Saturday, 9 February 2019

Celebrating Just Us Two's Tenth Anniversary.

Ten years. What a lot has happened including some life-changing events. Not least having to give up motorbiking. This still grieves 'Ned' as his bike was part of him.

When we bought the Gold Wing we became 'born-again' bikers and I swopped well TV -groomed hair and high-heels for a crash helmet and biker boots. Quite a leap of faith for me. The incentive was to travel / tour abroad which was part of the deal.

So off we set - after planning, preparing, packing and loading the bike - across the Irish Sea to find my long-lost family. It was that profoundly emotional experience that was to become the start of Just Us Two and my travel writing.

After the devastation of illness some years ago we went forth with travel adventures by various means and these jaunts are told in various other books in the autobiographical Just Us Two Travel series. They are illustrated with many photos and detailed descriptions of routes and the incidents which always seem to accompany our adventures.

In 2011, I launched Christal Publishing with the publication of Chasing Rainbows --the sequel to Just Us Two - followed by the second edition of Just Us Two: Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery. We launched e-books in various formats in all books current and future. 

I have a few copies of the first edition of Just Us Two with the IBA Winner award seal. One of these can be yours for £7.50 including p+p. This offer is only available in the UK.

Of course the second edition is always available worldwide as are all other books. 
Follow the 'Where to Buy' link at or


Tuesday, 5 February 2019

Travelling Abroad in 2019 - Post Brexit.

 More specifically, travelling through Western Europe.

Plans to travel across France, Spain and into Portugal have hit a couple of 
roadblocks this year. At the time of writing we some concerns.

Would we need: 
  • Visas ?
  • International Driving Licences?
  • Would our European Health Insurance Cards be sufficient (EHIC) ?
  • Would we need more time on our Passports than at present?

One or our better decisions has been to subscribe to the website for the latest travel advice and information.This is invaluable to us.

Visas. Thankfully, an agreement has been signed allowing three months travel as a tourist or on business. No Visa needed for our planned trip. The countries we are planning on visited are covered as being in the Schengen Area.

International Driving Licence. (IDL). Yes. The type and number depend on the country you are visiting and which convention they come under. For instance we will need one IDL for France and Spain and another IDL for Portugal.

Health Cards. (EHIC) It seems that we will be OK here but of course travel insurance is essential as well.

Passports. The usual time Frame after the trip is due to end is six months but we read of possibly needing fifteen months. Check. All OK.

Information and travel advice.
The  website also gives up-to-date information and advice on any trouble areas.

With the ongoing demonstrations in France that  have not been confined to Paris it remains a worry. Current Information is that it is weekends that are most affected and to watch out for blockades on motorways and toll stations.

We are keeping a watch on developments with a view to changing travel mode plans and do a fly- drive to Lisbon but 
with journey planned and anticipated, all hotels booked, and special arrangements made many months ago this is not something that we want to do. Watch this space!

Images:; 2&3.Rosalie marsh; images.

Tuesday, 22 January 2019

Travelling Abroad in 2019. Tolls and Transponders

First time driving in Europe? Tolls in Europe (France, Spain, and Portugal).

Image result for tolls
If you are a seasoned traveller in Europe, you may not need the following but for a first-time traveller it is as well to be informed. Forewarned is forearmed as they say.

Not all roads abroad are toll roads, Many are toll free. However, the main artery through France and parts of Spain and Portugal have a barrier as you slip off the road that you are travelling on to join a major route. There is usually a bank of toll or paying stations that you have to go through and pay before the barrier lifts to allow you on your journey.
Usually, you take a ticket from the ticket machine on entering the road and pay at the exit. But not always.
From the large display of toll fees/class of vehicle you will need to decide which toll fee you need to pay.

Negotiating tolls.
Some tolls are manned, so there is little problem. But if you happen on an unmanned toll you might find that:

  1. You are in a right-hand drive vehicle. Unless you have a passenger who can deal with the payment or ticket you will have to get out of the vehicle. This will inevitably cause much honking of horns, black looks and fist-shaking from irate drivers behind you.
  2. You attempt to insert the credit card from inside the car (left-hand drive or passenger in a right-hand drive). It might get stuck. It happened to me once and all attempts to follow instructions only ended in the card being snatched by the machine. Frantic signals to the lady in the far toll booth followed. She strolled across, oblivious of the queue, took the card, strolled back to her booth to process the card and strolled back to give it to me. All the while my husband was getting stressed and the bother and keeping the heavily laden Gold Wing touring bike upright.
  3. You are on a motorbike and need to pull up close in order reach the ticket machine. Balancing and keeping the bike upright while avoiding diesel spills is an art. A passenger who can do the paying helps. I used to keep the credit card in the little zipped pocket of my jacket for ease.
  4. You decide to pay cash and miss the basket. Enough said.

