Tuesday, November 03, 2009

During a recent visit to the UK (to spend time with my parents as my father is having radiotherapy), I was fortunate enough to visit Diocesan House. Through the good offices of Wendy Dackson, Director of Studies, Local Ministry Training Scheme, I met staff and students (The Rev. Canon Robert Mackintosh, Director of Ministry and Training and Mr Neville Emslie, Ministry Development Office with a specialty in New Testament and a student Judy Vinson) over coffee and biscuits. We talked about our current projects and publications for the rest of the morning. It was exhilarating and a good opportunity to learn about ministry and training in the Diocese of Canterbury!

After a wonderful lunch with Wendy, I spent the rest of the day in Canterbury at the Cathedral and local bookshops and finished up at a Canterbury Festival talk given by Dame Joan Bakewell on her latest book, All the Nice Girls.

Explaining her foray into a novel as, 'Revenge on my English teacher,' she described how 'I longed to be a writer' – until the teachers at Stockport High School For Girls rejected her idea as 'daft.'

The basis for the novel was the discovery of documents from the British Ship Adoption Society during World War II describing her school's adoption of a ship. She realized there were three areas to be explored in the book: the school teachers, the sailors on the ships and the Battle of the Atlantic being waged at the time. So she visited the National Maritime Museum, and the Western Approaches Museum in Liverpool to do journalistic research. Bakewell says she was so enraptured by what she had learned about the women serving in the Women’s Royal Naval Service that she wanted to convey a story from their perspective.

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