Monday, March 28, 2011

Buxton Pavilion Gardens 1953 and Today.

We married at St John's, Beeston and spent a short honeymoon at the Alyson Hotel, Buxton, Derbyshire. That was in 1953. In those days there were many weddings just before the end of the tax year as it gave the husband a good rebate due to his new married status. It was a dull day followed by a sunny Sunday. The hotel was close to the Pavilion Gardens and we spent a little time there walking the footpaths. We did not have a car in those days. We often go to Buxton as we visit relatives and take holidays in Derbyshire. The gardens have now been restored to their former Victorian glory. Not only that but a great deal goes on there — antique and book fairs, Veteran car, and motor bike displays and many other things. The Opera House still continues with a variety of shows and plays, the swimming baths still operate as do the cafes and restaurant. But it is the gardens that fascinate us — how I wish they had such equipment for children when our kids were young! Incredible! And of course, the little train continues to delight its passengers as it winds its way around the park. I'm pretty sure the little waterfall is still the same one as on our honeymoon photographs. The little hotel we stayed at has changed hands a few times. It was rather amusing to find we were the only young people staying there. It seemed more like a retirement home for genteel ladies. In fact, when we were out walking, we passed close to an elderly pair of ladies and we heard one say heard one say to the other (elderly people do tend to speak with raised voices) “Look there's our young couple from the hotel.” I really liked the 'our' reference. Some years later it became a retirement home, but now I think it is a hotel again. Buxton may have super-markets and an indoor shopping mall, but it is still essentially the same as when we were on our honey-moon. The gardens, with the expensive Victorian uplift, are far better though. Sad about the bowling green loss, but with so much fun for the children, plus the renovated lake, the building and new bandstand far outweighs the loss. I assume it must have lost favour or surely it would have been kept. We always find it a great place to visit and often combine it with a walk along the Goyt Valley, which is just above Buxton. The poor quality of the black and white photographs is because they are enlarged and photographed copies of small snaps taken with a box camera 58 years ago.

Wednesday, March 16, 2011

Attenborough Nature Reserve — recollections of childhood 1940's

When we were children life was much simpler as were our pleasures. One place we frequented was the Atten-borough Nature Reserve, only when we were young it was just a gravel pit where nature was busy creating beauty from the torn up ground. With the River Trent close by, water soon filled the growing holes, and banks seeded naturally from the vegetation that must have existed from long, long ago. Birds filled the air with their song and swans glided peacefully on the water. Wild flowers delighted the eye and scented our walks. At Easter our mother would ask us to get her pussy-willows (I can still feel their softness) and bulrushes that grew aplenty between the river and gravel pits. We would also find sweet wild violets growing in the woods. Such delight! I never lost my joy of visiting that place. When we were in our teens, my friend Brenda and I would go there, both to the gravel pits and the river bank. We once carried a wind-up gramophone the entire distance to play the Swan Lake ballet music, while we watched the swans and had a picnic. On one occasion we had a picnic in the pouring rain, just sheltered by one of our macs. Sometimes we were treated to pure delight when a group of swans took off — noisily splashing their feet along the water before lifting into the air in sheer beauty of movement. And, of course, the day would arrive when a whole family of swans glided on the water, fluffy signets carefully protected by mum and dad. Swans mate for life and are a wonderful example of parenthood.
Returning to those gravel pits after so many years, we found it had become the Attenborough Nature Reserve. So many wonderful things going on there and all free to the public. What joy to walk again in an area that brings back so many happy memories of childhood. Wartime years they may have been but those gravel pits are reminders of how nature can bring back beauty to what man can so easily make ugly. Now my sister and I can sit in the Nature Reserve cafe, look outside at the wild life, and recall our childhood memories of Mother and our Easter offerings gathered by the waterside.

Thursday, March 10, 2011

The Dark Mirror published by Dare Empire

Published by Dare Empire, The Dark Mirror is now available in pdf and Kindle. Cheap too! Paperback late April.

“Smoothly, expertly written, the author captures the essence and conflict of human love and religion as they struggle to coexist in a judgmental world.”

Powerful forces are at work in a group of country parishes undergoing renewal and charismatic revival, confusing reflections of reality. Emotions run riot. A supposed miracle birth during a previous revival haunts the present like a spectre at the feast. Weird happenings at midnight, desecration of the altar, accusations of rape, are just some of the challenges threatening the dedicated ministries of the handsome young incumbent and his secret rural dean lover. Can love continue to believe all things, overcome all things, in a judgemental world?

“A beautifully woven story of love, a story that will keep you turning page after page. Witness the accusations and heartache of this controversial work of art. This is a story that will touch your heart and keep you thinking long after you turn the final page. When a man believes he has to choose between the love of a man, and the love of God.”

Magpies Nest Publishing for ordering my print books, viewing chapters and reviews

Wednesday, March 2, 2011

Teenage Years of Long Ago

Teenage Years of Long Ago

It was a glorious time
as new friends came along
turning life into a song
ah, how we loved and played
dancing at the Palais
going to the ballet
playing tennis on the lawn
boating on the lake
drinking tea, eating cake
at Highfields Park pavilion

though we went our separate ways
I still recall those halcyon days