Wednesday, 6 September 2017

Molesey Then and Now - a journey of discovery

September 26th is the date for the next author event at Molesey Library, when we shall welcome Jenny Wood - chairman of Molesey’s own Local History Society - to tell us about how the Society went about bringing to publication its new book ‘Molesey Then And Now’. 
Having only recently hit the bookshelves, the book has already sold out its first print run but further copies are expected shortly and will be available to purchase on the night.
“Molesey Then And Now’ provides a unique insight into the development of Molesey over the years through a fascinating collection of Then and Now photographs.  Some of the original Then photographs were already in the Society’s archive, others were forthcoming through appeals to Society members and others. Then it was a matter of arranging for all the equivalent Now photographs to be taken, making it possible for the book to chart all the many changes which have taken place in our local environment in recent times.
As Jenny says, this was a major undertaking for the Society and the whole production process was a steep learning curve!  So, if you would like to find out more about how a dedicated team of local enthusiasts made it happen, come along to the Library and hear Jenny’s illustrated talk, which will begin at 7.30 pm. Tickets cost £5 - which includes refreshments - and can be obtained from Molesey Library.

Author Terri Fleming on daring to take on Jane Austen

This year marks 200 years since the birth of Jane Austen, so it's only fitting that Molesey Library will be receiving a visit from a lady who is following in the great author's footsteps.
Terri Fleming has penned a sequel to Austen's most famous work Pride and Prejudice - it is titled Perception and is the story of the unmarried Bennet sisters, Mary and Kitty, a few years after their sisters marry.
She will be speaking about the book and how it came to be when she visits Molesey Library on Tuesday 21 November, 7.15pm. Tickets will be available at the next author event on 26 September, in the library thereafter and also on the door.
Terri was born in Tasmania "surrounded by every luxury of landscape" but limited access to the wider world in the days before the internet. Books were her joy and refuge. She adds: "If I was naughty, the greatest threat was to be denied a visit to the bookmobile."
Very early she determined to be a writer and after a career in copywriting and seeing the world she settled in England with her husband.
She said the following about the plot of her novel: "The Bennet sisters remain at Longbourn with their parents and few prospects. Mrs Bennet has become increasingly determined to find a husband for at least one of her girls. She spies her chance when a wealthy bachelor returns to his home near Meryton.
"Mary has little desire for marriage and Kitty is still tempted by old habits. As new people enter their world, the two sisters find themselves questioning themselves and the world around them. Can either sister overcome perception?"

Friends discuss author events at last committee meeting

The Friends of Molesey Library met on 5th September for the first time since the summer. Pauline Morozgalska, the chair, welcomed Silvana Marenghi who has helped with Friday coffee mornings run by the Friends and has decided to join the committee.
Author events coordinator, John Coope, said a speaker that had been planned for the 26 September had fallen through and efforts to find a replacement had been unsuccessful (though on the upside a couple said they are willing to come to Molesey as part of next year's programme). Thankfully Jenny Wood, chair of the Molesey Local History Society, has agreed to fill the slot with a talk about Molesey Then and Now – a book researched and written by members of the history society over a five year period. The book has been very well received in Molesey and has already sold out its first print run, so we're hopeful of a good turn out.
Vice chair Steve Bax is working on a publicity poster and will drum up publicity. Meanwhile John is fixing up details for our 21 November event where Terri Fleming, author of the Pride and Prejudice sequel ‘Perception’ will visit.
Treasurer Liz Cooper updated on the status of the bank account and it was agreed that the Friends will spend some of that money on carpet cleaning for the library and refurbishing or replacing the sofas that are getting a bit tatty. We are also keen to have the garden benches repainted.
The Friday coffee and cake mornings run by the Friends are still popular, but may have to end in future if we can't find a few more volunteers to help run things. It would be a 2-3 hours and involve helping to set-up, serve and pack away. Anyone reading this who's interested can post below or email The Friends' next meeting is 7th November.

Friday, 17 March 2017

Best-selling international author to visit Molesey Library

Mary Lawson
We are delighted to announce that leading Canadian author Mary Lawson will be coming to Molesey Library on Tuesday April 25 to talk about her best-selling books and to give us her thoughts on “Writing Fiction – A Ridiculous  Occupation?"

Although born in Canada, Mary is actually now a local resident. She came to England for a holiday after graduating from McGill University in Montreal. When she ran out of money, she had to find a job, then fell in love with a colleague and married him. The couple now have two sons and live in Kingston upon Thames.

Mary began by writing short stories but it wasn’t until she set one of those stories in Canada and was advised by an editor to turn it into a novel that she finally found her voice and discovered what she wanted to write about.

