I always like to be able to tell you about a local author I enjoy, and this one is particularly enjoyable for me, as he writes science fiction, a genre I have been eagerly reading for around 65 years.
Rather closer to home is North Devon author James D Mortain with “Storm Log-0505”, a combination of murder mystery and weirdo psychic stuff.
Even closer – practically on our doorstep – is Ben Blake, who has a crowd-funding attempt here (GoFundMe link) to raise money to publicise his latest book, “Black Lord of Eagles”, a fantasy.
Finally, if Mr Blake is on our doorstep, Olli Tooley is even closer to home, practically sitting at our fireside enjoying a cup of tea!
Whilst I have obviously not read the books referred to by Mr Blake and Mr Tooley, I have read others by them, and books by all four authors have several things in common. None is published by a mainstream publisher. All are well written and well edited; they don’t have the amateurish errors that so often denote a self-published book. All, in my view, are as good as many of the books I have read from mainstream publishers and are better than some. I recommend all without hesitation.
It is increasingly difficult for a writer to get published unless they are very lucky, have connections or have an established reputation. Remember J K Rowling was rejected 12 times before a small publisher took a punt on Harry Potter.
What do you think about the advent of Costa on our High Street?
On the other hand, perhaps it is a straw in the wind – a sign that Ilfracombe is, at long last, again on the up. Furthermore, it will be welcomed by visitors who don’t like trying strange shops and cafés. And it may attract more visitors to the High Street, which would be a benefit to all there. Even for locals, it could be useful, as it will be open for much longer than any of the local cafés could possibly manage. As long as it does not take local business away from local cafés, and I see no reason why it should, I think we should give it a guarded welcome.
I see a North Devon GP has come out against the STP – the so-called Sustainability & Transformation Plan. He has noticed that “care in the community” isn’t working. No surprise there. It didn’t work when Margaret Thatcher closed the mental hospitals and I see no reason why we should expect it to work when the regular hospitals are closed. Work it out. If we have a limited supply of trained medical specialists – nurses and doctors – and we have, what is the most efficient way of using their time? It is to put them in one place with records and equipment to hand and have patients come and visit them. This uses patients’ time, but does not waste doctors’ time travelling.
What is the most inefficient way of using specialist time? Have the patients stay at home and have the specialist visit them, especially in a rural area with poor roads and bad communications, with records a bad mobile phone signal away and equipment only accessible after perhaps hours waiting. This isn’t rocket science – it’s why GPs try not to home visit, although I am sure many would welcome the occasional opportunity to get out of the surgery.
All this is so obvious that it amazes me that our servants in the Palace of Westminster don’t seem to be able to grasp the concept.
However, to be honest, I don’t think it really matters what Dr Diamond has to say. To my mind, the real issues are what money the government will make available to North Devon and to the NHS generally and what they spend it on, all of which are dictated by government policy. Without the money we need from central funds, even were Dr Diamond on our side, I doubt she could do anything useful.