Archive for the ‘Great websites’ Category

Ghost Cities blog: New post One Year On…

September 9, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog congratulates Ghost Cities blog for its consistent quality content.

anilbalan posted:

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New post on Ghost Cities


One Year On…

by anilbalan


No official posts as such today but I couldn’t let the one year anniversary of Ghost Cities go by without comment. Yes, this website/blog is one year old today! The very first post New Zealand Ghosts went up on 9 September 2011 and the rest is history. I’d like to take this opportunity to thank everyone who has ever visited and/or decided to follow this site and liked and/or commented on any of the posts that have appeared on it. It goes without saying that any website or blog is totally dependent on its visitors and Ghost Cities is no exception. I’d also like to re-affirm my commitment to scouring every corner of the world and every period in history for the very best ghost stories, urban legends, unsolved mysteries, tall tales and conspiracy theories; reviewing supernatural-themed short stories, novellas, plays, poems, novels, TV shows and films both old and new; and bringing you the best of my own work, both published and unpublished. I plan to be around as long as there’s someone out there who wants to read the content on this site and I hope you’ll all join me or stay along for the ride for as long as it lasts.

Once again, thanks all and I hope to celebrate many more anniversaries with you in the years to come!

anilbalan | September 9, 2012 at 4:00 am | Categories: Uncategorized | URL:

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New post Magnificent Mangroves!

September 6, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has to admire this burst of activity and creativity from our sister (or more accurately brother) blog, Wild Open Eye. As normal well worth a read!

Cheers from Hugh in Bangkok!

wildopeneye posted: “Here is the second comic in our “Life’s A Beach” series, this one looks at estuaries and mangrove forests, very valuable and productive habitats. Estuaries and mangroves Comic

New post on Wild Open Eye

Magnificent Mangroves!

by wildopeneye

Here is the second comic in our “Life’s A Beach” series, this one looks at estuaries and mangrove forests, very valuable and productive habitats.

Estuaries and mangroves

Comic created with Comic Life from plasq –

According to the excellent video below, produced by Mangroves For The Future, mangroves are enormously important to wildlife and humanity alike. Covering about 15.2 million hectares of tropical and subtropical coastline mangroves are highly significant areas of biodiversity being home to 1000’s of species and they serve as important nurseries for fish and crustaceans and support millions of people too. As sources of food, timber, dyes and medicines mangroves are commercially important.

Furthermore, they protect against coastal erosion and ameliorate storm damage from surges, protect coral reefs from suffocating sediments and sequester over 80,000,000 tons of atmospheric carbon annually!

Wildopeneye Mangrove comic page 1

Click above linked image to view post on Wildopeneye

For more information about Mangrove forests, threats to their well-being and efforts to conserve them, please click here for Mangroves For The Future website.

wildopeneye | 06/09/2012 at 12:19 am | Tags: biodiversity, Estuaries, GEF funded mangrove nursery, Hainan China, Mangroves, Mangroves for the future, wildopeneye | Categories: Environmental education, Message, The World’s Water | URL:

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A Great Guided Walk In Lakeland: Exploring Eskdale with LME

September 5, 2012

The western Lake District is outstanding for views. Langdale, Wrynose and Eskdale are highly recommended!

Lakeland Mountain Experience Guided Walk In Eskdale Valley

2000 years of history from Roman fort at Hard Knott to Power station on the coast. Lakeland Mountain Experience Guided Walk In Eskdale Valley

Guided walking in Eskdale

Malcolm Wade, Mountain Leader of guided walks in Lakeland

Malcolm Wade, Mountain Leader of guided walks in Lakeland

by Malcolm Wade, Mountain Leader LME
I just got got back from leading a two day guided walk / wild camp in Eskdale. Day 1 took us from Boot up to Slight Side (2500 feet / 762m) and then on in the mist up to Scafell (3163 feet / 964m). The day started in bright September sunshine and promised us good visibility but alas being so high, the wind from the west brought in a thick mist to help us test our navigation skills.