Crow Lake, her first novel, published when Mary was 55, sold in 25 countries. It spent 75 weeks on the bestseller list in Canada, won the First Novel Award, was a New York Times bestseller and was chosen as a Book of the Year by the New York Times, The Sunday Times, The Washington Post and The Globe and Mail.

The Other Sideof the Bridge, her second novel, was long-listed for the Man Booker Prize and was a Richard and Judy Summer Read in the UK. Her latest novel, Road Ends, has been recently published to critical acclaim and is a finalist for the Folio Prize.

We are very much looking forward to welcoming Mary, who has a very strong local following.  Do come along and join us for what promises to be a fascinating talk.  Tickets cost £5 - which includes a glass of wine or soft drink - and can be obtained from Molesey Library.

Friday, 27 January 2017

Finding Tipperary Mary, a book inspired by search for long-lost mum

Barbara Fisher and Phyllis Whitsell
Finding Tipperary Mary is the title of our next ‘meet the author’ evening at Molesey Library on Tuesday 28th February. It is also the title of a book, which is now a bestseller here and in Canada, and was featured in the Times bestseller list for several weeks.
It is a remarkable true story about a nurse from Birmingham called Phyllis Whitsell who tracked down the alcoholic mother he gave her up for adoption as a baby and the moving account of what happened next. Phyllis was encouraged to tell her story by her good friend Barbara Fisher, who ghost wrote the book. They planned to self-publish but Mirror Books stepped in and snapped it up, resulting in nationwide publicity and TV appearances for Phyllis, as well as interviews on radio. The film rights have also been sold.
Barbara lives in West London for many years with her husband Mike. They have a daughter, son-in-law, and a grandcat! She was a teacher for 15 years and entered full-time journalism at the suggestion of an editor who liked the weekly schools’ page she wrote for the Uxbridge Gazette. She spent 20 years working for the paper and is now freelance, but still writes a weekly column. Barbara was made an honorary fellow of Brunel University in 2005 for her community reporting.
She is also writing her own book, Tales from an Old Hack: memoir of a local reporter. Tickets to the Finding Tipperary Mary talk (28th Feb, 7.15pm) are available from the library priced £5.

Naval disaster inspires fascinating talk by admiral at Molesey Library

Rear Admiral Kit Layman
An epic tale of murder, mutiny and man’s struggle for survival against the elements, was brought to life at Molesey Library by Rear Admiral Kit Layman.
The distinguished Royal Navy man – who commanded HMS Invincible and HMS Argonaut during the Falklands War, and frequently accompanies the Queen – was the guest speaker at the Friends of Molesey Library’s sixth AGM, on the evening of Tuesday 24th January 2017.
After being introduced by our author events organiser, John Coope, the retired admiral took his place at the lectern and regaled the audience with a good natured and thoroughly fascinating account of the ill-fated last voyage of the HMS Wager, which was wrecked off the south coast of Chile in 1741.
Admiral Layman explained that he had inherited a book about the Wager disaster written by John Byron, grandfather of the famous poet and one of the survivors of the wreck. He described the book as “very readable, perceptive and fair to all sides,” adding: “I read the book rubbing my eyes with disbelief at the story that unfolds.” That story has been retold for the modern reader by Rear Admiral Layman in his book: The Wager Disaster, Mayhem, Mutiny and Murder in the South Seas – of which he signed copies at Molesey on the night.
The 28 gun ship with her crew of 140 men (plus Chelsea pensioners) had put to see on a mission to harass and disrupt Spanish interests in South America (Britain being at war with Spain at the time) but suffered a catalogue of disasters. It was damaged by a huge storm, lost the rest of the fleet, her captain died, men were stricken with scurvy and dysentery and the ship was smashed to bits on the rocks at the aptly named Gulf of Sorrows.
The Admiral said: “As the ship broke up, discipline broke down.” The men were surrounded by harsh and inhospitable terrain and they had no food or shelter (though a large amount of alcohol washed ashore, perhaps not a good thing in the circumstances). They were stuck there for five months, while the new and unpopular captain, David Cheap, drew up plans for them to extend the long boat and use it to sail north and capture a Spanish ship.
Trouble was, said the Admiral, that in those days if a ship wrecked then the Navy was no longer obliged to pay the sailors, and knowing they were no longer employed they ceased to feel obliged to follow the captain. When Cheap shot a rebellious man in the face it was a turning point. 81 men left in smaller boats in a mutiny led by the gunner Mr Bulkley and sailed for 111 days until they reached the Rio Grande. Admiral Layman was full of admiration.

