We are all very much looking forward to the launch event for our newest author Polly Williamson’s new book ‘Where did I go?’ and we’d very much like to meet you there.
Join us at 2pm on Saturday 30 April in Cirencester at Waterstones. Anybody who enjoys extraordinary true-life accounts of courage and recovery against all odds will love this book. This is your chance to meet the author in person (and perhaps enjoy a glass of wine while you do it) …
Can’t make it?
Don’t worry, Polly will be signing books at the BHS trade stand at Badminton Horse Trials on Friday and Saturday (6 and 7 May).
Polly Williamson’s life changed the day a dramatic incident with a young horse left her with a horrific head injury. She was a horse trainer and former Champion eventer. She was a wife and mother to two young boys. The accident severed her connection to this former life. It stole away her ability to care for her children and left her struggling to rediscover who she was.
Surviving a near fatal brain injury brings a person face to face with the very basis of their identity. Some will be lucky and pick up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others will have everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage.
Polly has had her world shattered and seen the fragments of her identity laid bare. Where did I go? is the powerful record of her efforts to pick up the pieces and put her life back together again.
Polly Williamson has had a busy few weeks. Last week Points West TV aired an interview with Polly filmed at her yard and today she spoke to BBC Radio Bristol’s John Darvall about traumatic brain injuries, her treatment at BIRU Frenchay Hospital and recovery with two young children to care for.
We are delighted to issue advanced information on forthcoming 2016 title WHERE DID I GO? by Polly Williamson.
WHERE DID I GO? Rediscovering my identity, lost after a traumatic brain injury
“8 December 2011: I went to a small horse competition in the morning. That much I do remember. After that absolutely nothing.”
Polly Williamson is a former Junior European Eventing Champion. She won six international gold medals representing the GBR equestrian team during her career (under the name Polly Lyon) and she was crowned Junior European Champion at the age of eighteen. She is a wife and a mother to two lively boys, and she is currently a respected trainer working with world class horses and their riders. Her expert advice features regularly in top equestrian magazines and blogs … Wife, mother and horse trainer: The three elements that define Polly Williamson’s life read like a catalogue of care and determination.
That determination was to prove vital when she sustained a horrific head injury in a dramatic incident with a young horse and it left her connection to her former life in tatters.
Where did I go? is a brave account of recovery from a ‘traumatic brain injury’ and its impact on both the body and the mind. Polly’s story makes readers face questions about the links between identity and the ability to process emotions, and join the struggle to regain a sense of her former self, which is made all the more poignant by the knowledge that it is essential for the sake of her children.
Topical: Many high profile personalities and sportsmen have sustained similarly horrific injuries in recent years: Richard Hammond, Michael Schumacher, James Cracknell, to name but a few. The summer of 2015 saw brain injuries become a topic for discussion when concerns were raised about repeat concussions sustained by World Cup Rugby players and also the near miss experienced by Olympic medallist William Fox-Pitt.
Some of those sportsmen and personalities have been lucky and picked up their former lives with barely a missed step. Others have had everything that holds them to who they were stripped away by brain damage. Now Polly tells the story of her accident and recovery; the story of how a mother faced an extraordinary challenge to rediscover her lost identity.
WHERE DID I GO? is published in Spring 2016 to ebook and paperback.
Foreword by a notable sportsperson (to be announced in January 2016)
Preview copies available from mid January 2016. Register your interest now: email@example.com
Congratulations to long term Crumps Barn Studio author Jane Phillips. The launch of her new 1940s children’s adventure The Clarendon Boys caught the eye of local press. We were excited to see articles in both the Deal Mercury and the Dover Express.
Set in post-war Dover amongst the ruins of the town, Peter and his friends must face a daring adventure. There’s the trouble about the Second World War mine, the train, the crashed aeroplane … and the long dark tunnels beneath the Western Heights with all their dangerous secrets …
The Clarendon Boys is available now in paperback and ebook. Shop now.
A new children’s book has been released featuring the extraordinary fortifications and WWII landmarks that span the famous White Cliffs of Dover.
