Mother’s day, two amazing presents and some serious thinking.

This has been a most loving Mothering Sunday, so loving I hardly know where to start with it!

The two presents that are pictured here came from my two daughters. The first was from my eldest and was typical of her. For years I have been using a purse so old it should have been in the museum long since! Packed with notes, coins, cards, messages and so much paraphernalia, it was literally falling to pieces and extremely difficult to open and shut. And the new, stylish red purse was a gift typical of my Mary, who is loving and practical and has been caring for me for a very long time now. Salut!

The second present came from my second daughter, who has an eye (as you can see) for colour and style and is another of my carers.

This dress fits like a dream and one day I hope I shall be able to wear it at an event. Something to cross my fingers for and look forward to. And like the purse in my elder daughters case, this present fits my second daughters style, she is another caring creature with a creative eye.

The serious thinking part of this blog came from a kindly thought from my new agent. He had promised to send me a copy of the cover of an old book that is being brought out for the second time. I had said to him fairly casually that I might not be around to see it in print and he tried to comfort me by saying he was sure I would be. I thanked him for his kindness, but inside the murkier aspects of my brain I was thinking and thinking hard.

When you reach a ridiculous age like 92 you tend not to look forward to very much and to avoid thinking too hard about the situation you are actually in. But you’re in it, nevertheless and you have to cope with it and accept it. I have four or five ‘conditions’, none of which are curable or treatable, all of which could finish me off, one of which will.

I shall use my purse and wear my dress and go on writing such novels that I can. For being 92 doesn’t seem to have much effect on my creative abilities. The trouble is, as I keep telling myself, thing’s ain’t what they seem.

On to book 32 and with luck, upwards! Greetings fellow writers and special love to all my lovely family, who keep me going and love me and feed me and look after me. I know the answers to the Beatles song. Will you still need me? Will you still feed me? When I’m 92.

This entry was posted on March 23, 2023. 7 Comments

Where’s the rest of the mouse?

That’s the question this morning. Dixie is being very loving at the moment and when I came downstairs for breakfast, I discovered that he left me a mouse’s head just inside the kitchen. Lottie and I have been searching for the rest of the corpse ever since, we haven’t found so much as a sniff. I have a horrible feeling it’s been eaten, but that still leaves the inedible tail and gallbladder to be found.

Oh it’s all go having a cat!

At the moment he’s sitting beside us, with his tail on the keyboard looking angelic.

He is looking extremely handsome and Lottie who is very good at translating the silence of beautiful cats, tells me what he is saying is “I didn’t mean to do it, it was that other cat”. It seemed to have missed his superior intelligence that he is the only cat we have!

Yours, still wearing my deerstalker! There’s still a tail and a gallbladder to be found!

This entry was posted on March 17, 2023. 2 Comments

There IS a new Chair for The Blake Society.

I have been watching out for the Blake Society on the Charity Commission website, ever since I heard that Tim Heath had resigned from the post of Chairman and at last the details have been changed officially and there is no doubt at all that his name isn’t mentioned ANYWHERE on the document. So he is very definitely no longer the Chair and has really and truly handed in his notice.

The new Chair of the Blake Society is Dr Sibylle Irmgard Erle, a learned lady and very knowledgeable about Blake. Hooray!!  

Now, if somebody in Felpham could make it their business to find out how and by whom TH was persuaded to step down and out. And, if the same pressure could be used to persuade him to step down and out from the Blake Cottage Trust, then someone or a group of someone’s from Felpham could start the process that ought to lead to the repair of the Cottage.  

I wish I could say that I will help in any way I can, but I have got to confess that I cannot take on the lone responsibility any longer. I am too old, and too frail. But if there is anything that I know or any address that I have in my notebook that you need, I will hand it over to you willingly and whenever you ask.

We have endured seven long years, watching our precious Cottage falling further and further into decay. Now perhaps the moment has come at last, when we can push TH from his self promotion as Chairman of the Blake Cottage Trust and elect another Chairman who could actually do the work.

Keep in touch and use me as a source of information whenever you need to. I have my fingers crossed now, because there really does seem to be hope.

This entry was posted on March 9, 2023. 2 Comments

Waiting around.

I seem to have spent a great many hours during the last few weeks, waiting around. And all, now that I sit down to actually do some thinking, to no purpose at all.

Probably the most important thing that I am waiting for is a report back from the young man who could be my next agent, he said he would get back to be by the end of the month, but he didn’t actually tell me which month he had in mind! And I feel it would be rude to nudge his memory, when our acquaintance is so new.

I ought to be getting on with book 32, but as I’m now none to sure whether book 32 will be any good at all, I am loathed to write any of it.


I also have to wait for three more dental appointments, one a week for the next three weeks.

Treble sigh, plus dread.

But I think like all of us, what we’re waiting for, yearning for, is the Spring. ‘Oh Spring the sweet Spring, the years pleasant King.’ But there is no blossom anywhere in my garden and it’s so cold here that I stomp about in a quadruple layer of clothing like a walking wardrobe, feeling as though the seasons have stopped.

