Out today: Where the Ghosts Walk by Peter Underwood

Things are getting more spooky today at Souvenir Press with the publication of WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK: A Gazetteer of Haunted Britain by Peter Underwood.

Britain is the most haunted country in the world with a wealth of places that feed the imagination. From Cape Head in the north of Scotland to Beachy Head in the south of England, it is a land of ghosts and phantoms.

Peter Underwood’s fiftieth published book, WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK is the culmination of a lifetime’s work devoted to investigating the haunted places of Britain. In this his definitive work, Underwood puts together a thorough guide to places across Britain where ghosts have been seen outside – that is, public places, not buildings or private houses, which can be visited by anyone at any time.

It is arranged by the various environments where ghosts appear: airfields, ancient sites, bridges, battlefields, graveyards, gardens, highways, railways, ruins, seascapes, and woods. From the ghosts of Jacobite soldiers in Gallows Tree Lane, the ghost of King Arthur which has been seen in Tintagel, to the phantom Spitfire of Biggin Hill airfield, WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK is an indispensable guide to the rich world of the unexplained.

Peter Underwood is Britain’s leading authority on the paranormal. He is Life President of the Ghost Club Society and President of the Society for Psychical Studies. He has devoted his life to investigating the haunted places of Britain, over 70 years and 50 books.

“The world’s leading ghost hunter” – The Observer

WHERE THE GHOSTS WALK is now available in paperback and as an e-book.

Where the Ghosts Walk cover

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Author Corner: Discovering Classical Myths by Lorna Robinson

Lorna Robinson is the author of Telling Tales in Latin, a new Latin course and storybook for children. With Ovid as the narrator, this book is an ideal first introduction to Latin, and features some of the most famous classical myths including stories from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. These stories are vital for capturing children’s imaginations, and colour illustrations throughout by Soham De help bring these magical stories to life. Telling Tales in Latin features all the grammar and vocabulary needed for the OCR entry level Latin qualification.

Lorna Robinson tells us how she discovered the magic of the myths of ancient Greece, stories that sparked her imagination and which she believes are the way to engage children with studying the classics. Here she shares some of her favourite classical myths.

Like many people, I learned about the myths of the Greeks and Romans as a young child, long before I learned any Latin. When I did first learn Latin, it was alongside descriptions of slaves and masters in country villas, remote and staid characters far removed from the weird, dark, colourful, alive stories that had long fascinated me.

My very first encounter was through the “Usbourne Book of Greek myths and Legends”, which had a picture of the Minotaur on the cover – I can still remember the huge curling horns and the terrible, but oddly human, face. Inside its pages, tales spilled out, precious and mysterious and frightening all at once, in a way my other childhood books were not. All these years later, I still carry those stories with me, and they’ve shaped my world and fuelled my imagination.

Here are two of my favourites!

Orpheus and Eurydice

This is my all-time favourite myth, and appears at the end of my book Telling Tales in Latin, a new Latin course and storybook for children, for that very reason.

The story of a man with the unearthly talent of moving all living things with his song. He lost his wife, and then dared to enter the underworld to ask for her back. Orpheus sings a song of grief so beautiful that even the ghosts weep and Hades is moved. Hades agrees to return Eurydice to life, but on one condition: Orpheus must not turn around before they reach the earth’s surface. They make the gloomy, eerie, lonely ascent, Orpheus first, Eurydice behind. Just as they are getting close, his fear overcomes him and he turns to see if she’s actually there. She instantly slips back into the underworld forever.

There are many things about this story which have haunted me. The fact that this man with his superhuman gift has such a human flaw, and lets his fears overwhelm him is very moving. There’s the image of this one man singing his heart out in that dark, foreboding land, and the ghosts being spellbound as his song enchants the underworld. And finally, there is the unanswerable question of why Hades set this rule at all – is it because he knew Orpheus would fail? Why did there have to be a condition? And why did Orpheus give in, so close to the end?

Persephone and Demeter

This is the story of how we came to have seasons. The tale goes that Persephone, daughter of Demeter, the goddess of fertility and plants, was picking flowers in a field, when Hades saw her and seized her away to the underworld to be his wife. Demeter searched high and low but couldn’t find her daughter. She grieved and mourned, and while she did this, the plants and crops all withered and died as she neglected to care for them. Eventually, she discovered that Hades had her daughter and she went to get her back. While Persephone had been in the underworld, she had eaten six pomegranate seeds and so she had to spend six months of every year with Hades, but for the remaining six months, she could return to earth to be with her mother. And so it was forever more, that for the six months that she is in the underworld each year, Demeter grieves and all the crops and plants and trees die – this is our autumn and winter. But when she returns, everything flourishes again and we have our spring and summer.

