Archive for March, 2012

Talk the talk

I have been asked if I would give a talk about the Bath book to a history group there.  To be mercenary, it’s a long way to go and a lot of petrol.  And the invitation, if it’s confirmed, is likely to be between September and next April!   If only it had been July or August last year, when the book came out and it was all fresh in my mind.  Nevertheless I will do it, it’ll be good for me.

I’ve heard nothing more from West Sussex Libraries about ordering Alfred Day, so I have chased them.  I’m still hoping for a review in the Chichester Observer.  I’ve been saying that for ages but there is no urgency.  While writing this I realise I have neglected to follow up some other marketing opportunities, which I must put right.  In my defence I had the Josh Gifford tribute to do recently and I have been asked to write a short piece about Brighton’s history.

Further book plans continue to be on hold until my long-term work situation is resolved.  My current job takes me up to 31 May and the amount of time I have to research after that is dependent on how much work I get and the cash available to subsidise the cost of research!   To be going on with, I have some work that I put to one side about five years ago which I can set about bringing up to date.

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The piece I wrote about Josh Gifford for the Fontwell racecard seemed to go down well with the people I spoke to about it – I hope it wasn’t just politeness.  Foolishly I left before the last race and missed a minor fairytale ending as Utopian, the winner, was trained by his son Nick.  He is maintainng the Gifford tradition of heart-warming stories; remember he trained Royal Wedding, who won at Fontwell last year on Royal Wedding Day.

I was sorry to learn that Aimee, my invaluable helper at Bath racecourse, is leaving them.  She took a lot of the work physically producing the book off me.  She was very popular with the annual members, and had increased their numbers while she was there.  She’s a great girl and I’m sure she’ll do well in her new role.

I have been asked to give a talk about the Bath book by one of the numerous historical groups in that part of the world, probably in the autumn.  Public speaking is not my thing, which is the very reason it would be good for me to do.  The logistics of going so far (and the cost, if I am not working by then) make me hesitate but I don’t rule it out. 

Email correspondence with West Sussex Libraries suggests an order some Days books may be imminent.  I can nudge the Chichester Observer again for some publicity.  I have a few other marketing possibles in mind, including the Weald and Downland Museum.  I met one of their officers at Olympia last weekend at a genealogical trade fair.  She suggested I speak to one of their other people to see if the museum shop would stock it.

There were also physical products on sale like books, albums and stationery, aimed mainly at family history researchers.  I was already planning to get an acid-free box from a central London shop, which is where I went afterwards.  This was a specialist stationers’, with a row of floor-to-ceiling drawers behind the counter containing every sort of paper you could imagine.  There I also purchased copious large sheets of special tissue paper to put between each of the 169 Victorian newspaper pages I bought three months ago.  I spent a lot of yesterday cutting up the tissue paper to match the size of the newspaper.  They are now safely in the box and have every chance of continuing to be preserved in good condition.  Unfortunately the box should be kept in a cool, dry, dark place and that means the loft.  Hardly ideal for me to browse on impulse, but I have catalogued the pages fairly well and I can always refer to that list. 

I was amazed at how many organisations had stalls at Olympia, promoting not just family history websites and research tools, but also county and local history groups and even a Caribbean group.  I will explain why the latter is of interest to me another time.

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