I wrote ‘The Hole in the Wall’ on an Arvon picture book writing course at Totleigh Barton many years ago. I remember the inspirational Pat Hutchins the author of ‘Rosie’s Walk’ and many other picture books was the tutor. Sadly she is no longer with us.
One afternoon I wandered around Totleigh and found the remains of a dry stone wall. On the spur of the moment I wrote a poem for children about the creatures that might live there and created the illustrations there and then.
As a child I remember spending a lot or time in our garden behind our house in North London. The flower beds were set on top of hand made walls as my grandmother had suffered a serious back injury due to a bomb destroying part of the house during the Second World War and this was the only way she could manage the garden.
After the course I tried to get it published. Oxford University Press showed some interest but then dropped the idea. I was brought up in post war ‘waste not want not’ age so a few years ago I made it into a film.
How lucky that the charity Dry Stone Walling Association of Great Britain found my film on youtube last November and asked if they could make it into a book. Now they have produced a dear little 24 page book of the poem and pictures using my original artwork. I was even invited into a local primary school last week and the children loved it.
It can be purchased for £2.00 on the Dry Stone Walling site – http://www.dswa.org.uk/books-dvds.asp
The art of dry stone walling is well documented and the Dry Stone Walling Association is promoting its use because not only is it traditional but also environmentally friendly.
Since writing ‘The Hole in the Wall’ I felt confident enough to attend more formal poetry courses at Arvon centres and elsewhere and have written and had published many poems, including a collection ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’