Sunday 3 March 2024


 I'm writing this blogpost on Sunday morning, 3rd March, in my study looking out on the scaffolding that appeared on Friday. Yesterday, Roofing Legacy took the roof off our home as part of a masterplan to stop the leakage of water through the ceilings of my study and the landing when the heavy rains come and the wind is blowing in a certain direction. Hopefully, no more need for buckets now. Today, they are due to put the roof back on with new tiles.

Scaffolding for the roofers 

All this roofing kerfuffle has delayed the production of this blog. My day out in Truro was last Tuesday, 27th February, and when I got home I knew I wanted to write about the day. My personal copies of Mine to Die arrived on Wednesday and the book has been very much in my thoughts. The week before, I had visited the only bookshop left in St Ives to see if they were interested in stocking my latest work whose official publication date is 28 May 2024. I showed the two women on the front desk the flyer of the front and back covers (image below) and was thrilled when one of them exclaimed: 'How extraordinary! I was looking at that image only a couple of hours ago'. She had already ordered a copy after seeing details on

a trade website earlier that morning. And they seemed enthusiastic about the book.  

Front and back covers for Mine to Die

Serendipity indeed. On Monday this past week, I dropped in to The Edge of the World bookshop in Penzance, the only bookshop left there apart from W.H. Smith's, and they ordered copies too. Tin mining and history by a local author make for good sales, hopefully. 

Louise and I are still living in the aftermath of the pandemic and the isolationism that became our way of life. I avoid crowds; I shun cities. But the car was due for its MOT and annual service in the Fiat garage in Treliske last Tuesday, a couple of miles outside Truro, and I have in the past enjoyed walking to the city centre and back as I wait for the service to be completed. This year, I had a specific destination to reach in Truro - Waterstone's bookshop. They have always been supportive when my books have been published and now was no exception. Phill, the young man at the reception desk, was very helpful and even referenced the fact that there were copies of my previous book: Dying to Know on the shelves within their Cornwall section.

I said: 'Can you show me?' and Phill took me over to that section and then suggested I sign all the copies there. I think there were nine. I knew that income from sales had dried up so I readily agreed to sign the lot. I hope the strategy works. I am presented as the author of Dying to Know on the front cover of Mine to Die. Maybe the interest in the new book will stimulate a resurgence of interest in my personal take on the pandemic that contains a historical analysis of why matters went so terribly wrong. 

Waterstones, Truro

I took a break from the writing of this blogpost and in that time I got the news that the roof will be put back tomorrow not today. Quite right. The workers need time off. Pity about the weather and the forecast of rain, though!   

I am circulating this blogpost around the forty or so people in my network. If any of you are interested in buying a copy of any of my Matador books, they are available from that publisher, or from me directly for a signed copy using my website or just email me, or from any bookshop. I avoid Amazon myself, if I can (I only get around £2.50 for each copy sold by them and their warehouse system is not good news for their workers). It would be much to my advantage if you referenced any of my Matador publications in conversation with friends and family, encouraging others to support a writer whose only ambition is to be read more widely. 

If and when you have read Mine to Die, I would really appreciate it if you would leave a review on the Matador and Waterstones website. There are nine good reviews of Dying to Know on the Matador website and three on the Waterstones webpage. It all helps. 

Thank you all for any part you can play in this exciting adventure which isn't just about me; those young Cornish miners and their families from the 19th and 20th centuries with their tales of bravery, strength, and suffering are the core of my story.   


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