Friday, August 31, 2018

BUSY WEEKEND AHEAD AT BARLEYLANDS, GREAT BURSTEAD - LIMBERING UP FOR JOHN BARON'S FUN WALK - SEE YOU THERE!

PRESS RELEASE
 
John Baron:  Fun Walk, Sunday 2nd September
Photoshoot with bonus pot sponsors at 12.45pm
 
On Sunday (2nd September) the annual Fun Walk will once again be held at Barleylands Farm. The event will start at 12pm with a BBQ, followed by a photo-shoot at 12.45pm to thank the bonus pot sponsors who so far have donated over £40,000. The walk will start at around 1pm.
 
All press/media welcome.
 
 Notes to Editors

 The Fun Walk Trust is a registered charity (no. 1151626)
  • Attached is the Fun Walk Factsheet
  • Website: thefunwalktrust.co.uk

Sunday, August 26, 2018

REMEMBERING RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS WHO HAD A SOFT SPOT FOR BRENTWOOD


I somehow thought that one of the presenters on Classic FM would create a special programme in remembrance of Ralph Vaughan Williams, who died sixty years ago today. Searched and listened intently, but don't think it was mentioned.

New residents to the Clements Park development in Brentwood are often intrigued with their road names linked to England’s greatest composer.   The late Frank Dineen, a local writer, could have explained, for Frank championed the idea when the Council were seeking road names for the new estate. Frank was an expert on the life of his favourite composer who came to Brentwood in 1903 and inspired Frank’s book “The Ingrave Secret", linking Vaughan Williams to Brentwood.

Vaughan Williams, then aged 30, was guest speaker at the Montpelier House School for Girls (later Brentwood County High) then in Queens Road. This was a time of decision for the composer who had been trying to compose music that drew on a specifically English tradition. Along with Cecil Sharp, he was currently collecting folksongs, many of which he felt were in danger of being forgotten.

While a guest at the Ingrave home of the local Rector, Henry Heatley, he met Charles Potiphar, a 74-year-old illiterate farm labourer who sang the old songs of Essex. So entranced with words and melody, particularly the famous Bushes & Briars, he later commented that “he felt it was something he had known all his life”. Vaughan Williams spent ten days cycling around Little Burstead, Ingrave, East Horndon and Billericay collecting songs, some 120 of them which subsequently were published in the Folk Song Journal, and used many of the tunes, not only in choral and orchestral works but also in the 1906 English Hymnal. He visited several counties in Eastern and Southern England, returning to Essex in 1909 when he made some recordings on wax cylinder. He returned many times to Essex in the ensuing years.

In 2003, the Essex Record Office marked the centenary of Vaughan Williams’ Ingrave encounter with a superb exhibition celebrating folksong in Essex and the composer’s role in preserving and handing on “that precious legacy”. On 26th August, music lovers the world over make a poin of remembering our great composer on this memorable day. 

HERITAGE OPEN DAY & BOOK FESTIVAL: 21 AUTHORS ATTENDING - ADMISSION FREE!

How I love a good Book Festival!  And how grateful is the team of Essex authors who have been invited to meet and talk about their work!  The venue is the Galleywood Heritage Centre, address below, on SATURDAY 8 SEPTEMBER!  Susan Wilson is the superb organiser of this upcoming event, which starts at 10.00 am until 3.30pm.

Why not come and meet us, enjoy refreshments and listen to some of the best of Essex writers, perhaps discovering some of their secrets and information on their latest books and, maybe more importantly, how they set about writing and publishing them.  The timetable for talks is below and I hope to be seated in the front row!  You can book the talks when you arrive on the day.  Refreshments will  be available from the Horseshoe Tearoom. I am very much looking forward to meeting everyone, particularly those lovely folk who have listened to some of our broadcasting about Essex history.

 Galleywood Heritage Centre

      Off Margaretting Road, Galleywood Common, Chelmsford

CM2 8TR  www.galleywoodheritagecentre.org.uk


Saturday, August 18, 2018

SWANWICK SUMMER SCHOOL CELEBRATES ITS PLATIGNUM ANNIVERSARY!

