Wednesday, May 30, 2018

A LINK WITH THE PAST - BURGHSTEAD LODGE, BILLERICAY

Off now to our super local Billericay local library, one of Essex's busiest and which is vital to all readers and writers, helping me particularly when researching my current local history project. This photo, is of course, very old and the actual library is in a connected, but modern building - will post an up-to-date image when I get home.    



Monday, May 28, 2018

ANOTHER FASCINATING BOOK REVIEW FOR 'LILY ALONE' BY VIVIEN BROWN

Just a glimpse of the enigmatic front cover of Vivien Brown’s novel Lily Alone will intrigue the reader who will want to discover what the image represents.  And from the first page, we enter the scary world inhabited by a bewildered child whose mother appears to have suddenly disappeared. This is the gripping introduction to young Lily’s story and we all start to worry and wonder about Ruby, her mum. Where has she gone?  When will she return?  What has happened to her? Where is her dad? 
Seen through the eyes of an almost three-year-old, anxiety and misunderstanding take over for both the protagonist and the reader, for we can all feel apprehension for this little girl.  It is not long before young Lily finds herself in danger and we long for someone to step into her solitary frightening world and sort out the terrible state in which she finds herself.


Author - Vivien Brown 
The various other characters in the story are gradually and cleverly introduced, so realistically drawn  and many of us will identify with that very odd British neighbourly custom of keeping ‘oneself to oneself’, but, oh, the damage this can, and often does, bring in to certain sad circumstances.


I very much enjoyed the descriptions of Fiona and Laura, the nurses who figured so much in the lives of Ruby Baxter and little Lily. The nurses continuing search for love and companionship gave us a glimpse of modern day romance,  particularly with the introduction of Paul, the young curate – and those nurses - well!  Life has certainly changed since the introduction of 'finding love on line' and the author obviously has researched the world of hospitals and nursing staff.  
So, Vivien Brown's fast-moving story unfolds and I can say that I enjoyed every one of the thirty six chapters and would recommend this book to all reading groups who enjoy a ripping page-turner, particularly my own Billericay Writers' Group. Additionally, I thought the story would lend itself very well to a film script. 


LATEST BOOK REVIEWS FOR MAY




The  Indomitable Chiesa Di Santa Maria by Daniel Peltz OBE
I’ve always loved the idea of visiting Tuscany, so was delighted to be asked to read and review this beautifully written book which captures not only the Florentine culture, but also educates the readers about the history of this fascinating part of Italy.
The author, Daniel Peltz OBE.  Takes us quickly into the life of the student, Molly Cavendish, who worked in Florence as a museum assistant, while studying for her doctorate in Art Renaissance. I was delighted to learn about Warwick University where one of my own family members studied.
From the start, I was hooked on the author’s fast-moving narrative, spanning six centuries of this fascinating city. We are allowed to view the trials and troubles of that special little church Chiesa Di Santa Maria  dating from the fourteenth century through the time of the Napoleonic and later wars and the devastation brought to this lovely place and other parts of Italy.
              
Daniel has seamlessly woven many famous iconic characters through his book, although the dialogues were purely imaginary.  Yet, it didn't take long for me to visualise the Santa Maria church paintings, so beautifully described, and the colourful lives associated with this building. 
         
I found this an interesting and well-written book, from which I learnt so much more about Italy generally and about Florence’s little-known episodes during the Second World War. Then came the the terrible floods of 1966 which destroyed so much of this beautiful city and its frescoes.   An absolutely  fascinating read.  

Author Daniel Peltz lives in London and is CEO of London Freeholds Ltd. He is an Honorary Fellow of King’s College and Birkbeck College and sits on King’s Campaign Board and on the Estate Committee for both colleges. He is Chairman of Technion UK and Treasurer of The Anna Freud Centre. Daniel is a Trustee of the Oxford Centre for Hebrew and Jewish Studies at Oxford. 

