Thursday, 28 June 2012


Nathaniel’s Bloodline by Peter Blakeborough
Published by Gypsy Books, New Zealand and distributed as an e-book by

London, England, 1786

   Twelve-year-old Nathaniel Archer watched the small, dirty, once blonde, street urchin edge forward to where she could strike quickly and make a hasty retreat while the barrow man’s attention was focused on a customer.
   Nathaniel had seen her before near the markets. He remembered her cheeky grin and her apparent determination to survive in one of the world’s cruellest cities for the down-and-out. In spite of the desperately hard life that she led there was something special about her. He thought she would make a good friend and he certainly needed a friend, someone he could trust and depend on when the going got tough, which was pretty much every minute of the day and night.
   From a position to one side he watched her pounce on some apples. With a large rosy red one in each hand she melted back into the crowd. But the sharp-eyed trader saw her and gave chase. Nathaniel pounced on the barrow, helped himself and shouted at the barrow man to bring him rushing back, while the girl made her escape. He ran for his life in the opposite direction and soon outran the older man. Later he saw the girl hiding in a dismal garbage-strewn alley on the other side of the block.
   ‘Why’d yer do that?’ she asked, still gasping for breath and looking furtively back at the corner.
   ‘Cos we all be in the same bleedin’ pickle.’
   ‘Makes sense, I suppose. What be yer name?’
   ‘Nathaniel Archer. What be yours?’
   ‘Isobel. Most me family is dead, some hung at Tyburn, others from the consumption an’ fever. Whadda bout you?’
   ‘Yeah, ’bout the same. Me pa went to sea an’ never came back. Don’t know what happened. Me ma was murdered. It were ’orrible. Took to me scrapers an’ been on the street ever since. It’s a bleedin’ ’ard life, ain’t it?’
   They sat down together with their backs against a dirty old brick wall and finished their apples. The sky was overcast and a bone-chilling wind swept along the alley.
   ‘Yeah, but it beats bein’ dead, don’t it?’ she said with a cheeky grin.
   Nathaniel thought about that while he wiped his runny nose on his tattered sleeve.
   ‘Anythin’ beats bein’ dead. Sometimes I think it’s gonna be different some day. Yer know a warm ’ouse, ’ot tucker, flash clothes. Maybe some far off place where the sun shines all day an’ folks cares – maybe in that place they call the New World. I’ll bet there ain’t none homeless urchins in the New World – wherever that be.’
   Nathaniel turned to look at his new friend.
   ‘How old is yer?’
   ‘Eleven, abouts.’
   ‘Think I’s about twelve. We could be friends an’ watch out like friends do.’
   ‘Yer already best friend I got.’
    Her nose was running continuously too and she wiped it on her ragged sleeve. She pushed her knotted hair out of her eyes to get a better look at him.
   ‘Yeah, I has dreams too sometimes. While we ’as dreams, we ’as ’ope and when we stop dreamin’ we’ll finish up like those miserable folks at Tyburn. They ’ad another hangin’ there last week. Someone said there was two an’ twenty o’ them strung up together and a bigger crowd o’ onlookers ain’t been seen in years.’
   ‘An’ when they finished they left ’em hangin’ fer the maggots as a lesson t’ others. I seen other hangin’s at the Tyburn gallows an’ that’s what they done then too.’
   ‘Friggin’ mad, ain’t it?’
    ‘Yeah, I ain’t sure how many two hundred be, but they say that’s how many crimes folks can be strung up for.’
   ‘Yeah, folks only steal to live. Rich don’t understand that. They’ve never ’ad to steal to live.’
   ‘They steal too, but they steal cos they be greedy.’
   The breeze accelerated and the temperature in alley dropped sharply as the light began to fade. A stormy night was looming.
   ‘Think I’ll be off to me shelter,’ she said with her signature grin.
   ‘What yer got?’ he enquired.
   ‘A barrel and some newspaper. Pity I can’t read like them rich folks.’
   ‘I seen a cosy place ’tween a wall an’ a shop. Must be a snug place if the number o’ rats be any thing to go by. See yer, Isobel.’
   ‘Yeah, see yer, Nathaniel.’
   The next day they met again near another market. Isobel was excited as she shared a secret with Nathaniel.
