Restaurant Reviews, Talk and Play – Pippa Roberts, Cheltenham.

Hi everyone,

I’m hoping I’ve managed to make the picture come back for you this time. It seemed to disappear last week.

Well, what have I been doing?… It’s been quite a busy period. I went to try out a new restaurant, for the Food and Drink Guide on Monday.  I never choose the places I review; they are, more or less, chosen for me. This one, the Maison Chaplais in Tivoli, Cheltenham, was a lovely surprise. I took a friend, and both of us were a bit puzzled as to what we’d find. We’d both walked past, and assumed it was just a deli, as this is what you see on the ground floor.

In fact it is a deli, with a very wide range of foods, but there is also an absolutely delightful cafe on the floor above, run by the same people. Everything is home-baked, and I honestly thought the bread was the best I’d ever tasted… in spite of doing restaurant reviews for twelve years. I’ve just picked up a Groupon voucher for a cream tea there, so will definitely be going back. (Vouchers are still available, so do check it out!) I intend to take my play, and work on it there, some time soon. If you see me please tiptoe by if I’m writing… 😀

On Wednesday I found myself in Witney. I was speaking to a Probus group at the Methodist Church, but the only way to be there in time was to catch a bus from Cheltenham at 7am. I treated myself to breakfast in ‘The Fleece’, in Witney (also a very good eating experience :D), and then sat outside, writing a play in the early morning sunlight.

I talked to the group about the social history in Effie M Roberts’s poems, and was delighted by the feedback at the end. One man told me that Effie’s poem about the lights coming on at the end of the war reminded him of that day, in his own life. He was a small child, and his parents took him out to look at the lights, sparkling across the town. He had never seen anything like it. His voice was still full of awe at the memory.

Here’s Effie’s poem, for those who don’t know it:

April 23rd, 1945

Mark it well, - tonight, tonight
We walk from darkness into light, -
A symbol of triumph, victory near,
Of a precious freedom we all hold dear. -
In suburban street and city square
Twinkling lights are everywhere,
No sirens feared, no terror, dread
Of approaching horrors overhead;
The fearful drone of death is gone,
Hurrah!  Hurray!  the lights are on!

That’s all for now. I’m still getting terribly tired; sleeping for a large part of every day,  and I have to spend an incredible amount of time on the phone to inefficient bureaucracies. (Npower three times this week, for about an hour a time… only to be sent emails afterwards, contradicting everything that had been arranged.)

Would Shakespeare have managed more than me?

Pippa :/

Pippa Roberts’s Blog – Writing Picture Books

Hi everyone,

I thought I’d stop writing about my readings and workshops today, and tell you about one of the things I am working on at present. I decided to try my hand at picture books. I have two that are nearing completion, but I have been on a very steep learning curve. Did you know, for instance, that you should never have a red pillar box in an illustration, because anything that is typically English will make it difficult for a publisher to sell foreign rights? On the same principle you shouldn’t use names that won’t be recognised in a wide variety of countries. (You’re advised to use search engines to find the most popular names around the world.)

And people? Well, don’t put in anyone that looks too English, or too anything. In fact, animals are really better because they tend to look more alike in different countries.

I can well believe all this, but I find it rather sad. It’s the same reason that poetry publishers started preferring poetry that was – well – really far more like prose. It’s much easier to translate. You don’t have to worry about all those pesky consonance rhymes, etc…

I had more or less written my picture books when a book I’d ordered turned up in the post. I can’t recommend it highly enough. It is Andrea Shavick’s ‘How to Write a Children’s Picture Book’ – and it is packed with good advice, which all comes from her hard won experience. I’d recommend it highly. But – oops! – those people still look too human. Better change them into cats! 😀

Pippa Roberts (Stargleam)’s Blog

Hi everyone,

I’m not very good at keeping up with this blog, but I am making a resolution to improve!

I’m currently doing a lot of talks, readings and workshops, and getting very tired, but I am also managing to do a fair amount of creative work, (usually writing on trains!)

I’m trying to convert a play to a screenplay – which is a real learning experience, but I am also writing short stories and poetry. Many of my projects have fallen through – including the one with Professor Stone – because of funds drying up.

Doing talks and readings is meant to bring in short term income, but some people still take about four months to pay me. It is hard not to feel bitter sometimes.

To contact me about any of the subjects mentioned please phone me on 07899401808.