Guestbook Volume 10

January 2012 -

Note: The most recent emailed messages are entered at the top of the list.
Guestbooks 1 to 6 have the messages entered in the order they arrived.
By reversing this, checking for new messages is easier - although reading through them later may be a little more difficult !

From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: 2nd June 2017

Hi John
I hope you are well. I noticed the other night that this year is the 70th anniversary of the publication of Wish for a Pony and No Mistaking Corker !
If I find myself on Camber Sands this year I will have a little celebratory picnic !

I shall join you with a bottle of champagne ! Fancy my not noticing that 70th.

From: Betty Campbell
Posted: 1st November 2015


Thanks so much for this site, which I have only recently found.
I loved the Tamzin and Lindsey books in my teens and it's great to discover others who felt the same. I have two books from the 1960s and have just bought two of the new editions from Girls Gone By. Lovely quality books ... wish I could get them all ... and I wish I had known about the 3 for 2 sale which I only missed by a few days!!!

It's great to have all the information you have put on the site about the books. Thanks again so much.


Thanks so much for this email, Bett, it's raised the irritating issue of the lack of ease of the guestbook. It's not as immediate as it first was and that has stopped people adding comment as and when they see fit. If you look at the early guestbooks there are some lovely free conversations and that has stopped completely - I mean - this year we have two messages !!

Recently my daughter managed to force me into getting a new 'phone' - one that shows pictures - and as a spin-off I have actually now 'gone on' Facebook !
My facebook page is a bit me and reflects my interests in some books, Monica Edwards and Malcolm Saville etc. I see that some who will read this are already on it. Feel free to ask to 'friend' me - and also feel free to 'unfriend' me if you feel it's a waste of your time ! I haven't asked folk to be my friends, because I'd rather let them choose - and if their page is family stuff they won't want me seeing their baby photographs !

I am thinking that I could set up a Facebook 'group' connected to this website - mainly about Monica Edwards books which would act like the old guestbook and folk would be able to message each other and have open chats.
What do you think ?
Please let me know.

PS It won't happen overnight; I haven't a clue how to do it, and anyway I'm now waiting for a cardiac by-pass operation, so that'll get in the way a bit - but I certainly miss the interesting contributions from you all.
With all the best, and thanks again to Bett for prompting this, John.

From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: 18th February 2015

Hi John

Hope you are feeling better, I was glad to see your news in the guestbook.
I went to the weekend in Rye and saw the procession and fireworks and then met up with the Malcolm Saville people the next day. I think I have some photos which I’m happy to send you.
I also have a lot of video of the procession which was amazing. I have never seen anything like it, especially the dragon.


Thanks, Veronica. I continue to improve - nearly a year since the operation - amazing.
All being well I shall be able to add some of Veronica's pictures soon. (J.A.)

From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: 21st December 2014 (Only entered here 16th January 2015, J.A.)

Hello John,
I hope that you are recovered and feeling a bit better.

I am just writing to ask if any MEAS members had any photos or reports of how the Fawkes weekend in Rye went. It would be lovely to hear and see, if anyone has anything to show.

There are the delights of Tilling to sample this week on TV – but I fear that it will not be up to the excellent standard of the earlier version made in 1988 – I think.
We were in Rye at the time they were filming then and would see the actors strolling the streets – sometimes in costume and sometimes in their own attire.
I wonder how much of Rye we will see in this new version.

Best wishes,
Ros Myers

So far so good ! Recovered from the post-operative chemotherapy and am getting used to the redesigned digestive system ! Apologies, Ros, for the delay in adding your message. I suspect there will be a report on the get-together organised by the Malcolm Saville Society in the next 'Martello' issue.
From what Joyce told me there were very few Monica Edwards enthusiasts who were able to get there, but it went well. Hopefully more detail from Martello or via the Guestbook. JA.

From: Brian Parks
Posted: 29th September 2014 (Only entered here 12th November, J.A.)

Hi John

I hope you are well and recovered from all the nastiness.

I have finally managed to track down the ‘hoopoe’ poem that Tamzin quotes on page 85 of ‘Strangers to the Marsh’ (page 135 of the GGBP edition):

And you, live-crested cockatoos,
Grave toucans, hornbills, and hoopoes,

It is entitled ‘Birds’ and was written by Geoffrey Dearmer. Here it is in full:



EAGLES, you browless birds,
who skim The sky on poised and feathered limb,
You whom no sky's top terrifies,
Taught me the tenor of the skies.

Cold cormorants, your spray-wet sheen,
Your cold bead eyes of glassy green,
And bubbling death-dive, swift and steep,
Taught me the tenor of the deep.

Red-eyed, red-clawed, you vultures keen,
Who find no carrion flesh unclean,
Who gather and cry at life's last breath,
Taught me the sanctity of death.

You whistling swans, your flapping flight,
A huge-formed arrow head of white
Over and down the horizon's dip,
Taught me the law of leadership.

You downy-eiders, from your breasts
Plucking the down to build your nests,
Taught me, as no commandment could,
The sacrifice of motherhood.

And you, live-crested cockatoos,
Grave toucans, hornbills, and hoopoes,
Huge-billed, fixed-faced, preposterous birds,
Taught me God's wit, surpassing words.


Many thanks, Brian, I'm recovering well, but being slow to update the site, as you can see ! This is a lovely find, I just hope I'm not breaching someone's copyright by putting it on the site - if I am told that I am, I shall remove the full text; I promise !

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: 14th September 2014

Members of MEAS may be interested to know that the Malcolm Saville Society are holding a weekend of events from Fri 7th to Sun 9th November including a walk to Camber Castle; a treasure hunt; a walk around Winchelsea; a children's book fair and on Sunday the last event is an evening looking at Malcolm Saville's and Monica Edwards' books set in and around Rye:

Malcolm and Monica in Rye..