Solution. You fit a transponder before you go.

What is a transponder? It is a little box that you fix onto the inside of the windscreen behind the driving mirror. It is full of your car and card details. Technology- good use of.

  • France - Liber-t box Categories 1,2,& 5.
  • Spain - Via-T box All categories
  • Via Verde Box Class 1  

Image result for Via T BoxImage result for Liber t
We first learned about these when doing a fly/drive in Portugal a few years ago.

Image result for Via Verde box
 Collecting the hire car at the Europcar check-in desk in Lisbon Airport, we were asked how far we were travelling. 

'Castelo Branco' we told the agent.' 

Castelo Branco is in Central Portugal and we intended to use the motorway as far as here before turning of into the countryside and national and regional roads.

'There are no toll stations once you get there. It is all cameras. They pick up your number plate and you have to pay within a certain time or you will be fined.' 'You can have a transponder and have the fees charged to your credit card.'
This we did and were thankful as, once out of Lisbon area we never saw, a toll station and indeed, we did not see any cameras. The proof was in the pudding so to speak when lots of little figures appeared on our credit card.

Fast forward to 2016.

On previous tours through France, we had always wondered what the toll station with a big t sign was for. Evidently you needed a French bank account before you could use this facility. Now things had changed and the system had been expanded and non-french tourists could use the system. We also found that the numbers of toll stations with the sign  had increased massively. Slowing down as we approached the toll station, the camera clicked, the barrier lifted and we sailed through - all without stopping.
Our return visit to Central Portugal was by car, driving through France and Spain before turning west into Portugal - where we would not be using motorways. A Google search soon brought us to a company in the Netherlands called Toll Tickets. It was so easy. We ordered a Liber-t for France and a Via T Box for Spain.
What not to like.
In Spain it was also easy but the signs are different. They look something like a T shirt but may be a kind of motorway sign. Just do your homework and follow the signs. driving to Central Portugal over the Pyrenees, we found that the tolls stopped after Burgos in Spain. However, on our last visit, we returned further south via Madrid to Zaragoza as we were heading over the Pyrenees to Lourdes in France. On this route motorway tolls were more prevalent. 

But so easy and stressless!
Images courtesy Google images.


Monday, 24 December 2018

The Inspiration for ORANGES: A Journey

An incident between my mother and I when I was a little a little girl.

This incident fired my imagination and, along with other incidents in my life, inspired my dreams of travel to distant lands. Certainly a dream as travel in those days was quite rare for a little girl growing up in the damp and cold Lancashire town. Eventually, I wove my later travels into this story. The initial jacket front cover was taken in Antequera, Andalucia where Orange trees flanked each side of the street with ripening oranges in November, while the back (print) is a photograph taken in Marbella to the West of Malaga. The second and current jacket cover was taken in Nerja, Andalucia - East of Malaga- which we have visited many times in winter.The front in the main Plaza and the back cover(Print) near the famous Balcon de Europa. The streets and Plazas are profuse with ripening orange trees in Winter. 
An excerpt:



The little girl sat at the table, carefully unwrapping the fruit she held in her hand. (She loved grocery day when the fruit was delivered to her mother.) In her hand she held a small orange, savouring the time when she would peel the skin away, and then, taking the juicy fruit piece by piece, pop the segments into her mouth and wait for the burst of juice to explode as her teeth bit into the flesh. Sometimes the oranges were so juicy that the juice ran down her chin and she had to catch it quickly before it stained her dress but sometimes, the pieces were tiny enough to eat in one go.

Gently, the little girl unwrapped the orange, carefully smoothed the creases out of the paper. Not all oranges were wrapped in paper and she loved to choose one that was – they were special – so that she could read the labels and dream of faraway places. (She already knew that bananas came from the other side of the world.) This wrapper was made of flimsy white tissue paper. In the middle, there was a coloured circle with lots of foreign words around the inside but she could just make out the word ‘Valencia’. In the middle of the circle were funny pictures.

