I started this blog seven years ago when I moved to the South Coast. I write about anything I find interesting, visits to galleries, places in and around Brighton, London and France.
There are pieces about courses I attend interesting people I meet, hobbies, history, some of my poems and a bit of home-spun philosophy. I still paint and am keen on photography so there are plenty of pics.
Some kind people decided to recommend me for an award so this is –
Mini bio – I was born in the blitz with a cleft palate and had problems with speech as a child. I come from a family of marionette makers and performers so I worked with my parents helping with their shows.
In my teens I developed a solo act and my first summer season was at Eastbourne Hippodrome. I later toured the country in Variety with well known performers such as Hylda Baker, Alma Cogan and Max Miller.
The whole family were together again when we made the marionettes, and performed with them, in the feature film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier. Later I worked on the TV series The Telegoons!
I married and had two sons, ran a nursery, worked for charities etc but when I became divorced, I trained to become a primary school teacher and studied for a BA with the OU.
Later I became an art teacher in a comprehensive school, taught gypsies, worked as a freelance journalist, a manager and tutor in adult education andI studied part time for an M.Sc at Birkbeck. But I am particularly proud of the fact that I once had a play called ‘Travelling Nowhere’ performed at The Young Vic.
Please click on the link to read the latest post … or you can read on.
Poetry – I have always loved poetry partly, I suspect because I my mother read it to me when I was a child. She loved Walter de la Mare, AA Milne and Lewis Carroll.
Like many people I have written poetry on and off over the years and eventually I had a poem published in Compact Magazine, and later three poems published in Writing Magazine.
When I moved to the south coast I studied creative writing one day a week at Sussex University with John McCullough.
In 2014 I had one of my poems shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and a collection was shortlisted in a pamphlet competition. Additionally, a single poem ‘Afraid of the Dark’ won a local competition in Hove judged by New Writing South.
But by this time I decided it was getting a bit late to try and get published by a small press, so I got help with formatting and editing and self published. I was lucky to find technical help with organisation and downloading from Kiersty Boon.
Some of my poems are in traditional forms but mainly free verse, a few even dare to rhyme. Others are experimental.
The Puppeteer’s Daughter
Published August 2016 – Available in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE. TEL: 01273 725306 and the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean at £6.95. It is also available from Lulu and Amazon.
The poems explore the complexity of life as the daughter of marionette makers and performers. There are also poems about the seaside, artists, allotments and the eccentricities of life.
I included a section of poems written during a residency in Postman’s Park in the City of London. The Poetry School and the London Parks and Gardens Trust gave me this opportunity as part of ‘Mixed Borders’ and Open London Spaces Weekend.
I have had generous acknowledgements from two established poets.
My first poetry book and includes my own illustrations. ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ It came out six years ago. Some of the poems had been published in Writing Magazine and in anthologies.
Available in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE. TEL: 01273 725306 and the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean.
John McCullough ‘Ann’s poetry covers the big topics of love and death with originality. Take for instance the title poem which is full of surprises yet also wonderfully poignant.’
Kiersty Boon ‘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 young and old alike.’
The colour version is a work of art (but I am prejudiced) and unfortunately had to be priced at £18 due to the cost of colour printing.
Available on Lulu and at The Open Art Cafe Rottingdean
Above – The West Pier – pen and ink. Robin my eldest son as a child – oil on paper.
I call myself ‘The Beach Hut Poet’
We bought our beach hut twenty five years ago when my partner had a flat in Hove and they were less trendy. Fishermen kept rods in them and families just had rugs and bought sandwiches along with them. By the time the grandchildren had gone off to uni, we were both living on the south coast but our beach hut has proved to be a perfect place to write.
Our Allotment on the Weald
After three years on the waiting list we acquired a starter allotment plot, basically a small muddy field with an abandoned pond.
Films on youtube – I was an amateur film maker for several years when we lived in London. I belonged to a film club in Shirley in South London and later became a member of Orpington Film Club and sometimes I won a minor awards
Now with easy access to the internet I have put several of my films on youtube and am still make new ones.
I loved making this one.
Virginia Woolf’s garden.
‘The Hole in the Wall’ from the sublime to the ridiculous but I am rather fond of this film which is of a picture book for children I once made. The book jumped through several hoops with Oxford University Press years ago but in the end the editor who was interested left and the idea was dropped.
I confess got a bit carried away with blogging and have more than one blog. Retirement is not easy and this was a way to find a new purpose and to have something interesting to do.
Films on youtube associated with our marionettes.
Alice in Wonderland – was the first and hardest one to make. It is my favourite and was made a couple of years before my mother died She climbed up into the loft of my house in South London to operate some of the characters in her late 70s. The boat scene in the garden was a labour of love and took forever.
Our puppet circus.
A reconstruction based on our popular puppet circus in the 50s and 60s but sadly without the famous clowns’ repartee which I subsequently found on a reel to reel tape..
A circus was always part of our show which included a strong man and an acrobat on a horse. Unfortunately some of our marionettes were stolen from our garage in Highgate so I could not include them. Ironically the strong man turned up at an auction alone with some other favourites such as ‘Mademoiselle de Paris’ a few years ago. I hasten to say the seller was completely unaware they had once been ours.
A taste of our circus, part of our show at Buckingham Palace for a children’s party given by Her Majesty the Queen in the 50s – please click on the following link
Our dedicated website for our marionettes
please click on the link http://www.puppethouse.co.uk/
Our marionette collection has puppets we have made and performed with from 1949. It includes clowns, musicians and characters from extracts of plays we once performed including ‘Alice in Wonderland.’
This Alice appeared in an Ice Show in Morecambe in the 50s. My mother had to learn to skate to be part of it.
In 2013 – As part of their commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War BBC South East filmed the conservation of the marionettes and interviewed me about my family’s role in performing with them in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier in the 60’s. We all went to the Duke of York’s Cinema for a special showing of the original film.
In 2015 – There are artifacts and posters from the various films, a model of the car made by Emett for the film ‘Chitty Chitty Bang Bang.’ I know because I helped to set up our contribution with the dedicated and creative Marcus Bagshaw, the curator at the Grange, and had a quick preview of the wonderful things which would be on display.
So please don’t miss an opportunity to see these amazing marionettes on display
at The Grange Art Gallery and Museum in Rottingdean. A free exhibition.
Please note I am still seeking a museum who would like over 200 marionettes for a temporary or permanent display. They are currently in storage.
Lastly here is a Self Hypnosis and Positive Health film.
There are two options – you can close your eyes and just listen, or watch the images which I added more recently. Later in life i retrained as a therapist, working for two chariites and for Primary Care Trusts in London. I gave this kind of tape to clients at the end of a session. I just thought someone might benefit from the contents today, so put it up on youtube.
Although I come from a large family and am a mother. grandmother and have a partner, I seldom write posts about any of them. I think it is really important to respect other people’s privacy..
If you have got this far thank you for your patience. Ann