It’s a long time since I’ve posted on either of my blogs, so time for an update! Though I’ve been working on my new book, ‘When the War Is Over’, which is about Gwenda’s evacuation to the house of the village schoolmaster in the Lake District village of Bampton during the Second World War, ‘Bedpans and Bobby Socks’ and ‘Is the Vicar In, Pet?’ haven’t been far from my mind, and articles earlier this year in Yours magazine and The Sunday Telegraph both helped to spread the word. Not sure if the very quick mention for BABS on Radio 2’s Chris Evans Show’s Top Tenuous slot would have achieved much, but it was very welcome all the same!
Look out next for Emma Gray, with whom I wrote ‘One Girl and Her Dogs’, on a programme called ‘Flock Stars’ which begins on ITV on Thursday July 30th. I think the title gives us a hint of what to expect as Emma puts her celebrity team through their paces as they try their hand at shepherding. Can’t wait to see it!
Writing my new book (hopefully the cover will be ready to share later this summer) has been a fascinating experience and I feel as if I’ve learnt a lot about those times. In May I went to stay with my parents and our friend Pat (of BABS fame) for a weekend just outside Bampton for some last-minute research. We even knocked on the door of the former schoolhouse (it’s now a private residence), Gwenda’s home for three years, but whoever lives there now must have seen us coming as no one answered. One person we caught up with was John Stacey, Gwenda’s fellow evacuee in the schoolhouse, who moved back to the village when he retired. It is incredible to think that it is now 75 years since they were living there together! Gwenda won’t thank me for it but I am sharing the photo of them we took (smile, Gwenda!). I think of them as Carrie and Albert Sandwich from ‘Carrie’s War’ by Nina Bawden, one of my favourite childhood books.
Next-door to the cottage where we were staying lives Wendy, who has her own red squirrel sanctuary attached to her house and owns a patch of woodland on the shores of Ullswater which is a haven for wildlife, while one of the participants of ITV’s ‘Seven Up!’ (the programme that follows a group from childhood at seven-year intervals) is a member of the local church (I wondered why I recognised him!). As in Gwenda’s day, there is a lot going on in these little places.