As with the Orpheus story, part of the fascination for me with this story is the strange and unwritten rule. Why does eating in the underworld invoke this rule – what does it represent about life and death and beliefs surrounding these things? Also, there is the human element within this goddess who is so powerful, that she grieves desperately for her daughter. And finally, for me there is something wonderful about explaining the seasons in such human, emotional terms.

So these are my favourites. What are yours?

Telling Tales in LatinTelling Tales in Latin by Lorna Robinson, illustrated by Soham De, is published May 2013 by Souvenir Press.

Telling Tales in Latin: A New Latin Course and Storybook for Children

Our latest new title for spring, TELLING TALES IN LATIN by Lorna Robinson brings Latin teaching into the twenty-first century.

TELLING TALES IN LATIN: A New Latin Course and Storybook for Children, now available from Souvenir Press, teaches Latin through the magic of storytelling, using Soham De’s vivid illustrations to bring the stories to life.

Narrated by the chatty and imaginative Roman poet Ovid, this new course takes young learners on a journey through some of the tales from Ovid’s Metamorphoses. Along the way, they pick up Latin words and grammar, explore the connections between Latin and English and discover how Ovid’s stories still speak to us today. The book features all the vocabulary and grammar needed for the OCR entry level Latin qualification. It is already attracting a lot of advance praise and support, including Boris Johnson, Mayor of London, who is a keen supporter of the teaching of Latin in schools.

“Yet again Lorna Robinson has come up with a wonderful way of getting us to read and love Latin. Not to be missed!” – Boris Johnson, Mayor of London

This is the ideal first introduction to Latin for primary school children, packed with colourful, original illustrations to bring the subject to life. Latin has been found to help children with their literacy, and with learning foreign languages, so the benefits of this Latin course are manifold.

Author Lorna Robinson is the founder of The Iris Project, a charity dedicated to bringing classical culture and languages into the curriculum for all schools, not just those in more privileged areas. The Iris Project’s Literacy Through Latin project has been shortlisted for the 2013 European Language Label for Innovative Projects in language teaching and learning.

TELLING TALES IN LATIN is now available in paperback and as an e-book.

Telling Tales in Latin

Introducing: Code Name Caesar

Code Name Caesar: The Secret Hunt for U-Boat 864 During World War II by Jerome Priesler and Kenneth Sewell is published later this month, so if you love your naval history, read on!

In 2003 the Royal Norwegian Navy discovered the wreck of a German U-boat that was potentially leaking mercury into the Atlantic Ocean. It turned out to be U-boat U-864, destroyed by the British submarine HMS Venturer in February 1945. U-864 is the only recorded instance of a submarine destroyed during an underwater battle with another submarine.

As World War II was drawing to a close Hitler made one last attempt to survive. He prepared to send plans and parts for Germany’s new weapon technology – jet aircraft, rockets and mini-submarines – along with scientists to develop the technology to his Japanese allies. Hitler was gambling that if the war in the Pacific could be escalated, diverting Allied troops from Europe, it could give Germany an opportunity to regroup. U-Boat U-864 was ordered to transport the technology that could prolong the war but codebreakers at Bletchley Park intercepted the plan and the British Navy had one chance to destroy the U-Boat. Working with MI6 and the Norwegian Resistance, along with the RAF’s 617 Dambusters Squadron, HMS Venturer tracked the German U-Boat and launched an attack.

Code Name Caesar reveals the full history, for the first time, of an extraordinary event that changed the course of history and the course of the war. Drawing on contemporary documents and letters, as well as interviews with the surviving families of German sailors who died on board U-864, Code Name Caesar brings to life the tense, action-packed underwater battle with all the suspense of a thriller.

So if naval history is your thing, you’ll love Code Name Caesar.

New Spring titles now available from Souvenir Press:

code-name-caesar

Chinese New Year: The Year of the Snake

Tomorrow marks the start of the Chinese New Year, also known as the Lunar New Year, the Year of the Snake. New year celebrations are colourful, elaborate and exciting, as people welcome in the new year and usher out the old. It is a time to turn over a new leaf, a time of new beginnings.

