Wednesday, 2 December 2015

A Book-signing in Bedford

If you are anywhere near Bedford on Saturday 12th December, come and see us at the Christmas Fair to be held at Bedford School in aid of the British Red Cross.

I will be signing copies of 'The Making of Swallows and Amazons' and other books.

It would be great place to meet friends and there will be lots to see and do.
For a map with free parking and further information, please click here

Wednesday, 28 October 2015

The UK Wild Otter Trust

I have been invited to become a Patron of the UK Wild Otter Trust - a huge honour.

The trust was set up to help raise awareness of British otters by providing talks at clubs and schools. It exists to help ongoing otter projects and groups that encourage otters in the wild. The trust is run by a really active team. You can read about them here.

The trust works hard to protect the habitat of the otter and is currently monitoring otter populations in North Devon. It work with anglers, fishery owners and organisations throughout the UK to ensure otter predation and behaviour is well understood. This has been well received and is vital to the conservation of this native species. To read more about the aims of the trust please click here.

 What can I do to support the Trust?

There are all sorts of things you can do. Click here for the UK Wild Otter Trust website and see how you can help secure the future of this special creature, which is still under threat. It would be hugely helpful if you simply told others about the trust and pointed them to the website.

If you would like to make a donation to the Trust, please click here.

Tuesday, 29 September 2015

All happening in Aldeburgh

I've just returned from Suffolk where I was helping the Aldeburgh Bookshop 

The idea was that people would be able to watch cookery demonstrations 

& then buy one of the lovely recipe books written by the chefs
 such as Honey & Co's 'Food From the Middle East'.

It was a great chance to meet well known restaurateurs and celebrities
such as Diana Henry, Tomasina Miers and 

Luis Troyano of BBC TV's 'The Great British Bake Off'

You could have a go at baking yourself

or sample drinks.
They even had a smoothie bike for kids.

There was much hilarity from TV cooks

attracting fascinated audiences 

who came to find the books after each demonstration.

There was a wide selection

& authors such as Jose Pizarro were happy to sign copies.

Sunday, 20 September 2015

Funnily Enough, the film location...

The book 'Funnily Enough' is largely set at my parent's house in the Cotswolds, revolving around the real life antics of my mother in 1991. Twenty-four years later she is still going strong.
Cold Caller titles
Having recently appeared in Broadchurch, playing Charlotte Rampling's ancient mother, Mum has just finished filming Cold Caller, a short film by Philip Cook, shot on location in her own garden, which was very convenient.
DAphne Neville in Cold Caller 2It is a chilling tale shot by Matt Bigwood and produced by George Collings. Mum plays Marjorie, an old lady who receives a call from a certain security expert who does not take his gloves off when he accepts a cup of tea. It is soon clear why the director wanted to use a garden with a deep lake.
Daphne Neville in Cold CallerIt has been fun following the development of this short film in the press and on Facebook.
Cold Caller being shotIt has won a number of awards:

The body is still to be found.
Cold Caller poster

Friday, 24 July 2015

The Diary of a Tame Otter

My book 'Funnily Enough' features the antics of our first two tame otters Bee and Jims. Rudi, another hand-reared otter, can still be found wriggling about inside my mother's clothing.

Having appeared at the Royal Welsh Show he will be at the Royal Berkshire Show, near Newbury this weekend, 19th & 20th September.

He is currently staring in the role of Otto in the movie Scottish Mussel opposite Talulah Riley, Martin Compston and Harry Enfield. It was premiered at the Edinburgh Film Festival in June.

Rudi the Otter in 'Scottish Mussel' with Talulah Riley and Martin Compston

To watch 'Scottish Mussel' online, please click here 

Friday, 15 May 2015

Royal Photographer Arthur Edwards is in the News again

HRH the Prince of Wales meeting author Sophie Neville, 28th July 2001
HRH Prince of Wales meeting author Sophie Neville and her otter. 
Photograph (c) Daily Telegraph - 28th July 2001

Back in 2001, I was introduced to the HRH Prince of Wales when we chatted about otter conservation. A number of photographers buzzed around us including royal photographer Arthur Edwards, then working for The Sun.

Royal photographer Arthur Edwards - Daily Telegraph 28th July 2001

He can be seen holding his camera, standing behind us in the centre of the picture. In this instance he missed taking the shots that ended up on the front page of the Daily Telegraph - along with his own image.

