I am retired. Recognising my inability to remain still, it was suggested I create my own website. Welcome to “Books, Bikes, Islands”.
Whenever I enter anyone’s home, I look at the pictures on the walls and books on the shelves. I always travel with at least two books, four on longer trips.
I posted reviews on Amazon, sources for future reference. Few of the books reviewed were novels. The question was asked, “What do you learn from this book ?” Described by Amazon as “Product Reviews”, books and book reviews are more valuable than that.
With friends I formed a Non-Fiction Reading Group. At least until Lock Down, we met in a lounge, above a former RNLI boat station, looking out across the sea to Normandy. In winter we held an Annual Dinner. In Lock Down we met online, but as it has been relaxed, we meet in private houses.
We read books which otherwise we would have missed. Reviews are circulated before we meet to discuss them, encouraging debate.
The Books section of the website is organised in two parts, Reviews and Discussions, (the latter summarising discussions by the Reading Group). Both are organised alphabetically by author. There are more Reviews than Discussions.
Years ago Anne and I planned to marry. She went to the UK in order to buy a wedding dress. Little interested in wedding dresses, she returned having bought a new bicycle, (a Molton folding Bike, which we still own).
Each year, until Lock Down, I planned and we followed at least one long cycle ride. We have ridden three Spanish Caminos, Eurovelo 6 from the Atlantic to Serbia and multi-jurisdictional routes in Mitteleuropa and in South East Asia. I have cycled much of the length of Central America. In 2014 we joined Tour d’Afrique (TDA), riding through Sudan, Ethiopia & Kenya. Shortly after crossing the border into Tanzania, I was hit by a truck. Concussed, I had to retire from the Tour. In 2016 I completed TDA, biking on from Tanzania into Malawi. Anne joined me in Zambia. We rode on together through Botswana, Namibia & South Africa, reaching Cape Town.
I am actively involved in the interest group, Cycle4Jersey, raising awareness of the benefits of cycling; pressuring local politicians and administrators to adopt sustainable transport, encouraging the use of bikes and buses, and cutting Jersey’s over-dependence on the motor vehicle, unnecessary and inappropriate in our beautiful Island.
I am interested in, and concerned for, islands, their literature (the Odyssey and the Tempest), their landscapes, islandscapes and seascapes and their culture, always looking two ways, outwards to the world, sea and skies and (with insularity) inwards.
A member of Jersey Canoe Club, I have kayaked in other Islands and archipelagos, close to home, offshore reefs, Guernsey, Sark, Herm, and Chausey, in the middle distance, the Breton islands, and further away, the Inner and Outer Hebrides, Corsica and the Cyclades.
I have lived in Jersey for 40 years, in the same house in the parish of Grouville for over 30 years. Anne & I are involved in the Community. She drives for Meals on Wheels. I was formerly a Jersey Law Commissioner. I have written papers on Jersey Company, Trust and Property Law, and on island territories and landscapes, so island life, with Jersey’s historical, legal and judicial uniqueness, is important to us.
I was the cycling correspondent of the Jersey Evening Post and organised its regular Ride supplement. I am now its parish correspondent. This has greater impact than you might think. The JEP is published on 6 days each week. With Jersey having its own laws, courts and parliament, the States, the JEP is effectively both a local and national paper, with the greatest penetration (gauged by the number of readers in its locality) of any British regional paper.
Anne and I are actively involved in the interest groups Grouville, Community, Environment & Change and the Grouville Repair Café.
Ralph Nichols www.jerseygeologytrail.net. There is a wealth of detail on Jersey’s complex geology.
Tony Moffa https://moffamusing.wordpress.com for amusing comments on the cycling world.
My thanks go to Sarah Mansell for her continuing help in putting together this website