Wednesday, 31 October 2012

Expanding the reading experience. The Nook comes to the UK.

It is a great delight to sit curled up with a book and turn the pages with anticipation of what comes next. Some of us commit the crime of turning a page down to mark the place where we take a break. There are bookmarks a-plenty for this purpose!



But digital reading is gathering pace in the UK with ever more accessibility to the all-important e-reader. Of course if you don't have an e-reading device you can always download an 'app' from the e-retailer onto your PC or Mac. While debating with OH which to buy, I have already done this on my PC Desktop and Net book but reading in sunlight from these is not good. 

This month Waterstones started selling  the Kindle with Wi-Fi access to download e-book titles from the Kindle store.

Barnes & Noble, the large US bookseller who has brick and mortar stores as well as an online presence, started shipping its Nook devices to the UK this month.They have opened a dedicated e-store for the UK. As well as booksellers Blackwell's and Foyles, they have partnered with John Lewis, Argos, Currys-PC World, Sainsburys and Waitrose. The latest news is that they have partnered with Asda.

"Asda will feature the NOOK portfolio of products, including the award-winning NOOK Simple Touch and NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight, which are available to pre-order online from today, and to experience first-hand in-store from late October. The NOOK Simple Touch is the easiest-to-use Reader with the world’s best, most paper-like reading screen, and the NOOK Simple Touch GlowLight adds an evenly distributed and adjustable light that is perfect for reading in the dark.
Both lightweight devices feature built-in access via Wi-Fi to Barnes & Noble’s digital catalogue of more than 2.5 million digital titles, including top-selling UK books, newspapers and magazines." (http://eon.businesswire.com/news/eon/20121028005085/en)
Read more at http://www.businesswire.com/news/home/20121028005084/en/Barnes-Noble-Partners-Asda-Offer-Award-Winning-NOOK%C2%AE

As most publishers have to upload to each e-retailer through, the e-stores will have a different mix of titles. You may find that a title available in Amazon's Kindle store is not available in Nook if the publisher hasn't uploaded to them as well.  
 Smashwords however, the US e-book distributor, are able to ship - subject to titles passing stringent vetting for quality - to a whole host of e-retailers for downloading to their dedicated e-readers.

This is the route publisher Christal have gone down for the E-Pub format. Working with Smashwords, all our titles are available either at the dedicated:  Barnes & Noble UK Digital store for Nook, Apple iBookstore, Kobo  WHSmith), Sony, Diesel, and Blio e-stores or direct from Smashwords in multiple formats.

News also came this week that Apple have expanded into 50 more stores worldwide.

In addition to Kindle and E-Pub formats, Christal Publishing provide e-books in *pdf format for Adobe Digital Editions. These also are available worldwide. Some e-retailers in the UK include: Welsh Books Council at their bookstore gwales.com, Tesco eBooks, Foyles, BooksonBoard.

N.B. I started by talking about good old, comforting print books. These also are available worldwide. The best of both worlds if you will forgive the pun.

Go forth and read! And enjoy! 

Rosalie xx

Friday, 26 October 2012

The Daunting Prospect Of Getting Back Into The World Of Work

The Daunting Prospect Of Getting Back Into The World Of Work

This is my second guest article for Judith Sharman of Well Tree Learning. 
There are many schools of thought on women in the workplace. I never had any expectations that when I gave up work to have a family,  I would one day go back to work. I was a stay-at-home Mum for about fourteen years and in retrospect, they were the best years of my life as I nurtured and managed my family and home. This article is a very real experience. My career came in later life and continues after 'retirement'.  But the term 'retirement' is another hot topic. Q. What actually is retirement? 

We will leave that for another day . . .

Another associated article was published after mine. http://www.well-tree-learning.co.uk/articles/value-of-stay-at-home-parents


On her Well Tree Learning site Judith focuses on three main areas:
You & Your Workplace, You & Your Family, and Coaching and Consultancy. Take a look around the site. there are some thought-provoking topics there. 

Rosalie x

Also read: In Defence and Celebration Of E-Books

Sunday, 14 October 2012

Post-canal holiday and a pot-pourri of activities.


After a busy start to the Sunday followed by meeting Gold Wing friends for a chat over a bacon toastie at Petrolheads Cafe , I have settled down to catch up on some social networking and marketing. Yes the Sunday paper is waiting. From my study I can hear the excited  voice, rising ever higher, of the F1 commentator. OH is glued to the 'moving screen' that is the TV so I will leave him in peace for a bit longer.
t only seems like yesterday when we were cruising down a tranquil Vale of Pewsey on a narrow boat. I have edited the video, swapped photos with the younger family members who took the burden of working the locks and organising us - actually it is time to let the next generation take over - and finally hoping to get down to editing the Italy video from June.
This last week, I have submitted a series of articles, two of which are based on the thorny issue of  employability. I will let you have the links when they are up. What has gone up this weekend is a third article about e-books. I read a post which sparked me off. This post indicated that print books would die in the face of the expanding e-book sector. I don't agree. I firmly believe that they can live side by side and meet different needs. The article is based on a post I put up on this blog some time ago.
Go to http://www.well-tree-learning.co.uk/articles/e-books-or-real-books-guest-post
Judith Sharman MD at Well Tree Learning liked it so much that she put it up. Thank you Judith.Judith - a respected former headteacher and Education Consultant - devotes her time to consultancy and coaching to help businesses and families to succeed. 
Enjoy the rest of your day. Off now to read the Sunday paper - if I can blank out the noise of the excited commentator!
Rosalie x

Tuesday, 2 October 2012

Cruising down the Kennet and Avon Canal in a Narrowboat.

