Finding my feet in Brighton   

Welcome to my blog 

An award winning blog      for ‘a blog that brightens our day’.

To see ongoing posts please click on -


The set up –  I steadfastly avoid ‘what I had for breakfast’. The new posts run at a rate of one a week are about  Brighton – but also trips to London and sometimes France  – reflections – homespun philosophy – shows – art exhibitions –  reviews  – poetry events in London and in Brighton – loads of photography – updates on my life including that of a marionette maker and performer – poetry in progress  – films as they are made and put on youtube.

Blogging is brilliant, after all there is only so much knitting one can do in retirement and I don’t knit, play bridge or croquet. Croquet reminds me  of  the Red Queen, hedgehogs and flamingos for mallets in  ‘Alice in Wonderland’.

I have done many things in my life, puppetry, teaching, journalism, acting, bringing up my children, lecturing, becoming a therapist, caring for loved ones, poetry, stand up comedy etc. but puppetry still has the habit of coming back to haunt me which is reflected in some of my poetry.

I have just started a new online puppet museum site which I hope will be exciting!


My first attempt at a poetry collection –  the one and only commercial on this site.

1-DSC08714-003  ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’    – B/W version in the Open Arts Cafe in Rottingdean – £5.00

Poems, verse and monologues some inspired by a course at Sussex University others at Arvon since retiring. A few had been published in magazines.


John McCullough says – ‘Ann’s poetry covers the big topics of love and death with originality and satisfies the reader’s  heart as well as their head.  Take for instance  the title poem which is full of surprises yet also wonderfully poignant.  The energy of her work leaves you feeling revitalized and seeing the world afresh’. John is author of an award winning book ‘The Frost Fairs’.

Kiersty Boon  says – ‘This collection of poems, fully illustrated by the author, is a wonderful journey from a magical childhood of puppets and seaside towns.  The delicacy of the difficult stages of life and memories experienced are offset with humorous anecdotes and magical tales for the young and old alike’ – Kiersty Boon poet and author.

Both b/w and colour versions also available from Lulu or  Amazon and as an ebook.

At the time of publication I was not aware of the conventional route to publishing poetry, competitions. pamphlets etc. So I just ploughed in with modest success.

I have however always been a compulsive writer, including writing a play that was performed at The Young Vic when I was about 40. I have also worked as a freelance journalist

The illustrations were oil paintings,  prints or pastels that I had accumulated over the years and appropriate to a particular poem –  others were especially designed for the book.

1. In colour and and as an ebook is probably the best value at £5.00 but other options follow.

  Support independent publishing: Buy this e-book on Lulu.   

Example from b/w version

Illustrations from colour version


    The West Pier – pen and ink   – Robin  – oil on heavy paper.

Colour print for ‘Weaving Spells’ in the colour edition

Order now on Amazon by clicking on the links below

Black and white edition

Colour edition  

Published poems by request = Compact magazine – ‘Rite of passage’. This is one was written in Hove and featured in ‘Writing Magazine’ March 2012 .

As soon as I learned that competitions were important I entered some. I had no luck for some time but then I was joint winner in a poetry competition run by The Hatchery and judged by New Writing South 2012

2013    One of my poems was  short-listed in The Bridport Poetry comp.   I was also on the long list for a poetry pamphlet with Cinnamon Press.

Latest poetry or verse – but mainly work in progress – please click on http://annperrin.wordpress.com/poetry-only-2

Making films – I have a keen amateur film maker for several years and entered club competitions in London with some success.

Some films were made since moving here, they go from  20 hits to some with thousands  – take your pick. The following are from one of my the youtube sites..

https://www.youtube.com/user/Brightonfilms/videos?sort=da&flow=grid&view=0 or PuppethouseUK

Or see a selection here often less than 5 mins long -

Virginia Woolf”s Garden (one of my favourites)

Monet’s Garden ( I loved making this one)

A reconstruction of a few highlights from our Puppet Circus.

