Monday, 11 September 2017

Hampshire Authors - Old and New!

Hampshire has proved a fertile ground for many celebrated writers over the last few centuries, often drawing on the beauty of its countryside and heritage as inspiration. New authors are emerging with all the regularity of the seasons. We're delighted Jill Turner and Tiffany Francis approached us when they discovered we were coming to Petersfield and it's a pleasure to give them, and other Petersfield authors a 'shout out'.  Please let us know if you should appear here!

Jill Turner

Jill Turner has been a Fleet Street journalist for much of her career, before heading to Cornwall where she transformed Cornwall Today into the glossy lifestyle magazine which led to it winning Regional Magazine of the Year at the Press Gazette awards. The Petersfield based author's first novel 'The Children of Albion' - described as 'an urban 'Lord of the Flies' for our time' was published in September 2016 to critical acclaim.  

Tiffany Francis
Tiffany is a writer and naturalist from Petersfield, specialising in wildlife, landscape and rural heritage. Having grown up in the chalky hills of the South Downs, she later spent five years between Bristol and London where she completed her Masters degree in English at UCL. Most of her inspiration is rooted in the South Downs landscape, where she works at Butser Ancient Farm as creative developer and goatkeeper. She writes a monthly wildlife column for Hampshire Life, as well as various pieces for the Guardian, Countryfile, Woodland Trust and the Wildlife Trust among others. She has also appeared on BBC Radio 4's Tweet of the Day and Saturday Live. Her first book Food You Can Forage is all about wild food and embracing the countryside, published in March 2018 by Bloomsbury.

Lucy Cousins 
Maisy, the famous mouse, “drew herself” one day, when Lucy was doodling various animals on a piece of paper, looking for inspiration, and the first Maisy book was published soon after Lucy left college. Maisy, who also stars in her own television show, has become one of the best-loved characters in children’s books, and is recognized the world over. Lucy lives in Hampshire with her husband and has four children.

                                 Chrissie Manby

Although Chrissie Manby isn’t officially a Hampshire author, she has family living in the county and is Guest of Honour at our private launch Soirée so we thought we’d adopt her. Not least because our customers will love her wherever they find her! Chrissie has words flowing through her veins and her first short story was published in 'Just Seventeen' at the age of fourteen! She wrote a few rather racy novels at the start of her career under the pen name Stephanie Ash. Then, having attracted a literary agent she began writing as Chris/Chrissie Manby.

Chrissie is a prolific romantic comedy novelist and has thirty-six books to her name at the time of posting. The latest, ‘The Worst Case Scenario Cookery Club’ is – obviously – right up our street. 

Michelle Magorian  
An English author of children's books, Michelle is best known for her first novel, Goodnight Mister Tom, which won the 1982 Guardian Prize for British children's books and has been adapted several times for screen or stage. She is also a celebrated actress.

Two other well-known works are Back Home and A Little Love Song. Michelle now lives in Petersfield, Hampshire, with her two children Tom and George.

Ursula Moray Williams
(19 April 1911 – 17 October 2006). Ursula was an English children's author of nearly 70 books for children. Her classic 'Adventures of the Little Wooden Horse', written while expecting her first child, remained in print throughout her life from its publication in 1939.
Her stories often involved brave creatures who overcame trials and cruelty in the outside world before finding a loving home. They included 'The Good Little Christmas Tree' of 1943, and 'Gobbolino and the Witch's Cat'. Williams was born in Petersfield, Hampshire. She and her twin sister Barbara Árnason were talented artists and for six years from the age of ten wrote and illustrated books for each other's birthdays and at Christmas.

John Wyndham Parkes Lucas Beynon Harris  
(10 July 1903 – 11 March 1969). Wyndham was an English science fiction writer best known for his works written using the pen name John Wyndham, although he also used other combinations of his names, such as John Beynon and Lucas Parkes. Many of his works were set in post-apocalyptic landscapes. His best known works include 'The Day of the Triffids' (1951) and 'The Midwich Cuckoos' (1957), the latter filmed twice as Village of the Damned. John Wyndham was educated in Petersfield and lived there for part of his life.

Edward Thomas
(3 March 1878 – 9 April 1917) Poet Edward Thomas lived in the village of Steep, very close to Petersfield from 1913 - 1916, taking inspiration from the countryside around him.

