Home Page

Finding my feet 

Posts – creative non fiction, poetry, articles, photography, events in Brighton and London, the natural world, progress in my garden, my allotment, trying to place my marionettes, my films and sometimes a touch of home-spun philosophy.

.seed pod 1-P1050010 15-Ann Perrin slide (571) 1-p1050393

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

I come from a family of marionette makers and performers and performed with my own marionettes for several years before marriage, motherhood, divorce, teaching, painting, singing. freelance journalism and later in life writing poetry.

I moved to Brighton ten years ago with my partner, having spent most of my life living in London and following the death of my mother. I had cared for her for the last ten years of her life and blogging indirectly helped me to cope with grief,


For latest post please click the following link,

httpsnot://annperrin.wordpress.com/finding-my-feet-in-later-life/ for latest post.

1-P1040451 P1090389 P1080209 P1100052-001

Poetry –  My love of poetry was rekindled by studying for a day a week at  Sussex University for a year with John McCullough.  I have also attended  courses at Arvon, The Poetry School, Troubadour, New Writing South and workshops with Jackie Wills and Brendan Cleary.

Small successes in Brighton came gradually. I had a two stories and three poems published  in local anthologies I won a competition in Hove and surprise surprise was long listed in the Bridport Prize and for a pamphlet comp. with Cinnamon Press.

I still thought I was too old and had left it all too late. But I had helped with Pighog Poetry Nights in Brighton for three years, read poems at a few Open Mics, some in Lewes others in London so gradually gained a bit more confidence.

No one really filled me in on the necessity of getting published in respected poetry magazines or on the workings of small presses.  Luckily I was wise enough to get some mentoring before launching somewhat recklessly into self published my first collection ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’  A friend did all the technical stuff and luckily it sold quite well and I could order 10 at a time.

Eight years later and with much more work  ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter.’

hatch party 1-P1040209

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. Please click on the link at the side of this page to purchase.

The following endorsements are probably over generous but never mind

John McCullough –
Ann Perrin writes brilliant poems that fizz with originality, satisfying the reader’s heart as well as their head. Her work is frequently surreal yet, crucially, never strays far from poignancy. Its energy leaves you feeling revitalized and seeing the world afresh.’
Tim Dooley –  
 ‘Ann Perrin is an original. Her memories of a world that is almost completely lost are coloured with wit and a vivid eye for detail. These are poems that resonate long after one has finished reading them.’
The Puppeteer's Daughter

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.

Some of the poems were written during a residency in Postman’s Park in the City of London, thanks to The Poetry School ‘Mixed Borders’ scheme with London Parks and Gardens Trust. Some of the happiest days of my life!

Fifteen poets took part, each one writing poems in one of  London’s open Spaces. The event is called ‘Open London Squares Weekend.’

1-p1030099  DSCF1744  DSCF1721  DSCF1716

This is our white rabbit busy on a stint peddling poetry along the seafront before he collapsed from exhaustion!


‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ came out six years ago.  A few poems had been published in Writing Magazine.

On sale in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE.  TEL: 01273 725306 and the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.       Also available on-line with Lulu. Illustrations
and mono prints in black and white at £6.99

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.

‘The Hole in the Wall’ Started as a picture book poem that I illustrated myself about  twenty years ago. When I couldn’t get it published I put it aside, but since moving to Brighton I made it into a film and put it on youtube.

(Update on this story added to Home Page November 2018)

What a surprise when The Dry Stone Walling Association discovered the film in November 2018 and  and asked if they could produce the book and sell it on their site.

Picture Book available from The Dry Stone Walling Association on the following link


Writing background –  As a daughter of puppeteers scripts were always needed and I wrote ‘Plays for Pelham Puppets’ (a joint effort with my mother at the age of 10).  I was pleased with my monologue for a witch. My mother’s playbook and later our joint venture were published in the late 50s to complement the work of Bob Pelham who was both a friend and the creator of Pelham Puppets. Both had several re-prints.

I vaguely remember I won a car in a competition for a slogan for a cake mix at 30. But I was married at the time and we were moving, so my husband insisted we took the money instead. A few years later my poem about divorce was published in The Times Magazine Supplement and I had three poems read on Radio 4 and two poems published in Writing Magazine at various times.

