How I Write by Anthony Ridgway

‘How I Write’ click here to watch the video

Anthony Ridgway made this video to demonstrate how he writes his children’s books Wizzy the Animal Whisperer and Wizzy and the Seaside Adventure.

Because Anthony has cerebral palsy and is partially sighted he writes using a computer programme that enables him to find the keys on a large keyboard with the computer speaking out each letter, number and space when he presses the relevant key.

Using Dolphin Guide on his PC, Anthony writes for an hour or two each day. It is a laborious process … as Anthony says, Because I only write with one finger, it takes me about a year to write a book.

Although the process of writing is laborious, Anthony brings adventure and a witty freshness to his stories that will have you laughing out loud.

Books by Anthony Ridgway



 

Wizzy the Animal Whisperer audiobook CD

 

Alan Langford – Inspired by the New Forest

Alan Langford, New Forest equestrian artist, features in the Friends of the New Forest Associations FOREST MATTERS Autumn/Winter 2023 publication.

Inspired by the New Forest

‘Alan Langford is a freelance artist and illustrator who specialises in equestrian subject matter.
As a native of the New Forest, he is familiar with its extensive landscapes of open heath and ancient woodland that are frequently depicted in his paintings.
A love of horses and riding, and the struggle to depict action in a convincing, predominantly aesthetic way, is the foremost objective in his paintings.
Alan was born in Hampshire, but went to Australia when his family decided to emigrate there under the popular immigration scheme after the Second World War.
They returned to England after three years and in much depleted circumstances lived in a caravan at Drapers Copse, Dibden, on the edge of the New Forest.
Alan writes, ‘It was there that I met my first Romani gypsies. They were a tough lot, and their toughness became most apparent during the winter of 1962-63. Everyone on that caravan camp had a hard time that winter.’
[extract from Alan’s book, WELGORA published by LittleKnollPress.com]
His close contact with the local Romani community, whose relationship with the Forest can be traced back for Centuries, has left an empathetic influence on his art. Images of the Romani Welgoras (horse fairs) and Atchin Tans (temporary camps) often feature in his paintings.
After a footloose career wandering from one unskilled job or another in Australia and the UK he finally embarked on a serious course of part-time study at Southampton College of Art. He qualified to study as a full-time student on the college’s Foundation Course, but had to let this opportunity pass because his absence from the UK while wandering in Australia exempted him from any grant entitlement.
He finally found work as a full time illustrator and since then has illustrated comics, encyclopaedias, history books and classical novels.

Alan Langford paints at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth

Alan starts his painting at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

Equestrian artist, Alan Langford, demonstrated painting at the ‘Animals in Art and Nature’ evening at Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum, Bournemouth.

In just over two hours Alan completed a watercolour of gypsy horses, while finding plenty of time to talk to visitors as well.

The evening celebrated the summer 2023 exhibition In Her Own Voice’ which brought together a stunning selection of works by the famous equestrian painter, Lucy Kemp-Welch, at the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

Poster by Lucy Kemp-Welch depicting Robert Baden-Powell’s horse ‘Black Prince’.

If you think you’ve never heard of Lucy Kemp-Welch, think again … she illustrated the first edition of Anna Sewell’s classic book ‘Black Beauty’, using Baden-Powell’s horse Black Prince as the model for Black Beauty.

 

Alan Langford was gripped by the same desire as Lucy Kemp-Welch to capture in paint the power and movement of horses, and their special relationship with people.

Alan writes in his book ‘WELGORA’ …

Illustration from Alan’s book ‘WELGORA’.

‘In the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery and Museum, Bournemouth, hangs Lucy Kemp-Welch’s eight foot long canvas, entitled The Gypsy Horse Drovers, which she painted when she was still an art student under the tutorage of Herbert Von Herkomer RA. The idea for the painting occurred to her when she saw the approach of a number of heavy-hoofed cobs, driven by tough-looking Romani riders along a muddy country lane, under a grey wintry sky.
Rushing from her lodgings with palette and brushes in hand, and the lid of her paint box to serve as a paint board, she executed a swift, skilful composition as this irregular, rampant procession proceeded before her.
Following this exciting encounter and full of the energetic enthusiasm that compels artists when embarking on a project that interests them deeply, she ordered an eight foot long, stretched canvas and set about composing her figures against the landscape. The confidence required to undertake such a task using only a hastily prepared oil study for reference was quite extraordinary, and Lucy was only in her early twenties at the time.
Some eighty years later, I stood before this astonishing painting, skin hot from sunburn, salty sand trapped between my toes, and rolled damp towel tucked under my arm … I was completely transported to that cold, muddy lane with its grazing and rearing horses as recorded by Lucy Kemp-Welch all those years ago.’

