Ex cop topples Agatha Christie off the No. 1 spot with Snow Kills. X Factor Winner Joe McElderry, ITV 1, BBC 1 & Media City! RC Bridgestock book launch tour!
PEOPLE GO MISSING EVERY DAY BUT IN SEVERE WEATHER THE NUMBERS INCREASE.
The launch tour….
Excitement, exhilaration, butterflies and anticipation… ANYTHING but calm described me as we left the Isle of Wight for our ‘Snow Kills’ book tour. Bob on the other hand was his usual composed self – years of training I guess from his 30 yr police career. But, you didn’t fool me Bob Bridgestock I could see those little ruffled feathers under that cool exterior.
I’ve got to hand it to him. How on earth he managed to get all our baggage into the car was nothing short of a miracle – ‘packed to the rafters’ springs to mind!
Luckily the Wightlink, Solent crossing was orderly and with no nonsense we were off on time.
The wind and rain that had been promised held off and with little traffic, since we do the 300 mile journey via as many of the old roads and pretty little villages as possible, including The Fosse Way (Roman road in England). It’s a lovely trip… http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Fosse_Way#Leicester_to_CirencesterO
Our first stopover was The Millers Inn, Sibson where Chris and the staff always make us feel welcome. Believe it or not the people on the table next to ours as we ate our evening meal were from Yorkshire – our destination. Another family recruited to the DI Dylan series.
Driving up to West Yorkshire on Saturday 2nd November.
Fog descended over the Peak District and the bleak Saddleworth Moors that still hold the secrets of the Moors Murderers. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Saddleworth_Moor
One can only imagine as we look over the miles and miles of bleak landscape how hard it was/is for the families and the officers who will never give up the search for the body of Keith Bennett. As an SIO where would you start here?
Lunchtime and we arrived in sunny Queensbury to pick up all the ‘props’ for the detective themed launch party planned at Prego the next day – and a cuddle with our fifteen month old grand daughter Annabelle and daughter Gemma.
Goodness knows what Gemma & Andy’s postman must have thought as he delivered parcel after parcel, over the last few weeks from flashing blue lights, fake blood splats, crime scene tape to blooded weapon garlands. Thank you both for all your help in sourcing these items – you’ve been amazing!
We booked into Prego at Brighouse. http://www.waterfrontlodge.co.uk/About/
Our room for the next nine days was just amazing… Thank you so much to Lidia/Fiona/Vitorrio/Kelly and the team for making us feel instantly at home. If you stay in West Yorkshire we can most definately recommend Prego for home comforts and amazing food! http://www.waterfrontlodge.co.uk/Waterfront-Hotel/Executive-Rooms.php
Our first evening here was spent in the company of some very special DI Dylan followers who had travelled literally thousands of miles to be with us for the launch. Yin & Phil Johnson, International Private Investigators https://www.jjassociatesinternational.com/Home_Page.html travelled from Portugal and Karen & Sam had travelled from Portsmouth for the weekend. A fab night was had by all and the early night planned never was…
D - Day Sunday 3rd November and the day got off to the perfect start as sat at our breakfast table to surprise us was our oldest daughter Stephanie with her husband Stefano who had flown in from Milan.
una grande sorpresa
Twice a year we organise writing competitions on the Isle of Wight to try to inspire others to read and write and in five years have raised over £5,500 for local charities – see www.iowwritingcircle.co.uk
With this in mind we thought it might be a nice idea to take this to West Yorkshire. This was only achieved with the help of Melanie Hill, Editor of the Scallymag who put up a prize to publish the winners story of the under 14’s category in her ScallyMag Magazine. Lisa Farrand who arranged the judging and did all our running around. Mike Seager from Carr Green Primary School. Karen Lowry from Bridge End House Nursery & Yorkshire Actress Sharon Holland Taylor who took time out from her busy schedule to read out the winners stories/poetry. And not forgetting our sponsors Prego Italian Restaurant http://www.waterfrontlodge.co.uk/Prego-Restaurant/, Da Sandro http://www.dasandro.co.uk/, Huddersfield Town Football http://www.htafc.com/, Huddersfield Giants Rugby http://www.giantsrl.com/ , Euan Noble http://www.rokt.co.uk/, Big Blue Frog http://www.bigbluefrog.co.uk/ , Bridge Property Services, Brighouse, Melanie Hill http://www.integritypr.co.uk/about_us.html, Sharon Holland Taylor http://actonitproductions.com/dirty-laundry, Manager Waterstones Kingsgate, Huddersfield, Manager Waterstones, Newport, Isle of Wight and the most amazing businessman who wishes to remain anonymous but bought the books we handed out as prizes. Thank you all so very much we raised £127 in total for the Forget Me Not Hospice in Huddersfield http://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/ Although there was no charge to enter.
And the winners are!
Here with the winners are Jake Conner & Peter Aspinall from the Huddersfield Giants Rugby League Team
1) Isabelle Williamson
2) Karam Atwal
3) James Raw
- Oliver Hind
- Thomas Robson
- Emily Dodd aged
- Chloe Buday
- Ruby Atkinson
10′s and under.
