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I love the art and the churches, and the countryside - they're fantastic. But what I want to know is what is going on here. What is Umbria all about?'  This chance remark by an American visitor was the spark which set Patricia writing about the part of Italy where she now lives. The result was "Umbria", a portrait of one of Italy's most beautiful regions, its character, its people, its ancient culture and history and its enchanting countryside. It gives insights into its often murky politics, into the pros and cons of buying houses there and, of course into the secrets of its superb food and wines. It is not a tourist guide, although it would be an extremely useful companion for an Umbrian holiday, but a not-uncritical declaration of love for the place she now calls home.


Umbria: Haus Publishing, London 2009. ISBN 9781905791347. £10.40









The Flight Across the Ice 
It is the bitterly cold winter of 1944/45. The Red Army is advancing on Eastern Prussia, the easternmost province of Germany, at the start of its inexorable advance towards Berlin. Millions of East Prussians are desperate to flee, but the Nazis order them to stay and fight. Finally, with the Russian guns in earshot, they are allowed to leave. They soon realise that they are surrounded, cut off from the rest of Germany. Many of them take the perilous route over a frozen lagoon, the only route left open. With them are thousands of the most superb horses in the world, the Trakehner, bred over the past two centuries in East Prussia. They flee in large herds or are harnessed to waggons or sleighs and face the same dangers as their guardians and owners. With little to eat, the target of Soviet bombers and tanks, many of them die on the way. Only a few hundred reached the West. They had saved their owners, and their owners had saved them – rarely has there been such a bond between men and horses. But the story is not over. Given the harsh conditions, the hunger, deprivation and poverty of the immediate post-war years, can the breed be built up again?

Flight across the Ice Haus Publishing, London 2009 ISBN 9781906598341. £7.99