Many thanks to our SWWJ members who have emailed us following their wonderful week at the world famous Swanwick Writers' Summer School in Derbyshire. Recent photos will follow!

This was always to be a rather special year!  Well, it was their 70th birthday and organisers were prepared - and received - a tremendous response.  Many of those three hundred delegates return year after year, both to build and renew their writing skills and their friendships with fellow writers. It turned out to be 'standing room only'.   

As always, delegates enjoyed a marvellous programme of speakers, courses, workshops, panels, talks and so much more.  Every year the School's impressive reputation attracts top-level speakers and tutors from a wide range of writing genres. With something different to choose from every day, delegates were able to create their own bespoke programme. Delegates did not need to sign up in advance for courses or workshops - people were able to choose what inspired them  on the day. 

 I am awaiting a line-up snapped of some of this year's  "Swanwickers" but thought you might like to see a picture taken in 1951. This precious archive photograph includes some of our SWWJ Council members who were among the founders of Swanwick in 1949.  More detail in my book THE WOMAN WRITER published by The History Press in 2009. See www.swwj.co.uk  @swwj.co.uk

Picture

 

  


Friday, August 17, 2018

SECRET NUCLEAR BUNKER AT KELVEDON HATCH ESSEX - THE BIGGEST & DEEPEST COLD WAR BUNKER OPEN TO THE PUBLIC IN THE SOUTHEAST OF ENGLAND

Michael Parrish owner of the secret bunker
 

Great coincidence when listening to this morning's Sadie Nine Show on BBC Essex Radio, based in Chelmsford. As a theme, they chose to visit Michael Parrish's Nuclear Bunker at Kelvedon Hatch near Brentwood Essex.  Michael was super in offering me a warm welcome some years ago when I interviewed him and took pics of the remaining artefacts from the Cold War.




 Then, of course, I wrote several articles about the place and it has pride of place in one of my books written at the time VOICES OF BRENTWOOD - PUBLISHED BY THE HISTORY PRESS.  Now it is a popular tourist attraction and is believed to be haunted.  I must admit it did give me 'the shivers' when I passed through the very ordinary entrance (a modest little bungalow), and then deep down into the bunker, but on the whole, found it a fascinating experience. For full details  and tickets check www.secretnuclearbunker.com

 


The tour is self guided by personal handsets. This is included in admission price. There is an adult and child tour available which both follow the same route. There are several films to watch en-route and a dressing up area where you can try on authentic military uniforms and gas masks! As a rough guide the tour takes about an hour to an hour and a half to complete. However, should you stop to watch all of the included films and take some time out to try on the uniforms then this extends the tour by four hours. Some people find one tour just isn’t enough to take it all in!


Sunday, August 12, 2018

LONDON JOURNALIST GILES BIDDER IN THE PHOENIX 98FM FM STUDIO, BRENTWOOD, ESSEX

Presenter Michelle Ward
Phoenix 98fm presenter, Michelle Ward's Eat my Brunch show regularly attracts the most interesting guests into the Phoenix 98fm studio based at the Brentwood Centre, Doddinghurst Road.Over the past 6/7 years, she has hosted the best talent in music, stage, film and, of course, the book world. Well, it IS our monthly Book Club programme.   

This week, we were lucky to welcome GILES BIDDER into the studio. 
Giles is a London based journalist with a music column in a national newspaper, whose talents also include his work as a music journalist, singer/songwriter, radio presenter and a blogger (oh, and he started his own band)!



Tuesday, August 07, 2018

A PASSION FOR COOKING AND MY RUSSIAN RECIPES

Lorraine Pascale at a media gardening exhibition in London
Cookery, preserving food and fermenting fruit for my own style wines, have been a lifelong passion and I've been lucky in seeing the results of my experiments and recipes published in numerous consumer magazines over the last few years.  I've also had connections with some of the most famous cooks and chefs and, as you will know by now, it is important that I record my visits - both on the page and of course I always take my camera. At earlier media events, I've met Raymond Blanc, Jamie Oliver, Madhur Jeffery, one half of the 'hairy biker' cook duo, David Myers, Mary Berry, Nigella Lawson, Ken Hom, Ainsley Harriott, Gary Rhodes, Jane Asher, Lorraine Pascale, Jilly Goolden, among others and watched them do their stuff at the Chelsea Flower Shows in London over 15 years and at food & wine exhibitions. 



