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The Ferry Ride


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The Ferry Ride.

Two Strangers, who had met only hours before, travel on a ferry—Russia 1885.

“Sergey,” Kristina whispered as the two of us stood under the solitary streetlight in the heavily falling rain. Why are you whispering? I thought. It was half eleven, and we were alone; who are we disturbing? I turned to face Kristina and, in doing so, stepped on a twig; ‘Whoosh, as the twig snapped, a great owl alighted from its post on top of the streetlight and fled to a safer perch. Kristina screamed and clutched onto me. Her warm, sweet breath caressing my face, her grip on my arm set my pulse beating. “Oh, I got such a fright,” she exclaimed. “What was that?” “It was an owl, sitting on top of the lamp. I saw it when we arrived.” I explained.

“I was going to ask you if the ferry will be in time to get us across the river. I shouldn’t like to arrive late for mass.” She stated appealingly. In response, I looked over the landing ramp across the inky black river. The moon was dancing among the clouds, shedding stages of its beams on the river, revealing white top waves whipped up by the wind. “I see a little lantern swaying above the river; that would be the ferry making its way across,” I responded slowly. “What’s that squeaking sound I can hear, Sergey? Her voice was shaky as she looked around nervously. “That’s the pulley cable swaying against the  anchor beam.”

“What? Could you explain that in laywoman’s terms, please?” There was a twist of humor in Kristina’s voice. “Of course, forgive me. Do you see that cable attached to the pole up there?” “Yesss, I think so.” “that cable goes over the river, and it is attached to a similar beam on the far bank. There is a three-wheel slide suspended on the cable. Linked to these is a rope dropping down onto the ferry. The ferryman pulls this rope, and the ferry board moves forward.

Despite the feel of cold rain on our faces and wind whistling in our ears, it seemed Kristina was gaining some zeal. “What is a ferry board?” “It’s the part that floats on the water, like a raft. “We are going to travel on a raft?” Kristina was shocked. “It’s alright, Kristina; It does have rails on the sides and a bench to sit on.” “Oh, if only I had known, I wouldn’t have asked you to take me to this Christmas Mass.

Water splashing against its side, the ferry loomed onto the ramp from the dark river, the little lantern swaying in the wind. Kristina didn’t need to comment on the elderly, wheezing, and bent over Ferry-man. Terror flashing on her face said it all.

His breath gathered, the Ferry-Man began, with well-spaced strides, pulling the rope. On shaky legs, trying to accustom myself to the rocking of the ferry, I offered to assist the man. His words were lost as he grunted into the howling wind and spray. I sat down, and Kristina gripped my arm. “I’m afraid.” she was shouting above the wind; I looked into her face, my eyes burning from the rain. “Oh Sergey, I’m going to be sick, hand over her mouth and leaning over the rail, a foul-smelling fountain spewed from her mouth. She clung to the rails while I held her around the waist. She continued retching for a few minutes with nothing emitting from her mouth. Face as white as a sheet, she looked at me: “Sergey, I need some water; all I can taste is bile.” “Kristina, we’ll dock in a few minutes. I’ll find water for you.”

Strains of an organ filled the night as gratefully I found a handpump. “Come, Kristina, drink,” she eagerly slurped the water from her hands. “Thank you, Sergeys. I feel better now.” As we entered the church, a warm, strong waft of teak wood and incense blew into my nostrils, a pleasant change from the bitter cold rainy night outside.

Settling into a tight space in the pew, a sudden boom from the organ and the choir with high-pitched voices jarred us as they began, “Asperges me Domine…” “What language is that, Kristina?” I leaned toward her. “It’s a Gregorian chant in Latin. A psalm of King David, “Cleanse me o’ Lord…” “Oh, interesting.” Once the service ended, people began celebrating and thoroughly enjoying their Christmas feast.

At the insistence of the Ferry-Man, we returned to the ferry. Clouds had cleared, the wind dropped, and a full moon proudly shone down on us from a cobalt sky. Kristina’s hand slid into mine as we sat, our bodies touching. Overwhelmed by a deep longing in me, I turned and kissed Kristina on her cheek. Her eyes glistening with tears as she whispered, “Thank you for coming with me, Sergey.” Edging slowly towards each other, we kissed on the lips. Deep and long.

