My name is Gary Walker, and this is my blog. I'm also the webmaster at www.look4books.co.uk the free promotion site for Independently published authors. My Blog is dedicated to everything that matters, and some things that don't. If you are going to steal stuff that I post on here, would you be so kind as to link your stolen goods back to my blog. Thanks.
I am the webmaster at www.look4books.co.uk the free promotion site for Independently Published Authors. I'm also someone who has to work 50 hours a week at his day job. I have come to the conclusion that I can't do both without one or the other suffering. So with regret, but also with some excitement I have decided that "Look 4 Books" needs more than just me running it. So if you love literature, and have some knowledge of very basic web design (Sitebuilder which is pretty idiot proof, no HTML required) and most importantly have the time and enthusiasm to help authors promote their books I would love to hear from you. At the present time "Look 4 Books" makes no profit, but in the unlikely event that it ever did I feel that whoever joins me in this venture should become an equal partner. This can all be discussed at a later date.
If you are interested in this ludicrous venture you can contact me by Email.
Seven incredibly long years ago I moved to the town of Lowestoft, which is on the Suffolk/Norfolk border. Before this I had been living in the East London/Essex area of the UK. I will not be going into the reasoning behind this strange decision, but suffice to say, it seemed a good idea at the time. For any readers not familiar with the town of Lowestoft I will endeavour to give you a brief description of its history, locality, and its present condition.
Many years ago Lowestoft was famous for herrings, and inbreeding. It's most famous son was John Betjeman. That's the history bit out of the way. The town is situated at the most easterly point in the United Kingdom, so to its east there is nothing but the North Sea. The town boasts the "Most Easterly Post Office", "Most Easterly Cafe", "Most Easterly Carpet Salesman" etc. The nearest motorway (highway for my American readers) is the M25 which is over 100 miles away. A train to London will take you 3 hours (if you're very lucky). The town itself is split in two by the River Lothing. There is a bridge over this river that rises every time a small yacht wants to go sailing in the North Sea. The traffic then waits on both sides of this bridge, while the crew of the yacht finish their gin and tonics and decide to pull up anchor.
Today's residents of Lowestoft consist of two distinct groups. There are the locals, and then there are the outsiders. The locals never, or very rarely leave Lowestoft. The only exception to this rule are the small minority of intelligent locals who leave the town to go to university and never return. The outsider group consists of the retired, and people who find it difficult to live in the real world. You might be asking, so what group does the sanctimonious twit who's writing this blog belong to? I'm in the group that I'd forgotten to mention, the ones trying to sell their house and get the hell out of here.
I would now like to tell you a true story that might help to illustrate the type of town Lowestoft is now. About a year after I moved here I received a letter from my teenage sons school informing me that they were going to be holding an Emergency Parents Evening to discuss the schools impending slide into "Special Measures." Basically like all the schools in Lowestoft, they were CRAP, and they hadn't been able to hide this fact any longer.
So on the day of the Emergency Parents Evening I finished work early in order to arrive at the school in plenty of time. My first thought as I drove into the completely empty school car park was that I had got the wrong date. It was dark, and completely deserted. I got out of my car and walked slowly towards the reception. I pushed on the glass doors and thankfully found that they opened. A lady was sitting behind a small desk polishing her nails. "Good evening, I've come for the parents evening," I said. She flicked her head in the direction of a door to her right. Thinking she might be dumb (in that she couldn't speak, not that she was an inbred local) I walked through this door and found myself in a large classroom which had been turned into a meeting room for the evening. Tables had been pushed together to make one very large boardroom style table, with approximately sixty chairs surrounding it. At the far end of the classroom to where I had entered there were two men in suits standing chatting, and pouring coffee from a glass jug. Seated at the table to their left was a man and a woman, they were both eating biscuits from a large plate which had been placed on the table in front of them. This couple (I will call them the "biscuit couple") never acknowledged my arrival, or uttered a single word throughout the evenings proceedings.
"Good evening," I said. "Who are you?" asked one of the men wearing a suit.
"I'm George's (not real name) dad, he is in his last year here, I've come for the meeting."
"Oh,....you better take a seat."
Once seated I removed a notebook from my briefcase, and placed this along with a pen on the table in front of me. Looking back in hindsight I can now see how strange this must have seemed to the two suited gentlemen in the room.
"Right, let's get this over with," said the older man in the suit.
"Shouldn't we wait for the others?" I asked.
"What others?" said the younger man in a suit.
"But,...all the other chairs, the other parents," I replied. The two men both chuckled.
"Would you like a coffee?" said the older man.
"No thanks." I said politely.
"Biscuit?" he asked.
"No," I said.
From the October, 1959 issue of Books and Bookmen.
Interview by Elizabeth Henniker Heaton.
The National Book League was rather crowded when my husband and I met Michael Bond there, and we had some difficulty in finding a table for four. Paddington, of course, had to be included in the conversation. After all, it was mainly about him. Eventually we were settled, and Paddington had been given a supply of straws for his ginger pop (he had tried drinking it from a glass but the bubbles tickled his whiskers). Then panic because someone had hung a mackintosh over Paddington's hat, and the entire contents of the pegs had to be rearranged.