He continues to inspire artists and poets today. Our House Poet, Liz Darcy Jones, nods to one of his most famous poems 'Addlestrop' in the first line of the Beatons Petersfield Rubai.

And during the summer of 2017 [ends 30th Sept 2017] a wonderful exhibition of works of art inspired by Jane Austen, Gilbert White and Edward Thomas 'Inspired by the Word' can be found at Selborne, Gilbert White's house, link here.  A collection of sculpture, part of the same exhibition, inspired by Edward Thomas's work was shown at Petersfield's Physic Garden earlier in the summer.

Gilbert White

(18 July 1720 – 26 June 1793) Selborne was home to the Reverend Gilbert White, whose 'The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne' (1789) still receives international recognition.

Jane Austen
(16 December 1775 – 18 July 1817) Arguably Hampshire's most celebrated writer,  the village of Chawton is where Jane Austen's lived and where she wrote or revised her six great novels. She was buried in Winchester where she died in 1817.

Flora Thompson

(5 December 1876 – 21 May 1947)
Flora Thompson came to Liphook in 1916 and based her classic trilogy, Lark Rise to Candleford, on her observations of local natural history and rural life.

Thomas Hardy
(2 June 1840 – 11 January 1928) Many of Hardy's novels concern tragic characters struggling against their passions and social circumstances. They are often set in the semi-fictional region of Wessex; initially based on the medieval Anglo-Saxon kingdom. Hardy's Wessex eventually came to include the counties of Dorset, Wiltshire, Somerset, Devon, Hampshire and much of Berkshire, in southwest and south central England.

John Keats

(31 October 1795 – 23 February 1821) John Keats stayed in Winchester in the summer and autumn of 1819, during which time he produced a series of masterpieces. Visitors can follow the 'Keats Walk' celebrating his famous ode 'To Autumn', written after a walk along the River Itchen.

Charles Dickens
(7 February 1812 – 9 June 1870) Charles Dickens was born in Portsmouth, the second of seven children, and his birthplace is now a museum. Hampshire provided inspiration for several of Dicken's novels, including the notorious Victorian workhouse in Andover and Dickens returned to Portsmouth in his late twenties when researching 'Nicholas Nickleby'.

Gilbert White

(18 July 1720 – 26 June 1793) Selborne was home to the Reverend Gilbert White, whose 'The Natural History and Antiquities of Selborne' (1789) still receives international recognition.

Arthur Conan Doyle
(22 May 1859 – 7 July 1930) 
Author of Sherlock Holmes, lived in Portsmouth and is buried in Minstead churchyard in the New Forest.

Tuesday, 5 September 2017

Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls

Book of the Month

'The real-life children's fairy tale book so inspiring adults are reading it' 
'Absolutely beautiful - get one for yourself and one to inspire a woman in your life'
'In an ideal world, not only would mothers read this aloud to their daughters, but teachers would read it to schoolboys'  
These are just some of the quotes  describing this brilliant and original book.
Illustrated by sixty female artists from all over the world, Good Night Stories for Rebel Girls introduces us to a hundred  extraordinary women, who have achieved amazing things, from Ada Lovelace to Malala, Amelia Earhart to Michelle Obama.
Inspirational and empowering, these are true fairy tales of heroines who definitely don't need rescuing.
A lesson we would all want our daughters to learn, women do not wait on a ‘Prince Charming’ to rescue them! Girls can do anything if they have strength, integrity, bravery and perseverance to follow their dreams!

The Tale of the Trembling Tree

(Liz our House Poet, writes out of a static mobile home on a farm in the depths of Berkshire. It's bounded by a huge line of Poplars. Known as the 'Trembling Tree' Liz finds timely inspiration from the Poplar as we begin to sense the first murmurings of Autumn...)

The Tale of the Trembling Tree

I am always trembling
my trunk of being rooted in a quivering response to now
tall, erect, commanding – 
knowing nothing, sensing everything
my season is the fall

A leaf of my undoing
shimmies to the ground
without a sound
this unexpected act of self-surrender
a solo rite of passage holds us all in awe
while - with my baton raised –
I stand still…

My season is the fall.

© Liz Darcy Jones
August 2017
Image result for poplars

Tuesday, 1 August 2017

Best of August!