1) Alice Szul
2) Iris Palmer
3) Zaynah Murray
- Eve Thomason
- Scarlett Rhodes
- Ildiko Morgan
- Naomi Panton
- Mia Hawkins
14’s and under
1) Callum Petterson with Jake Conner & Peter Aspinall from the Hudds Giants
2) Ben Green
3) George Kelly
- Alex Bracher
- Joseph Shaw
- Olivia Hopkinson
The winner of the Poetry Competition:-
Chardonnay Simpson with Jake Conner & Peter Aspinall
Actress Sharon Holland Taylor reading Chardonny’s poem
The event was a huge success as you can see from the pictures. Thank you so much to Jake Conner and Peter Aspinall who took the time out from their training with the Giants Rugby League Team to come along and present the children with their certificates and prizes.
The youngest entrant Bella!
Snow Kills launch!
PEOPLE GO MISSING EVERY DAY BUT IN SEVERE WEATHER THE NUMBERS INCREASE.
Hairdresser Kayleigh Harwood is reported missing by her mother a week after leaving work in blizzard conditions.
DI Jack Dylan and his team are called upon to assist uniform.
Kayleigh’s vehicle is located, her mobile phone inside but there is no sign of the young girl. Clothing is found on nearby moorland and the quarry is searched.
It is established that the nearest dwelling to where Kayleigh’s car is positioned is occupied by a lone individual, who is not all that she seems.
A thaw reveals human skulls in the division. Is there any connection to Kayleigh’s disappearance? Dylan’s boss Chief Superintendent Hugo-Watkins thinks so and calls out the whole Major Incident Team, much to Dylan’s astonishment.
Meanwhile Dylan’s wife Jen becomes distracted and distant as unbeknown to Dylan her ex fiancé is in their midst and stalking her.
To all our family for their continued love and support.
Our beloved golden retriever Max who sadly passed away in 2012 at the ripe old age of 15 but still lives on in the DI Dylan series. We’re not ready to let go yet mate…
To those who strive daily to make the world a safer place for everyone, by bringing to justice those Individuals who seek to inflict injury and suffering.
The ‘Snow Kills’ launch event started at 7pm although people started to arrive at 6pm… My whole intention of a nice soak in the bath and a relaxing make-over turned into a quick shower, no time to dry my hair and a quick slap on with the make up! It was a great night as you can see from the pictures below. Prego staff did us proud with a delicious buffet and we were surprised and humbled that Dylan followers travelled from as far as Bridlington, Scarborough, London, Sheffield, Wakefield and Nottingham to join us just for the night.
My ‘little’ brother to the right of Bob who gave a great opening speech. Thanks Steve!
- Rio Ferdinand signed shirt for auction. Before the event many of you will have seen we had a signed Rio Ferdinand Manchester United Shirt given to us to auction. For the keen supporters of other football clubs I did try, but Manchester United were the only club up for giving us an item to auction for Help For Heroes, so thank you very much. This raised £150. We also raised approx £60 in total for the Poppy Appeal with also Poppy Appeal T-shirts signed by the Last Tango in Halifax cast on the night (courtesy of Lisa Farrand) and a collection.
Fun was had by all using the props in the ‘Wanted’ corner but you won’t get away with that disguise Bob & Yin!
Monday morning 4th November 10.30 saw us sat in the BBC Radio Leeds studio with Wes Butters where we were described as his ‘Richard & Judy’ of West Yorkshire. This can be heard again on our publishers website www.caffeine-nights.com It’s always lovely to catch up with Wes and the team as Bob regularly comments on ‘breaking news items’ on the early morning shows.
At 12.30 we were arriving at Batley Girls High School where Bob’s younger sister Carol works. We had lunch with the Principal, Head of the 6th form Dave Cooper as well as English Department teachers and the 6th form youth leaders. It is no surprise to find that they had just been awarded outstanding in all respects at OFSTED. What a fabulous school and such inspirational teachers and girls! Well done! Limited time do much more than a quick hello to their 6th form pupils in class we discussed a future event in 2014 – we WILL be back!
At 5.45 we were on the set of BBC Look North and meeting Harry Gration & Charlotte Leeming in make up before our interview. Although Bob had met Charlotte before when she was a roving reporter (and she is just as lovely in real life as she appears on screen), we had never met Harry. He is just as laid back and welcoming as he appears on the TV. Thank you Sarah and the team for making us feel so welcome.
A still from BBC Look North on Monday 4th November with Harry Gration and Charlotte Leeming – you can see the full interview on our publishers website @ http://www.caffeine-nights.com/
Back home into the arms of our friends at Prego for a lovely meal and good company… we really couldn’t be doing it without you guys!
With another TV interview today at Calendar ITV, pre recorded this time at 3.30 (for tomorrow evening), in the ITV studio in Leeds, we had chance to catch up with our two week old grandson Cameron, seven year old grand daughter Hermione, daughter in law Elaine and our daughter Gemma and fifteen month old grand-daughter Annabelle for lunch at Prego. What a delight they all are…
ITV 1 Calendar
Two trips to Leeds in one day is no mean feat as we’re not used to such traffic on the Isle of Wight!
It was so good to catch up with the very lovely Christine Talbot, Duncan Wood, Margaret Emsley and the gang. We recorded our interview but spent far more time chatting to everyone. Not like us at all I hear you say! Love the Brendan Coyle & Scott & Bailey link guys! :-) Again you can see the full interview on our publishers website @ http://www.caffeine-nights.com/
Bob outside the studios
Once back at Prego we had a quick meal (thank you to the staff at Prego for helping us achieve meeting times and doing the washing that I needed doing ‘just now’!) and then straight into a meeting with the organisers of the Evening of Remembrance. The ladies of the Kirklees Mass Choir committee are quite an inspiration! You can join them on facebook https://www.facebook.com/KirkleesMassChoir or why not join them in person if you live in or around Huddersfield – contact Emily Reaves-Bradley for further info.
