Search This Blog

Sunday, 12 March 2017

PAUL McGANN AND THE STORY THAT KEEPS COMING BACK

Image may contain: 1 person, text

If you, like me, are a fan of  actor Paul McGann and you're interested in the Channel Islands, read on!
Guernsey and Jersey have hit the news again this week as the Occupation of the Channel Islands is recreated in two separate productions for stage and screen.
Gabriel, a play by Moira Buffini set in Guernsey during World War Two, is currently touring Britain starring Paul McCann and Belinda Lang.
The play, described by the New York Times as 'a tense tale of wartime intrigue and romance,' describes what happens when a mystery man is washed up on the shore, and reflects the continuing fascination with this unique part of our history.
Another Mother's Son, starring Jenny Seagrove and Ronan Keating, set in Nazi-occupied Jersey, is based on the true story of Louisa Gould who hid a Prisoner-of-War in her home.
Interestingly, the screenplay is written by Jenny Lecoat, Gould's great niece.

Meanwhile my own novel  about One Woman, Two men and the Impossible choice between love and duty -  shows just how much the islanders were prepared to sacrifice for their freedom.





Wednesday, 8 March 2017

THE WAR THAT NOBODY WON

What would have happened if Germany had won World War Two? What would it have been like for Britain to be occupied by the enemy? These are the questions posed by SS:GB - a new drama on BBC1 that everyone is talking about. The book is based on Len Deighton's hugely successful alternative history novel of the same name, published in 1978.

But this story isn't new. The British residents of the Channel Islands will tell you that  the Nazis  occupied British soil from 1940 - 1945. They don't need to watch an account of it on television because they still remember history being made. I know because my grandparents lived though the Occupation of Guernsey: they sent their 10-year-old son on the last evacuee boat to Britain and never saw him again.

In my novel Occupying Love I have written a fictional account of the Occupation based on real events. I hope it reflects the pain and anguish  suffered by so many islanders; the cold, the hunger and the ever-present threat of death. But I also like to thnk it might represent a change of heart.

My grandmother never recovered from losing her son but  she still had the grace to say that a mother's grief will always be the same, whichever side you are fighting for.

Maybe it's time we changed our attitude to war,  when the horror it represents is transmitted into our living rooms every single day. Maybe, just like my grandmother, we should all pray for peace.


Sunday, 12 February 2017

If you're fed up with fake news - go retro ( or talk to Jan)

If  you're fed up with fake news or don't believe what you see in the papers these days, read on.

I've just rediscovered The Weekly News which even my dear old mum could flick through  without taking offence.  Very popular in the 1960s and with a history that dates back to the middle of the nineteenth century,  it's known as 'the paper with the feel-good factor.'



And if you think Cliff Richard looks a bit young in the photo above there's a reason for that - the whole thing is very 'retro' with a modern twist. Which  brings me to the reason for this post. Featured on page five is another face I recognise, Janice Rosser,  talking about  her hugely popular website which  is aimed at the over-55s.

Called OAPSchat, which stands for Optimistic and Proactive Seniors Chat, it boasts a huge band of followers. Aware that many seniors are using the internet these days,  Jan recognised that some of them were lonely and/or in need  needed  of cheering up. So in 2013 she asked  her younger son to design the website which continues to gain much deserved recognition.

A mere 61 herself, Jan willingly cared for her own mother for several years, but found the job could be very isolating. Now she encourages her members (both men and women) to chat with each other on all kinds of subjects from health and finance to singers and telvision stars, as well as hosting a regular quiz and competitions.

Jan, who is based in Hereford,  would one day like to get members together  for a cup of tea and a chat. 'I don't know if people would want to do that,' she told News reporter Craig Campbell, adding, if so " we could take it from there and have meetings all over the country.'

Jan enourages  both readers and writers to join in the daily conversation,  featuring novelists from many different genres, (including Yours Truly) some of whom who regularly advertise on the website. The advertising has proved a success and she has many glowing testimonies to prove it.

Meanwhile, having turned to page 16 of The Weekly News, I find a feature on the 'Rise of the Robots.' Maybe it's not so retro after all...



Janice Rosser and OAPSchat members in the latest  edition of The Weekly News


You can find the OAPSCHAT website here

https://www.dcthomson.co.uk/brands/the-weekly-news/

Wednesday, 1 February 2017

The Snowdrop





HELLO FEBRUARY!  My second daughter was born in February around the time the snowdrops, heads bowed against the cold, appeared through a layer of fluffy white snow. Gathering some from her own garden, my neighbour brought the snowdrops to my door just hours after we brought the new baby home. I put the tiny white flowers in an miniature glass jug that once belonged to my grandmother, creating  a memory that has always stayed with me.

For the next few months I will be spending less time here on my blog to concentrate on my writing. Since 2010 I have blogged almost every week, made many friends and had almost 60,000  page views from all over the world. I've published two novels, am working on the third, and now want to break into short story writing - something I have always wanted to do.

You never know - my first published story might just be called The Snowdrop.




Saturday, 17 December 2016

Fairy Tale of York - the 'White' way to a Happy Christmas!

The ceramic-tiled staircase with a warm welcome at the top.