I would also like to start up a conversation with several people. Like someone sympathetic from the FVCS with whom I could perhaps suggest that there might be a way in which the FVCS could actually get rid of Tim Heath so that Blake’s Cottage could be repaired at long, long last. Or Stephen Pritchard who might well know how it could be done, but doesn’t know me. Or thirdly some communication with Peter Johns who has been one of the original three trustees of the Blake Cottage Trust and therefore ought to know what is happening to it now, but seems loathed to answer any communication.

Oh Spring, sweet Spring, could you please step in and open the world and the window for me?!

This entry was posted on March 2, 2023. 2 Comments

Blake’s Cottage Blog 65!

Yes, I don’t believe it either! But perhaps I ought to point out that Blake’s cottage has ‘belonged’ to the Blake Cottage Trust for seven and a half years.

While I let you sit down and recover from the impact those 65 blogs. The struggle to get Tim Heath to repair the cottage has been going on now for over seven years.

But now we have actually reached a point at which there is palpable hope that we can get rid of Tim Heath and his pernicious and idle chairmanship of the Blake Cottage Trust and open the way to repair, although there are snags. The Charities Commission has not corrected the Chairman and trustee list of the Blake Society, if you visit the page, you will see that Tim is still accredited as Chairman and nor are any of the other changes that have since been made since his departure, have been credited either and as far as I know, nobody has been given any facts and figures about how the resignation was bought about.

We can surmise and I do, that someone or some organisation has got the power to persuade him to take the step. Now if we want him to remove himself voluntarily in the same way from the Blake Cottage Trust, we need to know how it was done, so that we can do it again.

I am now fading fast and simply haven’t got the energy to pursue every line that’s open, or to put it another way HELP!!!

Who will buy?

I’ve been walking about this morning remembering all the street calls I used to hear when I was a little girl before the war. Charlotte and I have been counting them up and examining them and it surprised me at the end of our conversation to think how many of our purchases were bought to the door by someone with a horse and cart and a strong pair of lungs.

We were set off by this jigsaw puzzle picture in which a rag and bone man is ‘paying’ his young customers with a goldfish in a plastic bag and that made me remember the rag and bone mans call, which was “rag-ee boooone” and that of course, set me off!

I remembered the wailful song of the coal merchant, “Co-ooaall”, the milkman’s cheerful “Milko!”, “Ripe, strawberries, ripe!” when they were in season, “Chim-en-ee sweep” in the spring, “Walla-walla-cat’s meat” nearly every day, “Wall’s” when the weather was warm, which didn’t refer to the buildings, but to the ice cream. Every trade that had a horse and cart or like the baker, a wagon that he pushed himself, had his own song, which was instantly recognisable and they had the road to themselves, because there were only three car owners in it and very little traffic.

When we had been visited by a horse drawn cart, my mother sent me out into the road with a bucket and shovel to scoop up the manure they’d left behind, which was ‘very good’, so she said, for feeding the flowers and crops in our garden. Nothing was wasted!

It was an entirely different world from the one we are living in now. A peaceful, eccentric, individual and colourful world.

I wonder what our present day children would make of it, if I had a magic wand and could carry them all back to live in it for a little while.

This entry was posted on February 22, 2023. 2 Comments

I remember, I remember, the house where I was born.

I found this watercolour sketch a few days ago lurking in an address book (don’t ask!) and thought how very different the house looked from how it is now. The painting has lost it’s colour quite a bit- that happens to a lot of us as we get older – the curtains at the windows were far more red and the patch of what looks like pale green lino, was in fact thriving grass with a yellow laburnum on my left and a pink may on my right. But all the little details are spot on and it’s made me think a lot recently, about how memory works and that’s made me wonder how others think about it too.

When I look up notebooks to check on something I think I remember very well, I find to my horror that I’ve re-invented a lot of the details since I first experienced it! And then I have to go back even further into notebooks to check and that makes me wonder about the quality of memory and that makes me wonder what we ought to record so that we can remember accurately the times we’re living in now. At least keeping a diary for years gives you a set of documents that tell it as it was and tell it accurately.

I wonder what my readers think about all this philosophical stuff.

At the moment I’m struggling to gather all the information I can about Tim Heath’s very surprising resignation from the Chairmanship of the Blake Society. That means exploring all the public statements he’s made since he took over the chairmanship of the Blake Cottage Trust. His statements to the press during that time ought to have been a revelation, even though at the time they were taken as gospel truth. ‘Oh, what a tangled web we weave!’

What are your most cherished memories I wonder? And do you keep pictures to remember them by? And curse when they fade!

I’m going to let our lovely Shakespeare have the last word, in his incomparable Sonnet CXVI.

Love’s not Time’s fool, though rosy lips and cheeks
Within his bending sickle’s compass come;
Love alters not with his brief hours and weeks,
But bears it out even to the edge of doom.

