Review of The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes – The Complete Jim French Imagination Theatre Scripts

Twenty years ago Jim French — writer, actor and producer — decided to redress the decline of good popular drama on American radio: he set up Imagination Theatre to create quality series and single plays. Sherlock Holmes was only a part of it, but a very important part, and it began with The Further Adventures, a series gratifyingly reminiscent of the days when listeners tuned in every week to hear Rathbone and Bruce as Holmes and Watson. The main difference is that IT’s Watson, played by Lawrence Albert, is not only brave and loyal, but intelligent. Jim French assembled a team of writers that includes M.J. Elliott, John Hall, Matthew Booth, Gareth Tilley — and David Marcum, who has prepared this very handsome three-volume edition of French’s own splendid scripts. Jim French died in 2017, but The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes continues, with 135 programmes recorded to date. All royalties from these books will go towards the preservation of Undershaw, Conan Doyle’s former Surrey home, which now houses Stepping Stones School.

Reviewed by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

The Further Adventures of Sherlock Holmes is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USA,  Amazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.

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Review of Sherlockian Musings: Thoughts on the Sherlock Holmes Stories

Dr Goldfarb surveys each of the sixty stories, lighting upon all sorts of points that others may not have considered. The style is friendly and informal, but always intelligent and thoughtful. Of “The Empty House”, for instance: “Watson’s bereavement, presumably the death of Mrs Watson, is almost a cheery note. The gesture towards grown-up living, marriage, domesticity — that can all be forgotten now. Watson and Holmes can be adventuring boys again, and will be.” Of “Lady Frances Carfax”: “Poor Watson. He’s feeling old and rheumatic, and look how Holmes treats him: Go to Lausanne, track down Lady Frances, keep me informed — But then I’ll show up unexpectedly and tell you you’ve done everything wrong (but has he? most commentators say no). And for good measure you’ll get beaten up by the savage stalker, who I’ll then tell you is the good guy…” The “musings” were first published in The Petrel Flyer. This wider publication in more permanent form is well merited.

Reviewed by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Sherlockian Musings is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.



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Review of Cut To: Baker Street

“Dr Vaughan says that she’s always written with young and “casual” readers in mind. Her new book should appeal to them; it certainly appeals to me. As a dedicated veteran reader, with a special interest in dramatic and comedic presentations of Holmes and Watson, I find Cut to: Baker Street a helpful reference source, alongside Alan Barnes’s Sherlock Holmes on Screen and others (including the invaluable IMDB). The text doesn’t include full credits, but it covers the essentials, and it’s complemented by Georgia Grace Weston’s witty drawings. Exceptionally useful is the inclusion of internet-only and computer game productions, though their episode lists are classed with “Television”, which is a bit confusing. Such a book will never be complete, so in a few years’ time an updated edition would be welcome.”

Reviewed by The Sherlock Holmes Society of London

Cut To Baker Street is available from all good bookstores including Amazon USABarnes and Noble USAAmazon UKWaterstones UK and for free shipping worldwide Book Depository.



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Christmas at Happy Life – Day 7 – Skates, Trees and School Uniforms

We made the most of our final day at Happy Life by setting the alarm early and getting up ahead of the kids. Breakfast for Steve was some freshly baked sweetbread from the on-site bakery with a some PB&J. Sharon opted for the more healthy cereal.

The older kids start their day with their chores and its great to see them all pitching in to help the Mamas. We headed over to the Shamma house where Leah lives. Mama Mary looks after the 28 girls in the house, the oldest of whom is 15. It’s incredibly calm as they all have toast and tea and Mary explains that’s because they are girls. They delight in seeing the videos we’ve taken showing Leah skating. She’s the only one that knows how having learnt over in Kasarani before transferring across. They decide they want to record a short hello to everyone.



We take some time with Leah to visit the field behind the school where they have planted a few trees and we hope to support them with a ‘plant a tree’ campaign in 2020.

On our way out of the house we find one of the staff making school uniforms. We ask him how many he has to do – he smiles and tells us ‘only fifteen more to go’. He’s making school shirts from sheets of white material and plaid skirts too on a foot pump sewing machine.

The school supports over 400 children now. 91 from Happy Life itself, and more than three hundred from the local community. The secondary school will be housed in the new building for two terms whilst they build the new secondary school 5km down the road. The new school will start off mixed but as it grows will split into two schools, boys and girls which we are told is the trend now in Kenya. Leash wanted to show us her classroom and her desk.

We grab a few minutes to record a quick video tour which is very enlightening watching it back as so much has changed since our last visit a year ago.




One of the kids needs to visit the hospital so we have a couple of extra passengers on the way to the airport and stop off at Kasarani to drop them off.

A quiet evening meal at the airport hotel to see the new year in as we have to check in for our flight around 8am in the morning for Rwanda and the Nairobi roads are not for navigating at that time of day.

It’s been a wonderful visit – already looking forward to the next visit.


Sharon and Steve

Co-founders MX Publishing and proud ambassadors for Happy Life

(more info on Happy Life……..Five Ways You Can Help Us Change Lives This Holiday Period)

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Posted by on January 1, 2020 in Adoption, Uncategorized


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Christmas at Happy Life – Day 6 – Bad Roads, Soccer and PingPong

It’s time to head over to the Happy Life location over in Juja Farm. As you can see from the map below, this is in theory a journey of less than an hour – barely 32km in distance.

