Monday, August 29, 2011

Ready to fight

I've recently been sent some old photos of my family and this is one I'd not seen before so it was very welcome.
My grandfather, Dennis Crump, is on the left. He was a Bantam, a soldier under 5 feet 2 inches. His best friend, Tom Young, is with him. This was WWI.
When Uncle Tom was around 95 and went into hospital he was asked if he'd ever been in before. There were no notes for him. I suppose this must have been in the early 1990s. He said he had, back in WWI when he'd been gassed.
One day, during the war, Tom was in France when he saw a little soldier. He asked if he was a Bantam and was told yes. So he asked after his best friend and was told the camp wasn't far away where he'd find him. Tom borrowed a bicycle and pedalled out there only to discover that Dennis had been sent home wounded.
As I grow older family photos mean so much more.

Thursday, August 18, 2011


I was in a second-hand bookshop yesterday when one of the volunteers proudly announced that she had ripped up a children's book because it was unsuitable.
I had to walk out before I said anything but later, calmer, I returned and asked why. I was given the torn covers of the best-selling book for parents, called Go The F*ck To Sleep. I explained that it wasn't a children's book but one written by a parent for parents who'd had a child like mine - one who didn't sleep for more than two hours at a time for the first three years of her life.
And then I walked out before I started on about how she might like to start a trend and build a few book bonfires...

Wednesday, August 03, 2011

The Quiz

Sunday night at Caerleon is Quiz Night. Helen Yendall and Christine Cherry set the quiz and ask the questions. They must devote a lot of time to this and always treat us to a good night. We split into teams of six. So why are there five of us here? That's because Simon Whaley took the photo. Our team's name was Whaley's Women and we came second.

From left to right. Irene Yates, author of over 300 educational books and regular short story writer for Woman's Weekly.

Elizabeth Moulder who writes stories for Woman's weekly and other magazines.

Me, who does a bit of everything (except poetry and porn), hence my course name for next year's Writers' Holiday - Butterfly Writing.

Paula Williams. Fast becoming the name to go with Teresa and Della when it comes to short stories and serials. Paula took this year's class on short story writing.

Angela Lanyon, playwright and author of a fantasy trilogy - The Swordsman's Reel.

What good company Simon had! You could have company like this too. Everyone mixes and everyone is friendly at Writers' Holiday. Think about booking for next year. Info will be on the website soon.

Tuesday, August 02, 2011

The Holiday in Writers' Holiday

At the last moment, just before leaving home, I made the decision to leave my laptop behind and concentrate on the holiday part of Writers' Holiday at Caerleon. I wondered if I could go cold turkey and give writing a rest. So, for the first half of the week, with stomach churning and hands shaking, I stepped out of my comfort zone and went to the painting and drawing class.

The last time I had a paintbrush in my hand was when I was 14 so nerves were to be expected but once I'd got started I really enjoyed painting this scene.

Several men were asked if they'd like to see my etchings.

More on Caerleon tomorrow.