   ‘Look at this.’ She opened her hand to reveal a silver two-shilling piece. ‘Reckon it’ll keep us goin’ fer a while, if we share it.’
   ‘I’m startin’ t’ like yer, Isobel. I think you’re me best friend. How’d yer get it?’
   Isobel gave her cheeky grin.
   ‘Ain’t I yer only friend?’ she asked quickly with a grin before going on. ‘It were dropped accidental like an’ I scooped it up an’ ran fer me friggin’ life.’
   ‘We could get two dinners at a steak ’ouse fer that, but then it’d be all gone. If we got a loaf o’ bread an’ some jam you’d still ’ave most of it. Wouldn’t cost more ’n about four pence. Me ma used to say she didn’t know what the world was comin’ to wid the price o’ everythin’ goin’ up so.’
    A week later Nathaniel was caught by a sharp-eyed baker as he tried to steal a loaf of bread. The baker dragged him to the lock-up and the next morning he was taken before a magistrate.
   Appearing in court was a terrifying and bewildering experience for the young lad. A large crowd of complainants, creditors and others jostled for space on the floor of the courtroom. Overlooking the crowded floor and filled with eager spectators were two public galleries supported by ornately decorated pillars. A huge two-tiered chandelier with dozens of lighted candles hung from a chain over the centre of the floor. Nathaniel looked furtively around the courtroom trying to understand what was happening. An important looking man in an unusual white hat that hung around his ears was glaring at him in a most disapproving manner. Another man nearby barked at him.
    ‘Nathaniel Archer, ye are charged with the crime of stealing goods to the value of three pennies and one half. How plead thee?’ the clerk of the court asked in a stern voice.
   ‘I dunno, mister.’
   ‘Did thee do it, lad?’ the man in the white hat growled.
   Nathaniel’s eyes darted from the clerk to the magistrate. In his confusion he forgot the question.
   ‘Do what, mister?’
   The magistrate’s face reddened as he reached for his flask, removed the top and prepared to take a consoling swig. The flask stopped inches from his mouth and he glared at the dirty youth and roared angrily.
    ‘First I tell thee, Archer, you will not address me as mister. To thee it will be your honour, or sir. Ye will answer all questions speedily and truthfully and ye shall not ask questions.’ The magistrate looked at the prosecutor. ‘Is this another of the wretched Archer mob that we dealt with earlier this day?’
   ‘No, your honour, the lad is unrelated.’
   ‘Has he got a family?’
    ‘Evidently not, your honour. He seems to know little of his father. His mother was a prostitute who was murdered a year or two ago. He lives on the streets, sir.’
   ‘Yes, yes, and so do a million others. We’ve heard it all before. The city seems overrun with the likes of him. They are all the same. There’s no hope for any of them. They shouldn’t be allowed to breed. Well, at least, if he’s not related to those other Archers, he’s got that in his favour. I shall treat him with the greatest leniency.’ He paused to take the delayed swig of brandy while he considered a suitable course of action. Again he glared at the young prisoner and thumped his gavel down on the bench.
   ‘Change his name, mister clerk, so there’ll be no confusion; otherwise he’ll likely hang as one of them. He asks too many questions… Call him… Yes, call him Asker.
   ‘As it pleases your honour.’
   ‘Now, tell me, Asker. How do ye plead? Are ye guilty, or not guilty?’
   ‘I only took some bread because I was hungry, sir.’
   ‘So ye admit ye took the bread?’
   ‘Suppose so, sir.’
   The magistrate rapped his gavel on the bench again.
   ‘Then I find thee guilty as charged. What’s thy name, lad?’
   ‘Nathaniel Asker, sir.’
   ‘Nathaniel Asker. It is therefore ordered that ye be transported beyond the seas, to such place as His Majesty, by the advice of His Privy Council, shall think fit… Burrrp! For a term of not less than seven years and that will surely be the new penal colony at New Holland. Did I not promise leniency, lad? If ye had been of the Archer ilk that earlier appeared before me, like them, you would be now preparing to swing from the gallows at Tyburn. Take him away.’

