Tuesday, 29 April 2008


I live in Reepham the market town located between Norwich and Holt, on the North Norfolk coast. Reepham's attractive historic market town was granted a market charter in 1277 during the reign of Edward I- much of the 18th Century Market Place is a designated Conservation area. This Georgian Norfolk Town, the name Reepham, (Pronounced Reefam) is Anglo-Saxon - 'Meadow of the Reeve'. It is also mentioned in the Domesday Book, and it is not sure which reeve it may have been, a manorial reeve or a church reeve or even a royal reeve.

Set as it is, in the clay heathlands this was a pastoral area with open fields clustered around the town, water meadows along the streams and grazing lands stretching across the heaths until enclosed and eventually ploughed up and made arable in the Wartime.

The town boasts enticing places to eat, and interesting independent shops, we have two butchers to die for, Bonham's Auction House, a general food store, a health food shop, chemist, one greengrocer, three Estate Agents, one Bank, and three pubs including The Old Brewery House which is a Hotel and Restaurant. This houses a public swimming pool and a gym. There is also a swish Florists Shop, an Antique Shop, and a posh Tearoom. Reepham's old railway has been renovated into an Aladdin's Cave that sells gorgeous furniture and beautiful chinaware, it has a large georgian Conservatory sitting on the edge of the disused railway line where one can have a spot of lunch or beverages. The local Post Office has been in the same family for many years and it stocks everything from stamps, books, milk, pies, and much more, I would be very sad to see it go, as I think it is a very important part of the community. The ladies who serve behind the counters always have a smile and a cheer, and always so helpful.

The Bircham Institute a former private house is now used mainly as the local library, it is also used as the WI where local people contribute by making Jams and Pies and homemade Cakes. The original building was 17th Century but it was greatly altered in the 19th Century. Once the home of the Rector of Hackford, it was eventually given to the town by a member of the Bircham family to be used as a reading room and meeting place, a use that it has well fulfilled.

Market Day is on every Wednesday where people set up their stalls to sell their wares, and abundance of fresh flowers and plants. Hundreds of years ago Reepham Market Place was the centre for the Cattle Market which eventually died out.

Reepham's unique claim to fame is it's 'shared churchyard', shared not by two but three separate Parish Churches. It is wondered if this indicated a very early sacred site? it is the correct situation and shape for this, or it could have been a celtic Monastry with several small churches. Whatever the reason, the Parishes nearby of Hackford and Whitwell met in Reepham and each built a Church in the Churchyard. Hackford burnt down in a town fire in the Sixteenth Century, but Whitwell's - St Michael's and Reepham's St Mary's continued with separate incumbents until the 1930's. Parishioners of St Michael's claim to have heard St Mary's singing their final hymn whilst they were still listening to the sermon.

The town also has a Primary School and a High School, the latter was praised for it's work in building International link by Unicef Ambassador former war correspondent Martin Bell. The man in the 'white suit' made comments as he formally awarded British Council International School Status to Reepham High School. Recently the High School has been granted funding of £5,265,000 to build a new Sixth Form which should be completed in 2009.

The famous Parson Norfolk Diarist - Parson Woodforde, did his shopping in Reepham in the 1700's. Some ten years ago Reepham was used as a setting for an adaptation of the classic story The Secret Garden.

Monday, 14 April 2008


When I was a child my Mother always read childrens stories to me, I have a fond memory of the Classic Books at the time. Alice in Wonderland stuck firmly in my mind too, about a young girl chasing a White Rabbit down a hole, and imbibes a strange concoction which has a strange effect on her.

I think I did have Picture Books, today there are numerous ones with gorgeous illustrations.

I began reading a book when very young probably at the age of six or seven

I was a shy child unable to mix very well, by reading I could visualise myself into another fantasy world.

My Mother always gave me books as gifts for Birthdays and Christmas. I had a wonderful English Tutor at High School, I owe him my passion for Literature. He had a kind calm manner, and he always instilled an eagerness for me wanting to know more of the English Language.

There was quite a few book characters who influenced my behaviour. What Katy Did was one, and also May Alcott's Novel - Little Women.

If you were to ask me were there any places in a book that I longed to be I would say, I loved my home life with my Mother, but I craved for the countryside, to be on a farm with Horses and Sheep, and Geese.

I had never read Poetry until I was 17 years, I was introduced to John Donne by a friend since then I have been hooked and I am so passionate about Poems now.

I also enjoyed Fairy Story's, I love the idea that there might be Fairies living at the bottom of the Garden, good kind Fairies only though, that are there to watch over you. Beautiful books to mind are that of The Water Babes by Charles Kingsley.

I cannot ever remember a book that I did not like.

I think some of the modern writers ot literature will survive the test of time, authors like - Kenneth Grahame, J.K. Rowling, Jacqueline Wilson, Enid Blyton, C.S.Lewis, A.A.Milne, and Beatrix Potter. There sadly will be others that will just fade out.

Do I think that writing as a child made me want to become a writer?

Definately Yes.!

If I wrote for children in the future would it be Poetry, Novel, Film, Quick Read, Short Story etc., it would have to be Short Story's - I have had a few short stories published mainly for adults in magazine's. I think it is much harder to write for children, although I do have one unfinished manuscript of a children's story I began writing nearly twenty years ago.

I have children, and grandchildren and young friends and relatives who all have a great passion for reading I think it is important to encourage literature at a very young age, and the illustrations along with the written word is so precious.

They all visit the Library on a regular basis.

I do buy books for children but mainly I use the local Library for books, latest book purchased for a teenager was Jacqueline Wilson and J.K.Rowling. My son is in publishing so I am fortunate to get these at a discount, recent ones were the complete set of Beatrix Potter.

I think the love of books are becoming rarer, I believe young readers of the age of 3 - 14 years are still keen, but between the ages of 15 to very young adults, I think are receding.

Although there are TV Promotions, Man Booker Awards, Creative Writing Groups, we still need to be reassured that there will be even more Programmes on Books and Literature.

Sadly the Computer/TV/DVD screen has taken over from the written word, although my 13 year old granddaughter I am happy to say spends a lot of time reading.

I am hoping that all this new technology will not herald a decline of imagination.

The excitement of being able to read at one's pace whenever or wherever you wish, to be transported into a world of others imagination and creativity is truly wonderful.

If you asked me if I had one favourite book from childhood, there would be many.


What Katy Did

Little Women

Wind In The Willows

Winnie The Pooh

Enid Blyton

Roald Dahl - I love Charlie and The Chocloate Factory


Peter Pan

Black Beauty

Beatrix Potter Stories

Hans Christian Anderson

Rudyard Kipling

The Water Babes by Charles Kinglsey- Illustrated by M.W.Tarrant

All Horse and Pony Books.

Alice In Wonderland

If I were to be sent to a Desert Island and were only allowed one children's book, it would have to be - Wind In The Willows by Kenneth Grahame

The famous friendship of Ratty and Mole, whose adventures with Badger and Otter, together with the outragous Mr Toad, has delighted me since I first read the book. It captures- life, sunshine, running water, woodlands, dusty roads, and winter firesides.

Thank you Dear Cait for allowing me to follow up the Survey, and bringing home to me again all those wonderful memories I have of those beautiful precious books.