Friday, November 30, 2012


Sylvia and Maureen Duffy
Danuta Kean (far r) and two colleagues at the AGM


             Last night's AGM at Clothworkers' Livery Hall, Dunster Court in the City was so interesting. I go when the AGM is held in London and this venue was fascinating. Clothworkers' Hall sounds boring but the Hall itself is very beautiful and ancient (That livery Company is 500 years' old)

Enjoyed learning a little about the mechanics of the ALCS.  Many of us receive royalties collected by them, so it is interesting to meet some of the Board in person as well as seeing them at work at Writers' House.  I like this building in London's Haydon Street where our SWWJ hold Council meetings.

Among many notable names who joined us were Maureen Duffy (leading expert on Aphra Behn), Danuta Kean and many more.  Other folk who attended last night were obviously involved in publishing, but also radio, TV, theatre, as well as RNA and general newspapers/magazines.  It was a lovely evening. I also snapped (badly)  the Monument and Shard as I raced for the tube.  

Thursday, November 29, 2012


To make wonderful music on whatever instrument you choose, is such a great feeling.  Age is no obstacle and from numerous instruments, the ABSOLUTE MUSIC ACADEMY professionals  can teach you in their acoustically engineered studios in Canvey Island, Essex. 
AMA in Canvey Island, Essex
It really is never too late to begin learning an instrument, maybe return to one you began as a child or, indeed, now feel ready to carve out a career in the music industry.  The two professional  musicians Neil Reed and Rob Sigston are there to help you learn on any instruments (except piano).  What a super idea to arrange as a Christmas gift, a set of lessons with these two brilliant music aficionardos in the heart of Essex. 
Tel:  01268 696860 

Tuesday, November 27, 2012


Louise Anthony with her security staff
Last week was full of new projects.  One invitation was to the opening of VETRO, a new bar in Western Road.  Lovely to meet many of the people who worked on the site to make it such a super venue.  Particularly enjoyed meeting Louise Anthony, the general manager  who was anxious to assure folk that antisocial behaviour will not be tolerated at Vetro. Already we are planning some writers' gatherings for the spring.  

Louise, security and Abby and Jodi Knight

Wednesday, November 21, 2012


Jan takes a break in recording at Phoenix 98FM
I particularly enjoyed my eleventh session at Phoenix 98FM's "Bookclub" yesterday when presenter of EAT MY LUNCH,  Michelle Ward, welcomed the well known author and professional story teller JAN WILLIAMS into the studio.  Jan has lived in Essex for thirty-five years following her upbringing and career in Wales.  What a gorgeous voice!

Jan founded and worked with the famous Essex Storytellers in 1993 and her passion and determination have uncovered much of our county's treasure trove of tales, some quite scary, but all fascinating.  Did you know that we harboured six dragons?  Well, read Jan's new book  entitled ESSEX FOLK TALES.  The History Press is her publisher and her book is priced at £9.99, to be found in all good bookshops and on Amazon ISBN 9780752 466002 - a great stocking filler!

Monday, November 19, 2012


Jan Williams  one of Essex's best story tellers and now author
Although Jan Williams' new book is scheduled for publication in December, Essex listeners to Phoenix 98FM programme will have a chance of meeting her, courtesy of Michelle Ward, tomorrow.  Michelle will be interviewing Jan on her EAT MY LUNCH programme around midday as part of our regular monthly BOOKCLUB.

Jan is a professional story teller and author and this book ESSEX FOLK TALES is full of wonderful stories linked to the history and landscape of our super county.  Also in town from Denver, Colorado, is Elizabeth Wallace who also writes about aspects of Essex history CHRISTMAS PAST IN ESSEX.  The History Press also publishes some of Elizabeth's books which are selling well in Waterstones and WH Smith bookshops.

Do listen in to Phoenix 98FM tomorrow and learn a little about what some of our home-grown writers have to say about the hidden treasure trove of tales which reflect the wisdom, eccentricities and fun of this fascinating county and its folk.

