This is my look back at the recent Hursley Park Book Fair. Many thanks to Glenn Salter (aka author Simon Fairfax) for organising the Fair. So much hard work (and generally unseen at that) goes on behind the scenes to make these events happen. For an inaugural event, I thought the Fair worked well but more on that shortly…
Following on from last week’s opener to this two-part series on blogging, I continue to share thoughts on the topic from some of my fellow writers. [Read more…] about Why I Blog – Part 2
It’s funny how certain types of writing remain popular, even though the format in which they are presented may change over time. Keeping a diary was something I did when younger. These days I blog! Most of us who kept diaries had no thought of publication (just as well too, you would have had to have been incredibly lucky here). [Read more…] about Why I Blog
Charley Desson from Chandler’s Ford is in need of our support.
Charley has lived in Chandler’s Ford her whole life. She went to Thornden School and later Barton Peveril College.
Charley has been fighting cancer for two years. In 2016 Charley was diagnosed with stage 4 Hodgkin’s lymphoma. She said in a Facebook post on Chandler’s Ford Friendly Neighbours that “I’m now at the point where paying for treatment is sadly a very real possibility for me. Please take a moment to read my page (titled: Nivolumab for Charley Desson). Donate if you can and please share the page so as many people see it as possible.” [Read more…] about Please Donate to Support Charley Desson from Chandler’s Ford to Fight Cancer
Don’t forget the inaugural Hursley Park Book Fair takes place this weekend.
Amongst the authors taking part are Richard Hardie and I. Two former interviewees of mine, Anne Wan and Felicity Fair Thompson, will also be at the event. [Read more…] about Reminder Post: Hursley Park Book Fair – 23rd and 24th June 2018
Edited by Allison Symes
Images: by Graham MacLean unless otherwise stated
To conclude my art series, I thought I would finish with naming my favourite artists and sharing a little about each one with you. Comments about who your favourite artists are and why would be most welcome.
My favourite artists are John Constable, Edward Seago, and Trevor Chamberlain (a minor but much loved member of the famous Wapping Group. I am also very fond of John Singer Sargent, his fellow American, Winslow Homer, and the exotic Gauguin and Rousseau impressionists. [Read more…] about Graham MacLean on Art – Part 3 – My Favourite Artists
The lovely site of a baby’s awakening; tastes in flower arranging; one more year of National Service; a trip to Jefferies Country; new flowers for Gran’s list; a historic Test Match; arthritis in the hips, “but I can still play a decent game” and finding friends of Gilbert Whitley.
It’s the last day of July 1953 – a wet one – and Gran is clearing peas in the Pinewood Gardens, and picking a few loganberries. She hears:
…familiar footsteps running up the road and knew that Barry was arriving. He is on leave for the Bank Holiday and was pleased to have done well in the R.A.F. Sports, winning the 440 and 880 yards and the third prize in the sack race! He ran the three-legged with the Squadron Leader but they were unplaced. His prizes consisted of three useful additions to the home – water jug and glasses, teaspoons and a leather wallet.
Richard Hardie and I are amongst the 40 or so authors taking part in the inaugural Hursley Park Book Fair over the weekend of 23rd and 24th June. (Felicity Fair Thompson and Anne Wan, both of whom I interviewed for CFT, are also taking part). [Read more…] about Hursley Park Book Fair – 23rd and 24th June 2018
Mouse, Man and other traps; “getting your eye in”; John Keble and the Oxford Movement; Crossbills in Merdon Avenue; times have changed with regard to children’s entertainment; accents; two tennis stars on the Mauritania; Bog Orchid at last!; and Jane’s school days are over.
On July 7th 1953, Gran travels to Earley, near Reading where Adrian’s mother is staying with her sister at the house called “Anathoth”. On the 8th, they visit the neighbouring towns of Goring and Streatley, separated by the River Thames, travelling by bus, via Pangbourne, and Gran is amused, “at a small village whose name I could not see”, where:
…the driver of the ‘bus leant out in passing and accurately threw a parcel of newspapers right into the doorway of a shop. Obviously it was not the first time he had done this!
(Note: The learner driver is 17 years old.)
Since December I have started to learn to drive. On the whole I think I’m doing pretty great, and my driving lessons have helped me be aware of the road. Now when I’m a passenger, I’m very observant as to road behaviour and actions of other drivers. I am now aware of things that many experienced drivers have probably forgotten about or do not notice now. I hope to turn this into a recurring series, so let’s start with my biggest pet peeve about driving – [Read more…] about A Learner Driver’s Log (1): Parking on the Side of the Road
One of the problems facing writers with books out there is how to promote your books. A lot depends on what budgets you have (and on the time you’re willing to commit to this. Marketing work gobbles up a lot of time and this shouldn’t be underestimated).
With self-publishing being so more readily accessible and acceptable, how does an individual author make themselves heard? Sometimes the answer is to be part of a larger group of writers. What happens here is that the writers “cross-pollinate” the other authors in their group in terms of publicity and the end result is you reach more people than if you were going it alone. The Book Fair held in Chandler’s Ford last year is a good example of writers being able to hold an event at all because there were several of us involved. [Read more…] about Authors Reach Update – Allison Symes with Richard Hardie
Update: 11.20pm 6th June 2018: Celia Fullbrook has been found safe [Read more…] about Hampshire Constabulary: Appeal to Find Missing Pensioner Celia Fullbrook from Chandler’s Ford
Coronation Day; up and down for the National Anthem; a civic reception; Swifts at Staines; a night visit to London; orchids and seabirds; Dad gets under two minutes – just; Wimbledon again – and the Americans should enjoy it more.
