A Stake in Transylvania
It’s out! This is the English edition of the book published in 2016, Din Liverpool în Carpati (see below). People in the UK and US kept asking me when the book would be out in English… It’s taken a while, but it’s here at last. The story of why I came to a remote mountain village in the Carpathians, and why I’ve stayed for nearly 10 years, the book explains why I felt so deeply and immediately at home here from the instant my feet first touched the limestone road up to the village. I touch on the comparisons to rural West Sussex, Romania’s similarities to urban Liverpool, kind neighbours, wildlife, tamelife, wild flowers, furious locals, over-friendly strangers, cheese, firewood, life-threatening encounters, and sheep. The damnable sheep. Reviews, extracts, photos and more on the book website here.
Now available through Nautilus Books in Bucharest [Str. Ion Mincu 17, București 011356 tel.021 222 5030]
Floss and the Circus / Floss si circul
Floss is back! The adorable puppy returns to the village, with a handsome friend… and Thea Thimble, now 12, is plunged into adventures over the summer holidays. Floss, Thea, Cariad and Robbie meet the most amazing people when the Circus of Destiny comes to Thea’s mountain village. It’s thrills, spills and chills for the children and their dogs as they become part of the circus team for the summer that will change their lives for ever.
When Floss the Lost Puppy became a Romanian children’s bestseller, it became impossible not to tell the next part of the story… and there will be a third book in the series published in November 2019!
Dahlia’s pet detectives / Dalia si micii detectivi
Some people are nervous of crows and black cats, mostly because of silly superstitions. But for Dahlia, a girl living in a mountain village, her pet cat Onyx and the wild crow Gossip are her two best friends, along with Chip, the boy next door. The four of them begin to solve mysteries in the village, and become a famous detective team who can face challenges that the most grown-up of adults couldn’t solve alone.
Winter comes earlier than usual in Hay village, Transylvania, and brings a starving puppy to the Thimble’s doorstep. As days go by, everybody in the house falls in love with him, even little Thea, who’s afraid of dogs. The tiny hairball receives a name – Floss – and even manages to win favour with the family cats. But an unexpected piece of news suddenly upsets the harmony of Floss’s new home.
Editia bilingua / Bilingual edition for students (7+) of English and Romanian
Editia bilingua / Bilingual edition for students (10+) of English (and Romanian)
We begin in the 11th century. After travelling around the world, the imperial Chinese dragon Xiaolong settles in the Tower of London, not long after it was built by William the Conqueror. But London’s own dragons do not want a foreigner on their patch and, for many centuries, do their best to kill the Chinese invader. With so many enemies around, Xiaolong badly needs a bodyguard. And a friend. These roles are taken on with pride by George, only a common-as-muck mouse who lives in the Tower, but the most brave and loyal companion of all. Nearly 400 generations of Georges devote their lives to Xiaolong, from George I in 1086, until today when we meet George CCCLXXXVIII. An action adventure written with humour, Dragons over London is a wonderful opportunity to read an alternative history of London (almost entirely based on known facts), with a dramatic climax in the skies over Britain’s capital city.
Illustrations by Andreea Chele
Translation by Dragos Dinulescu
192 pages, for age 10+
Order line: 021 430 30 95
Cum mi-am gasit fericirea in înima Transilvaniei
A stake in Transylvania (how I found happiness in the heart of the Carpathians)
“This candid and engaging book is nothing less than a love letter to Romania. Fleeing from a colourful British city to a half-built wooden house on a hillside in the Carpathian mountains, eight kilometres from a shop and a world away from her busy life as a writer and journalist in Liverpool, could have been a disaster. In her fifties, with no steady income, no pension and no Plan B, she was quizzed by her new neighbours and every Romanian she met. Why? How? … and alone? Triggered by a spate of family funerals, the truth behind her flight from England had its roots in a troubled childhood. Everything suggested she’d fail. Instead, she found the secret of happiness in Transylvania.
“In a deeply personal account of her mutation from urbanite to happy Carpathian recluse, Arabella reveals the magic of rural Transylvania in a way that will melt the heart of every Romanian.”
Published November 2016 by Editura ALL, Bucharest; in Romanian translation.
Liverpool: the first 1,000 years
Hardback, full colour photographs, 240 pages, 100,000 words, 210mm x 256mm
Published by Garlic Press, November 2001
Liverpool was European Capital of Culture in 2008.