Friday, May 25, 2018

TOP LITERARY AGENT PENNY HOLROYDE MEETS NEW WRITERS AT SWWJ EVENT

Members of SWWJ and guests enjoyed meeting Penny Holroyde, one of Britain's most successful literary agents last night in London.  Penny's talk contained valuable nuggets of advice for budding novelists and it was fun to meet so many new young writers. Huge talent all around us last night and hope some of our visitors will come again to our next gathering at Savoy Tup. 
SWWJ Chairman Barbara
Field-Holmes welcoming our guests 

Here we see Rebecca Harding (SWWJ) Peter Durrant (special visitor from the London Press Club) and, of course, the lovely Penny Holroyde, our guest speaker  from Holroyde Cartey Literary Agency.   Do keep an eye on www.swwj.co.uk, our Facebook and other social media accounts,  as a lot of information is a'coming!  skent32@tiscali.co.uk    More images to follow. 
SWWJ Rebecca Harding,  LPC Peter Durrant and Penny Holroyde


Wednesday, May 23, 2018

THE WEDDING OF THE YEAR - PHOTO - THANKS TO FRIEND ATTENDING

What a wonderful day it was on Saturday - would have loved a seat in St George's Chapel, Windsor, but maybe would not have been able to see as much detail as we were able to observe through the many television channels.  A couple of friends were on the invitation list and managed to capture some of the lovely moments. 


Saturday, May 19, 2018

SPECIAL ROYAL WEDDING CONGRATULATIONS TODAY TO HARRY AND MEGHAN

Hello to regular page viewers, particularly in the US and Canada.

Numerous British fellow journos are in  Windsor  today to report on Harry and Meghan's special day.  Some travelled to the town yesterday  - hoping they slept well, hotels full to bursting, so some spent the night on the pavement in readiness for the service today at twelve pm.

Great feeling of anticipation!  Can't wait to see those wedding photos and that cake looks so delicious.

We will toast the royal couple at midday with our special elderflower wine.

Tuesday, May 15, 2018

BILLERICAY'S CATER MUSEUM & ST MARY MAGDALEN

It's now more than a decade since my book regarding Billericay's special church in the High Street was published.  Suddenly, there's renewed interest from overseas, so let's see if we can re-publish it. Many folk have been in touch since they have started writing their  memoir or history of their life and St Mary Magdalen seems to have played a huge part in their research.  We have much information filed away in Billericay's Cater  Museum at 74 High Street.  Why not pop into there one afternoon from 2.00pm - 5.00pm. (Monday - Friday) Saturday 1.00pm - 4.00pm  Telephone number  01277 622023. 

Monday, May 14, 2018

NEW FERMENTATIONS FOR SUMMER

With the gardens and allotments beginning to sprout with fruit and veg - and also tons of weeds and unwanted wild grass, gardeners have a lot to contend with at present, but I am preparing my winemaking equipment ready for some new fermentations. I work ahead for some months for my various magazine editors and readers of my favourite magazine Home Farmer.  Have great plans for 2018 for my food and wine features.


Thursday, May 10, 2018

IN A 'MARY BERRY' FRAME OF MIND


Lorraine Pascale and yours truly
Have been cooking all day today and now Mary Berry (currently my favourite cook) is on the TV screen with her current show demonstrating some wonderful dishes and I now want to cook some more!   Have met so many inspirational cooks and chefs over the last few years at various restaurants and media events - problem is, my waistline is increasing!  Also enjoy Lorraine's cookery style.


Mary Berry and our talented daughters - gorgeous ladies!





 
 
 

Monday, May 07, 2018

BILLERICAY'S SPECTACULAR CHARITY SOAPBOX DERBY

Thousands turned up today for Billericay's Rotary Club's third Soapbox Derby event at Sun Corner racing along the London Road with scores of very clever little soapboxes on wheels of every imaginable kind. Each year, this event gets better and it was great to see so many folk entering their teams from schools, local businesses and clubs who had contributed their time and energy in creating some wonderful little vehicles.
We enjoyed seeing some amazing costumes, dancing, lively music (which accompanied the entrants) and the variety was amazing. Here are a few photos of a great Billericay event.



I was lucky to bump into one happy couple, Elizabeth and Philip Grimshaw,  who had driven from Manchester especially for the Billericay Soapbox Derby. Hope they visit us again next year!


Wednesday, May 02, 2018

A TASTE OF MAY DAY IN BRITAIN - FOLKLORE OF ESSEX

Our famous Mayflower Morrismen from Billericay
May Day in Britain is a rather special time.  Across the county of Essex we have numerous events linked to our old customs and traditions which happen during May. Many of them are factually linked to local history, others to myth and legend, but all - to my mind - so very interesting. Collecting the stories was time-consuming, going out into the field, so to speak, to research them, but I enjoyed meeting so many fascinating people who now reside in the pages of this first edition of my book published by Tempus Publishing Limited. I was a member of the Folklore Society in London for years and appreciate the help their members gave me.  Nowadays, the second version of the book can be found under The History Press imprint, available in all good bookshops and via Amazon.  I will be outlining some of the special Essex events, along with images, in the upcoming months.  


First cover of my
 folklore  book