As the Year of the Dragon gives way to the Year of the Snake, let’s take a sneak peek at what this new year has in store for you.

Predictions are taken from the definitive book on Chinese astrology, THE HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES, seventh edition, by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, which contains predictions that will take you right through to 2014.

If you were born in the Year of the Rat:

This year will not be as productive as others for the Rat. The Snake will not have a good sense of direction, casting a shadow on its year… Things will not come easy to the Rat in the Year of the Snake.

If you were born in the Year of the Ox:

The Snake brings many rewards to the hardworking Ox this year. It will be a good time for beginnings in the Ox’s life, whether that involves starting a new romance or close friendship or starting a new job.

If you were born in the Year of the Tiger:

A relatively fair year for the Tiger born. Career and finances should be quiet, with no big changes in store for this year. The Tiger should play it cool this year by letting people come to him, rather than pushing his agenda too heavily.

If you were born in the Year of the Rabbit:

The Rabbit will find a year where work will be done, but not much will progress. The Snake will test the Rabbit’s patience and educate him in being more open to change. The Rabbit will find that a positive approach can be the key to a better outcome.

If you were born in the Year of the Dragon:

This will be a fortunate year for the Dragon career-wise and financially, but it will be a balancing act for the Dragon between work and home life. The Dragon should not start new romantic relationships, unless he can make a commitment to carry his weight in the partnership.

If you were born in the Year of the Snake:

While this will be a less productive year for the Snake, here will be opportunities for him to come out ahead. The Snake must avoid becoming too consumed by this year’s distractions.

If you were born in the Year of the Horse:

The Horse faces an uncertain journey in the Year of the Snake. The Horse will be thankful for good friends and family, as he will be calling on them to give him some much needed pep talks when he feels discouraged by setbacks.

If you were born in the Year of the Sheep:

The Sheep will make strong and memorable gains in the year of the Snake. The Sheep will be fortunate to expand his network of personal and professional contacts. The Sheep’s efforts will pay off professionally, with public acknowledgement and even a promotion.

If you were born in the Year of the Monkey:

The Year of the Snake is one in which the Monkey should stay inside of the lines. The monkey often thinks that he can get out of any sticky situation with his creative mind, but he should play it by the book this year.

If you were born in the Year of the Rooster:

It will be a year of stops and starts that will challenge the Rooster, who prefers maximum efficiency. The Rooster’s observant nature can help him avoid problems and allow him to finish the year relatively unscathed.

If you were born in the Year of the Dog:

The Dog will achieve a great deal in the Year of the Snake. By keeping his nose to the grindstone and summoning a great deal of patience, the Dog will find success. With all the prosperity that comes to the Dog’s door this year, he should be thankful for his blessings.

If you were born in the Year of the Boar:

By the end of the year, the Boar will find that he has more than he started with. However, these gains are hard won. The Boar must keep his house ordered in the Year of the Snake by minding his budget and minimizing personal risks to support his loved ones, who need more help than he does.

Chinese-Horoscopes-Lao

© THE HANDBOOK OF CHINESE HOROSCOPES, seventh edition, by Theodora Lau and Laura Lau, published by Souvenir Press.

Blogging a Digital Diet

Yesterday saw the first post go up on the Digital Diet blog, entitled “Planning my Digital Diet“. I am looking for other UK bloggers to join me on a digital diet next month – an opportunity to rework your relationship with technology to make it work for you, rather than the other way around.

I am going on a digital diet because I want to reclaim my brain. I want to be able to focus on one task for more than five minutes at a time without the internet intruding.

If you can relate to this, take a look at the site, and maybe consider signing up. Try something new this year!

Digital Diet

Join me on a Digital Diet

New year, new you: it’s time for a digital detox.

Technology is increasingly taking over our lives. Our digital lifestyles are more of a weight on our shoulders than we know: many of us can no longer focus on a single task or face-to-face conversation without wanting to check our emails, Facebook or Twitter every few minutes. The Digital Diet will help you to take control back of your life, find time for real friends and most importantly, make technology work for you, not the other way around.

Just today in the papers we’ve seen news that Bolton Wanderers footballer Marvin Sordell is being offered help by the club for his technology addiction, with Facebook and Twitter in particular being mentioned.

So join me, Emily, as I embark upon the four-step, twenty-eight day plan to redress the balance in my life and break my tech addiction. I will be blogging about it over at The Digital Diet blog, and am inviting you to join in.

Digital Diet