Nathaniel’s Bloodline  by Peter Blakeborough

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28 June 2012 Last updated at 00:38 GMT,  BBC News
US man given 40 years in 'stand your
Convicted murderer Paul Rodriguez
ground' murder case

A US man has been sentenced to four decades in prison after being found guilty of murdering his neighbour.
Raul Rodriguez, from Texas, shot teacher Kelly Danaher after an argument about a noisy party.
He had argued that a state law known as "stand your ground" allowed him to shoot the 36-year-old.
A similar defence is also being used by a Florida neighbourhood watch volunteer who shot dead unarmed 17-year-old Trayvon Martin in February.
The "stand your ground" doctrine grants individuals scope to use deadly force if they feel seriously in danger.
In a video he recorded on the night of the shooting, Rodriguez can be heard telling police that his life was in danger.
"These people are going to go try and kill me," he says, and adds "I'm standing my ground here" before shooting dead Mr Danaher and wounding two others, AP reports.
Prosecutors said that former fireman Rodriguez was the aggressor as he was carrying a gun when he went on to his neighbour's drive and could have safely left at any time.
The case has been closely watched in the US because the self-defence doctrine used as a defence by Rodriguez is similar, though not identical, to that being used by George Zimmerman, the neighbourhood watch volunteer facing trial for the killing of Trayvon Martin.
Florida police did not arrest Mr Zimmerman for six weeks after the shooting because he said he opened fire in self-defence.
Peter’s Comment
Nothing beats America for a gun-related murder rate. It would be a much safer country without guns. 


Sixty years of the jet age
From the debut of Comet to carbonfibre airliners, we list the era's 60 most memorable milestones
While Queen Elizabeth commemorates her Diamond Jubilee, another important anniversary is worth celebrating. Sixty years ago, in 1952, a BOAC De Havilland Comet took to the skies on its first revenue flight…the commercial jet era had started!
To celebrate 60 years of jet airliners we have delved into our archives and compiled a a list of sixty important milestones of commercial jet aviation, with the corresponding images, so that you can get a flair of what the evolution of the jet airliner has been in this past six decades.
What are your favourite milestones? Is there any specific moment of the jet era you would like to see highlighted? Reply to our Twitter feed on @flightglobal or join our Facebook group.
Also, why not treat yourself to an annual subscription to Flight International.

Peter’s Comment

Just after the start of the jet age (in 1954) I started flying in one of these . . .

A 1931 designed de Havilland DH82 Tiger Moth. This one was photographed at Taumarunui, New Zealand in 2010.

Wednesday, 27 June 2012


                  Only those who have used an outside toilet will appreciate this.

The service station trade was slow
The owner sat around,
With sharpened knife and cedar stick
Piled shavings on the ground.

No modern facilities had they there,
The log across the rill
Led to a shack, marked His and Hers
That sat against the hill.

"Where is the ladies lavatory, sir?"
The owner leaning back,
Said not a word but whittled on,
And nodded toward the shack.

With quickened step she entered there
But only stayed a minute,
Until she screamed, just like a snake
Or spider might be in it.

With startled look and beet red face
She bounded through the door,
And headed quickly for the car
Just like three Sheila's did before.

She missed the foot bridge - jumped the stream
The owner gave a shout,
As her silk stockings, down at her knees
Caught on an acacia sprout.

She tripped and fell - got up, and then
In obvious disgust,
Ran to the car, stepped on the gas,
And faded in the dust.

Of course we all desired to know
What made the gals all do
The things they did, and then we found
The whittling owner knew.

A speaking system he'd devised
To make the thing complete,
He tied a speaker on the wall
Beneath the toilet seat.

He'd wait until the dams got set
And then the devilish tike,
Would stop his whittling long enough,
To speak into the mike.

And as she sat, a voice below
Struck terror, fright and fear,
"Will you please use the other hole,
We're painting under here!"

More of the above in this great book

Available now as an EBook from:
Amazon or Smashwords


Satellites to be used to track offenders
NZ NewswireUpdated June 27, 2012, 10:58 am

