The Traditional Village Fair in Rottingdean

Luckily a sunny day and an event intent on lifting spirits and raising money for lots of local charities. This is the kind of fair I remember as a child in London in the late 40s.

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Where else, but a village fair would you find people choosing which toy pig to back in a race, a ukelele band, art, craft, a male voice choir, a Japanese dancer, stalls with jam and homemade marmalade  for sale, plums straight from someone’s garden, and Rottingdean Village News giving away hats made out of newspaper!

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Tbe local bee keepers, Newhaven RNLI, a raffle for the church spire, the local drama association were also there.   There was a big programme of entertainment, the Rottingdean and Saltdean Lions association organised the refreshments and volunteers looked after the temporary carpark that raised funds too. 

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Love the hats people had decorated and met several artists and poets having a happy time in the sun.  There was even croquet in Kipling’s garden but I did not get that far!

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This fair is on the same weekend as Brighton’s Pride but I know a few local people with enough energy to do both!

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When I was a child my Granny was sometimes asked to open the local summer fair. She always wore a hat that she had decorated herself, with trimmings she had bought during the January sales in the haberdashery department of Bourne and Hollingsworth.

As we had a fruit shop in Goodge Street she always contributed a very colourful and edible raffle prize!

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

P1040921 ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ Ann’s poetry on  Lulu, Amazon, in City Books in Brighton and Open Art Cafe – Rottingdean.

Recently most people reading this blog are from the States. If you are one of them and like anything I post would be good if you could press Like it really does cheer me along.




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Poetry at the Little Chelsea Food and Art Festival in Eastbourne last Saturday.

IMG_20190725_220903Mister John’s Poetry Cafe line up last Saturday, included William Chasseaud, Brian Doherty, Alvin Culzac, Peter Wathen, Keith Willson, Paul Raffety, Zara Luther, Ann Perrin, Philipa Coughlan, Stacy Carl-Mcgrath and of course Mister John.

Poems, about travel, one about addiction, a monologue with a different take on the tale of ‘The Owl and the Pussycat’ and many more including Mister John ending with a poem for children about Drusilla’s.


Nickie the clown and the White Rabbit were very proud to be helping me with my part in the line-up. I read a new poem about being in Variety ‘Home from Home’ and ‘I wish’ all about wishing my dad worked in the circus!

There was such a long queue of parents with children waiting to get their books signed by Jacqueline Wilson no less, that we had a bit of a ready made audience.

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These lovely photos taken by Pollie Rafferty – many thanks Pollie.

Mister John and an enthusiastic band of poets for their afternoon stall, with a poetry book swap. A chance to read a favourite poem at the mic or take a lucky dip and a chance to make up a  poem on the spot, or just browse and chat!

Mister John runs the Poetry Night at The Under Ground Theatre Commuity in Eastbourne.
It provides a supportive platform for poets to present their own work in a relaxed cafe bar atmosphere.  The Poetry Cafe is on facebook.

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

P1040921 ‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ Ann’s poetry is available on Lulu, Amazon, in City Books in Brighton and Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean.




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Ann Perrin – stage name Ann Field was this really me?

A couple of weeks ago a friend rang to tell me they had seen my name on a playbill on a programme about Morecambe and Wise on ITV 3.

My stage name was Ann Field and I do remember Hulme Hippodrome and chatting with the rest of the cast in a coffee shop before the show! I was about 16 with a marionette cabaret act and often travelled from London to provincial theatres in Variety. Most of the time we had no idea who else might be on the bill until we got there,

I found a repeat of the T.V. programme and there I was ‘Ann Field and her little people’ Little people’  not sure who thought of that daft title? But I was reminded that the famous pair had completed a not too successful TV series and were back on the road in Variety.

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Recently, looking through some archive boxes, I discovered newspaper cuttings that indicated I was once performing at Leeds City of Variety and my mother was performing in Newcastle the same week!

No wonder I was never taught to make cakes!

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A second surprise in June.

A friend sent a newspaper article featuring the comedian Bobby Dennis. Well I’ll never forget him!

