Latest weekly update: Monday 18th January 2021


Julie's Jabber - This week with London LDWA

Shirley Hughes book

How it's meant to be - one of Shirley Hughes's charming illustrations in 'Out and About'

floods in Margaretting

How it turned out - much wetting in Margaretting
PHOTO Gill Struthers

Gill Struthers emailed some photos of an Essex & Herts 'bubble' walk that took place last Friday, featuring the area between Margaretting and Margaretting Tye on Friday where the River Wid had burst its banks. 'We had to climb along the rails for a stretch!' she tells me. 

And with astonishing synchronicity, just as I received Gill's email, a strange and terrible whirring noise began to emanate from our downstairs loo, before settling into a low, throbbing purr of ancient pipework. Mr Julie Welch, otherwise known as my husband Ron, went to investigate. As the toilet brush and Domestos set sail, there we were, waiting in wellies for the self-styled 'Greenwich 24-hour emergency plumber'. He took so long to arrive we wondered if he was coming by yak from Outer Mongolia. But for all you football buffs of a certain vintage out there, he turned out to be a great-nephew of Johnny Haynes. Not quite on the same level as having Harry Kane turn up to fix your cracked cistern and  fountaining pipes, but pretty splendid all the same.

floods in downstairs toilet

Don't go there!

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In other, non-soggy news, BB&N's Merrian Lancaster emailed about Dogger, the book by Shirley Hughes mentioned in last week's Jabber:

'I also enjoyed Dogger, I only read it in January this year, haven't a clue what prompted me to get it from the library, nor why I hadn't read it earlier. I usually only read children's books.  They are generally good and often thought-provoking, especially as the category includes young adult titles....and they're free to reserve from the library.  I've used The Oxford Companion to Children's Literature as my guide.  It has lists of the main book awards, and I'm using it to work my way through many of the winners of the Carnegie Medal, starting with Pigeon Post by Arthur Ransome in 1936.  I've had a couple of DNFs, I couldn't cope with Junk by Melvin Burgess, winner in 1996, or The Bunker Diary by Kevin Brooks, winner in 2014. 

'I also like recommendations, what do you suggest I read?'

Who's got some recommendations for Merrian, and indeed for me? It's always interesting to hear what others are reading. I'm currently bingeing my way (for the nth time) through a series of police procedurals set in Shepherd's Bush and featuring a delightful Detective Inspector called Bill Slider. They're by Cynthia Harrod Eagles. 

My favourites as a child were pony books, including that marvellous series by Ruby Ferguson that begins with 'Jill's Gymkhana.'  Coincidentally, I re-read these only a few months ago for an article I was writing for a literary magazine, Slightly Foxed Quarterly (go me!). They're still huge fun. But here I have to make a confession. I have never, ever, read any of the Harry Potter books, highly popular though they are with adults as well as children. It seems almost as shameful as admitting that one hasn't read Hamlet, or Pride and Prejudice. Who else has significant omissions in their reading?

And finally...

Still on a literary theme, well sort of, Rod Smith sent me this photo: 'Your "eagle-eyed" newsletter readers may like to spot the 'typos' in this pub history at The One Tun in Saffron Hill which I walked past this afternoon.'

Grammar pedants, shield your eyes!

saffron hill pub typo

A spelling malfunction at Saffron Hill

PHOTO Rod Smith

London LDWA - www.ldwa.org.uk/London