Guestbook Volume 9

January 2011 - December 2011

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: Joyce Bailey
Posted: Thursday 22nd December 2011

Hello John and all

That is amazing news from Philip! I have just finished updating an article about the Vicarage which is to go in the forthcoming edition of the Martello, with a closing paragraph commenting that it's now a private home and probably not much hope that the new owners will re-open it as a b&b or some sort of drop-in centre for Monica Edwards readers.........Gonna have to change it all now! But I'm pleased to do so.

Happy Christmas!


From: Philip Moore
Posted: Wednesday 21st December 2011

Hello John,

My name's Philip Moore & I live at Rye Harbour.
A year or two ago I welcomed a group from MEAS & showed them around our church here. I remain in occasional contact with Joyce Bailey & Susan Winn.

I have some news that may excite some of your members! Please find the piece below for posting in the Monica Edwards Guestbook.


Philip (Moore).

Piece for M.E. Guestbook:

I am posting a little piece of information that may be useful to those of you that missed the opportunity of staying at Monica's childhood home in Rye Harbour when it was last a guest house some years ago. Well it's open again for business! The new owners have done a great job of renovating the property so here is your opportunity of staying there.

The owners have the beginnings of a web site at:
and as you can see the vicarage looks pretty good now. Their telephone number is (01797) 222088.

Please note that I have nothing at all to do with this enterprise - I am just someone that lives in the village.
Who is to be the first person from MEAS to stay here this time around ?

Thank you, Philip, this is indeed great news - It won't be long before the first visit I'm sure !!

From: Jenny
Posted: Saturday 3rd December 2011

Dear John,

Just found your website and got out all my old M.E. books which have been cherished ever since I first had them all those years ago.

Thought you’d like to know, for the sake of completeness, that the cover price for Strangers to the Marsh is 10s 6d. Hardback Collins 1st Edition 1957.

Best wishes,


Thank you for this - I've added the info to the book's page - another little piece of the jigsaw !

From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: Tuesday 29th November 2011

Shock – horror! I was playing on my computer and thought a quick trip to Rye Harbour would lighten a grey November day. The Vicarage was looking neglected and in spring climate when I clicked down with the little blue man. We sprang into summer just before the Martello Tower and turned to look back at the Vicarage.

It stood there as shorn as Lindsay was when she cut of her plaits. The big tree on the west side has gone! You could always pin-point The Vicarage from all over the marsh by that huge tree. Which was probably a mere sapling when Monica lived there, but I have always known it, not as big as it finally grew, but it was always there. So you can play with time with click – one step nearer to the Harbour Mast and its bare trees and the tree. Step back into the sunshine, and it’s gone.

Dear John,
I suppose this is part of the renewal and refurbishment, time moves on.....


From: Elizabeth Williams
Posted: Friday 11th November 2011

I see that GGB will be printing Brian's Punchbowl Companion shortly and it can be preordered.
I'm looking forward to comparing it to my old copy and reading all the new bits.

Elizabeth Williams

From: Heather-Joy Garrett
Posted: Wednesday 21st September 2011

Dear John

I feel I am rather late to the party having only just rediscovered your website. Last time I looked it was just the dust covers and now it's so much fuller.

I have loved Monica Edwards books since being introduced to them by my cousin when I was about 8 - it must have been about 1967. My cousin lived in New Romney so I knew the Marsh well and was instantly hooked and then delighted when I found (very quickly) the Punchbowl stories as my other cousin lived near Guildford so I knew the Punchbowl too.

I am now inspired to start re-collecting the books and to get a full set - I even think there a couple I haven't read and I can't believe how excited that makes me.



From: Jill Goulder
Posted: Saturday 17th September 2011 4pm

Many thanks for putting my note about BeachWatch on the website – perhaps next year it might be good to publicise it in advance so that ME fans might get a gang together?
I’ve just returned from Westling, where I was one of only two volunteers, plus the organiser (from Rye Harbour Nature Reserve); we battled along the beach in horizontal rain with our bin-bags and litter-pickers and cleared about a quarter of a mile of it – it felt such a worthwhile task, and the recording of every item found helps the organisers to trace major litter-generators (largely fishermen leaving fishing line and bits of net, sadly).

There are great doings at the Old Vicarage, with a large and intrusive new garage and expensively landscaped front garden and drive. Maybe a smart second home for someone?

