After the short story we read a poem and, like others who attended, I felt the session had been a refreshing and relaxing interlude in an otherwise very hectic week. I left ready to do the shopping for more floral tributes for the next set of festival speakers.
While I was enjoying this bit of time out, Maggie Butt was presenting her poetry workshop at East Finchley Library and then after a break, made her way to Friern Barnet Community Library for a talk about our famous local landmark, Alexandra Palace. The evening opened with a fascinating talk from Mick Crick about Private John Parr, the first soldier to be killed in WW1. He was a local lad from North Finchley and joined up when he was underage. There is still confusion about the exact details of his death and why he was not reported as killed for some months. Mick's research has answered a number of questions but many remain.
Maggie Butt's talk was about the German civilians who were interred as enemy aliens. Ally Pally housed some 3,000 men, many of whom had been born in England but held German passports. Her talk was highlighted by extracts of letters and poems written by the men and with illustrations of photos, and paintings by internee, George Kenner. While I had been aware that Ally Pally had been an interment camp, Maggie's talk brought to life the harsh reality of these men's lives and those of their families who had to make do as best they could without their husbands, often in the face of antipathy and prejudice from former neighbours.
I would have loved to have joined Paul Baker's 'Literary Finchley' walk on Friday morning but there was too much to organise. Armed with floral and chocolate tributes I made my way to Church End Library where Mike, Rosie and I prepared the dragons' den for the Dragon's Pen event. After some furniture removal and hoovering, the lair was ready. I was the first victim. I made a brief pitch to Gillian Stern, Cari Rosen and Mary Musker, and read aloud the first 400 words of my chick-lit for the mature woman ('meno-lit') novel. They asked a few questions including if my novel was based on my life. I admitted that some aspects resembled reality but certainly not all - and that the 'gorgeous hero' was completely a figment of my imagination. Shame.
|Guarding the dragons.|
Just two more events to go - including, of course, the Grand Finale.