The following film was the first and hardest film to make – based on our performances of Alice in Wonderland.

My mother then in the 70s and I clambered up in the loft to our improvised studio to operate some of the marionettes. The  boat scene in the garden took forever and then I had to learn the skills of editing. We regarded it as a labour of love.

Pelham Puppets This is an early onea play from a book of plays that my mother and I wrote many moons ago – Plays for Pelham Puppets. Bob Pelham was a family friend


The following film was to have been a picture book. It jumped through several hoops with Oxford University Press, but in the end  did not make it!

This clip is from a show at the Welsh Centre for a charity do in London. Alan was not used to the camera, so varied lighting, but I like to think it makes me look even more lovely. Yes only joking!

Our links with Brighton

In the sixties our family made and performed with marionettes in the feature film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’,  on the worn wooden boards of the West Pier in Brighton.

Our marionettes were directed by the great Lord Attenborough, no less.

Hove  – My partner had a flat in Hove for several years, I still had my tiny house in South London, but we bought a beach hut which was fun for my children.  Later he had to move back  to London and he bought a tiny in the same road as mine – His and her houses – Bliss!

Retiring to the south coast

Beware of making such a move – without children or a dog it is difficult to make new friends.  We did it in 2007

Think carefully about all those informal contacts you have currently. If you live in London, as a pensioner there is that invaluable ‘Freedom pass’.  Yes, at a certain age one can get a ‘free bus pass’ in Brighton but I go to  London a lot, which means train fares and on Sundays long delays from constant engineering works.

But Brighton has the sea and a vast expanse of sky, subject to  dramatic changes in colour and mood. It has a busy city centre with shops, theatres, cinemas, eateries, galleries etc. After a few months down here I set about creating a garden, went back to writing and eventually made some new friends.

Saltdean Lido

When we moved down here with a loft full of marionettes, I found myself offering puppet workshops to Saltdean Library as  part of their community involvement development.


Other films on my  Brighton Films youtube site.

Rottingdean Fair

In 2010 I took a few of our marionettes to Rottingdean Fair including Polly our performance poet.  I have to confess she was not impressed, stuck between the barbecues and the potted plants, she felt it didn’t have quite the same appeal as performing in cabaret at in London.

5260640858_a823ac6337_m-001Some marionettes have no sense of gratitude!

BBC South East 2014 - I appeared in a fiDSC04627lm about the making of ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ a film for their coverage for the anniversary of the Great War.

The filmed the recent conservation of the marionettes and my families role in performing with them in the film in the 60’s.

I had hoped following this event they might be displayed in a museum. The Imperial War Museum said  they loved them but are unable to guarantee if, or when, they might be displayed. So currently I am not sure about donating them! The V and A have also shown interest in our Russian clown ‘Popov’.

I have 150 from different productions to place, or at the end of the day they may have to be sold.

Our historic marionette company –  Joan and Ron Field’s Marionettes has it’s own website.


This site was developed with my youngest son Paul Perrin, 15 years ago.  My stage name was Ann Field a puppeteer in my own right.

Summary of  our marionette making and performing history 1948 – 2006

I come from a family of puppeteers. My father could not settle to civilian life after the war and, with my mother became marionette makers and performers. I was born with a cleft palate and had problems with speech as child, puppetry proved to be a life line.

Later in the late 50’s there were ‘wakes weeks’ when factories and mills closed and the  workers had their annual holidays. We had summer seasons  with huge marionette musicals  in both Blackpool and Scarborough.

My father prided himself in including both classical stories and classical music in our productions. Extracts from  ‘Alice in Wonderland’, ‘Peter Pan’. ‘The Pied Piper’ and ‘The Importance of Being Ernest’. Musical numbers included the aria from ‘Madam Butterfly’.

However The Puppet Circus was very popular  and it was part of the show that performed in stately homes all over the country and at Buckingham Palace.

Other Highlights – Following my solo act in Variety and Cabaret, I worked on TV series ‘The Telegoons’. Eventually my parents moved on to new careers mainly in the arts.