Satellite tracking of high-risk offenders released from prison will begin in New Zealand in August, the government has announced.
Corrections Minister Anne Tolley says the introduction of the global positioning technology in ankle bracelets will initially involve 11 child sex offenders released into the community on supervision orders or on parole.
That number will rise to up to 200 in 2013, and will include high-risk offenders yet to be released, and those already in the community.
No change in legislation is required.
The move comes before the release from prison of serial offender Stewart Murray Wilson, dubbed the Beast of Blenheim.
Wilson will be freed on September 1, after serving two-thirds of his 21-year sentence, imposed in 1996 for a variety of sexual offences against women and children over a 25-year period, including rape, attempted rape and indecent assault.
He was sentenced before preventive detention laws were introduced and will be released subject to strict conditions that apply up to 2015.
The Probation Service has also applied to the High Court for Wilson to be put on an extended supervision order that would allow him to be closely monitored for up to a decade beyond 2015.
"We need to stay one step ahead of these people and this proactive approach with more advanced technology allows us to reduce the risks to the public," said Mrs Tolley.
"We must do all we can to keep our communities safe, and GPS tracking is an excellent way to tighten up extended supervision orders, and keep tabs on the small number of offenders who require much closer monitoring."
The existing electronic monitoring system only works when those wearing it are at a set location.
The government is also planning public protection orders, enabling Corrections to keep the most dangerous offenders in prison indefinitely, and is considering creating a register of child sex offenders.

Peter’s Comment

What a great idea.

There must be many ways that GPS tracking of offenders could be expanded. For example why not have GPS tracking of people convicted of hit-and-run offences and drivers who have failed to stop when instructed by police. That would effectively end dangerous police pursuits.

The system could be further expanded to reduce offending by requiring the installation of remote disabling equipment in all repeat offenders’ cars. Voluntary installation of the equipment could lead to lower insurance premiums for car owners.

Let’s have GPS tracking of vehicles for a safer society all round.


Famous People Who Fought Immigration Battles, From John Lennon to Charlie Chaplin
June 26, 2012
The Dreamers aren't the only ones who have feared being deported from the United States. Check out some famous people who have had their battles with American immigration authorities.
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
John Lennon and Yoko Ono
In an interview with ABC News' Jonathan Karl, Yoko Ono told how she and her husband, the former Beatle John Lennon, were served with deportation papers early one morning in March 1972. After the couple refused to open their door, officers slipped the notice under the door to them. Ono's reaction, she said, was, "What are we going to do? You know, it was really frightening."
The couple was served the deportation order because U.S. officials said Lennon had been allowed into the country improperly. He had been charged with possession of marijuana in London in 1968, and U.S. law said no one with a criminal record was allowed to come live in the country.
A number of famous names put pen to paper, writing letters to President Nixon to try to convince him to allow Lennon and his artist wife to stay in New York.
Nixon, who didn't particularly like the outspoken anti-war activist couple -- they had campaigned against his reelection -- was not swayed. In 1973, Lennon was given 60 days to leave the U.S. Ono was granted permanent residence.
Watergate, however, intervened. Nixon's successor, Gerald Ford, wasn't interested in continuing a political battle with Lennon. In October 1975, a three-judge panel ruled that the possession charge was insufficient to keep Lennon out of the country. Lennon was awarded a green card in 1976.
Cat Stevens
The British singer Yusuf Islam, formerly known by his stage name, Cat Stevens, was barred from entering the United States in 2004. The singer was placed on the U.S. government's "no fly" list and taken off a flight from London to Washington because of suspicions that he was associated with potential terrorists.
His flight, on a United Airlines Boeing 747, was diverted to Bangor, Maine, where he was detained by FBI agents.
Islam said, "Everybody knows who I am. I am no secret figure. Everybody knows my campaigning for charity, for peace. There's got to be a whole lot of explanation."
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin
Charlie Chaplin, perhaps the most beloved of comic actors from the silent film era, ran afoul of American politicians -- and immigration authorities -- after World War II, when he satirized anti-communist fears in the United States during the Cold War.
A 1949 Associated Press story says that in May of 1949, Sen. Harry Cain (R-Wash.) demanded that Chaplin, a native of England, be deported, and accused him of coming "perilously close to treason" against the United States.
Cain cited a telegram sent by Chaplin to the French artist Pablo Picasso concerning the deportation of German composer Hanns Eisler. The message read, "Can you head committee of French artists to protest the American Embassy in Paris the outrageous deportation proceedings against Hanns Eisler here and simultaneously send me a copy of protest for use here. Greetings!"
In 1952, Chaplin returned to England for the premiere of his film, "Limelight," and learned that his re-entry permit request was denied. Chaplin died on Christmas 1977, never having returned to the United States.
Jose Antonio Vargas
Jose Antonio Vargas, a reporter whose coverage of the 2007 Virginia Tech massacre who a Pulitzer Prize, admitted to ABC's Dan Harris that he is an illegal immigrant. A native of the Philippines, Vargas came to the U.S. alone at age 12 to live with his grandparents. He admits to having broken laws to conceal his undocumented identity. He also said he obtained various documents under false pretenses, including a falsified Social Security card and an Oregon driver's license.
Vargas defended himself: "You have to do what you have to do... I wanted to work. I wanted to prove that I was worthy of being here … and I was gonna do whatever it took to prove that."
Vargas decided to make his undocumented status public last December when Congress did not pass the DREAM Act.
Continued below . . .

