now not to suggest a well if you want to be in for the "creative" prize) :)

Closing date is August 6th. I will try linking this to Loquax, which helps UK readers win competitions. I do their contests if I have an idle moment, (so, not recently then.)

My proudest Loquax moment came when I won a bottle of champagne. Believe me, it is a thrill to have a bottle of champagne turn up in the mail.
(photo: istockphoto.com)

Loquax Competitions


  1. Hello Jenny:
    Ever since the demise of British Rail when there used to be some semblance of organisation on the rail network in the Uk at least, we have given up all hope of understanding train timetables and even less hope [if that is possible] of booking a ticket without spending at least a fortnight on the telephone and then spending a day in person at the ticket office.

    However, what exciting adventures await you, we are sure, and we shall look forward to hearing your travel tales on your return. In the meantime, we wish you safe travelling and may bottles of champagne continue to be delivered to your door!!

  2. Hi Jenny. I ain't got time for no journeys or book reviews, cos I'm writing a book myself.
    That's like looking down a well. Or maybe up a well.
    I like your blog colour scheme. Most refreshing. A bit like cold Champagne.

  3. Hello, Jenny. I'm intrigued by both the pic and the book. I'll come back to do the competitions.

  4. Books and trains and champagne? You've combined three of my all-time favourite things into one headline! Only two things are missing: Japan and chocolate. ^^

    I'm glad that T is improving, and I'm already looking forward to your trip reports.

    That image? That's a kitsune (mythical fox) approaching with his hoshi-no-tama (magical pearl that glows like fox fire), to grant you your every wish. If you treat him well, he might even act as your timetable guide. ;)

  5. I've never been on a train. I once rode the subway in Paris, but does that count? Oh wait, I did do a steam engine train ride through the forest. I would say I enjoyed it but hot weather and horse hair seats don't mix....
    As for your mystery picture, I think it's the rabbit hole that Alice went down. You been absent from blog land because you've been diligently trying to find it. Good job Jenny, good job ;o)

  6. Glad T is recovering, 4 miles is a respectable distance for most people.

    That mystery picture is intriguing, the light beckons you to follow.

  7. champagne in the mail, not a bad trick...i love train travel...and would love to take a trip again via train....we are considering another NYC trip and taking the train this time....

  8. Such good news about T! May the progress continue!

    It has been many years since I've been on a train. I rather miss it.

    That book sounds pretty interesting!

    I think the photo is looking down a well...something with aquatics plants.

  9. Congratulations on that bottle of champagne.I've never won anything before, although I do consider myself a lucky person.

    As for the photograph, my caption would be: This is what your colonoscopy looks like if you've lived ten years in the woods.

  10. Good news about T :-)

    Your mystery picture is our own Earth with moon, seen through the single eye of an alien as he watches from his spaceship and admires our blueness. He's already wearing his disguise for his planned landing in Epping Forest :-)

  11. Hanging on is fine - you do better than most of us!

    And the photo - isn't that the hole that Alice fell down?

  12. I posted your contest to my FB page. Only a few things this photo could be? I have a whole pile of guesses, but I am going with: a green olive with a phosphorescent pimento at the bottom of a well.

  13. I'm not going to enter the contest because the shipping charges would be a killer. Just let me know if you like it or not!
    You are living such an adventurous life thanks to your writing. Ahhhh my dream! I'll live vicariously through you. Keep up the good work!

  14. I entered the interrail contest, wish me luck :-)

    Not sure what your tunnel is - maybe a well shaft? - but I'd love to climb it!

  15. My first thought was that the picture was of a tunnel and that the light at the end of it was from an oncoming train. However, I clicked on it for a closer look and discovered from your title of the picture that it's a well.

    The sentence from the book is certainly interesting!

