Archive | October 2022

‘Somewhere over the rainbow, bluebirds fly…’

‘If happy little bluebirds fly beyond the rainbow, why oh why can’t I?’

Why indeed dear Julie, but what a joy to have a rainbow curved over your own house. Lottie & I are working in the study, which is just to the left of the foot of our rainbow, but we haven’t found any gold yet!

But it makes us feel hopeful and gives us a sense of feeling blessed.

Before the rainbow put in an appearance, I was looking out my deerstalker and now I’m ready for some heavy investigative work. I feel that the matter of the repair of Blake’s Cottage is moving to a climax and that rainbow is an omen. It can’t have been very far away from the battered roof in Blake’s Road.

We’re still at work William, we haven’t given up on you, or your cottage.

There are more and more of us every day in the village, who know what a dangerous situation the cottage is in and are struggling to find a way to help and how much it is needed.

As the Beatles sang, ‘Help! I need somebody. Help! Not just anybody.’ And oh, we do, we do.

Now, we’ve debated about whether to put up a picture of Blake’s Cottage in this blog and have decided against it.

As soon as there is good news, we will rejoice with a good picture! Come on rainbow, work your magic!

This entry was posted on October 26, 2022. 1 Comment

Love the Magician

Yesterday’s blog proved to be quite an entertainment, which has pleased me no end! And three of my readers presented me with a puzzle which I didn’t expect at all. They all said much the same thing, they’d enjoyed the evacuee story and – and I quote ‘would like to read the poem.’ That threw me a bit, because I didn’t know there was a poem in that particular story, but apparently there was and three sharp eyed readers and my lovely Lottie had spotted the reference, which revealed that my answer to all the mail in the newspaper, had been a poem.

From time to time, back then when I was eight, my mother would demand a poem, which I would duly provide and she would show it off and swank round the neighbourhood with it and then leave it on the sideboard and forget it, I would pounce when she wasn’t there, tear it in half and put it on the fire, because all my poetry in those days was written to placate my mother and was therefore poorly written and dull and didn’t deserve to survive. It wasn’t until I met my old darling eight years later, that I began to see how organic a poem has to be, how it must grow and develop during its creation and how I must strive for it and how well worth striving it was when I finally got a poem that worked.

So as I can’t give you that far away poem that ended up in the fire – and quite right too – Lottie and I have found two other later ones, that I considered worth keeping and here they are. This time with my full cognisance and my love.


One crazy extraordinary day
When I wasn’t expecting it,
When snow menaced us all in drifts
Twenty foot high and the sky
Was grey and sullen with more snow to fall
And there was no coal to heat the house
And food was in achingly short supply,
Love the Magician tipped his distorting mirror
In my direction.
And I had to stop and look,
Human nature being what it is.

And there I was.
Not cold sixteen, unloved and ordinary
But special and unique and beautiful.
I was delighted with this new-spelled self,
And understood the image as my own,
Wearing it like a topsy-turvy crown
For fifty-seven love-supported years
Human nature being what it is.

I could not have anticipated then
How old and cold and much more ordinary
I’d seem now that the mirror’s turned aside
Now that my warm and darling love has died.
But I’d have looked anyway and been glad, so glad, of it
Human nature being what it is.

And here’s another one about the place where we live.


Yesterday we leant against the gale
In winds that forced the words back in our throats
Whipped tears from squinting eyes
And pinched skin bloodless.
We pushed numb-footed through the whiplash air
Our vision limited to fifty yards
Tried to avoid the buffets, didn’t dare
To scan the white height and its screaming stare.

Now there is calm, our eyes are unafraid,
And Sunday afternoon is still and lazy
With half the village walking on a beach
Made beautiful by sun,
Expanded by a low and lowly tide.

Damp sand shines, iridescent in strong light
Gleaming pale gold, pale blue and palest green
Like fields of mother-of-pearl.
The sea, for once, seems insignificant
Under the blazing tumult of a sky sumptuous with cloud
Where the sun broods and burns but is unseen,
A power felt but hidden.

