Friday, 22 June 2018

Summer blog fiesta

Very excited to be part of this summer blog fiesta celebrating the launch of a book with lots of amazing bloggers.

This blog post is unusual for us. I received a free copy of another sailors book - Ellen Jacobson - in return for being a pre-launch reader. We are taking part in the blog fiesta as part of this but the review of the book is my own thoughts and genuine reaction.

Devon countryside

We live in a green and pleasant land. We were amazed when we returned to England just how green it is even compared to other countries not very far away. Being in the warmth of the Gulf Stream gives us very different weather and temperatures to other countries on the same latitude. Despite England’s reputation for rain however, we have had lovely weather so far this summer. The sun has been out and the English Riviera is a good place to be. People have even stopped packing a mac when going out for the day – just in case!

The Devon coast

 Plymouth, Devon is a nice place. It has also given its name to over 40 different places around the world. There have been one or two famous explorers that have set off from these shores over the years. There is always lots to do around Plymouth but it is a great place to be in the summer.

For those coming from the sea there are 4 marinas and several anchorages around the Sound as well as mooring buoys available in the rivers. Check out the local pilotage guides for more details. The
West Country Cruising companion by Mark Fishwick is a good one and of course the Reeds Almanac.

Mayflower steps, close to where the Pilgrim Fathers set sail

The Sound has many small beaches. Some are easy to get to, some more secluded coves can be reached by coasteering or tackling scrambles down rough paths with ropes in particularly tricky places. Others are only accessible at certain states of the tide by dinghy or kayak. They are all worth it when you get there though. The waters of the Sound are clear and lovely to swim in.

Quiet beaches reached by dinghy

 If being on the water is your thing, there are various launch sites available if you bring your own. There are also many places specialising in hire or courses for stand up paddle boards, kayaks, dinghies, boat trips, fishing trips, diving. In it, on it or under it you can easily find the right place to do it around here. Or you could stay at the edge and try your hand at a bit of crabbing.

The Skipper in one of his hand built skin on frame kayaks

Friday night club racing in the Sound

There are loads more things to do – ice cream on the Hoe, swimming in the Lido, visiting the National Trust houses (especially Saltram), enjoying fish and chips on the cobbled streets of the Barbican. The National Marine Aquarium is great whatever time of year you visit even if it can get a bit crowded on rainy days. There is lots to see and do. The staff are full of knowledge and seem to love shoring their enthusiasm with visitors.

Lots of history in and around Plymouth

There is lots of good walking around here too.  The South West Coast Path runs along the water, the two moors way starts not far from here. There are also lots of woods, river valleys and of course Dartmoor itself.


Plymouth does like hosting big events. From Armed Forces day, to the MTV crashes weekend, Lord Mayor’s day and pirate weekend. One of my favourites is the National firework festival held midweek in August. Over two nights 6 teams of pyrotechnicians compete to create the biggest, most spectacular display which can be watched from all around the Sound. The reflections of the light on the water and cheering from all directions add to the atmosphere and display. Many people choose to watch it from the water too so there are loads of boats with their lights out in the bays. It is an extraordinary sight. 

Fireworks in August

Lying in the sun with a book is another great way to spend a summer’s day. And so to the book. Ellen Jacobson lives on her sail boat and enjoys eccentric travel adventures with her husband. They have a great blog over at thecynicalsailor and have been to many wonderful places including spending several years in Scotland. This is a cozy mystery and the first of the Mollie McGhie series. I really enjoyed being an advance reader for this first book - Ellen Jacobson – Murder at the marina. It is a cheerful romp through a mystery – the Famous Five or rather ‘Wonderful One’ for grown ups. Based in an American marina there is sharp insight of sailing, sailors and boats. A great summer read, light and fun. I do have one complaint though; I was enjoying the story so much one evening that I missed my bus stop and had to walk back up the road to get home! Thanks for giving us this story Ellen, I’m looking forward to the next ones now.

I love the cute cover for this book

and the other books we've been enjoying:

Jeffery Archer, reading my way through some oldies but goodies. I’m reading A matter of honour at the moment.

Cream teas, traffic jams and sunburn by Brian Viner. A light-hearted look at the British on holiday with lots of interesting facts in amongst the anecdotes.

Miranda Hart. Is it just me? Very funny, I love it when you can almost hear the person reading it to you in your head.

Lots of reference books for a course I’m doing for work; interesting but hard going

One of my teenagers has got very into Terry Pratchett. We love his books, especially the Discworld series. He was a very clever, creative and funny man.

The skipper has had his nose deep into the Yanmar inboards manual

A stack of summer reading

Wherever you spend your summer I hope you enjoy it and get some time to sit somewhere nice with a good book.


  1. Love seeing Terry Pratchett in your picture! I'm really enjoying reading his books - such great humor!

    Thanks so much for hosting me and celebrating this blog fiesta. Sorry that you missed your bus thought :-)

    Cheers - Ellen

  2. Ha ha, it was only a short walk! Thanks for letting me take part in this, it's been fun

  3. What beautiful countryside you have. We have been to England but did mostly London and surrounding area. Love looking at your photos.

    1. Thank you, the south west is very beautiful

  4. Oh, I love reading a good book all the time but especially in the summer. I have Miranda Hart's book to hopefully read soon.


    1. I hope you enjoy it, it is very funny