  16. The wrong end of a telescope that has been left in a drawer for 100 years?

  17. I'm not certain what location to tweet. Oh well if I can't work out how to enter then I guess I wont win.

  18. Looks like a good book. I love travel writing. I have tweeted a link to the comp here: https://twitter.com/maisietoo/status/228060227717701633

  19. The tunnel is a loo roll holder that you made earlier and decorated with a lacy napkin.

  20. How nice to have champoagne arriving on your doorstep!
    I know how you feel about timetables....and how the Hattatts feel about the rail shambles in the U.K.!
    I have to come to Europe some time this year with multiple places to fit in and trying to do it as cheaply as possible will see both computer screens full and me sitting between them with pencil, paper and rubber, trying to get the ideal combination of fare, luggage allowance, journey and timetable.....
    I think I need that champagne just thinking about it.

  21. I have friends (he is a former long-haul pilot) who now travel by rail (or cruise liner) almost everywhere and think it is far preferable to air travel (and they travelled everywhere first class!!) so I wish you well. I shall stick to my shell (ie my car) unless I'm going to places far afield.

  22. I'd imagine that if I had been a long haul pilot, Graham, I'd have had enough of being in the air too. I actually prefer trains if they are direct, but the car is sooooo easy, at least at first, until I lose my way or get stuck in a jam.

    Fly in the web, I am getting the jitters just thinking about your trip, please keep these gory details STRICTLY to yourself in future, when I am in the room! :)

    Never mind, Mo, you are still in with a chance for the random draw.

    Well spotted, Sprinkles, love your first suggestion of a train and a tunnel. I've altered the text of my post to include what you said. It doesn't really matter if people realise it is a well, but I thought that there are so many other things it could be.

    And in fact, I LOVE some of the suggestions so far. Jo, you deserve a star for a suggestion that also links up with my interest in Alice in Wonderland! An olive... I like that idea. A telescope, yes, but the inside of my stomach - now that is a place you definitely don't want to go! I'm also imagining myself making loo roll holders, Dave. I mean, I've got a really good imagination.... Teresa, your suggestion is positively baroque, wonderful! Rurousha, yours is definitely the most poetic suggestion so far.

    Jane and Lance, you sum up the experience too well and I get the impression you are talking from bitter personal experience. You did however forget the bit about the ticket machines not delivering the pre-booked ticket - an exciting new variation on the theme.

    That's really sweet of you Sonya Ann, but the publishers are paying the postage. so I'll put you in for it anyhow.

    And good luck, Rachel!

    Thank you to everyone for FBing and tweeting. If you can't work out how to do it, don't exert yourself too much, it's only a bit of fun.

  23. Wicked idea! Wishing everyone the best of luck!

  24. And I like the idea of my blog resembling champagne, John. Wish I could figure out a way of putting bubbles into it .

  25. Hi Jenny,
    Glad to hear that T is getting better! I have been very lax in visiting people too recently as school was horrendously busy at the end. I cleared my inbox today-there were 210 unopened emails and they date back to a horrid meeting I had to attend a few weeks ago which was very stressful and was obviously the beginning of the last push!
    Anyway, Have had a catch up now. Your last post is so interesting-I would have loved to have gone to that event-I love storytelling evenings, and boats, and the river so it would have been perfect! As for the mystery photo, I am very late to the table, guessed it was a well before reading that it was, but think it may also be a portal to another world, with ferns and silver mirrors.
    Good luck with bookin the train journeys. I find booking things in this country challenging enough, let alone abroad!

  26. How exciting, a trip to Switzerland! From here, Switzerland would take more than 24 hours to reach. *shudder*

  27. Jenny, I wanted to let you know that I have bestowed the Kreative Blogger Award upon this blog! I do hope that you will find time to accept it and write about it and yourself. Please pop over to Mrs Black's to pick it up when you have a minute! x

  28. I hope you are going to the Jungfrau region, our favourite place in Switzerland, as you may have seen in my posts on TT last winter.

  29. I have tweeted on Twitter


  30. I have tweeted and posted on Facebook.


    I think the picture could be a firefly with a broken wing trapped at the end of a vortex.


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