All the best Jill

Great idea that, Jill. It's just the sort of thing that Tamzin would leap to involve Rissa, Meryon and Roger. The vicarage telephone would be busy !

From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: Thursday 15th September 2011

More changes at Rye Harbour. Now the winding sea wall between the Vicarage and the Lifeboat house is a tarmac path......Mrs Grey, Diccon and Banner would not be amused. The garage site is now a block of flats. I honestly feel that it is better NOT to visit, it is now so unlike the village that is described in Monica’s books.

Out at the castle on a grey lonely windy day a little of the atmosphere of the old marsh can be conjured up but the Walland Marsh skyline has now sprouted a mass of tall white windmills, which can be seen from many miles away. It gets harder and harder to imagine the way it was.
When I first visited this area, the harbour was still a fishing village and, apart from the ugly Gravel works halfway up the road to Rye, it was very much as was described in the books. Never a pretty village though. apart from the sea-facing row of buildings alongside the “Conk,” it had character. Now with the recent modern changes to some of these buildings, the scale and charm has been erased.

I do hope that the new tunnel by the Punchbowl will improve the atmosphere around the “Thornton” area.

Ros Myers

From: Jill Goulder
Posted: Wednesday 14th September 2011

This weekend is the national BeachWatch event, where beaches all round the UK are cleaned by volunteers – see – and one of them is at Rye Harbour, starting at 10 am on Saturday 17 Sept.
Perhaps you might email some enthusiasts?
They can email Lucy Balmforth at with any queries, but otherwise they can just turn up at the car park in Westling. I’m going!

All the best
Jill Goulder

From: William Morris
Posted: Monday 5th September 2011

Dear John,

We had a lovely day at Thursley yesterday, despite a soaking in the middle of our Walk !

Sean and Salosh joined us at the get together in the Hall.

The other photo shows your copy of the Walk Guide being posted in Monica's own post box. It has been signed by the fans, and should arrive with you tomorrow.

With kindest regards,

It did and it is wonderful - thank you all. Just sorry I couldn't make it down there - maybe next Spring ?

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: Monday 5th September 2011

Hi John and all

We had a fantastic day at the Punchbowl yesterday on the Valley and the Farm Walk led by William.
Despite the soggy middle of the day spirits were un-dampened and we saw some of the Wild Valley: a beautiful, quiet place with Smallbrook a silver gleam at the bottom of what were to me terrifyingly steep banks of trees.
Sean and Salosh Edwards joined us in the afternoon for tea-lunch-whatever (Salosh gave it the name of 'Tunch') which was lovely with strawberries, cheese and fruit scones, gingerbread and cream and we had a display of members' photos of Rye Harbour and Punchbowl and a quiz by Sue.

Thanks to everyone who came along for the really good company and for the delicious food. Thanks to William for brilliant walk.

Best wishes - Joyce

From: William Morris
Posted: 16th August 2011

Dear John,

I wondered if fans of 'Punchbowl Midnight' might be interested in reading a novel which has a similar theme ? 'Man-Shy' by Frank Dalby-Davison is the story of a heifer that escapes from captivity to live free with a wild herd in open country. Well worth reading for its own merits, copies are widely available.

It offers fans of one of Monica Edwards novels the rare chance of further reading. Perhaps the only other comparable case would be that of 'The Cownappers' and 'Appointment With Venus'.

I wrote to Clarissa Cridland earlier this year as I felt she might want to include this in her new edition of 'Punchbowl Midnight', due out very soon.

I should be happy to give more information on request, and would like very much to hear the opinion of those who do read it.


William can be contacted on his email address given on the Punchbowl Walk Announcement page. John

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: Wednesday 10th August 2011

Hello John and All -
The time approaches for the Valley and the Farm Walk led by William Morris.
Thank you for the 'announcements'. People are welcome to just turn up on the day but it would be nice to know numbers in advance so, if you are thinking of coming, please let us know.

It will be interesting to see - and hear - the difference the closure of that section of the A3 makes to the Punchbowl area, assuming that the tunnel is now open.

Just had a quick look at the GGBP site and see that Punchbowl Midnight is to be published Sept/Oct - yippee.
Best wishes - Joyce

From: Joyce Bailey
Posted: Friday 13 May 2011

Hi John

Echoing Ros's comments and yours: how sad about the kitchen inglenook. Seems strange to buy something old and beautiful and hack it out! It can be a bittersweet experience going back to look at old family homes.