While they made it back to England, 8 of their number were cast away – we’re not sure why – and they went on to be captured by a tribe of Indians, paired up with the chiefs captured Spanish slave women (told to breed more slaves) but eventually made it home in a prisoner transfer.
Meanwhile Captain Cheap, Byron and those left behind (numbering about 20) lost more and more of their number in ill-fated attempts to escape and eventually travelled in land with the help of a native. Finally they got home, five years after they left, to a court martial, to apportion blame for the loss of the ship and not the mutiny (luckily for Bulkley). Captain Cheap, who returned home half dead, married an heiress and retired to Scotland, while Byron became a commodore and founded a British settlement in the Falklands. He continued to have bad luck at sea and earned the nickname “Bad Weather Jack”.
The Admiral showed photos of the Falklands and also where parts of the Wager, like the canons, have been salvaged and ended up. The ship wreck itself has in recent years been found by Chilean archaeologists. Finally he took questions from the audience - responding to one that he thought it unlikely, though not impossible, that the Royal Navy could mutiny again - and joined guests for a glass of wine.

Thursday, 26 January 2017

'Use Molesey Library or lose it' is message at Friends AGM

Thank you to all who attended the sixth Friends of Molesey Library Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24th January 2016. For everyone else here is a recap of what happened.
Chairman Pauline Morozgalska introduced and thanked members of the committee for their hard work and giving generously of their time throughout the year. She gave a short overview of the main events during 2016 as follows:
The weekly Friday Coffee Morning is firmly embedded in the Library timetable and a growing number of people appreciate the warm welcome and friendly faces.  Our dedicated team of volunteers who serve and provide the delicious homemade cakes are wonderful.
The Knit and Natter sessions take place on the third Tuesday afternoon of each month. The group either knit items for themselves or knit for their chosen charity. Friends have created a great atmosphere where experienced knitters share their skills with beginners and the inexperienced.
The Friends support the Library Book Club. Clare Newman liaises with Marian Gibbons to ensure that there is an interesting selection of books to discuss and co-ordinates the group. 
Generally, funds are raised through our Author Events and Coffee Mornings so that we can buy things for our library that are not funded by the Library Service.
We were not involved in a presentation ceremony for the children’s summer reading challenge. This was quite simply because there were no medals to award as SCC decided to just give a certificate – a great shame especially as uptake last summer was down on previous years.
John Coope arranged a fascinating programme of author events over the last year. We had police psychologist-turned novelist Dr John Marzillier, a talk on white Russians by VanoraBennett, and in April Susie Holliday and Louise Voss talked about crime writing and where their ideas come from. In September there was a full house for Hampton Court curator Tracy Borman’s talk on the Tudors, and in November local author Van Louizos whisked the audience back in time to WW2 and his experiences of Greece under the Nazis. More events are arranged for 2017.
The Chair introduced Kelly Sanai Badwal Surrey library Service, who thanked the Friends for purchasing vital equipment for the library (such garden benches and children’s chairs) and explained that, while visits to Molesey Library declined 1% in 2016 the number of books borrowed remained the same. She said November had been a particularly good month.
Steve Bax introduced the committee members and asked proposers and seconders for everyone to continue in their respective roles for another year. Pauline was reappointed chairman. She quoted The Reading Agency who claim there are great benefits to health and wellbeing from reading. “It’s said to help relax you, sharpen your mind, increase your satisfaction levels and even improve your relationships with others!” The message remains as ever, that if, as a community we don’t use this wonderful free facility we will lose it.   

Finally, Treasurer Liz Cooper highlighted the success of the Friends-run coffee and cake mornings (every Friday at the library) that brought in £1507 last year (all the cakes are baked by local volunteers!). The author events netted £485, but we had to spend £310 on repairs to the library sign after it was vandalised. In total the Friends have £3886.63 in the bank.

Monday, 19 December 2016

Falklands war hero to speak at Molesey Library Friends' AGM

With Christmas and New Year almost upon us, the Friends are enjoying a rest before making preparations for our Annual General Meeting on Tuesday 24th January 2017.

As usual we will be inviting local residents to join us at Molesey Library for the meeting and, at the close of the formal business (which should not take very long), you will hear from a special guest speaker who this year is a senior naval officer-turned author, Rear Admiral Kit Layman.

Mr Layman is a veteran of the Falklands War, where he commanded HMS Argonaut and the aircraft carrier HMS Invincible. His 35 year naval career also saw him serve at NATO Headquarters during the collapse of the Soviet Union. So who better to bring to life the drama of a real life historical account of war, mutiny and man against the elements? It's all in his book 'The Wager Disaster – Mayhem, Mutiny and Murder in the South Seas', which he'll be speaking about on the night.
Readers of the book are transported to 1741, where Britain is at war with Spain. HMS Wager is part of a small squadron commanded by Commodore Anson which battled round Cape Horn into the Pacific to take the war to the Spanish possessions in the South Seas. The ship encountered hurricane force winds and wrecked on an uninhabited island off the coast of what is now Chilean Patagonia. About 140 Wager men reached the land, most of them then to be lost through starvation, exhaustion, hypothermia, drowning, and sometimes violence.
Gunner Bulkeley led a party who mutinied against an unpopular captain and set off in an open boat with no chart. His 2,500 nautical-mile journey was an epic feat of navigation and one of the greatest castaway survival voyages in the annals of the sea. Only 36 men (including Midshipman Byron, grandfather of the poet) eventually made it back to Britain, where their tales of fearful ordeals in a far country caught the imagination of the public. This book uses their accounts to piece together the story of a dramatic fight for survival under extreme conditions.
Entry to the event is FREE of charge. A Merry Christmas to you and please do come along and join us for the AGM in the New Year.

