Thursday, August 5, 2021
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Coypus! (From ‘BIG BLUE SKY – A Celebration of Norfolk!’ to be published later this year.

Again, it was winter, some years later, and once more the landscape was a refreshing white. We had cycled, and now we walked. Stealthily. We followed the tracks through the snow. It was four-footed, and quite heavy. Not as heavy as a deer, but more than a rabbit or a hare. We followed those tracks for a mile or two, until they went into a hollow tree lying in the snow. They did not come out the other side. We had it cornered. Catching live mice with my bare hands was my idea of excitement, adventure and achievement. Well, bare …

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Cleaning Boots!

Cleaning Boots – (Excerpt from book BIG BLUE SKY – A Celebration of Norfolk. To be published later this year)  Further language and culture – boots, Grum, June and June, and dwile flonking. Mrs. Lamb, our new char lady, cleaned boots on a Saturday, she told us. My mother thought this sounded both mundane, but also rather specialised; boots, rather than shoes, or general footwear. And when she enquired about the number of boots Mrs. Lamb cleaned on a Saturday, was surprised to be told that she cleaned very few; maybe four on a Saturday morning, but up to eight, …

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SCHOOLDAYS! – a short extract from BIG BLUE SKY -A Celebration of Norfolk (to be published later this year)

In 1953, our family moved to the village of Wroxham, seven miles north of Norwich in the Broadland area of Norfolk, due to my father’s work. It was the year of the coronation, and at school we all made cardboard coronation coaches, and were given a commemorative mug. It was also the year of the east coast floods, and my parents would drive us to seaside villages where we would view devastated houses in which lives had been lost. Aged eight, I was still with the little children, and now in Mrs. Shreeve’s class at Wroxham County Primary School. We …

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Jumble Sales!!!

Chapter Twelve (of BIG BLUE SKY – A Celebration of Norfolk) Norfolk Churches – and my journey Jumble sales, Flemish weavers, canaries, Malchus’ ear. As the preacher droned on in a solemn monotone, most eyes closed and chins gently rested on chests. The small elderly congregation in the country chapel in rural Norfolk appeared to have departed for the antediluvian land of Nod – except for Hugh, sitting alone in the back row. His flushed face was deepening in hue as he became increasingly agitated, and eventually leaving his pew, he strode to the shelves of Bibles and hymn books …

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My Norfolk Birds

Below is an excerpt from my ‘soon to be published’ (well, later this year) book, with provisional title BIG BLUE SKY – A Celebration of Norfolk. It is not a very spiritual tome, though my spiritual journey is, in essence, tucked into the final chapter. But here is the opening of chapter three. Chapter Three My Norfolk Birds Chased by ‘the hag’, ravished in a tunnel, snogging behind a gooseberry bush, and Mrs. Starling’s beak. It was 1960, and at fifteen, coming up to sixteen, newly acquired hormones were tumbling through my veins, and I was trying to discover my …

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BIG BLUE SKY

I never meant to write a book – and then my first one was published. And now my seventh was not really intended, but perhaps a result of the pandemic lockdown. The title has changed around 7 times, and although I have gone through the manuscript around 20 times (and Wendy once and friend Jonnie once), it might still have a few tweaks when the usual proofreader has done his stuff. BIG BLUE SKY – A Celebration of Norfolk is the current title and looks like it’s here to stay. I was born in Norfolk over 76 years ago, and have …

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Coypu! (Extract from my latest book, ‘A SHIVER IN MY FINGER’ – to be published 2021)

It was February 1961. We had cycled, and now we walked. Stealthily. We followed the tracks through the snow. It was four-footed, and quite heavy. Not as heavy as a deer, but more than a rabbit or a hare. We followed those tracks for a mile or two, until they went into a hollow tree lying in the snow. They did not come out the other side. We had it cornered. Catching live mice with my bare hands was my idea of excitement, adventure and achievement. Well, bare hands the first time, when I was bitten; subsequently, gloved hands. I …

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June and June!

The following is an extract from my (hopefully) forthcoming book, which is tales and anecdotes, and brief historical facts gleaned from living most of my 76 years in Norfolk. If you don’t know Norfolk, this might seem a little strange! Jackie was a local lady, and always had been. Narwich, as she pronounced it, had been her home from birth. My wife had met her at a ladies fellowship while we were living in the city, and as a result we were both invited to a social event at the local Methodist church where Jackie was a member. An invitation …

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Dry and empty – when suddenly…

“I’m dry. I’m empty,” has been my response recently when people have asked me if I am currently writing a book. You see, you have to have a book ‘in you’, and writing it is ‘letting it out’. And since my last book was published back in 2018, I’ve been empty. Which has been providential (mustn’t say lucky, mustn’t say fortunate, and not sure about fortuitous), because I’ve been a busy chap. Almost too busy, at times. A few Christmas dinners to speak at towards the end of 2019, and all in the West Country or Wales, and too spaced …

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Farsi?

Farsi? I had heard of the language Farsi, and might have guessed at Iran being the nation primarily to use it. But Wendy and I have not been to Iran, and in some respects, it is something of a blind spot. Some people seem to think that writing books is a lucrative exercise. And it is for some, but most authors cannot make a living from just writing. It was 2 or 3 years ago, when having parked my car at a gathering of dental colleagues, one looked at it and said, “I’m going to start writing books!”. I think …

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