Tag Archives: Clophill

The Pull of the Novel – The Pull of the English Pub

This second post makes me laugh when I think of a recent email which likened my murder mystery to Coronation Street. Having never watched a full episode in my life I was a little put out by the comparison. On reflection Coronation Street is an extremely popular soap opera and I have tended to reflect village life, especially the pull of various pubs (echoing the pull of the pints!) Here’s my next in this series to celebrate Bedfordshire – Clophill …

       The Stone Jug Clophill

The Stone Jug Clophill

The village of Clophill is extremely fortunate to have a thriving, truly personal village pub – The Stone Jug. It serves, real ale and cider, traditional home made pub grub at lunchtimes but in the evenings it is reserved for socialising and drinking, with fairly regular entertainment in the form of various singers and small bands. My husband remembers making a hole in the rather low ceiling in his youth, when he played lead guitar in one of his many bands – the last of which continued to perform until recently. Here are the ‘boys‘ in action:

Chris Cole and the Rockets

In the evening the pub seems to have three natural groups which occasionally overlap – there’s the earlies – straight from work, the after supper folk and then the ‘real locals, some of whom were born in the village, who often stay until midnight. Friday night is predominantly men’s night, so my hubby tells me.

You will not see The Stone Jug in the High Street either. My husband can name several pubs which are now private homes including The Rising Sun and The Compasses. There are two establishments around the Village Green. The Flying Horse, known locally as The Fly, is more of a Bistro than a pub, popular for passing trade on the busy Clophill roundabout as well as for locals. There is also The Green Man, which many remember as the place where they played dominoes and darts. These activities have transferred quite naturally to the Stone Jug, known as ‘The Jug’ whereas The Green Man is now a successful Italian Restaurant. We have taken my sister and brother-in-law there a couple of times and, considering they live in Bordeaux and enjoy renowned French cuisine, their praise is praise indeed:

‘I can’t believe that we are eating at such a wonderful place in Clophill, with such good quality wines too!’ my brother-in-law exclaimed.

Back to the Jug – it is situated in Back Street, parallel to the High Street, a perfect location for the majority of people to stroll there of an evening. All three establishments feature in my murder mystery, Murder, Now and Then.

I have been praised for the characterisation in my novels.

‘I could really relate to the characters.’

‘I imagined I was living alongside them.’

‘So believable.’

Then again more recently I have been criticised that they are too ordinary. Surely murder and mystery happens in every-day life as well as to feeble victims by psychopaths.

Murder Now and Then is an ‘intriguing mystery’ set in two time periods with ‘interesting and unexpected twists.’ It is not a thriller, although one reader described it as such. Tension builds, certainly. The suspects lead the plot since you have to get to know then to understand why they are involved.

It is likened in other reviews to Midsomer Murders or Bergerac (with the Jersey connection!) I like that 🙂

Anyway, I’ll let you decide but please let me know what you think.

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Book reviews, Murder Now and Then

Author Talk a Resounding Success!

Well over thirty people attended my author talk last night in the small village of Clophill in mid Bedfordshire and they were certainly an enthusiastic and appreciative audience. Many had read ‘Murder, Now and Then’ prior to the evening, so it was a tricky balance to talk to them, as well as not to give too many details away to spoil the plot for the others. I sold a good few books too and much was raised for church funds, which was a major purpose of the evening.

As I tried to sleep last night and the adrenaline was still rushing through my body I began to evaluate ‘success.’ Yesterday evening was certainly a resounding success. You could have heard ‘a pin drop’ (if you’ll excuse the cliche) during the video, in the silence of the church. Here’s a link if you have not seen it before.

No one in the audience noticed the imaginary farmhouse superimposed on the countryside near Haynes Park, where the novel is set, not far from Clophill. It was a perfect introduction to the evening. People seemed genuinely interested in my local research and anecdotes about my writing life, asking pertinent questions – but no – I did not answer when asked what the murder weapon was!

It was a success in the way in which the event spread the word about my writing and to hear that copies had been bought and passed around. Isn’t that wonderful!  The comment was made almost apologetically and it made me evaluate why I write. As long as I continue to have that burning desire to write and that feedback from readers is positive, whether they read on Kindle or new, borrowed or second hand paperback or even from the library – I count that as a resounding success. Don’t you?

What do you think?What I love about evenings like that is not only sharing my own story but listening to theirs afterwards.

Anyway I’d certainly like to thank the Clophill folks for being so welcoming!

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Events, Marketing your novel, Murder Now and Then

Clophill History Discovery Walks by Colin Watt

A friend emailed over the holidays sending me a link to a walk around Clophill he’d enjoyed. Led by my curiosity for everything ‘history’ and ‘countryside’ related I was excited to read one of Colin Watt’s Discovery Walks –  e-leaflets – and I thought it perfect to share this with you, alongside my virtual tour of Bedfordshire.

I knew Colin Watt through a local magazine called Spotlight where he shares interesting snippets he’s gleaned about his local history research. I can recommend these leaflets because they provide up to date information about available pathways in the area and what to look out for en-route from a historical perspective.

You can find the leaflets on this link:

Clophill History – Discovery Walks

It is Walk no 4, Clophill to Haynes, which will take you past many places pertinent to my novel ‘Murder Now and Then’ from the Village Green at Clophill by the Flying Horse and The Green Man, through to The Stone Jug, up the Slade, over the fields to Haynes Church End and passing Haynes Park. From there you take a path to the village of Haynes and passing The Greyhound, or pausing a wee while for lunch, then you find a path across to Appley Corner and Chicksands Wood. This leads back towards the Old Church at Clophill and you are nearly where you began your walk.

I learnt information previous unknown to me, for example about the obelisk, of which I was aware. It was in memory of “George Montagu-Dunk, 2nd Earl of Halifax,(1716-1771) who was a British statesman of the Georgian era. He helped to found Halifax, the capital of Nova Scotia.”

(My great great grandfather was a sea captain who was lost at sea travelling to Nova Scotia back in the middle of the nineteenth century. It is a place I would love to visit, inspired by my father who has been carrying out extensive research about this gentleman, who left my great grandmother an orphan on the island of Alderney. His wife was travelling with him at the time and also perished.)

Returning to Walk 4, if you have read ‘Murder, Now and Then’ you will be walking in footsteps close to many of my characters. If you haven’t yet read it then, if you do the walk you might be inspired to do so. It is a murder mystery with a sense of family and local history.

Here’s a link to  its latest five star review. *****

Available on Kindle and in paperback

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Family History, Murder Now and Then, Virtual Tour of Bedfordshire