As a single parent I have always had to work at other things than writing.  But I wrote a book called ‘To Lizzie with Love’ about my experiences of teaching gypsies/travellers on a permanent site in South London.  They kept horses and goats and had many traditionaI skills. But I couldn’t get it published (which has been the story of my life) so I adapted some of it into a play called  ‘Travelling Nowhere’ and it was performed at The Young Vic. I was invited to become a member of SWWJ (Society of Woman Writers and Journalists)

This link is to poetry from one of my favourite blog page


pigeons on cliff

Memoir  Some aspects of this will become prose, poetry and film.

‘Chasing the Rabbit’

I was born with a cleft palate in London during an air raid. It was the same week that a bomb narrowly missed landing on Buckingham Palace.

I was lucky that my mouth was mended several months later but I had problems speaking clearly as a child. Strangely my mother just forgot to tell me about this until I was about 30!

When my father returned from active service my parents became marionette makers and performers. We lived in our grandparents’ house on the edge of Highgate. P1090506

We had a room set up as a theatre with red velvet tip up seats from a cinema and people came to see our shows.

The world of art, mime and stagecraft were part of our lives as well as the insecurity. that goes with a bohemian life style. We were rich or poor depending on the sun and the season.

My sister and I sometimes missed school. Summer seasons were from June until early in October. Once we were left in the care of our extremely patient grandparents until the end of the school term.

My mother did a tour with a show in Germany and once performed in an ice show in Morecambe.  At such times my father continued to create new marionettes at home.

At eighteen I was billed as the youngest professional puppeteer in Britain and gained an Equity card when performing at Eastbourne Hippodrome. I toured in Variety’ with cabaret marionettes and was once on the same bill as Max Miller. Later we all worked on the TV version of The Goon Show’ – ‘The Telegoons.’

..Ann Perrin slide (259) DSC04053 1-DSCF1532 2-DSCF1968

At 23 I married, had two sons but divorced 8 years later.

Our final reunion as a family of puppeteers was in 1968 when we made the marionettes and performed in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’ on Brighton’s West Pier.

By this time I needed a new career, so trained as a teacher with a modest grant. When I had qualified I taught in a primary school and also studied with the OU for a BA.  Later I  taught gypsies on a permanent site and art in a comprehensive school.

My career moved on and I became Head of Education working with other professionals to run programmes for young people in security. Three years later I moved on to work for Streatham and Tooting Institute in  Lambeth as a manager and in charge of Community Education Development.

I studied a day a week for an M.Sc. in Life Course Development so when Adult Education, (as we had come to know it) finally collapsed, I retrained to become an NLP therapist, working freelance for Primary Care Trusts and for two charities.

Following my father’s death, my mother moved nearby. When she died in particularly sad circumstances, I realised I had not only lost my mum but my best mate.

In Brighton I did Jill Edwards course in Stand Up Comedy partly to cheer myself up. At the end of it I auditioned and got a place in the New Acts Night at the Komedia, Subsequently doing gigs often for charitable events.

The Creative writing//poetry at Sussex University followed with the inspirational John McCullough.


I have been making films for years. Originally on Hi 8, later on digital. I became a member of a film club OVFM and sometimes won minor awards. Some are on youtube with thousands of hits, others have just an handful.


I loved making this one. Virginia Woolf’s garden.

Marionettes update and website.

I have had a website for our marionettes for over fifteen years. It is old in terms of website design but still have affection for it.

please click on the link  http://www.puppethouse.co.uk/ 

Ann Perrin slide (612)  1-P1000659  Ann Perrin slide (296) 

Ann Perrin slide (294)  Ann Perrin slide (613)

Our marionettes have performed since 1949 in our marionette productions,  including – our puppet circus, singers, dancers, musicians, underwater ballet, our own plays and  extracts from the classics including Alice in Wonderland.

