Thursday, July 19, 2018

MY FAVOURITE COMPOSER RALPH VAUGHAN WILLIAMS AND THE STORY OF HIS TRIP TO ESSEX

The young RVW (courtesy of the Vaughan Williams Society)
Even after so many years of writing features for my favourite
magazines, it's always super to see my words published on the page of the county's most popular journal.  With the 60th anniversary of the passing of that wonderful composer Ralph Vaughan Williams, and listening to his music on Classic FM Radio, I simply had to write about this composer's time in a little town - where I lived for most of my life - in Essex so many years ago. 

Saturday, July 07, 2018

SEMI FINALS - WORLD CUP AND FOOTBALL FRENZY IN BRENTWOOD, ENGLAND







So England won the latest game in the World Cup semi-finals, our team playing against Sweden. Congratulations to all footballers taking part and, of course, the winners.  Wrong time to walk down Brentwood High Street as the game was about to start  - had to get to our writers' meeting - so fought hundreds of good-natured and very excited supporters lining up to watch the game on the giant screens in the pubs. Then the police squads arrived with riot vans and a couple of ambulances - just in case. It was getting very loud. Took a few quick pics as the crowd started to gather. Later, we couldn't move for happy fans and had to get a lift home as no public transport could get through! Oh well - such is life (and the world of sport)! 






Bobby Moore 1966


Tuesday, July 03, 2018

A GREAT DAY FOR THE SWWJ WITH OUR SPEAKER ANITA MARIE SACKETT WITH SWWJ PRESIDENT FLOELLA AND THE TEAM

A super SWWJ Annual General Meeting held in London's National Liberal Club on Thursday with our speaker Anita Marie Sackett pictured with our President Lady Floella Benjamin. Anita launched her new book THAT'S HOW IT USED TO BE - a super nostalgic meander through the 1940s and 1950s. Many more photographs on flickr


Monday, June 25, 2018

BOOKS, BOOKS AND MORE BOOKS

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

WOMAN OF COURAGE - ANNE KNIGHT OF CHELMSFORD





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

REVIVING MEMORIES OF BILLERICAY PAST

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

HOME FARMER FOR DREAMERS & REALISTS - MY FAVOURITE MAGAZINE

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.