Poem of the Month

Best of August!

I am the sun, the sky, the sand
I am the pebbles in my hand
I am the shadows on the sea
The thought of ice cream, and a tea

I am the crash of breaking waves
I am the child who misbehaves
I am the shingle on the beach
The driftwood just beyond my reach

I am it all but for today
I’m being a Beatons cool sundae!

© Liz Darcy Jones
Adapted for Beatons from ‘Simply This’

The Wellbeing Journal

Book of the Month
We could all do with a bit more positivity in our lives! This beautifully presented little book encourages us to get creative, and to reflect on things that will inspire positive thinking.
Explore your inner world and be inspired with The Wellbeing Journal. Developed in partnership with Mind, the mental health charity, each page of this gorgeous journal has been thoughtfully crafted and it includes activities, colouring, drawing prompts, contemplative quotes and lots of space for you to write about your own thoughts, feelings and experiences. Creativity and reflection can have a powerful, positive influence on our lives. Now, with The Wellbeing Journal, you can enjoy practicing these skills every day and wherever you go.
A perfect present for someone you care about, or maybe it’s just the book you’ve been looking for to get positive during your summer holiday!

Tuesday, 4 July 2017

Salt Melts

‘The UK seems filled with anger and hate at the moment - much of it as a result of loss...
Liz, who writes for us, penned the poem below after the Manchester terror attack in May. It seems equally pertinent in the light of London Bridge Terror attack earlier this month and the Grenfell Tower fire tragedy. We hope that, like us, you appreciate the sentiments expressed and find it to be restorative on some level too.'
–Patrick Duffy

Salt Melts 

Anger has no place in grief
grief is sharp but tender
it insists our hearts stay open
to the essence
to the fragrance which remains

Anger is a time-delay switch
serves no lasting purpose
we all know the picture’s changed 
we don’t need to change the pitch
from grief to hatred
yet anger takes upon itself to ease the agony 
of sudden ends 
to muffle the clanging silence of the iron door
mask the hideous face of madness or diminishment
these are all things we cannot ignore

Anger keeps us in our head
boiling anger, dangerous and red
extracting meaning, blame, hate
from something meaningless
part of grieving? No!
Anger forces grief to wait
‘til she’s well beyond her use-by date

If we’re lucky sounds of gentle pricked by memory
will echo in our ears
surrender us to grieving
cooling anger in a sea of tears

What, then is this frozen fierce which throws me to the wall?
I am halted
stopped short by its call
Outrage! Yes! Out-rage
Can we decide to out-rage Thought
which splices seconds with ‘what if’, ‘if only’ or ‘I so, so wish…’?
which takes our hearts and bodies far from now – 
we have a choice
we can bow 
to wordless feeling

Look! it gathers all that’s left and, see,
it leads to action’s healing hand
summons waiting senses
sighs ‘you do not need to understand’
so out: rage, anger, blame and fear 
out of the cold, numb vessel of the mind
visit if you must my heart but you will find 
life beats on, ‘though faint, confirming I am here
‘though life seems desperately unkind 
this one thing is clear...

and strangers offer sad dry lips a sip of tea
while the world unites with oceanic love and empathy
a tender salve to open wounds which weep
 as ‘other children’ play
unaware of any aftermath on such a sunny day
we helplessly reach out through them to those we miss
as salty water melts its way through this. 

© Liz Darcy Jones
26th May, 2017

(If anyone would like to listen to this poem they can find it on Liz's 'Not-a-Blog' page at )

Thursday, 1 June 2017

Politics and Poetry: Chapter 46

Poem of the Month

Beatons is the perfect politics-free zone for you to muse on where we can best govern!  An inspirational 'chapter' from one of Liz's forthcoming books: 'The Tao and Tea for you and me'

Chapter 46
The masters of the metaphor ensure the dregs
enrich the soil constantly
when now is absent sugar poisons my Tea and dulls my taste-buds
there's no greater crime than adding false sweetness to your Tea
there's nothing so crude as drinking without tasting
no worse tragedy than pouring Tea into a cup that's already full
spilling stories of who might lose and who might win
then fighting about who took over the party

... forgetting that it all happens within.

Liz Darcy Jones 
June 2017