Johnnie and Fanny Cradock during the sixties


But years earlier, I enjoyed a connection with Philip Harben (knew his cousin Mary) and good old Fanny Cradock who often gave me a phone-call talking recipes (often when I mistakingly left out an ingredient!

Managed to snap Mary Berry and her daughter at Chelsea

Currently, I am experimenting with 'no oven baking' of sponges, cakes, scones, even bread (for a caravan journal) - yes, it can be achieved and I am working my way through dozens of recipes.  Russian food is fascinating and I am selecting some of their most famous dishes. So... watch this space!!!

OUR GUEST ON RADIO PHOENIX 98FM TOMORROW IS LONDON-BASED JOURNALIST & MUSICIAN GILES BIDDER

Michelle Ward's Eat my Brunch show always attracts the most versatile of musical guests in the studio and once a month she also invites folk who can write.  Tomorrow, Giles Bidder who is certainly talented at both genres, is paying us a visit so do listen around 11.30am. 98.fm. Listen live or later via streaming. (Hope he brings his guitar)!

@swwj   @sylviaakent   #swwj

Monday, August 06, 2018

Wednesday, August 01, 2018

LATEST BOOK FROM FRANCES CLAMP - ESSEX AUTHOR

Too hot at present  to be out and about researching for feature material for my current projects, so am re-reading some of the books authored by personal friends and colleagues from our SWWJ.  Such an eclectic reading list and some pretty wonderful writers.  

For more than three years, Frances Clamp, President of the Brentwood Writers' Circle enjoyed having her own historical programme on Phoenix 98fm at their Brentwood studio. Every week, she presented a new historical aspect of the town and much of it we were able to read in the numerous books she published.   I have just re-read her popular 'Essex at War 1939-1945' published last year. 



Frances has lived and worked in Essex for most of her life.  Her career as a history teacher has ensured an impressive knowledge of Essex.  As a child living in Southend at the start of WWII, Frances has unique memories of that terrible time. Watching the barbed wire being erected on Southend beaches; the start of rationing; building Anderson shelters; evacuation of friends and family, all these and other recollections have been included in her new book. She has integrated many stories from people who not only survived, but somehow remained cheerful during those difficult years.

The devastation of World War II affected everyone. Children’s lessons were regularly interrupted when the frightening air-raid siren sounded and Frances has captured the atmosphere of the time, including many tales of bravery, defeats and setbacks both at home and overseas.  When Germany launched an unmanned flying bomb V1 nicknamed the Doodlebug in 1944, it was particularly hated.  People can still remember listening for the engines to switch off, realising that there were just seconds before the bombs plummeted to earth. Appreciation of the mighty Ford Motor company, Marconi, E K Cole and other Essex industry is recognised. Frances pays homage to the bravery of the little boats and yachts sailing to the aid of desperate airmen and sailors at Dunkirk. When America entered the war in 1942, a new, different type of invasion entered the Essex countryside, when the GIs arrived in large numbers. On the whole, they received a warm welcome from the authorities, and particularly the women!

Memories, photographs and poignant letters belonging to some of the families affected are included in Frances’ narrative. She sums up her meticulously researched book as follows:

“Great Britain is now a very different country from the one that went to war in 1939. The old bomb-damaged sites have disappeared, as have most of the installations that were erected to protect the Essex coastline. Essex men and women, both at home and in the forces, bravely played their part in the war and their contribution can be remembered with pride.”  Buy this book via Amazon or, more quickly, pop into our best Essex city bookshop Foyles in Chelmsford or Waterstones in that same city.  

ISBN 9781473860414
Pen & Sword Military Books
£12.99 UK
$24.95 US