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?
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.
Café Tangier is Patricia’s first e-book, published by Amazon as a Kindle Single, and is the fruit of several winters spent in the Moroccan city of Tangier. Perched on the north-west tip of Africa, within sight of Spain, Tangier has long been a siren luring enchanted Westerners, occasionally to their doom. As a new arrival—and a single woman at that—Patricia also fell for its intoxicating charm, its dazzling white palaces and maze of alleys, its soaring minarets and shaded courtyards, while feeling disconcerted by customs and a mindset so different from home.
In this evocative memoir, she recounts how the culture shock of her first few days in Tangier—including a citywide festival of sheep sacrifice—merges into colourful expat life. For every wonderful new experience there is evidence of the country’s darker side: the corruption, the crime, the contradictory attitude towards women and sex. But in her ode to the city—part love letter, part history, part exposé—Clough shows just what it is about Tangier that keeps Westerners coming back.