Happy New Year! In north Northumberland we have had hard frosts but, so far, have escaped snow except for a light dusting. This is in contrast to southern and western parts of Britain.
Looking back, we had some interesting trips during 2017. In September we had a week in Galloway when it rained every day but one. But it didn't stop us getting out to see the amazing number of historic and archaeological sites. This is a really interesting area.
In May we had a fantastic visit to Cyprus. In June we went on a National Trust for Scotland cruise to Orkney, Shetland and St Kilda. This was the third time we have landed on St Kilda and the second in warm, sunny weather. The passage out was very rough! I have put some photos on the Gallery page.
At the Borders Book Festival in June, I read an extract from my contribution to the Border Writers' Forum Anthology, Border Voices. This was at Melrose in the Scottish Borders and I was one of ten readers. The theme of the Anthology was 'Bridges' and my contribution was entitled 'Bridges to Heaven'.
A current project which is taking up much of my time is the inspection and recording of historic buildings in connection with the Branxton & Crookham Village Atlas Project. This is a community project administered by the Till Valley Archaeological Society with the aid of a grant from the Heritage Lottery Fund. In addition to the Historic Buildings Group, there are three other groups of volunteers dealing with archaeology, social history and oral history. There is more information on the TillVAS website—there is a link below.
My fourth book on local topics, Breamish and Till: From Source to Tweed, is available for sale, published by the Till Valley Archaeological Society (TillVAS)(www.tillvas.com), ISBN 978-1-291-58938-2 Price £10. Net proceeds of sale go to the Society.
Information about this and other books, articles and poems can be seen on my Books & Books (cont.) pages and copies of some may be bought by clicking on the blue link at the top of the Books page and following the instructions.
These are the books that I have written to-date. Most of them are available to purchase on-line (some also as e-books) at www.lulu.com/spotlight/antonychessell or from other online sources.
My later books are written as community projects with all net proceeds of sale going to local groups in Berwickshire and (for the most recent book) Northumberland.
The Life and Times of Abraham Hayward, Q.C., Victorian Essayist 'One of the two best-read men in England', Hardcover, Lulu Publishing 2009 £22.50
This is the first published account of Abraham Hayward's life (1801-1884) and sets out to formulate the reasons for his success as a barrister, 'man of letters', essayist, gourmet, raconteur and confidante of Prime Ministers and other leading politicians, despite not having a wealthy background, influential connections or a university education. He was clever, if not brilliant and was courted for his conversation and opinions by the literati and the influential aristocrats of Victorian Britain. However, Hayward could be difficult and he made enemies, some of whom such as the philosopher, J. S. Mill and the M.P, J. A. Roebuck, altered the course of his career. The book is full of fascinating anecdotes and descriptions of events during the 19th century.
Editor, A Small Share in the Conflict The Wartime Diaries and Selected Correspondence of Flt. Lt. Henry Chessell (R.A.F. Intelligence Branch), Hardcover, Lulu
Publishing 2009 £17.50
This is a piece of social history. Although the letters and diary entries do not have the excitement of battles fought and won on foreign fields and there is no smell of cordite, they give a tantalising glimpse of the contribution made to the war office by the unseen 'backroom' R.A.F. and inter-service units that were working under a cloak of secrecy. The selected domestic entries also portray a vivid picture of a family living through the Second World War and many aspects of home defence during the war. At the end of each chapter of diary entries and letters, there is editorial comment on the progress of the war and other matters relating to the entries.
Coldstream Building Snippets Cans, Quoins and Coursers, Paperback, Lulu Publishing 2010 £6.99
The book describes many of the old buildings in Coldstream and the surrounding area and the visible techniques used in their construction. It suggests that there is much to see when walking around the streets and the countryside and it highlights many of the features to look out for, such as styles of chimney cans, roofs, windows, doors, walls, ironwork, street furniture, inscriptions and monuments interspersed with historical references. Net proceeds of sale go to Coldstream Community Centre. The book contains many photographs. Foreword by Mr. Andrew Douglas-Home, OBE.