We are now all set for Sunday night at Huddersfield Town Hall – a night with the ladies, Joe McElderry and the Yorkshire Band http://www.ybrbl.com/ and by the way they have vacancies too – contact Louise Linguard Snape for more details.
WE HIT NO. 1 in British Detectives on the Amazon store knocking Agatha Christie off the top spot! Whoop! Whoop!
On Wednesday 6th November held more than a bit of nostalgia as we returned to the home of Huddersfield Football Town Football Club to see Mandy Taylor and have a meeting with their foundation director Sean M Jarvis. http://www.htafc.com/ Many a time Bob tells us he sat on his dad’s shoulders at the ground, watching the match and dripping juice, from his half time treat of a warm pie down dad’s neck!
Watch this space as we work towards an event with the Foundation next spring… It’s going to be fantastic!
On Thursday 7th we had the pleasure of doing a literary lunch at Le Metropolitan http://www.lemetropolitain.co.uk/ in Halifax – my home town. Thank you to Chris, Gill, Tony, Diane & Lee – Sorry I don’t know everyone’s names but you were all fab! It was extra special as the audience was a lovely group of people and we had the most amazing roast beef and Yorkshire pudding! Our friends Sheila Hyde who worked for WYP, Janet & Ian Beckwith, Janet Carbone and Dorothy Brown joined us… Now you might have read about Janet (Dylan’s secretary in the Dylan series), & Dorothy the duties clerk at Harrowfield? These two worked with us at West Yorkshire Police for many years in the admin department. Just found this on the Trip Advisor review!
Thank you! :-)
Reviewed 14 November 2013 NEW
I was invited to a literary lunch in the salon upstairs adjoining the main restaurant and went somewhat reluctantly as the food at this sort of event is usually terrible, until now!! Who knew that “en masse” doesn’t have to mean rubber chicken and soggy veg?? This is the first time I’ve not gone home hungry!!! Great soup followed by wonderfully cooked roast beef and yorkshire pudding!! Can’t wait for the next event. Oh! and by the way the speakers, husband and wife team Bob and Carol Bridgestock were thoroughly entertaining. Nice to do something a little different on a cold autumn afternoon.
Friday 8th November – Today was always going to be a special day….
With Shirley Holt who we happened to bump into in WH Smith’s! I used to do Shirley’s hair over 30yrs ago!!!
Our book signing at WH Smith in Halifax went swimmingly! Met up with lots of Dylan followers and old colleagues! Great to see you Jacki! So many locals had seen us on Calendar and Look North that we made many new friends too.
At 3pm we headed off to the Forget Me Not Hospice in Huddersfield. Here we had a very special task to undertake as for those of you who have been following us we have been gathering signed books from our children’s author friends to give to the library at the Hospice. Not only did David Walliams support us by sending us seven books all signed and dedicated, but he also sent us a signed picture of himself. Other authors to say a huge thank you are James Mayhew, Phil & Deb Capon, Melissa Studdard, Catie Wilkins, Dee Kirkby & Darren Cockle.
We got stuck in traffic but Andy from the Huddersfield Examiner went to do another job and came back to take the snaps for the paper! You’re a star Andy! The article will be printed soon.
Jason Costello the head of fundraising gave us the amazing news that our prize ‘To be a named character in the next Dylan book & to visit the set of BBC 1 ‘Happy Valley’’ raised an astounding £1,300 for the Hospice at the recent fundraising ball… AMAZING!!! We also handed over the money we’d raised from the competition too.
We were taken on a tour of the Hospice by Jason – such an inspiring and positive energy fills the whole place. You are all doing an amazing job. We will be back to support you guys and for 2014 ‘The Forget Me Not Hospice’ is the charity we choose to support. If you could it would be amazing if you would support their http://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/blog/wishing-on-a-star or maybe buy a block for the wall of celebration http://www.forgetmenotchild.co.uk/wall-of-celebration - our next aim!
On Saturday 9th November – An Arresting Incident in Waterstones Huddersfield!
As usual we were overwhelmed with visitors to the store. Dylan fans old and new (including the police on duty) came in numbers to see us and buy the latest novel. ‘It’s just as it is boss,’ is the best recommendation we could wish for.
Evening of Remembrance with The Kirklees Mass Choir, Joe McElderry & The Yorkshire Band of the Royal British Legion.
Guess this is one of those events we will never forget. It was a good job that I watched the ladies of the Kirklees Mass Choir in rehearsals without make up on… Walking up the steps of the church where the ladies were going through their paces in the afternoon we were ‘hit’ by the power of their voices. Learning eight songs in eight weeks is by no means easy but boy did they deliver!
How on earth they managed to sing after the ‘fuddle’ goodness only knows – I have never seen as many cream cakes! ‘Hats off’ to the lady who made the beautiful cake … Remember Me…
No sooner had we eaten but we were off to Huddersfield Town Hall – and guess whose dressing room was next to Joe McElderry’s? Hmmm…
We will never forget you…
And Bob’s dad RSM 1874679 Joe Bridgestock who served with the Ghurkas in WW2 & was at Dunkirk where he was shot through the leg, mentiond in dispatches and awarded the prestigious gold leaf for his actions… And here is Irene Bob’s mum.