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I once had a temporary job typing invoices for Goodlass Wall Company. (we used to call it resting in show business) when my father suddenly appeared one lunch time with my basket of marionettes. Apparently I had to leave immediately for Skegness. I had been booked to appear in ‘Nite Life New York’ because someone had dropped out of the show!

When I got to there I discovered that as well as my marionettes, I was expected to perform in sketches with Bobby Dennis the star of the show!

Oh dear, I had to learn lines and stage directions in a couple of hours. Luckily with the help of two stagehands to sort out endless entrances stage right, and stage left, I got through the first night.

The show toured various theatres in the Midlands and ended up in Bognor on the Pier. But the skimpily clad stage girls were considered to be far too racy for family audiences and the shoe by was closed by Wednesday!

Gradually things got better and I did cabaret including one at the Cafe Royal  and a summer season at Eastbourne Hippodrome. Later I tried acting and got a role in a film called Tom Boy taking a tiny yacht through the canals of France.


I’ve not flown to New York
but I’ve taught gypies to read
and watched Rosie bottle feed
a newborn goat.

I’ve not gone on a cruise,
been seated at the Captain’s table
but I’ve crossed the Channel in a tiny
yacht with some tow bit actors
who promised they could sail.

I’ve not run barefoot over hot coals
but I’ve wandered the Argonne Forest
dodging unspent ammunition
giving thanks for simple being alive.

My parents were involved with Tufty and Road Safety Shows in London schools and at one point we all did New Faces on TV and appeared on Cliff Richard’s Saturday Spectacular at the Palladium.

We made and operated the puppets for  ‘Oh What a Lovely War’on Brighton’s West Pier and did all the puppetry for the pilot for the Telegoons.  I was a Telegoon puppeteer for 15 episodes.

I was still working as a puppeteer years later while also studying to be a teacher. I was a single parent by then and it was only due to a serious accident that my career in show business ceased. Sadly I had to send my contracts back to The Arnold Stoker Agency who had always supported me. Luckily I qualified as a teacher with a distinction in art so when I was a lot better taught instead.

Years later when I moved to the South Coast intent on becoming a better a poet. I ended up doing Stand up comedy instead in various venues in Brighton and ran puppet workshops in Saltdean Library! Oh dear a butterfuly brain!

I guess having been born in the blitz in London I have always been a wee bit surprised to have survived at all.

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


‘The Puppeteer’s Daughter’ available from Lulu, Amazon, City Books in Brighton and Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean


Photo by Pollie Rafferty at Mister John’s poetry event last week.


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Up to the Summer Exhibition at the RA

with my eldest son Robin a week or so ago. The exhibition is so well co-ordinated and every room beautifully hung.  One of the themes is migration and includes birds and animals, followed by  wonderful works including paintings, prints, words and installations.

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This is just a taste of what the exhibition has in store, but also goes a long way to remind us all why art is important. It may even persuade some of us to go home and get our own brushes out…

My partner and daughter in law Sheila, usually come too, but they couldn’t make it, but Robin and I had a great time and still  managed to play our traditional family game  ‘Guess the price’ We choose our favourite work in each room, guess the price and then check the catalogue. As usual we were both miles off target!

My mother and I used to have a tradition too. We would go over to Fortum’s after the exhibition to see who could find the best thing to buy for under £2.50? Once a packet of tea and another time four chocolates!

Robin and I just popped over to Paul’s opposite for filled baguettes and continental pastries!


Posted in Cheer yourself up on a dull day, Creativity, Famous places, Galleries and Art in widest sense | Tagged , , | 1 Comment

Poetry for the book ‘Paul Smith by Rottingdean Bazaar’.

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I had an amazing stroke of luck a few weeks ago when James and Luke from Rottingdean Bazaar popped into the Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean and discovered the poems on display written by members of the Pop in poetry group which I run.

Apparently our poems, which are often quirky, were just what they wanted for a new book they were working on to celebrate the life and work of Paul Smith the fashion designer! At the time I admit I barely knew anything about Paul Smith.  But my partner and sons were impressed, as were two of the poets who had long been admirers of Paul Smith’s wonderful designs.

