Press Release January 2021 — stmaryswivenhoe

WIVENHOE CHURCH STARTS WORK ON THE TRANSFORMATION PROJECT After nine years of careful consideration and planning, St Mary the Virgin church in Wivenhoe has signed the building contract with Bakers of Danbury for work to begin on its Transformation Project. The project comprises the re-ordering of the existing Nave, and the construction of an annexe […]

Press Release January 2021 — stmaryswivenhoe

This press release explains clearly how the Transformation Project will bring something positive to the residents of Wivenhoe, from all backgrounds. It is reassuring for interested local people to learn of the many years of consideration and hard work that have gone into the project, alongside pubic consultation.

I am hopeful this important building, which stands at the centre of our small town, will remain more than just a landmark, and be a beautiful and welcoming place to visit and meet, providing social opportunities and support within the community.

As a member of local writing groups and reading groups I imagine the Annexe will make a great meeting place for some of our meetings and locally run courses. Can’t wait!


Lockdown Isolation

Wivenhoe has been quiet this month. Walks by the river have become highlights of the week and it’s easy to feel isolated from family, friends and the rest of humanity. The good new is that a coronavirus vaccine may eventually be with us in 2021.

Meanwhile I’ve been thinking how much worse this situation of restriction and social isolation must be for those who are blind or visually impaired. Organisations such as the Colchester Talking Newspapers try to help, keeping recipients in touch with local news, delivered by friendly voices.

I’ve been a volunteer reader for the Talking Newspaper for about five years now. Until March 2020 we readers met in rotating groups of three, in a studio at Essex University to create a weekly edition for our recipients.

After the arrival of Covid-19 the studio recordings came to an end and for 20 weeks volunteer readers who felt able to do so made home recordings of the local news stories, taken as usual from the Gazette ( the local paper with whom we have an agreement). This must have been intriguing for the listeners, hearing lots of different and varied voices in one week, rather than the usual three at a time on the rota. Our director, Bob deserves a medal for sorting out the variations of sound quality he must have dealt with along the way. The studio opened up again for 6 weeks when the first lockdown eased, but now in November, and for the immediate future, we are back to ‘back bedroom recordings’.

Colchester and District Talking Newspapers is therefore still alive a well. Edition number 2400 was posted on November 19th, plans are underway for a special Christmas edition in December ( recorded from our homes of course) and then the volunteer team of trustees, readers, sound recordists, dispatchers and everyone else who helps, will work on into 2021.

If you know anyone with visual impairment who would benefit from receiving the Talking News, do get in touch – the details are here on the poster.


An October feast

This October I completed a four week online course in micro fiction delivered by the excellent www.helenchamberswriter.wordpress.com under the umbrella of www.thewriterscompany.co.uk based in Wivenhoe. The course has resulted in a host of ideas to develop in response to her challenging prompts and exercises. We used pictures, random word lists, fairy tales, and starter sentences from other writers as inspiration. We attempted 6 word stories, OULIPO and snowball writing as well as more traditional 100 word stories. It was a great way to spend Wednesday mornings in these times of restricted activity.

Happily socially distanced walks were still allowed and made a perfect change after a morning at the computer . Tramping through the woods and along the Colne was great for consolidating thoughts on a cool autumn afternoon. The fungi along the riverside path had woken up and multiplied – it would have been rude to not take pictures. Once home I set about identifying what I’d seen but then got side-tracked by the bizarre lists of mushrooms and toadstool names I came across. Many of these would not be edible ( please don’t even try) but an imaginary feast, menu set out as a piece of snowball writing, was the end result.


Scurfy twiglet

Starter mealyoyster

Main course bitter poisonpie

With pancake crust potato earth ball

Bonfire cauliflower with witches butter dressing

Wine served in turquoise elfcup

Dessert of upper crust

Plums and custard

Whiskery milkcap



The Rule of Six

Ready to go

It’s September 14th, the day the ‘Rule of Six’ comes out to play in England. Only six people can meet in an indoor or outdoor setting from today, the very day that we’d planned the first face-to-face get-together of the Shed Writers Group in six months. (We have worked on-line since March). This educational meeting was to take place in my garden and there are seven of us. Social distancing and Covid security was to be strict but even so, what to do? What is right? What is safe?

Happily, or perhaps unhappily, one of our members was self-quarantining having recently travelled home from a family visit to country deemed of higher risk, so we chose to carry on. We missed her but had a great session which she will catch up with virtually.


The rule of six seems somewhat random but I’m not planning to go political or medical or analytical about it. Instead I’m going to play a game or two, prompted by various twitter feeds that are around at the moment.

Choose six calling names you have been given in your life:-

Philippa – technically my second Christian name but used by everyone

Pippa – only used by people who are trying to be friendly but don’t really know me

Phiff – only used by my husband ( heaven knows where that came from)

Philly – used by my dear late father

Pippin – used by my first serious boyfriend when I was 16 ( he loved Lord of the Rings)

Pip – used by no-one (thank goodness)

Next game, name six people, dead or alive, you would like to come for a picnic in the garden:-

James Taylor – love his words and his voice

Michelle Obama – to widen my outlook

Darcy Bussell – just because

Roger Federer – to talk tennis

Stephen King – to exude writing brilliance

Beth Chatto – I’ll need some gardening advise.

Now that was a good way to spend a potentially awkward Monday. Feel free to send me your lists.