07-Ann Perrin slide (438)      Ann Perrin slide (619)      Ann Perrin slide (617)

Link below to a series of  films – remakes of some extracts from our shows


https://www.youtube.com/user/puppethouseuk/videos?view=0&f low=grid&sort=p

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.

white clown-1

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 so I could not include them.  Ironically the strong man turned up at an auction along 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 our puppet circus that was part of our show performed at Buckingham Palace for a children’s party given by Her Majesty the Queen – sadly without the sparkling  repartee from our clowns (my mother and father) but subsequently I found a recording on an old tape.- Please click on the following link


1-IMG_7779In 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 – DSC04037There 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..

Our marionettes were part of an exhibition called ‘CINEMA BY THE SEA’ an exhibtion ar the The Grange Museum and Art Gallery In Rottingdean 2015 -2016.

I am always seeking places to display all or some of  our 200 marionettes that are currently in storage.

Writing my blogs!  This is a labour of love.

Another of several passions in life is our allotment on the Weald  –


This is the history of creating our allotment. We got it after three years on the waiting list. Basically a small muddy field with an abandoned pond so naturally it became the subject of a blog!

DSCF2477 DSCF2466 DSCF2471 DSCF2465 DSCF2494

I write another site with tips for coping with Seasonal Affective Disorder – winter depression.  I put up posts on a regular basis because I have this condition myself and want to share how NLP may keep symptoms at bay.


Recently I made a podcast with some of the poems from my first book with limited success. But I come from a family that believed it is best to start somewhere!


The following link goes to some of my rhymes, poems and films for children.



Retire to the seaside?  Think very carefully 


Brighton’s beach is not like this!

Please note I seldom if ever mention other members of my family still in the land of the living!  I adore my grandsons all doing interesting things but it is really a case of respecting everyone’s privacy!

If you have got this far thank you for your patience. Ann


29 Responses to Home Page

  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.


    • ann perrin says:

      Whoops only just found this again having whizzzed up and down for a bit over the last few days and then thought I had your card and sent this jolly email to a complete stranger! Who said I don’t know you, not sure how I got her card. Whoops can you send an email so I can say hi all over again.


  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!


  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.
      My suggestions are to take your book to open mics, don’t advertise it (bit tacky) just read from it.
      Try a local cafe, book 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’. Give one or two to a local charity shop and congratulate yourself for resourcefulness and get on with your next poem.
      Enter competitions as long as they are free or cheap to enter. I think it has all become a bit of an industry.
      I’m older than you and I believe ageism in the arts is rife.
      Not too helpful I know but it is a very competitive game at the best of times. Take care. Ann


  12. Hi Ann
    Love your Blog!
    However I just wanted to ask you about the following:
    My best friend Alan Gage for his endless support.
    Was Alan by any chance connected with Gage or Gaje Marionettes?
    They performed at schools in the Bristol area in the 1960s.
    I can be found on Facebook – Henleaze Book
    I do hope you can help?


    • ann perrin says:

      Lovely to hear from you. No Alan was never a puppeteer although he would dispute that having helped with the filming of my marionettes, been general dogsbody and even marionette manipulator in chief as I endless try to ensure they are conserved for posterity. A real struggle at times as I am the only puppeteer left in our family. Take care Ann


  13. Roz says:

    Hello Ann…..lovely to see you at the bus stop….hope this reaches you….thought it was the best way to get in touch and enjoy the blog.



  14. Digby Howard says:

    Good to meet you.
    Please email me Ann,
    it would be good if we could meet up
    before Thursday Poetry Class.


  15. Michael Rumney says:

    I came across your brilliant film on youtube about Lumb Bank I have been on 5 courses there since 2002 the last in 2015. Brought back fantastic memories


  16. Luminella says:

    This design is incredible! You definitely know how to keep a
    reader entertained. Between your wit and your videos, I was almost moved
    to start my own blog (well, almost…HaHa!) Wonderful job.
    I really enjoyed what you had to say, and more than that, how you presented it.
    Too cool! https://luminellacream.com/


  17. Clare says:

    Hello Ann,

    It was really lovely to meet you at Waterstones last night.

    I have had a look at your website – it is so fantastic!

    I wish you all the very best for your novel and poetry work.

    All the best,



Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s