The start of this walk is very gentle with a long stretch across Cat Cove with the prospect of Slight Side ahead of us for such a long way. This is always a good way to take novice walkers due to the fact that the potential severity of Scafell Crags / Broad Stand / Scafell Pike are hidden from view for such a long time – (all morning if you have mist!). Of course a guided walk with a qualified mountain leader from Lakeland Mountain Experience removes the risk or uncertainty of walking on your own. Once over Slight Side, it’s always a longer ridge walk on the ground than it looks on the map – just remember to keep the drop on your right side. Soon the Scafell summit shelter comes into view and our objective achieved and rewarded with a snack. Our chosen route for descent was to be via Foxes Tarn and then down the outflow waterfall towards Cam Spout and the Esk valley.

Read the full post with great photos on LME walks blog

[New post on Ghost Cities: E F Benson’s ‘Spook’ Stories

August 24, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has just received another post from Anibalan’s Ghost Cities blog. It is typically intriguing and reminded me of EF Benson whose writing thrilled me when I was a boy but who I had largely forgotten about.

New post on Ghost Cities


E F Benson’s ‘Spook’ Stories

by anilbalan

I’ve mentioned The Benson Brothers in a previous post but the most famous and talented of them, E F Benson, really does deserve special attention. Benson was always interested in psychic phenomena and ghosts, and later described some of his own strange encounters in his autobiography Final Edition (1940). For instance, Benson records that on one bright hot summer day he and the Vicar of Rye both saw the ghostly apparition of a man in black at the bottom of his garden. It is no coincidence that Benson was well acquainted with that other great master of the genre, M R James, for nearly fifty years. He was a member of the Chitchat Society, a Cambridge literary society which had for its object ‘the promotion of rational conversation’ (i.e. the telling of tall tales around a homely fire). Benson was present at the historic meeting on 28 October 1893 when James read his first two ghost stories, Canon Alberic’s Scrapbook and Lost Hearts, but of all of those in attendance on that occasion he was the only one destined to follow the lead of the incomparable James. United by a perfect chilling atmosphere and graceful literary style, Benson’s ghostly stories range from the horror of vampires, homicidal ghosts and monstrous spectral worms and slugs to the satire of humorous tales that poke fun at charlatan mediums and fake seances. Whilst Benson’s tales may be somewhat less imbued with sheer terror than those of M R James, one thing that can be said of them for certain is that they never fail to chill and mesmerise.

Read more of this post

anilbalan | August 5, 2012 at 4:00 am | Tags: E F Benson, Spook Stories | Categories: Horror, Short Story, Supernatural fiction, Writer | URL:

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Facebook page

March 4, 2012

Hugh Paxton’s blog enjoys hearing from old friends. But Facebook never grabbed me.

Part of it was sheer ignorance of procedure. Or indeed of Facebook.  I’d never heard of it – I was living in Namibia at the time and when you do that it is very easy to ignore anything else happening in the rest of the world.

There I was, in Namibia, semi-dozing on my stoep watching the weaver birds being busy with nests and loving the view of baking mountains, craggy, and misted by heat haze and something arrived on my computer. It was a message. Somebody wanted to be my friend on something called Facebook. I mulled it over for half an hour and decided that I didn’t need a computer dating agency to add to my already overlong Christmas card list. I said ‘no’. For a while that was that. Then lots of people started wanting to be my friends. Loads!

Blimey! Popular old me! I told them all the same thing.


Things died down a bit after that. In retrospect I see that was quite understandable. Somebody is excited and interested enough to get in touch with Hugh Paxton and seek him out as a friend and they get a ‘no’ in the face for their efforts. Hardly hospitable.

My brother Charles, who is younger but wiser in the ways of the internet world, explained Facebook to me over the phone one evening and I suddenly felt rather bad. All these people trying to be friends and trying to open doors of communication and I’d …

I had slammed the doors shut. Without even opening them.

The very next day somebody else asked to be my Friend and I thought “Perfect! I’ll be friendly. Open doors!”

I then thought “Who the heck is she?” There was a photo of a woman, pudgy, holding a puppy. Kathy something. She looked sweet and bland and not a bad person at all.