Hello again!It is blogging time now that I am back where signals are strong. Over the last two weeks I, with O.H. and two younger members of the family, took possession of a narrowboat. Why? Why, you ask, would a middle-aged couple want to spend two weeks in cramped and confined conditions? Yes the boat had all mod cons,(we knew that from our last canal holiday many years ago when the children were small) and this is the nub of the matter.
After such a good relaxing time, we have said for years that we should do it again. In 2007 when we were on the Gold Wing, we visited Trebes near Carcasonne in the south of France. 
      'We must do that again', we told each other. 
Visiting Grindley Brook staircase locks near where we live, once again we dreamt of a canal holiday. But, not being 21 anymore and having certain restrictions we called on the help of the younger generation.
Choosing a layout for comfort and relaxation - we have done the 'pack as many berths in as you can' bit -  we collected our boat from its mooring in the ancient and historic city of Bath; stored our luggage, bicycle, dog and ourselves; listened to the handover instructions and set off.
The Kennet and Avon canal joins the River Avon at Bath and runs in a line across southern England to meet the River Thames at Reading.      
We knew that the countryside would be interesting and knew about the flight of locks at Devizes. However nothing prepared us for the absolute seclusion, peace, beauty, nature and subsequent adventures!
Meandering across to Bradford on Avon we faced our first lock. Not bad. We were going up. At Foxhangers we encountered a few more. A bit more work and I insisted on trying my hand with the paddles and gates. Quite a lot more work!          

Then, after seven locks we came to the Caen Hill bottom lock on the Devizes flight. O.H., who was guiding the boat with the tiller and clutch, felt his heart drop when he saw the sixteen locks ahead. We moored for the night, ready for an early start in the morning. Actually it was quite fun rising up in the water and reaching the top, we only had another six  to go before mooring in Devizes at the back of the town. Over the next few days we meandered along, stopping at will, taking into account pumping out (sewage) and water pick-up points. We managed some wonderful meals at excellent waterfront pubs. Halfway across, after the famous White Horse carved into the hillside, Horton, Honeystreet, the Saxon town of Pewsey, and beyond, we turned round to head back to base. 
I am not a dog lover (being bitten as a child) but found myself not only talking to Holly but actually stroking her. 
The locks on the way down were another matter altogether. They are scary!   Yes, we had to tackle the Devizes flight again. It was pouring with rain and we were the only boat not moored up. They all had more sense! However, this gave us a clear run as there was no-one coming up and, reaching the first one out of Devizes, we followed all instructions i.e. make sure the boat is far enough forward  to keep clear of the cill at the bottom of the doors, otherwise the boat would get caught and tip up forward - contents with it! The advice was to use a rope to stop the boat being thrown about as the water went down.
Disaster struck! Somehow the boat wedged on a bit of wall sticking out at the side at the top of the lock. It tipped. O.H. thought his day had come. I was at the front and      
    'Ahhhgh!' I went.
    'Back, back,' O.H. yelled. 'Close the paddles! Wind back!' 
Frantically, our two lock workers re-wound the paddles , bringing the ratchets down. The boat righted, the dog shot out of the door at the back in terror, my heart was banging and thankfully O.H's didn't fail altogether. It would have been a long way down if we had tipped right over.
Our nominated skipper decided that from now on we would not use the ropes but that I, from my position at the front with the mooring rope, would use the barge pole to keep the boat off the walls.
This worked a treat and from now on that is what we did, working in two teams, I with O.H. and the younger members on the lock gates with us all taking instruction from 'Skipper'.
Checking the cabin when we got through the lock and moored up, we found chaos! there was all sorts on the floor. Things had been flung about and the poor dog was terrified. She hadn't been herself in the morning and I think she must have know that there was an impending disaster.
How many lives did we use up? Quite a few I imagine!
As I stood at the prow of the boat with my barge pole upright in my hands as I waited for the next lock, I felt as the Vikings must have done when they approached in their longboats to the land they were going to conquer. (They didn't have signals either for TV,radio,Wi-fi or mobile phones.)

There were more adventures but these only added to the mix of sunshine, stiff breezes, lily pads coming into bloom, kestrels and herons along the waterfront along with kingfishers and dragonflies. Not forgetting the hungry ducks and cheeky swans. I grew up by the canal and most days had to brave walking past swans on the banking, giving a wide berth as they stretched their magnificent and powerful wings. It is amazing how many people actually live on the canals. We saw someone doing their washing. His washing equipment on the tow-path was a dolly tub, scrubbing or washboard and posser. He was only missing the mangles so had to wring out by hand. My mum used a dolly tub until I was grown up and wash day was quite an operation I can tell you.

 Rosalie xx