Sun 9th Nov 2014

A Nostalgic evening of film, pictures and talks featuring Malcolm Saville and Monica Edwards
5pm for 5.30pm
St Mary's Centre
Lion Street

Details from Mike McGarry 01727 837248 or email

Mike has kindly said that MEAS members are very welcome to join in with any of the other events during the weekend.
Details of the full programme are on the Malcolm Saville Society website:
on the Society page scroll down menu to Events then Forthcoming Events: Rye Fawkes.

If you are interested in attending any of the 'Malcolm Saville events' that weekend in addition to the Malcolm and Monica in Rye evening please fill in the registration form and put 'Monica Edwards' in the comments box.
Full joining instructions of meeting places, times etc are all given via the registration form or phone Mike on 01727 837248.

From: Andrea McCulloch
Posted: 30th May 2014

Hello John,

Thank you to everyone who contributes snippets of news via this Guestbook - it’s good to know that the M*E*A*S* is thriving.

My own situation of living in the North of England and being disabled by arthritis means that my visiting the Thursley and Rye Harbour areas in person is very unlikely, so thanks to all who post, especially the photos.

I’ve just written a few book reviews for Amazon of Monica’s books - one for The Wanderer, which didn’t have a review previously, and one for Fire in the Punchbowl, which had a slightly bizarre review … I noticed that my review of Brian Parks’ Punchbowl Farm Companion had garnered a few helpful votes; thank you if that was any of you, M*E*A*S*ers.

Have just ordered a Punchbowl book that I’ve never owned previously- Frenchman’s Secret - I think I read it as a library book as a small-ish child. Will be lovely to read it again - or for the first time, if I’m wrong!

Best wishes,
Andrea McCulloch

From: Elizabeth Drury
Received: 22nd May 2014

Dear John

I do hope things are going well for you. The recent weekend in Sussex organized by the MEAS went very well, helped of course by a beautifully sunny weekend. You were missed. I wondered if you might like to see some photographs and perhaps add them to the website for those that were unable to get to Sussex.

There are thoughts of basing the next Sussex trip around the town of Winklesea.

Very best wishes


A happy bunch of explorers on their way to Dungeness

The Green Goddess, not The Hurricane this time !

Rye Harbour at low tide

Towards Camber (Cloudesley) Castle in the hoofprints of Tamzin and Rissa

From: Catherine Wuidart
Received: 22nd May 2014

Hi John,

I was so glad to hear from Joyce at the recent MEAS weekend that you are home from hospital and things sound to be going well. I hesitate to say, as you weren't able to be there, that we had a lovely weekend, but I think they may do another similar one because it was so good. Blessed by the weather of course and just a fun time on both days.

Hope things continue well,


Many thanks, Catherine - for the feedback from the weekend's visit to Dungeness and Rye Harbour. - I'm delighted it was a success - I only wish I could have been there. - and thank you for the good wishes and the same to the others who have raised a glass to help me through my little bit of nastiness, sincere thanks - your good wishes have helped !

From: Jenny Curtinsmith
Posted: 17th May 2014

Hi John

I just came across your ME Guestbook website and found it very interesting. I have recently stayed in the home of Monica Edwards, in the Old Vicarage in Rye Harbour. It is now a beautiful Bed and Breakfast accommodation, very high in standard and beautiful in all details.

I had never read a Monica Edwards book before coming to The Old Vicarage, but I had seen a copy of "Wish For A Pony" which was behind a glass display counter in a children's museum in Scotland. It was at that time that I had a desire to read the book.

Imagine my surprise when, during our holiday travels, we stayed at The Old Vicarage in Rye Harbour, and the owner showed me a copy of Monica Edwards book, "Wish For A Pony"! I read the book while I stayed at their Bed and Breakfast accommodation in the very home of Monica Edwards. I loved the book. I also loved the accommodation and can highly recommend it to anyone who would love to discover more about the setting of Monica Edwards books.

Regards, Jenny from Australia.

From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: 15th January 2014

Hi John

Just wondered if you wanted to add to the Guestbook that the Punchbowl in Surrey was featured on Country File on BBC1 Sunday evening (12th Jan).
It might be nice for people who don’t know the setting for these books to be able to see this (providing they have iplayer)

Best wishes for the New Year.


I saw it - or most of the piece - it was lovely to see the area returning to a more natural look now the massive barrier of the A3 has had been removed from the rim and sent underground. It should be able to be viewed until next Sunday I think, on the computer on - then iplayer then A to Z programme selection under 'C' - to watch it.
The prog will be rebroadcast on BBC2 twice - on Sunday 19th Jan at 09:05 in the morning and on Monday 20th at 20 to one in the morning.
You could also install the program to download the programme onto your computer. That copy took a heck of a time to download - seemed about the same as the prog length - but it stays watchable for longer.
Enjoy it, and thanks for suggesting we 'advertise' it here. John.

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: 18th December 2013 Entered in Guestbook 7th Jan 2014. John

Hi John, everyone

The Centenary edition of the Martello (no 9) is now published and has been sent out to all M*E*A*S members. Allowing for the Christmas post, please let us know if you do not receive your copy.

As well as some great features the Martello contains news of the next planned M*E*A*S event on 17th May (Romney Hythe Dymchurch railway trip to Dungeness) and 18th May (Saltings Walk) 2014. Further details will be posted on our page on this site shortly.

In the meantime Merry Christmas and a very Happy New Year!


From: Jill Goulder
Posted: 6th December 2013

Your Sussex reporter calling – attached photo shows what last night’s massive tidal surge did just seawards of Westling: road gone, Thomas Upjohn’s cottage flooded. It reminds me what an exposed outpost Rye Harbour was and how tough the elements made life there.

