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Monday, 25 May 2015

No Greater Love...

Marie Colvin
 Marie Colvin - Photo courtesy of The Times newspaper
      When Marie Colvin, the Sunday Times war correspondent, set out on her fatal assignment to Syria three years ago, she carried with her a  heavy manuscript contained in a small knapsack.  After she was killed in a rocket attack  the 387-page unpublished novel, Gospel Prism by Gerald Weaver, was recovered with  her few belongings.

      In her role as war correspondent for the Sunday Times Marie was regarded by her peers as unsurpassable.  Despite losing her left eye when she was hit by a Sri Lankan  rocket-propelled grenade in 2001,  she still managed to file her report on time. From then on she wore the black eye patch which became her trademark.

      In a remarkably honest podcast  Weaver, who has been described as Marie's first love and lifelong friend, talks about her with deep affection.  She was, he says, the one who encouraged him to write  about  'our friendship and our relationship' adding 'Marie was the father of the book and I was the mother.'

      The author  describes his debut novel as ' a detective story with a spiritual aspect' but it is clearly so much more than this.

      'I carry Marie around inside me a lot' he says simply.

       Gospel Prism was  published on May 23 2015 and  is dedicated to Marie Colvin's memory.

      Monday, 18 May 2015


      Behind every picture there is a story.

      These two  service medals  (below) were given to me by my daughter on the anniversary of VE Day,  to add to my collection of World War Two memorabilia.  With them came a photograph of their owner, Lieutenant R Greenwood,  taken in February 1942  and a snap of two young soldiers.

       'I knew you would want to know the story behind it,' my daughter wrote. And she was right!
      Is one of these men Lieutenant Greenwood?

      Lieutenant R Greenwood

      Why did he have a scar on the bridge of his nose? Is he one of the younger men in the snapshot? What did he do after the war?If Lieutenant Greenwood was a member or friend of your family, I'd love to know. Whatever the truth he's a lasting symbol of every war hero who finally made it back home.

      Monday, 11 May 2015

      Dear Guernsey.... a letter to an old friend

      GILL CULLEN, a Guernsey girl now living in  Vancouver,  wrote this  letter to celebrate the 70th anniversary of the Liberation of the Channel Islands. It has touched my  heart and the hearts  of  so many people and is reproduced  here with her  kind permission. Thanks, Gill.   Long live Freedom!
      Torteval Church, Guernsey

      Dear Guernsey

      How I wish I could be with you this year . This 70th celebration of the end of the Occupation.
      How many years I have sat and listened to stories of your Occupation , from my father ... Stories of trepidation and daring , Of victory signs , Of tea dances , of curfews (often missed . With bad recompense ) Of hunger .. Of seaweed bread ... Of cabbage soup , Of Crystal sets , Of prisoners of war .....
      My childhood was during a time of recovery for you, dear Guernsey ... And I embraced your lovely beaches , your windswept shores , your crashing waves ...
      Ferry rides ...watching every wave as it broke on the bow of the "Martha Gun " or the " Capstan" or the " Lady Dorothy "
      Other Liberation days when a trip to Herm was often in order to help celebrate ..and to walk through the fair on the way back ....
      My life has taken me away from your beautiful shores , but my heart remains a Guernsey Girl, an islander through and through ...
      I would love to to stand with everyone this year, on this anniversary .. So many of our loved ones gone .. Yet I am sure still present .. In the cry of the seagulls or in the rise and fall of the tide ...
      I miss you always more on days like this ..
      Yet you always welcome me back with open arms and a warm hug 

       Enjoy your day, dear Guernsey ........
      You will always be my first love ...
      My Sarnia Cherie ....

      Tuesday, 5 May 2015


      Reading or Weeding - The Little Garden Library in Lancashire

      A little library goes a long, long way, to misquote a famous saying.  But I didn't have to go far this weekend to discover a novel swap-shop in the small town where I live.

      Librarian Ruth Taylor has set up a Little Garden Library in  front of her Lancashire home, to the delight of passers-by. After just a week she has found plenty of curious readers who are invited to take (and leave ) anything from children's books to popular adult fiction.

      'It's all to promote reading for pleasure,' she told the local evening paper. 'I've seen similar schemes in London, for people who might not otherwise have the chance (to borrow books).

      Ruth has always loved libraries  and says this is just her way of 'passing that on.' Each book includes a personalised book mark explaining the concept of the swap shop to readers. Her home is close to a local primary school and she has had plenty of interest from children passing by.

      The mother of two  has worked in libraries  at three  secondary schools and is now based in her local council library.

      NB - I've just been round with a copy of my debut novel Baggy Pants and Bootees.  Ruth has promised to have a leisurely read of the book before passing it on!