Rehearsals going well and microphones in place we took our spot at the very top right hand corner of the choir. Nervous? You bet!!! There was approx 1,200 people there and nearly 200 people on stage!
It’s not often you can say you have shared a stage with a choir, a military band and an X Factor winner though is it?
Our parting gift from Prego – Awh, we are going to miss you guys too…
Media City awaits us on Monday 11th for the read through of ‘Happy Valley’. We thought there maybe around a dozen people at the meeting but no, there was no less than fifty from BBC Commissioning Editor to Exc. Producer, BAFTA winning Scriptwriters and actors…. unreal. The faces that we only see on the TV were sat opposite us!
You are in for such a treat when ‘Happy Valley’ goes live in the Spring of 2014 – don’t miss it!
Still running on adrenalin and thankful that I spent the time scheduling our northern trip with minute precision beforehand. We left Media City on Tuesday 12th November, for Ettington Park.
Ettington is a beautiful place, steeped in history. It has Priest holes above the fireplace in the entrance hall that leads out, through tunnels, to the church in the grounds. A library we can only dream about and legends abound. Pitythat I slept through most of our visit.
Took the 3pm ferry from Lymington on Wednesday – homeward bound and lots of washing to do! Hey ho! Back to reality – till next time. :-)
Love from Carol & Bob xxx
Thank you to our publisher Caffeine Nights Publishing. The fabulous CEO Darren E. Laws and literary agent Monika Luukkonen for their continued hard work , support, dedication and tireless enthusiasm. Mark (Wills) Williams, once again, for the brilliant art work for the ‘Snow Kills’ cover and Gemma Bridgestock for her up to date knowledge of police procedure. We are also thrilled to welcome on to the DI Dylan series team Sandra Mangan for ‘Snow Kills’ – the most proficient of proof readers. We couldn’t do it without you!
Roaring thunderTides engulfed
Falling deepNight’s embrace
I’ve been on this site for over a week and you know nothing about me
So, here I go, in true verse form, are you sitting comfortably?
My name is Shelagh , that you know, I’m sure there’s more to tell
I had my stroke five months ago but most days I feel quite well
I live on the sunny Coast in Queensland, with my ‘nearly’ 12 year old son
My husband has a FIFO job so since my stroke, that’s not been fun
We emigrated five years ago, a business visa was our thing
My husband set things up from scratch, he’s into data cabling
Months of doing ‘Ladies that lunch’ it was time to get off my bum
So I got my Private Investigators licence, and wow, that has been fun
I was a UK cop for 25 years, so this was something I could do
Investigations, loved them all, ’til my stroke and now my brain is full of goo
No physical ailments do I have, except that terrible fatigue
But brain ache, migraines, although now much less, are definitely in my league
Most days I’m out, I function well, and feel quite positive
But when those bad days come along, I feel I cannot live
The mental thing, it gets me down, when these days, they have no meaning
Then a few days hence, they’ve gone again, so weird, but so relieving
My brain won’t work the same just yet, but maybe it will in time
To keep myself so occupied, I tend to write things down in rhyme
I’ve more stored up, in my silly brain, and some I’ve just let go
About my life since I had my stroke, so if you want to read them, let me know
As a friend said, it doesn’t matter, whether your stroke was bad or mild like mine
I’ve a common thread with stroke survivors, to help us all get through this time
So to all the readers on this blog, I really should just say
Thanks for reading my poems and have a lovely today.
A little bit of history
Press release for immediate release
West Yorkshire Crime Writers RC Bridgestock land Scott & Bailey TV role!
A former detective and his police civilian wife have a new crime-fighting role.
Bob & Carol Bridgestock – who became successful novelists after their combined 47-year police career – have been appointed as a consultants for the hit ITV crime series Scott and Bailey.
The couple will work as consultant storyline/police procedure behind the scenes on the fourth series of the show.
Scott and Bailey stars Amelia Bullmore, Suranne Jones and Lesley Sharp are police officers Gill Murray, Rachel Bailey and Janet Scott, three members of Manchester’s Major Incident Team.
The show’s third run drew to a close on May 23, pulling in a final audience of 7.1 million viewers.
Bob, who handled dozens of murder inquiries for West Yorkshire Police and his wife Carol are the Island couple behind the crime novels featuring Det Insp Jack Dylan, set in the fictional Yorkshire town of Harrowfield.
Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights, the Bridgestocks’ UK Publisher, said: ”This follows on from the rights sale into South Korea & Turkey and marks a fantastic year for Bob and Carol Bridgestock.
“They have also been working as consultants with Red Productions Co. On a new BBC 1 commissioned crime drama ‘Happy Valley’, and have now been asked to work on ITV’s award-winning crime drama series, Scott and Bailey.”
Due to the success of the writing competitions the couple run on the Island they are also launching a story-writing competition for children in their home town in Calderdale, tied in with their November book launch of their latest novel ‘Snow Kills’.
Entry is free but donations can be made to the Forget Me Not Children’s Hospice.
Youngsters from the Brighouse and Halifax area will be asked to come up with stories on the theme “Snow Time”.
The couple will be at the Isle of Wight Literary Festival as ‘Dragon’s’ in the Dragon’s Den. A press release will be given soon.
To interview RC Bridgestock please contact Darren on 01634 681432
A Stroke? Not me – I‘m only 49! A heart felt poem written by a very lovely lady & dear friend of ours…
By Shelagh Brennand
“Twas a sunny day in Queensland, the day that changed my life
How was I to know a little gardening would cause us all such strife.