All the best


The following three messages from Veronica Keywood are being added on 7th Jan 2014. They are in order but as you will see the earliest one got lost somehow in my chaotic mess of a desk/computer system - for which I apologise sincerely to Veronica.
The second - announcing the 'Open Day' arrived in October - and puzzled me - Was it for 2014 ?
No - it had somehow delayed sending or arriving for three months ! By then I was not really able to get to grips with this - and I did not want to miss adding interesting messages so became determined to add them all.
This is the result. I feel I haven't explained this very well - but my brain hurts !. Apologies once again to Veronica. John

From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: 9 Oct 2013

Good to hear from you and I'm sorry you've been unwell. I hope you are on the mend now.

The Sound Mirrors was back in August and we had a lovely weekend down there, staying on the caravan site.
While I was there I went along to the Moth Trap on Sunday morning and have written a short article about it which I hope The Martello would like.

On Sunday evening when we returned from dinner, we saw a badger trotting along past the gates of the vicarage!
It seemed appropriate somehow but still I hadn't expected to see one so close to the sea.

Best wishes.


From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: Sometime in July I imagine but it didn't arrive with me until 3 Oct 2013

Hi John

Hope you are well. Don't know if you want to put in the Guest Book that the Dungeness Sound Mirror Open Day is on Sunday, 11 August. We are planning to go and staying at the Rye Harbour Caravan site.


From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: 26 March 2012

Hi John

I don't know if anyone on here has been watching Britain's First Photo Album, BBC1 or 2 but there is a programme which includes Rye. It's still available on BBCiplayer, the episode is called Reigate to Hythe.
Unfortunately, they refer to owlers as night time smugglers but as anyone who has read "Summer of the Great Secret" knows, owlers smuggled wool out and smugglers bought in wine, spirits and perfume, etc.
The bit about Rye is lovely and John Sergeant visits White Vine House, which is where my husband and I had a very enjoyable Christmas Day dinner.

Hope you're well and please keep the issues of the Ferry Hut News going, I was very pleased to read in The Martello about the vicarage becoming a B&B again. It looks very luxurious in their website.


From: Jill Goulder
Posted: 4th October 2013

Hello all – John, delighted to see my posts on the website – here’s a nice atmospheric photo to add, of the Westling beach event –

I’m the pair of legs in gumboots in the centre.


From: Jill Goulder
Posted: 27th September 2013

I’ve just learnt from the Rye Harbour Wildlife Warden that a Monica Edwards fan DID come to the Pett Level beach clean-up on Saturday!
Well done, Catherine! and I’m delighted that my ‘ad’ for it in the Guestbook bore fruit.

All the best

From: Jill Goulder
Posted: 24th September 2013

Another rewarding Tamzinish day doing the recording and clearing of rubbish from Westling shore on 20 September as part of an annual national initiative (; still no other ME enthusiasts in the team that I could spot, despite the witty visual promotion on John Allsup's site ..... :-)

The Rye Harbour Wildlife Reserve, who organise the event, are nice enough to put the M.E.A.S. on their links page ( ), and alongside it a couple of links that ME-ites might like to look at. The newsletter site ( ) currently has some real gems of old photos: aerial photos of Rye Harbour in 1929, a c.1930 photo of James Cutting complete with Jim-ish hut and beard, a 1930s Cloudesley Castle surrounded by golf links (boo!), a Pope wedding, etc. These are unique period Westling images: they can be downloaded and perhaps should adorn the web-page/ Ferry Hut News?

Meanwhile, offers the chance to help save the Westling lifeboat station, which is derelict and threatened with demolition. This building saw the start of the heartbreaking tale of the loss of the entire Rye Harbour lifeboat crew in 1928, inspiring ME's book Storm Ahead, so is worth saving for both its fictional and real-life importance.

On the same sombre subject, another link ( includes 1928 photos from the Daily Mirror of resuscitation attempts of the crew, the mass funeral in Rye Harbour church, and a poignant one of the fishing boats of ME's and the Westling children's childhood, all crewless after the tragedy and lying on the Rye Harbour mud.

xx to all

From: Catherine Wuidart
Posted: 23rd September 2013

Just to let you know another MEAS member went on the Beach Clean - did not manage to get to Rye Harbour but I did get to the one at Pett Level. Sorry not to meet Jill, (maybe next year) but it was interesting and sociable, as she said, and I enjoyed talking to the people organising it.

Also to pass on news of the Punchbowl Keeper's Cottage near Hindhead being for sale.
I saw this in an article in the Sunday Times - did not think it was the one in the Punchbowl books because it sounded too grand. However, having emailed the article to William Morris, he said it is THE cottage from the books.
So for anyone wanting to see pictures it is on - put in Hindhead, within a few miles, and max price of £900,000 and scroll down a bit - because it is at the staggering price of £895,000!

The best bit in the article was how the present owner (now off to Australia) had been on a wonderful "holiday for poor schoolchildren" many years back and remembered seeing a cottage and talking to an old man there, the National Trust keeper, although he couldn't remember where this was. Of course it was the cottage he ended up buying.
It sounded like an ME story.


From: Jill Goulder
Posted: 26th June 2013

The annual clean-up of Westling Beach is coming up again in September: I still hold out some hope that an Edwards enthusiast or two will turn into Tamzin or Meryon for the day and come and help! Volunteers record on forms all the rubbish collected, as this helps the Marine Conservation Society immensely in working out where the pollution is coming from and having a go at the polluters.

This year's date is Friday 20 September at 2 pm; you turn up at the car-park in Westling just beyond the vicarage, in outdoor gear, and the organiser puts you into teams and gives you gloves and forms and binliners, and drives you out to the beach, and you have a most entertaining hour going along the beach collecting and recording all sorts of odd bits washed up. It's not too physically arduous and you can potter along at your own rate, and it's extremely sociable. See the photo in my post on this guestbook on 15 September 2012.

