Saturday, March 31, 2012

WILLIAM HUNTER'S TRAGIC TALE RE-ENACTED

Glad I made it to Brentwood today for the start of the Martyr's Walk around the town. William Hunter, the 19-year-old Protestant silkweaver was burnt at the stake for his religious views in 1555.  Mark Reed of Brentwood Theatre and his team organised this very special event with superb actors taking the part of William's family and the main protagonists. 

Monday, March 26, 2012

CELEBRATING THE LAUNCH OF MY NEW EBOOK

Having just welcomed the 75,175th  visitor on this weblog, I am also reflecting on other reasons to celebrate my current cyber awards.  I still write for print journals and take part in radio programmes and am approaching a pretty busy time in the media.

My ebook published recently by JMD Media in Derby BRENTWOOD - HISTORIC TOWN (check it out on Amazon) is bringing in some super messages from former Brentwoodians and expats from around the world.  I appreciate the help of some very kind people who allowed me to use their photographs for the book (my 8th, incidentally) also some very kind reviews.   Take a look at this old view of Shenfield Common pond (on the left) before the white railings were donated by Miss Landon.  The second image was  snapped in 1883 from the top of St Thomas' Church in Brentwood. It depicts a High Street that not even the oldest among us can remember - when there were still beautiful red-brick houses standing interspersed with funny little shopfronts. Sadly though, only the elite lived well - working class folk lived in the tiny, overcrowded cottages that lined the alleys adjoining the High Street - all such a very  different world from that of today.

Friday, March 23, 2012

MY RETURN TRIP TO SOUTHEND'S SUNSHINE TOWN

Wonderful weather for today's trip to research main attractions at Southend. So many changes since last I visited. As the train was not in use on the famous pier (built 1829), I walked its length - around 1.33 m - took 20 minutes. Met interesting people along the way, including these lovely Essex ladies - helpful Angela on the Pier Desk and delightful Jasmine who also made the long trek on foot.  Helpful staff gave me lots of historical background, particularly about the Royal National Lifeboat Institution history and their need for funding.  





Lovers of old Southend will surely remember the famous Palace Hotel just above the Royal Parade. The facade of the famous Palace Hotel is still there, thankfully, but now very upmarket within and work still continues. It is now the Park Inn Palace and is very swish - great place for lunch and the views out to sea are pretty spectacular. Hoping to hold some writer meetings there in the future. www.parkinn.co.uk/hotel-southendonsea

Monday, March 19, 2012

MORE NEWS FROM ESSEX BOOK FESTIVAL

Dave Monk presents his own show on BBC Essex and begins broadcasting the launch of the Essex Book Festival on l March at Chelmsford Library.


We're half way through the current great  Essex Book Festival season and still plenty more amazing best-selling authors and talented performers and artists to meet at venues around the county.  Today, Kevin Dutton will be talking about his FLIPNOSIS - The Art of Split-Second Persuasion at the Lakeside Theatre, University of Essex in Colchester 7.30pm and Alison Weir is at Essex Record Office at 7.00pm who will be presenting A DANGEROUS INHERITANCE. Fabulous writer.  Tickets from Box Office 01206 573948

Thursday, March 15, 2012

NEW W H SMITH STORE IN BILLERICAY

After a couple of years without a decent book shop, today Billericay High Street regulars saw the opening of W H Smith's new store. The cutting of the ribbon took place just a couple of hours ago and I found the team to be friendly and knowledgeable. Lots of great offers in time for Mother's Day. Here we are celebrating WHS's first morning's trading and I include a pic of super young sales assistant Ellie  with her Mum who was the store's first customer. We have a goodly crew of authors in the town these days and already some of our books are on sale.  Here is the manager, Rassel in the centre  alongside Ellie - just about to cut the ribbon.


Rassel and his team!

Monday, March 12, 2012

Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt in London

This rare photograph which appears in my book THE WOMAN WRITER published last year by The History Press, shows a photo of Mrs Eleanor Roosevelt who often used to pop into the Women's Press Club in London when she happened to be in the country. (Background to my story is on page 51).   Some of our earlier members of the Society of Women Writers & Journalists enjoyed having a cuppa with America's first lady and are pictured on the stairs.  (With grateful thanks to Anne Bolt's family). London 2011

Thursday, March 08, 2012

ALEXANDER McCALL SMITH AT COLCHESTER

The Essex Book Festival continues with some of the finest authors coming to the county.  Tonight, Alexander McCall Smith excelled with tales of his huge collection of books and work, some set in Botswana. The queue for his signed books was  almost endless.  Did he get away before midnight? 

Sunday, March 04, 2012

LOVE THIS FRONT COVER OF MY NEW EBOOK PHOTOGRAPH BY PHILIP POVEY TAKEN IN MID-FIFTIES

BRENTWOOD HIGH STREET 1955
My latest project, an electronic book was launched on World Book Day (Thursday l March) and now appears on Amazon - Books Section. BRENTWOOD: HISTORIC TOWN has been published by JMD Media Limited. The ISBN is 978-1-78156-079-2 price £3.29. Waiting to be reviewed. My earlier seven books are still in print. Hope it brings back memories for Brentwoodians.

Thursday, March 01, 2012

TODAY'S LAUNCH OF EBF

Wonderful day at Chelmsford for launch of Essex Book Festival.  Great to see so many readers and writers from around the county.  Dave Monk did the honours for BBC Essex and we were treated to a great programme. Few pics snapped this morning.