Newsletter March 2014

It seems to have been a short month, perhaps because we were away for the first few days. Since then I have been very busy, one way and another. For one thing, the garden requires a good deal of attention at this time of year. We were lucky to escape the worst of the rain over the winter and it had been a joy to see the crocuses and daffodils coming into bloom. Now the magnolia is coming out and we have a huge bush of pink camellias by the house. The downside of the mild winter is that the weeds have not died off and it has taken a lot of time and effort to get them under control.

I am just back from an interesting couple of days recording the audio version of OPERATION KINGFISHER. All my books are on audio but this is the first time I’ve volunteered to read one myself. I was a bit nervous about it as this work is usually done by professional actors but I must say it all went very smoothly. We were scheduled to spend three days on it and completed it in two. The producer kept asking me ‘Are you sure you’ve never done this before?’ So I guess all those lectures in radio technique at Rose Bruford must have stuck in my mind. I had to go to Whitley Bay to do it, which is where Soundings, the company which produces the audio books, is based. They are very nice people and they provide a cosy flat for their readers to stay in. Only one snag. It’s b… cold up there in the North East. We shared the flat with two actors who were there to do other books and any Archers fans may be interested to know that one of them plays the part of Adam, Jennifer’s illegitimate son.

We had a real treat last night. We went to see Adam Levy, an ex-pupil of mine, playing Orsino in Twelfth Night, the opening production at the refurbished Everyman Theatre in Liverpool. It is a superb production, full of wit and energy and the whole cast is excellent. We were able to meet Adam before the performance and it was great to catch up with his news. It is a great pleasure to see someone whose early talent I helped to nurture making a successful career in such a difficult and demanding profession.
It is a remarkable fact that Adam was one year behind Daniel Craig when I taught them both at Hilbre School. It really was a vintage couple of years!

I did my audition for the Lancashire WI yesterday. They had a number of potential speakers all lined up to do a 20 minute spot, but I couldn’t stay to listen to the others. It’s a 40 mile drive to Leyland, where their HQ is, from here and I had to get back in time to get to Liverpool for the play. My talk seemed to go all right, so I hope I’ll be accepted. Now I have to prepare for a talk at Sheffield library next Tuesday and Ilkely Playhouse the following Sunday.

All this doesn’t leave much time for writing. I keep thinking I can get on with the Matilda book but there is always something else that needs to take priority. I hope I shall get a chance to have a good run at it soon.