On May 28th 1953, Jane and Gran go to the Winchester County High School Open Day, and after the school has been inspected, the visitors are treated to a “delightful concert by members of the school”. This includes ballet by Kay Lardy, “who has recently won a scholarship to Sadlers Wells”; a pianoforte solo, “admirably executed by Mary Sales”, and a violin solo, “played with great sensitivity and from memory, by Janet Ashford. A trio of very talented children”, Gran writes. They are driven home by the Ashfords as the sun is setting.
There is another minor hint at provisions for a family dinner on May 31st, presumably a Sunday, when Gran is in a tizzy because:
Having lost a day somewhere this week I imagined today was Saturday and had quite forgotten to get any vegetables for dinner, so I had to dash round to Mr Woods in Park Road and see if he had anything. He had – cauliflowers, which were some of the nicest I have ever had. On the way to his nursery I heard a Whitethroat singing…
And she is unkind again to Eastleigh, where, that afternoon, she “unfortunately” had to play in a tennis match:
What a deadly, dismal, dirty place is Eastleigh – even the gay flags and bunting for Coronation Week could not disguise its squalor and ugliness. It never seems to be clean and impressions on emerging from the railway station – itself one of the dirtiest I know – are depressing in the extreme.
1. The methods by which people write. (The biro is one of the world’s great inventions, as was the fountain pen before it. I would not want to use a quill to write, though you have got to hand it to Shakespeare for his sheer creativity especially given the equipment he had. What would he have made of the typewriter, the word processor etc? His friends, John Heminge and Henry Condell, would have had a far easier time of it compiling the First Folio though and what wouldn’t they have given to be able to access the photocopier!).
2. What people used to write on – everything from cave walls to A4 paper to post-it notes.
3. The methods of publishing writing. We owe a huge debt to Guttenberg and Caxton. What would they make of online writing, where actual printing out is not always necessary, and where texts can be sent by email or scanned and stored?
4. For centuries only the privileged could read and write and then have access to books. I am so glad, in general terms, this is no longer true, though I would love to see a world where good literacy rates and access to books was a “given” everywhere. Sadly, this is still not the case and progress needs to be made on education, especially for girls and women, in particular areas. But that can and should be worked on. Compared with how we were a century ago, has progress been made? Yes – in our part of the world at least but I would like this to spur efforts on to make it true for everywhere.
5. The kinds of writing there are in terms of what is produced – everything from flash fiction to massive fantastical sagas to the Encyclopaedia Britannica and the Oxford English Dictionary.
Sitting just on the Welsh side of the border with England, Hay 0n Wye is a small town of just 1500 population. Come the https://www.hayfestival.com/programme-quick-view.aspx?SectionFilterID=495&pview=0 Hay on Wye Literary Festival every summer since 1988, up to 250,000 people visit over a 10-day period. This year we were two of that horde.
In 2016, I published an article about our 92-year-old War Veteran Frank Damerell from Chandler’s Ford.
Frank Damerell was a Night Fighter Navigator. The aircraft was the well-known Mosquito.
Recently, Frank was interviewed on BBC Radio Solent, talking about his Mosquito missions in World War Two on the Julian Clegg Breakfast Show.
Click the image to listen to Frank Damerell – the WW2 RAF Navigator remembering his beloved Mosquito (3 minutes’ long). [Read more…] about WW2 RAF Navigator Frank Damerell Remembers His Beloved Mosquito
Jackdaws in church; trees are felled but some are saved; Jane is 19; “Wahini Pah”; Mr Southwell has a memorable excursion to Farley Mount; Chelsea Flower show again – and a little girl with painted finger-nails; Greaty has an accident, and Gran receives a little act of kindness.
There is much activity at the Fowlers’ shop in Southampton, packing flowers for departing ships, at this time, and a strike by French seamen causes a degree of chaos because passengers for whom flowers had been ordered are transferred from the Ile de France, whose departure is delayed, to other ships the following day, and correctly uniting flowers with their recipients is difficult. Gran delivers some of the arrangements to the United States, sailing on April 30th, 1953, and writes: [Read more…] about Forty Years in Chandler’s Ford – a Journal (Part 53)
When I was preparing this series, I did wonder how I would split it since 101 is a prime number. There was no way I was writing 101 articles of 1 item each or 1 item of 101 ideas! I eventually concluded that it would be best to have a series of 15 items and finish with the final 10. Many thanks to everyone who has commented on the series. It has been fun to write and a chance to share some of life’s exasperations. If the series producers of Grumpy Old Women happen to be reading this, I think I could make myself available! [Read more…] about 101 Things to Put into Room 101 – Part 7 – The Final Leg
Mr Sanderson speaks boldly; Hiltingbury is urbanising but the trees are safe; Cranbury Park – little changed in 50 years; a visit to Kew, but some are disappointed; gifts from Switzerland; the Richmond Park Woodchat Shrike; dropping the word “empire”, and Gran finds her first Herb Paris.
Gran writes, as usual during Eastertime, of the deep emotions engendered in her at this period in the Christian calendar, and on Good Friday, April 3rd 1953, she attends a service at Compton that is very much of its time:
I met Mrs Durst as I reached the Church gate and we went in together. As soon as I saw the visiting clergyman’s face I knew that the service would be a good one, for his faith shone on his countenance as a lamp in a dark world. He was the Reverend George Sanderson, from All Saints, Alton and the Service proved to be the most moving and beautiful I have ever attended.
Reaching the “home straight” on my 101 Things to put into Room 101 series, I am now at number 76. It’s probably a sad reflection of human nature that it is usually easy enough to find things to complain about rather than praise. Still on to some more of life’s irritations. [Read more…] about 101 Things to Put into Room 101 – Part 6