However, once you reach Juja, the final  11km stretch is on the Juja Farm road which should have been tarmacked by now. When there have been rains (like now) the team don’t like to attempt the road in the small buses so today we’re traveling in the Happy Life pickup truck – which means loading up the truck with as much as possible.



In 2019 we introduced video conferencing to Happy Life through our wonderful sponsors Zoom – and its begun to transform things for the team. Firstly, pastor Peter explains that he used to have to make the three hour round trip to Juja Farm twice a week – now he has video meetings and has reduced his trips to once a week. Over the year that’s a saving of 150+ hours and thousands of dollars in fuel. The team have also begun to use Zoom for fundraising and operational calls with donors around the world – especially the USA.


It’s great fun to spend time with the older kids and the place has changed a lot in a year – not least the completion of the second school building (above) which was just a plan when we were here last December. The oldest kid here is Daniel at seventeen and he’s now outgrown Steve by a couple of inches. He leads the school both academically and as a big brother to the other kids. A few years ago we had a fundraiser to bring two table tennis tables to Juja Farm and Daniel explains that with the new school building they are adding a dedicated table tennis room and music room.




Steve spends the afternoon playing soccer with the kids. The best position for him is goalkeeper as it keeps him (mostly) out of trouble – when he can remember not to dive for the ball on the concrete surface. Sharon manages to convince Leah to dig out her skates which we brought a few years back.


The evening is nice and clear and the sound of the Kenyan wilderness, crickets and birds, is the perfect soundtrack to finish off the day.



Sharon and Steve

Co-founders MX Publishing and proud ambassadors for Happy Life

(more info on Happy Life……..Five Ways You Can Help Us Change Lives This Holiday Period)

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Posted by on December 31, 2019 in Adoption, Uncategorized


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Christmas at Happy Life – Day 5 – Midwife, Geese and Swimming

One of the highlights of this trip has been meeting Erin, one of the daughters in the group from Dubai. Erin is thirteen and wants to be a midwife and has been helping out at the Jesse Kay Children’s hospital (part of Happy Life Kasarani) during the trip. We caught up with her on the ward.




Visiting projects like Happy Life is a wonderful life experience for teenagers to give them a sense of perspective and appreciation for how fortunate they are in their lives in the West.

We were at a bit of a loss as to where to take Leah and Teresiah for the last day here and took a chance on visiting Idyllic Mistley Gardens as they claimed to have a swimming pool which is a real treat for the kids.


It turned out to be a wonderful peaceful place with only a few people (the staff tell us its extremely busy normally at the weekends). We had another lemon and ginger tea which has become our go to drink this trip. The only slightly noisy residents were the geese but only for a few minutes.

Once again Leah looked after Teresiah. Great to see in a teenager.


Trip there and back in our $3 Ubers were uneventful (the smaller Ubers are called ‘Chap Chap’) until the last stretch on the way back when what I thought was a goat ran straight out in front of the car – we hit it pretty hard but it jumped up and ran off. “Tough goat” I said. “No. Sheep are stupid, so that was a sheep. Goats are too clever to run out in front of cars” said our driver Kamau. Can’t argue with that.


Sharon and Steve

Co-founders MX Publishing and proud ambassadors for Happy Life

(more info on Happy Life……..Five Ways You Can Help Us Change Lives This Holiday Period)

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Posted by on December 30, 2019 in Adoption, Uncategorized


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Christmas at Happy Life – Day 4 – Power Cuts, GoPro and Candfloss

The team from Dubai has been over at Juja Farm for the last few days and Craig has a GoPro and has created some neat videos. We’re excited to be heading over there on Monday. Until then, here’s a link to one of the videos;

 (GoPro Video from Craig – Fellowship Dubai)


Over here at Kasarani we had another split day of feeding (Sharon infants, Steve toddlers). One of the really sweet kids is Charity who loves to dance and with a bit of encouragement Steve managed to get her dancing with Melissa. With fifteen toddlers to keep happy and only two hands getting the kids to play with each other is an important tactic.


We decided on a closer lunch out with a quick Uber across to the Garden City Mall. Whilst very close, the walk would be across the very large Thikka highway so not suitable to attempt with the kids. Leah decided to bring one of the youngsters along – Theresa and it was delightful to see her acting like big sister.

They have a sand based play area there and they managed a decent amount of fun before the next thunderstorm had us all rushing into the main building. The big excitement for the kids was Candy Floss which they took as a choice over ice cream.

The evening brought a neighbourhood wide power cut. Now that we have the hospital here, there is a backup generator but it wasn’t kicking in. So we had about an hour blackout right at the time the sun went down and the mamas were doing the evening meal – trying to navigate by a small torch. Imagine their surprise when Steve lent them his cap with built in LEDs!

With the generator fixed it was another movie night with Despicable Me 3 the film of choice. We sure get our kids movie quota filled on our trips.

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Posted by on December 29, 2019 in Adoption, Uncategorized


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