rashbre central: July 2023

Saturday 29 July 2023

The Circle - by Ed Adams

The final reboot of the Triangle trilogy. The Circle. This one is set in the deserts of Arizona, as well as scenes in London. It has the same cast of 'Triangle' characters, but was written when we were backpacking around western America.  Scottsdale, Phoenix, Albuquerque, Sedona and the mystical deserts.

Next I need to focus on some marketing.

It's already upon Amazon as both the paperback and a Kindle. Now to fire up Mailchimp.

See both versions on Amazon here

Monday 24 July 2023

The Square - by Ed Adams

Another reboot.This time of The Square, which was my second novel. I'll keep going until the whole Triangle trilogy is out there and then try more marketing.If I'm honest, the helicopter blends into the rest of the image on anything Amazon-stamp-sized. It looks okay on my paperback mock-up, but I may do this one again, although helicopters are expensive.

Strangely enough, I can really remember discussing this one when we were at Shepherds Bush roundabout eating a pizza. At that time I was thinking the helicopter could crash into the restaurant.
See it on Amazon here

Friday 7 July 2023

Vierwaldstättersee, Luzern

Then, on 7th July, we took to the water, catching a paddle steamer to travel the length of the lake in Luzern, to Flüelen, where we could pick up the Gotthard Express. We were able to enjoy a lovely meal on the ship, as it took us for a delightful cruise along the Vierwaldstättersee, with glimpses of the distant mountains.
The stately steamboat Stadt Luzern is the flagship of their fleet. It is also the largest and most impressive passenger vessel on Lake Lucerne. With its maritime appearance and wide funnel, it mimics the great ocean liners of the early 20th century. Built in 1928 as the last paddle steamer for a Swiss lake and fitted with an elegant Art Deco saloon, the vessel hosted Queen Elizabeth II on a state visit in 1980.
And to give a sense of where we are, here's a map. We arrived at the main train station, hotelled at the WIlder Mann , to the west of the city (24 pictures!) The next day exploring and then onto the ship to take us further. We sent our bags on ahead from the piere where the SHip docked, planning to pick them up at the train station in Lugano. I think we qualify as travellers already, although I admit that our backpacks are quite light.

Thursday 6 July 2023

Lucern and environs

Lucerne, was oh so hot. We didn't know about the European heat wave at this point, but fortunately we were by the cooling lake with its fast flowing water. An ideal spot for an evening Rösti.
We had a day in Lucerne before the main journey started and so we wandered the streets, across both of the wooden bridges and all through old town. I even found a shop where I could replace my Swiss Army knife, although this time I'd be getting a smaller one and would make sure to pack it in my hold luggage at the end of the trip.

We'd also looked at the steamers on the lake, knowing we'd be on one the next day as part of our journey an the St Gotthard Express. But today, we tried the local transport and used our special free transit cards to head along the banks of the lake to the improbably large national Swiss transport museum. Oh yes, and Chocolate exhibition, which gave us the impression of being inside the box of chocolates.
And maybe a chance to plan for the next day, as we crossed from northern Europe into the south.

Wednesday 5 July 2023

Tour guide, not forgetting the four poster bed.

At the airport we'd stopped by the Information Office and picked up a couple of mini-passport-styled travel log books. 

They included many of the places we would visit and there was even a space to stamp the major towns. It was also helpful because there was a pull-out map in the back which showed many aspects of our route. I should mention that this was organic and not something we'd planned, although it did come in to be useful along the way, as well as entertaining.

And so, we selected our first 'official' train on our route. Or was it? We realised that we'd started our plans from Lucerne and we still hadn't reached it. 

We soon found the 'First Class' section of the train, left our luggage downstairs and climbed into the upstairs part of the train to watch the view as it unfolded from Zürich to Lucerne.

At the stations we could eye-up other folks' luggage decisions and feel suitably smug with our compact packing. Then, a ten-minute walk through the heat, past the famous wooden bridge, which I'd seen before of course, but handnt remembered that it was completely destroyed by fire in 1997 and rebuilt a year later.
We were pleasantly central in Lucerne, a city we both knew well, in a 500-year-old hotel room that seemed enormous for our needs. The lock on the wardrobe would do just as well on a castle. And you should see the four-poster bed. 


