Category Archives: Events
On Monday 24th July 2017 we said ta-ra to my mum, ‘Mombat’ to many of you out there in Internet Land. Here’s a brief thing about what turned out to be a very moving and celebratory day. As our three-car cortege left her house we passed her regular postman, Andy. He would regularly pop in and make sure Mum was alright, and she loved to give him mints. As we passed he stood and saluted in an emotional tribute, bless him.
“Blimey, she wasn’t half heavy”
The chapel at Poulton New Cemetery is small, and beautiful. My nephews, tall as the clouds, helped bear the coffin in to the strains of Patsy Cline’s “Crazy”, Mum’s favourite song. I don’t know how many the tiny chapel seats, but plenty of folk were left standing at the back as celebrant Jonathan Worthington began the service. Mum’s favourites, G-Line, had provided a coach to bring people to the service, since there was so little parking there, with Mum’s regular seat 3 left empty save for a picture of her, a simple gesture that touched my heart. Jonathan did us proud, taking us through Mum’s life, and including plenty of anecdotes to pay tribute to her humour as well as the song ‘Unforgettable’, which by crikey, she was. Mum had always told us that “if she went first”, she wanted bright colours and no religion, and Jonathan got it spot on. My sister Julie gave her own personal talk, and sang ‘Sunrise, Sunset’ with close friend Bernie, who called Mum ’Aunty Mum’. Brought a tear to my eye, so it did.
“Bye Mum, say hello to Dad for us”
After poems and more tributes, we moved out to the graveside accompanied by Andy Williams singing ‘Moon River’. Mum’s plot is between a Muriel and a Betty, so I reckon she’ll be alright for gossip. The pale sun hid behind a white veil as we held a short ceremony, including the poem ‘Do Not Stand at my Grave and Weep’ which brought more tears to my eyes. I was amazed at how deep the grave was. We dropped pink carnations (which Dad used to buy Mum regularly) after the coffin, each saying our own goodbye. I noticed Kit kiss her carnation before letting it fall.
“I don’t want a sit down meal, I want a bloody buffet”
Cars and coach ferried us across town for the wake. At the Golf Club, large screens were showing a slideshow of photos from throughout Mum’s life, and a banner announced ‘Jeanne’s Jolly Send Off’. A memory tree slowly grew leaves as people wrote their Mum memories and tied them on. Mum’s favourite singer, Eryl, had travelled up from Wales, and sang a selection of songs beautifully. Her rendition of ‘I Dreamed A Dream’ had my eyes rimmed with tears again. Mostly, though, we had a right good knees-up, with Eryl leading Mum’s friend May (who had travelled from Llandudno by taxi) and assorted ladies in a dance. Sod it, even I danced – blame the Bailey’s. And it was wonderful to meet Auntie Janet and John again, whom I haven’t seen for about five hundred years, and be reminded by Bernie of the flat I lived in at University back in the last century, where spaghetti hung from the ceiling.
“No, Nay, Never”
As the wake wound up and we said goodbye to the kind people who had come along, we hard-core family hied us away to my sister’s sunny, green garden, where we chatted and laughed and sang many songs. Mum would have loved it.
There’s not long to wait now until the 2nd UK Indie Lit Fest in Bradford. Come along to this FREE book event on Saturday 26th August and have a good old natter with me, as well as the chance to meet a wide range of UK Indie authors, poets and publishers.
Visit the website here: https://www.ukindielitfest.com/
If you register for a FREE ticket before the day, you’ll be automatically entered into a prize draw to win a signed copy of a book from one of the attending authors. Get your tickets here: https://www.eventbrite.co.uk/e/uk-indie-lit-fest-tickets-31400928021
So, the first ever UK Indie Literary Festival in Bradford was a thoroughly jolly beano and no error (sorry, I went all Fifties Celia Johnson for a moment there). Organised superbly by the remarkable Dawn Singh, author of the excellent Regina books, it all went swimmingly, though no one got wet.
This was my first book festival as an attendee, and my first wow was at other authors’ banners, proudly announcing who they were to visitors. Made my laminated A4 sign look a bit meek, but then I had something they didn’t – free sweeties and a daft hat. Never underestimate the attraction of a daft hat.
