Finding my feet in Brighton.
I started this blog seven years ago when I moved to the South Coast.
Some kind people recommended me for an award.
There are posts about events, people, places, visits to galleries in London, the natural world, my garden, allotment, my marionettes, mixed at times with a bit of humour or home-spun philosophy. I still paint and write poetry so both are in here somewhere. I’m also keen on photography so there are plenty of pics.
At the end of the page there is more information.
Or you can just click on the link below to read the latest post
Or click on the following link to read some of my poems.
The Puppeteer’s Daughter
A second collection of poems published August 2016 – Available in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE and at the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean at £6.95. It is also available from Lulu and Amazon.
The back page – Some of the poems explore the complexity of life as the daughter of marionette makers and performers. But there are also poems concerned with life, love and loss, also the seaside, artists, allotments and the eccentricities of life.
There is a section of poems written during my 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.
The endorsements are probably over generous but never mind!
‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ 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 lovely but unfortunately had to be priced at £18 due to the cost of colour printing so is only available on line from Lulu.
Above – The West Pier – pen and ink. Robin my eldest son as a child – oil on paper.
Background to blogging, writing poetry and making films.
I was born in the blitz with a cleft palate and had problems with speech as a child. This resulted in having a difficult relationship with language for most of my life.
After the war my parents became marionette makers and performers based in London. Eventually I married and had two sons but later divorced, trained to be a teacher and among other things taught gypsies and art in a comprehensive school. I also had a play called ‘Travelling Nowhere’ performed at the Young Vic.
Like many people I have written poetry for my own pleasure on and off for most of my life. I met John McCullough, the tutor of a part-time creative writing course at Sussex University when I moved here with my long term partner soon after my mother died. He was very encouraging and later I also discovered the Poetry School in London, Arvon and Sunday workshops at Troubadour Cafe Poetry in London.
In 2014 one of my poems was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and a collection was shortlisted in a pamphlet competition. I won a local competition in Hove judged by New Writing South with a poem called ‘Miss Lottie’s Last Chance.’ I felt encouraged!
There are lots of courses but it is hard to glean information about such things as how to get published. Luckily this has been remedied more recently in a practical as well as tongue in cheek book on the subject by Helena Nelson at Happenstance Press. Helena also publishes brilliant pamphlets. https://happenstancepress.com/ by new poets.
But all these discoveries came a bit late for me so I self published.
I am lucky that my books sell slowly but surely. I guess this is partly due to the fact that I write a blog so have created modest audience. I also do open mics occasionally and have read poems at Pighog in Brighton and by invitation at The Troubadour Poetry Cafe in London and a few other places. I run a monthly ‘pop in and write poetry’ group for beginners in a local cafe.
Our Allotment on the Weald – https://forloveofmyallotment.wordpress.com/
After three years on the waiting list we acquired a starter allotment plot, basically a small muddy field with an abandoned pond, naturally it became the subject of a blog!
Films – 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 minor awards
Now with easy access to the internet I have put several of my films on youtube and am still making new ones.
some have 32,000 hits others just a few. Take your pick!
But 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.
Films on youtube about our marionettes and re-constructions of original performances.
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 In her late 70s she climbed up into the loft of my house in South London to operate some of the characters. 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 re-construction giving a taste of some of our circus, part of our show at Buckingham Palace for a children’s party given by Her Majesty the Queen – 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 since 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 2014 – 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 to place over 200 marionettes that are currently in storage.
Writing this blog! It’s a labour of love and I am glad to have had thousands of people from all over the world tuning in from time to time.
If you have got this far thank you for your patience. Ann