Friday, 27 August 2010

Another Busy Week Bites the Dust

As another busy week draws to a close I reflect on what has turned out to be a very busy and productive week for me in pursuit of shipwrecks. Tuesday I went along to Seaford Museum, which is not open to the public on a Tuesday, but is one of the days when voluntary workers for the museum have a chance to update the archives or repair artifacts that have been donated, and for those like me, by prior arrangement, who have the opportunity to study their archives. These include an array of referenced documents, pictures and articles, as well as a register of houses in the town, which must be unique and a great asset for family tree researchers. The museum is housed in one of the Martello Towers built when Napoleon threatened to cross the English Channel in 1803. It is nicknamed the Tardis by visitors due to its deceptive 5,000 sq ft of display area spanning three floors. 103 Martello towers were built from Aldeburgh in Suffolk around the coast to Eastbourne in Sussex, although many have now disappeared. This one is number 74, and well worth a visit, but do check out the website as it is not open every day. Seaford Museum is open on Heritage Open Days, Saturday 11 September 2.30 to 4.30 and Sunday 12 September from 11am. to 4.30pm, so why not pop along? Many thanks to the working team on Tuesday who not only made me a cup of coffee, but helped with the photocopying.

Wednesday saw me a little nearer to home at Malipins Museum in Shoreham, housed in one of the oldest domestic buildings in Sussex, and sitting proud on the High Street. It has a fascinating collection of maritime history as well as local history for this part of Sussex and Shoreham Film Industry.

Thursday turned into another productive day when a visit to Littlehampton Museum proved most interesting. Not only did I learn about another wreck I have not discovered before, but I had the wonderful opportunity of handling some of the artifacts from this wreck. Many thanks to the museum staff who were so helpful.

With a mass of notes and photocopied material you can guess what I will be doing this weekend!

Sunday, 22 August 2010

Shipwrecks and Meeting The Authors at Selsey

What a hectic week, but a very productive one, with visits to the martime museums at Newhaven, Seaford and Shoreham in pursuit of information for my next book Shipwrecks on the South Coast, which is now taking shape and leaving me with a dilemma! There are so many shipwrecks that I think I will have be very selective, but a very enjoyable situation for an author to be in.
The highlight of the week for me was on Friday when I went along along to the 'Meet The Authors' event organised by Selsey Writers as part of the Selsey Festival. There were around 22 authors there, all eager to talk about their books and meet their readers. Pictured above is me with my very dear friend Josephine Chia who amongst other things has written an excellent book as a tribute to her mother. It has a most unusual title 'Frog Under a Coconut Shell', which is a Malay idiom that likens someone to a frog that lives under a coconut shell and who believes the shell to be its entire world. It refers to Josephines mother who although herself uneducated and living a parochial existence in a small village believed in and struggles for a greater vision - the right to educate her daughter and is a wonderful testament to the love and courage of a mother that changed Josephine's life forever. If you only buy one book this year, make sure it is this one. Do visit her website and learn more about her work

Saturday, 14 August 2010

Time Flies!

It is well over a month since my last posting. Where does the time go? For me it has been an extremely busy time.

On 6 July I spent a most enjoyable day at Selsey Writers talking about using folklore in your writing. The group were all asked to put some ideas on paper and the feedback session showed that most had come up with some really good original idea to work on. Well done Selsey Writers and thank you for inviting me.

I have managed to finish updating The Story of Gower, which is now 50% larger than the original, and like the The Story of Pembrokeshire will have two sections of colour photographs. This is now with the publishers, Gwasg Carreg Gwalch. The manuscript of The Story of Pembrokeshire was returned so that I could include an index, which I am very pleased about. Since this book was first published in 1993 I have had some super letters - always godo for a writer to receive - but several had said that an index would have helped, especially when they were exploring the area.

Nearer home I have been working hard on my next book The Shipwrecks of Sussex, which is proving to be a fascinating subject. So far I have meet some super people who are willing to share information with me, and I have several visits lined up in the coming couple of weeks with Marlipins Museum in Shoreham and Littlehampton and Seaford Museums. A visit to the visitors centre at Beachy Head ealier this week proved most useful, and I fear my problem will be choosing what to put in the book. At the same time I am also working on The Story of Carmarthenshire, which will form part of The Story of ... series. So a busy few months ahead for me! What's new I hear my readers ask.

I am also waiting with anticipation the arrival of Haunted Worthing, which should be available from September, so watch this space for details, book signings, etc.