I’ve known lots of girls called Kathy and have never remembered their surnames. In any event, even if I had, if they’d got married the surname would probably have changed. And time brings changes to faces. I remember staring at Kathy’s pleasant face and looking for something, anything, that might bring her back to me. Or give me a clue as to why she wanted to be friendly. Nothing came. I didn’t press ‘no’  – enough of that cruelty. But I didn’t press anything. and after a bit Kathy and her puppy went away. I’ve never seen her again.

Lots more friends applied and I let them go away, too. Same thing. I couldn’t recognize them, couldn’t place them and in the rare occasions I could identify them I couldn’t think of a damn thing to say to them. Some of my African friends I knew rather too well. And they already owed me more money than they ever intending to repay.

I decided to stop Facebook but my brother, Charles, advised against it. So I didn’t. Charles is usually right!

And he was! Suddenly a few friends that I actually knew wanted to be friends. And I wanted to be their friends, too.

It was a giddy moment!

There they were!

My beloved Belinda!

The demonic Doak!

Ronnie! Et al.

Typically I lost interest in their Facebook doings because I still haven’t taken the time to figure it out, and I neglected my Facebook page once again.

Until today. I was trying to find out whether Ronnie was settling into his new posting in Ethiopia and as usual was bungling buttons on my computer and getting lost and then Wow!

What a page! I scrolled down. Political satire, biting wit, interesting snippets of news, cartoons, photos, clever comments…

“Who has put this together?” I remarked to my two cats.

It took me a while to get it.

This was MY Facebook page.

My friends had done all of it for me. Posts, comments, the lot. I didn’t have to do anything! They dun it! I guess that’s what Friends are for!

I’ll check my Facebook page more regularly in the future. It’s a lot of fun!

Maybe I’ll even post something.

Stay safe!



TED and Carbon Disaster: Pavan Sukhdev: Put a value on nature! | Video on

December 16, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog has become TED Talks aware! I’d heard of TED but hadn’t got around to actually having a look until last night. I am now an enthusiast! There are, to date, 700 or so TED speeches on video and all have several things in common. Unlike most speeches, they are short, understandable and to the point. They are also extremely interesting and are delivered by people who know what they are talking about. I watched Pavan Sukhdev (click link below) and was most impressed, not to mention depressed. Give him a go. He makes Green Economics understandable. And he talks of obvious, and terrible consequences, that many world leaders at the failed Durban Climate Change summit this month ignored. Pavan’s economic models showing the value of leaving warm water coral reefs and mangroves, as well as rainforests, alone, are compelling. Thailand’s conversion of mangroves to shrimp farms…well. Pavel doesn’t mention the tsunami that killed so many tens of thousands (including my wife’s first boss, a gentle, clever, ungainly Englishman very much in love with his new wife, who also died) but those who have ears can hear.  

I used to teach at quite a few schools and universities and I think these TEDs would make ideal teaching aids. Loads of topics are covered. Humanity has lots of ideas. Some are really bad ones. This bouquet is people at their best.  A Hugh Paxton Blog 100 percent thumbs up!


Thai Days: A Big Welcome to Charlie and the Green Currier!

November 10, 2011

Hugh Paxton’s Blog after lengthy deliberations has decided to link up with the Green Currier Blog.

Extracts from minutes:

Hugh: It’s a big decision. Mustn’t rush into things too hastily…

Annabel: He’s Charlie Clarke! Can we watch the Simpsons?

Hugh: Order! Order in the meeting! And no! We are not watching the Simpsons again during this meeting!

Annabel: We’ve already watched it three times! Anyway, what’s the big deal?

Hugh: If you weren’t on the Board of Hugh Paxton’s Blog Directors I’d pound your nose flat! Big deal? BIG DEAL? Joining this blog’s link roll or whatever its called isn’t a big deal. It is an immense deal! We don’t want any riff raff linking up, leftist agitators, people who don’t agree with me, and you know…those types of people.

Annabel: It’s Charlie Clarke!

Hugh: Yes, thankyou. I know it’s Charlie Clarke. But my question is ummm?

Annabel: You don’t know how to set up a blog link do you? 

Hugh: Of course I do, you impudent whelp. All I have to do is ummm…bugger! What the hell’s wrong with my computer!

Annabel: You need to turn it on, Daddy.