Long flowing swathes of shining gold and green
From Zenith to horizon, shift and soar
Behind a mass of swelling breathing curves
Purple and powerful and edged with gold.
And suddenly
A white hot, jagged coronet
Erupts and blazes from the dark cloud side.
The hidden sun
Throws immense skeins of soft and silken light
Into the stratosphere,
Its huge beneficence, its careless power
Made wondrously apparent.

Below, and very small
We walk like silhouettes across the sand.

Men made of twigs, with trotting cardboard dogs,
Bundles of women strolling silently
A distant carousel of circling bikes
Boys digging bait and children on the rocks
Sand-hoppers, small and leaping,
Seascape with figures, dwarfed by what we see,
Our vision opened to eternity.

This entry was posted on October 21, 2022. 3 Comments

A trip back into Felpham history, just for the hell of it.

It’s a horrible, thundery, soaking wet morning, so I thought I would take you all back to a nice warm, if crowded, stage at the theatre on Bognor Pier, taken just before Christmas 1939. What you are looking at in this picture, is the final pose of a stage play mounted by the Felpham evacuees, as a way of cheering us all up. It had taken a little while for me to catch up with the school I ought to have been attending – there was considerable muddle at that time and I’d been to two other local schools before – but now I was part of Cavendish Road, Primary School from Balham and we were putting on this Christmas play as a way of cheering ourselves up and showing our parents that we were OK. My classmates were highly impressed when I put on my stage make up – I had a fully equipped professional make up box and knew how to use it and after four years at a South London dancing school, I also knew a lot of dance routines and how to speak on stage and how to pose. I’m posing in this picture, second from the left, bottom row.

Sadly, not long after that my mother decided that my cousin and I should come home because she was sure that we were going to make peace with Hitler, Hitler was going to attack Russia and nothing was going to happen in London. The London Blitz began in August 1940. And I went back to London with my cousin in the first freezing weeks of January that year.

It was a great surprise when a local reporter turned up on our doorstep, asking to see ‘Golden Glow’ and with a newly printed copy of the local paper, which he opened to show me. An entire page of it had been given over to letters to ‘Golden Glow’, from the still evacuated kids of Cavendish Road school, who said they were missing me very much and wanted to know how I was. I didn’t have much idea how to respond to that, as it took me by surprise, but I asked the reporter if it would be ok to send him a poem addressed to all of them and would he publish it. And he said yes and took me out in my garden and took a picture of me with a notebook open in my hand, starting work.

And here it is.

I have always been one track minded. If something could be understood or explained or made possible by writing, then I write. It’s the nature of the beast.

I wonder how many of my Cavendish Road classmates are still alive. I would like to think a lot of them were and that we could get in touch, even though being ninety is a highly uncomfortable place to be! We had a lot in common, apart from being Londoners and evacuees and acting on the pier. Greetings, fellow Londoners.

This entry was posted on October 20, 2022. 3 Comments

To nudge our memories and point us the way

I’m re-issuing this, as it first appeared six years ago. Nothing has been done to repair the cottage in those six years.

Now, it is falling even more rapidly, into decay, passers by can see the terrible state it’s in from the pavement. I would be interested to know if anyone at all has dared to go in recently.

Time for a new petition I think, even more angrily written than this one. We have a lot to be angry about and it’s time the five men of the Blake’s Cottage Trust felt the full force of widespread, public, anger.

As far as I know, the new editor of the Bognor Post has not met any of us. Perhaps it is time, we fixed a date with her and hire the Methodist hall for another date, so that she can meet as many of us as possible and feel the full force of our anger and frustration.

How many of you are prepared to distribute petition forms and gather them up when they are full? There are a lot of shops in Felpham, we need to persuade half or over half of them to take the forms and help us, possibly, with posters in the window.

We ain’t beat yet.

