And my tale of The Invisible Granny was Thursday's featured Storyopathy event from Kilter Theatre in collaboration with Clare Reddaway's A Word in Your Ear fiction sessions. Sadly I missed the link to Olly Langdon's reading but my pestering messages got me through the waiting room in time to hear Dr Olly's suggestion of retrouvaille as a key theme which, although his therapist persona is spoofy, I felt gratifyingly insightful. After the audience dispersed, the page stayed open long enough for a big old catchup chat with friends who'd booked to hear my story of Izzy Quirk who had never been on holiday and what happened when she did.
Andy Wrintmore's podcast guest couldn't be more appropriate in the week we heard Easthill Field has been saved from development by the support team's efforts to research the wildlife and prove its value as ancient meadow, as the Giant Pod with Julian Hight focuses on Frome's punk-rocking self-taught tree specialist. This informative & entertaining session covers a wide range of topics including tree communication, 'forest bathing' in benign pheromones, and protection activism as well as his travels and those great tree books. Andy has now also given the podcast treatment to musician Nick Wilton, another fascinating Frome personality - who I'm proud to say, like Julian - and Andy himself - featured in my book Frome Unzipped - from prehistory to post-punk. So it's good to know 4000 year-old trees and neo-punk are both still thriving in Frome.
And finally... another 'Best Place to Live' list in the Sunday Times, another win for Frome as top place in the south west. Illustrating their accolade with a photo of the rapidly-depleting shops of Catherine Hill, the Sunday Times summary may not delight all residents by its enthusiasm for "tasteful Farrow & Ball tones" as a primary reasons for selection. At £84-119.00 for a 5 litre pot, F&B elegance represents everything that many long-standing residents resent about the 'gentrification' of Frome. Luckily there's a lot more to love about our town, including the passionate interest in its past & present history, reflected by online groups like Frome History & Mystery, Frome Local, Frome Wildlife Watch, and more. Where else, I wonder, would my photos of a bit of ruined aqueduct, from an aborted idea at the end of the 18th Century, attract 6,824 views on facebook in 3 days? Here's the entries, now blocked: my book Frome Unzipped (p92-93) recounts the sad story of the failed project to create a canal link to Frome, despite the extraordinary inventiveness of James Fussell, and I'm learning more from comments now - including the inevitable financial scandal... (thanks Patrick Moss).