When you visit Bournemouth, dont miss going to see Lucy Kemp-Welchs magnificent painting The Gypsy Horse Droversat the Russell-Cotes Art Gallery & Museum.

Children’s Storybooks Reductions

You might like to know that all the children’s story books have been reduced in price here on this website.

These books (links below), all beautiful with pictures, will be a fun resource for children who are home schooling during this worrying time.

To allay any concerns, the books are new, straight out of the boxes that they arrived in from the printers, and I will pack them wearing disposable gloves and in new packaging.

Should you want an invoice, please be sure to fill in your email address when ordering and I will send it by email.

Children’s books reductions

 

 

 

Wizzy-the-animal-whisperer

WIZZY the Animal Whisperer by Anthony Ridgway and Suzan Houching

WIZZY and the Seaside Adventure by Anthony Ridgway and Suzan Houching

The Strange History of Seagulls by Maldwin Drummond

The Company of Goblins by Celia Leofsy

WIZZY the Animal Whisperer audiobook with voices by David Suchet and Sheila Suchet  (the words are exactly the same as in the book – a great learning-to-read aid)

WIZZY and Slime – books by Anthony Ridgway and David Walliams

Dan, WIZZY and Nellie

The WIZZY books by Anthony Ridgway and 

Slime by David Walliams

both about a boy in a wheelchair.

 

 

 

David Walliams broadcast from home during lockdown

 

Slime started as an idea planted by 11-year-old Dante Marvin, who asked David Walliams to write a book about a boy in a wheelchair. David Walliams has dedicated the book, ‘For Dante, the coolest kid on wheels’.             .  …..  (To buy Slime go to the end of this post.)

Click on the picture to watch the video, ‘How I Write’ by Anthony Ridgway

Anthony Ridgway started writing about his own wheelchair, WIZZY, when he was himself ‘the coolest kid on wheels’.

Anthony has cerebral palsy with sight impairment. When he was a boy, his dad would transcribe his stories to paper while he dictated. But since his dad passed away, Anthony uses a special computer programme to write the stories himself. 

This was the start of Anthony’s wonderfully imaginative stories about Dan, James, Sophie and WIZZY, the irascible, funny and amazingly clever wheelchair.

Anthony’s first published story, WIZZY’s Worm, is available as an audiobook from Calibre Audio, a national charity lending free audiobooks for anyone who is print disabled. 

To buy this book click on the picture

Author Anthony Ridgway’s next published story, WIZZY the Animal Whisperer, followed as a large paperback book. The beautiful illustrations by Suzan Houching tell the story too, allowing children who can’t read or who are learning to read to enjoy all the exciting twists and turns of the plot. 

Click on the picture for video

At the book launch for WIZZY the Animal Whisperer, actor David Suchet had the guests in fits of laughter when he read a passage from the book. 

To buy the audiobook click on the picture

A few months later, David Suchet and his wife, Sheila Suchet, recorded the whole story, giving voices to all the characters and inimitable timing to Anthony’s amusing dialogue.

The audiobook of WIZZY the Animal Whisperer faithfully follows the words in the paperback books so that early readers can use the audio alongside the book when learning to read.

To buy this book click on the picture

WIZZY and the Seaside Adventure, Anthony’s second paperback book takes Dan, James, Sophie and WIZZY to the coast, along with their dog, Honey, and as you can guess, an ordinary day becomes another crime busting adventure.

 

Listen to Dante’s version of his meeting with David Walliams:

Click on picture for video

 

Artists inspired by the New Forest

Three popular books reduced in price on this website.

The New Forest Artist’s books (links below) are wonderful to browse through and read, and will tempt you to visit our beautiful New Forest.

3 artist’s books

A-Lifetime-in-Postcards

A Lifetime in Postcards by Gervase A Gregory

My-Story-in-Colour

My Story in Colour by Suzan Houching

WelgoraWELGORA by Alan Langford

 

Favourite books for 4 year olds

. . . . . . . Her favourite book . . . . . . The Tiger Who Came to Tea

For World Book Day my granddaughter’s nursery asked the children to dress up and bring their favourite books.

