Archive | January 2023

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