The table that really struck me was Alex Brightsmith’s, as did the paper aeroplane that she threw at me, entirely oblivious to the distinct possibility of HAVING MY BLOODY EYE OUT! This inspired a happy ten minutes of flinging the thing around our end of the room with reckless abandon. And that’s the memory that will stick with me most from this event – the friendship and supportive good-humour; the laughter and respect in that room full of truly talented writers. Plus I signed and sold a few books, too, so, you know.
I found it difficult to find a table guard so missed many of the readings and panels, although once the current Mrs. Wombat turned up I did manage to attend a fascinating panel on World Building given by Dawn Singh and Joe Kipling. That too rippled with laughter. My own reading went very well, I thought, and I was flattered to be complimented on my woman’s voice. No really.
And of course I collected some books. My #UKIndieLitFest tsundoku (reading pile) consists of Alex Brightsmith, J.G. Clay, Rose English, G.K. Holloway, Diana Jackson and more I’ve grabbed since on my Kindle. These should keep me going for a long while yet. Thanks for all the fun, UKIndieLitFest Alumni. Here’s to next year!
Are you coming to see me at UK Indie LitFest in Bradford on 23rd July? Want a free audiobook to listen to on the way home?
The first ten people to say “Ee a Moth Girl” to me (that’s a quote from the book which is also an anagram of the person who inspired it) will receive a code for a FREE download of the Moth Girl audiobook from Audible (together with detailed instructions on how to jump the stupidly complicated Audible hurdles).
Hello, kids! Are you around Bradford on Saturday 23rd July? Why not pop into St. James Hall to say hello to me and loads of other cracking authors? There’ll be books and book-related swag galore.
Date: Saturday 23rd July
Time: 9am – 5pm
Venue: St James Hall, Bolton Road, Bradford, BD2 4LH
‘Summer 2016 is to be an exciting time for authors and reading fans in West Yorkshire. With amazing best-selling authors the first ever UK Indie Lit Fest is set to a must for all book lovers and aspiring writers.’
Dawn Singh (Festival Director)
You’ll have the chance to:
Meet over thirty authors and get signed books. And you know me, I’ll sign anything else you thrust at me.
Enter competitions to win signed novels from attending authors.
“Snap a picture with authors” it says here on the blurb, although I’m not sure that’s such an attraction with the Wombat beard.
Hear the music that inspired the writers and watch book trailers for the latest releases.
Talk to authors around the globe via Skype
Attend FREE workshops and readings, hosted by top authors. I’ll be doing a reading at 9:15, if you’re an early bird. As yet I have NO idea what to read, so any suggestions will be gratefully received.
The festival features best-selling Indie authors from every genre you can imagine, including Romance, Sci-fi, fantasy, YA, historical fiction. Among those attending (as well as over 25 in person) Kendare Blake will be answering fans questions via Skype. Blake is the best-selling author of the critically acclaimed Anna Dressed in Blood series, which has been snapped up by Stephenie Meyer’s (author of Twilight) film production company. Don’t miss the chance to support this amazing event and meet authors from around the country and across the water.
The UK Indie Lit Fest supports Lumos. All proceeds from competitions, raffles or give-aways will be donated to Lumos.
Pick up a copy of the special festival anthology, Indie Visible at the event. Half of the proceeds will go to Lumos, the other half will go to funding next years event. Ask any of the Indie Army festival helpers for more details.
The Indie Literary Festival UK is an exciting new project coming in 2016. The brain child of Follow This Publishing and UK indie authors, the festival will take place on the 23rd of July 2016 in Bradford, West Yorkshire. I’ll be appearing there to chat, sign books, do a reading of one of my tales (any suggestions as to which one?) and answer any questions you might have about my jaunty hat.
The festival will bring together indie authors from around the UK, for one amazing event. You will be able to:
Talk to authors from all over the world in the international hub.
Learn all about being an indie author and how to become a published author.
Take part in exciting workshops.
Listen to readings by the authors, including one called Wombat.
Enter exciting competitions to win signed books.
And much, much more yet to be decided. So, scoobies, come on down (or up, I guess) in July and have fun with books.