Thursday, May 30, 2013

KEVIN WALKER AND FRANK TOOHEY DISCUSS GREAT NEW ALBUM

KEV WALKER, JACQUI JAMES AND FRANK TOOHEY
 

Another morning of music and interesting chat with presenter of Basildon Hospital Radio Frank Toohey in the BHR1287 studio yesterday.  Delighted to meet the musician Kevin Walker prior to the release of his third album, which is rather special.

 

The album "Biding My Time" was created following the death of Kev's wife from cancer.  Following the turmoil of this difficult time, Kev decided that he wanted to help raise funds for the superb cancer teams who had supported him and his family.  With the aid of his musician friends he has written the lyrics and music to all of the tracks on the album with proceeds going to Macmillan Nurses in Essex and Cancer Research.


He also spoke to listeners about his early life which was church orientated, leading to playing guitar to Gospel tracks along with Vince Clarke, who later left the church and formed the band Depeche Mode. Kev is a carpenter by trade and runs his own business, alongside his work with these vital charities. 

Tuesday, May 28, 2013

Speakers Jan Burchett & Sarah Vogler at Brentwood Writers' Circle on 18 May

So much happening in the county's writing world at present, but didn't want to leave out this well known writing duo Jan Burchett and Sarah Vogler who were guest speakers at Brentwood's annual writing day on 18 May.  Both excellent writers who, unusally work together on their imaginative books for children.  Superb illustrations and exciting stories - well over one hundred books - this couple are welcomed in many schools in the south east.

Here's a message from the dynamic duo:

Ahoy shipmates! We are Jan Burchett and Sara Vogler, writers of the Gargoylz, Wild Rescue and our latest series - Sam Silver Undercover Pirate! Why not jump aboard and explore our site. And most of all - have fun! Come and check out Sam Silver's pirate blog at http://samsilverundercoverpirate.blogspot.co.uk

Friday, May 24, 2013

YOU HAVE TO BE PRETTY OLD TO REMEMBER EMPIRE DAY MAY 24

Currently working on an historical feature and today May 24 is Empire Day, or it was until a few years ago (mid '50s).  The very idea of a day that would …“remind children that they formed part of the British Empire, and that they might think with others in lands across the sea, what it meant to be sons and daughters of such a glorious Empire.”, and that “The strength of the Empire depended upon them, and they must never forget it.”, had been considered as early as 1897. The image of Queen Victoria, Empress of India, as its paramount ruler would be shared by an Empire spanning almost a quarter of the entire globe.

 

The first celebration of Empire Day took place 24 May 1902. This had been Queen Victoria's birthday.  She had died the year before on  22 January 1901.  Although not officially recognised as an annual event until 1916, many schools across the British Empire were celebrating it before then. One New Zealand school journal from 1910 records: "This is the ‘Union Jack’; and now that Empire Day has come round once more, you will hear its history. It is really a coloured picture from a history-book, telling of things that happened, long before you were born"’.



Friday, May 17, 2013

MEET YOU ALL AT BARLEYLANDS FARM ON SUNDAY 19 MAY

MP John Baron checking time for start of last year's Fun Walk
John Baron MP: Fun Walk on 19thMay set to break all records A 

The annual Fun Walk will take place at Barleylands Farm on Sunday 19th May, kicking off at 12:00pm.

The Bonus Pot sponsors have committed over £42,000 to this year’s walk. They play a crucial role in ensuring the walk goes from strength to strength. A photo-shoot with our sponsors will take place at 12:45pm after ‘thankyous’ have been said – all press are welcome. The Walk will start immediately afterwards.

John said:    “Our bonus pot sponsors have been integral to the success of the Fun Walk. Our thanks go to Swan Housing Association, NYSE Euronext, c2c Rail Ltd, Veolia Environmental Services, Hallmark Care Homes, Toomey Motors, Bellway Homes, Barratt Homes, Selex ES Ltd, IFE Global Logistics, Mr Barrie Stone, and others.”


 John Baron MP meeting some of the hundreds at the 2012 Fun Walk at Barleylands Farm 

Thursday, May 16, 2013

COME MEET SOME OF OUR BRENTWOOD WRITERS' CIRCLE MEMBERS AT OUR ANNUAL DAY OF WRITING SATURDAY 18 MAY 10-4PM

Only two days left to book a ticket for the annual Brentwood Writers' Circle BIG DAY at Fairview rooms, Ursuline School, Queens Road, Brentwood CM14 4EX.

We are so lucky to be meeting top journalist/features editor with the Echo newspaper, Tom King during the morning - starting 10.00am and  Jan Burchett and Sarah Vogler - that supersonic duo who write children's books.  They will be on the rostrum in the afternoon, after lunch.  Do phone 01277 651062 for more details. 
Just a few BWC friends at a wrters' gathering a few years ago - we have 60 members.
 

