the writer is a lonely hunter

gailaldwin

Scenes from Kashmir

Following my recent discovery that paisley print pattern originates in Kashmir, I hunted out purchases I made while visiting the area in 1981. I was a passenger on a Top Deck overland trip from London to Kathmandu. We travelled on a converted Lodekka bus which had a kitchen area downstairs and sleeping accommodation up.

For the journey to Kashmir we took local transport and stayed in luxurious houseboats on Dal Lake in Srinagar.

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My purchases from Kashmir include a carpet which sits in front of the hearth in our Dorset home. I paid a deposit and it was dispatched to my parents when they settled the balance and collected it after a wrangle with customs. (I was delightfully unaware of all this – having a fun time in Australia.)

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A jacket, which I’m self-conscious of wearing due to the real fur trimming.

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And a set of tables which travelled from Kashmir to Australia and then onto Papua New Guinea before furnishing various homes in the UK.

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The carved finish of leaf patterns on these tables is close to being a paisley style pattern. Unlike Paisley Shirt my collection of short fiction, these are not available to purchase on Amazon! (If wishing to obtain my collection, please ignore the warning that the book is out of stock and place an order anyway – it will be sent to you given time.)

I never quite understood why I went on such a spending spree in Kashmir. I blame the tea which I now realise must have been laced with hash. You can find the low-down on the overland experience from Trevor Carroll in his book Crossing Continents with Top Deck.

 

Enjoy!

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Dorset Feather Stitchery

Feedback from my recent post about the history of paisley print (you can read it here), directed me to the tradition of the Dorset feather stitch. This is an embroidery stitch that was originally used to decorate rural workers’ smocks. The pattern uses feather stitch, buttonhole stitch, chain stitch and fly stitch to create a pattern similar to the droplet shaped motif found in paisley patterns.

Background to the development of this embroidery style can be found in a book written by Olivia Pass, published in 1957.  Even from the cover design, the border shows remarkable similarity to paisley patterns.

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It is delightful as the writer of a short fiction collection titled Paisley Shirt to find the design incorporated into local Dorset craft. There are examples of Dorset Feather Stitch in the Bridport Museum or you might wish to read Olivia’s book. Like my collection Paisley Shirt it is possible to purchase Dorset Feather Stitchery on Amazon. (Don’t let the Amazon message Paisley Shirt is out of stock put you off ordering, it’s just a hiccup in the system.)

 

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About Paisley Print

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According to the Textile Glossary, paisley pattern “is a droplet-shaped vegetal motif, similar to half of the T’ai Chi symbol, the Indian bodhi tree leaf, or the mango tree. The design originated in India and spread to Scotland when British soldiers brought home cashmere shawls.”

The East India Company began importing shawls from Kashmir and Persia and due to their popularity, production of paisley shawls began in the small town of Paisley in Scotland. By the 1850s six thousand weavers were employed to produce paisley shawls made from wool. Although the pattern produced by these weavers became known as paisley due to the link with the town, this pattern is known as palme in French and bota in Netherlands.

Over the years, paisley patterns continued to be worn, but it was not until the late 1960s that the print was once again fashionable. More recently in 2012 the print also appeared in fashion shows.

Paisley Shirt is the title of a story in my new collection of short fiction which bears the same name. Can I encourage you to purchase a copy here? DON’T let the notice about the book being out of stock put you off ordering – it’s there to allow time for orders of new books to filter through the system.

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Visiting Kathy Sharp

 

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I’m over on Kathy Sharp‘s blog today, sharing my experiences as a writer in Dorset. Why not pop over and have a read? Or you might like to check out “Watered Down” a quirky story by Kathy which is published on CafeLit.

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Gorgeous covers

Here are all the current titles in the short fiction series published by Chapeltown Books. A group of good looking covers with enticing stories inside.

My collection Paisley Shirt is available as a Kindle Edition through Amazon and paperback copies can now be purchased from all good bookshops. Recommended bookshops in Dorset include Serendip, Lyme Regis; The Book Shop, Bridport; Winstone’s, Sherborne; Gullivers, Wimborne Minster; Westbourne Book Shop, Bournemouth; and Waterstones, Dorchester.