The Clarendon Boys is an exciting children’s adventure for ages 10+ set in Dover during the period immediately after the Second World War. Four boys encounter dangerous secrets in the long dark tunnels beneath the Western Heights and this is only the start of their troubles, which soon include a naval mine, a train and a crashed aeroplane …
Engaging and particularly attractive to boys, this book features excellent detail on the era and the town itself. This is Jane’s second children’s book and her first for older children set within the environs of her home town. It draws on personal memories and tackles many of the difficulties faced by children who live in a time of rationing and shortages.
Crumps Barn Studio was delighted to host the opening event for this year’s Chipping Campden Literature Festival. The workshop was a delight to hold and the venue, the Church Rooms in Chipping Campden, was a splendid setting. Twelve lucky participants got to make their own hand bound hardback notebook during the two-hour workshop.
We also got to attend the closing events with our pop-up stand and it proved a fantastic opportunity to hear some really special speakers. We can’t wait until next year.
Congratulations to new children’s author Lottie Prentice on this blindingly brilliant piece in today’s YOU magazine for the Mail on Sunday.
Lottie and real-life horsey hero Ted featured in a fabulous article today which sets out to explain how their remarkable partnership culminated in the penning of Lottie’s first children’s book. Even his print counterpart got a look-in with one of illustrator Lorna Gray’s illustrations featuring in the closing section.
We are delighted to introduce the new memoir from Partricia R. Carpenter M.B.E.
And Life Goes On is an enchanting portrait of childhood in 1940s and 50s town and country. Patricia Carpenter was awarded her M.B.E in 1997 for services to the MoD and the community. In this original memoir, Patricia Carpenter shares the experience of crouching under a table top shelter while air raid sirens blare out their warning. Her world is one of red Mickey Mouse gas masks and her mother dashing to the shops on roller skates with the pram because they can’t afford the bus.
When peace resumes, the urban landscape of smog and shortages is exchanged for the wide spaces of Kempsford in Gloucestershire. This is a place where mains electricity becomes a distant memory, water has to be fetched from the well and children are expected to help on the land before going to school.
With additional chapters featuring her parents’ life in service to the gentry and her own coming of age in the country, And Life Goes On is a beautifully personal account of growing up in wartime Britain.
One of my earliest memories is of wartime London, crouching with my mother and baby sister Eileen in the table top shelter or cowering under the stairs of 45 Ordnance Hill, St John’s Wood NW8 as the sirens blared out the warning that an air raid was imminent.
As a small child I didn’t understand what all the fuss and hurry was and would have much preferred to stand at the window, especially at night peeping through the blackout curtains watching the searchlights shining high up in the sky – which were the only lights seen at night.
All vehicles, of which there were few – due to petrol rationing – vehicles and torches had a cardboard covering over the light with a thin slit cut out of the middle showing the smallest glimmer which MUST be pointed down to the ground so that no light could be seen from the air. Men smoking pipes had to turn the bowl of the pipe
up-side-down, for the same reason.
We used to have an Anderson shelter in the garden until it was destroyed when a bomb demolished some of the houses on the other side of the road. Then we managed to squeeze into the cupboard under the stairs which still smelled of the coal that used to be stored there before the war, this was our temporary shelter until a large table top one was installed in our living room. It was so big it took up half of the room, and had mattresses inside. I was put to bed every night in the shelter which was great fun – it was my very own den – until there was an air raid when everyone joined me and it became very cramped.
As soon as the sirens screamed out mother would first put on the light and check that the blackout curtains were carefully drawn so that not a chink of light could be seen outside. If it could, a warden would soon rap on the door and shout, ‘put out that light.’ ‘Don’t show Gerry the way.’ Mother would then fetch the baby from her cot in the next room and we were soon joined by Milkie (Miss Milton), Wilkie (Miss Wilkins) from next door, Uncle ‘Bob’ Tanner (slang for one shilling and sixpence). His real name was Charles Tanner and he had a self-contained set of rooms on the second floor of our house. Two Irish Colleens came down from the top storey – Mary and that ‘painted hussy Christine’, as Milkie called her. Everyone would settle down as best they could under what now seemed quite a small shelter with their blankets, pillows, thermos flasks of cocoa, torches, baby’s nappies and bottle: the list of items was endless. We would wait for the ‘all clear’ siren to sound and then we could all go back to bed.