The day before I’d been with friends, and really feeling great
49 and fit as a lop and I’d even lost some weight.
So, the last day of the holidays, I cherished with my son
We weeded, seeded, trimmed and chopped, until it was all done.
“Please can I now go inside” he said with such a frown
So that left me in the garden, lawn mowing on my own.
The day was hot, I’d done a lot, and I should have taken a break
So I went inside to have a rest, perhaps a meal to make.
I suddenly came over all dizzy and hot and felt a little squiffy
My head into the toilet, I thought would sort it in a jiffy.
That’s the last thing I remember, before I clearly fell
When I awoke I saw my son and didn’t feel too well.
His name that I first shouted, I could say no more
I could not move a muscle, from that cold, tiled bathroom floor.
My mouth it moved, but no words came, I thought I had gone dumb
My right leg couldn’t move at all, my right side had gone numb.
Oh what to do, his little face, I see it every day
Such calm, then panic looking at me, slumped there in disarray.
A friend, thank God, she came around and knew just what to do
The next things I remember were those marvellous Ambulance crew.
“A stroke”, they muttered to themselves, I thought it could not be
In three months time I was going to be only half a century.
“I’m far too young, you’ve got it wrong” I thought and tried to say
I wasn’t going to be a stroke victim, on that lovely sunny day.
The words, the tubes, the tests and lots of things they had to do
I felt scared and helpless, so confused, but that crew, they got me through.
The flashing lights at every stop, the sirens and the rush
Could this be really happening to me, a 49 year old lush?
The hospital, now that was fun, the chaos and the mayhem
Those Doctors they worked tirelessly, I could never be one of them.
The days that followed brought good news, the stroke team did their bit
A clot had caused this sorry mess and soon I would be fit.
My voice came back quite easily, and so my walking too
I did feel quite a lucky girl despite the hullabaloo.
So now this brings me three months on and wow have I improved
Though fatigue still hurts both in my head and in my body too.
“Don’t rush back to your old life” advice it came in droves
Since I’ve been well I seem to have my brain so full of odes.
These poems are the strangest thing; they swirl around in my head
Quite often, I just cannot sleep and get out of my bed.
My social worker, what a lady, Judy was so great
She said the brain does wondrous things, so don’t fight them, celebrate.
I’m 50 now, I got there quick, with friends to roust me on
A husband, sister close at hand and of course my loving son.
The recovery months are still to come, so rest it is a key
Who knows what lies ahead for us, life is a mystery.
So please take note of my young age, for this tale it is so true
Just be aware of your own limits, or it can happen to you.
Shelagh, 50 years
C H A P T E R T H R E E
In 1942 I married my sweetheart, Leonard Munday whom I had known since I was 17. We met on Culver Down as we were both dog walking. He was in Coastal Defence, a gunner in the Royal Artillery. We had also met whilst cycling along the sea wall at Seaview. He was very shy and his friend introduced him to me. He was a very keen musician and played the saxophone and the clarinet and I had seen him playing with other musicians at one of the Vicarage garden parties.
We enjoyed talking to each other and then started to go out together, sometimes to the Commodore cinema in Ryde or to the organised dances. The Services tried hard to give us all some leisure activities which certainly took our minds off the bombings which were constantly taking place.
We had got engaged in 1941. My fiancé had bought me a diamond engagement ring. Sadly three weeks later whilst gardening at granny’s house in Seaview, I lost my beautiful ring. My lovely fiancé bought me a new ring, this time a twist design, with even more diamonds! The original was never found and later on the earth was concreted over so my ring remains buried forever. After that, I always put it in my pocket for safety, most especially when I was gardening.
I wanted to have a proper reception for the guests at my wedding and asked the local baker in Seaview, “Would you be able to do a nice reception for me? I know that rationing might make it difficult but what are the possibilities?” He said, “As you are getting married in June I could do you a nice salad as we can grow that. We can also have home grown potatoes and have half a pound of cheese, your ration allowance for one week.” All this had to stretch to 33 guests and surprisingly it did!
The wedding breakfast cost 3 shillings and 6 pence per head. My mother and father had to apply for travel permits to come to the Island for the wedding. They travelled by paddle steamer and had to go back to Southampton on the one designated to them by the authorities.
Due to very stringent rationing during the war we were unable to use sugar to make icing for the wedding cake and the baker had to be very innovative. He made marzipan with a type of semolina to get a nice white colouring which looked as close to icing as he could get. He then added some almond essence, covered the outside with rice paper carefully and in the joins of the rice paper added layers of artificial flowers. It was very difficult to get hold of any dried fruit for the cake mix but as usual everyone rallied round and one Wren was able to offer one half pound of prunes. The baker cut them up very carefully and made them into currant shapes and together with another Wren’s offering of a quarter pound of raisins a very nice and tasty wedding cake was made. He then put the pink artificial roses around the cake and it looked very beautiful.
I wore a pink wedding dress, which had been a dress I had worn as a bridesmaid, and had a borrowed veil. I was unable to get a white dress due to strict rationing.
Make do and mend was very much the order of the day during the war but it made us very innovative and we found new and different ways to do things. We were not really, at least most of the time, unhappy with our lot. We had a very important job to do and we did it to the best of our ability. Many did it by sacrificing their lives for others.
