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.

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

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.

seed pod  1-P1050010 1-P1040451 15-Ann Perrin slide (571) 1-p1050393

There is only one ad on this blog and it’s for my poetry book. Please consider buying one? If you live in Brighton you could support  City Books our independent book shop.

At the end of the page there is a bio. info about my films on youtube, our marionettes and my other blogs.

Or pleahatch partyse just click on the link  below to read the latest post … 


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 Puppeteer's Daughter

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.


Postman’s Park

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!

John McCullough – is a local poet with several pamphlets to his name and is a university lecturer teaching in Brighton.  He has been kind enough to endorse my book.
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 –  an academic and  poet who has had several collections published.   He lectures/teaches and writes for magazines including features f0r Poetry London.  He also runs courses for the Poetry School some of which I have attended.
The Puppeteer's Daughter
 ‘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.’

My first poetry collection was a bit more hit and miss but I loved getting it together and it includes my own illustrations.

‘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.

Support independent publishing: Buy this book on Lulu.       Also available on line with Lulu. Illustrations
and mono prints in black and white at £6.00

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.


pigeons on cliff

Bio – I was born in the blitz with a cleft palate and had problems with speech as a child.   My sister was born a year later. After the war my parents became marionette makers and performers based in London. We sometimes went on tour and my sister and I helped with their shows.

In my late teens I developed a marionette act with cabaret-sized marionettes and performed in a summer season at Eastbourne Hippodrome.  I later toured  in Variety on the same bill as 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.  I  also worked on the TV series ‘The Telegoons’

I married and had two sons, ran a nursery, worked for charities etc. When I became divorced I trained to be a primary school teacher, attending the teacher training college with my sister!

Later I became an  art teacher in a comprehensive school, studied for a BA with the OU, taught gypsies, worked as a freelance journalist, a manager and tutor in adult education and 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.

Like many people I have written poetry on and off,  as well as working, bringing up children and caring for my mother in her later years.

But as a young mother Sutton Writers encouraged me to send a poem out and it was published in a magazine called  Compact. Later in life I had three poems published in Writing Magazine and a short piece in The Sunday Times Magazine supplement.

I discovered the Poetry School in London and went to two Arvon courses, but with the latter it tended to be writing just for that week, and then back to work and family responsibilities.

It was in retirement and  moving to the south coast that I really had the time to write. I discovered a wonderful creative writing course at Sussex University with John McCullough who encouraged me with my poetry.

It seemed far late to try to build up a readership in poetry magazines and who knows if I would have been accepted?  But by this time I had quite a collection of poems and several new ones, so decided to add some sketches and called the collection  ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’ which was the title of a poem.

Kiersty Boon had the technical expertise for the downloading and I published it on LULU. Of course family and friends loved it but it also sold in two local shops and it’s still on sale on Amazon.

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 ‘Miss Lottie’s Last Chance’ won a local competition in Hove judged by New Writing South.

So at this late stage in life I self published again! John agreed to be my mentor and Kiersty did the downloading and so for a modest outlay I had a new book!  At least this way with ‘print on demand’ you don’t end up with loads of unsold books in the loft!

I sell my book slowly and surely, partly because I blog, but also  run a ‘pop in and write poetry’ in a local cafe. This year I have got myself  a pedlars licence so I could sell my book on the promenade in the summer! Who knows?

As Charles Causley is quoted as saying ‘Poetry is for everyone, not just the chosen few.’


 A 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 and 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.

DSCF2477 DSCF2466 DSCF2471 DSCF2465 DSCF2494



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 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.


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   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 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 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/ 

DSCF2134-002 Ann Perrin slide (539)1-P1000670 Ann Perrin slide (612) 1-P1000659 Ann Perrin slide (296) Ann Perrin slide (259)  Ann Perrin slide (617) Ann Perrin slide (294) Ann Perrin slide (613) Ann Perrin slide (619) Ann Perrin slide (292)

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 inclDSC04056uding ‘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.


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.

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 charities 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. There is also a  site for SAD  (seasonal affective disorder) because I am prone to it myself!



Although I  come from a large family and  am a mother, grandmother and have a partner, sister, cousins etc. I seldom write posts about any of them. I think  it is really important to respect other people’s privacy.

I have worked, studied,  brought up two children on my own, often all at the same time! I helped develop woman’s studies in adult education in the 70s.  Developed all kinds of community education projects, worked for charities, One outcome was  ‘Creating Cinderella’ on youtube. I have trained counsellors to work with people suffering from cancer and MS. Now l am old I find ageism particularly frustrating, but have no energy to do anything about it!

But I write 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

22 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.

    • 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!

    • 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.
      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.


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 )

Twitter picture

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

Facebook photo

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

Google+ photo

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

Connecting to %s