‘Mummy, where is Valencia?’ the little girl asked the lady standing nearby.
‘It is in Spain, Charlotte, where the sun nearly always shines.’ Charlotte’s mother smiled gently and went back to her housework.

Charlotte slipped from the table and settled on the rug by the fire, which gave off a welcoming glow as it blazed in the grate. She had been poorly for a few days and had not been well enough to go to school. 
Charlotte was a quiet shy little girl who was over-awed by her family. They were so clever and she always felt that she was not as bright as they were. With her dark straight hair and brown, almost black, eyes she had a promise of hidden depths and beauty to come. Her mother had loving warm arms and Charlotte looked forward to that special time after the mid-day meal when her mother took a rest for an hour. Charlotte would climb onto her knee, cuddle up, and, feeling so safe, go to sleep. Usually when she awoke, her mother was still asleep after her hard morning’s work. At times like this, Charlotte quietly went into her dream world. . . ." The story starts in the east of Central Portugal.

Chapter One – Dreams
Chapter Two – The Estoril Coast in Portugal
Chapter Three – Disaster in the Hills
Chapter Four – Sintra
Chapter Five – An Unexpected Encounter
Chapter Six – Lisbon
Chapter Seven – On a Cloud to Andalucía
Chapter Eight – Granada and the Alhambra Palace
Chapter Nine – Antequera
Chapter Eleven – A Hair-Raising Adventure
Chapter Twelve – The Valle de Lecrin
Chapter Twelve – Almuñécar
Chapter Thirteen Las Alpujarras and Sierra Nevada
Chapter Fourteen – Contrasts of Nerja and Malaga
Chapter Fifteen – A Taste of the High Life
Chapter Sixteen – Gibraltar
Chapter Seventeen – More Flavours of Nerja
Chapter Eighteen – The Awakening

About ORANGES: A Journey:
ORANGES: A Journey is a contemporary fiction, with a hint of romance, built on a dream.
It reflects Marsh’s love of adventure, travel and what she calls ‘sunshine lands’. 
From the book back:
"Falling asleep, Charlotte’s dreams take her into the future where with her friend Daisy they find themselves in Portugal. After their escapades in the remote hills near Obidos, they later explore the coast and mountains of Andalucía in the winter sunshine of southern Spain.
Does Charlotte find oranges?  
Who is the handsome Portuguese Senhor?
And are they really dreams? . . .  
Or reality?"

About Rosalie Marsh:
Award-winning author Rosalie Marsh writes on a variety of topics. Her illustrated biographical Just Us Two travel series and illustrated Lifelong Learning career-based, user-friendly, workbooks draw from her extensive life and work experiences.

What readers say.
 “You successfully weave the inner life of your heroine with the outside world, which cannot be easy to do.” Amazon reader. France.
“Wonderful story that takes the reader to the heart of the place that Rosalie Marsh loves so much.” Jean Mead. Author.

“Look out for this author, she is a rising talent. Read her other book on two older folks travelling on a motorbike so she is one to watch.” Haydn Jones. Amazon

…superb setting.” Amazon reader.

“A gifted author who can bring her travels books alive. She has a wonderful sense of the ridiculous and her style as a raconteur means that the reader feels she is talking personally.” Judith Sharman. Director Judith Sharman et al.
End of Year Sale in the Smashwords eBook Store 

December 25th - January 1st 2019. Click the link to download in multiple formats for most reading devices (iPad,Android,PC,Kindle,PDF etc.)

ORANGES: A Journey Not $4.99  **FREE  ( Fiction)
Other illustrated biographical Just Us Two travel series with 75% discount 
All illustrated Lifelong Learning Personal Effectiveness Guides with 75% discount

Happy reading and travelling..

Rosalie Marsh


Thursday, 29 November 2018

The Story behind the Book Jackets.

A picture says a thousand words they say.

If that is true, then why write a book you might ask? The book jacket is a flavour of what is to come. For the glossy hard copies shown below I added an illustrated back cover with transparency.

ORANGES: A Journey. 

Back cover:in Nerja as you look down to the sea. Taken from the side of the Balcon de Europa. 
Front cover: ripening oranges tumbling over a wall in Nerja. Taken between 2013 and 2016.

Just Us Two 2nd Edition. 

Back cover: a photo of Ned and Rosie on their Gold Wing converted to a trike. High in the Pyrenees above Gavarnie near the Spanish Border. 
Front cover: a photo of Ned and Rosie taken on Achill Island, Ireland on their first Gold Wing trip. The background is the Circle of Mountains as they left Soldeau,Andorra in 

Chasing Rainbows.