Everyone would talk, drink cocoa, play games or have a good moan and eventually end up having a good old sing song. Sad songs to begin with, then some defiant ones like ‘Rule Britannia’ and, finally comic songs. Uncle Bob always fiddled with a wireless set trying to get the latest bulletin. Mickey Drippin, who was really my uncle Reg and a pilot – one of the ‘Few’ to survive the Battle of Britain, later to be killed when only 25, whilst training Indian pilots, only no one knew that in those dark and dismal days.
I loved Mickey Drippin most of all. When he was in the shelter he would do conjuring tricks, make threepenny pieces magically appear from my ears or hair. As soon as he arrived home on leave, which was not very often, he would shout, ‘where’s Paddy Wack the Barber?’, pretending he couldn’t see me when I rushed in clutching his knees and yelling, ‘Here I am.’ He would swing me high above his head. He was such fun.
Whilst sheltering, we all waited to hear the sound of ack-ack guns trying to shoot down the enemy aircraft. If there was the sound of a doodlebug going over (the newly invented flying bombs – I’m not sure, even now, what the difference was), the adults all listened hoping it would pass over, because when the engine stopped – silence – as it plunged to the ground and exploded and they all hoped it would plunge somewhere else. I think that one was the V1 and the V11 was totally silent until the explosion was heard.
One night it stopped overhead and dropped on the houses the other side of the street. Our windows were blown out and a ceiling fell on Mother as she was fetching the baby from her cot, she had paused to warm the feeding bottle. Debris and dust was everywhere and my dolly’s pram which was left in the garden, was never seen again.
There were clods of earth, wood, glass and water from burst pipes everywhere.
Pretty soon policemen (my daddy was one) and wardens were evacuating the area and cordoning off the street. No one was allowed back for any reason, until the search for casualties was complete and the area was declared safe. Everyone crowded into the pub to be accounted for.
After this my mother said I had to be evacuated to the safety of the country. Some children had gone away and then returned when it seemed that we would not be attacked. Mother was adamant: I was taken to a railway station one cold grey day, willing myself not to cry again. I had been told that I was a big girl now and big girls do not cry.
I was not quite sure what was going on but everywhere was chaos and everyone very busy. Large bosomed ladies with long lists in their hands seemed to be charging up and down the platform, marking off the children’s names as they were found. Tying big labels onto their coats barking out in bossy voices, ‘name and address on label?’ ‘Ration book?’ ‘Complete change of clothing?’ ‘Gasmasks?’ Those who had received a ‘Direct Hit’ had had to be kitted out by the Red Cross, WVS and church groups.
There was noise and confusion everywhere. Children were shouting, crying and getting lost. The bossy ladies were becoming very cross and red in the face as they tried to keep order among the would-be evacuees. Elderly guards were trying to ignore the chaos, smoking a crafty fag and hiding behind the luggage wagons.
I wanted to take off my red Mickey Mouse gasmask, as the cord was cutting into my shoulder but Mother would not let me.
I wondered if there was a blanket bundle for Mother among the luggage on the platform. Uncle Harold, who lived in Kempsford in Gloucestershire, often sent a bundle of blankets to Mother. Carefully concealed in the blankets was, maybe, a rabbit, hare or a brace of pigeons. Mother called him our secret butcher. It was a secret because it was not allowed. All food was carefully rationed. I remember being hungry nearly all of the time. I didn’t like pigeons very much, I remember being taken to Trafalgar Square once not too long before and a photographer wanted to take my picture among the pigeons.
Some corn was put onto the palms of my hands and suddenly the birds swooped down on me. They were all around me and on my head and arms. I screamed and screamed, and I have been terrified of birds ever since if they come anywhere near me.
Why was I being sent away? All by myself? Because of the war … THEY said. It would not be safe for me to stay … THEY said. I could not understand why, it was safe for Mother and baby Eileen to stay, so why not me? After all the ceiling fell in on Mother and Eileen: I was safely in the shelter.
Suddenly the guards were shouting, ‘All aboard’ and slamming the carriage doors. Mother bent down and gave me a hug. ‘You’re coming home with me,’ she sobbed. ‘If our number’s up, we’ll all go out together.’ The whistle blew and the train slowly steamed out of the station. I was so happy.
Exciting news for lovers of Jane Eyre and Pride and Prejudice: These unforgettable classics are set to join our make-it-yourself bookbinding kits from 11 March – next week! And the purists amongst you will be delighted to hear that you’ll even get to bind them in their original three volumes!