Zürich was an add-on to our plan, so we hadn't really researched it much. I knew about its neutral status yet it was bombed during WOrld War II, and our hotel was right by the side of the big National Museum, so I could have checked it out further. Allied and Axis planes used to use it as a safe route back and forth because the Swiss Air Force wouldn't enforce their own air space.  

For us, after two days of travel (car then plane) we decided that we'd be better off to head for the hotel and conserve energy for the 'proper' start of our tour the next day. 

We had an unusually shaped room by the side of the train station and a convenient bakery, which we could reach in about one minute, by taking the most direct route. Then, after breakfast the next day, it was easy to find our platform and to hop the train to our first planned stop. Lucerne.

Tuesday 4 July 2023

Switzerland by Rail

We thought it would be fun to recreate a backpacker type holiday this year. We've both been around Europe on Interrail, carrying backpacks and using the old kilo-weight Thomas Cook train timetables, in the days before smart phones. What could possbily go wrong on a trip when we are - ahem - somewhat 'more experienced' and perhaps with the ability to be more flexible with our finances?

We duly filled up our rucksacks with two weeks of optimised clothes and ditched most of our technology and then jumped on a plane to Zürich. 

It's a more complicated route now we live in Exeter, because we had to overnight it at a Radisson leaving the electric car for an experimental period of two weeks standing without charge. I remembered to disarm certain facilities although I think the car knows when it is is being left untethered for any length of time and gradually switches things off.

Next morning to the airport for a suitably good breakfast before boarding the plane for the quick flight to Zürich, maybe 75 minutes flight time away.

Now we were in Switzerland. We crossed from the airport to the Airport shopping area and sat for a celebratory coffee in Sprüngli, with our luggage compactly arranged around us.
Onward to the adjoining train stattion and a fast link to central Zürich, which was enjoying fine weather from the European heatwave. Then to find the hotel, and be checked into a lovely room before the start of our adventure.

First impressions? Just like backpacking around Europe in the olden days, except we had the creature comforts of First Class with its ease to get uncrowded seats. And these are Swiss trains. Clean, smooth and very well - appointed. It is also becasuewe used the Swiss Travel Service to help us get booked. They know a thing or two about the best ways, routes and fares in Switzerland.

Just starting out, so we took it easy today. It will take a day or two to adjust to the extra weight we are carrying around, plus the ability to navigate old school with actual paper maps.

My Virgin phone connection has already died, but not before it was able to take an additional £50 from my account. I've used the same phone number in Europe for the last 20+ years but never had this kind of experience before.

Guess I'll be using Wifi everywhere - although I'm reminded that it wasn't even a thing back when I Interrailed.

Swiss Champ - farewell

Sometimes things don't go quite to plan.

Heathrow Airport, Terminal 2. An airport I have visited 100s of times in my business life. This time, I get dinged by the security system. Not a belt, nor a watch.

"Sir, would you mind if I take a look in your rucksack?" 

"Sure - please go ahead." 

"Can you help me find your corkscrew?"

A slight look of bafflement from me, but then I remembered my black bag inside the rucksack. The one I use to carry electronic chargers, USB wires and similar. It's been in my car for ages, and that's the source of the problem. I'd had a Swiss Army Knife which I used to take on planes but when it was banned, I moved it to my car. Then I tidied my car and threw it into the black bag. The black bag which I then subsequently put into my rucksack. 

It was a triple cherry situation for the security folk. I'd got a knife in my backpack. By asking me to locate it, they could prove I knew its whereabouts. The Swiss, being thoughtful engineers had made the blade lockable. Three cherries in a row.

Considerable activity as security call supervisors and start using radios. I get a firm telling-off and was reminded they could call the police. The knife was, of course, confiscated.

It's difficult to look relieved and grateful all at the same time. And I do sympathise with them and their difficult job.