The customers' coffee lounge


I had a magical start to my Christmas this week in the wonderful city of York where the friendliness of the shop staff showed what this time of the year is all about. Entering White Stuff's traditional store in Stonegate, my daughter and I noticed a steep staircase decorated with colourful ceramic tiles .
'Would you mind if I took a photo for my blog,' I asked the assistant.
She smiled and said 'Of course not - everyone does.'
I was soon shown up the stairs through the men's department to a Victorian lounge designed especially for shoppers to relax in and drink coffee 'on the house.'  I learnt the history of some of the antique furniture in the room from another friendly assistant and left feeling like one of the family.
We spent around 20 mins in the shop and called back later to buy my daughter a beautiful matching necklace and bracelet for Christmas.

Congratulations, White Stuff, for the best customer service I've every encountered.

The White Stuff store in York

Wishing a Happy  and peaceful Christmas to you all.

York Minster


Monday, 28 November 2016

WHEN LIPSTICK BECAME A LIFESAVER



When my daughter was on a life support machine in intensive care I used to visit her every day - sometimes even in the middle of the night. Arriving for a 3am visit after she'd been unconscious for two months, the nurse on duty said: You always wear bright lipstick when you arrive - though you know she can't see you. Why is that?'
'Because,' I replied, 'if she wakes up, I want her to see me how she knows me best. Happy and positive. Not with a pale face and fear in my eyes.'
Fourteen years later I am now writing a short story called The Red Lipstick. How lucky am I that she is alive to read it?


Find me at https://www.facebook.com/MarilynChapmanAuthor/?ref=aymt_homepage_panel

Friday, 18 November 2016

TWO LITTLE GIRLS WHO MELTED THE HEARTS OF A NATION: THE NEW FACES OF WORLD PEACE


Ten-year-old Tyana and 11-year-old Gracie at the new Blackpool Carers' Centre



Two  young sisters, aged just ten and eleven, were asked this week to name three wishes. Tyana and Gracie are day-to-day carers for their mum, Susanne, who has osteoporosis  and is too ill to look after herself.

'I wish every ill person could be made better,' said one sister.

'I wish my mum didn't have to be disabled,' said the other.

And the third wish?

The third wish, they both agreed, was for 'World Peace.'

These two remarkable girls were featured in BBC Television's DIY SOS programme as two near-derelict semi-detached houses in Blackpool, Lancashire,  were transformed into  a brand new carers' centre.
Tyanna, 11, told the Gazette: “My mum can’t move around that well. She can’t wash herself, she can’t cook or walk without support. We’re her carers so we wash her and tidy the house and things like that. The carers centre lets us take time off for a bit and just be kids. My mum can be sat down somewhere and I don’t have to worry about her, and I can go off and play.I think the new centre is really great and I’m amazed how they did it in such a short time. Gracey, 10, said: “I didn’t ever expect to see myself on TV. The carers centre helps us take a break from caring and you can just relax.”


Added their mother:

"It’s been very emotional and a little scary and exciting. As long as we raise the profile of what a young carer is and does I will be happy.... You would never know about my girls as they paint that beautiful smile on their faces"
http://trib.al/hun85TK


A member of the Blackpool Carers team 'holds the front page' of the B;ackpool Gazette.
 Photo courtesy of Blackpool Carers.



'The show served as the big curtain raiser for this year’s Children in Need spectacular. Blackpool Carers’ Centre is one of the groups supported by the annual charity appeal and its ambitious project was chosen out of hundreds for the DIY SOS treatment.The hour-long show was a chance for young carers to tell their own stories and inspire others..'

For me, this was journalism at its best, a much-needed story that proves the world is still full of genuine, good hearted people - and, of course, children.


A final word of congratulations to  former Gazette  features editor Jacqui Morley, now  running her own company Janarchy PR,  who supported the carers every step of the way.

Saturday, 5 November 2016

Bonfire or Budloe? Here's to Guy Fawkes...

I love the idea that Guy Fawkes night is called Budloe Night in Guernsey. Here's the reason...





Budloe Night – Guernsey Bonfire Night

Guy Fawkes night in Guernsey, has a much deeper history and stretches back even further than the 17th Century attempt to blow up the English parliament in 1605. Today it’s also known locally as “Budloe Night” and harks back to the island’s Viking heritage.
“Budloe Night” was originally intended to celebrate the end of the year. It was a pagan festival where a Yule log would be burnt. Using fire was an act of cleansing in preparation for the new year. The connection to the Vikings stems from the island’s association with Normandy, which was of course conquered and populated by the Norsemen, from which the term Norman was derived.
The original Budloe festivals would have taken place later on in the year than Guy Fawkes night, around the Winter Solstice (December 21st or 22nd). With the advent of Guy Fawkes night, and given the similarities in how each festival is celebrated, the two became linked and celebrated together on November 5th.
Budloe night originally involved celebrations around a large fire, decorating the house, burning the Yule log along with copious amounts of eating and drinking. Budloe night was still celebrated in it’s own right in Guernsey right up until after the war when there were large cavalcades along with many people dressing up in fancy dress.
Since the war the large scale celebrations have declined and the focus has now become a more standardised bonfire and fireworks party

Some Traditional Guernsey Bonfire Night Dishes

If you want your bonfire party to have a traditional Guernsey flavour then try some of the following recipes for Bean Jar and Gache Melee … yummy
A Traditional Guernsey Bean Jar
Traditional Guernsey Bean Jar

Gache Melee