Hugh: It’s the floods! It’s the international Chinese Zionist Dominican Republican Plot!

Annabel: It’s the blue button. Up there. At the left.

Hugh: I knew that. It was a what do you call it?

Annabel: A computer?

Hugh: Yes. One of those. Anyway, my point remains that we can’t have any old Charlie linked to my prestigious blog. For God’s sake we don’t even know who he is! he could be anybody! Say anything! Who is he??? Answer me that!!!

Annabel: He’s your neighbour. Charlie Clarke.

Hugh: Oh…

Annabel: Charlie? Charlie Clarke? You were speaking to him 30 minutes ago.

Hugh: Oh, that Charlie Clarke. I thought this blog link was somehow connected to a different Charlie Clarke although come to think of it..naah! Just a coincidence. 

Annabel: Mummy says you went to Oxford.

Hugh: Yes! The beer was magnificent! And those dreaming spires! Oh, my darling daughter, the stories I could tell!

Annabel: If you went to Oxford, why are you so stupid?

Hugh: Annabel, darling, we are straying from the point. But as you ask, you have to be clever to get into Oxford. Thereafter you have a license to be stupid. 

 Annabel: Go to dashboard. Add new link.

Hugh: Don’t rush me fachrisakkes!v*&^^?£”””2!!!! everybody’s rushing me!!!

Annabel:  And there it is. Your blog link to Charlie’s GreenCurrier. With a name like that it just has to be good!

Hugh: Courier.

Annael: Currier. It’s a pun.

Hugh:  Motion passed! Where’s the Simpsons DVD?

BLOG ED NOTE: Check our new blog roll. Check Charlie Clarke! It’s good fun!   


Our salute to Steve Hollier

November 1, 2011
Steve Hollier

Steve Hollier

It is with great regret that we must announce our loss of Steve Hollier, a dear gentleman international travel photojournalist who touched a lot of lives and wrote and photographed with beautiful and very cultured insight.

Steve’s very extensive travels ranged from Southern Africa, through Europe and the Middle east and he was residing in Baku, Azerbaijan with his beloved wife Sandra when he died.

His writing and editing for the journal AZ magazine was exemplary and his excellent blog entitled Azerbaijan Days – Living in the land of fire is one of true quality, quite brilliant. We have greatly enjoyed his writing and would like to direct you to some of his articles that we particularly enjoyed:

Time travel does exist.

There are many more treasures to be found on his blog.

There’s a refined selection of his images to view on Flickr. Perusal of his Picasa Web albums, will take your breath away too, and because there are one hundred and twenty-five of them up-loaded, and because anoxia is bad for the brain – it’s best to take them in stages. His shots are pin sharp and picture postcard perfect and his choice of subject and his perspectives testify to his powerfully cultured intelligence.

Steve said “When you look at a photograph, it tells you more about the photographer than the subject. That means that when people look at your images, it is a way of communicating something about yourself and your world view. All art is a means of communication and for me, the most enjoyable thing about photography is being able to speak through pictures.”

Steve’s many and varied images show his love of the world and its people, and the smiles on his subjects’ faces show that it was a love reciprocated.

His work lives on and will give pleasure and interest beyond our ability to measure. He helped a lot of people through his work at the British Council, was a gift to the world and opened a delightfully sensitive view of Azerbaijan.

Sandra Williams, Hugh & Charles Paxton

(Not Suitable For Children) This Reminded Me Of Homunculus

October 27, 2011

These links were recently sent to me by a friend. The Vice Guide To Liberia reminded him of my novel, Homunculus.–2

Yes, indeed! This site has been nominated for twice for a Webby. I think it’s got a very good chance of sweeping the prize.

Back to Liberia, this picture is pretty incredible.

Yes, that does appear to be a drugged up drag queen toting an AK 47.
They say truth’s stranger than fiction, in this case they’re about equally strange! Visions of hell, both.
Thank you, Mason

Colum’s Column: Superb Slow Motion

October 27, 2011
Colum Muccio Wildlife Conservationist with ARCAS

Colum Muccio Wildlife Conservationist with ARCAS

Great slow motion videos with Sir David Attenborough and the Cornell Lab, BBC Wildlife and others…on

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