Tuesday, May 14, 2013

DRUNK AND DISORDERLY - ON BOTH SIDES OF THE ATLANTIC


My sister, Elizabeth Victoria Wallace who lives in the US, is constantly uncovering interesting nuggets of historical information.  As freelance writers and authors, both she and I are currently working on 'police features' and here is her latest posting.  Mine will appear in the Brentwood Gazette soon. Here we have her latest blog feature. 




"Another great photograph I discovered while researching Hidden History of Denver courtesy Denver Public Library.

Drunkenness and disorderly conduct was a constant worry to the policemen of Denver in the late 1890s. The men, eager to spend their money, often became drunk and disorderly. In an effort to contain the offenders, the police devised a type of “holding pen” or “kiosk.” These were usually placed on street corners in high activity areas where a man (or woman) could be locked inside until the police returned with a wagon. Two men pose for the photograph. One seemingly inebriated man, his hat pulled askew -- the policeman holds a billy club.

The actual location of this photograph is unknown. The road is unpaved. A woman is walking on the sidewalk opposite wearing a long dress, and a dog runs lose in the center of the street."

Liz's 8th book, a sequel to her Essex-based historical  thriller FORBIDDEN is in the last stages and hopefully will be published in the autumn.  


PC RICHARD GRAHAM KENT circa 1944
This is one of my photographs - my father-in-law Richard Kent, who patrolled Brentwood High Street during the 1940s and '50s.

Saturday, May 11, 2013

CURRENT W E A COURSE

BILLERICAY'S MAYFLOWER MORRIS MEN AT SOUTHWOLD IN SUFFOLK

It was a great privilege to travel to Southwold in Suffolk last week to watch our 'home team' of one of the best Morris Men sides in England - love their livery! Everywhere they dance, appreciative audiences congregate and take part.  This is a special year for the team, being their fortieth anniversary - Billericay is proud of them.

http://www.mayflowermorris.com/

Wednesday, May 08, 2013

BOSTON BOMBINGS - AFTERMATH - FURTHER THOUGHTS FROM SUZETTE MARTINEZ STANDRING

Suzette Standring
 
Further thoughts from national columnist and colleague, Suzette who lives and works in Boston, Massachusetts.

I ran into the Boston Public Garden,  In downtown Boston, I walked toward the bombing site to pay witness in remembrance. On Boylston Street, trees were abloom with blossoms, branches outstretched as if to touch, white on white, the cumulus clouds above. Suddenly, I stopped. I couldn’t do it. I couldn’t walk to the spot of unspeakable tragedy.

Instead I turned into the Boston Public Garden where ethereal beauty tinted the world in pink, yellow, and green. The long tresses of weeping willows swayed in the breeze, a perfect frame to the American flags fluttering atop the Swan Boats just beyond. A German couple snapped photos of the smallest suspension bridge in the world. On the grass, folks talked, laughed, and sunned themselves.

On this achingly beautiful day, how can it be that just blocks away, the darkest violence took place? Yet now school children wore purple and green balloon hats, some jousting each other with inflatable swords. I felt tears coming on. I wanted to stay right here where all is beautiful and normal.
      
I bought a hot dog and sat down, feeling guilty about not reaching my destination. I was a coward, or maybe I’m in denial. What did it mean that happiness and gusto surrounded me while evidence of death and maiming was just blocks away?
Then I remembered years ago when David and I witnessed an 80-year-old man who died from a heart attack in a restaurant. He was celebrating his birthday with family, and we were at a nearby table having lunch with friends. Suddenly, there was panic, and then paramedics tried to revive him but failed. His body was wheeled away on a gurney to the horror of diners, a shocked hush everywhere.

About ten minutes later, activity picked up again. First there were murmurs, then the sound of forks on china, the clink of glasses, and finally, full blown conversations and laughter. I was shocked. Should we have all asked for checks, and filed out in funereal silence? I’m not sure but overhearing someone say, “Try the bread pudding, it’s to die for!” did not seem right. I said to my tablemates, “How insensitive! People can be so callous.”

Yet my husband had a very different take. David said, “The power of life is so strong, it just wants to go on.” All of us mulled this over quietly until our waiter broke in to say, “Now who had the tiramisu?”  So here I was in the Boston Public Garden, guiltily eating a hot dog, and mindful of how fiercely we cling to life, resistant to changes forced upon us. Nearby a homeless man scatted to the rhythm of his clanking coin cup, “Anybody got change? Change, change, change!”
I know I am still processing mine.

Monday, May 06, 2013

TODAY'S SPECIAL BROADCAST ON BBC RADIO 4'S WOMAN'S HOUR


Following a fasciniating contribution this morning to WOMAN'S HOUR on BBC Radio 4, when at least half a dozen of the past members of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists were mentioned, I am ordering more copies of our history.  As you see, we have positioned that wonderful entertainer, Joyce Grenfell 1910-1979 on the cover to remind folk of  just how great our organisation is.  Joyce was our President in earlier times, as were some of the most famous women journalists, novelists, playwrights and poets - and we are still going strongly, some 119 years after the Society's creation in 1894.