The battle for Blake’s Cottage resumes

As this matter stands at the moment, the battle for Blake’s Cottage seems to have reached deadlock. There has been a monstrous lie printed in the local press which I quoted in another blog but will quote again here.

This man is called Ken Blamires and he has already admitted to me, that he was the man who was the writer of the ‘downright lie’, but when I asked him to reveal his sources, he became coy and wanted to put it all off for a few months – during which time Blake’s Cottage will fall even further into decay. So the first job that anyone who is ready to take action on this matter, must surely be to persuade him, encourage him, whatever, into revealing who was the man or the men who told him these untrue facts. It should be a relatively easy matter to discover who it was, because there are only five sources from which this information could have come. Tim Heath, Chairman of the Blake Cottage Trust and his four trustees who are: Peter Johns, Michael Phillips the two originals and Professor Jason Whittaker and Jonathan Mullard the two newcomers.

Here is a picture of Jonathan Mullard. As you can see he is A VERY IMPORTANT PERSON, whom we would expect to tell the truth.

“Senior manager with a scientific background and strong track record in innovation, leading change and transition management. Expertise includes climate policy and delivery, marine and terrestrial planning, protected area management, rural development, common land, historic environment and energy conservation and generation. Member of Government Science and Engineering Profession and Government Planning Profession. Fellow of the Royal Society of Biology. Natural history author and wildlife photographer. Secretary of The Blake Society and Trustee of Blake Cottage Trust.”

This is Professor Jason Whittaker, another very important and learned man. As you can see from his description of himself.

“I joined Lincoln in 2015 as Head of the School of English and Journalism. Previously I was interim Director of the School of Writing and Journalism at Falmouth University and Professor of Blake Studies. Prior to that I was Head of the Department of Writing and course leader for Journalism. I also worked for more than fifteen years as a journalist and magazine editor, specialising in technology and computer journalism on titles such as PC Advisor, MacWorld and Digit. My main research interests are the reception of William Blake in the twentieth and twenty-first centuries, as well as developments in digital publishing and the impact of technology on journalism. I have published widely on these subjects, as well as on magazine journalism more generally.”

Now, all we need is a local committee of strong, determined, knowledgeable Felpham men and women. I know you are there, because I’ve talked to most of you. Now please, come forward, meet one another and form a group. Individuals can be picked off and ignored. A crowd, is another matter altogether.

In 1789 a large crowd of determined French workers marched from Marseilles to Paris, they grew in number and anger by the day and by the hour and by the time they reached the capital, they were formidable.

La jour de gloire est arrive.

All sorts of things can be achieved if we stand together, march together and spread the word. Remember the Chartists and the Suffragettes. All it takes is people and determination.

At the moment, it feels as though it’s only me. Where are the rest of you?

The last appeal for Blake’s Cottage

This blog is part confession and part cry for help so I feel I must apologise for it even before I begin to write it. But I shall write it even so because the Blake’s Cottage struggle has reached a climax which needs co-ordinated pressure and a campaign plan and quite a lot of people to bring a resolution.

We now know that somebody – very possibly Kem Blamires, the gentleman who lives at 3 Beereweeke Road in Felpham – wrote an article which I have been questioning for several weeks. It was very expensively printed, possibly by the local council, and widely disseminated. I wrote about it in a blog called. ‘A downright lie in an expensive publication.’ and I also asked Mr Blamires if he had written the article and, if he had, who had provided the information for that ‘Downright lie’ but although he admitted being the author he didn’t want to reveal his sources – ‘for a few months’ !!!! Meantime the editor of the Bognor newspaper doesn’t seem to want anyone to write about it at all. And the cottage continues to decay. So what do we do now?

Well for a start, those of us who care and understand how difficult the situation has become, need to contact one another and organise. Lots of local people would get involved if they knew what a very bad state the cottage is in, I would be more than happy to provide committee rooms in my house although I am now too frail to walk more than a few yards.

Together we could achieve a very great deal. Divided we fall and the cottage will be demolished.

I hope I shall hear from you. Rachel Searle has my telephone number.