One thousand years ago the River Mersey was a lake, not a river mouth. In 1207 King John granted a royal charter to 168 merchants in the small town, but when Queen Elizabeth I was on the throne, the population of Liverpool – ravaged by plague and other misfortunes – was smaller than it had been King John’s time, 350 years earlier.
But come the end of the 19th century, Liverpool was one of the greatest trading cities on Earth, was the gateway between the Old and New Worlds, and was home to brilliant pioneers, inventors, entrepreneurs and reformers.
Liverpool ships sailed to all four corners of the globe, and Liverpool had stronger connections with America than any other British town. It was a Liverpool man who financed the American Revolution; the first and last acts of the American Civil War had Liverpool connections.
In the 1960s Liverpool was one of the coolest cities on the planet; home to the Beatles, it was THE place to be.
So how, by the early 1980s, did Liverpool become the pariah city of Britain? The city’s reputation had been flipped from positive to negative in a few years. How come people have been so quick to forget the great world city and think of riots, strikes and militant politics?
This biography of a remarkable city offers a clearer perspective on recent history, and a reminder of the impact Liverpool had on the world during the last millennium. With a long view of the city’s story, it can look forward to the next thousand years with excitement.
The culture of capital Published by Capsica, 2005
The ultimate corporate finance primer for ambitious Merseyside entrepreneurs. Liverpool’s year as European Capital of Culture in 2008 was to present local businesses with the best opportunity for 40 years – the excitement, energy, massive investment and talent already pouring into the city was a fantastic catalyst for growth. So this was the time to seize the chance to transform your business. This book asks you the crucial questions and helps you find answers. The Culture of Capital will excite you, challenge you, warn you, tempt you. Read it. Act on it. Supported by: Bibby Factors (NW), Business Liverpool, DWF, Government Office NW, Merseyside Special Investment Fund, Midas Capital, The Mersey Partnership, the Steve Stuart Partnership.
Score Published by Capsica, 2007
Enterprise is not another word for business – it’s an attitude. So what is an entrepreneur? This book defines the coplex entrepreneurial character by looking inside the minds of 20 enterprising successes, some of them world leaders in their field. What they have in common – their histories, behaviour patterns, ways of thinking, values and beliefs – reveal what it takes to be an entrepreneur. What is unique to each proves that success can spring from any place, any background, at any age, and in any field of activity. They are a remarkable group. This is a book to inspire those with dreams to transform them into reality for 2008 and far beyond. Supported by the Steve Stuart Partnership, Royal Bank of Scotland, Halliwells, Rensburg Sheppards
Cross the Mersey
850 years of the world-famous ferries – published by Garlic Press, 2003
Welcome to the oldest ferry service in the world, and the only one with two No.1 songs to its name. Records date back to 1150AD although a ferry service probably goes back several centuries before that, to Roman times. From the days when it took the monks of Birkenhead Priory and hour and a half to row their passengers across their fierce tidal river, the Mersey’s ferries have been at the heart of Liverpool’s history, and the fortunes of the ferries have followed those of the city. Read about the great buildings on the river banks, the natural environment, the history, and daily life on board.
Time and tide
The story of the 200-year old Bibby Line Group. Published by Capsica, January 2007
John Bibby worked as a ship broker and an iron merchant in Liverpool, before he set up in business properly as a shipowner, with his partner John Highfield, in 1807.
Napoleon was causing havoc in Europe, the Americans had won their war of independence, and Liverpool was just beginning to exert its influence as a port.
By the time he died, murdered in a mysterious attack when he was 65, John Bibby was a wealthy and influential man, with many properties, a sizable fleet and a thriving metals business. The year John Bibby died, in 1840, Samuel Cunard began his first transatlantic sailings from Liverpool to America; the next 60 years saw a tremendous growth in power of Liverpool as a world class trading port – and John Bibby’s sons and grandsons took his business into the golden age of steam, with a fleet of liners sailing to Burma and Ceylon as well as to the Mediterranean and Arabia.
The Bibby Line then endured through two world wars, the worldwide depression of the 1930s, and the transformation of the shipping industry in the 1960s and 1970s. Where many other shipping lines foundered, and others left Liverpool, the Bibby Line survived and evolved, with one of the founder’s direct descendants always at the helm of the business.
The 1980s brought big changes for the Bibby Line, with diversification into logistics and financial services, although with shipping still at its core.
In 2007, Bibby Line celebrates its bicentenary, with the sixth generation of the family at the head of 4,000 employees worldwide, with a positive future ahead for this remarkable family business.
I have also published a few titles for other authors. You can see some of them here.