I was married in the Methodist Church in Seaview and after the lovely service I came out of the church with my husband, Leonard. He was 28 years old. There was a guard of honour by my fellow Wrens. In the photograph, as I was coming out of the church and through my arch of Wrens, there laid carefully in the corner was my gas mask. It still makes me laugh today to think about it but as Service personnel we had to wear special gas masks that were rather more complicated than the ordinary issue. We had to be able to walk around whilst wearing it and keep on going and do whatever needed to be done during an air raid. It was a vital part of our duties.
There is a lovely, funny photograph of myself and my fellow Wrens on a gas training course in Portsmouth. We were there to learn how to use our masks properly. In one of the photographs we are all posed, in naval uniform and with our faces completely covered with the gas masks. It was not a glamorous look, indeed we looked like something out of a science fiction story. The training itself was quite frightening. We had to go through the Tipnor Gas Tank, remove our gas masks and rush quickly to the exit. The smell was awful and we emerged with streaming eyes and lots of coughing and spluttering. The thought of being in a gas attack was very frightening and it brought home the reality of how dangerous and unpleasant that would be.
Leonard, my lovely husband and I honeymooned in the New Forest. We only had two days there before he received a telegram informing him that his father had died. Sadly, our honeymoon was over early.
Everyone travelling to and from the Isle of Wight had to have a special permit during the war so travel backwards and forwards to the mainland was very difficult. As the Island was considered a very strategic and important spot it had to be protected from German invasion. The permit had to state how much time you were spending there and the reasons for your visit. It was very strictly adhered to and of course we all understood why. The proximity to Portsmouth where so many Naval ships were moored made it imperative that the Island did not have infiltrators sympathetic to the German war effort. The ships themselves were an obvious target for the Luftwaffe.
The restrictions were also applied to near relatives of Island dwellers as I have already mentioned. The permit itself was very difficult to obtain and there had to be very good reasons for the trip. The local newspaper, the Isle of Wight County Press, at the time described it as a ‘Necessary but most inconvenient isolation’ The County Press is still the Island’s newspaper and is as informative today as it was during those war years. Some things don’t change, fortunately.
Although travel on and off the Island was diffi cult we did manage to do so on occasions. As my family lived on the mainland I was granted permission to travel to Fair Oak in Eastleigh where they lived. My father had been the Chief Engineer on private yachts before the war. Perhaps that is why I so wanted to join the Wrens and follow in my father’s footsteps.
On one occasion I had visited my parents in Eastleigh. It was Double Summertime, two hours forward instead of one from Greenwich Mean Time (GMT). This was, of course, to save electricity and keep industry and farming working as efficiently as possible.
I would normally have left my parents at 3 o’clock in the afternoon but father had suggested I stay longer as it was now much lighter into the evening. I was happy to have a few more hours with my family as I did not get to see them that often. When I eventually got to Portsmouth Harbour the train I should have been on had been completely destroyed.
It had been bombed by the Germans. Travelling later had saved my life, yet another escape from either death or very nasty injuries. As I mentioned earlier people formed all kinds of friendships during the war and some were in very strange circumstances indeed.
It was a common occurrence, at that time, for the Germans to drop propaganda leaflets in order to undermine the war effort and to make people feel that we were losing the war and would eventually be ruled by them.
My sister, Patricia had such a leaflet, which had fallen in the back garden from one of these air drops. She was looking at it as she sat down on the bus to travel home one day. The leaflet had been found near Winchester. She had sat next to a distressed woman who had not heard from her son in a very long time.
As they both looked at the pictures on the leaflet the woman suddenly cried, “That’s my son there.” It later turned out that he was a prisoner of war in Germany and at the end of the war he came home safely.
This was a most amazing coincidence and an outcome that the Germans had not intended, to comfort someone who believed she had lost her beloved son.
It was not the only coincidence of it’s kind. A photograph of a gravestone in a Commonwealth War Cemetery had been taken by a visitor to the graveyard. The gravestone belonged to a young man, only 18, who had been killed in the Normandy landings in 1944. He came from Bembridge on the Isle of Wight and had served with the Hampshire Regiment. By chance the photograph was shown to a friend of the family and eventually the family were shown the picture. Later his two brothers visited the grave. They had never known previously what had happened to him.
You can purchase One Wren’s War by Irene Burkett @ http://www.amazon.co.uk/One-Wrens-War-Margaret-Munday-Whitakers/dp/0957454007 or any good book shop.
Revamp your wardrobe – live in the present
By our Life Coach Maggie Currie
Change how you feel about yourself with the practical task of revamping your wardrobe.
By getting rid of any unflattering clothes, the way is cleared for a new, improved you. A careful reassessment of what you wear is a truly transforming experience. Follow these guidelines, and you could change your life.
By ridding yourself of the unwearable rubbish, paradoxically you will find you have more of everything.
- More wearable, worthy clothes
- More time – you’ll get dressed so much quicker!
- More money – no more impulse buys
- More confidence
- More control
To totally revamp your wardrobe, you will need:
- Best part of a day, uninterrupted
- Bin bags, boxes
- Coat hangers
- Good, uplifting music (anything you like that motivates you)
- Loads of energy and a positive attitude
First of all, take every single thing out of your wardrobe. Make sure the whole thing is empty. Put everything on the floor or bed. You need to clear the decks.
Next, create a reject pile and cast aside EVERYTHING that is:
- Doesn’t fit and never will.
- Old and tatty
- Baggy and shapeless
- You have not worn for a year at least
- Totally not you.
Take a step back and have a really good look at what is left.
What are your clothes REALLY saying about you? Do you like what you hear? Is there anything not reflecting your true personality? If there is, put it on the reject pile.