Thursday, November 15, 2012


This is the famous 1830 image that gives a flavour of our lovely old High Street
My new Kindlelised book outlining the history of Billericay's beautiful old church, is now on  sale on Amazon Kindle page. You can see a side view of  the church in my latest Sunday posting on this weblog.  My book, which is quite small really, was written to celebrate the refurbishment of St Mary's in 2007 and the book was on sale mainly in the church itself.  Now it is available around the world and I am pleased that so many folk seem to be enjoying Billericay's amazing history. Here are some images from my book and there are many more, so do purchase and support St Mary Magdalen's fundraising.  Cost ranges from £1.80 to £2.26

Sunday, November 11, 2012


The Billericay Branch of the Royal British Legion organised another special gathering around the War Memorial at Chequers corner.  All ages and groups contributed and the morning was memorable. Each year the crowd grows larger and parents brought their youngsters today.   

Thursday, November 08, 2012


Excellent gathering at the New Cavendish Club on Thursday 8 November. Pic here of Barbara Hallows and Judith Gowland, Archivist to the VAD Club based at the New Cavendish Club in Great Cumberland Place, Marble Arch.  Guests appreciated a wonderful evening and a chance to see a new play NO WAY BACK written for the Nursing Memorial Appeal by John Drewry. John runs the Virtual Theatre Company which is superb and we are looking forward to seeing them again. Brompton Wines supplied great wines. 

I was particularly delighted to meet Gwynneth Bridge, a beautiful former VAD nurse who trained from the age of 18 and who retains some vivid and remarkable memories of this honorable team of nurses which was founded almost a century ago. Here she is with yours truly.
Voluntary Aid Detachment nurses  remained a  single sex organisation from 1909 until the end of WWII
Starring actor on Thursday

Wednesday, November 07, 2012


What a muddle there is in the weights and measures used today, particularly in the home and more especially in the kitchen and workroom!

Any book published in Britain before the mid to late '60s will have ingredients, oven temperatures and sizes of cooking equipment listed only in Imperial measures.  In the past, our oven temperatures were usually given in degrees Farenheit or Gas mark and some recipes might only suggest 'cook in a moderate oven.' The introduction of metric measures in the '70s confused older people  and still many cannot convert quickly from Imperial to metric.

Today, we have to cope with weights and measures in every sphere of modern business and home  life and it can be difficult to understand abbreviations and symbols we see on our packaging.  Mistakes can easily be made.

Help is at hand.  The author of numerous books, SHIRLEY BOND has made life simpler for us.  She has just launched her brand new book that answers many questions I've asked,  from the simple conversion of grams and kilograms to ounces and pounds,  exactly what are 'E' numbers, quantity guide for snacks at party buffets, exact equivalent area measures, so that we learn about square metres, hectares, and bushels - and EXACTLY how big is your allotment (in rods - still used, by the way) 1 rod equals 16 feet! There is much, much more in her slim book with its ISBN 978-0-9558911-2-0   Do visit Shirley's website and learn more.

For more information, visit Shirley's web site There's an order form which can be printed and send with a cheque if preferable.  Anyone wishing to buy a copy on line should go to and put ‘How Do You Measure Up’ in the search column and go from there.  Book price is £7.99  + £2.75 postage - a wonderful stocking filler for all.

Friday, November 02, 2012


Twenty five years ago, an exhibition was staged in Colchester.  Local photographers - some 20 of them combined their talents to capture life in Colchester during a 24-hour period. The exhibition attracted huge attention at the time, but inevitably closed and the photographs put into storage. 
 Member of Parliament for Colchester Sir Bob Russell writes introduction to COLCHESTER 24
Last year, another team of photographers founded the Colchester 24 Trust and repeated the community project.  With support from the Essex County Standard newspaper, "Colchester 24" was thrown open to the public, inviting them to record life in Colcheser in 2011 to compile a photographic archive for future generations.  The outcome was more than 5,000 electronic images contributed by around 200 photographers including students, schoolchildren, grandparents and amateur photographers.  Thus, this fascinating book COLCHESTER 24 containing 96 pages with 194 colour illustratons recording just one day in the life of England's oldest recorded town, has been published by Amberley of Stroud, Gloucestershire. The two talented authors are Andrew Phillips and Anthony Cody.  Price of the book is £14.99 ISBN 978-1-4456-1056-6 and it is now on sale in bookshops and from Amberley at