Each impressive volume boasts its own fabric cover with a design that is entirely unique to Crumps Barn Studio. We’ve taken our inspiration from wallpaper from the era.
Lorna is a Fine Arts graduate from Aberystwyth University. She is also a fully accredited Member of the Chartered Institute for Archaeologists with over twelve years’ technical drawing expertise. She has written several works set in the post-war period and her debut novel In the Shadow of Winter is published by Harper Impulse (2015).
She undertakes most of the illustrative work for Crumps Barn Studio and to date she has illustrated three children’s books, one adult work of non-fiction and authored and illustrated her own short cartoon / picture book. She frequently combines detailed penmanship with digital colouring but she is most noted for her watercolours as displayed in children’s picture book A Tale of Ted. Realism and perspective are fundamental elements of her work.
Di (Diana) Alexander has had a long career as a journalist, writing for Cotswold Life, Gloucestershire Life, Wiltshire Life and the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. In 2012, she examined the much overlooked story of Pamela Mitford and brought it to the fore in ‘The Other Mitford’ (History Press 2012).
‘Harcombe’ became a household staple during its years as a regular feature in the Wilts and Gloucestershire Standard. Her debut release with Crumps Barn Studio, The Harcombe Year, marks its long-awaited return.
Prior to this, Lottie was a British team member and professional three-day event rider. Her star horse Ted took on some of the toughest tracks in the world and achieved international success. Lottie grew up on the 350 acre Syde Park estate in Gloucestershire and whilst competing professionally studied for her masters degree in International Business at Warwick University, qualifying as a Management Consultant in 2001. She went on to study law at Bristol University and is now a qualified solicitor, heading up the country’s first Landed Estates, Sports & Equine Law division. She has recently attained her Higher Rights of Audience meaning that she can represent her clients in the higher courts sporting a wig and gown.
Lottie lives in the Cotswolds with her husband Bryan and 3 year-old son William (named after her mother’s horse). Lottie writes regularly for the equestrian press and has appeared frequently on radio and TV, including a reality TV show for BBC 3 with Rufus Hound in 2006. She is a member of the Executive Committee for the Guild of the Cheltenham Ladies’ College where she was a pupil. In her spare time Lottie helps raise funds for Help for Heroes, models and represents Shock Absorber sports bras.
Or the original by post to: Crumps Barn Studio, Crumps Barn, Syde, Cheltenham GL53 9PN
Be sure to include your name, address, telephone number and age. If you like, you can tell us why you loved A Tale of Ted: A very naughty horse.
You must be a resident of the UK
One entry permitted per person
Choose one of the two designs
You agree by entering to allow Crumps Barn Studio to use your drawing as part of its marketing
You can be any age
The winner will be able to choose between receiving an original drawing or a t-shirt as a prize. There is no cash alternative. The t-shirt will be a size of your choice. Colour choices may be available at the artist’s discretion
Di Alexander’s recent release, The Harcombe Year has attracted many rave reviews, and none more glowing than this recently published review in This England magazine. Nestling amongst fascinating articles on the propaganda for and against Richard III and beautiful images of English countryside, this neat little piece on The Harcombe Year mentions Di’s ‘warmth, verve and humour‘ and concludes by crowning it ‘a real little treasure and a labour of love‘.
We are delighted to reveal the cover and introduce our newest signing, 3-day event rider Lottie Prentice. A Tale of Ted is the debut children’s book from the British Team member and features her star horse Ted (competed as Father Jerry). The book will be illustrated by Cotswold-based artist Lorna Gray. Pre-order your copy today >
There will be a special launch event for this book in early May. Details will be announced nearer the time.
“Once upon a time there was a beautiful grey horse called Ted. He was very very handsome. He loved to gallop and jump big fences.”
Ted was also very very naughty. He would always nip the blacksmith on the bottom just when he was in the right position and as for injections given by the vet, well the least said about them the better.
“These visits were memorable, but largely for the wrong reasons . . .”
But Ted’s antics don’t stop at biting the farrier or terrifying the vet. Join Rhino the dog, Barney the owl and the sheep next door and discover what happens when Ted makes his naughtiest act yet . . .