Wednesday, 6 November 2013

Time Moving On

It has been a long time since I last blogged.  Events overtook me and I lurched from one crisis to another - one bereavement to another.  They knocked the stuffing out of me, to be honest.

I had been struggling for a while, with illness in the family and with trying to keep up with a variety of commitments, personal and professional.

So, I had to stop soon after the last post in this blog.  I went away and did all that I had to do, grieved and tried to work when I could.  What I wrote in this period was rubbish and so things backlogged and the mountain grew.  I soon got depressed and despondent and then found that I did not want to work.  In fact, I wanted to be anywhere other than at my desk.

This was difficult as I had two new books to launch and promote and more that I was working on.  It is lucky that I have patient and understanding publishers.

So, time has passed and here I am again.  I am sad but I am working. Book deadlines have been moved and I am slowly getting there.

I hope to blog more regularly from now onwards.

Saturday, 13 April 2013

Roll On 25 April 2013!

Roll on 25 April 2013!

I am really excited to be joining the team at Haunted Southampton Ltd, the city-based paranormal investigation company, for an interactive evening of ghost stories at the lovely and, of course haunted, Mercure Dolphin Hotel.

Haunted Southampton Ltd, the Dophin Hotel and I have teamed up to bring our audience an evening of unexplained events and hair-raising stories, and to invite members of the public to share their true spine-tingling tales.  Pete and Juliet Collins, the company directors, will be bringing along some of their equipment and explaining how it works when investigating the paranormal and I will be signing copies of my books, particularly the two publications that have their fill of ghostly tales: Folklore of Hampshire and Haunted Southampton.

The Mercure Dolphin Hotel is situated Below Bar and dates back over 500 years.  I seem to feature the hotel in most of my books as its history intertwines so intimately with that of the city I write about.  It also pops up in my about-to-be-published book A 1950s Southampton Childhood (written with James Marsh) but more about that in a later post.

If you fancy a fun, interactive ghostly evening, some tickets (£6) are still available on the Haunted Southampton Ltd website. See you there!

Friday, 12 April 2013

Penny Legg Out and About in Southampton

Yesterday I was delighted to be invited to two very different events in Southampton.

The first was to join the weekly coffee morning at Kinloss Court, Lordshill, to chat with the elderly residents there about aspects of my work.  I met some super people and the conversation was lively - moving on to cover everything from World War 2 through to the state of Britain today. Everyone had very definite views!  It was a real pleasure to meet everyone.  I have popped in and given talks there before for the Lordshill and Lordswood Historical Society, but this is the first time I have joined an informal coffee and chat session.  I look forward to the next visit and thank John Gurney for the invitation.

The second event was the launch of the latest book from my friend, author Mike Roussel.  Mike has produced a super, photo-packed account of the forgotten man behind the Spitfire,  Spitfire's Forgotten Designer - The career of Supermarine's Joe Smith   The launch, at Waterstones West Quay in the city last night, was a packed event featuring the Mayor of Southampton; members of Joe Smith's family; Solent Sky, which organisation supplied many of the photographs used in the book and former employees of Supermarine.

It was super to see Mike busy signing copies of the book as guests sipped wine and mingled. Mike has dropped into my group for writers Writing Buddies several times, so it was great to support him in a small way.

Mike Roussel, launching his latest book, with a new reader

Monday, 1 April 2013

Book Launches Galore!

I have been fortunate recently to be invited to the launches of the latest books of two of my favourite author friends. 

James Marsh’s Not a Guide to Southampton is a jaunty little number, full of fascinating facts and some interesting photos (some mine) of the city.  Designed to be a delve into the city’s history and background, it is definitely not a guide book but will probably lead readers to some interesting spots nevertheless.  James launched the book at The Red Lion pub, Below Bar, Southampton.  This ancient hostelry is part of the fabric of the city as parts of it date back to Norman England.  James’ first book, his wonderfully witty autobiographical Growing Up In Wartime Southampton: Someone Else's Trousers was a delight and readers will not be disappointed with the new book. Guests to the bash included Jim Brown, celebrated Southampton author and historian; journalist and author Jacqueline Pye; author and owner of publishing house The Thorn Press Tessa Warburg, as well as a fair sprinkling of Southampton’s writing talent. 

James Marsh (centre) delighted with the interest in his new book,  Not a Guide to Southampton

Australian author Simon Kleinig launched Frenchman’s Cap, Story of a Mountain at Australia House in The Strand, London.  Simon’s story of the Tasmanian mountain stood tall amidst the glorious surroundings of the Downer Room and the exulted company, which included Mike Rann, the Australian High Commissioner.  Simon’s sympathy for, and love of, the area shines through in a meticulously researched history.  Simon has set up a Facebook page for the book, where there are some super images that bring both the book and the mountain itself alive.  The link to Simon’s blog is well worth following.  As an aside, Simon has recently written about the Gallipoli commander General Birdwood, who is buried in London.  Anyone with an interest in Anzac history may well find his piece of interest.

Simon Kleinig signing copies of Frenchman's Cap, Story of a Mountain

Monday, 25 March 2013

My First Blog of 2013

I have not blogged for ages.  There was no review of 2012 because it was a pretty grotty year in many respects.  I was tired and working too hard, which did not seem a problem at the time, but looking back on the year it was clear that things were not well.

True, I had some great highs.  My book Under the Queen's Colours came out and lots of friends, colleagues and supporters helped to make the launch successful.  This book is dear to my heart as it raises funds for UK military charities.  I also had a local history published, Eastleigh Then and Now, which was well received, even if the local newspaper, which kindly ran a double page spread on the book, misquoted from it.  I know now who has read the book and who has merely read the newspaper coverage, as the mistake often comes up!

The lows though were almost overwhelming. Suffice to say that professionally, the year was not good and privately, ill health in the family impacted on my working life to an extent I had not anticipated.  This last has carried over into 2013 and it is a sad Penny who sits writing this.

Today is the first time for a while I have felt like writing on this blog and I am sorry if I sound a little down.  My next post will be more spring-like, I promise!