In the 80s as a tutor and also a senior manager in an Adult Education Institute in Lambeth.  I found myself running huge family workshops naturally including puppetry!

In the 90’s I ran writing and puppetry workshops for people with learning and/or physical difficulties in Sutton. ‘Creating Cinderella’. I also did a workshop on marionette manipulation at Egham, as part of a Holloway’s university drama course (both on youtube)

Additional pages on this blog please click on the header. After three years on the waiting list we got a tiny allotment, unfortunately the other end of town, but never mind I love it.

1. Our starter allotment plot on The Weald has a blog of its own.


the allotment last week - ours is in front of the shed on the left



2. Tips for seasonal affective disorder – SAD.   – this subject has a page on this blog and one of its own.


‘Relaxation and Self-hypnosis for Positive Health’ is a freebie for anyone suffering from stress and can also be useful for controlling pain so I am told.  There are two options – you can close your eyes and just listen, or watch the images – which were added later.

I have been a counsellor for the Sutton MS Help Centre, The Cancer Help Centre in Purley and a  freelance therapist and trainer in communication skills at Mayday Hospital and Richmond and Twickenham PCT, so  know roughly what I am talking about in the world of therapy. Various qualifications were all obtained in later life.

Qualifications  –  In mid and later  life. A Teaching Cert. BA with the OU. MSc in Life Course Development – London University –  Counselling qualifications and Master Practitioner in NLP – Neuro Linguistic Programming.

SAD I suffer from mildly from SAD myself but also believe that creative people have periods of self doubt and despair anyway. It goes with the territory.

End of story


Poetry  Courses with tutors  John McCullough, Ian Duhig, Jacob Polley, Jean Sprackland, Tim Dooley and others, as a result I should be a much better poet – apologies to those above –  but give me time!

Encouragement  and support from my long suffering partner Alan Gage, Kiersty Boon, Jane Maker, Janet Cameron, John Davies and Simon Wrigley

Film making Orpington Film and Video Makers,  Spring Park Film Makers, Tom Hardwick for lessons and support with film making.

Life in general – Robin my eldest son has a Sports massage practice in Biggin Hill and is a racquetball coach. Paul my youngest son has an IT company in Brighton. Two of my grandchildren are at Uni the third is planning to go next year.

I seldom mention my partner, sons, daughter-in-laws, my grandchildren or my sister in my posts, as I feel the need to respect their privacy.


18 Responses to About

  1. mary Marro says:

    Ann, is it possible to get a copy of the illustrated version of an Old Dry Stone Wall?
    Is it a book yet or just a Utube video?

  2. pam says:

    Ann, lovely to find your blog, it is beautifully done, and you do not look –! It must be all your talents, and your child like persona which I loved at Lumb Bank. As you know I raced away on the Friday, thus escaping my cooking session (!) and got to Switzerland, god knows how, he directed me with his clever finger, at ten that evening..my beloved poet died the next morning at 7, ————I haven’t quite got over it, September 11th too. So haven’t written a poem since, not yet, I did take my partner’s ancestral clothes etc back to Jerusalem (he was Bishop there for 33 years in 1856) and spent four weeks as a Palestine activist documenting the terrible things the israelis do to these occupied people, so I guess I moved in another direction. Keep up the good work – much love (PS: just sold three of my poetry books on Amazon! That was something…)

    • ann perrin says:

      Wow! What a story, hope you get back to your poetry eventually and make steady progress in recovering. Congrats on books. Love Ann

  3. Wendy Ogden says:

    Lovely to meet you on Sunday at Kay’s workshop. So glad I noted down your blog. So much here to enjoy! I love the artwork and the poetry seems so warm and sincere to me.

    I’ll be back for more reading but hope to see you at the next workshop in January. Let’s hope the weather is as kind.

