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  1. Yesterday, I was guest speaker at the Edinburgh Writers Club, Scotland's most prestigious writers club; the members are always winning prizes in the Scottish Association of Writers Clubs annual competitions. I was there, not because I am a famous Scottish writer but because Olga, their current president, had kindly come to speak at my own club, Helensburgh Writers Workshop. My talk was the proverbial quid pro quo. It seemed to go down very well.
    As I was asked to speak about my writing experience, I have inserted my script in the Writing section of the website. It may be of interest to others who are interested in writing. The 'great video' was already on the website.
    Olga's thank you message. 
    Dear Eric 
    Thank you for a superb talk this evening - you held your audience spellbound! It was fascinating to hear about your autobiography in the context of your writing, and to have the readings and that great video. 
    Very best wishes to you both, and happy writing! 
    Olga Wotjas, President Edinburgh Writers Club

    Edinburgh Writers Club

  2. Since moving to my rural cottage thirty years ago, I have loved listening to the local buzzards whistling to each other as they soar overhead. So much so that I installed a 'buzzard pole' in front of my kitchen window in the hope that they would take to perching on it. (They perch on the telegraph poles up my access road). No such luck, though every other breed of bird round here perches on it! The woodpeckers like to land halfway up and then walk up to the top. The lovey-doveys sit on the top as a pair.

    In May, I noticed a lot of buzzard activity around the small crop of trees in my nature reserve (i.e. abandoned waste ground). When I went to investigate, O joy O rapture, I discovered a buzzard's nest abour thirty feet up in one of my trees, with a baby buzzard gazing down at me (see photo below). I have now watched it grow up, spread its wings, and leave the nest. It was then forever gliding round my garden and calling, just like a baby, for its parents, who seem to have left him/her to make its own way in life (good idea).

    Am wondering if the nest will be used again next Spring.

    Baby Buzzard 7Baby Buzzard 2Baby Buzzard 1

  3. Last night I had dinner in Glasgow with US Navy Admiral Jerry Holland (ret'd) and his wife Anne. I had never met them before. Jerry had contacted a couple of years ago with a copy of the very generous book review on my "On Her Majesty's Nuclear Service' he had written for the US Navy's Historical Society magazine. That in turn led to e-contact with Captain Jim Patton USN (RIP 2022) who also wrote a flattering review for the USN Submarine League magazine, as a result of which I was invited to write an article by Captain Mike Hewitt USN, the magazine's editor. (I wrote a 'A Brief History of the the British Submarine Service', which was duly published). All three were ex USN submarine captains and Jerry had been head of the USN's Pacific Submarine fleet, but until last night I had not met any of them.

    When having dinner with Jerry and Anne, now senior citizens, I felt as if we had been friends for life. We finished the meal with a toast to 'Absent Friends - the late Jim and editor Mike'. When I informed Mike of this, I received this reply:

    'Eric, I'm honored that you and the Hollands remembered Jim and me at your soiree in Glasgow. I would have liked to have been at that table in person. Cheers, my friend. Mike'

    I find it so life affirming that across continents and in different navies, such spiritual bonds of friendship can be created between strangers. 

    It is ironic that submariners who are trained to kill are the most friendly people in the world and virtually blood brothers. Would that the rest of the world was so friendly.





    In 2019, I was interviewed by TV presenter and historian, Dan Snow, for his History Hit TV channel. I thought it would be an opportunity to promote my book, but no such luck. However, a veteran submariner in New Zealand, a complete stranger, recently e-mailed me to ask a difficult technical question about A Class submarines and said that he had seen the interview on Youtube. I had not, but there it was. It also had a lot of responses, unknown to me, many debating my age!! Here is the link: