Wednesday 29 October 2014

From pearls to royalty, and local exhibitions to The Ivy.

As autumn approaches I find myself reflecting on a busy and creative few months which have resulted in a range of articles. Firstly, my Lady Margaret Gosworthy-Pringle persona continues to pontificate on matters as far reaching as gloves, pearls and seasonal celebrations via Hampshire Life’s website. How opinionated she is and how mindboggling that I should find her so accessible!

Perhaps we should move on . . . for Buckinghamshire Life I talked to the amazingly creative Linda Newham whose floristry designs are amongst some of the most beautiful I have ever witnessed. And for the same publication, I spent a most stimulating day at Queens Park Centre as well as producing 25 Autumn Treats and 10 Good Reasons to Love Bucks features.

Meanwhile my insatiable appetite for artists continues. Hampshire Life readers have learnt about Hampshire Open Studios exhibitors plus Stephen Lees and Sheila Hope via my interviews. Articles covering Baldock’s Fireside Festival, Hertfordshire Ghosts and Hitchin History Walks have been featured in Hertfordshire Life.

I was delighted to run yet another workshop at this year’s Thame Arts and Literature Festival and, in anticipation of the pantomime season, I recently had the pleasure of journeying to Milton Keynes Theatre to interview Bradley Walsh and the ultra talented dance group, Flawless. Read all about them in the December edition of Buckinghamshire Life.

It’s always a pleasure when invitations come my way and I was especially thrilled when Charlie Barton, whom I interviewed last year, invited me to The Ivy for a private preview of her latest work. Far from me to name drop, but it was an evening of mixing with royalty and some of the most seasoned writers and actors.

Not that I neglect more local callings. I have attended the opening of Fabric HQ plus a private preview of a photography exhibition at Obsidian Art. Such talent! No wonder I am spoiled for interview choices.

Monday 30 June 2014


I may be awash with decorators and distracted by feline maternal duties (our young cat has just produced twins) but that has not prevented me from channelling my literary energies. Why, only on Saturday I revelled in the second BeaconLit, a literary extravaganza right here in The Chilterns. Informative talks mingled with networking opportunities; I even came home with a couple of free books from the beautiful crime novelist Jane Isaac. 

Tomorrow I will be partaking afternoon refreshments with my colleague, Nick Halliday. A children’s author extraordinaire, he is also the design genius behind my website. No doubt our meeting will include a guffaw or two for we each spark such hilarity I’m amazed we haven’t yet created a sitcom. 

One of the benefits of being a freelance writer is the range of people whom I interview. Jenny Muncaster is my latest subject for Hampshire Life and she is perfect blend of talent and intellect. I have also spoken to aerobatic expert, Simon Abbott, for Buckinghamshire Life in my Take to the Skies feature. Meanwhile, two of my features in Hertfordshire Life - Berkhamsted Brilliance and Amaravati Buddhist Monastery – provided me with the opportunity to converse with a range of humankind, from illustrators to writers and ballerinas to monks.

The recent Berkhamsted Writing Competition Prize Giving was a celebration of some fine short story writing. Jonathan Stroud and Catherine Alliott were charming judges and the winning entries were brought to life via the thespian skills of Julie Mayhew in the welcome surroundings of Waterstones.

By the way, regardless of any preconceptions you may have about the WI, let me assure you they are a vibrant example of energy and enthusiasm. The local branch recently invited me to a talk by Frances Benton, a collector of pearls and one of the most exuberant and natural speakers I have ever heard. The group is thriving and incredibly active. If only I had the time, I might well join them.

Talking of invitations, this evening I am off to the local Rotary Club’s President’s Party in a local restaurant. So if you’ll excuse me  . . .

Thursday 5 June 2014

Ooh, has it really been two months?

Ooh, has it really been two months since I last blogged? Heavens, how time flies when deadlines demand attention.

Now, before you complain about my ineptitude at keeping in touch on a regular basis, let me share my workload since we last spoke. There have been two features for Buckinghamshire Life: By the Waterside and John Newton / Olney. Similarly Hampshire Life have published two interviews – one with the charmingly artistic Nate Kitch as well as the colourful Kev Munday. In The Four Shires I was pleased to feature PhotographMyDog / Jane Ambler while The Lady carried my Art Belongs to the People! review. My Jonathan Aitken interview was published in Prayer for Today. Plus, Hertfordshire Life ran my interview with Dr Ros Taylor MBE. Of course, Lady Margaret Gosworthy-Pringle continues to air her views each month for Hampshire Life.

See, I told you I was busy. I’ve also read through hundreds of short story entries for the Berkhamsted Writing Competition, the prize giving being on Thursday, 12 June.

Meanwhile my Neighbourhood News columns for the Bucks Herald now cover Wendover, Ellesborough and Halton.

But I haven’t been shackled to my laptop the whole time. I spent a most charming evening at the official residence of the Bishop of Buckingham supporting Lindengate, a new charity set up in Wendover, and managed to share a bench with the delightful David Lidington MP whilst we both scoffed scrumptious hog roast baps. And only this Monday I attended a reception day in Chiltern Forest Golf Club presented by the Guide Dogs for the Blind Association. 

I would, of course, love to further recount my commitments, but I am due at a charity ‘do’ shortly before returning to embark on yet more deadlines . . .

Tuesday 1 April 2014

Competitions, Cezanne and all things Equine

There’s nothing I enjoy more than encouraging writers and so I have been delighted to be part of a brace of writing competition commitments. The prize giving of the Chiltern Open Air Museum writing competition was held last Saturday and how thrilled I was to see two of my ex learners scooping prizes. Now it’s the final few days before the closing date of the Berkhamsted Writing Competition and I am already anticipating plenty of stimulating reading over the next few weeks.

Meanwhile, I have visited the Ashmolean in Oxford for the first time this year, providing a review of Cézanane and the Modern exhibition for that most iconic magazine, The Lady. 

Not that I have deserted my other regulars. Buckinghamshire Life this month carries my feature about all things equine while Hampshire Life features yet another artist profile, this time the charmingly talented and ultra humorous Jonny Hannah. 

Of course, interview opportunities may pop up at the most unexpected times and writers must always be prepared. When a friend took me to see Gervase Phinn, for instance, at a pre Christmas show in Maidenhead, I found the opportunity for a quick chat afterwards. He was most accepting of my offer to interview him which has since appeared in Prayer for Today.

Numerous other features are lined up for 2014, more of which at a later date. But for those of you who yearn to hear the latest musings of Lady Margaret Gosworthy-Pringle, please log onto Hampshire Life’s website where she regularly enlightens the nation as to her standards, and expectations. If only the rest of us could keep up with her . . .

Saturday 1 March 2014

Commissions, interviews and deadlines

Commissions, interviews and deadlines have so preoccupied me these past two months that I have inadvertently got behind with my blogging commitments. So let me enlighten you as to what I have been up to.

In that most professional of glossy magazines, Hampshire Life, my interviews with the sparklingly talented Pippa Blake, Eileen Cooper and Peter Lloyd have, I hope, provided riveting reading as well as an insight into the creative process of each inspiring artist.

In addition, features about Twinning Associations and entrepreneur, Mike Clare, have graced the pages of Buckinghamshire Life whilst Hertfordshire life carried my article about the fascinating town of Baldock in their February edition.

Apart from contributing to Archant’s glossies, my interviews with Emma Smith about her charity work in Honduras and Guatemala, along with Newcastle United FC’s Gael Bigirimana, have appeared on Prayer for Today’s new online magazine.

Much as I love working from the comfort of my study, where I try not to be distracted by my pets and the countryside, the occasional press invitation is much appreciated. And so it was I recently headed for the Five Arrows Hotel in Waddesdon. Let me assure you, the champagne was delightful. The canapés, too, out of this world. Though I did manage to refrain from consuming both for long enough to tour their latest bedrooms which were simply stunning. And how lovely to bump into BBC Radio Oxford’s charming Bill Heine that evening. In an attempt to persuade me back onto his Sunday show, he paid me the most intriguing compliment. Do take a look at the home page of my website to read what he said about me.

Finally, I should remind you of Lady Margaret Gosworthy-Pringle’s monthly blog for Hampshire Life. How she enjoys sharing her opinions. Honestly, I can hardly imagine how she does it . . .