Free summer reading

‘Death at Brambles’ and ‘Mind, Body and Rosie’ are both free to download from Amazon on Friday, Saturday and Sunday. Fun reading for a summer weekend, especially if it’s wet, like here at Youlgeave!


Ready for printing!


At last! My book has gone off to the printers. Preparing it for printing is much worse than writing it – it’s a nightmare, in fact. I’m hoping there will be no glitches, and it will be available on Amazon soon.

Honouring Nelson

Greenwichclock    Last week my sister and I visited the Queen’s House, Greenwich, to see this recently refurbished clock made by our g-g-g grandfather, Henry Philipson, in honour of Admiral Nelson.

Ashover Show

Ashover show

The Ashover Show  is where the inspiration for Jed in ‘Death at Brambles’ really did win the Victoria Sponge competition. I believe he’s entering again this year – see you there, Wednesday August 9th.


Struggling with book

I’ve been neglecting the blog lately as I’ve been trying to  get my book about Windermere ready for publication. It’s really hard work, pushing my amateur computer skills to their limit. In the end, there was no way I could get a big A4 landscape file to fit on to the pages of my book, so I had to put all the data in by hand, and the same with tables. Whew! Still, I may be able to give a preview of the cover soon.

Cumbria Family History Society

I’ve recently rejoined the Cumbria Family History Society, and posted some of the data on my genealogy page there. I’m amazed at the knowledge and enthusiasm of some of the members. Post a query, and several people will answer you immediately, They’ll search sometimes quite obscure records for you, and discuss your problem amongst themselves until they come up with the best answer. What I love about family history is the alternative picture of the past you get, instead of the politics and kings and queens of the school subject. You discover your own relatives being sent to work in factories when they are ten or eleven years old, moving around the country in search of jobs, being forced to emigrate because of poverty.  You find girls working as servants seduced by their employers, and glimpse the great gulf between the gentry and the rest of society. All the major movements in social and economic history are reflected in the life of your own family in a fascinating way, and it may even affect how you see the problems of today.

Memories of Rudyard Lake


Yesterday my two small grandchildren completed a sponsored walk round Rudyard Lake –well done!  And yes, Rudyard Kipling’s parents gave him the name after staying there. But it reminded me of when we used to go every Sunday morning to take our friend Sam – who was approaching ninety and we thought was too old to drive – for his Sunday morning row in his 100-year-old boat. The other crew were Sam II, who was almost the same age, and Ray.  Sam completed a sponsored row during one of the Rudyard festivals not long before he died in 1999.

Sam’s parents were Jewish refugees who arrived in Hull at the same time as Montague Burton. The immigration officials couldn’t spell the names of the arrivals so they made up names they thought sounded similar to the real ones. Sam’s father intended to go to America, but somehow or other he got stuck in Stoke-on-Trent, where he became a scrap dealer.

Sam was brought up in Cobridge, an inner city area of Stoke, in an overcrowded house where he shared a bedroom with several other relations. Nevertheless, he went to Oxford and later became a teacher in Newcastle-under-Lyme. During the war, he served with the RAF, but after setting off from an airfield in Norfolk and ending up somewhere near Southampton, it’s perhaps not surprising he was posted to the Outer Hebrides.

Sam had his own car, a Triumph Herald, which he had kept since it was new. I remember he gave me a lift in it once, and it still had the polythene protecting the door panel!

Sam was a great friend, and in these troubled times it’s worth remembering all the people who came to here, never became rich or famous, but contributed to our country and made us feel better for knowing them.