It's all part of a national event, The Big Beach Clean-Up; the web page (on the Marine Conservation Society's sit) isn't up properly yet, but instead you can contact the Rye Harbour organiser Lucy Bowyer direct on or 01797 227784; she is the warden of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve ( She's also organising a clean-up at Pett Level - also frequented by the Edwards characters - on Sat 21 September at 2pm.

No need to register in advance (unless you're a large gang) - just turn up at either of these events.

Jill G

From: Julia Smith
Posted: 21st June 2013

Marion Boyle’s message has led me to recall my early reading experiences.

When I was at secondary school in the early 70s, our rather eccentric English teacher abandoned the traditional methods of teaching grammar, etc... by formal lessons, but instead emphasised the importance of good quality reading to develop our language skills. She provided around a dozen examples of quality fiction for the class each term, from which we were required to select about six.

I had already read Fire in the Punchbowl at home (discarded by my brother because it had ponies in it!) so was delighted to meet the same author in Cargo of Horses and The Midnight Horse. Other fiction this teacher selected for us included material by the Bronte sisters, Charles Dickens, and Jane Austen - so you can see she was aiming high. The inclusion of these Romney Marsh stories proves she must have recognised they were of a certain linguistic quality. I do not recall any ‘pony books’ included in the lists at all, as they evidently did not meet the standards required.

I should add that it was much later (in my forties) that I was diagnosed with dyslexia. I had arrived at this school, aged 11, with ‘remedial’ reading difficulties but left it five years later with an astonishing English Language O Level grade A. (Equivalent to A* now.) I credit this teacher, and my lasting devotion to Monica’s works, for this achievement. (I never did tackle the Dickens!)

I have spent the years since collecting Monica’s books, first in dusty bookshops then later online, and was finally able to complete my set with the help of Girls Gone By (The Wild One). My only regret is that when I bought my first internet-ready computer and searched for ‘Monica Edwards’ hoping to contact her, it was to find that she had died just that same year so I was never able to thank her personally for the difference she had made in my life.

Julia Smith

There's some intriguing points here - one is -what a brave English teacher - (or in a very wise school) to add these books to a list with Austen and Dickens - and both books have a horse reference in the title - at a time when 'pony books' were scoffingly discounted as having no literary merit . . .
Other responses ?

From: Julia Smith
Posted: 20th June 2013
Hoopoe on BBC

Hi John,

Just watched an item about the elusive ‘Hoopoe’ on BBC 1 The One Show today, 20.6.13. Did you catch it? Super images. If you missed it, it should be available on iplayer for 7 days:

It was about 20 minutes into the programme. Apparently they have been blown north by gales this year. I expect the same weather patterns led to Monica’s story in Strangers to the Marsh, all those years ago... I’m a little afraid that Lyme Regis (where they filmed) will now be inundated by hordes of sightseers - as in the book. The question is, shall I be one of them??

Many thanks for the website,

Julia Smith

Many thanks to you Julia - I had missed it - I must admit that if it weren't so far I'd be really tempted to get out my telescope . .

From: Marion Boyle
Posted: 03 May 2013

A lovely website, bringing back many happy memories.

The only Monica Edwards book I actually owned was “Wish for a Pony” which I still have, much worn and still much loved. I’m not sure what edition it is, but written on the flyleaf is “To Marion from Jess, Christmas 1956.” The dust-jacket is long gone, but the cover is a sort of turquoise colour with a design of sports-type objects on the front.

As I saved up every penny for riding lessons, I was dependent on the local library for the others; fortunately Pat Leitch, another pony book writer, who could appreciate the quality of Monica Edwards’ writing, worked there and saw to it that most of Monica Edwards books were in stock.

I went on to teach English for thirty-eight years, and in my earlier years of teaching I noticed that the pupils who were avid readers of pony books almost always went on to do well in English, regardless of their abilities in other subjects. Sadly, in the later years of my career, I noticed that the quality of the writing in most pony books had deteriorated, and their readers no longer distinguished themselves in the same way in their language skills and appreciation of literature.

I feel that the “old-fashioned” pony books beloved of my generation also instilled in us a respect for ponies and other animals that is perhaps less often found today, if what I see at shows and livery yards is anything to go by.

Marion Boyle

From: Ros Myers
Posted: 11th April 2013

Dear John,

I have just caught up with the Guestbook and would like to add the following-

Thank you for the reminder about the TV visit in The Cats of Punchbowl Farm. I KNEW that I had read about it somewhere in the past – and now I know.
It’s a while since I re-read her books about life on the farm – I always felt so sad when it all had to come to a sudden end with Bill’s accident.
A modern bungalow, however beautiful the view from it, is not the same as the ancient farmhouse. Times change and to know that some of the old details of the farm building, painstakingly dug out by Bill have now been removed, or had “Health and Safety” improvements made, makes the re-reading of the Punchbowl books a real time-travel experience – back to an age when you could recognise a shady character by the tilt of his felt Trilby!

One query, they were still using oil lamps in “The Cownappers” but they were on the telephone. Surely you need electricity to use a telephone...... can someone give me the answer, please?

Ros Myers

Ros asked this before, but I forgot. The answer's something like this:
Landline telephones operate by electricity - but only a tiny, weak amount. So the Company can plug in their equipment to the mains miles away and anyone connected to the wires is fine, you don't need to use mains electricity at home. If you did you'd fry every phone in the district !
Some modern phones plug into the mains - but this is only for the power to run an answerphone or to power a transmitter to other handsets in the house. John.