Looking forward to the Sailor's Stone and Punchbowl Walk on 30th May with Brian leading the way. I know there was lovely weather for William's recent walk and hope we will have more of the same. Hope to see a few there.

Regards - Joyce

P.S. What has happened to my brain! I meant to say BHW is another superb edition from GGB; lots of lovely extras including Shelley's preface and that chap's publishing history is not bad either. J

Thank you for the kind words ! I especially liked Clarissa's piece on Thursley Horse Show with the photograph of Monica with the other officials and Richard Dimbleby - which incidentally indicated why she had no problems with the low beam(s) in the farm kitchen !

From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: Friday 6 May 2011

Hi John

I have just read the introduction to Black Hunting Whip and was so shocked to hear that the lovely inglenook fireplace was demolished by the people who purchased the farm from the Edwards all those years ago. I have always longed for an inglenook in a farm-style kitchen and having had tea once in the lovely Punchbowl Farm one, cannot believe that anyone would hack out such a historic feature and then tile the area with white tiles. I would imagine that it is a listed building Grade 2 but perhaps it wasn’t then. Such a shame that such a literary shrine is no more! Dear John. , I have noticed that the Guest Book seems to be lacking guests these day and felt so sad at the demise of the famous farm kitchen, felt that I must make a comment about it. Ros,

Hi, Ros - as you say - the Guestbook seems rather unused these days - so thanks for the new entry !
I haven't received my copy yet - but I remember being shocked - appalled really - when M.E. told me that the new owners had removed the worn cellar steps and replaced them with concrete - because they were dangerous - and that they'd removed the low beam in the kitchen that visitors banged their heads on - according to her mother only Shelley of the family was tall enough to bang her head on it.
I was quite depressed by those changes - and, like you, was surprised that it had been allowed. Sad.

From: Kate Hartland-Westwood
Posted: Friday 4th March 2011

Hi John

I don't know if there are many Monica fans in the Wolverhampton area, but if there are they may be interested in the current exhibition at Bantock House Museum 'All At Sea'. which includes some details of the Mary Stanford disaster. Mary Stanford was a Wolverhampton lifeboat - a fact which I was either unaware of or had forgotten - and I was pleasantly surprised to hear her name mentioned during the pre-opening talk. I took the opportunity to inform the speaker ( a fundraiser for RNLI) about Monica's connection...

Best wishes


The following link should take you to the museum site for more information:

From: Joyce Bailey (M*E*A*S)
Posted: 21st February 2011

Hi John and all – Just to say that we have started posting the latest edition of The Martello out to members of M*E*A*S.
The first batch has been sent out and the remainder will be sent out by the end of this week. We are now working on The Martello 7 which will follow at a much shorter interval than that between 5 and 6 – we too are now coming out of hibernation! If anyone has anything they would like included in the next or future ediion of The Martello please send it in.

We are planning a M*E*A*S walk to the Sailor’s Stone – date not decided yet, but we will let everyone know as soon as possible.

Best wishes – Joyce and Sue

From: Rosemary Myers
Posted: Saturday 28th January 2011

Are we all in hibernation, or have we been culled by the Min. of Ag. as if we were beautiful badgers? No news from the hut, no guests in the guestbook. Have we all (sadly) Grown Up and left our marsh and valley? I hope there still some of us out there.

Ros Myers

Apologies for the lack of FHN etc - I'm in Hibernation at the moment. (also stuck in the middle of the Pub Hist for the next GGBP edition!)
I shall, as they say, be back !!. Happy New Year each.

From: Roseanne Allen
Posted: Sunday 29th January 2011

Hi John,
I am so thrilled to see activity on the website again! I discovered your wonderful site last autumn and it has given me a new lease of life in a rather difficult time. At the risk of repeating what just about everyone else has already said, Monica Edwards' wonderful books inspired my childhood and I am re-living them now by finding them on E-bay or anywhere else that I can afford them.

Thank you so much for all your efforts in resurrecting this author's wonderful work. I shall remain in touch with the website for any for further information. There are a couple of titles that I still haven't read and am trying to source the original copies (Midnight Horse amongst others, but I got outbid on Ebay last year!). Somehow it is more meaningful to me to read an original copy than a re-print, not sure why! All the best to you and other ME fans, hope very much to meet up with you all some day,

Kindest regards,


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