Back cover: Montserrat near Barcelona, Spain.
Front cover:a rainbow in the background. Taken in Nerja after a storm from our hotel balcony, the rainbow arched from the Almijara mountains over to the sea with the town in the distance.
The photo of the Eiffel Tower was my 'pot of gold' at the end of the rainbow as I realised another dream.

The Long Leg of Italy.

Back cover: the Dome of St Peter's Basilica in Rome.
Front cover: has three photos under a map of Italy.
- Madonna di Campiglio, Brenta Dolomites. Northern Italy.
- Basilica di Santa Maria Della Salute, from the Accademia Bridge, Grand Canal, Venice.
- Trulli houses. Alberobello, Puglia. Southern Italy.

Island Interludes.

Back Cover: A view from the walk down from Tramontano. Sicily. With transparency.
Front Cover:  A view from the walk down from Tramontano. Sicily.

All titles are in print and digital formats. Both paperback (perfect bound soft cover) and glossy hardcover are printed on acid free paper from sustainable sources. All books apart from ORANGES are illustrated with full colour photographs to enhance the reading experience.

Rosalie Marsh 2018

Wednesday, 21 November 2018

More on Andalucia and Nerja in Southern Spain.

Nerja, Home from Home.2015 and 2016

On our more recent winter sunshine breaks, we have taken life even more slowly. The usual excursions through the beautiful Lecrin Valley below Granada and the Moorish town of Almunecar further east on Costa Tropical got me off the sunbed as I soaked up the gentle swish of the sea.

Wandering even further into the old town, we discovered old haunts from our first visit more years ago than I care to remember along with a profusion of orange trees at every turn.. 

If you are doing the sums you will calculate that it is fifteen years since we rode down the coast.

At the time I wrote two blog posts of out 2015 stays.  There is a good narrative with photographs so I won't re-invent the wheel. Enjoy later.

2016 brought more explorations in the sunshine. Again there are blog posts. Three in all.

 Nerja in the rising sun and setting sun.

It is impossible to relate completely all of our adventures in Andalucia. Many have formed the background to ORANGES: A Journey. A fiction fantasy built on a dream.

Rosalie Marsh 2018.
All photographs copyright Rosalie Marsh.

Friday, 16 November 2018

More Exploration of Andalucia, Southern Spain.

A few years later, in 2012 and 2013 we returned to Nerja, East of Malaga, in Spain. The winter sunshine and easy pace of life drew us.

We enjoyed  excursions  in 2013 to Cordoba and Ronda and of course Malaga. With our base in Nerja we were well placed to explore.

Cordoba is a long drive and     makes for a long day. It really deserves an overnight stop at least but at least our short stay whetted our appetite for a more extended visit. he old Roman Bridge stands solid of construction as it defies the march and ravages of time.



During a return visit to Ronda, we re-acquainted ourselves with familiar places, not least the approach that we first made on our Honda Gold Wing motorbike all those years ago; the Parador in the Plaza and the hotel in the narrow street leading off from here. I elected to wander while the rest of the party went on the walking tour. Exploring on my own, I discovered a delightful cafe on the other side of the bridge with a marvellous view of the gorge from the other side.

Read my blog post  of our return to Nerja at

Rosalie Marsh 2018
Photos copyright Rosalie Marsh 2013

Friday, 9 November 2018

Exploring Andalucia in Southern Spain.

Our first winter sunshine break in Nerja, East of Malaga.2008 and 2009

I usually refer to the south of Spain - what most people know as the Costa del Sol - as Andalucia as this covers a vast area not only along the coast but deep into the interior. It is the last area that the Moors left many years ago and still retains much of its Moorish influences.
Thing Granada and the Alhambra Palace; Cordoba with its mosque and Romad Bridge, Pampaneira and Trevelez in the Sierra Nevada, Gibraltar, Nerja, Malaga, Marbella . . .

Here are a few  - just a few from the many in our on line photo albums - of some of the places that we have explored. These visits were extended and with a holiday company who offered a four weeks all inclusive stay for the price of three weeks. What not to like? Especially as many of the excursions were included.

