Wednesday, February 26, 2020

SUPER BRENTWOOD BOOK BUYERS

Once your newly published book hits the shelves in your local bookstore, a great treat is to visit the lovely knowledgeable book brigade and carry out a little signing.  Here you may meet, if you are lucky, one of your readers, and today, it was a great pleasure to say hello to Jilly who told me she has many of my twelve books at home.  She is pictured here during today's visit, courtesy of a kind, charming chap called Denis.  Thanks so much for stopping by, young man!  Much appreciated.  By the way, this particular book is entitled BRENTWOOD IN 50 BUILDINGS published by Amberley of Stroud. 



Friday, February 21, 2020

OUR 21ST ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL IS APPROACHING - SET ASIDE SOME TIME TO CHOOSE FROM SCORES OF EVENTS DURING MARCH

Let the adventure begin...   and it all kicks off on 28 February when the UK's best selling crime writer Val McDermid launches our special year of Science and Creativity under the banner of Essex 2020.  Our Festival Director Ros Green and the team have chosen Brave New Worlds as the theme for this year's fabulous festival.  The full programme of events can be viewed at www.essexbookfestival.org.uk 


Val McDermid




Sunday, February 16, 2020

FAREWELL TO BRENTWOOD WRITERS' CIRCLE FORMER PRESIDENT


Eileen Huckbody

It was only in November 2019 that we members of Brentwood Writers’ Circle celebrated the centenary of  Eileen Huckbody, our much respected former president.  Sadly, some of our members attended her funeral yesterday in Brentwood, Essex along with her loving family and friends.   We learnt so much more about Eileen’s  fascinating life, not only as a successful author and journalist over many years, but her life working for NATO which involved extensive travelling to India, Hong Kong, Singapore, Iran and Turkey among other places around the globe.

Eileen was honoured by receiving the coveted Florence Nightingale Medal, the highest distinction a nurse can receive. Throughout her life, Eileen had been interested in writing and often used her nursing knowledge in books and articles. During the 1970s, she was a valued Council member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists and for years carried out work as their popular Overseas Liaison Officer. 

For many years, Eileen was part of the Ingatestone community in Essex before joining her residential home in Chelmsford for the last three years of her life. She will be greatly missed by her super family and friends.

Thursday, February 06, 2020

A FAVOURITE SPOT IN BILLERICAY HIGH STREET IN WHICH TO READ MY NEW BOOK?

Slipped Discs and Brown Sugar at 57/59 High Street  is one of Billericay's most popular places, established in one of the town's oldest buildings and it is certainly one of my favourites.

Visitors love its relaxed atmosphere, where a great cup of coffee can enjoyed and a chance to listen to some of the best music around. Now, you can also buy a copy of some of our local authors' new books, including my new book title Brentwood in 50 Buildings and Lisa Horner's book Lost Basildon.


And I should add, their reputation for lovely sandwiches and home-made cakes is well known. Why not pop in, relax and enjoy a really pleasant half hour?
Oh, and well-behaved dogs are allowed on the patio around the back of the building. 
Beverley with some of her gorgeous cakes

Lisa Horner celebrating the release of her latest books


Sunday, February 02, 2020

THAT TIME OF YEAR AGAIN - MEET MY LITTLE GROUNDHOG FRIEND

February 2nd - I love this time of year and usually think about this small creature.  Although I've written much about English folklore in the past, I am fond of this  American/Canadian tradition which has given its name to a film, a book and a play. Groundhog Day is an unofficial holiday that everyone knows is absurd, and yet can't stop observing. So why does a small furry animal that looks like an overstuffed rat hold such sway every February 2nd?

The answer lies shrouded in the shadows of history. Most experts suggest the tradition began when German settlers brought their tradition of Candelmas to North America in the 1700s.

February 2nd is supposed to be the mid-point between the Winter Solstice and the Spring Equinox. According to legend, if the weather was good on that day, the rest of the winter would be stormy and cold. If not, the coldest season of the year would be over soon and farmers could start to think about planting their crops. Eventually a hedgehog - not the more traditional creature used today - was added, and the story of seeing his shadow began.

But Groundhog Day owes its current status not to superstition, but to - what else - commercial reality. A newspaper editor named Clymer Freas came up with the idea in the Punxsutawney Spirit in 1886. It wound up being so popular, the legendary Punxsutawney Phil was born, in an event that's been marked ever since. Knowing a good thing when they saw one, the town of Wiarton, Canada, decided to get in on the act, launching its own prognosticating furball, Willie in 1956. It's been the largest tourist event in the area ever since, and has only overshadowed its more famous American cousin once - in 1999, when Willie was discovered dead minutes before his annual prediction was to be delivered.

Groundhog Day received worldwide attention as a result of the 1993 film of the same name starring Bill Murray which was set in Punxsutawney, Take a look for yourself on the GD website. 

GOODBYE BREXIT - MISSED MY TRIP TO LONDON

Busy this last week interviewing those folk who made the trip to London over the last few days witnessing 'Brexit night' and the media closure of this vexed issue after so many years. The date has gone down in history and certainly won't be forgotten. I was looking forward to hearing Big Ben chiming in the Clock Tower, later renamed The Victoria Tower.  For those not in the know,  Big Ben is the nickname for the great bell of the clock at the north end of the Palace of Westminster in London, and is often extended to refer to the clock or the clock tower as well. For those readers unfamiliar with Westminster, Big Ben 
is the largest four-faced chiming clock and the third-tallest free-standing clock tower in the world. The official name has now been changed to the Elizabeth Tower which, in 2012, marked the Diamond Jubilee of Queen Elizabeth. 

Here we are, out of breath after climbing those stairs, but what a wonderful view over London.  It was worth it!

May 2009 was the month which celebrated the 150th anniversary (the clock itself started ticking on 31 May 1859), and some interesting events took place.