trailmaintainer

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Smashwords book reviews by trailmaintainer

  • A Gigantic Whinge on the Celtic Fringe on Feb. 07, 2012

    OK, what can I say? This one is funny. Real funny. And it's true, I know because it could have happened anywhere. I've run into the same types in marinas up and down the East Coast of the U.S. This is a great book for free, and actually worth paying money for! I'm going to check out some more by this author.
  • Bobbing to the Baltic on Feb. 15, 2013

    OK, Martin has done it again. This is his fourth sailing book, and it's just as funny, engrossing and informative as the first three. This time he is off to the Baltic Sea, in search of new forms of sub-humanity to exercise his wit upon. That is, when he is not taking it out on his friends, those selfish louts who might not be available to crew for him "because they had, so they claimed 'their own lives to lead.'" Of course, the biggest butt of his humor is himself, as he leads off the book with the "mortifying" experience of accidentally jamming the cue button on his VHF open on the emergency channel for several days. Eventually the Dutch Coast Guard sends a plane out to look for him. Oh, that's why they didn't hear any VHF traffic for most of their transit of the North Sea. Even Jesus Christ is not immune. Mr. Edge came upon one large yacht with a banner on its side, "Sailing for Jesus," which led him to comment "So presumably his water-walking abilities are exaggerated." The only one who doesn't catch much grief is his wife, probably for the sake of domestic tranquillity. For all that, Mr. Edge seemed to have had a wonderful trip through Scandinavian waters,scowling and sneering, belching, drinking and farting as only a Scotsman can, and the pleasure comes through in the pages of this wonderful book.
  • Travels with my Rant on May 09, 2013

    Hi Martin - It's me again, the only person who will give you a review, and an American at that! I'm glad to see that you gave up on your hopeless campaign to avoid our taxes by giving your books away free, and have come around to our way of seeing things and are charging for them now. To an American like me, the cost is a mere pittance, though it probably precludes many of your impoverished fellow countrymen from reading your works. Which is truly a shame, because the Angry Scot has come through yet again with another fine work of wit and irony. This work, from Martin's pre-sailing days, describes his travels among some of the remotest and poorest third-world outposts remaining. While Somerset Maugham visited many of the same places a hundred years ago, the transportation standards have seen a shocking decline in the interval. The descriptions of the Timorese buses and Bornean barges evoked the utmost squalor, though the people were noticeably kinder and more civil than the Panamanian basketballers who cruelly beat Martin at a later stage of his trip. All in all, I can understand why Martin has given up on land travel and now can sail away from the drunken Norwegians, automatonic Swedes and murderous Irish who he visits in this new millenium. This book, along with its companion, "The Front of Beyond", is worth every cent of the price, no matter how much tax Martin has to pay.
  • Masthead Lookout on June 08, 2013

    A corking good read by a man who served on the Murmansk convoy runs of 1944 and 1945. Not a lot of explosions but just the day-to-day routine of men doing a dangerous and uncomfortable task, as told by a literate and sympathetic companion. Mr. Shelton, if you happen to read this, know that my father may have been on one of those gasoline tankers, an 18 year old merchant seaman from New Orleans, LA who served on T2 Wood Lake and others. I know it gave him a feeling of security to see the Vindex, the Nabob, the Bickerton, the Loch Shin, the Honeysuckle, and all the other ships of our two valiant navies, in escort. May it be that the ships of Great Britain and the United States always fight together.
  • Two Voyages~There and Back One Fabulous~ the other Not So Fabulous on March 05, 2014

    A well-written, funny remembrance of a young man's first trip overseas, aboard a passenger liner from Australia to England. Afterward he spent two years hiking around Europe (not described in this book) and then returned to Australia aboard another liner. This is an excerpt from a longer book that does include his escapades in Europe, which I will make a point of finding immediately.
  • Blowing Out The Stink: Life on a Lumber and Cod Schooner, 1897-1947 on Oct. 25, 2014

    For anyone interested in the history of sailing ships, this book is a good read. The author is a working journalist and knows his craft, and the book is well-researched and carefully written. Sailors interested in the last days of the coasting schooners will find this especially enjoyable.
  • Motors For Nothing, Kicks For Free on Dec. 21, 2014

    What a find! Dain Gingerelli was one of my favorite motorcycle authors way back in the 70s and 80s. The first thing I read of his was a story called something like "Top End City at the Big O", about coaxing the last little bit of performance out of a hot Yamaha two stroke, and I was hooked. Just the name of that article gives you an idea of his big, brash, fun outlook on motorcycles. After that I looked in every motorcycle magazine for the Gingerelli by-line. Seems like Dain wrote for all the rags, from the big boys like Motorcyclist all the way down to the little niche mags like Hot Bike, and I read them all. After a while I parked the bike and moved on to other things in life, but it was a real nostalgic blast to read Dain again after so many years.