  4. Linda Lee says:

    Dear Ann,
    Sitting between doing things feeling a bit SAD, some memories popped into my head. The Rotherhithe Workshop came up and how I pondered about the time I sent there, while not really understanding why I was there! Of course it was you who set this up after we met teaching (Lanfranc?). I did a search and was so pleased to find your website with all the wonderful creative stuff bursting out of it.

  5. annperrin says:

    Great to get nice comments and yes loved Rotherhithe Workshops, my dad worked there too for a few years. After his death found a cutting from the Standard saying he had helped set up the Brunel museum over there. In our family we never knew what the other members of the family were up to half the time!
    No idea where we met, but Lanfranc – How I loved the Head, great at supporting teachers as well as pupils.
    Got a brill film on youtube about Sands Studio, well I like it.
    Was not sure about the SAD page, only been up a month…but will keep it up.
    Take care Ann

    • Linda Lee says:

      Just to jog your memory – we had many conversations in the staffroom, then you took me with you one afternoon to the gypsy unit where IKEA now is. A few months later you found me a job with Ron at Rotherhithe! My sister remembers meeting you at a party in Elmer’s Rd where she was transfixed by your involvement with Pelham Puppets (a great favourite of hers). The Puppethouse site and history is wonderful – I had no idea at the time that Ron was master puppet-maker and along with your mother had been such leading figures in their field (no pun intended).

  6. Sue Bartlett says:

    Hi Ann

    I loved ‘Weaving Spells'; I was there in the moment with you.
    No wonder you are so creative it’s in the genes.

    Sue Bartlett

  7. Margaret Frentz says:

    Hello Ann,

    Only today, have I discovered you, your family, and your puppets!

    I have three Marlborough Wilts wooden puppets which have been stored in one of our closets for many, many years. We have the blue & white caterpillar, the Washer Woman, and a horse and all are in very good condition. I am looking for a new home for them. I would like to see them go to a home where they will be used and not just to someone who will sell them.

    Do you know of such a place?

    Thank you,

    • annperrin says:

      Thank you Margaret for this comment I know it led us both a merry dance, with you even considering taking out a second mortgage to send them all the way from the states to me!
      Well following our emails I now I gather they have a good home in Birmingham Alhamba! It is amazing how blogging can set thins in motion in different parts of the world. Thank you so much for this comment it was lovely. A play book is on its way. Take care Ann

  8. TheBigForest says:

    You have been nominated for the Very Inspiring Blogger Award. Find out more here. http://thebigforestuk.wordpress.com/2013/01/12/the-very-inspiring-blogger-award-the-winners/. If blog awards aren’t your kind of thing then that is absolutely fine but we love your blog!

    • ann perrin says:


  9. Jeni Brixey says:

    Odds are long but are you the daughter of Percy and Peggy? Apologies if not, trying to trace family and ended up here :) Interesting stuff Ann!

  10. This is my first time visit at here and i am actually impressed to read everthing at single place.

  11. George Appleby says:

    Dear Ann, We met at the Poetry School last year and at its party in September you gave me a signed copy of your Daisy collection. Will you be going to this year’s launch/party ? Inspired by you I have produced a collection and I’d like to give you a copy. I’d also very much appreciate your advice on making it available to the public. Any chance I could ring you sometime ? (My collection lacks the variety and beautiful illustrations of yours, but its a start.)
    George Appleby

    • ann perrin says:

      Hi George, Sorry so long in replying, So glad you got your book out. I think even self publishing means that one strives to get organised, get poems checked out. workshopped etc. But we have to realise with so much wonderful stuff out there a choice between our modest efforts and other, more experienced poets means we are limited for sales.
      My suggestions are to take your book to open mics, don’t advertise it (so, so tacky) just read from it. Try a local cafe or gift shop see if they will take it. I managed to get two to take mine, but their cut means I don’t make any money! But who does?
      If you have some spare, leave them on seats in parks, busy shopping precincts with a note ‘a gift to you’. Then congratulate yourself for resourcefulness and get on with your next poem. Best Wishes Ann

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