Archive for the ‘Uncategorized’ Category

Writing a book? My advice? Let’s Ask The Experts

A mention from an author I admire greatly and this after a fantastic review from the same lady, I am so chuffed.

Eva Jordan

“Writing a book is a horrible, exhausting struggle, like a long bout with some painful illness. One would never undertake such a thing if one were not driven on by some demon whom one can neither resist nor understand.”––George Orwell

Over the last few years, I’ve had the privilege of interviewing some amazing authors. Each one different, but all equally fascinating. However, I always end my interviews with the same question, namely, what’s your advice to anyone thinking of writing a book or taking up writing? So, this month, I thought I’d take some of those fabulous responses and put them here, in one helpful, and hopefully inspiring article.

The only advice that is guaranteed to be correct is to pick up your pen and begin. Then you are a writer, whatever anyone says. ––Ross Greenwood

It’s a real cliché but read. Read in your genre and out of…

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Switching on the imagination

I thought this was worth reblogging.

Whittlesey Wordsmiths

Sunrise in the fens with windturbines A spectacular Fenland Sunrise One of the most beautiful sunrises I have witnessed

Reading is a means of switching on the imagination. The pictures drawn in the mind, the voices heard and the drama that unfolds can be as real to a reader as anything encountered in life. In many ways it is a better reality, one that is acceptable on the reader’s terms, limited by what they want to take out of it or see within it.

As writers we grope around for the switch that lights the imagination of our readers. The words though must first paint pictures in our own minds, we are after all the first reader. Hopefully these pictures will be seen in  the mind’s eye of our readers. We know they  will see different pictures to ours, pictures on their terms. The voices too they hear will have different accents to the ones in…

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Oliver Cromwell – The Sketch – Wednesday 26th April 1899

An interesting article

Grumpy old fart!!!

OLIVER CROMWELL’S THREE HUNDREDTH BIRTHDAY.

Three hundred years ago (April 25, 1599), Oliver Cromwell was born in the good town of Huntingdon, and to- day the thoughts of the English-speaking world are turned towards him. His father, Robert, was the second son of Sir Henry Cromwell, of Hinchinbrook, and grandson of one Richard Williams, who had risen to fortune under the protection of Thomas Cromwell, Earl of Essex. Cromwell went to the Grammar School at Huntingdon, a very interesting institution, where the first seeds of Puritanism were sown in his mind, and his old schoolmaster, if he did not send Cromwell to Parliament, certainly influenced the future Lord Protector’s Parliamentary career.

The school stands in the High Street, opposite All Saints’ Church, where the register with the entry of Cromwell’s birth may be seen. Cromwell was born in a house in Ermine Street. This house has been rebuilt several times…

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Raymond Chandler and some of his quotes.

Dust-wrapper design by C W Bacon for The Little Sister by Raymond Chandler (1949).

Members of the Creative Writing Group, Whittlesey Wordsmiths, know of my affection for the author Raymond Chandler. He wrote during the thirties, forties and fifties. Starting to write after losing his job in the thirties a result of the great depression. Chandler was a depressive, alcoholic and womaniser but I believe wrote some of the greatest one-liners and similes.

Chandler’s hero was a Private Eye, Philip Marlowe, (I can’t fault his choice of forename.) Marlowe is a complex character and Chandler’s novels explore this complexity and depth.

I wrote this piece a few months ago but I thought I would share it with you now.

I am reading Playback sporadically at the moment while trying to finish (with considerable help) beating my own first novel Killing Time in Cambridge, into shape. Playback was Chandler’s last novel and the only one so far not to have been made into a film. It was while reading it that I rediscovered the piece that inspired this article:

“On the dance floor, half a dozen couples were throwing themselves around with the reckless abandon of a night watchman with arthritis.”

For me, it paints a picture with an economy of words.

I have dug out a few more of Chandler’s gems to share with you to enjoy.

“She gave me a smile I could feel in my hip pocket.” ~ Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely ch. 18 (1940)

“It was a blonde. A blonde to make a bishop kick a hole in a stained-glass window.” ~ Raymond Chandler Farewell, My Lovely ch. 13 (1940)  

“He looked about as inconspicuous as a tarantula on a slice of angel food.” ~ Raymond Chandler 1940 Of Moose Malloy. Farewell, My Lovely, ch.1.

