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Customer Reviews

4.2 out of 5 stars
4.2 out of 5 stars
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on 8 August 2015
As an avid live aboard sailor I was very disappointed with this book. It is entitled Sieze the Day but the title is misleading - it is overly optimistic in its title. It is stiffly written - today we went to xyz and bought blah, blah blah and the local people were friendly; yesterday we went to d,e,f and saw a parrot.
Frankly, it was deadly dull, and lacking in detail that sailors want to read about. I am certain that the couple involved are nice people but the book is just so dreadfully written and the photo's are appalling quality - every single one looks out of focus.
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on 19 April 2017
Disappointing & difficult to get through this book after the first 25%. The locations visited are very rushed & the descriptions read like a diary entry. The couple also seem to be very religious & seem to ignore how Western religion has usually destroyed the culture of the Islands they visit. Give them a "happy-clappy" church & they are content.
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on 7 December 2005
What if you culd just pull up sticks, say goodbye to the humdrum, and just sail away? You can you know. Even sail around the world doing it. And in SEIZE THE DAY, Shirley Billing's new and fascinating book about escaping to the world of your dreams, she tells you how. It's a lot easier than you think too. Never mind that there's a mortgage and two children to look after, those are just details. Forget that you don't know how to sail and you've never been round the world either. Because from now on, you'll take that kind of thing in your stride.
From start to finish, SEIZE THE DAY is a wonderful account about what you can get away with - and which uninhbited Pacific islands you need to visit on the way. Robbery? Shipwreck? Tropical island sunsets? What else can you possibly cram into a day? And it's all for real - every one of the 60,000 miiles it took to get around this wonderful world of ours - every single amazing and almost beyond-belief word of it.
So what's different about two ordinary people who say goodbye to their house, cars and insurance policies and just sail away? Than you can do it too. And from the moment you open it, you've got the guide book in your hands. What are you waiting for?
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on 29 November 2005
Which of us, at some time or another, has not fantasised about steppping off life's treadmill and sailing away into the sunset. 'Seize The Day' is Shirley Billings' story of how she, and her husband Peter, did just that. Well, no not quite. The treadmill is not that easily abandoned. Two years of careful planning and meticulous preparation, selling the house, buying the boat etc. preceded their setting off, on the biggest adventure of their lives, from St. Katherine's Dock in London on March 19th. 1983. This extraordinary, then middle-aged couple were not, of course novice sailors having done a fair amount of, what they almost dismiss as 'blue water' sailing but a potentially 60,000 miles circumnavigation was something else and, as all worthwhile adventures, it was not without its highs and lows, its life-threatening incidents and its days of uneventful 'plain sailing'. Keeping themselves afloat was not only a matter of engineering the seamanship but of adaptation and accommodation, of learning to live in, and live with their beloved 'Clypeus' their floating home for, what turned out to be thirteen years.
In 'Seize The Day' Shirley's beautifully written account covers just seven of those years during which we bob along with them to exotic, and undreamed of places, we meeet the friendliest of people as well as thieves (and possibly worse) and come up against 'the law's delays, the insolence of office', in a variety of languages. There are some delicious juxtapositions in this book including a photograph of shirley physically tied to the stove (surely something she had hoped to have left behind) and a later photograph of her practice-shooting her pistol on some deserted beach. There is mention of having to sleep with the pistol and machete close at hand and of entertaining aparticularly helpful immigration official to a traditional cream tea.
This is, indeed, the story of a voyage of discovery, not only of a wonderful world but also of an exploration and testing of a long married couple's individual qualities, or, 'when forsaking all others' their interdependence. It is a story of a deepening of faith in God, in people and, in each other. It is, of course, a story of sailing, a story of adventure but it is also an inspirational tale for those of us who grow deeper into our grooves, grow old, grow less.
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on 7 December 2005
I found this book truly inspirational, an excellent read, and came away full of admiration for a couple who could do and experience so much and remain so humble and normal.