I knew what book she would choose – of course it was

. . .  The Tiger Who Came to Tea  

But as you see, the dress she chose is the one worn by Princess Sofia in . . .  ….. . . . . …

Sofia the First – The Perfect Tea Party

And here’s a selection of the other children’s choices . . . 

Little Red Riding Hood             Spider-Man

                                           

           The Snail and the Whale

The Very Hungry Caterpillar      The Wizard of Oz

                                                             

Jack Hargreaves’ favourite books

Jack’s fan photo

Jack Hargreaves is best known to us as the face and voice of the television series Out of Town and Old Country.

Born in 1911, Jack started his long media career in 1931, writing technical material for Unilever Livestock Foods. He then became a feature journalist for The Express and The Mirror, moving on to work as a journalist for early radio, a copywriter for an advertising agency and a variety show writer for the Windmill Theatre and the Fortune Theatre. All of this was before he was called up in 1939 to the Royal Artillery, where eventually he was given the task of developing forces radio.

Jack second from left, wearing the bow tie

After the War, Jack was asked by BBC television to gather details of battles so they could collate the film material they had from various theatres of war. In 1946 he went on to write scripts and plays for BBC radio broadcast, and then worked for Picture Post before moving on to the National Farmers’ Union.  It was Rosser Reeves who started Jack’s television career, head hunting him for his company Hobson Bates.

Jack’s influence was profound through the formative years of independent television right up to the mid 1980s when the Old Country series was made for Channel 4.  It’s not surprising that he was a great lover of books and even found the time to write some:



Jack also had some favourite books to which he referred and some, mentioned in his biography Jack’s Country, are still obtainable today:




There are over 130 titles in the Collins New Naturalist Library series. The range can be appreciated by the unfinished list below:

Garden Birds, Uplands and Birds, Pembrokeshire, Ferns, Gulls, British Bats, Lichens, Dragonflies, Early Humans, Vegetation of Britain and Ireland, The Soil, The Natural History of Orkney, Hedgehog, British Tits, Nature Conservation, Sea Birds, Mosses and Liverworts, The World of the Honeybee, The British Amphibians and Reptiles, Marches, Terns, Wild Orchids of Britain, Cormorants and Shags, Mountains and Moorlands, Wye Valley, Farming and Birds, Butterflies, The Natural History of Shetland, Southern England, Gower, Shallow Seas, the Redstart, Wildfowl, The Folklore of Birds, The Herring Gull’s World, Grass and Grassland, Lords and Ladies, Life in Lakes and Rivers, Britain’s Structure and Scenery, Farming and Wildlife, Trees, Woods and Man, The Natural History of Pollination, Moths, The New Forest, British Warblers, The Natural History of Wales, Waders, Slugs and Snails, British Thrushes, The Isles of Scilly, The Hebrides, Hedges, British Seals, The Broads, Wild Flowers of Chalk and Limestone, The Snowdonia National Park, Seashore, Sea-Birds, Beetles, …………..

World Book Day 2020 – Jack Hargreaves

It’s WORLD BOOK DAY today!

With the rain coming out of the sky again, I wonder how many of you will be buying a new book or re-reading a favourite book?

Jack with Ghost

Jack Hargreaves was a great lover of words and books. He read and wrote a lot, but most of us remember him in his TV programmes, Out of Town and Old Country.

Jack had an amazing ability to weave a story from the most ordinary of scenes. 

Gone Fishing

He saw and knew things about the people and workings of the countryside, and long before ‘green’ issues were highlighted, he understood the threats that modern life was bringing to the environment.

This understanding was rooted in the deep love of the countryside that he developed as a child, a love that he discovered due to the wise actions of his mother.

 

ISBN: 9780992722043

In the book Jack’s Country the author Paul Peacock writes about Jack’s troubled childhood days:

Jack – a studio portrait

‘Jack seemed unable to settle down, obey orders or even behave in a civilised manner and his father was simply unable to understand him. Toys would be thrown, windows smashed and every attempt to correct this seemed doomed to failure, resulting in yet more delinquency. The situation was exacerbated by his father’s reaction to Jack, which he misunderstood to be proof of his dislike for him. Jack’s brother, Ron, suggested there might be a medical problem. Psychiatry was often the only recourse for the middle classes to deal with unusual behaviour. This was still the age of family committals to mental institutions and something prompted Jack’s mother to see if anything medical could be done. In her desperation, she took Jack to see a psychiatrist.