“Tall, aren’t you?” she said. “I didn’t mean to be.” Her eyes rounded. She was puzzled. She was thinking. I could see, even on that short acquaintance, that thinking was always going to be a bother to her.” ~ Raymond Chandler The Big Sleep: A Novel”, p.5,

“She had eyes like strange sins.” ~ Raymond ChandlerThe High Window: A Novel”, p.161,

“Alcohol is like love. The first kiss is magic, the second is intimate, the third is routine. After that you take the girl’s clothes off.” ~ Raymond Chandler The Long Goodbye ch. 4 (1953)  

“You’re broke, eh?” I’ve been shaking two nickels together for a month, trying to get them to mate.” ~ Raymond Chandler“The Big Sleep: A Novel”, p.90,

“From 30 feet away she looked like a lot of class. From 10 feet away she looked like something made up to be seen from 30 feet away.” ~ Raymond Chandler “The High Window”. Book by Raymond Chandler, 1942.

“Dead men are heavier than broken hearts.” ~ Raymond Chandler“The Big Sleep: A Novel”, p.42,

These books are of their time as were Conan Doyles Sherlock Holmes stories in a few sentences you are transported back to the time and place. Billy Wilder insisted on Chandler to write the screen play for Double Indemnity, he said, “No one writes dialogue better than Chandler.”

The Railway Carriage Child by Wendy Fletcher, a review.

Despite reading and promoting this book I haven’t reviewed it, on this my blog.I thought I had but it seems not I am now correcting my oversight with sincere apologies to Wendy.
The Railway Carriage Child is a beautifully written account of a young girl’s childhood, growing up living in an unusual home made from two Victorian railway carriages.
The account is so vivid you feel you are there with Wendy as she revisits those times, walking through the Fenland town that was her childhood home and now is again. We feel we are sitting with her on the bus and seeing the world through her eyes.
The finest auto biography I have had the pleasure of reading.

I look forward to reading more from this talented author I understand she has two more books in the works.

It is available on Amazon https://www.amazon.co.uk/Railway-Carriage-Child-Wendy-Fletcher/dp/1916481736/ref=sr_1_1?dchild=1&keywords=the+railway+carriage+child&qid=1610984138&sr=8-1

Irony?

I was visiting my brother in hospital yesterday he has been pretty poorly, currently suffering from pneumonia. I was getting near the end of my visit when our cousin and his wife turned up.

We then proceeded to discuss people we all knew, many old school contemporaries that had died recently.

All time Lowe a review

All Time LoweAll Time Lowe. Written by Stuart Roberts

I had the privilege of reading the first novel by a locally based author and a request for my thoughts.
It is always difficult to invite criticism of your work, knowing that from personal experience. Whilst my work involved selling products I had designed and made, writing a book is equally as difficult. No one should underestimate the mental and emotional effort required together with dogged determination to turn an idea into a finished written work.
Stuart’s first book, a supernatural thriller, is a damn good read, in fact, it is a really very damn good read, I consumed it in less than a day finding it difficult to put down. Most of my reading is either detective fiction or espionage thrillers so was unsure whether something that wasn’t within those genres would work for me. The story centres around two men from different backgrounds thrown together by circumstances into, for them the alien environment of a mental health ward. The edgy story twists and turns before reaching a nail-biting conclusion.
I look forward to seeing more work from this very talented man and hope a second novel is underway.

I have had an email asking me to put a link in my post from someone who would like to get a copy, so for them and anyone else interested.

All time Lowe a review

 

And a link to his website

https://stuartrobertswrite.wixsite.com/mysite-1

 

 

More Sunsets

Probably the two most obvious features of the Fens leaving aside their flatness are the skies and water. Although everywhere has sky, like the seas and oceans the Fens have an abundance of sky. When as we so often are, blessed with a spectacular sunset, it is as if some one has painted an ever-changing vast canvass for us to view. These sunsets were photographed between August and October this year.

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Sunset over Whittlesey

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Orton Mere

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Orton Mere

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Kings Dyke

 

The following shots were from North Bank all taken the same evening the hot air balloon was descending as it came into land intending to land in what light remained. The photos were taken over a distance of approximately one and a half miles and a time peiod of about fifteen minutes.

 

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U3A Visit to the Royal Institute

U3A visit to the Royal Institute.

 

Three of us from Whittlesey U3A visited the R. I. in London Jeff Moreland his wife Jackie and myself. We travelled from Whittlesey to Peterborough by bus, (unfortunately too early in the morning to use our bus passes). We then walked from the bus to train station and after a wait onto a train to London, Kings Cross.

Whilst on the train we discussed the complexity of ordering train tickets online and the difficulties of navigating the pricing structures. We all agreed that a Nationalised rail service might well be a return to sanity.

On arrival at Kings Cross we tried the House of Illustration, my idea,  in Granary Square. It was about a ten minute walk, probably not so long when you know the way, we weren’t impressed with the current exhibitions, just two of the three galleries were open.

