Highs and lows

During the past few weeks a few things have happened in my life to raise my spirits.

First, Chapel-en-le-Frith Arts has at last been granted charitable status, after a long succession of frustrations and a good deal of correspondence. My contribution to this success was minor – at least two of the other trustees did a lot more than I did – but we all feel the satisfaction of success. We can now use our charitable status to help bring a wide range of arts to the residents of Chapel and surrounding communities and encourage their participation.

Second, Tim Knebel (visit his Peak in the Past website if you haven’t already done so!) and I have been awarded a grant to make films based on folktales and historical events in South-West Peak. Our application for funding wouldn’t have succeeded without the support and encouragement of Ruth Wilson and her colleagues, and of various communities around Staffordshire Moorlands, so we’re grateful to all of them for facilitating our efforts. Now, of course, the real work starts! Tim and I will meet again during the coming week to discuss strategy, but the main requirement for me will be to attain fluency in telling the stories. That’s the kind of challenge I enjoy!

Third, some time ago I had the privilege of editing Shai Adair’s novel manuscript, Mariah’s Invisible Sword, and the novel is now published. It’s available for purchase from the great monster Amazon among other sources. If you enjoy fantasy stories with vivid settings, a pervading sense of mystery and a seasoning of violence, I recommend this book. (Needless to say, a copy now graces my shelves.)

Fourth, my manuscript National Cake Day in Ruritania is now undergoing what I hope will be the final edit. It’s due to be published by FBP later this calendar year.

But there are always lows to counterbalance the highs. Very soon after I’d graduated, many decades ago, I made a first marriage that seemed doomed to failure almost from the outset. Fortunately, Jennie found someone much better suited to her than I’d ever have been, and I’m glad to say they enjoyed a happy life together. A few weeks ago I heard that Jennie had died after a short battle with a very aggressive cancer, which I presume was diagnosed too late. I’d had no contact with her for forty years but I was profoundly shocked, and, for a considerable time, unable to focus on any of my usual activities. I’m deeply sorry for her bereaved husband and her children; and, as always happens when someone to whom you’ve been close passes away, I’ve been reminded forcibly of my own mortality.

I’ve picked up the threads again now and I’m back to work, but the awareness of mortality hasn’t left me. Given my age, I suspect it’s here to stay.


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