Saturday, September 23, 2017

EVERY YEAR THE FUN WALK INCREASES IN POPULARITY - 2017 HAS BEEN THE BEST EVER!

 
 
John Baron MP: 2017 Fun Walk breaks records in raising £120,000 for charities
 
MP awards bonus to charities and thanks sponsors, Barleylands Farm and ‘Family of volunteers’ at presentation evening
At their Presentation ceremony this evening, John Baron MP and other Trustees of the Fun Walk Trust [a registered charity] awarded bonus pot cheques to all those charities and good causes [projects] which took part in this year’s Fun Walk [at Barleylands Farm on Sunday, 21st May]
 
Because of the generosity of corporate and individual sponsors, each project receives a bonus over and above what they raise themselves in sponsorship on the day. In this year’s walk, for every £100 raised by projects in sponsorship, the bonus pot is adding a further £55.  The total monies raised both by the projects and bonus pot sponsors came to £120,000 [which is a record - last year it was £110,000] with nearly 100 projects in total benefitting from this year’s Walk [Please see attached Factsheet – Photos will follow on Monday morning].
 
The presentation was held at Anisha Grange Care Home, Outwood Common Road, Billericay, Essex, CM11 2LE.
 
John said: “The 2017 Fun Walk has been a huge success and our bonus pot sponsors have been integral to that success. Our thanks go to Swan Housing Association, Billericay Football Club, c2c Rail, Abellio Greater Anglia, Hallmark Care Homes, Leonardo MW Ltd, Butyl Products Ltd, McDonald’s Basildon, IFE Global Logistics, Mr Barrie Stone, and others.” “Our thanks also go to Barleylands Farm for hosting the Walk and to Hallmark Care Homes for hosting the presentation evening, to our ‘Family of volunteers’ for organising and running the event, and to the many others who have helped including our marshals and accountants Hunt Smee and Co.”
 
“Many people and good causes less fortunate than ourselves will benefit from everyone’s generosity. It’s been a great team effort.”
 
 

Thursday, September 14, 2017

A DOORWAY INTO THE PAST - READ ALL ABOUT IT!!!

Frederick John Eales in his uniform of the Essex Yeomanry c 1895
Next year sees the 60th anniversary of the passing of that doughty character Fred Eales (1871-1958) who lived in the building that now houses the Cater Museum at 74 High Street, Billericay.  Fred was the town's last saddler and harness maker who followed his father, Thomas into the trade. Fred is pictured in the uniform of the Essex Yeomanry, in which regiment he practised his trade.  Although I had never met him, I have interviewed so many local folk who kindly gave me stories for one of my early books BILLERICAY VOICES and the strength of Fred's character is apparent.  We have so much information on our local forebears - do visit us at www.thecatermuseum.co.uk
Fred a year or two before his passing


Wednesday, September 06, 2017

AUTUMN JOY IN THE GARDEN


Autumn is now well and truly here and fellow amateur winemakers are checking out the fruit still growing in the garden and allotments.  Some of this can easily be turned into your own organic wine.  I notice that my American and Russian readers seem more inclined to follow this pastime which, for years during the '70s was a popular hobby in Britain.

For many years, I've been working on the best, fool-proof recipes and some of these little gems have been included in probably the very best glossy British self-sufficiency  magazine entitled HOME FARMER. The American winemakers of the world also use some of my winemaking recipes, too, it seems.  Of course, I enjoy seeing my own ramblings on the page, but must pay a tribute to Paul Melnyczuk and Ruth Tott and their editorial skills and beautiful photographs. Although I've worked with scores of magazine editors in the past, I love the way that my Home Farmer editors always send a draft layout before the mag is put to bed. Wish others were as professional.


 

Thursday, August 31, 2017

SOME VERY INTERESTING NEWS FROM THE SWWJ

CALLING ALL WRITERS

Meteorological summer is almost over but the weather is looking good.  As autumn approaches, so some of us who write for a living, are besieged with thoughts, story and feature ideas and (hopefully) commissions for upcoming work.

Maybe some of you have already written your novel, collections of short stories, poems, plays  even a filmscript, but are unable to see a chink in the publishing world.Well, maybe our lovely Writer's Debut Co-ordinator Benita Cullingford's new idea could help writers to see their narrative in print.

The Society of Women Writers & Journalists - the oldest international organisation (founded in 1894) specifically for women writers, is pleased to announce the official launch of our brand new category of membership.

From 1st October, and for the very first time, new and unpublished writers have the chance to join the SWWJ! As a ‘Debut’ member, your fee of £145 will allow you to submit a completed manuscript for detailed advice and a full critique from an experienced published writer in your own field.

It can be a novel up to 90,000 words, a work of children’s fiction up to 60,000 words, a collection of poems or short stories, a play for theatre or radio, or a non-fiction project. Your Debut membership will last for one year and also entitles you to all the benefits of regular SWWJ membership with the exception of a press card and competition entry.

And, with the right guidance, we very much hope that you will achieve publication and be able to join us as a full or associate member at the end of your Debut year! Open to both male and female writers. Advance applications are welcome now, if you want to beat the crowds!

If interested, do take a look at our website at www.swwj.co.uk

Friday, August 25, 2017

FRANCES CLAMP'S NEW BOOK 'ESSEX AT WAR 1939-1945'

I'm gradually working my way through a number of books for review. Such an eclectic reading list and some pretty wonderful writers.  

Have just finished reading 'Essex at War' written by Frances Clamp.  She is President of Brentwood Writers' Circle and this is her 15th book.

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, compounded by years of broadcasting weekly historical programmes on local radio.

 As a child living in Southend at the start of WWII, the author 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

Tuesday, August 22, 2017

SAD DAY FOR LONDON'S LOVELY BIG BEN

I am a little sad that we won't hear our beloved Big Ben's 'bongs' for a couple of years.  This is due to a controversial renovation project that will stop it ringing out for up to four years. Hundreds of MPs and parliamentary workers gathered in the courtyards to listen as the Great Bell chimed noon before being stopped to allow work to begin.


Since 1979 when I first worked in Parliament, I had always been fascinated with the history of the Palace of Westminster and particularly its restoration work completed around 1860 and the great bell itself: couldn't wait to get up to the little turret in Elizabeth Tower (previously known as the Clock Tower) for a close-up. Must admit, it was a little noisy, but loved the charm and chime of the place. These images were taken twenty years ago and here is a view from my window.

A clock tower was first built at Westminster in 1288 with, it is thought, money raised in fines levied on Ralph Hengham, a judge who was found guilty of misconduct. The present tower, designed by Augustus Pugin, was part of Charles Barry's design for a new palace, after the old Palace of Westminster was destroyed by fire in 1834. The present clock was installed in 1859.