Vargas said he has fears about being deported, but calls America his home. “You can call me whatever you want to call me, but I am an American," Vargas said. "No one can take that away from me. No, no one can."
Hanns Eisler
Composer Hanns Eisler came to the U.S. in 1933, when he fled Nazi Germany. Eisler had studied with a number of respected composers, but broke with his early mentor, Arnold Schoenberg, in 1926. Eisler's compositions turned radical: He wrote music for many of Bertholt Brecht's plays up until his flight from Germany.
Eisler found success composing music for films in the States. However, his past came back to haunt him during the Red Scare of the late 1940s. After testifying before the House Committee on Un-American Activities, Eisler was deported in 1948. He settled in East Berlin and continued to compose, but eventually was persecuted by the German government for what they considered his blasphemous retelling of "Faust."
Marcus Garvey
Marcus Garvey was an activist originally from Jamaica. By the time he reached his mid-teens, Garvey had moved to Kingston and started to participate in union activities. He spent time working as a journalist in Central America before moving to London for a time to continue his education. While studying at the University of London, Garvey wrote for The African Times and Orient Review, which was strongly supportive of pan-African nationalism. This inspired him to return to Jamaica, where he founded the Universal Negro Improvement Association in 1912.
Garvey's activities brought him into contact with Booker T. Washington, and Garvey traveled to New York in 1916 to learn from Washington's efforts. Within three years, Garvey had established a UNIA chapter in New York and founded the Black Star Line and Negroes Factories Association. All three organizations continued to grow.
In 1922, accusations of mail fraud and accounting errors plagued the Black Star Line, and Garvey was sentenced to five years in prison on June 23, 1923. He was deported upon his release in 1927. He continued his work from Jamaica and, later, London, before he died in 1940.
Yvonne De Carlo
Canadian actress Carlo moved to Hollywood with her mother at the age of 18 in 1940. De Carlo danced in chorus lines to make ends meet until she was caught in 1940 and deported back to Canada. The chorus line company she had been dancing with, however, offered a letter of sponsorship, which allowed De Carlo to return to the U.S. and continue her quest for fame in Hollywood.
De Carlo landed her first role in a feature film in 1941. She took on a number of small roles until finally getting her big break in 1945's "Salome Where She Danced." She continued to hold down leading roles in American films for the next 30 years. She also became a TV star for her role on "The Munsters."
De Carlo died in 2007 at the age of 84.

Peter’s Point of View
Why were these people persecuted?

They were persecuted by racial and nationalist prejudice. It’s a common situation all over the world (not just the United States) and it does nothing to advance the quality of life for anyone, or even any nation, anywhere.
The examples above tell the stories of a few people who battled the authorities in America, made good and became famous. But their stories are typical of millions all over the world who fought the same battles and made good without becoming famous.
Throughout history immigrants have helped build great nations and will continue to do so in the future. It appalls me that so many of the opponents of immigration have never got off their backsides and gone out to see the world, meet people of other races and cultures. If they did most would stop seeing their tiny part of the world through a tunnel.
The free flow of labor, goods and services is always accepted as reasonable between one town and the next, so why not between one country and the next and between all countries?
Please post your comments, or connect with Peter on Facebook or Twitter

Tuesday, 26 June 2012


End of the Line for the Bonanza?
Will Hawker Beechcraft's iconic piston models survive the changes to come?
By Robert Goyer / Published: Jun 12, 2012
A V-tailed Beechcraft Bonanza, an icon since the late forties

As we reported last week, there is a lot of behind-the-scenes activity at iconic Wichita GA manufacturer Hawker Beechcraft, a company that was hit harder by the economic downturn than any of its competitors.