You are bound to be left with a number of garments you still have doubts about. Try these on, and take a long look in the mirror.
- Does it still fit?
- Is it flattering?
- When did you last wear it? (Honestly)
- If you saw someone else wearing it, would you compliment her?
Ask yourself, is the garment really worthy of being worn by you? If the answer is no, reject it. Be ruthless. From now on, only choose to wear clothes that reflect you at your best.
Let’s just stop here and evaluate your cast off pile. How does it feel to be getting rid of this stuff? Take this opportunity to take stock of your appearance, your self-image, and your life. Do not choose to hold on to old clothes you no longer have use for? They are taking up precious space you could be using to expand into your new, beautiful self. If you need to keep a memory, find something more appropriate: a photo, a piece of jewellery or a letter.
Resolve now to live in the present. Let go of these clothes and make room for your new life.
There may be items you have bought but have never worn, and maybe you feel guilty about these. You won’t change that situation by hanging on to them, but just sustain it. Stop beating yourself up with the constant reminder every time you open the wardrobe. Do some good and take them to the charity shop.
Maybe you have lost some weight, but are still hanging on to your “fat clothes.” Reject these now, and let go of the temptation to slip back into your old habits. If you do put weight back on, the clothes will probably be out of style, anyway.
Bag up your rejects right now and take them away. No regrets. Look to the future! Go and buy a few items that reflect the new you and you feel comfortable in. Add to these as and when you can afford to.
28 August 2013
Press release for immediate release
RC Bridgestock sold to Turkey in a three-novel deal
The deal was struck with the Turkish publisher Trend Yayınevi for the first three RC Bridgestock novels (Deadly Focus, Consequences and White Lilies). The deal was negotiated by Kalem Agency of Turkey and Monika Luukkonen Literary Agency.
Literary Agent Monika Luukkonen said: “I am very excited about this deal which shows that RC Bridgestock crime novels are starting to get more and more interest from publishers outside the UK.”
RC Bridgestock is husband and wife crime fiction authors, Bob and Carol Bridgestock. With 47 years of policing between them they write compelling police procedural novels set in Harrowfield, a fictional town in Yorkshire and feature Detective Inspector Jack Dylan.
Darren Laws from Caffeine Nights, the Bridgestock’s UK Publisher, said: “This follows on from the rights sale into South Korea earlier in the year and marks a fantastic year for Bob and Carol Bridgestock. They have been working as consultants with Red Productions on a new BBC crime drama Happy Valley, and ITV’s award winning crime drama series, Scott & Bailey.”
A fourth novel is about to be added to RC Bridgestock’s works with the publication of Snow Kills in November published by Caffeine Nights Publishing.
“Bob, Carol and I would like to thank Monika Luukkonen for her hard work in selling the rights to these titles,” Darren concluded.
‘Kinango Days na Safari a busi’
by Hugh Harrison
The overnight bus from Nairobi Airport to Mombasa was an eye-opener. It was the equivalent of arriving in a space shuttle and leaving in a stagecoach with the roof of the Leyland bus stacked high with sacks of maize, rice, beans, tools, stoves, blankets, furniture and miscellaneous cooking utensils.
‘Wenda wapi, wazungu, where are you going Europeans’.
The question was directed at Jo and me, having recently arrived as Project Trust Volunteers from Dachet, near Windsor, U.K.
‘Wenda Mombasa, mzee, we’re going to Mombasa, sir’, Jo replied to the old man.
‘Vizuri sana, na safari njema, very good, and have a nice journey’, the old man added, as we shoved our huge rucksacks on to the luggage racks above our heads. Sitting all around us were a mixture of returning office workers, government officials, peasant farmers cuddling cages of live chickens, young women nursing babies and a few intrepid travellers like us.
The last time I was in Kenya was in 1957, the year Mum died from a fatal illness, so going back was like some kind of pilgrimage to my Anglo-African roots, and I wasn’t sure what I might find fifteen years on. No amount of ‘country familiarization’ would prepare us for our sojourn to a remote Harambee (self-help) Secondary School in the arid coastal region of Kwale, fifty miles from the historical port city of Mombasa, made famous through its key role in the Arab-European Slave Trade.
Jo and I had spent the previous six weeks in the UK doing an intensive TEFL (Teaching English as a Foreign Language) course to prepare us as volunteer English and core curriculum teachers for the coming year. Neither of us knew what to expect, but we both agreed that this was going to be a worthwhile challenge, despite us being somewhat naïve to say the least.
Leaving Nairobi Airport behind us in a blaze of lights and jet engine noise, we were glad to be on our way at last. Ahead of us was a 600 mile journey on one of Africa’s most notorious highways, claiming more lives than any other road in East Africa. We were soon to learn why it had this unenviable reputation. When we weren’t heading forward helter skelter with horn blaring and lights flashing, we were dodging at high speed around innumerable, wheel-sized potholes wrenching at our seats and backs.
‘Perhaps we should have taken the train, after all’, I said to Jo. ‘You’re absolutely right we should!’
After about two hours of fitful, terrorized sleep, the bus pulled into a long lay-by filled with Indian and African traders illumined with a kerosene lamp selling everything from bunches of bananas, pineapples and nuts, to bags of small, sweet cakes and bottled water.
‘Wazungu, wazungu, napenda chakula, maji, Europeans, would you like to buy food, water?’
