2016-05-12 15.18.43Well, apparently I don’t do enough of it, but it is probably time to do some self-promotion.  Yes, my latest book (and the last on Bude, I think) is now published by Amberley Publishing, who commissioned it. The book, Secret Bude (and not my choice of cover by the way) has more writing in it than usual, which I enjoyed researching. My thanks to the lovely volunteer ladies in the archives at Bude Heritage Centre, to Jonathan Stamp for allowing me access to his father, Bryan Dudley Stamp’s study, to Tony who, in an interview, gave me never before heard information about Pamela Coleman-Smith, and, of course, to Ray Boyd, as ever, for most of the images. Ray was himself seriously ill during the writing of the book, to the point of life-threatening. He’s a great guy, so I’m glad he’s still with us, and was kind enough to sort out some images for me from his sick bed.  Also, many thanks to others who contributed.

The book is not really about secrets, so it is a slight misnomer. I heard quite a few and most were probably libellous/unprintable! So, it is a book for locals and visitors alike containing lesser-known information about Bude, its history, and people. It contains historical and contemporary images, alongside a few tales. There is little seriously ancient history attributable to Bude so it is more a case of digging out certain information about people and places. Before I started researching, I knew about Archie Jewel, and I knew about Pamela Coleman-Smith, but I’d never before read Archie’s testimony after the sinking of Titanic, and I didn’t know that Pamela dropped dead at the Conservative Club, nor that she had an errand boy who would bring items for her bad chest. I enjoyed reading the fictional tale of The Iron Pineapple the ladies at the archives recommended – and relating it to others. There are plenty of tales and snippets within so most people will probably learn something.

Glad to see the book on sale in Spencer Thorn. Thanks, guys.  I’m hardly a world-renowned author, but if anyone out there in or around Bude is buying it as a special gift and wants a few words writing in the front, then please get in touch and I’ll see what I can do.

It was something of a drawn-out labour of love and began to feel ill-fated, so I’m pleased it eventually came to fruition. During the course of writing the book, three people in my life died. One was that popular Bude man, Pritch, who we lost way too young and suddenly at 51. Two days later, my beloved big brother died, aged 61, following a degenerative illness.  In December, my father in law died at a rather more reasonable 89 but missed nonetheless. While the book was printing, I lost another friend in Australia, who took her own life, and a friend in Wales, who struggled with pancreatic cancer. Both were in their 50s. It was too late to include them in my acknowledgements.

To be honest, at times other things felt far more important than faffing about with a book, but I have to give my thanks to the publishers for their patience. They encouraged me to continue when I felt like giving up on it. If there are errors (yes, I know, I spotted one in the acknowledgements) then my apologies. Due to my delays, the process was rather rushed at the end.