HRH Prince of Wales with Sophie Neville on the front page of the Daily Telegraph

Arthur Edwards was on the lunchtime News today, having his head painted purple by Prince Harry who took the opportunity to do so when invited to make hand-prints on his tour of New Zealand. I am not sure why Arthur Edwards was so deserving of the honour but his face was a picture.

Living with tame otters

'Do you still keep tame otters?'

The answer is, 'My mother does.'

But this photograph we have just found was taken some time ago!
It has been a life-time of living with otters; about 34 years.

If you are in the Cotswolds and would like to make an appointment to visit them, please click here

A few stories about living with the tame otters can be found within the pages of Funnily Enough.

There are more in Bee a Particular Otter by Daphne Neville who has appeared on endless television programmes, speaking about the conservation of British wetlands and rivers.

This series was presented by Toyah Wilcox. I was on location helping to look after the otters when it was being filmed in the Golden Valley but can't remember what it was called. Do you?!

Toyoah Wilcox with Bee the Otter in about 1992

Friday, 20 March 2015

Author Sophie Neville appearing on CBBC TV

Sophie Neville appearing on 'Cinemaniacs'
Sophie Neville

Sophie Neville appeared on CBBC TV's new series 'Cinemaniacs', talking about her first film 'Swallows & Amazons' - as described in her memoir Funnily Enough.

Sir Ian McKellen, Helen Lederer and Michael Sheen also appear on the show presented by the popular vlogger Oli White.

Also talking about their first film were:
Asa Butterfield ~ 'The Boy in the Stripped Pyjamas' who went on to star in 'Hugo' and is currently filming 'Peregrine's Home for Peculiars'.

Helena Barlow ~ known for playing Sour Susan in 'Horrid Henry' and Estella in 'Great Expectations'.

Matthew Lewis ~ who played Neville Longbottom in all eight Harry Potter movies who is about to appear as Branwell Bronte in 'The Brontes'.

Theo Stephenson ~ 'Horrid Henry' now playing Toby in the TV series 'Humans'

Madeline Harris ~ who played Judy Brown in 'Paddington'

Sydeny Isitt-Ager ~ who played Sadie in 'Nativity'

as well as Hattie Gotobed, her sister Melissa Gotobed and brother Rohan Gotobed who have appeared in many recent films.

Friday, 16 January 2015

Letters to and from my Granny

One of the main characters in 'Funnily Enough', indeed in my life, was Granny Joy. She rang us up every single day, two or three times. This could be maddening as she had nothing to say, but sometimes she had us shrieking with laughter.

First there was the break-in scenario when she woke up to find a young man in her bedroom.
'I don't think you are meant to be here,' she said and threw a massive pot of cold cream at him.

Then she had an admirer.
'Oh, Granny! That's jolly.'
'He's past being jolly.'

Joy Dodson

Granny had been a great beauty, married in Arusha a few days before her 21st Birthday to Doddy Dodson, an officer in the Lancashire Fusiliers, seconded to the King's African Rifles in Tanganyika who had met her father on the ship out to Dar es Salaam.

Lt Col H.M. Dodson

I guessed that she married to escape from her own parents.
'Where you in love with Guga when you married him.'
'No, but it was a very good marriage,' she assured me. He was a sweet man.

Mrs Maxtone Mailer riding with Joy at Bulwa in Tanzania

Granny understood why I wanted to fly to Africa for my health. She had loved it out there. Her father gave her no money but he did buy her a horse, a roan called Strawberry, which enabled her to ride off and visit the neighbours. She made a bit of money painting watercolours, mainly landscapes, which capture the unspoiled beauty of northern Tanzania.

Joy in Tanganyika in the early 1930s

She despaired of her father's addiction to Big Game hunting but did join him on a bird shoot. She was quite proud of this duck. Her nephew told me that they did need to shoot for the pot. There where no shops.

Granny was a great letter writer. Here is the one she sent me about her intruder.

It saddens me to think that she missed going to my parents' for Christmas because she was worried about leaving her house. And she didn't like putting the empty milk bottles outside the front door.

I loved her letters and wrote back, sending postcards as often as I could, two or three times a week in the end. When my aunt and I finally went to clear her room at the nursing home that was Dalmock Castle I found she had kept everyone. It was like looking through my whole life in reverse.

I wish that I had kept her love letters. She was still receiving them aged 86. And they were scorchers.