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Friday, 23 September 2011

Shakespeare's Sisters...

Oh to be in Stratford when September's here...

(With apologies to Robert Browning - and Shakespeare - of course)

I've just spent two days in  Shakespeare land with my favourite sisters - Diane and Elaine. Everything was perfect - from the white swans swimming on the Avon to the lovely guy who insisted on taking a photo of us all by the river. Stratford  understands tourists. The locals are proud of its history ( so they should be) and recognise the financial stability it brings - and thankfully no-one tried to sell me a Bard mug!  There were flowers everywhere - outside shops, cafes, restaurants, hotels and pubs - and everyone was smiling
Just one complaint - the railway station was a relic of another age.  If I was an American tourist, I'd have turned right round on Platform 3 and made my way home again. Come on England - we can do better than that...

Tuesday, 13 September 2011

Baby, look at me now...

This image of a baby in a gas mask really sums up, for me, the horrors of World War Two.  I took this photo
on Lancashire's Lytham Green recently during the Forties weekend where hundreds of people gathered  for a brilliantly sunny celebration of England.

Band music drifted across the grass as 'soldiers' and 'sailors'  strolled around with their glamorous girlfriends in tow, 'starlets' strutted in satin and seamed stockings whilst  a German officer peered out menacingly from
beneath his leather eye patch.

There were vintage cars, American and German armoured vehicles and  a mass of memorabilia that  had
everyone reaching into their hankies.  The baby, of course, was only a doll. Golly - fancy that!

Sunday, 4 September 2011

Hot off the Press - it's 'Paraffin' Brown...

It's more than twenty years since the death of Guernsey's most infamous journalist, but I'm happy to report that he's still making headlines.

Nicknamed 'Paraffin' for  his fiery temper,  my father Harry Brown was featured this week in the Guernsey Press, along with the story of the 'Guernseyman' magazine he was determined to make his own.

Says writer Shaun Shackleton 'He was a 19-year-old returning home after the Occupation and he harboured a dream - to be a journalist.  So Harry Brown started his own magazine... We follow the story of 'Paraffin' Brown and his dream come true - the Guernseyman.'

Dad was never one to fight shy of controversy. 'Is divorce here too easy? Are islanders ignorant? Do local
lads prefer blondes? These were some of the tongue-in-cheek articles he wrote in an attempt to drag Guernsey into the twentieth century.

I suspect no-one took him too seriously. Not only was the war over, but he'd suffered his own personal tragedy - the loss of his 11-year-old brother -  and he needed a reason to carry on. After the pain and suffering,  he just wanted to make people smile.  As I browse through this week's articles in the Press, I feel sure that's exactly what he did.

So here's to the freedom of the press - and here's to a man who, in his own small way, made it possible.