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The Hundred-Year-Old-Man Who Climbed out of the Window and Disappeared.

Tanker fire 2

“The violently burning tanker now drifted along the edge of the quay towards the center of the town. During this last journey, it set fire to all the houses along its route, a distance of 2.2 Kilometers. The wind was coming from the South-East that day, so it didn’t take more than twenty-five minutes before, literally, all of Vladivostok was ablaze….”

JonasBest seller, by author Jonas Jonasson.

A book review by sirpeterjamesdotcom.

It pleases me no end that every now and then I pick up a book that I WILL NOT put down. The net result is that after three evenings I had gorged four hundred pages, with absolutely no literary indigestion. Quite the opposite in fact; I was left with a fun-filled warmth and satisfaction. In this state I thanked the author, Jonas, in my heart, for all the hours he had spent, preparing a great read – just for me; you too hopefully!

In essence Jonas has created a most fascinating character, Allan Karlsson. Please believe me; a character that you have never read about before, but would hope to meet someday. This character is so different to what you would expect a fearless hero to be.

Allan has no desire to take part in either political or religious dialogue and quite without any insistent approaches to defending those desires; he quietly slips away from anyone who persists in having these discussions.

The story begins with Allan, moments before he was required to appear before a group of people, to celebrate his one-hundredth birthday, slipping out of his bedroom window at the old age home. He did this for three reasons; one to get a bottle of Vodka from the community supply shop and secondly to escape the clutches of a tyrant director at the old age home. Thirdly, when you read Allan’s story, you will equate his circumstance in the old age home to that of an eagle trapped in a cage at your local zoo (no criticism intended for the much needed work performed by these establishments).

I love this story so much, that I’m tempted to share it with you – in detail!

But I won’t rob you of the reading experience.

What you must know is that at the point of Alan’s escape, you get taken on a fast moving, edge of chair experience. You will be gripped with excitement and howl with laughter in almost every chapter.

The author, Jonas, very cleverly weaves us though Allan’s background and this, all the way through the years of the 1920’s to 2005. In other words, whilst you are part of Allan’s escape route in 2005, with each chapter you are transported back a decade or so, in order that you can understand what makes this most remarkable character so fascinating.

One moment you are running with the centenarian as he variously is avoiding a criminal element and the police, who want an explanation for an alleged murder and the next chapter taking you back several years into Allan’s past.

Allan’s journey takes you though counties like Sweden, Russia, Indonesia, South and North Korea, China, France. He introduces you to people like Winston Churchill, Roosevelt, Truman, Nixon, De Gaulle, Stalin, Maotse Tung, Kim Jong Il; all of whom he not only meets but also interacts with, personally. Whilst this is all fictional, you can’t help but let it flow into your conscientious reality.

Outside of the famous characters, you meet five of Allan’s close personal group.

A group that has been brought together by, some might call ‘fate’; I call synchronicity. Fleeing the terror of angry merciless gangsters and the police, this most unlikely collection of people, forms a very close bond.

Important to mention here, among the group, was a fugitive elephant,Elephant Circus called Sonja…..just to increase your curiosity!

Finally, I am an absolute sucker for stories that end ‘happily ever after’ and uncommon as it is today – this one does.

All rights reserved sirpeterjamesdotcom©2018

If you feel this article has value, please send this link to others, Writings are meant for people, not for dormant files in our computers and very often when we share them, it results in positive changes in the lives of individuals and communities.

If you are spiritually inclined see my other site;

Please feel free to send in questions (see ‘Contact’) and comments (hit ‘Comments’







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The Seven Daughters of Eve

The Iceman - Seven Daughters

Author: Bryan Sykes

A Book Review, by sirpeterjamesdotcom

This book, for me, was a very appealing read. Aside of the many pages of scientific technicality (Bryan Sykes is after all, – a scientist and not a novelist). Yet, I thought, considering the scientific information that was required to explain how he and hisThe Ice Man - Seven Daughters Book team achieved what they did, he managed very well in keeping me glued to the pages. Toward the end of the book I was rewarded by seven chapters of novel styled writing, which gave me an insight into how the seven daughters of Eve could have experienced their earthly term.

Continue reading The Seven Daughters of Eve