But after declaring bankruptcy last month and eliminating massive amounts of debt, the company has apparently become a hot commodity. The Wichita Eagle recently reported that there is interest in Hawker Beechcraft from Cessna Aircraft parent company Textron, and rumors continue to swirl that other major players are eyeing particular parts of the financially challenged company, most notably its King Air and Hawker lineups. The company’s service center network is another prize plum that must surely be attracting interest, along with its military contracts for the Texan II trainer and various militarized versions of the King Air.
The common theme is this. Before the bankruptcy, Hawker Beechcraft was so unattractive a company that rumors of its sale became an inside joke. The truth was, as much as prospective bidders admired the company’s various product lines, Hawker Beechcraft’s outstanding debt dealt a death blow to every potential deal. Now that the debt is gone, there’s nothing to stop potential suitors from making good on their designs.  
While Hawker Beechcraft has until the end of the month to lay out its strategy, those in management at the company have repeatedly said that there’s little off the table at this point in the process. It’s not the kind of thing that company officials usually say when they’re trying desperately to keep a company intact….
Full story in FLYING:

The Biography of an Extraordinary Sailor

The Story Of Sir Peter Blake
By Tessa Duder

Peter Blake was a New Zealand hero – sailor, adventurer, leader and environmentalist. 

Competing in ocean races, he clocked up as many sea miles as any seafarer in history, with some epic victories. Then he led his small country to win the America’s Cup (twice!), and gave his last years to helping the environment. 

Award-winning author Tessa Duder tells the gripping story of Sir Peter’s life for teenage readers, revealing what made him an inspirational leader. The book features boxes backgrounding sailing skills, the America’s Cup and other key points, and is richly illustrated with photos from his life (including 8 pages of color).

Author’s Bio: Tessa Duder is one of New Zealand’s most celebrated children’s authors, and has written more than 40 books in genres from junior fiction to adult history. Among her best-known works are the Alex quartet and her biography of Margaret Mahy. A keen sailor, she lives in Auckland.

From Chapbook published by the New Zealand Society of Authors

Peter’s Comment

I met Sir Peter Blake once just before his untimely death and felt obliged to tell him about an unusual episode that I was involved in sometime earlier.

There was a sailor’s birthday party in progress at Auckland’s Royal Akarana Yacht Club and the clubhouse was getting a bit noisy when a man joined my table.

I introduced myself as Peter Blakeborough and the new arrival quickly vanished again but returned moments later with a beer for me. We struggled to make conversation in the noisy environment, but before I had finished the beer he had another lined up for me.

“You don’t have to buy beer for me,” I told him.

He replied, “If you are Peter Blake’s brother I’ll happily buy beer for you all night.”

When I related this to the famous sailor he laughed and said, “So you must be saying that you owe me a beer. I’ll take you up on that sometime.”

We never met again and then the unthinkable happened when he was killed by Amazon pirates.

The Story of Sir Peter Blake will be a great book to read and treasure and it comes from one of New Zealand’s best authors.

An Island in the Sun

Man-made, floating island goes on sale
AFPJune 26, 2012, 1:50 am, Yahoo News

VIENNA (AFP) - An Austrian firm has come up what it hopes is the next big thing for the mega-rich: a man-made, floating "island" with a list price of 5.2 million euros ($6.5 million), the company's founder told AFP Monday.
Measuring 20 by 37 metres (66 by 121 feet), the "Orsos Island" has no engine but can be anchored anywhere its owners choose and then towed to another location the other side of the world if they so wish, Hungarian-born Gabor Orsos said.
"The interest has been massive from all over the world, from Australia, China, the United States. We have already had the first pre-orders and we have some potential buyers coming from Australia next week," the entrepreneur said.
The island is environmentally friendly and fully self-sufficient, with solar panels and wind generators providing power. It can sleep 12 people plus crew and offers 1,000 square metres of living space.
The only problem is that no "islands" have been produced yet and that once manufacturing starts it will initially be in land-locked Slovakia.
But Orsos expects the first finished products to be ready in 18 months' to two years' time, and for the "islands" to be transported down the Danube river into the Black Sea -- and then to wherever the customer wants.
Peter’s Comment
I want one. Lotto win first.