• Andalucian refreshment

    Since I last left a post on here I've been totally tied up with all matters relating to "ASH" & getting the word out there that this book is now very much here and ready to go. I officially published on 19th September & as I write almost 400 copies have already gone out. A good start!

    The first two weeks of September might not have been the very best time to have chosen for a holiday, but then it was booked many months back and both Jan and I were more than ready for a break. So two weeks of total relaxation deep in the mountains above the white mountain town of Casares in Andalucia was just the ticket. Surrounded by dense forest of cork oak, Portugese oak and Aleppo pines, with the towering twin peaks of Sierra Crestellina dominating the skyline, the gentle breezes wafting herb-rich aromas and the only noises the tinkle of goat bells and the clucks of chickens.

    Obviously I was going to photograph a few trees along the way, but other things too! Studying the cork oaks at close quarters is quite remarkable. It is the only tree that can survive having all its bark stripped off like this every 9-12 years, but the trees do look very strange. Unfortunately we were a little past the period when the bark is cut as I'd love to see it all happening (some good footage on Internet though). The Aleppo pines are incredibly bright yellow-green and many of the older ones absolutely choked with cones along every bough. Probably some of the most characterful trees we found were the old carobs - one superb ancient tree at the Roman baths of Banos de la Hedionda.

    One night after a most singular day of thunder storms we walked to the top of the valley and looked out towards Sierra Bermeja as the sun went down and amazing clouds flowed in along the valleys and washed over the forest (actually the biggest in Europe). We stayed for almost an hour until the sun had disappeared, the view constantly changing.

    But it wasn't all trees - we travelled to various places & the neighbouring town of Gaucin threw up a beautiful suprise - Urban Crochet - a group of 34 women who have been creating amazing street art since 2015.

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  • All the rest of "Ash" are here

    What a day - could have been a bit of a disaster I have to admit, but our chums just took it in their stride - bless'em.

    1.30pm Artic. arrives at storage facility loaded with 4,000 books from Italy. Great!

    1.45pm the driver discovers that his amazing automatic shifting floor that shuffles pallets to the back doors of the truck doesn't work. Since he is Hungarian and our few words in common amount to 'yes, no, pallet, problem,' it doesn't take very long to realise that these books aren't going anywhere very quickly very soon.

    1.50pm myself and my (by now uncontrollably joyous band of helpers - not!) begin stripping down the pallets at the front of the trailer, toddling to the back doors to deposit them on sack trucks to trundle into our storage area. Needless to say 12 pallets each containing 60 11kg boxes of books on an afternoon when the sun is blazing down at a steady 27 degrees ain't no picnic, but after removing 8 pallets the truck driver managed to get his 'magic' floor working & Simon Jones popped down and removed the last few with a forklift. By 5.20 everything is safely stowed away. Phew!

    Massive thanks to my unloading team - my lovely woman Jannie, Carole, Bill & James (who came a bit later so sadly not in picture).

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  • Meet Reuben Arlo

    I seldom put personal family stuff on the blog, but we are so thrilled that I have to introduce you to Reuben Arlo Miles-Bishop, born 22.7.19 - our first grandchild. Younger daughter Elly and her partner James are very proud parents and Jannie & I equally proud of all of them.

    So here is the beautiful boy (9 days old in this pic.)

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  • "Ash" is here

    At last my Ash Odyssey has come to rest at the buffers. The very first advance copy of the book arrived from Italy on Friday. Every time I do a book that moment of opening the package with the very first one is loaded with anticipation of hope and dread. Wow! Thrilled to bits - L.E.G.O. my printers in Italy have done a superb job. Many thanks to Simona Causa who co-ordinated everything over there and to Jeremy Snell who kept everything rolling smoothly in the UK.

    While I'm at it - huge appreciation to Stuart Dainton at Woodland Trust and Nick Johannsen at Kent Downs AONB, who have been responsible for the funding that made this book a reality.

    The bulk of the books will arrive in this country in about ten days, giving me plenty of time to prepare for the official publication and release from 19th September.

    Do please get in touch with me either via the website or to archiemiles@btinternet.com if you'd like to reserve your copy.

    Also while I'm here - all our love goes out to our daughter Elly and her partner James for producing Rueben Arlo - their wonderful baby boy and our first grandchild, born 22.7.18.

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  • A few sample spreads to whet your appetite

    As you will have seen from the Home Page my new book "Ash" is not far away so I thought you might like a bit of a preview of what's in store.

    Please go to the Books Pages if you would like to know more and/or email me to reserve your copy.

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