Monday, June 29, 2015


Some of our SWWJ Council members
Great writers' gatherings over the last few weeks.  Last Thursday, 25th June, the SWWJ held their Summer Party/AGM  at the National Liberal Club in London's Whitehall. I'm very fond of this  historic building.  It was a huge treat to meet so many friends and learn about their latest successes and projects in publishing, radio and TV.   Great talent present!  
Valerie Dunmore (former chairman) with Barbara Field-Holmes, our new chairman
(courtesy of Jay Deeley, our official photographer)

To top off this great afternoon, members enjoyed meeting Michelle Hather, our guest speaker.  Michelle is deputy editor of Good Housekeeping, a best selling magazine founded in 1922. Michelle has had a varied career in the media and I forgot to tell her  (a trained Hansard reporter) that I had, coincidentally, also worked with Hansard in both Chambers of Parliament from 1979 till 2005.

Here is Michelle, guest speaker.  A fascinating lady.

Katherine Gallagher, a widely-published poet, was also welcomed as the judge of the SWWJ Poetry Competition. and it was a joy to listen to the winning poems. The lovely Valerie Tigwell was the winner of this, the Elizabeth Longford Rose Bowl for Poetry; Valerie Dunmore, our former chairman came second and Margaret Gallop was third prize-winner.  Winning words!

Saturday, 27 June and more mingling with fabulous writers, this time, a little more parochial.  Brentwood Writers' Circle held their annual Writers' Day and our guest speaker was Sue Moorcroft - do look her up!  She brought her latest novels which our members loved and gave us a clever writing recipe for short stories.   Sue certainly set our creative writing juices going.   Novelist, short story writer and all round professional, Sue contributes to the international  Writers' Forum and is tremendously successful.  I am basically, a non-fiction scriber, but Sue now has me riffling through my old short story archives, and who knows, one day you may be reading my tales, too,.  There are certainly enough writing competitions out there to which you can send your entries. Check also

Sue Moorcroft and Frances Clamp BWC president

Jim Reeve Amanda Thomas Patrick Forsyth



Tuesday, June 23, 2015


Called in to our Cater Museum in Billericay today and yes, they do sell some of my books about local history.  Currently there is a fascinating display of materials, woven silk pictures and, most interesting of all to me, a collection of really old sewing machines, earliest of which was dated 1871.  I had a little experimental try and now feel I would love one of my own.  Makes you wonder about the people who once used them to earn a living! Do pop into the Cater and see what is on display. Opening times below.

Tuesday, June 16, 2015


There are still tickets left for Brentwood Writers' Circle's  annual al Writers' Day on Saturday 27 June.  This is usually a wonderful day from 10 - 4pm with  and how lucky we are this year that Sue Moorcroft, an award winning author, is coming to talk to us and give us some inspiration for our work.  And the lunches are also  usually rather special!

Details below and also at

Thursday, June 11, 2015


Such a lovely time of the year, particularly for home winemakers.  Just using around five branches of elderflowers (check the smell and variety, as they differ tremendously) to a one-gallon recipe.  The base uses a simple grape concentrate and this wine is usually ok as a medium table wine (SG1005).

Check out HOME FARMER magazine which, this month, gives readers an interesting feature covering several recipes for making wine, cordials and mock champagne (the latter two are not alcoholic)

Wednesday, June 03, 2015


Well, the horticulturalist journalists were invited primarily to report on the glorious array of plants and flowers on display at Chelsea this year. How we love the RHS and all they do for us.  However, along the way we also have the pleasure of meeting some of the world's most interesting celebrities and they never seem to mind posing for us with our little cameras. From my  one hundred snaps, I have posted just a small selection on my  bloggo, but these have brought in almost one thousand page views - so thank you kind followers.   Let's see, folks, if you can recognise some of your favourites?