Wednesday, May 24, 2017

HUGE SADNESS IN BRITISH PRINT PRESS AT PRESENT REGARDING THE MANCHESTER OUTRAGE

With such current awful news experienced by people in Manchester, a place I have visited a few times, there's too much sadness in the news at the moment, so really not in the mood to write frivolous and unimportant posts, even in such an apolitical weblog.  

Monday, May 15, 2017

NEW MAGAZINE "VISION" BILLERICAY EDITION

Monday morning chat with editor Nik Allen whose new journal  VISION  has just arrived in Billericay homes.  A nice slick little monthly magazine which, although obviously carrying a great deal of adverts promoting local firms, also promises to be interesting and will be focusing on upcoming events with lots of information supporting our local community.  Welcome!


Tuesday, May 09, 2017

BRENTWOOD WRITERS' CIRCLE CHAMPION WRITERS IN JACK KENDALL SHORT STORY COMPETITION

Cindy, Dawn, Patrick and Carol - all worthy  champions in the Jack Kendall short story competition. The missing lst prize winner was Denis Ahern but we will catch up with him at next gathering with a special photograph






It was great to win this award last year, so have been dusting this pretty glass bowl since 2016!

Sunday, May 07, 2017

HOME FARMER JUST GETS BETTER! JUNE ISSUE


As a freelance writer, I have contributed to many journals, magazines and newspapers for more than twenty years, often concentrating on the topic of the British countryside and the wonderful history, folklore and plants. 

My favourite regular magazine HOME FARMER really is the best on the bookshelves at present and the editorial team are so professional. This journal is full of information on all aspects of growing and self-sufficiency and I particularly enjoy writing about fruit, vegetables, herbs and other natural materials that can be turned into fascinating fermentations. Once you learn the rules, this really is such an interesting hobby.  



Wednesday, May 03, 2017

EDWARD THOMAS AND THE CENTENARY OF HIS DEATH


One of my favourite writers (and a poet) died just over one hundred years ago on 9th April 1917

Thomas was born in London in 1878 and attended St Paul's School and Lincoln College, Oxford. Married to Helen while at university, he worked hard to support his family by accepting a wide range of prose commissions; he wrote many books and was in demand as a reviewer, a biographer and a topographical writer. Despite his fluency he despised much of this work; his marriage was marred by periodic bouts of depression and his restlessness led him to leave home for periods of several weeks at time.

During the Great War, Thomas had trained in the Artists' Rifles at Hare Park, near Romford which was then classed as Essex, now East London.  He'd been a poet for little more than two years and his collected works amounted to only a slim volume. Nevertheless he is regarded as among the greatest of English poets. His thoughts and words on the English countryside (particularly our county of Essex) are beautiful. 

The BBC Radio Four programme editor, Matthew Hollis, who made last week's programme, followed one of the  journeys  that Thomas made by bike in the spring of 1913 from London into south west England. It was a journey that produced a prose book for Thomas, In Pursuit of Spring, but it was also a journey that turned him towards poetry.  This is where I discovered the work of Robert Frost, the American poet who was a close friend of Edward Thomas during the last years of his life. Fortunately, the BBC was able to supply more information at the beginning of April, which was in perfect time for the production of my essay. 

Sunday, April 23, 2017

APRIL 23rd ST GEORGE'S DAY SO HERE WE HAVE THE MUMMERS' PLAY

There's nothing like a good old fight on St George's Day in a very traditional manner. The ancient Mummers' play performed yesterday in Billericay was, as usual, a huge success.  Here we have the good St George with some of our famous Mayflower Morris Men in the High Street. We are all so fond of this fabulous Morris side which has been dancing and performing in Essex since their formation in 1973. I am particularly grateful for their support and inclusion in one of my earlier books FOLKLORE OF ESSEX. During yesterday's performance, as the audience numbers built up, there was a magical, feel-good atmosphere, with some lively music and dancing and a little bellowing from the noisy audience -  especially when the nasty green dragon made his appearance.