The visit was of little benefit. Jack was an extremely unhappy child and he did not respond favourably to being addressed by a stuffy old psychiatrist. He would probably have remained so if his mother had dismissed an inkling of something special she saw in him. Jack frequently spent long hours, even as a very young boy, wandering the lanes and fields of what has now become known as West Yorkshire’s Last of the Summer Wine country, exploring fields and scaling hills.

It was this knowledge that brought her to believe he might enjoy a holiday on a farm. The family had a long term friendship with a south country farmer and so at length he became a guest of a friend of the family at the farm of Victor Pargeter. This man was to become one of the key influences for a character referred to as the ‘Old Man’ in Jack’s later writings.’

The Nilgiris Library, Ooty

 

Jenny Knowles with Kamala Ramchand on the steps of the Nilgiri Library. The link with Kamala to the book Cor Blimey! Where ’ave you come from? written by Jenny’s mother Winifred Tovey seemed very fitting as Winnie’s best friend was also called Kamala.

It was the serendipity of social media which put me in touch with artist and author, Saaz Aggarwal, and through her, with Kamala Ramchand of the Nilgiri Library Book Club, Ooty (also called Udhagamandalam).

ISBN: 9780956535931

I felt greatly honoured to be asked to meet with the Book Club members and present to the library a copy of my mother’s book, Cor Blimey! Where ’ave you come from?

In the book my mother, Winifred Tovey, wrote about our lives in India from 1951 to 1967. Dad’s work as a medical missionary at Holdsworth Memorial Hospital, Mysore, connected us with many places and people, from palaces to village huts, and from maharajas to beggars.

My siblings and I went to school in the Nilgiris, bringing mixed memories, the best of holidays that my mother wrote about:

‘Carrington was unique. The bungalow perched on the side of a small hill within a huge valley. The ground fell away quite steeply from the front aspect, giving a magnificent view overlooking the tea plantation. Deep down on the opposite slope nestled the tea factory. More mountains rose and fell all around. In the far distance we could just glimpse the plain, six thousand feet below. Beyond the plains stood the Anamali range of hills. Often, on waking in the early morning, we would rush outside in our pyjamas just to witness the glorious sight of the sun rising over on our left. Below us would be a vast expanse of billowing white clouds, punctured by one or two dark blue mountain peaks.

We watched in silence while the sky gradually changed from pale grey to blue and the clouds from white to a pearly grey, then to cream, until finally, the fiery orange-red ball of sun appeared, huge and glowing above the cloud mass. As the heat from the sun warmed the air, the clouds slowly began to rise. First we could see the bright sky above the clouds, then as the clouds levelled within our line of vision the sun was obliterated and below we had a clear view of the plains – truly breathtaking and never to be forgotten!’

This is a familiar experience for the book club members, who often wake up above the clouds … or in the clouds, and once the sun breaks through are struck again by the beauty of their landscape.

Staff and students from Providence College, Coonoor.

It was  wonderful to share with them experiences of life in India and in particular the Nilgiris.

The Nilgiri Library, photo from a Nilgiri Library Facebook entry

The Nilgiri Library is 161 years old.

Library interior, photo by Nikhil Paingy

Kamala Ramchand describes it in nilgirishistory.weebly.com as ‘housing more than 40,000 books, holding more treasures than all the pirate’s loot on Treasure Island, where one can spend two lifetimes …’ 

The Reading Room

Fredrick Price in his book Ootacamund: A History writes that ‘Mr. Sullivan, founder of the Nilgiris, breathed life into the concept of a library in 1829: A subscription has been set on foot for a public reading room at Ooty.’

1829 was also the year when the foundation stone for St Stephen’s Church, Ooty, was laid. It seems incredible that a wild mountainous region, only sparsely inhabited by indigenous tribal peoples became a town big enough to warrant a large church and a library in ten short years.

The Nilgiris rise up from the plain.

Although the East India company took possession of the Nilgiris after the defeat of Tipu Sultan in 1799, the mountains had not been visited by any Englishman until 1818, when two sportsmen on shikari (big game hunting) accidentally discovered ‘the coolness of the ambience in the Nilgiris.

In 1819, John Sullivan, District Collector, Madras, noted above as ‘founder of the Nilgiris’, built the first house in Ootacamund. With great speed the East India Company established the town as a sanatorium for Europeans away from the stifling heat of the plains.

Up to this time, sick and ailing Company employees and their relatives had been sent by ship all the way to the Cape, Africa. Missionaries had no recourse unless their missions brought them home. It must have been exciting to discover a much more accessible place in the hills with a climate similar to an English summer.

For more on the authors and books mentioned in this post try these links: