At the U3A meeting in Whittlesey yesterday I did a book signing session for my first book, The Railway Carriage Child. Over 100 members attended and the afternoon was a great success. I hope that is encouraging to all would-be writers who may be having doubts about stepping onto the public platform with their own creations
I would like to pay tribute to Edward Storey, a fellow Whittlesey resident and writer. I am sure many of our followers will be familiar with his books which brought recognition to our Fenland area, capturing the very essence of our history and culture.
I first contacted Edward over ten years ago when I started to write my own autobiography and continued to correspond regularly with him until this September when his health was beginning to fail. During those years he gave me so much support and guidance, encouraging me to develop and expand my writing. This gave me the confidence to set up the Whittlesey U3A Creative Writing Group which has evolved into the Whittlesey Wordsmiths. Last month we published our first book and I had signed and wrapped a copy for Edward before I heard news of his death.
I would like to express gratitude for his inspiration; to Edward, A Fenland legend, who made our dreams a possibility and then a reality.
This is a link to Edward Storey’s Biography on Wikipedia
Sometimes these memories are the inspitation for writing we all tend to weave our memories and experiences into our work, whether consciously or not.
Normally I am fairly indifferent to entertainment at the U3A open meetings. Having joined the committee and a shortage of people during school holidays I found myself at a meeting I probably wouldn’t have normally attended. The two talented musicians Dave Bailey and Steve Gibbs, The Boatmen, entertained our audience with their own compositions together with covers of more well known numbers. A rendition of The Chain, a Fleetwood Mac number, was one I really enjoyed, this song started the hare running through my memories.
During the sixties, whilst Peter Green was still with Fleetwood Mac, the band performed at the Ramsey Gaiety, a dance hall, one Saturday night. Their very last number after several encores was “I Hear You Knocking But You Can’t Come In”. At that time this little Fenland town hosted some of the biggest music names of the sixties. I was able to see, amongst others The Spencer Davis Group, Traffic, Cliff Bennet and Zoot Money all at the Gaiety . To my lasting regret I missed Geno Washington and the Ram Jam Band, the night they performed.
In Ramsey on a Saturday night, Great Whyte was filled with a long line of double decker buses parked from one end of the road to the other. These buses brought in young people from all over the Fenland Towns and villages. For many of us, in our teens, the sixties were a time of magic. The music and the sense of optimism was something that for many of us has never been repeated. On another occasion I remember hearing Martha and the Vandellas, “Jimmy Mack” for the first time, whilst I watched a line of short skirted, long legged girls on the floor of the Commemoration Hall in Huntingdon, dancing to it.
The news of Aretha Franklin’s death is just another reminder of the sound track that accompanied those best of times. It would be good to see some magic return, just some.