‘Hapana, mama. Asante sana, no thanks, mother,’ was our official line as we had been warned of the perils of unwashed fruit and food of doubtful provenance.
Looking up above us, I was utterly amazed by the plethora of bright stars and galaxies, which made our safari seem very humble by comparison. As I was contemplating the far reaches of the constellations, a man spoke to us. He was wearing a Moslem prayer hat, and had distinguished look about him.
‘Hamjambo, vijana, how are you, young men?’
‘Hatujambo, Mzee, we’re fine, sir’, we replied.
‘Wenda wapi, where are you going?’
‘Wenda Mombasa. Ku-fundisha, Mzee, we’re going to Mombasa to teach’, Jo replied.
‘Vizuri sana. Ku-fundisha gani, very good. To teach what?’ he asked.
‘English, Mzee’, I replied.
‘Vizuri na bahati, vijana, good luck, young men’, he wished us.
‘Asante sana, Mzee, we chorused, clambering back on to the bus, feeling refreshed from the cooler, night air.
This genuine warmth and hospitality of the ordinary people touched me and reminded me of visiting family in Ireland, where you were always presented with a cup of tea, and a slice of soda bread the moment you walked through the front door. I wondered if it was something to do with the simple hospitality of indigenous cultures, which we seemed to have lost back home.
Early memories of growing up in Kenya were redolent of the sounds of bands of watoto chasing bicycle wheels across the waste ground; women cooking food on open fires in front of their huts and the ubiquitous smell of smoke and goats ‘urine. Now I was returning.
The next moment it seemed as if the sun was rising above the rims of the waving palm trees as the bus driver, having exhausted all his adrenaline, was steering us towards the relatively well-policed highways of Mombasa. As we approached the environs of the city, we noticed all around us serried ranks of tin shacked huts with sacking walls and no windows, open sewerage in between them, and the smells of effluent and smoke began to assail our olfactory sense.
‘Ladies and gentleman, wanaume na mabibi, we are arriving, so please gather your luggage and prepare to disembark the bus’.
The driver’s announcement was greeted with audible sighs of relief, and laughs. Jo and I looked at each other, and felt we had been blessed by a guardian angel to have arrived in Mombasa in one piece. The atmosphere in the bus now became quite animated and festive as people began to finish off their journey’s rations prior to their safe arrival, and started to chat animatedly to relative strangers around them.
As we drove into Mombasa’s heaving bus station, we could see all around us a bustling throng of traders, travellers, be-turbaned Sikhs, Muslims, Indian ladies in diaphanous saris , beggars without legs or arms; workers queuing in blue overalls, men on bicycles stacked high with colourful utensils or livestock, and students in beautifully starched shirts and tunics. We had finally arrived in Africa.
Feeling a parched thirst and hunger upon me, I suggested to Jo that we find some salubrious sustenance before we began looking for the Kinango bus. He agreed with alacrity, and having stowed our rucksacks in ‘Left luggage’, we were soon on the lookout for some kind of wholesome breakfast. As we wandered around the environs of the bus station, we were both amazed to see the incredible juxtaposition of Arab- Swahili dwellings, mosques and Hindu temples. This felt very familiar territory to me, having imbibed some of the city’s exoticism with my mother’s milk, so to speak.
However, we were a world away from ‘tea and toast’ and the nearest thing to breakfast that we could muster was ‘chai wa Kenya’ (Kenyan tea with boiled milk). As we drank this peculiar brew tasting of stewed tea with ginger and nutmeg, we looked at each other with foreboding realizing that nearly a hundred years of colonization hadn’t resulted in even a decent beverage. Still, we weren’t tourists, were we, but seasoned travellers. We liked to think.
We finally settled upon Chai mbili na mahindi ku-pika, two teas and roasted maize for breakfast, and began to feel somewhat refreshed and capable of facing the next leg of our journey to Kinango village, Coast Province.
‘Snow Kills’ – RC Bridgestock
4th Novel in the DI Dylan series
(N.B Wording to be added regarding our work with Red Production Co. http://www.redproductioncompany.com/ ITV 1 & BBC 1 police series. More info. v. soon!)
Pre order your copy week commencing 5th August 2014 via Amazon/Caffeine Nights Publishing http://www.caffeine-nights.com/!
- Ex cop topples Agatha Christie off the No. 1 spot with Snow Kills. X Factor Winner Joe McElderry, ITV 1, BBC 1 & Media City! RC Bridgestock book launch tour!
- Carol’s guest today is Chris Hemingway – Descendent of the famed author Ernest Hemingway!
- Shelagh Brennand – My History! Author of ‘A Stroke? Not me – I’m only 49!
- Former detective Bob Bridgestock & his police civilian wife Carol have a new crime-fighting role!
- A Stroke? Not me – I‘m only 49! A heart felt poem written by a very lovely lady & dear friend of ours…
- 'Consequences tour April 2012
- 'Consequences tour August 2012
- Bob's Rants etc.
- Coping Strategies – A collection of short stories by Hugh Harrison
- FREE Short Stories from 'The Wight Fair Writers Circle Members'
- Interviews with our friends!
- Life Coaching Tips – 'Life Happens' by Maggie Currie
- Literary Festivals and Events!
- Poetry 'Read's Rambling' by Janet Read
- Snow Kills Tour November 2013
- The Guinea Pig Children's Stories written and illustrated by Caroline Whittle
- Top Tips for Writers!
- Top Tips to keep you Safe & Sound
- Welcome to our blog
- White Lilies Tour 2013