From: Gaie Brown
Posted: 31st March 2013

Hi, John

re the question about the BBC visit to Punchbowl farm, The Cats of Punchbowl Farm is the book in which the visit is described.

I have recently found the Morland Dynasty series of books by Cynthia Harrod-Eagles and was intrigued by the way she incorporates animals, specifically dogs and horses into her stories with descriptions that can only come from someone who knows animals and their idiosyncrasies very well.
The dialogue and characters also have that genuine quality and sense of humour that belongs to Tamzin, Meryon, Lindsay et al and I was very much reminded of Monica Edwards' style. I e-mailed Ms Harrod-Eagles to say how much I enjoyed her books and ask if she had read Monica Edwards - yes, she said, indeed she had and still does!

Just imagine - if the web hadn't been invented I'd still be re-reading these books, convinced that I was suffering some sort of delayed literary development and that I was alone in this peculiarity!

Gaie Brown

Thank you Gaie. I'm now kicking myself - I should have realised it was 'Cats' - the kittens played such a dramatic part in the interview - off camera ! John

From: Veda Franz
Posted: 21st March 2013

Only just discovered that there are lots of you out there who adored her books, just as I did.

It was a foreign world for a Scot, but encouraged a freedom of spirit which I was delighted to embrace.

Thank you for the site.

V Franz

From: Rosemary Myers
Received: 13th March 2013 (Posted: 21st March)

Hi John.

I am just re-reading “The Cownappers” which has very detailed descriptions of the BBC Outside Recording Unit visiting Punchbowl Farm which I know that it really did but not to interview “The Young Farmer” – but to meet and interview Monica.

Did anyone of our group ever see this programme.? We didn’t have a TV then so I certainly didn’t but it would be nice to know some of the details of this programme if anyone did see it – and can remember!

Best wishes,

The reason for the delay in adding this is that I've been trying to remember where M.E. wrote about it in one of her autobiographical books - but I can't remember - or find it flicking through my copies . . . Anyone help ? John

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: 23rd December 2012 Added to Guestbook 11 Jan 2013 ! - Apologies to Joyce, John

Hello John and All
The Martello 8 is now printed and will be posted out to M*E*A*S members in batches at some point between Christmas and New Year.
If you don't receive yours by second week in January please let us know.

Happy New Year to everyone.


From: Alison Harvey
Posted: 18th October 2012

I have a spare (paperback) copy of The Valley and the Farm – would anyone like it?


* email reply to the guestbook and I'll forward it/them to Alison.
* * offer closed * * BOOK NOW IN A GOOD HOME****

From: William Morris
Posted 14th October 2012

I have received the following ‘poll’ notice from William Morris—addressed to the Guestbook:
If you are responding—please note that the reply should be to the email in the message and not to this site.

A poll to find Monica Edwards best loved titles in her centenary year

I thought it would be interesting to establish a snap-shot picture of readers favourite books in 2012—Monica Edwards’ centenary year. With many of the novels now re-issued in new editions, and the adult and other fiction titles available through internet based sales, it seems like a good time to take a look at readers preferences.

This is a very simple poll, please take a few minutes to answer the questions and email your answers to William Morris at; (NOTE: the space marked // in this address must be omitted when you use it so that it appears as; morris657) morris //

Your name will not be published with the results. This poll will also be printed in the forthcoming Martello, please respond only once. Thank you for helping,


1) Which is your favourite series?
a) Romney Marsh
b) Punchbowl Farm
c) the adult non-fiction titles

2) Which is your favourite book?

3) Who is your favourite book illustrator?
a) Anne Bullen
b) Geoffrey Whittam
c) Charles Tunnicliffe
d) Joan Wanklyn

4) Which is your favourite dust cover illustration?
please give both the title of the book and the edition of that book as the covers do vary.

From: William Morris
Posted: 17 September 2012

Dear John,

With the second of our three MEAS Centenary Celebrations now so close, at Rye Harbour on the 6th October, you might like to know that the day will have a special theme of the Rye Harbour Lifeboat.

We shall see the grave of the lost crew of the Mary Stanford during our short and easy walk in the village before lunch. Then the volunteers who crew the present day Lifeboat will be our hosts on a visit to the RNLI service.
We remember that Monica knew the crew of the Mary Stanford and their families, and lost her close friend Charlie Southerden in that tragedy. Perhaps this would be a good time to re-read Storm Ahead ?

Having steeped ourselves in the atmosphere of the Harbour we shall end the day with afternoon tea in the Old Vicarage where Monica lived in her youth. The full Itinerary can be found on this website showing the timing of all the events.


Links to the 'Invitation' from M*E*A*S giving timing details mentioned above can be found are on the 'Welcome' page and the 'Extra' page as well as on the Society page.

From: Jill Goulder
Posted: Saturday 15th September 2012

Day on Westling Beach

Hello – well, I don’t think there were any ME-ites there today (:-(), but a team worthy of Meryon and Roger and Rissa and Tamzin, and even Diccon, had a lovely couple of hours clearing up Westling beach and recording the rubbish there – see attached. (picture below)
3rd from L is someone who was brought up in a cottage right by the old lifeboat station; she went up the track every day to primary school in Winchelsea, where of the 7 pupils she was the only girl.

x to all


2012 team, beach cleaning at Rye harbour
photograph copyright Jill Goulder

From: Alison Harvey
Posted: Wednesday, 12th September 2012

Is anyone planning to go to the Romney Marsh day on 6 October who could pick me up from Rye Station?
I am planning to arrive on the earliest possible train around 08.55 (having been let down by SW trains on the occasion of the Punchbowl day this year) so should be in plenty of time for anyone to pick me up if convenient.

Any replies can be sent to me at the Guestbook, and I shall forward them to Alison.
I had intended to be there myself, however I have had to cancel my plans.

