Thursday, 12 February 2015

Sentenced to Hell, by Natalie Welsh. Book review.

Hello. I've been a bookworm for a week, it hasn't taken me long to read, 'Sentenced to Hell', by Natalie Welsh. Another quick pick from the library van. Wasn't sure I really wanted to know about Venezuela's notorious prison system, but I thought, give it a try, it's a true story. 
 The story pulled me in right from the start, it begins with the authors attempts to board a plane at Margarita Airport, carrying a doctored suitcase with five kilo's of cocaine with a street value of £325,000, hidden inside. She was a naive 21 year old single mum who had dabbled with drugs in the past, now she was looking to make big money in the smuggling game.

After a very quick trial she was sentenced to ten years in prison. Her daughter who was travelling with her was shipped back to England alone to live with a friend. The first chapters look back over her early childhood, how she got into trouble, didn't get on with her step dad, and ended up in a children's home, mainly through choice because she had more freedom there than she did at home. The familiar story of getting in with a bad crowd, she started experimenting with drugs.

As I was reading I felt that there were parts of the story that didn't add up, like there was a lot more going on than she was revealing. However, it is a book which keeps your interest because you want to know what happens next. It was a hellish prison system, where guards were too powerless or corrupt to control the escalating violence. Murders, rapes, and all out gang warfare were carried out by the armed and powerful inmates. In four years she spent time in three prisons, each time learning the new ways to keep herself out of trouble.

Her escape came about with the help of her Venezuelan boyfriend, and the fact that she was successful in applying for day release from prison so she could work in the town. I won't reveal any more of the story, in case you want to read the book, but if you want more background to her, there was a lot of publicity in the press when the book came out. Natalie's escape is not the end of the story, it's a wonderful thing this internet. I Googlied her name and found out what has happened since then. Read this article from May 2010 in the Guardian to reveal more of the story. Or this one in the Mail. Sadly the horrors of the four years she spent in prison was soon forgotten, she was caught again with drugs and at the time of the articles was awaiting sentencing, this time in an English prison. A sad ending, but a good read.

Right, what was for lunch today. I had this pack of Butternut squash and sweet potato to use up. I fancied soup.

Chop into small pieces, (cooks quicker), add spices, garlic powder, bring to the boil then simmer for five minutes. Zap with a stick blender, add some cream cheese with garlic, and two spoons of plain yogurt. 
Lunch for 15p, and it was lovely. There was enough for two portions, but I scoffed the lot with a slice of wholemeal bread.

It was a day at home today, with a walk in the park this afternoon. I'm eating some chargrilled vegetable cous cous for dinner, straight out of the plastic tub. No shopping needed this week.

Thanks for popping in. Toodle pip.


  1. Butternut squash and sweet potato...YUMMY!
    Jane x

  2. I found the juxtaposition between a book about trafficking and those diced vegetables interesting. Are you sure that's butternut squash and sweet potato or are they some illegal substance that someone's sneaked into Tesco? x

  3. Delicious dish and cheap, greetings from Warsaw

  4. I make a big batch of home made soup every week and have it every day for lunch with Coop reduced to clear bread/baguettes (our local store is always selling rtc bread). Total cost of my lunch each day is pennies and it's filling, nutritious and more importantly warming. Home made soup freezes really well.

  5. the soup does look yummy, as for the book.....I think I'll pass.

  6. Ilona, your tastes are a bit different from mine on the food, but the book really sounds heart stopping! I'll put it on my list.

  7. Ooh, I love butternut squash. And I've been eating sweet potatoes a lot more often since I read on Frugal Queen's blog that they can be microwaved whole in a few minutes - SO much easier than trying to peel those knobbly twisty things! The peel comes off in big pieces after microwaving. In fact, I think I'll make one right now - thanks for the idea :)

  8. From Margie in Toronto - I've got about 3 servings in the freezer of squash, sweet potato, carrot and onion soup - also added a tin of pureed pumpkin that I had in the pantry and it was lovely. Had 3 servings already and the rest will be defrosted for next week - think I might make some wholewheat soda bread to go along with it - lovely for lunch.

  9. The soup sounds delicious and healthy. How sad the author was arrested again for drug problems.

  10. Hello.Very sad that Ms.Welsh ended up back involved with a drug crime again, not sure if it's available here.Many people with unstable childhoods end up experimenting with drugs and lose their way and end up in on the wrong side of the law and risky lifestyles to their own detriment. The soup looks very yummy and made with bargain priced vegetables.Inexpensive and simple food doesn't have to be starchy and lacking nutrtion,your cooking shows that, and it's helpful to those that don't have that learning and experience.Thank you,regards, D.


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