I couldn't put the book down. All through the story interest is kept alive with different viewpoints, vivid descriptions, and devices like the insert of log entries and the odd piece of poetry. The technical data in the appendix gives extra information for serious sailors.
Congratulations on a wonderful piece of writing.
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on 13 December 2005
I found this book to be a quite amazing account of two middle-aged novice sailors who disposed of all their wordly goods and started a journey spanning 7 years. To agree to take such a step into the unknown is in itself quite remarkable. It might be considered foolhardy to take such a decision, but to eventually meet all their expectations goes to show the painstaking preparations and careful planning and care taken when underway.
Shirley Billing shows real accomplishment and great skill in taking the reader along with them as they set out on their various adventures. I found it difficult at times to realise that it was not fiction. It is a book easily read and makes one wonder what adventures the next chapter will hold. The geography of their travels is a little difficult to follow but that is a small criticism compared with the professional presentation.
I found Shirley's book "Red Sea Peril" of similar quality.
Well done. A most entertaining and educational read.
Cliff Hughes, Milford Haven
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on 14 February 2006
This lively account of the Billings’ travels, following their decision to up sticks after the children were no longer dependent, takes us from the beginning in the UK in the early 1980s to their arrival in Singapore: the story of seven years on the Seven Seas, as the sub title has it.
Many cruising tales have been written, some concentrating on the rigours and technicalities of the sailing itself, others more as a travelogue. Sometimes the attempt has been made to combine the two. Many of those fail to meet the expectations of the reader of either slant. Shirley Billing has a happy knack of writing in a sparkling style that covers all the ground with apparent enthusiasm. Even though she offers the get out, halfway through the book, of skipping a few chapters if you don’t fancy the graphic descriptions of the Pacific Islands and their fascinating meetings with so many different people and races, few will want to move on to the more sailor-based talk of later chapters.
The author has a disarming claim that they “…have never looked upon themselves as real sailors” and goes on to show that, while making a few errors familiar to all of us who sail, their indomitable spirit and enthusiasm for life carry them through a wealth of experience that has made them such successful circumnavigators. We look forward to the continuation of this voyage interrupted for a while by re-entering the world of work some seven years after that brave beginning.
The soft back publication has many illustrations: photographs and sketch maps of the areas visited. Nine appendices and an index help recall and give some general advice with specific background detail including how to relate to crocodiles. Composed in 24 main chapters a main theme lies in the title. Carpe Diem - don’t put much faith in the morrow is their motto and they have lived by it. By writing about it they share their excitement and stimulate others to take the plunge. The book is an easy, enjoyable but informative read. - MJD
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on 7 March 2013
I thoroughly enjoyed this book when it was first released in paperback a few years ago. It is just as relevant today, newly-released for Kindle, as it focuses on the 'can-do' attitude of it's author and how to overcome all those niggling doubts that are holding you back from having the adventure of a lifetime (whatever that may be).

It is not a travelogue, more a personal diary of an experience which can be enjoyed vicariously through lively text and stunning photos. Emotions are dealt with, alongside practicalities. Not everyone who reads it will set off to sail around the world but it will certainly encourage you to follow your dreams!
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on 6 March 2006
An excellent book for everyone planning to sail long distance or just dream of it. A book full of adventures in the tradition of Slocum's first circumnavigation. Shirley tells us how to handle a holed hull at a remote Pacific atoll or how to deal with crocodiles. Additionally one finds a complex appendix with all the 'how to's' regarding the successful planning of a circumnavigation. Shirley and Peter set off expecting to be back in three years time. This is the story of the first seven years from London to Singapore. They have enjoyed the sailing life so much they are still on their way home.
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on 29 November 2005
SEIZE THE DAY was an exciting adventure that held me from the beginning. I was taken to the crest and depth of each wave as you sailed along. The cultures and places you visited I had never heard of. YOu brought the people to life and left many friends behind.
What wonderful sights you dscribed, the sunrise and sunsets and weather were so real I thought I was there, and the bitter sweet sadness at missing your daughter's wedding, then celebrating it with champagne all broguht tears to my eyes.
It is a book I will enjoy again and again.
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