From: Sean Edwards
Posted: 28th July 2012

Lost and Found at Thursley Church
Yesterday, I found a copy of the Centenary Programme on the steps over the wall into Thursley churchyard. Obviously a personal and used copy with annotations and underlining throughout the 'Literary Pilgrimage', and so maybe the owner would like it back. The copy is in such (reasonably) good condition that it was probably lost the same day, on a re-visit.

The owner can contact me through you, or do give them my email (rather than put it on the site).

All the best, S & S

From: Jill Goulder
Posted: 4th July 2012

For the Guestbook, and for MEAS info - WESTLING BEACH CLEAN-UP Saturday 15 SEPT 2012 - a job for Tamzin!

Further to my 19 April 2012 post in Volume 10 of the Guestbook, it now looks as if I'll be able to go to this, and I DO hope that some other M.Edwards-ites will join me on this day out that Tamzin and the team would definitely have been organising!
It's a terrific national initiative to clean up Britain's beaches and to record what rubbish is found so that the Marine Conservation Society can tackle the polluters and keep our seas and beaches cleaner.

Briefly, you turn up at the car-park in Westling just beyond the vicarage, at 1 pm in outdoor gear and the organiser puts you into teams and gives you gloves and forms and binliners, and drives you out to the beach, and you have a most entertaining hour collecting the bizarre items that wash up on Rye Harbour beach and recording them.
It's not too physically arduous and you can potter along at your own rate, and it's extremely sociable.
Go to this website:

This link will take you to the page to look for a beach etc.
Or contact the local organiser, Lucy Balmforth ( tel: 01797 227784), who is the warden of the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (

Hope to see some of you there!
All the best

From: Sean Edwards
Posted: 4th July 2012

The Centenary Celebrations: what a lovely day it was, quite perfect.
The sun, the Garden Party setting at Upper Ridgeway Farm and also the Village Hall. I'm sure that you would all join me in thanking Pat and Patricia Coles of URF, and also their quiet army of behind-the-scenes helpers that kept the sandwiches and cakes and tea flowing.
As I said in the Hall, there are so many more people to thank: William Morris of course and all those from the M*E*A*S who put in so much work in the preparations, and tidying away afterwards -- Joyce Bailey and Sue Winn in particular, and also Christine Butler and many others who contributed.

It was great to see Brian Parks my mother’s biographer, John Allsup of course, and also Clarissa Cridland and Sarah Woodall who are re-publishing her books so well. And of course my mother's old friend and real-life character in the books (The Valley and the Farm, chaps. 17, 18, &c., Biography p. 190), Nic Flemming. I think that there were some people I had had email conversations with before the day, but somehow never got round to meeting.

Many villagers who knew my mother well were able to meet her readers and (if this doesn't come out wrong...) said what a great bunch you all were. Did they expect anything else, I wonder? Thanks equally from Salosh, and from Kitty and Michele.

And last but not least, Thursley Horticultural Society sends its thanks to the M*E*A*S for their generous donations at the Garden Party. The THS supports the Coles in their regular charity garden parties. And since Monica Edwards was president of the THS, followed closely by Pat Coles, and then on to myself, we know that she would have been quite delighted that you raised at least £371 (less hire of chairs) for the "Hort. Soc." . There was also a good donation to SANE.

All the best, Sean

P.S. For those of you that bought the Centenary Celebration Programme, I can add to a caption or two. The front cover ("Monica Edwards on holiday in France ... in 1982...") was taken at the Parachutists' Site that I mentioned in my 'The Final Chapter', and relates of course to the 1982 entry. The inside front cover ("1994") was taken in Thursley's 'The Three Horseshoes' pub -- she was sitting at the table immediately in front of you as you go through from the bar, and it was cropped from a full picture
with Kitty on the right -- you can just see her hair in the bottom RH corner!

From: William Morris
Posted: 2nd July 2012

Dear John,

What a wonderful day we had at Thursley for the Centenary Celebrations on the 17th of June. Fifty people signed the Visitors Book in the Hall, and many more joined us at the Garden Party in the afternoon. It was an immense pleasure to share every event with so many like minded folk. That remarkable unbroken sunshine, and the goodwill of everyone involved, made it a perfect day. So many happy faces; so many happy memories.

We want to thank Sarah Woodall and Andrew who organised the GGBP bookstall in the Exhibition. Elizabeth Williams for acting as the ‘back-stop’ on our Walk which helped it to run smoothly and on time. Christine Butler provided the smart display boards used so successfully at the Exhibition. Clarissa Cridland managed against all expectations to join us on a Sunday, and many of us were delighted at the chance to meet her. Mr Chant, the caretaker of the Village Hall, made a big contribution behind the scenes and deserves our thanks for all his help.

Pat and Patricia Coles welcomed us with a superb high tea in their beautiful home and garden for our Centenary Garden Party. The day before, high winds and rain had made it necessary to take down the marquee, involving extra work on Sunday morning to re-erect it. The Party simply could not have been done better! Thank you to all the volunteers from the Thursley Horticultural Society who assisted with the event, and the Coles for their great generosity and hard work.

Thank you to Sean and Salosh, Kitty and Michele for your good company, and particularly to Sean for giving speeches of welcome/thanks at the Exhibition and at the Garden Party. Many of Monica’s friends and neighbours came along to meet us and share the celebration which contributed so much to its success.

Last and most definitely not least, thank you to all who wrote contributions for the Centenary Programme, and those who offered photographs. There are some copies of the colour Programme available to purchase by mail order, see Joyce’s letter below. The proceeds will go to help our two causes of the day, The Thursley Horticultural Society and SANE.

See you all in Rye Harbour on the 6th October?

William, Sue and Joyce.