A week later following a coffee with James I was madly writing a poem about stripes, as well as contacting regular members of the group asking them to write poems too. James had initially requested short poems, so Haikus seemed a good idea, even if I did get inundated with zebras in the first flush of enthusiasm!

As the project had to be completed at such short notice, I worked my socks off for three or four days to ensure everyone had something to offer. Ultimately there were some very good poems including some Haikus.

IMG_20190605_110957Finally three weeks later James arrived at the Cafe with a huge bouquet and lovely hardback books ‘Paul Smith by Rottingdean Bazaar.’ one for each poet, wrapped in gold.

The book had been created to resemble a library book and as well as astounding art work and stories. A whole section had been devoted to our poetry with James’ and Lukes’ original art work, one page for each of our poems. It is really beautiful.

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In the introduction in the book it says it ‘has been released to coincide with Photo London 2019, Paul Smith by Rottingdean Bazaar available in limited edition of 500 copies.’

This collaborative book features re-interpretations of the iconic Paul Smith stripe and interviews with other Paul Smiths of the world.

Rottingdean Bazaar

Rottingdean Bazaar are artists James Theseus Buck and Luke Brooks who work in the medium of fashion. They live and work in the coastal village of Rottingdean, East Sussex, which serves as their home base and source of inspiration. They enjoy zumba classes, car boot sales and since their London Collection’s Men runway debut in 2016 have established themselves as one of the most original and exciting voices in British fashion.

Signed by the Artists

The work of the Paul and Luke’


Wow lucky me and thank you all the lovely people past and present who have attended my sessions!

I have been running the Pop in group for eight years. It is strictly or beginners and aspiring poets, as established poets and published poets have networks of their own.

Oh and my eldest grandson now tells me he loves Paul Smith’s aftershave!  



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A garden full of roses. News of a new poetry course and other cheerful chatter.

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A new course at The Poetry school with Tim Dooley and Tamar Yoseloff is an absolute winner! Called The Urban Pastoral it is essentially a reading course but with options to write too  if desired. Tim and Tamar take alternate weeks.  Topics include The Imagined City, The Flaneur/The Flaneuse, The Crowd and two walks.  The first one with Tamar to significant places in Lambeth where the poets lived or worked with readings on the way. The second  walk with Tim around Canada Wharf next week ~ This is just a taste of the journey with Tamar so well researched as well as fun and full of interesting details.

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Kemp Town Carnival last weekend after a significant gap. A giant parade that I’m afraid we  missed! But lots of music, frou frou and frolics, food stalls and fun.

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Sheila, one of my daughters in law, hand paints glow bulbs, she has an Etsy Shop but decided to come down to  Kemp Town to try a stall. Robin was on hand to help of course.

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Rottingdean Bazaar I had some fun of my own when James from Rottingdean Bazaar came down to Open Art Cafe in Rottingdean with a huge bouquet and a copy of their book  ‘Paul Smith by Rottingdean Bazaar’ for each of the poets including me, who had contributed to it.

The project was at very short notice and I admit I worked my socks off for three days to ensure everyone had something to offer.  I have been running the group for eight years and it is strictly for beginners and aspiring poets, but what a result! A lovely hardback book with one section devoted to art work that enhanced our poetry.

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April and into May – catch up time.

The new moon came followed by Easter, visits to members of my family. Deer eat the roses at my eldest son’s cottage and rooks nest near my youngest son’s house.

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This is the  magical bluebell woods near my eldest son and daughter in law’s cottage.

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I loved doing a show and tell poetry session at The Keep in Brighton using art work and part of my family archive. It was the culmination of a short course in creative writing.

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Today it was the anniversary lunch in London to celebrate 125 years of  SWWJ-
The Society of Woman Writers and Journalists with president Baroness Floella Benjamin and Speaker Kate Mosse. Wonderful company amazing food and a brilliant goodie bag to take home.

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Time to meet old friends and make some new ones!


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My favourite part of Ashdown Forest, hoping against hope that it was not this part that was burned to the ground last week!


Back to painting on Sunday – with further experiments with portraits in oil with Milo Hartnoll. Have not painted in oil for years and never attempted portraits so enjoying the challenge.




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