Monday, June 25, 2018


We, in the SWWJ are proud of the writing talent within our membership and it is interesting to ponder on the variety of topic and genre which are consistently being published by our team.  Currently, I am reading Jane Corry's new thriller The Dead Ex which will be launched by Penguin on Thursday 28 June. As a twice recorded Sunday Times bestseller, Jane will surely agree that it is difficult to both create words for one's own current articles and books alongside reading and reviewing other authors new titles, but as so many of us choose to follow this way of life, there's never a dull moment!  Jane's book is certainly a page-turner. 
Jane Corry 

Wednesday, June 20, 2018


BBC Essex presenter - Sadie Nine
I received a little flurry of emails and calls following my half an hour or so with presenter Sadie Nine on BBC Essex this morning. We spoke about some of our iconic women through history, particularly Anne Knight, the anti-slavery and women's rights campaigner Quaker who, I believe, kicked off the movement championing the major social reforms of her age.  This was way before the fight for women's suffrage had even started and went on - not without travails - to success forty years after her death in 1862.
This plaque sums up the history of Anne Knight
It’s ironic that Essex is unfairly maligned when conversation turns to the Arts. Yet, it is the richest county in music, painting, literature and history, and boasts some of the world’s most distinguished authors. Essex folk also obviously have a huge love of reading which is evident when hearing the latest figures for reading groups in the county – there are now more than 600 groups - more than in any other English county. Some reading groups meet at local libraries during the daytime, but there are also many who meet in each other’s homes in the evenings or at weekends. Book clubs are now considered cool among the young (so I'm told). 

The Billericay Readers’ Group will celebrate their eighteenth birthday this year. There is also a great interest in writing circles and these are reporting increased membership. Here we have just some of our members of Brentwood Writers' Circle which was formed in 1941 with a notable vice-president of Vera Brittain - so it's great to know that reading and writing are alive and well and still flourishing in Essex. 

Just a glimpse of some of our members of Brentwood Writers' Circle


Monday, June 18, 2018


Of all my current writing projects, I very much enjoy meeting, interviewing and collecting memories from local folk.  These, in the past have often ended up in my regular newspaper and magazine columns and, more importantly, my books, some of which are regarded as 'evergreens'.  This collection of books was  published by The History Press based in Stroud, Gloucestershire quite a few years ago and I am back today signing a few for some new residents to our town.  It seems that even young people are keen to learn about the provenance of their special town.  Have lots of articles coming up in local press about times' past. More to come!  

Wednesday, June 13, 2018


For many years, I've written articles for Home Farmer and experienced the excellent work and co-operation with some of the the journal's superb editors Ruth and Paul. This current edition is great, not just because of my contribution, but generally for all who  grow and enjoy eating their own produce.  Growing your own food is a fundamental part of being self-sufficient, although time-consuming.  Like anything that's worthwhile, preparation is the key and time spent getting it right at the start will mean time saved for the rest of the year.  

This magazine's contributors are superb in each of their special disciplines.  Elizabeth McCorquodale has written a rather special feature this month showing how productive veg growing can be enjoyed as a leisure pursuit, rather than a necessary annual chore. Gaby Bartai, another excellent writer gives advice on growing French beans,  Pam Knight knows all about wool and now I know, too, as she outlines her report on this year's Wonderwool event which certainly made me think of my days of knitting, crochet, tatting, lace-making and all those creative crafts learnt so many years ago.

And here we are now with images of my own topic - making wine from the fruit, veg, herbs, flowers that grow so abundantly in our allotments and gardens. 


Sunday, June 10, 2018


"Nobody can do everything, but everyone can do something"   Max Lucado

Volunteering is an opportunity of using your existing talents, learn new skills and support a good cause.  This I learnt when visiting Brentwood's theatre last week and met so many representatives from various organisations. The day was organised by Brentwood Council for Voluntary Service and it was lovely to meet so many interesting people, including Diane Fairchild, Co-ordinator, Arsen  Poghosyan, Funding & Information Officer and a host of other delegates who outlined their special worthy projects. 

It was enjoyable chatting with the folk from Futures in Mind, a service designed for people from across Essex who are looking for support with recovery from mental health problems linked as they are with Mind. Do pay a visit to  and learn more.

I was also delighted to meet a super informative representative from St Francis Hospice, email in Romford, Essex whose work with patients is incomparable. 

Riding for the Disabled has always been a wonderful charity, giving confidence for physically impaired and of course, with children.  

I also met Allison Watson, Co-founder of Ring Chromosome 20 Syndrome, a rare epilepsy syndrome, affecting a very small number of people worldwide, but nevertheless needing voluntary help in contributing time, information and money for vital research.  www,
email: allison@ring20research

Friday, June 08, 2018


In my quest for interesting information for various journals about creative personalities, particularly in the business of growing food, it was a pleasure to visit the Brentwood allotments alongside King George's Playing Fields.  I was interested in the extra-steep raised veggie beds planted up by Joy Dunn and even more impressed by her work, alongside some lovely volunteers who keep the unique Sensory Garden so beautifully ordered, weeded and regularly maintained - not an easy job!  

I discovered some unusual shrubs there with fabulous textured perfumed flowers, trees with the most attractive bark, delicate grasses that wave in the breeze, even the sound of the special variety of bamboo rustling through the leaves makes the visit an interesting experience, particularly for people with sight and disablement problems. Easy for access and wheelchairs.  Joy and her team deserve a medal for what they do for the community.