From: Julia Edwards
Posted: 24th June 2012

Hello ,

I was so sorry to miss the splendid MEAS day in Surrey; other commitments took over.
Thanks to everyone who has posted here and via the Facebook page (great photos there!). I have just met up with Elizabeth Williams, who has kindly supplied a copy of the lovely booklet and given me more updates about the event!

Hope to get to Rye in October.

Best wishes,

Julia Edwards

From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: 22nd June 2012

Hi John

I’d just like to take this opportunity of thanking William, Joyce, Sue and the Coles for a fantastic day last Sunday. It was lovely to meet up with people again and meet some more fans. It was particularly nice to see Sean and Salosh too. I also enjoyed meeting Clarissa Cridland from GGB.
I’m looking forward to Rye in October now.


I can but echo all these comments - Oh, the Food ! - it was delightful to meet and talk with the Edwards' neighbours and oh, how the sun shone ! It was a great success - thank you all so much. John

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: 19th June 2012

What can we say about the Centenary Day at Thursley other than that it was fantastic. The sun shone! Many many thanks to William who did such a lot to ensure the day would be a success, the Coles for hosting the afternoon tea party in their beautiful garden, Sean and Salosh Edwards, Christine Butler, Brian Parks, Girls Gone By, John ...won't go on here...a full report will be in next Martello. So many people came; it was wonderful to see everyone.

Sue and I didn't go on the walk, stayed in the hall to look after the exhibition and GGB bookstall; would love to see any photos of the walk, if they could be sent via our email.

Would also like to mention that there are copies of the Souvenir Programme (see William's message below) available. £5.00 inc p+p. All proceeds to charity. Anyone who did not buy one on the day or who would like to buy one for someone else or just to have one please email and we can advise where to send cheque to and post out this very special limited edition publication which is full of colour photos, articles and has a guide and map of the walk. A must have.

Best wishes M*E*A*S

From: Elizabeth Drury
Posted: 18th June 2012

Thank you to everyone involved in planning the wonderful Monica Edwards Centenary Celebration. I enjoyed the exhibition, the walk and the wonderful cream tea in perfect surroundings. The sun was shining and it was good to see so many familiar faces as well as meeting new Monica Edwards enthusiasts. And we have a commemorative programme as a reminder of a very special day.

Best wishes to everyone


William stands far left as Mr Cole addresses those enjoying the feast in the beautiful grounds of his farm.
Sean and Salosh are seated to the right on the table in the foreground.

photograph by Elizabeth Drury

From: Wendy Farrington
Posted: 18th June 2012

Dear John

It was so nice to meet you again yesterday - and I would like to thank you and everyone but especially William, Sue and Joyce for a truly memorable day. It could not have been improved upon - the organisation was superb and everythng went like clockwork. It is always a joy to walk through the settings for so many stories, both fictional and true, and to be in the company of so many like minded friends - just perfect.

How lucky we were to be invited to Upper Ridgeway Farm - the visit there alone, let alone the sumptious tea (shades of Mrs Merrow here!!) would have made a lovely day out -so with everything combined - the input from Sean, Salosh and Kitty, so welcoming and friendly, and of course, the amazing weather, means I think that Monica's centenery was celebrated to the full.

Thanks again to all concerned

Wendy Farrington

From: Julia Edwards
Posted: 15th June 2012

Hello to MEAS folk.

I hope that the celebrations go very well on Sunday. I am unable to join everyone due to family and other commitments this weekend. The timetable for ths day sounds great and I hope the weather will be kind to you all.
I have greatly enjoyed recent MEAS gatherings in Surrey and Sussex and am very sorry to miss this one.

All best,

Julia Edwards

From: William Morris
Posted: 13th June 2012

Dear John,

I hope that everyone has made their plans to attend the celebrations at Thursley this Sunday? It will certainly be the biggest, and promises to be the best, gathering of people interested in the life and work of Monica Edwards ever!

The Walk is a much shorter one than at previous meetings, and is suitable for those who can walk for two hours, though there will be regular stops along the way. Bring strong walking boots or shoes and a drink with you. There will be ample opportunities for photography and to ask questions at the locations.

The Commemorative Programme has been printed in full colour and is an essential guide to the celebrations. It contains an account by Sean Edwards of Monica’s life after she stopped writing, a period that has not previously been recorded. There is also an itinerary, a guide and map for our Walk and a lovely selection of photographs which are nearly all published there for the first time. They include some fine ‘new’ pictures of Monica herself and cover the period from 1970 to the 1990‘s. Some of her readers have contributed articles on favourite titles and characters from the novels. It will be published on the 17th June in a special limited edition of only one hundred copies and will be sold at £5 each. If you know someone who would like a copy but cannot attend, do buy it for them as they are expected to sell out. The money raised will be used to cover costs and make a donation to our causes of the day (see below).
Centenary Day Programme

Please be sure to sign the Visitors Book at the Exhibition in the Village Hall to help create a permanent record of this unique event. Girls Gone By Publishers are setting up a book stall to offer their publications and the Hall will be a welcoming meeting place for visitors. Don’t forget to check the itinerary (see the link on the welcome page) to ensure that you do not miss anything during the busy day. Sean and Salosh Edwards will perform the ‘opening’ at 11am.

Our Centenary Garden Party at Upper Ridgeway Farm will be a charity event. Entry to the beautiful gardens, and the home baked scones with raspberry or blackcurrant jam and clotted cream, is free of charge There is going to be a plant sale in the garden and a donations box. Please be generous and give money in honour of Monica Edwards’s centenary. The proceeds are to be given to The Thursley Horticultural Society, in memory of their past President, Monica Edwards. A donation is also to be given to SANE, which helps fight mental ill health.

