DSCF0336Finding my feet in Brighton

after spending most of my life

in London.

There are posts about events, people, places, visits to galleries in London, the natural world, my garden, allotment,  marionettes, lifestyle, mild humour here and there and/or home-spun philosophy.

I used to be a freelance journalist so writing as always appealed to me. I still paint and write poetry so both are in here somewhere.  I’m also a keen  photographer so there are plenty of pics and even one or two films.

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

My poems have appeared in Writing Magazine, Compact and in various anthologies.  In 2014 one of my poems was shortlisted in the Bridport Prize and I had a collection shortlisted in a pamphlet competition and won a local competition in Hove judged by New Writing South. But finally decided that the time and tide were not on my side so went down the self publishing route.

hatch party

One and only advertisement on this blog follows.

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. Click on the link at the side of this page to purchase immediately.

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.

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 Squares Weekend.

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The 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.’
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.  Some of the  poems had been published in Writing Magazine and in local 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 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.

pigeons on cliff


I was born in Central London in the blitz . I had a cleft palate and problems with speech as a child and this resulted in having a complex relationship with language.


After the war my parents became marionette makers and performers based in Highgate in London. The world of art, mime and stagecraft were all part of my life as well as an awareness of the insecurity of making a living in entertainment.  However I followed in my parents footsteps, toured as a solo artiste in Variety and later became a puppeteer for the Telegoons on TV.

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Eventually I married and had two sons but later divorced.  In midlife I became a teacher, taught in a primary school, gypsies on a permanent site, art in a comprehensive school.  Later in my career I had responsibility for developing education programmes in a secure unit and finally spent several years as a senior manager in Adult Education in London.

When Adult Education in Inner London finally collapsed I retrained as an NLP therapist and set up a private practice as well as running courses on various topics for Primary Care Trusts and for two charities.

Writing has had to be something I did in my spare time, but somewhere along the way I wrote  a play called ‘Travelling Nowhere’ which was performed at the Young Vic. I had a piece published in the Sunday Times Magazine, a few short pieces on Radio 4 and did some freelance journalism. Later I became a member of the Society of Women Writers and Journalists.

I cared for my mother for several years but when she passed away I moved to the South Coast with my long term partner.

The wobbly route to writing poetry.

Like many people I have written poetry on and off for most of my life. But during my first year in Brighton I attended a Creative Writing course at Sussex University where John McCullough an established poet, was also the tutor.

I wrote a lot and even started to illustrate some of my poems. When I thought I had enough I had some mentoring and decided to self published  ‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’.  It sold in the Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean, where I was running regular open mic sessions, at City Books in Hove, on Amazon and with the online site Lulu.

I spread my wings a bit more and attended courses at New Writing South, two run by Jackie Wills, others at The Poetry School in London, Troubadour, three at Arvon.  I also took the money on the door for  Pighog at Red Roaster for two or three years which was a really good way to hear the work of plenty of poets.

In 2016 I had the attention of an established publisher for ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ but after 7 months he was still undecided so I withdraw and self published again.

Lucky for me both my books sell slowly.  I guess this is partly due to the fact that I write a blog and have a modest following. I also run ‘Pop in and write Poetry Workshops’ here and there and have done a few open mics. I have read poems at  Pighog in Brighton, Troubadour and Lumen in London.

Some of the more exciting ventures have been as a  poet in residence with the Poetry School three years running. This was with several other poets each writing poetry in London as part of the Open London Squares Weekend.

I have another blog with just poetry. If you don’t promote yourself no one else will!  Just click on the link below on. https://annperrinspoetry.wordpress.com/


Another of several passions in life is 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, naturally it became the subject of a blog!

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Films – I have been amateur film maker for several years. When we lived in London I belonged to film clubs, one in Shirley in South London later another one, Orpington Film Club where I sometimes won minor awards

Now with easy access to the internet I have put several of my films on youtube. I am still making new ones.


some have 32,000 hits others just a few. Take your pick!

I loved making this one.

Virginia Woolf’s garden.

‘The Hole in the Wall’ 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 had had a website for our marionettes for over fifteen years but more recently made remakes of our shows and put them on youtube.


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 – please click on the following link


Our dedicated website for our marionettes

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

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Our marionette collection has performed 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 to place over 200 marionettes that are currently in storage.

There is another blog for Seasonal Affective Disorder – please see header

Writing my blogs!  Is 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.

Please note I seldom  if ever mention other members of my family still in the land of the living!  I adore my grandson 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

25 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!


  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


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