Finding my feet
Posts – creative non fiction, poetry, articles, photography, events in Brighton and London, the natural world, progress in my garden, allotment, trying to place my marionettes, my films and sometimes a touch of home-spun philosophy.
An award-winning blog for a ‘blog that brightens our day’
I moved to Brighton ten years ago with my partner, having spent most of my life living and working in London. I had also cared for my mother for the last ten years of her life and when she died I was at a very low ebb, so I created a new garden, started this blog.
This link will take you to the latest post.
httpsnot://annperrin.wordpress.com/finding-my-feet-in-later-life/ for latest post.–
Further details of books and films etc as follows.
‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter ‘
Poems that explore the complexity of life as the daughter of marionette makers and performers. But there are also poems concerned with life, love and loss, 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’ and ‘Open London Squares Weekend.’
Available in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE and at the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean at £6.95 and 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 –
He was a magician to us
weaving spells with wood and clay.
Other people’s dads went to work
and reappeared for supper.
and most nights
in his cluttered workshop.
kneading clay or carving wood,
the music of Glen Miller blaring
from a battered radio.
with mother’s homemade cakes,
the smell mingling with the stench of glue
boiling on an ancient cooker.
as his hand took the teacup.
He had been whisked away to war,
we barely knew him.-
and discovered him one day
in the hallway
with a battered trunk.
in a coarse khaki uniform,
a clarinet in a case
and chocolate in his pockets.
I was very pleased to be chosen by The Poetry School three years running to be one of the poets in residence for London Open Squares Weekend.
We were each allocated a park or garden where we wrote our poems inspired by our surroundings, we read them to the public and created poetry related activities. A selection of our work went into a Flicky book on The Poetry School’s website.
photos from first residency.
The following link will take you to some of my poetry
‘The Hole in the Wall’ – a picture book/poem that I wrote and illustrated about twenty years ago. I could not get it published at the time but later made it into a film and put it on youtube.
The Dry Stone Walling Association discovered the film and asked if they could produce the book in colour and sell it on their site.
This link will take you to the Dry Stone Walling Associationwebsite where you can buy it for £2.00. A lovely book that fits in your pocket. Well recommended as a bedtime story, a teacher’s resource for classes on mini beasts and just for fun!
This following link will take you to poems some more of my poems for children.
‘Don’t Throw Away the Daisies’
On sale in City Books 23 WESTERN ROAD, HOVE. TEL: 01273 725306 and the Open Art Cafe in Nevill Road, Rottingdean.
Available on-line with Lulu and Amazon b/w illustrations and mono prints £6.99
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.’
Above – The West Pier – pen and ink. Robin my eldest son as a child – oil on paper.
The colour version is lovely but unfortunately priced at £18 due to the cost of colour printing but is regarded as a work of art
Journey into writing
When I was young I helped to write scripts for our marionettes, a family business. But I started writing regularly whilst bringing up my sons on my own. I worked part time. at all kinds of jobs but writing too became a way of earning some extra cash. I had loads of rejections but also got articles published in teaching magazines, a poem in The Sunday Times magazine and two poems read on Radio 4. I was accepted as a member of The Society of Woman Writers and Journalists.
Films, puppets, mini documentaries, poetry etc.
I’ve been on both sides of the camera. My first and only second feature film called ‘Tom Boy.’ Later discovered that I wanted to make films and became a member of a film club OVFM – won three minor awards. Some of the following films have had ten thousand views others 20!
Note – I included two films of The Telegoons but was a Telegoon puppeteer not a part of the camera team. My family worked on the pilot and I was a Telegoon puppeteer for fifteen episodes.
I enjoyed making this film – just wandering about in Virginia Woolf’s garden.
Marionettes update and website.
The website for our marionettes designed but my youngest son – I still love it.
Please click on the link http://www.puppethouse.co.uk/
Our marionettes have performed since 1949 in various productions, a puppet circus, singers, dancers, musicians, underwater ballet, plays and extracts from the classics including ‘Alice in Wonderland.’ The picture on the right below is from a satirical series we made for Granada Television.
Finally as a family we made the marionettes and performed with them in the feature film ‘Oh What a Lovely War/ on Brighton’s West Pier.
Alice in Wonderland – was the hardest film I made. It’s my favourite and filmed 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 puppet circus is a standard part of a marionette show. Our shows were performed in prestigious London Hotels for parties given by the stars. They also took place in theatres, on piers and in schools. On one occasion we performed at Buckingham Palace for a children’s party given by Her Majesty the Queen – in the 50s.
I made a film of a reconstruction of our circus several years ago, it was inevitably without the sparkling repartee from our clowns Nicky and Charlie (my mother and father). My mother insisted we included two elephants that were not part of the original show. Our circus had once included a strong man and an acrobat on a horse but they were among marionettes in a basket stolen from our garage in our family home in Highgate
In 2014 – As part of their commemoration of the 100th anniversary of the outbreak of the Great War BBC South East filmed my efforts to conserve our marionettes that we performed with in the 60s in the film ‘Oh What a Lovely War’.
2015 – Our marionettes were part of an exhibition called ‘CINEMA BY THE SEA’ at the The Grange Museum and Art Gallery In Rottingdean 2015 -2016.
Note- these marionettes are still available for display along with !50 in storage from Variety, Cabaret, private shows etc. Including Popov the Russian Clown our Look alike Eccles from the Goon Show.—
I am a passionate gardener with a modest garden and a tiny allotment on the Weald
After three years on the waiting list we were given a starter plot on The Weald – basically a small muddy field with an abandoned pond. We have tamed it over the years and I update my blog about it from time to time.
But to end on a much more cheerful note here is an attempt at a podcast with some of my earlier poems from the first book.
I try hard never to give up… easier said than done!
Even I cannot understand how at fifteen I had my own marionette act, touring in the Variety Theatre with stars such as Morecambe and Wise, Alma Cogan, Max Miller, Bobbie Dennis, Graham Stark etc. Show business is creative and exhilarating, but also competitive and at times lonely.
My poems cover a wide range of topics in many different styles. Readings include Pighog in Brighton, Rottingdean Fair, Lumin and the Troubadour Coffee House in London.
This is our white rabbit busy on a stint peddling poetry along the seafront before he collapsed from exhaustion!
Brighton 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, 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?
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…)
Wow! What a story, hope you get back to your poetry eventually and make steady progress in recovering. Congrats on books. Love Ann
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.
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.
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.
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
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).
I loved ‘Weaving Spells’; I was there in the moment with you.
No wonder you are so creative it’s in the genes.
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 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
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!
HOW AMAZING, SO VERY KIND OF THOSE BEARS! WILL ACCEPT WHEN I HAVE TIME TO CHECK OUT THE BLOGS I FOLLOW IN MORE DETAILxxx
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!
Really sorry am not, but I love all this family history stuff, such journey’s are always fascinating…thank you for passing by X
Enjoyed reading, thank you for replying X
This is my first time visit at here and i am actually impressed to read everthing at single place.
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.)
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
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?
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
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.
Good to meet you.
Please email me Ann,
it would be good if we could meet up
before Thursday Poetry Class.
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
Thank you so much really cheered me along.
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/
Thank you your comment made my morning. Yes do start a blog. I started mine a few years ago and it just grew from there x
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,
Lovely to meet you too. Will check details of your covers soon! xxx
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Thankyou very much for your application to join the Max Miller Society. You are very welcome.
Please can you let me have your full address. Thankyou.