Looking forward to meeting up with old friends, and making new ones,


From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: 31st May 2012

Dear all,

If anyone would like to contribute letters/memorabilia/photos/anything of interest related to Monica Edwards, to display in the Exhibition which is part of the Punchbowl Day on Sunday, 17th June, please could they get in touch with us via the Martello email ? (Click here to send.)

Also, Christine Butler has kindly said that if anyone would like to send anything (photocopies, not originals!) in advance they could do so to her address and she can then get it ready for display and would save a lot of time in the morning. Again, please get in touch with me and I can give details of where to send them.
Any contributions on the day are fine too.

Best wishes - Joyce

From: Wendy Farrington
Posted: 22nd May 2012

I also meant to say that some readers may be interested in an exhibition of Anne Bullen's work which is coming to London in the Autumn. It will be at the Osborne Studio Gallery, 2 Motcomb Street, London SW1X 8JU Tel: 020 7235 9667 and runs from 18th September to the 4th October.

All the best


From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: 17th May 2012

Yes, the book is one of a series of four “Ravilious in Pictures” and this is “A Travelling Artist” published by The Mainstone Press and available on Amazon for £22. The interior of William the Conk is a lovely picture with a chair removed, you will see what I mean when you see the picture, There is also one of Dungeness – it’s a lovely book.

There is an excellent exhibition about Tirzah Garwood’s work – paintings, collages and engravings, on at the rather unique Fry Gallery in Saffron Walden, Essex, open Sats and Suns and Tuesday afternoon, There is not much published about her – she and Eric lived in Brick House, Great Bardfield, with the Bawdens, in the thirties.

Hope it warms up before June 17th – I have never known it so cold in May before.

Best wishes, Ros

From: Wendy Farrington
posted: 17th May 2012

Dear John

I was most interested to read Rosemary Myers email regarding the artist Eric Ravilious.
I had not come across this artist until a couple of weeks ago when I read a lovely article in County Life about his wife - also an artist but overshadowed by her husband - Tirzah Garwood. Her wood engravings are exquisite and I had made a mental note to research both her and her husbands work.

Please could you let me know, Ros, the name of the book with the Westling (sorry, Rye harbour) pictures and I will endeavour to get it.

Very much looking forward to 17th June

With best wishes

Wendy Farrington

From: Veronica Keywood
Posted: Wednesday, 16th May 2012

Hi John

I receive the George in Rye's Newsletter with details of events going on in and around Rye and I wondered if you wanted to add it into the Guestbook.
This month's has some very interesting events and I thought if anyone was thinking of visiting Rye they might like to know what is happening down there.

Sadly I don't think I will be able to get to the Punchbowl Day but hope to get down to Rye in October.

Best wishes.


The link below should open the Newsletter:

Thanks, Veronica; I don't know if I shall be able to get down to Thursley in June, my plans are rather awry; but hopefully I shall be in Rye for the later get-together.

From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: Saturday, 12 May 2012

Just bought a book on Eric Ravilious, the artist who was killed during WW2.
Book 4 of his work features a picture of the interior and view from the upper room of William the Conk, and an earlier picture in the book shows the harbour’s little light-house which was still there when I first visited a long time ago.

Very evocative of how it was – once,


From: Jill Goulder
Posted: Thursday 19th April 2012

Hello All,

I was in touch with you last year about the annual beach clean-up at Rye Harbour, which I discovered last year. John put my two posts about it in the Guestbook Vol. 9; it felt absolutely wonderful to be doing something constructive and valuable in our beloved Westling – a real Operation Seabird task – and it would be terrific if this year a whole gaggle of Monica Edwards enthusiasts descended on Rye Harbour and cleaned up the beach in her and her characters’ memory!

Here are the details:
Every year the Marine Conservation Society (MCS) organises the BeachWatch Big Weekend, a national clean-up of Britain’s beaches, including recording exactly what rubbish is collected and then taking action by writing to relevant authorities (sewage, tourism, fishing etc). This year’s BeachWatch Big Weekend at Rye Harbour is on Saturday 15 September 2012, starting in the car-park at 1 pm; it lasts an hour or so. Very sadly I won’t be able to make it this year, so I’m hoping that some other M Edwards-ites will pick up the baton.

The MSC BeachWatch website is at; it’s a bit hard to find your way around the website, but nearer the time there should be a dedicated Big Weekend events list on the site, and the Rye Harbour details are there already on the general events list at Meanwhile, anyone interested could contact the local wildlife warden who valiantly organises the Rye Harbour beach clean-up: Lucy Balmforth on 01797 227784 or Lucy is immensely nice and very dedicated to preserving the Rye Harbour Nature Reserve (see so deserves our support – and the more people who come on the Big Weekend, the more attention the MCS pays to the beach in question. Our chance to make a difference!

If M Edwards-ites can’t get to the September clean-up, Lucy’s also running clean-up days on Sun 22 April and Sat 7 July this year, same time and place. If there’s a lot of interest in any of the events, it might be good if enthusiasts liaised rather than all phoning Lucy individually. Lucy’s very happy for individuals to turn up without pre-warning her, but it would be useful to warn her if a large gang is turning up so that she can increase her stash of biscuits! and bring more binliners and clipboards.

I do hope this is useful and encourages at least a few people to go along, and combine it with a general pilgrimage to Westling.

All the best,

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: Monday 12th March 2012

Dear John and all

Just to let everyone know that the Martello magazine No 7 is - finally - on its way. It's a bit behind schedule but we have had a few problems in finding a new print firm (it was no longer possible to use the previous one as I had changed jobs and no longer worked nearby enough for this to be practical) plus a lot of other stuff getting in the way.

However, pleased to say have found a really good printers and the magazine is now being sent out. If you are a member of M*E*A*S and don't receive your mag by end of the week please let us know.

Regards - Joyce

This page is part of the Monica Edwards Website. To enter this site by the front door, click here.