BOOKS

Saint Antony

Self proclaimed Patron Saint of mental well-being

This book is a collection of articles written for a local magazine in West London under the moniker Vocal Tone. 

 

The book is non-preachy and often light-hearted, although it tackles many controversial subject matters that provoke much heated debate. The articles were written with the best of intentions to help people experiencing anxiety and depression at a time when stigma discourages people from seeking help or being open about their suffering. This of course has abated in popular culture, but Tony believes that in the real world, the fear of stigma still persists. 

 

This book is not written from a medical standpoint, as Tony’s faith in the medical profession has been severely tested over the years, but from the experiences of the writer, having suffered from clinical depression and been blighted by anxiety through his career in the cut-throat business of advertising.

 

Although having worked all over the world and been a resident of Chicago and Dubai in the last decade, Tony gravitates back to his homeland roots of Richmond, having been born and bred in Isleworth, just downstream on the Thames and he speaks passionately about the area and the people who live within its confines. 

 

At a time when mental wellbeing has found its way into mainstream politics and ever-expanding HR departments are being trained to deal with the impacts of workplace stress, this book offers valuable insights into how to deal with this most modern of medical afflictions. 

 

With the advent of the internet creating online trolls and social media re-writing the rules of ‘celebrity’ and personal privacy, latter day expectations of what life has to offer have never been under such strain. Add into this body issues, gender fluidity, global warming, poverty, homelessness, #metoo, diversity in leadership, divisions in the UK caused by Brexit, race and religious intolerances and now social distancing and isolation from the spread of coronavirus and you have a toxic mix that is cultivating mental health issues of epidemic proportions. 

 

Vocal Tone offers no solutions, but suggests coping mechanisms, opens up a different viewpoint and let’s be honest, vents his own spleen to demonstrate to his readers they’re not the only ones suffering in this topsy-turvy world we now live in. 

 

The disparate and random episodes strangely hold together as a cohesive book that doesn’t pull its punches, but offers a simple and sometimes amusing perspective on this very complex subject matter. 

 

Chateau Shenanigans

The shambolic adventures of a shattered chateau owner

Deep in the far north of the Perigord Vert region of The Dordogne sits a 13th century chateau on top of a hill. Its name, Chateau Gros Puy literally means chateau on the big hill. Like many old buildings from medieval France, it had fallen into disrepair and the family who’d lived there for over 200 years wanted to hand on the baton of being the custodians of an historical pile to another intrepid family.

 

Enter the Malcolm clan, who were on the look-out for a character property to become their holiday home abroad.

 

Although outside of their budget and stretching them outside of their comfort zones, they fell in love with the grand old pile and pushed themselves financially to purchase the chateau and one and a half hectares of garden to renovate and lovingly restore back to former glories.

 

This book takes you on their search for their ideal home from home and all the trials and tribulations involved in such a quest.

 

The sale went through in the winter of 2018 and they embarked on a journey to source builders and tradespeople to help them bring their investment back to life. Along the way, they were to encounter challenges both grande and petit, that have pushed them to breaking point.

 

They have also discovered the simple joys of French rural life and made friends for life as their ventures and adventures unfolded over the space of two and a half years.

 

Triumphs and tragedies are all part of the ebb and flow, but a global pandemic was never factored in as a possible obstacle to overcome. We join them as they are engulfed in the first lockdown in the UK but forge ahead with ambitious plans and epic trips with antique furniture and objet d’art including a huge spiral staircase.

 

A window of opportunity from the lifting of lockdown, sees them take a car ferry from Dover to Calais in June 2020 and brave the 10-hour journey by road to The Dordogne laden with their acquisitions.

 

They would return 6 months later exhausted and mentally depleted from what was to befall them in those months from midsummer through to Christmas. In between, they were to experience events both joyful and tragic, whilst also being followed by the Channel 4 programme ‘A New Life in The Sun’. 

 

Despite all of their travails, they emerge triumphant and defiant with a keen sense of humour and a joie de vivre that prevails on every page. You too will fall in love with Gros Puy and feel the pain and pleasure that can only be expected with such a tempestuous and tumultuous love story.  

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© Tony Malcolm all rights reserved.Tony's mood can go up as well as down and past success IS a guarantee of future success.