Archive for April, 2009

H. E. Bates campaign

April 30, 2009. No comments.

I wanted to follow up my previously blog regarding my campaign to make the works of author H.E.Bates more popular again with news of an interesting development and some of the great man's quotes to entertain you. As part of campaign, I plan to create a website dedicated to H.E. Bates and his works. I want to make this appealing to readers of all ages because my belief is that his stories will appeal to all ages. Until I find the time to get this up and running, I have created a Facebook group so that fans of Bates' work have somewhere to discuss it. I have also been Twittering a lot in order to publicise both the group and the author. I have to say that I have been saddened by the lack of support - it seems that few people have heard of him. [read on]

Letter writing – a dying art?

April 27, 2009. 2 comments.

A few years ago it was always lovely to find that the postman had delivered me a letter. Preferably handwritten but typed was OK as long as it was clear that it had been written solely for me. I don't mean letters selling me something - and definitely not bills - but a letter from a friend or relation filling you in with the latest news or gossip, remembering a good time you'd spent together or inviting you to share some more of their precious time. Today, the closest I get to this is one of those awful "round-robin" letters typed in some horrbile script font to make it look more authentic but which has been printed of and sent to about fifty others in their Christmas card. Or, then, there's the thank you note. Usually from a child written under duress - come on, we've all been made to [read on]

St George’s Day

April 23, 2009. No comments.

Today, April 23rd, is St. George's Day. It's the national day of England - you know that big bit of land that joins Scotland to Wales. Yes, that's right, it's still called England. St. George is the Patron Saint of England and on this day every year, English folk up and down the country should be celebrating this fact. But most don't. Why is this? Why is it that we are more likely to join the Irish in celebrating St. Patrick's Day than celebrate our own national day? Why are we more likely to join the Scots in celebrating the life and work of their poet Robert Burns than St. Georges Day? We seem to be embarrassed to be celebrating our patron saint's day and the government haven't helped the situation either. First of they declare that England only exists for our national sports team because we are all British (but then [read on]

H.E. Bates

April 14, 2009. One comment.

When I was younger - teens to mid-twenties - I read a lot of books by English author H.E. Bates. Quintessentially English, Bates' stories are set in our green and pleasant land, farms, country cottages, tea shops, cream teas, pubs, funfairs, Real Ale, morris dancing and Sunday roasts. Most famous of all Bates' stories are the Larkin stories made famous on TV as The Darling Buds of May starring David Jason, Pam Ferris and Catherine Zeta-Jones. Then there was the My Uncle Silas series starring Albert Finney.  Bates was born in Northamptonshire in 1905 and died in 1974 - the year after he was awarded a CBE. During his lifetime he wrote several hundred works including novels, short stories and essays. This is a man that has contributed a huge amount to English literature and enriched the lives of many. This is an author that should be taught in schools. And this is certainly [read on]

Love this quote

April 11, 2009. No comments.

Here's a quote I love from Mark Twain, king of quotes: "Twenty years from now you will be more disappointed by the things that you didn't do than by the ones you did do. So throw off the bowlines. Sail away from the safe harbor. Catch the trade winds in your sails. Explore. Dream. Discover." I wish I had the balls to live by that but money/family/society won't let me.

Easter

April 11, 2009. No comments.

So, here's an interesting thing... Easter. I don't really consider myself religious. I don't come from a religious background. I did go to a C of E Infant School but that was only really because it was the only infant school in the village. Friday mornings meant a trip to the village church at the bottom of the playing field and assemblies still included a prayer and a hymn or two. Back in the Seventies when Political Correctness had yet to be invented, I think this was the norm in most schools though. The Eighties was when all that changed, when England changed. But back to Easter. Like Christmas it's a religious festival but all kids know these days are cuddly bunnies, fluffy chicks and chocolate, loads of chocolate. Last years Easter chocolate lasted one of my sons until November and I'm sure he didn't get as much as a lot of [read on]

20 Albums

April 9, 2009. One comment.

A few weeks ago, on Facebook, a old school friend, who I've only just been reacquainted with thanks to social networking sites, sent through a list of twenty albums that changed his life. He challenged me to compile my own list. This wasn't just a list of favourite albums, it was records one could actually say had an impact on your life. It was a serious challenge and one that promptly got me rifling through my CDs and iTunes library. Here's the final list along with an explanation - something I didn't actually put on my Facebook response. So, in no particular order ... Under A Blood Red Sky - U2 I remember my Dad bringing home a cassette tape someone had done him that had this album on one side and Stop Making Sense by Talking Heads on the other. It was the first contact I'd had with either band and I [read on]

100 Things

April 8, 2009. No comments.

I figured the best way to start this blog is to introduce myself with a list of things - if I can think of 100 things, I will - about me. 1. I was born in 1971. 2. I was born in Essex. 3. I have lived in six English counties: Essex, Cambridgeshire, Somerset, London, West Sussex, East Sussex. 4. I do consider myself and Essex Boy and hate Essex jokes. 5. I'm not British, I'm English and I am very proud to be so. 6. I fly St Georges cross on St George's Day and believe we should celebrate that day more. 7. That doesn't make me racist. 8. I have an older sister. 9. My parents separated a few years ago. It was a shock at the time but we all still get on. 10. I got married in 1998. 11. We have two sons. 12. We got married on the 100th anniversary of the artist Sir Edward Burne-Jones funeral, [read on]