Wednesday, 12 October 2016

Growing up in Hitler's Greece - our next talk at Molesey Library

What could it have been like growing up in Nazi-occupied Greece?
East Molesey resident and author, Evangelos 'Van' Louizos, knows first hand and has written about it in his autobiographical book, “My Father had this Luger… A true story of Hitler’s Greece”.
It's a chronicle of his childhood in Greece during the Second World War and is the first book of a multimedia project, “The Sword of Zeus”, which Van will be speaking about when he visits Molesey Library at 7.30pm on Tuesday 22nd November, as our final guest author of 2016. Tickets are on sale at the Library now.
Nicholas J Slabbert, previously editor of Readers’ Digest and the producer of the project states.  “The book provides a useful window on what Greece endured during WWII.  It is not a textbook or a heavy-handed treatise on history or economics. It’s simply a true and vivid account of what the war and Germany’s occupation inflicted on Greeks. It is a human document and it provides the human background without which it’s not really possible to grasp the real nature of the relationship between Greece and Germany today. 
The book achieves this without demonizing anyone, least of all Germans, who, as a people, are presented with a compassion and respect that some people may find surprising in a book presenting the Greek side of the story. But that is one of the points of the book as well as of the current European  situation: namely, the fact that unless you pay people the respect to which they’re entitled, you won’t get far in solving the problems in which they’re involved.”
MY FATHER HAD THIS LUGER…”conveys the drama of the events through which Mr Louizos lived, in those years when the Italians invaded Greece, and then the  Germans, and finally the British forces intervened in ways the Greeks hadn’t really expected.

It is a poignant story as well an exciting one, and as we worked on it, it was difficult, even as an editor, not to be swept up by the characters and what became of them.  It is hard to read this and not be unmoved.”
Mr. Louizos was born in Kallithea, in the Greater Athens area, in 1933. After graduating from high school he joined the Greek merchant navy. He later obtained American citizenship and worked his way through university in the United States and Mexico becoming a teacher in California. In 1979 he relocated his family to Surrey, where he founded and headed the Department of English as a Second Language at the American Community School in Cobham.  He taught there for 18 years until his retirement in 1997.
Mr Louizos has lived in East Molesey for the last 35 years and has delivered talks about his book both Greece and the UK. He will be preparing some historical material for distribution before the talk.

Private lives of the Tudors laid bare at Molesey Library

Tracy Borman brought the Tudors to life at Molesey Library

There was a packed house at Molesey Library on 27th September when Tracy Borman came along to our latest Author Event to tell us all about the private lives of the Tudor monarchs.

Tracy, the Joint Chief Curator of Historic Royal Palaces, has been on a ‘royal progress tour’ promoting her new book The Private Lives of the Tudors and we felt very privileged when she agreed to make Molesey Library one of the stops on that tour.

As Elizabeth I said "I do not live in a corner. A thousand eyes see all I do". The Tudor monarchs were constantly surrounded by an army of attendants, courtiers and ministers and there are plenty of eyewitness accounts of their private lives which Tracy has used as the basis for her fascinating book. She spared us no details!

Friends chair Pauline Morozgalska and John Coope
As she explained, even in their most private moments, the Tudor kings and queens were accompanied by a servant specifically appointed for each task. A groom of the stool would stand patiently by as Henry VIII performed his daily purges, and when Elizabeth I retired for the evening, one of her female servants would sleep at the end of her bed.

These attendants knew the truth behind the glamorous exterior. They saw the tears shed by Henry VII upon the death of his son Arthur. They knew the tragic secret behind 'Bloody' Mary's phantom pregnancies. And they saw the 'crooked carcass' beneath Elizabeth I's carefully applied makeup, gowns and accessories.

The audience were fascinated by all the insights which Tracy  recounted and a lively Q & A session was evidence of a desire to know even more!

Please note - our next author event will be on Tuesday 22nd November, 2016 at 7.30pm and will be a talk with local man Van Louizos talking about his book My Father Had This Luger - a true story of Hitler's Greece. Tickets are available from Molesey Library.