Tag Archives: MISSING Past and Present

Noah Enterprise Luton, Bedfordshire ~ Such Great Need and an Inspiration for my novel

NOAH ONE SHOULD BE LEFT OUT IN THE COLD

The wonderful slogan of Noah Enterprise Soup Kitchen in Luton, Bedfordshire.

Many years ago when I was going through a breakdown of my marriage I began to volunteer at Noah Enterprise Soup Kitchen in Luton. What impressed me most about this welfare centre was that it was so much more than a soup kitchen. At the time, back in 2003, the kitchen was run like clockwork by two Irish sisters. They were wonderfully understanding that I was quite fragile and so at first I only washed up in the background. Then, as my confidence grew, I began to serve at the hatch, enjoying the banter with the clients, and finally I was trusted to go and clear the tables alongside and intermingling with everyone.

The sisters were probably in their late fifties at the time but their sense of humour and their efficiency running the kitchen lived with me over the years and in MISSING Past and Present, the two Irish sisters who ran The Ark, a centre in an imaginary town of Drumford had similarities to my memories, only Orla and Laura had just left college. It was Dorothy, my protagonist, who was homeless, but she still had her pride as this extract shows:

Her sister’s name was Orla. It was easy to tell the difference because, although both had gingery blonde hair, Laura’s was cropped short around her oval face whereas Orla’s locks were long and plaited. The overall effect was similar with their delicately freckled features shining through.

‘What would you like today?’ winked Laura. How about this sexy black number?’ she asked as she held a sturdy black sweatshirt towards me. ‘There’s even some glamorous troos to match.’ The twinkle in her eyes rested on the leggings in her other hand.

I smiled, my eyes drifting to the floor. It was touching the way they were both sensitive to my shyness. Given an hour or so I would open up a little, but I found company a trifle hard to handle these days, after my imposed solitude.”

As at Noah, my fictional welfare centre provides far more than hot food; there’s a place of shelter to stay too. It is a place for the lost and vulnerable; for the homeless to take refuge, even if for a short period of time.

If you’d like to donate or volunteer at Noah in Luton, and I can assure you that the organisation and the place, not to mention the need are real, and not figments of my imagination, then please click on this link.

As the website says, you can donate more than just money ~ food, furniture and clothes are also vital for their work.

You could always volunteer at a place near you if you are able to, even during the pandemic. I know that in my short experience of a couple of years I gained far more than I gave. It was a pleasure!

 

 

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Filed under Bedfordshire, Events, MISSING Past and Present, Planning a novel

Homelessness ~ So Much Need but Some Good News in London

homelessI had intended to do a series of blog post about the issues which arise in my new novel, MISSING Past and Present, because they are close to my heart. These include Homelessness.

Dorothy, my protagonist, found herself homeless through no fault of her own, but she discovered a safely net. Some people are not so lucky at the moment.

I had no idea at the time of writing the novel that we would be facing such a crisis as Covid 19 now, but I’m going to begin this series nevertheless, by looking towards London, the epicentre of this crisis in Britain, in search of some good things that are happening to relieve the suffering:

1 Centrepoint in London continues to offer support for homeless young people. They give a roof over their heads and assist them if they are self isolating due to the virus. Being homeless in London is tragic at the best of times but now things are desperate. Read about some of the people here: Centrepoint.org.uk

Single Homeless Project is another positive story of so many lives changed for the better. This is what they aim to do at the Single Homeless Project, but if you would like to read some heart warming stories, do pop on to their website: https://www.shp.org.uk/

More than 1,000 homeless Londoners made safe

‘SHP is working with local government and charity partners across the capital to keep the city’s rough sleepers safe amid the COVID 19 pandemic. It is a charity which not only gives support but aims to transform lives.’

And finally another good news story:

3 Rough Sleepers in London Given Hotel Rooms in the crisis

Visit Stuart Bramhall’s blog post to read about it.

In every town and village across the country community spirit is shining through this period of darkness and fear and so it is also with the most vulnerable in our society. There are many ideas for raising money on each of the websites, or if you have any cash to spare then you can donate to support this vital work.

While I was writing about Dot (Dorothy), her resilience and fortitude guided her through the most traumatic of times, but she lived in the countryside surrounding the little imaginary country town of Drumford, so like many English market towns of today. Due to her location, her issues were quite different to these poor folks in London and so I’ll address them in the next post.

 

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Filed under Events, MISSING Past and Present

Two extremely positive ways to launch a novel

Hi folks

Since launching my new mystery novel ‘MISSING Past and Present’ on line on 28th February I have enjoyed two events:

  1. Celebration of the Book Launch in Kinghorn Station Gallery on Sunday 15th March and
  2. A Coffee Pot Book Shop Blog Tour organised by the capable Mary Ann Yarde.

DSCN6388[1]Little did I know that, as my friend and distinguished author Hamish Brown said on the phone after the event,

“We will fondly remember your book launch, Diana, as the last social gathering in Kinghorn and Burntisland before the lock down.”

Once my novel had been released on line I worked towards the book launch, ever watchful of events on the other side of the world in China; creeping relentlessly across Europe towards the UK. Should I shouldn’t I go ahead as planned? I asked for advice and most folks said, ‘yes, go for it,’ only a couple rang and explained why they sadly decided they should not attend.

All who attended were greeted with a glass of Prosecco and nibbles, in separate little glass dishes if they wished, but I also made everyone,  about thirty in all sign in with contact details, telephone or email.

Invitation to launchcopy-page-001It was a wonderful social gathering. A blether was enjoyed and time sped by. I said a few words half way through and sold a good few books, but that wasn’t the main aim of the event. I spoke of the collective creativity of the folks in the area from writers, to Douglas and Lynette Gray who had kindly loaned my their lovely art gallery for the afternoon, to a friend Ulrika who had knitted the beautiful Shetland cardigan I was wearing to mark the occasion. We also had musician’s among us and gardeners too, with many from Kinghorn in Bloom represented, but also my friend Ann who works so hard organising areas of the Foodbank where I volunteer.

It was certainly a celebration of my achievement too, with friends and neighbours. There was a fantastic buzz and it was difficult to send the last few home at 5 pm!

It was the next day, in fact, that we knew a shut down was imminent. I have kept in touch with everyone to check all are OK, and thankfully they are. I have no regrets. Happy memories!

Three weeks followed to acclimatize to the new norm in our everyday lives and then was time for the blog tour. At first I found it hard to build enthusiasm, with so much gloom and doom in the world, but the event had been carefully planned and organised by since the end of 2019 and as Mary Ann pointed out,’

‘Diana, we have a livelihood to think about too!’

I’m so glad it went ahead. It was such a positive event, or series of events over the course of five days, which was a distracting time from our everyday lives but above all it was fun. I met several bloggers, hundreds of authors and readers who were prepared to reblog or retweet and the five days built another, very different, feel good factor around my launch. An on line way of achieving what my celebration at Kinghorn Gallery had done a few weeks before.

coffee pot book blog

The tour was varied, so much that only later, on reflection, I realised the full scope of the posts:

The whole week certainly caused a buzz on Twitter and Facebook. Great fun and I can’t thank Mary Ann Yarde enough!

Thinking back over these two events fills me with Joy and I would like to thank everyone involved, took part or attended in person.

Keep safe and well everyone!

 

 

 

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Filed under Author Diana Jackson, Blogs, Book reading, Book reviews, Events, Fife, MISSING Past and Present, Mystery inspired by history series, Research