We then made our way back to Kings Cross to try the underground to Green Park, again the ticketing proved a bit of a head ache until Jeff and Jackie found they could use their contactless debit cards to pay at the barriers. Before they had been made aware of this they were quoted £25 one way. In a rare moment of forward planning I had bought myself an Oyster Card on the same day I bought my train ticket. Jeff had sorted out the line we needed and we were quickly at Green Park. We walked to Albermarle Street, found the RI and had a quick “recce”. The cafe was a bit crowded but after a quick look round we found a pub for a sandwich and a cuppa. The Ritz was close by but we decided against mixing with the riff raff, it can attract.

The Faraday Museum in the basement of the Royal Institute is very interesting and well worth a visit there is a lift down to the cafe which is also in the basement.

The lecture hall in the RI is very cosy and although the Christmas lectures on television give an insight into its’ intimacy, they also give an impression of more space than then really is, particularly in the demonstration area.

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The Lecture Theatre at the RI

Following an introduction by Pam Jones, (Chairman of The Third Age Trust) the lectures started.

The lectures were varied and interesting the programme started with Alison Fairbrass  with her lecture; New technology for monitoring London’s wildlife.

Alison’s area of interest centred on the movement of bats, monitoring them acoustically using specialist sound recording devices and software. She mentioned the problems of collecting large amounts of data, then being able to analyse the information and understand the results. There was a lively question and answer session at the end.

The lecture was very interesting but as the theatre was warm and stuffy I nearly dozed off at one point. During the tea break following the second lecture, we discussed what it would have been like attending lectures at the RI in an earlier time. In years gone by, nearly everyone smoked, probably mainly pipes at that, with the theatre lit only with candles and oil lamps, it would have made the warm and stuffy we experienced seem like a breath of fresh air.

The second lecture was given by Chiara Ambrosio with the title; What does art have to do with science?

The lecturer had a strangely strong Italian accent for someone who claimed to be born and raised in Oxford, it did cross my mind that Ms. Ambrosio was actually Italian and this could possibly be a ruse to ensure she is able to remain in the UK after Brexit. The lecture explored the historic relationship between art and science. How art was used to represent scientific thought and how often artistic interpretation had taken precedent over accuracy. In the question and answer session literature was touched on as being part of the arts, science fiction was mentioned, I have heard it described elsewhere as science prediction, rather than science fiction.

After tea and biscuits we had the last lecture, I noticed that there were empty seats after the break that had previously been occupied. It would be interesting to find out why.

This lecture was delivered by Chris Darby, the subject Cryptography. Mr. Darby explained the nature of encryption, how it was used to protect information or data and how it could be circumvented. As with all the lecture subjects that afternoon, they were just the briefest of glimpses into subjects of great interest and depth. This particular subject probably touched more of us directly, more immediately then any of the others, our data and privacy are now at greater risk from theft and misuse than ever before.

There was a closing speech from Pam Jones and we extricated ourselves from the rather snug seating.  Walked back to Green park station and made our way back on the now more crowded and cosy underground to Kings Cross.

We decided to eat at Kings Cross as we had a long wait for the train,  Jeff managed to locate a pie and pasty outlet, a noted area of interest for him. After demolishing the pasties Jeff and I had a walk round outside, leaving Jackie to guard the bags.

We had  a look at St. Pancras station, the view inside is stunning, the sheer size of the arched canopy is awe inspiring.

St Pancras Station

St. Pancras Station

Dominating the platform just through the entrance is a huge bronze statue of a soldier embracing his wife or girlfriend in an act of farewell. It is a beautiful work of art, easily accessible and not requiring any interpretation, it captures perfectly for me at least  the sadness and poignancy of the moment of parting.

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 The statue at St Pancras

We returned to Kings Cross and rejoined Jackie. I had a little bit of a look round the station and saw an item of real interest Platform 9¾.

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Platform 9¾

There was quite a queue at Platform 9¾ I didn’t actually see anyone make it through the wall though.

We caught the 7.10 train back to Peterborough, the announcement board left a lot to be desired the platform number was only posted a few minutes before the train was due to depart, leading to a rush for the train which left swiftly how the really disabled would have coped is anyone’s guess. This just reinforced our collective view of the shambolic state of our railways, (steps off soap box). We arrived back at Peterborough and were chauffeured back to Whittlesey by my daughter Naomi. All in all a great day out with excellent company.

 

 

Bespoke Memorial obelisk

We have started to make a few memorial and celebration products. We have just made this decorative iron memorial obelisk to go over the buried cremation ashes of a deceased golfer.

 

 It is a variation of our Memorial obelisk, itself a variation on our Traditional obelisk it has been galvanised and then powdercoated.

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