4* and 5* reviews of Paisley Shirt can be found on goodreads. If you do decide to purchase a copy of Paisley Shirt, further reviews are very welcome.

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National Trust: Lacock Abbey

David has held life membership of the National Trust since a maiden aunt left him £100 when he was eleven. Here is his membership card complete with boyhood signature.

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The membership allows an accompanying guest to enter free of charge, so we tend to gravitate towards National Trust properties when out and about. Recently we visited Lacock Abbey in Wiltshire. Both the Abbey and properties in the town are administered by the National Trust and this makes for an interesting visit. The Abbey is situated within extensive grounds where you can see the approach of spring.

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The building benefits from a variety of architectural styles owing to its history. First as an Augustinian abbey, then the home to a Tudor rogue, and finally as a family home and the birthplace of photography. In more recent times it has acted as a film location to a variety of productions including Harry Potter.

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Cloister that appears in Harry Potter

I usually come away from these visit with ideas for creative writing. Word prompts include stone feathers and stone blindfolds. Watch this space for creative outputs!

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Paisley Shirt Kindle Edition OUT NOW

Very pleased to say that the Kindle Edition of Paisley Shirt is now available to download from Amazon. The paperback will follow shortly and I’ll be giving details of my book launch then.

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I’m delighted to be in good company at Chapeltown Books with other short fiction writers who have publications in the same series. Here is the cover for Badlands,a collection by Alyson Faye which includes short fiction inspired by ghost stories, old movies, derelict buildings and real life issues.

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And another by Allison Symes, From Light to Dark and Back Again a collection of very short stories to suit every mood.

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I’m very much looking forward to the publication of Amanda Huggin’s collection Brightly Coloured Horses. The cover image is also by Amanda, what creative talent!

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Kite Collectors: Man in the Paisley Shirt

perf6.500x6.500.inddWith my collection of short fiction Paisley Shirt going to print shortly, I wondered if there were musicians also inspired by the same piece of clothing. A search of YouTube identified two tracks with my favourite being Man in the Paisley Shirt” by The Kite Collectors from their 2013 album Mildred’s Tree.

On the website, I learnt about The Kite Collector’s music:

Known for well-crafted songs with a strong lyrical content, The Kite Collectors were formed in 2013. Hailing from the South West of England, the band takes their inspiration from the mod sub-culture, early psychedelia and garage rock. The resultant mix of influences and attitudes is a quality blend of infectious melodies and energy that literally fizzles in the ears. Imagine the love child of the Small Faces and the Kinks smacking their head against a wall whilst listening to Medway Garage Rock and the Who!

Have a listen and see what you think.

You can find out more The Kite Collectors at Paisley Records.

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Holocaust Memorial Day 2018, Dorchester

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artefacts on display

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books on display

There was a very successful Holocaust Memorial Day event on Friday 26 January 2018 at the Corn Exchange hosted by the South West Dorset Multicultural Network. The event was supported by schools and community members on the theme of The Power of Words. Other opportunities to mark Holocaust Memorial Day  in Dorchester include a poetry workshop on Wednesday 31 January 2018 at Dorchester Library. You are invited by library staff to read, write and share poetry from 10:30 to noon. You can also see artefacts in a special display at Dorset County Museum which record events from the life of Harry Grenville who joined Kinderstransport to find refuge in the West Country. Read more about Harry here, in an interview I conducted for this blog.

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Fine dining in Dorchester at Sienna

When our daughter returned home from university, she worked as restaurant manager at Sienna. Although she is now employed elsewhere, we continue to treat ourselves to a meal there on special occasions. However, with the new choice of reasonably priced tasting menus we may very well go more often. The restaurant has been spruced up with new, modern decor and Chef Marcus Wilcox creates wonderfully diverse dishes which use West Country produce.

Click on the photo to find out what we ate last night!

Sienna is well worth visiting. Tasting menus are available evenings, Tuesday to Saturday and lunchtimes, Wednesday to Saturday.

 

 

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