Archive | February 2023

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