At last he was happy, and we were able to ask Michael Bond how and where this irrepresible bear (from Darkest Peru) had originated. Apparently he had given his wife a teddy bear once, and this bear rapidly became part of the family. They were wondering what to name him, and happened to be passing Paddington Station at the time, so that was that! Paddington soon acquired a definitive character of his own as well as a miniature duffle coat and hat. As many readers of A Bear Called Paddington will know, he is polite, brave, resourceful, inquisitive and careful ("but not mean", he will explain). He is very good at bargaining, and incredibly lucky in the way he comes out on top, whatever mess he may have got into. Perhaps it is because he is so likeable that everyone helps him.
I first met Paddington in January, 1958, when, for one reason or another, we were feeling rather depressed. I started reading the manuscript on the way home, with the result that I left my umbrella in the bus. After that it was a fight between my husband and myself as to who should read it first, and eventually most of it was read aloud.
No.1. The shrine of shrines is the little Warwickshire town of Stratford-upon-Avon. If Westminster Abbey is the Parish Church of England, then Stratford-upon-Avon may as truthfully be described as the County town of England. Indeed it is more: wherever Shakespeare's tongue is spoken, men speak of it with reverence. The lovely stretch of country around the birthplace of Shakespeare is more typically English than any you will find throughout the Kingdom.
No.2. Dr. Johnson came to London from his native Lichfield at the age of 28 in the year 1737. He and David Garrick came up together, a fact which goes far to explain Johnson's critical love of Garrick, and Garrick's humorous love of Johnson. In all, Johnson's London homes numbered about a dozen, sadly all but one still survives. No.17, Gough Square. Here he lived for the ten years between 1748 and 1758. This house is now a permanent museum, and the seat of the Johnson Club.
No.3. It is difficult to believe now that Lord Byron who, in 1816 shook the dust of England from his feet never to return alive, and whose career and genius became a European spectacle, was born in what is now the Oxford Street shopping district of London. A plaque marks the site of his birthplace at No.16, Holles Street (sadly now the site of a John Lewis department store). Lord Byron was buried in the church of Hucknall Torkard, where his ancestors lay, close to his ancestral home Newstead Abbey.
No.4. Wordsworth at Rydal Mount: Saddened by the deaths of his two little children, Catherine and Thomas, Wordsworth wrote to Lord Lonsdale in January, 1813.
This house which I have for some time occupied is the parsonage of Grasmere. It stands close by the churchyard, and I have found it absolutely necessary that we should quit a place which by recalling to our minds at every moment the losses which we have sustained in the course of the last year would grievously retard our progress towards that tranquility which it is our duty to aim at.
Wordsworth and his family moved to Rydal Mount by Rydal Water, and there he lived for thirty-seven years until his death in 1850. Like a fair sister of the sky Unruffled doth the blue lake lie, The mountains looking on.
Origins of Old Nursery Rhymes. No.2. Humpty Dumpty and Bo-Peep Shock Horror: Humpty Dumpty wasn't an egg.
There is the verse about Humpty Dumpty which tells of his fall from the wall and the inability of "all the king's horses and all the king's men" to put poor "Humpty together again"; and lots of folks would have us believe that this is merely a riddle, the ready solution of which is "an egg." Really however, the rhyme is based on the career of a bold, bad baron who lived in the days of King John. Originally he was very powerful, but at length disaster overtook him, and he was never able to regain his former enviable position. News Flash: Bo-Peep was not a girl.
Bo-Peep was not a maiden, as one would suppose, but a holy friar in the days of the Anglo-Saxons. The contraction "Bo" is a very bad form of the Anglo-Saxon word for "messenger," and it was the business of this friar to go round collecting money for the monasteries. "Sheep" represented the contributions, and the fact that"Bo-Peep had lost her sheep" implied that contributions were very slack. "But some day, no doubt," continues the rhyme, "they will all come home, bringing their tails behind them" - "tails," of course, referring to the much cherished contributions.
Origins of Old Nursery Rhymes. No.1. Little Jack Horner
The story of Little Jack Horner which dates back to the time of Henry VIII, and the dissolution of the monasteries, is particularly interesting. Jack was steward to the Abbot of Glastonbury, and the kitchen attached to that monastery was built of such solid material that Henry could not burn it down. He became very angry, and in order to appease his wrath Jack Horner was sent to the Court with a pie which had an extremely tempting looking crust. Beneath this crust the Abbot had concealed the title-deeds of twelve monasteries which he was offering as a present to the King. Jack, however, was not the trusty servant his master thought him to be, and on his way to the Court he slyly abstracted the title-deeds of the Manor of Wells. Henry did not detect the theft and, on his return to Glastonbury, Jack Horner informed the Abbot that the deeds had been presented to him by the King. They are referred to in the rhyme as a "plum."
He put in his thumb, And pulled out a plum, And said, "What a good boy am I!"
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