Arundel author and publisher writes her memoirs
Sandra, who is 88 “although I certainly don’t feel it – mentally, at least!”, said: “I wanted to write my autobiography before I pop my clogs! Writing my autobiography put in place all I have experienced in my long life, and I think that other people, not just the elderly, like me, will find much to relate to in my book. During the lockdowns, like so many, I felt imprisoned at home. If I went out, I had to wear a mask, ugh! I couldn’t hug my family and friends, for fear of infection – and that was especially difficult, because I am a very huggy person! Imprisoned, I needed to find something positive to do with my time and set down a life full of action, colour and excitement, not just for my own satisfaction, but to share with my family and many friends worldwide. The starting point of my book is my birth and babyhood in Manchester. I can still remember it. Well, not my birth, obviously, but my childhood. Yes, I can remember a lot about my childhood. Wow, what an elephantine memory I have! The first pages of the book have a particular historical importance. The war-breakout in 1939 stands out but come 1939, and the slump, everything changed dramatically, as it did for many people. A bomb sliced away our luxurious house in Crumpsall, north Manchester. My father lost his lucrative Manchester job and we had to leave for a small cottage in Pen-y-ffordd, in Flintshire, North Wales. My mother had to swap her befurred lifestyle for a pinny and loving determination to keep smiling for us three children and her husband. She did a great job. That’s why I have dedicated my memoir to her. I still miss her and talk to her at the kitchen sink even though she died in 1972. She has never left me.”
Sandra’s previous works include “a trilogy about Pear Tree Cottage, my beloved home for 28 years, six miles down the road from Arundel. The major anthology of my poetry is Along The Bronzing Lanes. For my four children when they were young, I wrote two children’s books, The Giant And The Mouse (out of print now) and Star Sandwiches And Moon Custard about their happy childhood in County Dublin, on a farm, where my husband bred racehorses. Pre-IRA, it was a wonderful place to be.
“I was seven when I wrote my first poem. I’ve been a wordsmith ever since, especially after rigorous early training to write on the Chester Chronicle: not a word too many, just the right amount of column inches to suit a story. I shall be selling the books here in Arundel. At present my venues are Arundel Market and the Arundel Craft and Artisan Market at the Norfolk Centre, next to the Castle’s entrance gate. I might try and add to these, but I’m concentrating really on selling books to personal customers, including those who have bought from me over the years.”