Firstly, we have to look at Nerja itself. So unspoiled. The famous Balcon de Europe juts out over the sea. Over the years this has become one of our favourite resting places as we explore the town, enjoying a cool drink in one of the cafe's overlooking the sea as we bask in the hot rays of the winter sunshine.

Market in Granada
Granada has the most wonderful market that seems unchanged for centuries.
The Malaga lights which are switched on in early December are
entrancing.  The lifelike figures in the displays on the roundabouts. have costumes of real flowers. The shops are brightly lit with intricate decorations.

In Gibraltar the monkeys on the Rock are a must see. This baby must have had wind as it was having its back rubbed.

Rosalie Marsh 2018
Photos copyright Rosalie Marsh 2008, 2009


Wednesday, 31 October 2018

Living Life to the Full. - Spain on a Gold Wing Motorbike.

‘If we buy a scooter will you travel? Will you brave the ferry? Will you? Can we?’

We did but suffice to say, the said scooter quickly became something else:

Image of a Gold Wing Motorbike 1998"Rosie stood transfixed. She had wandered into the showroom out of the way, while Ned looked at the display of kit car models . . .and, there it was – the most beautiful creation you could hope to see. It sat majestically in all its glory, all gleaming black, and chrome. It was huge with deeply padded leather seats, controls, and knobs worthy of an aeroplane cockpit. It waited patiently on its podium just waiting for them to fall in love with it. Ned came to see where she was.
‘What is it?’ Rosie asked in wonder.
‘It is a Gold Wing,’
‘That is what we need if we are going to tour,’ Rosie said." 

The die was cast, the deed was done, and eventually they sent off with the world at their feet, or rather under their bike wheels and the comfy King and Queen seats.. Spain called. More importantly a little voice calling 'Andalucia' was so persistent that our intrepid couple changed their plans and set off to travel to Andalucia in the far south of  Spain. 
Their route took them from Wales to England, across  France - with a slight unexpected detour to the cobbles of the Palace of Versailles on a loaded Gold Wing. They crossed the border south of  Perpignan to Barcelona. Followed the coast road and from their high vantage point could see the coast spread out below as they rode to the very south inland and then on the Costa del Sol road to Nerja and the Paraiso del Mar. Paradise personified!Ned and Rosie in Andalucia. Nerja and Ronda. 
Ronda and more adventures followed on this epic journey that took in three thousand, seven hundred miles in the heat of a scorching June summer as they travelled through the interior and the [cooler] lush green of the North.

Photos copyright of Rosalie Marsh 1998-2001
Excerpt from 'Just Us Two Ned and Rosie's Gold Wing Discovery'. 2009.

Wednesday, 17 October 2018

Scrap the Reading Tax on Reading and Learning. eBooks and Audio.

Will the UK Government follow the recent EU relaxation on taxing digital and audio books? A Campaign by the Society of Authors.

An excerpt. (Because I could not write it more clearly.)

"It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge.
An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to digital publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But earlier this month the European Commission agreed to allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books."

 The Society of Authors are asking members to write to their MPs, urging them to call on the Government to implement this change as part of the upcoming budget on 29 October. 
If you feel strongly about this, a template letter for you to personalise will be found in the link to the article above. I have written to my MP Mr Ian Lucas. MP for Wrexham.
For convenience here it is below:
Subject: Scrap the reading tax
I am writing as your constituent and a member of the Society of Authors regarding VAT on digital publications such as e-books and audiobooks.
It has been a longstanding principle that VAT is zero-rated on sales of printed books, in order to prevent a tax on reading and a tax on knowledge.
An anomaly in EU law has prevented the Government from extending the same status to e-publications such as audiobooks and e-books. But earlier this month the EU agreed to allow all member states to give e-books and audiobooks the same VAT-free status as printed books.
It is now within the UK’s power to scrap the reading tax by reducing VAT on e-books and audiobooks to zero. The cost to the Treasury is likely to be negligible. But the impact on authors and readers would be considerable, enabling more books to be sold and more people to experience the pleasures and educational benefits of reading.
It is important that the UK does not delay and risk putting itself at a competitive disadvantage with other EU countries. I would therefore be grateful if you could write to the Chancellor ahead of the Budget on 29 October, urging him to bring digital publications into line with printed books by reducing VAT down to 0%. Together, we can scrap the reading tax.
I look forward to hearing from you."

Yours sincerely,

On another note, I wrote a passionate article some time ago about the importance of eBooks. " In defence and celebration of eBooks."


Rosalie Marsh 2018