This entry was posted on February 8, 2023. 2 Comments

Tim Heath is ousted part 2

Good morning and particularly greetings to all the people in Felpham who want to see their Cottage restored and opened to the public and are now finally hopeful that they can do it.

My first blog about Tim’s resignation from the Blake Society Chair, came from people in Felpham who have been supporting the Cottage and feel that at last there is hope. Perhaps eventually we can hand the site, cottage and all, over to a large organisation who could afford to repair it. For a long while we have been saying that, if only we could get rid of Tim Heath, we could do it. Now and at last it looks as though there is hope, although there’s a lot of work ahead of us. First and obviously we have to find out how this resignation came about. So, I’ve been investigating ever since the first blog went up.

It has occurred to me that one possible reason for Heath’s decision to resign, could be that the Charterhouse charity where he hopes to be given free bed and board for the rest of his life – and for all I know, has already got it – might have required him to promise that he would relinquish any public office he had in order to secure a place. I have written to his brother to find out if he knows or could find out anything about it.

I’ve also done some deerstalking around some of the other characters in the story. I originally thought I might write to the new secretary Stephen Pritchard (he has made his SoA address public), but then I Googled his name and came up with so much stunning information about him that I thought I ought to leave that to someone, at least approximately near the same high level of knowledge about Blake, or the same experience as a successful and well known journalist. I would do it, but I’m out of his class.

Jason Whittaker and Jonathan Mullard are a different case. They are both trustees of the Blake Society and the Blake Cottage Trust. But I have to say I am very, very dubious about both of them and those of us who want our Cottage restored have got to tread with great caution now we are so near to the final stage of our long struggle.

I will keep you informed about anything I find out, and if I can do it – and it’s a big if – I will try to make contact with the local press.

Onward and upward. Do please keep me informed of anything you find out. I may be rather long in the tooth now, but I could still make a good conduit.

This entry was posted on February 1, 2023. 1 Comment

Tim Heath is ousted!

I had a very welcome letter from an old friend of mine last weekend. They have been a member of the Blake Society for several years and had been attending their annual General Meeting. And they had just witnessed the dethronement of their self appointed Chair, Tim Heath. It was amazing news to both of us.

Apparently he had been required to step down by a man called Stephen Pritchard who is now the Secretary of the Society and as an added inducement had been offered a considerable pay off. Stephen Pritchard said the event would be reported on the Society’s webpage or Facebook but I haven’t see it there yet. The new Chair is Sybille Earle.

I will keep you posted as and when I get more information.

Meantime I shall hang out the flags and do my best to spread the good news. What has happened in the Blake Society could happen in the Blake Cottage Trust.

This entry was posted on January 30, 2023. 2 Comments

Charlotte and I have made a discovery!

Which just goes to show that you’re never too young or too old to learn.

But to begin at the beginning, because we try to be methodical souls!

My last agent has left the company and taken a job elsewhere – I suspect so she can spend rather more time with her husband and quite right too. She told us just before Christmas and also told us that my books would be in the care of her colleague Dan who would soon be getting in touch with us. So in order to make his life a little easier – perhaps – we have written lists of the books already published and added smaller ones of other things I’ve written over the years, like plays and poetry and short stories. Sorting out the short stories was an eye opener. I thought there would be maybe half a dozen, but Charlotte discovered an entire folder full, most of which I had forgotten. There’s a lot of stuff in a library that’s been accumulating for the last 43 years – I should be so old!

This picture shows only part of it. There’s a lot more on the other side of the room and below them a long desk and four packed cupboards and in amongst the packaging, a file of short stories which we counted. There were fifteen and apart from a couple, I’d forgotten them all.

As literary mothers go, I’m afraid I’m a bad one! But perhaps there are occasional reasons for it. One of the stories was so gruesome I think I had quite deliberately put it out of my mind, because it was about a rocket falling on a house in the East end, while a little boy who lived there was out running an errand for his mother. I think it is possible that it is one of the most violent and truthful accounts of a wartime experience I have ever written and I suspect that I hadn’t so much forgotten it, as put it out of my mind.

War, as anyone will tell you who has lived through one, and lived it in a war zone, is a filthy, ugly, cruel, shattering business.

Now, I’m left with a problem, do I send my short stories to a man who could possibly be my new agent and run the risk of putting him off forever? Or do I play safe and put them under the covers and hide them away.

Horrible though it is to say it, they were written from the life, so I thought it might be useful at this stage to give you just a small, gobbet of it, however violent, to see what you think. So here it is…

‘He ran through the nightmare, weeping as he ran, as the things fell out of the sky, bricks and bits of masonry, bits of furniture, bits of people. ‘Mum! Mum!’ and he saw horrors that were too dreadful for him to comprehend, a horse’s head lying in the gutter with its eyes still open and ragged lumps of red meat sticking out of its neck, a child’s leg, smeared with blood and black grime and still wearing a buckled shoe just like his sister’s, a tram squashed like a concertina with all the people still sitting inside it, bolt upright and covered in dust and dead. ‘Mum! Oh Mum!’

This entry was posted on January 6, 2023. 7 Comments